Changes to ‘My Account’ for the Libraries Catalog starting Monday, May 3

Beginning Monday, May 3, the library catalog will offer a more secure and convenient way for users to access their library account. These changes will ensure greater protection of a user’s private data (names, addresses, materials checked out, fines, etc.), while at the same time, standardizing access with an Ohio State Username (lastname.#). 

Screenshot of My Account icon on Ohio State Libraries' site header

My Account icon on Ohio State University Libraries’ site header

Rather than logging in to view your patron account with name and Ohio State ID#, the majority of library users—about 94%—will instead enter an Ohio State Username (lastname.#) and password. This account is managed at the Identity and Access Management site (my.osu.edu) and is the method used for access to similar data-sensitive systems at Ohio State.

Example of other data-sensitive system prompts

Example of other data-sensitive system prompts

A subset of our users who do not have accounts with my.osu.edu (for example: students and employees of technical colleges that are affiliated with our regional library locations) will use an alternative form of authentication. To increase the security standards for all our users, on May 3 this subset will need to create a secure PIN (personal identification number) to access their library account. The PIN must be alpha-numeric and eight (8) characters long. This means the PIN must include a minimum of eight characters and contain a  mix of numbers (0 – 9) and letters (a – z, A – Z). If you fall in this group, you will be prompted to set up your PIN the first time you try to access your account. After setting up your PIN, you will use your university/Ohio State ID and your PIN to access your account in the library catalog.

Example of PIN set up prompt. You will receive an email that will include instructions and a link to set up the PIN

Example of PIN set up prompt. After filling in requested fields, you will receive an email that will include instructions and a link to set up the PIN

 

Once you log in, you can view the items you have checked out, renew items that are due and place requests for items you wish to have delivered to a more convenient location, such as one of the libraries near you, or even your dorm or office location.

Screenshot demonstrating a request being placed for pickup of a book from the library catalog

Screenshot demonstrating a request being placed for pickup of a book from the library catalog

Going forward, when you log into your catalog account, you will be prompted to log in with either your my.osu.edu ID information, or Ohio State number and PIN. Please contact henley.77 (at) osu.edu if you have any questions.

AD&O 2021Q1

AWS

Our ongoing project to migrate our systems to Amazon Web Services (AWS) continues. This quarter we put into place some of the gears and gadgets that make up a server ecosystem: backups, load balancer, centralized logging, a storage gateway, an updated network map, and a Shibboleth server. We spent a good deal of time refining our configuration and deploy techniques for the new systems and were able to move a great deal of our backup and storage to the cloud. We have much of the groundwork laid to begin bringing more applications over; Discover is one, in the second quarter.

SCR2020

sample collection header for the Special Collections Registry, with the Walt Kelly Collection, Collection Summary selected.The Special Collections Registry (SCR) user interface changes have been completed and placed on a demonstration server. A second round of User Experience(UX) confirmed many of our changes and suggest a few more minor ones. We are planning a roll-out and demonstration on April 29, 2021. Some of the changes you’ll see: a tabbed view, fewer navigation groupings, and a search box that performs finds within the frequently expansive Collection Inventory.

DC Imports

Improvements to the Digital Collections (DC) system to bring large numbers of digital items and their metadata into our digital repository. This module that we build several years ago on the original instance has had things added to it, turned off, forgotten… it was not performing as well as we’d like. Now was a good time to restructure the import mechanisms, improve the metadata ‘proofing’ steps, and make the processes more robust. We’re currently testing this and hope to deploy it in April 2021.

Drupal

The Digital Exhibits link from the Experiences section of the libraries' home page.We have been actively maintaining our Drupal site and adding a few new features: allowing staff to expand their job titles into versions more readable than the HR system version and a Digital Exhibits content type. We also pushed the Faculty Publications page which promotes our work, and modified the home page to have an Experiences block.

 

Digital Accessibility

Our team has always been interested in and responsible for Digital Accessibility, but were able to level up our game thanks to newly available University-provided training. The tools and techniques that we learned will allow us to better integrate better design principles into our everyday work that make our services better for everyone.

Patronage

We had some follow-up work on Patronage, our service which pulls data from University HR systems and creates files which can be imported into Sierra to keep our Patron roles current. The WorkDay migration at the beginning of the year prompted some additional changes that we needed to make and surfaced some discussions on the provider side as well. We took the opportunity to simplify the process, solve some outstanding issues, and streamline the overall procedure.

Else

Along with our regular maintenance, upgrade, and troubleshooting work, we

  • Assisted with the Sierra migration to new hardware,
  • Participated in major network hardware upgrade
  • Researched licensing, purchasing agreements, and new software
  • Documented Information System Control Requirements (ISCR) compliance
  • Held group discussions of 12 Factor Applications

Sierra and library catalog will be unavailable on Monday, January 18 from noon – 5pm

In order to finish up some work from the Sierra server update on Monday, January 4, we are scheduled take down Sierra and the library catalog for several hours on Monday, January 18 beginning at 12:00 pm. The campus will be closed to observe Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, so we expect the impact on workflow to be minimal. 

What will be unavailable during the downtime?

  • The OSU Libraries Catalog will be unavailable; patrons should use Discover or the OhioLINK catalog to search for our collections
  • Discover will be missing information about whether a print title is available for checkout or not
  • Patrons will not be able to access their library account, so they can not place holds or renew materials
  • Pickup, courtesy and overdue notices will not be sent
  • Both the Sierra Desktop Application and SierraWeb will not be available to employees

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

AD&O Fourth Quarter 2020

This final quarter of 2020 was focused on several large projects continuing towards completion. SCR2020 and DC (below) are both expected to be ready for testing and deploy in the next quarter.

The Special Collections Registry refresh (SCR2020) is putting the final polish on the UI changes before enlisting another round of User Experience (UX) testers. Changes include a menu revision and swapping the User Interface framework, which should ease some of the minor-but-annoying problems confronting users.

We’ve been rebuilding the Bulk Import functionality for the Digital Collections (DC) system, improving reliability and making it more clear to the operator how things are progressing as the Metadata Initiatives team populates this registry.

Many groups on campus have been preparing for the WorkDay(WD) transition, and we have a few projects to contribute. We’ve re-fit our PatronLoad system (Patronage) to use the new WD data feeds to populate our list of Patrons in the Sierra catalog. We also created a job aid that transforms Sierra materials invoices into a format that can be imported into WD.

Our migration to a cloud infrastructure has continued as well – deployment workflow details, network and internetwork connections, and refinement of our methods to better align with our ideals of consistency.

We have also been actively honing our information security preparedness, both from actively scanning and patching vulnerabilities, to more long-term efforts of becoming more deliberate in our workflows.

This was also a quarter where we were able to take advantage of virtual conference and training opportunities: Cybersecurity Days, KubeConf, VueConf Toronto, LMSI iii, and certification for Digital Accessibility Manual Training.

There are lots of other things that we did too, like procuring and installing the hardware for the Sierra update, but I’m sure you get the idea by now. 

Application Development & Operations Annual Report: 2020

Ohio State's Oval in WinterIt was a challenging year for everyone. Our team remained on stand-by to assist in the Libraries’ response to the pandemic. At the same time, we were able to achieve significant milestones in the multi-year initiative to expand and refine the Libraries’ digital library functionalities and infrastructure.

The much-needed ability to edit digital objects in bulk was added to Digital Collections, allowing our fantastic partners–the Metadata Initiatives team led by Anna Klose–to complete large-scale metadata updates. The new and improved bulk import is nearly complete and will increase the performance and robustness of this feature, so that the Libraries can make faster inroads into the vast backlog of preservation-ready objects.

We kicked off a project with our product owners in Special Collections—Halle Mares and Susan Liberator–to test and improve the user experience of the Special Collections Registry. The improvements will be packaged up into a new release of SCR in early 2021. Stay tuned!

A few new features were added to Discover as well: “Connect With”, advanced searching, and the ability to get to HathiTrust content directly from within the Discover interface.

2020 was also the year of Workday for Ohio State. We built a new process for exporting orders from Sierra for import into Workday, and we rewrote the Sierra patron load process to pull employee data from Workday, rather than from PeopleSoft.

Members of AD&O were involved in two large initiatives in the Libraries: Digital Preservation & Access workflow analysis and planning for the implementation of a digital accessibility program. In the next 3 years, we will need to invest time in assessing the sites/applications that we support to ensure that they are accessible to all and in compliance with the University’s digital accessibility policy. To assist in this effort, AD&O’s Phoebe Kim completed training and was certified as an OSU-approved accessibility tester.

A good portion of what we do happens behind-the-scenes (maintaining servers, watching out for security vulnerabilities, upgrading software, trouble-shooting problems, etc.).  AD&O in fact placed a high priority this year on building out our cloud infrastructure on Amazon Web Services. Cloud computing requires new technologies and new skills and after a lot of learning and hard work, we can celebrate that the Libraries website (Drupal), WordPress sites, Room Reservation System, and Special Collections Registry are all now in production on AWS. The Sierra patron load is almost ready as well. Migrations of our unique and specialized systems will continue in the coming year.

Risk management is another activity in which we have been heavily engaged. This included operationalizing information security best practices, such as more robust vulnerability and patch management, change enablement, and application management. The Libraries’ information security program was audited this year, and the results were quite positive which validates the significant progress we have made in InfoSec over the past few years.

Disaster recovery is another facet of risk management, and the pandemic reinforced the need for regular reviews of our continuity strategies. We started conversations about service continuity, in particular our backup strategy, and those reviews will continue into 2021 in the context of the university’s disaster recovery and business continuity programs. 

Finally, it is important to remember that if we write code, we need to be able to support it, and we were able to resolve 1,464 tickets in 2020! Despite the pandemic and other challenges, we had a productive year, thanks to our great partners in the Libraries.

Members of AD&O:

  • Chris Bartos
  • Sue Beck
  • Stephen Cassidy
  • Eric Haskett
  • Travis Julian
  • Ousmane Kebe
  • Phoebe Kim
  • Russell Schelby
  • Beth Snapp

Sierra & library catalog downtime planned for Monday, January 4

The Libraries IT Division is planning an upgrade to new Sierra servers on Monday, January 4, beginning at 10:00 a.m. This will require approximately six hours of downtime for both Sierra and the library catalog. We chose that date because it occurs when the number of people impacted by the downtime will be reduced.

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

What will be unavailable during the downtime?

  • The OSU Libraries Catalog will be unavailable; patrons should use Discover or the OhioLINK catalog to search for our collections
  • Discover will be missing information about whether a print title is available for checkout or not
  • Patrons will not be able to access their library account, so they can not place holds or renew materials
  • Pickup, courtesy and overdue notices will not be sent
  • Both the Sierra Desktop Application and SierraWeb will not be available to employees

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

Application Development & Operations, Summer 2020

Sorry to disappoint our readers, but the normal summer tales of Application Development & Operations (AD&O) have been postponed for reasons. Check back next year for the results of our Yachting Regatta, pictures of our Beach Blanket Blowout, and the winning tale from our Campfire Ghosts contest. In the meantime, here are some more mundane matters.

Upgrades

Operations seeks to be good stewards of our systems. Our Reduce, Rebuild, and Retire program has greatly simplified our database servers, placed us on updated Operating Systems, the latest WordPress, and created even more scripts for monitoring, administrating, and reporting on our systems. Sometimes though, we just have to buy new hardware; we are working to specify, purchase and install new servers for an upcoming Sierra upgrade.

WD-EIB

In preparation for the move to WorkDay, AD&O has been working closely with Michelle Henley and folks in the Business Office to build a system to transform materials purchases recorded in Sierra into a format that can be uploaded into WorkDay, matching funds codes, purchase amounts, and titles of materials purchased. This system will be going into production for an October 15 go-live date.

SCR2020

We have been working with Halle Mares and Susan Liberator to do a critical evaluation of the Special Collections Registry from a researcher standpoint.  Together, we developed methodologies, recruiting strategies, and evaluated  the initial User Experience (UX) test sessions. These sessions immediately illuminated several actionable issues. We’ve started these changes and some internal updates, and will be garnering feedback, doing more UX testing, and hope to deploy the changes later in the last quarter of 2020.

Digital Collections

We have continued our intensive partnership with the Metadata Initiatives team, including a few catch-up items from the Bulk Edit project, troubleshooting some issues with handle creation, and minor UI fixes. We’ve also started a project to overhaul the Bulk Import module; since we initially developed it about five years ago, we’ve seem substantial changes to the type and content of what is being ingested. We were initially supporting imports of a few spreadsheet pages of scans by the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library and Museum, now the system is hosting audio and video files as well as thousands of Lantern pages. We’re examining the code for ways to simplify, add feedback mechanisms, and optimize operations so it takes just as long as it needs to take, and no more. This work will last through most if not all of the Fall quarter.

Cloud Infrastructure

We’re continuing our journey of migrating systems to cloud based hosting — it makes sense for us fiscally and strategically. We moved the Special Collections Registry to Amazon Web Services (AWS) and are evaluating it for affordable backup solutions. We’re very interested in using a container paradigm to make it easier for us to manage, scale and develop against. This is a major move for us, so we’re going to keep talking about it for a while!

Et Cetera

Other tasks include participating in our Information Security audit, improving our Digital Accessibility expertise, developing notifications for the Patron Load process, minor website changes and troubleshooting, and some accessibility fixes. We are actively updating our Disaster Recovery plan, not ruling out Kaiju attack after this year.

Thanks for reading! Please let us know if you have any questions, concerns, or ideas.
Russell

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.

second horizontal stock image slice

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.

third horizontal image slice

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.

fourth horizontal image slice

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.

fifth horizontal image slice

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!

sixth horizontal image slice, this features shoes

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.

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