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!

Friday, November 1, 2019

ExLibris Initiatives, ILLiad in Primo, and Windows 7

Another week winding down, this time finishing the week in Portland in a meeting with ExLibris and the Alliance. I was invited to attend the meeting on the initiatives by Lori Hildebrandt in charge of Resource Sharing. I currently do not do a lot with Resource Sharing, but I have a lot of knowledge of our history with ExLibris in Resource Sharing. It also worked out very well with my football officiating, as I was assigned a game in Colton which is just south of Portland, so I can easily make it by game time. ExLibris was also willing to at least make a request by us, to look at removing one they had suggested for one we felt was more important.

The second item this week was finishing up installing the ILLiad Primo integration that Lewis & Clark developed. Since I was looking at our ILLiad API last week to try and track down other issues for Liz, I decided to grab the code from Jeremy and update it for our instance of Alma and Illiad. Now in place, it allows users to see their outstanding requests, and to directly see their articles.

Our campus is phasing out all of our Windows 7 machines, and we currently have about 10 still in use. For most of our machines, upgrading to Windows 10 is not going to be an issue, just an issue with reinstalling the software on the systems. So I have begun looking at all of our software on those specific machines, and unfortunately, we have two software packages that only will run on Windows 7. We currently have one machine which is non-networked which may have to be the landing zome for one of these programs which may not require network access to run, but one of the programs definitely is still going to be a hot topic issue come January.

Friday, October 25, 2019

CSS Bullets libguides, ILLiad, Facebook App

Well, a busy week as I finally got around to doing a couple things I should have done a long time ago. First, we have not had ordered list display properly in libguides since we brought over the campus-style sheets for the look and feel.

What I would run into, when I would display the bullets, is a double bullet in our regular lists, and then in the book lists, you would get a bullet but the object in the list like a book would be pushed to the next line. Finally got the single bullets correct, but the issue with pushing down content in a new div element still existed.

So I needed to isolate the book list ul li combinations, I was able to do that. But once I got that figured out, it turns out there are like three other lists like these ones for web sites, and another for RSS feeds. Hopefully, I'm not missing any other lists. I think I have them all fixed with the following CSS additions.

/ ** Bulleted List Cleanup **/
 .s-lg-col-boxes ul li {
    -webkit-margin-before: 1em;
    -webkit-margin-after: 1em;
    -webkit-margin-start: 0px;
    -webkit-margin-end: 0px;
    -webkit-padding-start: 8px;   
.s-lg-col-boxes ul>li:before {
   content: '\2022';
    display: inline-block;
    color: #c0ac7e;
    font-size: 1.5em;
    vertical-align: middle;
    margin: 0 .2em 0 0;
    line-height: .9;
   position: relative;
    top: -2px;
ul.s-lg-link-list.s-lg-link-list-5 li:before {
     display: none; 
ul.s-lg-link-list.s-lg-link-list-2 li:before {
     display: none; 
ul.s-lg-rss-list li:before {
     display: none; 

While working on this issue, I also had a staff member working with ILLiad software to send ILL articles out to other libraries using a tool called Odyssey. What is really weird is that it takes like 2-3 minutes to send the article, when in the past it was pretty much just automatic. Nothing has really changed other than we did have her desktop re-imaged and had to reinstall the software. So it definitely seems like a Windows issue, and we are still working on a solution. One thought I'm going to have her try is to first open the article in Adobe Acrobat, and then have her try and send it.  

Finally, I have been going back and forth with Facebook over our app which we use to display our library posts on our main page. So it's really not an app, but just a feature on our website. It's a feature if it was not available would not break our hearts, but well try to jump through their hoops, as they tell us how we can access the posts. The one bright thing from this is I got to learn how to use QuickTime on the mac to create a screencast, it's very straightforward and puts it in a .mov file format so it can be submitted to Facebook. Update our Facebook app which needed manage pages has been approved.

Friday, October 18, 2019

Logs, Customizations, and Omeka

Challenging week, and I'm not sure my fix is in place yet, but it seems like it could be the cause of my current challenge with ILLiad. So are incoming borrowing requests on ILLiad, coming in on Article Exchange were not automatically processing when they came in. So I was thinking all kinds of different things with a recent server move, and after struggling with it for a couple days, I remembered that there are some great logs on the ILLiad server.

I then found this:

2019-10-17 09:10:11,502 [29] INFO AtlasSystems.ILLiad.DomainLogic.Sites - Adding ILL as parent site (Request ID: e65ad5e2-c52f-467b-a752-fccf156bd81e)
2019-10-17 09:10:11,502 [29] WARN AtlasSystems.ILLiad.DomainLogic.Sites - Found empty or NULL NVTGC value (Request ID: e65ad5e2-c52f-467b-a752-fccf156bd81e)
2019-10-17 09:10:11,502 [29] INFO AtlasSystems.ILLiad.DomainLogic.Templates.Notification.NotificationTemplateService - Retrieving Borrowing Electronic Delivery template for site ILL. (Request ID: e65ad5e2-c52f-467b-a752-fccf156bd81e)
2019-10-17 09:10:11,502 [29] INFO AtlasSystems.ILLiad.DomainLogic.Sites - Adding ILL as parent site (Request ID: e65ad5e2-c52f-467b-a752-fccf156bd81e)
2019-10-17 09:10:11,518 [29] WARN AtlasSystems.ILLiad.DomainLogic.Sites - Found empty or NULL NVTGC value (Request ID: e65ad5e2-c52f-467b-a752-fccf156bd81e

So I decided to look for "Found empty or NULL NVTGC value", and was lucky enough to find this document from Atlas on when you have just one ILLiad server to use this on your new user form:

<input type="hidden" name="NVTGC" value="ILL">

and sure enough it was on my previous form, and I had failed to bring over the customization when we customized the user registration form. There were about 30 people who have registered since we updated the form, and Liz was able to easily identify those folks and update them. So note to self, if you have customized something in the past make sure you carry your customizations forward.

Finally had an Omeka session that seemed to go rather well. I walked the students through the presentation until I got to the actual steps of creating collections, items, and exhibits. I then would just go over each of the slides as I had already demonstrated the steps. I then had handouts for the students to use, and they went about creating their collections, items, and exhibits. Both the instructor and I both agreed Omeka is really something that you just have to use to get the hang of it, and it seemed like a very productive session.