This Week in LIS - 3 October 2008

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

Headline of the Week: Improving the Process: Welcoming New Community Members

Devoted TWILIS readers will recall discussion from last summer of LIS plan to begin looking at internal work processes with the goal of significant improvement in efficiency and quality of output. This project has grown out of Luther’s relationship with Thrivent Financial for Lutherans and learning more about their process improvement activities. Much of the work within any business process often adds little or no value to the end product. Processes also benefit from “continuous improvement,” a culture that continually refines and tweaks processes and workflow to pursue greater quality and efficiency.

This month, LIS will begin a process improvement project to look at how LIS handles new users entering the community, from how we provision credentials and equipment to training. The following is from the draft project charter:

Each year, Luther welcomes hundreds of new individual users of LIS services to the Luther community in a wide variety of roles, including students, faculty members, staff members, alumni, and friends of the College. Each individual user requires a unique suite of LIS services, access credentials, and in some cases physical equipment. After receiving notification from a variety of campus sources of the arrival of a new community member, LIS follows a process to provide them with appropriate access to services including email, calendaring, file shares, Datatel, and voice mail. In many cases physical equipment is also required (a telephone, computer, or related equipment). This process involves a variety of individuals in LIS and relies on many to come to a successful conclusion, often on a particular deadline.

Specific goals we hope to achieve are:

  • to reduce and minimize the number of staff and steps involved in the process.
  • to prepare and deliver electronic and print documentation and user support materials customized to the new community member immediately upon notification of their arrival.
  • to set specific and aggressive deadlines for provisioning deliverables (credentials, equipment, etc.).

We believe this will result in significantly better service to our constituents, and more effective use of LIS staff time as we welcome new members to the community.

Participating on our process team will be: Christopher Barth (lead), Diane Gossman, Marcia Gullickson, Cindy Hansmeier, Jean Ryan, Larry Sikkink, Chris Stuckman, and Laurel Womeldorf. Regular updates will be made available to LIS and the Luther community as we work through the project. We plan completion and implementation of our work by February 2009.

LIS Blog Highlights from the Week

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

Notes from LIS Council

LIS Council discussed the following this week:

  • Progress on a campus agreement for print and copy support.
  • Mission and definition of the Academic Technology and Learning Resources Committee
  • LIS social team composition
  • Proposed uses for endowment funding
  • Proposed funding for our proposed print accounting software

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

Next Week in LIS

Notable Internet Resource of the Week: Zamzar

Have you ever received a document from someone that were unable to open? Zamzar is an online file conversion website that converts a wide variety of document, image, music, video, and other formats. Files are uploaded to the remote service, and users are notified by email after the file conversion is complete with a link to download the converted file. The service is free. Paid accounts can convert larger files and also can use SSL for uploading.

A note of caution … using a service like this involves uploading files to a remote server, so one should think carefully about the confidentiality of any files uploaded. But for occasional use for non-sensitive files, it’s an easy and affordable solution.

On the web at

Around the Web

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

  • Service and User Experience
    • None