In designing CyberSetting specifically for libraries and schools, we had CIPA foremost in our design guidelines. We understand that in the majority of cases, it is the decision to meet CIPA guidelines or similar state legislation to preserve critical funding that is driving libraries to implement a filter.
Thereby we have tuned the CyberSetting filter in accordance with CIPA’s technology protection measure guidelines. Our filter default profile setting is specifically configured to address minimum CIPA filtering requirements of internet content that is “…obscene , child pornography, or… harmful to minors".
Also, we have designed it for ease and immediacy of disabling of the filter upon adult patron request, again according to CIPA requirements. We recognize libraries’ opposition to filter technology. As such, we developed CyberSetting primarily as a tool to preserve funding, while otherwise being as un-intrusive as possible to the library mission of providing to the public equal and open access to information.
Additionally, recognizing that some libraries also face pressure for filtering of Internet content from local sources other than CIPA or state legislation, we have added the ability to customize the filter profile to meet other interests as well.
EZ Install and Setup - Plug & Play Appliance
CyberSetting is a plug & play appliance that very simply installs on your library’s network, is ready to filter internet content in minutes, and requires minimal technical support at the library. Our turnkey system is comprised of a Dell server, the CyberSetting software, and the filter update service subscription.
With some basic network information gathered to pre-configure the system prior to shipping, it arrives at the library ready for quick installation onto your network, which takes minutes. We help you set-up the initial filter profile desired and show you how to easily administer optional customizations, and the filter is installed and ready.
There are no special requirements of libraries’ systems or network. CyberSetting is a self-contained appliance. It runs on a Linux-based Dell server that is provided as part of the system. It does not matter what Windows version or other operating systems are running elsewhere within the library. It does not matter what the patron PC workstations are running. It does not matter what type of network, what Internet access software, or what Internet Service Provider is used.
No additional software is installed anywhere on existing library systems, including public access PCs.
Filter Disabling - Easily Administer Filter On/Off Setting
The filter is absolutely transparent to patrons most of the time...in fact all the time for most patrons. However, should a patron try to access a website which is considered objectionable by CIPA standards (or your customized standards), they will be notified on their PC screen that the webpage has been blocked by a filter. You will customize this notification to your preference, - possibly referencing CIPA, other local legislation, or perhaps community / library policy. It will give them the direction (according to your policies) as to how to obtain a passcode to gain unfiltered access. They (or staff) simply enter the passcode through PC keyboard and the filter is immediately disabled for a preset length of time (established by system administrator). Should that time elapse and that patron again needs the filter disabled, they can simply re-enter the passcode.
This allows minimal disruption to patrons, requires minimal staff time...and again, for the most part is transparent to most of your patrons.
A single workstation on a network will likely be disabled at that particular workstation with use of a pass-code, as described above. Groups of workstations or the entire network can be simply and quickly disabled through the CyberSetting system administrative screen. This can be accessed via a browser from any workstation on the network, with proper access authorization.
Designed for Library Environment - A Different Content Filter
Our commitment and presence within the library community is strong. InfoWorks Technology has been in the business of serving libraries with automation software for over a decade, with hundreds of library customers, including Library of Congress and OCLC. Additionally, we have a separate segment of the company that provides Internet online security/privacy protection solutions.We have thousands of Internet security customers, have been lauded for our products by media such as PC World, have enterprise license agreements with fortune 500 companies, and are recommended by tier one PC vendors’ technical support to their customer base.
With CyberSetting, we have combined these two core competencies, our two areas of technical expertise and market focus, to create a best-of-breed Internet content filter specifically designed for libraries. Our research determined that library-specific filter requirements were not being effectively addressed by existing filter products, developed for the very different commercial/corporate or home/consumer environments. Therefore, we began our library content filter development with a recognition and bias toward two core library values–"Equity of Access” and “Intellectual Freedom".
Our design objective was to as best possible protect these core values while still offering a tool to help libraries address Internet content protection legislation, such as CIPA and similar state initiatives and thereby provide a least-intrusive measure to protect related funding. Or if not legislation driven, then to assist libraries in addressing community sentiment favoring some such technology measure for shielding youth from objectionable Internet content and thereby providing a safer environment for seeking information and learning.
CyberSetting is designed to be as un-intrusive/transparent as possible to be accepted by libraries and support the equity of access and intellectual freedom foundation. Additionally, to further support this important concern, as is a requirement of CIPA, the filter is very easily and quickly disabled.
Furthermore, as a plug & play appliance solution, CyberSetting is very easily installed, requiring minimal technical support at the library, which is important for many smaller staffed libraries who do not have their own network / system support specialist.
Why CyberSetting is better suited for libraries than other available filter products?
Filters developed primarily to target the commercial/corporate market have no concern for “equity of access” and “intellectual freedom” values. Very much the opposite, they exist to provide to companies control over what information is available to their employees. It is a productivity issue. Possibly a network usage/bandwidth issue. Tracking the specific surfing habits of individual employees. Overblocking is not a concern – in fact the product is cost justified by how much it blocks – the more it blocks, the more the employee stays focused on his task, increasing productivity, improving the bottom line profit. But key library concerns such as CIPA, easy installation, filter disabling, easy administration by non-technical staff etc., were not given consideration as these products were designed. In addition to not most effectively addressing the primary concerns of libraries, they are often more costly and more complex than what is required for libraries.
Filters targeting the home/consumer market again do not consider “equity of access” and “intellectual freedom” either. Again, overblocking is not a primary concern. Here the biggest drawback is that these products are client-based, to be installed on individual PC workstations. If you have ten, fifty, or a hundred PCs at your library, this becomes a very impractical installation and administration approach.
Other filters are available with a focus on the library market. But the filter has been added as an afterthought, requiring other functionality to be purchased and installed to get the filter. This may suit some libraries that are in fact looking for the other functionality and prefer that it all is tightly integrated. But many libraries are not so concerned with managing their network bandwidth usage, and are not interested in the added cost and complexity of general PC/Printer management solutions. Even those who have these interests may prefer to have the flexibility to select a filter by itself, on its own merits, to run standalone.
At the recent ALA MidWinter Meeting in San Diego and PLA Conferenc in Seattle, CyberSetting stood alone as one of a kind. It was the only standalone filter solution represented. CyberSetting offer filtering functionality only. Designed for libraries. If filtering needs in libraries change, or if legislation changes, CyberSetting will change. That is our focus.
There are a number of areas within the filter that can be customized for the libraries preferences. An initial authorized administration screen login is provided to you with system shipment. This administrative screen is browser-based, and therefore can be accessed from any PC on the network, with the proper authorized administration login. It takes minutes to learn how to administer changes to the filter settings.
Filter Customization Options – Flexible for Individual Library and School Needs
While the primary focus of CyberSetting is to provide filtering according to CIPA mandate (obscene, child pornography, …harmful to minors...), we have added other filter categories (violence, gambling, audio-video, etc.) in response to those added interests and needs at some libraries and schools. The library or school can simply choose to include or exclude any of these additional categories within the filtering profile. This flexibility allows the filter to be implemented according to specific local needs, interests and policy. CyberSetting can also filter block by file type, by extension - which applies to all categories.
In addition to having the flexibility to set up different filter profiles based on your needs, the library or school can easily add specific Internet sites to either a blocked list (private) or non-blocked (trusted) list, which will supercede the CyberSetting default database. Also, an individual PC or group of PCs can be set up with a profile to restrict Internet access to only a list of specific Internet sites if this is desired.
Customized Blocked Message
The screen message that the patron would see to indicate that a website request has been blocked by the filter, is also customizable. The CyberSetting system administrator will be able to easily modify this “block page” to say whatever is appropriate for library or school policy. This can be done with authorized browser-based access to the administrator module. For example, you may choose to specifically reference CIPA mandate, reference the school or library’s own Internet Usage Policy, and provide specific instruction for getting password for unfiltered access.
Single System Support for Multiple Libraries
CyberSetting has been designed with the flexibility to support multi-library or multi-location networks with a single system.
Even while supporting such an environment, CyberSetting filter disabling can be done directly at any of the library locations, without any need for intervention at the CyberSetting system location. This provides the critical ease of disabling capability at each individual library, while leaving other system administrative tasks to the main library.
These capabilities result in an effective Internet content filtering solution that is more affordable and more manageable for multiple-library installations.
Keeping Filter Current - Automated Updating
Twice weekly, CyberSetting will automatically log into the InfoWorks Technology Company download server to obtain the filter updates. Our filter engine technology is continuously searching new webpages and creating an update list of URLs that meet the criteria for the different filter categories. This update file is downloaded to your CyberSetting system, without in any way impacting your filter profile setting and customizations. This process is transparent to you, with no action required from you.
The CyberSetting filter database list is created and continually updated by our web robot that searches the web continuously. For optimal filter effectiveness in creating and updating our block list, our web content search process uses Artificial Intelligence (AI) algorithms, analyzing keywords, cross-links, and graphic and page characteristics to derive a weighted result for each page or domain. Another program linked to this web search robot then categorizes the page or site, and based on a pre-set weight parameter determines if each web page is added to our filter database or not, ultimately generating CyberSetting’s pre-defined block list. Based on this base block list and optionally your additional customizable lists (block lists and trusted site lists), CyberSetting acts accordingly on each specific website access attempt on a filtered PC.