LIS Priorities: Summer 2010

In order to ensure that LIS and the community we serve has a shared understanding of our priorities, we regularly publish a summary of what we are focusing on. The intent is not to capture everything that we are doing, but rather to highlight what we see as the most important projects, issues, and initiatives. We’ve organized it into four categories. Evaluations highlight pilot projects and other ways that we are exploring new ways of delivering service, Services, infrastructure, programs highlights those projects that will have the most obvious and direct impact on the community. Strategic planning highlights efforts that are longer-term and more abstract. Organizational development and assessment highlights activities that look at our organizational structure, workflow, communications, and efforts to assess and improve them. This is the second installment of this document; the first installment is here. Items new to the list are marked as new while items that have been removed from list are listed as such at the bottom of the document, as are items that we believe might make their way to the list in the future.

A complete list of all projects LIS is engaged in can be found at


  1. google apps We are continuing to explore whether or not we should migrate away from Exchange to Google Apps for Higher Ed. One of the key issues we are focusing on are the security and privacy issues that arise when shifting data from local systems to systems hosted by vendors. Details at .
  2. segue from segue We are evaluating options for a system or set of connected systems to replace Segue. Details at
  3. ebooks We will be running a pilot project this fall to investigate the utility of providing our patrons with ebooks. new
  4. virtualization We will continue our efforts to deploy thin-clients as replacements for desktop computers as a means of saving money, reducing our carbon foot-print, and lowering the management costs of maintaining the hundreds of computers we have on campus. new
  5. banner document management system and workflow We will be working with various offices on campus to identify pilot projects to work with us to replace paper-based processes with paperless processes using the banner document management system (formerly known as xtender.) new

Services, infrastructure, programs

  1. wireless improvements We are continuing to work to improve the performance and reach of the wireless network.
  2. music library plan We are developing a plan for potentially moving the music library into the main library as a means of consolidating collections and having more of our staff working in the same building.
  3. information literacy plan As part of the reaccreditation process, we are looking at how we approach information and technical literacy and its integration into the curriculum, with an eye towards developing a proposal for how we approach this.
  4. identity management As part of our overall efforts to have systems that provide access to our services based on roles within the College, we are evaluating systems that allow this information to be stored in an ‘identity vault’ that our systems can check in order to decide what sort of access to provide to an individual.
  5. course catalog In collaboration with the Dean of Curriculum and the Registrar, we are developing a more interactive version of the online course catalog, and a simplified version of the printed catalog.
  6. printer consolidation/management We are doing an inventory of printers and copiers on campus as part of a project to reduce the number of devices on our network to save money and to reduce our carbon footprint.
  7. data warehouse evaluation We are exploring options for providing access to institutional data through a ‘data warehouse’ that provides a simplified view into Banner and other data to make reporting and analysis easier to do.
  8. efficiency taskforce We are leading a campus-wide effort to look at how the College might operate more efficiently through the more effective use of technology.
  9. open access We are planning a campus-wide conversation about open access to begin this fall that we hope will lead to the faculty considering open access legislation that will encourage if not insist on faculty making their publications available through an open repository.


Strategic Planning

  1. strategic plan website We are posting to the web our strategic planning process that lists out our priorities, goals, projects, and our progress in achieving these results.
  2. finalizing and tracking goals As part of our overall strategic planning process, we are developing a set of short-term (18 months) goals
    for the organization.
  3. multi-year budget for capital and operating budgets We are developing a multi-year budget to support our strategic plan and our on-going operational commitments. This budget links our capital and operating needs, and will ensure that we don’t take on projects for which we don’t have the necessary on-going financial resources to maintain.
  4. prioritization process We are looking at the process that we use within LIS to set priorities at both a micro and macro level as a means of making sure that we have in place effective governance structures, and that our internal prioritization maps onto the priorities of the College.


Organizational Development and Assessment

  1. reaccreditation As part of the campus-wide reaccreditation committee, we are preparing a section of the reaccreditation report having to do with library and technology resources.
  2. communications We are looking at how we communicate both internally within LIS and to the rest of the Middlebury community with an eye towards improving the way we inform ourselves and our constituents about what is going on.
  3. assessment We are establishing a schedule for a regular assessment of our major services. The first set of services to be assessed will be desktop support, special collections, interlibrary loan, and storage.
  4. next generation staffing and services Having completed our staffing plan and begun the process of hiring new staff, we now need to focus our attention on the training and orientation of our newest members of LIS, planning for the professional development needs of all of our staff as they transition to new roles and responsibilities and new support needs, and revisiting our ‘not to do’ list process to make sure that the decisions we made remain the right decisions. new


Items Removed From This List (And Why We Removed Them)


  1. website usability testing Having launched the new website, we are now testing the usability of the site in order to assess how successful the site is in meeting the goals we set out to accomplish with the new site. While we will never be done with this, we have made sufficient progress on this front that we no longer feel it is a priority.
  2. privacy and security in the cloud As part of our evaluation of google apps, we are doing research into the security and privacy issues that arise when shifting data from local systems to systems hosted by vendors. This items was consolidated into the google apps evaluation item.
  3. search strategy As part of the new website, we are looking at how search works, and exploring what our options are to improve the search function for the site. We have established a schedule for regularly looking at how effective search is working, and so no longer feel that we need to focus on this.
  4. project directory As part of the strategic plan website, we are developing a project directory that lists all major LIS projects, with descriptions, resources used, offices and constituencies served, and timeline. The directory is now more or less finished, and is more or less being used within various parts of LIS. While there is work to be done, it need no longer be listed as a focus for us.
  5. launch 3 new teams We will be forming three new teams to support space planning, training & education, and security. These teams are now launched, and have begun their work.
  6. staffing plan Following the loss of 25 positions within LIS, we have developed a staffing plan approved by the Staffing Resource Council that will result in a set of external hires, internal promotions, and transfers. While there are still some open positions that we have yet to fill, this item has shifted to focusing on the orientation and training of the new staff


On the Horizon

Here are items that we anticipate making their way to this list in the coming months; we welcome suggestions about what we might include on this list, what shouldn’t be on this list, and which items on this list should make their way to our focus list.

  1. Communications Plan We need to evaluate the effectiveness of the various ways that we communicate internally within LIS and to the rest of the Middlebury community, and if we discover gaps or issues, make improvements.
  2. R&D/Innovations We need to build into our planning processes space for research and development, experimentation, and innovation in order to ensure that we are informed about new opportunities afforded by emerging technologies, formats, and delivery methods.
  3. Support for mobile devices With the proliferation of iPhones, android phones, iPads, and other more mobile devices, we need to develop a strategy for providing services for these new platforms.
  4. …… what else? Let us know.

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