Sunday, September 7, 2008

Laptop Security

Lifehacker has a set of useful tips about how users can secure their laptops from theft when they're out in public. Since the library is one place on campus where laptops are often left unattended, what can we as librarians do to help students hang on to one of their most valuable possessions?

First of all, I think we should promote laptop locks. (Both Lifehacker and one of the commenters endorse this Kensington lock.) If the library has an affiliated bookstore or coffee shop, why not sell the locks there?

Secondly, we should coordinate with campus security. Many campuses offer, for example, laptop engraving, so owners can put their initials or ID number on the computer. (Here's an example, of the services offered by the University of Missouri-Columbia police department.)

Finally, we need to do outreach and reminders on these options. Not just during orientation, when students are overwhelmed, but as ongoing concern. How about adding these reminders to the bottom of webpages and handouts that tell students how to set up proxy servers or VPNs? Those are guaranteed to reach new computer owners.

Libraries should be a source of all kinds of useful information - and we want to be associated with good memories, not "where stuff gets stolen." Let's just help make these precautions things routine and easy.

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Libri & Libertas: Books & Freedom in a Web 2.0 World by Laura H. Wimberley is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution - Noncommercial - Share Alike 3.0 United States License.