Cursing the cursor

While I initially thought there could be nothing worse than having to set up DSpace with no software knowledge to speak of, I was wrong. Figuring out how to get our fully functioning repository hosted on our new domain was definitely far worse. Where persistent Googling had saved me before, this time there were no helpful tutorials or guidelines. No one seemed to have faced this issue before – which can’t possibly be true given the immense number of both people and websites that exist. We reached out to our hosting company, Digiweb, and our Delphi participants but unfortunately even our combined knowledge base wasn’t enough. With only four weeks left to complete everything I was beginning to worry that my lack of technical knowledge was letting us down and that the repository would never actually be open to the public.

When our hopelessness and despair reached the point where there were at least two team members seconds away from a breakdown at any given moment, we reached out to one of our classmates who also happens to work in the UCD Library IT department. He came to our meeting with a wealth of yet untapped knowledge and while he didn’t bear the best news – the phrase “How important is a working repository for your project?” is not what you want to hear – he did help us understand our problems and potential ways we could go about rectifying them.

Our problem was this: We had oopsed. Big time.

We had purchased a shared hosting package when what we actually needed was a virtual server. Luckily Digiweb were incredibly understanding and immediately cancelled the order for the hosting. Unluckily, the virtual servers offered by Digiweb are far outside our budget and so it was back to the drawing board once again. We’re still investigating other options for servers and if anyone wants to light a candle for us it certainly wouldn’t go amiss.

While Hanna was dealing with the hosting issues, paper writing, and building fiddly IKEA chairs in under an hour (what can’t she do?), myself and Sam met again to continue working on the look and feel of the local installations of the ICS Archive. It was all going well until something went terribly wrong, which to be honest, is always the case. After a rebuild our beautiful customisation had reverted back to the default installation though some of our logos remained, and all the text in the help files was an unreadable yellow with vivid pink hyperlinks.

Stress What stress.
Two things you never want to see together. Especially when you can’t find the source of the problem.

Thank God for backups. After five minutes of staring in abject horror and confusion the backups were dusted off and the display returned to the familiar ICSA homepage. Never underestimate the necessity of backups. Never.

U17 Spain v U17 Germany - UEFA Women's U17 European Championship
Sam’s reaction when she got the new pages to work (I was too busy screeching in delight to actually record her).

Apart from that brief fiasco and the website issues, the project has been moving along smoothly. The controlled vocabulary has been created, approved, and applied; the upload instructions and FAQ have been written; about and FAQ pages have been added to the repository; presentations and fliers are being designed; and of course, more blog posts are being written and posted. Hanna is off to print the final project next week and then it’s almost submission time. Keep your fingers crossed that we can get the hosting sorted before then!

(P.S. Thanks to Dermot for the excellent title.)

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