This Week in LIS - 9 April 2010

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

Headline of the Week: Notes from the NITLE Summit

For the last three years, the National Institute for Technology in Liberal Education (NITLE) has gathered leaders and practitioners working in liberal arts library and technology support as well as faculty and other campus leaders to share ideas, initiatives, and discuss how NITLE as a national organization can facilitate work on our campuses. This year’s meeting was held recently in New Orleans. Each of the sessions I attended had good meat to chew on, and so my report here is just few morsels from each session. I’ve already explored some of these topics in more depth in this space, and will be doing so more in the future.

  • Bryan Alexander – Emerging Technologies on Liberal Arts Campuses – Bryan had a very good overview of gaming and mobile devices on liberal arts campuses … both of which are foundational technologies for the future. Takeaway question: If it has been a challenge to foster use of general technology in the curriculum, how much harder will it be to encourage adoption of higher-level technologies as we go forward? Bonus takeaway: Prezi (see below)
  • Brian L. Hawkins – The Information Resource Professional: Transformation, Tradition & Trajectory – This was an excellent, sobering, and challenging overview of the new realities of higher education. It was also a call to arms for information professionals to not be incremental in thinking about change in our profession. The tendencies for higher education to cling to tradition and habit serve us poorly today and institutions (and information organizations) that are not actively redefining their mission and role will pay a price. The market for education is moving. Are we? Takeaway question: How aggressive should we be at this? I don’t think we can sit idle. Collaboration is a key here … how will we make that happen?
  • Mike Roy, Rick Holmgren – LabSTOR, A Model for Collaborative Virtual Computing Labs – This project has been percolating for a bit and is launching more formally this summer with 15-20 schools partnering on central infrastructure to deliver lab images via the Internet. Rethinking how we do labs fundamentally is now becoming low-hanging fruit for us as a number of large institutions have deployed this technology widely. Luther has a larger than average lab infrastructure and we need to pursue delivering this service in a way that helps us reduce. This will help us save in many ways, including hardware replacement, energy use, classroom use, and workstation management. Labs are expensive to provide and the network now gives us powerful alternatives. Luther will be working with the LabSTOR group to pilot the service in the coming year. Takeaway question: Can we set an ambitious target for lab virtualization? 33% reduction in physical seats over the next three years?
  • W. Gardner Campbell – Media Fluency – Tapping directly into our discussions on information and media literacies and fluencies, Dr. Campbell highlights our transition from consumption to participation as a culture and puts forth that while information literacy taught individuals how to use information wisely, media fluency goes much deeper and broader. He defined it as similar to an alphabet … the building blocks upon which expression itself is built. Teaching media fluencies is akin to teaching fundamental mechanisms of thought (no pressure). Takeaway question: If we believe this, how do we communicate this to faculty and get buy-in? If you follow this out to its conclusion it rattles the foundation of many of our assumptions around education.

LIS Ideas

This spring, LIS launched a community website to gather ideas for how we can improve existing service, help prioritize proposed new services, and figure out what other services can be retired. Since that time, LIS staff, as well as Luther faculty, staff and students have visited to add their votes and ideas. TWILIS will periodically highlight some of these ideas and signal how LIS intends to respond.

Deploy document imaging campus-wide to reduce/eliminate storage of paper records

  • Luther maintains large collections of paper-based records which are inefficient to use and store. By creating digital document workflows and digitizing backfiles, we would be able to leverage this important institutional information for current decision-making.
  • Response: In Progress. Document imaging on an institutional scale has been a goal for Luther for some time. This is both a common (and quite useful) practice, and also is a response to significant challenges Luther has in storing our paper records. LIS has been coordinating a task force who has reviewed software solutions this winter and early spring. They are working toward a recommendation on a system which will be carried forward to the Cabinet. LIS is very optimistic we will be able to move this initiative forward based on the strong benefits to our administrative teams and the inclusion of this goal in our current strategic plan. With a final proposal forthcoming, we also hope to begin working on identifying funding opportunities very soon for a deployment in the near future.

Maintain EnergyStar settings on existing computers*

  • Response: Under Review. EnergyStar is a program sponsored by the federal government to promote energy efficiency in products. The current standards call for workstation displays to sleep after 15 minutes of inactivity and for user workstations themselves to enter a sleep state after 30 minutes of inactivity. Workstations should also ship with “Wake-On-LAN” enabled (a protocol that allows computers to be remotely awakened via special network traffic. Current settings on Luther computers are not currently set at such short intervals, primarily due to concerns regarding certain administrative software that may create database problems if a machine sleeps while database access is active, as well as concerns about machine sleep schedules that would cause machines to sleep in the middle of an active class session. Information on current settings is available. However, LIS will review these concerns to determine how best to set our default settings.

Deploy Google Voice to for telephone management and long-distance calling

  • Response: Closed. Google Voice is a service offered by Google that allows individuals to control and manage their telephones (work, home, mobile) through a central number and interface. It also allows for free or low-cost long-distance calling for calls placed through the service. Currently Google Voice is an invitation-only product (though invitations are not terribly difficult to get), and it is not locally-supported with Decorah-area telephone numbers. Google has also announced their intention to include Google Voice as a product in the Google Apps suite (alongside Gmail, Docs, Calendar, etc.). There are many features of Google Voice that are interesting and compelling for us to consider, though at this point we feel it best to wait until the product develops a little further and becomes fully integrated with the application suite we have already deployed from Google.

Have you thrown your two cents into the idea pot? If not, we welcome you to do so at

LIS Blog Highlights from the Week

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

Notes from LIS Council

LIS Council is the leadership team within LIS. Among the topics discussed this past week were:

  • Virtual Computer Labs – Luther will participate in a national collaborative pilot project to deliver licensed lab software via Internet-based virtual images. We will target a class to participate for fall 2010.
  • KBOX/Track-IT! – KBOX has provided Luther with a license for the Help Desk module. LIS will review this solution as it relates to our Track-It! installation and determine future directions.
  • Track-IT! Surveys – We are looking to provide automatic invitations to complete satisfaction surveys after work orders are closed in Track-IT!.
  • Renovations – Work on the OPAC Kiosks, new combined service desk and office renovations are ongoing. We are also working to improve ventilation in the study rooms.
  • Upgraded A/V in Peace – We will be significantly upgrading our A/V infrastructure in Peace Dining Room after Commencement.
  • Long Distance Billing – Beginning May 1st, bills will be delivered electronically.
  • Book Sale – Next week is National Library Week and LIS will host our annual book sale.
  • BCR/Lyrasis Merger – There is ongoing consolidation in the library/OCLC services market. Our provider BCR is joining Lyrasis as part of these changes.
  • IAICU – There will be a meeting this May at Coe College of IAICU member schools. (More information in the blog)
  • Recruitment – We will soon close our telephone interview stage and review all applications in hand for finalist selection.
  • Staffing/Office Adjustments – We are determining office assignments in Main and the new area in Preus given Bob Puffer’s move to Application Development as Web Programmer/Analyst. Final decisions will be made later this month.
  • LIS General Agenda – Was reviewed.
  • Digital Signage – for the library is being prepared for the main entrance.

LIS Team Report: Network & Systems

  • Long distance billing. Work has been underway for LIS begin doing our own billing to departments for long distance telephone calls. This will replace the current billing process that has been managed by Facilities Management and made use of a third party vendor. Bills will be delivered by email with the new system starting in May.
  • Olson Hall Wireless: The wireless network in Olson Hall was upgraded to the 802.11N standard over Christmas break.
  • Towers Wireless: Work is currently underway to install a wireless network in Miller and Dieseth halls.
  • Network Authentication: Work is in progress to figure out how best to to have our network login system support login by computers running Windows 7.
  • Citrix: All 65 Citrix users have been moved to the new Citrix servers that were installed last summer.
  • Network Management: Our Procurve Manager server was recently upgraded. We also recently installed a Xirrus Management server. These two servers help us to manage our network equipment.
  • Sophos Antivirus: We’ve recently upgraded to a newer version of the Sophos Enterprise Console. This software helps us to ensure that Luther owned computers are have up-to-date Sophos Antivirus definitions, and that our computers remain virus free. We will soon be updating to Sophos Antivirus Version 9 for PCs and Version 7.1 for Macs.
  • Go Print: Work is ongoing to roll out GoPrint management to more printers and to increase the performance of the system.

Contributed by Adam Forsyth

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.

Upcoming NITLE events:

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

Upcoming LIS Training, Instruction, and Professional Development Opportunities

Click on the event below for specific information and for a link to register. More information on training and development events is available.

Course Format Date Location Enrollment
New Faculty Teaching Group: Conversation with Dean Highum Faculty Development Apr 14 2010 – 9:15am 10:15am Dahl Centennial Union – Borlaug Open
Reason Web Training for academic departments Workshop Apr 15 2010 – 9:00am 11:30am Olin 301 – Round Table Room Open
Reading Group: Health, Sustainability, and Social Justice: An Interfaith Dialogue on Contemporary Ethical Challenges Faculty Development

Repeats every month on the Thursday until Fri Apr 16 2010 .

Apr 15 2010 – 9:40am 10:30am
Dahl Centennial Union – Borlaug Closed
Moving to the Mac Product Demonstration Apr 21 2010 – 12:15pm 1:15pm Dahl Centennial Union – Borlaug Open
Reason Web Training for non-academic departments Workshop Apr 21 2010 – 2:00pm 4:30pm Olin 301 – Round Table Room Open
Travellers Book Club Library Instruction Apr 26 2010 – 4:30pm 5:30pm Rare Book Room – Preus Library Open
New Faculty Teaching Group: Conversation with Dean Craft Faculty Development Apr 28 2010 – 9:15am 10:15am Dahl Centennial Union – Borlaug Open
Providing Electronic Feedback Faculty Development Apr 28 2010 – 2:45pm 3:45pm Open
Art 250: Introduction to Book Arts Library Instruction Apr 30 2010 – 9:00pm 10:00pm Rare Book Room – Preus Library Open
Reason Web Training for academic departments Workshop May 5 2010 – 2:00pm 4:30pm Olin 301 – Round Table Room Open
New Faculty Teaching Group Faculty Development May 12 2010 – 9:15am 10:15am Dahl Centennial Union – Borlaug Open
Reason Web Training for non-academic departments Workshop May 19 2010 – 2:00pm 4:30pm Olin 301 – Round Table Room Open

Internet Resource of the Week: Luther Labstats

As we head into the final stretch for the 2009-10 academic year, students are increasingly looking to get away for a bit to get some work done. Luther’s computer labs are a primary destination we know, and our Labstats website makes it easy to see what seats are available in real-time. Labs are listed individually showing seats in use, seats available, and seats offline. This software also helps LIS track how often software titles are used to understand how our labs are used and how they can be improved to meet demand.

On the web at

Quote(s) of the Week:

  • “Perhaps, if Cory and other critics would stop thinking of the iPad as a computer, but rather think of it as the container for a new kind of book, they might see its potential in a different light. Although a book (in technology terms) is a closed system and certainly not a platform for creativity in the sense that a computer (or a typewriter is), that hasn’t stopped books from being invaluable to humanity.” – “if:book: the iPad is more a re-invention of the book than the computer”:“Don’t worry about people stealing an idea. If it’s original, you will have to ram it down their throats.”
  • “Don’t worry about people stealing an idea. If it’s original, you will have to ram it down their throats.” – Howard Aiken
  • “To begin with, let’s agree that a good education encompasses far more than just basic skills. A good education involves learning history, geography, civics, the arts, science, literature and foreign language. Schools should be expected to teach these subjects even if students are not tested on them.” – Diane Ravitch – A new agenda for school reform –
  • “With the iPad, Apple has come close to realizing its ambition of making the term “computer literacy” about as meaningful as “refrigerator literacy.”“ – Gary Hamel: 48 Hours With Apple’s iPad
  • “Technology is so much fun, but we can drown in our technology. The fog of information can drive out knowledge.” – Daniel J. Boorstein
  • “One of the keynotes of technological advance is its tendency, as it refines a tool, to remove real human agency from the workings of that tool. In its place, we get an abstraction of human agency that represents the general desires of the masses as deciphered, or imposed, by the manufacturer and the marketer. Indeed, what tends to distinguish the advanced device from the primitive device is the absence of “generativity.” It’s useful to remember that the earliest radios were broadcasting devices as well as listening devices and that the earliest phonographs could be used for recording as well as playback. But as these machines progressed, along with the media systems in which they became embedded, they turned into streamlined, single-purpose entertainment boxes, suitable for living rooms.” – The iPad Luddites by Nicholas Carr

Image of the Week: If Research Papers Had a Comment Section

Click through for full size

Links of the Week


The links and media above are selected from material posted to, which gathers links and comment on the worlds of libraries, technology, higher education, culture, intellectual property, copyright, information, ethics, design, professional identity, leadership, and the future. The full content feed is available by Daily Email Digest or “RSS“:

This Week in LIS is published most Fridays by Christopher Barth, Executive Director of Library and Information Services at Luther College in Decorah, Iowa.

This issue is Volume 4, Number 25 (#152)

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