System Administration


System Admin

Within this section, you will find:

  • Modules
  • Administration Users
  • Permissions
  • DB Maintenance
  • Amazon SES Settings
  • SendGrid Settings
  • Variables
  • System Variables



Search Administration Settings

Finding settings has never been easier!

As of the 23.11 release, Aspen Administration modules are sorted alphabetically:


In the Search for a Setting box, start typing the name of the setting you are looking for.


You will also find this on the side menu view by clicking on Search


Then start typing your term in the Search for a Setting box:


This search functionality is also available now within Aspen sections such as Library Systems to locate specific settings.



Updated 2023-11-05 km bws
Searching Settings

In Aspen Discovery, there are two different ways to search through information in the settings tables.

One way is by using the sort fields across the top of columns. Here I have typed "cheese" in the Label field to find my Cheese Books browse category.


These fields filter as you type.

Tip: These fields only filter information on the current page. To search through more settings, you could switch your Per Page count to the maximum of 250.



If you have many pages of information to sort through, using the Filters option along the top of the screen could be a better alternative.

Click Filters > Add Filter > select field from dropdown (ex: Label) > Add Filter. This will add a dropdown of filtering options (Contains, Matches, and Starts With) and a field where you can add your search term. Make sure you manually click on Apply Filters instead of hitting return/enter.

In this screenshot, I added my word "cheese" and clicked on Apply Filters to find my Cheese Books browse category.  



2024-02-27 md bws
Export Administration Tables

As of the 23.09 release, most Administration setting tables are now able to be exported. 

What can be exported is the information displayed in the columns on the screen. 

Export to CSV will maintain applied filters if you only want to export a certain set of data.

Aspen will only export the first 1000 results in the table.


Updated 2023-09-11 km bws
When will changes I make to settings show up in Aspen?

With all the connection points in Aspen, you may be curious about the timing of when changes occur.


Changes based on Aspen Settings


Nightly Index 

Some settings in Aspen will trigger a full overnight reindex when modified. These settings are related to how data appears in Aspen and are marked with a note that says: "Updating this setting causes a nightly reindex." You will see a lot of this in areas such as the ILS Indexing Profile and the Translation Maps.

For example: in the ILS Indexing Profile, let's say you've made a change to your Format Map so that "Book on CD" will now be "Audiobook." Aspen now needs to run all of your records through the indexer to re-categorize them in the search results. Since changes to the format map will trigger a nightly reindex, you can wait until the next day after the nightly index runs to see your changes reflected everywhere in the catalog. 

If you want to verify your changes without waiting for the nightly index to run first, you can force a reindex on any record by clicking into the record, scrolling to Staff View, and clicking Force Reindex. The regular indexing process runs every few minutes, so you should see updates to the format display the next time the indexer runs within a few minutes. Refesh the page, and check the Last Indexed time to verify.


Instant Changes

Changes to settings without the "Updating this setting causes a nightly reindex" note should be reflected immediately.

These settings are often related to customizations and interface settings so you can quickly make changes to your catalog. Settings such as Theme, Layout, Permissions, Grouped Work Display Settings, Grouped Work Facets, Languages & Translations, and Web Builder features are all instant changes.

Other features such as System Messages, Placards, Browse Categories will also reflect changes immediately (unless they've been scheduled). 


Changes based on ILS

User Account

Changes to information reflected in the user account such as checkouts, holds, and fines/fees will be updated automatically within a 10-15 minute window.

Within the patron account, you can also click the Refresh button to update account information sooner.

Updates to Records/Items

Changes from the ILS (item status, cataloging/MARC record changes, etc) will be updated within a 10-15 minute window. The exact amount of time depends on your ILS. Libraries using scheduled exports of records via SFTP (such as Symphony or Evergreen) will typically receive updates every 10-15 minutes, depending on how often the process is scheduled to run. Other ILS sending over updates via API (such as Koha, Polaris, or Sierra) will see data updates every few minutes. You can check to see how often and when your index last ran in Aspen Administration > ILS Integration > Indexing Log.

Cover Images

See more information about cover images here.

Changes to cover images are an instant change but they might not seem like it due to how browsers cache the images. If you receive a success messsage after uploading a new cover, that means your cover has been updated and others will see the new cover image. On your screen, you may need to do a hard refresh/reload (hold the shift key and click the Reload button), clear your browser cache, or open the URL on another record to immediately see the change. 

Grouping Works

See more information about grouping here.

When you group or ungroup records, the change will reflect after the indexing processes catch the change, typically within a few minutes. 

Keep in mind when grouping or ungrouping records that some types of content are tied to separate indexing processes. For example, records from your ILS, records from OverDrive, and records from Hoopla are all being updated with different indexing processes and may be on different indexing timers. Going into the records and clicking Force Reindex under Staff View will nudge those records to be reindexed sooner.

Updated 2023-09-14 md bws
Caching, Crons, Indexers, Synching - Length of Time

Caching, Crons, Indexing, Synching…

Whatever you call it, Aspen has got it.

Here are the default lengths of these processes as they run throughout normal daily conditions.

Indexers can be stalled or delayed while large processes are running or there are interuptions in the connection (i.e. Nightly Index, Manually running full update, ILS or Third Party Vendor is down, large batch update of records in the ILS, etc.).

When this happens, once the large process has run, the indexers will cascade/waterfall in processing until Aspen can catch up to one of the default intervals. 

In this screenshot, the ILS/API connection was down. Once the API was fixed by the vendor, Aspen started to re-connect and pick up from where it last left off. The Elapsed time between intervals gets shorter and shorter until Aspen can get back to it's every few minute checks.

Aspen LiDA - 15 minutes

Content Enrichment:

  • AR/Renaissance Learning - Typically, weekly but can be set in Third Party Enrichment Settings > Accelerated Reader Settings > Update Frequency
  • Content Cafe - On load and stored/cached for 24 hours
  • Covers - On load; cached for 2 weeks or can be manually reloaded by clicking Staff View > Reload Cover
  • NoveList - Stored/cached for 2 weeks or can be manually reloaded by clicked Staff View > Reload Enrichment
  • Syndetics Covers- Stored/cached for 2 weeks or can be manually reloaded by clicking Staff View > Reload Cover
  • Syndetics Integration - Stored/cached for 2 weeks or can be manually reloaded by clicking Staff View > Reload Enrichment

Course Reserves - 5 minutes

eContent Providers:

  • Boundless - 5 minutes
  • CloudLibrary - 5 minutes
  • hoopla - Nightly process runs for additions and deletions of records
  • Libby - 5 minutes
  • Palace Project - 5 minutes

Or can be manually reloaded by clicking Staff View > Force Reindex

On first set up/connection, these can take 1-2 days to fully load the initial records.

Events - 5 minutes

ILS Indexer:

  • CARL.X  - 2 minutes
  • Evergreen - 5 minutes
  • Evolve - 5 minutes
  • Koha - 5 minutes
  • Polaris - 2 minutes
  • Sierra - 2 minutes
  • Symphony - 2 minutes and Export Scripts set to run at a frequency defined in scripts

Or can be manually reloaded by clicking Staff View > Force Reindex

Lists - 5 minutes or by running Run Full Update in User Lists Settings

NYT Lists - Every 7 days; can be viewed here /UserLists/NYTUpdatesLog

Side Loads - 5 minutes or by running Run Full Update in Side Load Settings.

Website Indexing - Overnight Index for initial set up/load. Then, updates are defined in Collection settings (i.e. daily, weekly, monthly)

Web Builder Indexing - The web builder indexer runs as a part of the Website Indexing process on the server, and this runs every 15 minutes. This processes basic pages, custom pages, and web resources.

Wikipedia - The information is cached for 24 hours


Updated 2024-07-11 md bws
Batch Updates

Several different areas of Aspen administration allow you the option to Batch Update Selected or Batch Update All. Batch updating allows you to modify more than one setting at a time instead of editing each setting individually.

For example, let's say I manage a library system and want to change certain settings for all locations. I can head to Primary Configuration > Locations, then click Batch Update All. If I only wanted to modify specific locations, I could select those with the checkboxes and click Batch Update Selected.


From the dropdown menu, select the appropriate setting and enter in your new choice.


Click Update to save changes across the settings.

Not all settings are accessible via batch update functionality. Notable exceptions include record or side load scopes and content in the WYSIWYG text boxes.


2024-02-27 md bws
Lock Settings



In order to lock settings, you will need the following permissions:

System Administration > Lock Administration Fields
Allows the user to lock administration fields and change locked fields.

This permission is only recommended for a limited amount of high-level administrators. The opacAdmin role will have this permission by default.


Locking Settings

Locking a setting will prevent any other admin users from editing that setting, regardless of their role or permissions, as long as they do not also have the ability to lock/unlock fields.

Locking a field will carry over to other settings of the same type. For example, if I lock a setting in Placard A, that same setting will be locked in Placard B, Placard C, and Placard D.

To lock a setting, click the lock icon next to the setting. 


When logged in as a user without locking permissions, any locked fields will be indicated by a lock icon. Here is how locked fields appear to other users:


Checkboxes will not be clickable, text fields will not be editable, toggles will not be toggleable, etc.


More About Locking Settings

At this time, settings can only be locked individually -- there is not a way to "Lock All"/"Unlock All." There is also not a way to see a list of which settings have been locked. We recommend keeping track of which settings you've locked until further developments are in place.

Locking settings will likely be used in rare and specific cases. This was built with consortiums in mind to lock a specific field (Example: we uploaded our consortium's logo across all the footers and don't want the libraries to remove). Locking on a large scale is not recommended. Admin should first try reducing user access to settings via permissions. 

2023-10-20 km bws
Copy Settings

Librariy administrators are able to copy the following settings:

  • Basic Pages
  • Browse Category Groups
  • Custom Pages
  • Grouped Work Display settings
  • Grouped Work Facets
  • JavaScript Snippets
  • Layout Settings
  • Library Systems
  • Locations
  • Menu Links within Libraries (Selected menu links can be copied to multiple other libraries at the same time)
  • Placards
  • System Messages
  • Themes
  • Web Resources

There are no specific permissions tied to copying settings but if you have permissions to add these, then you will see the option to copy them.


Updated 2023-01-10 km bws

System Administration Functions


The Modules section is where you will enable connections and integrations. Depending on the module, once you enable it here you will see a new section for it in the Administration settings. These modules include many e-content vendors.

Administration Users

The Administration Users section is where you can add administration users and assign roles with individual sets of permissions. To add a new administration users, click Add New, enter in their library card number or username, and click next to the roles you wish to assign.

Click here to learn about Users & Permissions


In this section, you can customize roles by giving them almost any level of access to Aspen. Here, you are able to edit exsisting roles or create new roles.

Click here to learn about Users & Permissions

DB Maintenance

In the Database Maintenance section, you can run updates when a new version of Aspen has been released. Typically this will have already been done by someone on the ByWater team whenever we roll out a new release to your site.

Optional Updates

As of 23.10.00, we now have a way to suggest Recommended Updates in future releases.

This setting is turned on by default and can be found directly by going to Aspen Administration > System Administration > Optional Updates or {YOURASPENURL}/Admin/OptionalUpdates

To see these updates when you login, you will need Run Optional Updates - Allows the user to apply optional updates to their system. This is added to the OpacAdmin role by default or can be manually applied to a Full Admin role.

You will see a Recommended updates are available for Aspen Administrators banner at the top of the header.

When you click on the hyperlink, it will take you to the list of the Recommended Updates with screenshots describing the updates. 

For each recomendation listed, there will be three options available:

  • Skip for Now
  • Apply Update
  • Do Not Apply Update

When you are done making your decision(s), there will be a Apply Updates button at the bottom.

Updates will be applied instantly.

Keep in mind, if you are in a consortium, these changes will be applied across all catalogs.

You can always manually make adjustments to settings if you change your mind.


Updated 2023-10-16 km bws
Twilio Settings

Twilio is a paid service which provides communication tools for making and receiving phone calls, sending and receiving text messages, and performing other communication functions using its web service APIs.

To set up the integration, make sure you have the following permissions: Administer Twilio - Controls if the user can change Twilio settings.This has potential security and cost implications.

Next, go to Aspen Administration > System Administration > Twilio Settings

You will need to enter the Phone number sending the text, the Account SID and the Auth Token.

There are also new settings in Aspen Administration > Primary Configruation > Library Systems > Messaging > Twilio Settings > from the dropdown make sure the Twilio scope is selected:


If you want to allow users to be able to retrieve their barcodes if they forgot them, in Aspen Administration > Primary Configruation > Library Systems > User ProfileEnable "Forgot Barcode?" Link on Login Screen


Once enabled, a Forgot Barcode or Username? Send My Barcode or Username by Text link will show up in the Sign In box.



When users click on the link they will be taken to a Forgot Barcode or Username screen where they can put in their Phone Number. If the phone number matches the phone number on the patron account then the patron will receive a text with their barcode.

The direct link can also be access at /MyAccount/ForgotBarcode


Updated 2023-09-11 km bws

This is a background process where variables are set by Aspen Discovery.

System Variables

These settings control a variety of global functions in Aspen.

Greenhouse URL - Connection to Aspen status servers for performance monitoring

Community Content URL - Connection to Aspen community server to be able to share things like languages, translations and themes. Learn more here. 

Error Email Address and Search Error Email Address - Email address for Support organization to get email error notifications

Ticket Email Address - Connection to the ByWater Support ticketing system so users can submit tickets via Aspen Administration > Aspen Discovery Support > Submit Tickets

Google Bucket - Location of backups

Currency Code - Currency code for formatting money. Default is USD. Other options are CAD, EUR and GBP.

Allowable HTML Tags - The types of tags that are allowed in HTML and Markdown fields. You might want to have something like this in that field: p|div|span|a|b|em|strong|i|ul|ol|li|br|h1|h2|h3|h4|h5|h6|table|tr|th|td|center| img|hr|tbody|iframe|head|style|border|section|form|input|button|path|label|svg|meta|head|class|rect|image|script

Allow HTML in Markdown fields and Use HTML Editor rather than Markdown - These would both typically be checked by default.

Library to use for fine payments - The options here are Patron Home Library and Active Catalog. The default is Patron Home Library. If you have multiple libraries and catalogs, you can decide if the patrons payment options follow their home library or the library catalog they are on.

For example, Library A uses PayPal and Library B uses Square. The patron has a home library of Library A but is using the Library B catalog. Should the patron pay via PayPal or Square? 

Catalog Offline - See information in the section below.

Enable Branded App Settings - This option will show/hide the Branded Aspen LiDA app settings.

Support Company - Default is ByWater Solutions. Other vendors who offer support of Aspen can update this field.

Track IP Addresses - This is off by default for for GDPR compliance. Can be enabled for diagnosing problematic traffic.

Monitor Antivirus - This setting will determine whether or not Antivirus logs should be monitored.


Updated 2023-01-11 km bws
Put Aspen in Offline Mode

If you need to put Aspen in offline mode (exp: upcoming maintenance), you can do this by going to Aspen Administration > System Administration > System Variables > Catalog Online/Offline.

The default is Catalog Online.

You have two options when putting your catalog in Offline mode:

  • Catalog Offline, no login allowed - this will completely shut down logging in access but users can still search and navigate the catalog to find items within the library.
    • This is often used if your ILS is completely down. This hides the login functionality to reduce the failed logins and patron frustration. Often times, if your ILS is completely down, your econtent and other sip connections that authenticate via the ILS will also be impacted.
  • Catalog Offline, login allowed with eContent active - this will allow users to log in but all ILS functionality will be unavailable (placing holds, viewing account, renewing items, etc.). They will be able to place/cancel holds on econtent items, return econtent items and access econtent items. Access to econtent would only work if there was no service issue impacting your ILS and the econtent authentication via the ILS.
    • This is less common. This can be used during something like an ILS migration.

We suggest you also add an Offline message in the box to alert patrons on any reason or length of time that catalog services should be down.

Saving changes on this page will make these selections go into effect immediately. To turn back on, switch back into Catalog Online and message will disappear. 

If Your ILS is DOWN

If your ILS is down, you may not be able to login to Aspen Discovery to put your catalog into Offline Mode. In this case, reach out to your Aspen support team to put you in Offline Mode until your ILS is back up. If you have a preferred Offline message, please make note of that in the ticket.

Going Back Online

During Offline mode, the Sign In option is hidden.

Once your ILS is back up, navigate to {YOURASPENCATALOGURL}/MyAccount/Login and login. Go to Aspen Administration > System Administration > System Variables > Catalog Online/Offline > Catalog Online > Save.

This will automatically remove the Offline message and return the Sign in box to allow all users to log in.

Aspen LiDA

As of the 24.04 release, Aspen LiDA can also be put into Offline Mode by either selecting Catalog Offline, no login allowed or Catalog Offline, login allowed with eContent active. Both settings will prevent users from logging into Aspen LiDA. Therefore, only Catalog Online = Access to LiDA. 


Updated 2024-04-09 km bws


Data Protection Regulations

Cookie messaging can be enabled by library system.

These settings are found in Aspen Administration > Primary Configuration > Library Systems > click into the library system you want to edit > Data Protection Regulations.

To to enable the cookie messaging, check Require Cookie Storage Consent

There is a text box to include your Cookie Policy for users who want more information.


Once enabled, users will begin to see the cookie pop up immediately. The default language is "We use cookies on this site to enhance your user experience. For details about the cookies and technologies we use, see our cookie policy. Using this banner will set a cookie on your device to remember your preferences."


If users click on the underlined cookie policy, they will be taken to a pop-up with the text in the Cookie Policy text box.

Users can Accept all cookies or Only accept essential cookies.

Apsen will:

  • Store cookie consent options with the user when logged in. When logged out, it will store the selected options in a cookie.
  • When logging in, Aspen will transfer settings from cookie to user if the user has not already selected their options.
  • Hide Google Analytics tracking code if the user has opted out of tracking.

What are essential cookies?

Essential cookies are necessary cookies that are used to make a website function correctly. Aspen has always utilized essential cookies. This new development is primarily due to Aspen's usage in Europe and the EU's General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and displaying cookie consent to users.  

Cookies and JavaScript Snippets

In the 24.05 release, the ability to indicate by JavaScript Snippet if it Contains Analytics Cookies was added. Find this in Aspen Administration > Local Enrichment > JavaScript Snippets > click into the snippet > check Contains Analytics Cookies. This will only apply that JavaScript Snippet if Cookie Consent is given while Require Cookie Consent is enabled. 



Updated 2024-05-02 km bws
Customize Cookie Banner Colors

Once cookies are enabled, you may want to adjust the default colors of the banner to match your library theme.

To adjust the colors, go to Aspen Administration > Theme & Layout > Themes > click into theme you want to adjust  > Cookie Consent

  • Cookie Consent Banner Color - Background of the banner
  • Cookie Consent Text Color - Text color on the background banner
  • Cookie Consent Button Color - Button Color
  • Cookie Consent Button Text Color - Button Text Color
  • Cookie Consent Button Hover Color - Color when you hover over the buttons
  • Cookie Consent Button Hover Text Color - Text color when you hover over the buttons


Updated 2023-11-7 km bws