Posts by Michael Roy

 
 
 

the paper airplane on our blog

Categories: Midd Blogosphere

Am I the only one who sees a paper airplane that floats erratically to the floor of the atrium on our blog? Anyone know how it got there?

-m

The whole point is lost if you keep it a secret: Musings on the LIS Blog

Categories: Midd Blogosphere

There’s a great scene in Dr. Stangelove where the existence of the Russian’s doomsday machine is revealed, but at a moment when it is too late for its explosion to be stopped.

For those not familiar with the movie, the doomsday machine is a nuclear device that can destroy the entire planet in a single explosion, whose triggering is automated, and once triggered, can not be stopped. In this critical scene, Dr. Stangelove complains that the whole idea of having a doomsday machine only works if you tell someone that it exists. Having a secret doomsday device is not a very good strategy. As he points out, “the whole point is lost if you keep it a secret.”

I think about this insight often when I think about our efforts to communicate with our community, and with ourselves, about all of the services and resources that we make available. Without an effective way to allow people to know about what we provide for them, we risk spending lots of time and money on things that few will ever know about. Thinking about how we are going to communicate when we change something or add something should be integral to the process of changing or adding something.

One of the major ways we communicate what’s new and what’s changed is via the LIS Blog. In turn, some items from our blog find their way into MiddPoints, the LIS eNewsletter, and our Facebook and Twitter feeds.  On a monthly basis, a small group sifts through the LIS Blog to assemble the eNewsletter. Of late, we’ve found that despite all of the changes we’ve made to our services, there is no corresponding posting to point to. Over the years, we’ve tried various strategies for being systematic about always posting to the LIS Blog when there is something new or changed that we want our community to be aware of. We hope not to have to return to the days when we had to hound contributors. That was annoying for all involved. To that end, I turn the question over to you: what can we do across the organization to get into the habit of always posting to the LIS blog news about what’s new and what’s changed in order to avoid having to be heavy-handed about this?

A second question about the LIS Blog that I have is whether or not we should continue to run the blog as a public blog. WordPress, the software that powers the LIS Blog, is now able to easily cross-post items to other blogs (that’s how we get posts from the LIS Blog to MiddPoints).  I wonder if we ought to create an LIS-only Blog where we post and where we read, and then create a mechanism for selected posts to make their way to a public LIS Blog and to MiddPoints. The advantage of doing this is that I suspect we might be more apt to make comments, to try out ideas, and to share more insider information if we knew that only our colleagues in LIS would be able to read the posts and the comments. Am I alone in thinking that this might be a good idea? What other ways might we accomplish the goal of encouraging more contributions, more dialogue, and more communication within LIS? (If you don’t feel comfortable sharing your thoughts on the public LIS blog, send me an email!)

Notes from Manager and Team Leader’s Meeting: September 2011

Categories: Midd Blogosphere
Here are the notes from this month’s manager’s meeting:
  1. We reviewed and added to the ‘what’s new this fall’ document. (See http://sites.middlebury.edu/lis/2011/09/08/what%E2%80%99s-new-or-will-be-new-this-fall/ )
  2. We reviewed the process for goal setting. All workgroup and team leaders will post their goals to the LIS strategic planning site by October 1. In addition, they will update their FY11 goals with a final status update by October 1. This year, we will check in on the status of goals on a quarterly basis.
  3. Mike talked about the theme for the year: the 4 Ss. They are simple, secure, stable, and sustainable. While we gear up for a more ambitious campus-wide technology planning that will start in the next year, this year we want to focus our attention on making what we have simpler for our users, more secure, more stable, and sustainable. While this theme will inform our approach, it is worth noting that we will no doubt also take on new projects that arise naturally either from these themes, or from demands from our campus partners.
  4. Chris Norris gave a tutorial on the latest version of the project directory. The new directory is using a platform called Roadmap. We have agreed that going forward, all LIS projects will be listed in the project directory.

What’s new or will be new this fall

Categories: Midd Blogosphere

When our undergraduate students return to campus in the upcoming days and weeks, they will face a set of changes to our environment, and will likely have questions about these changes. To help us all understand what has changed, and who to point to if there are questions about any of these things, we’ve put together this handy index of changes for your perusal and as a reference.

Current Changes to Know About

Mobile/Portal
We’re launching a pilot project to provide mobile and tablet users a friendlier way to access our resources. This same project will also provide a customizable portal for desktop and laptop computers. Joe Antonioli can provide more information about this.

Campus Manager
We will be making significant changes to Campus Manager, the software we use to keep track of devices to our network. These changes will happen in mid to late September. Until then, we will likely not be using Campus Manager at all.

Virus Campaign
We’re starting a campaign to get 100% of all College machines to be regularly scanned for viruses. This may result in an increase in questions about how to use symantec. And to make matters even more complicated, we’re also looking at possibly replacing symantec with a different product. Stay tuned on that.

Summon (also added to 2010-11 Annual Report)
The library has implemented an integrated resource discovery system from Serials Solutions called Summon (go\summon).  Summon indexes over 90% of our library resources — MIDCAT, ContentDM, online databases, indexes, and journals — in one combined resource, making it far easier than ever before to get a wide spectrum of results when searching.  Summon also offers tools for filtering search results that are similar (although, in some respects, more powerful) to those found on common websites such as Amazon.com.

Music Library Move
In May, the library moved ca. 32000 music books and printed music, 21000 CDs, and 1500 DVDs from the Music Library in the Mahaney Center for the Arts to the Davis Family Library building.  Most of the printed materials are now located on the 3rd floor of Davis.  The CDs are behind the circulation desk (but available for check-out) and the DVDs, periodicals, and reference collection are being integrated into the main library’s collection.  The move when very well, a tribute to the fine planning done by the Space Team and others in the User Services and RCS areas.

Moodle and the Course Hub
We have just launched Moodle and the Course Hub (http://moodle.middlebury.edu and http://courses.middlebury.edu ) and are hosting training sessions for faculty for use this fall.

DVDs
We’ve moved thousands of DVDs to the circulating collection, which means easier browsing and many more DVDs available to check out from the library.  We have also combined what was a “split” collection (meaning, some titles were classed using the Library of Congress classification system, and some were classed using a locally-developed system using the “MCTR” prefix), which will help reduce staff processing time.

Ebooks
Through a partnership with a company called EBL, the library has added ca. 44,000 eBooks to MIDCAT (go/midcat) that are now available to users “on-demand.”  Under this pilot project, users can access any of these titles from any networked computer and from many hand-held devices as well.  Titles that are accessed 4 or more times are automatically purchased by the library.  For titles that are accessed 1-3 times, the library is charged a small usage fee.  We do not incur costs for titles that are not accessed at all (or only very briefly), thus ensuring that the titles we purchase are titles that are needed and used.  We hope this results in added convenience for users as well as a way to more specifically target acquisitions dollars to materials that are actively used and needed.

iPad Loaners
We’ll soon be loaning out iPads in the way that we loan out laptops and cameras and other devices. If you haven’t yet had a chance to try out an iPad, you might consider taking one for a spin.

PaperCut for Copiers, too
We’ll be using papercut to allow copying as well as printing. Details to be posted on the wiki.

The return of loaning/borrowing audio CDs for Interlibrary Loan
With the move of the music library to Davis Family Library, we will resume loaning and borrowing audio CDs via Interlibrary Loan.

Four New Smart Classrooms in the MCFA
Over the summer, we built four new smart classrooms in the MCFA, one of which has a built-in video recording capability.

Mac Management Tool
We’ve launched a new mac management tool (called Caspar) that will allow us to do system management on Macs in the same way that we can with PCs.

Lynda Video Tutorials
The recently launched lynda video tutorials (http://go.middlebury.edu/lynda ) are proving to be very popular.

Menu Feeds
We’ve re-written the way the dining application works so that it is possible to see the ingredients of the food served at Middlebury’s dining halls.

On the Horizon


Banner Hosting
As many of you may have already heard, we are moving the hosting of Banner to a facility in Florida that SunGard manages. This won’t happen until much later in the fall. Stay tuned for more details on how this change will impact users of this system.

Stats Lab
If you see architects in the ground floor measuring things, that’s because we are planning to convert  Library 140 to a stats lab for use by the economics department and others.

Mission Continuity / Disaster Recovery
Process inventory work continues with identified functional areas of the College and soon, Monterey.

Green Microfilm Reader

Categories: Midd Blogosphere

Thanks to the generosity of Brett Millier from the Department of English and American Literature and the bargains to be found on eBay, the main floor of the Davis Library now has a new microfilm reader that makes it much easier to read microfilm ‘on screen’ rather than printing it out.

LIS Focus: Summer 2011

Categories: Midd Blogosphere

As has become our habit, we again are publishing our ‘focus document’ that lays out by workgroup and team the activities that we will be focusing on this summer. While this list is not comprehensive, it is a way for us to both ensure that everyone in LIS knows about what’s being worked on now (and therefore will generate questions later), and to give a preview to the rest of the community of changes that will result from this work.

 

LIS Focus: Spring 2011

Categories: Midd Blogosphere

Below you will find the Spring 2011 edition of the LIS Focus document that outlines the activities that we’ll be focusing on this spring. For this quarter’s installment,  I’ve organized the document into a more traditional format that lays out the areas of focus for each of the workgroups and teams within LIS.

In addition to this quarterly snapshot of what’s keeping us busy, we still have our goals and our projects that provide another view into the on-the-ground view of what we are doing to achieve our longer-term vision for how LIS can support the ambitious goals of the College. The idea behind these quarterly snapshots is to provide a check-in to make sure that our annual and multi-year initiatives are making steady progress week-by-week, and to provide a transparency into what our priorities are.

RESEARCH & COLLECTION SERVICES

ILL Department

  • Complete ILL Department Assessment, write report.
  • Make improvements identified by Assessment process.
  • OCLC Knowledge Base implementation.

P&P/Facilities Coordination

  • Music Library Move: We will continue to work closely with Facilities Services and outside contractors to reorganize the shelving and book collections in Davis Library, and prepare for and then accomplish the move of the Music Library collections and related staff.
  • DVD collection: We will reprocess and rehouse the DVD collection, transferring it into locking security cases.

Collection Management

  • Reclass the portion of the DVD collection that currently uses the local call no. scheme (MCTR)
  • Planning for RDA during the summer, assuming LC decides to adopt it.  If they do not, my inclination would be to follow their lead.
  • Implement the Digital Center/Committee.

Reference & Instruction

  • video tutorials: created a few and will be publicizing and assessing their usefulness
  • segue from segue (several librarians are on the CT team)
  • Music Library:  finding ways to be sure researchers know what’s now in Davis
  • Information literacy:  developing pilot for advanced skills, evaluating testing tools for first-years
  • Next-gen discovery tools:  training staff and creating a tutorial for researchers
  • Liaisons:  refining list of what liaisons roles and responsibilities, thinking about training and staff awareness
  • Statistics:  figuring out what we must track and what we can stop tracking

ENTERPRISE APPLICATIONS & SYSTEMS

CSNS

  • Planning and implementation of network infrastructure and wireless services upgrades Many academic and administrative buildings and residential halls have new network equipment installed and operational, we are continuing to deploy new gear and turn up services that provide for increased performance, reduce risk of failure and offer expansion of wireless coverage.  Additionally, based on the work completed this far, we have the opportunity to assess our progress and examine challenges encountered thus far to better plan for the remaining execution of our current upgrade project and future initiatives.
  • Inventory of services, systems and infrastructure: Significant evolutionary (at times it feels like revolutionary) information technology changes have taken place in recent years that has resulted in extensive growth and change with the College’s IT systems.  As we plan for the future, it is essential that understand how all of the technology we manage fits together, we transition with minimal disruption and we position ourselves to gracefully handle growth and take advantage of innovation.
  • Disaster recovery planning and testing: As the day to day activities of Faculty, Staff and Students increasingly rely on technology, the consequences of service failures become more disruptive and expensive.  We are building out new a test environment, isolated from production customer facing services that, along with operational process and procedure changes, allow us to test backup and recovery procedures, changes to systems that address security vulnerabilities and product enhancements, and deployment of new services in a manner that reduces risk of unexpected production system/network failures or unexpected behavior.
  • Integrating Middlebury College and Monterey Institute networks and systems: We are continuing to streamline access to IT services and identify efficiencies by eliminating duplicate systems and tightly integrating applications.  Plans for and current implementation underway include a new faster more reliable Internet connection at Monterey, new network administrative and authentication management services, and enhanced collaborative library and educational resources.

Enterprise Applications

  • Evaluation of SunGard Hosted Banner Environment: When considering the costs associated with upgrades, appropriate disaster recovery, timely reporting database access, addressing load balancing concerns as well as a handful of other things, it is necessary to consider all options. An alternative option for Banner that is being investigated is offsite hosting at SunGard’s facility in Maitland, FL. Mike Roy and Danna Gianforte visited the Maitland facility in late March. A team of SunGard reps will now visit the Middlebury campus to discuss the process with the rest of the functional leads and technical staff.
  • Implementation of Nolij Document Management: After a lengthy evaluation process, Nolij Web 6 was selected as our electronic document management solution. An implementation team will begin in May to build out the environment, setup training, etc. The first functional areas to go live will be undergrad Admissions.
  • Implementation of Banner Workflow: The Banner Workflow module creates an automatic notification trail based on data changes in the system. For instance: if a termination date was entered in the HR module, an email could automatically be sent to the relevant folks that need to handle the termination process. Automated communication based on data changes within Banner will greatly enhance efficiency within the system.”

Web Application Development

  • Mini-re-org: reassignment of responsibilities within workgroup and preparing for new review process.
  • LMS recommendations and implementation
  • Identity Management Project
  • Platform Evaluations: Database of Faculty Accomplishments, E-commerce, Hiring Manager, Judicial Review, Portal, Student Room Selection

USER SERVICES

Helpdesk Service Requests

  • Rolling out Windows 7
  • Moving Equipment inventory into Heat
  • Mobile device support

Media Services

  • Build more smart classrooms. Replace the media equipment in the oldest smart classrooms. Divide classrooms into Tiers and create a template for each to streamline support and ease the construction of new and upgrading of old classrooms. Find an additional contractor or two to help us with smart classroom design and upgrades.
  • Improve the way event and screening support requests are processed. Streamline and automate this process. This will involve replacing Filemaker Pro databases with R25 and/or Heat and/or another solution.
  • Ensure that the Media Services group can program classroom systems (either Crestron or Extron). This will reduce upgrade expenses for classrooms, allow us to upgrade and build more classrooms per year, troubleshoot new classrooms better and greatly enhance team spirit.
  • Refresh the lecture capture system (Accordent). Find easy(er) ways for streaming events (which may resolve overflow issues).

Labs and Public Computing

  • Dual boot macs: Learning how to deploy (and deploying) dual-boot macs in labs and classrooms
  • Virtual Machines: Improving our virtual machines to better serve students: Continuing the expansion to virtual applications and virtual printing. Formalize how the virtual computer lab is used, its capacity and how much growth costs.
  • Windows 7: Deploying Windows 7 to labs. Implement a quarterly / 3-month update to the lab image. Testing software packages after they are deployed, in a timely and consistent manner. This will require working with faculty to create test files and scenarios for the software they need. Alternatively, we can continue to rely on faculty to test the software that we’ve installed upon their request. (Note that successfully installing a software application and opening it does not always test whether all its features are functional)

Telephone Services (and Printer Management)

  • Continuation of printer consolidation/management.  We are combining all databases (PaperCut, Symquest, HEAT) into HEAT.  To this end we are doing a new inventory in April 2011 of printers and copiers on campus to get a one-time “”snapshot”" of the equipment.
  • Printer Workflow: Work with the Helpdesk to establish a smooth workflow for new and replacement printer/multifunction devices. Examine and make recommendations for tools to make tracking these devices easier and more accurate.  The ultimate goal is to reduce the number of devices on our network to save money and to reduce our carbon footprint.
  • LS Phones: Work with contractor and Language School administration to provide telephone service for the summer schools’ faculty.
  • Emergency Notification System: Re-evaluate emergency notification system in light of notice from our vendor that states, “We recommend that any customer currently using our alerting services for emergency notifications immediately migrate to a solution designed for life-threatening emergencies or implement a second, redundant, system that ensures message delivery in a timely manner.

Circulation Services

  • Music Library move
  • Student and staff scheduling, summer 2011

TEAMS

Education & Training Team

  • Work with campus departments to identify specific information and technology training needs. Recommend teaching/training/self-help strategies to address needs and support LIS goals.
  • Work with Human Resources to incorporate training into the hiring process, and staff development across the College.
  • Recommend how to build LIS staff development goals into the performance process.

LIS Website Team

  • Strategies to market the LIS Website: how can we help draw attention to key parts of the site, focusing on a variety of audiences (students, faculty, staff, summer students, etc.)
  • LIS Website assessment: User needs analysis for LIS website and follow-up usability testing
  • LIS Wiki Mission/Purpose/Guidelines and coordinating enhancements to the Wiki including search enhancements (Chris N. & Joe A.), appearance (Alex C.), and taxonomy (Bryan C.)
  • Possibly also creating similar guidelines for the LIS Blog, following the open discussion about the future of the LIS Blog
  • Website refresh & enhancement strategies

Security

  • We’ve started drafting security education topics.
  • We continue to use the SaaS form to evaluate products and services that are being considered for purchase (we used it for Studio Abroad and a remote assistance tool that the Helpdesk is looking at)
  • We explored full disk encryption as a security solution, running tests, quoting estimates and drafting guidelines.
  • We attended (virtually and through Chris Norris in person) the Educause security conference.
  • Ian put together a conference call with info sec / it sec staff from other educational institutions in the vicinity and we are exploring how we can use that.
  • We have created a data loss response plan / procedure. This could be used, for example, for addressing stolen laptops.

Space

  • on hiatus until summer (having just done yoemen’s work on planning the music library move, and plan for LIS office space!)

Curricular Technology Team

  • developing LMS recommendation
  • course hub development

LIS Administration

  • Budget – shifting or restructuring monies needed for end of FY11 and beginning of FY12 to allow for shifting priorities
  • Assessment – completing first round of Work-group services assessments ( ILL, Equipment distribution, backup & restore services.)
  • Re-accreditation – gathering final data needed for re-accreditation
  • Strategic Planning – longer term look at budget &  assessment or evaluations in line with projects on the horizon and evolving changes at the college and in the profession.