Social Science Advisory Group – Notes from Fall 2009 Mtg.

Present: Bob Prasch, Thierry Warin, Anne Knowles, Bert Johnson, David Stoll, Brenda Ellis, Joe Antonioli, Joe Toth, Carrie Macfarlane, Mack Roark, Carol Peddie


  • More Q & A re: new website and options besides Segue (and future planning)
  • How have budget cuts affected LIS services and resources
  • Library print to digital initiative (journals, databases, reference materials, primary sources)

Segue Replacement Update: (Joe Antonioli)

Segue will continue to be available through this summer and probably through next fall as well.  Tools will be in place to migrate Segue content to other platforms.  We will be engaging various groups on campus to via surveys and focus groups to help us determine what features and functionality are most needed for course sites and online curricular resources.

Web Makeover Update: (Joe Antonioli)

The new website will run on Drupal.  Drupal workshops will begin the week of Oct. 12th. The Web Makeover committee has reviewed more designs from White Whale (the company that is designing the website).  The latest presentation from White Whale can be viewed on the Web Makeover Blog, where you can find more detailed updates and mock-ups of department webpage and a faculty page.

Q:  Who has editing ability for department webpages?
A:  This will vary by dept. and is determined by the Primary Contact.  In some cases, multiple people will have editing permission, while in other cases, content changes will go through the Primary Contact.  Some things will be standard across all departments, but there will be many additional options to choose from.  Faculty will have their own pages.

Q:  Will it be possible to upload files such as data sets or articles?
A:  Yes!

LIS Budget Cuts Overview (Carol Peddie)

Carol gave an overview of the various LIS budgets.  The Operating Budget was cut by approximately 9.5 % (-$340,000).  This includes library resources, software, professional development funds – everything but computers and network equipment.  Many cuts were made behind the scenes.  For example, some maintenance contracts were reduced to M-F 9-5 rather than 24/7.  Software packages weren’t automatically renewed (ex. dropped Novell license).

Q: How much is spent on software?
A:  Approx. 1 million, but much of that is administrative (ex. Banner).  Most software is paid on an annual basis and that cost goes up each year.  Faculty software ranges from $100 for site license to $1500 per seat.  No plans to cut faculty software but growth will be slower.

The library resource budget was cut by over $100,000.  More on that later in the meeting. The capital budget was cut by 35%.  This includes classroom equipment, computers, and network infrastructure.  The budget went from $2.5 million (high) to $1.8 million to $1.2 million.  Approx. $900,000 is spent annually on replacing desktop computers. In response, LIS is investigating virtualization of software and thin client computing and concurrent use software.  Also, LIS is analyzing lab and public computers and will reduce computers in underutilized areas.  Classroom upgrades will happen more slowly (comes from facilities budget).

Q:  What percent of students come with their own computers?
A:  Over 90% (mostly laptops)

Comment: There aren’t enough computers in geography to support GIS.

LIS Staffing: Carol reported that by the end of Nov, LIS will be down 22% of staff and there will be no rehiring of frozen positions until January.

Library Materials budget: (Joe Toth).  Last year the budget was cut 5% mid year (i.e. -$78,000) then was level-funded this year.  But because our subscriptions go up (this year it was less than usual because some publishers held the line), it resulted in the need to cut $100,000 from the materials budget.  In response, book selecting by librarians was shut down early last year, database usage stats were examined and low use databases were cancelled, and the book/media budget for this year was reduced.  LIS will rely more on NExpress for borrowing and reduce duplication with those libraries and will do more strategic purchasing in the future.  Overall book circulation is declining and statistics show that overall, there is higher circulation of materials selected by librarians, followed by approval books (profiles) followed by faculty selections.  Ann commented that faculty need to be made aware of these cuts and be asked to reduce their ordering.  However, there is great variation in ordering by faculty,  so only those faculty who do heavy ordering may need to pull back (selections should support the curriculum in any case) and liaisons can contact those faculty if needed.  Joe responded that he will soon be sending out a collection development newsletter that will help explain all this to the rest of faculty. [This newsletter has since been sent out via email as Library Collection News and parts of it can be found here.]

Q:  Is Middlebury going to participate in consortial buying plans?
A:  Colby, Bate, and Bowdoin (some of our NExpress partners) are already doing this and Middlebury would like to do something similiar with 1-2 other NExpress partners, if they are willing.

LIS Responses to all  cuts: (many of these are detailed in the campus letter from the Dean of LIS that came out the following day).  LIS has stopped staffing the info desk (except 1st week of semester); may reduce helpdesk hours; may revisit ILL policies; may reduce support for screening DVD’s; public printing reductions; stop providing phones in student rooms (hallways instead – $50,000 savings); 2 weeks notice for reserves; Exams – close the library at 1 am (not 24/7); stopped retrieving books from stacks (unless disabled); More reliance on borrowing materials from NExpress; changes in reference service (will have 3 fewer librarians) – Sat and Thurs. evening hours cut – the rest of time ref service offered from offices or special collections so librarians’ time will be used more efficiently. For details see http://go/refhours.  Also, the number of library subject guides have been reduced (some consolidated – mostly will use existing ones rather than create new specialized ones).  In general expect that projects requiring a lot of staff time will be prioritized and some won’t be approved.

Q: David asked why there was no announcement about dial-up access ending.
A:  Carol explained that it broke and it took awhile to cobble together a limited fix.  However this will probably be discontinued altogether in January.

Library Print to Digital Initiative (Brenda)

LIS has been moving a number of library resources from print to electronic access.  Where possible, we have changed journal subscriptions to electronic only and have expanded journal access through electronic packages of current journals.  Packages allow us to greatly expand the titles we get from a publisher for a small additional sum.  LIS has also purchased more digital archive packages of historical journal issues (JSTOR, PAO, American Periodicals Series).  Also digital archives of primary source materials (newspaper collections, Archive of Americana, etc.)   In addition, other areas where digital has been preferred to print are reference materials (ex. online encyclopedias), and statistical compilations (statistical databases such as World Development Indicators).  In the future, LIS will investigate which areas or disciplines might be appropriate for expanding E-books via E-book packages or individual selection.   Among the many advantages digital access provides, is 24/7 access to our local Middlebury users as well as Middlebury users who are abroad.  For a list of recent electronic purchases and subscriptions see this list by title and this slightly different list:  Major New Library Databases last 3yrs. To access any of these databases, see http://go/librarydatabases.  To access any of these journals or newspapers, see http://go/journals.


LIS and the CTLR are looking for examples of innovative uses of technology to feature on the new “Teaching with Technology Blog” ( and in next year’s Pedagogy and Technology Fair. Please consider sharing your ideas for technology use with others. Let me know if you’re interested.

Posted by Brenda Ellis

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