Update on the Library transition

first_imgFebruary 10, 2012Dear Members of the Harvard Community,Earlier this week, President Faust wrote to you about the singular importance of Harvard’s libraries and why changes are essential to ensure that they continue to set the standard for academic libraries worldwide. Today, I write to share how a new organizational design and strategic direction, recently recommended by the Library Board, will position the Harvard Library to respond to the evolving expectations of the 21st century scholar.The new Library organizational design enables Harvard to respond nimbly to the constantly shifting demands of the Information Age. It replaces a fragmented system of 73 libraries spread across the Schools with one that promotes University-wide collaboration. The new Library will harness both the power of a unified Harvard and the distinctive contributions of the Schools, which will retain responsibility for work that requires deep knowledge of research, teaching and learning needs within their respective domains.  These changes will benefit everyone who uses the Harvard Library. A single access policy will make borrowing easier at every library location. Library experts in all subject areas will be available to answer questions and deliver information quickly. Working together, we can leverage Harvard’s buying power, set a high and consistent standard for service delivery and pursue a University-wide collection development strategy that strengthens our holdings.In pursuing this new strategic direction, we will make better use of the resources we commit to acquisitions and collection management. There also will be changes that affect staff at every level of the library system. The details of many of these changes are being developed, and they will be announced in the coming weeks. It is clear at this point, however, that they will include but not be limited to adjustments in how and where many staff members perform the work that has made the library one of the University’s greatest treasures.Our goal is straightforward — to enable investment in innovation, in digital infrastructure, in the services we provide, and in our collections. The Board’s recommendations address opportunities for improvement that repeatedly surfaced during two years of study. The strengths of our Library are extraordinary, and begin with the excellence of the Library staff.  The support for research, teaching and learning that they provide is unequaled. Their understanding of user needs is unmatched. And among academic institutions, our collection is unrivaled. Yet we are not organized to make the best use of these remarkable assets. Finding many of these resources in the current system of “coordinated decentralization” can be challenging. Scholars struggle to navigate more than a dozen access policies. And much of the collection is inaccessible simply because resources haven’t been properly allocated to process it.In recent decades, the libraries have struggled to collect the books, journals and other research materials desired by faculty and students.  They have had to cope with steadily rising prices, the cost of providing both electronic and paper versions, the expansion of the University’s intellectual horizons and the duplication of efforts throughout a disjointed library system. Our analysis showed that these challenges have persisted despite the fact that Harvard spends on average more than twice as much as its peer universities on its libraries, devoting 3.3% of its overall budget to libraries while its peers spend on average 1.9% of their budgets.The new organizational design unifies functions that occur within all libraries — Access Services, Technical Services and Preservation and Digital Imaging Services. The shared services will enable greater focus on the needs of the user community as the Library improves workflows, policies, infrastructures and reporting structures system-wide. The new organization will enhance physical and digital access to the entire collection and related resources — regardless of School affiliation — through a robust Library portal (expected to launch this year), mobile devices, self-checkout and mobile checkout. The majority of people who work in the libraries will learn in the next two weeks whether their role will remain associated with their local library or be designated as part of the new shared services structure. Working groups are already being formed to develop processes and standards that will be applied within each service area and across the broader system.These changes will be supported by a new approach to Library technology, which will allow us to use information resources in exciting new ways. The library-focused resources of the Office of Information Systems (OIS), as well as IT staff working in the Harvard College Library, will join with the expertise of Harvard University Information Systems (HUIT). This combination of assets will more strongly align Library and University technology strategy and goals, and it will increase interoperability between library systems.The new strategic direction will encourage the Library to partner with Schools to create a single point of procurement for e-resources. It will also support collaboration between the Library and the Schools to implement a system-wide collection development strategy and a system-wide access policy. The strategic direction also commits the Harvard Library to providing greater and faster access to materials housed outside Harvard, as recent partnerships with Borrow Direct and the HathiTrust demonstrate. Since the launch of Borrow Direct in June, for example, Harvard patrons borrowed several thousand items not available in the Harvard Library collection and received them twice as quickly as they would have with Interlibrary Loan.Work has already started on an infrastructure to build digital collections and to support new approaches to library services.  The changes will position the Library to lead in scholarly communication and open access, to design next generation search and discovery services, and to accelerate digitization and digital preservation.The Harvard community uses the Library for diverse purposes.  The new Harvard Library will meet the varying needs of our community members.  It will offer increased access to information resources within Harvard and beyond its gates. Faculty and students will enjoy faster checkout and delivery of information to their computers and mobile devices, and improved access to reserves during peak periods. Library staff will be able to make decisions and collaborate in ways that continuously improve services.Change of this magnitude is challenging and understandably prompts many questions and concerns. We recognize that members of the talented Library staff are anxious to see how the transition will affect them as individuals, and we are confident that our new strategic direction will ultimately produce gratifying new responsibilities and career development opportunities. As President Faust noted, it is inevitable that we will need to adjust our plans as we work through the details of this process together. But I want to reassure you that this new direction for the Harvard Library is the product of a lengthy and deliberate process, and that it has been shaped by deep organizational analysis and widespread consultation with many individuals and groups in the libraries and across the Schools.Moving forward, the choices we need to make as we implement this new vision for the Harvard Library will rely heavily on the knowledge and experience of the staff and library users, and we will be looking to faculty members and other members of our community for guidance in their areas of expertise as we develop a broad collection development strategy and establish metrics by which we can measure the progress of the new organization. This will ensure that we meet the rising expectations of the Harvard community in the 21st century and — ultimately — that we will continue to set the standard for academic libraries worldwide.Alan M. GarberProvostlast_img read more

Almost 9 in 10 Companies Rolling the Dice with Data Protection Models — is Yours?

first_imgRolling dice might be an innocent enough diversion for most visitors to casinos, but not when it comes to protecting sensitive enterprise data. According to 2,200 IT decision makers worldwide who took part in the 2016 Dell EMC Global Data Protection Index Study, only about 1 in 10 companies have what are considered mature data protection: short recovery times; solid backup infrastructure; modern backup systems; and off-site replication.Data protection: More vital than everNo one has to tell IT professionals that data is exploding. They can see it all around them. Structured data, ka-boom. Unstructured data, ka-boom. Mobile data, ka-boom-boom-boom. Forget petabytes, even exabytes. By 2020, some experts think the world’s total data will total 40 zettabytes, while others think the world might generate that much each year.Much of this data growth is mission-critical, generated by virtual machines, mobile apps and the ever-growing Internet of Things. Plus, there’s an increasing number of compliance requirements for data archiving, especially in finance and healthcare.At the same time, the potential for data losses has never been greater. Data today needs protection from corruption, cyber intrusions, hardware failures, software errors and power losses, to name some of the biggest threats. What’s at stake? Costly business disruptions, diminished brand reputations, expensive litigation, regulatory penalties and reduced market capitalizations. And what is the average cost of data loss? Nearly $1 million!Why “one-size-fits-all” solutions don’t workWhen we’re talking data protection service levels, all data is not the same. That’s because organizations have wide-ranging combinations of data growth, data mobility and varied SLA requirements. And that’s not to mention different workloads and consumption models: on-premise, virtualized, hybrid cloud and native cloud. So it’s impossible for one solution to be optimized for all situations.What’s more, data must be protected across a continuum, spanning continuous availability, replication, snapshots, backup and archiving requirements. Organizations with multiple data-protection vendors can increase their risk because having two or more vendors can create coverage gaps and, in the case of an intrusion, finger-pointing. According to the Dell EMC-sponsored study, about two-thirds of respondents use two or more suppliers, despite evidence that data loss, costs and downtime rise as vendor numbers rise.Then there are vulnerabilities posed by outdated technology approaches, such as tape backups, fragmented across the organizational landscape. These can impose unneeded costs of time, money and performance against recovery time objectives (RTOs) and recovery point objectives (RPOs).Solution: Purpose-built data protection, tailored to specific enterprise requirementsStandardization on a single, proven vendor platform can simplify IT staff time and costs, while reducing risks. Take medical-device maker Boston Scientific, for example. It chose to standardize on a single data protection platform, the Dell EMC Data Domain, across its entire global enterprise, saving $100,000 a month in tape costs and greatly simplifying its once-fragmented storage capabilities. This also saves IT time so they can focus on more-strategic projects.Today, data protection can take advantage of economical and highly scalable flash and cloud storage technologies. These can be fine-tuned to provide greater performance and solution flexibility, especially when combined with auto-tiering and de-duping. One example is the Dell EMC Data Domain storage solution.With models sized to match a wide range of data protection needs, this platform offers scalable, reliable and cloud-enabled protection storage for cost-effective data backup, data archive and disaster recovery. Compared to competing solutions, its validated performance metrics include: 1.5 times faster; 5 times more streams; 7 times more scalable; and, via flash, up to 20 times faster when restoring data.And integrating the Dell EMC Data Domain solution with Data Protection Suite software delivers the fastest and most reliable performance available so companies can meet all of their service level requirements.Don’t roll the dice on data protection any longerFind out where your company compares to the firms that responded to the 2016 Dell EMC Global Data Protection Index Study Report. Get the report’s highlights in a quick-to-read, color infographic or download a full copy. You can also watch an informative, three-minute video to learn more about the Dell EMC Data Protection portfolio to help you decide if it suits your needs.last_img read more

Top takeaways from Finovate Fall: Part I

first_img continue reading » 8SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr Finovate Fall assembled perhaps my favorite batch yet of product pitches for last week’s event in New York City.This may be because the balance of ideas tilted toward the pragmatic. There were a few moonshots, but I could envision most of these solutions winding up among a financial institution’s offerings and/or on an end-user’s mobile device in the not-too-distant future.For those unfamiliar with the drill, Finovate convenes a rapid-fire showcase of the latest fintech ideas. There’s a clear startup flavor to the lineup, but new product launches by established firms are fair game (Experian and Fiserv were on this agenda, for instance).Two key characteristics are that segments are strictly limited to seven minutes, and must consist of live demos—no slideware.Some recurring themes inevitably emerge over the course of two days of presentations (76 of them this time around), offering a handy barometer of insider sentiment.last_img read more