This Week in LIS - 9 May 2008

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

Upcoming Dates

  • May 14 (Wednesday): Training: Norse Apps
  • May 21, 22 (Wednesday, Thursday): Training: Windows Vista
  • More information on upcoming training opportunities:

Headline of the Week: Board of Regents Report

This morning I had the opportunity to speak with the Resources and Facilities committee of Luther’s Board of Regents to discuss three primary points:

  • The strategic initiatives within the College’s strategic plan relating to information (points #10 and #18)
  • Current expenditures for technology at Luther and ongoing challenges for us to consider.
  • Our proposal for financing to cover the costs of this summer’s faculty replacement cycle (and the accompanying plan to transition to a four-year replacement cycle)

Encompassed within these points, the discussion touched upon many aspects of our current work in LIS, including the importance of information literacy skills for today’s students (and society) and how far we have come to a place of information-overabundance; our current work to consider outsourcing certain IT functions; the role of all Luther employees to lead by example in areas of information and technology literacy and skills; the high priority we need to place on data security and stewardship; and the growing importance of multimedia in all areas of academic and administrative work.

We also spent some time reviewing the challenges of replacement cycles given the ever-increasing inventory of technology on campus. From projectors to workstations to network switches, each year we add to the technology infrastructure that Luther relies upon to provide our academic and supporting administrative services. Annual price reductions for technology are not inevitable (for the first time in memory our bandwidth costs for our existing bandwidth have not dropped this year), which means we need to work to find a strategic solution to both the growth of inventory and adequately funded replacement cycles. We will be spending some time this year looking at budget models and options to move us closer to this goal.

At the end of the session, the committee approved of our financing plan to cover costs for this summer’s faculty replacement and expressed support for our current migration plan to a four-year staggered replacement cycle for academic desktops. Now we’ll have to clear a spot to put all those computers we’ll be ordering in the next couple of weeks …

LIS Staffing Notes

With the imminent close to the 2007-08 academic year, LIS bids farewell to Kate Rattenborg, Digital and Reference Services Librarian who will complete her work next week. We thank her for her four years of service to Luther and LIS in a variety of roles. Most recently, Kate has helped to bring up various portions of the new LIS website, and several initiatives she has worked on will continue to be rolled out this summer. We wish her the best as she begins a new chapter working for a local financial services company.

LIS transitions continue with the news that Andrew Olson will be leaving his position as Help Desk Manager at Luther and LIS this summer. He and his partner Katy Förster will be relocating to Germany where Andrew will be seeking new opportunities and Katy will be completing her dissertation research. Andrew has been a valued member of the Luther community and LIS staff and has been a very important part of LIS’ face to the campus through his work at the Help Desk. We will announce plans for a farewell reception when they are complete. Andrew’s last day will be June 10th.

LIS Blog Highlights from the Week

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

LIS Website Changes

  • is now sporting subject area research resource guides that are database and template driven. For a relatively complete example, see We are continuing to work to tighten up this new product that will supersede existing resource guides on the library website. Library faculty will be asked to populate the new guides with content as appropriate over the summer.
  • We are beginning to look at implementation of an event module for better event management and promotion on the website.
  • We are currently on track to fully redirect traffic from the existing website next month.

Notes from LIS Council

Items discussed this week included:

  • HVAC work in Main will require location of nearly all LISfolk there for the latter half of May. Alternate workspaces are being coordinated.
  • Friday, May 9th we’ll gather to wish Kate Rattenborg farewell.
  • We continue to make progress with III’s Research Pro product and hope to have that functional soon for integration into Encore.
  • The Library is working on an assessment document to be provided to the Dean by the end of the academic year.
  • The deadline for replies from faculty regarding new computers has passed. We’re reviewing where we stand and tracking down those we haven’t heard from.
  • Quickstart guides have been prepared for Windows Vista and OS X Leopard.
  • We’re forming a group to coordinate our iTunes U implementation.
  • Innovation Incubation, work prioritization, and time management – We want to provide a supportive structure to accomplish the work that LIS does and we’ll be spending some time this summer discussing this as an organization. Kickoff conversations will happen at May’s LIS General meeting.

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

New NITLE opportunities:

Notable Internet Resource of the Week: Campus Destinations

One of the purposes of this weekly section is to profile a way in which someone/thing is using the web in an interesting or innovative way. Campus Destinations is a site that is seeking to define and harness a niche market for mapping/informational services on college campuses. Though limited mostly to schools in the east (particularly the Carolinas), the idea is an interesting one, particularly when considered in light of their stated mission statement:

Campus Destinations is the premier mapping and informational services company for college campuses. Campus Destinations mission is to save students time and money by eliminating inefficient ways of allocating their schedule and funds and creating an interactive portal that enables them to profit from the correction of this externality.

Specific features include:

  • Dynamic mapping technology of pedestrian walkways along university campuses, complete with highlighted maps and easy-to-use directions. Directions can be tailored based on safety rating and handicap accessibility.
  • Reviews and ratings of popular student-friendly businesses including restaurants, spas, salons, and more. Users can earn rewards for posting highly-rated content.
  • Up-to-date information on university landmarks, athletic venues, and student hotspots.

By providing intelligent place-based information, the site claims students will be able to streamline their schedule and travel to save time and money (I think if this works there would be a lot of other markets for that besides higher education). They do have some fun adaptations from the mapping we’re used to from Google and Mapquest. Distances (for walkers at least) are listed in feet and paces instead of miles. On the web at

Around the Web

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

  • Google
    • None
  • Media and Publishing
    • None