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Administration Settings


Administration Settings

Tools > Administration

The Administration settings are high-level preferences intended for network administrators, IT support departments, or operators with administrator-level permissions. In other words, they're advanced settings used to configure your main Data Station once and then be forgotten.

While every operator with the proper security permissions can access the Administration module, it contains settings that most operators won't be able to configure without help. An operator's access to these settings is governed by their security preferences. Your library's administrator can manage these settings in Tools > Preferences > Security.


Navigation 

Status

These settings allow you to perform maintenance on your library catalog and update your Alexandria program.

Web

These settings allow Alexandria and Textbook Tracker to communicate online.

Database

These settings allow you to set up automatic archives and database maintenance.

Email

These settings allow you to designate an SMTP server to use for sending emails, such as Item Overdue Notices, to patrons and/or staff.

LDAP

These settings allow you to authenticate operator and patron program access.

Checkpoint

If your library utilizes the Checkpoint ILS security system use these setting to enhance your SIP2 protocol.
Actions Menu 

This menu appears on each interface of the administrative settings in the upper left corner. These options allow you to update to latest version, send your library data to COMPanion, log out of the program or quit the data station remotely. 

Check for Updates

If there are any updates available, it will be listed here. You simply click on the version number to initiate the upgrade. Additionally you may download the latest update by visiting our downloads page, and for larger organizations may use Alexandria's Version Limiting service; contact your sales representative for information and pricing.

Send Data to COMPanion

If a Customer Support Representative needs your library data for troubleshooting you can easily send it to us by selecting this option and entering the Authorization Code you are provided.

Log Out

This button will log you out of Alexandria, despite if you have multiple windows open.

Quit Alexandria

This option will stop the Data Station from running and log out any active operators.

Status

Tools > Administration > Status

This is where you can access your registration information, perform database maintenance, run or restore from archives, and update to the latest version.

Options

Restore From Archive

Use this option to replace your current data folder with a previously created archive. This is useful if you need to undo a completed process such as imports or utilities.

 Steps to restore from an archive.
  1. Click Restore From Archive, this will trigger a roll-down menu.
  2. From the list of Available Archives, select the archive date/time you would like to restore to; dates/times are listed as yyyy/mm/dd 24:00

  3. Click the Restore button to proceed. If you no longer want to restore simply click Cancel to abort the process. By clicking Restore your current data will be replaced by that contained in the selected archive folder. 
  4. Check the Delete the archived data after restoring box to remove the selected archive from your archive directory upon successful restoration. (optional)

Archive

Selecting this button performs an immediate, manual archive of your database. An archive is a complete copy of your library data file. However, archives are not backups. The difference between a backup and an archive is that backups are made on removable media and physically stored offsite or in cloud-based storage. Archives are entirely useless in the event of a hard drive failure hence keeping an offsite or cloud backup is highly recommended. While the archive is running all services on the data station are temporarily disabled. We recommend running an archive before making any large-scale changes to your database, such as imports, updates, utilities, or machine upgrades.

Restart

Selecting this button will restart the Data Station remotely. During the restart duration, Alexandria services and modules will be unavailable to all operators.

Database Maintenance

Selecting this button will examine your database files and perform patron, item, and circulation verification routines. If database damage is detected, it's automatically fixed. While maintenance is being performed the Data Station will be inaccessible. We recommend performing this maintenance at least once a month to keep your data in good, working order.

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Web Settings

Tools > Administration > Web

Self-Hosted customers will need to configure these setting before using the web modules of the program. For a Centralized and Distributed catalogs, these settings apply to all sitesA Cloud-Hosted customer doesn't have the web settings interface in the administration module because their data is hosted on a designated COMPanion server.

Alexandria uses Transport Layer Security (TLS) for secure web communications. These settings allow you to configure the certificates, ports, and server domain names that Alexandria uses to communicate with web browsers. When you save changes to this window, the Data Station will apply your new settings and restart web services.

Settings

Alexandria uses Transport Layer Security (TLS) for secure web communications.

When it comes to TLS certificates, “file specifications” stand for the correct (and required) directory location, file name, and file extension (e.g. C:\Program Data\Alexandria Support\SSL\*.pem) of your keys/certificates on the Data Station. Accurate file specifications must be provided in order for the key/certificates to be accessed.

Server Domain Name

Enter the domain name or IP address that connects to your Data Station.

Port ID

Enter the port number that Alexandria uses to access the web service. This is typically port 80 or 8080.

Allow Non-Secure Connections

Uncheck this box if you want to maintain secure web communications. (optional)

Secure Port ID

Enter the port number used for the secure web interface. The default is 443.

Private Key

Enter the private key password, if required. (optional)

Verify Private Key Password

Enter the private password again to verify it. (optional)

Path to Private Key

Enter the file name and location of the Data Station’s private key.  (optional)

    • The file name and location may be entered or changed manually on a connected Web or Librarian Workstation, but it must follow the correct file specifications.

    • Only certificates in PEM format are recognized. (optional)

Path to Certificate

Enter the file name and location of the Data Station’s public certificate. 

    • The file name and location may be entered or changed manually on a connected Web or Librarian Workstation, but it must follow the correct file specifications.

    • Only certificates in PEM format are recognized. (optional)

Path to Chain

Enter the file name and location of the Data Station’s chain file.

    • The file name and location may be entered or changed manually on a connected Web or Librarian Workstation, but it must follow the correct file specifications.
    • Only certificates in PEM format are recognized. (optional)

SIP2 Port ID

Enter the port number used for the SIP2 communications. The default is 6001.

Use Secure SIP2 Connection

Enable this setting if you're using a Secure SIP2 Connection

PEM Format

The PEM format (Privacy Enhanced Mail), an early standard for securing electronic email; the PEM format is not widely adopted as an internet mail standard.

Generate Certificates

Create Temporary Certificate

This creates a temporary private key and public certificate from Alexandria’s registration information then saved to to the SSL folder in the Alexandria Support folder, even if the Path to Certificate that you entered is different than the SSL folder. They expire 365 days after creation.

Generate Certificate Signing Request

This creates a request for a certificate. This request can be sent to a certificate authority.


Important

The Microsoft Certificate Server is not supported. You will need to use a code signing authority such as GoDaddy™, Comodo ©, or VeriSign™.

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Database

Tools > Administration > Database

Scheduled Archives and Database Maintenance are allocated in Database settings. These settings allow you to specify if and when automatic archives and/or database maintenance is performed. You are also able to configure the location where local archives are stored. For a Centralized or Distributed catalog these settings will apply to all sites. Cloud-Hosted customers don't have the database settings in the administration module because their hosted subscription includes automatic nightly archives and regular database maintenance.

Related Link: Archive Your Data

Settings

Archive Directory

We've recently simplified Archives to be the same for all Alexandria configurations, which eliminated an unnecessary archive directory path. We no longer support separate folder paths for Controller/Administration archives and Data Station/User archives. The settings are still there, but the archives themselves are stored in the same place.


By default, archives are stored in folder within the Alexandria Support folder. However, we highly recommend that you change the location to a one outside of the Alexandria Support folder, preferably on a separate drive. You can set a custom location for your Archive Directory in Administration > Database. If you enter an invalid folder, or if it becomes invalid for any reason (such as disconnecting the drive it's on), it will automatically be replaced with the default folder.

We control the folder structure within your Archive Directory. Within the Archive folder is a subfolder for each of your database serial numbers, in which individual archives are stored. Archives are titled by the date and time in the YYYYMMDD HHMMSS format. Daily archives include "DAILY" in the title; Snapshot archives do not.

Archives > Serial Number > Archive YYYYMMDD HHMMSS

Archives > 8888001 > Archive 20180720 110704 DAILY

Storage Limits

Here, you can choose how many Daily Archives and Snapshot Archives to store at a time, up to 14 of each. Just make sure you have enough free space for them all! If you begin to run out of space, or if you're already storing more than the number you specified, the oldest archive of the type being run will be removed.

We strongly advise you to review these settings regularly to ensure that your archive directory is up to date and the number of archives stored is properly configured based on your needs and available disk space.

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Email

Tools > Administration > Email

To send email reminders, such as the Overdue Items Notice, you will need to configure how Alexandria communicates with your library's email server. Alexandria's email system is designed to potentially cope with hundreds of emails being sent (or resent) over many machines at the same time.

Before you get started, make sure you have a valid email address on record for an administrator-level operator and your library's site contact.

What happens if an email fails to send?

If a send fails, the next resend time is generated by adding a random value between 3 and 9 minutes, spreading out the resend times so all the undelivered email still in the “short range” period isn't sent at the same time. If a send hasn't succeeded by the end of the “short range” period, the program will generate new send times using random values between 60 and 90 minutes. If a send still hasn't succeeded after 100 hours the email is discarded and a “return-to-sender” email will be sent.

Settings

SMTP Server 1 and 2.

This is the TCP/IP or DNS address of your library's outbound mail server, which is usually mail.yourdomain.com. The Server 1 and Server 2 sections are used for outbound email. Server 1 is the primary server and Server 2 can function as a back up server should server 1 fail. You only need one SMTP server to use the email functionality.

Port

Enter the port number used by the outgoing mail server. Common ports for outgoing mail include 25, 465, and 587.

Allow Non-Secure Connections

Alexandria uses Transport Layer Security (TLS) for secure web communications. When this setting is enabled, the system will use non-TLS connections if it cannot make an TLS connection.

Some mail servers, including Office365, do not allow you to use non-secure connections.

Login

Enter the login for your email server.

Password

Enter the password for your email server.

Test Server

Test the SMTP Server settings by sending a test email. This email is sent to the email address listed in Sites Management.

Last Tested On

This field displays the last date/time that the server test was performed.

Last Test Results

This field displays whether the test was successful or not. If the test is unsuccessful, check your SMTP server address and try using a different port.


Use Gmail As Your SMTP Server

A Gmail account can be used as a portable SMTP server if your library's network does not already have one. Before you configure Alexandria to use Gmail, you need to set your Gmail preferences to Allow Less Secure Apps.

  1. Go to Tools > Administration >Email.
  2. Enter the following settings for Server 1:
    • SMTP Server Address: smtp.gmail.com
    • Port: 587
    • Login: Enter the username for your email server.
    • Password: Enter the password for your email server.
  3. Click Save in the upper-right corner of the window.
  4. Click Test Server, to ensure the Gmail account is acting as a server. 
  5. Repeat for Server 2 (optional).

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LDAP

Tools > Administration > LDAP

LDAP supports user-authentication for open or active directories.

Lightweight Directory Access Protocol (LDAP) is an application protocol for querying and modifying directory services running over TCP/IP. Alexandria supports user-authentication using existing log-on credentials maintained on a separate directory server. With LDAP enabled, administrators can now choose to manage these credentials on a central LDAP server as these credentials may change frequently and often need to be standardized across many different systems. A permanent record must exist locally in the Alexandria database for all patrons and operators that use the system however their log-on credentials can be managed outside of Alexandria on your LDAP server directly. 


Operator usernames and barcodes must be unique. Please make sure your Alexandria patrons do not have the same barcode as an operator.

How Does it Work?

The COMPanion software will send the credentials the user enters in any log-in dialog to the specified LDAP server in the form of a BIND. If the BIND is successful, the software will locate the user's record within the local database by searching the information returned in the specified Local ID field from the LDAP server. Once the record is found, the user will be logged in. Alexandria will test the credentials against the local data base if the login attempt fails. 


Settings

If you are a Centralized Catalog these setting will apply to all sites within your controller.

Enable LDAP

Check this box.

LDAP Domain

Enter the name of you LDAP domain, such as yourdomain.com. The domain name is used in conjunction with sAMAccountName to produce a complete userPrincipalName.

LDAP Server

Enter the full name of the LDAP server, such as yourdomain.com. This is the host address of the LDAP server for network communication.

Allow Non-Secure Connections (optional)

Check this box if you would like Alexandria to use non-TLS connections when it cannot make an TLS connection.

We highly recommended that you secure communications with the LDAP server by requiring TLS. TLS configuration is performed at the system level. When these settings are correctly configured for secure communications with your LDAP server, Alexandria will be able to communicate with the LDAP server securely.

LDAP Server Type

Select Microsoft Active Directory or macOS Open Directory.

Base DN for all LDAP Users

Enter a DN that matches all the users, i.e. cn=users,dc=ldap,dc=yourdomain,dc=com.

Multiple Base DNs can be specified if separated by semicolons, i.e. cn=staff,ou=COMPanion,dc=demo,dc=goalexandria,dc=com;cn=student,ou=COMPanion,dc=demo,dc=goalexandria,dc=com.

User ID

Select the User ID from the dropdown menu. This is the LDAP login name; for an Open Directory, this is typically uid (i.e. “uid=yourlogin"). For an Active Directory this is typically sAMAccountName or userPrincipalName.

Local ID

Enter the LDAP database username that contains the patron username or patron barcode in Alexandria in the  Local ID fieldThis must be one of the users' LDAP attributes; common attribute names include uid, uidNumber, givenName, cn, and others.


Test Login

Enter a username and password to test your settings. Since the test password is not encrypted, we suggest using a non-administrative login for this test. Unlike other logins, it can be used and configured only on the LDAP server; no actual operator-level login is required. 

Click Test to continue. It will attempt to log into the LDAP server using the settings and credentials you've entered. LDAP cannot be enabled until the test is successful. If any of your settings are invalid, the test may stall for several minutes before it fails. Check your settings and test login, then try again.

Once the test is successful, click Save in the upper right corner of the window to save your settings.


More LDAP Testing

If configured correctly, your users should be able to log into Alexandria using the same login credentials as configured on the directory server for their account. However, sometimes difficulty arises. In these cases, verify your preferences settings and test whether the Base DN and other information you have specified is accurate to your configuration.

We have found that Active Directory configurations seem to prefer binds using the user's CN while OSXs Open Directory prefers the uid (i.e. user identification). The use of ldapsearch tool is suggested. For example:

ldapsearch -x -v -H ldap://LDAP.yourdomain.com -b"cn=users, dc=LDAP, dc=yourdomain, dc=com" -D"cn=testing user id, cn=users, dc=LDAP, dc=yourdomain, dc=com" -w the users password -ZZ

Non Secure Connection Testing

The -ZZ parameter requires successful connection utilizing StartTLS over port 389. If you have selected to Allow Non-Secure Connections, omit this in your testing with ldapsearch as well.

Alternately, ldp.exe can be utilized for testing in a Windows environment.

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Checkpoint ILS

Tools > Administration > Checkpoint

Configure these settings if you are using the Checkpoint ILS (Intelligent Library System) security system to enhance your SIP2 protocol. Remember, this should only be enabled if Checkpoint's SIP2 hardware is in use (SIP2 hardware is not interchangeable between manufacturers). The technician installing your Checkpoint system should be able to configure these settings for you.

Make sure all SIP2 settings are correct and that you have an FTP server running on the same machine as your Alexandria Data Station. The ILS server will place an inventory file on your Data Station. If you are not running an FTP server on your Data Station, the inventory file will need to be placed manually.

Checkpoint ILS settings are available to those running a Centralized Catalog or a Distributed Catalog, regardless if it’s under a Controller or an independently operated Data Station. These settings also appear for those benefiting from our Cloud-Hosted services. Note: In a Centralized Catalog, these settings will apply to all sites.

Settings

Enable Checkpoint ILS

This box should only be enabled if Checkpoint's SIP2 hardware is in use.

Inventory File

Enter the directory for the ILS server to place the inventory file it creates. If the ILS server has not yet created an inventory file, an empty file (of the same name and path) should be created.

Synchronization Folder

As part of the Checkpoint ILS system Alexandria will create a synchronization file, co_cache.txt, that contains a list of barcodes for each item that is currently outside of the library (checked out). This file is placed inside the synchronization folder you specify here.

ILS Server Address

Enter the web address of the ILS FTP server you're trying to connect to. An FTP address looks a lot like an HTTP (website) or IP address, except it uses the prefix ftp:// instead of http:// and can be any combination of letters and numbers.

ILS FTP Path

Enter the directory path of the ILS FTP server where Alexandria will send its data. If you get an error message when trying to connect, be sure to check your FTP path. Default is / .

FTP Username

Enter the username used to access the ILS FTP server.

FTP User Password

Enter the password used to access the ILS FTP server.

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