Category Archives: Post for MiddNotes

Go/middfiles II: Electric Boogaloo

This post was made in the fall, but technical issues delayed the implementation. We’re now ready to move forward.

Recently, we at the Helpdesk have spoken with many individuals who were disappointed with the interface and performance of NetStorage, but were unaware of other, usually superior ways to access their files.

In an effort to improve awareness, and in consultation with Central Systems and Network Services, we will be changing the go/middfiles shortcut, currently pointed directly to Netstorage, to lead to our main documentation about Middfiles. Using this documentation, users should be able to quickly connect using faster, better methods and be on their way.

We realize that this will be a significant change for some in our community, but we anticipate that over time, this will help people distinguish between Middfiles, the server system, and Netstorage, a web application that permits limited access to that system and is not intended for daily use. Netstorage will still be accessible via go/netstorage for edge cases like mobile devices that cannot use WebDAV.

The plan is to make the switch within the next few weeks. (EDIT: The changes have been made.) This post (available at go/middfileschange) will be updated with any new information.

As always, we invite your feedback via comments. For specific questions or issues, please make a ticket.

March 2014 LIS Update

spring-flowers

We’ve posted the March 2014 Update from LIS.

As has become our custom, we write this update three times a year to provide ourselves and  rest of the community with a review of recent accomplishments, and more importantly, a roadmap for what to expect in the next three to six months. In addition, we make a nod to what we see as future issues and challenges further down the road.

Highlights since the last LIS Update include:

  • We continued to co-sponsor with CTLR the Academic Roundtable to encourage cross-campus conversation on important topics having to do with pedagogy, scholarly inquiry, and student learning.

  • We also continued our planning for the digital liberal arts initiative.

  • We continued to build out new library subject guides

  • In Special Collections, we supported students and faculty during Winter Term including A People’s History of Middlebury and Field House Museum, Adventure Writing, Space and Place in the Graphic Novel, and Matt Longman’s seminar on higher education.

  • We started to archive Ward Prize-winning student essay in our online archive

  • We made more progress in building out our new videoconferencing infrastructure and upgraded a number of classroom.

  • We continued to encourage our community to use Web Help Desk to request service from us.

  • We created a new guide to training options that include both on-line, off-site, and on campus options.

Key goals for the next three to six months include:

 

  • As part of the broader faculty governance conversations taking place on campus, we in turn are thinking about a wide range of governance questions. How do we ensure appropriate consultation with our students, faculty, and staff to ensure that our planning and prioritization is aligned with the needs of the community that we serve?

  • We are hiring! We are currently running searches for a director of academic technology, a senior systems administrator, a head of collections, a media services specialist, and a network security analyst.

  • We are discussing the technical and policy implications of converting our google apps from a pilot to a full-supported production system.

  • We will also be discussing the process for evaluating new options for our email/calendaring system, and updating our analysis of the privacy and security implications of moving certain services to the cloud.

  • We are busy planning for the move of the CSNS and Security work groups to Exchange Street, the move of the Enterprise Applications area to Painter House, and the re-use of space within the Davis Family Library to support the digital liberal arts initiative.

  • We are planning an upgrade to the latest version of Microsoft Exchange.

  • We’ll be rolling out a Network Access Control system that will allow us to more carefully control which devices can join our network.

  • We’ll be reconfiguring the wireless network to make it simpler and more secure. As part of that, we’ll be putting in place a guest registration system to allow for those who only need to use it on a temporary basis.

  • We will be working closely with many offices across campus to develop a multi-year plan for Nolij, the document imaging system that allows for offices to automate many of their paper-based processes.

  • We’ll be upgrading Drupal, the software that powers our website to the latest version.

  • We’re also working with the Office of Communications on rolling out a new design for the homepage and some of the key pages that are linked to from the home page.

  • We will have an external security review of our systems as part of a consortial effort to improve our security stance.

  • We will continue our efforts to study trends in the ways our public computer labs are used to help us plan for the future of providing computing resources to our students.

  • We will start a pilot project where you can check out a bicycle from the circulation desk.

  • We’re writing a Request for Proposal as part of our investigation into a new campus phone system.

While we pursue all of this, we will of course keep doing all of our regular stuff: prepping for Language Schools, upgrading classroom and lab technology, adding more wireless access points, updating various systems, teaching information literacy courses, buying and cataloging library materials, and distributing new computers.

One goal that we are very keen to pursue is to invent a fool-proof, indestructible stapler that no one can steal.

If you have questions, comments, or suggestions on any of this, please feel free to contact me (Mike Roy, mdroy@middlebury.edu) or do so on-line at http://sites.middlebury.edu/lis/2014/03/27/march-lis-update/  .

– mike

100th Flanders Collection Cylinder Milestone!

The Northeast Document Conservation Center reports  that they’ve recorded one hundred of the two hundred and fifty cylinders in the Flanders Ballad Collection.  Quite a milestone!  See the recording system at work and listen to the hundredth cylinder in the NEDCC blog post here!  Take a look at some of the previous posts to learn more about this new sound scanning technology.

Irene Blog

Library hours for Spring Break

The libraries will have reduced hours for the week of Spring Break, March 21st-30th. During the week, we will be open from 9 am – 5 pm. In addition, the libraries will be closed Thursday, March 27th, for an LIS in-service day. Full hours can be found at go/hours.

New VPN Client: Junos Pulse

We in LIS have been testing a new method of connecting to College resources from off-campus, and we are excited to announce that it is ready for prime time. The Junos Pulse client is available for Windows, Mac, Android, and iOS devices. Next time you’re off-campus, try it yourself – the instructions are at http://go.middlebury.edu/vpn.

Computers with existing NetConnect or Cisco VPN setups will still be able to connect that way for the foreseeable future – just open the appropriate program and connect. However, the website at https://vpn.middlebury.edu will change – instead of the current page where you login and are prompted to download NetConnect, you’ll be redirected to the new instructions for Junos Pulse.

This new method should be easier to use as well as allowing connections on a broader range of devices. As usual, we welcome your general feedback in the comments; if you’re having a specific issue or question about using it, please make a ticket to ensure a timely response. Thanks!

Now’s the Time to Update Your OS & Apps: New Vulnerabilities Announced

burglarApple recently released software updates to iOS, Mac OS 10.7 and higher, as well as for Safari & QuickTime for Windows.  These updates address a vulnerability found in Apple’s implementation of SSL (secure sockets layer), a protocol computers use extensively for secure communications online.  While we are not aware of any specific information breaches at Middlebury College, and the steps necessary for someone to compromise these secure communications are far from trivial, we should all apply these important security patches to our Apple hardware and Windows computers running Apple software to mitigate these risks.  Please check your Apple software for available updates (especially iOS, Mac OS, Safari, and QuickTime updates).  Run your updates now and check again after the installation as some may have prerequisites.  For more information, links to specific updates for the SSL vulnerability and others are available at http://support.apple.com/kb/HT1222.

Friday Links – February 28, 2014

Audiobooks and the Return of Storytelling – Audiobooks are growing in popularity, returning us to childhood storytelling and invoking a literary tradition as old as the Illiad. Browse audiobooks at the library.

6 Innovative Uses of Lecture Capture – Teachers are increasingly using lecture capture tools for interactive lessons, content sharing, and multimedia assignments.

Alan Alda keynotes the meeting of the AAAS (American Association for the Advancement of Science) – discussing the importance of communication with the public in STEM fields. “… Some members of the U.S. Congress also struggle with jargon and therefore are faced with the ‘difficulty of giving money to something they don’t understand,’ Alda cautioned.”

Civil War Letters Come Home to Vermont - Featuring not only the letters, but also Rebekah Irwin and Special Collections!

Got my carrel! - From the Senior Admissions Fellows Blog.

Friday Links – February 21, 2014

10 Common Misconceptions About The Flipped Classroom – What have you heard about the flipped classroom? That it’s just the latest education fad? That it only works for certain academic subjects? It’s not uncommon to come across references in the web media to poorly informed and misconstrued ideas like these. Given the value and many benefits inherent in this powerful form of blended learning, it is important that these misconceptions be addressed and dispelled.

 

Sad Keanu Reeves.

One of the most popular 3D printed items on Shapeways is “Sad Keanu Reeves.” Image: neuralfirings/Shapeways

3D printing: 10 factors still holding it back – As promising as 3D printers seem, their usefulness is still questionable. High costs, safety concerns, patents, and design complexity are all contributing to legitimate skepticism.