Author: Beth Snapp (page 1 of 16)

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

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.

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.

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: 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:

Using DocuSign

You can log-in to DocuSign here: A detailed guide on how to get started is available at the eSignature site:

Have Questions?

Please contact


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: (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, is a good place to start. We would also recommend Qualtrics’ own customer support portal: 


2019 in Review: AD&S Services and Projects


Strategic direction: Enrich the User Experience: Seamless discovery access, and delivery

Patron Data Loads for Sierra

Strategic direction: Model Excellence: Organizational efficiency and impact; Enrich the User Experience: Exceptional service

  • Rewrote process to accommodate both PeopleSoft and Workday
  • Significantly increased performance of process
  • Participated in end-to-end testing of Workday Person Service

Digital Collections

Strategic direction: Enrich the User Experience: Seamless discovery access, and delivery; Empower Knowledge Creators: Leveraging distinctive collections for use

  • Completed upgrade to Hyrax
  • Added/mapped new fields and metadata
  • Scripted large bulk transformations of data

Room Reservations in The Ohio State App

Strategic direction: Enrich the User Experience: Exceptional service; Engage for Broader Impact: Campus and external partnerships

  • Initiated an ongoing collaboration with OCIO’s web and mobile team to add room reservation functionality into the mobile app

Special Collections Registry

Strategic direction: Empower Knowledge Creators: Leveraging distinctive collections for use; Enrich the User Experience: Seamless discovery access, and delivery

  • Redesigned the user interface
  • Improved the layout and navigation of collection container lists
  • Added linkages to similar collections, related digital collections, and cataloged materials
  • Made it easier for patrons to contact curators from within a collection

Libraries’ Website

Strategic direction: Enrich the User Experience: Seamless discovery, access, and delivery; Enrich the User Experience: Iterative assessment and development

  • Continuous improvement of content, design, and functionality


Strategic direction: Model Excellence: Organizational efficiency and impact; Model Excellence: Agile planning and operations

  • Migrated Drupal from Pantheon hosting to Amazon Web Services
  • Moved WordPress instances to Amazon Web Services
  • Launched first production app on new cloud infrastructure
  • Explored containerization and other new technologies
  • Worked on more robust logging, monitoring, and alerting
  • Strengthened change management process

User Experience (UX)

Strategic direction: Enrich the User Experience: Iterative assessment and development

Risk Management

Strategic direction: Model Excellence: Organizational efficiency and impact

  • Collected evidence and documentation for the 2019 Information Security Self-Assessment (ISSA)
  • Continued to integrate information security best practices into our systems and workflows

Service Management

Strategic direction: Enrich the User Experience: Exceptional service

  • Resolved 2,146 tickets!

AD&S Team

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

Public Pages in the Library Wiki

Although by default, the Library Wiki is restricted to Libraries’ staff and faculty, it is possible to create pages that are visible to the public. Pages in the Library Wiki are organized into a hierarchy. To make pages public, you will need to create a new page that is outside the hierarchy of restricted pages.

When I am logged in to the Library Wiki, these are the pages that I can see, as a Libraries’ employee. The sections within the red box are restricted. 







When I am logged out, notice that I can no longer view the pages inside the red box but rather, I’m now seeing all pages available to the public:


So how do you keep pages in the public section? When you first log in, stay on that landing page  without navigating among the pages. Then choose “Create” to create a new page. I’ve created a Test page that now is public: 



If you have any questions about the Library Wiki, please contact the Libraries IT Service Desk:



AD&S Quarterly Report: Quarter 2, 2019

See what the Applications Development & Support gang has been up to for the past few months in our report for the second quarter of 2019.

Please take a look and let us know if you have any questions or suggestions!

New Office365 Applications Now Available


Office 365 is a versatile product, and we are continually reviewing its applications to determine which ones meet our security requirements. We recently enabled enabling Yammer, To-Do, Whiteboard and FindTime for all students and university employees (excluding Med Center, as they have different security requirements). To access these new tools, visit

  • Yammer– The “corporate version” of Twitter, Yammer allows only those with an email address to view your posts. Communicate with anyone in the university – faculty, staff or student. You can also create private groups to narrow the conversation to even smaller audiences, such as a project team or work group. Remember, if you are not using a private group, all faculty, staff and students can see your posts.
  • To-Do – Microsoft’s answer to applications like Wunderlist, you can organize your to-do lists into folders, set priorities and get reminders for upcoming deadlines. To-Do integrates with Outlook and other Microsoft tools.
  • Whiteboard – Sometimes virtual meetings call for virtual whiteboards, and Microsoft created Whiteboard for that purpose. Whiteboard allows multiple contributors to make notes at the same time, and saves the notes for future reference.
  • FindTime – FindTime simplifies the process of scheduling meetings by allowing you to suggest times and invite participants to pick options that work for them. If you have used Doodle, then the concept of FindTime will be familiar. The advantage of FindTime is that it’s integrated with Outlook and can add meetings to your calendar all have responded, and a common time preference is identified.

You can find articles about all Office 365 applications in our Knowledge Base. If you have questions, please contact the IT Service Desk by phone (614) 688-HELP (4357), by email at or by logging in online at

Getting NewsNotes posts by email

Not getting NewsNotes emails? Need to sign up? Instructions are in IT Help

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