WiFi @ Archives I and II

Good news for DC-area NARA users- as of today, wireless internet is available to registered researchers at A1 and A2! This means that researchers with laptops and other WiFi-enabled devices will be able to access the online catalog, Ancestry.com, Footnote.com and other great sites via the free wireless connection in public areas of the Archives during research room operating hours.

For account setup and password resets, visit the Customer Service Centers at either building or contact the Customer Service Team at inquire@nara.gov.

9 thoughts on “WiFi @ Archives I and II

  1. Thanks to those of you who have already begun using the service and letting us know what you think via email and Twitter. We’ve heard your concerns about blocked websites and FTP as well as the limit of only one WiFi device per user. To answer some of your questions, we spoke to the Information Technology office about a number of issues:

    -Blocked sites: If sites are accessible via the existing NARA network, they should generally be available on WiFi as well. If you find that this isn’t the case, please let us know exactly which sites you’re having problems with. For example, we’ve heard that NARA’s Our Archives Wiki is currently unavailable, and have been told that the IT dept. is looking into the problem.

    -Access limited to one WiFi device at a time: This is an intentional security protection which helps ensure that only the registered user is accessing the account, since allowing simultaneous log-ons means that account information could potentially be shared among multiple users who would then be unaccountable.

    -FTP, iTunes, and iTunes App Store blocked: These sites are blocked on NARANet as well as on the wireless network, since the files available for download have the potential to be large and resource intensive.

    We hope you’ll keep using the network and sending in your feedback. Let us know if you have questions, and we’ll try to find the answers!

  2. I fully understand and support the device limitations and blocked sites – and I LOVE the ability to access the catalog and other in-house sites within the confines of the NARAnet you have. I will gladly say… if you want iTunes, go to the Starbucks up the street – if you want history, you’ve come to the right place – NARA! Cheers.

  3. This is great news. It’s hard to do research without easy access to the internet. And, – the rest of the users appreciate your following protocols that help share the network more evenly and safely!

  4. The filtering doesn’t make any sense. All my domains including webmail and server are on one box. Whay does it block access to my mail server today when it didn’t yesterday and why would it block different domains all being served from one machine?

  5. From what I’ve heard, this new Wi-Fi capability is limited unnecessarily by NARA.

    I would anticipate that NARA exhibit understanding of main-stream technologies and employ them whenever possible as standard services for patrons.

    A reported 60-minutes limit on Internet access policy, sounds like NARA appears concerned about the cost of providing bandwidth to many users throughout the day. Unfortunately this will be interpreted as being miserly. Libraries limit access to computer workstations to allow other patrons access. But in this case, patrons are bringing their own laptops to the equation. There is essentially no risk to NARA computers if normal security measures are in place.

    Blocking reasonable websites (including one of NARA’s own domains) is counter-productive, and demonstrates a lack of Internet savvy on the part of NARA.

    Not permitting access to email servers is short-sighted. NARA apparently isn’t anticipating users will prefer to use newer technology to send files and catalog entries to themselves as a faster alternative to using older flash drive technology and writing out info for a source citation when a specific document is deemed necessary to the research process.

    NARA IT folks might consult with FamilySearch IT folks on what security measures they’ve chosen. FS has similar patrons, but FS handles more volume in a day than a typical NARA branch.

  6. Pat,

    Thanks for your comments. We hear you!

    We are working with the IT staff to address the concerns that you and others have raised, including the unblocking of certain categories of websites such as email. We will post another update soon.

    – Jill
    NARA Social Media Team

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