April 13, 2009
Issue No. 80

Table of Contents

Axess Timecard to Replace the Kronos System

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by Tricia Richter

On May 5, a new time and leave entry system, the Axess Timecard, will go live at Stanford. The Axess Timecard replaces the old Kronos system, which had been in use at Stanford since 2002. Employees and others who are required to enter time worked and/or leave taken should find the new system easy to use.

Screenshot of Axess timecard home page

Please note the following changes:

See the Axess Timecard project site for more information.

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CourseWork - What's New for Spring 2009

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by Jacqueline Mai

Since the transition to the new CourseWork v5 system in the Summer of 2007, we the CourseWork team have made a concerted effort to gather user feedback to improve the CourseWork v5 system. We have been collecting this feedback through surveys, feature request/bug reports, and training/demo sessions. We also have spoken directly to faculty, department administrators, and technology specialists about their experiences with CourseWork.

We greatly appreciate the feedback we have received thus far, which has been critical in our efforts to tailor the system to best meet your needs, and encourage you to continue to consult with us as the system evolves.

We would like to share a few highlights regarding some of the improvements made to CourseWork v5 for Spring 2009.

Highlights of Improvements

Table of CourseWork user feedback and resulting improvements

Highlights of Resolved Issues

More Information

A full list of new capabilities as well as resolved issues can be found in CourseWork's release notes. See also Innovative Use of CourseWork Featured on New "Teaching with CourseWork" Blog in this issue.

Try Out New CourseWork Tools

If you are teaching during Spring or Summer 2009, please consider using one or more of these tools within your CourseWork sites. You may request access to the pilot tools by submitting a HelpSU request.

View tool descriptions.

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Historical American Maps Collection Donated to Stanford

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by Chris Bourg

Photo of some of the map books donated by David Rumsey
Some of the map books donated
by David Rumsey.

Map collector David Rumsey has agreed to donate some 150,000 maps of the Americas, most of which were drawn between 1700 and 1925, to the Stanford University Libraries. The collection includes physical maps as well as digital images. The physical maps will be housed in the University Libraries' Special Collections and the digital files will be preserved in Stanford's digital preservation archive.

Digital images from Rumsey's collection can be viewed at the David Rumsey Map Collection. The collection includes such gems as a map showing the first depiction of the Rocky Mountains found folded into a first edition of Lewis and Clark's 1814 travel book chronicling their trek across the American West and an 1839 atlas showing Texas as an independent republic. Many of the maps from the Rumsey collection are already cataloged, and can be found by searching for David Rumsey maps in the Stanford Libraries' Web environment.

Video of Maps of Americas Past (Video of original maps from the famed Lewis and Clark expedition, which are part of the donation to Stanford by collector David Rumsey. Rumsey has digitized more than 18,000 maps online, and hopes to ultimately have 50,000 for public Web access.)

For more information about this amazing collection see the Stanford Report article, Maps of Americas Past or visit the Branner Earth Sciences Library and Map Collections.

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Innovative Use of CourseWork Featured on New "Teaching with CourseWork" Blog

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by Keli Amann

The CourseWork team has launched a new blog to share the innovative ways instructors are using CourseWork for their classes.

The blog includes the following inaugural profiles:

Germany, World Wars, and the Wiki

Stanford Humanities Fellow Edith Sheffer had an idea of how she could personalize history for her students. This led to an innovative use of the wiki, a tool currently under pilot within CourseWork. The response of her students to this project exceeded her expectations and she plans to repeat the project next fall. Read the Full Story.

Human Biology Core and the Assignments Tool

Human Biology is a popular major at Stanford University and the Core courses, a 30-unit sequence spanning one academic year, provide the foundation for the major. Central to the Human Biology Core curriculum is teaching students to analyze and apply what they've learned, rather than absorb and recall factual data. Using CourseWork in a specific way has allowed the instructional staff to carry out this objective. Read the Full Story.

Give Us Feedback

New profiles will be posted every quarter, so be sure to visit the blog regularly. In addition, we would be interested in hearing about any innovative use of CourseWork you may have encountered. Please contact us at:

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Stanford's World Wide Web Site Ranking

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by Michael Peña

Stanford placed second in a ranking of the Web sites for more than 14,000 universities around the world. The Webometrics Ranking of World Universities, compiled by the Spain-based Cybermetrics Lab, seeks to measure "the performance and impact of universities through their Web presence."

Screenshot of Stanford home page
Stanford's Web site ranks second among Web sites for more than 14,000
universities around the world.

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology, whose OpenCourseWare project offers the world's largest collection of free teaching materials, ranked first. After Stanford, Harvard, the University of California-Berkeley and Cornell rounded out the top five. American institutions filled the top spots until the University of Toronto, which ranked 24th.

Two of the primary goals of Cybermetrics Lab, a group within the National Research Council (the largest public research body in Spain), are to support electronic access to scientific publications and other academic materials.

"Web presence measures the activity and visibility of the institutions and it is a good indicator of impact and prestige of universities," Webometrics states on its homepage. "Rank summarizes the global performance of the university, provides information for candidate students and scholars and reflects the commitment to the dissemination of scientific knowledge."

The rankings took into account four criteria, including the number of links to a university's Web site from other sites. Launched in 2004, the Webometrics rankings are updated every six months, with the most recent edition released in January.

In the July 2008 listing, Stanford ranked third; and in January 2008, Stanford ranked second. More information is online at:

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Super-Enlightenment Web Site Launched

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by Sarah Sussman

Recently, the Stanford University Libraries and Academic Information Resources (SULAIR) launched the Super-Enlightenment Web site in beta version at:

Screenshot of Super-enlightenment home

You can also use these shorter URLs to access the site:

What It Contains

This collection assembles about three dozen rare works in French written between 1716 and 1835, covering mythology, alchemy, religion, free-masonry, science, and other topics. Rather than rejecting what we commonly think of as Enlightenment ideas and paradigms, these esoteric texts explore many of the same themes, representing what Dan Edelstein, assistant professor of Stanford's French and Italian department and faculty coordinator of this site, calls "the dark side of the Enlightenment" -- or "Super-Enlightenment." We hope that making these works available as a searchable corpus (after they have long been pushed to the margins) will open up new paths of research for scholars at Stanford and around the world. Historians, literary scholars, and art historians are some of the target audiences for this resource.

This text collection currently consists of 64 volumes, both held by SULAIR and gathered from other library collections, that are presented as searchable PDFs. Yet Super-E is not only a collection of primary sources, it also offers scholarly materials for the researcher and teacher. Nine bio-bibliographical essays by specialists in the field and Professor Edelstein's brief introduction offer historical and theoretical background to the project and to the works and authors that it showcases. Users can also sort the texts by author, date, and by the following thematic topics: Art and Architecture, Illuminism and Science, Masonry, Mythology, Orientalism, and Reform and Revolution

How to Search the Collection

The current beta release does not offer full-text searching across all volumes, however current users can download the PDFs for each volume and search them separately. Future releases will include the search capabilities currently under active development by Digital Library Systems and Services that will allow searching across all of SULAIR's scanned texts.

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Stanford Whole Disk Encryption Protects the Data on Your Computer

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by Ammy Hill

Are you concerned about Prohibited, Restricted and Confidential Data on your computer? Should you be?

IT Services can help! Stanford Whole Disk Encryption protects your computer whenever you're not using it.

Prohibited data must be removed from your hard drive unless you have explicit permission from the Data Governance Board to have it on your system. This includes things like social security numbers, credit card numbers, or checking account numbers.

You may also have Restricted or Confidential Data. Does your computer contains things like:

What is a passphrase? A passphrase is like a password, but it's generally longer and may include words, letters, numbers, special characters, and spaces.

If so, then you must protect that data. If your computer is lost or stolen, you are responsible for ensuring the security of data on that computer.

IT Services can help! Stanford Whole Disk Encryption protects your computer whenever you're not using it. If it's ever lost or stolen, the data will be inaccessible without your PGP passphrase, no matter how someone tries to break in. While you're using your computer, you won't even notice the difference. It's the easiest way to protect yourself and the University, and it's free!

For more information about getting started with Stanford Whole Disk Encryption, visit the service Web site.

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Labmeeting: Make Science Easier

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by Jeremy England

Stanford graduate students have created a powerful, new, Web-based research tool for scientists, and it's called Labmeeting. Anyone in academia may join Labmeeting at:

The site was created by Jeremy England (Stanford PhD in physics, '09), Daniel Kaganovich (Stanford PhD in biology, '07), Mark Kaganovich (a Yale bioinformatics PhD student), and Joseph Perla (a Princeton computer science student); all are students interested in addressing some of the inefficiencies of lab life by building new Web technology for researchers.

Screenshot of Labmeeting home page

Collect, Search, Organize, and Share Papers

The central feature of Labmeeting is the personal paper collection. Individuals can upload citation libraries (e.g., from RefWorks, EndNote, BibTeX) or PDFs (which get automatically parsed and matched to bibliographic citations on PubMed). This makes it possible to search the full text of all the academic literature you read from anywhere with a Web connection. The paper collection additionally allows one to annotate articles and file them into folders. Users may also recommend papers to each other. Most importantly, Labmeeting enables its users to share full collections of citations so that they can collaborate with peers in discovering articles relevant to their work.

Storage space on Labmeeting is unlimited, and current users have already collected and stored over 100,000 papers.

Coordinate and Collaborate with Lab Mates

In addition to the individual paper collection, Labmeeting also features an organizing tool for people who belong to the same lab. A simple Web platform enables lab mates to post events for the group, browse a bulletin board of recommended papers, share protocols, presentations, and data, and initiate discussion threads.

Labmeeting also makes it easy to build a public group Web page that tells other people in the community about a lab's members and research interests.

Explore the Global Community of Researchers

Thousands of scientists around the world (especially at Stanford, Harvard, MIT, Caltech, Berkeley, UCSF, and other top institutions in the US) have already filled out profiles about their research on Labmeeting. As a result, Labmeeting is rapidly becoming a powerful, searchable directory of the world's life science researchers. Searches can be conducted by name, institution, position (student, postdoc etc.) and research interest (e.g. HIV-1, RNAi, biomarker discovery). Members can share their CV and a detailed description of their work with peers around the world and make themselves more visible to the global scientific community.

Hundreds of scientists join Labmeeting every week, and the site is growing rapidly. Those with questions about the project should write to for more information.

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Simulated Oral Proficiency Interview (SOPI) Improvements in the Language Center

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by Ken Romeo

For the last seven years, the Language Center has assessed the proficiency of undergraduates enrolled in third quarter language courses using a special tool called the Simulated Oral Proficiency Interview (SOPI). This high-stakes assessment shows that students in these courses are becoming more proficient speakers, and that Stanford's foreign language requirement is indeed being fulfilled.

The implementation of this test is a monumental effort achieved through the cooperation of the Language Center and Academic Computing staff, and coordinated by the ATS for the Language Center, Ken Romeo. The test is a separate application that communicates with CourseWork, and entails delivering audio and text prompts to students and then collecting recordings of their speech. It cannot run on a normal Web page because, as a test, students cannot be allowed any control over the audio, the recording, or any of the timing - the test runs itself and the students just have to sit back and answer, much like a real interview. See also CourseWork - What's New for Spring 2009 in this issue.

Until this year, the application was Web delivered but required a Windows2000 operating system, and could only interface with CourseWork Classic. However, since last fall, Makoto Tsuchitani (Associate Director of Faculty Services and Learning Systems in Academic Computing) and the CourseWork team have been working with an outside contractor on a new version that will communicate with the new Sakai-based CourseWork, allowing the test to be run without any changes to the computers in the Digital Language Lab in Meyer Library.

In addition, the Language Center is implementing second year assessments for two more languages, bringing the number of test sessions up to nearly 80 in the two week period at the end of May, when an estimated 800 students will take the test. Finally, the multiple versions of English instructions and native-language prompts are all being organized into a database so that unique tests can be quickly constructed in the future. This effort will streamline the assessment process, opening up a range of new possibilities for Language Center instructors and administrators.

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Voicemail System Replacement in May

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by Ammy Hill

Stanford's production voicemail system, which has been in place since 1986 and serves over 17,000 faculty, staff, and students, has reached its end of life; vendor support will end in 2011. The Unified Messaging Project will replace the current system with a product from Movius Interactive Corporation.

In May, all University voice mailboxes will be transitioned to the new system.


Initially, the focus of the project will be on replacement of the current features we have today. In May, all university voice mailboxes will be transitioned to the new system. One new feature you may notice right away is the ability to listen to deleted messages. For phones with Enhanced Call Processing (ECP), outgoing recordings and selection options will be transferred from the old system to the new system. For all other mailboxes, you will need to set up your password, recorded name, and outgoing greeting. You will be able to go into the new system one week before the transition to do this initial setup. After the transition, you will still be able to access your old voicemail for about a month.

Stanford Hospital mailboxes (those accessed via 723-1111) will be moved later in the summer.

New Features

After the initial transition, IT Services plans to introduce some new features. You will be able to:

These new features will be added during the summer at no additional cost to the user.

For additional information, see the Unified Messaging project page.

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Know Your Copy Rights

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by Malgorzata Schaefer

Did you know that rather than sharing a PDF file, you should share a link to where the PDF file originated in order to avoid copyright violation?

Screenshot of home page for Know Your Copy Rights brochure

A helpful resource for faculty and TAs on using copyrighted materials in teaching and learning is Know Your Copy Rights: Using Copyrighted Works in Academic Settings.

The brochure can be freely downloaded and includes an easy-to-use chart (PDF) highlighting various scenarios.

For information on Stanford's policy on copyright and fair use, see the Information Center's Q & A: Copyright and Fair Use.

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WebEx Meeting Center Software Available to All Faculty and Staff in Pilot

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by Chris Lundin

Stanford's Work Anywhere Program has continued to make progress in providing useful tools to enable the campus community to more easily conduct their daily activities from multiple locations, while traveling, or from home or other off-campus locations.

As part of the Work Anywhere initiative, Stanford also recently executed a second license agreement with Cisco WebEx for broader use of its web- and audio-conferencing technologies for a one-year pilot period.

This pilot arrangement will remove a price barrier for those who need to make only occasional usage of the WebEx technologies and allow all those interested to try it out, as well as allow Stanford to measure the demand for such capabilities.

The new arrangement permits 200 concurrent users of the flagship WebEx Meeting Center software, along with its integrated audio-conferencing capabilities. The intention is to enable any faculty or staff member to make use of this technology through November 2009 without direct charge. The new arrangement will also permit audio-only conferencing, if that is desired.

This pilot arrangement will remove a price barrier for those who need to make only occasional usage of the WebEx technologies and allow all those interested to try it out, as well as allow Stanford to measure the demand for such capabilities. Under the new arrangement, the expense of WebEx audio-conferencing has been reduced: a new rate of $0.0475/minute for both toll- and toll-free calling replaces the previous rates of $0.05 and $0.0975 per minute, respectively.

Online training options are available from Cisco WebEx, as well as scheduled, online instructor-lead classes with enrollment of 8 or more individuals. Departmental demos can also be scheduled. If you are interested in using the WebEx Meeting Center software, submit a HelpSU request and IT Services staff will get you started.

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Use University Event Calendar to Promote Your Public Events

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by Scott Stocker

Departments, organizations, and student groups are encouraged to advertise their public events on the University Event Calendar ( Posting is free, and it takes less than 5 minutes to submit an event through a simple Web form.

Screenshot of home page for Stanford's Events Calendar

Adding your events to the calendar also makes them eligible to be featured on the Stanford Homepage, as well as in the Stanford Report newspaper. The event calendar provides options to browse events by category or date, search by keyword, or subscribe to receive event information via RSS or iCal.

For more information about getting events listed on Stanford's Event Calendar site, please refer to:

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Stanford Libraries Web Sites Adopting Drupal

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by Stu Snydman

Stanford University Libraries and Academic Information Resources (SULAIR) is adopting the Drupal content management system as a new platform for publishing its Web pages. Four library branches have officially launched new Web sites built in SULAIR's new Drupal environment. These branches are:

Screenshot of Art and Architecture Library home page

What Is Drupal?

Drupal is an open source system that provides a simple, forms-based environment for building new Web pages and entire sites. It supports rapid creation and editing of Web content that will enable Stanford librarians to quickly publish information about new acquisitions, the availability of new electronic resources and research guides, and other timely information about library services. As an open source solution, Drupal is also highly extensible. This means that new features are added by its large community frequently and the open toolkit allows us to add new features specific to SULAIR's needs.

Drupal-based Web Sites Will Improve Library Service

Drupal-based Web sites will improve library service by creating a more dynamic and interactive experience for visitors. The platform supports blogging, tagging and commenting, RSS feeds, image galleries and embedded audio and video. Forms can be used to request course reserves and study carrels, or to allow patrons to sign up for classes and seminars hosted by Stanford University Libraries and Academic Information Resources (SULAIR). Individual branch libraries and subject specialists can embed instant messaging windows in home pages to offer real-time, subject-specific research support to students, faculty and visitors.

Drupal-based library sites will have an updated graphic design and interactive interface. The infrastructure has been designed to allow subsites to easily manage their own content and features, while also supporting interdisciplinary linking and sharing of content among subsites.

What's Next

Drupal is by no means new to the libraries, as both the Information Center and Cubberley Education Library have been using Drupal to manage their Web sites for some time now. The Social Science Data and Software group also recently launched a new Drupal-based Web site. The effort we announce here builds upon this trail-blazing work to create an integrated Web publishing environment that will be available to all library branches, subject specialists and other SULAIR departments. In addition to Art, Engineering, Biology and Music, several other branch sites, subject pages, exhibits and blogs will be released in the coming months. The two main library publications, SULAIR News (a publication for SULAIR staff) and this site - Speaking of Computers - also plan to migrate to the Drupal platform. By the end of Summer Quarter, we expect the SULAIR Drupal environment to be available to all library Web publishers to build sites.

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