This Week in LIS - 31 October 2008

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

Headline of the Week: MISO Survey Symposium 2008

This past Monday the annual symposium covering the MISO (Merged Information Services Organization) Survey was held in Orlando. The meeting included an update on the survey and where it is headed as an assessment tool and also reviewed the most recent research into the national data derived from the survey. For the first time this past year, some participating schools had administered the survey twice, allowing for the first true longitudinal data. There were some broad strokes present and interesting sidelights covered. Below is an overview of trends regarding the importance of library and technology services offered across our different constituencies:

  • Services with increasing importance for faculty:
    • Wireless Access
    • Instructional Technology Support
    • Course Management Systems
    • Support for Technology in Classrooms
    • Help Desk Service
    • Technology in Classrooms
    • Access to Resources from Off-Campus
    • Borrowing Laptops
    • Borrowing Technology Equipment
    • Technology Instruction for Academic Courses
    • Computing Website
  • Services with increasing importance for staff:
    • Borrowing Laptops
    • Computing Website
    • Wireless Access
    • ERP Self Service (e.g. my.luther)
  • Services with increasing importance for students:
    • Online Library Catalog
    • Library Databases
    • Course Management System
    • Wireless Access
  • Services with decreasing importance for faculty:
    • Reference Services
    • Library Website
  • Services with decreasing importance for staff:
    • Interlibrary Loan
    • Reference Services
    • Library Databases
    • Circulation Services
    • Library Website
    • Library Catalog
  • Services with decreasing importance for students:
    • In-Room Telephone Service
    • Help Desk
    • Reference Services
    • Circulation Services
    • Library Website
    • Computer Labs

Discussion focused on the strong uptick in importance of technology-based services for faculty, particularly wireless which has seen a sharp increase in the last two years. There is a general deflation of importance across all constituency for mediated library services (e.g. Reference, Circulation, and Websites). This seems to reflect a self-serve preference, and a perceived lessening of the value that mediated services can provide. In a world where libraries increasingly broker external collections of materials (and actually do add little end value to a product), this is a notable trend that presents challenging questions for mediated service offerings at schools such as ours.

I will share a bit more of this data with LIS at our November LIS General Meeting. LIS will administer the MISO survey for the second time in Spring 2009 as part of our organizational and departmental reviews underway during 2009.

Other Headline of the Week: Google

Each day this week seemed to have a new revelation coming out of Mountain View, and some will have far-reaching consequences for libraries and the web. The smaller announcements of OpenID support and PDF image indexing are interesting in their own right. Google announced their overall uptime on Gmail is greater than 99.9% with an average downtime of 10-15 minutes per month for users.

The big one is Google’s settlement of the lawsuits arising from Google Book Search with authors and publishers. This landmark agreement will change the publishing and library worlds significantly I believe and blesses Google’s book scanning efforts in a way that will ensure the project will be one of the most far-reaching and foundational projects to reshape human knowledge and how our society relates to knowledge. That’s a big statement I know, but that appears to me where the project is headed. Much will remain to be seen about how this new program moves forward. We will want to watch carefully to see how these changes will affect us, for surely they will in a number of ways.

LIS Blog Highlights from the Week

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

Notes from LIS Council

LIS Council did not meet this week.

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.

Complete List of NITLE Opportunities

Next Week in LIS

Notable Internet Resource of the Week: Shmoop

Shmoop is an academic site designed to introduce and teach literature, history, and poetry. Their defined mission is to “make learning and writing more fun and relevant for students in the digital age.” The site consists of collected materials on literary works, poems, and historical events. Content is written primarily by graduate students and professionals, thoroughly cited, and quite extensive for the items included. For example, the materials available for Fahrenheit 451 include brief plot overviews, chapter summaries, theme lists and quotes, study questions, character lists and roles, plot analyses, trivia, and links to the best resources on the web. There are also sections for various literary devices used in the book.

Shmoop is a kind of Cliff Notes for the web. By creating a free account, you can leave your own sticky notes, participate in discussions, and use their writing guide which walks a student through the thesis-crafting process.

On the web at

Around the Web

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

  • Mobility
    • None.