As has been mentioned in this blog before, back in the days when the MALS team was still the Library Systems team, they developed the Loughborough Online Reading List System (LORLS) to manage the resources for directed student reading.

A recent rebranding of the University’s Library online presence means we now have a requirement to change the styling of our local installation of LORLS. I am still relatively new to the team and as yet have not had cause to look at the front end of LORLS, known affectionately as CLUMP, and this seemed like an ideal introduction for me.

So where better to start than with the documentation the team already put together. My first port of call is the installation instructions where I discover that some thoughtful techie has already built me a VM to play with. Reading through the guide to the VM you can tell the techie in question was Jon, the passwords used are a good clue but the giveaway is the advice to make a cup of tea and eat a biscuit whilst waiting for the download.

The download and subsequent import into Virtual Box seem to happen with a minimum of fuss but here is where I make my first rookie mistake as I choose to reinitialise the MAC address of all network interfaces.

CentOS maintains a mapping of MAC address to interface IDs and so it spots that the VM no longer has the MAC address it associated with eth0 but does have an entirely new MAC address which it associates with eth1. The configuration of the VMs NIC is tied to eth0 and so I don’t have a working network connection.

This is quick and easy to fix. First I head to /etc/sysconfig/network-scripts where I rename the file ifcfg-eth0 to ifcfg-eth1 (this is not essential but helps with sanity). I then edit this file and change the DEVICE value to be eth1 and update the HWADDR value to be the new MAC address which can be found using ifconfig -a. Restart the network service and all is well.

Of course if you don’t reinitialise the MAC address when importing the VM then you shouldn’t see this issue and it should just work straight away.

When starting the VM, as described in Jon’s instructions, displayed above the login prompt I am shown the IP address assigned to the VM by DHCP and the URL for my LORLS instance. Plugging these into my browser takes me to a vanilla installation of LORLS running on my VM. One note here, be sure to type CLUMP and not clump it is case sensitive.

So all pretty straightforward to get up and running, in fact I am pleased I made the mistake with the MAC address as there would have been little of note to write about otherwise. Now onto setup and customisation but I may save that for another “Newcomer’s guide to LORLS” blog post in the future.