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Magazines > Information Today > June 2004
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Information Today

Vol. 21 No. 6 — June 2004

In Other Words
Remote Possibilities
By Lauree Padgett

I need a vacation! And luckily, I'll get one in the middle of this month when I visit my dad (aka Mr. Weather Channel) in hopefully sunny—I say hopefully, as I seem to bring rain to the Sunshine State, even in times of severe drought—Ormond Beach, Fla. But no matter what the weather, I plan to relax, catch up on my reading, sleep in, and do some walking along the beach and across my favorite bridge, which spans the Intercoastal Waterway.

If you expect to be away from home and/or the office this summer, you'll find some helpful information about managing your PC and e-mail in articles from Computers in Libraries and Searcher. And a piece from The CyberSkeptic's Guide to Internet Research will give you a head start on good resources for when you retire and are on permanent vacation. Finally, if you're making up your summer reading list, you might want to add a few Information Today, Inc. books.

Remote Control

Do you have co-workers who aren't in the same building or even the same town? Have you been looking for software that can help you provide off-site staff with better remote support? The Douglas County Library System (DCLS), which operates 11 buildings within a rural county in southern Oregon and covers 5,000 square miles, serves a population of 100,000. In the Computers in Libraries article "Accessing PCs Remotely Across a Rural County Library System" (June 2004), Carol McGeehon, DCLS's technical services director, and Don Millar, its computer technician, discuss their participation in a trial of DameWare software.

The authors explain, "With branches anywhere from 20 minutes to 90 minutes away, we really needed a product that would allow us to troubleshoot and provide support without having to travel to each branch to diagnose and resolve every problem." Enter DameWare. One of the biggest attractions of this software is that it doesn't require a license for remote machines, just for the staff members who troubleshoot with it. Instead, staff can log in to a remote PC and temporarily load the needed software components using the IP address or the machine's host name.

DameWare lets you customize all remotely handled operations, including how your machine talks to the remote computer. For a more in-depth look at these options and to find out how DCLS has set up the software to run its many administrative tasks, read the article. You may well decide, as McGeehon and Millar have, that when it comes to keeping up with remote computer maintenance, there may be "nothing like a DameWare," no matter where you are.

E-Mail Call

When you're going to be away from home or work for more than a day or two, wouldn't it be nice if your e-mail were as easy to take care of as your regular mail? Well, Cindy Chick has given her "stamp" of approval (heh, heh, a little postal humor there!) to a few different ways of keeping your e-mail under control while away from your home computer. In "Managing Your E-Mail Remotely: Advice on Maintaining Your E-Mail Relationship" (Searcher, June 2004), Chick begins with Web-based e-mail. Along with the still popular Hotmail, she recommends Mailblocks, which has won some praise recently; Yahoo! Mail; and Mail2Web, a different kind of Web e-mail that utilizes other e-mail accounts but does not have one of its own.

If Web-based e-mail isn't your bag, don't fret. GoToMyPC.com is a subscription service that lets you remotely connect to your PC desktop from almost any Web browser. LapLink Everywhere also allows remote contact with your computer but is geared toward Outlook tasks. If you can't be away from your e-mail for more than a few minutes, Chick says it may be time for the ultimate e-mail commitment: a wireless Palm or pocket PC or even an Internet-enabled cell phone like a Treo or BlackBerry.

AARP and Running

I could make a joke about joining AARP, but since I'm less than a decade away from eligibility, I'll respect my elders and be quiet. But if you or a loved one is 50 or older, or even if you have miles to go before that's a possibility, Susanne Bjorner's CyberSelection column (The CyberSkeptic's Guide to Internet Research, June 2004) is worth a read. Bjorner says that information professionals should appreciate the studies in such areas as health, employment policy, demographics, and, of course, gerontology. These studies have been performed both for and separate from AARP and are available at no cost through the association's online Research Center.

Three main information sources are provided through the AARP Research Center: the Public Policy Institute; the AgeSource Worldwide database; and AgeLine, a niche database that Bjorner calls the "jewel that attracted me to the site." The Public Policy Institute's mission is to conduct credible public policy research and analysis. AgeSource serves as an international portal to more than 250 aging-related Web resources in more than 25 countries. Bjorner provides more specific information about these sources and explains how each can uncover data you might not find anywhere else.

ITI Books

If you have anything at all to do with automation in your library or information center, you're probably already familiar with the Directory of Library Automation Software, Systems, and Services, a biennial publication compiled and edited by Pamela Cibbarelli. The new 2004­2005 edition contains hundreds of currently available micro-, mini-, and mainframe computer software packages and services.

If you do medical research, you might want to check out another new ITI title, Pathways to Nursing: A Guide to Library and Online Research in Nursing and Allied Health. Written by Dennis C. Tucker and Paula Craig, the book explains essential sources and techniques that can be used by nursing students, healthcare researchers, and nurse practitioners to gather independent research.

Also in the area of medicine is the fully revised third edition of the Clinical Research Coordinator Handbook, by Deborrah Norris. You can get more information on all three books by visiting the ITI Web site (http://www.infotoday.com).

Come Rain or Come Shine

Now that you know how to manage your staff and e-mail remotely, know where to go for a wealth of great resources after you hit retirement—or at least AARP-membership—age, and have a few more books to read, my job here is done. So if you'll excuse me, I need to start hunting for my travel umbrella. I never know when it'll come in handy while I'm in the Sunshine State.

 

 


Lauree Padgett is Information Today, Inc.'s manager of editorial services. Her e-mail address is lpadgett@infotoday.com.
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