Life Lessons from the Library: Don’t Be Too Quick To Declare Things Fixed

Today I made a trip to what I like to call the innards of our web page. I had to go behind the scenes into HTML and make some changes. This is not one of my favorite jobs. For one, although I’ve been assured it can’t happen, I suspect that one wrong keystroke could lead to my taking down the college’s entire site. Second, just one letter out of place, one space that shouldn’t be there, and the thing won’t work. It’s quite frustrating for someone like me who is definitely more of a big-picture person. Still, I went in and made the changes, and, of course, the links didn’t work. So I called Computer Services, and Judy, as she often does, told me what was wrong. And now the page works. Problem solved, right?

Unfortunately, no. Like most libraries, we put our pages under something called a proxy server. That means that students off campus can get access, but not the general public. For a reason, I don’t understand, the fact that a link works on campus doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s working off campus. And that causes problems.

And that is what is happening tonight. The changes took, at least on campus. The databases pop up without a problem, but off-campus, students are getting a message that the database is inaccessible, not something you want happening right before Thanksgiving. So once again, we’re putting the problem in the capable hands of our Computer Services people. 

Still, it’s a good reminder that we sometimes declare success before we have a right to. In this case, students who are off-campus don’t care that things are working fine here. They need their databases. And until everyone is able to access this site, we can’t declare victory. 

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