This Week in LIS - 29 August 2008

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

Headline of the Week: LIS Welcomes the Class of 2012

Tomorrow is move-in day for the Class of 2012, and many from LIS will be participating in transitioning the new class to campus over the coming days. Work will begin tomorrow as volunteer LIS staff and Help Desk student workers work the residence halls to be sure students have a relatively painless experience attaching to our residential network. I think participating in this process is a great opportunity for anyone in LIS, regardless of previous experience, and I want to encourage everyone to participate either by dropping by tomorrow to help folks move in or connect computers.

This weekend will bring the first significant test of our new internet infrastructure which is designed to be bigger and better at enabling good network experience on a limited resource. Our full 85Mbps of Internet bandwidth is active and ready to bring the Internet world to Decorah. This is more than double our connection from the 2007-08 academic year. We have also changed how we shape that traffic for use by our end users. Previously, traffic was given priority based on its type. Web traffic generally was allowed higher priority, while peer-to-peer file sharing traffic was not. Our new equipment removes these restrictions in favor of identifying high-bandwidth users and gently delaying their traffic gradually to ensure that they do not have significant impact on others using the network. We are pleased that this removes technical restrictions on how our users can use network resources, however this opens up the potential for greater liability for illegal and inappropriate uses of our network. LIS will be sharing more information about this with the community in early September.

Also new this fall is the required re-registration of all computers for all students returning this fall. For a number of years we have required registration of computers and certification that they were fully-patched and protected with antivirus software prior to being connected to our networks. This policy principally applied to first-year students, and those returning in subsequent years were not necessarily required to rescan/recertify. This year everyone must go through this process, which we know will result in a more secure computing environment for everyone, even though it means many computers will require some updating prior to connecting back to the network.

Thanks to everyone in LIS for helping to welcome the new class this weekend, and in the coming weeks as they get settled in to the Luther routine.

Personnel Updates

  • After 37 years of service to Luther College, Jim Veeder will be retiring this fall. We thank Jim for his dedication to Luther and all of the numerous contributions he’s made over the years regarding audio-visual equipment on campus.

Upcoming Dates

LIS Blog Highlights from the Week

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

LIS Website Changes

  • The site has been fully patched with the latest security and feature enhancements this week.
  • Pages now display the current page name in the breadcrumbs.
  • Some taxonomy changes have been made for handling and describing events.

Notes from LIS Council

The following topics were discussed at our meeting this week:

  • Planning for upcoming program reviews for the Library and Information Studies academic department and Library and Information Services administrative departments. These reviews will begin developing preparatory work this fall for completion in Fall 2009.
  • Evaluating budget priorities in light of the College enrollment projections.
  • Preparing a more formal definition of LIS Council, including its purpose and participants.
  • Upcoming campus communications.

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 events open for registration include:

  • Nominations Due Friday, September 5th:
    • NEW Online Training: Lead and Teach with MIV. Program Date & Time: September 18, 2008, 1:00 – 2:30 p.m. Eastern. Delivered online via MIV. 1 program unit.
  • Nominations Due Friday, September 12th:
    • NEW Online Training: Explore Moodle. Program Date & Time: September 23, 2008, 11:00 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. Eastern. Delivered online via MIV. 1 program unit.
    • NEW Online Training: GIS in Six Easy Pieces. Featuring: Jenni Lund (Faculty Liaison at the Kollett Academic Computing Center, Wheaton College). Program Date & Time: September 23, 2008, 4:00 – 5:00 p.m. Eastern. Delivered online via MIV. 1 program unit.
    • NEW Online Training: History Engine: Tools for Promoting Collaborative Education and Research among Students. Featuring: Andrew J. Torget and Rob Nelson (University of Richmond). Program Date & Time: September 24, 2008, 4:00 – 5:00 p.m. Eastern. Delivered online via MIV. 1 program unit.
  • Nominations due Friday, October 3rd:
    • NEW Online Training: Explore Moodle. Program Date & Time: October 15, 2008, 2:00 – 3:30 p.m. Eastern. Delivered online via MIV. 1 program unit.
  • Nominations Due Friday, November 7th:

Notable Internet Resource of the Week: Tinymail

Many are familiar with TinyURL, a service that allows web users to shrink gangly URLs into user-friendly short links. Tinymail follows a similar line to help secure your email address against spammers, giving you an intermediate link to obscure direct access to your address when posting your contact information publicly online. The service works by creating a unique Tinymail URL for your email address that links to a page protected with CAPTCHA technology (those little boxes that ask you to read and type oddly shaped letters or numbers). In order for a web user to retrieve your full email address, they must successfully navigate the CAPTCHA (which incidentally uses Recaptcha the service that digitizes books as you complete the CAPTCHA challenge).

While this solution isn’t foolproof, it does provide a first line of defense against email harvesters on the Internet. Granted all it takes to retrieve the full address is a CAPTCHA challenge, but at least it does make someone work a little harder to earn the right to spam you.

On the web at

Around the Web

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

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