This Week in LIS - 12 September 2008

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

Headline of the Week: A Dashboard is Born

If you close your eyes and imagine yourself driving a favorite car down the highway (or if you’re an aviator, you can fly your favorite plane), think about how much you rely upon your instruments for guidance and what life would be like navigating without any instruments at all. Without out a gas gauge you don’t really know when you need to refuel. (The sputtering might give you a clue, but not really when it would be most useful). Without a speedometer, let’s just say many would be subsidizing local and state governments at a higher clip than they currently do. With the birth of in-dash GPS guidance systems, now we’re relying on our dashboards to literally route the way to where we need to go.

The purpose of the dashboard is to give an accurate read on how systems are functioning, how resources are being used, and how things are changing over time. For the last couple years we’ve begun to gather more metrics in LIS to get some better understandings of exactly how much we do of what we do. Those statistics have been published in our annual report, though annual collection of data doesn’t help to inform regular decisions that happen over the course of a year that could benefit from more data input.

Over the next weeks, we’ll begin to take our metrics to a new level by bringing some critical indicators together into a dashboard that we can use to see our operations in something closer to real-time. This will help us to concretely identify issues as they happen (changes in work orders, changes in resource usage, and the impact of changes in service or service levels). To start this process, I’ve tapped into some readily available data on our website and am continuing to refine and revise it. A screenshot is included here so you how it is developing. Eventually this will be regularly published (and will include a legend for reading it … for now talk to me with questions :).

I’ll be working with other teams in LIS to identify the critical indicators and create some conduits to gather and update those statistics regularly. As always, thoughts and comments are welcome.

TWILIS on Hiatus

This Week in LIS will not be published on September 19, 2008. It will resume Friday, September 26, 2008.

Personnel Updates

Upcoming Dates

LIS Blog Highlights from the Week

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

LIS Website Changes

  • Minor changes to the event management system were made this week.

Notes from LIS Council

The following topics were discussed at our meeting this week:

  • Next steps for choosing a software deployment systems
  • Resuming the staff computer replacement process
  • Deployment of School Dude for facilities work order tracking
  • Changes to the process for issuing Norse Keys to admitted students
  • Policies on file sharing
  • Our upcoming continuous improvement project
  • LIS Dashboard

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.

The following new NITLE opportunities are available:

Complete List of NITLE Opportunities

Notable Internet Resource of the Week: Dropbox

Big news in the free online storage world this week as the cloud service Drop Box has launched out of beta and is now available for general use. Drop Box is a free 2GB storage drive in the cloud that:

  • is easily accessible to users from Windows, Macs, and Linux
  • allows public transfer of files
  • has no limit (aside from your storage quota) on file size
  • supports syncing of files across multiple computers and the Internet based storage site
  • automatically tracks old versions to support undelete and restoring from the Internet
  • allows custom sharing to be configured by file via the Internet
  • integrates a photo gallery

Additional storage can be purchased if needed.

On the web at

Around the Web

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

  • Hardware and Technology Tools
    • None
  • Innovation
    • None
  • Internet and Networking
    • None
  • Libraries and Librarians
    • None
  • Mobility
    • None
  • Open Source and Standards
    • None
  • Service and User Experience
    • None