This Week in LIS - 14 March 2008

Weekly news and updates from Luther College Information Technology Services. To receive email updates, please sign up here.

Upcoming Dates

  • March 19 (Wednesday): Training: Upcoming Norse Key Password Changes
  • March 20 (Thursday): III Encore Installation
  • March 26,27 (Wednesday, Thursday): Training: Office 2007
  • April 2,3 (Wednesday, Thursday): Training: Sneak Peek at New Magnus (library catalog)
  • More information on upcoming training opportunities:

Headline of the Week: Upcoming Faculty Computer Roll

LIS is current working to plan and launch our triennial replacement of faculty desktop computers, scheduled for summer 2008. With more than 350 machines to replace and the individual preferences and transfer of information for each faculty member, there is no shortage of work or steps to the process. This weekend we are launching a survey for faculty to provide feedback on a number of aspects of the replacement project, including information on what software they use regularly, as well as their general platform and form factor preferences. We are also planning with this roll to transition to a quadrennial replacement cycle, and are considering some different options for structuring the cycle including a staggered approach, or continuing the everyone-at-the-same-time model. Both have their advantages and disadvantages. We’re interested in thoughts from faculty.

The transition to a four-year cycle we believe makes sense financially and technologically for the college as we work to ensure appropriate replacement cycles for all Luther hardware. We will be ensuring that the hardware we purchase this summer will be appropriate for a four-year cycle and will work to ensure a good experience on the hardware for its lifetime.

We are also working to acquire specific specifications for hardware and working with vendors on overall pricing packages. We will be surveying faculty again this spring for specific information on their preferences, and the hardware replacement process will crank up in June.

Second Headline of the Week: Norse Apps Migration

As the week began, we had just over 100 users migrated into Norse Apps, including much of LIS, our Help Desk students, and other selected faculty and employees. As of today, we now have nearly 600 users migrated and more than 200 users newly-born into Norse Apps, putting our total users at near 850. The migration process for seniors, who were invited this week has gone smoothly and a large percentage of the class has accepted the invitation to move. We have also added more than 230 new users from the Class of 2012, next year’s first-year students to the user list and will continue adding more new students over the next several weeks and months. Next week, we will be inviting the junior class to move as well.

LIS Blog Highlights from the Week:

LIS Website Changes

  • has a newly configured home page with links to recent blog posts, LIS services on the web, as well as a customized search interface to LIS web resources.
  • has been upgraded to the latest version of system software that enables some new functionality for our Google Search Appliance.
  • Our new discovery services platform server Encore has arrived on campus and will be installed in the next week.
  • Magnus, LIS’ online catalog has a beta interface available at which is currently undergoing review.

Notes from LIS Council

LIS Council discussed Marcia’s participation on Datatel’s e-Advisory board, the college’s study abroad programs, our upcoming Norse Key policy changes, the phishing fiasco from Sunday, and Norse Apps migration.

NITLE Opportunities

As a member of NITLE, Luther has the opportunity to participate in a wide variety of programs targeted for faculty, librarians, and information technologists. Each week, we’ll list upcoming opportunities. If you’re interested in more information about any of these events see the links below. If you would like to be nominated to participate in an event, please let me know prior to the posted deadline. Participation is contingent upon available funding and program acceptance. Items added since the last issue of TWILIS carry a NEW: tag.

Cool Resource of the Week: Google Sky

For backyard astronomers in Northeast Iowa, it is finally getting a little warmer outside so it is not quite so painful to be outside while stargazing … and for backyard astronomers everywhere, studying the sky and stars just got a little easier thanks to Google’s new Google Sky product which brings the same technology powering their Google Maps product to space. The following describes the new service and is quoted from Google:

Traveling to the stars has never been easier.

To help you explore the far reaches of our universe, we have teamed up with astronomers at some of the largest observatories in the world to bring you a new view of the sky. Using Google Maps this tool provides an exciting way to browse and explore the universe. You can find the positions of the planets and constellations on the sky and even watching the birth of distant galaxies as seen by the Hubble Space Telescope.

We are particularly excited about the ability to view the universe at different wavelengths, to see how it would look if our eyes worked in the x-rays or infrared. As you explore these new layers, play with the transparency to blend between the different wavelengths and see how different parts of the universe light up at different wavelengths

If you are interested in what’s happening on the sky tonight or over the next few months then check out the podcasts from Earth and Sky or search for the position of your favorite planet.

On the web at

Around the Web

Here are a few links to interesting developments over the past week:

  • Media and Publishing
    • None
  • Open Source and Standards
    • None
  • Service and User Experience
    • None