OPAC Stations — Windows(TM) kiosks no more!

In the process of helping one of my libraries come up with a (very) cheap kiosk solution, I ran across WebConverger. It’s nothing new, the real revelation to me was the relative ease with which WebConverger can be customised. It’s actually very easy to do. Much easier than I was anticipating, especially if you have a shred of linux command line experience.

We wanted a kiosk solution that went to our catalog web page by default on boot. WebConverger doesn’t (usually) allow you to specify a URL besides their default, but you certainly can customize the ISO to make it your own. Here’s what we did:

Using WebConverger 7.2, we did the following:

Downloaded the original WebConverger ISO

Don’t bother trying to do this on Windows or OSX. You’ll just end up mad.

On a linux box (preferably one you can install packages to, I used Debian Lenny):

  1. Make sure you have mkisofs (sudo apt-get install mkisofs) and syslinux (sudo apt-get install syslinux) installed
  2. mkdir /mnt/webc
  3. mount -o loop webc-7.2.iso /mnt/webc/
  4. rsync -av /mnt/webc /mnt/custom
  5. chmod +w /mnt/custom/webc/isolinux/live.cfg
  6. Now edit /mnt/custom/webc/isolinux/live.cfg and change the boot command line with your homepage URL.
  7. Now rebuild the ISO like so:
mkisofs -o /tmp/custom-webc.iso -b -r -J -l
-cache-inodes -allow-multidot -no-emul-boot
-boot-load-size 4 -boot-info-table \ -b isolinux/isolinux.bin -c isolinux/boot.cat /mnt/custom/webc

Burn the ISO to CD, and go at it.

All done! Wasn’t that easy?

About Liz Rea

Network Administrator for the Northeast Kansas Library System, the 87th patch committer to the Koha Open Source ILS, and an avid user of technology and the internet.

One Response to OPAC Stations — Windows(TM) kiosks no more!

  1. We are also using WebConverger for our library catalogue search, but using home-grown PXE boot setup, so we don’t even use disks (and machines don’t have optical drivers), and I can also highly recommend it for similar setups.