Frequently Asked Questions

The new Columbia International Affairs Online (CIAO) website is currently in beta phase. The beta site is the “soft launch” transitional period that allows us to work out any kinks and continue to upload new content. This FAQ should answer most of your questions. If you have others, please email Herbert Plummer at

What’s different about the new site?

The new CIAO platform is a combination of Solr and Blacklight frameworks. Part of the upgrade involved the normalization and standardization of metadata and presentation format. Since the vast majority of our material is PDF, that is now the default format. In addition, the overall user experience will be greatly enhanced, including:

  • Improved functionality
  • A brand new design and user-friendly interface
  • Faceted search that organizes data in a more accessible way
  • More video content
  • Full text books
  • Updated course packs
  • Links to active social media pages
  • Twitter feed updated daily

How do I search for content on the new site?

The new CIAO is designed so that users may find content in two different ways: using the search bar at the top and using the faceted browsing menu by topic on the left. Think Amazon home page: you can search for a specific item or book if you know the title/author, or you can browse by genre.

Are there any new authentication capabilities?

Yes, our authentication options will increase, as we will now be able to handle referring URLs and Shibboleth. Subscribers will have their own administrative and usage statistics page that they can check at any time.

Why can’t I see content on CIAO that I was able to see on the old site?

Many older documents were not in PDF format and that content is being converted and will be uploaded as they become available. Thank you for your patience.

Are full-text books still available for download?

Due to author and publisher restrictions, we are no longer able to offer downloadable versions of our full-text books. However, they are still available for reading online.

Do you have a full list of titles for all of the full-text books available on CIAO?

Yes. On the CIAO homepage, beneath the content and metadata facects on the left side of the page, there are links to listings of books, journals, and publishing institutions found on CIAO.

Will the Atlas be available on the new site?

Yes, although we gave our other content priority when launching, so the new, interactive Atlas will be up soon.

Is the new CIAO site compliant with mobile devices?

Yes, although the formatting will appear slightly different.

Can I still see the old CIAO site anywhere?

During the Beta phase of the launch of the new site, we made a "legacy" version of the old CIAO site available to users during the transition. Now that phase is over, the legacy version of CIAO is no longer available.

How will I check my usage statistics going forward?

This will be one of the biggest changes. We have moved our usage statistics system to a new, easier, and cleaner platform, similar to the site we use for Granger’s statistics. The new subscription management system we’re configuring now will have a new, integrated COUNTER stats reporting package. For more information and to get an administrative login, librarians should contact

Why can’t I see any usage statistics for this summer/fall?

One consequence of having to move servers from Columbia IT to our tech partners at Columbia Libraries earlier this summer in preparation for the launch of the new CIAO site is that direct access to usage statistics are unavailable. Because of problems with new COUNTER compliant software and our move to the COUNTER 4 reports, unfortunately statistics for the fall were not completely captured. Usage statistics for February 2016 onward are available.

Do you have historical data on usage stats?

Yes, we’ve retained the historical stats going back two years.

Has pricing changed with the new site?

Yes, our pricing has changed, but only for NEW customers. You can see the new pricing here.

I’ve been subscribing to CIAO for years. Will my pricing change?

No. If you are a current subscriber then your pricing will not be affected in any way. The standard annual increase will still be in effect, per our policy: 5% for direct customers and 3% for consortia customers (unless agreed upon otherwise).

I’ve been waiting to check out the new CIAO before confirming my renewal for next year. Is it too late?

No. Please email me ASAP if you still have not confirmed your renewal for 2015-16.

Do you have updated marketing materials that we can use to spread the word about the new CIAO?

Yes! We have just printed our newly designed fliers and brochures. If you would like any, please let me know and I’ll send them to you.

I’m with a consortia. Can I include a note about CIAO in our upcoming newsletter?

Yes, please do! We will have a link to a press release soon, which you can include in any email blasts or newsletters that go to your customer base.

Can I follow you on Twitter?

Yes, please do! You can add our Twitter handle @ColumbiaCIAO on the home page. The new site features our live Twitter feed which we tweet from daily.

Who should I contact if I have questions about CIAO content, or would like to contribute?

We are currently engaged in a search for a new editor for CIAO. Questions on content can be temporarily directed to Columbia University Press’s Managing Editor for Reference & Electronic Publishing, Stephen Sterns

Our personnel has changed. Should I let someone know?

Yes! Please email me with your most recent and up-to-date contact info so I can keep an accurate database of our customers and the point person at each institution.

I love the new site, but can I offer some suggestions?

Of course! Any feedback, criticism, or suggestions are enormously valuable to us. After all, you are the ones using the site. Please don’t hesitate to let us know what you like or dislike about the new site. We encourage as much feedback as possible, and will work to take all of your suggestions under consideration as we continue to polish CIAO. Send comments to Herbert Plummer at