Print

Print


Ladies and Gentlemen,

Having checked the archives, and finding the hammer not meeting the nail,
on April 29, I posted a question asking for an equipment list that would be
needed in preparing to post documents to the web, and a “once and for all”
question about whether Ariel is worth all the hassle.

1. Forgot to say I would post summary, spawning
2. A 4-5:1 ratio of “want summary” responses to actual responses =
3. Lesson learned re posting.

Please forgive me, Listmom, but what is below is not summary, but actual
real world librarians in their own words.  Appended to this is the original
posting language, and I request that those who can answer substantively re
these issues continue to respond, as there seems to be lots of interest.
After all, we all want to do our jobs the best we can.

Additional questions:

1.  Is there a better forum in which to continue this discussion so we
don't clutter the list?

2.  (And from a “want summary” post) “What volume of ILL traffic
"justifies" the investment?”

3.  Issue posed by one answer: “But of course, I am not quite so sure about
copyright issues re converting to PDF amd posting.”  Have publishers issued
a decree re this?  On various listservs, I have read many things, but
nothing definitive from the lawyers.

Yours, in pursuit of useful tools, sz

<begin responses>

Our tech person is out on military leave, so it falls to me to answer you
as best I can. I am involved with the hardware and software, just not as
deeply as [name], our expert.

Hardware: get a reliable machine like a Dell or Compaq. We spent several
thousand for a Dell Poweredge 1300 three years ago when we began to set up
our website. It has a 9 GB SCSI hard drive and a tape backup. Get the
largest hard drive you can afford, and all the memory the machine can hold.
Memory now is very cheap. We decided to go with Linux as an operating
system, Unix-type systems being inherently less "crackable" than Microsoft
in a machine that allows outside users in. Fortunately, [name} already knew
a lot of Unix, so learning Linux was no great challenge to him. A lot of
institutions use Microsoft software, however, because it's easier to manage
for non-Unix speakers. It just requires careful setup and vigilance to
prevent hackers from breaking in, and of course it costs a lot more than
Linux.

We do use a Windows XE operating system on a Compaq server which is
attached to our Canon Imagerunner 5000 (and is not accessible from outside
our 4 walls). The Canon is a super-fast copier/scanner, and is available in
a color copying model as well as the standard black/white, for an extra 9
or 10 thousand. An inWith Adobe software you can scan on the Canon and
store the documents on the Compaq when the requestor wants electronic
delivery.

For electronic delivery we do use Ariel when the requestor wants it. Of
course, Ariel delivery works only when the recipient also has Ariel. For
most other e-delivery we use Prospero, a free software package available
from http://bones.med.ohio-state.edu/prospero/. Prospero requires some
technical expertise and fiddling to install, either on a Unix/Linux machine
or a Windows machine. It's probably easier with Windows; all I can speak of
is Linux. I installed it myself, and found it tricky to get it working.
Prospero converts TIFF format documents into PDF, and also works with
documents that are already in PDF. You import already scanned documents
into Prospero and specify a recipient, and then Prospero converts the
document, if necessary, e-mails the recipient that a document is ready and
posts it on the web server. The user clicks on a link in the e-mail
message, enters his/her e-mail address and a PIN number assigned by
Prospero, and sees a list of the documents ordered. With a click the user
can open a document in Adobe, or download it to the local computer.
Prospero provides very fast processing and obviates the limitations of e-
mail. In fact, we no longer offer e-mail delivery at all. Note, however,
that Prospero necessitates having or having access to a web server.

Our machines are on a LAN (we are a library corporation, so our
instituional LAN is the library LAN), and the Compaq where the scanned
documents are stored has access to the Linux web server so that documents
can be uploaded.   It should be possible to use one machine for both the
scanning and the web server, but I am familiar only with our more complex
system.

You could, I suppose, simply copy scanned files into a web-accessible
directory and let users download them via Internet Explorer or Netscape.
However, each user would be able to see and download not only his/her
documents, but everyone else's also, unless you set up a directory for each
user and restricted access to just that one user via the web server
software. With Prospero, the user sees only his/her specific documents.

I hope this information helps.

<next reply>

My library never got Ariel or any similar ILL delivery system. Instead we
recently purchased an HP 9100C Digital Sender. This is a marvelous piece of
equipment assuming it can do all you need it to do. My IS Dept. added the
Sender to our network. I make a clean photocopy original, put it into the
Digital Sender, put in the email address and the Sender converts the
document
into a PDF file which is delivered to the email address entered. The single
piece of hardware cost approximately $3,000. It takes up little counter
space
and required minimal training time. The great thing is if one of my
researchers in another building needs something quickly, we will send the
article through the Document Sender to them. I love it when a piece of
equipment can be used for more than one thing. Hospital staff are very
impressed! You do have the option of scanning in a page at a time but
unless
someone tells me they have a color printer at their end, I really don't
want to
take the extra time to scan in page by page. Hope this helps.

<next reply>

We knew we would have problems with Ariel and our firewall, so I went the
Adobe route. We love it. Very convenient, but we don't post to the web. We
have a separate email account for the library and use that. We have had a
few
rejections because of lack of space, but this was strictly for individuals.
Every Monday we go through and wipe out all of the files from the previous
week. It only takes a few minutes. This was also a very economical way to
do
it, since the Adobe software was only $250.

<next reply>

We tried Store/Forward Ariel and had more problems with it and finally gave
up and are using standalone copumter for Ariel.
I would go for full Adobe software and posting the documents on your
website
for patrons to grab using someting like Porspero. I have not checked into
Prospero yet to see what all is involved but that sounds like a good
solution.
But of course, I am not quite so sure about copyright issues re converting
to PDF amd posting.

<end replies>

<original post>

April 29, 2002

Learned Listmembers,

In hopes of avoiding as many problems as possible, we post these
questions. This is in planning for operating a stand-alone web server
(trying to avoid Ariel firewall problems), and kicking ourselves into the
21st Century in general.

1. Would those of you have made this move share with us your equipment
list, and what you would change (in hindsight) if you could? Please
include BASIC technical specs for your web server/software you run, and the
scanner, printer, PC trio that you selected (we want to have a color
option).

2. Once and for all, is Ariel worth all the hassle? Would we do just as
well with a full suite of Adobe software? Since it is our intention to
post to web, couldn’t we ftp from a web interface, and receive in the same
manner (avoiding any e-mail complications due to large, and growing,
documents)?

If you feel that we are missing something, we feel the same way, so please
enlighten us. All we want to do is our job better; your assistance is
greatly appreciated.

sz

Sincerely,
Steve Zary
Forrest General Hospital (MSUFGM)
Library Services
Post Office Box 16389
[6051 US Highway 49 South]
Hattiesburg, MS 39404-6389 [39402]
601-288-4260 voice
601-288-4280 fax
[log in to unmask]

<end original post>