This Week in LIS - 23 March 2012

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

Headline of the Week: Gatekeepers

Organizational innovation is in part a function of coming to understand how new technologies might enable something new and valuable. Absorbing new technologies is therefore important. Absorbing new technologies begins with discovering new information, processing and connecting it with things we know and forming new knowledge. This develops and matures with practical experience with the new technology. That new mastery empowers new ideas and possibilities, which leads to innovation. This is one pattern to innovation and it repeats with each new technology.

Thomas Allen is a delightful gentleman. He has a twinkle in his eye that signals a spirit of playfulness and yet he is a serious organizational studies researcher at MIT Sloan. Tom coined the phrase “gatekeeper” in his book Managing the Flow of Technology. Gatekeepers play a very special role in innovative organizations. Leveraging trusted relationships they spread ideas, information, technology and otherwise make connections among members of, and between, innovative communities. (Tom has shared he regrets picking the term “gatekeeper” because it also can have the connotation of someone who controls access; determining which ideas get in and which get filtered, or determining who may or may not have access to information. This is not at all the nature of his “gatekeeper”.)

Richard McDermott in his 1999 article in the California Management Review, Why Information Technology Inspired But Cannot Deliver Knowledge Management talks about the significant role communities play in creating/ spreading knowledge among community members. He also references gatekeepers and the role individuals can play in the flow of information across communities.

Let us challenge ourselves to see how LIS can play the role of an Allen-esque gatekeeper (or come to know the key gatekeepers within the community and empower their effectiveness with both our information and our information technology). To what degree are we playing the role of Allen’s gatekeepers today? What can we do to enhance our relationships or improve our expertise so we can further contribute to the gatekeeping that leads to innovation in the community?

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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:

  • New Items
    • National History Day
      • March 26 students from St. Benedict’s who are advancing to the state competition for National History Day will be coming to the library to do further research. In addition, Luther will sponsor two prizes for the National History Day competition to be held May 7 in Des Moines.
    • Programmer Analyst Search
      • The search for a new Program Analyst is now open and listed at Review of applications will begin immediately and those received by April 13, 2012 will receive full consideration.
    • Document & Mail Center
      • Stickers on devices supported by the Document Center currently read “IKON” and will be rebranded to read “Ricoh” sometime between April and August of this year; other signage will also be changing accordingly on campus. This change does not impact the service, support, or pricing provided by the Document Center and the Mail Center. Prices effective January of 2011 are still in effect and will not change without prior notice.
    • VPN
      • As a result of an upcoming upgrade to our VPN software, the web interface for our VPN is moving to a new URL. More information when it becomes available.
    • Metronet
      • Conversations regarding what Luther can provide to the community through the Metronet and what the community can provide to Luther through the Metronet are continuing.
  • Returning Items
    • IBM Academic Initiative
      • We continued discussion of the IBM Academic Initiative which is free for instructors and their students for non-production use of some IBM Software.
    • Transition
      • We continued discussing transition items with our new Executive Director of LIS.

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 links below are currently open for registration by Luther participants. LIS Staff who are interested in participating in an event should speak with Diane Gossman. Faculty who are interested in participating should speak with Lori Stanley. Participation is contingent upon available funding and program acceptance.

Conferences & Events:
Digital Humanities Events:
Teachers Without Borders Series:

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
Making Appointments with Norse Calendar Faculty Development Mar 30 2012 – 12:15pm 1:15pm Olin 301 – Round Table Room Open
Faculty Brown Bag: Enhancing Student Learning through Information Literacy and Technology (Theatre/Dance) Faculty Development Apr 2 2012 – 12:15pm 1:15pm Dahl Centennial Union – Mott Open
Faculty Brown Bag: Enhancing Student Learning through Information Literacy and Technology (E&B, SASW, Nursing) Faculty Development Apr 3 2012 – 11:30am 12:30pm Dahl Centennial Union – Mott Open
What's up with You? (A Google Demonstration) Product Demonstration Apr 10 2012 – 3:00pm 4:00pm Preus Library – Hovde Lounge Open
Social Pedagogies and Technology Faculty Development Apr 12 2012 – 3:00pm 4:00pm Dahl Centennial Union – Borlaug Open
Update on Summer 2012 Faculty Computer Roll-out Faculty Development Apr 18 2012 – 12:15pm 1:15pm Dahl Centennial Union – Mott Open
Zotero: Grab Your Research With a Click of a Button! Workshop Apr 18 2012 – 7:00pm 8:00pm Preus Library – Hovde Lounge Open
Intro to Voicethread: Collaborative Multimedia Slideshows Faculty Development Apr 24 2012 – 3:30pm 4:30pm Preus Library – Hovde Lounge Open

Food for Thought: Improved Spell Checking for Norse Docs

Norse Docs news from the Google Docs Blog: “…today we’re launching an update to spell checking in documents and presentations that grows and adapts with the web, instead of relying on a fixed dictionary.” For more information see Spell checking powered by the web

Thanks to Adam Forsyth for this week’s submission.

This Week in LIS is published most Fridays by Paul Mattson, Executive Director of LIS at Luther College in Decorah, Iowa.

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