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Column: Some stumped by password intricacies

| Wednesday, Jan. 14, 2015, 9:00 p.m.
Pam Richter is the technology and marketing librarian at the Baldwin Borough Public Library. Follow the library on Twitter @BBPL, on Facebook Like the Baldwin Borough Public Library and you can email Pam at

Let's face it — so much in today's society is completed online.

Whether it's filling out job applications or applying to college or social services — most organizations and companies direct users to their websites.

But sometimes the most confusing part is not finding where to go online, it is the dreaded question: What is your password? Additionally, you will be asked your user name, which is often an email address. It's one of the most common questions users have at the library.

Because a user name is commonly an email address, users understand that they should enter in their password for their email account. But this isn't necessarily the case.

Each individual site has its own user name and password. For instance, your password for Facebook can be a different password than what you use to sign into your email with.

Yes, you can make these passwords the same, but each site has its own requirement for how long your password has to be, and what needs to be included.

For example, if you have an Apple device (iPad, iPhone or a Mac computer), you have to have an Apple ID and password. This password requires one of your letters to be a capital letter, and others don't. To accommodate the site's requirements, you have to change your password.

Even just a few years ago, this used to be a lot less complicated. People typically had an email account and that was it. A lot of applications were still done through the mail or in person. Now every application seems to be online and for many of the apps you download, you need to create a separate password for it.

So let's try and put this simply. Your password for your email account may not be the password a specific site asks you for.

If you are overwhelmed about the different username and passwords you have, be sure to write them down in a safe, secure place and not let anyone else have access to them.

Pam Richter is the technology and marketing librarian at the Baldwin Borough Public Library. Follow the library on Twitter @BBPL, on Facebook, ‘like' the Baldwin Borough Public Library and email Pam at

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