This Week in LIS - 13 May 2011

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

Headline of the Week: How High Can They Fly?

Sometime in the next day or two (most likely), several Decorah area residents will accomplish something never done before – star in an live Internet broadcast with more than 100,000,000 viewers. The Decorah Eagles hosted by USTREAM have gone viral this year with widespread media coverage resulting in an unprecedented audience for an online Internet broadcast (the recent Royal wedding topped out around 72 million on YouTube). The technology blog TechCrunch writes today:

In the last month, the Decorah Eagles have become a full-blown national phenomenon. The stream has been live since February of 2010, but the majority of traffic has arrived since the pair’s eggs began hatching on February 23rd of this year. The Huffington Post wrote a story on the Decorah Eagles in April and, at the time, the channel had attracted 25.6 million views. Today, less than a month later, that number has passed 95 million (currently at nearly 95.9 million). Thus, in 29 days, the stream has tallied over 70 million views, which breaks down to roughly 2.4 million views-per-day over that time.

If these 2.4 million viewers all lived in the same city, it would be the fourth largest in the United States, just ahead of Houston and behind New York, Los Angeles, and Chicago. (Interestingly this figure is also the approximate number of incarcerated people in the United States … folks presumably with time on their hands to watch eagles, though likely lacking the Internet connection to do so). We do know that the stream has been very popular in schools, hospitals, nursing homes, and elsewhere where folks want the chance to learn, experience, and connect with nature. (It occurs to me that because of the camera angle, we don’t really know what President Obama and his national security team were watching in this iconic photograph … hmm).

TechCrunch continues:

According to the live video platform [Ustream], the average time spent watching the Decorah Eagles in April, per-unique-viewer, was 6 hours and 10 minutes, and over 2,400 human years have been invested in watching the “eagle cam”. Of course, many people are likely leaving the stream on for 24-hours-a-day, so this skews the figures a bit, but the point remains: People love the eagles.

Sadly, it would appear that even with an impressive showing of 2,400 human years of streaming, the Decorah Eagles cannot catch their feathered friends, the Angry Birds who consume approximately 200,000,000 minutes daily of human attention (that’s about 380 years of human time each day).

It was just a year ago that Luther hosted the live stream of the previous generation of Decorah eagles. We were pretty amazed by the 774,410 unique viewers we logged on our system. But clearly these talented birds had the presence to command a larger stage. Current host USTREAM is making a pretty big splash on their homepage celebrating the 100,000,000 views, and who knows where that number will end up when it comes time for the stars of the show to leave the nest.

The story of the eagles is a great study in the power of social media today and the ability of simple, yet compelling content to build an audience and tell a story. It has captured the imagination of millions, and we will likely become know as that place in Iowa with the Internet eagles. While it is a fun thing to see some locals achieve true international celebrity, hopefully this exposure will be transferable into ongoing and meaningful support of conservation and wildlife awareness generally, and the Raptor Resource Project specifically. One thing is certainly true: there are some new Quality Chicks in town. Can we get some t-shirts up there?

LIS Blog Highlights from the Week

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

LIS Ideas

This past 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.

Idea of the Week – What do you think about …

Encrypt data on portable computers by default – We should research and select a method/tool for hard drive encryption on portable machines to secure data in the event of theft or loss … what do you think?

Notes from LIS Council

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

  • New Items
    • 2011-12 Budget Reduction
      • We will be holding $20,000 from our 2011-12 in reserve for contingency for the college divided across library and IT budget centers.
    • Help Desk Survey Email Notifications
      • We have the ability to distribute email notifications off of the help desk survey responses. We discussed how best to structure this to keep accountability and broaden awareness.
    • Summer Planning
      • We’ll be using the ideas site to generate and vet objectives for next year. Chris is pre-populating the site with some carry-over items and will open up it to LIS soon.
    • Summer Timeline
      • Last day on campus for Chris will likely be July 1st. He is continuing to update a transition document.
    • New Network Registration Page currently available at
      • Adam showed a redesigned network registration page which will be debuted shortly.
  • Returning Items
    • 2010-11 Budget
      • We continue to monitor end-of-year budgets. We will transfer monies to the plant fund to cover funding for the Datatel MsSQL project.
      • No action on this item.
    • Annual Report
      • A general reminder on the annual report. LIS Council folks should be assigning out areas to be written. A reminder was shared that the first team listed as responsible is the one responsible for text.
    • TG 150
      • Chris will present later today to TG 150 regarding proposed LIS initiatives.
    • Recruitment
      • Campus interviews will take place next week.
    • Collaboration
      • DCSD Document
        • Folks can continue to contribute the the Google Doc gathering thoughts from our brainstorming meeting. Chris will send off to DCSD soon.

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

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
Creating a Faculty Website Using Reason Workshop Jun 15 2011 – 9:00am 12:00pm Olin 301 – Round Table Room Open
Enhancing Student Learning Through Information Literacy and Technology – Summer 2011 Faculty Workshop Faculty Development Jul 11 2011 – 9:00am Jul 15 2011 – 12:00pm TBA Closed
Creating a Faculty Website Using Reason Workshop Jul 27 2011 – 9:00am 12:00pm Olin 301 – Round Table Room Open
Creating a Faculty Website Using Reason Workshop Aug 3 2011 – 9:00am 12:00pm Olin 301 – Round Table Room Open

Quote(s) of the Week

  • “The ability to rethink is one of the core skills vital to sucess in the 21st century. Consider, for instance, the failure of businesses to rethink the viability of their products in the context of our rapidly evolving consumer culture. Or consider the consequences if the government fails to rethink Entitlement programs such as Medicare in the context of the deficit and the needs of an aging population that will live longer than any generation before. There is a blindness inherent in our discourse that prevents individuals and organizations from finding innovative solutions to these problems. To get out of this rut, what is required is the ability to rethink beliefs that are often fundamental to our worldview.” – Core Skill: Rethinking | Think Tank | Big Think
  • “Currently, social media is about execution. I’m all for exploring sexy, fun new ways of reaching an audience, but social media evangelists seem to spend little time comparing their medium with alternatives that may be a better strategic fit or more cost-efficient. We rarely hear headliners caution that social media can be a worthless exercise, a drag on precious resources or damaging to reputations. There’s little talk about limitations or failures or more reliable alternatives. It’s as if everyone is whistling their way down the path and over the cliff drinking the collective Kool-Aid.” – Views: Beyond Tweets and Blogs – Inside Higher Ed
  • “A few years ago, when I was still teaching at Yale, I was approached by a student who was interested in going to graduate school. She had her eye on Columbia; did I know someone there she could talk with? I did, an old professor of mine. But when I wrote to arrange the introduction, he refused to even meet with her. “I won’t talk to students about graduate school anymore,” he explained. “Going to grad school’s a suicide mission.”” – Faulty Towers: The Crisis in Higher Education | The Nation
  • “McKinsey says the nation will also need 1.5 million more data-literate managers, whether retrained or hired. The report points to the need for a sweeping change in business to adapt a new way of managing and making decisions that relies more on data analysis. Managers, according to the McKinsey researchers, must grasp the principles of data analytics and be able to ask the right questions. “Every manager will really have to understand something about statistics and experimental design going forward,” said Michael Chui, a senior fellow at the McKinsey Global Institute.” – Mining of Raw Data May Bring New Productivity, a Study Says –

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, May 27, 2011.

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 5, Number 26 (#193)

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Content is made available under Creative Commons license.