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AD notes, Sept. 19, 2013

Categories: Midd Blogosphere

Present:  Mike Roy, Chris Norris, Mary Backus, Jim Stuart, David Ludwig, Terry Simpkins, and Doreen Bernier

We discussed a recent decision by UVM to place a freeze on new projects from Middlebury faculty for the UVM Vermont Advanced Computing Core (VACC).  UVM has been providing our faculty with access to this service, which is used for computing-intensive research.  At this point, faculty already using the VACC are not affected.

Several alternate options were discussed.  Some of these include:

  • Investigating the feasibility of asking faculty currently using the system to mentor new faculty;
  • Look for new institutional partners;
  • Propose a cost recovery model to UVM;
  • Look to use faculty start-up funds for local machines.

Jim will convene a meeting to continue this discussion.  Terry will ask liaisons about reaching out to departments currently using the system in order to try to determine what expectations are going forward for current researchers using the service.  We agreed that we should include Bob Cluss in these discussions.

The Directors discussed what high level areas the next MISO survey (to occur in Spring 2014) should focus on.  Terry mentioned the MISO group’s strong suggestion to keep the survey under 15 minutes for faculty, which would entail sharply reducing the number of questions we have traditionally asked.  The directors’ generally agreed to focus on the following areas as much as possible while aiming to keep the survey under the 15 minute mark for faculty.

The areas of most interest include:

  • Curricular technology services
  • Liaisons services
  • Wireless
  • Responsive web design for display on mobile devices
  • Online registration
  • Public printing
  • Time to resolve computer issues
  • Video conferencing
  • eBooks

We also talked briefly about distributing a shorter survey every year instead of every two years as we currently do.  This would have modest budgetary implications.  No action on this is needed immediately, and we will discuss more as the decision point gets closer.

Mike distributed a draft of the College campus-wide goals document to the Directors for review, and asked each director to review the document with their workgroups with the aim of determining what the resource implications might be.  We will resume discussion at next week’s AD meeting.

We talked broadly about considering new policies (or renewed emphasis on enforcing existing policies) with regard to the use of rapid growth in network infrastructure and storage needs in areas such as retention of old/unused/archival files, creation of multiple special interest mailboxes (fun fact of the day: LIS currently supports 18,000 mailboxes), and distribution lists.  We also noted that there are widespread misconceptions about costs associated with redundant network storage, with the prevailing belief being that the cost is inexpensive.  This is emphatically not the case for enterprise systems, where even just 1TB of unmirrored storage costs is rather expensive.   Mike will bring this discussion to a future VP meeting when a proposal is prepared.

Finally, we discussed plans to replace the information desk and install an electronic directory kiosk or kiosks.  We have been given budgetary permission to hire an architect to propose a redesign of the space currently housing the information desk, but the kiosk can be set up independently.  However, work orders for Facilities need to be submitted soon. The Space Team will contact the Web Team and other appropriate parties to discuss content, scope, and programming for the electronic directory.

Next week’s agenda thus far:

  1. Guest: Space Team (10:00)
    1. October 2010 Davis Service Points Report
    2. LIS Facilities Request compilation for 2015
  2. Library Systems Think Tank charge approval

Thanks for reading
Terry & Doreen

Area Directors notes, July 25, 2013

Categories: Midd Blogosphere

Present:  Joe Antonioli, Mike Roy, Jim Stuart, Carol Peddie, Mary Backus, Terry Simpkins, Rebekah Irwin and Doreen Bernier

Joe Antonioli joined the meeting to give an update on SANSSpace/Online Language Lab.  SANSSpace is a pilot project being currently being used and evaluated by Language School faculty and students.  Joe has been working with Amy Foote on drafting survey questions to help evaluate SANSSpace in order to determine if we want to move the service into production.  If we do, we will need to determine who will be impacted by support requests, and what the expectations are for support from the Helpdesk.  The program could ultimately be adopted by the undergraduate language programs, MIIS, and Schools Abroad.  Once Joe and the CurrTech Team understands the Language Schools’ perspective, they will make a recommendation to the directors.

The ADs then had a brief discussion about the LIS organizational structure and space needs. Sponsorship of the Space Team will shift to Rebekah Irwin.

In a never-ending quest for determining the perfect balance of frequency and length, the directors reviewed the directors’ meeting structure.  We agreed to shorten the meeting length to 1½ hours unless the agenda requires more time.  We would like to set agendas for Thursday meetings by Monday at noon.  Urgent issues that cannot wait until the following week can be added late if necessary.

We briefly discussed preparation of the LIS Annual Report.  Mike will prepare a 1 page summary, linked to the quarterly reports.  We also talked some about the need for a repository of commonly needed statistics.

We began a general discussion about a long-term strategy for storage options, including making more systematic use of cloud options:

  • we need to establish a plan to systematically evaluate emerging options for our key technology platforms and services;
  • we should be considering how the College community already uses public tools, and take that into consideration in our thinking;
  • discussed “best-of-breed” IT service strategies vs. a strategy that emphasizes or prefers cloud hosting vs. locally hosting, etc., in general;
  • we need to be concerned about security and reputation;
  • it should be secure, sustainable, affordable, simple, convenient and user-friendly;
  • conversation rapidly expands into other areas such as BYOD (“bring your own device”)
  • to be continued…

We will invite the CurrTech Team to meet with us to review goals, projects, and priorities, including the idea of looking at possible streaming video solutions.  There are implications beyond curricular technology with this, but it seems like a good place to start.

Thanks for reading,
Terry & Doreen

Area Directors notes, July 18, 2013

Categories: Midd Blogosphere

Present:  Jim Stuart, Mary Backus, Mike Roy, Terry Simpkins, David Ludwig, Carol Peddie, Rebekah Irwin and Doreen Bernier.
Guests: members of the Space Team (Joseph Watson, Todd Sturtevant and Lisa Terrier)

We started with a review of LIS Goals, identifying top level department goals to be submitted to the Office Planning and Assessment. This is part of an effort to communicate out as widely as possible goals that may have an impact beyond LIS (note: CSNS and Information Security goals will not be opened to the public).

Members of the Space Team joined us next to discuss the principles behind moving specific work groups around, especially those that may have particular needs vis-a-vis collocation of staff, private vs. shared space, etc.  The team will review spaces again and report back to the ADs by mid-August and will be looking at public spaces within Davis for the future.

We discussed issues regarding the communication plan to announce SLAs and the self-service module of WebHelpdesk to the College community.  Currently all alerts are on, but we would like to have more data before announcing the SLAs to the community.  We agreed that we should move forward with an announcement about the self-service module as soon as possible, and include information about the priority level definitions to the FAQs.  Once we have more data regarding response times for the SLAs, we can announce the details of those to the community separately.\ Mary also suggested that we create an advisory committee to follow WebHelpdesk once the campus community begins using it.  We will be looking for volunteers for this committee, and will discuss this topic more at the next manager’s meeting in August.

At the all-staff meeting on Wednesday, staff voted to start a separate private blog for LIS staff.  The ADs would like to see this begin in September.  The Communications Taskforce will need to set this in motion.  Terry volunteered to be editor/noodge-in-chief of this new blog temporarily as we adjust to it and attempt to make sure the appropriate agendas and minutes are posted.

Thanks for reading
Terry & Doreen

Area 51 notes, June 20, 2013

Categories: Midd Blogosphere

Present:  Mike Roy, Jim Stuart, Terry Simpkins, Chris Norris, Mary Backus, Carol Peddie, David Ludwig, Rebekah Irwin (via Skype) and Doreen Bernier.
Guests: Joe Durante, Joe Antonioli and Pij Slater joined the meeting to discuss the Communications Task Force Proposal.

The budget office approved an increase to the LIS operating budget is $400K for FY14.  This was less than our requested increase of ca. $615K, so we will need to pare back.

  • We will likely make reductions in lines for consulting fees, library resources, and some of the proposed new projects;
  • We will also investigate canceling certain service contracts we no longer need, but this may not be possible;
  • We are maintaining (actually, increasing slightly) our professional development line as this was heavily used in FY13 and remains a priority for LIS;
  •  Carol has made some preliminary adjustments for the directors to review and adjust as needed.

The Communications Task Force joined the meeting to discuss their recommendations.  Last year the task force distributed a survey to staff to identify concerns about how we  communicate internally.  The survey identified three themes:

  • too many tools and methods of communications/too much information
  • complexity of the organization
  • a significant number of respondents did not think there was a “communications problem” within LIS (this is good!)

The TF will present its recommendations in more detail for staff commenting at an upcoming all-LIS meeting, but to quickly recap:

  • they recommend a separate staff-only blog for required posting of agendas & notes from selected meetings of widespread or general interest (e.g. directors’ notes, managers meetings, etc.);
  • the current LIS blog should be re-oriented specifically for the broader Middlebury community.  Items may be cross-posted between internal and public blogs, as appropriate;
  • staff will be consulted about the TF proposals in general.  We will need to what meetings of general interest would be useful to include in the private blog, decide whether or not other topics that may or may not be strictly work-related should be allowed, etc.  The idea is that the blog should be useful to staff!
  • we should re-evaluate and revisit how these recommendations are faring in 6 months;
  • it may be useful to appoint an informal moderator to review the staff-only blog, answer questions, etc., at least initially.

The directors agreed with the TF request to present and discuss the recommendations at July’s all-staff meeting.

Chris presented an overview of Information Security Auditing SOPs, which involves automated pattern-matching to detect sensitive information inappropriately posted to, for example, middfiles/org.  The automated tool is not used on personal home directories or personal workstations unless requested.  Ian Burke is creating a document with detailed guidelines and policies.  When complete, he and/or Chris will present to the directors for further discussion.

The directors briefly discussed how LIS should prepare and train for emergency situations.  The US Dept. of Homeland Security has some training materials available which are useful and important but not for the faint-of-heart.  This discussion will be continued.

Jim lead the discussion regarding the current Change Management Policy and asked if standards should be established for minor vs major changes.  He also suggested we form a cross-functional team or other type of “change management board” to assist sharing change information across work groups and creating sign-off procedures.  This team would only be involved in major changes (e.g., new middfiles). We also discussed change management in the context of new services, not just upgrades or changes to existing services.  It was noted that the current form accommodates existing systems but not new systems.

Mike asked the directors to discuss the usefulness of this idea with their managers and workgroups and report back for further discussion.  Terry suggested that any discussion about forming a new team should be included in a holistic re-evaluation of the current teams, which is part of the directors goals for the year and will be reviewed at their next retreat.

Agenda for June AD Retreat

  • restructuring
  • goals
  • cloud strategy plan
  • teams

The June 27th AD meeting has been canceled.

Agenda items (so far) for the next AD meeting
Information Security Auditing SOPs (if document is ready)

Thanks for reading,

Terry & Doreen

Area Director’s notes, June 6, 2013

Categories: Midd Blogosphere

Present:  Mary Backus, Terry Simpkins, Rebekah Irwin, Chris Norris, Jim Stuart, David Ludwig,  Mike Roy and Doreen Bernier

Brief updates:

  • Proposed Joy Pile and Kellam Ayres, respectively, as writers for the Language Schools and Bread Loaf end-of-summer reports, pending confirmation with them.  Terry will confirm with Joy and Mary will confirm with Kellam.
  • Mike proposed that the ADs hold the 9:00-10:00 on Thursdays to create a space in the calendar to hold additional ad hoc directors’ meetings.  Doreen will send a calendar invite.
  • Mary asked Mike to speak with the Michael Geisler about closing the library on July 4th.
  • Jim asked if the Service Request Workgroup could assist with testing Eduroam.  Eduroam began in Europe, and allows visiting scholars, etc., to log in at participating institutions world-wide using only their local credentials.  Currently Eduroam is enabled in Voter and in Lib125 for testing purposes.  Jim will touch base with Lisa Terrier to request her workgroups assistance.  Chris requested more information about security issues.  Terry suggested that Joy Pile could help identify Language School faculty who might be interested in participating.

We discussed planning for the Middfiles production cutover. Jim and his group proposed cutover dates of June 15-16, which would mean limited access to Middfiles for approximately 4 hours (during which Middfiles would be read-only).  Because of the aggressive timeframe for this project, the directors requested that Jim distribute a draft change management document for their review.  There are concerns about how this will affect Language Schools and certain Banner processes that write to Middfiles automatically.  David and Jim will discuss further, and the directors also thought this should be discussed with John Stokes (Operations Director for LS).  This would also have an impact on lab setups.  There was strong sentiment that this timetable may be too aggressive and that it might be better to wait until after LS to  implement.  [6/17 update: The cutover is now likely to occur at the end of the summer after Language Schools].

The ADs discussed some of the more pressing office space recommendations prepared by the Space Team.  In the Space Team proposal, the new hire for Media Services would be temporarily located at the desk behind the circulation desk in front of Doreen’s office.  This is approved as a short term solution, but it would be preferred if all media staff worked in the same area.  Joseph will place necessary requests with Facilities Services to better prepare the area as a workspace.  Additionally:

  • approved a move of Joseph from his current location in the 135 suite to Special Collections;
  • approved new librarian hire going to DFL 207.

In addition to preferring to keep Media Services staff together if possible, we also expressed a desire to keep the Information Security staff in proximity to one another.  The Directors agreed to provide the Space Team with a list of desiderata regarding staff locations (these would be general requirements or wish lists, not specific room assignments; e.g., workgroup A needs quiet space to work, staff members B & C could double up in offices if necessary, etc.).  We will invite Joseph to meet with the ADs on June 20th for more discussion.

All area, workgroup and team goals are due at the beginning of July.  Mike has asked the directors to draft goals for themselves.  They are listed below with the AD who will act as lead.

Policy – (Chris Norris)
Internal Communication (Terry Simpkins)
Prioritization (Mike Roy)
Team Reassessment (Mike Roy)
Professional Development (Mike Roy)

Next week’s Directors’ meeting is canceled since several members will be traveling.  We have an retreat scheduled for June 21.  We will also try to reschedule that since several members will be out.

Agenda for June 20th

  • Goals preview
  • Budget
  • Cloud Strategy
  • Office Space
  • Communications TF recommendations

Thanks for reading,
Terry & Doreen

AD 51 meeting notes – April 4, 2013

Categories: Midd Blogosphere

Present:  Mary Backus, Mike Roy, Terry Simpkins, Carol Peddie, Chris Norris, Doreen Bernier; Wendy Shook (guest)

Wendy Shook joined us to discuss the draft Data Management Policy she is in the process of preparing.  This is a requirement for grant applications from certain agencies (e.g. National Science Foundation); applications for funding from these agencies require the inclusion of a data management, access, and preservation plan.

The completed policy will outline objectives for science data preservation and storage using a digital on-campus repository, or, where appropriate, pointing researchers to national discipline-specific repositories that may be preferable.  Currently, Biology, Economics, and Psychology are departments at Middlebury that are most likely to need local data hosting/preservation.

Wendy suggested a 2-stage process.  Stage 1 would be a pilot project using ContentDM in conjunction with a subscription to a digital object identifier (DOI) registry. Stage 2 would reassess the platform and determine if migration to another platform would be beneficial.

We agreed that Wendy should investigate costs to subscribe to a DOI registry, and that we should get an estimate that includes MIIS.  There are also unresolved issues around data ownership and rights management, which Mike will try to have added to the Dean’s meeting agenda for next week.  Finally, Chris recommended that an information security audit and disaster recovery assessment be conducted for ContentDM.

The AD Retreat scheduled for April 19th be cancelled since Mike and Carol are both out.

We reviewed the LIS calendar for April, focusing on:

  • the 3rd quarter budget: including travel, labor, capital and operational expenses.  Carol reported we are fairly well on target, budget-wise, with not a lot of wiggle room for unanticipated expenses;
  • student labor trends.  We have asked workgroup leaders to review student labor trends to see how we are using student dollars; Directors should follow up and nudge managers as necessary;
  • BreadLoaf/Language School planning –Carrie Macfarlane is leading a group preparing a report on support for this coming summer.  She expects to be able to submit it to Terry by Monday (4/8), and we will invite her and other group members to attend next week’s Directors’ meeting to discuss.

The Manager’s meeting agenda for the April 11th meeting will include:

  • Follow-up discussion on management training, especially thinking about ways to keep the training moving forward and in active use;
  • Professional development — Mike would like to try a pilot program where, for 1-2 Fridays/month, we will set aside time to make staff professional development a priority.  This would mean not scheduling meetings, limiting the amount of email we send to one another in LIS, etc., during this time.

The All-staff meeting agenda for the April 17th meeting:

  • Staff awards;
  • Norm Cushman will give an update on his organization (not confirmed);

The Optional all-staff meeting agenda for April 18th:

  • BreadLoaf and Language School Planning (not confirmed).

Carol will re-engage the Space Team to review office space requirements for new staff members.

Mike would like to re-establish the LIS New Staff Member Coffee meetings for the forthcoming plethora of new employees.

The April 11 directors’ meeting is canceled.  We hope to discuss a proposal for LIS Language School support at the 4/18 meeting.

Thanks for reading,
Terry & Doreen.

Area 51 notes, Mar. 21 21, 2013

Categories: Midd Blogosphere

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