ECDS adjusts to COVID-19

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ECDS Happy Hour! Top row (L to R): Sadie Warren (graduate fellow), Wayne Morse, Adam Newman; 2nd row: Jay Varner, Sara Palmer, Marcy Alexander (project coordinator contractor); 3rd row: Steve Bransford, Arya Basu (and his son Aaron), Megan Slemons; 4th row: Joanna Mundy

Everyone is dealing with a tremendous amount of change in their work life as well as in their personal lives and we hope everyone is successfully making their way through these crazy times. In ECDS, we have had to make some adjustments, even though a good portion of our work can be done remotely and several of our team had regularly scheduled work from home days even before the Coronavirus.

We did not fully appreciate the impact of the entire team working remotely with only email and scheduled Zoom conferences acting as our connecting points. Although we had regularly scheduled bi-weekly team meetings on the calendar, the stress of not physically being together to work on projects, interact with one another, and just talk about things was very quickly felt by our entire team.

For those of you who have seen our center, the physical layout is purposely made so that there are limited physical separations between everyone’s workspace. This was done to help with bringing a diverse group of people together on all things related to digital scholarship. Constantly working remotely made these connections between people difficult, focusing any time we had together on a growing list of project and organization-related tasks.

At the recommendation of several members of our team, we have made one major change to our work plan and added a second event to our now “normal” weekly work schedule. We have changed our team meetings to weekly now in the hope that it would increase (virtual) face-to-face conversation among our group. As part of these meetings, we have reserved more time for discussions to allow for conversations to meander a bit, like they often do during in-person meetings.

Perhaps the biggest change we have made, again at the recommendation of our team, is inviting everyone to a virtual happy hour every Thursday afternoon. There’s no particular agenda for our meetings on Thursdays except to be together in an informal way and talk about a variety of topics. The topics in this meeting have included your favorite candy when you were a kid, the best recipes for Instant Pots, and which reality television show to watch. So far it’s primarily been a “happy hour” of conversation, but that may change as we continue.

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Zoombombing update

As an addendum to last week’s Zoombombing article, here’s another setting that should help people:

When scheduling a meeting, hosts can click the “Only Authenticated Users Can Join” button. That means that the user will have to be signed into the same Zoom license in order for them to immediately be able to join a meeting.

For instance if the host is on the main Emory account, only users signed into that account will be able to join the meeting directly. Everyone else will be shuffled to a waiting room to be let in by the host. For our environment, that would mean users in the HIPAA account and EHC account would be sent to the waiting room along with all outside users.

For more information, go to this article about preventing Zoombombing.

If you have additional questions, contact the Messaging Team.

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Ergonomic teleworking tips

This bit of advice comes from the Navy Reserve:

Many of us are teleworking due to the COVID-19 Pandemic and trying to prevent further spreading of this terrible disease. In the office, we are often equipped with various ergonomic equipment, but at home, we need to make do with what we have in our homes. Please see the below tips to help make your new work setting a little more ergonomic for you while working.

While at the office, you may have access to ergonomic chairs, adjustable tables and large monitors. This equipment allows you to be comfortable at work for many hours in a seated position.

Teleworking from home may offer you a soft cushy couch, but puts the rest of your body at risk of injury due to poor prolonged posture.

  • Try to find a location that allows you to maintain neutral positions for neck, legs, arms, and wrists
  • Sit so your head and neck are upright and in-line with your torso, not bent down or tilted back
  • Your upper arms are perpendicular to the floor, not stretched forward or angled backward, your forearms, wrists and hands form a 90-degree angle with your upper arms
  • Your thighs are parallel to the floor and your lower legs are perpendicular to the floor
  • Your wrists and palms are not resting on sharp edges
  • Align the laptop screen so it is at or slightly below your eye level
  • Connect to external monitor, if possible, to increase size of screen
  • Position screen to avoid glare from overhead lights or from sunlight
  • Take frequent breaks (every 30-40 mins) to change your position. This also helps to restore blood circulation, improve warmth; decrease eyestrain and increase mental focus for your tasks.
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It is OPUS’ 20th birthday!

[Ed. note: Beth Broyles is the Director of Student Information Systems in the Office of the Registrar.]

April 1 was OPUS’ 20th birthday and this is no April Fool’s joke. OPUS went live on 4/1/2000 with all features. Why April Fool’s Day, you might ask? This day was the first day of Fall 2000 preregistration. Our first support question was from a student accessing OPUS from a semester abroad. The day was a very successful one after several years of hard work. It was a labor of love to bring OPUS into the Emory world and it has been a pleasure watching it grow over the past 20 years.

Thanks to all of the people who were there during the initial implementation. There are around 10 team members who were part of the original implementation who still work tirelessly to support OPUS every day. Some originals have moved on to support Emory in other roles and some who support OPUS now were end users at the beginning. I won’t name anyone for fear I leave someone out, but I appreciate you all for everything you do.

Thanks also to the majority of you receiving this email who weren’t part of OPUS 20 years ago.  Some of you work tirelessly as part of the OPUS team now or as partners who support the system. Others are our loyal users who provide us with an endless supply of great ideas to enhance OPUS for students, faculty and staff. We need every one of you and value your guidance and support.

We wanted to mark this day with a small celebration, but as we are in unprecedented times, this email acknowledgement will have to suffice (for now.)  Next year OPUS will be an adult, so that might be a fitting time to get together and celebrate.

Stay safe, and I look forward to seeing you on campus in the not too distant future.

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Sandra Franklin chosen as Janet Doe Lecturer for 2021

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Sandra Franklin.

Please join us in congratulating Sandra G. Franklin, Director of the Woodruff Health Sciences Center Library, for being chosen as the Janet Doe Lecturer for the 2021 Medical Library Association (MLA) Annual Meeting in Washington, DC. This lecture is “awarded to individuals for their unique perspectives on the history or philosophy of medical librarianship.”

In 2017, Sandra received an MLA Fellowship, the highest honor awarded by MLA, which recognizes excellence in leadership and “sustained and outstanding contributions to health sciences librarianship and to the advancement of the purposes of MLA.”

Sandra is currently the President of The Association of Academic Health Sciences Libraries (AAHSL).

For more information:

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Coping with COVID: LITS continues to adjust to the long road ahead

“My barn having burned down, I can now see the moon.” – Mizuta Masahide, 17th Century Japanese poet and samurai

As we conclude a third week of divisional telecommuting, and as the news begins to confirm that remote access to Emory is going to be the norm for a while, LITS employees continue to find ways to adjust and still be productive. These are a few more of our stories.

Virtual Happy Birthday

Lolita Rowe (community outreach archivist, Rose Library) enjoyed a remote birthday party from her colleagues in Rose. She lit a candle and they sang to her over Zoom. Says Lolita, “My plans of a normal Birthday morphed into the new normal, social distancing. But through the distances, we still remain social via Zoom. My co-workers helped me usher in a new birthday and I felt the connections that I have made here at Rose Library connect us during this new normal.”

This monster snapper might weigh over 50 pounds.

Kat Makes a New Friend(?)

While out for this week’s National Walking Day, Kat Boushell (finance/accounting specialist, business & administration) came across a huge snapping turtle as she walked on the East Decatur Greenway. When she got home, she did a little research. “I did not know that snapping turtles can live to be 100!” This means that this guy might have been around for the Influenza Pandemic of 1920. Maybe he has some advice for us?

Daily Dance Parties

When you are working from home, it is all too easy to sit at your desk, plugging away, and never finding time to move around. Not so for Courtney Chartier (librarian and head of research services, Rose Library). She says, “I am having daily dance parties to keep myself motivated and make sure I move around.”

B&A Zooming and Walking

This from Susan Henschen (sr. business manager, B&A):

LITS Business & Administration has kept in touch daily through our departmental Zoom Channel. We have some really funny people on our team! Along with sharing pictures of our pets and good humor to cheer each other up, we’ve celebrated several birthdays since going virtual. We’ve also enjoyed a Zoom LITS B&A Happy Hour together. It was nice to see each other there. We have our normal monthly deadlines to work toward, so to me, it’s nice to have the comfort of consistency right now when not much else is normal.

My first grader and I take daily walks for his science assignments. Not only does that help accomplish completing his schoolwork, it is good for our mental health. Bonus: my steps count in the Move More Challenge competition. Shout out to my team, LITS Comfortable Loafers!

Statement of Purpose in Poetry Form

Dawn Francis-Chewning (educational analyst III, student digital life) penned this cute poem to sum up her new work existence with her trusty dog Buddy:

I Zoom in daily as my dog sleeps contentedly
We walk the neighborhood leisurely
He listens in as I connect with friends and family gratefully
We share mealtime together happily
He barks when the other dogs go by zealously
I work remotely and email is handled expeditiously
He watches when I get some Netflix nightly
We retire, only to wash/rinse/repeat daily
Waiting together for a brand-new day hopefully

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Adds Dawn, “Families ought to consider Field Trip Fridays by taking virtual museum tours. Just go to Carlos is on the list!

A Little Automation Goes a Long Way

In the first days of telecommuting, LITS started receiving hundreds of requests to provide IX-Workplace for users. IX-Workplace is the Avaya mobile app that lets you have your desk phone on your mobile device.

Normally, the LITS coordinators would do this work but we are not staffed to handle this kind of volume. Joe Massey (enterprise communication IT architect) spent a week developing tools to automate this process. He was helped by Chad Street (sr. network engineer, network/app monitoring) on a database tool he needed as part of the process.

The end result? An automated process that Joe and the coordinators could use to handle the massive volume of users.

The Modern Home Office

Anthony Hess (application developer/analyst on the Canvas Team) has been buried in work as he helps Emory’s professors transition to remote learning. What better way to deal with the stress than with his home office:

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LITS recent headlines and upcoming events

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Recent LITS headlines:

Upcoming LITS events:

(go HERE for more information for each event)

  • April 7Emory Libraries All Staff Meeting: 10:00 am – 11:30, Zoom Link
  • April 9LEAF April Virtual Coffee: 1:30 pm – 3:00 pm, Zoom Link
  • April 16IT Briefing: 10:15 am – noon, Zoom Link
  • April 20InfoForum: 2:00 pm – 3:00 pm, Zoom Link
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