Below you will find highlights of the academic year 2014-2015 for Library and Information Technology (L&IT). If you have any questions about the items below, please contact Jason Snyder. You may read Year in Review documents from previous years on the L&IT About Us page.
Academics (Library Services and Instructional Technology):
Networking and Infrastructure:
Classroom and Events Technology:
Library and IT Organization:
Academics (Library Services and Instructional Technology)
Through themed living/learning communities, the Residential College Program provides opportunities for students to become members of a close community of engaged learners, to connect classroom and experiential learning through curricular and co-curricular activities, and to explore competing perspectives and viewpoints both inside and outside the classroom. Since librarians partner with faculty to teach information literacy skills within the Foundation Seminars, it seems a natural extension to have them connect with the students at the Residential College level as well. A pilot took place in Fall 2014 with a librarian assigned to each of the Residential Colleges. In addition to providing information literacy instruction at the course level, librarians also helped students prepare for the Residential College Symposium and participated in Common Hour activities. Many Senior Fellows encouraged their students to contact their librarian for additional help outside of class. The Senior Fellows agreed that librarian involvement in the Residential Colleges helped foster a supportive learning environment, eased students' transition to university life, and strengthened students' critical thinking about information sources.
Partnering with Faculty to Teach Information Literacy Skills
During 2014-2015, Research Services and Special Collections/University Archives librarians taught 261 sessions, reaching 5,020 students. This represents a 9% increase over last year and continues the trend of increasing requests for instruction sessions. Much of our effort focuses on Foundations Seminars/Residential College courses since these all have a learning outcome for information literacy. We reached 90% of these courses in Fall 2014 (vs. 82% in Fall 2013 and 70% in Fall 2012).
The number of library instruction sessions offered in the fall has increased over 65% from Fall 2010 to Fall 2014. The number of sessions for Foundation Seminars/Residential Colleges has increased 110% over the same five-year period. A major ongoing focus of our work is to provide information literacy instruction in support of Bucknell's general education learning goals, as well as college and departmental curricula. For course related sessions, librarians regularly collaborate with faculty on the learning outcomes for the session, and in many cases, we collaborate with faculty members on the design of an assignment or project. In Fall 2014, librarians reported collaborating on the learning outcomes for 71% of the sessions they taught on assignment or project design for 7% of the courses. In Spring 2015, librarians reported that they collaborated with faculty on the learning outcomes for 69% of the sessions and on assignment or project design 20% of the courses.
Foundation Seminar/Information Literacy Workshop
Each summer, the College of Arts and Sciences provides grants for faculty members developing foundation seminars. All grant recipients must attend a Teaching Foundation Seminars workshop in May. This year, a third day of the workshop was developed to aid the evaluation of College Core Curriculum (CCC). Additional funds were made available to foundation seminar faculty to submit data-informed recommendations regarding the structure, student learning, and learning goals for the Foundation Seminar program. Research Services librarians worked with the CCC Coordinator to create a day long workshop that facilitated the faculty participants' exploration of information literacy learning outcomes specific to incoming first-year students. At the end of the day, the faculty decided to focus on students' ability to critically evaluate information sources for their recommendations to the CCC at the end of the fall semester. Research Services Librarians will be partnering with faculty throughout the fall as they design assignments/projects that build students' information literacy skills.
There was a slight increase in Special Collections/University Archives research transactions in FY 2014/2015, with more student interactions than the previous fiscal year. The student user group increase in number from the previous FY was due to Special Collections/University Archives instructional sessions designed where students had course assignments requiring subsequent multiple visits to the department to conduct research that would be critical to the completion of their class research project. Researchers not associated with Bucknell University were the largest user group, which is not unusual for a repository holding historical institutional records and unique, primary materials. Researchers who are interested in Bucknell University's history or a topic related to Bucknell's history logically seek assistance from Special Collections/University Archives because university archives collections here are unpublished and are extremely unlikely to be collected at another repository.
Five digital image collections with the original content housed in Special Collections/University Archives were migrated to the recently acquired Shared Shelf system, an image repository system that provides researchers with more effective searching. Special Collections/University Archives enhanced image metadata (information about the images) for several of the collections before migration to Shared Shelf, which has improved its description and identification of individual images. Additional image content is routinely added to some collections, such as the Bucknell History collection. The image collections available in Shared Shelf are available from the Digital Collections web page on the Library & IT website.
Special Collections/University Archives migrated its collection data for manuscripts and university archives collections to ArchivesSpace, a collection management system that will allow making finding aids or guides available to researchers through a public interface. For several years, staff have been working on a long-term project to physically arrange and describe university archives and manuscript collections. This work is ongoing and we hope to have a subset of collection guides available on the public interface by the end of the Fall 2015 semester.
Promotion and use of the primary and unique resources in Special Collections/University Archives primarily includes exhibits, instruction, promotion of collections and services, and working with faculty regarding special collections purchases.
Exhibits: The Fall 2014 and Spring 2015 exhibits promoted awareness of the university archives collections and materials. Working with the Associate Provost for Diversity, the Fall 2014 exhibit displayed university archives materials that told Bucknell's story about its long standing involvement with creating cultural awareness and other forms of diversity on campus. The Spring 2015 exhibit highlighted primary resources from the university archives collection that presented information about Bucknellians' involvement in World War I, as well as the changes in the campus environment during the war years.
Instruction: 22 instructional sessions were held in Special Collections/University Archives in the academic year 2014/2015. The use of primary and unique and rare materials in library instructional sessions has the potential to engage students at a visual and intellectual level that promotes the development of critical thinking skills. Two classes exemplifying this goal are the History 100 and Education 350/650 classes, where students had semester long research projects cumulating in a research paper that required them to spend multiple hours researching and interpreting university archives materials about their topics. Each class had an introduction and student training about how to research using primary resources that prepared the students before working hands-on with the collections.
Collection development: Special collections purchases materials tied directly into new instructional session requests for the department. Special Collections/University Archives staff work closely with faculty across disciplines to ensure that purchases meet their research and teaching needs as well as give students the opportunity to work closely with rare and unique materials. For example, early editions of Greek and Roman texts were purchased to directly support student assignments in a Latin course that required them to read and compare their assigned course texts from early and modern editions and note differences, including the physical. The purchase of the 1870 serialized edition of Charles Dickens' Bleak House gave English students studying 19th century English literature first hand exposure to Victorian publishing practices and readership practices.
The Bucknell Digital Scholarship Conference #BUDSC14, "Collaborating Digitally: Engaging Students in Faculty Research" brought together over 150 practitioners last November to discuss challenges, share working models, reflect on projects, and inspire new avenues for actively including students in scholarly pursuits, whether inside or outside of the classroom. Over the course of three days, faculty, administrators, instructional technologists, librarians, archivists, undergraduate and graduate students from 47 organizations began a generative discourse that will continue to impact the scholarly, academic, and institutional practices moving forward.
Bucknell's commitment to student engagement and the expansion of available learning environments for our students was evident in the conference theme. Many participants commented positively on the focus of #BUDSC14. While other digital scholarship conferences emphasize large digital humanities projects, specific tools, or may touch on pedagogy, our focus remains student-centered. Repeatedly, backchannel Twitter discussions praised the student presenters from various institutions who spoke about their work and experience with digital humanities projects. The broad range of skills they acquired, the professionalism with which they spoke of their subjects, and their enthusiasm for their research both affirmed our beliefs that students are highly capable of and will benefit from this type of work.
This summer, staff members from Instructional Technology partnered with five faculty members redesigning courses for the upcoming academic year. Funded in part by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, these collaborations support faculty members who are creating new courses that teach students how to use digital technologies, or modifying existing courses to include significant digital scholarship lessons, modules, or projects.
It was a busy summer as Instructional Technology staff coordinated five summer student research projects. Weekly work sessions with students and individual project meetings helped all of the projects meet or exceed their goals for the summer. The student work sessions helped develop a cohort of students working on digital projects but also raised awareness among faculty members of the range and significance of projects that we are involved with. Over the school year, L&IT will continue to work with faculty and students to move the research projects along. Several of the summer research students presented their work at the Susquehanna Valley Symposium in August, and several of the faculty/student teams plan to present their work at the Bucknell Digital Scholarship conference in November.
ITEC and Research Services ran two successful summer workshops funded as part of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation "Digital Scholarship Initiative" grant. In May, two faculty members from Juniata joined ten Bucknell faculty members for a beginning digital pedagogy workshop. Over the course of three days, faculty worked with members of ITEC and Research Services on the development of assignments that incorporated digital methods and tools. In August, eleven Bucknell faculty members took part in a five day intermediate workshop that focused on computational text analysis, GIS, and video. During this intensive week, faculty discussed the reasons behind each method, the benefits of these approaches for their scholarship, and their application in the classroom. This theoretical approach was balanced with hands-on instruction on the tools used to facilitate these methods and approaches.
Since the release of the Integrating Open Educational Resources and Residential Learning Task Force report in April 2013, L&IT staff have been implementing many of its recommendations, including cultivating support for faculty interested in creating and using digital resources to enhance teaching and learning. L&IT coordinated several faculty projects focused on developing open educational resources for use at Bucknell and beyond. For example, ITEC and web application developers helped Dee Ann Reeder reimagine her popular OER, Mammal Species of the World. This 4th edition (in the final stages of development) uses a visual interface that is easily navigated and edited by over 30 biologists collaborating on the project.
The New Horizons Faculty Lunch Series continued to provide opportunities for faculty to consider the enhancements that technology and the library may bring to their research and student learning and engagement. With eleven sessions featuring such topics as the makerspace movement at Bucknell, open access, digital collaboration, e-portfolios, public humanities, classroom technology, and digital art curation, this lunch time series focused on innovation and explorations of new possibilities in teaching and scholarship.
The Bucknell University Intelligence (BUI) program, recipient of a 2015 national CIO Impact Award, again made great strides with the implementation of several key projects that significantly advance our use of analytics on campus. Pre-planning for future projects with DAR, Finance, HR, and Financial Aid also made significant strides with plans for Financial Aid to begin significant work on a pilot project in Fall 2015 and Finance, HR, and DAR in 2016 and 2017. The overall program is sponsored by L&IT in partnership with Operations and Management Group leadership and individual projects are led by L&IT project managers and topic-specific cross-functional teams.
- The "BUI Student Life Cycle - Phase 3" project continues working with the Registrar's office to move all of its reporting and analytics operations from other sources to the BUI program tools and standards. This built on earlier work and advanced use of analytics in the areas of transfer course articulation, registration, course tallies, and early signaling as well as piloting Provost and Presidential executive dashboards.
- Data Visualization - The program also made significant strides with producing dashboards and data visualizations for the Board of Trustees, Development and Alumni relations, and Institutional Research. BUI data was used to create story-boards of Bucknell data that helped leadership tell our data story with multi-faceted graphs, maps, and filters with which the target audiences can interact.
Major System Request for Proposals and Evaluations: Finance, Human Resources, DAR and L&IT have made significant progress on two major system evaluations during the past year. These efforts have involved collaborative teams from across departments and have focused on the following strategic goals:
- Increase access to reliable and actionable data. Bucknell community members will have real time information presented on intuitive, device-agnostic interfaces to answer their questions and allow informed decision-making.
- Align systems. To every extent possible, integrations between Bucknell systems will be seamless, including transfer of critical historical and current data to the data warehouse as part of the Bucknell University Intelligence (BUI) program.
- Optimize Business Processes. Ensure that data enters the system as near to the point of origin as possible enabling resources to be shifted from administrative/data entry tasks to enhanced and strategic support for faculty and staff.
Early last fall, DAR and L&IT, driven by our enterprise Constituent Relationship Management (CRM) strategy as well as the continued rollout of the Bucknell University Intelligence (BUI) program, recognized a need to use technologies and business processes beyond what our current vendors provide. CRM systems provide a much more comprehensive and connected picture of constituent information, fundraising processes, and career connections while also providing an opportunity to adopt "best practices" to improve overall work processes. The evaluation process has resulted in two finalists and the team hopes to finalize a decision and appropriate implementation timeline by the end of the semester.
Similarly, we joined Finance and Human Resources, to evaluate both our current Finance/HR vendor platform, Ellucian (Banner), as well as a new vendor, Workday. This evaluation has included multi-day workshops, many conference calls, communications with reference schools, site visits by members of our executive team, and discussions with other Consortium of Liberal Arts Colleges (CLAC) schools who are in comparable positions and familiar with similar challenges. That evaluation resulted in a preliminary recommendation that Workday would meet Bucknell's Finance and HR goals, but there were a number of "phase 2" evaluations to continue into the summer for such a large project. Discussions are on track internally as well as with implementation partners and other schools. The team anticipates a further recommendation as to the timing, costs and effort of implementation this Fall.
Predictive Analytics Pilot: This project was a collaborative extension of the prior work with the Degree Completion Task Force and involved analysis of over 300 Bucknell data points around student success and student engagement.
L&IT partnered closely with Office of Admissions to select and begin deployment of a Constituent Relationship Management (CRM) system to completely retool the systems and processes in the office. The new system, Slate, significantly updates the tools available to the Admissions staff including applicant tracking, event registration, communication, document management, and applicant review. Slate went live for the recruiting portions of the project in late June and will rollout the remaining functions by late Fall, aligned with the admissions calendar.
In Fall 2014, faced with the end of life for our existing myBucknell software, a detailed evaluation of options were evaluated by an Envisioning Team of faculty, students, and staff. The Envisioning and Technical team successfully collected feedback, investigated technical options, and researched portal solutions across higher ed and other domains. Given Bucknell's unique needs, the skill sets we had in-house, and our specific time frame, a custom development approach was recommended and pursued with a successful go-live in early August 2015. The new portal significantly updates the tools and technologies available to L&IT staff for future development while presenting a new more flexible user experience and addressing key "pain points" around the directory, searching, and mobile viewing.
The Enterprise Systems Operations team and members of the Systems Integration team regularly evaluate options for our server hardware replacement cycle. Server hardware is replaced every year; however, this is a significant year because the servers in question run our Banner and data warehouse databases. The team helped to complete an in depth analysis of the total cost of several options including such factors as software license costs, power, staff time, etc. As a result of their good work, a strong case was made to move forward with two Oracle "Exadata" hardware boxes (one for the computer center and one for the Library data center). Targeted benefits include: Optimized Oracle database processing due to the engineering on the servers (we are currently missing or just making key processing windows), little to no downtime required for database upgrades, and resource efficiencies that will help ensure we apply security patches in a timely manner. Also, as part of the pricing structure, we were able to add software to increase security at the database layer through encryption. The new hardware was delivered in April and will be rolled out by late fall.
Networking and Infrastructure
Throughout the past year, L&IT staff applied many upgrades and enhancements to the underlying campus technology infrastructure to ensure and maintain the robust foundation upon which our services are built. Particularly noteworthy, though, was the replacement both of the University's file storage subsystem and of the data center network that binds Bucknell's server infrastructure in and between data centers. The new equipment significantly exceeds previous levels of performance at its base level, and is scalable enough to accommodate increasing campus requirements for several years to come. The data center network upgrade, for example, provides a tenfold speed increase in select areas and accommodates similar speed increases throughout when needed.
L&IT engaged a wireless engineer to audit Bucknell's central wireless infrastructure and configuration and to produce a report of change recommendations and associated explanations, as well as to suggest current best practices. Though not all of the recommendations have been implemented as yet, all those that affect performance and resiliency have been put in place. The remainder, which L&IT continues to incorporate on an ongoing basis, are suggestions that ease the administration of the wireless network. A second engagement, which started at the end of July but won't be completed until September, is intended to help L&IT address connectivity issues with wireless networking in several areas on campus, primarily residence halls. In this engagement, an engineer will use a radio-frequency spectrum analyzer to walk through a building to determine signal and noise levels, in all areas of that building, of the various spectra used by wireless networking. After relocating or adding wireless access points appropriately, based on the spectrum analysis, and adjusting power levels as warranted, a building's floor plan and access point locations are loaded into a software package that can display a strength and coverage map of wireless networking within the building. This "heat map" will assist in determining whether and where further changes might be made. A complete schedule for performing these analyses across campus has not yet been devised, though Vedder and Smith will be updated this semester as access to these residence halls is available. In addition to these consulting engagements, additional access points were placed in several residence halls to help with connectivity issues, and power levels in wireless access points were adjusted across campus in accordance with generally recommended best practices until final, building-specific tuning can be completed. Outdoor wireless access in the new Student Apartment/Commons quad is available. As Facilities has resources this fall to place the access points, additional outdoor coverage will be available across the Humanities and Science quads, as well.
Telephone System Replacement
The project to replace Bucknell's aging telephone switch and infrastructure, which began in April 2012, was substantially complete by December 2014. The previous telephone system, which ran on proprietary hardware and required its own copper-wire infrastructure, has been supplanted by a software-based system hosted on commodity server hardware sharing the common campus network infrastructure.
The new telephone system required changes to many previous usage procedures, necessitating the creation of new documentation, training visitations and other training opportunities, and office-specific alterations to procedures when needed.
The new system required the installation of:
- Multiple, redundant servers and services across both campus data centers
- Redundant, geographically diverse telephone trunks
- 75 uninterruptible power supplies in network closets across campus
- 2,600 telephones
- Voicemail subsystem
- Call center subsystem
- Conferencing subsystem
- Enhanced 911 subsystem, which required as a prerequisite a physical inventory of room locale information for thousands of network ports
Roll-out of Follow-Me Printing across campus began in January 2015. The idea of Follow-Me Printing is to allow printing from anywhere, as before, but with the added feature of allowing students, faculty, and staff to walk up to a printer of choice, authenticate with a BUID card scan, and release their print jobs to that printer. It's easy to think of reasons why this is useful, a few of which are the ability to:
- print a sensitive document without having to rush to the printer, hopefully avoiding someone else's having seen it.
- print in color or copy without the need to carry change, and still be properly charged.
- print from a location that doesn't have a nearby printer without concern that your output will be lost, discarded, or read by others before you reach the printer.
There are also advantages for the University, perhaps most importantly:
- avoiding generation of waste paper and consumption of toner for print jobs that are never retrieved, a common occurrence. Jobs that aren't released to a printer after a predefined time period are automatically deleted from the queue.
The University is still in the beginning stages of deployment. Currently, Follow-Me printers are located in the first-floor public space in Bertrand Library, Academic West, Dana lobby, Marts Hall/Vaughan Literature, Olin Science (4th floor), and Roberts Hall. By the beginning of fall semester 2015, Follow-Me printers will also be located in several other academic buildings, as well as in the new Student Commons building and McDonnell, Vedder, Swartz, and Larison residence halls.
Classroom and Events Technology
As is customary every summer, several technology upgrades and related renovations have been applied to classrooms and event spaces across campus, as follows:
- Biology 102, 104, 105C, 324
- O'Leary 307, 309
- Biology 101
- Art 302
- Biology 221, 222 seminar rooms
- Gardner Lecture Hall
- Dana 111
- Dana 305 computer lab
- The new Student Commons building
- Langone 241A-D
- Langone 246
- Langone Forum
- Freas 10 Conference/Web Conference Room
Many of us rely on passwords to protect the privacy and security of our online accounts, but passwords alone are no longer enough. Cyber criminals have access to sophisticated password cracking tools, algorithms, and dictionaries that represent a significant risk to our personal and institutional data. In order to counter this threat, Bucknell University has deployed a technology called "Multi-Factor Authentication," or MFA. MFA is based on requiring at least two identifiers -- typically something you know, such as a password, and something you have, such as a smartphone -- to be authenticated to a particular information system. Our Multi-Factor Authenticated virtual private network can be used to access sensitive and confidential university data from remote locations, enabling our users to enjoy a work-anywhere environment while ensuring that our critical data and systems are protected.
Last fall, Bucknell engaged a globally-recognized firm to perform a penetration test of our campus data network in order to identify any flaws, weaknesses, or misconfigurations that could be exploited by an attacker in order to cause dissemination, alteration, or destruction of critical university data. No such flaws in our systems were found, however a number of "stepping stones" were identified that could serve as launch points into our network. All of these items have been fixed, and we are on schedule to engage with our partner for another penetration test later this year.
Library and IT Organization
In Spring 2015, Bucknell University was one of twenty-eight institutions to participate in the Measuring Information Service Outcomes (MISO) Survey. The MISO Survey is a web-based quantitative survey designed to measure how faculty, students, and staff view library and computing services in higher education. Our response rate was excellent, and we greatly appreciate the participation of Bucknell faculty, students, and staff.
The MISO Survey helps Library and IT identify the services that are important to our users, service areas where we're doing well, and where change or improvement is needed. Overall, Bucknell Library and IT services and resources compare favorably with other MISO institutional participants. Library and IT has determined action plans for the areas that need improvement, and worked with Institutional Research to summarize our MISO Survey results. We plan to use this survey every few years to ensure that Library and IT continues to achieve the highest standards for all the services we provide to our users.
The full report can be found at: https://my.bucknell.edu/documents/InstitutionalResearch/MISO-2015-Report.pdf
More information about the survey is available at http://www.misosurvey.org/
Bucknell University is the only U.S. university to receive a 2015 CIO Impact Award from Frost & Sullivan. The award lauds the University for its approach to and success with the Bucknell University Intelligence (BUI) project. The CIO Impact Awards honor enterprise teams and individuals that are enabling breakthrough new business models and strategies through the innovative use of transformative technologies. Bucknell was recognized in the Advanced Analytics and Big Data category.
Additional details about the award can be found at: http://www.bucknell.edu/news-and-media/2015/january/big-data-big-award.html
Print books in our collection: 796,362
Circulations of library materials: 47,657
Renewals of library materials: 1,989
In-library uses of library materials: 5,327
Ebooks borrowed: 6,097
Ebooks viewed: 9,717
Ebook pages printed: 22,545
Unique ebook users: 1,819
Information literacy sessions taught by librarians: 261
Research appointments with Research Services librarians: 408
Number of students in information literacy sessions: 5,020
Special Collections/University Archives research transactions: 285
Special Collections/University Archives research appointments: 115
Completed Library and IT projects: 141
Greatest number of wireless devices simultaneously connected to Bucknell's network: 4,911
Completed technology support cases: 6,792