We are making progress on all fronts

I am glad to see that after some hiccups, our Google migration has begun again and we are all keeping our fingers crossed that it should proceed well. I am thankful to have such a dedicated and hardworking team of LTS staff who are managing this project well under difficult conditions. No change is ever easy!

A recent news is that Borders, which filed for bankruptcy protection earlier, is unable to find any buyers, so it is likely to liquidate.  Apparently, this is not good news for Barnes and Noble and Amazon. Why? Because the book buyers are likely to flock to Borders to pick up the books at cheaper prices. This is true, but, it is for the short term.

The other major item that has been hogging the news recently is the phone hacking scandal.  It runs like a mystery novel – celebrities, a rising star within a powerful media empire who is implicated in the scandal and is arrested, a whistleblower was found dead etc. This is a serious issue related to privacy that goes beyond just phone hacking.

Then the whole Debt Limit discussion, making us all feel depressed. In spite of all of this, there are an amazing number of projects that the LTS staff have been and are working on. There are far too many to mention, but I will touch on a few.

We have rolled out SuperSearch (we renamed Summon) which is a much more functional search that looks for information not just in the catalog, but also e-books, journals and databases. It is cool and we have rolled it out as a beta for the community to send us their comments. Oh yes, it is summer, but we know that our users are checking it out.

As I mentioned earlier, our move to Google is proceeding well after a significant pause. Mailboxes of over 350 students have been copied from FirstClass to Google in the last few days and over 225 staff and faculty who have been moved seem generally happier with the move. We will begin the transfer of emails for a whole bunch of administrative staff tomorrow. As we ramp up the move, there are a lot of questions from users wanting to use Google Groups and Google sites. We need to develop appropriate use policies first before opening these up. We are in the process of doing that.

Our Drupal transition team has been making steady progress and most importantly, everyone involved seem generally happy, which is priceless! We are talking about the choices we need to make, modules to install, how best to transfer the content from some of the old server pages etc. The usual drill one goes through.

We are also moving along on the Shared Shelf front beginning the process of transferring images from our visual resources collection and also looking to outsource the installation of Luna for cataloging and curating images from our friends in Public Affairs. We want to do this for a year and see how these develop to see if the Shared Shelf/Open Shelf is where we want to be, rather than two platforms.

We are marching along with some critical updates to Banner, researching a document management product called Nolij, where we are trying to exploit the WebServices capability to do some intergration between Banner and Nolij.

I have been checking out one of the earliest versions of our VDI installation and we will be extending it further with some academic software installation (for testing purposes). It is pretty cool, though someone asked me “You have a Mac, so why are you so thrilled to use a Windows?”.  Good question. It is because some software will run only on that OS!

We will be launching some exciting explorations in the Fall regarding the use of technology in teaching, learning and research as well as looking at Learning spaces. Stay tuned.

I truly didn’t do justice to the list of projects because we truly have a LOT going on and it is really exciting to see the energy and enthusiasm with which things are getting done. So, forget about the depressing topics of phone scandal, Bluenog ICE and the debt limit discussions! Let us look at all the great projects in front of us. Let us march on.

Here is the picture of the beautiful Wellesley Golf course (2nd fairway) last Sunday when I was playing all by myself!

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