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Visitors: Computer Authentication FAQ for Guests

Guest Authentication FAQ for Computer Access

1. Why is authentication now required?

The MU Libraries’ essential mission is to serve the faculty, students and staff of the university in their teaching, learning and research obligations. We welcome alumni and guest users, but cannot extend to them all of the resources provided to us by the university. The computers in Ellis Library are paid for through a student computing fee, and therefore students should have priority on them. Moreover, the MU Libraries cannot provide enough computers to meet the demand of MU researchers. We believe by reducing guests’ time, everyone will have a better chance of finding an available computer. Also, the improved security that accompanies authentication lowers the risk of a major disruption in service to the campus data communication network.

2. Why are only 25% of the computers available for guests?

The OS X operating system for the iMac offered the best method to fit our authentication needs. It will not work with Windows. All UM System-affiliated patrons will be able to login to the computers with their email ID and password.

3. Why do you have a two-hour time limit?

We don’t have enough computers to meet the demand for them. We believe by limiting guests’ access to two hours, we will better meet the need for our computer resources. See FAQ #9 for information on other places in Columbia to access the internet.

4. Why do I have to show a photo ID and give an address?

We request either a government-issued or college/university photo ID to verify the guest account holder’s identity. We ask for an address so that if there would be a problem with the account (e.g. a computer hacker breaks into the university’s computer system), we would be able to contact you.

5. Why must a guest be 18 to qualify for guest computer access?

The MU Libraries exist primarily to serve the needs of the university community, and we do not filter our network or the internet. We will issue one account per person aged 18 or older.

6. Will Word, PowerPoint, and Excel be available?

No. The campus license does not cover walk-in usage.

7. What if I forget my account information?

Come to the Reference Desk with your photo ID to receive a new password. Your old password will be deleted.

8. When can an account be revoked?

Instances when an account can be revoked include but are not limited to anytime a guest violates the Ellis Library Visitor Guest Account for Computer Access Acceptable Use Agreement, Please read the following policies for more information:

Guests may also have their privileges revoked if they are disruptive to other patrons and library staff:

A disruptive patron is defined as anyone whose behavior is deemed harassing, threatening, or abusive (either spoken, written, physically or by touch) by the recipient. Disruptive patrons are generally, but not necessarily, speaking in a louder than normal tone and may be using threatening bodily motions (waving hands, pounding fists or books, etc.) or using inflammatory language (cursing, ethnic slurs, etc.) or exhibiting offensive behavior (racial or sexual in nature, exposing oneself, etc.). 

9. Where can I get open access to the Internet if not here?

The Columbia Public Library at Garth and Broadway provides Internet access to community users. Click here for a map. If you have a current library card, you automatically have a library account. If you don’t, you may stop by the Media Desk on the first floor to register for an account. The library also has a time limit on their computers. The public library also provides free wireless internet access. A number of downtown cafes also provide free wireless internet:

  • Uprise Bakery, 10 Hitt Street
  • Lakota Coffee Co., 24 South 9th Street
  • Coffee Zone, 11 N. 9th Street
  • Sake, 16 S. 10th Street
  • 9th Street Deli, 28 N. 9th Street
  • Subshop, 209 S. 8th Street
  • Flat Branch Pub and Brewing, 115 S 5th Street

10. Why can't guest users have the same privileges as faculty and students?

The MU Libraries essential mission is to serve the faculty, students and staff of the university in their teaching, learning and research obligations. We welcome guest users, but cannot extend to them all of the resources provided to us by the university from the tuition and state funds it receives to meet the curricular and research needs of the university community.

11. Where do I go to receive an account?

You may register for an account at the Reference Desk, First Floor South, in Ellis Library. View  our hours (scroll down to “Reference Desk”).