Sciences Advisory Group – Notes from Spring 2013 meeting

The Sciences Advisory Group met on May 15, 2013.

Attending: Carrie Macfarlane, Wendy Shook, Petar Mitrevski, Terry Simpkins (notes), Bryan Carson, Bob Cluss, Rick Bunt, Vickie Backus, Susan Watson, Catherine Combelles, Daniel Scharstein, Hans Raum, Joe Antonioli, Bill Hegman

The topics of this meeting were:

  • Analog Sunset
  • MISO Survey Follow-up
  • Comments from Biology Department
  • Update on data management
  • Updates from fall meeting


Analog sunset (Petar Mitrevski)

  • Petar gave an update on the obsolescence of certain media formats and playback devices. Projectors and monitors are starting to only provide digital connections for input (VGA inputs are no longer support, VCR inputs probably on the way out next year).
  • Professional models may continue with analog connections for the short-term.
  • Middlebury also needs to support multi-region formats, players for which are also becoming scarce.
  • We are starting to convert VHS formats needed but not available on DVD to a digital format according to ARL Best Practices for Fair Use in Academic Libraries document of 2012.
  • We need to preserve whatever VCRs we can for conversion purposes.
  • Plan is to remove VHS players from classrooms starting Jan. 2014.
  • Bob asked that, for classrooms being upgraded and losing VCRs, we notify the faculty who are using those classrooms.
  • We can digitize personal or dept. copies
  • It is technically possible to post streaming files, but they must be password protected, and some attention must be given to file size.
  • Request for MBH 216 and 220 to add projectors for the side view screens. Would need to wire in a new projector.

MISO survey followup (Carrie)

  • Faculty/student/staff survey about LIS performed in spring 2012.
  • Carrie discussed findings about 1) liaison program satisfaction and importance and 2) input into library decisions.
  • Surprised by library or tech decisions? What might prompt faculty to contact liaisons, and when would you like to hear from liaisons?
    • Rick: Library side seems well-communicated; technology side seems less-well communicated.
    • Catherine: Better communication about technology changes and options.
    • Daniel: Faculty are need driven. Perhaps more outreach from liaisons would be useful since faculty won’t usually initiate until there is a real need.
    • Bob: could liaisons provide updates to dept. meetings.
    • Susan: dept. meetings with liaisons have been very useful.
    • Bill: the info Hans is sending to Geography seems relevant and appropriate. LIS has a lot of services available that many people aren’t aware of.
    • Discussion about miscellaneous CourseHub and Moodle issues.

Comments from Biology Department (Catherine Combelles)

  • Dept retreat in Biology, Catherine gathered LIS feedback
  • Videoconference – we need more availability and in larger classrooms. Also having the ability to collaborate with faculty collaborators or off-campus students.
  • Perhaps investigate “big blue button” open source product.
  • Is there something in between Skype and telepresence? Google Hangout was suggested as a free option.
  • Concern about stability of Adobe Connect, especially when used with PowerPoint.
  • Bob mentioned the videoconferencing task force is looking at a high quality system.
  • Moodle – can it be made more stable? Is there a better way to get training? Help files are frequently out of date, or written for PC and not Mac, or lacking complete steps. Joe is the goto person for advanced Moodle support, and ( is very helpful here.
    • Wendy will write up how to link to lynda lessons and classes:
    • Here is a handout with advice about how to get started with It says this about creating links to individual video tutorials within lynda: “Important notes about sharing: You can now share Middlebury-specific course links. I’ve had the best luck using the “copy link” button then pasting the link into my own email message.”
  • Bill: Can we control the interface to Moodle?
  • We are training help desk on basic Moodle support. Digital media tutors and liaisons are also conversant with Moodle.
  • Moodle lunch/training session/discussion among faculty moodle users? Vickie is interested.
  • Bob: significant changes from CTLR and hopefully this will help make Ed tech support more visible

Data management

POSTPONED due to lack of time, a separate email is forthcoming.

Updates from fall meeting

Info lit baseline assessment and post instruction assessment – shared draft documents.

(Didn’t share these in the meeting, notes will suffice):

  • Journal subscription review: Journal lists have been distributed to Biology, Chemistry, Geology, Computer Science, Math, Psych, Neuroscience. Biology and Neuroscience have reported back, but the rest are still under consideration.
  • Weeding in Armstrong: Weeding of monographs is underway at Armstrong, as per our withdrawal policy  . Wendy previews all books on the weeding list, and if there is doubt about the value of a particular item, faculty will be consulted. Questions should be directed to Wendy (
  • Tour of Armstrong with Roy and Cluss on 5/16 to consider potential opportunities for repurposing space. Office space is needed.
  • LIS staffing: New curricular technologist hired, June 10 start date. New librarian search nearing completion (hopefully)

2 Responses

  1. Update: Petar says, “Funding for the larger videoconferencing project has been approved. We are also looking at extending our adobe connect license. Between the two we should be able to support all needs, though a specific timeline is yet to be established.”

  2. A reply to Carrie’s update: We do have some extended options for videoconferencing. Please contact me if you are interested in using videoconferencing (courses, research, professional development, student work, etc.)

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