25 Feb 09 ITTS Update Meeting – February 24, 2009

1. Website

  • Web Services Health Check (Sherri)
    ITTS circulated an RFP to diagnose and fix sporadic reports of problem with web-based services
    we’ve been unable to replicate the problem to date, so we’re having issues troubleshooting it
  • Web Tag Team Initiative (Louise)
    introduced Sheila Joy, ITTS’ new trainer (the new Louise!)
    Web Tag Team is looking at those pages on the site that have nothing tagged to them – in other words, no content
    they’ll be going through the site and tagging things they think should appear under those subject headings
    will contact web managers when they want to add a tag to a page
    more should start appearing under those pages
    will have to discuss adding new content to the page if none existsquestion: can we send the report of pages with no content around to the unit managers?
    answer: yes, although we’ll probably put it on the share drive

2. ALA Connect Update (Jenny)
we’re still scheduled to soft launch in March and launch officially in April
have a number of volunteer groups for the soft launch
one more staff Q&A session Wednesday afternoon, although we may do a few more in March leading up to the launch

3. E-petition application (Donavan)
Board wanted this for this year’s election
we’ve tried to create something all units can use so need everyone to provide feedback
works a lot like the committee volunteer applications (public and staff sides) with flexible options

4. Second Life (Donavan)
the three staff members most involved in Second Life can’t really initiate anything for National Library Week
need input, initiative, and hopefully volunteers from the divisions and offices
putting on symposia, working with an Emerging Leaders team on an in-world event, continuing to put up videos and podcasts from Midwinter, have a Twitter feed
testing a live streaming capability
gaining confidence in our ability to use this as an enhancement for presenting programs, especially given how tight budgets are
let Donavan or Tina know if you have anything on your sites you want to re-purpose into SL

5. Blogs and Wikis Migration (Matt)
see the email that went out to all staff yesterday
Matt will migrate all blogs this weekend
contact him if you have questions or if you don’t need your blog moved so that he can delete it

6. Midwinter Twitter Presentation (Jenny)
Jenny did an overview of things said about ALA on Twitter and tweets from the Midwinter Meeting

7. Keeping up with developments

Blog w/RSS Feed –
Wiki –

8. Q&A

None this time

14 Jan 09 ITTS Update Meeting – January 13, 2008

1. ALA Website (Louise)

ALA will be conducting three focus groups for the website at Midwinter
only have 24-30 slots and they are filling up
going to also do some remote online sessions with members, too
– want this to be an ongoing process

Accessibility review
had them do 15 different pages on the site and we did not do well
had them test to the Web Accessibility Guidelines, level 2
places we failed include if you’re doing multimedia content, you must have a transcript, even if you offer captioning
have many global changes we have to make

in February, we will begin group webmaster meetings broken out by like units

will move to a serif typeface
discussion of how to make links easily identifiable without forcing the user to mouse over text looking for them

RSS is now easier to both implement and display in Collage
contact Louise if you have questions about this

2. ALA Connect (Jenny)

beta testing for Connect started last week and will continue through the end of the month
five groups are doing the testing, as one has dropped out
if you know of an ALA group that would like to join the beta test, please contact Jenny

when this round of testing closes, we’ll go over the feedback and start making changes in February
when we do the soft launch will depend on how many changes we need to make
the hope is to spend the first few weeks of February tweaking and fixing in order to open the soft launch in late February/early March
from there, we’ll see how well the site scales and when we’re confident it can handle the load, we’ll do an official launch with PR
we hope this will be in March, but the timeline is completely dependent on getting things right after the beta test period ends

3. Hosted web services (Matt)

Dreamhost has changed the way one-click installs work
only the main account holder can do them now because of a security change Dreamhost made
the two options are to have Matt install a database and the unit can then do the one-click install, or to just have Matt create the database and do the install
it’s probably easier to just have Matt do it
still discussing this with Dreamhost to see if we can get this setting changed back

Blog and wiki migrations
resuming the blogs and wikis migration that slowed down over the holiday break
however, we won’t move anything until after Midwinter
Matt will contact each unit individually to work with them to set up redirects and go through any other issues with the wikis

in mid-February, Matt will do a mass migration of all of the blogs still on the old b2evolution software
logins, passwords, and skins/templates won’t migrate, but content will (posts, comments, etc.)
he’ll pick one template for everyone and do the migration

4.  Second Life (Donavan)

there’s a report about what we did in SL for Banned Books Week last fall
have a fairly large agenda for Midwinter for following what’s happening
YALSA now has a “playground” they’ll be debuting there on the Friday of Midwinter, along with some publications
there will be COGnotes and AL Direct stands
on Friday, we’ll be having a Privacy Revolution party
on Saturday, we’ll be covering Librarian of the Year award
doing some simulcasting of member group meetings
will be showing some slides of Guide to Reference in-world
hope to have some info about the awards presentations and have a book award party
plus much more

there are about 1200 self-identified librarians in SL
trying to find ways to interact with them in SL

this is a significant jump from anything we did at ALA conferences last year, and it’s taking less intensive staff resources this time

5. Five Minute Guide to Twitter (Jenny)

Jenny did a quick briefing on what Twitter is, how people (and organizations) use it, and some of the benefits
takeaways include the ability to respond quickly; broadcast to one, a specific group, or many; and the real communities growing there
ALA has a few Twitter accounts already: ALA Annual, ALA Midwinter, OIF’s Privacy Revolution, YALSA, and the Youth Media Awards.

6. Keeping up with developments

Blog w/RSS Feed –
Wikis –;

7. Q&A

None this time

23 Dec 08 Update on ALA Island in Second Life

Banned Books Week at the end of September featured an ambitious build of a permanent site for Banned Books and OIF programs and events. We also contracted and had a garden created in place of the skating pond and Storytelling area. Storytelling continues in this beautiful spot. All stats for the BBW programming show an increase over last year’s figures.

In October we had several programs, among them, a presentation by author Cynthia Leitich Smith on the main stage that was well received. (Image link Cynthia Zanzibar (SL name of Cynthia Letitia Smith) talks about writing for Young Adults)

We continue to ramp up activities despite lack of support from staff who have signed up in SL … few people attend our weekly meetings to orient and assist new avatars get acclimated. In the meantime, ALA members in SL are putting together programs and plans for increased support of Midwinter activities in SL to share what is happening in Denver with those who cannot attend save via SL. We will provide Twitter feeds from the Youth Media Awards, the Midwinter Twitter feed, and reports from various MW attendees who have volunteered to report on what they do in Denver. A full schedule is being developed, and meetings at MW will be focused on programming for Annual Conference in Chicago.

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25 Mar 08 Serving Virtual Members

Over the years, so much has been said, written, blogged, twittered, ad nauseum about virtual members of committees, discussion groups, etc. With our participation in Second Life, ALA is making good on all the lip service by creating a virtual campus that can provide a multitude of the kinds of information and interaction that can serve a wider range of our membership who do not go to conferences and partake of the continuing education opportunities offered.
Julie Andrews NLW video set up by Kay Tairov on the ALA Island Main Stage
Since November, ALA has owned an island on Second Life, a virtual world where a wide variety of Web resources can be shared and explored as well as facilitating social interaction. With the assistance of San Jose State University graduate students, we have created an open-air space where we can have meetings of various size and technical sophistication as well as instruments for providing information about all of our operational units. As the Island Manager, I have been informally charged with making the island work and what I hope we will develop over the next six months as a venue for virtual membership in ALA events and conferences. Christina Coleman, Member Specialist for the Membership Office, has a similar charge and has really taken charge of organizing staff to plan our first event: National Library Week on SL.

The advantage of using SL as a platform for virtual membership is that the same electronic resources that other virtual conference applications provide are available along with the actual presence of other virtual members. Just as at a conference, people can talk in the hallways and network, virtual members in SL can talk with each and network. In fact, the way people can create profiles for their avatars, you know much more about someone than you ever would in a first-time face-to-face situation.

ALA Bookstage, with Large Stage in background

A core group of staff, including Valerie Hawkins from ALA Library, will be available in the sixth floor training room on a weekly basis on Thursdays from noon to one. (Members, of course, can log in from wherever they are and join us inworld: IM Oberon Octagon, Kay Tairov, or ALALibraryVal Miles .) We hope people will take advantage of these training/orientation opportunities to improve SL skills and then practice them in the way the rest of us learned how: by exploring the variety of “worlds” that exist in SL as well as by working on ALA Island.

When I presented what we are doing in Second Life at the Association Forum’s Holiday Showcase, many attendees commented that ALA always seems to be at the cutting edge of technology. Please help us continue to push the envelope.