Matthew Reidsma

Work Notes

Updates from the GVSU Libraries’ Web Team.
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Project Updates, April 2014

There are a lot of projects on my plate right now, and many of these projects will affect other folks in the library. As much as possible, I’ve already gotten folks who are directly affected involved in the planning and implementation of these, but it’s fair to give everyone a heads-up on things that are in the pipeline. Since I do an update with my team every week, I thought that once a month or so I’d post those updates here so everyone can get a sense of where I’m at with things.

As most of you know, my wife and I are expecting our second child in June, so I’ll be on a flexible work plan for most of the summer and will be using vacation time through the Fall to help my wife with her work schedule.1 If you have something you are hoping I’ll work on this summer, please tell me now.

Current Projects

  • Knowledge Base: Kristin and I have been working on developing a self-service help system for patrons that would integrate with our chat and email help. This is a big need we’ve uncovered over the past few years talking with students. We’re currently working with our advisory board (Mary O, Shy, and Ben) to develop guidelines for creating and maintaining content, as well as testing out alternative tools for running the knowledge base. (If you want to see a Knowledge Base in action, take a look at MailChimp’s)
  • Summon 2.0: We’re gearing up to make this switchover at the end of this semester (so far no one has objected to that timeline). Later today I am going to add This afternoon I added a banner to the top of the Summon results page, inviting patrons to “test out” the new search results interface. When I get back from my conference on April 14, I’ll add a note that we’ll be switching on a specific date. Right now that date is 4/28, the Monday after exams.
  • Special Collections Redesign: We’ve been working on redesigning the Special Collections and University Archives for a while now, and we’re making good progress. The existing site provides a fairly fractured user experience, with many different tools and sites holding all the goodies from Seidman House. The new site will provide a centralized search tool (currently being built by the Web Team) as well as cohesive browsing capabilities that let users see Digital Collections, Books, and Finding Aids all in one place. Plus Robert and Nancy will keep us all up-to-date on new acquisitions and exhibits through some Special Collections blogs.
  • LibGuides 2.0: LibGuides has updated its infrastructure to be so much better. I’m currently working with the LibGuides Committee to work out the details of switching over to the new platform. (More details to follow.)
  • LEED Screen: The LEED screen on the 1st floor of the Mary Idema Pew Library currently isn’t being updated with live data from our energy usage. I’m working with the Web Team and Facilities to actually get the data feeds, and it looks like progress is finally being made. I don’t have any details like availability dates, but hopefully we’ll have a dynamic LEED display soon.
  • Support Script Updates: We have a number of scripts I’ve written to improve our tools (like the Catalog, link resolver, Summon, etc.). Currently, all of these scripts are living on the development server, which is a fairly unstable place for such important tools to live. I’m working on migrating everything over to our more stable production server, but in many cases this involves updating databases and API calls, so it’s slow going. I moved 360Link Reset last week (along with a complete rewrite), and other scripts will move soon. The Instruction Menu will also move, although users won’t notice a difference, since I’m not changing anything and the URLs will automatically redirect.
  • Code4Lib Midwest: A few years ago we agreed to host the Code4Lib Midwest conference, and so planning is well underway. Code4Lib is an all-volunteer organization dedicated to sharing knowledge about technology and coding in libraries. The Midwest regional conference will be Wednesday July 23 through Thursday July 24, and will be held at the Mary Idema Pew Library as well as venues downtown. If you are interested in attending some or all of the events, let me know since space is limited.

That’s it for now! Let me know if you have any questions.

  1. The joys of self-employment.