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					The case of the recycled
        server




         Mark Dahl
      Portland State University
            Millar Library
         23 November 2004
     Opportunity knocks
• Office of Information technology is
  repurposing some two year old servers
• They are Intel based X86 servers,
  meaning that they’ll run Windows 2000,
  Linux, BSD Unix, etc.
• They are about two years old, meaning
  they are powerful enough to run the
  latest versions of above operating
  systems
• They are offering one to the library!!!
   Why the library should
    reject the server…
• Servers are ―commodity‖ IT equipment
  thanks to Dell
• Servers are a relatively inexpensive
  component for a typical IT project
• A server is very unlikely to make or
  break an IT project
• It’s not that you have a server or don’t
  that makes you successful, it’s what
  you do with it
Why we should accept it…
• BUT, servers do cost money, an even
  an older model server can provide value
• One of the great things about modern
  network operating systems (Linux,
  Novell, Win2K) is that most of them run
  on fairly old X86 Wintel hardware
• That makes repurposing old servers
  pretty easy
              Needs
• IT in a library should not be driven
  by technology, gadgets, etc.
• It should be driven by the needs of
  the library’s patrons and staff
• So in order to accept the server,
  we’d need to have needs to fulfill
 So we’ll have to imagine
     some needs…
Suppose I’m on three task forces:
  1. ―Public computers‖ task force--
    illustrates an ―infrastructure‖ need
  2. ―Single sign-on‖ task force-
    illustrates an ―integration‖ need
  3. ―Institutional repository‖ task force--
    illustrates a ―digital collections‖ need
  (these are major issue in Academic
    Library IT)
    Public computers task
             force
• The library has many off-campus patrons and
  not enough computers for them
• The Public Computers task force wants to
  make a network of public PCs that ONLY have
  access to certain library-sponsored resources
  like the catalog, certain govt. and university
  sponsored web sites
• We want to segment those PCs onto their own
  network, put them behind a firewall, and
  proxy connections to Internet
          A network device
• The task force includes representatives from
   – Reference
   – Systems
   – Circulation/Reserves
• We want to leverage older PCs that don’t need the
  fastest hardware for this purpose
• Linux servers can be configured to act as network
  appliances that perform DHCP, firewall, proxy server,
  and routing functions
• An old server could be used as a router, DHCP server, a
  firewall, and a proxy server (to only permit access to
  certain web sites)
        A network device
• The server in this role would help to address a
  major issue facing library IT professionals:
  infrastructure
• Keeping IT equipment and software up and
  running is a major challenge
• You need to keep your systems up-to-date
  and SECURE to do this
• In this role, the server would help us leverage
  our IT infrastructure (those old PCs) and keep
  things secure.
―Single-sign-on‖ task force
• The ―single sign on‖ task force is charged with making a
  more seamless authentication experience for our
  patrons
• The goal: a single sign on for all web-based library
  resources as well as public computers in the library
• The task force has representatives from:
   – OIT
   – Interlibrary Loan
   – Circulation/Reserves
   – Reference
   – Systems
                       LDAP
• The server could be deployed as an LDAP server
• LDAP, which allows multiple applications to access
  username/password info as well as other personal info,
  is fast becoming a necessity for implementing off-the-
  shelf web applications:
   – Digital collections software
   – Wiki software
   – ILL systems
   – Integrated Library Systems software
   – Locally developed web applications
   – TILT tutorial
• It also helps with locally written web applications
                  LDAP
• We could install Linux and OpenLDAP on the
  server
• Download the data from the campus
  management information system, enriched
  with library data
• Provide a single username/password for:
   – Public computers
   – E-reserves
   – ILL services
   – III catalog
   – Proxy server for off-campus database
     access
                    LDAP
• A key challenge facing IT in libraries today is
  tying things together: Integration
• Integrating with single-sign-on
• OpenURLs, federated searching systems,
  citation management systems, etc. all work
  toward this goal
• Integration makes it easier to take advantage
  of the resources and capabilities we already
  have
  Institutional Repository
         task force
• Task force charged with setting up an
  institutional repository at PSU
• The goal: a place where unpublished
  teaching and research of the University
  can be stored and accessed
• Composed of representatives from:
  –   Technical Services
  –   Reference
  –   Administration
  –   Systems
  –   Faculty
              D-Space
• D-Space is an open source institutional
  repository system written in Java
• Runs on Linux
• Requires: Java, Tomcat, PostgreSQL,
  etc.
• It’s nice to have a test server to
  implement a ―heavy-weight‖ application
  like this
               D-Space
• Academic libraries, increasingly, are
  building their own digital collections
• Numerous systems are out there that
  support these collections: D-Space,
  Fedora, Greenstone, etc.
• In some ways, these systems are like
  integrated library systems in their early
  days
    How to decide which
         purpose?
• Ask the boss?
• Carrots?
• Sticks?
• Negotiation?
• What is the best fit?
• Are there synergies that we can
  take advantage of?
              Solution
• It might be that the server could server
  as the router/DHCP server for the
  network of research computers and the
  LDAP server
• Someone’s personal PC could be used
  to test the D-Space software
• Sometimes a Systems Librarian needs
  to make these kind of cost/benefit
  analyses
              To review
• Infrastructure   (keeping things running
 and keeping up with the Joneses)
• Integration    (tying things together to
 simplify/leveraging what we already have
 better)
• Digital collections    (doing what libraries
 do best—collecting, preserving, cataloging,
 ensuring access--in the digital environment)
Thank You!

  Mark Dahl
dahl@lclark.edu

				
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