One of a library's biggest headaches can be keeping its public access and staff computers in good working order. To the extent that library computer problems, the “headaches,” interfere with the operation of automation systems, this pain can extend to the ILS vendors.
Incessant viruses, worms, spyware downloads, and other unwanted malware work to destabilize, even debilitate, library computers. Rather than taking up the futile effort to search out and remove the offending malware, usually it's easier--and faster—to roll back the entire computer to its original state. The problem with this approach, however, lies in preserving documents, settings, and preferences.
There are a number of “computer restoration” products—offerings that “repair” individual PCs by restoring each back to its original, unblemished state—popular for use in repairing public access terminals. But since they refresh the entire disk at once, these are not well suited for staff computers,which likely contain saved files and customized preferences.
Aiming to relieve some of the pain that comes with library computer management, The Library Corp. (TLC) has entered a partnership with Leapfrog Software Inc. to offer a product called “ReClaim IT,” a product its makers say takes “a more sophisticated approach” to system recovery. According to the vendors, Reclaim IT provides fast system recovery capabilities while preserving all user data and preferences.
Dubbed “data anchoring,” the Reclaim IT “fix” pegs specific files and folders so they will survive a system recovery implementation. With the technology, says (TLC) and Leapfrog, library staff can take “snapshots” of a computer's operating system and applications software periodically, so that when a system problem does occur, the system can be restored to a recent but reliable image. In addition, its producers report it is possible to configure a computer (one protected by Reclaim IT) to return to its “pristine” state upon each restart, and unlike other recovery products, Reclaim IT is said to be designed to protect servers as well as desktop computers.
Leapfrog Technologies sells the technology to other markets under the moniker “FirstDefense-ISR.” The company also has partnerships with Raxco Software and Software Pursuits (a company that distributes the software under the name “Bootback”). The Library Corp. is slated to be the primary software distributor for libraries.
The TLC and Leapfrog partnership provides advantages for both companies. TLC gains a product it can recommend to libraries in order to help them stabilize their computer systems and reduce support issues (and gain some revenue in the process). While Leapfrog gets a library distribution jump-start—into a market where a number of other PC management applications already are operating swimmingly--for its new product.