About the Office of Information Systems
- Participate in the overall direction of ACM through interaction with all levels of headquarters staff and volunteers.
- Provide reliable, secure and cost effective information systems and services that support the activities of ACM, including the following functions:
- Develop, implement and maintain custom solutions
- Acquire, Customize and Implement solutions
- Contract and Manage outsourced solutions
- Provide high level functions:
- Member/Volunteer support
- Custom application/database development and support
- Custom reporting
- Web site development and support
- Headquarters office support
- Mailing list services and support
- Email services and support
- Web hosting services and support
- Web content review and optimization
We are currently a group of nine dedicated individuals. As a department our time is spent working with the ACM Headquarters staff as well as the large body of Volunteers. While our direct interaction with the various volunteer groups varies greatly, this overall responsibility is a major component of the IS area.
- Wayne Graves, Director
Custom Interfaces. We develop and host custom written interfaces for a variety of volunteer initiatives, and integrate them into existing database systems and other applications. These applications include: Award Recipient Management, Key People Management, Membership Retention Reporting tools, Financial Management Reports, Member authentication, Member polls, User commenting systems (used for the Curricula Recommendations activities of the Ed board), Special Interest Group (SIG) email forwarding and list management.
We also have developed many custom interfaces that feed the Digital Library directly from various SIG sources as well as adjust access rules on a programmatic basis. Some SIG groups require that the "current" issue of their publication be open to the public or to various members of the community while the archive remains accessible only to SIG members.
Custom Reporting. Reporting needs come out of many SIG groups as well as boards and committees. Reports are written to be run on both an ad-hoc and scheduled basis. These reports are done as SQL based queries with various wrappers. There are also a set of reports based around Crystal Reports used primarily for the Finance database. We also interact heavily with a third party reporting company, Coremetrics, to provide a set of summarized and detailed statistics on both web and Digital Library activity. These statistics require near real-time access by both staff and volunteers. The IS area serves as the support mechanism for these facilities. We also coordinate enhancements through the Coremetrics relationship and develop custom solutions around this data.
Transaction-based Web Forms. All of the transaction-based web functionality is developed in house. The majority of this work is done with the software development framework ColdFusion. Some examples of this type of functionality include: Online membership/subscription renewals, online membership applications, Conference credit card validation, Member/Subscriber Authentication. Many volunteer efforts are supported through these mechanisms. In particular, these e-commerce and authentication capabilities are customized for many SIGs, Conferences and Chapters.
Response to Inquiries. Members interact directly with various areas of our web site, including the Digital Library, MyACM, and Online Books & Courses as well as Join and Renewal forms. We respond, either directly via email or to inquiries referred from the Membership Services area, when an individual has a problem using any of our sites. We do our best to support all variations of platforms.
Project Management. We provide insight to ACM's various boards into the feasibility of projects from their inception. With this insight we allow these groups to leverage existing technology and skill sets where possible as well as an understanding of existing capacities and the ability to identify where replacements and extensions are necessary.
When a volunteer initiative is ready to move forward into a formal development, we help make the decision to bring on outside consulting services. We also then actively participate in the creation and process of RFPs. This process includes interviewing potential vendors as well as providing these vendors with detailed technical specifications of existing systems and future directions.
Mailing List Services and Support. We currently support over 2,500 email lists. These lists are owned and utilized by Members, Volunteers and Staff. Some lists are managed programmatically based on an individual's various relationships with ACM, (SIG Member, Chapter Member, etc.), while others are created on an ad-hoc basis. Because the lists themselves support many options and are a very active resource within the volunteer community, they require a great deal of timely user and technical support.
Web Hosting Services and Support. We provide server resources for many ACM groups, (SIGs, Chapters, Committees, etc.) to build their own online presence. We install and support a long list of software tools, (wikis, blogs, MySql, PHP, JSP, etc.), to empower this large and diverse community. We currently host approximately 180 distinct web sites outside of the www.acm.org structure. We manage approximately 635 OS users. We are currently running approximately 35 blogs and 75 wikis. We are also currently handling over 200 domains and satisfy approximately 30,000,000 domain queries per month. Where appropriate, we provide templates and guidelines for the creation of web sites. We also provide a number of member authentication schemes to many of the hosted sites.
Web Content Management System (Plone). We make our core content management system (Plone) available to a growing number of volunteer groups. We provide system resources, custom configurations and hosting services for Plone. We also provide documentation and web master support for these instances.
Membership Subscription Fulfillment System (MSF)
Custom written application used to process and service all customer transactions. New features and enhancements are constantly being developed to better service the needs of our staff and customers. There is a direct feed of all monetary transactions into the financial system. The database behind this system serves as the central repository for all customer history. Many other applications and reporting facilities are run against this database. The primary users of this application are the Membership Services area but there are staff members from all departments that interact with this application.
Conference Management System (CMS)
Custom written application used to manage and track all conferences put on by ACM or any of the SIGs. New features, enhancements and reports are developed on an ongoing basis. This system feeds conference information directly into the Digital Library. This system also pulls information directly from MSF. The primary users of this application are the SIG Services and Finance areas.
The Digital Library (DL)
Custom written application supporting a searchable and browsable collection of all articles ever published by ACM. The application includes an extensive and adaptable data model, and an administration and operational interface. There is a standard XML DTD developed to handle both the importing and exporting of data. There are many custom input and output feeds based on individual publisher relationships. There is an ongoing set of tools developed to enhance the value of the DL to the community and the supporting staff. The primary users of the DL are ACM Members, and members of the computing community at large. Authenticated access to the DL is sold on a subscription basis and allows for enhanced functionality as well as the ability to download full text documents. The primary users of the administrative and operational interface to the DL are staff and selected vendors.
The Guide to Computing Literature (Guide)
This extension of the DL model and application allows for the addition of non-ACM materials in an attempt to cover the computer science field. Where possible links are provided back to the full text documents.
Financial Management Reporting Facility (FMRs)
Custom written web-based interface into the ACM financials. This facility provides various levels of access based on a strict set of permissions. This set of drill down capable reports utilizes a snapshot of the financial information based on milestones within the ACM accounting schedule. The primary users of this facility are staff and volunteers. There is ongoing administrative support for this facility, development of new and enhanced reports and the development of a variety of export capabilities.
Custom written integration interface/application which serves as a central framework for ACM Members to access and configure their various services. It also serves as a central authentication point to many controlled areas of the ACM web space. There is an ongoing set of features and enhancements that are being developed within this framework to support a variety of information filtering, interactivity and community building.
All ACM Members are automatically given an email forwarding address. We manage the server environment to support this functionality. All mail is passed through both Spam and Virus filtering and then delivered to the member. Approximately 1,000,000 messages pass through the filtering mechanisms each day resulting in a delivery of approximately 250,000 messages to members. We provide web based management of this forwarding service to Members as well as a seamless connection to our third party filtering facility. In addition to the acm.org email forwarding, we also provide email forwarding for 35 other domains which are predominately SIGs.
Through the utilization of a new staff position, the Web Content Manager, we are performing ongoing content review of the overall ACM web site. This review process aims to ensure timeliness as well as consistency of style, usability and readability. We have recently moved the ACM site to a content management system, Plone. We are now encouraging the various ACM groups to adopt the system. We provide documentation, support and system resources to those who utilize Plone.
- COUNTER-compliant online usage reports for journals, databases, and/or books made available to your institutions and consortia.
- Publishing-specific measurements, such as article requests, abstract views, table of contents views, and searches run.
- Publishing-specific reporting, such as top articles, journal usage by geography, traffic by IP address, and internal search keywords.
- Automatic updates to the reporting and annual audits to keep you COUNTER-compliant with the evolving Codes of Practice.
- Web site usage reports such as referrals, pages viewed, and paths taken through your site.
Using a web-based interface, users can view automated reports and do ad hoc analyses to help answer complex business questions on the fly. These capabilities include examination of traffic trends, key navigation paths, visitor segments, and conversions.
All desktop applications are supported and maintained. All appropriate patches are monitored and applied. These applications include:
- MS Office 2003
- Platinum (Accounting Package)
- Adobe Dreamweaver
All of the LAN components, the POLYCOM VOIP system and the security system including cameras and card readers are managed, maintained and supported.
Training in the Plone content management system is provided to the relevant HQ staff to maintain their departmental web pages.