Fall Semester Underway

Posted: August 27, 2008 in library, services
Tags: ,

Fall semester has commenced. So far so good. Our library computers and services are up and running, and everything has been relatively smooth. Of course we did a lot of prep work in the final weeks before the semester started. There were a lot of software updates, some last-minute rearranging, and patron loads. Things seem to be going well, but it’s not quite perfect, so I’m thinking about some of the little wrinkles and trying to figure out if there are ways to preemptively address these in the future.

Off-Campus Logins
A patron who called yesterday was having trouble logging into the library catalog from an off-campus location via WebID. I first checked her library account. The account had all of the required data for a successful login, so that wasn’t the problem. Next I dialed in from an off-campus connection and tried logging in. I successfully logged in with my WebID, so it seemed that all LDAP components were functioning properly. Since I didn’t know the patron’s WebID information, I tested her login with the old name/barcode method. That worked as well. About this time the patron revealed that she was also having trouble logging into Blackboard and registration tools. Aha! From that it sounded like there was some problem with the user account that was controlled at a level above the library. If the patron is also having trouble with non-library logins, then it sounds like a call to the IT Helpdesk is in order.

Blackboard
The same patron also asked questions using Blackboard. Although the library doesn’t provide Blackboard support, I gave it a shot. (I’m not sure how she was able to see things in Blackboard since she couldn’t login, but oh well!) She said that when she clicked her class, the syllabus wasn’t listed. Sounds like this could be one of a couple of things. There could be some problem related to her login. This sounds likely based on her initial description. As another option, it’s possible that the professor simply hasn’t added the syllabus yet. Since I was not enrolled in her class, that’s as far as I could go with troubleshooting. Yet another call that should go to the IT Helpdesk.

Printing
Printing problems come and go, but this was the first time I had heard this one. Some students are printing course slides in Blackboard to the color printer. When the next student tries to print, their job automatically goes to the color printer instead of the black and white one. The wrinkle here is that this is default Windows behavior. When you change the printer to a choice other than the default, subsequent print jobs from the same application will go to the last printer chosen. The dilemma then is whether to inconvenience the current user or future users. If we could find a workaround that reset the printer choice to the default after each job, that would annoy the current user who needs to send several jobs to the color printer. If we leave it as is, then there is a potential annoyance to the next user. Since this seems to be a single-instance issue, the decision for now is to leave the default Windows behavior as is.

All in all things are looking good. Based on the first week thus far, it sounds like our services are in good order. With the issues that have come up so far, two are beyond our control and one deals with the default behavior of the OS. I’ll keep my eyes open and see if any other issues pop up. It’s always good to be able to anticipate and avoid potential hitches and glitches whenever possible.

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