This Week in LIS - 18 May 2012

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

Headline of the Week: LIS Operational Management

We can think of a college as a system. Within LIS we support and enable many of the important systems on campus that collectively contribute to the broader Luther College system and its mission. These systems are enabled and manifested by our information technology and us. They serve broad functions and include support for teaching and learning (e.g. library systems and Katie) and administration (e.g. Reason, Datatel, CBORD). They connect and inform students, faculty and staff as they all go about enacting their portions of the college system.

System behavior is determined by a number of things. Structure is critical. Important elements of structure are the feedback loops; those mechanisms that carry signals and information between subsystems and between components of systems that are used to guide and inform the systems especially as they endeavor to reach their goals. Information in and about systems is important to their success operation.

A powerful characteristic of some systems is their ability to reorganize themselves when they detect they can be improved with respect to their goals and mission. This is especially true of systems that people (e.g. our LIS team) enact. Sometimes these take the form of changing a business process by altering a goal, changing a rule or altering a flow. Sometimes they take the form of a project. Sometimes the project’s purpose is to provide information (e.g. a pilot project). Sometimes a project’s purpose is to enact some new system capability. In this case the end of a successful project is a change to an ongoing system.

This week the LIS Council members have been asked to think about the key processes and the projects that they and their teams support and are working on. Selection of “key” processes needs to consider their significance to the college mission and operation, the level of investment involved, the importance and urgency others put upon them for their success, the degree to which they contribute to Luther College distinction/differentiation, the degree of uncertainty/risk associated with the work (i.e. when the work is really all about discovery) and the degree to which the work cuts across our LIS functions requiring collaboration.

Around these key projects and processes we serve the college and ourselves by being intentional about ensuring the feedback loops are providing information that is rich in content and timely. These flows can help us all in making our day-to-day decisions. They can help us with identifying uncommitted dependencies and accelerate discovery-uncovering surprises earlier when there is time to handle/mitigate them. They enable us to help one another as systems and projects demand additional or specialized contributions. Information allows us to share our progress, set expectations and build credibility within the college and among our teams. Trust is not only critical interpersonally but at the organizational level as well.

With a list of key processes and projects the next step will be to consider what operational information is most useful to collect and share. A most significant consideration is trying to capture information that connects our systems to the mission of the college. When we can connect the processes we support and the projects we do to success in teaching and learning outcomes and success in admissions and success with development we are communicating in a most meaningful way the value we create for the investment made in us. Further what we do is complex. We need to share information that enables us to deliver quality and consistency reliably in processes and our projects when expected and for expected costs.

The LIS Council (library and IT) will dedicate a portion of its agenda for review and conversation of this information. The information that makes this possible is not free. Many of us will need to contribute and analysis will need to be done. We proceed on this path with the expectation that those “costs” for information gathering, analysis, presentation and conversation and action/decision making will, over time, improve our collective ability to deliver enablement and support of key college processes that meet the needs and expectations of the community and that our project identification, investment, execution and delivery will do the same. In this way we build credibility and create value for the mission of the college.

Suggested readings:

  • “Thinking in Systems – A Primer” by Donell H. Wright
  • “The Atlas of New Librarianship” by R. David Lankes
  • “The Real Business of IT: How CIOs Create and Communicate Value” by Richard Hunter and George Westerman

Paul
paul.mattson@luther.edu


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
    • Summer Planning
      • We are settling in on dates for the LIS Summer Planning, hoping to find two days that work for the majority of folks. We also discussed content.
    • Budget
      • We are tightening down on the remaining funds and making decisions about what remains affordable for this fiscal year.
    • LISAAC Student Nominations
      • We continue to seek nominations for the student ‘rising junior’ member of LISAAC (LIS Academic Advisory Council) for the coming year. So far, we have received a couple of names for participation.
    • h: Drives / Google Drive
      • We discussed the relationship between these capabilities, testing whether or not Google Drive would/could be a replacement for h: drives. We concluded that we will continue to support h: drives at this time. More information will be gathered.
    • Interlibrary Loan Partnership Request
      • We agreed to a reciprocal interlibrary loan partnership with The University Library of Southern Denmark, at their request.
    • Better World Books
      • We decided to do a pilot of Better World Books, perform a cost-benefit analysis of the program, and from that determine whether or not to continue the program. This will lead to 6 boxes of books, acceptable to Better World Books, being picked up at their expense for reselling. Proceeds from the sale are split between their program, LIS, and a charity of our choice.
    • Verizon MiFi
      • We have upgraded our subscription to this device which will provide LIS members wifi on the road to both save money and increase productivity while traveling for Luther-related purposes.
    • LIS Council Agenda
      • The agenda for LIS Council meetings going forward will include a section devoted to operational reporting topics. See today’s TWILIS headline above.

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 Paul Mattson. Faculty who are interested in participating should speak with Lori Stanley. Participation is contingent upon available funding and program acceptance.

Conferences & Events: http://www.nitle.org/events/events_list.php
Digital Humanities Events: http://www.nitle.org/help/digital_humanities_events.php
Teachers Without Borders Series: https://lis.luther.edu/files/NITLEandTWB.pdf


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
Advising and Vocation at Luther College (Day 1 of 2) Faculty Development May 23 2012 – 9:00am 4:00pm Baker Commons Open
Advising and Vocation at Luther College (Day 2 of 2) Faculty Development May 24 2012 – 9:00am 4:00pm Baker Commons Open
Sustaining an Honors Curriculum at Luther (Day 1 of 2) Faculty Development May 29 2012 – 1:00pm 4:00pm Dahl Centennial Union – Borlaug Open
Off-Campus Studies 101 Faculty Development May 30 2012 – 9:00am 12:00pm Dahl Centennial Union – Mott Open
Sustaining an Honors Curriculum at Luther (Day 2 of 2) Faculty Development May 30 2012 – 1:00pm 4:00pm Dahl Centennial Union – Borlaug Open
Ethical Issues and the Nature of Moral Decision-Making: Why You Don't Need a Moral Philosopher to Teach Paideia 450 (Day 1 of 2) Faculty Development Jun 5 2012 – 1:00pm 4:00pm Dahl Centennial Union – Mott Open
Ethical Issues and the Nature of Moral Decision-Making: Why You Don't Need a Moral Philosopher to Teach Paideia 450 (Day 2 of 2) Faculty Development Jun 6 2012 – 1:00pm 4:00pm Dahl Centennial Union – Mott Open
What is the Place of Online Instruction at Luther College? (Day 1 of 2) Faculty Development Jun 18 2012 – 9:00am 12:00pm Main 217 Open
What is the Place of Online Instruction at Luther College? (Day 2 of 2) Faculty Development Jun 19 2012 – 9:00am 12:00pm Main 217 Open
Creating a Faculty Website Using Reason Workshop Jun 19 2012 – 9:00am 12:00pm Olin 301 – Round Table Room Open
The Bible: Not for Dummies! (Day 1 of 2) Faculty Development Jun 20 2012 – 9:00am 4:00pm Dahl Centennial Union – Mott Open
The Bible: Not for Dummies! (Day 2 of 2) Faculty Development Jun 21 2012 – 9:00am 4:00pm Dahl Centennial Union – Mott Open
Creating, Developing, and Evaluating Oral Presentation Assignments (Day 1 of 2) Faculty Development Jun 25 2012 – 1:00pm 4:00pm TBA Open
Creating, Developing, and Evaluating Oral Presentation Assignments (Day 2 of 2) Faculty Development Jun 26 2012 – 1:00pm 4:00pm TBA Open
Paideia 111 & 112: Reading the Works (Day 1 of 2) Faculty Development Jun 27 2012 – 9:00am 4:00pm Main 114 Open
Paideia 111 & 112: Reading the Works (Day 2 of 2) Faculty Development Jun 28 2012 – 9:00am 4:00pm Main 114 Open
Enhancing Student Learning Through Information Literacy and Technology – Summer 2012 Faculty Workshop Faculty Development Jul 9 2012 – 9:00am Jul 13 2012 – 12:00pm Preus Library – ICN Room Closed
Shakespeare's "King Lear": Page, Stage, and Workshop (Day 1 of 2) Faculty Development Jul 10 2012 – 1:00pm 4:00pm Main 112 Open
Shakespeare's "King Lear": Page, Stage, and Workshop (Day 2 of 2) Faculty Development Jul 11 2012 – 8:00am 8:00pm Off-campus Open
Creating a Faculty Website Using Reason Workshop Aug 9 2012 – 9:00am 12:00pm Olin 301 – Round Table Room Open
Senior Projects: Creating Meaningful Culminating Experiences in the Major Faculty Development Aug 16 2012 – 9:00am 1:00pm Dahl Centennial Union – Nansen Open
Luther College as a Community of Faith and Learning (Day 1 of 2) Faculty Development Aug 20 2012 – 9:00am 3:30pm Loyalty Board Room Open
Paideia 111/112 New Instructor Workshop (Day 1 of 2) Faculty Development Aug 20 2012 – 9:00am 12:00pm Main 114 Open
Updates for Academic Advisors Faculty Development Aug 20 2012 – 9:00am 12:00pm TBA Open
Luther College as a Community of Faith and Learning (Day 2 of 2) Faculty Development Aug 21 2012 – 9:00am 3:30pm Loyalty Board Room Open
Paideia 111/112 New Instructor Workshop (Day 2 of 2) Faculty Development Aug 21 2012 – 9:00am 12:00pm Main 114 Open
Writing in the Disciplines Faculty Development Aug 22 2012 – 1:00pm 4:00pm Main 112 Open

Food for Thought: Google offers research help within a Doc

I was just in a Google doc today and noticed a new side bar called “Research” that allows you to search Google without even leaving the doc. It brings up maps, images, basic info, and search results within the side bar and allows for you to insert the link into the document, preview the link, and even cite the link. When citing the link, it will add a footnote and automatically format the entire citation for you. It may be the push needed to fully convince students that they don’t necessarily need Word…

Give it a try- I have Drive enabled, but I don’t know if that affects the tool availability. It is also found under Tools > Research.

Thanks to Sasha Griffin 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.

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