20 Oct 14 Website login issues are resolved

Due to an issue with a function in the new IMIS upgrade, a small number of accounts have been unable to login to the website. We have resolved this issue, and all accounts should be able to login now. Users that were having problems may need to clear their browser cache and cookies. Anyone that is still having issues logging into the ALA website through Shibboleth, please enter a TrackIT ticket with a detailed report of the problem. Thank you.

17 Oct 14 ITTS Strategic Directions 2014-2017 Technology Report Update

The ITTS Strategic Technology Directions Report Update Fall 2014EBD#12.4 provides an update on major projects in the ITTS Strategic Directions 2014-2017 Directions Report sent to the ALA Executive Board in April 2014. The summary blog post and links to the full April 2014 ALA Executive Board report can be found on the ITTS blog at

14 Oct 14 iMIS 20 Membership System Upgrade Scheduled

The iMIS 20 membership system upgrade is scheduled for this weekend Friday, October 17th.  The iMIS database will be put in read-only mode beginning at 5:00pm CT, Friday October 17th .  A copy of the database will be upgraded and put in place over the weekend.

During the upgrade:

Our members and staff will be able to:

  • Log in to the website and update content in Drupal
  • Log in and make updates to ALA Connect
  • Register for Midwinter

Our members and staff will not be able to:

  • Save data to the iMIS membership system (e.g. update member contact information, join or renew their membership, register for a small event/webinar, make donations, reset passwords, volunteer for a committee, etc.)

The new iMIS 20 desktop will be made available to staff on Monday, October 20th . The new interface is very similar to the existing one and the web front end will look the same.  We will send an email to all staff when the upgrade is complete and full access is restored.  There will be a note on the homepage about this before and during the upgrade process.

Check the ALA Twitter account for the most current updates over the weekend.

We want to thank you for your patience.

Sherri Vanyek

Director, Information Technology & Telecommunication Services

07 Oct 14 Short downtime for ALA Connect on Oct 9, 7-8pm CDT

We’ll be doing some maintenance on the Connect server the evening of Thursday, October 9, 2014, from 7-8pm Central Time, which means the site will be unavailable during that time. We apologize for the inconvenience, but the work should go quickly. Watch Twitter for status updates.

02 Oct 14 Catching up on some ITTS projects

I’ve been out of the office for a couple of weeks, so I’m playing catch up on the projects I’m involved in, so I thought I’d share what I’ve learned about our progress. This is hardly a comprehensive list, but it’s great to be able to share positive progress.

Windows 7 Upgrade

It was a huge project, but we now have all staff workstations in the Chicago office upgraded from Windows XP to Windows 7, including updated printer drivers and the annual cycling in of new computers for some staff. I wasn’t involved in this, except that my workstation got upgraded and I’m a million times more productive now, so yay team. Although I saw the hiccups behind-the-scenes, I was impressed with how smoothly the transition went thanks to the extensive planning and testing that other ITTS staff and consultants did.

iMIS 20 Upgrade

This is another project that I’m not directly working on, but it affects my projects because iMIS is the system that manages all of our member, committee, dues, CE, and registration data. This is a big number upgrade with some behind-the-scenes changes to the setup, not just a patch. The whole project has been complicated greatly by ALA’s extensive customizations of the iMIS software, as well as the fact that our ecommerce system is 10-years old.

The team working on this has hit roadblock after roadblock trying to get the new iMIS software and web services to work with our old ecommerce system, and they’ve smashed every one of them. If all goes well, we’ll implement this upgrade later this month. Watch for more information about this because there may be some downtime associated with it since we’re talking about the system that’s at the heart of the Association’s infrastructure.

Shibboleth for ALA Connect and the Conference Schedulers

The completion of the iMIS upgrade is great news for Connect and the Conference Schedulers because it means we can move those sites to Shibboleth. This means single sign-on between these sites and You’ll finally be able to log in to any of these sites with your regular username and password and then be logged in to all of the other sites automatically (non-members, too). Huzzah! Our goal is for this to happen in early November before the 2015 Midwinter Scheduler opens.

ALA Connect Survey

This isn’t really a project update so much as a reminder to fill out the ALA Connect survey if you haven’t already done so. Besides the fact you could get an iPad Mini in return for your responses, your feedback will help us improve the site. We want to hear from everyone – members, non-members, frequent Connect users, infrequent Connect users, international folks, tall people, short people, basically everyone, which includes you.

Profile Management Project

The iMIS upgrade is the first domino in a series of projects that have been unable to move forward until it’s completed. The second domino is Shibboleth for Connect and the schedulers, and the third combines and Connect profiles into a single profile that can easily be managed from either site. Phase one combines all of the data into one profile and future phases will expand the amount and types of data we make visible to you in your profile, including expiration dates for member dues (finally!), lists of continuing education activities completed, past conference registrations, and more. Our goal is for you to implement phase one in November.

New Ecommerce System

And now we get to the biggest domino in the path, the ecommerce system that desperately needs to be replaced. With the iMIS upgrade almost done, we’re scheduling meetings with potential vendors for later this month. It will still be a months-long selection process while we involve all of the various stakeholders and go though contract negotiations, but if this project stays on track then we’re in good shape for a 2015 (calendar year) implementation.

So that’s a quick update on some of the things that happened while I was gone. I’m thinking I need to take more vacations. ;-)


18 Sep 14 New Internet Service Provider

We have completed our switchover to our new Internet Service Provider.


18 Sep 14 New Internet Service Provider – switchover is scheduled for tonight

As we have been preparing for the switch to our New Internet Service Provider we have discovered there will be some minor service interruptions.  


Again, our outbound IP address will change from to  Any outside services that are linked to our IP address, e.g. subscriptions, will need to be notified of the change.


There is a possibility that some outside web browsers will not receive a timely update to the new addresses, due to the variable time DNS needs to propagate to some ISPs.  Affected users will be unable to reach ALA until that provider updates their DNS. This will resolve naturally over time.


Please contact me if you have any questions or concerns.





Sherri Vanyek
Director, Information Technology & Telecommunication Services
American Library Association
50 East Huron
Chicago, IL. 60611

Phone: (800) 545-2433 x2437
Direct:  (312) 280-2437



15 Sep 14 migration

This week, we plan on finishing migrating the wikis off of Dreamhost by moving the remaining in house. There are 41 wikis that remain on This will only affect wikis hosted on

We will be able to do this with minimal outage. We will put the wikis into read only mode tomorrow morning. They will still be available, but they will not be editable. This will allow us to migrate them without losing any new changes that may be made. We anticipate the migration to take 2 days, Tuesday and Wednesday. At the end of the process, we will change the DNS which will take the new in house wikis live. At that time, the wikis will be editable.

Any delays in the DNS propagation will simply send users to the old read-only wikis. This will allow us to migrate them without the users noticing any downtime. The DNS propagation time varies. Traditionally, it has taken a few hours. However, under the worst circumstance, it can take up to 3 days.

Please contact me with any concerns.

08 Sep 14 Mediawiki Upgrade

Mediawiki installations are being upgraded to version 1.23.3 today. There should be no noticeable downtime as the upgrade rolls out. No interaction is required by users.

03 Sep 14 Help us improve ALA Connect!

Five years, one redesign, and dozens of new features after its launch in 2009, we’re doing our largest feedback survey to date to learn how ALA Connect is working for you and how we can make it even better.

We’re asking both ALA members and non-members to fill out the online survey, which will be open through Sunday, October 12, 2014. Everyone who completes it will be entered into a drawing for an iPad Mini.

We’re also seeking ALA members who will participate in a one-hour site review and feedback session with $75 compensation. The ALA members who wish to participate must be either new to ALA Connect or have visited the website, but have not previously engaged in group discussions or forums on the site. The valuable input gathered from the interview will help launch a redesign of the site that encourages collaboration among ALA members. Please contact if you’re interested in participating in this more granular feedback session.