Minutes of November 8, 2006 Meeting

Judy Gardner, chair; J. Brennan; Y. Denda, M. Forster; R. Marker; S. McDonald; J. Shepard; R. Smith; J. Still; M. Wilt; Julia Zapcic (recorder)
A. Watkins; C. Wu

The meeting opened at 9:30 am.

Judy announced that the minutes from the previous meeting will be updated to incorporate feedback and re-posted to the Sakai site.

Subgroup Reports:

The Staff Directory

John Shepard reported on the progress of discussions about the staff directory. The group looked at websites from other ARL libraries (all 120+) and concluded that our own goals for our directory seemed ambitious compared to most of our peers. There are, however, a couple of libraries who have sites that incorporate some of the enhancements we aspire to: Cornel and the University of Kentucky both had some features the group thought were helpful and an upgrade to our current capabilities.

John Brennan articulated the three major recommendations, so far, from the sub-group:

  1. Quick hits - to link directly to the other directories from whichever directory the user is in;
  2. Add a suggestion box;
  3. Create a direct link to the RUL staff directory from the home page.

He also offered that there is discussion underway of a complete overhaul of our website. The group suggested that a more 'extreme' revamp of our current site may be something that should be part of that larger effort.

There was a question to the group concerning whether or not there has been discussion about designing features that would allow RUL folks to update information about themselves and manage pages that displayed their work/expertise. Discussion revealed a consensus that this would be helpful, and McDonald suggested that there could be a semiannual review of data and a mandate to update information, should this become the standard operating procedure. Judy offered that our group can make a recommendation to IT for this capability. McDonald postulated that we would need an in-house programmer to build in this functionality for our directory(ies).

Virtual Spaces

Roger Smith began the discussion with a brief orientation of the group's thought process and explained that the group has extended its charge to include a review of best practices and research into user feedback. There was animated discussion surrounding the issue of how much time to spend investigating new technologies and uses for technology as a communications tool versus training and learning needs related to these opportunities. Marilyn Wilt stressed the need for the group to stay focused on investigating opportunities to communicate and leave the training and learning issues to the already established training and learning committee.

Gardner offered the entire committee the suggestion that an ad-hoc subgroup take Sakai and use the ICR group as a test opportunity-setting up an online chat and following up with posting information to analyze Sakai's effectiveness as a communications tool and sorting out exactly what it will help accomplish.

Gardener also asked the subgroup to comment on its discussions of Wikis and Blogs as communications tools. Julia Zapcic answered that the group feels that both are options, but currently are viewed as community building-rather than communications tools.

Staff Pages

Gardner asked the group for feedback on the subgroup's notes. The committee debated the pros and cons of a process that calls for staff/faculty to simply submit their materials versus a process that would allow individual creators to do their own coding for the pages.

There was also discussion about reinforcing the intuitive nature of making information available online, and the group acknowledged through their discussion that the primary goal of the staff pages (currently), seems to be sharing information with peers outside of the group generating this information, and how much of a mandate exists to invoke dual duty for these pages - to communicate both internally and externally.

Organization & Culture

This group's report began by stating that the members saw this issue as grounded in cultural, rather than structural or procedural changes.

Rhonda Marker was emphatic in her support of the idea that effective communication happens through thoughtful practices over time, and that sharing with colleagues during the stages of a discussion is essential to making people feel involved.

There was general discussion about the value of incorporating some measure of success in effective communications as part of evaluating managers.

Gardner brought the discussion to a close by helping the committee select a next meeting date: December 13th.

The meeting adjourned at 11:20 am.

URL: http://www.libraries.rutgers.edu/rul/staff/groups/internal_communications/minutes/itc_06-11-08.shtml
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