This Week in LIS - 12 December 2008

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

Headline of the Week: Playing the Market

One of the sessions I attended this week at the Coalition for Networked Information (CNI) meeting in Washington DC was given by Bryan Alexander, NITLE’s Director for Research on NITLE’s Prediction Markets for Emerging Technology. This initiative was launched this past summer and draws roots from the University of Iowa’s prediction markets that originally were developed to track political “markets” in the state. NITLE’s instance seeks to harness the wisdom of the crowd to determine the likelihood or timing of a number of different technology-related events or milestones in the future. The data generated by the markets also helps inform NITLE’s research and program agendas.

Perhaps the best part of this market is anyone can play and the money is free. Users can create an account and receive $5000 to put into the market as they see fit. Propositions are posted, and users can buy or sell shares based on their opinion of the likely outcome of the proposition. These market actions cause the value of the markets to rise and fall and then to display the overall consensus of those who are invested.

Here’s an example proposition: Will Google Docs emerge as the dominant collaborative authoring service among faculty by spring 2009? The current share price is $35.35, suggesting that the market believes there is a 35% chance this will come true. As a trader, you can choose whether you think that number is too low or too high and invest accordingly. The market adjusts to your actions.

Players can communicate via comments attached to each market and over time you can watch yourself making (or in my case) losing money over time as the markets continue to move based on ongoing user activity. New propositions are periodically introduced and old ones are ended, letting folks cash back out.

The service is an interesting an unique way to follow trends in our industry, and I encourage folks to give it a try. And of course, you get to keep all the (pretend) cash you make from your wise market skills. –

LIS Blog Highlights from the Week

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

Notes from LIS Council

Agenda items for LIS Council this week included:

  • Electronic Luther Christmas Card Delivery
  • Content Cafe/Syndetics Switch for Magnus/Encore
  • Norse Apps Migration Update and Communication Planning
  • Accounting for LIS Services Supported by the Technology Fee
  • IKON Implementation

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:

  • Encouraging Student Scholarship: Learning to Write in the Digital Age. Deadline past: limited seats may be available. Program Dates: January 16 – 18, 2009 (6:00 PM, Friday – 12:00 PM, Sunday, Eastern). Wheaton College, Norton, MA. 7 program units.
  • Developing, Managing, and Supporting GIS: Spatial Technologies in the Liberal Arts. Formerly titled: The Elephant in Adolescence: Managing & Supporting GIS. An instance of the “Special Topics in Spatial Analysis and Mapping” series. Deadline past: limited seats may be available. Program Date & Time: December 16, 2008, 4:00 PM – 5:00 PM Eastern. Delivered online via MIV. 1 program unit.
  • Web 2.0 Storytelling. Registration deadline: December 12, 2008. Program Date: January 13, 2009. St. Lawrence University, Canton, NY. 4 program units.
  • Social Software for Education: Collaborative Learning and Research Practices. Registration deadline: December 12, 2008. Program Date: January 14, 2009. Gettysburg College, Gettysburg, PA. 4 program units.
  • Teaching Science in the Digital Age. Registration deadline: December 12, 2008. Program Date: January 16, 2009. Stonehill College, Easton, MA. 4 program units.
  • Emerging Technologies and the Liberal Arts Campus. Registration deadline: December 12, 2008. Program Date: January 16, 2009. Colby College, Waterville, ME. 4 program units.
  • Creating the Virtual Liberal Arts Campus in Second Life. An instance of the “Special Topics for Instructional Technologists” series. Registration deadline: December 19, 2008. Program Date & Time: January 9, 2009, 12:00 PM – 1:00 PM Eastern. Delivered online via MIV. 1 program unit.

Complete List of NITLE Opportunities

Next Week in LIS

Notable Internet Resource of the Week: This is Now

Need a little more information overload in your life? Love lots of little factoids? Sprint has created a digital dashboard with all sorts of quirky information and real-time data brought together in one interesting view of the world. Information on the dashboard includes current random flight data for commercial air flights, the national debt, webcam feeds, the number of kidney transplants today, egg production statistics, news, sports, weather and moon updates, world energy consumption, the number of habitable planets, and a pong game. Each widget on the dashboard is clickable and either offers interactive tools and/or information about how the data is collected. The pong game just lets you play and tracks your successful hits. A mini-version is available for download and use in your Google Start Page, MySpace, Facebook, or on your desktop.

On the web at

Around the Web

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

  • Culture, Economy, and Business
    • None
  • Hardware and Technology Tools
    • None
  • Internet and Networking
    • None
  • Mobility
    • None
  • Software and Operating Systems