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This blog documents news and updates from the OLS Systems department. Expect product updates and tips & tricks for making the most of the systems we support, as well as how-to information to help you achieve certain tasks. Read more about OLS »

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CUNY Academic Works Monthly Report: September 2016

A snapshot of CUNY Academic Works

September not only marked the start of a new academic year, but the launch of a new monthly series in the OLS@57 blog: the CUNY Academic Works Monthly Report. This series will provide a quick snapshot of statistics and stories from the previous month.

In September, CUNY Academic Works grew by 224 new items, and received 27,568 new downloads by users in 168 countries. In fact, 54% of downloads were international!

The five most downloaded works include:

  1. Training a New Trick Using No-Reward Markers: Effects on Dogs’ Performance and Stress Behaviors
    Series: School of Arts & Sciences Theses at Hunter College
  2. My Math GPS: Elementary Algebra Guided Problem Solving
    Series: Open Educational Resources at Queensborough Community College
  3. Resettling the City? Settler Colonialism, Neoliberalism, and Urban Land in Winnipeg, Canada
    Series: Dissertations, Theses, and Capstone Projects at the Graduate Center
  4. The Growth of Incarceration in the United States: Exploring Causes and Consequences
    Series: Publications and Research at John Jay
  5. Reframing School Dropout as a Public Health Issue
    Series: Publications and Research at Hunter College

Stay tuned for future reports, and if there’s anything you’d like to see here, just let us know!

Winning with OLS Support Requests

When requesting help from the Office of Library Services, please consider these tips to move the work forward more efficiently on your behalf.


1. Open a work order by emailing the CUNY Service Desk at service.desk@cuny.edu. (It is fine—and, in some cases, encouraged—to directly ask OLS staff members preliminary email questions prior to opening a work order.)

The subject of your email should read:

Product: XX – Brief description of request

where “Product” is the service/system (e.g., Aleph, Primo, SFX, etc.), “XX” is your two-letter campus code, and “Brief description of request” succinctly explains your problem or request.

* For issues related to CUNY Academic Works, please contact Megan Wacha directly at megan.wacha@cuny.edu or 646-664-8213.

2. If you are so inclined, copy an OLS staff member on your initial email to the CUNY Service Desk. This is especially relevant for urgent requests that require immediate attention.

* For issues related to CUNY Academic Works, please contact Megan Wacha directly at megan.wacha@cuny.edu or 646-664-8213.

3. Always include your phone number and email address in your initial request.

4. Be specific and provide examples. This helps us identify and replicate what you are seeing. For example: mention the specific patron, bib record, item, or database in question; include permalinks or search keywords to help replicate a search; provide mockups for requested display/UI changes; supply off-campus credentials when reporting a problem with an e-resource or one facing remote users; and so on.

5. Add screenshots! (After all, a picture is worth a thousand words.) If you’re not sure how, learn how to capture screenshots in Windows or take a screenshot on your Mac.

6. Please mention any and all relevant deadlines as they apply to your request.

7. When asked follow-up questions by OLS staff, include that staff member on your email response.

By following these 7 tips, you can be sure that your request will be handled properly and addressed quickly!

If you notice that a CUNY library system is down, please follow the directions outlined in an earlier blog post: What to Do When an OLS Managed Service is Not Available.

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Academic Works Collections Policy

The Office of Library Services is pleased to announce the publication of the CUNY Academic Works Collections Policy. A collaborative effort between the Scholarly Communications Librarian and the OLS Scholarly Communications Committee, this policy formally outlines the collection parameters and priorities for CUNY’s institutional repository and provides guidelines for administrations of those collections. All Academic Works coordinators were asked to contribute to the online draft of the document, as well as participate in an in-person forum held this August. The campuses were well represented by 14 attendees, and the final draft was approved on August 31, 2016. The full text of the policy is available via the CUNY Academic Works Librarian Toolkit.

What to Do When an OLS Managed Service is Not Available

In the event that any of the services OLS provides is not available—and you’ve not received any specific announcements from OLS or CIS—please check the OLS Systems Status page that, at a glance, will tell you if a service is running or not. There will be cases when a service indicator shows green (available) but from your particular campus or location outside of CUNY the service is unavailable, as a local factor might be the cause. No matter where the outage is experienced, please create a ticket (work order) with the CUNY Service Desk (service.desk@cuny.edu). Always let us know where you are experiencing the problem (i.e., on- or off-campus).

The Office of Library Services (OLS), CUNY’s Office of Computer & Information Services (CIS), and our primary systems vendors monitor and employ (365x24x7) internal alerting mechanisms for critical processes within CUNY Libraries’ ecosystems (Academic Works, Aleph [GUI/OPAC], CORAL, EZproxy, OneSearch, SFX) so, in most cases, we’re already aware of a problem and are working with our partners to restore services.

Please follow these steps when encountering a system or service that appears to be down:

  1. Check for announcements/notifications from OLS/CIS via CULIBS-L
  2. Check the OLS Systems Status page
  3. Create a ticket (work order) with the CUNY Service Desk

If you have never created a support ticket (work order) to report a service interruption/down system, it’s super easy! Just send an email to service.desk@cuny.edu and copy aleph-team@cuny.edu.

NOTE: We require that you copy aleph-team@cuny.edu during system outages!

The subject of your email should contain three parts:

  1. The unavailable OLS service/system (e.g., Aleph, Primo, SFX, etc.),
  2. Your two-letter OWN code or library name, and
  3. A brief summary of your problem.

The body of your message should describe the problem as well as provide a screenshot or the exact text of the error message, if there is one. Please also let us know whether you are on- or off-campus.

Here’s an example:

To: service.desk@cuny.edu
Cc: aleph-team@cuny.edu
Subject: Aleph: LE – Staff (GUI) Clients not Connecting to Server

Service Desk,

We’re unable to connect to Aleph from the Circulation Desk here at Lehman Library. We’re getting a “connection refused” error message. The PC is connecting to the Internet, however, as we’re able to view the library web pages and the Aleph OPAC.

Thank you,
Lenny L.

Art History Pedagogy and Practice Launches in Digital Commons

Art History Teaching Resources (AHTR), in partnership with the Office of Library Services, is excited to announce the launch of Art History Pedagogy and Practice (AHPP) on Academic Works’ Digital Commons platform. Published by AHTR, a practitioner-led open educational resource for educators who address art history, visual, and material culture, AHPP is the first academic journal dedicated to the scholarship of teaching and learning in art history (SoTL-AH). The result of a two year initiative, AHPP responds to a long-standing need to advance, collect, disseminate, and demonstrate pedagogical research specific to the discipline. The CFP  for the inaugural issue, forthcoming in Fall 2016, is available on the AHTR website.

SoTL in Art History

AHPP results from a two year initiative that sought to examine the ways in which art historians devote time, effort, and energy to classroom teaching, curriculum development, and student engagement. Generously funded by the Samuel H. Kress Foundation, AHTR began preliminary research in 2015, which included a field-wide survey conducted by Randi Korn and Associates and a literature review assessing existing pedagogical scholarship in art history. These findings were synthesized in a White Paper  that demonstrated the need for SoTL-AH to be acknowledged as a legitimate area of intellectual inquiry by the institutions and communities encompassing academic art history. As a peer-reviewed journal devoted to SoTL-AH, AHPP will facilitate this process by providing scholars a forum to share research on pedagogical topics, and by encouraging further academic investigation and discourse around teaching and learning in art history


AHPP builds on the success of AHTR as a platform to exchange ideas related to pedagogy in art history.  Founded on dual goals to raise the value of the academic labor of teaching and to provide peer support across ranks of tenured, tenure-track, and contingent instructors, AHTR began as a collaboration between Michelle Millar Fisher at the Graduate Center and Karen Shelby at Baruch College in 2011. Fisher, then a Graduate Teaching Fellow with a background in museum education, and Shelby, then an Assistant Professor of Art History, organized meetings where colleagues shared teaching materials and experiences. These gatherings suggested potential for a digital forum to connect a wider community of practitioners, and gave rise to the arthistoryteachingresources.org website, which launched publicly in 2013.  Since that time, the site has had more than 400,000 hits from over 91,000 educators in K-12, post-secondary institutions, and art museums, and from academic support staff including reference librarians and curriculum designers. AHTR’s administration has similarly expanded to a leadership collective of art historians, ranging in experience from early career scholars to those well established in the field, and an advisory network assembled for expertise and leadership in art history, museum education, and digital humanities, and united by their interest in advancing pedagogical research. The unique relationship between AHPP and AHTR will allow scholars access to diverse resources about teaching and learning, including lesson plans and the AHTR Weekly on the OER, and peer-reviewed articles published in the journal.

AHPP in Digital Commons

In choosing the Digital Commons platform, AHPP is enthusiastic to extend the relationship with CUNY that was first established when AHTR was born out of the Graduate Center’s New Media Lab with support from Baruch Learning and Technology Grants.  In keeping with the site’s origins, AHTR also contracted CHIPS, a New York web development studio known for innovative work with cultural institutions including The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Timeline of Art History and 82nd and Fifth, who had redesigned the AHTR website in 2014 to create AHPP’s logo and site design.

The editors, editorial collective, and advisory board of AHPP are excited to join the Office of Library Services in the broader open access movement and for the ways in which contributions to the journal will be utilized in the fields of SoTL, art history, and beyond. AHPP worked closely with librarians at the Office of Library Services to develop editorial policies and guidelines that are transparent to authors and readers.

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