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Library Quarterly Report FY20 Q3: January-March 2020


Spotlight: Library Struggles With Technical Challenges

Screen capture showing the 4 mysterious new C name records.
This screen capture shows the mysterious new subdomain changes.

While it's always more fun to highlight a special new project, big achievement or milestone for the library or its staff, sometimes the quarterly spotlight falls on mundane hurdles or unwanted surprises. This quarter the library was beset by some unexpected technical challenges that affected our services to customers:


In 2016 the library implemented Springshare's LibGuides CMS with LibAnswers and LibChat. We suddenly had the ability create our first complete public Web presence (we had used an "Intranet" site behind the VDOT firewall from 2006-2016) by customizing LibGuides CMS under our assigned URL: http://virginiadot.libguides.com


In 2017, with help from VDOT's IT division, we enhanced visibility, accessibility and credibility by adding library as a "subdomain" under VDOT's Web domain of http://www.virginiadot.org  Translation: Web searchers used to going to http://www.virginiadot.org for VDOT's Web site now had the obvious option of going to http://LIBRARY.virginiadot.org to find the us. Being highly visible and more clearly identified as part of VDOT was a subtle but powerful boost for our business, as busy VDOT professionals who needed information could more easily find and connect us.


We work with the UVA community, VDOT contractors, external researchers, Virginia residents and libraries worldwide. So it is vital that anyone "Googling" can find us (as opposed to only VDOT employees behind VDOT's firewall). Unfortunately, that was not the case this quarter as anyone not on the VDOT network who went to our URL found only an error message.


It turned out the single "A Name" record we had used for 4 years (which mapped the URL to Springshare's IP address for our account), had been removed and in its place in the Network Solutions registry someone had added 4 mysterious C name records (a "C Name" record is used to map one name to another name). Through multiple conference calls with Network Solutions, and a zoom meeting  between VDOT IT, VDOT Communications, library staff and Springshare, we were able to update the record and the site went back to normal. How it occurred in the first place we may never know. 

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