21 May 15 Awards & Grants Website Back in Service

All display, browse, search and edit functions on ALA Awards & Grants are back in service after the recent outage. Those who maintain awards should have complete access.

04 May 15 ALA RFP for a SaaS Community Platform

The American Library Association seeks a vendor to host its professional collaboration and networking site, ALA Connect, which supports 2,600+ groups and 64,000+ users. Currently built in Drupal, ALA Connect allows users to post content to groups, join open groups, add members as friends, participate in a mentor matching service, and post a volunteer opportunity. In terms of collaboration, group tools currently include discussion forums, collaborative documents, files, polls, text-based chats, and calendars.

Responses are due by Tuesday, May 26, 2015, at 9:00am CDT, and contact information is available in the document.

2015 ALA Connect RFP – American Library Association (324KB, PDF)

27 Apr 15 Investigating a New ALA Connect

ALA has decided to move ALA Connect from its current Drupal environment to an externally-hosted community platform. We’ve fast-tracked this project in the hope we can launch the new version this fall.

Important things to know as we move forward:

  • We are committed to maintaining the Connect service and importing all current Connect content into the new system.
  • ADA-compliance will continue to be at the top of our list of requirements.
  • We will replicate as much of the current functionality as makes sense and is possible, with the addition of new features such as member matching (find members who match my interests), group matching (find groups that match my interests), digital badges for member profiles, and more community-based features.
  • Non-ALA members will still be able to participate on the site, albeit with less access than ALA members, just like in the current Connect.

As we write a RFP for the new system and select a vendor, we’re including feedback throughout the process from both ALA staff and the ALA Website Advisory Committee (WAC). We’ll be posting the RFP and updates about our progress, so keep an eye on the ITTS News blog and the ALAConnect Twitter account.

27 Apr 15 Sympa restored

The issue has been resolved and Sympa mail is now being delivered. There is a large back log that is being processed, so there will be a delay delivering messages until the system gets caught up. No messages were lost during this time.

27 Apr 15 Sympa Outage

It appears that the email upgrade has caused some issues with Sympa. All Sympa mail is currently being deferred. Nothing has been lost, but they are not being delivered. We have reported the issue and are working with the involved vendors to resolve the situation.

06 Apr 15 ALA Connect down on April 7 for Shibboleth integration

On Tuesday, April 7th, ALA Connect will be down as we begin the process to implement ALA’s Shibboleth single sign-on integration. Because we’re also migrating user data from Connect to iMIS (our Association Management Software that stores all of our member data), it’s a more complex process than just changing the login, which is why it will take 24 hours to complete all of the steps.

Note that this also means the 2015 Annual Conference website will also be down during this same timeframe.

What does this mean for me?

  • For members, the authentication process won’t really change. However, when you log in to, if you then go to Connect, you’ll automatically be logged in there, and vice versa. In fact, this single sign-on process already works across all of ALA’s Shibboleth sites, including conference registration and when accessing conference recordings. We’re excited to add Connect and the conference schedulers to that list to make logins work better for you across all of our services.
  • Starting on Thursday, April 9th, everyone will use their username and password to log in to Connect. It’s been confusing for non-members to use a separate login, but luckily now everyone will log in the same way. Non-members will be able to use their existing login on the conference schedulers, too.
  • For staff, it means they can manage non-member participation on official ALA groups using only iMIS rosters, which will be a big help for them since they have to rely on ITTS staff to do that now.
  • Long-term, this is also the first step to combining Connect and profiles into one so that you can update all of your information in one place. This will happen later this month when the dust from the Shibboleth implementation settles.

So what exactly is going to happen?

Starting around 11am CDT on Tuesday, April 7th, Connect will be down while we begin the work. It will take several hours for the large amount of user data to synchronize into iMIS and make sure everything is working properly. Once we have the all clear, Connect will come back up on Wednesday, April 8th, probably around noon Central Time. We’ll then begin implementing Shibboleth, which will go live on Thursday, April 9th.

Your best bet to track our progress and get updates is by checking the @ALAConnect Twitter account, but you can also leave a comment/question here or email me (Jenny) at jlevine [at]

We’re confident everything will go well, but we’re still accepting your well wishes and crossed fingers. See you in Shibboleth soon!

19 Mar 15 Drupal web updates

Last night, several security patches were released for Drupal and several modules. I will be working on getting these fixes applied today. The site may be slow at times or experience various performance issues throughout the day today.

19 Dec 14 Sympa slow down and delays

Sympa is once again having severe delays. It appears that the current delay is 2 hours, but I expect it to get worse as the day goes on and lists become more active. We are actively working to put a permanent solution in place.

21 Nov 14 Vulnerability in SSLv3

Secure connections to web servers have relied on the SSL and TLS protocol suites for years. The recently discovered POODLE attack has demonstrated that SSLv3 is insecure. The ALA team will have disabled SSLv3 on all of our web servers by the end of the day.  We do expect some customer impact from disabling SSLv3. Some older browsers do not support the newer TLS protocol suites or have SSLv3 enabled in their browser settings by their IT departments. Some older browsers trying to reach our websites will error out with a message saying

“This webpage is not available. The webpage might be temporarily down or may have moved permanently to a new web address. Error code: ERR_SSL_VERSION_OR_CIPHER_MISMATCH.“

To fix this problem, you may have to disable SSLv3 in your browser settings, enable TLS v1.0 in your browser settings, upgrade your browser to the latest version, or contact your IT department if they control your browser installation or settings.

20 Nov 14 Another Website Outage

To address industry wide security vulnerabilities, we will be temporarily disabling website logins starting at 4:00PM CST on Friday November 21st.  Functionality should be restored by 5:00pm.


Once this change has been made some older browsers will be unable to login to our websites.  Affected users must use a more modern browser.