New at go/lib: Ask a Midd Librarian

Thanks to lots of work from LIS staff members including Bryan and Ian, we’re trying out a new widget for the library home page. (Click on that link and scroll! You’ll notice what I’m talking about right away.)

The “Ask a Midd Librarian” widget should make it even easier for library users to get answers to their questions. It appears on every page of the library site. When librarians are logged in and available for chat, the widget says, “Chat with a Midd Librarian,” and clicking on the widget initiates a chat session. When we’re not logged, the text changes to, “Ask a Midd Librarian,” and clicking on it sends the person to a page that lists all the ways they can get help from us.

Scrolling widgets seem to be appearing all over the web these days, so it felt like a good time to test. Let us know what you think!

New VPN Client: Junos Pulse

We in LIS have been testing a new method of connecting to College resources from off-campus, and we are excited to announce that it is ready for prime time. The Junos Pulse client is available for Windows, Mac, Android, and iOS devices. Next time you’re off-campus, try it yourself – the instructions are at http://go.middlebury.edu/vpn.

Computers with existing NetConnect or Cisco VPN setups will still be able to connect that way for the foreseeable future – just open the appropriate program and connect. However, the website at https://vpn.middlebury.edu will change – instead of the current page where you login and are prompted to download NetConnect, you’ll be redirected to the new instructions for Junos Pulse.

This new method should be easier to use as well as allowing connections on a broader range of devices. As usual, we welcome your general feedback in the comments; if you’re having a specific issue or question about using it, please make a ticket to ensure a timely response. Thanks!

Now’s the Time to Update Your OS & Apps: New Vulnerabilities Announced

burglarApple recently released software updates to iOS, Mac OS 10.7 and higher, as well as for Safari & QuickTime for Windows.  These updates address a vulnerability found in Apple’s implementation of SSL (secure sockets layer), a protocol computers use extensively for secure communications online.  While we are not aware of any specific information breaches at Middlebury College, and the steps necessary for someone to compromise these secure communications are far from trivial, we should all apply these important security patches to our Apple hardware and Windows computers running Apple software to mitigate these risks.  Please check your Apple software for available updates (especially iOS, Mac OS, Safari, and QuickTime updates).  Run your updates now and check again after the installation as some may have prerequisites.  For more information, links to specific updates for the SSL vulnerability and others are available at http://support.apple.com/kb/HT1222.

LIS Workshops for March – April: Google Analytics, Drupal and Video-based Learning

Our current workshop schedule is now available.  Visit go/lisworkshops to view upcoming offerings and sign up for topics of interest.  Choose from Drupal introductions that cover basic web site maintenance skills, work sessions where you can get help with specific questions about how to improve your departmental web site, as well as Google Analytics to learn how to unlock the mysteries of your website’s traffic patterns.

We are also offering several opportunities to learn how to access and use  lynda.com  — Middlebury’s fabulous online learning resource that uses short videos to help you acquire new business and technology skills.  Anyone who is unfamiliar with this “no-cost-to-you” training benefit is missing out!

Lynda’s recently added courses include such varied topics as “Up and Running with Excel What-if Analysis,” “Delivering Employee Feedback,” and “The Art of Photoshop Compositing.”  Watch a single video or work through an entire course, but be warned — it’s addictive.

Sunday morning maintenace

We have two maintenance actives this Sunday morning.

Between 8 and 9 am we will be moving our on-line guest registration web application (https://middguests.middlebury.edu/) to a new server.  We do not anticipate a noticeable interruption of service.

Between 10 and 10:30 am we will be upgrading the central authentication service (CAS) component of Moodle, we expect a less than 5 minute service interruption.

We appreciate your patience as we continuously strive to keep our system functioning optimally.