We’re in the middle of a couple ongoing projects. First, we’re working with colleagues in CS&N to create “cookbooks” in Chef, a server management tool, that will allow us to define our production and development configuration and keep it in version control. We’re focusing on our cluster of servers that manage Drupal to begin.
Also this week and last, we’ve been working with Acquia on a pair of audits of our Drupal environment. Acquia is a professional services company, founded by the person who created Drupal. These audits should make our sites faster and more stable.
Tweaks and Fixes
- The global navigation on the MIIS webforms site now matches the regular site.
This Canadian news site has an interesting article on how and why the U.S. Census Bureau may change the race and ethnicity questions.
Why the U.S. Census Bureau might drop the term ‘race’ in 2020
As part of an ongoing project to improve our wireless infrastructure at Middlebury, we’ll be testing a new configuration in a limited area (namely, 700 Exchange Street) before we go live across campus. Here’s the plan:
- On Friday, Nov 20th, we’ll push a new configuration profile to all College-owned computers that covers both our existing infrastructure and our new one. The only change will be at the login window – if, when logging in, your laptop detects the MiddleburyCollege wireless network, it will attempt to connect first and log you in over the network. We have tested this a few different ways and it should be only a minor change in your experience.
- During our regular Sunday morning maintenance period, we will move 700ES over to the new configuration and verify that computers and other wireless devices can connect smoothly both at 700ES and when visiting the main campus where the old configuration is in effect. If there are problems, we will roll back to the current configuration and provide an update in this space.
- On Monday the 23rd, the configuration from step 1 should be in place and should allow everyone at 700ES to connect to MiddleburyCollege on their College-issued machines with a minimum of fuss. During this transitional period, we expect that you will need to re-enter your email/username and password once, and possibly again when going from 700ES to the main campus or vice versa. (Personal devices such as phones may prompt you to inspect and accept a new certificate before signing in; this is normal.) If there are any issues, you can contact the Helpdesk as usual. Rick James and Billy Sneed have also volunteered to make themselves available Monday morning to ensure concerns are addressed in a timely fashion.
- Once the dust has settled, we will make a second change at 700ES to the wireless networks. This time we will remove MCPSK and Midd-standard, and add the new MiddleburyGuest network. We anticipate that this change will take place on Monday, Nov 30th. At that time we will begin a two-week period of testing by ITS staff and others to ensure that our documentation (currently at go/draftwireless) and infrastructure are both up to standards.
- Once any issues that surface during testing are addressed, we will make the same changes on campus, with the goal of having the new infrastructure in place the week before J-term classes start.
Although we have done our best to ensure a smooth transition, it is possible that there will be issues we did not anticipate, which is why we are testing with a small group before the main rollout. Your patience and cooperation during this period is much appreciated. Most importantly, please report any Wireless connectivity problems to the Helpdesk, whether they are a result of technical issues or unclear documentation.
If you have any questions about this project, please ask them here or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Peace and testing,
Wireless Project Manager
In the interest of providing new and improved modes of access to Special Collections & Archives’ extensive collection of digitized materials, we’re excited to announce that we have have secured our own Middlebury College Library collection within the Internet Archive (also available via go/middleburyia).
The Internet Archive is a nonprofit digital library based in San Fransisco whose stated mission is to provide permanent and universal access to all knowledge. In order to meet their ambitious goals, the Internet Archive allows free uploading and downloading to its 50 petabyte data cluster, engages in massive web harvesting and preservation via the Wayback Machine, and oversees one of the largest book digitization projects in the world. Certainly, we are excited join many of our peer institutions in making unique contributions to the project.
Though the Middlebury College Library collection at the Internet Archive is still quite small, currently containing a sample of works from our Vermont Collection Books & Pamphlets, we expect it to grow rapidly and act as a primary component of our digital archives strategy. Key advantages of hosting digitized content with Internet Archive include:
- Broader access and discoverability of uploaded content;
- Support for streaming and online viewing of media formats ranging from scanned books to audio to vintage video games;
- Automatic OCR for digitized texts;
- Embeddable links & players for streaming audio and video;
- Automated derivation and delivery of digital objects to users in many more file types and formats that we could reasonably support on our own;
- And – of course – that the service is free for both users and contributors.
Everyone is encouraged to pay a visit and take a look at the growing collections. Any questions, comments, or suggestions regarding Internet Archive or our digital collections there can be directed to Patrick Wallace.
The New Library Items site is back, this time as a separate site which can be found at http://newlibstuff.middlebury.edu. Use this interface to browse the collection of library items by subject or type and see their covers.
We have added a WordPress plugin called The Events Calendar to support a site for the DLA.
Tweaks and Fixes
- The limit on the amount of time allowed when you save page settings in Drupal has been increased. This should prevent you from seeing the grey “503 error” page when adding permissions to a particularly large portion of the site, though we still recommend using the AD Group Manager when possible.
- We’ve optimized the query that fetches lists of donors for MiddSTART so that it returns only a few hundred rows from the database on each page load, rather than a hundred thousand.
- Missing page regions caused by a recent update to Monster Menus were restored to several themes, including the Museum and the interior “blue” MIIS theme.
- Extra white-space in Newsletter templates caused by a recent update to Monster Menus has been removed.
- A large number of pages that were showing up in the Google Webmaster Tools report for the MIIS site as 404s now redirect to appropriate content. There are now virtually no broken links on their site, or on other sites pointing at the MIIS site.
Thanks to poet Gary Margolis for sharing this library-related poem.
A Heaven We Have Left
I’m reading a novel that takes place
in 1860 in Sicily. The writing’s so good
I could be anywhere and not know
where I am. I’ve never heard of the author,
Gieuseppe di Lampedusa, who only
wrote one book, until a friend wanted
to pay me for a gift I couldn’t take
any compensation for and mailed me
this story. For listening to his wife
who was worried about their son
when my friend was out of town. Away
attending to their other son. Who said
he thought I would be carried away
by the paragraphs, the natural details married
to the psychological, how Lampedusa presents
the past as if it were the present. How he collapses
the future in a sentence. Quickly
and forever involves me in that other
century, a place not my own.
Unless I lived in Sicily in 1860
and cheered for Garibaldi the Great Unifier.
And all those underneath, accompanying stories.
I can’t ask God to give me more time
to read. To take with me when I’m gone.
Although maybe I could beseech Him, believe
beneath the ground there is a library and no
librarian, no automatic notice letting me know
when a timeless book is overdue.
When I have to return or pay to replace it.
When my friend is away so long
I feel like I’m living in a once and future century,
one of us will have to read and write about.
There is now a “Stats” link in the green Page section of the Edit Console on the Middlebury and MIIS Drupal sites. Clicking this link will bring you to a report that displays data from Google Analytics for that page from the last 30 days, including pageviews, unique pageviews, bounce rate, exits, referrers, and search terms. Because Google has a limit to the number of API requests we send them, this data is cached for three days.
If someone returns to a webform and edits a previous submission to the form, the confirmation emails that the form sends out when it is normally submitted will be sent out again to all of the intended recipients with the updated information from the form. This change applies to all forms on the Middlebury and MIIS Drupal webform sites.
We have prepared a guide to common web accessibility issues that our site editors can help us resolve, with links to videos explaining the issues and how to fix them.
Tweaks and Fixes
- The “Class Photo Roster (Faculty Only)” links on the Middlebury and MIIS Directory now take you to a page with links to the Middlebury and MIIS Course Hubs. The photo rosters available in the Course Hubs include several additional features, including each student’s commons affiliation and advisor. We will be supporting the photo rosters through the Course Hubs and removing them from the Directories.
- The way the data is structured for content in regions on the page was changed in Drupal Monster Menus version 7.x-1.23, causing some of our custom code to believe that page regions were empty for unauthenticated users part of Thursday morning until this was fixed.