Friday, June 5, 2020

Google Keep, EZproxy Database RSS Feed, and iMovie

Well, the first week of the summer without our co-workers is coming to a close, and I got to say it is eerily quiet here. Not that it is ever loud in the library, but there are only three of us working on a daily basis.
So, let's just say I can not way till they get back here in August. So what have I discovered since my last posting?

  1. Google Keep, wow how did I operate without this before. I can keep track of tasks, easily link Gmail to the Keep notes, and set reminders off of the notes in my Google calendar. An incredible tool for keeping track of your work especially if you integrate all three.

  2. This last week I cleaned up all of our OCLC EZproxy database stanzas, bringing them up to the most current version and moving almost all of them to the include file structure. The tricky part is knowing how to stay updated on changes that OCLC might make, and an "old school" tool to the rescue. I added a feed reader extension to my Chrome browser and subscribed to the RSS Feed for EZproxy updates. Actually worked out that as I began doing my updates I got alerts on two that had just changed.

  3. Finally, right as the pandemic hit and we had closed the library I noticed on a slack channel of librarians at other schools reaching out through videos to their students on social media just so they knew we are still at the library to help them with their research. It was the first time I used iMovie, and I was really surprised how easy it was to create a video with a nice introduction and closing credits. We posted this one on all of our social media outlets, and we also did one celebrating the 2020 graduates

Friday, March 20, 2020, Google Scholar, and Google Analytics

So I had the pleasure during this insane week to listen to Bram Luyten present on Open Repository usage statistics.

So Bram is with Atmire Open Repository, we use DSpace which Mike actually does some of the behind the scene for, and we have a big summer move planned to a new platform of DSpace.

Well, not sure what I would get out of this, but I ended up getting a really good tool for quizzes to use next year for GamePlan sessions and two other nuggets of knowledge.

1. Next year I want to try and use the quiz tool called Kahoot!, I think it would be a great evaluation tool to use at the end of a library instruction session.

2. If you have a specific item in your repository, say for us in the Academic Commons we have a number of articles from a law journal. So if you take the DSpace repository handle URL, you should be able to search just for that in Google Scholar to see if it is getting crawled.

Well, I tried this URL:, and it brought back nothing.

but I know this journal is being indexed by Google Scholar so I tried an article title search:

So this is something that I learned in the presentation, Google promises companies like HeinOnline that they will get top ranking for the metadata, and that is where the link goes to. If you choose the Versions option in the bottom corner, my newest find you can see Willamette's version listed, but the link to the item is:

So it's indexing the APIs, but not the permanent citation URL? That seems a bit backward, I'm going to add it to our systems meeting agenda on Monday morning.

3. In Google Analytics, by using the Full Referrer as a secondary dimension, I can get a good idea of the actual page where some is coming to our links from. I knew this before, but just have not had much use for it, if you do use if for a repository you might be able to tell an author as to who is linking to his/her works. So over the last week, here is where most of the people came to the library from. So one interesting tally I can see is 77 times that people chose the Databases A-Z link from the top menu in Primo. So definitely getting some folks that way.

Friday, January 31, 2020

COUNTER5, Shibboleth, and Marketing Pays Off...

Two topics dominated the work week for me this week.

  1. First was the move of many of our vendor accounts in Alma to COUNTER5 reports, I'm still not sure which ones exactly we are going to need, so I'm not requesting as many reports as I could be. It's also extremely frustrating when it looks like you have all the proper credentials and everything set up and you go to harvest the accounts and nothing works. This move is taking longer than I expected, and the number of vendors, who tell you what credentials you need, and you follow those to a tee, and they still fail, is really growing.
  2. Along with COUNTER5 this week has been more work on Shibboleth login for our database and journal vendors. Some work super smooth, others require more attributes than we currently release to the vendors. So my workflow has been, verify we have all of COUNTER4 for the last year, then I try and set up COUNTER5, if I have success, I then remove all the COUNTER4 jobs, and verify we have all the reports working as needed. Still not one-hundred percent on the COUNTER5 reports we will be needing.
  3. Finally, one side note. I was notified that a student had signed up for a Library Workshop, it was the first time that form was used and she had noticed our marketing in the library bathroom signage. Tells me that method may work, but she also told me she did not know the library offers this service. Tells me we need to do a better job of letting the students know the services available to them.

Friday, January 10, 2020

InCommon, Windows 7, and Alliance Work

Wow, being back from two-weeks of holiday vacation can leave you with a lot to work on. So this week three big topics.

  1. The first being our interest in InCommon, which we actually have been a member of for quite some time it's just the library was not really involved with our joining so some of the possible benefits that we might have gotten from InCommon, such as using SAML/Shibboleth authentication for SSO we have not realized. So now we are going through all of our 50 or so database vendors and seeing which we can possibly switch over to, and not have to run through EZproxy for off-campus access anymore. This should be a fun project. Well also be applying to a lot of the tools we use like Alma and Primo.
  2. One of the projects we were working with WITS our campus IT staff with over the winter break was upgrading or removing the final five Windows 7 machines that we have in the library. Unfortunately, we have three machines/software tools that are not going to be able to run on Windows 10. I have created workarounds with non-networked PCs for two of the systems (a micro printer and another for the bindery software), but Sara's CONTENTdm software may not have any place to live if that computer has to be on the network. As IT is not going to allow any Windows 7 machines. We will see what happens next week.
  3. Finally, Alliance work is picking up and along with the Central Analytics Work Group, I have also been doing some of the work for the Alma Release Testing Group. I'm just not certain however, how important is the work we are doing for it. It's great for me to go over all the new features in Alma, like being able to use COUNTER5, but I'm not sure how much use the documents we create get used.

Friday, November 22, 2019

Listservs, jQuery, Putting out a Fire

Three very odd things I ran across this week:

  1. So we got an email from a vendor informing us they were moving to https: and we needed to update our EZproxy stanzas accordingly. Well, like most systems folks, or maybe not, I took the addition to EZproxy, and added it to the config. Well on the EZproxy listserv, one person was smart enough to scan through all of the configurations and sure enough in one of the entries, the vendor had left out the "s" in the after the HTTP in the URL. A nice catch, that without the listserv post by that librarian, we probably would not have noticed for quite some time.
  2. I started looking a the way we could use and integrate some of the bootstrap features, Randall Sean Harrison has created here. One I jumped on that I really like is the accordion feature to hide content and only expand when you need to see it. Basically, his code builds all of the frameworks for you, and then you can paste into a CMS or system like libguides which is built on bootstrap. Well I put one it, and it worked great, and then I wanted to do an information tooltip one. But I could not get it to work, and as I started looking around this feature actually should have been already working in libguides. Well, since we were loading some of the campus javascript it was conflicting with the libguides javascript. Of course, no one ever knew or even tried to use the tooltip feature below. So it's interesting how one adventure, can lead you to into discovering you actually had more tools than you thought available.
  3.  Finally, to wrap up the week, we had a great lecture at Colloquium today by Luke Ettinger, on the research he is doing. However, the real excitement occurred walking back to the library. Coming across the millstream, we noticed one of the music secretaries on the side of the library putting out a small fire with a fire extinguisher. Some students were guessing, must have dumped some hot ashes in the area outside the 24-hour study room just by the stairs. I worked with a campus safety officer, bailing some water from out of the millstream to finish putting it out. A very odd way to end the week.

Friday, November 15, 2019

Open Source Publications, Collection Reports, Unpaywall

Well, another week is done and all sorts of fun.

  1.  I thought it might be a good idea to add a new collection for our Atkinson school of works created by their faculty and published in Open Source Publications. Web of Science is great for setting up alerts, as you can set an alert for Open Access titles and organization of the author Willamette.

    So I checked with our Atkinson liaison, and he loved the idea. So I made the collection, got it all set up. Populated it with the article, and all set to go but then I get well we never really officially said we would add this collection. Ugggh, other departments at the CLA level already have these types of collections. Let's highlight the work our faculty or doing, by making it easier for people to find.
  2. I created a couple of special collection reports for our humanities and fine arts librarian.  In doing it I got to use Analytics and I used the option to turn on local parameters for certain bib fields. So now in our instance of Analytics with ExLibris the following local parameters:

    Local Param 01 = 300
    Local Param 02 = 590
    Local Param 03 = 655

    It would be great if we could re-label those Local Param fields, but we'll just have to remember we have customized them. Documented in Confluence, but you know how that goes.
  3. A nice new feature in Alma, and very easy to turn on. It will now automatically show if the doi from an article matches a resource from Unpaywall. I was going to turn on a primo add on that Lewis & Clark wrote for the resolver which basically does this, but this is so much easier to turn on. Two sorts of odd things with the add on, unfortunately, you can't control how it opens. One method it only opens into a new tab, another method it opens in the same window. And unfortunately, if that is an HTTP resource, you get an error message as the https server is trying to serve HTTP content. So it still needs a little fine-tuning from ExLibris, but a very nice addition.

Error Reporting, Open Educational Resources, Comma to Column

So here are three lessons learned this week.

  1. Although something may appear like its working, there is always a slight possibility that it may not be. I was working on a PHP script that would export all of our librarian's instructions sessions from a MySQL database. It should have been pretty straight forward, but the code was older and I had not used it in a while. Well, I thought it was working as it did export the data, the only problem was there was a loop in the script that was continually writing to our error_log file. It's a good thing our web server was smart enough to shut it down, but not before it ate all the space up on our server. We had to throw out some very large error log files, but nothing super serious. Still not a bad idea to check in on your error log file once in a while when you are working on new coding.
  2. So during our Alliance systems meeting this week we had a great presentation from Heather White and Holly Wheeler both from Mount Hood Community College, they have been doing a lot of incredible work with Open Educational Resources (OER), and were great presenters. They come from the "technical services" side of the Alliance, but I felt they had a great topic and something that we on the systems side could learn about. They did not disappoint, and it reinforces the need for us to all work together across teams.
  3. This last nugget is sort of a no brainer. When you are trying to accomplish something new to you and sort of techy, always "Google" it first. So I had a list of attendees to a meeting all in paragraph form separated by commas. What I really want to do at our next Systems Open meeting is to give away two Starbucks cards in a random drawing using numbers by the names of the people, so if I had all the names in a spreadsheet column that would be easy to assign numbers to. Sure enough, there is a web site, that allows you to input a comma list, and have it all be in one column you can just paste into an Excel file. Major time saver!