18 Nov 08 ITTS Update Meeting – November 18, 2008

1. Website (Louise)

Critical things you need to know about:

a. You need to fill out the new SEO (Search Engine Optimization) metadata fields because they are now required; if you get an error message on check-in about a required field not being filled out, it’s probably a metadata field

question – we can use phrases, too?
answer – yes, just separate them by commas

need congruency between the metadata title field and the actual title field – they have to match for the alphabetization to work properly on the listings pages

b.  Some listing pages are still blank (eg, “Government Documents,” even though we have a whole Round Table devoted to this topic) and need content. Karen Muller will tag the things she knows are applicable, but it’s going to take a coordinated effort – everyone needs to pitch in to the areas that are relevant to them, because if we don’t add the content, we need to take down the aggregated pages.

c. We’re seeing some problems with Firefox 3 – Collage won’t let you upload anything (images, etc.). We also think we’re having transaction problems on the site with FF3, so if you receive a complaint, please ask the user if they are using this version of the browser. We’re trying to determine if we have a systematic “superbrowser compatability problem” or if it’s an isolated issue.

Please help us track this issue and let us know when you hear about problems with slow pages, authentication issues, etc.

2. Web Editorial Board (Louise)

Louise noted a handout about the purpose of the Web Editorial Board Tag Team, a group that has rights to the entire site and can make quick fixes without requiring permissions first. These are considered “Tier 1” changes, and the Team will always communicate changes to the owning unit, even if it’s afterwards. The charge empowers the team to handle these types of issues.

Tier 2 fixes will have the Tag Team contacting the owning unit before making the suggested changes.

Tier 3 would be things the Team discusses with you and you then change.

The approach will be an ad-hoc one, although we may split up the work to handle specific sections of the site.

If you have questions about any of this, contact Louise or Karen Muller.

3. ALA Connect (Jenny)

Jenny showed the prototype, pre-alpha testing site for ALA Connect to give staff a sense of how the site functions

4. Keeping up with developments (Sherri)

Blog w/RSS Feed –
Wikis –  ;

5. Q&A / Wrap up

28 Oct 08 ITTS Update Meeting – October 28, 2008

1. Website Redesign/IA Rollout (Sherri and Karen)

the website is a work in progress
we’ve been focusing on stability issues with the ActiveMatter server (forms, ecommerce transactions, etc.)
– updated the Access databases to Microsoft SQL databases, restricted access to a small number of IP addresses to help address this issue
– this also let us restrict search engines from indexing old content
– got rid of tagged pages from the old ActiveMatter server

we’re in the process of upgrading to a new server with more disk space and a faster processor
– hope to have that done in the next week

working with Duo on tagged content displays, division news feeds, and RSS feeds on the home page

a few weeks ago, a few of us met with Michael Stephens, the current chair of the Web Advisory Committee and came up with two objectives for the site
– for current information (this requires a systematically consistent approach for tagging, etc.)
– a marketing tool

the Web Editorial Board will try to lead several initiatives in these areas
– encouraging staff with web responsibilities to add keeping the site current as a goal on their evaluations
– need some quality control to achieve this; will allow us to set goals (“get your shadow assets down 10% from where it is today,” etc.)
– revamping the Web Editorial Board into two separate teams
– “tag team” – will review the site structure, will consult with offices on restructuring content; create standards; review and finalize the web style guide; examining the website to determine to what extent it should be used as an archive; examining advantages and disadvantages of decentralized site management; tagging items for listing pages; checking for ALT text on images; proper page headlines; use of transcripts for audio and video files; procedural documentation; etc.
– “communications impact team” – encourage use of images, pods, etc.; consulting with units to develop individual areas of the site for maximum effect; optimizing pages; accessibility issues

the Web Editorial Board is going to expand and add more members

2. ALA Connect (Jenny)

just got back from vacation yesterday so hasn’t had a chance to check in with the development site to see recent changes made to the functionality
Urban Insight has successfully imported the active committees from iMIS and categorized them into “communities” (currently divisions), “committees,” and “events”
hope to have a demo to show on November 18, as we are hoping to alpha test in November and beta test in December for a roll out before Midwinter in January

3. Wiki Migration (Matt)

all wikis currently hosted at will be moved to Dreamhost domains because the server was never really intended to house these applications
Matt will be able to migrate 6-8 wikis each week without requiring the wiki owners to do anything
he’ll send out a message about this today or tomorrow
he’ll change nothing about your wiki, other than the beginnings of the URL (“” will become something like “” in the domain unless you specify otherwise) – basically, “wikis” just becomes your acronym

migrating the wikis to Dreamhost has some other benefits, including the addition of an audio captcha for spam control

all of this will happen over the next 4-5 weeks, and Matt will notify you when this is happening for your site
while your wiki is migrated, it will be down for 1-2 hours

everything in your current wiki will get migrated, including content, users, blocked users, images, files, etc.

4. Virtual Private Hosting (Matt)

if you already have blogs, wikis, or Moodle on Dreamhost, you may have noticed that it slows down from time-to-time
but earlier this month, we upgraded to “virtual private hosting” service, which means we’re now paying a monthly fee for reserved processor time and more importantly, memory

this means we’ll no longer be throttled back when other users overload the server, so speed and response time should improve dramatically and should be more consistent
we also have no maximum ceiling now, as our usage is burstable

if you do encounter problems, let Matt know right away because he has more options for troubleshooting now (such as rebooting our virtual server)

Moodle chat now works (insofar as Moodle chat works)

Matt also noted that when you use FTP on Dreamhost, make sure you’re using your domain name (eg,, rather than a server name

5. Meeting room resources in Outlook (Sherri)

coming soon – we’ll be implementing the ability to book meeting rooms in Outlook
just have to get this set up and will then send out a tech tip about it

6. Keeping up with developments
Blog w/RSS Feed –
Wikis –;

15 May 08 Website Redesign Podcast

Billie Peterson-Lugo, Chair, ALA Website Advisory Committee
Michelle Frisque, Past Chair, ALA Website Advisory Committee, LITA Board Member, and LITA President-Elect
Karen Muller, ALA Librarian and Chair, ALA Web Editorial Board

The new ALA website will take a huge step in visual appeal and usability when it debuts at ALA’s Annual Conference next month. In this Website Redesign Podcast, Billie Peterson-Lugo and Michelle Frisque are interviewed by Karen Muller about their connections to the ALA site and the redesign. They discuss the process that was followed to perform the Website Usability Study, including contributions from the ALA Website Advisory Committee, which ultimately led to new information architecture and graphical design.

Program Length
13:58; 12.7 MB

27 Feb 07 Web Editorial Board Updates – February 2007

The usability assessment (UA) was completed in November and a retreat to discuss the results and determine next steps was held in December. We have since contracted with UserWorks for completion of several of the recommendations from the UA, including a card sort and terminology prioritization exercise, as well as a rough draft of an information architecture for the site. Wireframes will debut at Annual Conference in Washington, DC, this summer. A longer-term proposal for a complete redesign of the website is being reviewed. The Web Editorial Board has also created three cross-unit working groups to work on high-priority improvements to the current site, such as Education and Careers, getting involved in ALA, and Awards and Scholarships. A week-long web clean-up project is being planned for April. The group is also working on implementing a new “skin” for the ALA home page to resolve an issue with weekly spotlights falling “below the fold.”

01 Dec 06 Web Editorial Board Updates – November 2006

In November, the Web Editorial Board heard from Sam Florio, Online Marketing Manager in Publishing, about search engine optimization techniques he uses to attract more viewers to ALA’s e-commerce sites. The WEB will implement Sam’s techniques across the website by including proper tagging and titling in Collage training classes.

31 Oct 06 Web Editorial Board Updates – October 2006

The Web Editorial Board is proposing a “web retreat” to develop plans for the continual upgrade of the website. Plans are proceeding for a member “landing page” that will draw together sites and content of interest to members only, perhaps using an upgraded Online Communities login page as the entry point.

28 Sep 06 Web Editorial Board Updates – September 2006

The WEB is planning a half-day session on coordinating web content management for ALA staff. The group looked at known projects under development, and saw the need for greater cooperation and coordination throughout the association.

05 Sep 06 Web Editorial Board Updates – February 2006

February 2006

A “spot check” of messages for the weeks of January 30 – February 3 and February 6 – 10 showed almost equal numbers of messages in several broad categories:

Broken or missing Links: 12

(e.g., “the graphic on this page is missing…”)

Suggestions for content: 12
(e.g., “I’d like to suggest a link to my page…”)

Suggestions for improvement: 11
(e.g., “I’m looking for a list of ALL Newberry winners…”)

User Interface problems: 13
(e.g., “I’ve requested that my password be emailed, but it never arrives…”)

Other: 8
(e.g., “I would hope that ALA would file a “Friend of the Court” letter for Google…”)

Mail to the feedback and webmaster accounts is “triaged” daily in ITTS. Where messages can be linked to a specific unit, they are sent to the web content manager for that unit by cc’ing the response to the sender. Many requests for general information are referred to the Library. Customer service issues are sent to the Member and Customer Services Center. Messages regarding problems with systems or content under ITTS control are fixed as quickly as possible and the sender is notified (if they have so requested and have given us a valid email address to which to respond).

Because these addresses (feedback and webmaster) receive so much spam, we are developing a plan to accept input through an HTML form on the website. (Many organizations – NPR is an example – have begun accepting only form-based input as a way of reducing spam.) The form will deposit message content into a database where it can be analyzed on a regular basis to help guide improvements to our systems.

05 Sep 06 Web Editorial Board Updates – March 2006

March 2006

The Web Editorial Board is moving forward on plans for a usability assessment of the ALA website. Rob Carlson has begun drafting an RFP for the testing. The usability assessment will lead to redesign recommendations that we will implement as resources become available.

05 Sep 06 Web Editorial Board Updates – April 2006

An RFP for usability assessment was drafted and reviewed by the Website Advisory Committee. Their recommendations have been incorporated into the RFP. It will begin distribution May 1.