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Sherri Vanyek (non-member)'s picture

2017 Annual Conference Report to WAC

1.0 ALA Web-Related

1.1 eCommerce for Join/Renew/Rejoin/Donate

Since January 1, 2017, the system has processed 10,350 dues and 721 donations. We have received several compliments on the new system. The Development Office reports that ALA has seen increased donations in response to their efforts, which are supported by the ease of use of the new system. In general, people seem to really like it. We are continuing to plan for refinements and extensions.

1.2 New eStore and eLearning Ecommerce System

Re-integration with ALA Publishing’s fulfillment vendor having been completed, ITTS has been working with our implementation vendor on building a new eStore as quickly as possible. Designs and development are nearing their milestones for completion. Key integrations with fulfillment vendors, Publishing’s eLearning providers, and ALA systems are currently being finalized. Testing, content migration and training will follow once we have achieved sufficient progress with development. 

The ALA-wide eLearning portion of the project will be accomplished as phases 2 and 3 of the eStore project—resulting in an integrated store that includes all eLearning events and products, with division offerings displayed both in their own exclusive areas and integrated into topical offerings.

1.3 Responsive Theme for ALA.ORG and Division Websites

We upgraded the servers and are now working on site migrations for the streamlined ALA information architecture. Staff are filling out the 2017 Redesign Form to get queued up to have their sites rethemed. We hope to have several rethemed sites ready by the time Annual rolls around.

1.4 Search Engine

We are close to launching the responsive design. As part of the retheming, we will change out the search box on each site to use the Google Search Appliance.  The GSA will provide federated search results, when applicable.

1.5 New Generation ALA Connect

We are thrilled to announce that we have arrived at the testing phase the new ALA Connect.  Stakeholders and members of the Website Advisory Committee (WAC) have been sent a Test Plan. The plan includes credentials, instructions and access to a Bug Tracker to assist us. We are working on the setup of Division and Round table branding. The ALA Executive Board is also going to test the system prior to launch. 

The new site includes 2-click navigation to any Division or Round table space in Connect, as well as a robust profile that allows users to update their address and demographic fields in iMIS. Demographics such as Interests, Type of Library and Ethnicity are a few fields now available to help members find common interests. Email notifications will be automatically turned on for all committee and community members, who can easily manage opt-outs, privacy and email frequency.

Upon launch, we plan to reward users who add a photo and complete at least 80% of their profile within the first 30 days’ post launch a chance to win BIG.  Details on this promotion will be forth coming.

When we are ready to launch, the current site will be locked down for two weeks to migrate content from the old ALA Connect to the new ALA Connect.  Training plans include over thirty (30) opportunities for LIVE training for staff and members (remote and in-person) as well as step-by-step training videos available to all users upon launch.  More details about the features, best practices and training schedules will be posted on ALA Connect and sent out soon.

1.6 Moodle

In Fall 2016, we upgraded the Moodle software to 3.0 and then combined our two Moodle courseware sites as recommended in the IT Review Report. The site is being used by ALA Publishing, the divisions and other units. 323 synchronous and asynchronous courses are currently listed and available to be offered or sold by ALA Online Learning or in the ALA Store.

1.7 Accessibility Testing Protocols

ITTS worked with a select group of members organized by Mike Marlin to accessibility test Blackboard Collaborate Ultra at the participant and moderator levels for members who use visual and/or auditory assistive devices. Because screen reader users had some trouble figuring out the interface, ITTS is asking Blackboard to help us schedule a test session just for screen reader users. On the whole, participants did think that it has potential for being ALA’s enterprise level, accessible meeting platform. More to come.

1.8 Shibboleth

ITTS is working to install Shibboleth single sign-on software for Digitell and eShow for AASL’s online recordings and National Conference registration systems, respectively.

1.9 Sympa

As part of our email migration, we changed our outbound mail routing for Sympa.  Our minimum of 5,000,0000 messages per month limited our choices.  We selected MailChannels as a relay host. We’re working with them to refine their spam detection configuration to better suit our requirements.

2.0 Hardware & Software

2.1 New Telephone System

The implementation of the new telephone system was moved to the next fiscal year, which starts in September.  The installation is planned for the fall of 2017.

2.2 Filr and File Migration

FILR was upgraded and rolled out for staff access to our internal file shares. Over the Memorial Day weekend, we moved network files to a new server with upgraded infrastructure and space for expansion.

2.3 Citrix

We are replacing our Citrix farm with the current version. This will improve external access to some of our applications and stabilize our internal financial system.

3.0 ITTS Organizational Changes

3.1 Staffing

I’m pleased to announce that Brian Willard, MBA, CAE has joined the ALA ITTS team in the position of Senior Business Intelligence Analyst/Project Manager in February 2017.  He reports to ITTS and ALA Marketing.  

Brian will help us improve our business intelligence by interpreting data using a variety of techniques, ranging from simple data aggregation via statistical analysis to complex data mining. Brian will be responsible for equipping staff with information that will allow them to implement more strategic and targeted business strategies and outreach, increasing response rates and revenue while also delivering a more effective member experience.  He will work directly with staff to identify analytical requirements. He has knowledge of commonly-used concepts, practices, and procedures within the data marketing field. He will assist staff with data extraction projects from the membership database and present data in a usable format that meets their requirements.  He brings many years of experience managing IT projects; we plan also to use these skills and expertise to help manage ITTS projects and Division data mining projects.

We continue to have four ITTS staff members taking intermittent family leave for various reasons.  Some of our timelines may have to be adjusted going forward.

3.2 New Proposed IT Advisory Committee Composition Recommendation to the Committee on Organization (COO)

We (the ALA Website Advisory Committee-WAC) met and discussed the comments on committee composition of the new IT Advisory Committee received from the ALA Committee on Organization (COO) for the proposed metamorphosis of WAC into the new IT Advisory committee. COO asked that the WAC consider altering the composition of the new committee to streamline or limit membership. WAC came to the conclusion that the composition of the committee is representative of the various parts of the association. WAC recommends keeping the composition the same. WAC will meet with COO at the Annual conference to justify this recommendation and obtain approval to move forward with the title change, charge change, and composition.