StaffGuide: Sierra

System status, news, and tips and tricks

Common Solutions

Below are some of the most common quick fixes for errors with the Sierra client and Admin Corner. 

Off-Campus? Use the Library VPN

Note: You must connect to campus VPN before connecting to to Sierra client, web, or Admin Corner from off-campus.

This special connection will allow your device to present an on-campus IP address to Sierra.

About VPN

VPN (Virtual Private Network) is like a tunnel created between your computer or device to the campus network.

Using a VPN connection will allow your off-campus computer or mobile device to appear as if it is on the campus network. This will allow access to most library subscription databases, electronic journals, and electronic books.

Log into VPN with your UARK username and password.

Connecting the Campus VPN

We recommend uninstalling the previous Pulse Secure client before installingthe new GlobalProtect client.
Pulse Secure will be discontinued in summer 2019.

  1. Navigate to the ITS instructions for installing the VPN Gobal Connect client.
  2. Connect with your UARK username and password.
  3. Once you have an active VPN connection, you should be able to access most of our library databases, ejournals, and ebooks without any additional logins.

More Info

Read more about campus VPN on the ITS web site.

Note that access to some of your home or remote office networked devices may be blocked while connected to VPN. Read more about these security changes on the ITS website.

Guest Wi-fi

Using a wireless connection?  The Guest wi-fi network does not allow access to Sierra - or many other unusual "ports" or types of connections.

Connect to UARK wi-fi for access to Sierra SDA.  More about UARK wi-if.  

All Ports in Use

"All Ports in Use?" 

 

This cryptic message - that won't let you log into Sierra - means that all our staff licenses are in use.  We sometimes hit our upper limit of  68 licenses on busy days.  If the message persists after a few minutes please contact us at libhelp@uark.edu so that we can check and free any stuck sessions. 

Sierra Opens Offscreen

Sierra is not responding even though the Task Manager indicates it is running? 

It may be that the initial login window opened offscreen or a dialog box, such as the Insert a field window, has opened off the viewable screen.   This is especially common if you use multiple monitors or if you dock a laptop to monitors here at the library, and then work with only the laptop monitor at home. 

Here are a few sequences of Windows key strokes that should retrieve the offscreen window for you. 

Initial login screen opens offscreenShift+ Right-click to see options for movng an application window

  1. Hover over the active Sierra icon in your task bar.
  2. Press Shift + right-click.
  3. A dialog box appears.  Choose Maximize window.

Dialog box or window opens offscreen

  1. Hover over the active Sierra icon in your task bar.
  2. Press Shift + right-click.
  3. A dialog box appears.  Choose Move window.
  4. Press Windows key (Command Key in iOS) + right or left or up or down arrows to try to move the window onto the active screen. 

See more tips at Technipages.

Clearing the Sierra Java Cache

If the Sierra client is running slow or hanging, try this before uninstalling and reinstalling the software:

  1. Close Sierra.
  2. Navigate to the Sierra Desktop Application folder (usually at c:\Sierra Desktop App).
  3. Open the folder labeled jarcache.
  4. Select all the files inside that folder (in Windows 7: Organize > Select all).
  5. Delete the selected files. 
  6. Restart Sierra.  This may take a few seconds longer than usual as some jar files are re-downloaded.

Increasing the Heap Size

Sierra's "heap size" is the amount of space allocated to the service swap file.  Increasing this from the default size is often helpful if staff are having trouble with slowness of freezing when running system-intensive programs (fund-reports, global updates, or processing invoices). 

  1. Close Sierra.
  2. Navigate to the Sierra Desktop Application folder (usually at c:\Sierra Desktop App).
  3. Find the iiirunner.lax file and open it with Notepad or another plain text editor. 
    iiirunner.lax is where the settings for the SDA installation are stored. 
  4. Find the line lax.nl.java.option.java.heap.size.max=<number>
    Usually the default is lax.nl.java.option.java.heap.size.max=268435456
  5. Change the number to something larger.  This number represents the max heapsize in bytes, so remember that (bytes / 1024) / 1024 = Mbytes.  
    The recommended setting is to double the size:  lax.nl.java.option.java.heap.size.max=536870912.
  6. Save iiirunner.lax and restart the SDA for changes to take place.  

Turning on the Java Console for Logging

In tracking down an issue, it can be helpful to turn on the Java console to log exceptions and errors encountered by the client.  Screenshots can then be sent to Innovative, if necessary.  Example:

Sierra console

To turn on the Java console:

  1. Close Sierra.
  2. Navigate to the Sierra Desktop Application folder (usually at c:\Sierra Desktop App).
  3. Find the iiirunner.lax file and open it with Notepad or another plain text editor. 
    iiirunner.lax is where the settings for the SDA installation are stored. 
  4. Look for these three values:
    1. LAX.STDERR.REDIRECT
    2. LAX.STDIN.REDIRECT
    3. LAX.STDOUT.REDIRECT
  5. In each case, change the redirect instruction to read "console." Examples:
    1. lax.stderr.redirect=console
    2. lax.stdin.redirect=console
    3. lax.stdout.redirect=console
  6. Save iiirunner.lax and restart the SDA for changes to take place.  

The console will run in its own window whenever an instance of the Sierra Desktop App is running; the window is named "iiirunner.exe."

Recording the PID (Process ID)

When troubleshooting an issue with the Innovative Help Desk, it can be useful to provide the login of the user and the PID (Process ID) that the Sierra session was using when an issue occurred, This process ID can be used to examine short-term log files. 

To find the PID:

  1. On the Sierra top menu bar, go to Help and About
  2. The Server PID will be listed, along with other environmental variables.  Example:

Sierra Process ID

 

Troubleshooting Java

ALERT March 2017

Java is no longer required to access Web Management Reports!  All browsers should now work with WMR.  

Your web browser uses the system Java when using certain components of Sierra, specifically in launching Admin Corner (text-based system).

Java plugins are no longer supported by

  • Chrome (all versions)
  • 64-bit Firefox

You can still use:

If you have problems accessing Admin Corner, follow these instructions for creating exception sites in your Java client.

You must edit your Java settings to allow specific ports to run as exceptions to the general security policy. To do so:

  1. First, close your browser.
  2. Then open your Java in the Control Panel: Windows start > Control Panel then you may have to change the View from Category to Small or Large icons.

    Changing Control Panel SettingsJava in the Control Panel
     
  3. In the Java Control Panel, choose the Security Tab. Then choose Edit Site List below.
    Java SecurityTab
  4. You are going to add entries to the Site Exceptions list. Add all these by clicking the Add button and typing them in.
     
    • https://library.uark.edu
    • https://library.uark.edu:4440
    • https://library.uark.edu:4441
    • https://library.uark.edu:4443
    • https://library.uark.edu:4445
    • https://library.uark.edu:4447
    • https://library.uark.edu:4448
    • https://library.uark.edu:4449
    • https://library.uark.edu:63100
       
  5. Click OK. On the Security tab, also click the button for Restore Security Prompts and then Restore all security prompts. Then OK and exit.
  6. Restart your browser.
  7. Go to https://library.uark.edu/sierra/admin  to access for Admin corner.