This is the second installment in the LIS Quarterly Update that I began in January. The intention in writing this is to both look back on the last 3 months to reflect on what has happened, and to look forward to the next 3 months and beyond to provide us with a sense of direction, to reduce the number of surprises, and to make sure that those affected by new projects and new policies have a chance for feedback and input.
Highlights of January, February, and March
I’ve organized the summary into two sections: how we do our work, and new services rolled out or planned.
How we do our work
- Management Training All managers in LIS went through a five-day management training program. Key concepts taught included communication, providing feedback, delegation, situational leadership, and the aligned organization.
- Team Realignments The LIS Directors met to work on re-aligning the senior leadership team, and to plan for a an upcoming set of workshops to re-align and re-define the role of teams within LIS.
- Open Meetings As part of our efforts to more fully include those affected by decisions in our decision-making processes, we’ve started an every other week ‘open meeting’ to allow for input, feedback, and general discussion of important topics. Topics covered so far include service level agreements, classroom upgrades and information literacy.
- Presentation of findings from ‘listening’ tour Tim Spears and I led an all-LIS meeting where we discussed what we learned on our ‘listening tour’ meeting with all work groups within LIS, and shared the ideas generated for next steps based on the themes that emerged.
- Policy over-ride log We created a policy over-ride log where we now record all instances of policies that we did not follow, the reasons we did not follow a particular policy, and who was affected by this decision.
Projects & Initiatives
Below are updates on key projects and initiatives for which there was major progress in the last three months. (Note that in addition to these accomplishments, we continued to provide our core services).
Training and Education
- Information Literacy Updates We analyzed the results of a survey on information literacy conducted with our incoming students, and presented the preliminary results both of that analysis and of work with the Chemistry and HARC departments on advanced information literacy as departmental learning goals. See http://www.middlebury.edu/media/view/276269/original/informationliteracyeffortstodateforfaculty_feb2012.pdf
- ILL Documentation ILL has completed their goal of adding documentation to the LIS wiki
- Classroom Plan Complete We developed a comprehensive, multi-year plan to increase the number of smart classrooms on campus, and to improve the ability to do recordings in many of those spaces.
- Stats Lab Moving Forward We have a design and budget in place for building a Stats lab in the library in Library 140; construction will begin after undergraduate commencement.
- Cell Phone Booth In response to student complaints about noisy cellphone conversations and a need to provide staff who work in shared spaces a private place to make phone calls, we installed two cell phone booths on the second floor. See http://sites.middlebury.edu/lis/2012/02/24/options-for-locating-the-new-cell-phone-booths/
- Disaster Recovery: Split Cluster Completion of the implementation of a “split cluster” storage volume controller SAN infrastructure that spans the Voter and Library data centers and provides for real-time redundancy of data of our most critical systems (approximately 60% of all data storage).
- Disaster Recovery: New Backup System Implementation of a new “backup to disk” infrastructure was purchased and installed that eliminated a single point of failure (one tape library system) as well as allow for improved backup performance that reduced the time to complete our full weekly backups by a full day.
- Disaster Recovery: Load Balancing The installation of new load balancing appliances provide for high availability and more efficient utilization of email client access systems.
- Sophos Anti-Virus We deployed a new campus-wide anti-virus solution called Sophos.
- MIIS Infrastructure Improvements We worked closely with our colleagues at MIIS to make substantial improvements to their server, network, and back-up infrastructure.
Platforms & Applications
- Settling in to hosted Banner After our heroic efforts to migrate Banner to a Sungard hosted facility, we spend much of the winter learning how to work in this new environment, and establishing working relationships with our new partners.
- Admissions goes paperless via Nolij We completed the implementation of a paperless admissions process with our undergraduate admissions office, who report significant efficiency gains.
- Google Apps/MS365 framework advanced We finalized a framework for doing the GoogleApps/MSLive evaluation, and are now in the process of picking the right time to use this framework to launch the formal evaluation.
- Mac Management We deployed a new tool called Caspar which allows us to better manage software deployment to Macintosh computers on our network
- Data Classification Taskforce Launched We launched a campus-wide group to look at how we manage access to sensitive information with a goal of putting in place improvements both in technology and policy to better safe-guard our data.
- Virtual Alumni College with John Elder In collaboration with College Advancement, we ran proof-of-concept on-line poetry class with emeritus professor John Elder and 14 alumni, who studied the poetry of Robert Frost during four noon-time classes taught via telephone and Adobe Connect.
- Digital Collections Archive Facelift Our digital collections archive got a makeover, improving the design and usability of these collections. See http://sites.middlebury.edu/lis/2012/03/22/a-facelift-for-middleburys-digital-collections-archive/
- Chinese Collection reclassification We’ve completed the majority of the reclassification of our Chinese language material from a home-grown class system to LC classification, which we use for most of the rest of our collection.
- Government Documents review Our review and selective deaccessioning of the GovDocs collection is continuing. Collection has been shifted and compacted as part of the economics lab (LIB140) preparations.
- Periodical Preservation Our preservation survey of the bound periodicals collection is about 45% complete.
- Usability testing of LIS website We did usability testing and held focus groups to better understand how we can make improvements to the LIS website in order to allow our users to more easily find what they are looking for and connect to our services.
- Marketing the LIS web site The Web Team engaged in efforts to market the web site. Details in this LIS blog post: http://sites.middlebury.edu/lis/2011/11/17/lis-web-presence-marketing-project/
- Research and Instruction survey We’ve devised 4 surveys to assess various aspects of our R&I workgroup/services, and they’ve been reviewed by the Planning & Assessment Office. One survey has been launched, the others will be very soon.
- Mission Continuity Planning We’ve surveyed 11 functional areas in 2012 so far, recording details of their important processes, including primarily responsible staff, critical time periods, technology systems dependencies, and contingency plans. This is an ongoing effort.
New Staff We welcomed two new staff members to LIS. Sigrid Howlett joined us in ILL and Kim Ammons joined us as a member of the pool of circulation subs.
Employees and Teams of the Month:
Emma Williams – LIS Student Employee of the Month
David Ludwig – LIS Employee of the Month
Central Systems and Network Services (Dave Guertin, Rick James, Jeff Lahaie, Mike Lynch, Howie McCausland, Mark Pyfrom, and Jim Stuart) – LIS Crew of the Month
Cynthia Wang – LIS Student Employee of the Month
Ian McBride – LIS Employee of the Month
DVD transfer project (Kellam Ayres, Steve Bertolino, Maura Clancy, Ginny Faust, Kim Gurney, Janine McDonald, Todd Sturtevant, Michael Warner, and Joseph Watson) – LIS Crew of the Month
Andrew Podrygula – LIS Student Employee of the Month
Charlie Conway – LIS Employee of the Month
Information Literacy Assessment Group – Brenda Ellis, Jess Isler (and Adela Langrock)
Upcoming Projects and Priorities
The following section lays out our top priorities for the next six months. It is not a complete list of all of our projects or initiatives, but rather highlights those that will make the most difference in our ability to support the College.
How we do our work
- staffing plan, part two We will be developing part two of our staffing proposal to the Staffing Resource Committee to request additional positions to fill gaps in our present ability to provide the quantity and quality of service needed by the College.
- work on prioritization In response to issues identified in the staff council survey, we are focusing our attention on being clearer to ourselves and the rest of the campus what are our priorities, and the principles we use to establish priorities.
- internal communications Based on feedback from the staff council survey results, and insights gained at our management training, we’ll continue to look at how we can make our internal communications more effective.
- LIS Office Assignments The space team will be looking at office assignments given new staff that have joined us, and the possibility of moving staff into 118 S. Main Street.
- Hiring We have a number of open positions, and will be spending considerable time in the coming months conducting searches, and then training and orienting our new colleagues.
- Assessment of reference and liaison program We are in the early stages of doing assessments of both the reference and liaison program.
- project request specs & prioritization process We’ll be working with our functional offices to rework how we go about specifying the details of a project, and how projects get prioritized.
- security risk assessment We will be conducting security risk assessments, first internally, and then through the services of an outside vendor to help us identify areas of risk to technology systems and the data contained within them.
- New ticketing and inventory system Evaluate and implement a new system for tracking tickets and technology inventory.
- Reorganize Service Requests Create a more sustainable model for handling Tier 2 support requests.
- track customer satisfaction Acquire a baseline measurement for customer satisfaction with User Services and track improvement or recalibrate services to match SLA’s
- response to staff survey We will continue to sift through the ideas generated by our ‘listening tour’ and act on both the easy quick wins, and work on the more vexing longer-term solutions.
- multi-year capital budgets We will develop long-range projections of what it will cost to maintain our current and projected inventories of projectors, printers/copiers, classroom and lab computers, desktop and laptop computers, servers, networking, security, and storage.
- link to emerging college strategic plan The College is renewing its strategic plan, working on aligning high level goals and directions with the goals and directions of the various divisions, programs, and departments that make up the College.
- policy summit Evaluate and implement broad policies for requesting and receiving services from User Services where possible, and develop a “litmus test” of questions and characteristic of requests that guide staff to make exceptions appropriately
- Service Level Agreement implementation We will put into place Service Level Agreements that will clarify how we approach prioritization, escalation procedures, and establish response times for various types of issues.
- Security Policies As part of our overall focus on fleshing out policies, we’ll be developing further information security policies.
- PCI Compliance Framework We will be working with colleagues in Finance to develop strong controls and policies for the collection and protection of payment card information.
- revise equipment request process Propose and receive approval for a planned and sustainable model for equipment requests and regular upgrades.
Training and Education
- Information literacy We will continue our work on using the results of our assessment of the skills of incoming students to inform how we approach the development of basic information literacy skills, and our work with departments on how to frame advanced information literacy skills as learning goals with the major.
- Training for Administrative Systems The administrative systems staff will be learning the new development environment for Banner, which is an object oriented environment called Groovy on Grails. In addition, we’ll be getting additional training on Hyperion administration and reporting, both for us and our functional users.
- security education We will continue our technology security roadshow around campus.
- LIS expectations re: tech skills We will be looking at how to implement the recommendations of the Education and Training Team that establish expectations for what technology skills are needed to work within LIS.
- faculty/staff expectations re: tech skills We will also be working with our colleagues in Human Resources and Academic Affairs to discuss the Education and Training Team’s recommendations about faculty and staff technology skill expectations.
- Collection Shift We’re moving books around on the garden level to make room for the creation of the new stats lab. Details at http://sites.middlebury.edu/lis/2012/03/07/upcomming-collection-shift-in-davis-family-library/
- stats lab Work continues to prepare Library 140 to become a 35 seat Stats Lab this summer.
- Add more smart classrooms: We will create more smart classrooms and upgrade existing classrooms over the next three – five years.
- Re-architect Middfiles We will restructure middfiles into smaller volumes. This will enable us to have faster backup and restore procedures , but will likely negatively impact the ease of connectivity for some users.
- CAS/guest access We will be developing a way to provide guest access to many of our systems by way of our Central Authentication Service.
- Identity Management We’ll be working on revising our current identity management system.
- Network We’ll continue with various efforts to improve the security and reliability of our services through building in more redundancy and monitoring capabilities into our network.
- Backup We will continue to improve the reliability of our backup processes, and to regularly test our results.
- Additional Intrusion Prevention We’ll be adding a second device to provide redundancy in our intrusion prevention systems.
- Sophos for Mac We’ll be rolling out the Sophos for Macintosh client across campus.
- Banner Login via CAS We’ll be exploring whether or not to switch login to Banner to be via CAS.
- Google Apps Login via CAS We’ll be exploring whether or not to switch login to Google Apps to be via CAS.
- Mission Continuity Plan framework We will complete the mission continuity framework and put in place to test and refresh our plan on an annual basis.
- video conferencing improvements We need to understand better the emerging need for more and more robust videoconferencing and web conferencing among our campuses, how we can better connect our campus to the rest of the globe.
- Enhancements to Emergency Response System Adding modules to our emergency response system to provide communication to network-connected devices, digital signage, and other systems.
- Network Access Control We’ll be putting in place the latest version of the Bradford Campus Manager network access control system.
- Wireless network We’ll be simplifying the wireless network to make it easier to connect to the secure wireless network.
Platforms & Applications
- decommissioning of segue We continue to chip away at the process of converting Segue sites to wordpress and other platforms by Aug 31, 2012.
- Major Systems Upgrades We are planning for major system upgrades for Oracle, Banner, and Hyperion. (In the case of Hyperion, we’ll also be moving it to a hosted environment.) We’ll also be upgrading Drupal.
- AS400 de-comissionings We will be developing plans for how to decommission the AS400s that we have both here and at MIIS.
- Responsive Web Design We’re looking at how to add more flexibility to the web so that it can be seen well on mobile devices.
- portal improvements Working closely with students, we will continue to enhance our portal to serve their communication and collaboration needs.
- Satellite Phones for Schools Abroad We’ll continue to test and deploy satellite phones to be used for emergency communications to specific schools abroad locations.
- Midd History Online We’ll continue to add materials to this project, with a goal of launching by July 1.
- Middlebury Order On Demand (MOOD) We’re exploring how the on-demand model for ebooks might be extended to provide a similar service (albeit not in real time!) for books on paper.
- LIS website makeover We’ll be following up on the recommendations of the LIS web team around issues identified concerning information architecture, navigation, design, platform, usability, and content that resulted from their recent assessment of the LIS website.
- Middlab Digital Scholarship The working group looking at how LIS and the College should approach digital scholarship will continue to research this emerging area, with the hope of establishing a formal recommendation by July 1
- E-commerce We will improve our support for E-commerce first by establishing who will be responsible for various aspects around campus, and by working together to develop a sustainable strategy.
- Reduce printers Complete a successful campaign to reduce the number of printers on campus by eliminating as many individual printers as possible, move printers with low usage to areas of need instead of adding more, and move our service with Symquest to a model that eliminates billing departments for printing.
- digital publishing conversations We’ll be having a series of speakers to campus to understand digital scholarship and digital humanities, and what they mean for us in terms of scholarly communication and the services they might require.
Please use the comments feature, or contact me directly, if you have questions or comments on any of this. I’m also aware that this is a VERY long document, and so welcome any thoughts you might have about how to make this more useful in terms of format/layout.