Movin on up!

Because of potential problems with data retention I have decided to move LIT Blog off of the wordpress servers and onto the UW servers.

Find it here,

Please, understand that I haven’t edited the look of the site yet, I’m working on it.


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Increased Computer Access at Pierce County Libraries

According to a press release from Pierce County Libraries, starting today they are setting aside a limited number of computers that card holders can reserve and use for up to two hours at a time. According to the report, increasing their ration of computer usage from 1 to 2 hours per day was prompted by the dip in the economy which saw people cancel their high-speed internet connections and demand more computer time in order to fill out applications and research jobs online.

Also new to the program, users can now reserve the two hour computers by either filling out an online form or by calling the branch nearest them.


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Windows 7 Addendum: Special Pricing for Staff/Faculty

I just wanted to post an addendum to my post on Windows 7 of the other day and tell staff/faculty to hold off on purchasing Windows 7 until November 1st. Scott Barker (Senior Lecturer, Director of IT, Informatics Program Chair, UW Seattle iSchool) talking to other tech staff on the TechSupport email listserv had the following to report:

Frank Lobisser, the UW Microsoft rep, told me that there would be special pricing on Windows 7 for faculty and staff personal purchases.   As you may know, there is a promotion right now for students that allows them to get it for $29.95.    He didn’t have the exact pricing for faculty/staff but he told me it would be available for faculty/staff to order through the Microsoft student select program.   Apparently it will show up on the student select price list November 1. I have an email in to a couple folks to see if I can find out more details and I’ll post once I find out.

So, you may want to hold off on buying that Windows 7 just yet, a pretty sweet price deal sounds like it’s in the works.

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Windows 7

I have gotten a few questions about Windows 7 and I’d like to answer them as succinctly as possible.

What is Windows 7?

Basically it’s the new operating system from Microsoft. They heard all the complaints about Windows Vista and decided to fix them. This is a bit of a trend with Microsoft actually. They seem to release an OS then get a lot of flack and then release a second OS that works a lot better. Like when they released Windows 95 and it worked pretty well, so they released Windows 98 and it was, erm, “not well received.” Same with Windows XP and Vista. So, now they have released Windows 7 and according to most reports, they actually have fixed almost everything.

Should I upgrade?

Depends! Do you have a new computer that is bogged down under the heavy load of Vista? You probably will want to upgrade. Still using Windows Xp on a 3 year old laptop? You probably don’t need to upgrade.

Where do I get Win7?

If you’re a student, you can get a copy at the bookstore or from Microsoft for $30. The rest of us have relatively few options if we want to upgrade: you can buy the full retail version for up to $300 or you can buy a “system builder’s version” (OEM)  for $100 . Word about OEM, the license isn’t transferable. You can’t take it from one computer to the other. So, think carefully about that before you save $10.

Which version?

Before you decide which version you want to get you might want to look at the Microsoft web site and figure out which version you want. Do you need Chinese language support? Then you need to buy “Ultimate.” Do you want Windows to run all your backups? You need “Professional.” Do you not care? Then you need “Home Premium!”

When will the Library switch to Windows 7?

Uhhh… lol, well, I have to install it on my machine first!


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Annual Stats Roundup 2008/2009


For the 08/09 academic year, students used the library printers/copiers to make 174,667 Pharos imprints. This means that the UWT Library handled 82.5% of the 211,589 total Pharos prints on campus.

Not surprisingly the library’s busiest quarter for printing was Fall quarter, when we made 65,863 prints and had the higest number of prints in a month (24,773) in October. What is surprising is that the 2nd and 3rd highest print months were April and May of 2009 with 23,571 and 22,599 respectively. People don’t like to print in the winter?

Fall through Spring quarter, the library is open 220 days, with 212 school days. This means that the library does an average of 793 pages of printing per day.


The web site being on 24 hours a day 7 days a week coupled with the fact that the UWT Library homepage is the default page on the library gives our web usage statistics a bit of a skew. However, there are some interesting stats that pop out. First, there were 186,828 total visits to the UWT Library web site last year which is 713 visits per day. Second, the slowest day of the year was… December 24th, when 32 people hit the web site. The busiest day was October 15th, with 1,451 hits. And the busies time of the year is Fall, where users hit the site more often and stayed on site longer than any other time of the year.

The busiest times of the day were 10am to 3pm, which coincides with our busy time here in the library. And our busiest days are Monday through Thursday with a precipitous drop on Friday and Saturday and a small rebound on Sunday.


The logons at UWT are tracked by total logons (TL) , total hours of computing (TH), average minutes per user (MA),  and average hours per day of computer usage (HPD = TH/# of days we are open per quarter).

The UWT library had 35,000 Total Logons in the 2008/2009 academic year. Our best quarters for logons were Winter and Spring with 13,559 and 13,547 logons respectively, both of which represent an increase of 30% over Fall quarter.

Inversely, students stayed twice as long per logon in the fall that they did in Winter and Spring, going from 88 minutes per logon on average to 38 and 41 respectively.

Total hours of computing is calculated by the total number of minutes that all users are logged on to all of the library computers and then simply divided by 60 minutes. This number is very useful as it gives us a sense of the total load that the library is dealing with as far as desktop computers over a quarter. A typical quarter is 70 some days and the library is currently open 80 hours a week during those days. Thus, the library averages 11.42 hours per day (80/7) during the academic quarter and roughly 825 hours of operations during any given quarter (11.42 * 73).  So, when I tell you that in Spring quarter the library did 9264 hours of computing  or an average of 11.23 hours of computing per hour that we are open for a total of 129 hours of computing per day. You can see that students love using the library computers.

Summer Quarter

I started keeping these stats just last year and thus I have stats for last summer. That means that at the end of this summer quarter I will finally be able to make a side by side comparison of two complete quarters.


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Governor Gregiore starts tweeting

Governor Chris Gregoire is now a twitter-er.

Look, I’m a strong advocate of using web 2.0 for administration and for increasing communication within and without an organization, but I’m not sure that twitter does that. My sense, and yes, I’m new, and yes, I’m aware of the fact that some really innovative people have come up with some really interesting uses of this new media, but my sense is that this is one of the dumbest web applications ever and I don’t really want the Governor wasting time on this when the state of Washington is facing real challenges.

Moreover, what’s the purpose of this? Is this a re-election Twitter? Is this a “here’s how my work day works” twitter? What and why are they doing this?

I know why the rest of you tweet…

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Cell Phone Discounts

Talk about perfect timing.

Given the current economy, every little bit of savings helps. So, imagine my surprise when  I found out that UW Technologies has negotiated a preferred contract with AT&T and T-Mobile which should provide a sizable discount on new and existing cell-phone service for Faculty, Students, and Staff. Other discounts from other providers may be available, you’ll have to call them.

Click on the link above in order to get a list of phone numbers and web sites that will let you take advantage of your UW affiliation. I used the web registration to lodge my affiliation and it was quick and easy.

18% off my AT&T bill? Nice.


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Viruses and Plagues

Two things this morning:

  1. Just a reminder to all of you who work with the public computers to wash your hands frequently, cover your cough, don’t come in to work if you have a fever, and don’t touch your face.
  2. The Conficker virus has basically gone live and is enslaving millions of computers as we speak. This means a huge uptick in Spam in your inbox. It’s probably too late to scan your computer for viruses because if you’re infected you’re hosed at this point, but I always remind people to scan for problems.

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Blackboard, on the iPhone

Following directly on the heels of yesterday’s announcement that PubMed has made a ihone application, today Blackboard released their highly rumored and much anticipated application for the iPhone.

While it won’t let students do any of the important course content, it will let them check assignments and send each other messages.

I’m sure course content will follow.

The service currently works on UW Tacoma’s server but IT Services are looking in to whether the security risk posed by storing credentials is worth the mobility provided.

I’ll make a blog about it when we have a definitive answer. For now, if you want to download it and mess around, go to the iTunes App store and search for Blackboard learn.


Filed under collaborative learning, iPod touch/iPhone and Higher Ed, Technology Pulse

PubMed, on the iPhone

Libraries looking for ways that the iPhone (or iPod Touch) might change user’s interactions with academic databases need look no further than the PubMed On Tap application ($2.99 from References on Tap, though there is a “lite” version available for free which limits you to 5 hits per search).

This application searches PubMed, retrieves abstracts and lets you email them to yourself as formatted text or as an RIS tagged record (so you can put it in EndNote), remembers your searches, and even supports EZ Proxy.

It will retrieve full text (if you have proper access to do that, via EZ Proxy or IP authentication) but I’d be surprised if a lot of people are going to hang out with their iPod touch and read medical journals. More likely they will email the links to themselves for retrieval later.

Regardless, it’s a pretty cool application and a massive improvement over the Mobile Libraries platforms listed in this wiki. This new database  means that now you can be on the bus to Seattle, search PubMed, and when you get to work you can retrieve the full text articles and read your research on the big screen or print it out, like a sane person.

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