Difference between revisions of "Manuals/Pre-Book/Administrator Guide"

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==Q: How can I get Pre-Book integrated with my authentication server?==
==Q: How can I get Pre-Book integrated with my authentication server?==
A: Currently, integration can only be done with the help of Userful staff. Contact information is provided in the [[Manuals/Pre-Book/Administrator_Guide#Support_Information|Support Information]] section of this manual.
A: Currently, integration can only be done with the help of Userful staff. As this is considered custom development, please [http://userful.com/company/contact-us contact Userful Sales to get a quote].
==Q: I cannot access Pre-Book's Web page from my browser. How do I fix it?==
==Q: I cannot access Pre-Book's Web page from my browser. How do I fix it?==

Revision as of 20:28, 29 February 2012

Copyright © 2005-2012 Userful Corporation. All rights reserved.
(Updated 2012.02.29)

Pre-Book Manuals

If you cannot find what you are looking for in this document, please also see:


Welcome to Pre-Book

Thank you for choosing Pre-Book, Userful's full-featured, open-source computer reservation system. Pre-Book integrates with Userful Desktop public access computing software, as well as Windows. With Pre-Book, patrons can book time on a station using the Internet, Intranet or by simply logging in at an available station. Whether it is in a library, school, internet cafe, or another venue that needs managed booking, Pre-Book is easy to install, learn and use.

Purpose of This Guide

This guide is targeted towards system administrators, who will install and configure the Pre-Book system. It details the operational aspects of Pre-Book functionality, not the technical aspects of Pre-Book architecture.

For instructions on the day-to-day use of Pre-Book by staff and other users, please see the Pre-Book User Guide.

Pre-Book Server Installation

Pre-Book Server is the server component of the Pre-Book system. The server houses the Pre-Book database, acts as the authentication server, and provides the public front end for Web-based PC bookings & reservations.

Minimum System Requirements

Ensure that your system meets the following criteria. It is possible to install Pre-Book on a machine that doesn't meet all of these requirements but it is not recommended.

The minimum system requirements are as follows.

  • 128 MB of RAM.
  • An 800 MHZ Intel X86 processor (or equivalent AMD processor).
  • 4 GB of available hard disk space.
  • A monitor with a minimum of 800x600 resolution (for installation)
  • CD-ROM or DVD drive, keyboard and mouse.
  • Ethernet card for Internet/LAN connectivity.

Installing Pre-Book Server

There are two main parts to Pre-Book Server installation: (1) installing the operating system, and (2) configuring your Pre-Book settings.

As of Pre-Book 4.0, the ISO comes pre-configured with default settings.

Follow these steps to install Pre-Book Server:

Operating System Installation

Figure: Install CD splash screen.
  • Ensure that the computer on which you will install Pre-Book Server is bootable from the CD or DVD drive. (This may require an adjustment in the computer's BIOS settings.)
  • Insert the Pre-Book Install CD in the drive and reboot the machine. After several moments a splash screen will appear:

NOTE: Installing Pre-Book Server will erase all the data from the computer's hard drive.

  • At this point type install and press the Enter key.

Figure: Installation begins.
  • Installation will proceed automatically.

Figure: Installation finished.
  • Once installation completes, you will be asked to remove the Pre-Book Install CD from the CD drive.
  • Verify that the ethernet cable is connected, then click Reboot.
  • The computer will now reboot.
  • Log in at the prompt. Please contact Userful Support for the credentials.

Warning: Please change the default root password as soon as you have finished installing.

Figure: IP address displayed by ifconfig.
  • The Pre-Book Server's IP address is obtained by typing ifconfig at the command prompt and then pressing Enter. Patrons will access the Pre-Book PC booking & reservation system at that IP address.
  • Ensure that the Pre-Book Server is accessible externally on ports 22 and 80. (Port 22 is for remote maintenance and port 80 is for the Web interface.)

Configuring Pre-Book

To configure Pre-Book, log in to the web interface as an administrator. Administrators have complete control over the Pre-Book system, including setting up and controlling access to their public computers, manage time limits for usage and view usage reports.

To begin configuring, follow the steps below.

Administrator Login

Figure: Pre-Book Web interface welcome page.
  • From any Web browser in your network enter the IP address of the Pre-Book Server.
  • On the Welcome Page as shown in the figure click Staff Login.

Figure: Logging into the administrator's account.

Administrator Menu

Figure: The Administrator Menu.
  • The Administrator Menu is located at the right of all Pre-Book administrator pages. It provides access to important administrative functions which are described below.
  • Click on Administrator Menu links to access each section.
  • Enter the details based on the description of Pre-Book administration pages given below. We recommend configuring these pages based on the order they appear in this manual.

Web Parameters

Web parameters are used by Pre-Book to configure the Web service that provides the Web-based user interface, and manages access modes and provides authentication services to Pre-Book clients. These parameters are pre-filled with defaults. If you already have an authentication server (for example, a SIP server or ILS server), we suggest that you contact Userful Support to integrate Pre-Book with your authentication server. Our experienced staff will be glad to help you out. After changing these parameters, you must press the OK button at the bottom of the page to save your changes.

Policy Settings

The Policy Settings page allows administrators to establish time settings for patron access on PCs managed by Pre-Book. After changing these parameters, you must press the OK button at the bottom of the page to save your changes.

Machines and Locations

Figure: The Machines and Locations page.

The Machines and Locations page allows the administrator to change locations (offices, branches, departments, etc.) and computer station parameters. Both machines and locations must be configured before the Pre-Book system can be used for reservations. You must click the Save Location button after making changes for it to take effect.

NOTE: Locations must be defined before machines can be added to it. All machines must be deleted from a location before deleting that location.

Figure: Machine settings page.

Machines are individual PCs managed by Pre-Book. Each machine must have at least one station. In the case of Pre-Book Microsoft Windows clients, each machine will be considered as one station. You must click the Save Machine button after making changes for them to take effect.

NOTE: For Userful Desktop systems, the System Name must match the Prebook Machine Name of the machine in Userful Manager. As well, the Begin numbering at must match the Begin numbering at in Userful Manager as well.

Holiday Hours

Figure: Configure Holiday Hours.

This section is used to remove time from ordinary operating hours. For example if your operating hours are usually 10:00 - 5:00 and on a holiday you would be open 10:00 - 3:00 you would set a holiday from 3:00 - 5:00 that day.

  • You can specify more than one holiday per day. If you want to open later and close earlier, just make 2 holidays those days.
  • If you want to extend your hours over a holiday, you will have to change your hours of operation in the Machine and Location page, then change them back when the change in service is over. If you are using Userful Desktops, you will also need to change the hours in Userful Manager.

Override Barcodes

Figure: Override barcodes.

Override barcodes allow users to enter into the system without registering or having a password. The barcodes do not have restrictions on the number of logins, and can be added by simply entering the barcode in the designated field and clicking on Add.

Note: Since these login credentials allow so much freedom, your staff should be careful not to allow patrons to see the barcode being entered. This will prevent abuse of override barcodes. However, if a barcode is being abused, you can always delete it and create a new one.

Search for a Patron

Figure: Barcode search screen.

Enter the barcode you want to search for and click OK.

Figure: Search results.

The search results page allows you to see a patron's login records and also displays station availability. This allows you to reserve a PC for them if needed.

Staff Members:

Figure: Adding a Staff Member

You can create logins for various staff members so they can administer basic Pre-Book functionality without the Administrator’s user name and password.

Computer Log-In Records

Figure: Log In Records

This page displays computer log-in attempts. You can display the records by date and location or a combination of both.

Windows Pre-Book Client Installation

For instructions on installing the Windows Pre-Book Client, please see the Windows Client Pre-Book Instructions

FAQs: Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Can Pre-Book 4.0 Run In A Virtual Machine?

A: As of Pre-Book 4.0, the server component can run in Xen, VMWare, and VirtualBox seamlessly. Just use the ISO to install!

Q: How do I change the root password?

A: Do the following:

  1. Login as root
  2. Use this command to change the root password:

Q: How can I setup a static IP address on Pre-Book Server?

A: Do the following:

  1. Login as root.
  2. Start the Network Configuration tool with this command:
  3. Use the tool to assign a static IP address.

Q: How can I get Pre-Book integrated with my authentication server?

A: Currently, integration can only be done with the help of Userful staff. As this is considered custom development, please contact Userful Sales to get a quote.

Q: I cannot access Pre-Book's Web page from my browser. How do I fix it?

A: Check to see if you have typed the right URL in your address bar. If you are sure it is correct, then follow the steps below.

  1. Figure: At the terminal prompt.
    Login to Pre-Book Server as root.
  2. At the terminal prompt, type the following and press Enter:
    svc -t /service/prebook
  3. Try reloading Pre-Book's Web page in your browser again; it should be accessible now.
  4. At the terminal prompt, type the following and press Enter:
  5. You will be logged out of root.

Q: How do I fix Pre-Book's time?

A: If you are having time problems, simply follow these steps:

  1. Check that the correct time zone is set in the Location page
    Login as an administrator and under Machines and Locations, and check that the location has the correct time zone.
  2. Figure: Time Zone Selection.
    Login to the Pre-Book Server as root.
  3. At the terminal prompt, type the following and press Enter:
  4. This should bring up the time configuration program with a timezone menu.
  5. Select your timezone from the list by using the arrow keys and then use the mouse pointer to click OK or use the Tab key until the OK button is highlighted and press Enter.
  6. Check in with an NTP time clock to ensure that the clock is correct. Type in the following and press Enter:
    ntpdate -u clock1.redhat.com ; hwclock --systohc
  7. Reboot the system
  8. Check the time by reloading the Pre-Book Web page in your browser.

Q: Why can't I install Pre-Book Server?

A: Before you follow the steps below, check to see if your hardware configuration meets the minimum system requirement specified in the "Pre-Book Server Installation" Chapter.

The problem may be that your hard drive still has residual data from previous operating systems or software installs. This residual data will need to be completely wiped clean and Pre-Book Server reinstalled.

  1. Figure: Install Screen.
    Insert the Pre-Book Install CD.
  2. Turn off the computer, wait 5 seconds, then turn it back on.
  3. Once you see the Install Screen, Press F2 to enter diagnostics mode.
  4. Figure: At the diagnostics command prompt.
    Diagnostics mode starts up, giving you a screen with several options.
  5. Type the following at the command prompt (where it says, "boot:") and press Enter:

  6. Figure: Boot and Nuke.
    Darik's Boot and Nuke program (dban) will start up. To start clearing residual data on the hard drive, type the following at the command prompt and press Enter:
    NOTE: This will erase all the data from the computer's hard drive.
  7. Figure: Percentage of hard drive wiped.
    The program will start its cleaning process.
  8. Wait for it to complete at least 10% of the first pass before you reboot the computer. Optionally you can wait for it to finish 100% in all three passes.
  9. Once the program is at least 10% complete, reboot your computer by using the power switch.
  10. Install Pre-Book Server from CD again.


Pre-Book is an Open Source product developed, maintained, and supported by Userful Corporation. Although there is no charge for the Open Source software, we do charge for support and optional integration with your authentication server. The following service packages are available for Pre-Book:


We can integrate Pre-Book with many authentication or directory services such as SIP, library management system, etc.

  • Custom integration: $1700 US

A 50% discount is available to current Userful customers who have previously purchased integration for Userful Desktop computers from Userful.

Support (Unlimited Incidents)

Annual support rates:

Pre-Book Server Windows Client

(per seat)

Userful Desktop Client

(per seat)

Price $1499 US per year $49 US per year

Standard volume discounts apply (for cost of client software):

  • 10-19 stations 8%
  • 20-39 stations 16%
  • 40-59 stations 20%
  • 60-99 stations 24%
  • 100-149 stations 28%
  • 150+ stations 30%
$29 US per year

(in addition to existing Userful Desktop pricing)

The following resources are available with the purchase of integration or support incidents:

  • Online Message Board: This service enables you to post technical questions to Userful's technical support staff. Archived postings, along with their resolutions, may be searched online as well.
  • Bug Tracking Database: This feature provides access to a database containing open bugs, including all available resolutions, and a historical record of closed bugs including the releases in which they were fixed. You may enter bugs and track their progress as they are investigated and resolved by our support and development teams.
  • Email: This service gives you direct one-to-one access to our support team via email. Support contracts have a one business day anticipated response window.
  • Telephone: This service provides you with a toll free telephone number for access to our support team during our regular business hours, which can be seen in Support Information

Pre-Book Quickstart Package Retail Value: $2,998 Special Offer: $1999

Package includes:

  • Installation and configuration support (Pre-Book Server and Windows Client) ($549)
  • Authentication integration ($1700)
  • 30 days start up support (up to 5 incidents during your first 30 days) ($650)
  • Pre-Book Media Pack ($99) (Server and Client installation media and printed documentation)

Note: Does not include hardware. Customer must provide their own Linux-compatible server

Custom Development

We will work with you to add custom features to Pre-Book products. All commissioned features will be available in subsequent releases of the product and will benefit everyone in the Open Source community.

  • Cost: $1,000 per day

Support Information

Userful Support Info