Category: Service Updates (page 1 of 3)

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 ( 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 (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 ID information, or Ohio State number and PIN. Please contact henley.77 (at) if you have any questions.

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 ( 

Discover Iterative Improvements for Tuesday, March 19

Please take note of the improvements coming to Discover during the Libraies’ IT maintenance window on the evening of Tuesday, March 19.

We have always known that it was important to clue users in to what type of results were displaying in each bento. The option to hover over the question mark graphic next to each label and view a description has been available. However, usability testing consistently demonstrated that users didn’t see the question mark as a call to action to hover over for them to get more information. In order to reduce cognitive load and clear up the confusion about what section would offer them the most appropriate results, we instead added a brief explainer next to each label.  

Explainers add to each bento

Red boxes added in screenshot for emphasis.

Another issue that bubbled to the surface from usability testing was in our Digital Collection bento. The default image icon being used when a thumbnail wasn’t available was seen by users as a clue that viewing that result would lead to an image, such as photo. But often, because the result would point users to a pdf of a document, the default icon when there is not thumbnail to display is now a pdf document icon:

Red box added in screenshot for emphasis.

The Applications Development and Support team continue to make improvements to the Articles+ segment.  The bento view results in Articles+ are currently arranged as scrolling tiles arranged horizontally.  While this works well for the Digital Collections segment, it didn’t work as effectively for this more text-heavy segment. 

Before: Horizontal scrolling

The new design will revert to a simplified vertical list view, showing three results, with a prompt to view more. 

After: Vertical List

To avoid confusion, the bento view is now also limited to peer-reviewed and full text results, just as it is in the focus view.  (See the 2/21 blog post on Discover improvements for more information about this.)    

And finally, to improve accessibility, we have improved the limiters that were displaying results in all lower-case text. Now, the capitalized results are easier to skim.  

Planned Library Catalog & Sierra Downtime

The Libraries IT Division is planning to upgrade Sierra to the latest Release (4.0) on Wednesday, July 11 beginning at 5:00 pm. This will require approximately two hours of downtime for both Sierra and the library catalog. We chose that date because the number of people affected by the downtime will be diminished. By scheduling it in the evening, it is less likely that staff workflow will be disrupted.

While we upgrade Sierra, we don’t expect the system to be down for more than two hours, but we will send out an update should that time be extended for any reason. With this release, we expect that a few issues that have been marked as in “Software Engineering” with Innovative will now be resolved.

If you find any problems with Sierra or the library catalog following this upgrade, please report anything that is not functioning correctly to Hub ( I would greatly appreciate your assistance. 

Multi-system downtime scheduled December 17 -19

The Information Technology department has scheduled an upgrade of several library servers starting at 5:00 pm on Sunday,  December 17, and continuing through end of day on Tuesday,  December 19. This outage has been planned to take place after finals (December 14) and graduation (December 17) so as to cause minimal interruption of service.

Update: To prepare for the outage, beginning on Saturday, December 16 at 5 pm,  all files on the H, J and K drives will be locked so they can be copied over to the new servers.  While locked, the files will not be accessible, and will remain locked until the maintenance period is complete.

During that time all services that run on those servers will be unavailable. This includes:

  • Network drives (e.g., H, J & K drives)
  • OSUL websites
  • OSUL blogs
  • Off-campus Sign In
  • Knowledge Bank
  • Research Commons website
  • Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum website
  • Digital Collections website
  • Room Reservations website
  • Past Perfect
  • Archivists Toolkit


Services not affected (i.e., still available) during this downtime:

During this downtime, users connecting to our website will see a maintenance message with links to available resources.

If you have any questions, please submit a ticket via Hub.

Thompson Library Pilot for Group Study Room Reservations

This evening at 5:00pm there will be some brand new changes to the Room Reservation system. Some changes are changed specifically for Thompson Library.

A new service will be piloted at the Thompson Library this fall, offering students the ability to reserve group study rooms in Thompson on the same day. The seven rooms on the ground floor of Thompson will be incorporated into the pilot, which will run through autumn semester. Room information is available at The page also provides information on the number of computers available at Thompson at any given moment.

  • Requests made to the Thompson Library group study rooms will be automatically approved if information provided is correct:
    • Email addresses are in the or format
    • The number of participants are at least as much as the minimum occupancy for the room but not more than the maximum capacity for the room.
  • Thompson Library now supports same day, same hour reservations. If there is a room available today, you no longer have to wait 24 hours before using the room. Simply schedule the room whenever it’s available!
  • Statistics will be available for administrators that shows the number of students requesting same day reservations and the number of students reserving reservations in advanced.

Some additional changes are in effect for all libraries as well:

  • Students will be able to schedule multiples times in a day as long as they don’t reserve multiple reservations for a single day. This fixes a bug that prevents users from scheduling more than one reservations at one time.
  • Reservation titles are automatically generated. It will be in the form: reservation # – name.# of the user making the reservation.

Financials system maintenance on May 21

The Office of the CIO is providing advanced notice about planned maintenance that will affect eReports, eRequest and eTravel. These services will be unavailable Saturday (5/21) 7 p.m. to 11:59 p.m. Check OCIO System Status for updates.

RESOLVED: Blog feeds displayed in CMS listing all posts

There are pages on (CMS) that present posts from OSUL WordPress sites (see sidebar of University Archives CMS page as an example). The CMS widget was showing all blog posts, not just one blog. This is now fixed.


WorldCat Discovery Workshop

On Wednesday, June 17, Applications Development and Support hosted a WorldCat Discovery workshop lead by Kathy Kie, Senior Training Coordinator at OCLC.   The purpose of the workshop was to offer hands-on training for library faculty and staff who typically use WorldCat First Search for research, collection development and other purposes.  The workshop had the added benefit of providing an opportunity for attendees to give feedback to OCLC staff while the resource is still in development.

Attendees were provided a thorough overview of WorldCat Discovery. Handouts were provided with tips for both basic and expert searching within the resource. Because Discovery is slated to replace WorldCat FirstSearch at the end of 2015, those in attendance were naturally most interested in the performance of the advanced search features.

Kathy Kie provided handouts with a list of exercises to familiarize users with how Discovery functions.  For example:

  • Locate a sound recording for the Marriage of Figaro. Filter the results to only display items in the eMusic format.
  • Locate an article on digital preservation from the Journal of Information Science.

For those of you who are interested in learning more about WorldCat Discovery and were unable to attend the workshop, you are invited to register for the 1 hour webinar, “Ready, Set, GO: Making the move from FirstSearch to WorldCat Discovery.” This webinar takes place Thursday, July 30 starting at 2:00 pm.

You can also register to view a training session recorded in May 2015:

This OCLC Support page offers detailed information about what search by index within WorldCat Discovery:

And finally, for an overview of basic searching in WorldCat Discovery, watch this brief video:

Questions? Please contact me!

Michelle Gerry/614.688.3512

OhioLINK Data Center Move, June 12 – 13

All OhioLINK hosted services will be down Friday, June 12, 6pm – Saturday, June 13, 12pm (noon), while all OH-TECH organizations are moved to a new data center at the State of Ohio Computing Center.

Affected services will include:

OhioLINK mailing lists will not be affected by the outage, and OhioLINK staff will communicate with membership via email and social media ( and if necessary during the maintenance window.

If you have any questions or concerns regarding this, please submit a request to Hub,

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