"Authorized Software" in FHC?

Issues related to the use and operation of Family History Centers
steph.younger
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"Authorized Software" in FHC?

Postby steph.younger » Mon Mar 31, 2014 9:03 am

I recently started working with our Family History Center Director to standardize and maintain the computers in our FHC. We found that the administrator login was pretty widely known and, as a result, there was so much stuff (I'm not sure what else to call it) to fix/uninstall, that I've decided to use the image disks and restore them to their "like-new" state. We also just ordered computers (as a result of the XP end-of-life) which should be on their way soon, and plan to utilize DeepFreeze going forward, which should minimize the impact of "rogue" users.

My first inclination is to install only software available through Tivoli and lock it down from there, but there are software not available through Tivoli that seem very useful (photo editing, as an example). Once I open that door, I'm fairly certain that I'll be flooded with requests to make exceptions within a month, and without some sort of process in place to approve software this could turn into an administrative nightmare. The question I have is: what are other FHCs implementing as an "authorized software policy" if one exists?

russellhltn
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Re: "Authorized Software" in FHC?

Postby russellhltn » Mon Mar 31, 2014 9:49 am

I'm sure you'll have a few requests, but I'm not sure about "flooded".

I think if you establish that the software must be free for non-profit use (not just personal use), that will take care of a number of the requests. You'll have to read the EULA carefully. Make sure that installing ad-ware is not a condition of use.
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steph.younger
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Re: "Authorized Software" in FHC?

Postby steph.younger » Mon Mar 31, 2014 10:26 am

You're right ... "flooded" is a bit strong. I've already received several requests, but I'm sure they'll taper off once we get rolling. ;)

I'm totally on board with taking advantage of free software, and want patrons to have access to the best tools available. I'm just trying to find a comfortable balance between being "that dictatorial computer guy" and perpetuating the "wild west" attitude we have now. I'm sure there are lots of great software I'm not familiar with, but how do I maximize the utility of our FHC without sacrificing stability?

Case in point: This Sunday, we had to pause a FH class so I could work through disabling a browser extension that covered a patron's screen with notifications after she clicked what she thought was a link within the FamilyTree interface. The extension is free and I have learned it's pretty popular, but I had no knowledge that it had been installed and so did not know it was an extension or how to troubleshoot it. With the limited time available for Sunday School, it was a disruption that could have been easily avoided.

russellhltn
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Re: "Authorized Software" in FHC?

Postby russellhltn » Mon Mar 31, 2014 10:54 am

Was the extension itself useful for FH work, or was it the result of installing something else?

I think the big issue is does it help Family History work? Does it create a confusing experience for others (like this extension did)?
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steph.younger
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Re: "Authorized Software" in FHC?

Postby steph.younger » Mon Mar 31, 2014 11:10 am

From what I've learned, the extension (Pandora's Hope Chest) can be very useful. I'm trying to reserve judgement for after I've had time to really fidget with it, but my first experience was a bit negative.

I think your last two questions hit the nail on the head for me, and would form a great foundation for a response to a software request:
1. Please explain how you feel this software will benefit our patrons.
2. How will the installation of the software impact patrons who are unfamiliar with its use?

Thanks!

russellhltn
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Re: "Authorized Software" in FHC?

Postby russellhltn » Mon Mar 31, 2014 12:44 pm

I'll add another. To me, part of the use of the FHC is to train patrons to use the software in their own home. I have to wonder how much adding non-standard browser extensions affects that? The second, while this particular extension seems to a good tool for the experienced, in a FHC setting, it strikes me as promoting "harvesting where thou hasn't sown". In particular, I wonder if this doesn't encourage submitting names that shouldn't be submitted - yet (incomplete work) - or at least not by that patron (someone else is closer).

I'd ask the Director's review on it's true value.
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Try using a Google search by adding "site:tech.lds.org/wiki" to the search criteria.

AndereggCa
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Re: "Authorized Software" in FHC?

Postby AndereggCa » Mon Mar 31, 2014 1:06 pm

Re: Pandora's Hope Chest.
Isn't this a Green Arrow hunting scheme that totally ignores several things:
1) Are you even related to the person with the green arrow, because if you haven't sourced your way up to that person, you can not rely on just what's in Family Tree as if it were true. Relationships must be verified with sources, which is so much easier to do now, and
2) Are their duplicate records for the Green Arrow person, which already have completed temple work? Let's not trivialize ordinance work by repeating it over and over for the same person. That's not hastening the work, that's actually hindering it, with much time and energy wasted.

KathrynGZ
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Re: "Authorized Software" in FHC?

Postby KathrynGZ » Mon Mar 31, 2014 1:21 pm

I second the last two comments. A friend helped family members who had reserved around 220 "green arrow" ordinances. After my friend helped his family resolve errors and duplicates, guess how many ordinances were needed?

One sealing. That's it, out of 220 ordinances. It's just coming to light how few green arrows point to valid ordinances. So I would think twice about installing any program that helped people reserve them without proper research.

You might enjoy this recent FamilySearch blog post on the subject, entitled "Follow the Green Arrow... With Caution" https://familysearch.org/blog/en/follow ... w-caution/

I especially recommend the two presentations linked near the bottom of the article.

By the way, steph.younger and russellhltn, are you aware of the FamilySearch Yammer network? If you're not already on it and would like to join, please PM me with your email address and I'll send you an invitation. Lots of good discussions there about green arrows and reducing duplication.

hmcphie
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Re: "Authorized Software" in FHC?

Postby hmcphie » Mon Mar 31, 2014 3:40 pm

Pandora's Hope Chest seems to be ignoring all the cautions FamilySearch has taken in the temple opportunities list. The temple opportunities list indicates "green arrow" opportunities within 4 generations of the patron. FamilySearch has deliberately limited it to four generations because the likelihood of errors is too great beyond that. FamilyTree is currently riddled with errors of incorrect relationships and completed ordinances that have not been merged together to show they are completed. Whoever created this Pandora's Hope Chest app is just ignoring the wisdom FamilyTree showed in limiting the temple opportunities list. Is there anyway that FamilySearch can restrict Pandora's Hope Chest from doing this?

steph.younger
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Re: "Authorized Software" in FHC?

Postby steph.younger » Tue Apr 01, 2014 12:33 pm

I loaded the PHC extension into Chrome this morning and let it run. Four hours later, it had finished my tree (back to the mid-1300s, where it apparently stops looking) and found forty names, most of whom were born before 1700, and in family lines I'm not very familiar with. Then it started on my wife's tree, so I stopped it. It appears to ignore any names where "more information" is required, and focuses solely on the "green arrows."

Aside from the issues already pointed out, I found two things disconcerting:
1) the extension loads as an icon in the familytree toolbar, giving no indication to patrons that it's not actually a part of the church's program.
2) after logging out of familysearch and logging in as my wife, the same results showed up without running the extension, and neither closing the browser nor clearing the history removed the results.


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