OIS News -- October 2000
HOLLIS portal (the service formerly known as HOLLIS Plus)
Library Digital Initiative
Notes & reminders
Without much fanfare, a new access management service became available during the mid-August release of the HOLLIS portal. This service -- HUL Access Management -- coordinates access management for Harvard's network-accessible resources. Access Management is an important service developed as part of the Harvard University Library Digital Initiative. This article includes brief descriptions of this new service and the benefits it provides.
Network-accessible resources (HOLLIS portal resources and web sites such as OASIS and VIA) will all benefit from Access Management. Users access these resources through an abstraction called a resource gateway (also referred to as a connection method). A resource gateway corresponds to a unique set of protocols and mechanisms (e.g., URLs, cookies, login scripts, session IDs, etc.) necessary to access a resource or class of resources. HUL Access Management works with resource gateways -- providing the access control and resource tracking while the gateway actually makes the connection. (For more about Harvard's commonly used resource gateways, see Connecting to Harvard's electronic resources, also in this issue.)
Access control enhancements
An important aspect of Access Management is its 3-part approach to access control. It performs the relatively familiar task of user authentication (are you who you say you are) but also supports two other components of increasing importance: user authorization (are you permitted to do what you have requested to do) and user profile (what are your characteristics). In short, Access Management will make it possible to increase the number of access control possibilities beyond simply checking for a valid Harvard ID.
User authentication is based on matching two pieces of information: a public identifier, which may be widely known (e.g., user name, HUID); and a private identifier, which should be known only by the individual whose identity is being authenticated (e.g., password, PIN). Right now, authentication is based on HOLLIS ILS patron file data (last name and Harvard ID). In the near future, Access Management will switch to using the Central Administration PIN service. At that point, portal users will authenticate using a Harvard ID and University PIN.
A benefit users will see
For the most part, Access Management does its work invisibly but its effects can be felt by resource users. The most obvious benefit is its support for a single authentication challenge per browser session, regardless of which resources or systems are accessed during that session. The HOLLIS portal is close to this model now, except for resources using the APC proxy. Until APC can be phased out, a portal user will be challenged no more than twice per browser session -- once for resources under Access Management and once for resources under APC.
The HUL Access Management service is now being used by HOLLIS portal resources. In the future, images delivered by the VIA system will be the next likely candidates for Access Management (VIA itself is available without access restrictions, but many of the images it delivers are available only to the Harvard community). Ì
HOLLIS portal (the service formerly known as HOLLIS Plus)
This article reviews the types of connection methods (or resource gateways) used to access Harvard's network-accessible electronic resources (all of which are now listed on the HOLLIS portal). In times past, method of connection involved not just the connecting, but also the access control (who can use the resource). With the introduction of the HUL Access Management service, connection methods do the connecting and access control is managed separately. Consult the article HUL Access Management in this issue for more information.
The connection method (resource gateway) refers to one of many methods used to connect the user's browser to an electronic resource. Resource vendors tend to prefer connection by login and password or more likely, by IP address (location of a computer on a network). What OIS must do is select a local connection method that satisfies a vendors requirements while maintaining the widest possible access to legitimate Harvard users of the resource. This is not always an easy task.
When a resource requires a login and password, the Harvard strategy is to use scripted login to connect a user with the resource. When a resource controls access by IP address, the strategy is to employ a proxy server. The technical characteristics of a resource determine how likely it is that these strategies will work. Generally, these connection methods are designed to work transparently. Whether scripted login or proxy server is in use, electronic resource users see only the prompt for last name and Harvard ID and are not normally aware which connection method is in use.
Scripted login is a technique used to access an electronic resource that requires a login and password. For electronic resources requiring this access method, a program or "cgi script" performs this login process automatically and transparently after HUL Access Management verifies that the user is a valid Harvard user. This is a much more efficient method than figuring out a secure way to distribute a login and password to every Harvard user of the resource. However, login scripts are very costly to develop and maintain. If the option is available, Harvard will prefer IP-based access with a proxy server. Currently there are 35 HOLLIS portal resources using scripted login.
Proxy server is a technique used to access an electronic resource that requires users connect from IP addresses in a prescribed range. Limiting access by IP addresses (in our case, computers attached to a Harvard network) is a popular method of access control but it works poorly in the Harvard environment. A proxy server works around this problem by playing the role of intermediary between the user and the resource. After HUL Access Management verifies that the user is a valid Harvard user, the proxy connects to the resource using a Harvard IP address registered with the resource vendor. Regardless of where the user connects from (home, office, dormitory, etc.), the remote resource sees only the Harvard IP supplied by the proxy.
The HOLLIS portal currently uses two types of proxy servers -- EZProxy and APC (Automatic Proxy Configuration). Both work in a similar manner, but APC requires a small configuration change to a user's browser while EZProxy works transparently (without browser configuration). Because browser configuration is undesirable and because of incompatibilities with the new HUL Access Management service, OIS hopes to retire use of the APC proxy in the near future.
There are currently 815 HOLLIS portal resources under EZProxy and 216 resources under APC proxy.
When all else fails, IP access alone
There are 201 licensed portal resources available through IP access alone. Many of these have some type of technical incompatibility with Harvard proxy servers. Use of these is restricted to computers at on-campus locations. Reliance on IP-based access is an absolute last resort, used only when the proxy server method will not work.
What the user sees: portal resource information
In most cases, HOLLIS portal users can determine the connection method in use from information in the resource listings and from characteristics of the connection. In resource listings, the letters displaying to the left of resource names identify the type of access method:
"I" (Harvard ID required)
The following chart relates connection methods to the letters on portal listings.
Some detective work is necessary to distinguish between resources accessed by scripted login and by EZProxy -- both are labeled "I" (Harvard ID required) in portal listings. To see the difference, connect to a resource. If EZProxy is the connection method, the URL of the resource browser session will begin with the HOLLIS portal address and a port number (http://lib.harvard.edu:nnnn/...). When you connect to a resource via scripted login, the session URL belongs entirely to the resource with no traces of a HOLLIS portal address.
Resources under the APC proxy are easier to distinguish. Portal listings include "A" to the left of resource names. Also, the login window generated by an APC connection is fairly distinct:
Direct any questions about HOLLIS portal connection methods to Janet Taylor in OIS. Ì
Please report problems with HOLLIS resources through the HOLLIS comment facility rather than by calling OIS directly. [A Comment link appears at the bottom of every HOLLIS web page.] Users who contact library staff about HOLLIS should be encouraged to use the comment facility as well. Messages sent via the comment facility contain diagnostic information about the machine from which the comment is generated such as its IP, type of browser, level of browser and platform of the desktop. This information is important in the trouble-shooting process, and its automatic communication to OIS allows us to begin problem-solving more quickly. Ì
Maintenance of the portal's "basic library information" is the responsibility of individual libraries. Errors in this information should be communicated to the basic information maintainer for that library. A list of these library maintainers with "mailto" links to their email addresses is available from the HOLLIS portal section of the OIS web site [ http://hul.harvard.edu/ois/systems/hplus/libinfo_list.html ]. More about basic library information is available in that same section of the site [ http://hul.harvard.edu/ois/systems/hplus/libinfo.html ]. Contact Ben Noeske in OIS if you have questions. Ì
As of October 1, 2000, the Library of Congress (LC) authority records in OCLC and RLIN files are in pinyin romanization. Also as of October 1, 2000, all new Chinese-language records in OCLC, RLIN and HOLLIS are input using the pinyin systems of transliteration.
Conversion activities are ongoing and will take a year to complete. All Wade-Giles records in HOLLIS will be converted at one time, possibly in January or February 2001. Until that time, you should continue to use Wade-Giles to search for materials, but to make sure you do not overlook very new materials, which will be cataloged using pinyin romanization, you should search the heading in both forms, Wade-Giles and pinyin.
For example, search both
Mao, Zedong and Mao, Tse Tung
Gao, Xingjian and Kao, Hsing-chien
The initial guidelines recommended for bibliographic records for Harvard are the following:
Conversion of NACO authority records in OCLC and RLIN has begun and has encountered some difficulties. LC has identified and will correct some erroneous conversions. Some authority records have been coded incorrectly as converted to pinyin, when in fact they have have not been converted. Please exercise caution when using these authority records. We suggest that Chinese materials be set aside temporarily if at all possible. If you encounter any records that you think may have been mistakenly converted, please forward the information to Ann Sitkin, Chair, HUL Bibliographic Standards and Policy Committee [ firstname.lastname@example.org ]. Ì
OIS recently introduced two methods to help synchronize vendor and account information between HOLLIS ILS and Accounts Payable. Keeping ILS and AP data in synch reduces the occurrence of rejected electronic invoice payments.
Every business day, 33-digit accounting codes stored in ACU records are compared to chart of accounts (CoA) coding in the AP system. Mismatches (when an ACU 33-digit code does not match the AP CoA value) are reported by email to a library's financial representative. A sample ACU-CoA message follows.
The most recent CoA Mapper Validation detected errors in the following ACU records. Please review them. If you have any questions, please contact Maureen ODrisceoil or Jean Spoolstra of OIS at 5-3724.
Activity not valid with this Org^ (36970 - 37039) ^FHCL S3697 2-5.3735
Org not valid with this Tub^ (6700 - 6799) ^VIT 145 1-2.8504
A library's response usually involves changing the accounting values in the ACU to insure electronic payments on that fund are not rejected by AP. Ì
Once a week, vendor data in the HOLLIS ILS and in AP are compared on two identification numbers (vendor ID number and site number). Mismatches on either number indicate a change to the vendor in the AP system that is not yet reflected in the HOLLIS ILS vendor file. Mismatches are reported to and handled by HCL Book Accounts.
If you have questions about these processes, contact Patty Hatch in OIS. Ì
Harvard plans to implement a new Accounts Receivable system in January 2001. On October 3, Lisa Malkasian and members of the AR Core Project Team met with library representatives at a presentation sponsored by HOLLIS ILS Circulation Liaisons.
OIS has been discussing the implications of the new system for HOLLIS ILS and its users, many of whom are represented in the HOLLIS Circulation Liaisons group. We have two questions that we are sure would be better-answered by libraries than by OIS. These are:
1) Would it be preferable to have bill/fine records destined for A/R marked CLOSED once they are sent from HOLLIS to Accounts Receivable?
2) What documentation (report) would be needed for you to follow up on bills that go out to Accounts Receivable? That is, if the bills are marked closed in HOLLIS, but in fact, some remain non-collectible after a period of time, what information would you need/want in order to follow up? Presumably it would be useful to have a report that includes the bill/fine record id. Do you have any other thoughts about this? Bear in mind the Circulation Liaisons agreement for blocking [ http://hul.harvard.edu/cmtes/circl/patblocks.html ].
Your feedback is essential, as is a rapid turnaround. Please reply to Martha Creedon by 27 October. Also feel free to use the circl mailing list (email@example.com) for discussion. Ì
An easy way to confuse the calculation of an order action date (AD) is to set an extremely long action interval (ACTINT) in the O/P/R. For example, an order placed on 15 August 2000 with an action interval of "9999" will generate a 20th century action date 12/31/27.
HOLLIS only recognizes generated dates in the range 1 January 1928 to 31 December 2027; so that dates displaying a year 28 are interpreted as being in 1928, way ripe for action. The solution is to try not to set action dates so far in the future; that is, to change the action interval in the OPR to a smaller value.
The seemingly arbitrary 1928-2027 range actually has a technical basis in the way that the system stores dates. Before we had to worry about Y2K issues five of six years ago the intelligible date range was 1900-1999, though dates through 2027 could be encoded correctly. (They did not display well, however.) That is why no one has seen this interesting problem until now. Ì
A reminder that staff should consult the OIS Operations Bulletin Board [ http://hul.harvard.edu/ois/news/bb/oisnews.html ] for notifications about HOLLIS ILS products availability, record weeding announcements and keyword index updates. Ì
Library Digital Initiative
The Harvard University Library Digital Initiative is currently inviting preliminary project proposals for Round 4 of the Internal Challenge Grant Program. The new call for proposals with information about eligibility requirements, and the application and review process is posted on the LDI web site [ http://hul.harvard.edu/ldi ]. The deadline for submittal is Monday, October 23, 2000. Ì
The following new resources proposed for HOLLIS are now available on the Digital Acquisitions Trials page at [ http://hul.harvard.edu/digacq/huonly/trials.html ].
American Humanities Index Online
Also available for evaluation:
American National Biography
Available pending implementation in the next HOLLIS production release:
CQ Staff Directories
If you are interested in serving as an evaluator for the above title(s), please contact Ivy Anderson (firstname.lastname@example.org) or one of the co-chairs of COERS (Committee on Electronic Reference Services), Patrice Moskow (email@example.com) or Cliff Wunderlich (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Whether or not you are available to participate in a formal evaluation, your feedback on these resources is extremely valuable. Please try them out and submit your comments using the comments link provided for each resource.
You will also note that we have implemented a new trials procedure under EZ proxy and hope you will give us your feedback. Thanks in advance for your input. Ì
A new release of VIA [ http://via.harvard.edu:748/html/VIA.html ] this month added 5284 records. The release includes several hundred records and images of 19th Century Trade Cards from the Historical Collections Department of Baker Library, produced through an LDI Internal Challenge Grant project. A selection of trade cards from the project are currently on exhibit in A New and Wonderful Invention - The Nineteenth Century American Trade Card and online at [ http://www.library.hbs.edu/hc/exhibits/tcard/ ].Ì
Notes & reminders
The OIS Training Room in Holyoke Center will undergo renovations during November. This requires that some HOLLIS ILS training classes be rescheduled and moved to a new location and the cancellation of other classes which had been scheduled for November 2000.
If you or a member of your staff have signed up for any training classes in November, please note that these classes will be taught in the ELF2 classroom in the Lamont Library. Each of these classes required a new date, so please see the schedule on the OIS web site [ http://hul.harvard.edu/ois/services/training/sched.html ].
Contact Patty Hatch in OIS if you have questions. Ì
The one-day workshop "USING EAD (Encoded Archival Description)" will be held in December and April during the 2000-2001 academic year.
December 1 (Friday), 9-5pm
April 12 (Thursday), 9-5pm
Both workshops will be held in the ELF2 classroom, Lamont Library. Instructors will be Susan von Salis (Archivist and Information Systems Administrator, Schlesinger Library) and Kim Brookes (Associate Director of Information Technology, Radcliffe Information Technology Office).
The workshop is free, but space is limited. To register, contact Patti Fucci in OIS (email@example.com or call 495-3724). Preference will be given to those actively involved in the creation of finding aids for archival and manuscript collections. Pre-workshop readings are available on the web at [ http://www.lib.umb.edu/newengarch/InternetResources/s99ead.html ].
To see EAD in action, search Harvard's own EAD site, OASIS. Ì
HOLLIS portal comment facility
List of library basic information maintainers
Information about basic library information on the HOLLIS portal
Agreement on patron record blocks
OIS operations bulletin board
Digital Acquisitions Trials page
A New and Wonderful Invention - The Nineteenth Century American Trade
Card (Baker Library)
Schedule of HOLLIS ILS staff training
Preliminary readings for EAD Workshop