The Application Development & Operations Team

Submitted by Jennifer Vinopal and Beth Snapp:

The department of Applications Development & Support in the IT Division has been renamed to Application Development & Operations (AD&O). As in the IT industry as a whole, AD&O is evolving its services, technologies and practices to better support our partners and patrons and to align with the organization’s mission and strategic directions. The name change reflects our priority to not only build products (Development) but to sustain them long into the future (Operations). In practical terms, responsibilities for scaling our digital library infrastructure, leveraging cloud platforms and ensuring application security are merged into the functions of one team of developers and systems administrators.

Members of AD&O include:

  • Chris Bartos
  • Sue Beck
  • Stephen Cassidy
  • Eric Haskett
  • Travis Julian
  • Ousmane Kebe
  • Phoebe Kim
  • Russell Schelby
  • Beth Snapp, head of the department

The team’s goals for 2020-2021 include:

  • focusing development efforts on our portfolio of unique and specialized applications, including Digital Collections and Discover
  • building a flexible cloud infrastructure to host this portfolio
  • strengthening our risk management programs for information security, digital accessibility and disaster recovery.

AD&S Report for Spring 2020

horizontal slice of a stock image of a team of young people planting trees. They are wearing matching green shirts and posing for the camera.

The Applications Development & Support team (AD&S) has been making the most of our teleworking, while keeping spirits up with an informal chat channel, attending virtual social events, pair programming, and personal lunches. We hope you are all finding ways to keep connected with your colleagues.

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We’ve been able to help the organization be responsive to changes due to the pandemic, but also in response to the move to Workday. We helped the Communications team remove the Exhibits section from the homepage in favor of a Resources section. We added links to the HathiTrust Emergency Temporary Access Service to corresponding materials in Discover and helped Circulation enable the Study Rooms Reservation system for the Contact-free Pickup service. We reconfigured the Sierra Patron Load service in response to changes in the PeopleSoft data sources, and worked with Michelle Henley and the Business Office to develop a prototype for transforming purchasing data from Sierra into a format that the WorkDay system can parse.

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We also completed much of the work we’d been planning for the year. In partnership with the Metadata Initiatives team, we developed a much-needed bulk edit system for the Digital Collections (DC) system, and have been supporting them with their massive task of uploading preservation copies of the Lantern into that system. The Discover system saw the addition of ConnectWith for Subject Liaisons, updates to the Website bento (including Staff Directory) and an Advanced Search functionality across the different sources. For our part in the University’s select migration to Amazon Web Services (AWS), we implemented some Password and User Management tools and other systems for monitoring and managing our systems through logs and performance metrics.

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We have several longer-term and slower projects that we’ve been working on, but not completed. These include a Faculty Publications page, examining Archival Storage solutions, some styling changes to the Catalog interface, and preparation for a Special Collections Registry refresh. Most of these will still be active in the next quarter, along with some polish on the Sierra Patron Load, improvements to the Bulk Import module for the DC, and more AWS migrations.

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I also want to highlight the crucial everyday things that we do to keep things in good working order, secure, and accessible. We do updates to hardware, firmware, virtual layers, operating systems, service software, third party modules, and our own code. We are actively learning about and testing for security vulnerabilities, usability deficiencies, and accessibility flaws. We hope that we are also keeping on top of the myriad little disruptions that our parters are having – thanks for your patience and especially for reporting issues!

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On behalf of AD&S,
Russell

last horizontal image slice; thanks for visiting!

Upgrades of Library Wiki and IT Help on July 2

Tomorrow (July 2) at 5pm, during our regular weekly maintenance window, Libraries IT will be upgrading the software that powers the Library Wiki and IT Help. The new software provides a cleaner design, but functionality and layout remain pretty much the same. One change is worthy of note for page editors–the Preview option in Edit mode no longer has its own button. You will need to select Preview from the three-dot menu button:

If you have any issues getting into or using the Library Wiki, please visit How to Use the Library Wiki or submit a Hub ticket.

Advanced Search now available in Discover

Advanced Search now available in Discover

An exciting new search option was released for Discover during the maintenance window on Thursday, June 25.  The default keyword search is ideal for general topic discovery of resources. With the addition of this new feature, you also have the option refine your search for resources with a known title or known author. Advanced Search returns results from all six bento categories. You can also elect to refine by a specific focus view.

To illustrate the way Advanced Search can function to your advantage, consider these examples.

Example 1: Known title

Someone is interested in viewing the comic strip, Katzenjammer Kids. Because they know the title, they select Advanced Search and enter their terms in the title field, then further limit by Digital Collections. The top results include image thumbnails of all the digitized comic strips by that title from the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum.

Image of results for title search Katzenjammer Kids

Example 2: Known author

Someone read an online thought piece by Roxane Gay, and would like to read more by this author. By switching to the Advanced Search button and searching the author field only, they see that she has published both articles and books, and can now berrypick for something to read.

Image of search results for author Roxane Gay

Example 3: Known title and author

A user wishes to read Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison. They select Advanced Search and enter the terms  in the title field. Results that match that title are returned in most bentos.

A quick scan shows that some of the results are for the novel The Invisible Man by H.G. Wells, instead of the similarly titled book by Ellison.

Image or results for title search Invisible Man

To further refine, the user can add Ellison to author field, and also elect to search only within the Library Catalog view.  

Image of search results in library catalog of title Invisible Man and Author Ellison

The results are now more precise.

Bonus: the user may elect to access the full text via HathiTrust Digital Library:

Image of library catalog results showin access to Invisible Man for online access in HathiTrust

 

As you use this new feature and introduce it to users, we would appreciate your feedback. To do so, please click the Need Help? button in the results page and click the option for Feedback.

eSignature (DocuSign) at Ohio State

eSignature (DocuSign) is a University-approved solution for collecting electronic signatures on documents. Anyone can sign DocuSign documents, including people outside of the University. Ohio State employees can initiate requests for signatures after completing BuckeyeLearn training and requesting access from OCIO.  

Benefits of eSignatures

  • Faster Signatures: Routine approval processes can take weeks because physical documents must be walked or mailed for physical signatures. With eSignature, documents are automatically routed through the approval process as they are signed, eliminating timely travel.
  • More Visibility In The Approval Process: eSignature tracks each document’s location within approval processes in real time and who still needs to sign, with updates sent periodically to remind signers they have a document waiting for their approval. No more physical forms getting lost amid the clutter.
  • Easier Storage: eSignature utilizes electronic documents, eliminating the need to scan and store physical documents.

How to Get Training

There are 3 roles associated with DocuSign accounts: Signer (no training required), Sender, and Author. Senders and Authors need to complete the Institutional Data Policy course (if you haven’t already done so) and the BuckeyeLearn training associated with the desired role (See: https://u.osu.edu/esignature/trainings/). Then after completing training, you will need to formally request your access from the Data Security Access team by filling out the DocuSign Access Request Form hosted in the OCIO Self-Service portal (Instructions at the bottom of this page: https://u.osu.edu/esignature/trainings/).

Using DocuSign

You can log-in to DocuSign here: https://account.docusign.com/. A detailed guide on how to get started is available at the eSignature site: https://u.osu.edu/esignature/

Have Questions?

Please contact snapp.6@osu.edu.

 

Qualtrics: The University’s Survey Platform

All Ohio State faculty and staff employees have access to Qualtrics, a robust and easy-to-use survey platform. If you are currently using SurveyMonkey, Google Forms, or another product for work-related surveys, please be aware that Qualtrics is the University’s approved survey solution: osu.qualtrics.com (login with your name.# and OSU password).

Qualtrics is also a viable option for web forms. In fact, Libraries IT has assisted our partners in migrating most of our WordPress and Drupal forms to Qualtrics. It might not be the best solution for your particular use case though, so please submit a ticket to the Hub if you have questions. 

If you want to learn more, https://u.osu.edu/qualtrics/getting-started-with-qualtrics/ is a good place to start. We would also recommend Qualtrics’ own customer support portal: https://www.qualtrics.com/support/survey-platform/getting-started/survey-platform-overview/ 

 

Sierra upgrade planned for Tuesday, May 5

The Libraries IT Division is planning to upgrade Sierra to Release 5.1 (from 4.2) on Tuesday, May 5 beginning at 5 pm. This will require approximately two – three hours of downtime for both Sierra and the library catalog. We chose that time because it is during the normal Information Technology maintenance period and the number of people affected by the downtime will be diminished.

We are expecting this upgrade will resolve several issues that are outstanding. Innovative has made a webinar available to everyone (no login required) that describes the updates to Sierra in Release 5.1.  You can also view other webinars from Innovative, including one outlining the Sierra Product Roadmaps Update

While we upgrade the system we don’t expect the system to be down for more than three hours, but we will send out an update should that time be extended for any reason. 

If have any problems following the upgrade, please report them to Hub (go.osu.edu/hub). 

Newly Available: Access HathiTrust content in Discover

HathiTrust Links added to Discover

As part of the Libraries’ ongoing mission to reduce barriers to access and simplify the process of accessing information for our users, the Libraries has implemented two new features aimed at surfacing access to online content through the HathiTrust.

Changes to Discover

As of April 23rd, the Libraries has updated Discover so that the application now includes links directly to the HathiTrust when it is determined that an accessible electronic copy is available.  Users working with discovery will see this new button:

Example HathiTrust Link in Discover

An example of the new HathiTrust link embedded in Discover

Which, when clicked, will direct users to the HathiTrust and directly to the content.  For resources being made available as part of the HathiTrust Emergency Access Service[1], resources will be automatically directed through the Ohio State University Single Sign-on service – allowing users the ability to view and checkout this digital content.  For content without access restrictions, the links will take users directly to the digital object.

Changes to the Catalog

In addition to updating Discover, the Libraries has updated the HathiTrust linking process found within the Library Catalog.  Previously, links to the HathiTrust were automatically generated to digital content unencumbered by copyright.  As with the new Discover functionality, this process has been updated, allowing links to digital content being made available through the HathiTrust Emergency Access Service.

Example of the HathiTrust Links displaying in the catalog

Example of the HathiTrust Links displaying in the catalog

Please note, links generated in the catalog utilize Javascript, and may require users to clear their browser caches for the updated links to show up.  These changes were made active as part of the Libraries’ Tuesday maintenance window, and are now available to users.  

Finally, many thanks to AD&S for working so quickly to make this functionality a reality.

–tr

[1] NewsNotes.  1 Million In-Copyright Books Opened for the Ohio State University by HathiTrust.  https://library.osu.edu/site/osulstaff/2020/04/01/1-million-in-copyright-books-opened-for-the-ohio-state-univeristy-by-hathitrust/ 

AD&S Quarterly Report 2020Q1

Cloud Computing

Young woman playfully climbing a tree branch.We have been continuing our path to modernize our infrastructure by moving it to a cloud-based infrastructure, Amazon Web Services in this case. We have been engaging with the AWS consultants that the OCIO has engaged to help us work through the configuration and provisioning. Topics include storage strategies across zones, inter/intra networking, database clusters, log monitoring, and application routing.

Study Rooms Reservation on OSUL Mobile

We have been eagerly looking forward to the fruits of our partnership with the OCIO Mobile team to bring the functionality of the Libraries’ Room Reservation system into the OSU Mobile app. With their different perspectives of the service, we were able to find several improvements to make: load testing to improve performance, eliminating several calls to external servers, and moving reservations to a new system to prevent the rare duplicate hold. In preparation, we successfully moved this critical system to our Cloud Computing infrastructure — /room-reservation is now served from AWS! With the COVID-19 situation the Study Room Reservation system is not being currently used, but we are still making the final arrangements to allow patrons to reserve rooms in the OSU Mobile app.

Discover

Group of young people in matching shirts holding gardening tools.We had several initiatives running concurrently in Discover this quarter. Early in the quarter we released some date selection improvements for the Articles+ content. Later in the quarter we added the Connect With functionality which matches search queries with Libraries employees who have identified themselves as available to discuss those terms. Other options that we have almost completed, but not quite: changes to the Website Results to make it more obvious what type of resource is displayed, including results from the Staff Directory in the Website Results, improving the reindexing to drastically reduce the computational resource needed to index bibligraphic records. These were delayed for various reasons, but we are looking for them in the fist part of the coming quarter.

Libraries Catalog

To improve the consistency for visitors as they navigate Libraries web presences, we implemented new header and footer styling on the Sierra web interface. As part of that process, we created a code repository to better track changes to the catalog styles. This has started us on a journey to clean up how that code is organized. Also looking forward, we started some designs for the Database page, still one of our most used web resources.

Workday Migration

Young people in matching shirts picking up plastic bottles off of the ground.We built a prototype of a transformation tool for exporting invoices from Sierra so that they can be brought into the Workday system. Many thanks to our Library and Workday partners for helping us work through the Sierra data and the Workday data. We expect that there will be changes as details are ironed out, but this is a strong first iteration of a bridge between the systems.

Security Policies & Procedures

In addition to the myriad patches and updates that we routinely do to keep our systems defended against intrusion, we have been systematically working with Jason Kolhepp and the OCIO Security team to improve our Information Security policies and procedures. We’ve taken advantage of OCIO security scans to identify and mitigate some security concerns. We’ve also been updating our procedures to align with best practices for centralized logging and change management.

Digital Collections

Young man picking up litter from the ground.

We upgraded the Hyrax software that runs our Digital Collections system. We have been doing some large batch edits for our partners in Metadata Initiatives, but we have a project this coming quarter to enable them to perform these changes without our intervention. This and some changes to the bulk import comprise a large amount of work in the coming months.

Miscellany

Young people in matching shirts posing for a photograph in and on a tree.Congratulations to Michelle Henley and Phoebe Kim in their presentation at the Design4Digital conference, UX is Negotiation: Getting to Yes: (One Sprint at a Time). Unfortunately they had to blaze the trail for folks who have had to present and attend conferences remotely.

We also bid farewell to Jason Michel after several years of toil together. He has moved on to new challenges in a non-scholastic setting and we wish him all the best. As a signifier of his dedication, he hustled to get us on the latest major version of Drupal before he moved on so that we’d be better able to support our website. Thanks Jason!

Updates for February 20, 2020: Library Catalog Banner & Footer Refresh

To improve consistency between various library applications, a new look for the library catalog will be put into production as part of the February 20th Maintenance window. Our Applications Development & Support team has updated the look and feel of the library catalog’s banner at the top, and footer at the bottom. With the update, when a user clicks through from the library home page to the library catalog, it will be a less jarring experience because of the similar style and color scheme. The library catalog maintains the same functionality, but the experience of using it will be more in line with the Libraries’ branding on other web pages. 

The new banner:

Image of updated design for catalog banner

Updated Design for Library Catalog Banner

The new footer:

Image of Updated Design for Catalog Footer

Updated Design for Library Catalog Footer

The previous banner:

Old Design of Library Catalog Banner

Previous Design for Library Catalog Banner

The previous footer:

Image of Previous Design of Catalog Footer

Previous Design of Library Catalog Footer

Please contact us if you have any questions or concerns.

 
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