Please see our Academic Initiatives page for more information about our Usability Lab and the Digital Curriculum Archive. Below, we've listed some of our other Technology Initiatives.
The SLIS Technology Group supports teaching, learning and research. Students are taught to create, manage, and produce information, not just to consume it. Therefore, students learn SLIS-specific information science and technology, which requires SLIS-specific support. The SLIS Technology Group is responsible for everything from managing and maintaining the Tech Lab to running free workshops for students, faculty and staff on emerging technologies.
Among their many ongoing special projects are:
- SLIScast podcasting service: Funded by a PTRC grant to Assistant Manager of Information Technology Linnea Johnson and the SLIS Dean's Fellows, SLIScast has recorded over 90 podcasts recorded to date, released under the Creative Commons 2.5 license and transcribed for ADA compliance. They are available through iTunes Podcast Directory and iTunesU.
- Usability Lab: A usability testing facility to provide faculty and students with a testing environment to support user-centered curricula, the Usability Lab was initially funded by a small grant from Simmons Technology, and is now sustained by the Tech Lab. It is overseen by Associate Professor Rong Tang. (Please see more information on our Academic Initiatives page.)
- Digital Curriculum Laboratory (DCL): The DCL is a virtual laboratory providing hands-on experience with archival processes and procedures in virtual environments. It was developed and funded by grants from IMLS and NHPRC and receives ongoing input and support from the Technology Laboratory. (Please see more information on our Academic Initiatives page.)
- SLIS Media Lab: supports audio and video production for SLIS. There are drop-in hours for multimedia curriculum support as well as assistance with podcasting and oral history projects.
- Wikis@SLIS and Blogs: The Tech Group supports over 400 wikis and nearly 20 active blogs that are used by faculty, staff, and students to support classroom teaching, staff communication, student groups and other SLIS Initiatives. The wikis contain over 8000 linked and live article pages; blogs include marketing and communications such as Dispatches from the Field and the SLIS Admission Office blog, student group blogs such as LISSA West's and the ASIS&T student chapter, and blogs that support professors' teaching and research. See: Associate Professor Amy Pattee's YA Literature blog and Professor Candy Schwartz.
SLIS Information Architecture Project
Students at SLIS are also able to directly take part in projects that involve real-world opportunities, such as the SLIS IA Project.
In Fall 2007, 17 members of the SLIS community came together to work with the Web Office on a full redesign of the information architecture for the SLIS websites. The project, which was overseen by Jennifer Doyle, Director of SLIS Curriculum & Communications and Caryn Anderson, then-Program Manager for the Doctoral Studies program, along with Linnea Johnson, Assistant Manager of Information Technology, involved six SLIS students working on independent studies under the supervision of Assistant Dean for Technology and SLIS Adjunct Faculty member Terry Plum.
The SLIS IA team used three specific methods while developing the IA schematic: user personas, card sorting, and two phases of usability testing by paper protyping. Through in-person interviews, online activities, and a thorough content inventory, the IA Team developed a draft information architecture schema. The draft schema was refined after a mid-semester retreat, during which the Team heard the results of the card sort--as well as reports on an online stakeholder survey, current site evaluations undertaken by one of the LIS Evaluation courses, and WebTrends statistics--and then examined the site through the eyes of the user personas (fictitious SLIS stakeholders based on the interviews).
Based on specific questions learned about through the user persona interviews and various surveys, the Paper Prototyping team developed eleven tasks that represented common challenges with the current site. The first phase of usability testing produced results that were overwhelmingly positive, although three tasks were identified as problematic. The IA Team reexamined those specific items and readjusted the schema accordingly. Phase two of the usability testing showed that adjustments to the schema were successful.
Once the IA schema was approved, the Web Office worked on creating the structure itself; concurrently, they worked on a complete redesign of the WWW SLIS homepage, along with a redesign of the look and feel of the entire WWW site. With the bulk of this work completed by Fall 2008, the SLIS Web team—including staff members from various offices throughout SLIS—began populating the site with updated content. The Beta site was launched in March 2009; the official launch of the new site was May 2009.
Funded by a PTRC (Pottruck Technology Resource Center) grant in Fall 2006, SLIScast was created to bring the content of on-campus talks and presentations to the wider SLIS community. With podcasts of lectures ranging from "On the Library Crimes Beat" (Kim Martineau, Hartford Courant journalist; March 2007) to "Working with First Responders and Emergency Managers" (Sara Wolf, Northeast Museum Services Center of the National Park Service as part of the November 2008 New England Archivists meeting), SLIScast brings Simmons SLIS to you. The best part? In addition to the podcasts themselves, we provide supporting PPT presentations, PDF documents, and affiliated websites, [along with full transcripts for the hearing impaired.]
- SLIScast website: http://gslis.simmons.edu/podcasts/
- To sign up for RSS feed: feed://gslis.simmons.edu/podcasts/podcast.php
SLIS Staff began Tweeting in January 2009 under the user profile twitter.com/SimmonsGSLIS. With representatives from the SLIS Admission, Continuing Education, Curriculum & Communications, and Technology offices, as well as the Simmons College Career Resource Library, tweeting regularly about what's going on on campus, locally, and in the LIS world, you never know what you'll find. To help you find us better, we've started using the following hashtags: #SLISadm, #SLISce, #SLIScomm, #SLIStech, #SLIScrl. Here are some of the people tweeting under those tags (for full bios, please see our People pages; everyone noted below will be listed in the Staff Profiles area unless otherwise indicated):
SLIS Admission Office (#SLISadm)
Sarah Petrakos, Assistant Dean for Admission and Recruitment: Sarah joined Simmons SLIS in January 2009 after working at three other colleges and universities in Graduate Admission. She earned her MBA in Marketing at Boston College and is an active member of the National Association of Graduate Admissions Professionals (NAGAP).
SLIS Continuing Education (#SLISce)
Kris Liberman '87LS, Program Manager Continuing Education
SLIS Curriculum & Communication (#SLIScomm)
Jennifer Doyle '98LS, Director of SLIS Curriculum & Communication: Jen graduated from the SLIS program in 1998. After stints at the EPA Region 1 Library, the Institute for Business and Home Safety, and the Insurance Library Association of Boston, she returned to SLIS in 2001 where, as Director of Curriculum & Communications, she oversees the SLIS course schedule, manages all SLIS print and online publications, and serves as project coordinator of the SLIS Reaccreditation Program Presentation. You can also find Jen at twitter.com/doylej.
Alisa Libby, Communications Assistant: As the SLIS Communications Assistant, Alisa supports all aspects of the SLIS publications and also serves as Co-Editor of the SLIS InfoLink newsletter. She is also a young adult novelist whose second book, The King's Rose, is being released on March 19, 2009. Read more about the new book at www.alisalibby.com or follow Alisa's tweets at twitter.com/alisalibby.
SLIS Technology Office (#SLIStech)
Linnea Johnson, Manager, SLIS Technology: Linnea got her B.A. from Simmons in 2001 majoring in Communications and minoring in Graphic Design. She joined the SLIS Technology Team in November of 2001, which she currently manages along with the SLIS Usability Lab. She graduated from the SLIS program in 2004. She is also a SLIS Adjunct Faculty member and teaches the Technology for Information Professionals course, LIS 488. Linnea also actively tweets at twitter.com/leonnea.
Simmons College Libraries/Career Resource Library (#SLIScrl)
Cheryl Kohen, Career Resource Librarian: Cheryl became Career Resource Librarian in December 2007. Aside from her duties in the CRL, Cheryl also reviews career resources for the publication Choice Reviews. Additionally, Cheryl ran a Career Center at the Massachusetts Library Association Annual Conference in May 2008, where she helped current librarians search for job opportunities and professional development, and she has been invited to run this Career Center again for the May 2009 Conference. You can also find Cheryl at twitter.com/CherylKohen.
At Simmons SLIS, wikis don't just support classroom activities, they've been used by the faculty to develop a new mission statement, by student groups to share information about events and activities, and by administrative staff for inter-office collaboration. There are over 300 SLIS wikis, many of which are used in support of individual classes or by specific administrative working groups. A directory of public wikis will be available soon.
In addition to the podcasts, wikis, and other projects noted above, Simmons SLIS maintains an active presence on Facebook and Twitter. With contributions from a variety of SLIS offices—Curriculum & Communications, Admission, Continuing Education, Technology—as well as the Simmons College Career Resource Library, staff members use this media to convey what's going on on campus, locally, and in the LIS world. Please find us at http://www.facebook.com/simmonsSLIS and http://twitter.com/SimmonsGSLIS.