Author Archives: Terry Simpkins

Area 51 notes, Mar. 21 21, 2013

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

The Area Directors provide Mike with weekly updates of activities happening within each areas.  Mike asked that, when the directors are out of the office on business travel or vacation, they either delegate someone on their staff to forward updates for posting to Doreen or provide the updates for the missed week upon their return.  He also asked the ADs to highlight topics that may warrant special attention by members of the College administration, or that demand more comprehensive discussion among the leadership team.

All areas appear to be roughly on schedule for the performance reviews.

Mike has been asking managers how long it takes them to prepare submissions for the quarterly update document.  Times estimates run between 20 minutes and 1 ½ hours, depending on level of detail.  Mike feels this process is working well.

The ADs discussed what the nascent Green Mountain Higher Education Consortium (which includes Saint Michaels College, Champlain College and Middlebury) may mean for our purchasing activities.  The Consortium is intended to look for ways to improve college services and find cost savings by acting together in making purchases in supplies, equipment and services.  At the moment, it is focused primarily on general supplies, but may look to broaden in the future.  The discussion focused mainly around what aspects of LIS purchasing might appropriately be considered for inclusion within any agreement between the 3 schools, and which aspects might be specialized for Middlebury’s needs and require a certain level of continued autonomy.

The update and demo of Web Helpdesk on this week’s agenda will be moved to next week.

Thanks for reading.

Terry & Doreen

Area 51 notes, Feb. 14, 2013

Present: Terry Simpkins, Mary Backus, Mike Roy and Doreen Bernier
Space Team Members: Joseph Watson, Peggy Fischel and Hans Raum

The Space Team joined us to present an update of their activities:

  • Earlier this year, the team presented their recommendations to the ADs for the future use of the information desk in the library atrium.  The team recommended the space be used as an information kiosk with an electronic directory and handout display.  Mike brought this recommendation to the larger campus space committee, which approved $5,000 for an architectural study for FY13-14
  • Joseph will coordinate with the architect to develop a design for the kiosk, removing the information desk and incorporating an electronic directory and display for handouts.  He will also have the architect develop a less expensive option, leaving the desk in its current position and repurposing it to include the electronic directory and handouts display.
  • We will need to create a small group to work with various service points within the library to develop an electronic directory.
  • The space team will also be reviewing office space needs for LIS now that SRC has approved some of our position requests.
  • The team will investigate the issue of how to increase student carrel and study spaces within the library.
  • We need to think about a long term space study to look at overall use of library space, the utility of installing additional compact shelving to the stacks, etc.  The team agreed to propose a timeline to the ADs.

This week Mike Roy, Chris Norris and Jim Stuart had a preliminary meeting to revisit our overall cloud strategy.  Areas of focus will include:

  • Email
  • Storage
  • Telephone (VoIP)

More at a future meeting.

Dining has requested assistance with project management efforts for their current CBOARD food management system, which tracks food usage and costs.  These project management needs would be temporary; dining staff would maintain the system once up and running.  The current implementation has been used for about 10 years and it needs to be upgraded.  Dining doesn’t have the capability to handle a project this size and asked for our assistance.  We discussed some possibe options, but the project requires further discussion and analysis.

Thanks for reading,
Terry and Doreen

Another copyright case, another victory for libraries

Last Tuesday, in the case of Kirtsaeng vs. John Wiley & Sons, the Supreme Court ruled 6-3 to uphold the “first sale” doctrine for materials purchased from non-U.S. sources.  This ruling allows legal purchasers of copyrighted material from overseas to continue to subsequently resell, loan, rent, etc., copyrighted material.  The first sale doctrine, in general, is the exemption that allows libraries to loan books to borrowers, video stores (those that are left) to rent DVDs, or individuals to loan or resell a book or CD or other copyrighted work to someone else without fear of running afoul of the normal protection afforded to copyright holders to control the sale and distribution of their copyrighted content.

At issue in the Kirsaeng case was whether or not materials purchased overseas were subject to this exemption, or if the exemption applied only to those copyrighted materials purchased within the United States.  The plaintiff, publisher John Wiley & Sons, argued that the exemption did not apply to works intended to be sold overseas, and that the defendant, a graduate student named Supap Kirtsaeng, had violated copyright law by purchasing textbooks in Thailand intended for that market (and sold there at a lower price than in the U.S.) and then reselling them in the United States to help finance the cost of his graduate education.

Why is this important for Middlebury?  Because Middlebury libraries purchase at least 10% (by cost) of our material from overseas vendors.  (This is a conservative estimate based on our expenditures with our primary foreign dealers; the actual percentage is certainly higher, although probably not by much.)  If this case had been decided differently, there would be considerable doubt as to whether we could continue to loan materials purchased overseas without some sort of legislative intervention that specifically allowed it.

If you would like to read more about the case and its implications, take a look at this article from the Chronicle of Higher Education.  Kenneth Crews, from Columbia U., has an excellent analysis on his blog here, and Kevin Smith at Duke has a couple of posts here and here.  And if you are a true glutton for punishment, the full text of the SCOTUS decision is here (pdf).

Area 51 notes, Jan. 31, 2013

Present: Mike Roy, Mary Backus, Chris Norris, Terry Simpkins
Absent: Doreen, Carol

We began with discussing next steps for the policy review process and suggested the following plan outline:

  • Create inventory and review policy documents in the handbook for currency, completeness, accuracy, and usefulness.
  • Inventory internal LIS policies, with the possibility of a survey to capture missing policies or to review and revise existing policies.
  • We discussed ownership of “College” policies that reside within the LIS section of the handbook, but aren’t strictly limited to LIS processes (e.g. copyright, data privacy, etc.)  Does LIS “own” policies because of where they are situated within the handbook?
  • We want to focus on policies that are problematic.
  • Mike agreed to draft a plan to send to the directors.

We talked briefly about the APS timeline for LIS staff.  HR confirmed that this year’s deadline is officially Mar. 31, 2013.  SInce this falls on a Sunday, we can submit are documents to HR on Monday Apr. 1, 2013.

LIS internal deadlines will be similar to last year:

  • Self-evaluations and team 360s are due  to managers by Monday, Feb. 18; a notice of the team evaluation process will go out this week;
  • Managers will need to make a recommendations to their director about how their staff members performed by Friday, Mar. 1;
  • LIS Directors will communicate decisions regarding ratings back to managers by Friday, Mar. 8;
  • Performance reviews should be scheduled during the period between March 11 and March 22;
  • Forms should be signed by both staff member and manager and in to Doreen by Monday, Mar. 25;
  • All reviews will be signed and delivered to HR by Monday, Apr. 1.

Chris wants to communicate with Google Apps users regarding the discovery of phishing attempts through a design flaw in Google Apps.  Specifically, if you are signed in already but click on a malicious link, the browser displays the URL such that the form appears to be hosted within our Middlebury google apps instance even if it is not.  Mike mentioned that, even generally, a URL showing the Middlebury domain is not an absolute guarantee of legitimacy, since students can create pages and forms as well.  Chris also suggested we restart the discussion about our intentions for Google Apps.

We discussed a new security issue involving phone calls from people falsley claiming to be “Middlebury Support Services”. Public Safety and the Helpdesk have been informed.

Thanks for reading,

Area 51 notes, Jan. 24, 2013

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

Bill Burger, Vice President for Communications joined us for part of the meeting to introduce himself to the directors.  Each of us described the organizational structure of our area and our team’s responsibilities.  General discussion centered around areas where both LIS and Communications overlap, such as the college website, copyright and events requiring media assistance.

The rest of the meeting was dedicated to addressing the recent security event affecting the campus email system.

Agenda for Jan. 31

  • Curricular Tech Team visits (10:00)  – to be rescheduled
  • LIS stats (Mike)
  • policy summit review/next steps
  • finalize 2013 APS timeline

Thanks for reading
Terry & Doreen

Area 51 notes, Jan. 17, 2013

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

As part of our disaster recovery planning efforts, Chris has been interviewing functional areas across campus  to inventory work processes and discuss  contingency planning efforts in the event critical system are not available.  Chris indicated that he may need assistance with this interview process from the ADs.  Once the interviews are done and the data is gathered and stored, the functional areas will be expected to update and maintain their own information on a yearly basis.

On Friday, the ADs will be holding a retreat to discuss budget planning.  A short discussion was held outlining the afternoon’s agenda.

Mike will invite Bill Burger, the new Vice President for Communications to next week’s AD meeting to meet the group.

We talked about some of the MISO Survey results and what our next steps might be to make improvements to our services.  Some suggestions are to:

  • Additional data gathering re: public printers on campus, video conferencing and helpdesk.
  • Look at the Liaison Program and see how it ties into current and future assessment pieces.
  • Make  “wireless” a priority project to help make improvements across campus.  Increase WAPs in residence halls and change out those that are problematic.

We discussed ways to encourage more staff award nominations.  Terry will join the R&R crew as sponsor.  We also briefly discussed ideas for the upcoming in-service day to be held during March break.  Perhaps a security theme, but we can’t tell you about it (just kidding!)…

February’s optional All LIS Staff meeting will be about project prioritization.

We talked about keeping the “Outage & Alerts” page up-to-date on the LIS site.  Mary reminded us that any LIS blog post relating to downtimes, outages, etc., tagged with “Helpdesk Alert” will automatically feed the Outage & Alerts page as well.

Thanks for reading
Terry & Doreen

Area 51 notes, Jan. 10, 2013

Short & sweet this time…

Present:  Mike, Terry, Chris, Mary and Doreen

We spent the meeting time discussing a draft survey designed to assess project and work prioritization within workgroups and teams.  The survey looks at the criteria workgroups use to make prioritization decisions, how they communicate priorities, and the frequency with which priorities shift over time, and how they link to other planning efforts. This survey will be presented for further discussion at a future Managers’ meeting and at an open meeting.

Thanks for reading,
Terry & Doreen