Matthew Reidsma

Work Notes

Updates from the GVSU Libraries’ Web Team.
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LibGuides, Images, and HTTPS

In a few weeks, Google Chrome will release version 61 of its web browser, which will flag all sites that have forms that load over an insecure HTTP connection as “Insecure” sites. What kind of site has a form and probably loads over HTTP, you ask? Nearly every library webpage ever! Luckily, Mary Morgan and I have been scrambling for the past month to make sure we’re ready when Chrome updates. (All of the other browsers will follow suit shortly, plus pover 60% of our users are on Chrome.) All of our online services (except for ScholarWorks, which is hosted and out of our control) not support HTTPS. Many also force HTTPS connections, but not all our services currently allow us to do that (*cough* Summon and The Catalog *cough*).

Last week we updated LibGuides, the Knowledge Base, and LibChat to all use HTTPS. Those were the final services to move over, but we now have another project to undertake: most of the images that LibGuides owners have added over the near decade that we’ve had LibGuides are set up to load over HTTP, which makes browsers unhappy (and is a security vulnerability). And so, we have to fix them. Tessa, our superstar student in System and Technology, will be helping me manually fix all the images on the 337 pages that have been identified as having problems. (Let’s be honest: she will fix most of them. Send her chocolate!)

If you are a LibGuides owner or editor

Going forward, all images you add to your site, including thumbnail images for books or links, must be loaded over HTTPS. There are two ways to do this:

  1. When you find the URL of the image you want to link to, make sure it is an HTTPS URL. If the URL you have isn’t HTTPS, try changing it to say “https:” at the beginning, and see whether the image loads. If it does, great! You have a working HTTPS URL. If not, then go to step 2.
  2. Download the image to your computer, and then upload it to the LibGudies Image Manager. Copy the link the Image Manager gives you, and use that. That will be an HTTPS URL. (It may actually have a “//” with no http or https in front of it, but that’s fine. It will load with whatever protocol the page loads with, which will be HTTPS.)

A few words on using images

  1. Remember there are copyright laws and if you don’t have permission to use the image on your site or a good fair use case, you shouldn’t. Not even when linking to it.
  2. If you link to an image, there is a high likelihood that the link will break and my student or I will have to fix it.
  3. Images should not be the primary means of conveying text or meaning. Don’t upload an image of a chart or diagram, because that image will not be accessible to visually-impared users. Get in touch with me about creating accessible versions of these kinds of images. More information on this on the Style Guide
  4. Use images sparingly. There are over a thousand thumbnail images on LibGuides that we have to fix (and those are just on the published pages). That’s probably too many thumbnail images.