downloading to disk

Thomas Dowling tdowling at
Mon Nov 20 08:21:22 EST 1995

>Those of you who allow patrons to download internet data to disk:  

>Do you let the public use their own disks? 

>Do you sell (or give away) disks?
>Either way, have you had problems and if so, have you discontinued the 

>(I'm pretty new to this listserv so if this has been discussed recently,

By "problems," do you mean virus attacks?

I don't think it has been discussed recently, but it has frequently been  
discussed in the past.  In the DOS/Win3.x world (dunno about Win95, but  
I'm guessing it's the same), copying files TO a floppy disk does not  
entail any movement of data from the floppy to the hard drive, so simply  
allowing the download does not pose a security risk.  Preventing users  
from maliciously or inadvertantly copying FROM the floppy or REBOOTING  
with that floppy is left as an exercise for the reader.

At the University of Washington, once our system-wide printing costs got  
up aroud $100k/year (including both staff and public printing), some units  
got pretty serious about encouraging downloads to floppy for any and all  
computer-based services.  I thought (and think) we could have done more,  
but at least at my unit, we sold floppies at the circ desk, allowed and  
showed users how to save to a temp file on the hard drive and then ftp  
search results elsewhere, and where applications supported it included the  
option to e-mail search results.

I know different libraries have different priorities and user populations,  
which may dictate how strongly they move toward paperless save methods,  
but I hope they don't avoid those methods based on over-paranoid fears of  

Thomas Dowling

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