- More on the header search box saga: It looks as if making this a catalog search has made sense to people and is working. There is a potential issue of people not knowing how/when to search the website, but we will continue to monitor the search logs.
- We've begun this week to build outlines for several other site migrations to Drupal. We've learned a lot over the past year and it should make these future migrations a bit smoother! We are working on a more formal process to gather requirements and plan these sites.
- We're working on ways to identify and fix accessibility issues with PDFs we host.
- Feedback from the beta site that we could immediately act upon has already been turned into tickets and acted upon, but there were a lot of "ideas" and "praise" that were still there - items that seemed to require a little more discussion before implementation. We have collected those and will be discussing them. So if you made a suggestion that you didn't see, or didn't see us address in an email, we didn't lose it - we're just discussing it!
- One department went live with a new helpdesk this week:
- I'm finalizing setup with other departments and groups, and they should be ready to go live either next week or the following one:
- Digital Media Center
- Access Services
- Building Services
- Events Committee
- Library instructors
Thanks for reading! Remember, if you see any issues with the above or anything else on the website, please put in a ticket!
Here are our updates for this past week. Remember, if you see any issues with the below or anything else on the website, please put in a ticket!
- Last week I mentioned that Troy was investigating an issue with the search box in the header. It appeared that a lot of people were mistaking that search, which only searched the library, with a catalog search. Troy monitored the search logs for a week and found that almost 85% of the searches looked a lot like catalog searches. To test, he's made the header search box search the catalog, providing a link to a page where you can search the website if that's what you wanted to do. He will monitor the search logs again to see if this is an improvement; if so, the change will be permanent.
- Troy's also working on the website searching in general - when searching the website, results are often not what you would expect.
- Troy presented the new website to the University Libraries Committee this week. Their reactions were positive.
- Two departments went live on the new helpdesk this week:
- The Digital Media Center and a few more departments will begin transitioning next week.
- This week, we met a few times with bepress representatives to run some test imports and consult on metadata and Digital Commons configuration. The import process is a bit more involved than we had anticipated, but we are hoping to be able to show the site in a few weeks.
- Brock and Josh have been working with Teri Robinson in the Office of Thesis and Dissertation Format Review to build a tool that will make reporting easier for them. They are nearing completion on this project.
- Just a reminder - for coordinators/student supervisors, there are some reports available in Shift to help you see your department's expenditures at a glance. Just log in and click the REPORTS tab to create one!
- We've been working on planning the year's projects. Another busy year is ahead of us! As always, these timelines are subject to change.
Thanks for reading! Remember, if you see any issues with the above or anything else on the website, please put in a ticket!
- We've updated the look of LibGuides, LibAnswers, LibWizard, and LibInsight to match the new look of the website.
- We are working through content updates for the Digital Media Center, Special Collections, and CPRC.
- Troy has been testing the website on mobile devices and making improvements to responsiveness and accessibility.
- We got a tip that patrons were getting confused about the search box in the header of the website - it currently searches the library website, but some users appear to be thinking that it searches the catalog, so their searches ultimately fail. Troy is investigating the best way to collect data on this issue and then address it.
Digital Commons migration project
- A group of people (including Mary Ann Jones, Kevaughn Charles, Tysonn McKinnon, Quentin Gray, and Lauren Geiger) has been helping get our institutional repository materials ready for import into Digital Commons. I sent off a selection of metadata records today to act as a test import. I am hoping that once we have that test done, we will know more about what the eventual URLs for individual items will look like and can better prepare to fix links in the OPAC and other places.
- We're almost done finalizing the setup for DPAU. They should be ready to switch to the new helpdesk soon.
- Next week we will work on CMS and DMC.
- I will continue to let you all know when their new helpdesks are ready, and update links and email addresses on the MSU Libraries Employees site.
- We've been working on adding FAQs to our own helpdesk page.
We haven't updated you on our progress in a while, so this is a very full post!
As you all know by now, the newly redesigned website is now live. As I hope you've heard, this is a massive undertaking led by Troy and assisted by our student Quentin and former-student-now-developer Josh. There is always a lot of work still to do once a new site goes live, and Troy is addressing issues very quickly. If you teach from the website, please make sure to check back frequently to make sure you're working with the most updated info!
The updates that have been made since the new site went live are too numerous to count, but we will try to keep track of them from this point so that we can notify all of you.
- Updates to search box. The main search has been greatly simplified - it contains only search boxes for the OPAC, Discovery, and Google Scholar, and links to all the other services users can search. We consider this a work in progress and are planning to collect as much data as we can from actual users so that we can improve this vital function. Troy has also added direct links to advanced search for OPAC and Discovery.
- Launch of ArchivesSpace. Special Collections pages have been enhanced with links to the public interface of our ArchivesSpace instance. This allows users to directly search and browse for the info they need, without having to visually sort through long lists of information.
- Broken link review and repair. We are working to make sure that all the content from the old site that is needed in the new site gets transferred.
- Continual problem fixes. As you and other users report issues, we work to fix them.
- Updates for peripheral sites. Since the look of the website has changed, we need to apply it to other sites, including LibGuides and the OPAC. This is ongoing, and as always it's hard to predict with these third-party systems whether what we're doing will conflict with or break something. If you notice any issues please let us know in a ticket!
Request for directory info
- If you are a faculty member, you should have had an "MSU-official" headshot taken. Currently we just have placeholders in our directory, but we'd like to use those official headshots. Please send us yours!
- During our accessibility audits, we've found that PDFs hosted on our site are a particular accessibility problem, so we'll have to edit a lot of them. If you have your CV or resume linked on your directory page, would you please send us accessible versions so we can replace them? If you aren't sure how, here's a good walkthrough of making accessible PDFs from Word documents: https://www.washington.edu/accessibility/documents/pdf-word/
Helpdesk migration project
Systems and DIWS are now using the LibAnswers helpdesk. Please be patient as we consolidate our work into this system - you may see tickets in both systems for a while, or some tickets may be misplaced. Please watch https://guides.library.msstate.edu/msulibemployees for updated information on how to put in tickets for each department as we make this transition.
Also, keep in mind that the timeline has to be flexible. Here is the timeline for migration as it currently stands:
- DPAU (next week)
- CMS (week of Feb 1)
- DMC (week of Feb 8)
- Building Services (week of Feb 15)
- Access Services (week of Feb 22)
- Scholars Junction working group (week of Mar 1)
Scholars Junction migration project
We are working with bepress to customize the look and feel of Digital Commons. While that's happening, I'm working with a small group to structure and correct item metadata for import into Digital Commons. bepress predicted that we would probably launch the new site in mid-February, and so far they appear to have been correct, but we are pushing as hard as we can to expedite this process so we can resume service.
Reporting functions in Shift
Brock and Josh have been working hard to build several reports into Shift, so that student supervisors can better understand and manage their budgets. These are available in Shift now - simply click on the Reports link to start building your reports.
As always, if you notice problems or issues on the website, put in a ticket!
Over the last few months, Digital Initiatives and Web Services has been evaluating potential upgrades or replacements for Jira Service Desk. We needed to find a helpdesk solution that was simple to use as both agent and customer, could include everyone in the library, and cost less than Jira. After much investigation and deliberation, we have come up with a recommendation. But before we act on it, we need to make sure it can work for everyone.
Our recommendation is that we replace Jira Service Desk with LibApps (especially LibAnswers, LibGuides, and potentially LibCRM).
Purchase a single LibAnswers queue (think "ticket inbox") for testing and sandboxing, and allow agents to test as well.
|As soon as possible - complete by Dec 1|
Set up public-facing systems and services in LibAnswers' Systems Status Management tool, and configure issue collectors for each.
|As soon as possible|
If everyone is satisfied, purchase enough additional queues to accommodate all working groups that need one. Grant every library employee's LibApps account access to LibAnswers, and begin training on the system.
|No later than Dec 1|
For departments that need a documentation solution to go along with their helpdesk, restricted-access LibGuides can be set up.
For departments that need to keep track of certain details about specific users (such as library representatives and their allocation spending, printing customers and the departments to be charged, etc.), we recommend adding LibCRM to our existing LibApps.
|6||Complete transition away from Jira Service Desk and be fully live in LibApps.||Beginning of Spring 2021 semester|
- We can have unlimited users in LibAnswers - that's not available in most other tools. This would mean that every employee could have access, and as many student assistants as we want, too.
- Every library faculty and staff already has a LibApps account so they can record data in LibInsight. Most of us are in some way familiar with the general way that LibApps work.
- LibAnswers is priced by queue - $99 each. Assuming we need 10 queues, this is still a fraction of what other systems cost.
- Most departments need a system to be as simple as "ask a question / get an answer". All of the additional functionality in most other helpdesk solutions (usually focused on web developers or sales) just gets in the way.
- LibAnswers' Systems Status Management tool can act as the public-facing interface by which we can let users know when a system or service is down or unavailable, and solicit problem reports, questions, feedback, and ideas. For internal use (requesting work from other departments) the LibAnswers queues would be the primary avenue.
- LibGuides can be set up to function as an intranet - access can be restricted by IP or to only logged-in users. Guides can have blogs or discussion boards. We're already using LibGuides for things like the Library Employees guide and the on/offboarding guide.
- All of the LibApps integrate with each other (to varying degrees). Statistics on all systems can be set up to be gathered in LibInsight.
While we don't currently have a way to give you a sandbox to play in, Springshare does provide videos and recorded training sessions that can give you an idea of how we can use these systems. You may need to log in to LibApps to view the links below.
- LibAnswers / Systems Status Management
- Creating a Virtual Workplace with LibGuides CMS & LibAnswers: https://training.springshare.com/libapps/virtual-workplace
- Create a Staff Intranet: https://buzz.springshare.com/producthighlights/whylgcms/access/intranet
- On Your Timetable: Better Your Intranet: https://buzz.springshare.com/springynews/news-27/intranet
- Overview: https://springshare.com/libcrm/
- Setting Up & Using LibCRM: https://training.springshare.com/libcrm/admin-setup
If you want to know more about why we reached these conclusions, read on!
About the project
Several library departments rely on a ticketing system to receive and respond to requests from patrons and colleagues. Our current system, Jira Service Desk Server, is expensive and overly complex. Its tiered pricing model means that we are not able to include all library employees, or even all who work on tickets, without significant additional expense. Its complexity makes it difficult for many to use. It's also, paradoxically, both too customizable and too restrictive in its design. Much of its most useful functionality is locked away in add-ons, nearly all of which cost additional money.
Based on the considerations above, we developed a list of requirements, and looked for helpdesks and related software that included most or all of the items.
Agent access for all
Every library employee, including student assistants, must have access to use the helpdesk as an agent.
Agents need to be able to CC any email address, even if they don't have an account. Any watchers or CCd people must be able to access the actual ticket.
Agents and participants should be able to set various priority levels: critical, high, medium, low, future development. Requesters should be able to set some sort of urgency level to indicate how important the issue is to them.
Customizable, visible workflow
We need all the same workflow statuses that we have in the current helpdesk. We should be able to customize workflows (but they need to be the same for all inboxes). Requesters should be able to easily identify where the issue is in the workflow.
Reopen closed issues
We need to be able to reopen closed issues.
Each department (and working group) needs to be able to have their own inbox or queue. We should be able to easily create new ones.
Multiple inbox access for individuals
Each agent needs to be able to access multiple inboxes. Many of us are doing work for committees, working groups, or multiple departments.
Bird's eye view of assigned issues
Related to the above, users need to be able to see all of their assigned tickets across inboxes in one place.
Users need to be able to email requests and issue updates into the helpdesk.
Clean, simple interface
The interface for both agents and customers needs to be intuitive and simple to navigate.
Generous user allowances
Anyone who needs a seat should be able to have one. It should be free for patrons to create requests.
Easy, simple, visual reporting
Each user should be able to easily see how many issues they've submitted, addressed, closed, etc. Coordinators and other admins should be able to see this info for each employee. Should be able to see info for user-specified time periods (not just "last year" or "this week").
Users should be able to make requests and respond to tickets without needing to register or log in.
Integration with Bitbucket
It is very helpful for DIWS to be able to link up tickets with code branches in our Bitbucket repository.
Integration with other Git repo technology
If a Bitbucket integration isn't available, integration with another Git tool would be good.
It would be helpful for there to be a knowledge base that all licensed users can add to. This can be used to inform library fac/staff and to respond to frequently asked patron questions.
Low or no cost
Any new helpdesk must cost less than Jira Service Desk.
Easy migration from Jira Service Desk Server
Ideally, we should be able to easily move existing issues from Service Desk to a new solution.
For a function this vital to the way we work, it is good not to have to worry about keeping software up and running.
Users should be able to sort and filter their issue lists any way they like.
Email notifications for issue changes
Requesters and watchers should receive email notifications for any changes made to the ticket (watchers added, workflow status changed, etc.) Ideally, if several changes are made in a short period of time, only one email should be sent with those notifications. Notifications should contain the full ticket history.
Easy routing of tickets
Many agents still do not know how to move an issue between helpdesks, and customers have a hard time figuring out where to go in the Customer Portal. Creating or moving a ticket should be easy.
We should use CAS for authentication (with the option to also allow outside user accounts, for use cases like the DMC and Special Collections who field requests from the public).
Nice to have
Choose watchers, assignees, etc. from a list
Currently you have to start typing a name or email to assign or add watchers - there should also be a list you can choose from.
Nice to have
Some tasks recur - there should be an easy way to handle these. They should come with reminders (especially if they only happen once a year).
Nice to have
Easy sharing of tickets between helpdesks
We have a lot of interdepartmental collaboration going on - having issues restricted to a single inbox makes this difficult.
Nice to have
Updates to the MSU Libraries' new employee form are now complete: https://guides.library.msstate.edu/employee-guides
This update includes:
- A new and more inclusive form, with newer services added and obsolete items removed
- Emailing into the new ticket system for participating departments
- An updated New Employee Orientation Checklist
- A new Employee Offboarding Form - use this to request service discontinuation for a departing employee
- An updated Employee Offboarding Checklist
Links have been updated on the MSU Libraries Employees page.
If you have questions about the onboarding and offboarding of employees, please contact your LDC representative. If you have technical difficulties with either form, please let us know at email@example.com!
The Library Employees page - linked in the footer of every Library page - has been migrated into LibGuides.
The new page uses your IP address to determine whether you have access. If you are out of the office, it may not work - but if you have a LibGuides account, you can still log in to see the page. (If you don't have an account but can see yourself using this page frequently from outside the office, please put in a ticket and we'll set you up!)
Having this page in LibGuides will allow us to post links that students, faculty, and the general public don't necessarily need to see and can't log into. It also ensures that if something happens to our main website, links to tools you use every day will still be available.
See the new page at https://guides.library.msstate.edu/msulibemployees. The current page will begin redirecting to LibGuides in the next few workdays.
Just a reminder – today is the day that we switch over to Shift from the old timeclock.
Please note that if you have not already done so, you will need to add your students to Shift.
Please note that work-study budgets will not be accurate until the fall semester, due to the time that we needed to move to Shift and the way summer semester dates conflict with work-study dates.
We have created a new guide to using Shift which you can see here: https://helpdesk.library.msstate.edu/docs/x/cQAJAQ
This guide includes step-by-step walkthroughs as well as policies and procedures.
If you have any questions or problems using Shift, please contact us.
On Tuesday, June 6, in ELI/Giles, Digital Initiatives and Web Services will serve up a sneak preview of Shift, the upcoming replacement to Timeclock. Hope to see you there!
Last week I attended DrupalCon (https://events.drupal.org/) in Seattle, WA. Drupal (https://www.drupal.org/) is the platform that MSU uses to run its main website and several of its subsites; MSU Libraries will be adopting it for its websites later this year. It is a complex system with a steep learning curve, and DrupalCon is a good opportunity to get hands-on training, learn about what you can do with the software, and contribute to its development alongside other developers.
DrupalCon is a customizable experience consisting of 2 days of optional trainings, workshops, and summits; 2 days of sessions organized into 3 tracks (Builder, Agency, Content/Marketing); and 1 optional day of developer contribution. Here is a snapshot of my DrupalCon experience.
Day 1: Absolute Beginner’s Guide to Drupal
This 1-day workshop was taught by trainers from OSTraining. In this workshop I learned the basics of creating pages in Drupal.
Day 2: Libraries Summit
This 1-day summit included developers, designers, content creators and editors, and administrators from all types of libraries. Sessions included:
- Decoupling at Harvard. Harvard Library is transitioning into Drupal, beginning with their events and staff directories. An example is here: https://library.harvard.edu/events?event_type=1156&event_type=1276&event_type=1261
- A Next-Gen Library Experience. Staff from Richland Library (https://www.richlandlibrary.com/) discussed the redesign of the website for the Richland Library system of South Carolina. Staff engaged in extensive user testing including card sorting, interviews, and sketches, and let the results lead design and development of the new website. The site is built on Drupal using React and JSON.
The presenters also unveiled Intercept, a suite of Drupal 8 modules including event management, room and equipment reservation, and customer outreach (https://www.drupal.org/project/intercept; https://www.libraryintercept.com/). They are currently looking for partner libraries to help develop and test Intercept.
- Site Search. Presented by Heather Jeffcoat, who is the web team at Georgia Tech libraries. The title of the session is a bit misleading, as the website did undergo a full redesign. This was a 3-phase project; they designed the services they’d provide, they chose the technology they’d use, and then moved to implementation. They worked on this for nearly 2 years before contracting with Mediacurrent (https://www.mediacurrent.com/) to build out the design system and final product, which took another 7 months. The result (https://www.library.gatech.edu/) integrates extensive user testing, stakeholder meetings, Georgia Tech’s visual standards, accessibility/ADA concerns, and React technology. Jeffcoat and the Mediacurrent developer who also spoke recommend a component-based process in which you identify reusable blocks of content and define them ahead of time, which can speed development and make content editing easier. This presentation also introduced me to KSS-Node (http://kss-node.github.io/kss-node/), a way to build style guides for your website using the documentation you’re already writing in your code – I hope to implement this in the upcoming migration project and make it public.
- Content Management in Drupal. This panel discussion included a representative from Cherry Hill, a vendor serving mainly public libraries with Digital Asset Management Systems (https://chillco.com/); a developer on Mukurtu, a CMS built with and for indigenous communities (http://mukurtu.org/); and a developer at NYPL who manages several Drupal systems for their sites.
Day 3 & 4: Sessions
The “actual conference” began on Wednesday with a keynote from Drupal creator Dries Buytaert. The sessions that followed were numerous and very short, so I will summarize my takeaways briefly.
- What we call “free time” is not free for underrepresented groups – so your patrons from those groups might need special accommodation to learn what you want them to learn. We can not simply “be nice to everyone” – we must intentionally welcome people of color, LGBT+, women, parents, people with disabilities, etc.
- 21% of people who receive negative reactions from developer communities stopped contributing to open source projects. DrupalCon therefore makes special effort to be welcoming to everyone regardless of skill level.
- Current Drupal development initiatives include making things easier for content creators, site builders, people who are evaluating the system, migrating from other systems, and implementing a “headless” or “decoupled” Drupal installation (using Drupal as a back end and creating a custom front end rather than building Drupal themes), as well as lowering the overall “cost” of adoption (Drupal is open source, which, as we know, does not mean “free.”)
- Create reusable blocks of content. Create a style guide with reusable design elements. Invent the wheel ONCE and then stop.
- Where accessibility is concerned, don’t just look at the numbers; consider the human element. Consider not only permanent disabilities (blindness, deafness) or temporary disabilities (broken arm); consider conditional/situational disabilities (a mother with a hungry, screaming baby trying to find out whether her local library has a nursing room).
Videos from DrupalCon sessions are available at https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLpeDXSh4nHjRa80iIpiO7iFncC9nO5l6f.