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Discussion ALA Connect Usage Report

by Jenny Levine (staff) on Thu, Feb 20, 2014 at 02:43 pm

I've posted a new report about usage of ALA Connect over the past five years on the ITTS News blog. Please feel free to share your feedback here or on the blog post.

Jenny

Discussion New Format for ALA Connect Email Notifications

by Jenny Levine (staff) on Mon, Oct 21, 2013 at 03:34 pm

Just a quick heads up that we’re implementing a new version of ALA Connect’s email notifications that’s easier to read. This first change will happen on Tuesday, October 22nd, for those users who receive their email notifications immediately after content is posted online. During the next couple of weeks, we’ll be working on the digest version of the notifications.

A big thank you to everyone who responded to our spring survey about how to improve the notifications, as well as those who helped beta test the new version.

Just a quick heads up that we’re implementing a new version of ALA Connect’s email notifications that’s easier to read. This first change will happen on Tuesday, October 22nd, for those users who receive their email notifications immediately after content is posted online. During the next couple of weeks, we’ll be working on the digest version of the notifications.

A big thank you to everyone who responded to our spring survey about how to improve the notifications, as well as those who helped beta test the new version.

We don’t anticipate any problems with the changeover, but please let me know if you run into any issues  or if you have any questions about the new format. Note that you’ll still be able to reply via email to comment.

Thanks,
Jenny

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Discussion Help Us Improve Email Notifications

by Jenny Levine (staff) on Mon, Oct 21, 2013 at 03:31 pm

Now that we've upgraded to Drupal 7, we have more control over email notifications, so we need your feedback about how best to improve them. Take the survey at http://bit.ly/connect-notifications and share your thoughts!

The survey will be open through April 30, 2013.

Thanks in advance,
Jenny

File Test_Document---Public

by Kurt R (non-member) on Fri, Apr 19, 2013 at 01:26 pm

PDF File, 79.8 KB

Discussion Find the bugs and win a Nexus 7!

by Jenny Levine (staff) on Thu, Feb 14, 2013 at 12:38 pm

We're upgrading ALA Connect from Drupal 6 to version 7 in March, and we need your help to find all of the bugs we know are lurking in the corners. Help us find them and if you're the ultimate bug squasher, we'll give you a free 16GB Google Nexus 7 tablet!

Here's the deal:

We're upgrading ALA Connect from Drupal 6 to version 7 in March, and we need your help to find all of the bugs we know are lurking in the corners. Help us find them and if you're the ultimate bug squasher, we'll give you a free 16GB Google Nexus 7 tablet!

Here's the deal:

  1. Log in to the Connect development environment (or don't - we're also looking for bugs that occur when you're not logged in). Eventually though, you should also log in if you want to be the top exterminator.
  2. Go to your groups, post/edit/delete content, browse around, join an open community, and bang on the tires in general. Don't worry - email notifications are NOT going out to groups, so nothing you post will trigger notifications. Nothing you post will end up on the live version of Connect, so don't do any real work you want saved there.
  3. The Drupal 7 version of Connect is almost exactly the same as the Drupal 6 version, with the exception of a new way to create group chats. It's a familiar process, though, and is easy to figure out. Look for things that work in the current version of Connect but don't work in the new one.
  4. Send your bug reports to me (Jenny Levine) at jlevine [at] ala.org. Be sure to include full descriptions of how you produced the bug so that we can replicate it. If you see an error message, include a screenshot of it. Number your bug reports if possible so that we can easily refer to individual items during follow-up.
  5. Note that the development site can run a little slower than the live one, but the software will run fine once it's in production. This isn't a bug (we devote the bulk of the resources to the live site), so don't submit it as one. :)
  6. Find the most bugs and you win the Nexus 7 tablet - it's that simple.

Now for the rules, because you knew there would be rules:

  1. Only ALA members are eligible to win the tablet. Non-members can win glory, bragging rights, and my eternal gratitude if they want to join in. ALA staff members are not eligible (sorry, team - you're welcome to play with my personal Nexus tablet).
  2. All bug reports must be submitted by 8:00 am CST on Monday, February 25, 2013.
  3. We'll send the winner exterminator their 16GB Google Nexus 7 tablet in early March.
  4. Offer void where prohibited. I don't know what that means, but I've always wanted to say it.
  5. I'm sure I've missed some crucial aspect of the rules, so please be a kind participant.

To log in to the development environment:

  1. Go to http://d7.connect.ala.org/
  2. Enter alacon as the username
  3. Enter apple as the password

Ask questions in the comments, but otherwise you should get busy exterminating if you want to win!

 

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Discussion sticky posts

by Andromeda Yelton on Fri, Mar 22, 2013 at 07:20 pm

Is there, or can there be, a way to make sticky posts in Connect groups?  I'd like to have one at the top of the interest group I chair as a "welcome, newcomers" thing to make it easier for them to get involved, but I don't see any options for so doing.  Thanks!

Discussion Scheduler should be searchable by speaker

by Andromeda Yelton on Thu, Jun 28, 2012 at 11:56 am

I often find myself searching the conference scheduler by speaker name, but that doesn't seem to be indexed, even though it is (sometimes, albeit not reliably) a field.  It would be totally great if that were indexed :)

Discussion Suggested Improvements to the Conference Scheduler

by Peter Murray on Wed, Jun 29, 2011 at 02:04 pm

Kudos to ITTS and the ALA Connect team.  The Conference Scheduler performed admirably -- no, superbly -- during this year's annual conference.  Whether it was the intention of ALA or not, I very comfortably declined to pick up the program book at the registration desk and I didn't miss it one bit.  Hot-linking to the venues -- with a map -- from the event page? Extremely useful.  A bonus link on the venue page to the Gale-sponsored bus schedule? Unexpected and helpful.  I found just four bothersome things that I would like to submit for consideration to the development roadmap.

Kudos to ITTS and the ALA Connect team.  The Conference Scheduler performed admirably -- no, superbly -- during this year's annual conference.  Whether it was the intention of ALA or not, I very comfortably declined to pick up the program book at the registration desk and I didn't miss it one bit.  Hot-linking to the venues -- with a map -- from the event page? Extremely useful.  A bonus link on the venue page to the Gale-sponsored bus schedule? Unexpected and helpful.  I found just four bothersome things that I would like to submit for consideration to the development roadmap.

  1. Add the URL back to the Connect node as a note in iCal-exported entries.  I often found that I wanted to get back to the event node to check a program description or see if information had been added, so I had to manually copy and paste the URLs into the iCal-exported entries in my work calendar.
  2. Ability to export single events as an iCal file.  About two weeks before the meeting, I used the (awesome) recommendation engine to build a schedule in Connect and then export that schedule as an iCal file to add to my work calendar.  After that entire-schedule export, though, I found other meetings that I wanted to attend but not a way to get them into my work calendar without re-exporting the entire schedule.  (That would be a bummer because I modified the work calendar entries -- see above.)
  3. Sorting 'my exhibitors' by booth number doesn't work.  That would have been handy so I could go through them in numerical row order.  There is a UI hint that clicking on the row column header would sort by booth number, but the order seemed to be random.
  4. Create a mobile theme.  I looked at the planner a lot from a smartphone and tablet device.  Having a theme tuned to those screen sizes would be very nice.

These issues aside, the Conference Scheduler is the best meeting planning tool I can remember using.  Congratulations!

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Discussion FY11 Connect Timeline

by Jenny Levine (staff) on Tue, Feb 8, 2011 at 03:09 pm

Now that phase one of the Conference Scheduler is done, we've taken a breath to evaluate where we're at and how we'll finish out this fiscal year (which ends on August 31). We're having to push back a few features to fiscal year '12 due to unanticipated projects that have suddenly come up as part of the ALA website's migration to a Drupal-based environment.

Now that phase one of the Conference Scheduler is done, we've taken a breath to evaluate where we're at and how we'll finish out this fiscal year (which ends on August 31). We're having to push back a few features to fiscal year '12 due to unanticipated projects that have suddenly come up as part of the ALA website's migration to a Drupal-based environment.

Drafted in February 2009, the original roadmap for Connect can be found on the ITTS News blog (114KB, PDF). We've implemented quite a few of the features listed in it (along with some that weren't), but it needs some updating. We're looking ahead as a two-step process, so we've put together this seven-month roadmap to finish the fiscal year.

Part two will be a Roadmap for FY12, which for us starts on September 1. We'll post that separately when it's ready.

Let us know if you have questions about this plan for the next seven months.

January, 2011

 

  • Develop Technology Roadmap (this document)
  • Implement minor fixes/enhancements and security patches

 

February

  • Implement Group File Manager module
  • Optimize Connect for increased activity and server load
  • Optimization
  • Evaluations for a new hosting environment
  • Plan and implement “Follow a group” feature (ie, get email notifications of new public content from groups you're not a member of)
  • Real-time Chat – Evaluation (restore text-based chat)
  • Maintenance

March

  • Implement redesigned dashboard, group home pages
  • Phase 2 planning for Conference Scheduler for Annual
  • Implement member matching feature (find other members like me)
  • Drupal 7/Shibboleth integration for the new ALA website
  • Develop Drupal 7 Shibboleth module
  • Develop write access to iMIS (our member database software) via Shibboleth
  • Optimize Connect - Implementation, including move to new hosting environment
  • Maintenance

April

 

 

  • Work on phase 2 of the Conference Scheduler for Annual
  • Real-time Chat - Implementation (restore text-based chat)
  • Maintenance

 

May

 

 

  • Implement group/committee matching feature (find groups I'd be interested in joining)
  • Upgrade to Drupal 7 - Planning
  • Evaluate, integrate Etherpad into online docs if possible (http://etherpad.com)
  • Maintenance

June

  • Upgrade to Drupal 7
  • New version created
  • Maintenance

 

July

  • Upgrade to Drupal 7
  • Beta/test migration first week in July
  • Launch upgraded site (7/14 target)
  • Drupal 7/Shibboleth integration
  • Merge ALA member profile information in Connect into iMIS (7/14 target)
  • Implement single sign-on with the ALA website using Shibboleth (7/31 target)
  • Maintenance

 

August

  • Drupal 7/Shibboleth integration
  • Merge non-ALA member profiles in Drupal with non-ALA profiles in iMIS (7/21 target)
  • Integrate the Solr search engine for Connect (once it's implemented for the ALA website)
  • Maintenance

If all goes according to plan, we'll come out of this fiscal year with:

  • A dedicated "files" area for each group
  • "Follow a group" email notifications of new public content for groups you're not a member of
  • A redesigned home page and group home page
  • A new, more robust hosting environment
  • Text-based chat feature restored
  • Phase two of the Conference Scheduler
  • Member matching feature (find other members like me)
  • Committee/Group matching feature (find groups I'd be interested in joining)
  • Integration of Etherpad for more robust online document collaboration (can't promise, but we hope this will work out)
  • A migration to Drupal 7
  • Single sign-on with the new ALA website (log in to one site and you're automatically logged in to the other one)
  • A single profile that works on both Connect and the new ALA website that lets you update all of your information in one centralized place
  • A better search engine that allows for faceted and more granular searching

Let no one ever say we weren't ambitious.

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Discussion Help us redesign!

by Jenny Levine (staff) on Tue, Oct 12, 2010 at 04:20 pm

This fall, we'll be redesigning the Connect home page (the "dashboard") and the groups home page (what you see when you go to a group). I certainly have some ideas about what needs to change, but we really want to hear from you.

We need at least a half-dozen volunteers who are willing to work with the company doing the redesign to give input and answer questions via phone and email. If you're interested in helping us make Connect even better, please leave a comment or contact me at jlevine [at] ala.org.

This fall, we'll be redesigning the Connect home page (the "dashboard") and the groups home page (what you see when you go to a group). I certainly have some ideas about what needs to change, but we really want to hear from you.

We need at least a half-dozen volunteers who are willing to work with the company doing the redesign to give input and answer questions via phone and email. If you're interested in helping us make Connect even better, please leave a comment or contact me at jlevine [at] ala.org.

I promise this won't be a huge commitment but if you don't have time during the next 6-8 weeks to help with this, please leave comments here with feature requests and suggestions for redesign changes. I can already tell you that we're looking at making the pages less text-heavy, updating the look and feel of the template, adding more action items (verbs!) directly to the home page, and streamlining the group home pages. Other suggestions are most welcome.

Thanks!
Jenny

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