Posts by Terry Simpkins


Area 51 notes, Dec. 13, 2013

Categories: Midd Blogosphere

Present:  Mike Roy, Chris Norris, Carol Peddie, Mary Backus, Terry Simpkins and Doreen Bernier

Mike provided a summary of his CLIR-CIO meeting in Washington DC.  Some of the topics discussed were:

  • MISO survey
  • Digital scholarship
  • On-line education
  • Classroom design
  • Quiet zones in the library
  • Security
  • Organizational structure
  • Collection development issues

The Dec. 20th optional all-LIS staff meeting has been canceled.  Happy holidays

Chris led a discussion about next steps regarding our policy review (aka, Policy Summit). We looked at some of Gartner’s recommendations for policy management. After reviewing notes from the Policy Summit meeting and survey results, the following topics stood out:

  • Data ownership, privacy, classification
  • Education and awareness
  • Technology enablers (ie. tools)
  • Governance and enforcement

A consolidated list of next steps was generated:

  • Inventory all LIS policies and policies that affect LIS
    • What do we have? What’s missing? What’s no longer needed? – Chris has contacted Donna McDurfee, who sends out yearly update notifications on handbook policies, to request a spreadsheet containing an inventory of the current policies as a starting point.
    • Where are the policies? When were they last updated? Who is responsible for each policy?
    • Does the policy work? Would it work if it was enforced? How to deal with exceptions?
    • Is it an LIS policy or a College policy (or other, such as a guideline, practice, or procedure)?
  • Determine institutional temperature of policy creation
    • Who should be leading this effort? Who should be involved?
    • Relationship to the data classification taskforce work?
    • What should the priorities be (i.e., currency, legal)?
    • What is the institutional philosophy around policies (e.g., comprehensive, prescribed? simple, broadly worded?

Chris reported that the latest draft of the Data Classification Policy (created by the Data Classification Taskforce) has been completed. A review of this draft will be added to next week’s AD agenda for further discussion.

Our discussion touched the issue of which policies (versus, for example, guidelines or procedures) to prioritize/focus.  There was at least some sentiment to focus on policies with an element of enforcement to them (as opposed to, for example, something like the library gift policy that mainly provides guidance to staff as well as donors).

A second round of Policy Summit discussions will continue during the January optional all-staff meeting on January 17th.

The ADs discussed whether the LIS Strategic Directions need to be updated (please… hold your applause).  It has been several years since the last revision.  Sentiment varied as to whether we have the time, and whether it is worth the effort, to engage in this now.  We will continue to poke at this.

Thanks for reading,
Terry & Doreen

Area 51 notes, Dec. 6, 2012

Categories: Midd Blogosphere

Present: Present: Mike, Mary, Carol, Terry, Chris, Doreen
Security team members: Nate, Ian, David, Travis, Rick

The Security Team joined us with an update on recent activities, including:

  • roll out of a computer-based training program for College Advancement; Human Resources will be next;
  • revamp of the “roadshow” project from last year, focusing more on computer-based training and less about privacy;
  • web-based SASS survey; writing policy for the Data Classification Taskforce; developing security questionnaires for vendors;
  • hard disk encryption roll out;

Looking forward, the team would like to begin working on:

  • mobile device security management;
  • secure communication solutions.

We also discussed:

  • team membership, specifically how new members from other areas in LIS provide a good, less technical, perspective on the issues — especially training issues that might need to be covered;
  • potential implications of how the data ownership policies under consideration by College administration will impact privacy recommendations made by the team;
  • the idea of holding security workshops, possibly in conjunction with the Education and Training Team, focusing on:
    • cyber security; privacy;
    • eCommerce;
    • safe home network setup;
    • setting up wifi encryption at home;
    • the idea of holding security workshops at future LIS in-service days for staff (LIS and College-wide);
    • videotaping roadshows to use as web tutorials.

Lastly, we talked a bit about the team charge and scope, specifically:

  • whether the team should be involved in the physical security of data centers on campus;
  • hardening computers before distribution;
  • resources outside of LIS that may be able to assist with certain projects.

We then talked about the LIS holiday party, which will be 12/18, 4-6pm. Location almost finalized, but not quite so stay tuned.

We reviewed the Dec. calendar:

  • Tim Spears will join us for the 12/19 all-staff meeting;
  • January and February AD retreats will focus on budgets.

We discussed outcomes and next steps from the recent Policy Summit. Chris Norris will organize planning policy strategies, and review compliance and enforcement issues. We’ll hold another open meeting to discuss next steps on this.

Finally, we continued the discussion about LIS website maintenance and refreshing options in the post-Web Team environment. Dan Frostman will serve as a point person for website content managers, and for communicating with the Communications office on website issues. The ADs would like to see an annual content managers gathering to review content manager responsibilities and expectations. The first of such meetings will be scheduled for January.

Thanks for reading,

Doreen and Terry

Area 51 notes, Dec. 5, 2012

Categories: Midd Blogosphere

Present: Carol, Mike, Terry, Chris
Guests: Dan, Richard, Barbara, Matt (web team); Joseph (space team)

1) We met with the Web Team to thank them for their work before disbanding the team, and to discuss how we can best use the LIS Content Managers program to maintain the LIS web site.

  • One person (tentatively Dan Frostman) will be designated to be responsible for report to Communications on a quarterly basis as that group takes more responsibility for oversight of the College’s web presence;
  • We will have regular LIS content managers meetings or communications to remind staff of their responsibilities in this area, and to help them with training and/or tools.

2) We met with Joseph Watson from the Space Team to review their recommendations for repurposing the space now occupied by the information desk.

  • remove current desk;
  • spread current practical functions (e.g. outgoing mail, staplers, etc.) to periphery;
  • install some sort of electronic information kiosk;
  • put something aesthetically pleasing (e.g. tree, fountain, reproduction of Michelangelo’s David – just kidding about that last bit) where the desk is now;
  • involve a designer in the redesign process, who in turn will involve stakeholders (e.g. students);
  • goal is for work to take place between summer school and fall term of 2014 (10th year anniversary of building);
  • design/selection of centerpiece might involve Committee on Art in Public Spaces;
  • could conceivably separate design of the functional areas from the design of the more decorative portions.

Agenda for Dec. 12

  • Security Team Visit (10:00)
  • Review calendar
  • LIS holiday party
  • Policy summit next steps
  • LIS website next steps
  • The Williams:Wesleyan:Wellesley:Brandeis:Amherst:Middlebury (henceforth W3BAM) group is meeting at Williams on February 25th.  Who should attend? We want to have three groups:
    1. sys admins/network admins (from the last meeting)
    2. digital humanities types
    3. CIOs

Thanks for reading



Area Director’s Notes, Nov. 19, 2012

Categories: Midd Blogosphere

Present: Mike Roy, Terry Simpkins, Chris Norris, Carol Peddie, Mary Backus and Doreen Bernier

  • Discussed membership of various teams;
  • User Services SLA soft launch and review of open tickets;
  • Request from Ilsley Public that prompted discussion of patron privacy measures.

Agenda for next meeting (11/29):

  • Web Team visit
  • LIS Space Team recommendation on info desk
  • 360 Review update
  • SRC submission
  • Holiday party

Thanks for reading, Terry & Doreen

Area 51 Notes, Oct. 25

Categories: Midd Blogosphere

Present:  Mike Roy, Carol Peddie, Mary Backus, Terry Simpkins and Doreen Bernier

Today’s meeting was brief and devoted to updates and discussion on from each area.


  • eTextbooks: Terry working with other schools participating in EDUCAUSE/Internet2 eTextbook pilot on 2 surveys: a “Baseline” survey and one to assess the “Impact on Teaching and Learning.”  Each will be for students and faculty, and may be combined into one survey instrument.  Also planning for a lunch meeting with faculty in November to simply check-in on how the pilot is going;
  • MISO survey results: Terry has created a presentation addressing the survey results to show to the ADs, managers, and staff in the near future;
  • Information Literacy – liaisons working on planning, outlining, and creating tutorials (video, audio, etc.) for some general information literacy (evaluating sources, etc.) concepts.  Looking at repurposing tutorials created elsewhere as well (with creators’ permission, of course);
  • Special Collections and Collections Management have been invited to participate in a collaborative project headed by the NEDCC to apply for an IMSL grant to digitize sound recordings in obsolete formats (wax cylinders, etc.) in the Flanders Ballad Collection.

User Services

  • Web Helpdesk (aka the replacement for HEAT) local hosting costs are still being reviewed;
  • Meanwhile, US are going with a “soft launch” of SLAs before putting too much effort into configuring HEAT, since it will hopefully be retired soon in favor of Web Helpdesk or another incident tracking system;
  • A temporary staff member has been identified to fill Chris Tangora’s position.


  • Progress has been made on whole disk encryption process… we will need to complete a Change Management document;
  • Working with James Davis to create a virtual space to continue the work, in some fashion, of last year’s innovation task forces;
  • Attended a Gartner Conference in Orlando.  Focused primarily on sessions around fostering innovation in organizations (e.g. what resources, processes, and structures are needed to facilitate innovation?);
  • Also attended ITHAKA meeting.  Focused on sustainable education, MOOCs, use of “badges” for credentialling participation in online classes, etc.  Some schools are considering how they might award credit to students who have taken online classes and obtained badges upon completion;
  • Joined a humanities faculty lunch to discuss the “future of humanities” at the College.


  • Carol got a pass because she just returned from Ecuador… Welcome back, Carol!

Topics for future AD meetings and retreats

  • Staffing plan
  • budget
  • College-wide goals – now trimmed to a mere 100+
  • MISO survey results
  • Staff Council staff satisfaction survey results
  • Communications taskforce
  • Holiday party
  • Year-end system downtime
  • Death and resurrection of the Project Directory
  • Teams
  • Readings

Thanks for reading
Terry & Doreen

Friday links – Nov. 2

Categories: Midd Blogosphere

What’s the Secret to Learning a Second Language? ( – talks about language acquisition methods, with contributions from Middlebury’s own Michael Geisler.

Wondering what the fuss over Open Access is all about?  Do you like cartoons and animation?  This video is for you!

Managers Meeting, Oct. 11, 2012

Categories: Midd Blogosphere

Present:  Lisa Terrier, Joe Durante, Pij Slater, Peggy Fischel, Mike Roy, David Ludwig, Jim Stuart, Joe Antonioli, Joseph Watson, Chris Norris, Carrie Macfarlane, Terry Simpkins, Rebekah Irwin, Mary Backus, Ian Burke, Dan Frostman, Petar Mitreviski and Doreen Bernier

Mike Roy shared early results of the staff survey showing improvements from last year in every area.

Preparations for the Dalai Lama visit were briefly discussed.

Mary reviewed the process for selecting a new incident tracking system (we currently use HEAT) for LIS.  Two finalists were selected,  Parature and Web Helpdesk.  Parature is a hosted solution while Web Helpdesk, after recently having been acquired by Solarwinds, Inc., no longer offers hosting services.  After analysis, Parature was eliminated because they could not find enthusiastically positive reviews of the product.  For a hosting solution with Web Heldesk, a third-party service, Loop1, will be selling hosting for Web Helpdesk.  Cost and impact are being investigated.  Other tidbits from the discussion:

  • Dan and Mary also agreed to be application co-administrators.
  • A kickoff meeting to analyze how support will flow through the organization and to prepare an implementation plan will be organized soon.
  • Jim Stuart asked if departments outside of LIS would also utilize this new ticketing system?  Would it be prudent to look at it in a larger campus wide context?  Mary stated that this was only being looked at for LIS and if it went campus-wide, someone other than LIS would need to organize and budget for it.
  • Web Helpdesk will not hold concurrent licensing.  Individual licenses will be needed for staff to use this product. She asked managers to give Dan names of students and other staff who may need access.
  • Mike noted that workgroups will be involved in these conversations, and staff should try to find time in our schedules to dedicate to this project within the next 3 -5 months.
  • We also recognized the need for Service Level Agreements to be incorporated into any new ticketing system we implement.
  • Finally, Mary also asked the workgroups to let Dan know if they have a specific set of data that they want to have tracked.

LIS has launched the LIS Tech Partners group, comprised of LIS staff and department tech leads (i.e. those staff charged with providing tech services to other departments on campus.

Mike created an online form for managers to describe how things went with the startup of the Fall semester.  What went well and what didn’t?

  • One of the themes extracted from the results was on Printing.  Suggestions were made to either have a staff member available to assist with printing problems or to develop a  troubleshooting video to assist students.
  • Jim Stuart asked why is there still so much printing?  Should there be more of a campaign to promote electronic submissions?   We still have students that prefer to study in print and a conservative faculty.
  • Joe Antonioli noted that communications between workgroups seemed better this year.
  • Because the pool of student help at the beginning of the year is so small, should we find temporary help to assist with fall semester?  Mary noted that Circulation has a pool of subs who can be trained and to contact Dan if temporary student help is needed.
  • There were fewer course data fixes this year.  Data from Banner seemed to be more accurate than in years past.
  • Was everyone aware that student workers had not been paid? Student employment said that it  could take them up to 3 weeks to manually enter authorization forms into the system.  We should confirm mid-August next year to make sure the students will get paid in a timely fashion.
  • Next year at the July Manager’s meeting, we should discuss the school year startup.  This should also be reviewed in May for Language Schools.
  • Petar commented on communications – we should integrate the  ticketing system with events scheduling to assist with venue and event time changes.
  • Petar also mentioned that we need more time for classroom tech upgrades

Mike led a conversation about the next phase of staffing requests by indicating we currently have 4 open positions.  Through a voting process, managers believe they need 8 new positions.  He asked managers to be thoughtful in analyzing their staffing needs, and be cognizant of the costs associated with increasing staff resources.  We agreed the managers and ADs need to gather info from workgroup leaders and hold another open meting and discuss ideas.  ADs would then use their next retreat to prepare the phase 2 staffing plan to present to SRC.

Joe Antonioli noted that on August 31st Segue was officially decommissioned.  Woohoo!

Thanks for reading, Terry & Doreen