General Troubleshooting

These instructions are intended for Dartmouth College Library Staff. If you are not library staff, please contact a library Info Desk or Circulation Desk to report an off-hours outage of a critical system. All other problem reports should be directed to the general feedback form.

This document discusses troubleshooting procedures for the following systems: Library website, Library catalog, and Sierra. For any library server or resource not explicitly listed, follow the guidelines under "The system doesn't seem to be working".


The system doesn't seem to be working.

First follow these basic guidelines:  

1. Did the power go out?
  • If it did, wait 15 minutes before reporting problems. Depending on the extent of the outage, it can take at least this long for the network hardware to come back up.
  • If the power did not go out...
2. Did you consult DartPulse?
  • Unplanned hardware outages are displayed in red.  If the system is listed on DartPulse, then the problem has already been reported.
  • If the system you are trying to access is reported to be down, continue to monitor DartPulse or read the Blitz Bulletin "Computing - Outages" for updates.
  • Note: Sierra/library catalog hardware problems (libcat.dartmouth.edu and catalog-lib.dartmouth.edu) will also be reported on DartPulse and to "Computing - Outages".  Sierra/library catalog software problems are reported to library.group@cloud.dartmouth.edu, and don't get a DartPulse unless they are relatively long-lived and affect patrons directly.
  • If the system you are trying to access has not been reported as down...
3. Is another library experiencing the same problem?
  • If another library (for circulation staff) or department member (for all non-circulation staff) is not experiencing the same problem you are experiencing, then it might be a local network issue.  Local network issues should be reported to Help@Dartmouth.edu or x-2999.
  • If another library or department member is experiencing the same problem, skip to the Report a Problem section of this document.

4. Determine if it's a Sierra /Library catalog issue.

  • For Circulation staff:
    • Staff who are using Sierra should check to see if the library catalog is working.
    • If neither Sierra nor the library catalog are working, check with a circulation desk outside of your building (preferably Baker-Berry Circulation) to see if they are having a problem.
    • If two library circulation desks are having the same problem, wait 5-10 minutes and recheck to see if the problem cleared up.
    • If the problem does not clear up, Click here for more instructions.
  • For all non-Circulation staff: Staff should check with others in their department to see if they are experiencing the same problem.
    • If the problem exists with others in your department, click here for more instructions.

Report a problem.

If you're still not able to access the system/resource:

1. Monday-Friday, 8am - 5pm:

  • Non-Sierra problems: Email the problem report to Digital Library Technologies Group (DLTG). If email is not working, then phone a staff member from DLTG.
  • Sierra problems: Click here for more instructions.
  • Email the problem report to ils-admin@listserv.dartmouth.edu.  If you don't receive a response in a reasonable amount of time (i.e. immediately for urgent problems), call Joe Montibello (6-9394).  If he cannot be reached, phone one of your Sierra Coordinators.  If neither Joe nor your department's Sierra Coordinators can be reached, then phone any other staff member from DLTG until you reach someone.

2. Evenings, weekends, and holidays:

  • If there is a (non-Sierra) system down during evenings, weekends, or holidays, call DLTG programmers at home.  Please call people in the following order: Eric Bivona, Paul Merchant.  Their numbers are on file at the Baker-Berry Circulation Desk.  If appropriate, leave a message with instructions to call you back.  Leave your name and a phone number where you can be reached. Also state who else, if anyone, you have contacted to help solve the problem (i.e. another member of DLTG).  If you can't reach any other DLTG staff member, call the Machine Room at x6-2075.
  • If Sierra is down during evenings, weekends, or holidays, follow the instructions at the first bullet point under Library Catalog or Sierra/Innopac staff function problems below.

Library Catalog or Sierra/Innopac staff function problems

1. Monday-Friday, 8am - 5pm:

  • Email the problem report to ils-admin@listserv.dartmouth.edu. If you don't receive a response in a reasonable amount of time (i.e. immediately for urgent problems), phone Joe Montibello (6-9394). If he cannot be reached, phone one of your modules' Sierra Coordinators. If neither Joe nor your Sierra Coordinators can be reached, then phone any other staff member from DLTG until you reach someone.

2. Evenings, weekends, and holidays:

 
  • If you have reached this step because you have determined your problem is related to the Sierra/Innopac/library catalog system, the problem is urgent, and it is outside of customary business hours, read on.  (Examples of urgent problems include: the library catalog is down, circulation cannot check out/in books, and any other problem that impedes the ability for staff to work or patrons to research.)
  • Note: The library catalog and the staff functions that support patrons are considered critical systems. When reporting a problem with the Sierra system, make sure you follow up. You need to be certain that the problem is being addressed.
  • It is best if one site (ex> Baker-Berry Circulation, Kresge Circulation) coordinate the problem reporting.  Determine a point person before you continue.
  • We would rather be called at home in the middle of the night than wake up to find that we could have attended to the problem sooner.  Please don't be afraid to call!
  • When Joe is not available and there is a critical problem (i.e. system down), determine the extent of the problem.
  • Is the problem in the Sierra clients onlyIf only the Sierra clients are affected (and not the library catalog), contact Innovative directly.  Innovative keeps a list of staff authorized to open calls with the Helpdesk.  The list is populated with the names of our site coordinators, hardware administrators, and others.  (Contact ils-admin for more information about this list.)  Ideally, someone on the list should open the call.  However, if none of those people are available to open the call, you MUST explain this when you report the problem to Innovative's Helpdesk.  To contact Innovative:
    • Phone 1-800-878-6600 and ask for the Helpdesk.
    • When asked, provide our site code.  Our site code is dartm.
    • Explain the problem fully.  Be prepared to report all error messages fully and completely.  Leave your phone number with the Helpdesk so they can contact you with questions, if necessary.  If you are about to go off shift, make sure you notify both Innovative's Helpdesk staff and your replacement.  Make sure Innovative's Helpdesk has the phone number where your replacement can be reached.
    • Get the name of the person you are speaking to and the call tracking number. As soon as you can, email this information to Digital Library Technologies Group (DLTG) and to ils-admin@listserv.dartmouth.edu.
    • Email DLTG with status reports as the problem and its resolution evolves so they will know how to follow up with Innovative when they become aware of the problem.  If you are going off shift, make sure you email DLTG and milsysadmin with the name and contact information of the person who is replacing you as the point person.
    • When the problem is resolved, email DLTG and milsysadmin to let them know.
    • If you have left voice mail for anyone and have not heard back, please call them back to let them know that the problem is fixed.
  • Is the problem with the Sierra clients and the library catalog?  If neither the Sierra clients nor the library catalog are responding, call the Berry Machine Room (x6-2075).  They will kick off their emergency procedures, which includes contacting the hardware administrators who will be needed to reboot the server.

A special note about off-hours problem reports

DLTG is not staffed to offer 24x7 response to all software problems. If a problem is not critical, please report the problem via email and be prepared to wait until business hours for a resolution. A thorough explanation of the problem, the steps to recreate it and any error messages (reported verbatim) are always appreciated.  Failure to include key information such as the URL WILL delay problem resolution.

I'm having trouble with resources that require a password.

If you are trying to access resources from off-campus, please consult the page Off-campus Access at Dartmouth College.

An electronic resource in the Digital Library or Library Catalog doesn't work anymore.

Email a problem report to library.electronic.Journal.Help@dartmouth.edu. They can determine whether access is controlled locally or by the information provider and refer the problem to the correct place. Please include in your email the URL you are trying to use.

I'm having trouble with Article Linker / DartDoc

Consult this document on the library wiki.