Tag Archives: communication

The Not to Do List Process

In response to our shrinking staff and shrinking budget, we’ve had to take a hard look at the services we offer, and in many cases either eliminate, reduce, or radically change those services. We thought it would be useful to document the process we’re using to make these decisions, both to encourage us to continue to do this hard work of looking critically at our services, and to make sure that the proper amount of consultation and vetting is taking place as we change our services to match our available resources. Here are the steps we’ve been taking:

1. We’ve challenged all of LIS to come up with ideas for things we can do less of or stop doing or do differently. That idea gets written up, documenting what the present service level is, what the new proposed service level would be, the savings in time or money, and who would be affected by the change.

2. The idea is discussed within the workgroup and/or area as a first step. Conversations across workgroups, areas, and with groups affected by this proposed change are encouraged.

3. If the idea seems worth pursuing, the idea is added to the central list of ideas we are vetting.

4. The ADs will provide the first level of vetting.

5. The managers group will provide a second level of vetting, to try to capture any unintended consequences. This happens on two tracks. The idea is sent out via email, and if there are no objections, we move it forward to the next step. If there are objections, we pause to discuss further.

6. Once it has been internally vetted, as appropriate, we share the idea with any or all of the groups listed below, using the same fast track/slow track method of gathering feedback:(More information about some of these groups can be found at http://sites.middlebury.edu/lisadvisors/ )
1. Faculty LIS Advisory Group and/or divisional advisory groups
2. Student LIS Advisory Group
3. Academic Affairs
4. President’s Staff
5. Banner LEADS
6. Academic Dept Chairs

7. Once fully vettted, we’ll implement the change and communicate the change to the affected members of the community.

While this process seems complicated, we think any given idea should be able to be vetted in a month or less, depending on various meeting schedules and agendas, and depending on whether or not the idea moves on the fast track or slow track.

We will shortly publish on the web both the list of reduced services and also the list of service reductions under consideration.

Categories and Tags

Blog categories and tags: what they mean and when to use them

Categories = Audience

Tags = Description

LIS Website Team confession: As a team we’ve struggled with a way to articulate to everyone how and why we structured the categories on this blog in the way that we did, and how we intend categories and tags to be used. Hopefully this explanation will provide a useful distinction between the two, and give both post authors and blog readers guidance for how to use them.

Categories (Select your audience)

Use a category to reach an audience (or several).

Continue reading

Communication role for web team

Do we want to broaden the the web team’s charge to include “communications within LIS”?

Can we clarify what this means!? We have already proposed the LIS one blog as a major communication tool. To consider communications more broadly probably should involve gathering info about current communications, discussion of what various LIS ares/departments/staff need and want etc. etc. Is this something that should happen now?

Comment here!!

One Blog to Pool them All

Here are my initial ideas of how this could be organized.

Existing Infrastructure

We’ll take the current LISt blog, rename it to just “LIS” and grant all staff in LIS Editor access to the blog. Student workers and LIS-related people like department advisory groups will have Author access granted as needed.

Porting Content

Users and groups with existing blogs may move their content into the LIS blog by going to Tools -> Export -> Download Export file in their blog, then Tools -> Import -> WordPress -> Upload file and Import. After doing so, they should go to Posts -> Categories and use the Category to Tag Converter to change any custom categories their blog had into tags on the LIS blog.


The LIS blog will start with this set of categories:

  • Audience
    • External
    • Internal
  • Areas
    • Academic Consulting Services
    • Collection Management
    • Enterprise Technology & Infrastructure
    • LIS Administration
    • User Services
  • Institutions
    • Middlebury
    • MIIS
    • Language Schools
    • Schools Abroad
    • Bread Loaf
    • MMLA
  • Teams
    • Area Directors
    • Curricular Technology
    • Digitization
    • LIS Website

All other existing categories in the LIS blog will be changed to tags. In general, we’ll encourage the use to tags to mark things like posts that have photos in them, posts about particular workgroups, posts about particular projects, or other things that tend to have a more temporally mutable quality to them. Categories will be used chiefly for broad categories that change infrequently.

Private Blogs

The LIS blog will not be used to store private content. Groups, such as ACS, who wish to have a private blog should continue to use and maintain their blog in its present form or create new private blogs if one has not yet been set up.

Internal vs. External

Posts that are likely to be interesting only to LIS staff should be marked with the Internal category. Examples of this content might include a notice about LIS goal setting. Note that these posts would still be readable by the public, but that those subscribed to the public feed wouldn’t see them in the feed. Posts that are likely to have broader appeal, like a cookie party for students, should be marked with the External category, or both the Internal and External categories.

There will be links to both the External and Internal feeds on the blog homepage with a description of the content featured in each so that site visitors can choose how they will read about LIS.

Answers from Joe (paraphrased)

1. Can we have a folder in middfiles for documents related to the LIS web redo?

Sure. Just create a new folder in the Web Redo Project Managers area for LIS.

2. When will the next round(s) of Drupal training be offered?

A second round of test training will be offered to the Project Managers group starting the week of 9/21. LIS Website Team members may request to attend as may the LIS Project Managers, though it would be a good idea to ensure that any who do attend are caught up on the current process, workbook, etc. Also, all involved should understand that they probably won’t be able to immediately go back and edit their site in Drupal after these sessions. There will be training work shops and sessions offered later in October for content editors at which point people should be doing content editing in the Drupal CMS.

3.  Can we schedule a meeting with White Whale during their visit?

Probably. Joe is, at the (not so) very least going to schedule a meeting with Tonya, who is responsible for the IA & Content Recommendations documents. I have a feeling that most of our questions will involve her. Joe will try to have the others from White Whale present for this meeting, if schedules allow. We should have a list of questions we want to ask going into the meeting. They will be on campus the week of 9/14.

Questions from primary contact meetings

I thought I’d share with the team some questions my primary contacts had (or I had) after our initial meetings. Some of these questions are easily answered, and some raise other questions. I just thought I’d get them out to see what other people have been thinking about and discussing in their meetings. Maybe I’ll put a new section in the Wiki for LIS primary contact meetings FAQs…

  1. Will a link to my department/content exist on the LIS landing page?
  2. Will there be a “featured departments/events/exhibits/goings-on” spot on the LIS landing page?
  3. If I have an exhibit or event or online project being launched, can I advertize it on the LIS landing page?
  4. Can I name my part of the LIS site whatever I want? (What if I want to name it something other than what my department is called?) Can I separate out parts of my site as I see fit?
  5. Is creating my content in a Drupal page the best way to display and organize my department’s dynamic content (video, images, audio, etc.)?
  6. What if I want to use blogging tools than WordPress as part of my department’s web presence?
  7. How can I use MiddLabs, and other tools of the new College website to best communicate my department’s services and collaborative activities?

AD Meeting Report

I covered the following topics during the meeting:

  • Our blog and wiki
  • Project scope
  • Timeline / time pressures
  • Surveys, google analytics, search analysis, HEAT stats, etc.
  • LIS Project Managers
  • Brief overview of recommendations

Questions from the ADs and my paraphrased responses:

What can we do about time pressures?

I mentioned that we weren’t requesting peoples tasks to be juggled or reassigned, but we did want the ADs to know that some members wanted to spend more time on this project. I noted that we understood that the amount of time we spend on project work will vary during the course of the project. I can explain more during our weekly meeting.

What resources do you need [the ADs] to provide?

We don’t have specific resource requests at this time, though we may have more after our meeting with Jeff on the 20th. We will also ask the LIS Project Managers what additional resources they will require to work on their areas of the LIS website and will send these requests to the AD team as appropriate.

What about forms that send information to people in LIS? [book order form, helpdesk request, etc.]

I said that this was something we had not considered previously, but providing access to these forms does seem within scope of our project and is something we should consider in our recommendations. I promised to bring up this topic during one of our next meetings.

What about an issue/request tracking system on the web?

Developing/purchasing such a system is not within the scope of our project. However, should LIS acquire or develop this system, we may have recommendations on how best to provide access to its information through the web. As LIS does not have such a system at this time, developing these recommendations is not a priority for our work.

Where is LIS in the site information architecture?

The Library website will be part of the Academics section of the site. LIS will not have a traditional site on the CMS, but the LIS landing page may be accessible in the Offices & Services section, through Search, through Quick Links, etc.

I’m a faculty member and I want to know about the curricular technology options that are available to me. How do I find this out?

This is specifically the question that we are looking to the curricular technology team to answer, which is why we have identified that team as a Project Manager for a portion of the LIS website.