25 Apr 12 ITTS News Meeting – April 24, 2012

1. Web Working Group, WWG (formerly Wed Editorial Board) – Eric Cameron, Program Officer ALA Public Programs Office and co-convenor of the new Web Working Group

Eric covered the mission and scope of the new Web Working Group as outlined below.

Mission: To create and maintain a strong web presence for ALA by incorporating best practices and trends, with a shared strategic vision.

Rationale: To optimize resources by engaging stakeholders across the association in actively sharing and implementing best web practices, rather than current editorial-only focus. To increase ITTS’s effectiveness without adding resources. To make policy and high-level recommendations to and receive such recommendations from ALA Management Group.

Who: Rotating conveners (elected by group), with staggered 12-month terms. Group open to all; outreach will be made to any units that the group identifies as lacking needed representation, especially if projects affecting that unit are planned.  Two levels of participation possible: participatory or serving as representative/liaison (following in Connect only).

 New scope:
– Policy/ high-level recommendations to and from ALA Management Group
– Develop objectives for web presence
– Discussion forum for stakeholders (key feature)
– Representative and inclusive group with flexibility of membership, and short-term ad hoc groups for specific projects
– A *working* group, with time commitment on a self-selected basis (mirroring the social media group which has been both creative and productive)
– Resource for colleagues–reach out proactively
Suggested activities/responsibilities/outcomes:
– Work with trainer to identify training needs.
– Work with Usability Officer to continuously improve website.
– Make recommendations about priorities for ALA web presence.
– Bring to group issues/proposals/changes that affect the selection and display of items on the homepage, and the top level left navigation menu, prior to implementation
– Help units adopt best practices (e.g., migrate a Word Press site to Drupal, or replicate effective ideas from other units) including implementation of microsite guidelines
– Provide coaching [and fun] for building new skills
– Create updated style guide for Drupal
– Organize informal information-sharing events open to all staff, similar to recent social media group brown bag lunches
– Track specific pages needing review; identify “owners” of seemingly abandoned pages or areas
– Identify projects, gather input, develop draft and have conveners/stakeholders take to Management Group
– Use group to help develop association-wide buy-in so changes are easier to make and more effective
– Develop pilot projects as examples of an improvement
– Solicit feasibility/analytic input from ITTS
– Identify projects deemed critical by the larger group for consideration for inclusion in ITTS budget

The new group is a successor to Web Editoral Board (WEB).  WEB started out selecting News and Highlights for the ALA homepage. WEB’s charge then expanded to cover other areas on the ALA website. WEB outgrew its orginal charge and decided to redefine its mission to encompass its new role.

WWG serves two functions:
1) To identify Projects &  Initiatives that need to be addressed
2) To be the Representative body of all stakerholders

Co-convenors are Eric Cameron, Mary Mackay, and Gwendolyn Prellwitz

Two levels of participation possible: participatory or serving as representative/liaison (following in Connect only). Representatives/liaisons can bring issues to the group.

WWG is a central place to think about what ALA and its related websites do.

2. Drupal CMS Migration Update – Louise Gruenberg
The homepage is the only content that is being served by Collage web servers.  We plan to migrate the ALA homepage on May 9th, barring any unforeseen complications.  We are configuring new server hardware for load balancing to handle the increased traffic and URL rule sets.

The Drupal book module is now available. It allows you to create web pages that will build a PDF for download. Eric Cameron will explore the application of module.

Lightbox is now available in Drupal. This application allows you to expand the display of an image or text file on the website.

A submission form for adding hightlights to website pages has been developed on the ALA training site.  The form will be made available for staff to use very soon.

A feedback form for members and the public has been developed for various sections of the website. The feedback form will route information to appropriate staff based on the section of the site they’re visiting.  The feedback form will be deployed as soon as minor revisions are implemented.   

3. ALA Connect – Sherri Vanyek
We’ve had many members and staff helping us beta test the redesign of ALA Connect.  The feedback to date has been very positive. Jenny has been giving tours of the new design to staff.  We hope to finish up with last minute revisions based on the feedback received very soon.  The launch is scheduled to take place in May 2012.

4. Ecommerce RFP – Sherri Vanyek
The new ecommerce system will replace the old Active Matter system that members currently use to join or renew their membership, register for small events and continuing education, fund raising, subscriptions, and profile management.  We have been meeting with various stakeholders across the association to gather requirements.  We plan to draft a RFP and circulate it for review.  The funds for this project will be available in the fiscal year 2013, which begins on September 1, 2012.

5. Virtual Meeting Software Update – Sherri Vanyek

We are looking at various solutions for the association. It was noted at the meeting that ease of use is very important.  Sherri and Louise will meet with the ALA Online Learning Task force on Thursday, April 26 to discuss findings. 

6. New Categories and Priorities for Track-It!– Irene Marquez

Track-IT Priorities (implemented 4/3/2012)

1. Just a casual question, comment, idea, suggestion…
2. I need some help but it’s not super time sensitive.
3. I can’t get things done until I hear back from you, please reply ASAP.
4. Things are broken and I’d like them not to be!

Track-IT Categories (implementation 04/25/2012)

1. ! Server Down !
2. Access Rights
3. ALA Software: Accounting
4. ALA Software: Outlook
5. ALA Software: iMIS
6. Hardware Support
7. Phones
8. Procurement
9. Email Marketing/Lists
10. Training
11. Web –
12. Web – ALAConnect
13. Web – Apps & Forms
14. Web – Blog, Sympa, Wikis
15. Web – Drupal on Dreamhost
16. Web – Moodle
17. Web – Other (KM, JobLIST, Store)
18. z-Other

Feedback on the priorities have been very positive. 

151 categories were whittled down to 18.  The group felt “ALA Software: Email” should be changed to “ALA Software: Outlook” and “Reports” should be changed to “Email Marketing/Lists”.  The list was updated and implemented around 5:30pm yesterday.

7. Investigating Remote Office Worker Functionality – Sherri Vanyek
We are investigating several solutions to provide remote office worker functionality. We plan to make this available to all staff.  Our current Citrix solution is being used by our remote offices.  We are looking at application virtualization or desktop virtualization as possible options. We are also looking at different options for NetStorage file sharing.

05 Jan 12 Drupal sites down temporarily

Well, you’ve surely heard the eggs and omelets expression. The Drupal sites on are temporarily down as a result of a fix that had to be pushed to the live sites today. We expect them to be back up soon. Please try again later, and accept my apologies for the inconvenience.

Louise Gruenberg | Sr. Usability Officer


22 Dec 11 Who’s live in Drupal now?

ALA Migration to Drupal Logo        The intensity of the migration workload has kept me from writing about how busy the team has been since we announced the first series of go-lives on October 28. Since then, all of the ALA Round Tables (with the exception of SRRT, whose members are recreating it in Drupal behind the scenes) have migrated from Collage to Drupal and gone-live. AASL, ACRL and ACRL Choice, ALTAFF, ASCLA, LITA,  RUSA, and YALSA have joined early adopters PLA, ALSC, LLAMA and I Love Libraries. ALA Accredited Programs, Education & Careers, Membership and Professional Tools site sections have migrated.

Who’s left? About ALA, the ALA Offices area, and Programming & Exhibits are wrapped up and ready to go-live on January 3rd, when our vendor, Pixo (formerly OJC Technologies)  and ALA ITTS migration team members Rob Berquist and Sean Bires return from their holidays. ALCTS is also expected to go-live either that week or the next.

After that we’ll be working on Conferences & Events, News & Press Center*, Online Learning, and the Advocacy area, followed by the introduction of the newly integrated Awards, Grants & Scholarships database. Offices, divisions and round tables that offer awards, grants and/or scholarships (and isn’t that most of them?) will be able to easily update the database, which will generate automatically updated web pages in each unit’s branding. We hope to have it ready to display information about the ALA honorees recognized at Midwinter Meeting. In February we will work with interested divisions and round tables to provide them with the same functionality.

All these plans are subject to change the closer we get to Midwinter Meeting. We’ve scheduled a hiatus on migrations just before, during and after Midwinter, because we know that even if we get migrations completed, people will be too busy to be trained by team member Sheila Joy.

There’s more to share, so I promise not to take so long to get the next post written.

Louise Gruenberg | Sr. Usability Officer

*Although we’ll be migrating the News & Press Center before Midwinter Meeting, we won’t rollout the change in workflow for press release processing until February. We don’t want anything to disrupt the all-important Youth Media Awards and other significant events taking place during Midwinter.

28 Oct 11 Our first sites are live in Drupal−check them out now!

ALA Migration Report Logo


On Wednesday, October 19 we reached two truly significant milestones in the ALA Migration to Drupal project. We soft-launched the first phase of single-sign-on (read more, below) powered by Shibboleth and the PLA website in Drupal. Although the process hasn’t been without a few bumps, this Thursday we launched ALSC, ALSConnect Online, LLAMA and I Love Libraries. We owe a debt of thanks to the various vendors who helped us get to this point, but that’s going to be a separate blog post, when I have time to breathe.

The Bumps in the Road, or What We Learned During the Test Migrations

We’ve analyzed the server activity and developed an alternative approach to use for the process that was taking the live site to its knees when new sites were being added . Our thanks go out to early adopter PLA, as they bore the brunt of it while we were trying to get the next batch of sites onto the live server this week. With any luck, we won’t see this behavior during subsequent migrations–a good thing as we have 5 down and about 55 to go.

There’s also a known bug that’s preventing the site caches from clearing immediately when new content is added or existing content is updated for unauthenticated users. In human-speak, that means that our early adopter editors are making changes that won’t be seen right away by anyone who’s  not logged in. The fix for the bug will be rolled out early next week during our next round of updates.

About 5 to 10 staff and vendors working on the migration have go-live responsibilities. The flurry of emails when we were taking four sites live in quick succession was overwhelming.  For future go-lives, we’ll be using a chat session to keep everyone in touch in real time, and asking our site reviewers to send information directly to me rather than Redmine during go-lives, so I can act as a gatekeeper and pass along only the problems that the team hasn’t already noticed.

It’s also better if we allow ourselves at least an hour between site migrations to take care of anything that requires immediate attention on the newly migrated site, and to make sure we have the Shibboleth login in place before we drop the rules into place that make the site visible and direct traffic to it.

Now that we’ve learned from our early adopter migrations, it’s time to talk about what, or who’s next.

Who’s next?

Next week we’ll be taking all the round tables, AASL, ALTAFF, ASCLA, LITA and  RUSA into review, with go-lives staggered on the 8th, 9th, and 10th of November. If you’re a reviewer, I’ll be sending updated information out about what to note in Redmine this weekend.

What Shibbolizing Means to Members

While single-sign-on will ultimately make it possible to to login to any ALA resource with the same username and password and to move seamlessly between various resources during the same browser session without having to re-enter information, it will take us time to get all the various resources shibbolized (set up in Shibboleth). For now, only the website, whether serving from Collage or Drupal, is shibbolized. To help you recognize them, resources using Shib have a login page that you can see if you click the Login link on  A member (or any site visitor with an account, such as a non-member who has registered for an event) can login on PLA, then move to ALA or ALSC, for example, either in the same tab or another tab.

Login Tip: When you move to another site in our multi-site Drupal installation, you won’t immediately see a logged in view. You must click on the Login link in the upper right, and it will acknowledge your earlier login in that browser by recognizing you.

Logout Alert: With shibbolized resources, when you logout, you have only logged out from the local resource of the tab you’re in. Even if your other tabs or windows aren’t open to ALA resources, you will still be logged in to ALA. Those logging in from public or shared computers should note that Shib will not completely log you out until you exit your browser by closing it.

For now, keep in mind that only the main ALA website, along with the division sub-sites and I Love Libraries have been shibbolized. As additional ALA resources are ready, we’ll announce them here and tag them with the Shibbolized Resource Announcement tag, so that there’s one place to track them all.

Thanks to Rob Berquist, ITTS’ Internet Administrator, who has really made all of these improvements possible. Yay, Rob!


Louise Gruenberg | ALA Sr. Usability Officer | Information Technology & Telecommunication Services





20 Sep 11 ITTS News Meeting – September 20, 2011

1. CMS Update (Louise)

Things are moving along
Everything will go into the review stage during the next few weeks
Showed the new versions of PLA, I Love Libraries, LLAMA, AASL, RUSA, ASCLA, LITA, YALSA (some of which still need some work) but are displaying at some level in the new system

Hope that all divisions will have first round of pages on the review site by the end of this week
Then we’ll start on the round tables, offices, and sections
Reviewers should begin hearing from Louise soon
Will take PLA live when Shibboleth is ready, hopefully next week

When your site is ready to go live, you do one last lookover with ITTS on Monday
Tuesday the site is frozen and the migration starts
Go live on Wednesday (can rollback to old site if things don’t go well)
Thursday you come to training (Friday if you can’t make Thursday)

Member volunteers will all eventually get trained, starting with iLinc webinars
Screenshot-based documentation and training will probably become available in December

We’ll be taking sites live on a rolling basis as they’re ready

Shibboleth is moving forward, with just one remaining hangup to get it working on the dev sites

2. Connect update (Jenny)

Showed the new “Suggestions” feature that will be coming soon

Connect Roadmap for FY12:

  1. Implement redesign (hopefully in October)
  2. Add Suggestions feature (hopefully in October)
  3. Midwinter Scheduler (November)
  4. Mobile version of the Scheduler (November)
  5. Migrate to Drupal 7 (work done in January, migrate in February)
  6. Merge Connect profiles into iMIS (February)
  7. Move to Single Sign-On with using Shibboleth (February)
  8. Migrate to in-house servers (March)
  9. Implement’s Solr search engine for federated and faceted searching (March)

3. Service outage on Tuesday, September 22, 2011, 5:30-8:30 pm CDT – corrected date (Sherri)

Hopefully the following services will only be down for a few hours early Wednesday evening

  • iMIS
  • Log in to the ALA website
  • Log in to Connect
  • Membership renewals
  • Registration for events
  • Fundraising
  • KMS
  • Track-It
  • Drupal dev site for the new CMS
  • New finance system (check requests, etc.)
  • FRX

Staff: if you’re already logged in to the network, you’ll be able to keep working after 5:30 pm CDT; otherwise you won’t be able to log in during the outage

We’ll put up a message on the public sites when this happens so that users will see a meaningful message

22 Aug 11 ALA Migration Report: Getting Closer!

We’re really starting to get excited about this migration. The scripts are getting fine-tuned.

ALA Migration Logo

The first test site (PLA) will go-live in early September, once we’ve got single sign on set up. Meanwhile, all primary site reviewers have been provided with instructions for logging into the development servers, and for adding issues to Redmine.

I’ll be in touch to let reviewers know when their sites are ready to be looked over. If you’re a reviewer and haven’t heard from me, patience! Your site’s not ready, but it will be, I promise.

Louise Gruenberg | ALA Sr. Usability Officer

17 Aug 11 ITTS News Meeting – August 16, 2011

  1. CMS Update (Louise)
    PLA has gone through the conversion process – Louise showed their new site (it’s not live at this point)
    uses the new left-hand navigation worked out by the divisions
    thank you to Steven Hoffman for all of his work getting their pages doneworking on getting Shibboleth running
    every division, round table, office, etc. is its own microsite within our Drupal installation (85+ sites right now), so Louise is setting up iMIS groups to control permissions for each onehope to get LLAMA, LITA, and the rest of the test sites converted soon for evaluation
    also hoping the PLA fixes will make the next test sites go fasterLouise is working on the Drupal “roles”  now, which will control the different sets of permissions that will be available across the microsites
    need to define the default settings for these (basic, intermediate, advanced)
    will start asking for feedback on a starter set later this weekquestion: will the current press release interface be part of the new site?
    answer: we’re implementing the existing workflow on the new site as part of the “press center”; making and publishing press releases will go back to being a website process, which American Libraries will then pull in
    press releases will publish to AL and your own site area
    PIO will control the press center
  2. Shibboleth (Sherri)
    the Shibboleth server is installed and is communicating with the ActiveMatter server but it isn’t sending data yet
    we’re working to fix this last piece so that we can provide single sign-on across our sites, including the ecommerce server
    initial implementation will be for ecommerce and the website; later we’ll add ALA Connect
    question: for those who do customer service, how do we see what a non-member sees now?
    : you can keep two browsers open; just don’t log in to the website in one of them in order to see the public (anonymous) view
  3. ALA Connect (Jenny)
    In addition to the “follow a group” and “file repository” features added a couple of months ago, we’ve added some other enhancements to the site.

    • A reminder that Connect Chat is back up, and it appears to be running smoothly. The interface barely changed, so your groups should be able to use it the same way they did before it was temporarily disabled.
    • We’ve added a tab on group rosters that shows “Followers.” This list shows you any non-group members who are “following” your group in order to receive email notifications whenever new public content is posted. For an example, see “Groups I’m following” now also appears on your profile and in your navigation dropdown menus for easy access.
    • There are new, expanded statistics for the Conference Scheduler at that let you view and download the numbers for a specific unit’s sessions. To get to this page, click on the “Connect statistics” link in the left-hand column on any page, go to the “CS” tab, and click on the “View session schedule adds/attendees by sponsor” link. Note that “attendee” statistics are self-reported, so they won’t be accurate until attendees begin using that feature regularly. Please also remember that only ALA staff accounts can see Connect statistics, although you can download unit reports to share with others.
    • Connect users can now set a personal URL for their profile. For example, you can find me at . You can set your own personal URL by editing your profile and looking for the “My URL box.” We’ll formally announce this publicly next week, so now is a good time to go grab your name if you have a common one.
    • We added two enhancements to polls.
      • When creating a poll, you can check a box to make voting anonymous so that you get a total but no names in the results. Note that no one can see the results if you use this setting, including group admins or the poll’s creator.
      • You can check a box to have an email reminder to vote sent to all group members who haven’t voted 24 hours before the poll closes.
    • Staff liaisons and member chairs can no longer use the “add members” tab on Connect rosters that synchronize with iMIS to add a member to the roster since this should be done in iMIS only. However, removing that option means you won’t be able to add non-ALA members to a working group’s roster. If you need to add a non-member to a Connect roster that synchronizes with iMIS, please submit a Track-It request with the person’s Connect username and ITTS will add them in Connect.Note that you can still handle adding and removing users from community rosters yourself (groups that don’t synchronize with iMIS) if you’re an admin for the community.
    • When editing the properties for a group that synchronizes with iMIS, you’ll no longer be able to change the group’s status to something other than “closed.” You can’t have an “open” or “moderated” roster that synchronizes with iMIS — it has to be one or the other so that you don’t have to maintain the roster in two places. Note that you can still change the status of a community (groups that don’t synchronize with iMIS) yourself if you’re an admin for the community.
    • The “ALA Connect at Two Years” report, along with a summary of statistics from the 2011 Annual Conference Scheduler, are available on the ITTS News blog.
    • Watch for announcements of Connect refresher Q&A sessions for staff to be held in the Chicago Training Room starting in September. As always, locations outside of Chicago can request a special online Q&A session by contacting Jenny directly.

16 Jun 11 Migration Review Schedule Information Released

The ALA Migration to Drupal Logo

Yesterday, unit directors received proposed dates for their division, round table, office or topical site areas’ migration reviews. What’s a migration review? It’s a walkthrough of the migrated site to determine whether it’s ready to go-live.

Site reviewers  compare the migrated site on the development server to the current site. They get to have a lot of fun, poking around, clicking links, downloading files, filling out forms, making bug reports if they notice problems, kicking the tires and slamming the doors. (Just kidding about those last two.)

Because we can’t migrate everyone at once, reviews are scheduled to begin in early July and continue through the end of August. Those who requested early adoption status were scheduled for early July.

Round table and division section member-volunteers who work on the website and intend to be involved with their site review should check with their staff liaisons to get the scheduled review date.

There is some flexibility with review dates as long as the request for a change is made by July 1.

Louise Gruenberg

Sr. Usability Officer

18 May 11 ITTS News Meeting – May 17, 2011

  1. Migration Report (Louise)The migration process is heating up. The migration test sites are I Love Libraries, Conferences & Events and PLA. The schedule will be released once the test migrations are complete. The ETA for that is June 15, conflicting with the run-up to Annual Conference.

    The draft migration schedule is being developed based on the size, condition (accessibility violations, broken links), cross-site linking, and training requirement for staff and member-volunteers, with final adjustments to be made based on unit vacation scheduling for site reviewers.

    Despite the proximity to Annual Conference, with 60 distinct look-and-feel subsites, about 10 will have to be migrated every week between the end of June and mid-August. We hope to have a one week turnaround on most subsites, with longer scheduled for ACRL. If your unit wants to be an early adopter and you have not already done so, contact Louise Gruenberg.ITTS will use the Selenium IDE Firefox plugin to run a test script that verifies left navigation links, selected content snippets, and right nav pods to evaluate the migration before handing over a subsite to staff to review. Each unit will get a login for one person to a bug tracker site for reporting migration-specific problems. (Note that migration does not magically repair broken links … anything broken before migration will still be broken afterwards.)

    Units should let Louise know who their site reviewer(s) will be, and alert her to any scheduled vacation time that would interfere with a quick turnaround on the review.

  2. Connect Update (Jenny)The Group File Repository feature will be going live on Thursday, May 19.We hope to restore Connect chat the week of Memorial Day. To do so, we need to run a test to see how well the module does in the new server environment. We’re asking volunteers to log in to Connect and access a specific chat room on Friday, May 20th, at 1:00 pm CDT. We need 40-50 people to give it a good run-through. If someone on your staff or any of your members can help, please contact Jenny Levine for the URL.

    Jenny showed the new “follow a group” feature that was quietly released a couple of weeks ago. Once a help document is ready, we’ll formally announce this new option, which lets you subscribe to email updates of public content only from groups you’re not a member of.

    Next Jenny showed new features in the Conference Scheduler. Current enhancements include:

    • Restored the “add” buttons on all pages
    • User-generated tags on sessions and a tag cloud on the Conference home page
    • Recommended sessions broken out by group and interest/type of library
    • Attendees listed on session records, plus the ability to hide your attendance
    • Ability to add personal (private) notes to sessions
    • Personal sessions now have a separate location field that displays on your schedule
    • Integrated wiki
    • Conference sessions appear on group Connect calendars
    • Staff can still view running statistics
    • Coming soon: the ability to add attachments to sessions so that the Scheduler can become the permanent archive for that conference’s materials/handouts

    Please be sure to check your unit’s sessions in the Scheduler and let Jenny know if you need any details changed.

  3. Adjourned


22 Apr 11 Migration Report

ALA Migration Report

The production servers are ready!

Our production servers for the migration to Drupal are up and running. Our vendor is working on test migrations for our early adopter test cases: I Love Libraries, the Public Library Association, and the Issues & Advocacy section of the website.

When the test migrations are successfully completed, we will adjust the final timeline based on what we accomplished, and it will be published.

Stay tuned!

Louise Gruenberg | Sr. Usability Officer