Author Archives: Barbara Merz

Innovative Users Group (IUG) meeting – Chicago 2012

Arabella Holzapfel, Shawn O’Neil & I (Barbara Merz) were at the 20th IUG in Chicago – beautiful city – love the lake, parks etc. etc. The meeting was quite interesting too. We’ll give brief highlights of the sessions we found to be useful, and we’ll download the associated materials, which in most cases will include PowerPoint presentations, to the folder \orgs\LIS\LISstaff\ILS III Millennium User Materials\IUG 2012 materials for your enjoyment & edification.  An observation I (Shawn) had after attending these workshops is that Middlebury College is ahead of the curve to many other Institutes in technology. Our network infrastructure seems to be superior to others.

  • “Running a User Experience Group in the absence of a Sys Admin.” (BM). Bentley University. Without a Sys Librarian, III duties fall to a group of 7: 2 tech support, 2 reference, 1 circ, 1 tech services, 1 special collections. 8 staff can access the III helpdesk. Very interesting model.
  • “Sierra Roadmap & Update” (BM) III’s pitch for the wonderful new world of Sierra. Sierra will have 100% of Millennium functionality.
  • “Learning Library-Specific Context to Mobilize Library Catalog” (BM) At University of Miami concern for the usefulness of the OPAC on mobile devices, even though searching starts with Summon, led to the adoption of Bob Duncan’s mobile stylesheet, with modifications to take care of their OPAC customizations. Definitely worth follow-up.
  • Load Profile Forum (BM & AH). Useful review of resources available to load profilers. Wiki available but underutilized! Time for Middlebury to review RDA implications.
  • “Automation: Boost your Productivity a Thousand Times.” (BM) Good tech geek presentation. Use of Expect in various flavors, AutoIt plus Java to automate repetitive tasks e.g creating review lists from record numbers, barcodes etc.
  • Systems Managers Forum (BM) Mostly controlled by III staff member talking about transition to Sierra + how things would work in Sierra. Take away message – III’s efforts will be largely directed to Sierra development from now on, even though they insist that Millennium development is continuing. My conclusion – Middlebury should consider the future of our ILS with all due haste!
  • “When your item types just don’t work anymore” (AH) was a discussion about how and why a library totally revamped their item types (going from around 10 to 101) to help them better identify various formats of material, which in turn aided greatly in tracking statistics of all kinds for all reasons. Most of it is useful ‘inside baseball’ stuff, but one intriguing thing that came out is that they (a public library in Oklahoma) loan out bike locks.
  • Two useful sessions focused on using Millennium (and, in one session, additional assistance from an outside vendor) to aid in weeding (AH). (One library had 100,000 volumes in off-site storage to weed.) Interesting factoids: Jefferson County Public Libraries in Colorado (my home state!), with 10 branches, serving 548,000, orders 100-120 copies of bestsellers. They run their weeding list weekly and withdraw about 120,000 items each year.
  • Four useful sessions dealt with various aspects of batch record loads, particularly those for e-books. (AH) One session was presented by staff from San Jose State University, where they provide e-books from 17 different providers/platforms, and have patron-driven acquisitions programs from three different vendors. They use a combination of tools, including Excel and WinBatch scripts, to de-dupe and perform other necessary functions on batch records.
  • “Using circulation data to validate an approval plan” (AH) described one library’s journey towards refining their approval plan profile (for print books) to match or surpass the circulation rates for firm orders.
  • “Getting the most out of Print Templates” (SO) –creating and using print templates for everything from spine labels to hold slips.
  • “Centralized Weeding: using create list and icodes to streamline the weeding process” and “Millennium Makeover magic: weeding in an INN-Reach consortium”- (SO) The 1st presentation dealt with both public and Academic libraries and the later was an academic library that was involved with  INN-Reach. In both, faculty  was given a say over the weeding. There seems to be no standard method for choosing what is to be weeded.
  • “Creating lists for Beginners – Why created the wheel again” (SO)  In other words, use others’ lists (with permission).
  • “Confounding by Copyright?” (SO) It seems guidelines change all the time and you can “buy protection” for copyright privileges.

Summon downtime – Saturday March 24, 8pm

We just got this notification from Serials Solutions (the provider of our Summon discovery interface).
Note that library searching in MIDCAT will not be affected.

“Downtime Notification for
March 24, 2012
Due to extenuating circumstances, Serials Solutions services will be unavailable to you and your patrons on Saturday, March 24, 2012, starting at 8:00 p.m. EDT in order to implement an emergency upgrade. The service outage will be no more than one hour.
We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause you and your patrons.”

“Think Before You” – a poem

Thanks to poet Gary Margolis for sharing his work. Gary says: “this poem emerged from my recent Winter Term Poetry Writing class. ”

Think  Before  You
Suddenly I realize
That if I stepped out of my body I would break
Into  blossom.
James Wright

I had the last three lines
of his “Blesssing”
inked into my right triceps,

across from my heart.
So one of my students won’t
waste an afternoon combing

the stacks, searching for the book
a classmate refused to return.
For which he was charged an arm

and a leg. More than worth it,
he told me later when I felt relaxed,
sometime around midterms,

to roll up my sleeve, to flex
that skin so the lines
would break where they were

meant to. So he could read,
flesh-out I’m more than tempted
to write, what time will blur

and remove. What Wright wrote,
after he learned he had a little
hope left which was more

than enough time for him to walk
over to a fence, in view, I’m now
told, of a high window

another patient could approach,
could see those two Indian
ponies amble toward. As if

their loneliness was an apple
they could eat from his hand.
As if there was nothing

he didn’t know he could
give them. As if blood was his
barbed-wire ink.

KeySurvey V8.0 webinars

If you’re a KeySurvey user, you might have noticed that some changes happened over the holidays. WorldApp updated KeySurvey to a new major version. It’s similar enough to the old version that it should be straightforward to do anything that you already knew how to do! There are some interesting new features. WorldApp is offering a couple of Webinars to demonstrate them. They are offered on January 17, 18 & 19. For details and to register: .

KeySurvey – new version is coming

From WorldAPP, creator of the KeySurvey product:

“WorldAPP will be releasing V8.0 of Key Survey/Extreme Form on December 24th, 2011, between the hours of 1:00 AM and 11:00 AM EDT.
Individuals attempting to access surveys/forms or accounts will see a a friendly notice during this time. When the work has been completed all individuals will be able to access their accounts and links normally.

We have launched a special web-site to make sure you have all the information in one place in case you need it –
(Note – there are short videos here showing features of the new version)

To see the complete list of improvements, please read through our noticeable changes document –

All current surveys and responses will remain unchanged in the new version. Overall, there are some nice new features and clearer page layouts, but it still is recognizably the same and should be intuitive to use!

New LIS blog category

Alex has set up a new category for use on this blog. “Post for MiddNotes” works just like “Post for MiddPoints”. If you add it to your LIS blog post, you’ll get an automatic cross posting to MiddNotes. MiddNotes is the student equivalent of the staff/faculty MiddPoints blog, i.e. a place for announcements of interest to students. Unlike  MiddPoints, there isn’t a weekly e-mail version going out, but it will be accessed via the new student portal. MiddNotes is definitely a work in progress right now, but it should become another useful communication channel in future.

LIS web presence – marketing project

The LIS Web team – Dan Frostman, Jess Isler, Richard Jenkins, Matt La France, & Barbara Merz – has been conducting a publicity blitz for chosen features of the LIS web presence. The selection was done in consultation with other LIS staff, with the aim of drawing attention to underutilized good stuff available to the Middlebury community. The features we advertised were:

  • Searching: the Midd Google search & special Helpdesk Google search
  • Training: Lynda
  • Drupal: documentation and new editing interface
  • Self-service PIN and password updating
  • Media services Event Recording & Film Screening forms
  • Middmedia

The tools we used were chosen with the target audience in mind:

  • an LIS eNewsletter to reach faculty, staff, & students who actually read e-mail
  • advertisements in “The Campus” to reach students as well as faculty & staff
  • posters to reach students
  • creation of more “go” links for easy access
  • use of QR codes to attract the attention of mobile device enthusiasts

We’ve also been trying to assess the effectiveness of our marketing efforts – here’s a summary of our metrics:

eNewsletter – special edition. Sent 10/5/11.
Caused a small peak in blog hits – normal background approx 30 per day, peak 196. Some of the eNews links weren’t to blog posts & as you can see below, there were spikes in the stats for featured wiki & web page URLs too.
Top posts on 10/5 – all featured in enews:
Home page 71
All About MiddMedia 16
Lynda in the Limelight 12
What is GO? 12
Searching is new and improved! 11

Unique pageviews /wiki/LIS/Main_Page (Sent Oct 5th, blue)
Wed Sept 21st: 21, Wed Sept 28th: 15, Wed Oct 5th: 26, Wed Oct 12th: 15

Unique pageviews /offices/technology/help/ (Sent Oct 5th, blue)
Wed Sept 21st: 84, Wed Sept 28th: 50, Wed Oct 5th: 140, Wed Oct 12th: 75

Unique pageviews /offices/technology/help/mediaserv/Recordingrequest (Sent Oct 5th, blue)
Wed Sept 21st: 1, Wed Sept 28th: 1, Wed Oct 5th: 10, Wed Oct 12th: 2

QR codes

Perhaps it was the content, or perhaps people in general aren’t following QR codes around here, but the codes we included in our posters & “Campus” advertisements weren’t used much! 3 hits on MiddMedia posters and 1 hit on a “Search” poster.

Changes in use of advertised features

  • Self-service PIN and password updating.
    Frequency of Helpdesk HEAT tickets for PIN reset. The decrease in HEAT tickets after the marketing effort indicates a possible, though transitory, effect!

Nov 7 – 13 	23, Oct 31 – Nov 6 	15, Oct 24 – 30 (inc. break) 	10, Oct 17 – 23 	6, Oct 10 – 16 	9, Oct 3 – 9 (eNews sent Oct 5) 	14, Sep 26 – Oct  2 	11, Sep 19 – 25 	14, Sep 12 – 18 	15, Sep 5 – 11 	14, Aug 29 – Sep 4 	16

  • Training:
    lynda logoWith the help of Pij Slater, we were able to gather statistics about use, but it was difficult to assess for sure whether our advertising caused any spikes in new-user accounts (posters around campus, bookmarks, LISblog posts, and an ad in The Campus on Nov. 3.) However, we can chart the number of new users from the time the service was officially rolled out in July,and we see that at least word is getting out:
    • July: 30
    • August: 103
    • September: 107
    • October: 80
    • Nov. (as of the15th): 46

Overall, it seems as though the strongest tool in our marketing kit is still the LIS eNewsletter, in addition to the MiddPoints News & Announcements blog (also shared as an email digest).