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View Full Version : Common library brain burp


Devilot
09-22-2008, 06:07 PM
Often, people come into the library where I work, and ask if it's okay that something they checked out there got returned to another library in the same system, or that something they checked out at another library gets returned there. Now, they can request transfers and holds online, but they might not have a computer, so they wouldn't see that... but it still seems like common sense. What were they expecting us to say: "No, we pretend to be a unified library system, but we're actually in the midst of a violent civil war. Because of your foolishness, we will now have to fight to the death over control of the book, using our thickest, heaviest tomes as weapons"?

EDIT: And, just to avoid making another topic, I'm going to list another, one-time thing I overheard while working. A patron, concerned because the computers were slow, said they might have a virus, and they should get that checked into, because a good, dug-in virus can require the computers to be completely rebuilt from scratch -- as happened at his school. I know he was trying to be helpful, but... no. Just no. First off, they were probably just slow because they're a bunch of less-than-high-end computers running on the same network. Second, no virus can destroy a computer to the degree that it would need to be completely rebuilt from the ground up. Just completely wiping the hard drive, including boot sector, will remove even the most pernicious viruses... and although it would be theoretically possible for a virus to overwork other components of the computer to damage them, it would have to be specifically coded for the device in question, making it unlikely.

Pedersen
09-22-2008, 07:15 PM
Second, no virus can destroy a computer to the degree that it would need to be completely rebuilt from the ground up. Just completely wiping the hard drive, including boot sector, will remove even the most pernicious viruses... and although it would be theoretically possible for a virus to overwork other components of the computer to damage them, it would have to be specifically coded for the device in question, making it unlikely.

Minor nitpick: This used to be true. It's not anymore. BIOS Viruses (http://www.google.com/search?q=bios+virus) exist, and are in the wild. It's possible to destroy someone's computer thanks to flash BIOS. It's not likely. And viruses don't change type from (for instance) MBR viruses to BIOS viruses.

Still, wanted to let people know that.

Difdi
09-22-2008, 09:42 PM
Second, no virus can destroy a computer to the degree that it would need to be completely rebuilt from the ground up.

Wellll, that's not actually totally true...

Back in the very old days, hard drives had to be manually configured in the BIOS. You actually had to tell the computer how thick the platter was, among other things. Nowadays, drives are sufficiently plug & play that the drive tells the computer those sorts of things. But it the old days, there was some potential for mayhem...

It was commonly referred to among the geek community as "parking the heads"; Literally, telling a computer that its drive was thinner than it actually was, causing the drive head to scratch the data surface so badly it became unreadable. And there was actually a virus at one point (well, technically an ansi bomb trojan) that would remap the enter key to park the heads if you viewed this one image file...

I am uncertain whether a modern hard drive could be ordered to destroy itself in this manner, but the capability is still theoretically there. :eek:

smileyeagle1021
09-23-2008, 12:21 AM
but it still seems like common sense. What were they expecting us to say: "No, we pretend to be a unified library system, but we're actually in the midst of a violent civil war. Because of your foolishness, we will now have to fight to the death over control of the book, using our thickest, heaviest tomes as weapons"?



playing the devils advocate... it might not be that common sense that a unified system can accept inter-branch returns... Blockbuster is a unified system but you can't return movies at different locations...

eta- pedersen... is your sig supposed to be upside down?

otakuneko
09-23-2008, 04:57 PM
Minor nitpick: This used to be true. It's not anymore. BIOS Viruses (http://www.google.com/search?q=bios+virus) exist, and are in the wild. It's possible to destroy someone's computer thanks to flash BIOS. It's not likely. And viruses don't change type from (for instance) MBR viruses to BIOS viruses.

Still, wanted to let people know that.

Although I don't believe they're that common, anymore.

CIH is the most recent I recall. These days malware authors are more interested in making money than destroying machines. Guess they've "grown up" in a way. Of course, they don't care if their virus makes your computer slow. (though I think one that didn't would be wildly successful, the unwashed masses might never realize it's there! hmmm...:devil:)

Pedersen
09-27-2008, 07:47 AM
eta- pedersen... is your sig supposed to be upside down?

Indeed it is. Just for something fun :)

Kiwi
09-27-2008, 09:48 AM
my public library in NZ charges you $1 per book to take it back to a different library

the one in BC doesnt

better they check than screw up imo

Becks
10-02-2008, 01:38 AM
better they check than screw up imo

My thought exactly.

Evil Queen
10-02-2008, 01:47 AM
What were they expecting us to say: "No, we pretend to be a unified library system, but we're actually in the midst of a violent civil war. Because of your foolishness, we will now have to fight to the death over control of the book, using our thickest, heaviest tomes as weapons"?

:lol: :lol: :lol:

I write fantasy and sci-fi, can I use that? :lol:

depechemodefan
10-02-2008, 07:00 PM
In the library system I work in, I think more than $10 years ago they didn't allow transfer between libraries. Maybe they didn't have a circulation system that united all the branches, so if you turn in a book at a diff. location, it wouldnt' show up on your record at the original library, or something like that.

Heck 10 years ago we charge people $1 to place things on hold if things are checked-out or coming from the publisher. I guess to keep people from just placing stuff on hold with being serious about the book and a book stays on hold for 10 days and no one picks it up. Also, the computer system wouldn't place things on hold automatically when they are returned, a librarian had to have the returned book in hand to place on hold, so everyday librarians had to check carts to see if something was returned.

Sableonblonde
10-02-2008, 09:30 PM
But is it inconvenient if you take books out at one branch and return them at another? It is no problem to do this where I live, but then don't the books need to get shipped back to their proper location (which means extra work for someone)? I always feel kind of bad when I do that, like I am creating extra work when I could just go a little out of my way and take it back to where I got it myself. Do libraries prefer if you take out and return books at the same branch or does it not matter...?

Argus
10-10-2008, 01:55 AM
It is no problem to do this where I live, but then don't the books need to get shipped back to their proper location (which means extra work for someone)?

If the library is like the one here in Indianapolis, most of the books don't have a "proper location". They apparently used to; I see stickers on older books that look like they might have been abbreviations for branches. But now, unless a returned book is needed to fulfill a request somewhere or has been designated "Non-Floating", it is simply put on the shelf in the branch where it was returned.

Keep in mind that these days, it isn't really necessary for each branch to maintain a separate inventory list/card catalog.

depechemodefan
10-11-2008, 03:36 PM
But is it inconvenient if you take books out at one branch and return them at another? It is no problem to do this where I live, but then don't the books need to get shipped back to their proper location (which means extra work for someone)? I always feel kind of bad when I do that, like I am creating extra work when I could just go a little out of my way and take it back to where I got it myself. Do libraries prefer if you take out and return books at the same branch or does it not matter...?

If a book doesn't belong to a library, it gets placed in a bucket that either will have the branch name on it (if it's a major library) or just a general bucket. Once a day these buckets are picked up by the library vans (who drop off buckets full of books for the library), and taken to Central, and there palce in buckets to be sent to individual branches.

So if 10 diff. people decides to travel an extra 10 miles to return a book to the proper library, that is a total of 100 miles of gas being used, while if you and 9 other people drop them off at the local library then only the gas that's in the van is being used.

Though I guess it's less work if you returned it to the "right" library.