This Week in LIS - 2 May 2008

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

Upcoming Dates

  • May 7 (Wednesday): LIS General
  • May 7 (Wednesday, Thursday): Training: Office 2007 & Access 2007
  • May 9-10 (Friday, Saturday): Board of Regents
  • May 14 (Wednesday): Training: Norse Apps
  • May 21, 22 (Wednesday, Thursday): Training: Windows Vista
  • More information on upcoming training opportunities:

Headline of the Week: Network Storage Grows Up, Gets Big

This past Wednesday, a number of folks from LIS gathered to talk about network storage … where we’ve been, where we’re going and the issues along the way. When online network storage first became available, it was easy for institutions to make some amount of network storage available for users to use. And the users have been using it … which is a good thing. Of course, over time the files accumulate. Many of them are important, and may only exist in digital form, and so are important to save. Many others are probably just taking up storage space with no useful life ahead of them. Over time the nature of the documents we store continues to evolve more into multimedia materials, e.g.. multimegapixel digital images or audio/video files which can eat entire hard drives for a mid-morning snack if we let them. And of course, in the enterprise world, any file that exists in storage likely will actually exist on multiple (or mirrored) hard drives to protect against disk failures, and then we regularly copy them again to (not inexpensive) backup tapes. Enterprise storage is expensive all the way around.

As a provider of network storage, LIS wants to promote use of our network storage, but also wants to maximize the efficiency and usefulness of the storage we have. We continue to add more and more every year (and we know that will not stop) but we’re also seeing a need to broaden the storage options we offer. Our discussions this week touched on three different types of storage that likely call for different solutions: active network file space for files under active and regular use by an individual or workgroup; archival network file space for files that are rarely consulted and are likely not to change but of use to have available for consultation; and temporary file transfer storage. Each of these types have different needs and can be addressed in different ways. We’ll be working to move forward to do this. We’ll also be looking at a more widespread implementation of network storage quotas, designed not to limit use, but to stimulate conversation at periodic points to be sure that storage is being done most appropriately. LIS will also be working on a cohesive statement on network storage touching on appropriate use, available options, and general considerations to be aware of.

LIS Radar Reports

Periodically, we’ll collect and publish some status reports from around work teams in LIS on significant work that has been done or is going to be done soon. Here’s a quick run-down:

  • Application Development (Marcia reporting)
    • This week:
      • The LIS resource allocation team met on Tuesday to review the Application Development completed projects for the first quarter of 2008 and review the top 5 projects on the project list from each of the business units.
      • Scott Bassford assisted the Bookstore with installing an update for the Nebraska Book point of sale system that they use.
      • Debbie, Scott and Marcia reviewed the enhancement preview provided to the Datatel eMarketing focus group and provided feedback on our reporting needs in ActiveCampus as well as previous suggestions we’ve made since the start of our project.
      • Human Resources, Financial Aid, Jean, Steve, and Marcia participated in a web demonstration of Datatel’s web time-card entry solution. The group discussed starting the project with offices with smaller numbers of student workers this summer.
      • Formulaser forms generation software for Datatel has been purchased from Source4. We will use this software to make changes and improvements to forms like checks, transcripts, statements, and other documents.
    • Next week:
      • Continued ActiveCampus integration testing.
      • Colleague Advancement conversion work, documentation, core meeting, and training.
      • Virchow Krause IT audit follow-up conference call on Friday.
      • AdAstra webinar on the next release, version 7, of the scheduling software on Thursday.
  • Archives (Rachel reporting)
    • Ongoing:
      • We will continue testing and evaluating ARCHON, an archives database product developed by the University of Illinois. The test location is at
  • Library (John reporting)
    • This week:
      • On Wednesday, May 30, our III software was upgraded to version 2006 1.3.
  • Network & Systems (Adam reporting)
    • This week:
      • Students are now being required to move to Norse Apps after logging into Webmail. Only 16 FY-SR students have not yet converted as of today.
    • Next week:
      • The switches for Sampson-Hoffland have arrived, and we hope to start getting them configured and installed in the building.
  • User Services (Diane reporting)
    • This week:
    • Next week:
      • The deadline for faculty to respond with preferences for this summer’s replacement is Monday. We’ll be reviewing the data, finalizing system purchase requests, and beginning to schedule upgrades.

LIS Blog Highlights from the Week

The following articles are sampled from those available on the LIS Blog:

LIS Website Changes

  • Those subscribed to email notifications from should now only receive notifications of new content posted to the LIS Blog. Previously any new content added to was emailed out by the notifier, which while not necessarily bad, did result in a lot of unimportant content being emailed out, particularly when new parts of the site have been under development. Provided the hacked PHP code holds, notifications should be more targeted now.’
  • Some modules on received some significant upgrades this week as part of the work to deploy subject resource guides. A new taxonomy focusing an academic departments was also implemented.

Notes from LIS Council

Items discussed this week included:

  • An update on work for the summer faculty computer refresh and financing plans to be reviewed by the Board of Regents next week.
  • The most recent round of phishing emails and developing a standard policy for responding to such events.
  • We’re now pushing students who have not yet moved to Norse Apps a bit harder. We plan to have all students moved by May 31st, but because so many students will be leaving campus in the next couple weeks, we want to catch as many earlier in the month as we can.
  • Academic departments are continuing to define policies around internships that are taking a more prominent place in Luther’s curriculum. Specifically internships will be allowed to receive both academic credit and pay.
  • We are working to alert seniors that they need to copy the contents of their H Drive prior to departing Luther.
  • Luther will be working to implement iTunesU.

NITLE Opportunities

As a member of NITLE (National Institute for Technology and Liberal Education), Luther has the opportunity to participate in a wide variety of developmental and training programs intended for faculty, librarians, and information technologists. Events listed at the link below are currently open for registration by Luther participants. LIS Staff who are interested in participating in an event should speak with Christopher Barth. Faculty who are interested in participating should speak with Lori Stanley. Participation is contingent upon available funding and program acceptance.

Complete List of NITLE Opportunities

Cool Resource of the Week: Searchme Visual Search

As we loose the shackles of text-based tools and move more into the multimedia world, more innovative companies are seeking to push into visual search techniques to view and retrieve information in different ways. Searchme is an example of search interface that does that … and while their index is still text-based, they have developed a visual interface that presents information in a very different way than most folks are used to seeing.

From their website: “Searchme lets you see what you’re searching for. As you start typing, categories appear that relate to your query. Choose a category, and you’ll see pictures of web pages that answer your query. You can review these pages quickly to find just the information you’re looking for.”

The good news for Luther is that we have top billing for the keyword “luther” (which we have in Google as well currently). For visual learners, there could be strong appeal for seeking information this way (or trying to find a web page you saw before). For those with a stronger preference for scanning text, Google remains the quicker and easier tool. On the web at

Around the Web

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

  • Mobility
    • None
  • Security and Privacy
    • None
  • Service and User Experience
    • None