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Directors’ Notes, Oct. 3, 2013

Categories: Midd Blogosphere

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

We talked about regularizing a structure for team assessments and updates to the directors group.  We agreed that rather than ask teams to meet directly with the directors to provide updates, we will ask each team to present their latest quarterly updates at an LIS staff meeting once a year to provide information on their recent accomplishments, current priorities, longer-range thoughts and goals.  Additionally, we will invite each team leader to a directors’ meeting 4 times a year to discuss priorities, communications and resource issues.  We also will ask each team member for feedback at least once a year, and are developing a list of questions to guide that conversation.  We agreed that this feedback should not be anonymous.  Mike will send out a communication with the teams about this assessment proposal.

We then reviewed and discussed the proposal and justification for wireless network administrator position to refill that open position.  This was approved.

Prior to meeting, we reviewed the LIS Facilities Requests process being facilitated by Joseph.  This requests are due in to Facilities by October 11th.

Upcoming meeting agendas:

  • Oct. 16 – All-staff meeting:
    • Staff Awards
    • Get to know the Directors:  Jim Stuart and David Ludwig
    • LIS private blog initial roll-out
    • Time for learning discussion
  • October Manager’s Meeting – cancelled
  • Oct. 17 – Director’s retreat
    • Directors Team – expectations, ground rules, etc. in light of the revamped team structure and newer members
  • Oct. 24 – Directors’ meeting
    • Education and Training Team visits
    • project management : Discuss a proposal to develop a common understanding and vocabulary around project management
    • content and usefulness of directors’ updates: Review the updates we provide one another to see if we can improve their utility.
    • Consortium of Liberal Arts Colleges (CLAC): staff exchange proposal: Discuss a proposal from CLAC to facilitate staff exchanges to share expertise among CLAC schools
    • Team Assessment Protocol : Further discussion of the plan to assess our current team

Thanks for reading

Terry & Doreen

Director’s notes, Sept. 26, 2013

Categories: Midd Blogosphere

Present:  Mary Backus, Mike Roy, Jim Stuart, Chris Norris, Terry Simpkins, Rebekah Irwin, David Ludwig and Doreen Bernier.  Guests: Space Team members Joseph Watson, Hans Raum, Lisa Terrier, Todd Sturtevant and Peggy Fischel

Members of the Space Team joined the meeting to discuss office assignments in Davis Library.  We had previously reviewed and approved the Team’s proposal to address the short-term need for additional office space for newly hired positions, which have now been completed.  We discussed another round of office/space shuffling to accommodate further growth in some workgroups and, if possible, to colocate certain groups currently dispersed.

We also agreed:

  • we need to go through DFL 221 and DFL 145 schedules to delete obsolete meetings;
  • staff room could be used as a meeting space during certain times of the day (e.g., not during lunch breaks)

The team also reminded us that project lists are due to facilities on October 8th.

We approved a charge for a group to think broadly about library systems issues (aka, Library Systems Think Tank) with the following caveats:

  • the LSTT should consider inviting Peter Liu (MIIS) as a member;
  • the LSTT will also play a role in thinking about how we support digital scholarship services.

David and Charlotte have been working on a form through Webhelpdesk for project requests.  This topic was only touched on briefly and will be added to next week’s agenda for further discussion.

Thanks for reading,

Terry & Doreen

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

AD Meeting notes, Aug. 29, 2013

Categories: Midd Blogosphere

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

We reviewed the Space Team’s proposal to address the short-term need for additional office space for newly hired positions.  The proposal also offered suggestions to consolidate other workgroup areas who have outgrown their current locations within Davis.   The directors approved the following office moves:

  • Move Charlotte Pratt from 116 to 216 to share with Susan Simmons until more private space becomes available;
  • Move Ian Burke and student assistant from 115 to 116;
  • Move Cindy Peet from 116 into 115;
  • Assign the new Information Security Analyst to 116 (Burke and assistants).

The Team will meet with the directors in September to discuss the remaining recommendations.

Chris presented the proposed Information Security Auditing Standard Operating Procedures for review and discussion.  The procedures were written as guidelines for auditing the security of institutional data, and are intended for internal LIS use.  Chris will draft a summary more appropriate for the broader College community.

It is time again for the annual review of the LIS portions of the College Handbook.  Chris is coordinating, and he has asked the directors to review and make revisions as needed to the sections assigned to them.

Our revised student assistants budget request came in considerably higher than our current allocation.  After a lengthy discussion, the directors asked User Services to reduce their student assistants budget and Curricular Technology to reduce the Digital Media Tutors.  Additional funds will be reallocated from software, library resources, and a few other paid expenses that came in lower than budgeted (e.g. Moodle costs).

Our next meeting will be a retreat on Thursday, Sept. 5 to discuss the organization of the Web Team.

Thanks for reading,
Terry & Doreen

Directors Notes Aug. 15, 2013

Categories: Midd Blogosphere

Present:  Terry Simpkins, Rebekah Irwin, Mike Roy, Jim Stuart, Mary Backus, Carol Peddie (via Skype) and Doreen Bernier.  Joe Antonioli (guest).

Joe Antonioli presented the results of the SANSSpace pilot survey recently completed by LS faculty and students.  Although the sample size was small, both faculty and students provided overall positive feedback about the service.  We also reviewed the options for vendor technical support, and the support impact that SANSSpace would have on LIS staff.

The vendor, Chester Technical Services (CTS) (contracted by SANSSpace), would provide 24-hour, business-day support for this product.  This means that support issues reported on Friday would not be acknowledged before the following Monday.  A contract with CTS would provide training for faculty 3 times per year (at the beginning of the Fall, Spring, and Language School terms).  Providing additional training for trainers might also be beneficial.

After some discussion, the directors agreed to move forward with implementation and potentially commit to a 1-year contract, contingent upon successful negotiation with the vendor for training and support.  Assuming these negotiations are successful, we will send an email to faculty announcing the new service, while at the same time clearly explaining the level of support that LIS, in collaboration with the vendor, can provide.

We discussed LIS protocols for scheduling and announcing system down times.  We agreed that such announcements should be sent out via all-LIS staff email no later than noon on the Friday before the scheduled downtime, and at the same time posted to the LIS blog. All system down times should be planned within the maintenance window whenever possible, and should also be coordinated with the CSNS work group.  Jim, Chris Norris, and David Ludwig will determine if change management documents are required and whom they should be shared with appropriate groups.  Finally, we agreed that all downtime announcements should be sent out and coordinated by Jim, and Chris acting as Jim’s backup when necessary.

Next the group reviewed and discussed communications relating to additional LIS organization changes.  We have already been in contact with those staff who are directly affected by the reorganization; these latest messages are to announce the changes more widely.

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