This Week in LIS - 21 November 2008

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

Headline of the Week: Report from Fall CLIR CIOs Meeting

Twice a year, chief information officers leading merged library and information technology organizations at liberal arts colleges gather to discuss topics of common interest. This meeting is sponsored by the Council on Library and Information Resources, a nonprofit organization dedicated to expanding access to information based in Washington, DC. While conferences and meetings dedicated to traditional library or information technology support are valuable, there is particular value in bringing together leaders and professionals who are actively working to define the intersection of these services at institutions similar to Luther. The agenda at last Friday’s meeting included discussion in the following areas:

  • Structures of Merged Organizations
    • This conversation focused on the ongoing evolutions occuring in organizations, as well as those that are happening now with change in leadership. A noted point in this discussion was how fragile organizational structures of merged organizations can be given the unique mix of skillsets and personalities that likely comprise blended operations. Vacancies of key individuals can result in significant organizational shift depending on the availability of hiring similar skillsets.
  • Research on Employee Perspectives of Merged Organizations
    • A doctoral candidate is currently studying employees in merged organizations and will soon be arranging to gather information from individuals at institutions with mergers in place.
  • Implications of and Coping Strategies for the Economic Downturn
    • Perhaps the central, and least uplifting conversation centered around the ramifications of the current economic realities faced by our institutions and how this new environment is affecting and will affect our services. A wide range of initiatives are underway at schools ranging from travel reductions to reduction in service hours, to layoffs of staff. The idea that colleges can ill-afford to completely become islands until themselves in times like this was also raised. More and more, we need to identify and pursue cooperative opportunities that will help our overall brand of education thrive in a challenging marketplace.
  • CLIR Leadership Programs
    • CLIR sponsors fellows each year along with host institutions. We discussed ways to gather wisdom from this growing pool of scholars trained in the pursuit of making information more accessible generally.
  • Challenges and Benefits of New Technology for Teaching
    • From virtual worlds, clickers, and smart phones to grid computing, tablet PCs and Facebook, the pool of tools with which faculty teach continue to grow deeper and wider (it’s own little form of global warming I suppose). Discussion centered on ways that schools conduct pilots of technology and how they make such initiatives available. This blended into a discussion of the role of instructional technologists within our organizations.
  • IT Recruitment and Salary Benchmarking
    • Recruiting for technology positions is a challenge today, both locally and nationally. It was noted that technology positions tend more and more to be regionally recruited because there are a larger number of technical positions. It is less likely to recruit nationally for IT positions. Competition in salaries is also a challenge given the entry-level benchmarks set in the for-profit sector.

NOTE: There will be no TWILIS published Friday, November 28th.

LIS Blog Highlights from the Week

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

Notes from LIS Council

LIS Council met to discuss principally the content of our 2009 MISO Survey. A revised draft of questions will be distributed to LIS staff shortly.

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.

Events with Upcoming Registration Deadlines:

  • Nominations due Friday, December 5th:

Complete List of NITLE Opportunities

Next Week in LIS

Notable Internet Resource of the Week: Make Me Babies

In an age where websites can deliver live on-the-fly mockups of interior design possibilities for your home and customized car orders (if anyone is still buying cars these days) it is not that big of a stretch to find a site that can mockup offspring. This is the niche that Make Me Babies has cornered. Using facial recognition technologies, the site can propose what the children of any two individuals might be given a pair of digital images. You can of course supply your own image, as well as connect with friends to supply theirs, and you can provide any partner’s photo you’d like. A large library of celebrity photos are also available. You can name and save your creations and optionally share them with others via the site. You also get to choose to hope for a boy, girl, or let the fates decide. One disclaimer: as in real life, babies are not guaranteed to necessarily be pretty (were I single, I now know who to avoid at swanky Hollywood parties – yikes!) – Also available in MySpace and Facebook flavors …

On the web at

Around the Web

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