The iMIS 15 upgrade has been scheduled for February 15, 2011. The upgrade is needed because the version we currently have will not be supported in the future. We will also gain access to new web services that will be needed for the future. The new interface is a little different and Sheila will be developing training materials for the rollout. She will also hold training sessions on the new interface and features of the release.
The majority of the wikis and blogs have been migrated. Please notify Rob Berquist (firstname.lastname@example.org) if you have been contacted. We would like to finish this project as soon as possible.
Enhancing your ALA Staff Directory record with your photo and expertise was discussed at the last ITTS News meeting and now step-by-step instructions are ready and we encourage everyone to go through the process of enhancing their record. Instructions and videos are available on the ITTS Training Web site. These instructions are in the staff-only area of the Web site so you will need to login with the proper staff-only credentials. A link to the ITTS Training Web site and login information is included in the Staff Tools area of the homepage of the KMS. An all staff email will also be sent with information on how to access the instructions.
Adding photos and expertise to the Staff Directory is a Keith Michael Fiels initiative.
At the last News meeting, concerns were raised about storing home and phone numbers in one’s staff record. This information is no longer visable to anyone perusing your record. The only place this number will be used is when the Call Tree is transferred to the KMS and a supervisor would only see the numbers of those people they are responsible for calling in the event of an emergency.
If you find out of date information in the KMS Staff Directory, please submit a Track-IT! request reporting your findings so they can removed.
Sherri gave an update on where we are in the selection process for a new content management system for http://www.ala.org.
Jenny encouraged any unit that has opportunities such as scholarships, grants or internships to add them to ALA Connect’s Opportunity Exchange (OppEx). OppEx is a database where anyone can search for assistantships, awards, calls for proposals, volunteer opportunities, and more. Connect members can indicate within their individual profiles the opportunities that they seek and will get additional email notices when new opportunities are added to the OppEx. Anyone who is posting an opportunity needs to login to ALA Connect to access the form.
Jenny reminded everyone to have their iMIS Committee Rosters up-to-date with the correct term dates for all members. All committee members whose terms end on June 30, 2010 within an iMIS Commitee Roster will only have access to their Connect groups until midnight that night. Any incoming committee member whose term begins July 1, 2010 will not have access to the Connect group until July 1st at 12:01 AM
Jenny discussed where we are at with updating the Chat Module.
Jenny discussed the MemberFuse Pilot.
A Networking Uncommons area will be set up at Annual Conference as it was at Midwinter. This is a location where groups can meet informally and have access to resources such as projector, digital recorder, iPod with microphone, a webcam and a flip cam. If any group wants to gather in the Uncommons and have any of these resources available to them at a specific time, they can go to the ALA Annual Wiki at http://annual.ala.org/2010 and on the index page go to Connecting with Other Attendees>New at Annual: Networking Uncommons. On the Networking Uncommons page is a link to a Schedule. There is a page for Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday with reservation times slots from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm. Add a Presenter/Convenor Name, Topic and make sure to list what technology resources you would like to use in the Resource column.
WEB is adding taskforces to involve staff stakeholders in the following four areas:
If any staff member would like to be a part of any of above groups and help move the association forward in these areas please contact email@example.com.
The Social Media Working Group has already met to discuss strategies and created an ALA Connect Community. As part of this group, Jenny will be offering “Let’s Talk About Twitter” Lunch and Learns in the weeks before Annual.
All sessions will take place in the training room from 12:00-1:00 pm.
The sessions will highlight some Twitter basics, such as the difference between replies and direct messages, the use of hashtags, why you should use URL shorteners, and more. Our focus will be on how to use Twitter well during Annual, but the concepts will be applicable to your unit’s general use of this interactive channel. The official ALA hashtag for Annual is #ala10.
Annual Base Camp is currently planning showing a Twitter Feed on the www.ala.org home page to showcase the excitement of Annual Conference.
All units are encouraged to contact the Web Editorial Board for guidance with their web presence. Currently WEB is assisting the units with the creation of an eGovernment Tool Kit and possibly merging the Help Get a Job site with JobList.
Rob Berquist was introduced at the meeting. He has joined ITTS as our Internet Administrator and he will be responsible for the administration of Blogs, Wikis, Moodle, Sympa and other internet resources.
Please be sure to sign up for email updates from the ITTS News blog at http://itts.ala.org/news because it is one of our primary communication channels.
1. New Content Management System Selection Process (Louise)
The Web Editorial Board (WEB) has determined that our new content management system should allow for interactive options, such as widgets, sharing, posting, and so on. This will require a database-driven CMS that delivers dynamic content. We also want to offer flexible design options in a way that reinforces ALA branding and supports usability and accessibility. The timeline for the vendor decision has been set for June 1, with work to begin on September 1. WEB is creating sub-groups to assist with the discussions that will be required to prepare for the new site design and migration.
Staff members interested in serving should discuss it with their unit manager and have him or her notify the conveners of WEB (Karen Muller, Jenny Levine, Louise Gruenberg). We may also need a fourth group to look into digital asset management and archiving issues; there is a 2010 project request under consideration.
With five months between now and the earliest work can begin, units are encouraged to review and weed their collections, archiving material that is no longer current but that should be kept for reference.
We also briefly discussed the advantages of a rolling migration/conversion versus an all-at-once, seemingly overnight changeover.
2. Standard Maintenance Window for Servers (Sherri)
We need a standard maintenance window for our 50 servers. We plan to do maintenance on them every Wednesday from 5:00pm until 9:00pm. This means that we will have interruptions of service during this time depending on the applications running on the servers. We will post notifications. It won’t be every server every week. We plan to begin server maintenance on Wednesday, April 28th, 2010.
3. ALA Connect Pilot Project (Sherri for Jenny)
We have found another software package that contains features (like an expanded search, expanded profiles to collect more interests, advocacy tools, better file repository, and historical CVs) we don’t currently have in ALA Connect. We have decided to do a pilot project with NFi Studios to see if their package meets our needs. Jenny is planning to give a more detailed communication on this topic on the ITTS news blog.
4. Status of New Desktops, Laptops, Netbooks (Sherri)
We replace 1/3 of our equipment every year. We ordered new desktops to replace PCs that were leased three years ago. We are waiting to hear from unit managers regarding the number of laptops and netbooks to order. If a netbook is ordered, you must have a desktop to run applications that will not run on the netbook.
Why Lease? First, leasing forces us to change our technology infrastructure every three years. Second, laptops typically begin to fail in the third year, especially when they are used a lot. Third, the ongoing fattening of application software usually requires more powerful hardware over time.
5. Early May launch of the New Online Learning section of the ALA Website (Louise)
We showed everyone the staging version of Online Learning, the new section of the website that will debut on or about May 3, 2010.
6. The next ITTS News meeting will be on Tuesday, May 25 . See you then.
iMIS is the Association’s membership management system and database, and is central to functions such as renewal. From a member perspective, there have been a couple (2) of brief (several seconds each) outages during the last week due to heavy traffic. While the next two weeks should be relatively slow, the week prior to Midwinter will be an active one, so we wanted to alert members about the situation and planned upgrades.
We have been experiencing slowness with our iMIS Membership System over the past several weeks due to increased utilization.
In anticipation of this, we have been planning a major server upgrade, and will be upgrading hardware, operating system, and SQL versions to improve performance. While we have the server hardware ready to go, we do not have the full complement of staff and consultants required to make the transition until early January. Because when we make the transition to the new server, all the systems that touch the iMIS database will have to be tested to be sure everything is okay, we have decided to do the upgrade after the Midwinter meeting.
What does this mean to you?
If you are working in the iMIS system and experience slowness, please be patient, and try again later. If you are a member and experience slowness logging into the website, registering for an event, renewing your membership, or making a donation, please try again later.
There are a number of usability tests of the division websites scheduled at conference. Interested members should contact their division web content manager to volunteer.
Members are also needed to help with ALA Connect testing on Saturday for about an hour between 1:30 and 3:30 PM. Testers will receive gift certificates to the ALA Store. If you are interested is volunteering for a test, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org as soon as possible. Note that this is a new time, the previous test was set for Sunday.
1. Website Redesign/IA Rollout (Sherri and Karen)
the website is a work in progress
we’ve been focusing on stability issues with the ActiveMatter server (forms, ecommerce transactions, etc.)
- updated the Access databases to Microsoft SQL databases, restricted access to a small number of IP addresses to help address this issue
- this also let us restrict search engines from indexing old content
- got rid of tagged pages from the old ActiveMatter server
we’re in the process of upgrading to a new server with more disk space and a faster processor
- hope to have that done in the next week
working with Duo on tagged content displays, division news feeds, and RSS feeds on the home page
a few weeks ago, a few of us met with Michael Stephens, the current chair of the Web Advisory Committee and came up with two objectives for the site
- for current information (this requires a systematically consistent approach for tagging, etc.)
- a marketing tool
the Web Editorial Board will try to lead several initiatives in these areas
- encouraging staff with web responsibilities to add keeping the site current as a goal on their evaluations
- need some quality control to achieve this; will allow us to set goals (“get your shadow assets down 10% from where it is today,” etc.)
- revamping the Web Editorial Board into two separate teams
- “tag team” – will review the site structure, will consult with offices on restructuring content; create standards; review and finalize the web style guide; examining the website to determine to what extent it should be used as an archive; examining advantages and disadvantages of decentralized site management; tagging items for listing pages; checking for ALT text on images; proper page headlines; use of transcripts for audio and video files; procedural documentation; etc.
- “communications impact team” – encourage use of images, pods, etc.; consulting with units to develop individual areas of the site for maximum effect; optimizing pages; accessibility issues
the Web Editorial Board is going to expand and add more members
2. ALA Connect (Jenny)
just got back from vacation yesterday so hasn’t had a chance to check in with the development site to see recent changes made to the functionality
Urban Insight has successfully imported the active committees from iMIS and categorized them into “communities” (currently divisions), “committees,” and “events”
hope to have a demo to show on November 18, as we are hoping to alpha test in November and beta test in December for a roll out before Midwinter in January
3. Wiki Migration (Matt)
all wikis currently hosted at wikis.ala.org will be moved to Dreamhost domains because the wikis.ala.org server was never really intended to house these applications
Matt will be able to migrate 6-8 wikis each week without requiring the wiki owners to do anything
he’ll send out a message about this today or tomorrow
he’ll change nothing about your wiki, other than the beginnings of the URL (“wikis.ala.org/acrlwiki” will become something like “acrl.ala.org/acrlwiki” in the domain unless you specify otherwise) – basically, “wikis” just becomes your acronym
migrating the wikis to Dreamhost has some other benefits, including the addition of an audio captcha for spam control
all of this will happen over the next 4-5 weeks, and Matt will notify you when this is happening for your site
while your wiki is migrated, it will be down for 1-2 hours
everything in your current wiki will get migrated, including content, users, blocked users, images, files, etc.
4. Virtual Private Hosting (Matt)
if you already have blogs, wikis, or Moodle on Dreamhost, you may have noticed that it slows down from time-to-time
but earlier this month, we upgraded to “virtual private hosting” service, which means we’re now paying a monthly fee for reserved processor time and more importantly, memory
this means we’ll no longer be throttled back when other users overload the server, so speed and response time should improve dramatically and should be more consistent
we also have no maximum ceiling now, as our usage is burstable
if you do encounter problems, let Matt know right away because he has more options for troubleshooting now (such as rebooting our virtual server)
Moodle chat now works (insofar as Moodle chat works)
Matt also noted that when you use FTP on Dreamhost, make sure you’re using your domain name (eg, rusa.ala.org), rather than a server name
5. Meeting room resources in Outlook (Sherri)
coming soon – we’ll be implementing the ability to book meeting rooms in Outlook
just have to get this set up and will then send out a tech tip about it
As has often been noted, it is impossible to make a souffle without cracking some eggs. We are in the process of transforming 60,000 pages so that any of them that link through the left navigation end in index.xml, a method that allows users to get to them by typing in the name of the parent directory. Others have been detached from their navigation and grouped onto listing pages with like information, to make it more convenient for users to locate information by topic. (Yes, topical aggregation, a concept familiar to librarians everywhere.) The topical groupings also make it possible for us to review documents generated by any ALA unit and to plan for updating and logical expansion of the available offerings.
Sixty-thousand redirects was and is far more redirects than we have the staff to make, and what that many redirects would do to the website speed of delivery makes me cringe. Common redirects to the division, round table, and office pages have been updated and deployed. Now that the site has been launched, we can analyze the 404s (page not found) to help us determine which redirects are really needed. Naturally, your bookmarks have broken, since many site resources have been relocated and in some cases, renamed. Whether you believe it or not, we lost a lot of sleep over the issue of the redirects. We did put server rules in place to funnel users to content. And Karen Muller of the ALA Library has been responding to requests for information on the location of ‘misplaced’ files in a very timely fashion, via the feedback form on the site.
Our Google appliance crawled the staging site, which was necessary to test it. Unfortunately, it cached more information than we expected. When the staging site files were moved to become the new live site, the search results still provided some links pointing to staging, where the files no longer existed. Starting at 5:00 today, we are clearing the appliance and resetting it to crawl the live site continuously over the weekend.
This was, as you may have noticed, more than a redesign. It is a user-centered reorganization of the site’s resources, and there will be additional user testing at Midwinter to further refine our approach. I hope you will take the time to explore the site, become familiar with its new structure, and that over the next year, you will see continuous improvement in usability and accessibility, as well as an expansion of the materials available.
I welcome your feedback, either here or via that aforementioned website feedback form. I also get those messages. ; )
The Website Advisory Committee is proactively helping us find bugs in the new website now that it’s officially live, so Aaron Dobbs started a new area on the Web Planning wiki for tracking browser-based bugs. If you’re the intrepid type and you’d like to help out with this, please pick a browser and OS and start listing any problems you encounter with the website on the wiki. Thanks!
All of ALA is working hard to get everything ready on the new website. We’re still a couple of weeks away from “flipping the switch,” but you can see the progress at http://ala.org/preview. For updates on the progress as we near the launch, we’ve started a new page at http://itts.ala.org/update/current-website-progress/, which will be the official place to find the latest status report. The list of 10 key performance objectives are listed there at the moment, and we’ll start updating progress on them after Labor Day.
We’re just as excited as you are to be so close to the big event!
The notes from the 2008 Annual Website Advisory Committee meeting are now available (PDF, 171KB). If you have questions, please post them in the comments so that we can answer them for everyone. Thanks!