Report for Quarter 1, Program Year 1997-1998

The Center for Literacy Studies has four broad goals for the Southern LINCS project. The following quarterly report will focus on each goal area.

  • Partnerships - Building partnerships to increase communication and resource sharing among state and regional partners.
  • Resources - Collecting, developing, and cataloging a broad range of literacy resources for instruction, learning, staff development, program management, research, and communication.
  • Technology - Continuing to build the national technology infrastructure that increases regional and local access to literacy resources and studying the latest technology trends.
  • Training and technical assistance - Providing training to state and local partners so they can can train others to use LINCS and contribute to LINCS through their own Websites.
1. Partnerships

Meeting in Washington - Three Center for Literacy Studies staff attended a national LINCS meeting at the National Institute for Literacy in Washington in November 1997. Staff reported Southern Hub's technical preparation and progress for the LINCS project, clarified WAIS setup with NIFL and UUcom for the Southern Hub, and agreed that the Southern Hub would take the lead in testing the Web-based video program. The CLS librarian led a discussion on special collections. Workforce education and correctional education were adopted by the Southern LINCS Consortium as special collection topics.

Regional meeting - After attending the Washington meeting, CLS staff developed an agenda for a regional meeting and began preparations for the meeting in early December. Twelve states and two regional partners were represented at the meeting. Each of the twelve states and partners did a brief presentation about their current activities, especially in the area of technology. Many states directed participants to review their homepages for additional information. Comments were made that many of the state literacy resource centers have survived and thrived despite difficult odds. Regardless, funding is still an ongoing issue for many.

Committee Structure - Committees are an integral part of the project because the project's success depends on broad participation. At the December meeting, individuals from the southern states were asked to indicate their interest in serving on Committees that will take on specific pieces of the work.

Consortium of End Users - A small group of Southern LINCS Advisory Council members volunteered to meet to develop the idea of a Consortium of End Users. In the proposal, it is not clear exactly how this project will work. The consortium is an ideal way to get structured input from practitioners who are actually using LINCS. Practitioners will be selected from ten states to participate in the Consortium. Each practitioner will receive a mini-grant of $1,200.

Teacher Inquiry Projects - The Southern LINCS Advisory Council selected the four states who will receive mini-grants for teacher inquiry. Three states will be working together on an inquiry project to understand what has been learned in the LEADERS project. The inquiry project will result in a fifteen minute video documenting what teachers and adult learners learned from the project. Florida is also conducting a teacher inquiry project. This project will bring a group of Florida practitioners together for a day long inquiry into the uses of technology for teaching and learning. Results from this project will be cataloged and published on the Web.

Publicity - The Southern LINCS project was described in the Georgia State University, Center for the Study of Adult Literacy publication, Text Quarterly, Volume 10, Issue 1, Fall 1997 by Connie White. The article says the goal of Southern LINCS is to construct a Web-based information system and to establish an online interactive structure for increasing communication and sharing information about adult literacy among the fourteen southern states. Southern LINCS was demonstrated at the Tennessee Adult Basic Education Supervisor's Meeting in Gatlinburg, Tennessee. A demonstration with a live Internet hook up was made to more than one hundred adult education supervisors at an all state conference. This demonstration caused local programs to become intensely interested in developing websites for their programs. More than 22 programs have developed websites that link back to Southern LINCS and the Center for Literacy Studies.

State Profiles - State profiles were mailed to each state to determine how each state in our region is organized. Once all the profiles have been received (so far we have received nine), we will assemble the information into a regional profile. This provides information about how states are organized and what their technical capacity is at the present time.

2. Technology

Unix Server - CLS staff set up the Unix server at the Center for Literacy Studies working with a Unix/WAIS specialist from the Office of Academic and Research Services at the University of Tennessee. An alias was established for the hub providing more direct access to the homepage (http://slincs.coe.utk.edu). The Texas Literacy Resource Center worked closely with the CLS staff to transfer the data from the Texas server to the Tennessee server. Because the Southern LINCS page was copyrighted, the CLS staff developed plans to redesign the page. Staff have also set up WAIS databases, WAIS server, and WAIS client. These interface with NIFL. The Southern LINCS Consortium started WAIS construction in November 1997, with the support of the Offices of Academic Research and Services at The University of Tennessee, Knoxville. Before the WAIS construction, the Southern LINCS staff studied WAIS architecture and studied programs that had successful WAIS setups. Southern LINCS basic WAIS setup was completed in December 1997, and its overall completion successfully met the standards established by NIFL and UUCom. The Southern Hub is planning to refine the WAIS databases. The future improved setups will provide more information on the state level and more choices for keyword and other searches.

Catalog - The catalog is available on the Southern Hub server and states have begun cataloging documents. The Library Committee decided to place the emphasis on locally produced materials for cataloging. Full text will be included when possible.

Video Server - Network Services at the University of Tennessee installed a video server and invited the Hub staff to participate in a demonstration / pilot study. As a result, arrangements have been made to pilot test streaming video.

Listserv - A listserv was created for Southern LINCS. The listserv, Hub2-news, was available in November. An announcement was made about the list and twenty-eight people subscribed, at least one from each state in the region. A listserv was also created for South Carolina.

3. Resources

Tennessee, Florida, and Virginia have begun cataloging electronically available materials in the LINCS database. Virginia has launched a number of new materials.

Southern LINCS will be developing two special collections. These special collections are both wide and deep reservoirs of information and resources. Correctional Education, was developed by Wil Hawk, the CLS Librarian. This collection has been revised as feedback from end users was received. A second collection, workforce education, is currently under development. The Website has been researched and planned; implementation and design have begun. Several subject matter experts have been consulted about the most meaningful categories for this collection.

Library Committee members have begun preparing a mini-guide to LINCS cataloging. The mini-guide will consist of a step-by-step guide of the cataloging of one document as an example of the pitfalls and difficulties catalogers may face. The Library Committee believed that this would be the most helpful type of guide for other states who are interested in doing their own cataloging. Library technical assistance has occurred by email and telephone primarily with those State Literacy Resource Centers that have librarians.

4. Training and Technical Assistance

The focus of the training at the December regional meeting was on cataloging locally produced materials and searching the database using the NIFL search Web-based forms available on the Hub II server. The database of materials for all states will be kept on the Hub server. The locally produced materials will be "housed" either on the Hub server or on the servers of state partners. The structure, advantages and limitations of the WAIS database was discussed.

Technical assistance has been provided to states that are redesigning their Websites. Of particular interest has been creating PDF files and doing HTML tagging on regular documents. Hub staff are developing mini-lessons that will be available on the Web. The Hub's staff also sent more than 20 messages and conducted several calls in supporting the use of listservs.