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We're excited to announce that you can now search the 800+ awards listed in the Financial Assistance for Library & Information Studies (FALIS) Directory in the Opportunities Exchange in ALA Connect.

Meeting requests are like Doodle polls that let you figure out the best time for everyone in your group to meet. Connect meeting requests also have the added feature of letting you automatically create a Connect calendar event based on the times of your poll. And as always, email notifications are automatic so you don't have to go through the separate steps of emailing everyone a link to the form or the event.

Here's a walkthrough of the process.

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Discussion Midwinter 2011 Conference Scheduler Report

by Jenny Levine (staff) on Mon, Jan 31, 2011 at 10:52 am

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 http://connect.ala.org/node/128778.

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

Discussion Conference Scheduler Update

by Jenny Levine (staff) on Wed, Jan 5, 2011 at 12:25 pm

As you might guess, we saw a surge of usage on Monday (January 3) when many (most?) attendees started creating their schedules for Midwinter. In fact, there were so many simultaneous users that the server got bogged down again and pageloads were pretty slow.

As you might guess, we saw a surge of usage on Monday (January 3) when many (most?) attendees started creating their schedules for Midwinter. In fact, there were so many simultaneous users that the server got bogged down again and pageloads were pretty slow.

The reason for this is that everyone's trying to load all 1,137 sessions in the "all sessions" view, along with their recommendations, priorities, and the status of the "add/added" button on every session. Even though Connect is running on a brand new server with dual Intel processors, faster hard drives, and 16GB of RAM, that's still a lot for it to try to do while also maintaining the rest of Connect's group-based services (which are also seeing heavier usage because of Midwinter).

In order to speed things up so that attendees could create schedules, we ended up having to disable the "add/added" button, priority icons, and recommendation stars on the browse/search pages that list sessions. They still appear on the "my schedule" and "my recommended sessions" pages, but you'll have to go to an individual session to add or prioritize it, as well as change the priority on it. I'm really sorry we had to do this - it's killing me - but we couldn't make major changes to the code and the interface this close to Midwinter and guarantee that no bugs would creep up.

Since we know Annual will have hundreds more sessions and probably three times as many users, we're planning some major infrastructure upgrades for this spring so that this doesn't happen again.

Please let me know if you have questions about how to do something in the Scheduler.

Sorry,
Jenny

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Discussion Make your Connect Calendar update your Facebook Page calendar, Google calendar, etc

by David Vess on Tue, Nov 30, 2010 at 01:04 pm

Hi Kids,

Anyone out there have experience with this? I'm looking at the GLBTRT's Connect calendar. I was hoping there would be an .ics file I could point the nifty FaceBook tool, "iCalendar to Event" to, but there is only an RSS feed.

iCalendar to Event:

GLBTRT Connect Calendar feed:

Since the Connect Cal feed appears to not be in an xml calendar format/standard , I'm not sure how to ever smoothly import this info in a calender like FB Events Cal or even Google Cal.

Hi Kids,

Anyone out there have experience with this? I'm looking at the GLBTRT's Connect calendar. I was hoping there would be an .ics file I could point the nifty FaceBook tool, "iCalendar to Event" to, but there is only an RSS feed.

iCalendar to Event:
<>< />

GLBTRT Connect Calendar feed:
<>< />

Since the Connect Cal feed appears to not be in an xml calendar format/standard , I'm not sure how to ever smoothly import this info in a calender like FB Events Cal or even Google Cal.

The idea is to enter info into the ALA Connect Cal and then have the Events info populate to our FB Page Events tab.

I'm prolly missing something . .

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Discussion How to Set Up Categories (Subject Headings) for Your Group

by Jenny Levine (staff) on Fri, Nov 19, 2010 at 10:33 am

If you want to add some organization to your group's work, you can create subject headings just for your group and classify any new content in those headings. I'm going to use the terms "categories," "topics," and "subject headings" interchangeably here, but in the end they all mean the same thing. Also, these instructions hold true for official ALA working groups and member-created communities.

To see what group categories looks like, check out the right-hand column of the Help community.

If you want to add some organization to your group's work, you can create subject headings just for your group and classify any new content in those headings. I'm going to use the terms "categories," "topics," and "subject headings" interchangeably here, but in the end they all mean the same thing. Also, these instructions hold true for official ALA working groups and member-created communities.

To see what group categories looks like, check out the right-hand column of the Help community.

Note that only a group admin can create categories, but anyone in the group can view the subject headings and attach them to content as they create it.

Admins: How to Create Categories

  1. Go to your group's home page. If you're an admin, you'll see a "Categories" tab in the middle of the page. Click on it to begin creating your group's subject headings.
     
  2. Click on "Add vocabulary." (This is Drupal's term for categories, and we'll only use it here on this form; sorry for the confusion.) Think of the "vocabulary" as being LCSH Subject Headings or Dewey; this is the name of your subject headings, not the headings themselves.

     
     

  3. Enter the name of your vocabulary/categories. Whatever you type here will be the name above the headings your users see, so make it something descriptive (eg, "Your Awesome Group's Subject Headings"). Remember, this is where you name your list, not the individual terms that will make up your list.

     

  4. You can enter a description if you'd like, but it's completely optional. Same thing with the "help text."
     
  5. You probably want these subject headings to apply to all of the content in your group, so we suggest checking all of the boxes under "content types." It's up to you, though, to decide if there are content types you don't want your group's members assigning to these topics.


     

  6. We recommend not checking the "tags" box at this time. In the future, we hope to make more use of tags, but right now you probably want a set list that everyone choose from, rather than a freeform box that members can type anything into.


     

  7. If you think your members will be posting content into multiple subjects, be sure to check the "multiple select" box. Otherwise, your users will only be able to pick one subject heading from your list.


     

  8. It's up to you if you want to check the "required" box, but we recommend against it. There's a good chance that someone will want to post something that doesn't fall into one of your subject headings, but they'll have to pick one if you check the "required" box.


     

  9. Don't worry about the weight for now. No one likes to talk about their weight.
     
  10. Click "save" to create your vocabulary.

     
  11. Now it's time to start adding the actual terms that will make up your subject headings. On the "categories" page, you should see your newly-created vocabulary with options for "edit vocabulary," "list terms," and "add terms." Go ahead and click on "add terms."


     

  12. Type in your first subject heading. You can enter a description if you'd like, but it's completely optional.


     

  13. If you've already entered other terms and want to make the new one a child of a parent term, click on the "advanced options" menu in order to bring up more options.

    If you want to make this term a child, choose a "parent" term from the "parents" list. If you aren't worried about parent-child terms, just skip ahead and click on the "save" button.


     

  14. Don't worry about the "related terms" or "weight" at this point. Go ahead and click on the "save" button to add this subject heading to your list.
     
  15. Keep adding terms until you're done.
     
  16. You're done. Now when you add content to your group, you should see a new list of subject headings towards the top of the page. Whenever you add the first content to a subject heading, the heading will magically appear in your group's right-hand column. Clicking on a subject heading will take users to a list of all of the content that is classified under that heading.

Make sense? Questions? Let us know either way.

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Discussion New Feature: Draft Mode

by Jenny Levine (staff) on Fri, Oct 1, 2010 at 08:56 am

We've implemented another much-requested feature - draft mode! Now when you're writing content, you can save it in a draft form without sending out automatic notifications to the whole group before it's ready. Here's how it works.

We've implemented another much-requested feature - draft mode! Now when you're writing content, you can save it in a draft form without sending out automatic notifications to the whole group before it's ready. Here's how it works.

  1. Write your content as you normally would. You'll be able to save a draft for a post, online doc, or discussion.
  2. When you're ready to save your draft, scroll down to the "Publishing options" section and click on the phrase to open it.

  3. Uncheck the "Published" box.

  4. Click on the "Submit" button.

You can now go back and edit this content later, and when you're ready to publish it, just come back to the "Publishing options" section, check the "Published" box, and click on "Submit."

To find your unpublished (draft) content, go to your profile, click on the "Posts" tab, and then follow the link to your "Unpublished posts."

 

Remember that you have to go back and check that "Published" box in order for everyone else to see your content. If others tell you they never got an email notification or they can't see the content in the group, it might still be in draft mode.

We hope you like this new feature and that it cuts down on the number of emails that go out for minor corrections since you don't have to publish something until it's truly ready now. Please let us know if you run into any problems using it.

 

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Discussion Connect Chat Upgraded

by Jenny Levine (staff) on Thu, Sep 23, 2010 at 01:51 pm

We soft launched the upgraded chat module in Connect a few weeks ago and wanted to see how it did after testing proved it was more stable than previous updates. I'm happy to report "so far, so good."

So this is the official announcement that we think we've improved chat overall in Connect. Here are some reasons why:

We soft launched the upgraded chat module in Connect a few weeks ago and wanted to see how it did after testing proved it was more stable than previous updates. I'm happy to report "so far, so good."

So this is the official announcement that we think we've improved chat overall in Connect. Here are some reasons why:

  • Hopefully, the biggest improvement will be better stability, and the random problem a few users experienced getting kicked out of a chat will decrease. Since we don't know what caused the problem in the first place, we can't really say the upgrade will solve it, but the newer code might help overall. If you or someone in your group still experiences the problem, please let us know.
  • One of the really nice, new features is that you can now pop the chat session out into a new window so that you can still browse in the old window without affecting the chat. When you're in a chat session, you'll see a link next to your name in the middle of the screen that says "[View in popout]" specifically for this purpose.

    In fact, we think this might have been one of the problems related to folks getting kicked out of chats. In some instances, if a person clicked on a link in the chat or elsewhere on the page, they'd leave the page, inadvertently leaving the chat. With this new feature, you can still click around in the original browser window without leaving  the chat once you've "popped it out" into its own window.

  • For accessibility purposes, we also took the time to add a new checkbox on the screen that pauses the autoscrolling in the chat window. Sometimes the text flies fast and furious, and it can be difficult to read it all before it's gone off the screen. If this is happening to you, just check that box to pause the window, catch up on the conversation, and then un-check the box to restart the scrolling. Like curb cuts and high contrast text on web pages, this addition should help everybody, not just users with accessibility issues.

  • If you look at the bottom of the box where you type your text, you'll see three short lines stacked vertically. This is an indicator that you can drag the bottom of the box downwards in order to make it bigger. If you find that you're consistently typing a lot of content into that box and the words scroll off to the side so you can't see the whole sentence, you can now drag that bar down to make the box bigger in order to see all of the text. Once you change the size of the box, it should stay that way until you leave the chat.

  • You shouldn't run into problems with counting how many characters you can type anymore, either (hooray!). I still wouldn't type an essay at once, though, since it makes it difficult for others to read the whole thing before it scrolls off the screen.
  • There are now separate buttons for archiving chats and deleting them. You no longer have to archive a chat first in order to delete it. (Reminder: archiving a chat just means it's closed and no one can join it anymore.)

 Please let us know if you have questions about any of this or if you encounter any problems with the chat feature.

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Discussion A Gaggle of Connect Enhancements

by Jenny Levine (staff) on Tue, Sep 7, 2010 at 09:00 am

As we head into the fall, when we’ll be working on some major projects (file repositories, the conference scheduler), we took some time in August to make some minor improvements across the site. You’ve been requesting some of these for several months, so we hope they enhance your Connect experience.

As we head into the fall, when we’ll be working on some major projects (file repositories, the conference scheduler), we took some time in August to make some minor improvements across the site. You’ve been requesting some of these for several months, so we hope they enhance your Connect experience.

  1. Possibly the biggest change we made was to implement HTML email in order to make it easier to read notifications from the site. This means styles will be preserved (bold, italics, lists), and the text won’t be just blocks of Times New Roman words.
  2. Last year we built a statistics module that gave us more granular information than Google Analytics. You can see some screenshots of it at http://www.flickr.com/photos/alastaff/sets/72157622789077553/, but basically it tells us more about the users logging in, rather than just the top pages.For some reason, when we began counting how many members from each division are logging in, we didn’t create a similar report for round tables. This glaring omission has now been rectified. When we do the biannual update in October to analyze the latest statistics, we’ll include recent round table numbers for the first time. In addition, a round table’s staff liaison can look up these statistics at any time.

    round table statistics

  3. Although we’ll be building a module for group-based repositories this fall, we know it can be a pain to download a bunch of attachments so in the interim, we installed the PCLZip module that lets you download all attachments as a single zip file. Much more convenient. Of course, if you don't like zip files, you can still download each attachment separately.

    download all attachments at once

  4. You’ll now receive an email notification when someone friends you on the site. Sorry this took so long to implement.

    email notifications when someone friends you

  5. You can now attach files to comments. This should work on any type of content that offers commenting (posts, online docs, calendar events, polls, and discussions).

    attaching files to comments

  6. In July, we added the ability for you to “compare versions” of online documents so that you could see exactly which text had been revised. In August, we added a direct link to the revisions page in the email notifications so that you can quickly go straight to the page on the site to see what changed.

    direct link to revisions

  7. All of our working groups (committees, task forces, etc.) and dues-based groups (divisions, round tables, sections) have rosters that synchronize automatically with our member database, saving staff a ton of time. In the past, staff liaisons and member chairs were able to edit a working group’s properties and could change the status of the group from “closed” (synchronizing) to “open,” thinking anyone could now join the group. This caused some confusion, because users added to a roster only in Connect and not in our member database would lose that affiliation the next time they logged in. The database would tell Connect the person isn’t affiliated with the group, so Connect would remove them. This happened enough times that we’ve hidden this option from view for those working groups. Hopefully this will clear up the confusion.

  8. We added some extra fields to the Opportunities Exchange that will allow our awesome Office for Human Resource Development & Recruitment staff to begin adding the thousands of opportunities available in the Financial Assistance for Library & Information Studies (FALIS) Directory so that they’re searchable and shareable.
  9. We’re excited to announce that you can now view position titles on working group rosters. Now you can tell what each person’s role is in the group when there’s a specific title noted for them in our member database. This is especially helpful on something like the Website Advisory Committee roster, where each person represents a different constituency.

    position titles on working group rosters

  10. And saving big news for last to see if you read down this far, we’ve upgraded the chat module without any loss of archives. There’s no guarantee this new version will solve the problem a few users experienced getting kicked out of chats, but it worked well in testing and we’re hopeful it will resolve things.I’ll do a separate post about the upgrade in order to provide more details, but while we were working on the chat module, we also added a checkbox you can use to “pause autoscrolling” in case the conversation is going by too quickly for you to read. We did this primarily for accessibility purposes, but we think it can help everyone (as is so often true with accessibility improvements in general).

Whew! We’re constantly trying to improve the site, and we have a couple more things in this month's pipeline, but let us know how these enhancements work (or don’t work) for you. And as always, additional suggestions are always welcome.

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Discussion Categories

by Douglas Cook on Thu, Aug 6, 2009 at 10:41 am

I would like to use the "Categories" tab to try to organize my committee's workspace.  I created several categories but don't know what to do with them next.  I want to, for example, organize Online Docs by type, i.e. Policies, Publication Requests, etc.  Is there an explanation anywhere of this functionality?

Thanks in advance

Doug

Chair, EBSS Publications Committee

Discussion How to Set Your Email Preferences in ALA Connect

by Jenny Levine (staff) on Tue, Sep 15, 2009 at 10:02 am

If you turn on email notices from ALA Connect, you'll receive a message every time someone posts new content to one of your ALA groups or communities. By default, you will not receive any emails from ALA Connect until you edit your profile to receive email and enable this option for each group from which you want to receive email.

If you turn on email notices from ALA Connect, you'll receive a message every time someone posts new content to one of your ALA groups or communities. By default, you will not receive any emails from ALA Connect until you edit your profile to receive email and enable this option for each group from which you want to receive email.

To edit your profile, log in to ALA Connect and follow the link in the left-hand column to "My profile." Then click on the "Subscriptions" tab. (Note that you can also get to this screen by clicking on the "Subscriptions" link in the right-hand column in any Connect group of which you are a member.)

From this screen, you can check the "status" box for any group you'd like to receive email from. To choose all groups, check the box at the top.

Once you've checked all of the appropriate boxes, scroll down and click on the "Subscribe" button.

You can set the frequency of the emails you receive by returning to the "Edit" tab on your profile. Scroll to the bottom of the screen, where you can choose from the following options:

  • Immediately
  • Every hour
  • Twice a day
  • Daily
  • Weekly

You can also take advantage of "vacation mode" to temporarily disable all of your email notices while you're gone by using the "vacation mode" button. Be sure to come back and enable your subscriptions, though, or else you won't receive new notices from Connect.

By default, you'll be subscribed to email from new groups you join in Connect. To change this option so that you don't receive email from new groups you join, un-check the box in the "Email Notifications" section.

Be sure to click on the "Save" button at the bottom of the page if you make any changes to your profile.

The "view and edit your group email subscriptions" link will take you to your "Subscriptions" tab.

If you have any questions about this process, feel free to leave a comment or use the contact us form.

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Online Doc Frequently Asked Questions about Privacy in ALA Connect

by ALAConnect Helpdesk (staff) on Wed, May 19, 2010 at 10:39 am
  1. Can ALA members opt out of appearing in ALA Connect?
    Yes. On the ALA website, members have the ability to set a preference to not appear at all in ALA Connect. Members who do this will not appear in a search of the site but will also not have a login to access protected content on Connect.

     

  1. Can ALA members opt out of appearing in ALA Connect?
    Yes. On the ALA website, members have the ability to set a preference to not appear at all in ALA Connect. Members who do this will not appear in a search of the site but will also not have a login to access protected content on Connect.

     

  2. Who can see my contact information in ALA Connect?
    Only other members you have manually marked as a part of your network can see your phone number and email address. No other contact information is displayed to anyone, whether they're a member or not.

     

  3. What information appears about ALA members to the public?
    Only a member's name, the default ALA Connect profile picture, and links to recent public posts appear to anyone who has not logged in (eg, the public). If a member chooses to add a personalized picture, that picture will display to the public. If a member does not post any public content to ALA Connect, no links to recent posts will appear to the public.

    If you don't want your  name to appear in a public search, you should update your membership profile on the ALA website and check the preference to exclude yourself from appearing in ALA Connect. Note that this means you won't be able to log in to Connect, because we can't hide you while also letting you participate.

     

  4. What information about ALA members appears to other members?
    In addition to the full name, default profile picture, and links to public posts, an ALA member who is logged in can also see another member's organization, job title, ALA affiliations (committees, communities, divisions, round tables, and sections), and any additional information added by the first person. In other words, other members can see everything you see on your profile, except your email preferences and contact information.

     

  5. Can I change which information displays to the public?
    You can't change what appears to the public, because your name, the default profile picture, and a list of your public posts will always appear to anyone who is not logged in. However, if you don't upload a personalized picture, and you don't post any content marked "public," then only your name and default picture will be viewable by the public.

    Alternatively, you can choose not to appear in Connect at all by setting the "do not include me in ALA Connect" preference in your membership profile. Note that this means you won't be able to log in to Connect, because we can't hide you while also letting you participate. Note that this means you won't be able to log in to Connect, because we can't hide you while also letting you participate.

     

  6. Can I change which information displays to other members?
    There are two pieces of information on your profile that you can hide from other members. The first is the link that lets other members send you an email message (don't worry - they don't see your email address). You can hide this link by unchecking the "Personal contact form" box in the "Contact settings" block when you edit your profile.

    The second thing you can change is to hide your affiliation with an ALA community, division, round table, or section. To do this, go to the home page of the group with which you want to hide your affiliation and click on the "My community settings" link in the right-hand column. Then check the box to "Hide my membership to this group from others" and click on the "Submit" button. Doing this means the group will NOT show up on your profile, and you will not appear on the group's membership list.

    The one exception to this option is that you cannot hide your affiliation with an official ALA committee. This is because members cannot serve anonymously on ALA committees, as noted on the form all members receive when they accept ALA committee appointments.

     

  7. Can I hide one of my ALA affiliations from appearing on my profile?
    You can hide your affiliation with an ALA community, division, round table, or section. To do this, go to the home page of the group with which you want to hide your affiliation and click on the "My community settings" link in the right-hand column. Then check the box to "Hide my membership to this group from others" and click on the "Submit" button. Doing this means the group will NOT show up on your profile, and you will not appear on the group's membership list.

    The one exception to this option is that you cannot hide your affiliation with an official ALA committee. This is because members cannot serve anonymously on ALA committees, as noted on the form all members receive when they accept ALA committee appointments.

     

  8. Can I hide my participation on an ALA committee?
    No, you cannot hide your affiliation with an official ALA committee. This is because members cannot serve anonymously on ALA committees, as noted on the form all members receive when they accept ALA committee appointments.

     

  9. Who can send me messages through ALA Connect?
    By default, anyone logged in to Connect can send you messages through the site by clicking on the "Send [your name] a message." They won't see your email address, and they can't automate sending you messages.

    All ALA Connect participants must adhere to the user guidelines, which include common sense use of the "send email to..." feature. If you feel another member is abusing this particular feature, please contact us.

     

  10. Can I turn off the "Send email to me" feature on my profile?
    Yes, you can turn off the "Send email to me" feature by unchecking the "Personal contact form" box in the "Contact settings" block when you edit your profile.

     

  11. Don't see your question listed here? Contact us for an answer.
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