This Week in LIS - 17 April 2009

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

Headline of the Week: Report from Spring CNI Task Force Meeting

Last week I attended the semi-annual Coalition for Networked Information Task Force meeting in Minneapolis. CNI is a joint venture of ARL (Association of Research Libraries) and EDUCAUSE. Some notes from the sessions I attended:

This software has been in use at Indiana University for many years and allows online reserves for their music collection. Content is digitized, connected with MARC data and other metadata and then delivered via streaming server on-demand. Faculty have the ability to create course listening lists, students can create their own playlists. A flash-card system is built in to allow students to quiz themselves on the music they are hearing. Also included is a related piece of software that allows instructors to annotate music graphically for students to view as they listen. They are working to integrate scores with the music as well.

The news here is Variations is now for the first time being made available as open source software for other institutions to use. This has long been requested and several pilot institutions are now testing their own deployments. This type of product has the ability to be tremendously useful for teaching with audio material and is one that many schools like Luther are intensely interested in seeing develop.

What about copyright you ask? Indiana’s lawyers are comfortable with the system as it is designed (with strict access controls limited only to enrolled students, and the fact that the music streams and cannot be directly downloaded). They are careful to say that mileage for others will vary depending upon the legal tolerances for individual institutions.

JSTOR Showcase
JSTOR has a collection of very interesting projects available on the web at Their Data for Research product allows anyone to search their corpus for terms and display graphical illustrations of how frequently that term appears across time and disciplines. It is quite addicting to play with and begins to allow interpretation of data in ways not previously possible in the analog world. Other projects include topic modeling, open annotation collaboration, and their Decapod, a high-powered digitization system for small budgets that will be launching in 2010. With this system, any library with a couple mid-range digital cameras and a computer will be able to digitize and produce digital content easily.

Future Library Leadership
This session focused on research principally in ARL libraries on the attitudes of tomorrow’s library leaders. Generally these up-and-comers are seeking collaborative, outgoing, and non-hierarchical organizations, while many of the organizations they find themselves in don’t fully represent these ideals. Overall, the results were not unexpected for me. I wasn’t left with tremendous amounts of optimism that current leaders are negotiating the change that is happening underneath us all.

Digital Documents
I attended a couple sessions on preservation and institutional repositories. These left an impression that we as a profession are entering some awkward adolescent years when it comes to digital documents, preservation, and management. We think we know some things, but in reality we probably don’t, and we’re not very confident or sure exactly what we’re all doing. I came away with the sense that some things are being sorted out, but that it’s going to be a while before we’re in our prime on this.

LIS Staffing News

LIS has launched a recruitment for a Programmer/Analyst. The applicant review process has begun and we are conducting telephone interviews.

LIS Blog Highlights from the Week

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

Notes from LIS Council

Topics discussed by the LIS Council this week included:

  • Library Book Sale
  • Business Objects Training
  • Programmer/Analyst Recruitment
  • Summer Student Employment
  • Electric Vehicles for LIS
  • KCRG Weather Cam Installation on Main
  • LIS New User Documentation
  • Storage of Digital Blueprints
  • LIS Service Points
  • MISO Data
  • Library Basement Storage Management

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.

A full list of events (sortable by registration deadline) is available at

Next Week in LIS

Notable Internet Resource of the Week: Readability

“Readability is a simple tool that makes reading on the Web more enjoyable by removing the clutter around what you’re reading.”

By visiting Readability’s website, you can adjust three settings for your content: Style, Size, and Margin. This information is then translated into a bookmarklet that you add to your favorite browser. Once you are displaying a page you would like to make more “readable,” just click the bookmarklet and the content of the page is reformatted according to your preferences.

On the web at

Around the Web

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