Integrating Ares with Angel

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Ares is designed to work smoothly with the Angel Course Management System, allowing library staff, course Instructors and students quick and easy access to course reserves information. By linking Angel with Ares, Library staff, Instructors and their designated Proxies can connect with Ares and add courses and their related course reserves directly from within Angel. Students, in turn, can access their courses and the course reserves requirements from within Angel.

Installation

The following details procedures for the configuration of the Ares Reserves nugget developed by Atlas Systems, Inc. for the Angel course management system. This nugget allows Ares owners that are using Angel to integrate the Angel system with Ares.

  1. Download the Ares Angel Nugget from Ares Downloads and unzip the folder.
  2. Copy the AresReserves folder into your AngelRoot\Portal\Nuggets folder.
  3. Find and open the aresReserves.config file located in the AresReserves folder and configure at least the following:
    • WebServiceAddress: Set this to the address of your Ares Web Service.
    • AresAddress: Set this to the address of your Ares web dll (do not include the ares.dll portion of the path).
    • Agent: Set this to the agent string you want the nugget to use when communicating with the Ares web service.
  4. Login to your Ares database and find the WebServiceAgents table. Add a new row in the table, using the Agent value you specified.
  5. Login to Angel as an administrator and locate the Portal Components page.
  6. Click the "Register New"link to register the new nugget with your Angel system.

The nugget should now be installed and available for instructors and students to add to section pages. Any instructor wishing to utilize the nugget will simply need to add the nugget to one of their section pages and click the edit button. They will be presented with a few customization options, and upon clicking submit the Angel course will be linked to the corresponding Ares course. A new course will be created if a match cannot be found.

Because of the nature of Angel nuggets, the entirety of this nugget is done using plain text ASP pages and Javascript include files, both of which can be opened and edited with any basic text editor. Please note that while you are free to modify the nugget in any way you see fit, Atlas Systems cannot be held responsible for such changes.

Angel Authentication

When the Angel nugget is installed on Ares, both authentication and course creation is turned over to Angel. Courses are generally set up by the Staff Administrator before the start of each semester, freeing Instructors from this task. Instructors and students log in using their Angel Username and Password and access their Ares Course Reserves directly from within the Angel interface.

Configuring Ares Course Reserves in Angel

General Customization

There are several aspects of the Angel nugget which can be customized. Most of the customization options are on a per section basis and configured by the Instructor. However, it is possible to provide global defaults for most available settings. To do this, locate your aresReserves.config file and modify the default settings entries. Descriptions of each setting's use and possible values are provided in the configuration file.

Item Formats

The format used when displaying individual reserve item entries can be readily customized, both through global defaults in the configuration file and on a per section basis by instructors. The formatting system uses string-based formats, with a basic tagging system for including item information. The tagging system uses the following format: <#TagName> Following is a list of valid tag names that can be used in the item format setting:

  • Username
  • CourseId
  • PickupLocation
  • ProcessingLocation
  • CurrentStatus
  • CurrentStatusDate
  • ItemType
  • DigitalItem
  • Location
  • ShelfLocation
  • AresDocument
  • InstructorProvided
  • CopyrightRequired
  • CopyrightObtained
  • Active
  • ActiveDate
  • InactiveDate
  • CallNumber
  • ReasonForCancellation
  • PublicationDate
  • Edition
  • ISXN
  • EspNumber
  • CitedIn
  • Doi
  • ArticleTitle
  • Volume
  • Issue
  • JournalYear
  • JournalMonth
  • Pages
  • DocumentType
  • ItemFormat
  • Description
  • CccNumber
  • LoanPeriod
  • DirectLink

Registrar IDs

Ares supports the ability to match up Ares courses with Registrar IDs, which can then be used for certain optional features in Ares, such as course validation. In order to facilitate this when allowing the Angel nugget to automatically create courses, the nugget must be provided with a way of matching the sections in Angel, to the appropriate registrar course ids, so that when it creates a course in Ares it can pass that information along. Because every institution handles this match up differently, we have provided a hook function that can be used to return a registrar id, which the nugget can then pass to Ares. The function for this is in the file named registrarId.asp. In this file you will find a single function stub called GetRegistrarID. If you wish to use the Registrar ID matching in Ares, you will need to provide an algorithm in this method for matching up the current section with its Registrar ID. This function is invoked just before Ares course creation, and after all required nugget initialization is completed. This means that the function has access to all global Angel settings that are normally available to nuggets. The function should return a single string containing the registrar ID to be used. 

An example method is provided below. It utilizes a custom Angel table that contains an angel section id and its corresponding registrar id. The table is populated by an automated service that generates Angel courses from the Registrar's course list.

function GetRegistrarID
	Dim connection, dbRes, regId
	regId = ""
	Set connection = Server.CreateObject("ADODB.Connection")
	connection.Open strProfileDB
	Set dbRes = connection.Execute("SELECT registrarCourseidFROM 
	registrarAngelIDLink WHERE angelcourseid = '" & DBStr("" &SESSION
	("SECTION_ID")) & "'")
	if not dbRes.EOF Then
		regId = "" & dbRes("registrarCourseid")
	end if
	dbRes.Close
	set dbRes = Nothing
	connection.Close
	Set connection = Nothing
	GetRegistrarID = regId
end function
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