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June 15, 2001

  1. Socrates during Spring Quarter
  2. Humanities Digital Information Service Website Redesigned
  3. Digital Imaging Developments and Perspectives - June 20 Presentation
  4. SUL/AIR Job Opportunities

1. Socrates during Spring Quarter

As many of you know, the web interface to Socrates suffered a catastrophic failure during the last week of March. During the early weeks of April, we moved all searching traffic over to our test version of the software. We also moved background tasks on the production server out of the peak afternoon and early evening hours when Socrates use is heaviest. Those steps helped stabilize the situation, but it was clear that a permanent fix had to be found before the year's peak use of Socrates arrived at the end of spring quarter.

We opened an emergency project in concert w/ Oracle Database Admin support and System Admin support from ITSS and:

  • brought in consultants (including expertise from within Oracle and from past SUL employees)
  • built and vetted a plan for moving Socrates to Oracle 8i and to version 9 of Oracle's web interface (9iAS)
  • acquired (with SUL Purchasing's extraordinary help) a software product for stress testing web environments
  • built and tested the new version, running it against a copy of production Unicorn on another server
  • built and tested the new version on Jenson (the production server for Socrates and Unicorn)
  • escalated pursuit of the fix for a fatal error with Oracle
  • applied the fix 22 May 0630

The "new" web interface to Socrates has run since (knock on wood) without a single glitch. It took on and successfully carried the end of year's peak traffic without a flicker.

We use monitoring software (SiteScope) to track response time for Socrates searches. Once a minute, a program acting like a web browser opens a basic search page in Socrates

  • enters a one-word search
  • waits for the first page of brief citations
  • totals and stores the roundtrip time for all three steps.

    Two graphs display these timings during peak hours between 1 PM and 7 PM on the 23rd of April (test version of Socrates with modest mid-quarter searching traffic), and on the 23rd of May (new version of the web interface to Socrates with activity nearing end-of-year peak levels). In the graphs, each bar averages the seconds for several roundtrips. A gray tip at the top of bars shows the maximum duration of a roundtrip during that bar's sampling period. Color coding gives an overview of the status of Socrates:

    • green for roundtrips completed in under 10 seconds
    • yellow for averages between 10 and 25 seconds
    • red for averages above 25 seconds.

    At the top of each chart, one can see the duration of the single longest roundtrip, the average for all roundtrips between 1 PM and 7 PM, and the amount of time an "error state" existed (total elapsed time during which average roundtrips took more than 25 seconds).

    The pictures tell it all.

    Thanks to all who's efforts made the repairs possible. And, thanks to all of you who were patient and waited for important help and support while we worked on getting the web interface back in robust shape.

  • --submitted by Jerry Persons

    2. Humanities Digital Information Service Website Redesigned

    The Humanities Digital Information Service is pleased to invite you to its newly-redesigned website at http://www-sul.stanford.edu/depts/hasrg/hdis/, featuring an updated text-searching tutorial, an expanded list of books from our Digital Culture and Humanities Computing collection, and nifty randomly-generated images from our Dime Novels collection -- never has your browser's "Reload" button been so much fun!

    Many thanks to Tom Farrell for his work on the website.

    --submitted by Glen Worthey

    3. Digital Imaging Developments and Perspectives - June 20 Presentation

    Guest speakers: Max Marmor, Fred Martz, and Barbara Rockenbach from Yale University

    Wednesday, June 20, 10-11:30 a.m.
    Green Library Bing Wing
    Social Sciences Resource Center (SSRC) Seminar Room (121A)

    Library staff, faculty, and students are invited to a presentation by visitors from Yale. They will discuss various topics, including Yale's implementation of Luna Insight and the Mellon Foundation's ArtSTOR project. Yale's use of Luna Insight predates our recent implementation, and we can draw on their experience with technical and instructional support issues over the long term. With regard to ArtSTOR, Max Marmor will be ArtSTOR's new Head of Collection Development beginning August 2001.

    --submitted by Alex Ross

    4. SUL/AIR Job Opportunities

    SUL/AIR has the following new open positions this week:

    Library Specialist, Law Library (6/11/01); REQ# J011404
    Curator for Middle East Collections (6/13/01); Position #85

    For a complete description of these jobs and a list of all current SUL/AIR jobs, visit the Human Resources Web site at:

    Human Resources Web site.

    Please send future submissions to SUL/AIR News to:

    SUL/AIR News is an electronic publication of Stanford University Libraries and Academic Information Resources issued weekly. Copy deadline is 12:00 NOON Wednesday for publication on the following Friday. Submit items for publication to sulairnews@forsythe.stanford.edu .
    Editor for SUL: Sarah Williamson, sarahcw@sulmail.stanford.edu
    Editor for AIR and HR: Eleanor Brown, eabrown@leland.stanford.edu