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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

Manager’s Meeting Notes, Sept. 19, 2013

Categories: Midd Blogosphere

Present:  Pij Slater, Terry Simpkins, Joe Antonioli, Rachel Manning, Mike Roy, Joseph Watson, Joe Durante, Lisa Terrier, Rebekah Irwin, Chris Norris, David Ludwig, Petar Mitrevski, Jim Stuart, Mary Backus, Dan Frostman and Doreen Bernier

Announcements:

  • New ILL Assistant Megan Burns has started work in LIS.  Welcome Megan!
  • Media Services now supporting events in McCullough and looking to set up a substitute pool to assist when media services staff are not available
  • 9/20 Academic Roundtable in CTLR: all are invited
  • A few staff moving offices next week:  Ian, Cindy and Charlotte
  • Language Schools end-of-summer report is complete and the Bread Loaf one is close.

This remainder of the meeting was dedicated to the discussion of professional development for LIS Staff. Mike will be sending out an all-LIS announcement shortly detailing a six-month pilot project called “Time To Learn” that will carve out time for ongoing professional development for all LIS staff.

Thanks for reading,
Doreen & Terry

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

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

Managers meeting notes, August 8, 2013

Categories: Midd Blogosphere

Present: Carrie, Joe A, Mike, Joseph, Ian B, Terry (notes), Pij, Joe D, Peggy, Mary, Dan, Jim

Mike will soon send out requests for volunteers to form two groups:

  • one to investigate teams;
  • another to look at possible LIS benchmark/performance indicators.

We focused the rest of the meeting on discussing preparations for the upcoming start of the Fall semester, along with other activities that are occupying folks during the waning days of summer.

Joseph:

  • Dealing with an outbreak of mold at Davison Library
  • Now working part-time in Special Collections
  • With staff, undertaking a review of periodicals at Armstrong

Terry:

  • MISO prep – request to share questions that are required so they are not needlessly debated.  Mike mentioned that the results of the MISO survey would likely be considered one of our key performance indicators;
  • Work with the communications task force is continuing;
  • liaisons and systems folks are working diligently on migrating our SubsPlus subject guides to a new platform called LibGuides;
  • we are now providing access to Middlebury journals/databases for a select group of MIIS center directors and department heads

Ian Burke:

  • Shifting College point-of-sale systems to a new area of the network;
  • Planning for “cyber awareness month” in October.

Mike:

  • planning for a data center is beginning;
  • Mike, Jim, Chris, Mike, and Mary participated in a conference call with a few other area schools to discuss a joint IT security assessment;
  • Bill Burger in Communications has received funding for TV studio “in a box”; implemented first at MIIS and then, eventually, at Midd.  Location at Midd still TBD;
  • Jim Ralph is here and involved with CTLR.  Beginning conversations about the possibility of applying for grants in the area of digital humanities projects;
  • Jim and Mike seeking approval, funding, etc. for a biweekly luncheon series to highlight innovations around technology and pedagogy;
  • discussing LIS Info Lit efforts and how that might align with CTLR’s new role;
  • Met with COO of Middlebury Interactive Languages (MIL); may try to have semi-regular conversations between their tech staff and ours for professional development purposes.

Pij:

  • Education & Training Team is in the process of collecting feedback on the new LIS help site.  Will probably roll out after Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference.
  • Preparing wiki documentation for cut-over to MiddCloud.

Joe Durante

  • Working on hiring/returning Helpdesk students;
  • Returning student assistants will need training to use WebHelpDesk;
  • SLAs up and running; alerts are now sent whenever something is unduly delayed.

Peggy

  • Print management group is talking with SymQuest about changing our primary printer model from Canon to Kyocera.  Kyocera fully supports PaperCut and we’ve also been experiencing problems with the Canon Mac drivers;
  • Looking at alternate billing methods

Mary

  • Working with MIIS to implement Web Help Desk, using a shared database.  Tickets will be divided by location;
  • Planning public announcements of the self-service feature of WHD (September) and of the SLAs (October;
  • Something involving first-year registration (possibly registration system training, or possibly just people having trouble registering – conflicting reports…) will be happening in the Libraryon the afternoon of Sept. 4.

Dan

  • Asset inventory piece of WHD still not working with KeyServer; may need to re-import computer data into the new database system;
  • circulation/reserves staff are preparing to wrap up BL School of English and are also preparing for beginning of BL Writers Conference;
  • 18,000 more people visited Davis in July 2013 than in 2012;
  • planning for more equitable carrel distribution to those who have greatest need for them.

Jim

  • Final prep for Middfiles cutover, scheduled for Aug 18, will take 6 hours to cut-over;
  • CSNS is engaged in a complete network overhaul of MIIS campus; the core is being built here at Middlebury, and the first components installed at MIIS probably by mid-September;
  • Network improvements happening at Washington DC office of MIIS’ Center for Non-Proliferation Studies (CNS). Also preparing for a new Internet connection;
  • Undertaking a wireless assessment to determine coverage gaps; have identified some spaces, such as Gifford, where we need to upgrade;
  • Upgrading Computer Science lab, integrating authentication into our main system.  Moving storage for CS students and faculty to MiddFiles from a separate system;
  • Next windows upgrade to 8.1 will only support one specific VPN protocol; may impact some home users.

Carrie

  • Incoming students will be getting a USB guide of helpful information rather than a packet of printed materials;
  • Marketing efforts:
    • LIS book marks for new students;
    • Post-cards to market/advertise the most useful/helpful of our services;
  • Doing a targeted survey for some first-year seminars; planning for pre- and post-instruction tests to assess how well we are teaching info lit skills.  Joe Antonioli is helping with KeySurvey for this.

Joe Antonioli

  • Digital Media Tutors had a total of 66 project proposals.  40 are complete; 5 more starting soon due to returning faculty schedules; 14-15 projects to complete before academic year;
  • CourseHub for MIIS;
  • Changes to CurrTech site, making sure it is up-to-date and the information is correct.  This will not be a full overhaul this year, however;
  • Undertaking a side-by-side comparison of Midd and UNC Chinese placement exams for LS and UG department;
  • We need to make a decision on our SANSSpace by the start of the academic year;
  • Honor Code tutorial – new site, integration with CourseHub;
  • LS review every year, so will want to meet with folks involved in that support.

Thanks for reading,
Terry

Managers’ Meeting Notes, July 11, 2013

Categories: Midd Blogosphere

Present: Joe Antonioli, Mike Roy, Carrie Macfarlane, Lisa Terrier, Pij Slater, Joe Durante, Jim Stuart, Rebekah Irwin, Peggy Fischel, Mary Backus, Carol Peddie, Rachel Manning, Terry Simpkins, Joseph Watson, Petar Mitrevski and Doreen Bernier

Announcements:

  • Stacy Reardon has started as Librarian
  • Susan Simmons has started as Business Systems Analyst
  • David Wright has started as Media Services Specialist
  • Brett Wells has started as Computing Specialist II
  • We still have an open positions for Information Security Analyst, an ILL Assistant, and Curator of Special Collections & Archives

Web Help Desk – general discussion of best practices

  • Petar mentioned that Media Services has successfully downsized from 4 tracking systems to 1 with the installation of Web Help Desk
  • WHD is slow at times, especially in the afternoon.  Working to resolve this with the vendor and may need to send our database to them for testing/troubleshooting.  Jim Stuart is also looking into possible causes, but thus far the issue doesn’t seem to be on our network end.
  • Mary Backus indicated that SLA alerts had not been turned on, but will be sent out today.  They had been waiting for a way to exclude events scheduling from the alert systems, since these tickets are often entered far in advance of the event date
  • Anecdotal evidence that WHD is fostering communication between workgroups that hadn’t had much direct contact in the past
  • Templates are being set up in Web Help Desk that can assist customers in viewing our priorities.

Review of LIS Directors Goals:
We held a brief discussion/overview of the LIS Directors goals for FY14.  These goals are:

  • policy review
    • Outcome: Clarity within LIS and cross the College about what policies govern LIS activities and how they are determined
    • Comment: although internal and external policies were reviewed last year, a process for input and feedback should be implemented and inventory should be revisited.
  • internal communications improvements
    • Outcomes: A better informed staff, less confusion about where to go for meeting notes and agendas, decisions made with more input from across the organization
    • Comment: The Internal Communications Task Force will be presenting their recommendations at next week’s all-staff meeting.  Terry Simpkins gave a brief reminder of the top issues raised in last year’s short survey.
  • prioritization
    • Outcome: Clarity within LIS and across the College about how work is requested from LIS, and how LIS priorities are established and communicated.  This goal is based on feedback from some of our constituents across campus.
    • Comment: Should there be representation here from across LIS?
  • re-assess teams
    • Outcome: More effective teams that can achieve important goals and allow for effective work across work groups and areas.
    • Comment: can we implement 360 reviews for our annual performance evaluations, as we do with teams?
  • support for professional development
    • Outcome: A staff that is prepared to support not only existing systems, services, and resources, but also prepared for the fast-moving future.
    • Comment: We are looking at ways to allow a certain number of hours per month for staff to pursue training and professional development opportunities.  A survey will soon be sent out regarding this topic.

In addition to these goals, Mike has four other things that he would like to see LIS pursue:

  • effective meetings: How well run are our current meetings?  What could be done to improve them?
  • project management: Interested in some sort of in-depth, multi-session course on project management to help us develop a common approach and vocabulary for this type of work.  Should there be a project management office? Should we develop some sort of tool kit to assist project managers?
  • 360 reviews for managers: we discussed this last year. Mike would like to see all managers in LIS go through some version of a 360 review on a regular basis.
  • balanced scorecard pilot:  a first pass at establishing quantitative and qualitative metrics for understanding how each workgroup, team, and area is performing.

Next Month’s agenda

  • Semester Startup – around-the-table discussion
  • Teams Assessment

Thanks for readin’!
Terry & Doreen