Tag Archives: Area Directors Notes

Area 51 notes, July 19, 2012

Present: Shel Sax, Mary Backus, Mike Roy, Terry Simpkins, Carol Peddie, Chris Norris (remote) and Doreen Bernier

We discussed the agenda for the AD retreat on July 27. This meeting will be focused on the preparing goals and materials to send to the Office of Planning and Assessment, which is overseeing the goal-setting process for the College this year. We also discussed draft goals for the Senior Leadership Team, and will continue that discussion at the retreat as well.

We also reviewed the status of LIS projects to help Mike prepare his Dean’s Quarterly Report, which identifies some of the primary work LIS is focusing on for the next 3 months. Thanks for reading,

Terry & Doreen

Area 51 notes, June 14, 2012

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

This month’s all-LIS Staff meeting will be canceled.  Mike will talk with Sheila Andrus about holding a workshop allowing LIS staff to participate in exercises taken from management training sessions. The first will be on giving and receiving feedback.

We discussed creating a centralized location on the Area51 AD site for ready-access to certain types of heavily used data (i.e., benchmarking and analytical data, server level monitoring, etc.).  Mary, Carol, Chris and Terry will suggest what data to include.  We also agreed to share interesting or provocative data and readings from Gartner Research (or other sources) for discussion at meetings when possible.

Mike met with Tim Spears and Marna Whittington, the Board of Trustees’ new chairperson, for a general discussion of the kinds of library and technology issues the Board is interested in learning about from LIS.

Mike also discussed establishing a framework within the Academic Affairs group for discussion regarding the scope of activities LIS engages in, as well as how to further involve LIS in effecting change throughout the institution, and how LIS can align its work with the goals of the academic programs.  This might involve assessment efforts to ask questions such as:  What do we do about faculty development and student services?  Who are the faculty that are using technology?  How can this be done on both the department and college levels?  Mike will meet with Susan Baldridge to brainstorm further.

Thanks for reading,
Doreen & Terry

Area 51 notes, June 7, 2012

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

We discussed College-wide content management issues around with the website.  Carol will continue the discussion with the Web Editorial Group (through College Communications).

The first topic of discussion was how to move forward with 360 reviews for managers.  Mike and Terry will work together to create framing document for this pilot program.  They will gather information from Human Resources to see what services are already available and LIS workgroups who have already adopted this process, and work with managers to devise appropriate questions and format for receiving responses.  The SLT agreed that we do not think anonymous feedback fosters a healthy, candid atmosphere for conversation, and at this point are disinclined to allow anonymous comments in the 360 review process.

We had an animated discussion related to revising the draft LIS Priorities document, especially around the concept that serving the academic program is always a top priority, and of how best to convey the amount of resources are required to maintain those ongoing LIS services that our patrons and customers rely heavily on (e.g. helpdesk, library services, etc.). This is still a work in progress. We plan to post this as part of the July Quarterly Update. (Mike also reminded the group that updates to goals and the project directory will be due on July 1.)

Thanks for reading
Terry & Doreen

Area 51 notes, May 31, 2012

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

The ADs briefly discussed the LIS priorities list, which Mike has been working on.  When finished, Mike will distribute his modified list to the ADs for further discussion.

As noted in the email from the VP of Planning & Assessment earlier this week, their deadline for receiving goals is August 1st.  The ADs have decided to keep to our current schedule, requesting all work group goals be submitted to the ADs by July 1st.   The one-page summary needed for the annual report is due on August 1st.

As a follow-up to the commencement video concerns, the ADs discussed how video recording for important events could be improved.  Focus should be put on workflow, testing and communications.  A meeting will be scheduled with LIS and communications staff next week.

Thanks for reading

Area 51 notes, May 10, 2012

Present:  Mike Roy, Mark Backus, Shel Sax, Chris Norris, Carol Peddie Terry Simpkins and Doreen Bernier

The ADs discussed the timing of the Google/MS Live evaluation.  In order to take into consideration staff workloads, Mike asked the ADs to estimate project timelines/completion dates for major current projects to see when it would be feasible to complete this evaluation step.

In anticipation of an upcoming discussion with the Web Team, Terry asked the ADs for input on elements of a new charge for Web Team III.  The ADs suggested a number of topics, which Terry will bring to the team for discussion.  Among the initial ideas we discussed were these:

  • assessing the “extended” web presence (blogs, wikis, etc.)
  • research into new features and functionality that we may want to implement
  • improving the “self-service” aspect of the site
  • modifying design, features, etc., of the site to bring highly sought-after pages closer to the forefront
  • working with content managers to review analytics, etc., in an effort to keep site content relevant and prune obsolete information/pages/etc.

On a related note, Chris presented a draft of a team charge for the Security Team to the ADs for approval.  Rather than a list of specific tasks, this charge serves as a sort of “statement of purpose,” which the Team can use on a continuing basis to set goals each year.  This approach might also benefit other teams as well.  After some discussion, the ADs approved the charge and are happy to meet with Team members for follow-up, if desired.

Mary Backus presented a proposal for printer consolidation to review and discuss prior to presenting it to President’s Staff.  ADs were interested in learning more about the money saved and time gained from supporting fewer printers, as well as the criteria for deciding which printers to remove (e.g., distance or easy access to printers, no. of pages printed, etc.)  Mary will provide more information on this.

Chris provide a system level monitoring & availability update, sharing the data compiled in the last 3 months on how College systems are performing.  Over this period of time, systems were performing at 99.81% and not the preferred 99.9%, due to downtimes on systems for a variety of reasons (migration, Middfiles affects, scheduled upgrades, and other planned outages). Some systems of concern are iGreentree, Frontrush, Segue and the MIIS Drupal site. Systems working at 100% were Google, Rave, Cybersource and Blackberry.

Thanks for reading,
Terry & Doreen

AD 51 notes, May 3, 2012

Present:  Chris Norris, Terry Simpkins, Mary Backus, Doreen Bernier, Mike Roy, Carol Peddie, Shel Sax
Guests: Brenda Ellis, Pij Slater, Mack Roark

We reviewed the calendar for May.  Here are some highlights:
May 4 – Optional All LIS Staff meeting – Mike Roy will be sharing his presentation given to the Board of Trustees at their February meeting in Monterey.
May 10 – Managers Meeting – Education and Training Team will lead a discussion about New LIS Employee Orientation.  A follow-up to management training will be discussed
May 16 – All LIS Staff meeting –  Tim Spears will join us to discuss College Strategic Planning and Directions
May 17 – Optional All LIS Staff meeting – Chris Norris will present an update on mission continuity planning efforts.
Memorial Day – the Library will be closed, including the helpdesk

The Education and Training Team joined the group to present their draft orientation document for new LIS employees. This document provides a checklist to assist LIS managers in orienting new staff to LIS and includes links to relevant resources.  The document is thorough and well-thought-out, which didn’t prevent the ADs from offering suggestions, including:

  • Include confidentiality and handbook/policy information
  • Include copyright and intellectual property information
  • Incorporate the style guide for “watermark” information, provided by Communications
  • Possibly modify the policies webpage to incorporate basic information for new employees
  • The team should talk with Susan Baldridge and H/R to link with their higher level strategic alignment work
  • The team should present this to the managers’ meeting for further discussion (e.g., is it complete? Where should this document reside (wiki, web)? etc.)
  • The AD group also suggested that the language for job descriptions outlining the minimal required technical skills/expectations for new employees should be crafted more generally, with a link to a document or web page with specific details.  This would streamline the process of keeping the requirements current (i.e., we could change language in one location on the web, rather than in each individual job description).

ADs approved name change for Telephone Services, which will henceforth be known as Telephone Services and Printer Management.  This will need to go to HR to make the necessary changes in Banner.

Thanks for reading
Terry & Doreen

Area 51, Apr. 19, 2012

Present:  Mike Roy, Terry Simpkins, Carol Peddie, Mary Backus, Chris Norris and Doreen Bernier.
Web Team members: Jess Isler, Barbara Merz, Matt LaFrance, and Dan Frostman.
Digital Scholarship Group:  Rebekah Irwin, Ian McBride, Bryan Carson and Richard Jenkins

The Web Team presented their findings and recommendations from the User Needs Analysis (UNA)  and Usability Testing (UT) they performed on the LIS website to the ADs.  Using a combination of short pop-up surveys and focus groups comprised of faculty, staff and students, the Web Team performed a UNA in the Fall of 2011 to identify features that users most needed and/or expected from the LIS website.  The team also completed UT this spring in an attempt to gauge the usability of 3 high-level pages on the LIS website (the LIS home, library, and the helpdesk pages).

The UNA focus groups suffered from low turnout rates, but findings included a need to

  • improve the site search
  • relocate (or add additional links to) certain content
  • restructure the quick links drop-down menus
  • provide more detailed printer status data
  • implement more alias for go-links.

This information was shared with content managers, and some changes (e.g. site search) have already been implemented.

The Team also recommended the following:

  • LIS should conduct UNA prior to all major website redesigns.  This can be accomplished using the analytical tools the team used and/or by exploring current best practices
  • LIS should conduct UT regularly (i.e., at least once a year), especially using less intrusive methods such as the brief pop-up surveys.
  • Experiment to increase participation – find incentives that work, go to where the users are, etc.
  • Minor enhancements and refreshments can and should be implemented as the need arises
  • Encourage other stakeholders in the Middlebury web site to undertake UT relating to the College site as a whole

Possible next steps for the Web Team include:

  • Evangelize for regular, ongoing UNA & UT
  • Share info learned from analysis of Google Analytics data with content managers, possibly in combination with the development of a blueprint for content managers to use when undertaking UT
  • Review and make changes to the team charge and suggest membership

The Digital Scholarship Committee presented a proposal for a digital scholarship (DS) support unit to be formed within LIS.  This group would provide direction, approval, and operational support for LIS projects, consultation services for faculty and students focused on the digital humanities, and research and development of new tools/trends within the field.

There are already several faculty projects underway, and the group has made good progress on creating an attractive and functional presentation layer for MiddHistory Online, which we hope to launch in time for class reunions later this spring.  Communications will be handling marketing and promotion.

The presentation, while well-received, raised some hard questions, especially around the issue of identifying staffing resources to support such projects.  Other issues include maintenance and storage needs, connections with (and possibly work resulting from) the various College Innovation Task Forces, and being sensitive to faculty and administrative issues that will arise as DS efforts slowly become more mainstream.

The committee identified a number of next steps, including:

  • continued work on the projects currently in progress
  • conversations with liaisons and digital media tutors to review current faculty DS work that may benefit from some interaction with or support from the group
  • meeting with faculty members who have offered to work as liaisons as well as possibly Alison Byerly and Tim Spears.
  • investigating grant opportunities and other collaborative methods of supporting DS work at Middlebury

Upcoming agenda items

  • Apr. 26: budget fine-tuning
  • Mar. 3:
  1. Schedule Optional all LIS meetings
  2. Meet with the Education and Training Team about recommendations for LIS orientation
  3. Web & curricular technologies services & support

Thanks for reading,
Terry & Doreen