SOUTHERN LITERACY COMMUNICATION CONSORTIUM REGION II HUB QUARTERLY REPORT TO THE NATIONAL INSTITUTE FOR LITERACY

January 1, 1997 – March 31, 1997

 Project Staff: JoAnn Martin, Clint Williams, Phebe Mertes, and Shirley Ferguson Texas Literacy Resource Center.

Mary Ziegler and Brenda Bell - Tennessee Center for Literacy Studies.

Project Summary – Second Quarter

Personnel Changes

Personnel changes in SLCC staff continued during the second quarter of this project year. Clint Williams left the project during the first of February, and Phebe Mertes will be leaving the project on April 25th. Thanks go to both of these individuals for the work and leadership they have provided to the SLCC project.

Regional HUB Meeting

Plans for the upcoming regional SLCC HUB meeting to be held in Detroit during the COABE meeting are being finalized. Tentative dates are May 28th and half a day on the 29th. This opportunity should allow all the member states to share some of their success and concerns with the progress and direction of the SLCC project.

Web Usage

Web statistics for the second quarter show continued use of the SLCC Internet resources. Total web page accesses for SLCC and state web pages were 3,152 with 20,559,926 bytes being downloaded. This is up from the first quarter’s usage statistics of 2,728 total accesses and 15,268,455 bytes downloaded. Breakdown of individual site statistics for the second quarter is shown in Table 1.

 

Table 1. Second Quarter Web Statistics (January 1 – March 31, 1997).

Web Site

Accesses

Bytes Downloaded

SLCC

1,999

13,853,545

Oklahoma

59

165,048

South Carolina

182

410,712

Alabama

256

3,140,858

Arkansas

654

2,985,505

Georgia

2

4,258

West Virginia

0

0

Totals

3,152

20,559,926

 

Summer Training

We need your input into the upcoming summer training meeting for participating SLCC states. Letters and needs surveys will be mailed in April for you input. It’s your training so be sure to have a say in its design.

Goals and Activities – Second Quarter

Goal 1 - Broaden the literacy community’s access to LINCS

  1. Training for local programs

In service training for Region VI Adult Educators and Teachers 1/11/97.

  1. Training at state level

Pre-conference training at TALAE Conference in Austin, 2/20/97, and TALAE training presentations on Integrating the Internet into the Classroom and WWW Resources for Adult Educators 2/21 –2/22/97.

Goal 2 – Enhancing the content of information on LINCS

  1. Collecting quality information
  2. Developing a specialized collection
  3. Maintaining a "must have" list of resources on the HUB home page
  4. Encourage other states to maintain "must have" lists

Throughout this quarter SLCC staff have worked with all member states in upgrading and maintaining information and resources on the WWW. Continued efforts by local staff have made progress with the locally produced materials input form, and new materials are being added. However, there are still a number of bugs to be exterminated! Member states have been contacted during this quarter, some on several occasions, for locally produced materials and information concerning their cataloging data base.

2. Searchable database of unpublished materials

Work continues on the HUB web page to make materials more accessible and to add materials as they are received. Progress made during this quarter toward increasing the searchable database accessibility has been significant. Plans for training of member states in maintaining their databases on the WWW are being considered.

Goal 3 – Marketing LINCS

  1. Developing mechanisms for ongoing publicity
  2. Promoting LINCS through partnership

SLCC brochures continued to be distributed and made available as requested. Web page statistics indicate an increased awareness of SLCC and HUB Internet presence as indicated by an increased number of accesses, or hits, over the first quarter reporting period.

Goal 4 – Collaboration

  1. Developing active partnerships with agencies – especially state educational agencies at the regional HUB level

The TLRC worked with TEA, TALEA, Texas Workforce Commission, and The Brazos County Workforce Development Board to identify grants and other ways to work to increase the collaboration of local and state adult literacy agencies.

  1. Helping member states to develop active state-level partnerships, especially with state education agencies

Tennessee and Texas are working on SLCC training that will include ideas on improving collaboration with local and state educational agencies.

 

Goal 5 – Assessment of Program Effectiveness

  1. Assessing impact of LINCS on users
    1. A periodic, highly specific survey of what stakeholders do online, what is accomplished, who is served, what areas could use more attention
    2. Plans are being made to conduct a survey for completion by member states during the upcoming training. Plans include member states to also conduct survey of their clientele to assess what online resources are used and how.

    3. Interviews with a sample of staff and participants to be conducted over 12 to 18 month period
    4. Interview guideline and format to be designed and member states to receive training on conducting interviews and gathering data during upcoming training.

    5. Using new web tools to collect information quarterly on what pages are being used most

SLCC staff continues to monitor web page server activity on a monthly and quarterly basis. Number of accesses, bytes downloaded, articles accessed, sites accessed, and other pertinent statistics are collected.

Goal 6 – Management

  1. Expand roles of member states

Efforts by all SLCC staff to expand member state roles included contacting each of the member states to request locally produced materials to be placed on line, assisting states with cataloging requests and questions. Further development of online input forms so member states can place their own materials online. Tennessee and Texas are currently conducting a needs assessment for training to be held in June or July. Training will include sessions on increasing member state WWW maintenance responsibilities.

  1. Continuing support for member states

SLCC technical, library, and training staff provides support in all project areas for member states as requested. Staff members examine web sites of SLCC members concerning information available. Editing of cataloging help file. NTIA grant proposal for SLCC.

  1. Enhancing communications and resource sharing

Current plans are to identify member states to participate in training session in areas of their expertise. Mailing lists have been updated to reflect personnel changes. Member state information and quarterly reports are placed online.

Reports from other SLCC states

Locally produced materials and/or catalog information has been received from the following states.

Arkansas, Florida, Kentucky, Louisiana, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and West Virginia.

TENNESSEE

Tennessee reports a lot going on to build the capacity of the Center for Literacy Studies. Upgrading of computers, purchase of equipment, staff training, and development of web pages by local staff are some of the activities they have conducted this quarter.

Local staff has launched a campaign for collecting locally produced materials from Tennessee practitioners. The campaign will continue through June, and end at the TAACE conference. Work on a statewide directory of literacy practitioners is also underway, and plans are to eventually make it web accessible.

Tennessee librarian William Hawk has been working on the cataloging of the Tennessee Center for Literacy resource materials during the past quarter. His efforts have resulted in over 10% of the collection (approximately 1,500 documents) being cataloged. Good job William!

Local staff working with the SLCC project includes Limin Mu, Ken Libby, Donna Strohl, and Mary Ziegler. Limin is a graduate student and will graduate in May 1997 with a Ph.D. in education. Limin has been working with the local homepage, and assisting other local literacy providers in getting on line. Ken Libby has trained practitioners for the SLCC project, and Donna Strohl is an administrative assistant for the project. Mary Ziegler, director of the center, provides overall management for the SLCC activities. SLCC funding is not sufficient to maintain all these staff members, and a big thank you goes out to Mary for her innovative use of other available resources to support the SLCC project.

For a more in-depth look at what’s going on in Tennessee check out the Tennessee group’s quarterly report.

Southern Literacy Communications Consortium Project Quarterly Report - April 30, 1997 Submitted to the Texas Literacy Resource Center

The following report covers the first two quarters - October 1, 1996 - March 3 1, 1997.

Tennessee's work in the Southern Literacy Communications Consortium focused on four main areas outlined in our draft work plan submitted to the Texas Literacy Resource Center in January 1997: (1) Building the capacity of the Center for Literacy Studies, (2) Publishing locally produced materials, (3) Increasing access of Tennessee's local programs to technology and technology training, and (4) Library catalogue and resource identification- This report covers those work areas as well as staffing items.

1.Building the Capacity of the Center for Literacy Studies

During the 1st quarter of the project, two staff members, Mary Ziegler and Limin Mu, became familiar with the goals of the project by participating in the Southern Hub training that was provided by the Texas Literacy Resource Center in College Station, Texas. In order to participate fully in the project, it became apparent that the Center did not have equipment that was sufficiently powerful to develop Homepages or the latest tools for the library catalogue. When we began the SLCC grant, no computer in the Center had more than four megabytes of RAM. The SLCC grant helped us upgrade computers at the Center. Upgrading computers required a great deal of research to identify the correct configuration for each computer. While the cost is relatively low compared to buying a new computer, the effort to identify the correct equipment and complete a successful upgrade has been labor intensive.

A Mustek flatbed color scanner was also purchased with SLCC funds. The scanner has been set up and a selection of scanned materials has been prepared for Homepage construction. Through a grant from the Tennessee Department of Education, Division of Adult and Community Education, we purchased a new Pentium computer with Windows 95. We upgraded the DOS version of INMAGIC to INMAGIC DB/Textworks Version 2.0 for the Windows 95 Platform. Until this equipment and software were available and connected to the University network, we had very limited capacity to do Homepage development or catalogue development. While waiting for the equipment, staff studied the homepages of SLCC state members and those of the other Hub members. Having only one computer has continued to constrain progress as staff members need to schedule time and share the computer workstation.

We are using the philosophy of "each one teach one" at the Center in order to expand our ability to develop and update Homepages and act as our own Webmaster. Learning activities were planned for Center staff and four staff members are now able to use HTML editors. Three of our staff members are equipped to conduct training sessions for practitioners both in the field and at our office.

Limin Mu has completed the new Homepage for the Center for Literacy Studies that is ready to be launched. Within the next two months, the subpages will be completed and launched. The Homepage is in the form of a template with various ways to access information about both the Center's work and information of interest to the literacy field in general. Sub- templates will link back to the main template. Samples of these pages will be included in the next report. The page contains links to key literacy sites including the National Institute for Literacy and the Hubs. A collaborative process was used to develop the layout and the content b se the goal is to equip staff to directly update information about their projects so the pages stay current. Limin working with Brenda Bell, created a version of the Citizen Role Map for the CLS Homepage. The cgi-scripted page allows readers to give immediate feedback on the map, which is part of the Equip for the Future standards development process. This type of work requires a commitment from the technical staff to continually update their own I to keep up with the rapid changes in technology. William Hawk, the CLS Librarian is collecting and categorizing materials into a notebook entitled, "Web Tips" for Homepage development.

2.Publishing Locally Produced Materials

Before collecting materials from the field, our staff decided to publish materials that had been produced by the Center for Literacy Studies in order to learn how to do this in the most effective way. Getting There: A Curriculum for Moving People into Employment, from the Center's Seeds of Innovation Series, has been launched. Teacher as Learner is ready for launch. There is a great deal of interest in Getting There because of Tennessee's welfare reform initiative, Families First. Both of these documents were created by QuarkExpress on the Mac system. These documents were beautifully formatted and included numerous examples of line art. Using conventional methods to publish these documents on the Web would involve encoding the text files with numerous HTML tags and creating image files. This is a time consuming and inefficient process. It is difficult to maintain the original look of documents. By using PDF (Portable Document Format) technique, we first saved the files to postscript format and used Acrobat Distiller 3.0 to convert them to PDF files. These were done on the Mac system. Since the PDF files are platform-dependent, when we transferred the files from the Mac to the PC, we opened the files successfully with Acrobat Exchange 3. O. (Acrobat Reader can also be used for this purpose.) This curriculum is finally launched, and we learned a great deal from the experience. PDF files include embedded fonts to allow the look of an electronic document to be precisely replicated on different computer systems. We found resources for learning about the PDF technique on the Internet and downloaded these documents (these are PDF files themselves) to use in the publishing process. Success was preceded by a great deal of trial and error,

The first version (1.0) of annotated Bookmark Files was released. Two kinds of formats were available for this version, the printed format (with a table of contents) and the electronic format (to use for updating bookmark files). During the construction of the bookmark files, all the bookmarked web sites were checked and visited, and a concise annotation was added to each bookmark. The bookmark files contained sixteen categories and more than 100 URLs for website literacy resources, They have been used by CLS staff and by other literacy offices such as Virginia Literacy Resource Center and the Tennessee state office.

Recently, Ken Libby and Donna Strohl on our staff launched a campaign for collecting locally produced materials from practitioners. The campaign will go on through May and June and end at the summer TAACE conference. While the Center has more materials to publish, we are looking forward to receiving materials from the field. As a part of the continued work with the field, Ken Libby has developed an extensive database in Microsoft Access about practitioners. This database is currently being used for mailings and will eventually become a statewide directory of literacy practitioners in Tennessee accessible through the WWW.

3. Increasing Access of Tennessee's Local Programs to Technology and Training

The SLCC grant has been helpful to local programs in two ways. The first is that the grant maintained a number of the multi-agency connections that were started during the PMRIS project. Agencies or schools in a local community that provided adult education, employment training, or other services that helped adults in training were invited to learn to develop homepages so they could share information with one another and coordinate their services. Staff members Limin Mu and Ken Libby worked on the homepages called the Service Provider Network (SPN). These were launched in November 1996. Each SPN represents a consortium of agencies in one community that is involved in providing literacy services or support services. As a part of our SLCC work CLS is continuing to guide three SPN groups toward self-sufficiency in managing their Web pages. We experimented with two models. In one model, SLCC staff worked directly with each program to help at least one person in the organization gain the skills needed to develop a Homepage. In this model, the agencies or schools involved act as their own Webmaster and maintain their own pages.

In the second model, we worked with agencies in two counties and developed the first draft of a Homepage for each agency. In this model, we asked for one organization to volunteer to act as Webmaster for the others. In one county, a community-based organization volunteered and a staff person from that organization will come to the Center for Literacy Studies for Homepage development and Webmaster She will then work with the local programs and act as their Webmaster. However, in the second county, we have not had a volunteer to act as Webmaster. While the first model, each organization acting as its own Webmaster, builds the most autonomy and capacity, the second model, one Webmaster per county, increased the sense of community between the various service providers. More information is needed to determine which is the most effective model over the long term.

In addition to the sites that were involved in the PNMS project, the SLCC grant has funded four other sites. One of those is the Tennessee Literacy Coalition (TLC), TLC works with volunteers across the state and submitted a proposal for training and support. Staff from TLC came to the Center for training and this organization is about to launch their Homepage which will include information about volunteering in the literacy field, fundraising information, the volunteer activities of ABE programs, and VISTA volunteers. This page will fink to CLS and will contain information of interest to literacy volunteers. One obstacle TLC encountered is locating a place to launch their Homepage. There are various barriers to using a local Internet provider, a key one being cost.

A second site is the Wilson County Adult Basic Education program. This program will be installing a web,’ browser on one computer in its new computer learning lab and it will be available for adult learners and teachers to use, One other program is connected and this program is at the very early learning stage. Local programs must overcome various barriers such as installing phone fines, upgrading RAM and negotiating with the local Internet providers. Training will be provided after these sites have become familiar with the WWW. The Center is working to reconfigure the server obtained for the TRIMS project so we can launch Tennessee literacy program homepages.

4.Library Catalogue and Resource Identification

The work of the librarian, William Hawk, directly supports much of the Center’s SLCC work. In these first two quarters of the fiscal year, William has evaluated the early version of INMAGIC that the Center had been using along with other available database packages to determine which would best meet the Center’s needs and NIFL's recommendations for cataloging and indexing the library collection. INMAGIC DB/Textworks 2.0 (for the Windows ‘95 platform) was his recommendation, and the Center acquired this software in December of 1996. HTML-tagged INMAGIC reports can be easily generated and posted to the CLS Homepage, allowing people to browse the CLS catalog "distantly." INMAGIC currently markets additional software that would allow a dynamic interface between the library catalog available on the web and the main or ‘local’ version, i.e., the most current information would be immediately available and not delayed by the generation of a report and the subsequent posting of that report to the CLS Homepage. This software is costly and few reviews are available; CLS is still considering the benefits the DBText WebServer.

William and the CLS staff also weighed the pros and cons of classification schema (Dewey, Library of Congress, and general accession numbers) and determined that the Library of Congress system would be the best choice for CLS. This decision entails the reclassification of the existing system, in addition to the indexing of the entire collection according to the Adult Literacy Thesaurus. An evaluation of the ALT was also undertaken as part of the preparatory work for restructuring the collection. The ALT is excellent, but some subject terms needed to accurately reflect the holdings of the CLS collection were not included, e.g., Appalachia and Holocaust Studies, and have been added to the CLS descriptor list. The full report of this process will soon be available electronically.

As of April 22, 10 percent of the collection (approximately fifteen hundred documents) has been cataloged and is available for circulation. All other documents are available for circulation and will be processed as they are returned. William targets having 500 documents cataloged by mid-July. William and other CLS staff members are also developing subject bibliographies of our Lessons from the Holocaust and Health Literacy (IMAL Project) holdings to be distributed at the, Tennessee TAACE (Tennessee Association of Adult and Community Education) Conference this summer. One of the CLS presentations in the CLS suite of technology sessions at TAACE will introduce Tennessee practitioners to using the CLS library resources and the connections between the CLS library and LINCS.

An additional library project that relates to the SLCC work is the CLS Adult Literacy and Lifelong Learning Glossary. This is a pilot project that we will be launching June 1. The glossary will be available both in print and electronically via the CLS Homepage. The terms defined in the glossary are Seared toward practitioners and include explanations of the various acronyms in the field, definitions of technical terms from the fields of education, linguistics, and psychology, and introductory explanations of terms needed to navigate the worldwide web and library information retrieval technologies.

5.Staffing

At present, Limin Mu is a part-time graduate student funded by the grant from October 1, 1996. Limin graduates with a PhD in Education this May (1997) and he would like to continue to work on the SLCC project, however, his student status may change. Ken Libby has trained practitioners for the SLCC project and we plan to fund him from the carry forward from last year's grant. We only have funding for Ken until June 30. William Hawk, the CLS Librarian, is funded by a 353 grant until June 30. Donna Strohl, an administrative staff member whose time is in-kind, is developing homepage maintenance skills at the administrative level. Mary Ziegler's time is in-kind.


Southern Literacy Communication Consortium,

Center for Literacy Studies, The University of Tennessee, Knoxville
600 Henley Street, Suite 312, Knoxville, Tennessee 37996-4135


Questions, Comments or Problems Contact:
CLS staff; E-Mail: <hub2@cls.coe.utk.edu>; Phone: (423) 974-4109


Copyright 1997 © Southern Literacy Communications Consortium, All rights reserved.
Edited 970501