Category Archives: Improvements

Tools to help your HSPH website shine

Summer is an ideal time to look through your site and make sure that everything is shipshape for the upcoming school year. The WebTeam has developed tools to help you identify problems and has suggestions for addressing these problems to make your site shine for the fall. Below are solutions to three common website issues – broken links, typos, and images that lack alt text.

Broken Links

broken_linksBroken links happen. You may have linked long ago to a site that’s now deleted or has since been updated. Such broken links adversely affect your search rankings on Google and are also very frustrating to users who can’t find the content they’re seeking. To help you find and fix broken links, the Broken Link Checker tool on your site’s dashboard will do all the hard work for you. And if you’re one of the primary site administrators, you’ll also be receiving email notifications about broken links on your site.

Click here for a tutorial on how to use the Broken Link Checker tool.


proofreaderWe all occasionally make typos. Unfortunately, typos on websites are there for the world to see and detract from a site’s overall professionalism. To rid your site of typos, you can use the Proofreading tool that’s built into the editor on your dashboard. Just click on the button in the top toolbar and, similar to Microsoft Word, red and green underlines will appear in your text, allowing you to spot issues and correct them.

For a complete tutorial on how to use the Proofreading tool, please click here.

Image Alt Tags

Image Alt Tags ExampleWhen inserting images into your site, always fill in the boxes for title and alt text. Alt text, which stands for “Alternative Text,” is important for people with visual disabilities because screen readers use it to describe what is in a picture. Google also uses the alt text to determine what a picture contains, allowing people to search for images based on keywords. To create alt tags, try to write no more than one-sentence descriptions that are detailed but not wordy. For example, for a picture of soccer on the med school quad, you could write the following alt tag: “Students play soccer on the Harvard Medical School quad on a beautiful summer afternoon.” The sentence is concise yet fully describes what the photo shows.

Click here for more information on alt tags and click here for a guide to best practices.

ALICE/MyHSPH Maintenance This Wednesday, May 8th

UPDATE: All upgrades were successful.

The Department of Information Technology will be performing important infrastructure maintenance work that will take place Wednesday, May 8th, on the ALICE and MyHSPH Student Information Systems (SIS). This work is part of our migration project to newly purchased back-end storage systems.

The work is scheduled for Wednesday, May 8th, from 9:30pm – 11:30pm. The following systems will be affected:

• MyHSPH Portal
• ALICE Self Service for Students and Faculty
• Internet-native Banner (Administrative users)

Please Note:
In an effort to minimize impact to your user community, we will maintain a landing page at the school’s portal address of which will respond and will provide direct links to services such as Email, Netstorage for access to network files, and iSites for coursework, among others.

Thank you,
HSPH Department of Information Technology

New Printers in Computer Laboratories

We are pleased to announce that we have upgraded all printers in the student computing laboratories and classrooms ahead of the academic year.  Printing locations include:

  • Kresge 209
  • Kresge 210
  • Kresge 213
  • Kresge LL10
  • Kresge LL19
  • Kresge LL6

In addition to higher printing speeds, each printer has print release features activated by your Harvard ID.


  • If you run out of free printing, you may charge printing to Crimson cash via the release stations.
  • Print jobs may be released to any ICF printer.
  • Print balances and cost (if applicable) are clearly displayed for each print job.
  • Jobs left in the queue, but not released to a printer, will expire within 2 hours.


New Computers Coming Soon to Labs

Over the next two weeks, the Department of Information Technology will be refreshing all computers in our computer laboratories and computer classrooms.

Classrooms to be upgraded include:

  • Kresge LL19
  • Kresge LL10
  • Kresge LL6
  • Kresge 209
  • Kresge 210
  • Kresge 213
  • Landmark Center
  • Shattuck House

Later this summer, we will be upgrading most printers ahead of the academic year.

Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) Pilot

The Department of Information Technology is pleased to announce a pilot of virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) technology to power the public kiosk units available in the Kresge and FXB buildings.  We are piloting a combination of Samsung and Wyse thin-clients replacing the kiosk computers.  These new units talk to a robust central server powered by VMWare View and VSphere utilizing Dell and EMC hardware.

We are also piloting VDI for use in the HSPH student computer laboratories and other purposes.

VDI technology could prove to have substantial advantages over current practices including cost savings, energy savings, decreased staff hours to maintain student laboratory computers, improved performance for students, improved security, and increased flexibility in supporting software needs of HSPH courses.

We encourage the community to test the kiosk stations and report any issues or comments to the Helpdesk at 432-HELP.

As our pilot develops, we will also seek students and faculty to test student computing demonstration units in the student computing laboratories.

More on VDI:


Smith Street Conference Rooms Completed

All Smith Street conference rooms have been completed.   The remaining rooms on the 1st and 4th floors were completed in early-September.  Training was held for the community on September 20, 2011.

“How-to” guides for each room may be found in the rooms or may be requested via email from the HSPH Helpdesk,, 432-HELP.

The 3rd floor location only has a Cisco Telepresence unit that allows for either telepresence calls or traditional video conferencing calls utilizing a Harvard bridge.  If you need further information on scheduling a video conference, please contact the Helpdesk.

If you need assistance on room operation in any of the six conference rooms of Smith Street, please contact the Helpdesk at 432-HELP.

Smith Street 3rd Floor Conference Room

Smith Street 3rd Floor Conference Room


HSPH Launches New Alumni Portal

HSPH launched a new alumni portal on September 15, 2011.  Congratulations to Jim Smith, Assistant Dean for Alumni Affairs, for his leadership in launching this impressive new alumni resource.

HSPH’s Department of Information Technology web team provided design and technical support for Jim and his staff working in collaboration with the vendor Imodules.

Visit the site:


Alumni Home Page

Alumni Directory Search

Smith Street Conference Rooms

We are pleased to announce that the 3rd floor conference room at Smith Street has been completed.

This large room is equipped with:

  • Projector and large screen
  • Resident PC
  • Wireless keyboard and mouse
  • Laptop/tablet connection
  • Speakers for computer and laptop audio
  • Cisco telepresence for high-quality video conferencing
  • Polycom conference phone for conference calls

Similar rooms on the 1st and 4th floors are also nearing completion.  Three smaller conference rooms were completed in June.

End user training sessions will be arranged later in August.

PIN Login Issues?

Having problems logging into PIN? It is likely your cookies. It will only take a few quick steps to resolve.

Solution 1

  • Verify you are using the first 8-digits on your Harvard ID. If not, try again.
  • If this does not work, continue.

Solution 2

  • Go to the Google Clearing Cookies Instructions Page
  • Pick your browser.
  • Next, locate your version under “Clearing your cookies.” Follow those instructions to remove cookies.
  • *You will only need to do this once.

Why did this happen?
We recently upgraded our PIN-enabled applications to the newest version of Harvard PIN. This has caused a conflict with cookies from the previous system.

If you experience any further issues, please contact the helpdesk at 2-HELP or

Monthly Maintenance on May 19, 2011

To all HSPH users,

Next Thursday night, May 19th, we will be performing our normal system maintenance to all servers and network equipment.

Please Note – This Maintenance window was rescheduled from 5/15/2011 due to conflicts with the academic calendar.

The maintenance window will last from 7:00 PM til 1:00 AM.

The following services will have one or two small outages:
(You can continue to work, but may have brief pauses while services restart)

  • GroupWise Full Client and IMAP Clients
  • Novell File and Print services
  • NetStorage
  • ICF File and Print services
  • Powerfaids and NetPartner
  • Web Server (main site)
  • GroupWise WebAccess
  • Accellion
  • HSPH Unix server

The following services will be unavailable from 7PM to 10:30PM:

  • MyHSPH Portal

The following services will be unaffected during the maintenance window:

  • HPCC system

Future maintenance windows are scheduled for Thursday nights from 7PM to 1AM on the following dates:

  • 6/16/2011
  • 7/14/2011
  • 8/11/2011
  • 9/15/2011
  • 10/13/2011
  • 11/10/2011
  • 12/15/2011