Guideline UL-ITG01 Suggestions for Effective Use of Libraries Staff Workstations and the Network

Main Policy Content

  • Suggested Guidelines
  • Cross References


Lock your workstation or logoff when you leave for any length of time.  Someone could send an email message to anyone using your name/email account or make changes to your files.  

Follow University and Libraries policies and guidelines.

  1. When using the Internet for a personal reason, practice the same discretion that is expected with University telephones or paper mail services.
  2. Like your file cabinet, review & clean out your hard drive and network space on a regular basis.  Unnecessary or duplicate materials on your system's hard drive can really slow up processing.  Examples are: keeping multiple drafts of documents after they're finalized; downloads of the complete text of books; forgetting to clean out your Web cache; etc. And on the server side, saving things like the program files (not just the data) is simply wasting space.
  3. Guard your passwords, don't post them in visible places, and change them periodically.  You are personally responsible for the security of your account information.  ITS recommends changing passwords annually, or even more frequently for higher security.  See Access Accounts (was ITS Password Policy and Guidelines) for additional guidelines.  
  4. E-mail is a useful tool but has its own etiquette and expectations.  Internally, a good practice is to keep "personal" mail not related to the work of the Libraries to a minimum.

Avoid using email:

  • when you're annoyed with someone
  • in personnel related issues
  • to carry on any conversation or deliver information that would be better said in person since there is a strong likelihood for misunderstandings to occur
  • for political statements
  • for sending things like holiday greetings to a LISTSERV
  • for repetitious announcements of events
  1. Use the most specific University Libraries LISTSERV you can for the people you want to reach.  LISTSERVs like UL-ULIBS, UL-University-Park, and UL-CCL should be used only when you are certain you want a message to reach pretty much EVERYONE.  Complete list of LISTSERVs (staff site).
  2. Practice ergonomic principles in using your workstation.  See Penn State Ergonomics for information collected by Penn State's Ergonomic Health & Safety Office.  Another source of information is OSHA
  3. Keep your workstation area clean.  Screens readily pick up dust from the atmosphere.  The mouse & keyboard work best when cleaned regularly.
  4. Let Antivirus run its scheduled scans to protect your system from known viruses.  (You can change the default time if not convenient.)
  5. Personal downloads of nonsupported software in the Libraries have been known to require reimaging the entire desk system.  If staff members download software, plugins, or files, we assume they have the knowledge to deal with the results.  System problems can be avoided by not installing or using non-standard software / hardware.
  6. Much like long distance charges, some downloads and email activities are expensive for the University in terms of bandwidth, and can also inconvenience others.  One or more of the servers that support staff workstations have been brought down by injudicious downloading or attempting to send huge attachments (videos, very large text files, etc.) 
  7. See UL-IT01 Computer, Network, and E-Mail Account Authorization Process for Library Employees for instructions on getting accounts and authorizations for new employees and de-authorizing those who leave employment.


Other Policies in this manual should also be referenced, especially the following:

UL-IT01 – Computer, Network, and E-Mail Account Authorization Process for Library Employees

UL-IT02 – University Libraries Staff Information Technology Use Policies

UL-IT03 – Workstation Policy and Procedural Guidelines for Libraries' Employees

Also reference should be made to University Policy AD35 – University Archives and Records Management.

Effective Date: March 4, 2003
Date Approved: March 10, 2003 (Dean's Library Council)

Revision History (and effective dates):

  • June 2011 - Revised to incorporate the change from Global Mail Lists (GMLs) to LISTSERVs
  • November 12, 2007 - Revised; Reflects University's password policy
  • March 10, 2003 - New guideline

Last Review Date:  June 2011