Below you will find highlights of the academic year 2015-2016 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 and Digital Pedagogy & Scholarship):
Technology Services, Networking and Infrastructure:
Library and Information Technology Organization:
Bucknell Digital Scholarship Conference
The Bucknell Digital Scholarship Conference #BUDSC15, "Collaborating Digitally: Engaging Students in Public Scholarship," brought together over 160 practitioners to discuss challenges, share working models, reflect on projects, and inspire new avenues for actively including students in public scholarly pursuits. Over the course of three days, faculty, administrators, instructional technologists, librarians, archivists, graduate and undergraduate students from 57 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 is evident in the conference theme. Many participants commented positively on the focus of #BUDSC15. While other digital scholarship conferences emphasize large digital humanities projects, specific tools, or may touch on pedagogy, our focus remains student-centered. Based on the feedback from last year's inaugural conference, this year we included a NextGen Plenary session to highlight the work of student researchers around the country, instituted a student bursary program to help fund student participation, and incorporated a series of pre-conference skill-building workshops. Between the NextGen session and applications for bursaries, Bucknell funded nineteen students' participation in #BUDSC15.
Repeatedly, back-channel Twitter discussions--including over 1,700 tweets from 182 individual accounts with a reach of 237,983 follows--praised the small cohort of 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 about their subjects, and their enthusiasm for their research both affirmed our beliefs that students are highly capable of and will greatly benefit from this type of work.
Collaborating on the Creation of Open Educational Resources
Fourteen digital scholarship facilitators from ten institutions met at Bucknell prior to the Digital Scholarship Conference to plan and run pre-conference workshops. The collaborative effort resulted in a range of workshop materials used to conduct the workshops. These resources will be made public as OERs for others interested in running similar programming or including the methodologies in their classrooms. The impetus for the workshops--and specifically the collaborative approach to design and instruction--arose out of an acknowledgement that many institutions need to facilitate these types of programs, but the vast number of technologies available makes it challenging for any one school to provide adequate coverage. Drawing on a range of expertise from facilitators around the country, this experience offers one model for how to meet that challenge: through inter-institutional collaboration.
Historically, the ITEC (Instructional Technology Enhancing the Curriculum) name dates back to circa 1995 when interest in Instructional Technology first solidified on campus. As the group developed, the focus primarily remained on helping faculty interested in incorporating technology in the classroom. Often, faculty were interested in tools that would facilitate and ease administrative tasks: sharing of course materials, posting grades online, collecting assignments, facilitating discussions forums, etc.
As the campus community became more adept in the basics of learning management solutions, ITEC pursued opportunities for more robust uses of technology that would enhance student engagement. Discussions with faculty deepened to include the pedagogical benefits of digital and multi-modal project-based learning and underlined a higher level of thinking beyond instruction on a specific tool. ITEC, like much of L&IT, shifted from a transactional service-based model to one that was more transformational in our collaborations with faculty. The advent of Bucknell's Andrew W. Mellon Foundation grant to support Digital Scholarship efforts on campus further broadened ITEC's responsibilities. Whether facilitating workshops, administering summer research and course integration grant programs, or running the annual Bucknell Digital Scholarship conference, our emphasis has shifted to focus on the new modes of learning and research afforded through digital methodologies.
ITEC is no longer exclusively an Instructional Technology group, nor does it primarily provide classroom support-a frequent assumption made by the campus community even though Classroom Support is a separate group within L&IT. Instead, ITEC's focus has grown: members of the group now help drive the Digital Pedagogy and Scholarship efforts across campus. As such, the group's title now reflects those efforts and areas of expertise.
Summer Course Designs
This summer, staff members from L&IT partnered with six 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.
Summer Faculty/Student Research
It was a busy summer, as L&IT staff coordinated five summer faculty/student research projects. 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 late October.
This summer, Digital Pedagogy & Scholarship (DP&S), in collaboration with Research Services, offered a series of workshops for faculty focused on increasing student engagement through the use of digital methods and tools. The four workshops included an introduction to Omeka; incorporating Concept Video assignments in mathematics, engineering, and the sciences; and two more generalized digital pedagogy workshops that introduced faculty to digital projects in the classroom and helped them think about structuring a full syllabus based around digital methods and tools.
Bucknell joins the HathiTrust
Bucknell University has become a member of HathiTrust, a partnership of major academic and research libraries collaborating in an extraordinary digital library initiative to preserve and provide access to the published record in digital form.
What is HathiTrust?
Launched in 2008, HathiTrust has a growing membership currently comprising more than one hundred partners.
Over the last six years, the partners have contributed more than 12 million volumes to the digital library, digitized from their library collections through a number of means including Google and Internet Archive digitization and in-house initiatives. More than 4.5 million of the contributed volumes are in the public domain and freely available on the Web.
HathiTrust serves a dual role. First, as a trusted repository it guarantees the long-term preservation of the materials it holds, providing the expert curation and consistent access long associated with research libraries. Second, as a service for partners and a public good, HathiTrust offers persistent access to the digital collections. This includes viewing, downloading, and searching access to public domain volumes, and searching access to copyright volumes. Specialized features are also available which facilitate access by persons with print disabilities, and allow users to gather subsets of the digital library into "collections" that can be searched and browsed. HathiTrust was named for the Hindi word for elephant, hathi, symbolic of the qualities of memory, wisdom, and strength evoked by elephants, as well as the huge undertaking of congregating the digital collections of libraries in the United States and beyond. HathiTrust is funded by the partner libraries and governed by members of the libraries through its Board of Governors.
What Does This Mean For Bucknell?
Teaching Information Literacy Skills
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 instruction sessions, librarians regularly collaborate with faculty on the learning outcomes for the session, and in many cases, work with faculty members on the design of an assignment or project.
In Fall 2015, librarians reported collaborating on the learning outcomes for 64% of the sessions they taught and on assignment or project design for 16% of the courses. In Spring 2016, librarians reported that they collaborated with faculty on the learning outcomes for 64% of the sessions and on assignment or project design for 13% of the courses.
These instruction sessions are tailored to the course assignments and the faculty member's learning goals. Most sessions focused on topic exploration, using general and subject specific databases and developing effective search strategies to locate a variety of different formats (text, images, data, etc.) for a variety of different products (papers, presentations, poster, podcasts, infographics, etc.)
During the sessions, the students engaged in free writing, discussions, guided and independent work. Much of our effort focuses on Foundations Seminars/Residential College courses, since these all have a learning outcome for information literacy. We reached 84% of these courses in Fall 2015 compared to 90% in Fall 2014 and 82% in Fall 2013.
Much information literacy instruction takes place in one-on-one consultations with students. During the year, librarians conducted 373 research consultations with students. Students frequently sought help developing effective search strategies for database searching as well as finding specific information sources, and assistance managing and formatting citations. Most were focused on class assignments, but students who were working on independent work such as honors thesis, summer research, and senior projects also worked with a librarian.
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, scholarship and student learning and engagement. With nine sessions featuring such topics as addressing plagiarism, multimodal storytelling, student polling, digital art, and teaching through digital projects, this lunchtime series continued to focus on innovation and explorations of new possibilities in teaching and scholarship.
Celebrating Faculty Scholarship
On October 7, 2015, Library and Information Technology hosted a reception honoring recently published faculty authors. To see a complete listing of the books, please visit http://facultyauthors.blogs.bucknell.edu/. On March 3, 2016, faculty members from thirty four departments were honored for their scholarship, with a focus on published journal articles, exhibits, performances, films and other works. To see a complete listing of their work, please visit http://facultyscholars.blogs.bucknell.edu/.
The physical space of Special Collections/University Archives underwent an expansion in the summer of 2016. The new space provides more storage for collections, an area where collections can be processed, and staff office space. A large projection screen has been added to the reading room to assist with instruction.
The use of primary and rare materials in library instructional sessions gives students the opportunity to develop visual and critical thinking skills. Thirteen instructional sessions were held in Special Collections/University Archives in the academic year 2015/2016, with several new sessions scheduled. Examples of instructional sessions using Special Collections/University Archives collections include an English class that was introduced to the extensive Irish and Irish Renaissance literary holdings, an Arts Residential College session where students chose and researched special collections material representing portraiture, an English class assigned to read 19th century literature in its original, serialized form, and Art History classes that made extensive use of the manuscript leaf collection to compare and contrast illustrative practices and symbolism in early medieval manuscripts leaves.
The fall 2015 and spring 2016 exhibits highlighted Special Collections/University Archives' substantial holdings of artists' books. The fall 2015 exhibit featured artist, Chris Stain, known for his graffiti, stencilling, and public art. Displayed in the exhibit were the prints, books, and ephemera included in the Chris Stain Box Set, 1984 - 2014, a work that demonstrates Stain's progression as an artist over a 30 year period.
Are Books Obsolete? an exhibit of book objects and artist's books created by Werner Pfeiffer, highlighted Special Collections' nearly comprehensive collection of Pfeiffer's book art and his book objects, which were created by the artist to symbolize censorship and the changing perception of books as a physical and communicative object. The exhibit cumulated with a talk and demonstration of his works by Werner Pfeiffer in the spring.
The much-needed Special Collections/University Archives addition expanded into the stacks on Lower Level 1, removing a significant amount of shelving where many books in the B call number range were located. Fortunately, we were able to install high-density compact shelving, which enabled us to keep many of the affected monographs in the same room, on a smaller footprint. This is our best-case scenario, as it allows us to keep our collections readily accessible and keeps our collections from encroaching on study spaces.
In late 2015, Bucknell completed Human Resources and Finance assessment activities, and selected Workday as its new cloud-based Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) service. L&IT is working with both departments as they re-engineer workflows and prepare for the 2017 Workday deployment. Workday will offer significant opportunities to modernize processes and empower employees through improved self-service and better access to data.
L&IT partnered with Development and Alumni Relations (DAR) as they assessed their system needs and selected Blackbaud as their new Constituent Resource Management (CRM) tool. From that decision was born the BRAIN (Bucknell's Response to Advancement Information Needs) project to re-engineer processes and integrate DAR data in support of improved decision-making. L&IT is assisting with BRAIN data conversion and integration as DAR prepares for a Fall 2017 Blackbaud implementation.
As Bucknell moves away from a monolithic ERP system to one constructed of different modules, integration of data across disparate systems becomes of paramount importance. A module within such a system quickly loses its value and utility when it is isolated from other modules. Tying these various parts together so that they can communicate and interact as whole is the role of the Enterprise Service Bus. In July, Bucknell University chose Mulesoft's Anypoint Platform as its Integration Platform as a Service (iPaaS). Anypoint will enable standardized development, execution and governance of integration flows across Bucknell's numerous cloud-based and on-site ERP modules.
Working in collaboration with the Registrar's staff, the BUI team completed the work for this project:
The upcoming implementations of Workday and Blackbaud present challenges to the Bucknell University Intelligence (BUI) technology platform as it will mean new sources of data -- many of which will replace existing source -- which are key to both day-to-day operations and strategic planning. The Enterprise Systems team is working to refresh our data and business intelligence platforms. While the implementation of new business systems is the primary driver for this initiative, there are numerous additional drivers and goals:
The new platform will include a traditional enterprise data warehouse to be used for cross-functional reporting, strategic reporting, and dashboards. The platform will also include a data repository, which will act as a landing zone for data before it flows to the data warehouse. The repository will also provide access to near-realtime data for more advanced ad-hoc analysis and data mining. The platform will also continue to include high quality reporting and data visualization tools. Benefits of this initiative will include a more stable and scalable platform, a Bucknell-specific design, and heightened accessibility, flexibility, and agility. Ultimately, this will lead to enhanced ability to make data-driven decisions across all University divisions. Pilot projects are slated for Fall 2016.
L&IT has worked closely with Enrollment Management and the Office of the Provost to jumpstart the use of predictive analytics in addressing the strategic goal of increasing student retention. Part of the Bucknell University Intelligence (BUI) program, this effort engaged many campus leaders and, with the help of external partners, developed a model to better identify at risk students early in their university careers. This was a highly detailed exercise involving consideration of hundreds of student data points and subsequent validation of the proposed models. Ultimately, based on the most highly correlated risk factors, Enrollment Management and the Office of the Provost are actively working to implement additional support for these students.
Each year, Classroom and Event Technology enhances technology systems in classrooms and common spaces. Classrooms and spaces that have had audiovisual systems installed, upgraded, or renovated this summer include:
To enhance our security of sensitive and confidential university information, we have expanded our use of Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA). All administrative staff are now required to use MFA to access Bucknell systems. Faculty have the choice to opt-in and secure their access with MFA.
Our Shibboleth Identity Provider service, which is used to provide authentication and authorization services to most external services (like Bmail) and many internal services (like myBucknell), was upgraded from version 2.4 to version 3.2.1. This upgrade will provide faster access to security and functional fixes as well as finer grained control of what information is released to service providers.
L&IT has installed two SpectraLogic nTier Verde systems for storage of backups. This has allowed us to modernize and streamline our backup processes, providing better redundancy and disaster preparedness.
The WordPress blog network has been expanded to contain multiple networks. We now provide WordPress sites under the domains blogs.bucknell.edu, courses.bucknell.edu, scholar.bucknell.edu, and clubs.bucknell.edu. This permits a blog site to be hosted on a domain that more closely matches its intended function and desired audience.
As a part of our ongoing organizational assessment, we invited John Unsworth, former Vice Provost and Chief Information Officer at Brandeis University, and now University Librarian at UVA, and Lee Hisle, Vice President for Information Services at Connecticut College, to conduct an external review of L&IT. The review took place over two days in April; they met with various academic, student and administrative groups, including the President, Provost, chair of Faculty Council, CLIR, ESAC, the Student Advisory group, departmental faculty liaisons and members of the Operations and Management Group.
Last year, we received very positive feedback from the MISO survey, which provided quantitative data that helped us identify where L&IT services are meeting or exceeding our stakeholders' needs and where we need to change or improve services. We have identified action plans for those areas that need improvement and are very excited about this opportunity to build upon our strengths by receiving qualitative data from key stakeholders across campus. This feedback will guide our ongoing efforts to ensure that our strategic priorities are aligned with those of the university. The overall report was very positive, but it also has recommendations for the L&IT teams, and we will be working on those this coming year.
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