This Week in LIS - 14 December 2012

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

Headline of the Week: Introductory Textbooks Nearly Free?

The Management Information Systems text available through Flat World Knowledge (FWK) is great in my opinion. When I used it in my classes the online version was free and for a modest fee (relative to the cost of new traditional textbook) one could download and print a copy and FWK would print a black and white copy and send it to you for a bit more and for a bit more than that they’d print and send you a full color copy. Recently they removed the free online text option. Part of the reason, a Flat World co-founder said, was the diminishing number of students choosing the premium option. They needed to alter their “freemium” business model to be sustainable.

This week I came across another outfit that is working to drive down the cost of textbooks. OpenStax, out of Rice University, is focused on open peer-reviewed texts for introductory college courses. They are funded by grants from the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the 20 Million Minds Foundation and the Maxfield Foundation. Grant funded free/near free books are complemented by for-profit firm provided additional features that surround the free text.

Online books remove much of the cost of physical materials, printing and distributing. Online platforms also enable non-linear construction approaches. This particular announcement focused on their College Physics and an offering for the iPad.

We might expect students to encourage the use of free texts as they work to manage the cost associated with college. Within LIS we need ready ourselves as demand grows and dependencies emerge on our infrastructure, equipment, devices and integration support.

Suggested Reading/Viewing:

Free, Unless You Want to Pay

Why Pay for Intro Textbooks?

College Physics by Peter Urone & Roger Hinrichs

[email protected]

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:

  • LIS Operational Agenda
    • Council members will be reporting on LIS operational views (metrics for processes and status of projects) regularly at LIS Council meetings. This week’s reports included the following:
    • Archives
      • Rachel shared statistics regarding the use of Archives by researchers from July through December. There were 91 researchers.
      • She also shared the users by type, transactions by type, and time spent with patrons for November and December.
      • Nordic site traffic decreased in November as compared to September and October. Most traffic is from searching, 25% is from referral and 10% is from direct traffic. Top search terms were shared.
      • Project updates were given on: faculty minutes access, accessioning workflow, Archives Leadership Institute applications, and the Postville Project.
    • Software Development
      • Marcia was not able to attend the meeting and provide a report.
  • New Items
    • LIS General
      • The council agreed to leverage the January 2nd LIS General to review progress on LIS Objectives for 2012-2013. The plan is to create a Norse Doc ahead of time containing the list of items. Those out on that Tuesday will be encouraged to provide a written update.
    • Library Office No. 101 Request
      • A request for use of Preus Library 101 space for J-Term for a visiting faculty member was discussed and accepted.
    • Qualtrics
      • We are receiving a quote for a site-wide license for Qualtrics survey software and will be subscribing yet this month. We discussed available authentication methods.
  • Returning Items
    • OCLC
      • An “Institutional Welcome” call was held earlier this week to begin laying out the implementation process at a high level. A second call was held this week that introduced the members of our cohort and provided more details about the implementation including a data migration survey and a scope statement that we need to complete. The next conversation is in mid January.
    • Multimedia
      • The last quantitative assessment conversations were held this past week. In parallel, conversations are being held or planned on digital repository architecture and space needs.
    • Katie
      • Faculty Working Sessions have been scheduled in January to assist faculty in preparing their 2013SP courses on the new version of Katie. Additional Google (Norse) Docs sessions have also been scheduled for those interested in taking advantage of Morsle integration.
    • LIS Website Migration to Reason
      • Plans are being developed to migrate the LIS Website to Reason in January. Part is being planned to be done with automation (e.g. blog) and part through manual conversion. Ryan has been making a list of additional questions to be resolved via conversation within LIS.
    • Document Imaging
      • The team has met and will meet again next week.
    • Program Support Coordinator Search
      • The process continues and additional telephone interviews are being scheduled.

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
Google (Norse) Docs Workshop Jan 16 2013 – 9:00am 9:30am Olin 301 – Round Table Room Open
New Katie – Faculty Working Session Workshop Jan 16 2013 – 9:30am 12:00pm Olin 301 – Round Table Room Open
Google (Norse) Docs Workshop Jan 17 2013 – 2:00pm 2:30pm Olin 301 – Round Table Room Open
New Katie – Faculty Working Session Workshop Jan 17 2013 – 2:30pm 5:00pm Olin 301 – Round Table Room Open
Google (Norse) Docs Workshop Jan 29 2013 – 11:00am 11:30am Olin 301 – Round Table Room Open
New Katie – Faculty Working Session Workshop Jan 29 2013 – 11:30am 2:00pm Olin 301 – Round Table Room Open
Google (Norse) Docs Workshop Jan 31 2013 – 1:00pm 1:30pm Olin 301 – Round Table Room Open
New Katie – Faculty Working Session Workshop Jan 31 2013 – 1:30pm 4:00pm Olin 301 – Round Table Room Open

Training and instruction is provided to the Luther Community through Faculty Development Sessions, Library Instruction Sessions, Product Demonstrations, Skills Training, Workshops, 1-on-1 Sessions, and Online Materials. To schedule a session, contact the LIS Technology Help Desk at x1000 or enter your request online at

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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