Denison Organizational Climate Presentations 10/15/12

Today we heard from Bill Neale of Denison Consulting about measuring organizational culture in general and the benefits such an assessment could provide for the Penn Libraries.  We’re interested in hearing your reactions to what Bill had to say and your thoughts on the organizational climate at the Libraries  – let us know in the comments!

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Strategic Planning Biweekly Open House, 6/12 &7/10: The Libraries and Our Web Presence

The topic of the Libraries’ web presence was big enough that we devoted two sessions to it.  What follows are some ideas regarding what the Libraries “website of the future” might look like:

  • Leverage of new platforms like Sakai OAE
  • A broader OPAC
  • Robust federated searching
  • Link to Libraries’ Campusguide site from the webpage
  • A Move away from text heavy pages that put the onus on the user, to intuitive search capabilities that get you exactly where you want to go
  • A greater focus on the services the Libraries’ provide, as opposed to the current heavy focus on news and events
  • Integration of website with catalog to facilitate and expedite searches
  •  A flexible enough interface that a user could customize it to his or her preference

Some interesting general concepts and questions were raised as well:

  • How will we take objects and archives into account in terms of search?
    • We can potentially build this capability into Kuali OLE
    • We Need to ensure that these objects are not lost in a large mass of data
    • Is there a plan to integrate Archivists’ Toolkit?
  • How should we take mobile platforms into account?
    • It’s important to find out what works and focus on that, willing to discard what doesn’t catch on
    • Mobile versions shouldn’t just be a new interface, but should have features that leverage the mobility of the device (GPS, etc.)
    • Students seem to be using tablets to take notes and organize rather than for consumption of material; smartphones are too small to get much traction for these purposes.
    • Mobile applications can be useful to staff for collection review purposes
  • The Libraries have the opportunity to be the arbiter of technology
    • Net tools group
      • Raises user awareness
      • Provides information
      • Apps on Tap blog
      • Exploring digital humanities
      • Working with Children’s Hospital of Phuiladelphia on informatics
  • Where can the Libraries be effective in terms of social media?
    • Internally
    • Externally

Any other ideas? feel free to add them in the comments.

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Strategic Planning Biweekly Open House, 7/3/12: ALA Wrap-Up

  •   The open house commenced with a discussion of the ALA conference itself and how long it will continue in its current state.  Attendees noted that the overall footprint was smaller for the most recent meeting, with fewer vendor booths.  Decreasing attendance and fiscal losses were mentioned by some at the open house as possible indications that the conference is no longer fulfilling the needs of attendees.
  • A shift in programming at the conference was mentioned.  In comparison to past conferences, there seemed to be a greater emphasis on public libraries, as opposed to research libraries. This trend is expected to continue.
  • Other changes are in the works as well, including a single venue for future conferences, the streaming and storage of presentations for future reference, and a possible movement toward virtual meetings that allow attendees to interact and share ideas from their home libraries.
  • Some topics at ALA that have potential strategic relevance for us at Penn included:

o   Resource descriptor and access

o   Linked data (the development of  best practices for publishing and connecting structured data on the Web

The Library of Congress has engaged consultants to assess linked data and the future of MARC

OCLC is in the process of exposing WorldCat as linked data

Project underway to establish reciprocal links between Virtual International Authority files and Wikipedia

  • The question was raised of how these emerging cloud-based models relate to what Penn is doing with Kuali OLE.   We believe that a local model is important due to the much greater detail and specificity that is currently possible compared to a cloud-based systsem. It was noted that the next generation of library software, of which OLE and the cloud systems are part, is still in an experimental phase and no dominant model has yet emerged.
  • The conversation segued to emerging collaborative projects in general. Education is becoming more globally competitive, but at the same time, there are increasing opportunities to demonstrate our value through collaboration with our peers.  The point was made that no document stands alone – there is tremendous value not only in the discovery of documents and objects and artifacts, but also in the discovery of the relationships between them.  The question becomes do you simply put material out there and hope that synergies occur or do you pursue those synergies
  • Finally, the group discussed the best way for individuals within the Libraries to bring their projects to a larger audience for coordination with the Libraries’ strategic goals. This has been a recurring topic at the open houses, and one that is always welcome. SIIT is developing the team structure to break down existing silos and allow for greater dispersal of ideas.  It is a process that necessitates the leverage of entrepreneurial and opportunity-based projects within a structure that allows us to achieve our strategic goals.  There are an abundance of good projects out there, but available resources dictate that we prioritize.   The teams that SIIT has and continues to set up help to make this prioritization process more efficient and transparent.


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Strategic Planning Biweekly Open House, 5/29/12: Highlights

The third strategic planning open house took place on 5/29/12 see below for the discussion topics and let us know your thoughts in the comments.

1. The question was asked: Where’s the strategic plan headed?

    • There’s a handful of important projects that are moving us toward our goal
      • VIVO
      • Courseware
        • Provost still deliberating on courseware direction – directive to library to keep piloting.
        • GSE withdrawing from blackboard (and Library support), moving to Canvas
        • A number of possibilities for the Library moving forward
          • More schools spin off , leaving SAS as the major customer for Library courseware services
          • Library develops support capacity for multiple courseware solutions
          • Library moves toward a greater emphasis on course design and direct collaboration with faculty
      • Preliminary discussions regarding Sakai have begun between the Medical school and the Libraries
        • Sakai has a flexibility and customizability that could be a good fit for the Med School
    • DPC (Digital Production Center)
      • A move toward systemic, centralized,  enterprise-wide archival scanning
        • Will be responsible for scanning special collections projects currently managed by SCETI
        • Will scan archival general collection projects
        • Will address the following issues
          • Growing workload
          • Management of digital images
          • Versioning issues
          • Movement from ad-hoc to systemic equipment purchasing and maintenance
        • A chance to directly engage faculty – currently exploring candidate projects
      • Over the coming FY, the following will be determined:
            • Where will it live (physically and administratively)
            • How big a footprint will it require
            • What are the staffing needs

        2. An attendee asked if SIIT has given any thought to software such as Droople or Omeka?

        • The question comes down to content management, which will figure prominently in the next iteration of the strategic plan
        • It also relates to how the Libraries are seeking to redefine our web presence
            • We’re developing our own WordPress instance
              • Content management
              • More user involvement in design and uploading of content
            • Blogs authored by staff are beginning to proliferate

          3. The discussion turned to Liaisons and how they fit in with our strategic goals?

              • With all of the new teams, and projects, such as Repository, Digital Discovery, DLA – Patron Relations, liaisons will need to be tied in and kept abreast, in order to be effective on the front-line.
              • We asked the attendees:  what do yousee in the future for liaisons?
                • Activity will remain largely the same, but there is an extraordinary and growing amount of information out there – liaisons will need to help students navigate this information and separate the wheat from the chaff
                • There will also be new roles for liaisons as Tech continues to advance – as the Libraries add new technologies and applications, liaisons will guide people through them
              • Does the lack of flexibility within the system hurt liaisons? Does the extra time it takes us to obtain resources put us at a disadvantage in comparison to commercial services who want to appeal directly to users? If schools can get these resources easier than the Libraries, will we be cut out of the process?

          4. How does Kuali OLE fit into the plan?

              • Although it’s not explicitly mentioned in the strategic plan, the development and implementation of Kuali OLE is the most critical decision the we’ve made in years
              • Enormous influence on our day-to-day operations
              • High risk proposition
              • Community source changes the way an organization functions – we’re no longer simply the consumer, we’re also the producer and owner.
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Strategic Planning Biweekly Open House, 5/15/12: Highlights

Below are some highlights from the second Strategic Planning Open House, on 5/15/12.  Please feel free to leave any thoughts or questions in the comments.

1. The meeting opened with a comment regarding RIS space planning for the 1stfloor of Van Pelt and led to an interesting discussion of the relation of strategic projects and the best ways to make relevant parties aware of new strategic projects

  • Should this project be undertaken in the context of the larger plan for the 1stfloor, or should the team proceed independently?
  • Highlights the lack of a standardized methodology for bringing strategic projects to SIIT’s attention
  • Perhaps an intake team (like PennCIL for digital projects) or a standard procedure for submitting ideas to SIIT
    • In developing a strategic project that did not originate with SIIT, it can be difficult to know who the project team should be talking to regarding complementary or conflicting projects, etc.
    • The idea of a “project incubation fund” for getting staff-originated  projects off the ground was expressed
    • A new emphasis on space planning by SIIT is imminent
            • Space planning can be complicated by its dependency on fundraising
            • Space planning features a high degree of interdependency between groups and departments

      2. The topic of sharing information and project work across the institutional partners of EZ Borrow and Borrow Direct was raised.

        • A possible next step could be cooperative collecting, similar to what Dick Griscom’s done with music.
          • The question becomes how to get the selectors together
          • Need to assess the strengths and weaknesses of the individual partners and the consortium as a whole
          • The question of whether there will be data mining to drive knowledge of our strengths and weaknesses was posed
            • Yes – metrics group is working on this
        • Might want to bring bibliographers into the conversation

      3. Two strategic issues looming on the horizon – these were brought up at the very end of the meeting and will be followed up in a future open house

        • Linked data
        • The future of MARC data
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Strategic Planning Biweekly Open House, 4/30/12: Highlights

The first strategic planning biweekly open house took place on 4/30 – since this was the first open house, we wanted to leave things a bit open ended and have a casual conversation about the Libraries’ strategy with those who attended.  Here are some highlights:

  • Strategic project teams continue to evolve and new ones continue to be established.  This is a natural and expected progression, as the team structure is set up for periodic review and reassessment.  For example, as work on DLA progresses, the teams are being restructured to emphasize the interdependence and connections between them
  • In response to the questions of whether teams will spin off into standing teams and what happens to more long term project work, it depends on the nature of the project. In some cases a project team will take on a standing role.  In other cases a new group may be formed or project stewardship will move to another team.
  • An attendee asked if departmental strategic plans should developed in alignment with the Libraries’ overall strategic plan. Although this is not an explicit requirement, ideally, departments would have their own strategic plan developed to align with the Libraries strategic plan, or at least do their normal planning with the strategic plan in mind
  • An attendee suggested a greater focus on vertical workflows and “idea-flows”, in an effort to grow ideas from the bottom up, as oppose to top down.  If we evolve to a truly matrixed model, teams will be both vertically and laterally integrated and ideas will emerge organically from the teams and disperse both across and up
  • Attendees were asked if the feel engaged by the strategic plan and if they felt that the plan impacts their work directly. Responses included:
    • It’s not at the forefront of my mind but it does inform departmental planning in similar questions such as how do we repurpose staff? What do we need to let go of? How do we properly assess and optimize resources? How do we prioritize projects?
    • Sometimes it’s hard to make the connection – I would like to be more engaged – how does staff communicate with SIIT?
    • How do we make tools that are helpful to patrons? What’s useful to patrons and useful to staff are not necessarily the same.
    • The annual review could be a tool for alignment with the plan.


The next open house will take place in Myerson on May 15 at 11:00. Please feel free to join us there.

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Welcome to the Penn Libraries Strategic Plan Blog

Hello and welcome to the Penn Libraries strategic planning blog.  This is the place to check for updates and news from The Libraries’  Strategic Initiatives Implementation Team (SIIT).  We’d also like to hear from you – do you have ideas that can help push the Libraries toward our strategic goals? Feel free to comment.

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