This semester, the Tiger Card photos, which were previously on TigerPaws under the student directory, have been unavailable. Some students have noticed, but others have expressed dissatisfaction with the inconvenience. Although the photos are from student IDs taken at the Tiger Card office, that office is not the origin of the change.
“What we do is we create rosters for faculty and class members,” said Jerry Ferguson, director of the Tiger Card office. “We collect photos strictly to produce ID cards and that’s our role in the mix.”
The photos have been taken down because Trinity is currently making a switch in databases.
The switch is from a system called Unidata to a system called Microsoft Sequel (Microsoft SQL).
“We run a product called Ellucian Colleague that students use for registering and getting on TigerPaws. For the past 18 years or so, that product ran on a database called Unidata and Ellucian has been migrating away from the database platform and moving to Microsoft Sequel,” said Fred Zapata, director and chief information technology officer.
“The Sequel migration had been in the works for the past year. It was a year-long conversion process that we went through and we converted to the Sequel version of Ellucian Colleague July 4th weekend of this past summer,” Zapata said.
Last year, the ID photos were hacked and students were compared to each other based on their level of attractiveness. Although this is not the reason for the photo’s removal, the database conversion should prevent problems like it.
“The way they were able to do it was just link to the URL of the photo. So once they just plugged that into their webpage, they were able to connect directly to that photo. Once we rewrite that though, that won’t be able to happen,” Zapata said.
The conversion is a lengthy process, but the staff hopes to have the new system up as quickly as possible.
“[The student directory] was developed in-house a while back and that would not work well with the new SQL database, so we took that offline,” Perales said. “That is a pretty major rewrite that we’re going to have to look at doing. I would say sometime within the next year we’ll have something back online.”
Since the switch, Perales’ staff has been doing clean-up activities, such as rewriting reports that did not behave as they should have after the database conversion.
“We’re at a point now where we’re starting to look at all these new projects that piled up on us going forward,” Perales said. “The other part of that is we need to discuss with a digital communications group how the best way is to go with this.”
ITS will discuss whether the photos will be available on TigerPaws or the Trinity University website in the future.