Category Archives: LIS Staff Interest

Weekly Web Updates – October 12, 2015

Last week we launched a “new” website for Sustainability. New is in quotes because, while much of the content was updated and it features a new, responsive design, it’s still in the same Drupal site that it used to be. We are very happy that we were able to do this “in-place” update of the site. Among its new features are a content type for events (which we’ll be rolling out to other areas of the site) and a custom tagging vocabulary with themed tag pages. The Sustainability tags can be added to any “Basic Content”, “News”, or “Event” node in the site, but only by one of the editors of the Sustainability site or the Communications department.

New Features

The Middlebury Drupal site’s WYSIWYG editor now has a button for the abbr element. Use this to add explanations for abbreviations you put in your text.

You can now enable the “Pinterest Board Shortcode” plugin on any WordPress site to embed Pinterest boards. Here are a few examples.


Fixes and Tweaks

  • The “equalizer” or “waveform” bars will no longer open automatically on interior pages of the site when there is only one featured story.
  • The “ shortlinks” feature of the Jetpack plugin is no longer available on our WordPress sites. This created an external dependency on getting to our sites and caused problems when site URLs were changed. All existing shortlinks will continue to work. If you need a shortlink for a particular post, consider creating a GO shortcut.
  • The “print” button has been removed from the WYSIWYG editor on the Middlebury Drupal site to make space for the “abbr” button.
  • Fixed an issue where the Drupal user-sync process in the Course Hub was not properly importing additional data about users (FirstName, LastName, etc) and in turn was preventing the Hub from properly creating new user-accounts.
  • Fixed an name-collision issue in Drupal where users who accidentally get a new identifier in Banner were not able to have accounts created in Drupal sites associated with their new ID.

Middlebury Google Apps Issues (Resolved)

At 3:07pm (ET) Google made us aware they they were investigating issues with Google Drive and related services like Docs, Sheets, and Slides. These issues affected all Google Apps customers, not just Middlebury. As of 5:37pm (ET), Google Apps services appear to be back up.

Google’s official Apps status updates can always be found here:

This post has been updated because the issues have been resolved. Thanks for your patience!

Incoming Email Services Disruption (Resolved)

Please note that there was an unexpected disruption to Middlebury’s incoming email services this morning. The issue has since been resolved. Please see below for more details.

Between 8:30 AM and 10:00 AM (ET), Middlebury’s email system was unable to receive incoming email sent from external addresses. Email messages sent to and email addresses from external addresses were rejected by Middlebury’s email servers. External senders would have received a “Non-Deliverable Notice” notifying them of the problem. Internal email messages, i.e. messages sent from or addresses, were not impacted.

The problem was corrected at approximately 10:00 AM (ET). External senders should be advised to resend messages that were rejected before the problem was resolved.

Weekly Web Updates – October 5, 2015

The New England Review website was updated last Thursday with a new design, developed by College Communications. This is a child theme based on the Genesis Theme Framework, which we’ve done an extensive security review on. It will be used to produce other custom WordPress themes including (eventually) a refreshed set of Middlebury-branded themes for use on your sites.

We have set up an application we’re calling “BannerSelect” that creates a nightly cache of Banner data that is used in our Drupal and WordPress sites. For example, lists of donors for the Online Donor Roll or course descriptions shown in the Course Catalog. This removes Banner as a dependency for these applications (though the Course Catalog was already creating its own cache) and will speed them up as well as make managing the web servers a little easier as they will no longer need to know how to connect to Oracle. We’ll be working with areas that rely on these applications to ensure they’re tested and working with the new system.


Fixes and Tweaks

  • When a piece of content on any of our Drupal sites appears on multiple pages, links to it will always go to the current page if you’re already on the current page. This mostly applied to pages with lists of profiles and lists of news stories. If you are viewing a list of faculty profiles on a department site and click on one of them, you should now always stay on that department site, rather than sometimes jumping to a different department in which that person also teaches.
  • We have disabled a redundant scheduled task that was causing slowness in the Course Hub application. This should slightly improve performance of all of our Drupal-based websites.
  • Information about commons association and advisors for students displayed in Course Hub Rosters is now stored in a local database (using the BannerSelect application mentioned above) and refreshed nightly from Banner, rather than being read directly from Banner.
  • The Study Abroad and Language Schools navigation elements will now appear properly as 36px high in all browsers.
  • When we upgraded the Drupal modernizr module this week, we took the opportunity to pare down the list of tests that the JavaScript file runs for older browsers. This shouldn’t affect anyone on the Middlebury campus, as most people should be using a modern version of each browser now, but this should mean a slight performance increase for people using Internet Explorer 7-9.

Friday Links – October 2, 2015

 Image: Erin Carson/TechRepublic

Image: Erin Carson/TechRepublic

Smithsonian Innovation Festival: 10 projects changing humanity’s future

The second annual Innovation Festival at the American History Museum in Washington, DC showcased some of today’s the boldest and most practical thinking.

OCLC prints last library catalog cards

DUBLIN, Ohio, October 1, 2015. OCLC printed its last library catalog cards today, officially closing the book on what was once a familiar resource for generations of information seekers who now use computer catalogs and online search engines to access library collections around the world.

Google Analytics for Higher Education Workshop on October 28, 2015

I’ll be hosting a workshop to discuss how you can use Google Analytics to get information about and improve the Middlebury website. You can sign up for the workshop on Wednesday October 28 from 1:00-2:30pm in MBH 161. Registration is limited to 10 persons to ensure there will be adequate time to answer your individual questions.

If you want to attend this session and don’t already have access to Google Analytics, please submit a Helpdesk ticket for “Software & Web Tools – Goolge Analytics Question” so that I can make sure you’re set up prior to the session.

Description: We can give you access to our Google Analytics reports so that you can look at traffic patterns for your website, but in order to get the most from this tool, you’ll need to do a bit of set up work and understand the basics of the platform. If you do not yet have a Google Analytics account, please indicate this in your sign-up.

What we’ll cover: Google Analytics tips & tricks, what number you should care about, search engine optimization, and getting your account set up.

What we won’t cover: Goals, conversions, AdWords, and on page events.

Format: The workshop will last an hour with additional time for questions and discussion, as needed.

More information about LIS workshops is available at go/lisworkshops.

Middlebury Security Alert for iOS Users

Middlebury ITS Information Security is currently investigating indications that members of the Middlebury community are using iOS apps infected with the recently discovered XCodeGhost malware.

XCodeGhost-infected apps can potentially steal private information and even launch phony authentication dialogues that can be used to attempt to steal usernames and passwords. Despite this capability, no information has yet come to light indicating that the infected apps were used for malicious purposes, such as harvesting personally identifiable information or stealing passwords

The majority of the XCodeGhost-infected apps were authored by Chinese developers who were tricked into downloading fake Apple development libraries. Therefore, the greatest impact of the XCodeGhost appears to be in China.  Some apps have been identified, however, that have world-wide use, including WeChat, Baidu, and others.

If you have an iOS device, our recommendation is that you remove from the device any apps known to be compromised with XCodeGhost. Download and reinstall the app from the Apple App Store once a fixed version has been made available.

A list of known bad apps can be found here:

Additional details on XCodeGhost can be found here:

Questions regarding this security alert may be directed to