LIS Focus: Winter 2011

In order to ensure that LIS and the community we serve have a shared understanding of our priorities, we regularly publish a summary of what we are focusing on. The intent is not to capture everything that we are doing, but rather to highlight what we see as the most important projects, issues, and initiatives. We’ve organized it into four categories.
  1. Evaluations highlight pilot projects and other ways that we are exploring new ways of delivering service
  2. Services, infrastructure, programs highlight those projects that will have the most obvious and direct impact on the community.
  3. Strategic planning highlight efforts that are longer-term and more abstract.
  4. Organizational development and assessment highlights activities that look at our organizational structure, workflow, communications, and efforts to assess and improve them.

This is the fourth installment of this document; previous installments can be found at http://www.middlebury.edu/offices/technology/lis/about/priorities . Items new to the list are marked as new while items that have been removed from list are listed as such at the bottom of the document, as are items that we believe might make their way to the list in the future.

A complete list of all projects LIS is engaged in can be found at https://sites.google.com/a/middlebury.edu/pd/all-projects-list

Evaluations

  1. cloud-based collaboration We  continue to evaluate cloud-based online services offered by Google, Microsoft, Zoho and others that promote collaboration and information sharing. While vendor-hosted services offer the potential of reduced operating costs, there are security and privacy issues that arise when shifting institutional data from local systems to systems hosted by vendors, and these issues are being studied in detail.
  2. segue from segue We are evaluating three options for a system or set of connected systems to replace Segue. They are Sakai, Moodle, and Blackboard. Details at http://sites.middlebury.edu/segue/
  3. ebooks We are running a pilot project this spring to investigate the utility of providing our patrons with ebooks for reading on laptops.
  4. desktop virtualization We will continue our efforts to deploy thin-clients as replacements for desktop computers as a means of saving money, reducing our carbon foot-print, and lowering the management costs of maintaining the hundreds of computers we have on campus.
  5. document management system and workflow We are evaluating products that will allow offices to become nearly paperless through the use of on-line documents and workflows. The first office that will move to this will be the Admissions office, with a target of Fall 2011.
  6. portal evaluation With the one-year anniversary of the new website almost upon us, we are looking into what options exist for providing a customizable interface to various resources, and how much demand there might be for such a service. New

Services, infrastructure, programs

  1. wireless improvements and network upgrade We are continuing to work to improve the performance and reach of the wireless network, and to implement a new set of core network infrastructure.
  2. music library plan We are developing a plan for moving the music library into the main library as a means of consolidating collections and having more of our staff working in the same building. The move is scheduled to take place this Spring.
  3. information literacy plan As part of the reaccreditation process, we are looking at how we approach information and technical literacy and its integration into the curriculum, with an eye towards developing a proposal for how we can collaborate with faculty and others to achieve these goals.
  4. identity management As part of our overall efforts to have systems that provide access to our services based on roles within the College, we are developing a system that will allow this information to be stored in an ‘identity vault’ that our systems can check in order to decide what sort of access to provide to an individual.
  5. printer consolidation/management We are doing an inventory of printers and copiers on campus as part of a project to consolidate printers and copiers, with a goal to reduce the number of devices on our network to save money and to reduce our carbon footprint.
  6. next generation discovery tools We are implementing Summon, a tool that will improve access to scholarly materials that we license but are not easily found through our catalog interface. New

Strategic Planning

  1. multi-year budget for capital and operating budgets We are developing a multi-year budget to support our strategic plan and our on-going operational commitments. This budget links our capital and operating needs, and will ensure that we don’t take on projects for which we don’t have the necessary on-going financial resources to maintain. In addition, we are working with the budget office to create a  zero based budget for LIS.
  2. administrative systems roadmap We have created a ‘roadmap’ for our administrative systems to allow us to plan and budget for the next two or three years. It lays out both the maintenance work that we do regularly, and also new initiatives that we might pursue.
  3. business continuity & disaster recovery planning We are continuing to develop a formalized information systems disaster recovery plan, including the documentation of critical business processes and policies, and associated recovery procedures and responsibilities.

Organizational Development and Assessment

  1. reaccreditation As part of the campus-wide reaccreditation committee, we are preparing a section of the reaccreditation report having to do with library and technology resources.
  2. communications We are looking at how we communicate both internally within LIS and to the rest of the Middlebury community with an eye towards improving the way we inform ourselves and our constituents about what is going on.
  3. assessment We are establishing a schedule for a regular assessment of our major services. The first set of services to be assessed will be desktop support, interlibrary loan, and backup/storage.
  4. next generation staffing and services Having completed our staffing plan and begun the process of hiring new staff, we now need to focus our attention on the training and orientation of our newest members of LIS, planning for the professional development needs of all of our staff as they transition to new roles and responsibilities and new support needs, and revisiting our ‘not to do’ list process to make sure that the decisions we made remain the right decisions.
  5. assessment of integration of technology and library services with MIIS In collaboration with the Monterey Institute, we will document the systems that we support for MIIS, the systems that MIIS continues to operate on their own, the policies, procedures, and service level agreements that exist, and the policies, procedures, and service level agreements that need to be developed. We will also work to develop processes for planning and budgeting for the evolution of our systems.

Items Removed From This List (And Why We Removed Them)

  1. finalizing and tracking goals As part of our overall strategic planning process, we are developing a set of short-term (18 months) goals; this activity will be completed in time for the development of the FY11-12 budget.
    We have established goals for the next 18 months.
  2. prioritization process We are looking at the process that we use within LIS to set priorities at both a micro and macro level as a means of making sure that we have in place effective governance structures, and that our internal prioritization maps onto the priorities of the College.
    We will be enacting the recommendations of our project management taskforce in the coming months.
  3. strategic plan website We are posting to the web our strategic planning process that lists out our priorities, goals, projects, and our progress in achieving these results. See https://sites.google.com/a/middlebury.edu/lis-strategic-planning/home
    With the exception of a few gaps, this site is now complete.

On the Horizon

Here are items that we anticipate making their way to this list in the coming months; we welcome suggestions about what we might include on this list, what shouldn’t be on this list, and which items on this list should make their way to our focus list.

  1. Communications Plan We need to evaluate the effectiveness of the various ways that we communicate internally within LIS and to the rest of the Middlebury community, and if we discover gaps or issues, make improvements.
  2. R&D/Innovations We need to build into our planning processes space for research and development, experimentation, and innovation in order to ensure that we are informed about new opportunities afforded by emerging technologies, formats, and delivery methods.
  3. Support for mobile devices With the proliferation of iPhones, android phones, iPads, and other more mobile devices, we need to develop a strategy for providing services for these new platforms.
  4. Capture A capture technologies initiative could seek to disseminate methods for capturing audio, video and computer screen interactions, as well as methods for editing, cataloguing and sharing this material.
  5. balanced scorecard We want to look at the Balanced Scorecard methodology as a way of assessing progress towards goals, and to understand how that methodology overlaps with our strategic plan. New
    …… what else? Let us know. Send Mike Roy an email at mdroy@middlebury.edu .

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