The situation here was very similar to yours. The library had its own web
server for many years. After the previous library IT manager retired (and
before I was hired to replace him), it was decided that all the library
servers would be virtualized and live in the infrastructure provided by
campus IT. Before I started, the plan was tentatively to merge the library
website with the campus website, which uses Adobe Contribute and Coldfusion
(not fun). At the same time, the library had been planning internally to
redesign its website for years and to implement Drupal.
We wanted more access to the web server to do more complex stuff than static
web pages. When I resisted moving to the campus website, we were told that
the library would not be able to have its own server for our website because
it would be a security problem for us to have full OS-level access to a
server that lives in the infrastructure of campus IT. We ended up
outsourcing and renting a virtual server from Linode, and campus IT agreed
to point the library subdomain to that server. In the theoretical future
where the website is 100% finished and feature-complete (read: never), we
will create a design spec fully documenting what we need and how to manage
it at the OS level, and we will move back to an on-campus server.
There was definitely tension between the library and the campus IT
department throughout this whole process, although it remained very civil.
In part, we were able to pull this off because there were some major
personnel changes going on in the IT department, and they didn't have the
time to devote to figuring out an approach that they better preferred.
(As a side note, I ended up making an executive decision to drop Drupal
because it was causing way more problems than it was fixing, but that is
James C. Kirkpatrick Library
University of Central Missouri
From: Code for Libraries [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Brad
Sent: Tuesday, September 02, 2014 10:40 AM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: [CODE4LIB] Informal survey regarding library website liberty
I would love to hear from people about what sort of setup they have
regarding linkage/collaboration/constrictions/freedom regarding campus-wide
IT practices and CMS usage and the library website.
Some history: For a very long time our library ran its own server and its
own website, completely independent of campus-wide concerns (save for
occasional requests for help from IT with server issues). A few years ago
the server began to reach EOL and it was determined that we couldn't afford
to get another. Also around the same time it was deemed that the library
website needed a complete re-do. I was tapped to do that re-do. During that
process the Marketing dept got involved and it was agreed upon that the
library's general look should be aligned with the university's public site
(which I think was a good idea). Then it was determined that because of that
decision that the simplest way to achieve it was to put us inside their
existing CMS which was already setup etc etc.
Part of the problem is that the existing CMS is Ektron...
The revised library site went live in Ektron 2 years ago. My marketing
contact was a massive help in getting it live and training me in ektron etc.
He is now no longer with the university and we are in the middle of a
My inclination and desire is to regain some level of independence wherein we
collaborate with IT in getting our own server space on their servers but are
not tied to their decisions regarding CMS, how and when to go
mobile-friendly, etc. Our site is still not fully, truly what it should be
because of limitations with Ektron and I would like to get out of it. I
would like to have the option to either run a CMS of my choice or go
CMS-less (since I'm the only editor). I fear that the site will be held back
from being able to do the things that it needs to do.
I'm hoping that I can get some responses from you all that way I can
informally say "of x libraries that responded y of them are not firmly tied
to IT." (or something to that effect) I'm also very curious to read
responses because I'm sure they will be educational and help me to make our
What kind of setup does your library have regarding servers, IT dept
collaboration, CMS restrictions, anything else? I imagine that there are
many unique situations. Any input you're willing to provide will be very
welcome and useful.
Brad Coffield, MLIS
Assistant Information and Web Services Librarian Saint Francis University
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