The OPLIN Board has negotiated a contract with 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 has 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 OpenDNS 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. (See the screenshot attached to this page for an idea of some of the options which libraries can control.)
Beginning in January 2012, OPLIN will begin implementing this solution for many libraries, and will have the capacity to handle all public libraries by July 2012, at no cost to the library. Libraries whose current filtering solution will expire before June 30, 2012 will get first priority. No filtering grants will be available to individual libraries after June 2012; all funds earmarked by the legislature for filtering will instead be used to support the statewide filter.
If you have questions about our free, statewide filtering, please contact http://support.oplin.org.
More technical information:
Rather than filtering content using a proxy based or span port appliance, OpenDNS 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, OpenDNS 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 OpenDNS 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. Add to that the only thing you need to do to achieve redundancy is use the state's DNS server as your tertiary forwarder.
See our Steps for obtaining an OPLIN-paid OpenDNS Enterprise account document for more information.