Campus Update Summer 2019

The staff in Library and Information Technology Services (LITS) have been busy over the summer updating and improving services for the Allegheny community. To help you learn more about how these changes might affect you, we created this update:  

Organizational Updates

Accomplishments in Public Services

  • Updated technology in teaching spaces to use Windows 10 and solid-state drives (SSD).  The move to SSD reduces the length of time required to sign in to the computer, easing pressures of computer delays experienced at the start of classes and meetings.  
  • Collaborated with faculty and staff to implement new technology in Vukovich, Quigley, and Doane Hall of Art.  
    • Updated equipment in Vukovich’s media screening room providing faculty and students ability to screen video projects using current video formats. The upgrade also addresses issues with audio, provides greater reliability, and brings more intuitive user controls.   
    • Bloomberg Terminals installed in Quigley 220 allowing faculty and students in business finance courses to incorporate market research in learning activities.
    • Installed networking, computers, and projection equipment for the Innovation Center’s classroom, providing an interdisciplinary space for learning and creation.   
  • Updated Sakai to version 19 with service enhancements and access to a rubric tool that integrates with assignments, tests and quizzes, forums, and gradebooks. 
  • Refreshed the content of the FAQ tool running the LITS Ask Box to help students and patrons quickly connect to answers for common questions about Allegheny’s library and technology services.  If you have questions about our services, go to the LITS home page, and type your question into the Ask a Question Box
  • Completed a furniture assessment and small furniture purchase for Pelletier.  The result will provide more and more comfortable seating for students and patrons as they study, research, and collaborate in Pelletier.  

Accomplishments in Enterprise Services

  • Performed significant updates to the College’s virtual cluster on which most locally hosted enterprise software (e.g., Colleague and WebAdvisor) run, including an upgrade to storage capacity and cluster hardware. The updates position the cluster to meet anticipated hosting and storage needs for on-premise systems for the next five-year technology cycle.  
  • Began developing Network 2040, a strategic plan setting the course for the next twenty years of network management.  As part of that work, network management moved forward in several ways:
    • Overhauling the management of how computers, printers, phones and devices access the internet in a way that helps set us up for future growth and flexibility while also reducing costs.  
    • Doing a physical assessment of all fiber state and capacity on campus
    • Updated wireless network authentication protocols to increase ease of connecting while maintaining network security. 
    • Developing a sustainable plan for maintaining network equipment currency.
  • Partnered with a Pittsburgh based security firm for third-party monitoring of network and systems activity to address cybersecurity threats quickly and responsively. The service has already pre-emptively identified potential vulnerabilities before they could be exploited in an attack.
  • Collaborated with the Office of the Registrar to revise how student FERPA protections are managed.  The changes allow a student to identify specific individuals that may or may not receive FERPA protected information from College officials. The project also improved a student’s ability to indicate personal and emergency contact information. 

Accomplishments in Resource Management

  • Began implementation of a new way to access Library resources using a new protocol named OpenAthens. Once it is fully implemented, faculty and students accessing the subscription services of Pelletier library from outside the Allegheny network will find it easier to gain access to search Pelletier’s databases, journals, and other electronic resources with no need to go through ezproxy services. Full implementation should be completed this academic year. 
  • Allegheny’s digital collections are gaining national exposure. This year, we started sharing our collections with the Digital Public Library of America. Artstor wrote a blog highlighting one of the pieces in our Egyptian Hieroglyphics collection. You can read more about the library’s work on Allegheny News, and many more Allegheny collections will be added to the DPLA this fall. 
  • Created an online repository to store interviews of Meadville Community members recorded by Allegheny students as they learned to conduct ethnographic research in Communication Arts as part of the Meadiaville Listening Project

Focus of Work for 2019-2020 Academic Year 

  • Complete the upgrade to Windows 10 to maintain endpoint computing security when Microsoft ends support for Windows 7 security patches and updates at the end of 2019. 
  • Begin a comprehensive assessment and refinement of the Library’s print book collection.
  • Assist with enterprise wide projects in HR and Registrar implementing systems that will allow those departments to more effectively serve the Allegheny community. Community members can expect to see many services and much more user-friendly interfaces for existing services in 2020.
  • Continue planning for classroom technology, attending to the evolving teaching and learning needs of faculty and students.  
  • Continue the work of retiring WebAdvisor and transitioning services to Colleague Self-Service tools or other tools for effectively collecting, managing, and displaying data.
  • Complete network planning and continue implementing projects outlined in Network 2040, including the overhaul of the way devices connect and making network topology changes associated with the Bentley Hall renovation.
  • Assess cloud-based server solutions and develop a plan to reduce when possible on-campus server footprint in favor of cloud solutions with greater reliability, redundancy and flexibility. 
  • Complete the implementation of OpenAccess to make it easier for Allegheny community members to access library resources from off-campus. 
  • Complete the Information Classification and Security Framework and finish the transition of file storage to Google Drive wherever appropriate to assist the community with effectively and securely storing, sharing, and collaborating on files.