Lesson 2: Buying Computers for a Library is More Complicated than it Looks
When I need a computer, I pray to the budget gods, log onto a PC manufacturer’s website (e.g. Dell or HP) and configure a machine. It’s pretty easy and the computer arrives a week or two later.
So I didn’t anticipate going into this project how many things the average systems librarian has to think about when buying computers. The list below is only partial! But I think I’m hitting the major steps in the process.
- How many computers do you need and are there any requirements and constraints that will guide the purchasing process?
- Will you get new, used or leased computers?
- Who are you going to buy from?
- Who are you going to buy with?
- Do you want an extended warranty or a premium service plan?
- How will you get your applications and operating system (i.e. the disk image) onto the new computers?
- How do you deploy the new computers to the correct locations in a timely manner?
- When should you replace your computers?
- How do you handle computers you don’t need anymore?
I’m leaving out the whole process of repairing, updating and troubleshooting computers while they’re in service, which deserves its own discussion. Other than that, am I skipping any steps that you can think of?