The Project Management Community of Practice Begins Anew

Across campus, there are several Communities of Practice (CoP) groups. The CoPs are a helpful way to grow your network with fellow practitioners, develop competencies, share solutions, and create standards. This fall Melissa Wisner, IT Portfolio Manager & Project Librarian, will begin leading the Project Management CoP. The Project Management CoP (PM CoP) has been in existence for several years and originated with Yale ITS. Based on new goals set forth by Yale ITS leadership the CoP is looking to broaden the group’s reach by inviting members from different unit’s practicing project management university-wide.

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One Calendar to Rule Them All

In the feedback provided to Library IT, we heard from clients you would like to know about technology-related initiatives other units are working on. In response to this feedback we are starting a new column in our monthly newsletter — shining the spotlight on the work of our partners and colleagues.  The inaugural article is by Joshua Dull, Digital Scholarship Support Specialist, with his solution for aggregating many calendars into one. If you would like to learn more about contributing an article to the Library IT monthly newsletter, please contact Lise Gazzillo at lise.gazzillo@yale.eduemail address

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Beinecke and Access Services Participate in BorrowDirect Pilot for Special Collections

Last October Yale University Library and five other Ivy Plus Libraries participated in a pilot program to share scans of special collections materials at no cost to BorrowDirect Libraries. BorrowDirect is an unmediated library resource sharing partnership encompassing thirteen Ivy Plus academic institutions Before the pilot, interlibrary loan (ILL) requests for scans of Beinecke materials were canceled by SML/Bass Access Services and the ILL office was told to contact Beinecke directly. In the pilot, SML/Bass Access Services and Beinecke Access Services work to fill these requests through ILLiad and Aeon. Currently, only requests for PDF Scans are eligible for the pilot. Patrons requesting high-resolution scans must still contact Beinecke directly. The pilot runs until October; Access Services and Beinecke plan to review and evaluate the success of the pilot over the summer.

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Aeon Email Addon Sends MSSA Greater Efficiency

Over the past few months, Library IT worked with Manuscripts and Archives (MSSA) to implement an Email Addon to Aeon. This feature was added to both instances of Aeon. The Email Addon allows MSSA staff to email patrons when requested materials are in. The emails can be sent out using a batch process providing MSSA staff with a level of automation that allows them to communicate with a large number of patrons in a matter of minutes, quickly and easily. Staff can still use a manual method for emailing patrons for those situations that require special circumstances.

Example of the batch emails to patrons
Figure 1: Example of the batch emails template sent to patrons.

Each item is still scanned by an MSSA staff member in order to trigger the email, preceded by a number of steps that involve monitoring transactions as they move through notification queues, then rerouting them to their final destinations. The Email Addon automates the routing rules that govern the sending of the email so staff does not have to manually send one to each patron for each request.

Since the MSSA Reading Room is the only monitored reading room in Sterling Memorial Library, restricted materials patrons request are sent to this location.  The volume of materials being delivered and processed at MSSA is substantial, sometimes receiving as many as 60 boxes with multiple deliveries in one day. The Batch Process helps MSSA keep track of their materials more efficiently making it easier to return materials to Library Shelving Facility (LSF) thus limiting the time materials are at risk. Once notified, the patron then has 5 days to come in and use the materials before it is returned to the LSF.

The benefit to patrons is the quick notification of when materials are available. Access to this information helps to eliminate some of the mystery patrons experience between requesting materials and receiving them. The notifications allow patrons to better plan for their trip to the Library, as some patrons are coming from a distance.  Having an awareness of when materials will be available and in what format helps patrons with their planning, especially if only partial orders are received. Ultimately with this new functionality, MSSA is able to manage patron expectations of hold times from the moment an item is put on hold.

The Email Addon has in place since March 1st and has been working very well. MSSA hopes to explore more batch processes in the future.

Delivery Services Goes the Distance for the Cushing/Whitney Medical Library

This past fall, the Yale School of Medicine launched the Online Physician Assistant program. This program currently boasts 44 enrolled students from 16 states, including Hawaii, and is set to scale even larger in future cohorts. Since these students will not have the option to come to the library in person, providing the same level of access to materials posed a challenge to traditional delivery methods.

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New to FindIt — The Lewis Walpole Library Digital Collection

The Lewis Walpole Library Digital Collection was recently added to FindIt. All of Walpole Library’s digital content was migrated from their former stand-alone system and integrated into the Yale University Library’s Digital Collection. The migration included approximately 14,000 prints, the core of their graphics collection, which encompasses both satirical and non-satirical prints, portraits, theatrical, and topographical prints, as well as several of the library’s extra-illustrated volumes and manuscripts.

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A New Face for Special Collections

The Special Collections Steering Committee is planning an informative and interactive demonstration of the ArchivesSpace Public Interface on February 23rd, at 2-3:30PM. Please join the ArchivesSpace Public User Interface (AS-PUI) Implementation Project Team and colleagues for the opportunity to hear project updates as well as conduct hands-on searches for yourself.

The event takes place in the newly-reopened, SML Lecture Hall and Memorabilia Room.

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Yale University Celebrates National Disability Awareness Month

In 1988, the United States Congress declared October as National Disability Awareness Month, to raise awareness of the employment needs and contributions of individuals with all types of disabilities. This month, DiversAbility at Yale University (DAY), one of Yale’s eight affinity groups, will celebrate the month of October with a variety of educational programs, events, and networking opportunities. DAY encourages all to attend, learn about the types of disabilities and become a disability ally.

Below is a list of  workshops DAY is offering that apply to technology and accessibility:

Wednesday Oct 4, 3:00-4:00 pm
Workshop: Introduction to Universal Design for Learning
Center for Teaching and Learning (SML, 301 York) Rm 121
How can we make our classes accessible, engaging and relevant to a broad diversity of learners–including those with disabilities? Workshop leader Katherrine Healey (McDougal Graduate Teaching Fellow and doctoral candidate in the History of Science and Medicine) will show how the principles of Universal Design for Learning may help us design learning activities so that all students will have equitable opportunities to learn and succeed. Registration information.

Thursday Oct 5, Thursday Oct 12, Thursday Oct 19 and Thursday Oct 26, 11:30-12:00
Tips for Making Your Canvas @ Yale Course Sites More Accessible
Center for Teaching and Learning (SML, 301 York) Rm 118A
Find out how the Canvas @ Yale platform for course web sites has been designed with accessibility in mind, and learn where to find resources to help you make your course content more accessible. Registration information.

Wednesday Oct 11, 10:00 am – 1:00 pm
Founders Day at Yale University Library
Sterling Memorial Library (SML)
The open house will present an array of current projects, collections, services, and resources from all across the library system. One table will be devoted to library accessibility services and disabilities studies resources. Library staff who are members of the DiversAbility at Yale Affinity Group will demonstrate screen reader software, provide information about universal design, and will help visitors find information about disability studies in the library’s collections. See a list of exhibitions.

Monday Oct 16, 12:00-12:30 pm
Brownbag Lunch: Alt Text and Accessibility in the Classroom and Beyond
Center for Teaching and Learning (SML, 301 York)
Incorporating images, graphs, and maps into your instruction provides multiple means of representation for students’ varying learning styles. However, purely visual information is not accessible to all learners. This talk will cover how to add alternative text—or alt text—to images in your documents, slides, or on your Canvas site so that all students can benefit. Led by Katherrine Healey, McDougal Graduate Teaching Fellow. For more information.

Tuesday Oct 23, 12:00-12:45 pm
Brownbag Lunch: Easy Ways to Make Word Docs and PDFs More Accessible
Center for Teaching and Learning (SML, 301 York)
Bring your lunch to a demonstration of some simple things you can do to make sure that your Word documents and PDFs are accessible to all members of the Yale community. This session will be led by David Hirsch, Director of Educational Technology Strategy, Center for Teaching and Learning. For more information.

Wednesday Oct 25, 12:00-1:00 pm
Workshop: IT Accessibility
25 Science Park, Rm 125
Come learn tips for content editors to improve the experience of their websites for all users, especially for people with disabilities. The session will focus primarily around the YaleSites, but people creating content for any website can benefit. The session will focus on how to use headings, images, links, and readable text in order to make your site more compatible with assistive technologies, such as screen readers. Registration information.



The DiversAbility at Yale (DAY) Affinity Group’s mission is to create an environment that is open and inclusive for all individuals impacted by disability through engagement, education, and advocacy. DAY also focuses on ways to support the recruitment, retention and advancement of people with disabilities.

DAY is open to all Yale staff, faculty, and postdocs, with or without a disability, representing a diverse range of departments and interests within the Yale Community.

For more information about DAY visit their website, or email them at; they can also be reached by phone at 203-432-9667. Or like them on their Facebook page to read about upcoming events.

Update on ArchivesSpace PUI

Many of you may be familiar with YFAD, the Yale Finding Aids Database. The Library developed YFAD locally several years ago, and the system is showing its age. After a few years of intense technical development, a new discovery interface for ArchivesSpace is available for implementation. Yale implemented ArchivesSpace as an archival management tool for staff several years ago, and with it for the first time, a standard tool used across almost all libraries, museums, and galleries on campus with archival materials. The extension of the ArchivesSpace platform to include a public user interface will provide new opportunities for systems integration, more seamless staff workflows, and an improved user experience for researchers.

The project at Yale to implement the ArchivesSpace discovery had a three month preplanning process, involving the project sponsors and administrative stakeholders. Melissa Wisner, Senior Systems Librarian in Library IT, serves as the Project Manager. Mark Custer, Archivist and Metadata Coordinator at Beinecke, serves as an ex officio member due to his role as Project Manager for the technical development and design phase. The project is sponsored by E.C. Schroeder, Director of Beinecke Library and Associate University Librarian, and Chris Weideman, Director of the Department of Manuscripts and Archives, and has a roster of approximately 30 staff members, and a larger number of stakeholders.

There is significant work to accomplish along with preparations for changes before the debut of the new service to users. The plan is to begin with a soft-rollout of the new discovery interface, while continuing to keep YFAD available. There will be a period when both tools are available through the Library website as final adjustments are made for the transition from YFAD to ArchivesSpace. As of today, the project team anticipates an early 2018 soft-launch.

The following working groups comprise the ArchivesSpace project team:

  • Public User Interface Enhancements & Ideas, led by Alison Clemens
  • Data Cleanup & Enhancement, led by Alicia Detelich and Christy Tomecek
  • Staff Training & Documentation, led by Emily DiLeo
  • Technical Integrations, led by Steve Wieda
  • Usability & Accessibility, led by Jenn Nolte
  • Marketing & Branding, led by Mike Morand

Several different tools to organize and manage the work and communication of the project are being used: Asana for the project plan, a Slack channel for day-to-day project team communication, Google Drive for file sharing, GitHub, and the local Yale ArchivesSpace email distribution list. Monthly updates on progress will be sent to Yulib. Project team members will post details about the project and aspects of project management to the Yale ArchivesSpace blog on a regular basis.

The monthly All Project Member/Stakeholder meetings are open to everyone with an interest in the new user interface, special collections, or an interest in teaching users about finding aids, archives, and special collections at Yale. The meeting for October is Tuesday Oct. 31 in Bass Library L01 & L02 from 3-4pm.

For more information about the ArchivesSpace project, visit the YAMS LibGuide or the ArchivesSpace blog. This month’s post by Melissa Wisner focuses on project management: Implementing the ArchivesSpace PUI: A Before Action Review.