Internet filtering

opendns-cisco-lock-up.pngThe OPLIN Board has negotiated a contract with Umbrella by OpenDNS to set up a statewide Internet content filtering system that will be available to all public libraries. OPLIN is charged by the Ohio Legislature "...to help local libraries use filters to screen out obscene and illegal internet materials." For many years, OPLIN fulfilled this requirement by distributing individual grants to libraries, but the earmarked funds were never enough to provide assistance to more than about 40-50 library systems. Clearly, a "central" filtering system available to all libraries would be better.

After several unsuccessful tests over the years, OPLIN finally identified Umbrella as a filtering solution which can effectively provide content filtering for all Ohio public libraries, while still allowing each library to have complete control over how, or if, the filter is to be used in their library system.

How it works

OPLIN purchases licenses to Umbrella for all Ohio public libraries. This provides libraries with free usage of Umbrella's web filtering capabilities, which each library can easily manage and customize by using a relatively simple interface. Ohio public libraries of all sizes have been able to adapt Umbrella to their individual needs. Just contact http://support.oplin.org to request access to your Umbrella license.

Service objectives:

  • Incident Response: OPLIN staff will respond within one hour to malfunctions of the Internet filtering during regular business hours Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., excluding State of Ohio holidays. Contact us through the OPLIN Support site.
  • Incident Resolution: OPLIN staff will attempt to resolve every Internet filtering malfunction within 4 business hours of Incident Response.

More technical information:

Rather than filtering content using a proxy based or span port appliance, Umbrella is a filtered Domain Name Server (DNS) service. You set up an account and associate IP address blocks with said account, and then you can control what types of content you want your users to see much like a traditional content filter. For any request to access a website that falls outside what you deem appropriate, Umbrella returns the IP of one of their block servers, instead of the IP for the real web server. The block can be bypassed on a per session basis by inputing a ticket code you create in the web admin interface. This ticket creates a cookie in the user's browser, which the block server detects and proxies the user to the content. Unless a ticket code is in use, the user is never proxied, so there is no worry of interfering with IP authenticated resources. There are also quite a few other options for how you can specify which machines are held to which rules.

In addition, since Umbrella does not have to handle the actual traffic after the initial DNS request, you do not have to worry about bottlenecks like you would with an appliance. 

If you have questions about our free, statewide filtering, please contact http://support.oplin.org.

See our Steps for obtaining an OPLIN-paid Umbrella account document for more information.