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

23 Aug 11 We’ve Turned on Connect Committee Email Notifications

Calling all members of active committees: we’ve automatically turned on email notifications from your committees. We hope this helps your group communicate better, but you can also adjust your personal settings by going to the “Subscriptions” tab on your profile when logged in. Learn more over on ALA Connect….

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.

27 Jul 11 New ALA Connect Reports

ALA Connect experienced a couple of major milestones during the last few months. First, it turned two-years old at the beginning of April 2011, and then the new servers valiantly weathered a huge spike in usage thanks to the 2011 ALA Annual Conference. To monitor Connect’s progress, I’ve written up reports for each milestone.

To summarize, Connect usage is consistent, and I think the numbers show that the majority of active committee members are using the site. We also saw a lot more non-committee members and non-ALA members log in during May and June because of the newly integrated Conference Scheduler. So far, feedback on the Scheduler has been very positive.

As always, we welcome your feedback and suggestions for ALA Connect.

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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


08 Apr 11 ALA Connect Migration Is Complete!

The migration to new servers is complete, and all went well. You can now log in and use the site as you normally would. If you come across any problems, please don’t hesitate to use the contact form on the site or leave a comment here.

06 Apr 11 ALA Connect Downtime on 4/7

As noted in the FY11 Timeline, we’ve been preparing to migrate ALA Connect to a more robust environment in order to restore chat service and handle the traffic we anticipate seeing for the Annual Conference Scheduler. The behind-the-scenes work is just about done, and we’re now gearing up to make the big move.

We’ll begin migrating Connect to the new servers at 7:00 pm Central time on Thursday, April 7, at which time the site will become unavailable. Once all of the content has been moved and everything checks out okay in the new environment, we’ll officially switch over to the new servers. The move should be complete by 9:00 pm Central time on Thursday, April 7, if all goes well.

You should then be able to access Connect again as soon as your internet service provider sees the new servers. This could take anywhere from five minutes to a few hours, but we expect it will be fairly quickly for most users. Once you can access Connect again, you’ll know you’re on the new site and can continue to use it as you normally would.

We’ll post periodic updates on Twitter at and provide a final “all clear” signal on the ITTS News blog and the Connect home page when the migration has been completed and the site is once again live.

There will be no data loss, and you’ll still log in to Connect the same way you did the day before. The only thing that’s changing is the hosting environment and our ability to better handle traffic spikes. Please let us know if you have any questions about this.

21 Mar 11 ITTS News Meeting Minutes – March 15, 2011

1. iMIS 15 Upgrade this weekend (Sherri)

the upgrade to iMIS 15 will begin on Friday, March 18, at 5pm – see previous blog post for reasons, expectations
it will take 21 hours for the database to update
desktop rollouts begin on Saturday afternoon, starting with MACS, Accounting, plus web interfaces
will then work around the building to upgrade everyone
the upgrade will include the fundraising module, although staff might not get access to log in to it until Tuesday at the latest
Sheila has prepared some materials comparing versions; it will be distributed soon, but not much has changed in the interface
one significant change is how iMIS 15 handles usernames and passwords
staff will be able to use the same login info to access the website, Connect, and iMIS; this will take effect on Monday, at which point you’ll log in using one password for all three resources
your username will be first-initial-lastname
formal communication went out to the membership on Monday, March 14
members who can’t log in can get help from MACS, although they’ll now be able to reset their passwords themselves via the website
reports should still work the same as before

2. Connect (Jenny)

– Welcome message: we’ll be implementing a new “welcome” message on the home page that helps new users get started
– Highlights, font color: you can now change the color of text or the background on it when using the WYSIWYG editor for easier highlighting and collaboration
– File repository: did a demo of this new feature; it’s ready to go, except for one bug that occurs with Internet Explorer 7 users; unfortunately, OJC’s programmer is on vacation for 3 weeks, so we won’t be able to fix this problem and implement it until he returns; look for this to go live the week of April 11
– Chat: we think we’ve found a solution for restoring chat to Connect; will begin internal testing next week; if it works, we hope to go live with it in April
– New hosting environment: during the next few weeks, we’ll be migrating Connect to a new, more robust hosting environment that can handle the traffic and server load for Annual
– Conference Scheduler: next month we’ll begin work on phase two of the Conference Scheduler, which will add more features for attendees

3. CMS Project Update (Louise)

will be working to migrate the awards database to Drupal in order to make the data can run ALA units’ pages so that no one has to maintain them manually
if you haven’t worked with Louise to set a migration date, you need to do so ASAP because you’ll get slotted into any open spot
we’ll be making the schedule public soon
delete from Collage anything you don’t want to migrate and then let Louise know the URLs
remember you can keep copies in the web archive if need be

4. Dreamhost outage (Rob)

yesterday there was a big outage (3am CDT) when Dreamhost’s core network crashed (all of their hosted sites, not just ours)
around noon they restored access to our server and our sites came back online
it was a network connectivity issue – the servers were fine and weren’t touched


08 Feb 11 FY11 Timeline for ALA Connect

Now that phase one of the Conference Scheduler is done, we’ve taken a breath to evaluate where we’re at and how we’ll finish out this fiscal year (which ends on August 31). We’re having to push back a few features to fiscal year ’12 due to unanticipated projects that have suddenly come up as part of the ALA website’s migration to a Drupal-based environment.

Drafted in February 2009, the original roadmap for Connect can be found on the ITTS News blog (114KB, PDF). We’ve implemented quite a few of the features listed in it (along with some that weren’t), but it needs some updating. We’re looking ahead as a two-step process, so we’ve put together this seven-month roadmap to finish the fiscal year.

Part two will be a Roadmap for FY12, which for us starts on September 1. We’ll post that separately when it’s ready….

Read more and view the timeline in the discussion on ALA Connect.

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31 Jan 11 How Did the Conference Scheduler Do?

Although we had some server downtime in the run up to Midwinter, the response we received to the Scheduler itself has been overwhelmingly positive.

To help assess usage of it and study behavior around the sessions themselves, we’ve posted a summary report at

We have big plans for phase 2 of the Annual Scheduler, so please continue to submit your feedback and suggestions.

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