Archive for July 31, 2008

Problems with Del.icio.us boxes inside LibGuides

Several users have sent us emails in the last few days asking why their del.icio.us boxes, which used to work fine, are now only showing a very limited set of tags. After looking into the issue in depth, the conclusion is that – for now – we can’t do anything about this because it’s a problem with the del.icio.us api code. We get del.icio.us tags to display in LibGuides by using  the code provided by del.icio.us,  and that worked fine ever since we introduced the feature (we never changed the code) until this week when things suddenly stopped working properly.

Del.icio.us folks are clearly changing the code on their end, and it is our hope that this is only because they are gearing up for the launch of Del.icio.us v2, i.e. the new version and are just going thru some last minute reshuffling/changing of code and the API. There are many other people, unrelated to LibGuides, that are having the same problem (see http://blog.delicious.com/blog/2008/07/do-you-know-where-your-password-is.html#comment-24308 ).

So, we’ll just have to be a bit patient and see if they fix this soon because they know it’s a problem. If not, we will have to think of other ways to extract this information and show it inside LibGuides boxes. This will be a rather difficult to do  without the delicious code working properly.

Stay tuned… We apologize for this problem, and wish that other web 2.0 services were as reliable as LibGuides 😉

Upgrading LibGuides Servers

The growth of LibGuides has been nothing short of amazing, but the best part is that we are just getting started! New libraries are signing up every day, so the current statistics (300 libraries, 5000 librarians using the system, 11,500 guides created with 70,000 subject pages) will look like small potatoes 6 months from now. To ensure the smooth growth of our community, and to be able to handle the increasead load we are upgrading the LibGuides server infrastructure.

After we stopped drooling over the specs of the new servers (the latest dual quad-core Intel cpus, 4 gb of ram, powerful Cisco firewall, etc. – don’t want to bore you with all the details but trust us, they are awesome), we installed the servers at our data center, so the next step is to do a lot of testing, and finally to move all databases and systems from the old servers to the new ones.

There will be a planned 1 hour downtime during the actual system migration, tentatively scheduled between August 10th and August 15th. Five days before the migration, we will inform all local system admins about the exact date and time. This is just an advanced notice because you (sys admins) will also need to do something on your part to complete the upgrade – depending on the status of your custom domain mapping. This is very important, so please read carefully: 

  • If your LibGuides system is not setup with the custom domain mapping (i.e. your system is on the domain something.libguides.com) you do not need to do anything on your end.
  • If you have the custom domain mapping (i.e. your system is on something.yourdomain.edu/net/org) AND your IT  folks in charge of your domain have created a cname alias for your libguides domain you do not need to do anything on your end.
  • If you have the custom domain mapping AND your IT folks in charge of your domain have created an A record for your libguides domain and pointed it to LibGuides servers IP, you will need to tell them to update the A domain record with the new IP (which we will give to you in an email informing you about the exact downtime date/time, 5 days before the upgrade). This change needs to happen either during our upgrade or after the upgrade – do not have them change the IP before the upgrade because then your system will not be reachable prior to the upgrade.

Hence, what you (libguides admins) should do now is contact the IT folks in charge of your domain and ask them if they created a cname alias or an A record for your custom LibGuides domain. Depending on their answer, read the previous paragraph again and act accordingly 🙂 

We do not anticipate moving the IPs again so once this change is completed you (and we) should be fine for the next few years at least. In order to ensure the smooth upgrade, please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any questions – support {at} springshare dot com and we’ll quickly answer any questions or concerns.

All libguides admins will get an email 5 days before the upgrade with the timing of the downtime and the IP address which the IT folks on your end need to update if they created an A record for your domain.

User Management in LibGuides and New API Functions

We rolled out another set of new LibGuides features this weekend. There are a lot of little things in this release, like code optimizations which will make the pages load faster, but the main new features are:

  1. Sys admins now have a real user account management console, from which they can create new accounts, promote existing accounts to admin-level (and demote them as well), reset passwords, and delete user accounts. If you are a LibGuides admin, check out the new console, you’ll be impressed. On the main admin page, click on the “Manage Other Accounts” link. See screenshot below.
  2. New API function for embedding your LibGuides profile box elsewhere (on any html page).
  3. New API function for embedding the LibGuides search box on any webpage. This box is similar in function to ebsco or proquest-type widgets which many of our users embed into their guides. Now you can embed the LibGuides search box which will search your local LibGuides system. See example below:
    Search LibGuides Demo: [HTML1]

Both of these new API calls are available on the “API Utility” page, under the “Widgets & API” tab on the main admin screen.

Monthly LibGuides Stats – June 2008

Here are the most recent cummulative stats for the LibGuides community.

Community Sites: 257
Librarian Accounts: 4265
Total Guides: 9859
Total Pages: 56,993