LIS Priorities: Fall 2010

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 third installment of this document; previous installments can be found here: Spring 2010 and Summer 2010. 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.

Evaluations

  1. cloud-based collaboration We are evaluating 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 options for a system or set of connected systems to replace Segue. Details at http://sites.middlebury.edu/segue/
  3. ebooks We are running a pilot project this fall 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. banner document management system and workflow We will be working with various offices on campus to identify pilot projects to work with us to replace paper-based processes with paperless processes using the banner document management system (formerly known as xtender.)
  6. next generation discovery tools We are exploring options for improving access to scholarly materials that we license but are not easily found through our catalog interface. New

Services, infrastructure, programs

  1. wireless improvements We are continuing to work to improve the performance and reach of the wireless network.
  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.
  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 evaluating systems that 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 reduce the number of devices on our network to save money and to reduce our carbon footprint.

Strategic Planning

  1. 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
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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. You can see a draft of this at https://spreadsheets.google.com/pub?key=0Am_gidnwMP9TdHNJbXBaNE4xTmllQ0V… . New
  6. business continuity & disaster recovery planning We are continuing 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 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. New

 

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

  1. efficiency through technology taskforce We are leading a campus-wide effort to look at how the College might operate more efficiently through the more effective use of technology.
    This project is on hold while we sort out the administrative systems roadmap and the banner/web prioritization work.
  2. open access We are planning a campus-wide conversation about open access to begin this fall that we hope will lead to the faculty considering open access legislation that will encourage if not insist on faculty making their publications available through an open repository.
    The Faculty LIS Advisory Committee decided to defer a year before pursuing this project, although it does remind faculty that they can always pursue open access options for their publications on their own.
  3. course catalog In collaboration with the Dean of Curriculum and the Registrar, we are developing a more interactive version of the online course catalog, and a simplified version of the printed catalog.
    This first version of this project is now complete. See http://www.middlebury.edu/academics/catalog/coursecatalog
  4. data warehouse evaluation We are exploring options for providing access to institutional data through a ‘data warehouse’ that provides a simplified view into Banner and other data to make reporting and analysis easier to do.

A campus-wide survey of key users of such a system revealed that this is not a high priority for the time being; we are focusing our efforts instead on workflow and imaging.

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. Such an initiative could engage the college community in a discussion of the implications of capture technologies, such as:
  • When and where their use is appropriate How to obtain permission to capture events and the expressions of others
  • How to credit those whose expressions have been captured
  • How to clarify the degree of editing that has been done to captured material
  • How individuals can review what has been captured of themselves as a basis for improving their own teaching, learning and research.

Uses of captured activities/events could include:

  • Screencasts for technology documentation/dissemination
  • Lecture recordings for student review
  • Meeting recordings for participant review
  • Presentation recordings for later dissemination
  • Code versioning systems for capturing changes in codebases as part of change management

There are a number of programs of study already using capture. Integrating web-based capture tools (see: Kaltura open source video) into some of our platforms such as WordPress and Drupal could enable a lot more…

…… what else? Let us know. Send Mike Roy an email at mdroy@middlebury.edu .

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