This Week in LIS - 13 August 2010

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

Headline of the Week: Sneak Peek: Luther Goes Mobile

It doesn’t take exceptional powers of observation to see that mobile use of technology is blossoming all around us. Cell phones are not new, and yet they continue to seep deeper and deeper into our culture as multi-skilled communication devices now capable of bringing anything we like to anyone, and bringing anyone or anything we like to us. The following statistics on mobile use are taken from Pew Internet recent Mobile Access 2010 report:

Nine in ten 18-29 year olds own a cell phone, and these young cell owners are significantly more likely than those in other age groups to engage in all of the mobile data applications we asked about in our survey. Among 18-29 year old cell phone owners:

  • 95% send or receive text messages
  • 93% use their phone to take pictures
  • 81% send photos or videos to others
  • 65% access the internet on their mobile device
  • 64% play music on their phones
  • 60% use their phones to play games or record a video
  • 52% have used their phone to send or receive email
  • 48% have accessed a social networking site on their phone
  • 46% use instant messaging on their mobile device
  • 40% have watched a video on their phone
  • 33% have posted a photo or video online from their phone
  • 21% have used a status update service such as Twitter from their phone
  • 20% have purchased something using their mobile phone
  • 19% have made a charitable donation by text message

Cell phones are not just about telephone calls anymore. Increasingly it is the data connections that are most used and most valuable. Information providers are therefore faced with a more and more urgent task to determine how best to serve this quickly growing market. The limitations of a small screen do affect the quality of user experience which requires some new thought regarding exactly what mobile users want or need. The answer to that question generally is not just a reformatting of the content available on the normal website. Instead it is found in learning what information people need access to “on the go.”

This summer, Publications and LIS have collaborated to build Luther’s first dedicated mobile internet site. Coded by our summer student employee Aaron Burk ’12, the site will be officially announced very soon as work continues to complete the final version 1.0 functionality. The site is designed to function on small devices (e.g. iPods and mobile telephones).

The site includes dedicated sections for campus visitors, especially prospective students with tools we know will help them as they travel such as a campus map, walking campus tour, directions, and access to our campus directory. The mobile site also includes a campus event calendar, key contacts, and recent campus news. We have also worked to gather together some new functionality for our current students, such as real-time computer lab seat availability, a mobile interface to our library catalog, and access to the Caf menu as well as a new “Cafcam” webcam providing a regularly updated view of the servery.

We expect additional content and functionality to be added over time as we track what services are most useful. Developing and maintaining a quality mobile experience for visitors is a top priority for this project and we will work to improve this functionality. For now, you can give the new site a whirl (best viewed from your mobile device) at

Second Headline of the Week: Datatel Upgrade Successfully Completed

This past week saw the successful completion of a major server and database upgrade for our primary enterprise resource system Datatel. The upgrade included a move to brand new hardware running a new operating system and new version of our Unidata database. The migration was the collaboration of LIS’ Application Develop and Network & Systems teams, especially Jean Ryan, Lucas Welper, Ben Wilber, Adam Forsyth, and Marcia Gullickson.

LIS Blog Highlights from the Week

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

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.

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

Notes from LIS Council

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

Team Names
We are reviewing and considering team names within LIS to make sure they best reflect the work teams do. Particularly looking at Application Development and Network & Systems, though others can be considered as well.

Meeting Agendas
We’ll keep track of meeting agendas online this year. Considered Basecamp, but will use Norse Docs instead. Council folk should update the agenda prior to the meeting with items to be discussed.

Google Wave and Discontinued Google Products
Now that Google Wave is no longer being developed, we need to know how to manage products like this. For now, we will keep Wave available, though our documentation has been updated with a notice explaining the uncertain future of the product. We will wait to see what Google does in this case. Generally, we will not remove services that in the suite without ample notice to the community and recommended migration steps (if available).

Library Student Orientation Meeting
John, Chris, and Diane will discuss how to handle this for this upcoming semester later this week

CAF Renovations
Work continues as we sort through what will be and won’t be completed prior to the start of school. We’re also reviewing final quotes on AV and managing how those and other LIS improvements will be paid for. New wireless service will be installed per Adam.

802.11b Wireless Service
We have decided to continue to offer 802.11b for the coming academic year and to revisit this again next summer.

First Aid Kit for the Library
It seems we don’t have a very robust one, and we likely should have something better. Chris will be in touch with Health Services on how they handle this. Access to a kit in Main is also a priority.

Statement of Responsibility / Mobile Phone Changes
Marcia is following up with Ann Highum on some additional language to cover publishing mobile telephone numbers in the online directory.

NEIT Cell Tower
Our contract is signed and planning continues to install the new cell site as well as run fiber to the Dieseth penthouse to connect it to our network.

Dress Code
Based on feedback from both inside and outside of LIS, Chris will be in touch with HR to discuss dress codes at Luther. Additional conversations will be forthcoming both in Council and in LIS broadly on this issue.

Football Digital Video Server
Football has purchased a storage server to centrally manage digital game video. This should be rack-mounted in the server room, though may require some additional support from LIS.

App Store Volume Purchasing Program
Apple is now offering a plan for educational institutions to provide download codes of authorized software to individuals that allows for central purchasing. We will be examining this more closely as we consider management of iOS devices on campus.

LISAAC Student Nominations
The Dean has requested names of students who might be interested in serving on the LISAAC for the coming year. Names can be forwarded to Chris.

Transitions for Emeriti
Our exit process has been tweaked to cover the case of faculty who are granted emeriti status. They will receive a slightly different message from LIS covering their particular case.

Contract Employees and Campus Services
Work is underway in HR to pull together exactly what services/benefits Luther will provide to contract employees. LIS will provide access to all technical resources required for their work. Library services will be offered as community patrons. Additional areas at Luther will have their own policies on this.

Project Cataloging Archivist Recruitment
We are collecting applications and will begin the review process later this month. We will see name a recruiting team for this recruitment.

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:

Event Date Description
CLOCKSS: Archiving in the Hands of the Community Aug 18, 2010 For NITLE Network libraries interested in joining CLOCKSS at a preferred rate. This webinar will introduce CLOCKSS, a community-governed digital archive founded by the world’s leading libraries and publishers.
Pedagogical Implications of Wireless and Mobile Technologies Sep 9, 2010 For participants from Lincoln Memorial University and other members of the Appalachian College Association who wish to learn about the pedagogical implications of wireless and mobile technologies for the learning environment and the practice of teaching.

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
Book Discussion: "My Year of Meats" by Ruth Ozeki (Part 2 of 2) Faculty Development Aug 16 2010 – 12:00pm 1:00pm Dahl Centennial Union – Nobel Open
Grading for the Sake of Learning (Day 1 of 2) Faculty Development Aug 17 2010 – 9:00am 12:00pm Dahl Centennial Union – Nansen Closed
The Oneota Project: Sustainability Across the Curriculum (Day 1 of 2) Faculty Development Aug 17 2010 – 1:30pm 5:00pm Baker Commons Closed
Grading for the Sake of Learning (Day 2 of 2) Faculty Development Aug 18 2010 – 9:00am 12:00pm Dahl Centennial Union – Nansen Closed
The Oneota Project: Sustainability Across the Curriculum (Day 2 of 2) Faculty Development Aug 18 2010 – 1:30pm 5:00pm Baker Commons Closed
Building Peace Through Interfaith Cooperation (Day 1 of 2) Faculty Development Aug 19 2010 – 9:00am 12:00pm Baker Commons Closed
Building Peace Through Interfaith Cooperation (Day 2 of 2) Faculty Development Aug 20 2010 – 9:00am 3:00pm Baker Commons Closed
Luther College as a Community of Faith and Learning (Day 1 of 2) Faculty Development Aug 23 2010 – 9:00am 3:30pm Loyalty Board Room Open
Luther College as a Community of Faith and Learning (Day 2 of 2) Faculty Development Aug 24 2010 – 9:00am 3:30pm Loyalty Board Room Open
Creating and Presenting Posters Across the Curriculum Faculty Development Aug 26 2010 – 8:30am 12:00pm Valders 377 Open

Internet Resource of the Week: Invisible Note

There are all manner of services online these days that serve to connect you with another random person. Most recently the fad has been the Chatroulette roller coaster which connects random people by webcam. This week’s site takes a decided old school approach to connecting you with someone … Invisible Note is a penpal service based on email. It works very simply. Send an email (or use the form on the website) to send a message to Your email will be received and wait in the system until another stranger sends a message to the exact same email address at which time the system will connect the two of you by sending a message with your pen pal’s email address. This service does not guarantee quick turnaround time. They boast there is no set limit they’ll hold your message … it could be decades before you get a response.

On the web at

Quote(s) of the Week:

  • “Why is it so often that the best people are stuck in the middle and the people who are running things—the leaders—are the mediocrities? Because excellence isn’t usually what gets you up the greasy pole. What gets you up is a talent for maneuvering. Kissing up to the people above you, kicking down to the people below you. … Not taking stupid risks like trying to change how things are done or question why they’re done. Just keeping the routine going.” – The American Scholar » Solitude and Leadership

Image of the Week: Iowa: The Wind Energy Capital of the United States

China may have overtaken the U.S. as the Saudi Arabia of wind power (got that?), but the U.S. is still home to some major wind energy powerhouses. The annual Wind Technologies Market Report tells us that four states—Iowa, South Dakota, North Dakota, and Minnesota—managed to squeeze out over 10% of their in-state energy production from wind power last year. Iowa emerged out in front with 20% of all in-state production coming from wind energy—unsurprising for anyone who has been pummeled by wind in the Midwestern state.

» via Fast Company

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“:

Next Issue

The next issue of TWILIS will be published on Friday, August 20th.

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 38 (#165)

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