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What's the status?

This post was first run in 2009. It is being re-run with minor updates to reflect services that have changed.

Technology doesn't always have to be super complicated. Sometimes the best technology projects are very simple. A great example of this is the SCLS status wiki. This web page allows you to see which SCLS technology services have known issues in almost real time.  You can view this page from any computer, that's right any computer!  (not just a PC on the SCLS network)Crutches

Here is a list of some of the SCLS technology services that might have updates on the SCLS status wiki:

  • Koha
  • Library Online
  • SCLS network
  • Web services
  • OverDrive and other online resources
Let's look at a real world example

The first one will be before you knew about the SCLS status wiki and the second after you started using the SCLS status wiki.


You are sitting at your desk and a coworker says they can't access OverDrive. You spring into action...

Before the SCLS status page

...and in a panic you sprint towards the nearest computer, but on the way you trip and twist your ankle. Down but not out, you crawl to the computer and see that OverDrive is indeed not working. With tears in your eyes, you fumble for the phone and call the Help Desk. After all that, you get a busy signal because everyone else is calling at the same time. Battered and broken, you sit on the floor defeated.

After the SCLS status page

...and calmly open your Internet browser, navigate to the SCLS status wiki see that OverDrive is down.  You also see that SCLS staff are working quickly to resolve the problem. Relaxed and comfortable, you sip on your morning coffee and realize what a beautiful day it is.

Can you really afford not to check the SCLS status wiki?


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You're leaving out some significant details. How does SCLS staff become aware that a service is down? Are all services continually monitored or do you rely on reports from library staff? How quickly do SCLS staff post information about the status of a particular service to the Status Wiki? Immediately after you get a phone call/email? How long is the delay while you try and fix the problem locally ("Did you try turning your computer off and turning it back on?") before you acknowledge the problem on the status wiki?

Good questions!

--How does SCLS staff become aware that a service is down?--
Most of the time, we become aware that a service is down when libraries call the Help Desk (we always appreciate a call about services that are down!). In some cases, we may receive notice from the vendor or run across the problem ourselves, and occasionally we will post notices ahead of time about services with planned maintenance that will take them down (ex. planned maintenance by OverDrive or a database vendor)

--How quickly do SCLS staff post information about the status of a particular service to the Status Wiki?--
The speed with which information about the status of a particular service is added to the Status Wiki depends on staffing, how much the phone is ringing off the hook, how much information we're still trying to gather about the scope of the problem, and who's working on the problem. Between 8:30 and 5, we have more folks who can pitch in to handle issues so the Status Wiki will likely be updated more quickly. On nights and weekends there is just a single person taking pages, returning calls, updating the Status Wiki, and submitting a ticket with the vendor, so getting information into the Status Wiki will happen more slowly.

If a service is having issues or is completely down, we try to get the information posted ASAP. If it seems like the problem is only be happening at a single library, we'll likely hold off on posting anything until we can confirm it's more widespread. Updates are added as more information becomes available.

--How long is the delay while you try and fix the problem locally before you acknowledge the problem on the status wiki?--
As soon as we can confirm that the problem is system-wide or being reported by multiple libraries, we will post information to the Status Wiki.

The SCLS Status Wiki was established as a quick way for libraries to check if there are system problems and outages (eliminating a call to the helpdesk for known problems) -- an easier alternative to the old "phone tree" where it took at least an hour to disseminate information to all the libraries. If something bad is happening, we can post information almost immediately for libraries who are looking for answers. It might not ALWAYS be quite as immediate as we'd like, but hopefully it's quicker than the calling tree. If you have suggestions for ways to improve the Status Wiki, we'd love to hear them!

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