not all proxies are the same

No, I don’t know everything there is to know about proxy servers.

A while back, I panned a book on e-serials collection management. One of the contributors found my review and wrote a response, which I will quote here:

As the person who wrote the essay regarding IP versus proxy access for the E-Serials Collection Management book that you reviewed on your website, I feel the need to respond. First of all, I agree that the amount of time it took between the writing of the chapters and actual publication was a serious concern, particularly since the focus of this book was technology. However, I should point out that the problems encountered using proxy servers have not become a moot point because of the presence of EZproxy and similar products. We have had EZproxy access and an alternative proxy method available on our website (the University of South Florida Libraries) for several years. Unfortunately, this has NOT meant the end of proxy-user problems. With multiple campuses and users in several cities, many problems are still reported each week by users having difficulty connecting. The reasons for the problems are as varied as our users. Personally, I prefer this type of IP access to the use of ID/password but, as with most things, ONLY when it works. Keeping this in mind, I now have a second self-created job title – Cyberjanitor.

My apologies to the author. I was not aware of the difficulties with proxy servers and multiple campuses. My former place of work (EKU) has only one IP range for the main campus and all of the extended campuses, so setting up IP access with vendors is very easy. They use the same login and password required for campus email to authenticate our users, and everyone gets an email account, with the exception perhaps of some adjunct faculty. For that campus, EZProxy works 99.5% of the time, which is far better than having to hand out new passwords to everyone each semester.

gmail invitations

update 09.24.04: It looks like I’ll have invitations in perpetuity, since everytime I give some out, my balance goes up to six again the next day. I’ve created a Gmail invitation button and put it on the left side bar of this blog which sends interested parties to this entry. I won’t continue to bump this up as I get more invitations.

I have five Gmail invitations for the first five people to comment on this entry with their email addresses. Don’t worry, your email address won’t show up on the blog, but it will show up in the notification sent to me. I need that to send you the invite.

update: I have six more invitations. Comment on this entry if you want one. I’ll keep bumping it up, I think.

update 09.24.04: It looks like I’ll have invitations in perpetuity, since everytime I give some out, my balance goes up to six again the next day. I’ve created a Gmail invitation button and put it on the left side bar of this blog which sends interested parties to this entry. I won’t continue to bump this up as I get more invitations.

portable information technology

Yesterday, Open Stacks author Greg Schwartz wrote about smart tags being used for books so that wireless phone users could point their phone at the book and call up information from the OPAC or websites like Amazon.com, and that got me thinking. My library Dean came back from ALA fired up about a new technology … Continue reading “portable information technology”

Yesterday, Open Stacks author Greg Schwartz wrote about smart tags being used for books so that wireless phone users could point their phone at the book and call up information from the OPAC or websites like Amazon.com, and that got me thinking. My library Dean came back from ALA fired up about a new technology in barcoding called RFID (Radio Frequency Identification). Right now it’s a hot topic among consumer advocacy and privacy groups, but the technology has been slowly creeping into libraries through technologies like self-checkout systems and collection inventories.

Personally, I’m divided on the issue. I think that libraries will likely use this technology responsibly by doing things like turning off the tags after they have been legitimately checked out so that they will not be able to track where the book is physically (except for the information in the patron record, of course). I do have some concerns regarding commercial use of the tags. I understand the security issues, but if the tags aren’t automatically turned off when the item is purchased, much like when the ink tag is removed from an item of clothing, then it does pose some questions about consumer privacy.

As for Mr. Schwartz’s wish for smart tags in books that talk to wireless phones, I expect that it shouldn’t be long before someone develops a technology that will facilitate the communication between RFID and smart tags.