Running a second copy of MLS in adjacent room in church building

Discussions around using and interfacing with the Church MLS program.
rossaz
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Running a second copy of MLS in adjacent room in church building

Postby rossaz » Thu Mar 03, 2011 7:43 am

We have a Family History room in our building (with 4 PCs) that are rarely used. We'd like the Auxiliary Leaders to run their ad hoc reports in there, as well as update their home and visit teaching records. Is there a protocol for having the MLS on multiple computers? A few basic questions immediately come to mind:

1.) Installing the software
2.) Syncing the data once updated

If this is a non-standard procedure, are there any suggestions you would offer with regards to the Home and Visit Teaching records being updated or creating ad hoc reports on a computer other than the one located in the Clerk's office?

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aebrown
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Postby aebrown » Thu Mar 03, 2011 8:58 am

rossaz wrote:We have a Family History room in our building (with 4 PCs) that are rarely used. We'd like the Auxiliary Leaders to run their ad hoc reports in there, as well as update their home and visit teaching records. Is there a protocol for having the MLS on multiple computers? A few basic questions immediately come to mind:

1.) Installing the software
2.) Syncing the data once updated

If this is a non-standard procedure, are there any suggestions you would offer with regards to the Home and Visit Teaching records being updated or creating ad hoc reports on a computer other than the one located in the Clerk's office?


Installing MLS with your ward's data on a second computer is not just non-standard -- it could cause huge problems with the transmission security mechanism in MLS, and the integrity of the data. Don't do it!

I know it can be difficult to schedule access to one administrative computer. At some point in the future there will be online access to this information, but in the meantime, you just have to work out a schedule for everyone who needs access.
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russellhltn
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Postby russellhltn » Thu Mar 03, 2011 9:58 am

MLS is not designed to be networked, nor multi-user. It also has specific tests to prevent multiple computers from checking in with CHQ. You might be able to get it to work if the others were just for running reports. But I don't think there's any way you can do updates without a high risk of overwriting data in the process.
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RossEvans
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Postby RossEvans » Thu Mar 03, 2011 10:24 am

Your best hope in the intermediate term probably lies with the ongoing work to migrate MLS functionality to the web. Hopefully, auxiliary leaders will get access to some report capabilities before too long. Online HT/VT input, or even reporting, is more ambitious. It's on the announced road mapbut I suspect the mileage for that destination is a bit long.

Some report capabilities can be offloaded to external software via MLS exports, but that does impose some overhead to get the files and load the external applications.

ldsrussp
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Postby ldsrussp » Tue May 17, 2011 11:30 am

I know this is old but as an update to this I don't think this would be able to corrupt things unless you did something dumb. Likely the second PC if you tried to sync would just complain about the security needing reset since it has not been authorized by church headquarters. Not sure though if this would affect the original PC or not (probably not). Hence, the second PC could in theory be used to just print reports and such and updates from the real database would have to be manual (via restoring a backup). However, you of course could not use the second PC to enter data on and expect it to make it back into the master databse.

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aebrown
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Postby aebrown » Tue May 17, 2011 12:11 pm

ldsrussp wrote:I know this is old but as an update to this I don't think this would be able to corrupt things unless you did something dumb. Likely the second PC if you tried to sync would just complain about the security needing reset since it has not been authorized by church headquarters. Not sure though if this would affect the original PC or not (probably not). Hence, the second PC could in theory be used to just print reports and such and updates from the real database would have to be manual (via restoring a backup). However, you of course could not use the second PC to enter data on and expect it to make it back into the master databse.


The original post specifically mentioned updating records, so the responses that said this was not possible are entirely correct. And even if a second computer is used only for reporting, there are certainly risks. I agree that attempting to do a transmission from such a computer would likely give a security error, but I don't know that I would want to risk my data integrity on that likelihood. And that's not just "something dumb" -- people get in habits and could simply forget which computer they are on and start a transmission.

Furthermore, there is an absolute prohibition on installing live MLS data on personal computers, and for FHC computers, the policy says:
If MLS is used on a family history center computer, the MLS database should be stored on external media and locked in a secure place when not in use.


Following that procedure makes things more complicated -- it would be tempting to violate the policy. Although theoretically this could be done with tremendous care, there are risks of violating data integrity and violating Church policy. I stick with my original advice to avoid these problems by just using the one administrative computer for MLS.
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russellhltn
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Postby russellhltn » Tue May 17, 2011 12:19 pm

aebrown wrote:Furthermore, there is an absolute prohibition on installing live MLS data on personal computers


It's also against policy to use donated computers for church record-keeping.
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