Recommended Browsers, Plug-ins, Media
Players & Viewers
To properly view the Library's Web content, a browser and various Plug-ins,
Media Players and viewers are needed. This page lists the necessary components
for viewing most Web content and the minimum version for each component.
This list is for the Windows operating system; however, most of these
programs have Macintosh equivalents and some also have Linux and Unix
equivalents; however, there have been reports that Internet Explorer 5.0
for the Macintosh does not properly render pages, so you may wish to use
a different browser for the Library's web site. All downloads are free
except where noted, and all downloads are very large. This page is updated
periodically as requirements change.
While we try to maintain compatibility
with older browsers, this site can only be fully experienced using
a current, standards-compliant browser. In particular, we no longer
fully support Netscape 4. Individuals using Netscape 4 who wish to
retain a similar interface should consider moving to the Mozilla browser.
Also, some of the database providers' sites are not accessible with
older browsers. We recommend any of these three browsers.
Explorer (highly recommended) is the most compatible browser.
All sites are designed to work with it. Internet Explorer 6 is currently
the only version offered for download; however, if you have version
5.5, we do not recommend upgrading due to compatibility issues with
some software (e.g. some virus software).
- Mozilla / Firefox is highly
compatible and not as intrusive as Netscape 7 which is built around
the same underlying software. It has an optional built-in mail and
chat client. This browser offers the easiest upgrade path for users
of Netscape 4 since the interface of both the browser and mail client
is fast and highly compliant. It has a free, ad supported version
or can be purchased for $39. Versions prior to 7 have some compatibility
- No Netscape browser is recommended.
Plug-ins provide additional functionality
for the browser.
Acrobat Reader (highly recommended) is used by most databases
for full-text content. Versions 4 and above are generally compatible
with most sites.
- Macromedia Flash
& Shockwave are two of the most common formats for animated
content. Versions 4 and above are generally compatible with most sites.
- MEDIA PLAYERS
Although each of the following three
media players states that it will play most media types, compatibility
is not perfect and all three are still needed.
Player is necessary for streaming audio and video and RealPresenter
versions of PowerPoint presentations. Version 8, which is available
at the site linked here, is not the latest version of the Real software,
but is compatible with almost all sites and is not as intrusive as
the Real One Player.
Media Player is another format used for audio and video content.
Versions 6.4 and higher are compatible with most sites. A version
of Windows Media Player is generally included with the Windows operating
is another audio and video player which is widely used for movies.
Versions 5 and higher are generally compatible. Version 6 is required
for MPEG 4 content.
Documents are occasionally posted to
the Web in Microsoft Office format. These viewers allow you to open
Microsoft Office documents for viewing and printing but not
editing. They are useful for computers that do not have Microsoft
Office installed. NOTE: the first three links are direct downloads
for the viewers.
Viewer opens word processing documents created in Word format
(.doc), Rich Text Format (.rtf) and ASCII text.
Viewer opens spreadsheets created in Excel format only.
Viewer opens presentations created in PowerPoint format only.
Snapshot Viewer opens snapshots of Access databases (not the full
- SPELLING CHECK
- ieSpell is a free Internet
Explorer browser extension that spell checks text input boxes on a
- Google Toolbar contains
a spell check feature and it is useful for checking spelling errors
in database and library catalog searching.