This Week in LIS - 1 February 2013

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

Headline of the Week: A Story of Innovation

This week I came across an interesting story. It started with a posting on the Luther College and Friends LinkedIn site. It turned out to be an old posting but it was resurrected as a side effect of a very recent commenter. The commenter was encouraging a young Luther Alum, Scott Meyer, on his (then new) project to create “A Travel Hacking Guide to Norway.”

Scott was struggling with the problem of the high cost for travelers in Norway; especially ones he’d hoped would come and visit that didn’t. He had lived in Norway for a number of years and thought one solution to the problem was for him to leverage his experience and to develop a guide on how to travel to and around Norway on the cheap.

Scott used Kickstarter. Kickstarter is a website that provides a funding platform for creative projects. It reminds me of the artists and patrons model from the Renaissance with a modern, networked, geographic independent twist. Scott posted his project to write the book asking for $2000. For supporters willing to contribute $5 or more he offered free copies when it was done.

Scott was successful. First, within a month of his posting on Kickstarter, his project was fully funded. Second, I discovered that not only is his book available in paperback on Amazon, it’s also available for Kindle and further, it’s available for Prime members free borrowing. It’s on my Kindle now and I’m looking forward to reading it!

I’m overwhelmed and stimulated by all the cool stuff going on within this story. It’s a great alumni story including the excitement associated with traveling to foreign lands, learning a new language, creating value through writing, problem solving in a way that serves others, and connecting in an international context. It’s a great story about community and support and trust and risk. It’s a great story about an innovative approach to getting a creative project funded. It’s a great story about a successful entrepreneur. It’s a great story about the value of networks and e-books (it would surely have cost more than $5 to send a physical book to the patrons) and self publishing. It’s a great story about information access as I think about discovering this whole scenario on Wednesday morning and on Friday morning I have the outcome on my Kindle.

I encourage you to watch the video of Scott at Ignite SD. His enthusiasm in infectious.

Suggested Reading/Listening/Viewing:

Travel Hacking Norway with a Luther Alum

A Travel Hacking Guide to Norway

Kickstarter Basics

The Travel Hacking Guide to Norway: A guide for travelers with more time than money

Ignite SD – Series of 5 minutes passion talks. Connecting creative thinkers across the great state of South Dakota.

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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:

  • 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 metrics of the Archives usage by researchers including a breakdown by user/transaction type for December and January, and time spent with patrons (most interactions are less than 30 minutes in length).
      • Nordic website analytics from September through the end of January were shared, including traffic sources and keywords searched.
      • Updates were provided on: document imaging project, digital media project, presidential papers collection, Archives Leadership Institute (ALI) applications, Postville Project IMLS grant application, and the box labeling project (now using qrcodes).
    • Library
      • Library metrics on eBrary usage were shared from June through December. 1578 distinct titles were viewed (2% of the collection), over half of which were published 2007 or later. Four high use examples were shared in more detail. There is a real economy for students when professors select texts from the unlimited use e-book collection.
      • Andi shared research instruction statistics for the academic year-to-date. There have been 129 sessions so far, with 3 course related and 3 rare book room sessions in J-Term.
    • Software Development
      • Marcia shared metrics on software development work orders since June 2011, focusing on KATIE work order numbers and categories. Most work orders are related to Colleague/Datatel.
      • Project updates were shared: New KATIE Version went live 1/29/12, Reason analytics now live, RFP for the Box Office software in progress, Kaltura install and demo soon.
      • Prospective students data will be setup with Norse Key accounts upon deposit, instead of in a batch prior to the ROAD (Registration, Orientation, and Advising Day), for housing and health service purposes. Essentially, we are putting the process we used last year back into place so that prospective students get Norse Key accounts sooner rather than later.
      • The Residence Life staff is preparing for the room draw for Baker Village using a new application, Residence, this week. There is work on the interface to identify students who qualify for the draw. This is the first year we are using Symplicity’s “Residence” module for continuing student room draw.
  • New Items
    • LIS Communication Plan
      • The migration of the LIS website from Drupal to Reason is prompting questions regarding how/when LIS communicates what information both within LIS and to the Campus Community. It’s an appropriate time to re-evaluate the Communication Plan and LIS Council will continue the conversation at upcoming meetings.
    • Returning Items
      • LIS Welcome Brochure
        Suggested updates are due today at 5pm so Diane can incorporate them by Friday (2/1).

Upcoming LIS Training, Instruction, and Professional Development Opportunities

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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