24 Mar 10 ITTS News Meeting – March 23, 2010

1. Demo of the new Partnership & Alliances Database (Sheila)

will be used for inquiries from other organizations of possible national, programmatic partnerships (not for how to market your book to libraries, which is what the majority of requests revolve around)
to get to it, go to the “contact us” page on the website and look in the lefthand nav, via About ALA, or the Marketing & Advertising Opportunities page, too
Sheila showed the front-end form that other organizations use to submit a request to collaborate with ALA
the request then goes into a database and four admins on staff are notified via email
they go in to the database and match the opportunities with potential partners within ALA
this matching triggers an email notice to the appropriate unit managers, who can then do things like claim it, decline it, leave a note, etc.
multiple units can claim an opportunity, but only the first unit to do so should be the point of contact
users can leave notes on the opportunity throughout the process, although only an admin can close an opportunity
there are instructions for unit managers in the KM system
if you already have a staff login for epetitions or the scholarships database, you can submit a Track-It request to have that same login associated with the partnerships db
ITTS is working towards letting staff use their system logins for this

2. New membership pages on (John)

John showed the new pages, which are now live a little early but are still being worked on
the goal was to help answer a web-based inquiry from someone who wants to join and to anticipate their questions based on multiple paths
the categories of members come directly from the bylaws – each has its own landing page now, too
the pages include member stories and testimonials to help explain “why ALA”
concerted effort to help folks get more involved but need more supporting links
although this is still a work in progress, please let John know if you find any problems or have suggestions for additions/edits
he’s actively soliciting both deconstructive and constructive comments – how can we make these pages better?

3. iMIS Database Server Upgrade (Sherri)

the transition seems to have been smooth and gone well
no reports of problems so far, and the database is much more responsive
the entire db can now be cached in memory, making queries run much faster
ITTS is working towards a nightly refresh of the reports access, which will then be available to everyone who needs it
hope to have this done in the next month or so

4. Update on Meeting/Webinar Software (Mary G.)

MPS did a survey of which products are being used throughout ALA and found several different products
we decided to pursue a single contract for better functionality and pricing
have done 4 demos so far, considering two major uses – “meeting rooms” and webinars
the short list of potential products includes one that has integration with Moodle
whichever direction we head in, it will be for one year, so if it’s not working out, we can change at the end of the term
overall, this should offer all units a cheaper option than they’d get going it alone, regardless of which vendor we choose
we’ll still need to figure out how to “schedule” the meeting rooms, as these products aren’t designed for our type of setup (“named users”)
we’ll try cover 90% of the needs, but the volume issue for Pubs (particularly Booklist) likely will fall outside of our limits, at least in this go-round
we’ll still hold on to OPAL, at least for the time-being, in part because of its accessibility features
we’ll let everyone know when a decision has been made and details are available

5. Office 2007 Implementation (Sherri)

we’re about halfway through implementing Office 2007 throughout the organization
ITTS will be contacting unit managers to schedule the remaining installations
unfortunately, it won’t be an automatic upgrade process, because we have to manually uninstall Office 2003 first; after that, the process will become automated in the future has some training materials that are publicly available (you don’t have to log in to view them)
there are also some videos available from Microsoft, although you’ll need to have MS Silverlight installed to view them
when we do the Office 2007 installation, we’ll install Silverlight for you, but you can also do this yourself through the Zen app on your desktop

6. ALA Connect Update (Jenny)

as a quick update of work done during the last couple of months:

  • we’ve re-organized the “my unread items” page to break new content out by group
  • we’ve added a spellcheck button to the WYSIWYG editor you use when typing in content; just click on the button with the checkmark on it, and it will put a red line under any words it thinks are misspelled
  • staff accounts now have the ability to edit content without triggering email notifications; just check the box labeled “do not send notifications;” note that staff using member accounts will *not* see this feature
  • we’re planning to officially launch the Opportunities Exchange next week
  • today we added video formats to the list of available types for upload (avi, flv, mp4, wmv), although the 20MB file size limit still applies

regarding Connect’s chat feature:
we’ve had many reports of users being kicked out of a chat room, but it seems completely random, and we can’t find a discernible pattern
the problems aren’t specific to one operating system, web browser, time of day, or even one group
we use this Drupal chat module for its accessibility features, so we’re going to try to upgrade to the latest version of it

the problem is that the updated version breaks all links to past archived chats, which means if users don’t manually archive any chat content they want to keep, they’ll be gone forever
to manually archive a chat, go to the chat, copy and paste the transcript, and paste it somewhere else, like in a discussion topic, post, or even your own Word document
we’ll begin notifying everyone about it this week, including a blog post, a banner on the Connect home page, and an all-staff email
please help publicize this to your own groups using Connect
users will have up to one month to archive this content, as we currently plan to do the upgrade on Wednesday, April 21, 2010

7. One last request – please be specific when submitting Track-It requests (Sherri)

for example, tell us what the error message said or which button you pressed or what you saw on the screen
without this type of information, there’s nowhere for us to start troubleshooting
please also use the sub-topics to help us assign the issue to the correct person
question: what if we can’t find an appropriate subtopic?
answer: submit a separate Track-It request to add a new subtopic 🙂

8. The next ITTS News meeting will be on Tuesday, April 20. See you then.

Reader's Comments

  1. |

    Regarding #7 (use of TrackIt!), it would be helpful if the feature to attach files to the TrackIt! work order was active. Error screens can be quite long, esp. if the issue is with a ColdFusion page. I sometimes wind up submitting a TrackIt! request followed by a separate email to the appropriate ITTS contact with a pdf or screenshot of the error in question.