Using Admin Computer for Family History

Discussions around the setup, operation, replacement, and disposal of clerk computers, not to include using MLS
russellhltn
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Using Admin Computer for Family History

Postby russellhltn » Sat Mar 07, 2009 2:59 pm

My stake is getting around to installing Internet access at the various chapels which do not have a FHC to support the Family History Consultants. One of the questions I asked is what computers will be used.

One of the ideas floated is using the ward administrative computer. Clearly there are a number of issues: Securing confidential information, both electronically and physically. The small office. Scheduling access. etc. There are a number of things that would make this unpleasant, but nothing I know of that would prohibit it. But I thought I'd ping the collective to see if there's anything I'm missing.

The other thought is to have the ward obtain some computers. But that still opens up a fair-sized can of worms: Where they would be used, where would they be stored, how would they be protected from theft, tampering, etc. Again, any tips there would be appreciated.

I suppose we could have members bring in their computers. That would seem to remove a number of headaches, but now we're requiring members to use their own stuff in fulfilling their calling.

In all cases, I know the computers won't have the same resources available to them as they would in a FHC. There are licensing issues for the software as well as access to the FHC portal. I'll have to deal with setting proper expectations, but since I expect the Family History consultants to stick to teaching basics, I'm hoping I can keep hopes and expectations reasonable.
Have you searched the Wiki?
Try using a Google search by adding "site:tech.lds.org/wiki" to the search criteria.

jdlessley
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Postby jdlessley » Sat Mar 07, 2009 7:55 pm

We know that Church policy states that ward and stake computers should be made available for members to use family history software programs, where necessary. To me that would include using the internet if the appropriate safeguards are in place. More on that later.

The first issue you raised about securing confidential information has already been addressed in Church policy which says that record-keeping programs (MLS) are to be password protected to prevent unauthorized access when the computers are being used for other purposes, such as family history work. If the policies for maintaining usernames and passwords for MLS are being followed then that is taken care of. Just make sure no other confidential information other than what is in MLS is stored on the computer. The [url=http://www.lds.org/Static%20Files/PDF/STS/Troubleshooting%20PDFs/00262_000_Mar05_notice[2].pdf]Policy and Guidelines for Computers Used by Clerks for Church Record Keeping[/url] section on security says:
The MLS database is stored on the hard drive. Other confidential files should not be stored on the hard drive. They should be saved on external media and locked in storage when not in use.
After looking at these policies I see no policy problems in using the stake and ward computers for family history work.

I guess if the stake president feels it is necessary to use stake and ward computers for family history work then two concerns come to mind that need to be addressed. You already mentioned one - access, or availability. Access to the computers without interfering with clerk and other administrative needs of the computers would require some coordination and scheduling. Some immagination would work in coming up with acceptable solutions here.

Since we have begun connecting stake and ward computers to the internet the issues of computer security have already been discussed in other threads. Keeping the Symantec virus definitions up to date for routine browsing on the internet is one. Operating system updates is another. Until those two issues are resolved I would not recommend to my stake president that stake and ward computers be used for family history work requiring access to the internet.

A large percentage of the family history work that can be done in the FHC can also be done on a general access computer outside the center. For the rest I guess a person would just have to visit a center.
JD Lessley
Have you tried finding your answer on the LDS.org Help Center page or the LDSTech wiki?

aprayzr
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Postby aprayzr » Sat Mar 07, 2009 8:10 pm

Since the MLS computers have administrative rights at the login, I suggest also setting up a Patron account for windows with reduced access rights, just as is done in FHC's.

russellhltn
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Postby russellhltn » Sun Mar 08, 2009 4:03 am

jdlessley wrote:We know that Church policy states that ward and stake computers should be made available for members to use family history software programs, where necessary.


I know there has been language like that in the past. Way back when "Genealogy Programs" were PAF and a DOS version of FamilySearch that ran on CDs. But that has long since been superseded. Can you show me that in current policy?


aprayzr wrote:Since the MLS computers have administrative rights at the login, I suggest also setting up a Patron account for windows with reduced access rights, just as is done in FHC's.


Yes, that's a good idea. I can make MLS "invisible" to this login so no one tries to use MLS. But now how can I block FamilyHistory stuff from the clerk login to discourage anyone from using the clerk login (perhaps the prior user forgot to logout) when browsing genealogy sites?
Have you searched the Wiki?

Try using a Google search by adding "site:tech.lds.org/wiki" to the search criteria.

jdlessley
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Postby jdlessley » Sun Mar 08, 2009 2:31 pm

RussellHltn wrote:I know there has been language like that in the past. Way back when "Genealogy Programs" were PAF and a DOS version of FamilySearch that ran on CDs. But that has long since been superseded. Can you show me that in current policy?
Look on page 175 of the CHI, book 1.
JD Lessley
Have you tried finding your answer on the LDS.org Help Center page or the LDSTech wiki?


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