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Sherri Vanyek (non-member)'s picture

ITTS Report to WAC, January 2014

1.0 ALA Web-Related

1.1 Registration and Housing Application
Our registration vendor, CompuSystems (CSI), has addressed our accessibility issues in their software. We will be performing registration and accessibility testing in January 2014 for Annual registration and housing

1.2 Merged Profile Implementation
We’re still working on a project that will make it possible to merge the profiles from ALA Connect and the member profiles available on ala.org into one master profile, available for editing from either location, using Shibboleth for single sign-on. The product we are configuring for profile display and editing is produced by Computer System Innovations (also known as CSI). We hope to launch the new profile system in April.  This project was scheduled to launch earlier, but has experienced several delays due to lack of staff resources. It is a precursor required before we can begin work on the new ecommerce system.

1.3 Plan & Implement Solr Integration
Our Google Mini Search Appliance in use on ala.org was no longer supported by Google, so we replaced it on December 19, 2013, with Apache Solr Search, an open source search engine. The initial implementation includes search facets such as specialty content types, subject headings, and more. A significant difference between the old system and this one is that each top level directory of ALA (this includes all division and round table sites) now have their own search collections. The first search always searches only the directory and subdirectories of the user’s starting point. After that, users can choose to expand their search to all of ala.org or use facets to further narrow their results. Search Tips for the new system are available at http://www.ala.org/support/searchinfo.

The second phase of the Solr integration will make it possible for users to search the newly-merged master profiles, which will become our online Member Directory (and will also include non-members the way Connect does now). Search and display options for non-members will be far more restricted than for members.  The third phase will include federated and faceted search for ALA Connect. Due to resource limitations, we are not currently providing completion dates for future phases.

1.4 Review of Recent Web Improvements
Drupal Core was updated in December to version 7.24 in response to known security vulnerabilities that included cross-site scripting and SQL injection attacks.

We updated a module in December that will make it possible for us to roll out a global calendar that can be filtered by event type, unit, etc.

The Honeypot module was implemented on I Love Libraries to provide behind the scenes protection from Spambots.

Several projects for improvements to the listing page and online learning content types are still in-process.

1.5 New Event Management System
We worked with the new vendor throughout June and July to set up the new system, but by August it was clear that they couldn’t meet all of the requirements, so the contract was ended mutually by both parties. While ALA discusses simplifying the event management process and explores options for a new vendor, Conference Services will continue to use the previous company, ActiveEvents, for two years. We plan to try again to implement a new system in August 2015 for the 2016 Midwinter Meeting. More details are available in a blog post on ALA Marginalia (http://discuss.ala.org/marginalia/2013/09/04/the-elusive-ala-event-management-system-and-why-we-have-to-make-this-process-better/).

1.6 ALA Connect
We’ve been investigating an issue with the committee roster synchronization from iMIS to Connect, and we think we’ve found the problem. However, ITTS resources won’t be available to resolve it until later in the next fiscal year. In the meantime, it’s good to periodically check your Connect rosters to make sure they match what’s in iMIS.

After running a poll in April, we used the feedback to update the templates for Connect notifications to reduce the amount of template text, make the notifications easier to scan and read, and better set the body of text off from the header and footer information. These changes were then also applied to digest notifications. We’ve continued to tweak the improvements (font size, further reducing footer text), and feedback so far has been very positive.

The new “Meeting Request” module is almost ready, pending a last round of feedback  and implementation of a popup “new feature” balloon in the Connect interface. We expect it to go live in February.

We’re also working with ALA’s Office for Human Resource and Development (HRDR) to integrate the thousands of grant, scholarship, and other awards from the FALIS Directory (http://www.ala.org/educationcareers/education/financialassistance/) into Connect’s Opportunities Exchange. Data entry has begun, and we’re making changes in the code to accommodate the unique FALIS fields.

1.7 Blogs & Wikis
Several blog upgrades with Wordpress 3.8 being the most recent.

Several wiki upgrades with Mediawiki 1.22.0 being the most recent.

1.8 Moodle Courseware

Moodle migration has been postponed due to budgetary reasons and will be looked at again in 2014.

Dreamhost does not allow upgrading to the 2.x branch. While 1.x is still supported by Moodle, 2.x brings many new features to the table.

1.9 Dreamhost
All sites are migrated off of Dreamhost with the exception of wikis.ala.org and acrl.ala.org.

A few independent Drupal sites remain.

1.10 ALA Apple Developer
We had to renew our subscription this year and renew the certificates for the ACRL apps.

1.11 Shibboleth
Single sign-on is currently being implemented for Dspace.

Single sign-on was implemented for Eventscribe conference recordings.

1.12 RDA Listserv migration
RDA asked that their mailing list be moved to the in-house Sympa system. Since the list was hosted in a listserv system, the archives were converted to a format that Sympa could understand, then imported. The member list was also imported and the list continued to run with no interruption.

1.13 YALSA Badges
YALSA had a grant for a new project and wanted to host it in-house. After several calls with their developers, it was decided that our Drupal instance would not satisfy the requirements. The project was implemented on an existing Dreamhost server without iMIS integration.

2.0 Working with Stakeholder Groups

The member and student member blogs were shifted from American Libraries Magazine to the Membership area (ala.org/membership), while the Ask a Librarian blog was migrated to ala.org/tools.

The Development Office launched their Planned Giving microsite at Annual, at http://www.ala.org/plannedgiving.

We assisted with microsite (new area) and microsite initiative (separately themed portion of an existing area) creation. We helped ORS with LARKS, a grant funded initiative to bring together librarians and library researchers, located at http://www.ala.org/research/larks, ALCTS with ALCTS News at http://www.ala.org/alcts/news, and the Sustain RT site, at http://www.ala.org/sustainrt.

We also created and implemented the I Love Libraries site’s Declaration for the Rights of Libraries form, which uses Honeypot, a behind the scenes module that prevents spambots from filling out forms.

2.1 Web Management Group Report
The Web Management Group (WMG) is responsible for supporting ALA’s mission by developing the ALA website into a 21st century communications and marketing tool. The WMG consults with member groups and convenes staff task forces as needed. Follow the group at http://connect.ala.org/node/210519. The most recently convened subgroup is an Analytics & Search Engine Optimization group intended to begin developing channels and funnels in advance of the ecommerce implementation. The WMG has published an FAQ on Web Groups and Best Practices, available at http://connect.ala.org/node/210967. Work in progress includes the Website Strategic Objectives and Website Guidelines documents, which will be ready to distribute following Midwinter.

2.2 Social Media
In August, a plan was approved to create an internal team to manage ALA’s primary social media accounts on Facebook and Twitter and add a Google Plus presence. The team consists of eight staff members from Customer Service, ITTS, the Library, Membership Development, PIO, Publishing, and the Washington Office. In the future, we plan to add someone from Conference Services.

The team began coordinating posts in October and added Google Plus in December. Since then, engagement has risen dramatically on Facebook, the rate of followers on Twitter has doubled, and ALA now has more than 20,000 followers on Google Plus (where we appear on Google’s “Suggested User List”). We’ve also started an Instagram account that mirrors content to Facebook, Flickr, and sometimes Tumblr and Twitter.

ITTS is also working with Membership Development to integrate ALA presidents into our social media initiatives. Future campaigns will include Twitter chats, “day in the life” projects, and more visual posts.

2.3 Upcoming Division/Office Projects that Impact ITTS
We will be assisting ACRL in having the Assessment in Action: Academic Libraries and Student Success Team Action Learning Project website/searchable database priced by suitable vendors and with some of the site implementation if they choose to stay within our Drupal implementation.

We have been collaborating with the ALA Staff Online Learning Task Force on changes to the Online Learning template. The final changes have been agreed upon, and will be implemented following Midwinter Meeting.

Due to resource limitations, units are being asked to fill out the form at http://www.ala.org/support/res/projectrequest (only available to ALA staff) to have their project evaluated to determine whether it can be added to the queue.

3.0 2014 Upcoming Projects

3.1 Ecommerce System Implementation
We updated the RFP to include recent infrastructure changes as well as changes to the pricing rules and asked ten of the original vendors to update their responses. From that pool, we selected three semi-finalists, who will be asked to meet with stakeholders at ALA either in-person or virtually. We plan to schedule those meetings for early this spring so that we can make a final selection. The update to iMIS 20 will have to be completed before the ecommerce implementation begins.

3.2 Homepage Redesign, Responsive Theme & Mobile CSS
This project has been pushed back to fiscal 2015, so that resources can be focused on the iMIS 20 upgrade, profile project, and the ecommerce project during this fiscal year.

4.0 Training Highlights
New Sessions Offered

  • Outlook
  • Excel (Basics, Data Analysis, Mail-merge)
  • Adobe Connect,
  • iMIS
  • Moodle


  • Setup and training demo delivered for the CEU module for the Online Learning stakeholders
  • Several new IQA queries have been set up for Development , Membership & HRDR
  • New Self-Service reports are highlighted in training as well as user help sessions


  • Delivered a successful campaign to get users on board with Informz. 
  • 4 sessions offered; users from ALSC, ALCTS, LLAMA, LITA and other staff participated
  • We successfully converted a Mail Chimp template to Informz; instruction page/video is in development

Prophix Financial Reporting and Budgeting Software

We are in the sixth (6th) week of Prophix training/delivery; we continue to provide support for remote users during the session via Adobe Connect as well as login support and follow-up with users getting in to the new version of Prophix outside of the classes


  • Awards and Grants field map displaying where fields appear was added to theSupport site
  • Since July 2013, 25 users have received training and been granted rights to edit web pages
    • 18 users used self-paced option
    • 7 attended a live session

Emerging Leaders Explore ALA Connect

  • Two sessions were offered/delivered to the 70 Emerging Leaders for 2014. 
  • Great feedback from the attendees
  • The first of two recordings is already available

5.0 ITTS Organizational Changes

On July 17, 2013, two members of ITTS were let go due to budgetary constraints.

Jim Kanis’ career ranged from starting as a computer operator in 1969 to Manager of Operations.  As Manager of Operations, he lived through a number of major systems implementations and worked with staff around the building on many projects.

Jeff Dong was our Association Management System (AMS) Administrator.  He worked mostly on our iMIS Association Management System, Financial System, and SQL databases.

6.0 Technology Roadmap
Our Technology Roadmap is located on the ITTS blog at http://itts.ala.org/news/2014/01/16/ala-technology-roadmap/ and contains projects that are on the docket for the next four years.  We will continue to update the roadmap on the blog with the latest information on project schedules.

Please let us know if you have questions about any of these items.