23 Sep 10 ITTS News Meeting – September 21, 2010

  1. CMS Update (Louise)
    the contract is with the lawyer – we hope to have it signed in October
    Louise is giving an update to Unit Managers at their October 6 meeting
  2. Introducing Jeff Dong, newest member of the ITTS staff (Sherri)
    Jeff’s primary responsibility is for our database servers and the interaction with them (maintenance, upgrades, support, etc.)
    we’re very happy to have Jeff on board
  3. Blogs & wikis migration (Rob)
    Rob is working away on the Dreamhost migration and is making good progress; he’s already about 50% done
    one thing he’s discovered during the process is that themes can get lost for blogs, so make sure you have a copy you can reapply

    Rob is contacting units to schedule the migrations; submit a Track-It ticket if you want to discuss timing before he contacts you

    many of our wikis seem to be informational and aren’t updated much
    a lot of them are getting spammed to the point where they’re unusable
    Rob has developed a script that checks for any admin activity in the last 90 days
    if the admin hasn’t logged in during the last 90 days, it will send an email to the address listed for that account to let them know the site is being converted to “read-only” status
    this means updates/edits will no longer be possible, but Rob can always reverse the read-only status so that it can be edited if changes need to be made at some point
    this will prevent spammers from creating new accounts and vandalizing the wikithe new blogs/wiki server is working amazingly well and is nice and clean

  4. ALA Connect Updates (Jenny)
    Jenny showed screenshots of the following Connect enhancements:
    – Round Table statistics
    – New link to download all attachments at once
    – Email notifications when someone friends you
    – New option to attach files to comments
    – Added a direct link to the revisions page for online docs in email notifications
    – Position titles now appear on rosters that synchronize with iMIS; note that if a member has two affiliations with a particular group, only the last one listed in iMIS will display in Connect; if that’s a problem, you might want to remove the affiliation you don’t want to display.
    – iMIS groups can no longer be made “open” since the rosters synchronize with the member database
    – We added more options for listing additional education and work history information in profiles
    – Because we’ve added the time and date of an event to the email notification for it, we now require you to pick a time zone; if you don’t, it will say “no time zone selected” instead of listing a time zone, so please be sure to pick one!

    We also upgraded chat a few weeks ago; there have been no reports of users getting kicked out of chat rooms since the upgrade was installed.
    There are some new features that came with the upgrade (see next blot post for more details), but you can now:
    – Pop the chat out into its own window
    – Pause autoscrolling
    – Make the box you type in bigger by pulling down the bottom border of the box

    Right now, we’re working on offering the ability to do “drafts” so that you can start writing something and stave it but not publish it yet.

    This fall, we’ll be working on the new conference scheduler (used to be known as the “event planner”) and giving each group its own file repository. We’re also going to redesign the Connect home page and group home pages so that they’re easier to read and use.

    These three major projects will take up the bulk of our time, so there won’t be a lot of smaller enhancements until either December or January.

  5. Web Application Firewall (Sherri)
    everything will be down when this is being worked on
    will be between 5-60 minutes at 5pm on Wednesday, October 6 (which is our normal maintenance time)
  6. KM System (Irene)
    we’ll be upgrading the KMS starting at 2pm this Friday (/24)
    it should be back up in a couple of hours, but if you access it during that time and notice something strange, it’s because the system is being upgraded in the background
  7. Web Editorial Board update (Karen)
    meeting summaries are publicly posted to its Connect space, with an email notice sent to unit managers
    there’s a special WEB meeting next week to discuss what needs to be done in preparation for the migration
    the overall message: be prepared to spend some time working on your unit’s content to make it clean and valid

    the Library has become less reactive to questions and more proactive to get the information out there and reorganized ahead of time
    they’ve have been working on the Guidelines and Standards section, the Library FAQ Sheets, an A-Z of topics
    they’re also doing interventions in major areas because then the number of questions about that subject drop when work is done to address problems
    one of the problems has been the Policy Manual, which was originally posted as a straight translation of the print version to the web (150 print pages as one long scrolling page)
    – the Library has redone it, with Rebecca taking the lead to work with Lois Ann and the Governance Office
    Karen showed work that was done to make it a true web document, such as making the data that needed to be in tables accessible, adding anchors for navigation, and adding a section for recent changes
    they’re still building the left navigation
    ITTS fixed everyone’s links to the Policy Manual and deployed the pages so the links wouldn’t break
    please be sure to link to the new version, rather than reproducing it (or sections of it) elsewhere on the site

    the Library has begun working with OIF to restructure some of its pages and is starting another project with the Governance Office

28 May 10 ITTS News Meeting – May 25, 2010

New Content Management System Selection Update

Sherri gave an update on where we are in the selection process for a new content management system for

  • Altogether ALA received 47 proposals from which the CMS Task Force, comprised of members of the Website Advisory Committee (WAC) and staff, selected  7 candidates.
  • The same Task Force then completed a 41 page survey created by Louise Gruenberg that evaluated the proposals submitted by the  7 candidates.
  • The results of that survey identified our top 3 candidates and those candidates have now been given a document with additional questions so we can compare all 3 candidates equally on their responses.
  • The names of the top 3 candidates will be announced once we notify the 44 vendors who were not selected.

ALA Connect Update

The Opportunties Exchange

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.

Staff Liaisons Should Notify Committee Members about Access to Connect Groups Change Over on June 30th

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

Chat Upgrade

Jenny discussed where we are at with updating the  Chat Module.

MemberFuse Pilot Project Update

Jenny discussed the MemberFuse Pilot.

Tech at Annual

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 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 Editorial Board (WEB)

WEB is adding taskforces to involve staff stakeholders in the following four areas:

  • Social Media
  • Archiving & Digital Asset Management
  • Branding, Marketing & Design
  • Communication & Education

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

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.

  • Thursday, May 27
  • Wednesday, June 9
  • Wednesday, June 16

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 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.

New Internet Administrator: Rob Berquist

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 because it is one of our primary communication channels.

26 Feb 10 ALA Received 47 CMS RFP Proposals

We received 47 responses for our December 15, 2009 request for a content migration and CMS system. The proposals are quite varied in their approaches and their pricing. They are already generating much discussion, as we consider the costs of enterprise systems versus opensource solutions, boutique agencies versus offshoring companies, companies that expect us to handle all the migration tasks ourselves versus companies that would like to provide a level of support that would make our jobs redundant. (Given the high price of that level of service, I’m not too worried about having to update my resume.)

Ultimately we need to take the time to make the best long-term decision for ALA’s varied constituencies and their needs, positioning us so that we will be ready and capable of evolving from social networking to the semantic web when the time comes. We expect our work process and deadlines to proceed as follows:

  1. Confidentiality agreements are being prepared for the members of the Website Advisory Committee CMS Selection Task Force (members and staff) and the Web Editorial Board (staff), who will be assisting us in reviewing the proposals.
  2. ITTS principals will be reading through all of the proposals and support materials over the next 2-4 weeks to select their short lists.
  3. ITTS principals will agree upon a short list of potential vendors by March 21. On or before that time, all of the RFPs and our recommendations will be shared with our two stakeholder groups for their input, and to note any ideas and gather questions we should ask vendors.
  4. Vendors will be asked if they want to host a webinar for staff and interested members of WAC and WEB, to present their products. The demonstration portion for content editors should show common tasks, such as how to edit, create, upload, add an image, and make a link. The section for content managers should show how to alter the site structure, page layouts, and design elements.
  5. Staff and members who attend webinars will be asked to fill out survey forms rating the products.
  6. Once ITTS has received input from WAC and WEB, vendors who have not made the cut will be notified.
  7. On or about May 1, Vendors who have made the shortlist will be notified and asked for any additional information generated by our internal discussions. ITTS may add or otherwise modify elements of the original request, and ask for new estimates. We will also release the results of our aps inventory if we have not already done so, to assist vendors in further refining the timing and pricing of their proposals. If a vendor’s original proposal did not include pricing for a 3 to 5 day discovery phase to take place at ALA, we will request that they add it.
  8. Vendors on the shortlist will be asked to host a minimum 1-hour webinar demonstration of their product’s capabilities for our content editors and managers, to be scheduled at an agreed upon time during business hours.  The stakeholders reviewing the demonstrations will be asked to provide feedback.
  9. On or about June 1, after we have received responses to our requests for additional information, we will check references, take into account our stakeholders’ feedback, and select 2-3 vendors to engage in a discovery process at ALA that should lead to firmed up, accurate pricing. It is imperative that this project remain within pricing bounds.
  10. Following the discovery process, ALA may require a proof of concept test from one or more vendors.
  11. Final selection will be made following the discovery and proof of concept phases. We would like this to take place on or before August 1, to allow time for the lawyers to fuss over the contract.
  12. Ideally, work would begin September 1, 2010.

I assure you that every proposal is being read in full, and that we are considering the costs and benefits carefully. Members who have concerns can share them with me at lgruenberg at

Louise Gruenberg

14 Jan 10 American Library Association Seeks New CMS


The Association is seeking a vendor to handle the migration of, which includes 11 division subsites, a number of online publications, and our site for the public (I Love Libraries to a new content management system.

Simplifying the site organization and maintenance is a key component of what we hope to achieve in the new CMS.

We are also seeking an alternative solution for creating new and transforming existing forms (several hundred active and legacy Cold Fusion applications and FormMail). We are not wedded to the continued use of Cold Fusion and want to move away from it, so the system should allow for arbitrary data sources (separate MySQL databases) and other languages besides CF, including but not necessarily limited to Python, PHP and Ruby. It is crucial that we have the ability to either render existing CF aps so that they look and behave like the rest of the site or move them to another system that can do so.

If the recommended system is not open source, it would be very desirable if ALA could license the original code for internal use. At the very least, we would want access via an API.

Contact information in the RFP.