This Week in LIS - 22 May 2009

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

Headline of the Week: What We Think We Know … and What We Want to Know More

19F88986-0610-4763-8EB0-045D9F25CD22.jpgThis week, our series of MISO reports looks at self-reported skill levels in using a variety of information-based tools, as well as a gauge of interest in learning more. We also gathered a picture of how the community prefers to learn about information tools designed to support their academic and administrative work.

In an aggregate view, the community reports that skills levels are roughly the same as two years ago when we last administered the survey. Overall interest in learning more is lower for most tools (with a few exceptions). Students are most interested in learning more, and faculty and staff show a general trend of less interest in learning more.

A few other observations:

  • Libraries and database vendors have ill-served our communities by developing tools that are clunkier to use than general search tools on the Internet. This is evident in reported skill levels of search engines versus library databases.
  • Backing up data is a practice that we need to focus more attention on. In the Luther community, 47% of students, 32% of faculty, and 60% of staff report they do not back up their data … ever.
  • For students, I think that if “social software” had included Facebook as an example, it would have scored much higher. Examples for that item included blogs, podcasting, and RSS.
  • Though not immediately evident from these lists, interest in learning more is generally pretty low, with many reporting little or no interest. This is a challenge both for LIS, but also for the community. As information tools continue to be introduced and evolve, it is increasingly important that faculty, students, and staff evolve and grow their skills. Luther’s current strategic plan calls for greater focus on information literacy skills for faculty, staff, and students recognizing the critical nature of these skills in today’s information-based economies. Our data suggests we have a two-stage challenge ahead, 1) making the case that continually refreshing information skills is important, and 2) refreshing those information skills.
  • The world would be a boring (but in some ways much easier) place if we were all the same. The fact that each constituency has a different method of learning as their top preference adds an extra layer of complexity (particularly when considering the previous bullet). Nonetheless, LIS remains committed to ensuring the Luther community has access to the tools and training they need to succeed in a rapidly-changing environment.
Self-Reported Skill Levels in Descending Order
(Tool with highest reported skill level is at the top)
Faculty Students Staff
  • Email
  • Word Processing Software
  • Search Engines
  • My.Luther
  • Voicemail
  • Online Library Catalog
  • Technology in Classrooms
  • Course Management System
  • Primary Operating System
  • Library Databases
  • Spreadsheet Software
  • Presentation Software
  • Backing Up Data
  • Instant Messaging
  • Graphics Software
  • Database Software
  • Social Software
  • Web Authoring Software
  • Math/Statistics Software
  • Audio/Video Editing Software
  • Spatial Analysis/GIS Software
  • Email
  • Search Engines
  • Word Processing Software
  • Instant Messaging
  • My.Luther
  • Course Management Software
  • Primary Operating System
  • Presentation Software
  • Spreadsheet Software
  • Library Databases
  • Online Library Catalog
  • Social Software
  • Backing Up Data
  • Graphics Software
  • Database Software
  • Audio/Video Editing Software
  • Math/Statistics Software
  • Web Authoring Software
  • Spatial Analysis/GIS Software
  • Email
  • Search Engines
  • Voicemail
  • Word Processing Software
  • Spreadsheet Software
  • My.Luther
  • Primary Operating System
  • Instant Messaging
  • Presentation Software
  • Technology in Meeting Spaces
  • Backing Up Data
  • Database Software
  • Course Management System
  • Graphics Software
  • Online Library Catalog
  • Web Authoring Software
  • Library Databases
  • Audio/Video Editing Software
  • Social Software
  • Math/Statistics Software
  • Spatial Analysis/GIS Software
Reported Interest in Building Skills in Descending Order
(Tool with highest reported interest level is at the top)
Faculty Students Staff
  • Course Management System
  • Backing Up Data
  • Presentation Software
  • Technology in Classrooms
  • Graphics Software
  • Primary Operating System
  • Spreadsheet Software
  • Library Databases
  • Word Processing Software
  • Audio/Video Editing Software
  • Web Authoring Software
  • My.Luther
  • Email
  • Online Library Catalog
  • Search Engines
  • Social Software
  • Database Software
  • Instant Messaging
  • Voicemail
  • Math/Statistics Software
  • Spatial Analysis/GIS Software
  • Backing Up Data
  • Primary Operating System
  • Graphics Software
  • Spreadsheet Software
  • Audio/Video Editing Software
  • Library Databases
  • Presentation Software
  • Word Processing Software
  • Online Library Catalog
  • Course Management System
  • Database Software
  • Web Authoring Software
  • Social Software
  • Search Engines
  • My.Luther
  • Email
  • Math/Statistics Software
  • Spatial Analysis/GIS Software
  • Instant Messaging
  • Spreadsheet Software
  • Backing Up Data
  • Word Processing Software
  • Presentation Software
  • Email
  • Graphics Software
  • My. Luther
  • Primary Operating System
  • Search Engines
  • Graphics Software
  • Course Management System
  • Audio/Video Editing Software
  • Instant Messaging
  • Database Software
  • Voicemail
  • Technology in Meeting Rooms
  • Social Software
  • Online Library Catalog
  • Library Databases
  • Math/Statistics Software
  • Spatial Analysis/GIS Software
Preferred Method of Learning in Descending Order
(Method with highest reported preference level is at the top)
Faculty Students Staff
  • One-on-One Instruction
  • Workshop/Training Session
  • Self-Directed with Online Tutorial
  • Self-Directed with Documentation
  • Trial and Error
  • Self-Directed with Online Tutorial
  • Workshop/Training Session
  • Self-Directed with Documentation
  • One-on-One Instruction
  • Trial and Error
  • Workshop/Training Session
  • One-on-One Instruction
  • Self-Directed with Online Tutorial
  • Self-Directed with Documentation
  • Trial and Error

No TWILIS Friday, May 29th

Publication will resume Friday, June 5th.


LIS Staffing News

LIS is pleased to welcome Benjamin Wilbur to our staff as Programmer/Analyst. He will begin work June 1, 2009. Benjamin will be supporting the admissions and financial aid modules and reporting in Datatel, system support for the AdAstra facilities scheduling software, and interfaces to other systems.


LIS Blog Highlights from the Week

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


Notes from LIS Council

Topics discussed by the LIS Council this week included:

  • Management of web content
  • Lutheran Summer Music support
  • Summer Registration
  • Luther Sign Committee update
  • Fiber cut on the campus network
  • Summer network plans and work
  • Cell phone policy changes
  • Emergency response planning
  • Budget considerations
  • IKON
  • Review of proposed projects for the Luther web

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 http://www.nitle.org/www/events.


Next Week in LIS and Faculty Development Opportunities


Notable Internet Resource of the Week: Muck Rack

“What if you could get tomorrow’s newspaper today?” quotes the Muck Rack website. This site seeks to capitalizing on the tremendous growth in Twitter by selectively aggregating tweets of notable journalists into one place. It is billed as the pulse of real-time reporting. The site also provides “beats” dividing out content into rough news topics, and displays trending topics being tweeted at the current moment. Many major news outlets are included (ABC, AP, CBS, CNN, Forbes, Fox, Huffington, MSNBC, NBC, New York Times, NPR, Sports Illustrated, Time, USA Today, Washington Post, Wired, Wall Street Journal among others).

The same venture sponsoring the Muck Rack also provides similar aggregations for designers (inkpill.com), developers (dvlprs.com), celebrities (giantredcarpet.com), musicians (musicians.musebin.com), venture capitalists (venturemaven.com), and pets (thepetfeed.com). Yes, those are tweets made by people’s pets. (There is a tweeting capybara there folks).

On the web at http://muckrack.com/


Around the Web

Here are a few links to interesting developments over the past week:

Want to follow these updates during the week? or via RSS? Point your browser to Infoneer.net.


This Week in LIS is published most Fridays by Christopher Barth, Executive Director of Library and Information Services at Luther College for the Luther College community as well as those interested in information services and higher education.

Content is made available under Creative Commons license. Creative Commons License

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