On Tuesday May 31st we’re going to change the categories on this blog, so if by any chance you’re using a feed of a specific category, that’s going to break. We suggest subscribing to the whole blog for maximum enjoyment! If you’re not a LIS staff member & would like to filter out the more staff related posts, you can subscribe to the new “Middlebury Community Interest” category after May 31st. The other categories will be “LIS Staff Interest”, and “Post for MiddPoints” which will cause the post to be added to the MiddPoints blog too. All the old categories except “The Essentials” will be converted to tags for easy searching.
The LIS Web team developed this new scheme, following recommendations that came out of the open meeting about the future of the LIS Blog (including a call for simplified categories). The AD Team reviewed and approved these changes. We welcome your comments.
The Monterey Institute of International Studies is hosting a Tedx event. TED refers to the wildly successful annual conferences that bring together people from technology, entertainment and design to give short talks about their lives. Tedx events are community organized programs that following a similar format to the TED conferences.
TedxMonterey is happening on April 15 and will be livestreamed and live-interpreted to the web. Speakers will include dancers (including Middelbury’s Andrea Olsen), drummers, environmentalists, researchers, entrepreneurs and artists.
Thank you to everyone who was able to attend either of my discussion meetings for MiddLab last week! There were a lot of great ideas for the site and upcoming projects. You can now see one of those ideas added to the site in the new Research Centers page which shows a map of all the MiddLab projects. We’re going to continue adding features to the site throughout the semester, so stay tuned.
While we were not able to record the sessions due to some technical difficulties, I have prepared a guide to adding your project to MiddLab. Feel free to edit that page to add your own tips on creating a successful project description or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org if anything is unclear. I will host another meeting to discuss MiddLab during the Spring semester, for those who were not able to attend, but I’m also more than happy to meet individually with Faculty, Staff, Students, departments, and offices.
During a discussion with Bob Cluss and Colleen Converse, we came up with an idea for a sub-site in MiddLab that serves as a portal to discover publicly available academic publications from our faculty and students. I’ll be working on adding that this semester and welcome you to send documents or (preferably) links to these papers in public databases to email@example.com. If the document is larger than 10MB, please send it to firstname.lastname@example.org instead. If you already have a site that lists these documents that you’d like to be included, you can also just send that link and I’ll take care of the rest.
Look for this information to be added to MiddLab shortly, giving people both on and off-campus another easy way to find information on the active and ongoing research at Middlebury.
Working More Closely with You
I also want to make you aware of a small change in policy about the inclusion of content in MiddLab. Due to some concerns about the unfortunate rules surrounding some academic publication and to ensure that all research collaborators are willing to be included, we’ll now ask that every person involved in a research project agrees to have it hosted in MiddLab before it is put up. I can also remove content from the site where your name appears if you would not like it published in this manner. You can see any mention of your work in MiddLab by browsing the People page. Please address any concerns to email@example.com.
We’ve migrated from core Drupal-6 to Pressflow, a back-port of Drupal-7 performance features. Using Pressflow allows us to cache anonymous web-requests (about 77% of our traffic) for 5-minutes and return them right from memory. While this vastly improves the amount of traffic we can handle as well as the speed of anonymous page-loads it does mean that anonymous users may not see new versions of content for at most 5 minutes. Traffic for logged-in users will always continue to flow directly through to Drupal/Pressflow and will always be up-to-the-instant-fresh.
Read on for more details about what has change and where we are at with regard to website performance.
MiddLab is a new section of Middlebury’s website with no precedent: an academic network, uniting all of the… blah, blah blah.
Truth is, MiddLab has been hard for us to explain ever since we heard the idea. A research network featuring discussions and blogs, and linking together disciplinary themes? How does that work? Rather than write a manifesto, here is what we’re trying to accomplish with MiddLab.
Make research easy to discover. If you want to know what student and faculty research is going on in a department, you shouldn’t have to know where their papers are published or the address of the project’s web site. Instead, these should be one or two clicks from our home page.
Start a discussion. We encourage and recommend that you add comments to the projects on this site. Ask questions, suggest new research, or explain why you disagree with the conclusions. You can add your thoughts to any project page on MiddLab, explore the individual blogs for some projects, or contact the researchers directly.
Provide space for research and the sciences on our site. We’ll be expanding this site to feature more presentations from the Spring Research Symposium and research projects in our science departments. Though MiddLab is open to any student, faculty or staff projects, these are areas where we know we’re not offering enough information on our site and would like to use MiddLab to expand.
We aren’t sure these are the right goals for our site. We’d like to hear from people: what would you like to see in MiddLab? What parts of this site work toward these goals and which don’t? Leave your thoughts by commenting on this page.
One of the Internet resources featured in the latest issue of the Internet Scout Report, at http://scout.wisc.edu/Reports/ScoutReport/2010/scout-100402.html, is the Monterey Terrorism Research & Education Program, at http://www.miis.edu/academics/researchcenters/terrorism. Based at the Monterey Institute of International Studies, the Monterey Terrorism Research & Education Program (MonTREP) “conducts in-depth research, assesses policy options, and engages in public education on issues relating to terrorism and international security.” Their team of scholars looks at violence-prone extremist groups and their historical evolution, organization structure, and operational methods. Most people will want to look at their Islam, Islamism, and Politics in Eurasia Reports (IIPER). The IIPER is a bimonthly compendium of news and analysis on politics involving Islam in the former Soviet Union. The reports are written and edited by Dr. Gordon M. Hahn, and the series also accepts independent submissions as well. Visitors are welcome to browse through the reports here, and they may end up forwarding them to friends and associates. Finally, the site also includes a “News & Student Stories” area which reports on the activities of current members of the team, alumni, and students.
When Middlebury first started using a Content Management System to organize its site in 2003 we added a local search engine for the site, operated by Atomz. This search engine wasn’t very popular, people weren’t finding the information they needed. At a meeting a couple years later, Barbara Merz remarked, “Why don’t we just get Google!?” So we purchased a Google Search Appliance (GSA) and set that up as our local search engine. Going into the Web Makeover Project, we thought we were safe on this subject. After all, the GSA was a Google project, it indexed all of our site’s content, we had put in Key Matches for the most relevant pages, people must be satisfied with this as our search engine.
After “the font is too small” and “it’s too hard to edit”, search results were the top complaint about our old site during the web makeover’s requirements gathering phase. We heard that people got better results about our site from Google.com than they did from the GSA. The designers we worked with to build the new site proposed a solution in three parts: Continue reading →
The Identity Management Project kicked off in December of 2009. The current project team (small ‘t’) is Tom Cutter, Adam Franco, Mike Lynch, Chris Norris, Carol Peddie, Mark Pyfrom, Jeff Rehbach, Mike Roy, and Marcy Smith.
The Identity Management (IDM) project seeks to organize our concept of a “person” or “identity” among our various systems (including Banner, the Active Directory, web-applications, hosted systems, and others). This project focuses on three facets of each identity: Continue reading →