2017 — A Year in Review


Approximately 1 million objects ingested during 2017, bringing the total number of objects currently in FindIt to 3,719,149.


Dale’s Arrival

Appointment of Dale Hendrickson as Director of Library Information Technology on February 27th. In his time here Dale has reorganized and restructured Library IT, putting new policies and procedures into place. He has welcomed a new communication style promoting an openness and transparency with Library IT’s partners.

Advanced Search User Testing

In the beginning of the Spring 2017 semester, Library IT conducted comparative usability tests of the advanced search feature in Blacklight (implemented at Yale as Quicksearch). Participants tested interfaces at Cornell, Columbia and Princeton. Participants were required to be a part of the Yale community; Library IT recruited both Library staff and student workers. Some student workers recruited other students. They were asked to complete two basic tasks and answer several follow up questions. The tests were for the most part unmoderated online tests; Library IT moderated the staff test sessions. The tasks that the participants performed and the questions they answered were designed to elicit insights into the following questions: Does advanced searching make sense? Across the three interfaces, what features are most desired? Across the three interfaces, what features are least desired/unnecessary? Library IT presented a summary report on the comparative user test results to the Quicksearch Advisory Group and the Quicksearch development team. The results informed the design and functionality of the Library’s eventual roll out of Quicksearch advanced search.

Infrastructure Improvements

Develop server and storage configuration standards and employ best practices across systems to ensure consistency; implement systems configuration management solution. Began to employ Ansible scripted management of servers and applications.


Upgraded Dev, Test, and Prod environments to v5.7_1.


Infrastructure Improvements

Upgrade and improve LIT backup infrastructure, including: NetBackup upgrade to enable tape backup of locally managed MS SQL Server instances; pilot and potentially utilize ITS Altavault/AWS Glacier NetBackup service offering; and sunset old SL500 tape library at 300 George St. Data Center.


New Staff

Cvetan Terziyski joined Library IT as an IT Support Technician on the Workstation & Technology Services Team. Cvetan is originally from Sofia, Bulgaria and has attended the University of Sofia St. Kliment Ohridski, where he earned a Masters’ degree in Computer Science/Information Security.

New Voyager Hardware

These changes began in April but were being performed up until December with the launch of Voyager 10. Designed, purchased, and implemented new Voyager hardware utilizing the latest server, storage, and networking technologies. The new environment is a hybrid of virtual and physical infrastructure.


LibGuides User Testing

At the end of the Spring 2017 semester, Library IT conducted two different user tests at the request of the LibGuides Advisory Group: a card sort test where students we asked to group a selection of LibGuide titles using their own descriptions, and a comparative usability test where student participants were asked to accomplish one task across several other institutions’ LibGuide landing pages. Insights from the card sort test results and the comparative usability test results informed discussions within the LibGuides Advisory Group as they considered the Library’s LibGuides landing page IA and the overall system’s functionality.


Upgraded to Avalon v5


Modified existing SAMMA workflow to support five new collections of AV material being reformatted. New scripts and processes were developed to streamline the workflow and create more flexibility when new collections come on board.


Workday Upgrade for LIT Partners

The University transitioned its financial and business processes from Oracle to Workday in July 2017. Prior to the roll out, it was determined that Voyager and its related programs and workflows would require remediation to ensure continued functionality with Workday. Work associated with Voyager was separated into two groups, a financial/acquisitions module and the patron access module. In June, Library IT worked with the Library Finance department to identify and update all pertinent fields to allow Workday vocabulary and chart of accounts charging instructions to be operable. Library IT also addressed the patron access module by working to understand Workday processes, identity management, mapping of data, and the several database alternatives from which to extract patron information necessary for our enterprise software.

New Staff

Keith Boyd-Carter joined LIT as an Operating Systems Programmer for Enterprise Systems and Services. He began working in this role last October as a contractor making the leap to staff quickly in June. In this capacity, Keith performs system management, application deployment and infrastructure upgrades. His first project at Yale was to work on the Avalon Media System for the Gilmore Music Library. The Avalon Media System is an open-source system for managing and providing access to large collections of digital audio and video.

Patrick Stone began at the Library in the capacity of a Workflow Analyst/Programmer. In this position, Patrick works with the Access Services and Technical Services departments to evaluate needs, identify process improvements, and implement technical solutions to improve efficiencies and drive organizational change.

Lise Gazzillo joined LIT as the Client Engagement Coordinator. In this role, Lise is responsible for the Library IT’s outreach and communication efforts. She plans and produces LIT’s monthly “Tech Talks” as well as the monthly newsletter.


Researcher Profiles

Library IT’s summer interns, Annissa Carter, Bryana Kilpatrick, and Jhoselyn Jara, moved the Publications information from the Staff Directory within Drupal, Yale’s content management system, to a different service — Researcher Profiles, a companion service to EliScholar. Researcher Profiles provides Yale faculty, students and staff, a place to showcase their curriculum vitae and other academic work and offers many features that were not available in its previous form.

Zoom Roll Out

After the completion of YUL’s thorough desktop video conferencing pilot project this past spring, Zoom was the clear choice. As a result, YUL’ s Zoom license went live in June and pilot participants were automatically transferred over to the new YUL license. The roll out took a phased approach, rolling out the necessary equipment, headsets and webcams, for staff members using Zoom. Working with supervisors, Library IT identified waves of staff members to receive the service and required equipment. The phased roll out was completed by the fall.

ArchivesSpace Public Interface

Yale has recently implemented a shared archival collections management tool, ArchivesSpace, and now we are extending that platform to implement the new public user interface layer, which will provide additional opportunities for systems integration, seamless staff workflows, and an improved user experience for researchers. As of today, ArchivesSpace includes nearly 2 million archival and digital object records representing hundreds of years of holdings across the Yale community. What’s exciting about the implementation of the ArchivesSpace PUI is that Yale is transitioning from a standalone tool to a platform used internationally by our academic peers, which will also bring new collaborative partnerships.


Staff Directory

The Staff Directory was moved to our main Drupal site. The new Staff Directory received the YUL website look-and-feel and provides an opportunity for many interesting integration points for our website.



Quicksearch was successfully upgraded on September 6, 2017! The upgrade included two major new features: Advanced Search and the new Database list. Several small but useful new features were also added, such as: Database A-Z list added to Quicksearch; numbered search results to allow for discussion; Hathi Trust links to digital versions of titles in Orbis or Morris; Local Subject headings link to find like titles, just as you can with LCSH and MESH headings; and easily accessible, stable links to the individual record in the ‘Bookmark As’ field.

New Staff

In September, Sara Cronquist joined Library IT, as our Senior Administrative Assistant. Sara divides her time between Library IT and Mansuscripts and Archives (MSSA), handling supply ordering, expense reimbursement, agendas and minutes, budget reporting (mostly in MSSA), assisting with events and coordinating interview candidates, and generally keeping things organized and running smoothly.



Upgraded Dev environment to v5.8_2.


Findit Test Environment

A test instance for Findit was setup, complete with its own Fedora repository and Solr index. This change will significantly aid future development work and forthcoming sprints.

New Staff

Rick Aliwalas joins Library IT as an experienced Linux Administrator in the Enterprise Systems & Services Group. Rick has worked at Yale for the past 8 years, first with Information Technology Services (ITS) and then with High Performance Computing (HPC) before coming to Library IT. In his role in Library IT, Rick is immersed in DevOps; a combination of software development and operations that shortens development cycles and creates more dependable releases, while in alignment with core Library objectives. Since joining Library IT Rick has worked on growing our infrastructure using DevOps tools such as Docker.

Nadia Boumahdi joins Library IT as an Application Programmer for the Programming Group. Nadia has moved to Connecticut from Rennes, France, where she received her Master’s Degree in Computer Science from the Institut National des Sciences Appliquées (INSA). She also spent a semester abroad in Belfast, Ireland. Nadia comes to Yale after working in the telecom industry as a DevOps Engineer.

Martin Lovell also joins Library IT as an Application Programmer for the Programming Group. Martin worked as a full-stack web, mobile, and application developer for a company based out of Seattle. Martin has worked on diverse projects ranging from a health resource portal to a web-based baseball hitting training platform. He looks forward to using his diverse skills here at Library IT.

Kelvin Polanco was previously with the School of Management (SOM), which he joined in 2014 as a Multimedia Specialist. Prior to working at SOM, his experience was in A/V, desktop, and multimedia support. Kelvin joins Library IT as a Technology Support Specialist. Kelvin dually reports to Kevin Merriman, CSSSI Director of Collection Management, Access and Technical Services, and Beatrice Richardson, Manager of Library IT Infrastructure and Client Services.


Migrated BRBL applications and Databases to Amazon Web Services (AWS); began to use AWS Glacier vaults for disaster recovery space; implemented Docker-based applications in the AWS container service cluster.


Voyager 10 Upgrade

Yale University Library upgraded its Voyager Integrated Library System (ILS) from 8.1 to 10.0 in December over the break. The upgrade from Voyager 8.1 to 10.0 introduced new features and fixes in all modules and enabled the reevaluation of workflows across units to realize the benefits of the newer software version. The Voyager ILS comprises three primary modules: acquisitions, cataloging, and circulation. The system also contains a public user interface known as the Online Public Access Catalog (OPAC). Additionally, there are tools and modules used by specific staff within the library for specific administrative functions, including system administration and bulk data processing. The Voyager Upgrade team continues to work on open stability issues with the upgrade.

Retirement of LibGuides AZ list

In the final week before Winter Recess, Library IT and the E-resource group ran and completed a project to officially retire the LibGuides Database AZ list. The Libguides Database AZ list has been inactive since the roll out of the new Database List in Quicksearch this past September. The project involved re-pointing over 2000 database assets in LibGuides to just under 1000 database handle URLs, thus eliminating the need for ongoing maintenance of databases in LibGuides. Technicians at Springshare then converted these database assets into link assets. The handle-link conversion allows uninterrupted access to databases linked through LibGuides, because the handle URLs for databases are maintained elsewhere. Many thanks are due to the E-Resource Group and LibGuides Advisory Group, who were key collaborators on the project as well as stakeholders.


Affected Servers by Security Patches

This coming Wednesday morning on, April, 18,  Library IT  will be applying patches to two servers to address security issues.  As a result, there will be service offerings that will become unavailable intermittently.  Please see the list below for details.  
Please monitor your email for announcements that the patch has been completed and that services won’t be interrupted.   
Servers: libsvcs-db-1.library.yale.internal and libsvcs-1.library.yale.internal
When: April 18 at 8.30am to 12noon
What is being done?: ITS needs to apply some patches to these servers to address some security issues
What does mean to me?: The servers that run databases and the following applications will be intermittently available or may see some connection failures during this timeframe.  Please coordinate your schedule as needed.
Why are these servers not available?:  There are some critical security issues that ITS needs to resolve on these servers as a result of a Security Design Review (SDR). 
What services run on these servers?
  • Production SSRS: SQL server reporting services
  • Access Services workflows such as their Claims Returned form, issuance of NonYale Patron Netids, Scan & Delivery services
  • Some parts of Beinecke Digital Collections might not be available: This searchable database offers thousands of partial and fully digitized items from a wide range of materials from the Beinecke’s collections: photographs, manuscripts, correspondence, artwork, objects, illustrations, and selected pages from printed works. 
  • Beinecke Medieval and Renaissance Manuscripts: This searchable database provides access to descriptions of medieval and Renaissance manuscripts based largely on the Catalogue of Medieval and Renaissance Manuscripts in the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Yale University, edited by Barbara Shailor et al.
  • Carycards: Beinecke’s collection of playing cards, card sheets, wood blocks, metal plates, ephemera, and prints.
  • Papyrus: Beinecke’s collection of ancient papyrus.
  • Beinecke’s Password admin and patrontracking forms.
  • Beinecke’s Uncataloged Search database
  • Beinecke’s Ductus catalog
  • Beinecke’s Saul Steinberg Images Collection
  • World War I Posters Collection catalog
  • Particular reports used by LSF staff such as LSF Reports, LSF barcode tracker, LSF reporting tools
  • Single Sign On (SSO) to services
  • CAS authentication
  • Aeon

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.

Continue Reading A New Face for Special Collections

Divinity School ePortfolios Transition to CampusPress

Since 2010, the Yale Divinity School has offered the ability to create ePortfolios, first using the Classes*V2 platform and then migrating to Canvas as Classes*V2’s replacement. Recently, in collaboration with the Yale Center for Teaching and Learning, the Divinity School made the switch to using Yale CampusPress, a WordPress space for students, faculty and staff. All Divinity master’s degree students are required to have an ePortfolio as part of their academic process. In addition to facilitating student reflection on their work, the ePortfolio can scaffold progress toward their educational goals. Further, as a space for representing intellectual and personal change over time, ePortfolios can document reflectivity and engagement across the various time lengths of the MA programs. Finally, maintaining an ePortfolio site allows a student to shape their professional online identity and make their work accessible to selected audiences, particularly mentors and faculty, for comment.

Trip Kirkpatrick, Senior Instructional Technologist at the Yale Center for Teaching and Learning, worked with Dean William Goettler, Associate Dean for Assessment and Ministerial Studies at Yale Divinity School, to create template sites in CampusPress for three Masters’ degrees, including templates for 13 different concentrations within the Master of Arts in Religion. Prior to the start of the new school year, they moved 230 returning students’ legacy Canvas or Classes*V2 ePortfolios to CampusPress. They also uploaded 145 new students’ admission essays directly into CampusPress as the first entry of their ePortfolios.

Divinity ePortfolio Base Template


The switch to CampusPress provides stability in part by taking advantage of WordPress’s longevity, community and documentation.  WordPress provides users with a simple and straightforward interface for students, with a small amount of effort, they can learn the tool enough to present their work in a clear and easy way. Using CampusPress gives the student control over who can read their work, making it simpler than previous options to share and discuss their work with people both inside and outside of Yale. The same control allows students to make their ePortolio as private or public as the student would like. Upon graduation, students can export their site content and either store it or import it into another WordPress site.

Yale CampusPress, a WordPress platform, is for students, faculty and staff who need a flexible, online platform to create professional or group websites. Anyone with a Yale netid can create a CampusPress site by going to the CampusPress login page. CampusPress is hosted by Edublogs, a longstanding WordPress host for education, and not hosted internally by Yale.

To find out more information about this project or how to use CampusPress for ePortfolios, contact Trip Kirkpatrick (trip.kirkpatrick@yale.edu) at the Yale Center for Teaching and Learning.

Improving Accessibility of Digital Resources

This past June, Yale colleagues attended a NERCOMP workshop, Web Accessibility in Higher Education, in Norwood, Massachusetts. The focus of the one-day workshop was improving accessibility of digital resources in higher education. Two Yale staff members were presenters at the workshop, Lisa Sawin, Director of User Experience & Digital Strategy, and Michael Harris, Information Architect also at User Experience & Digital Strategy. Lisa Sawin gave an overview of accessibility and why it is important. Micheal Harris followed up with information on the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG), guidelines for creating accessible digital resources.

Also in attendance from Yale was Tracy MacMath, User Interface Programmer at Library IT. Tracy’s attendance was sponsored by DiversAbility at Yale also known as DAY. DAY creates an open and inclusive environment for all individuals impacted by disability through engagement, education and advocacy. DAY is open to all Yale staff, faculty, and postdocs, with or without a disability.

The workshop was designed to educate designers, developers and administrators. The workshop also provided tools and resources to improve the accessibility of an institution’s digital content. The workshop attendees were well represented drawing from a variety of roles and perspectives.

One large takeaway of the workshop was with the demonstration of a screen reader, which allows blind or visually impaired users to hear the content of the page read to them through a speech synthesizer. The demo reviewed a website to see how accessible it was for blind or visually impaired users.  Attendees were able to experience the difficulty in accessing information that blind or visually impaired users would experience if a page was not structured properly.  The demonstration illustrated how important accessibility is when creating digital resources for higher education, the resources need to be accessible for all end users. It is the core mission of an educational institution to provide equal access to educational opportunities.

Links to Resources:

DiversAbility at Yale
Email DAY for more information.

For more information about developing and designing for accessibility you can visit ITS’s webpage at: http://usability.yale.edu/.

Staff Publications Gets a New Home

Library IT is currently working on a project to move the staff directory and profiles from a legacy part of our web space into Drupal,  Yale’s  content management system. Library IT’s summer interns, Annissa Carter, Bryana Kilpatrick, and Jhoselyn Jara, have replicated the staff profiles in Drupal. The Publications section of the Staff Directory will be moved to a different service — Researcher Profiles.

Researcher Profiles is a service providing Yale faculty, students and staff, a place to showcase their curriculum vitae and other academic work. It is supported by Yale University Library and open to any Yale community member.  Moving to Researcher Profiles offers many benefits, you can:

  • Add much more to your profile than just publications
  • Add in your CVs, list presentations, papers and articles
  • Create external links to content hosted elsewhere

Researcher Profiles presents an excellent way to have all of your work located in one place.

Researcher Profiles is search engine optimized, allowing search engines to discover and promote your information easily. Another key benefit is access to your dashboard. Your dashboard provides qualitative information about your content, from this information you can measure your content’s readership and traffic data, giving you an excellent way to measure the interest in your content.

Researcher Profiles is a companion service to EliScholar, a digital platform for scholarly publishing at Yale. EliScholar allows researchers and other interested readers anywhere in the world to learn about and keep up to date with Yale scholarship. Administered by the Yale University Library, EliScholar contains materials selected by participating departments, schools, centers, and institutes at Yale. Users have access to materials in EliScholar free of charge. Some materials are restricted use by Yale community members only.

If you have any questions, please email Steve Wieda at Steve.Wieda@Yale.edu or Jenn Nolte at Jenn.Nolte@Yale.edu.

Links to Resources:

New Staff Publications series in EliScholar: http://elischolar.library.yale.edu/yul_staff/

DevOpts for Rails Training

During the week of January 9-12th Rob Kaufman of notch8 led a class on dev-opts attended by developers and sys-admins from the digital library programming group, library IT and central ITS. The focus was on deployment strategies for rails based applications. The class began with an overview the basic components behind applications – servers (apache and nginx), rails modules such as passenger, standalone rails servers (puma, unicorn, thin, and webrick), database components (mysql, postgres, oracle), digital repository (fedora), and index applications (solr). The overview was also framed in terms of 12 factors – codebase, dependencies, config, backing services, build, processes, binding, concurrency, disposability, dev/prod parity, logs, and admin processes. Architecture of the application components was also key to understanding the parts and their various connections.

Deployment workflow traditionally has been a primarily manual process using ssh and command line for codebase, configuration, and server startup. Here we discussed more effective and efficient strategies in depth, namely capistrano, ansible, and docker. Capistrano is a methodology defining servers and basic commands for application code deployment so they’re encapsulated in basic commands. Ansible takes a role based approach that leverages recipes for the building of server components. Docker is a process that runs on top of the operating system kernel where “containers” consisting of the application and server environment are built, shipped and installed using using a basic domain language. In this context we explored continuous integration whereby these processes are integrated across the various environments (development, test, staging, and production) from which a living and breathing application is deployed using the code repositories and server configuration.

For the remainder of the course the class took a deep dive into creating deployment strategies for the main rails applications in the library: quicksearch and findit. As an exercise we broke up into groups and began working on docker implementations. Here we leveraged existing scripts currently in use in vagrant virtual-machine environments and translated them into docker containers. The challenges were many. First, as docker is layer based and built upon existing docker layers, we learned how to search the docker hub as a starting point for building the container, informed by choice of operating system, language, application, and their respective versions. Then through native package managers such as yum and apt-get, we exercised the process of getting all of the native libraries installed. Then the rails application code, including its dependencies in the form of ruby ‘gems’ were bundled in total creating a working docker image. Finally this image and images for external components (such as fedora,solr, mysql, and postgres), and environmental variables were orchestrated together using the docker-compose tool and stack-car convenience API to create a working application. By the end of the week a basic proof of concept for deploying containers using ansible and docker was generated, a pretty significant achievement! It is anticipated that the technology put in place through this week of training will be refined and expanded and what was once a laborious process will be optimized to the benefit all parties involved, developers, sys-admins, and most importantly the end user.

Hydra-In-A-Box Has a New Name!

Re-posted from the Hydra-In-A-Box team by Carol Minton Morris (cmmorris@duraspace.org)

Hydra-In-A-Box Project Update                                 Vol 1, Issue 1, December 2016

An email newsletter from the Hydra-in-a-Box team with news and information
about community progress, plans, and pilots.


The Hydra-In-A-Box Project team knew early on that the repository product needed to have a distinct name (What’s in a Name? The Many Facets of Hydra-In-A-Box). We wanted a name that would relate to the Hydra theme, but that would also be distinct and new. Over the course of 2016, we gathered suggestions from the community and had a lot of fun brainstorming (you should see our Slack discussions!). The idea for the name “Hyku” came about during a Cramer family trip to the Grand Canyon. By September, “Hyku” had made it to the project team’s short list, and after an internal project team vote, it was declared the winner.

The new name meets all the key criteria: short, easy to pronounce, starts with “Hy”, will not be confused with existing technology products, alludes to values we all hold dear-creativity, nature-and lends itself to playfulness. We can actually write haikus about it and riff on the name in fun ways for service marketing and promotion, e.g., Hykurate, Hykurry, Hykurumba… We hope you like “Hyku” as much as we do!


We have made significant progress towards releasing a feature-filled version of Hyku with code contributions from 6 additional institutions beyond the core partners. Your ongoing help will ensure a successful 2017 launch of Hyku-designed to meet your needs now and into the future.

As plans for the launch of Hyku pilot programs are completed we will be in touch to learn more about how you would like to be involved in testing early releases of Hyku, and in piloting HykuDirect, our hosted repository service. Please be in touch with any questions at hyku-contact@googlegroups.com.

A special thank you to the Hydra community institutions that have contributed so much to developing Hyku and the software on which it depends: Penn State University; Northwestern University; University of Michigan; University of Notre Dame; Oregon State University; Indiana University; the Chemical Heritage Foundation, and others.


Morris holdings now appear in Quicksearch!

The best way to view this new feature is to search for a law-related topic like ‘Human Rights Law’ in Quicksearch, http://search.library.yale.edu.

In the Search Results list you will now see real-time availability information.    A red ‘x’ appears if the title is checked out, and a green check mark displays if the title is available.


In the individual holdings screen, you can see the location, call number, and status of the title pulled directly in real time from Morris.


This is an important milestone in the Quicksearch project ;  the two Yale Library catalogs, Orbis and Morris, are both now fully represented in Quicksearch.