Library Day in the Life

Library Day today was supposed to be all about taking a rough draft project proposal I've written and transposing it into a Project Charter for a project to redesign our staff intranet page. That didn't happen. The "Intranet Redesign" was actually supposed to happen last year but that didn't happen either because another large project bumped it into this year. But that's the subject for another post. 

Before getting to the Intranet Project Charter this morning I thought I would tackle an email that came on Friday that claimed that our new social catalogue/discovery layer was hard to search and made it hard to find new items and that that was causing the number of holds placed in branches to be drasticallly reduced compared to last year. 

But then that social catalogue/discovery layer started to respond intermittently and then not at all so we started troubleshooting on several different computers to try and figure out if the problem was caused at our end or theirs. It seemed to be at their end so I then carefully composed a trouble ticket accompanied by excerpts of page source to show that some of their appservers were returning error messages. Then a systemwide alert banner appeared on the Social Catalogue/Discovery Layer's login pages to say that they were having trouble and to come back later so at least we knew it wasn't our fault. 

For some reason, right about then I was reminded that our public wifi service doesn't play nice with Android devices and renders them, essentially, unusable with our wifi. I've recently started using an Android device so this has been on my mind but it turns out that it's been a known problem for a while. So I thought I better start talking to our staff about getting it fixed but then I found that three of the four staff who can solve this problem for us were not here today so tried remember what I needed to remember about the symptoms and saved it for another day.  

At about that time, an email arrived from the Social Catalogue/Discovery Layer vendor to say that they had a serious problem with some broken code (not in so many words) and they put the login routines out of commission until they fixed it but now it's all back in order so I tested it myself and asked our computer support to test it and I then forwarded the news to appropriate people.

So, finally I got back to that email about the new Social Catalogue/Discovery Layer causing a drop in holds placed at branches: I spoke to one of support staff who prepares monthly stats reports and briefly conferred with my boss (Manager of Systems) to conclude that new Social Catalogue/Discovery Layer uses different location profiles so it appears that fewer people are placing holds at branches but it now it isn't possible to actually determine this from our monthly Circ stats and furthermore, the overall number of holds placed is 12-16% higher during the past four months than the same months last year. I easily wrote a response about how the stats don't support the conclusion that the Social Catalogue/Discovery Layer is causing reduced number of holds placed at branches but ,unfortunately, I then struggled with carefully wording a response to the rest of that original email about how the Social Catalogue/Discovery Layer is awful and hard to search and not very good. I hadn't finished the careful response to that part of the email when my teenage daughter arrived from her afternoon adventures at her appointed time and we rode our bikes home together. Will finish that email tomorrow morning, and then will get to that Intranet Project Charter, I promise. 

Philip Hall 2014