Tonight, beginning at 5:00pm cst, we will be replacing components for our primary internet connection. This means no data communication with the outside world; no email, no web browsing, all public facing services including the ALA website, etc. Internal file shares will be available.
We expect a maximum two-hour outage.
1. TrackIt! Requests (Sherri)
Reminder – Please provide us with as much information as possible (assume we know nothing – where something lives, URLs, etc.)
Please provide us with a due date, planned well in advance, for email blasts
Reminder – we can’t guarantee a response time given our staff capacity right now, but we’re doing our best to respond to every ticket
Questions about attaching files to a Track-It request – this should work (some people noted they’ve used it successfully); Might have to use IE to attach a file? Will check.
Question about how to get member lists from iMIS more quickly – ITTS is working on a way to allow units to do this themselves; to learn to do this yourself, put in a Track-It request for the access so that ITTS can create the queries for you; training can be done in 15 minutes
Request for a report to track division memberships for a specific iMIS group code; ITTS will try to work on this
2. New ITTS Project Request Form (Louise)
This form will have to be filled out in order for ITTS to consider committing resources to your project
Use it when you’re planning projects, not for individual tasks (those go in Track-It)
The form is still under development, but the link is in the left-hand navigation under “ALA Staff Resources” on the Support site (http://ala.org/support) and requires a staff login to view it. Please don’t use the form until we send an all-staff announcement that it’s ready.
Did a walkthrough of the form
ITTS’ queue is currently around 38 projects, 20 of which are rated as “priority 1″ so it’s very important to fill out all of the information in this form to get in the queue. This is in addition to all of the help requests in Track-It, so we won’t be able to help with your project at all if you don’t go through this process.
3. Demo of the New Staff Change Form (Louise)
This is the first item under “ALA Staff Resources” on the Support site (http://ala.org/support) in the left-hand navigation.
Note that it requires a staff login to access the form.
Use this form for all personnel changes – arrivals, departures, name changes, status changes, etc.
Please try to give two weeks notice, especially for Staff Support Services so that there’s enough time to get everything set up. This is very important for new hires.
Did a walkthrough of the form
We’ll try to add Outlook group lists to the form (eg, all-staff, unit managers, etc.)
4. Twitter Feeds on the ALA website (Sherri)
Twitter changed its API several months ago, which broke our implementation displaying tweets on ala.org
We’ve implemented the new Drupal module but it’s not a real-time feed, so we’re working on a way to schedule updates; until this is resolved, you might not want to add Twitter feeds back to your sites
We’re investigating options and will report back.
Question about ACRL’s implementation on its home page and how it’s working – we’ll investigate.
5. Postini Spam Filtering (Sherri)
Google owns Postini and they’re working on a new interface for spam filtering;
Changes will take effect sometime between now and December 31st
There will be a new “message center” and “quarantine summary” that uses Google Apps
No set date yet, so we’re waiting to hear from Google
All ALA email is routed through Postini first and then they go to OWA/Outlook
This will represent a routing change for us, so there may be an interruption when we do the switchover
All the Sympa lists hit Postini first, so they’ll be affected, too.
6. Informz Training (Pam)
We’re working on training classes to show how to build an Informz email and send it out based on iMIS queries
The first training session will be on October 15th
Advantage: emails sent through Informz using iMIS-based lists are always current
You can use it to send thousands of emails at once
We bought a large block of emails – when you log in, you can see how many emails are left on our account
Using Informz queries respects member communication preferences, which is an important issue
Once Irene creates a view for an Informz list, you never have to go back to her for that query – you can then run it yourself, so good for repeat queries
Submit a Track-It request for a new query
7. Drupal Changes to Slideshow Feature (Louise)
We’re trying to implement fewer microsites but provide more flexibility with slideshows so we’re removing the limitation of one slideshow per site
By the end of the year, we’ll transition to a new setup that will allow for multiple slideshows and tabs on one site; you’ll no longer need a new microsite just to have these options.
The new system will use new content types, so the previous ones will be deprecated.
Let Louise know if you want to volunteer to implement the new system first
8. Solr Search Engine Implementation (Louise, Sherri)
The Solr search software is installed and is almost ready to go
Allows for faceted searching (like Amazon’s seach results pages with options for filtering results in the left-hand column)
Still crucial that authors enter metadata or those pieces still won’t work
9. ALA Connect (Jenny)
10. Ecommerce Project Update (Sherri)
A revised RFP was sent out last month and we’re starting to receive responses back from vendors
Proposals are due by October 16th
We hope to have the new system in place by FY15
11. Next Meeting will be in early December – we’re moving to a quarterly schedule
Question: Timeframe for Windows 7 implementation? Staff need to be able to test most current versions of browsers, but IE9 and IE10 won’t install on Windows XP.
Sherri: It’s one of the 20 “priority 1″ items in the queue and will start soon because Windows XP support expires in April; we have to get a working image and test all of our software on it before we can begin rolling it out
Contact ITTS if you need to occasionally use a Windows 7 computer/laptop for testing purposes
We’re not planning to go to Windows 8 at this point
All of our computers and laptops are Windows 7-ready because we anticipated this migration.
As you may recall, ALA released an ecommerce RFP in 2012. However, our vendor selection process was delayed while we worked with stakeholders to develop simpler approaches to membership that would reduce the number of special pricing rules required to implement the new system. These changes should result in a lower-cost implementation for ALA. We have sign-off for these rule changes taking effect for fiscal 2015, which begins on September 1, 2014, and intend to have the new system in place for that deadline.
We have updated the RFP with the new information, and have sent it to the short list of those vendors we had previously determined were our semifinalists. We will keep you informed as the process of selecting a finalist continues.
Director, Information Technology & Telecommunication Services
American Library Association
50 East Huron
Chicago, IL. 60611
On Monday morning, one of our four redundant power supplies caught on fire in our blade chassis, causing permanent damage to the power supply and part of the chassis. We caught the problem in less than an hour but getting a new power supply and a new chassis component took some time. The new power supply arrived in a few hours but the chassis component didn’t arrive until 8:45pm. As a result, many of our systems couldn’t be accessed from 11:30am to 9:40pm Monday night.
The blade chassis contains the CPUs that access our data. All of our data is stored on an area away from the chassis, and all data is backed up to disk and to tape. All parts were covered under our maintenance contract and should have arrived in four hours. However, because entire chassis failures are so unusual, one had to be driven to us from South Bend, Indiana, which is what took the bulk of the time.
The ALA website, the iMIS Membership system, the financial system, blogs server, wikis server, our internal Knowledge Management System, the ITTS help desk tracking system, and some shared drive access were all down during this time.
We’ve been told that this type of incident is very rare. The redundant power supplies should have sufficed – the additional component that was damaged is not normally subject to failure. The only way to protect against this type of failure would be to acquire an entire additional chassis with redundant network connections, at significant additional expense. This isn’t a feasible option for ALA, but we’ll continue our efforts to reduce single points of failure across our network.
1. Drupal Modules (Rob)
Rob explained how decisions are made about which Drupal modules we can add to the ala.org installation and why
ITTS evaluates each module request, with the first criterion being its development status;
“alpha” modules are never installed because they’re too unstable and there’s no guarantee the developer will fix any problems
modules in “beta” testing are considered, but we’ll still take into consideration other factors, such as whether the developer is actively working on the module, if it’s dependent on other modules being installed first, etc.
“release candidate” status on a module still equals “beta”
even when accepted for testing, modules can still fail when implemented on the development site because the module just doesn’t work properly in our environment or with other installed modules
a list of existing modules in the ala.org installation is available at http://www.ala.org/support/res/modules
we’ll also add a list of rejected modules to the Support site
2. Connect Migration to Drupal 7 (Jenny)
the upgrade is scheduled to begin at 6:00 pm CST on Wednesday, March 6th
Connect will be offline for approximately an hour if all goes well
watch the Connect Twitter account for updates – http://twitter.com/alaconnect
users shouldn’t notice any major changes when the new version is up – the interface will be the same, with only minor changes made to chats (see January 2013 meeting notes)
once we’re in Drupal 7 and the dust has settled, we’ll begin working on better email notifications
watch for an online poll to provide feedback about how you think the notifications should look and what should be in them and where
we’re also planning a larger survey about Connect later this year to get broader feedback about how to improve the site
3. Merging Connect and ala.org Profiles (Jenny)
ITTS continues to work on the plan to merge Connect and ala.org profiles into a single profile that will result in a new, standalone membership directory; all of the data will be unified and will live in iMIS as our central source
we’ll be implementing Apache Solr as the search engine for profiles (members, non-members, and staff), which will allow us to offer faceted searching
this also means that Connect profile interests will be available to units via iMIS for use with Informz
4. Status of the New Hire Form (Louise)
the form is not yet ready but is getting closer to going live
Louise discussed various features and showed the “Changes and Departures” side of the form (building on what was shown at the January 2013 ITTS Update meeting)
when live, the form will be behind a staff login on the Support site
ITTS will seek feedback from Unit Managers before the form goes live
all other related, existing forms will be deactivated when this new one goes live
5. New Event Management System (Sherri)
the group working on selecting a new system has narrowed the choices to two vendors
we hope to sign a contract in March and begin work as soon as possible since the new service has to be ready for testing in August
1. Blog & Wiki Migrations (Rob)
The blog and wiki migration from Dreamhost to ALA servers has been put on the backburner due to other projects right now
We did a test moving the ITTS News blog, which was successful
We’ll work on this project after Midwinter
We have more than 80 blogs and more than 70 wikis, so this will be a long process because each site needs a little work in order to get it ready for migration
Rob will work with units individually because all of a unit’s sites on a single domain must be moved at once
wikis.ala.org will be the last site moved because it has 50 wikis on it
Moodle will remain hosted externally because we need additional support for it; we’re investigating specialty Moodle hosting services now
2. ALA Connect (Jenny)
Drupal 7 Upgrade
We’ve postponed the upgrade until the week of February 11th so that we can ensure proper testing and not run into any problems right before Midwinter
The change should be pretty seamless to users – the interface is the same, the functionality is the same, etc., so no major documentation or training should be necessary
Two things will be different, though:
Chats will work a little differently because that module was re-written by the author
Individual chats will now work like every other content type, so you’ll be able to create an individual chat from the “Add” button
You’ll also be able to categorize your chats using your group’s existing subject headings and chat transcripts will be searchable
Also, chats will appear on the group home page, so chats occurring now should be easier to find because they’ll appear as the new content at the top of the page
Email notifications will also change in Drupal 7 and hopefully will get easier to read
Because we’re using our own Drupal module now, we can format the notifications however we want (especially for digest versions)
In the weeks after the Drupal 7 launch, we’ll work on reformatting these emails
We want feedback about what users would like to see change with notifications, so we’ll do a survey of both members and staff to ask for suggestions
Connect-iMIS sync issue
Members and staff have reported enough problems with Connect rosters that we know there is some kind of an issue with the synchronization between iMIS and Connect
Since nothing has changed on either side recently and the problems appear to be random, it’s been very difficult to troubleshoot the problem
In February, we plan to pull together a group to work on resolving the issue
In the meantime, we’ve put every active committee member in the overnight sync in order to re-synchronize the rosters going into Midwinter
We also turned on email notifications from committees for every committee member as part of the re-synchronization
We believe that this will solve the problem short-term until we can implement a long-term fix, but it’s important for all staff liaisons to check their rosters to make sure they’re updated
Please report any problems to Jenny via Track-It so that we can continue logging issues and find the pattern
3. Reminder to access remote resources prior to leaving for Midwinter conference (Louise and Pam)
A reminder that the document for accessing remote resources can be found on http://.ala.org/support
ITTS has moved the old support wiki into ala.org now that the ALA website is in Drupal 7
Pam has been working on updating the content and adding new information
The one thing to note is that there are pages that only staff can view; if you have a member account, you won’t be able to see the staff-only page
The “staff resources” area includes the “remote resources” page that can be very useful if you’re going to Midwinter
Note that you can’t test your NetStorage access to the LAN from inside the building – it only works externally
4. Review of New Hire Web Form (Louise)
We’ve moved the “New Hire” form to th3 “staff resources” section on the Support site (http://ala.org/support)
The great thing about this new form is that portions of it can be sent to whichever unit needs that information
Use this form for:
The form walks you through the various options for each type of request
Note that it isn’t quite ready to go live yet but will be soon
Question: When will the Outlook Address Book be cleaned up?
Answer: Not sure who has access to maintain that and authority to change it. We need a way to kludge together the Outlook Address Book, the KM staff directory, and the ala.org Contact Us list. Mary G. will look into who is responsible for what to sort this out because at least one of them needs to be reliably updated. Discussion about ways to do this, and we’ll try to work on this after Midwinter.
Given the small number of items to be covered at today’s in-person ITTS News Update, it has been cancelled. The items that we were going to cover are listed below.
Password Privacy Implementation
As stated in ALA’s computer policy, we will begin expiring network passwords every 90 days, requiring unique passwords, and setting the length to be at least eight characters long.
ITTS Employee Change Notice
The hiring manager check list now requires a three day advanced notice for all new hires who need to be set up in our systems. This give us time to allow for propagation throughout our systems.
Update on Ecommerce Proposals
Sherri and Louise have read and evaluated 21 ecommerce proposals. We have three proposals in the top tier and two in a second tier. We’re now obtaining input from other ITTS staff.
Blog & Wiki Server Upgrade
We now have 80 blogs and 72 wikis. We plan to migrate them to a new dedicated server as soon as possible. A message to all staff about the upgrade is forthcoming.
1. Membership & Connect profile management system (Sherri)
ITTS is merging the ala.org and Connect profiles into one for future viewing and management
we’ve found a software package to handle the merged profiles and we hope to have the legal documents signed by the end of this week
2. Ecommerce proposals (Sherri)
we’ve received 22 proposals; Sherri and Louise are making a first-pass through them to narrow down the field
3. Adobe Connect demo (Louise)
All-staff emails were sent to note how to get your password
you were added as a user in Adobe Connect if you were on HR’s list as a staff member
this means you can easily be given access and added to meetings
enter your email address into the site in the “forgot your password” field to set a password
we have 15 rooms, but 12 of them are licenses bought by units for their own exclusive use
3 licenses are for anyone in ALA to set up, run registration, and hold meetings/webinars
there are 3 Outlook calendars managing these steps to book your events in Adobe Connect
you’re basically booking a license; ITTS monitors the calendars and moves you into the “meeting host” group when you need meeting host access
meetings are created according to user license so that has to be enabled to create or host a meeting
booking the license in the Outlook calendar does NOT create it in Adobe Connect; all it does is tell ITTS that you need a license for that date and time
you can use any of the calendars to create or host your meeting; just can’t have more than three licenses in use at once
remember that ITTS has to manually transfer licenses between people in your unit, so please include deadlines in your Track-It requests so that we know when to transfer a license back to you or someone else
if you’re booking an event, you probably only need a license for half-an-hour
if you finish early, you can let ITTS know so that we can release that license to others
ITTS moved past iLinc content into units’ “shared content” folders in Adobe Connect
each archived event has a URL you can give out for public viewing; the default on all of the past content is public
we only have until September 30th for the iLinc content to be migrated to Adobe so check if you still need anything moved in enough time that we can migrate it for you
after September 30th, we can’t access that content anymore so this is very important
“event management” section lets you handle registration; you can upload images to create a pretty template
Adobe Connect has many short tutorial videos at http://adobe.com/support/connect/gettingstarted
there is a staff group in for Adobe Connect users in ALA Connect; if you’re not a member of it and you think you should be, find the group and ask to be a member of the group or email Louise
these licenses are for approximately 100-user or less meetings; 100 registrants doesn’t cost us any additional money, but 101+ does
note that half the people who register usually show up for the meeting, so adjust your expectations accordingly
you can’t limit the number of registrants and the number of attendees separately – it’s one number/setting for both
you won’t get charge if more than 100 people register, but we do get charged if more than 100 attend
ITTS isn’t setting any audio conference phone numbers by default so assuming you’re using VoIP instead
there’s no default conference call line, although you can add your own
should we change the default registration message to note users needs to be set up for VoIP?
4. 503 errors on ala.org (Rob)
we believe we’ve finally tracked down the problem and resolved it after testing with AASL and PLA
as of Monday morning (9/17), it should be fixed, so please submit a Track-It ticket if you still encounter this problem
5. Midwinter website (Jenny)
the Midwinter website will go live on October 1 at alamidwinter.org and for the first time, the Scheduler will be at the same URL so we can point users to one place now
the Scheduler will go live in November
6. Track-It (Sherri)
reminder: we get a lot of email, so please be sure to submit your help requests in Track-It so that they don’t get lost
Drupal features you may not know about (Louise)
Louise showed how to:
Louise also discussed “microsites,” which are subsites that use a different template from the standard ala.org one
any unit can request a microsite, but please allow a minimum of two weeks notice so that ITTS has time to implement it before your deadline for it to be live
for a microsite, you’ll need to provide a banner, color scheme, and links; colors can be different from the ala.org template, but not font size
Virtual Meeting Software (Sherri)
Louise is configuring Adobe Connect
please make sure your staff list is current for your unit in the KM system because Louise is creating “groups” now
because of the way the Adobe Connect licensing works, we need to assign one person in each unit to be the main point of contact for using the software
Adobe is trying to convert our iLinc archives
all ALA staff are Adobe Connect users by default
we recommend you put your webinar materials in your unit’s shared folder so that anyone can get to it
Blogs & wikis (Sherri)
ITTS has found software to maintain our blogs and wikis in-house, so we’ll be migrating from DreamHost sometime in the near future
we’ll give plenty of notice and set up a schedule when we have more information
Rollout of network disk space (Sherri)
ITTS is moving files to a new storage location in order to add more storage space
this should stop the network full messages, but please take a few minutes to clean out any files you no longer need
Sherri noted that we have several RFPs running right now
ALA Connect (Jenny)
Jenny will hold additional sessions on the redesign in a few weeks
I am rolling out an upgrade to WordPress 3.4.2. This contains some bug fixes and security fixes.
Everyone should take this opportunity to log into their blogs and check for pending updates to themes and plugins.