The goal of our Public Access Network is to provide access to a wide range of informational resources within the Library (our Online Catalog, Reserves, Electronic Reference service), to our expanded collection of subscription databases (Gale Reference Center, Orlando Sentinel, Biography Resource Center, etc.), and to various sites on the World Wide Web.
How Our Public Access Network Works (see our network diagram)
Each Internet-Capable Public Access Computer has at least a Core 2 Duo 2.8GHz processor, 2 GB of RAM and 150GB of hard disk. This configuration is sufficient to accommodate Windows XP, Internet Explorer 8 and Adobe Acrobat. Some of these computers are restricted to the Library's web site which consists of information about the Library Catalog and Subscription Databases. This is to provide patrons with quick access to our catalog and certain information-rich sources. Other computers can access these sources as well as Microsoft Office and the Internet.
Websense Proxy Server
Each Internet-Capable Public Access Computer accesses the Internet through a Websense Proxy Server. More information about this product can be found at ( www.websense.com).
All computers (Internet-Capable, Catalog-Only and Staff) are connected to the Internet through a Firewall. The Library uses a firewall to protect our network from viruses and hacking.
Our Connection to the Internet
The Library's Wide-Area Network is connected to the Internet via a 600 Mbps through Time Warner Telecommunications. All of the Internet-Capable Computers at the Library share this connection. The Library monitors how "busy" this connection is (called bandwidth utilization). We do experience some times of heavy usage (usually between 4:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m.. However, measurements show that this connection is sufficient for our current usage.
There are many different ways that one can "define" the Internet. For purposes of this discussion, we consider the Internet to refer to the communications lines and routers that connect two different networks (ex. OCLS and University of Central Florida). This connection may actually be made up of several different providers, Sprint to UU-Net, to MCI, to someone else, eventually arriving at the remote web site. Each of these different connections represent potential bottlenecks. There is no predefined exact path between two sites on the Internet. For example, a recent TRACEOUT (a utility which reports each connection between two sites) reported 15 different connection points (routers) between www.ocls.info and www.ucf.edu.
We are almost there! Each information provider is connected to the Internet through an Internet Service Provider (ISP). The actual web server may be hosted by the ISP or it may reside on the information provider's internal network. Each of these components (web server, connection to the ISP, ISP's connection to Internet) present additional opportunities for bottlenecks.
Putting it All Together
The fact that OCLS has 600 Mbps of bandwidth to the Internet does not imply that a user at one of our computers will be able to connect to any one Internet site at that speed. The speed at which a user can access information from the Internet is governed by a combination of factors: the capacity of the computer the patron is using, the Library's connection to the Internet own internal connections, the web sites connection to the Internet, and finally, the capacity of the computer hosting the web site.
A Network Problem Outside of the Library's Control
This includes the remote web site and all of the communications components between their server and our wide area network.
A Network Problem Within the Library's Control
This would include the Library's connection to the Internet, its routers, our Firewall, our Websense proxy server, the Library's frame-relay network and internal building wiring.
The Public Access Computer Itself
Each of our public access computers is powerful enough to run Windows XP, Internet Explorer 8 and Adobe Acrobat. At times, some patrons attempt to download files to these computers. These files can be unsupported programs, alterations/enhancements to Internet Explorer (Java or ActiveX controls), or some other files. These files can cause the computer to lock-up, requiring the computer to be re-booted. To prevent this from happening, the Library uses SmartShield to ensure that alterations to the PC will not be saved from one patron's use to the next.
Our online catalog is running off Innovative Interfaces, Inc.
Modem Ports at the Orlando Public Library
We have installed modem ports in some of our meeting rooms and study rooms. This allows patrons with laptops to dial out and connect to their Internet Service Provider. These ports are restricted to toll-free numbers only.
Modem Ports at Branch Libraries
Several of our branches have modem ports in their meeting rooms. We anticipate extending this service to each of our branch libraries. These ports will be restricted to toll-free numbers only.
PC Reservation and Printing Software
In an effort to provide more equitable access to system resources, the Internet-connected computers at all library locations have reservation timing and printer control software installed. The software from Envisionware will allow patrons to make reservations to use a computer on a first-come first-served basis. Enhanced printer control software will allow patrons to see the cost of their print jobs before they actually make printouts.
We're using QR codes to enhance your experience at our locations and in our website. You'll find QR codes on event posters that you can scan to add the date to your calendar. Other QR codes will contain a location's address that can be sent directly to your phone's map.