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LITA: It’s a Brave New Workplace

Tue, 2015-09-29 20:08

LITA Blog Readers, I’ve got a new job. For the past month I’ve been getting my sea legs at the University of Houston’s M.D. Anderson Library. As CORC (Coordinator of Online Resources and Collections), my job is supporting data-driven collection decisions and processes. I know, it’s way cool.

M.D. Anderson – Ain’t she a beaut?

I have come to realize that the most challenging aspect of adapting to a new workplace may well be learning new technologies and  adjusting to familiar technologies used in slightly different ways. I’m text mining my own notes for clues and asking a ton of questions, but switching from Trello to Basecamp has been rough.

No, let’s be honest, the most challenging thing has been  navigating the throngs of undergrads on a crowded campus. Before working remotely for years, I worked at small nonprofits, graduated from a teeny, tiny liberal arts college, and grew up in a not-big Midwestern town. You may notice a theme.

No worries, I’m doing fine. The tech is with me.

In upcoming installments of Brave New Workplace I’ll share methods for organization, prioritization, acculturation, and technology adaptation in a new workplace. While I’ll focus on library technologies and applications, I’ll also be turning a tech-focused approach to workplace culture questions. Spoiler alert: I’m going to encourage you to build your own CRM for your coworkers and their technology habits. Be prepared.

And stay tuned! Brave New Workplace will return on October 16th.




SearchHub: How StubHub De-Dupes with Apache Solr

Tue, 2015-09-29 19:07
As we countdown to the annual Lucene/Solr Revolution conference in Austin this October, we’re highlighting talks and sessions from past conferences. Today, we’re highlighting StubHub engineer Neeraj Jain’s session on de-duping in Solr. Stubhub handles large number of events and related documents. Use of Solr within Stubhub has grown from search for events/tickets to content ingestion. One of the major challenges that are faced in content ingestion systems is to detect and remove duplicates without compromising on quality and performance. We present a solution that involves spatial searching, custom update handler, custom geodist function etc, to solve the de-duplication problem. In this talk, we’ll present design and implementation details of the custom modules and APIs and discuss some of the challenges that we faced and how we overcame them. We’ll also present the comparison analysis between old and the new system used for de-duplication. Neeraj Jain is an engineer working with Stubhub Inc in San Francisco. He has a special interest in search domain and has been working with SOLR for over 4 years. He also has interest in mobile app development; he works as a freelancer and has applications on Google play store and iTunes store that are built using SOLR. Neeraj has a Masters in Technology degree from the Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur. Deduplication Using Solr: Presented by Neeraj Jain, Stubhub from Lucidworks Join us at Lucene/Solr Revolution 2015, the biggest open source conference dedicated to Apache Lucene/Solr on October 13-16, 2015 in Austin, Texas. Come meet and network with the thought leaders building and deploying Lucene/Solr open source search technology. Full details and registration…

The post How StubHub De-Dupes with Apache Solr appeared first on Lucidworks.

FOSS4Lib Recent Releases: ArchivesSpace - 1.4.0

Tue, 2015-09-29 18:07

Last updated September 29, 2015. Created by Peter Murray on September 29, 2015.
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Package: ArchivesSpaceRelease Date: Monday, September 28, 2015

DPLA: Humanities for All of Us: The NEH at 50

Tue, 2015-09-29 17:00

Sunday night there wasn’t a cloud in the sky in Boston, and so we were fortunate to get a clear view of the rare supermoon eclipse. I took a telescope out to the backyard with my kids and we worked to line up the equipment, and then we chatted about astronomy, optics, and physics, umbras and penumbras. A moment of science? Yes, but ultimately much more.

The eclipse lasted for several hours, and the science part was quickly dispatched. That left plenty of time for greater thoughts to play out, as we were awed by the spectacle. My mind drifted to Mary Shelley, Lord Byron, and their poetry and prose from the creepily dark summer of 1816; the apocalyptic paintings of John Martin; the impact of eclipses on ancient Jerusalem; and entreaties against the fearful night in the Book of Common Prayer (so evocatively described by Alan Jacobs in his recent “biography” of that Anglican prayerbook). In short, I experienced the lunar eclipse simultaneously through the lenses of the telescope and the humanities.

Undoubtedly others had different literary, artistic, philosophical, religious, or historical thoughts come to mind. (As well as less highbrow allusions: for some reason I also thought of Space: 1999.) But it’s impossible to imagine our experience of a lunar eclipse without the framing of our shared culture. We are humans, not machines, and we do not experience daily life—or awe-inspiring events—mechanically. We are constantly applying our understanding of the past, of writing and interpretations, of the spirit and art, to what we see and do.

The National Endowment for the Humanities has been supporting and broadly communicating that profound understanding for 50 years. Their anniversary website shows the incredible breadth and depth of their programs, projects, and topics. The NEH has not stood still, either; the establishment of the Office of Digital Humanities a decade ago, for instance, catalyzed an incipient field and led to productive commerce between the humanities and many other fields, including the sciences.

And the NEH has been a leading supporter of the Digital Public Library of America, which we hope will serve as a storehouse of shared—and open—culture for the next 50 years and beyond. We salute the National Endowment for the Humanities on their fiftieth, and thank them once again for underwriting the full range of human experience.

FOSS4Lib Recent Releases: VuFind - 2.5

Tue, 2015-09-29 16:38

Last updated September 29, 2015. Created by Demian Katz on September 29, 2015.
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Package: VuFindRelease Date: Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Eric Lease Morgan: My water collection predicts the future

Tue, 2015-09-29 16:37

As many of you may or may not know, I collect water, and it seems as if my water collection predicts the future, sort of.

Since 1979 or so, I’ve been collecting water. [1] The purpose of the collection is/was enable me to see and experience different parts of the world whenever I desired. As the collection grew and my computer skills developed, I frequently used the water collection as a kind of Guinea pig for digital library projects. For example, my water collection was once manifested as a HyperCard Stack complete with the sound of running water in the background. For a while my water collection was maintained in a FileMaker database that generated sets of HTML. Quite a number of years ago I migrated everything to MySQL and embedded images of the water bottles in fields of the database. This particular implementation also exploited XML and XSLT to dynamically make the content available on the Web. (There was even some RDF output.) After that I included geographic coordinates into the database. This made it easy for me to create maps illustrating whence the water came. To date, there are about two hundred and fifty waters in my collection, but active collecting has subsided in the past few years.

But alas, this past year I migrated my co-located host to a virtual machine. In the process I moved all of my Web-based applications — dating back more than two decades — to a newer version of the LAMP stack, and in the process I lost only a single application — my water collection. I still have all the data, but the library used to integrate XSLT into my web server (AxKit) simply would not work with Apache 2.0, and I have not had the time to re-implement a suitable replacement.

Concurrently, I have been negotiating a two-semester long leave-of-absence from my employer. The “leave” has been granted and commenced a few of weeks ago. The purpose of the leave is two-fold: 1) to develop my skills as a librarian, and 2) to broaden my experience as a person. The first part of my leave is to take a month-long vacation, and that vacation begins today. For the first week I will paint in Tuscany. For the second week I will drink coffee in Venice. During the third week I will give a keynote talk at ADLUG in Rome. [2] Finally, during the fourth week I will learn how to make croissants in Provence. After the vacation is over I will continue to teach “XML 101” to library school graduate students at San Jose State University. [3] I will also continue to work for the University of Notre Dame on a set of three text mining projects (EEBO, JSTOR, and HathiTrust). [4, 5, 6]

As I was getting ready for my “leave” I was rooting through my water collection, and I found four different waters, specifically from: 1) Florence, 2) Venice, 3) Rome, and 4) Nice. As I looked at the dates of when the water was collected, I realized I will be in those exact same four places, on those exact same four days, exactly thirty-three years after I originally collected them. My water collection predicted my future. My water collection is a sort of model of me and my professional career. My water collection has sent me a number of signs.

This “leave-of-absence” (which in not really a leave nor a sabbatical, but instead a temporary change to adjunct faculty status) is a whole lot like going to college for the first time. “Where in the world am I going? What in the world am I going to do? Who in the world will I meet?” It is both exciting and scary at once and at the same time. It is an opportunity I would be foolish to pass up, but it is not as easy as you might imagine. That said, I guess I am presently an artist- and librarian-at-large. I think I need new, albeit temporary, business cards to proclaim my new title(s).

Wish me luck, and “On my mark. Get set. Go!”

  1. blog postings describing my water collection –
  2. ADLUG –
  3. “XML 101” at SJSU –
  4. EEBO browser –
  5. JSTOR browser –
  6. HathiTrust browser –

Open Knowledge Foundation: Open: A Short Film about Open Government, Open Data and Open Source

Tue, 2015-09-29 14:20

This is a guest post from Richard Pietro the writer and director of Open.

If you’re reading this, you’re likely familiar with the terms Open Government, Open Data, and Open Source. You probably understand how civic engagement is being radically transformed through these movements.

Therein lays the challenge: How can we reach everyone else? The ones who haven’t heard these terms and have little interest in civic engagement.

Here’s what I think: Civic engagement is a bad brand. If we’re to capture the attention of more people, we need to change its brand for the better.

When most people think of civic engagement, they probably imagine people in a community meeting somewhere yelling at each other. Or, maybe they picture a snooze-fest municipal planning and development consultation. Who has time to fit that in with everything else going on in their lives? I think most people would prefer to invest their spare time on something they’re passionate about; not sitting in a stuffy meeting! (If stuffy meetings ARE your passion, that’s cool too!)

Civic engagement is seen as dry and boring, or meant solely for the hyper-informed, hyper-engaged, policy-wonk. Between these two scenarios, you feel your voice will never be heard – so why bother? Civic engagement has bad PR. It isn’t viewed as fun for most people. Plus, I think there’s also an air of elitism, especially when it’s spoken as a right, duty, privilege, or punishment (judges issue community service as a punishment).

That’s why I’ve adopted a different perspective: Civic Engagement as Art. This was motivated via Seth Godin’s book “Linchpin” where he suggests that art shouldn’t only be thought of as fine art. Rather, he argues that art is a product of passion; art is creating something, and that’s what civic engagement is all about – creating something in your community that comes from passion.

I’m hoping that Open will introduce Open Government, Open Data, and Open Source to new people in simply because it is being done in a new way. My intention is to begin changing the civic engagement brand by having fun with it.

For example, I call myself an Open Government Fanboy, so Open uses as many pop-culture and “fanboy-type” references as we could squeeze in. As a matter of fact, I call the film a “spoofy adaptation” of The Matrix. What we did was take the scene where Morpheus is explaining to Neo the difference between the “Real World” and the “Matrix” and adapts it to the “Open World” versus the “Closed World.” We also included nods to Office Space, The Simpsons, Monty Python, and Star Trek.

As a bonus, I’m hoping that these familiar themes and references will make it easier for “newbies” to understand Open Government, Open Data, and Open Source space.

So, without further Apu (Simpsons fans will get it), I give you Open – The World’s first short film on Open Government, Open Data, and Open Source.

Watch Open


Writer and Director: Richard Pietro
Screenplay: Richard Pietro & Rick Weiss
Executive Producers: Keith Loo and Bruce Chau
Cinematographers: Gord Poon & Mike Donis
Technical Lead: Brian Wong
Composer and Sound Engineer: GARU
Actors: Mish Tam & Julian Friday

HangingTogether: Data Management and Curation in 21st Century Archives – Part 2

Tue, 2015-09-29 13:08

I attended the 79th Annual Meeting of the Society of American Archivists (SAA) last month in Cleveland, Ohio and was invited to participate on the Research Libraries Roundtable panel on Data Management and Curation in 21st Century Archives. Dan Noonan, e-Records/Digital Resources Archivist, moderated the discussion. Wendy Hagenmaier, Digital Collections Archivist, Georgia Tech Library and Sammie Morris, Director, Archives and Special Collections & University Archivist, Purdue University Libraries joined me on the panel. Between the three of us there was a nice variety of perspectives given our different experiences and interests.

I discussed my presentation in an earlier blog post – Part 1: Managing and Curating Data with Reuse in Mind. In this post I highlight key points from Wendy and Sammie’s presentations.  What made an impression on me was whether and how they and their colleagues came to value each other’s  complementary skill, experience, and expertise needed to manage and curate data.

Do you value complementarities?

Wendy discussed her collaboration with Lizzy Rolando, Research Data Librarian, Georgia Tech Library. She likened their experience to Susan and Sharon from Hayley Mills’ 1961 film The Parent Trap. Wendy described herself and Lizzy as “twins separated by silly professional silos”. Working together they found several areas of convergence and divergence around workflows, copyright, data integrity, security and reusability, and funding curation. Wrestling with their differences has changed Wendy’s thoughts about archival theory and practice. She has been inspired to place more emphasis on being a proactive partner during data creation; considering what a network-based, non-exclusive ownership model of archives might look like; identifying best practices for capturing dynamic cloud-based files and systems; ensuring born-digital collections are actually reusable; and creating pathways for products of reuse to be preserved and related back to the original record. She also is wondering how to leverage federal data sharing mandates to advocate for the resources required to build repositories and systems needed to provide access to born-digital archives.

Sammie discussed strategies to convince stakeholders that archivists should actively participate in data management and curation activities given their expertise in collecting, preserving, and providing access to unique collections. Like data, archival materials are under-described, often lack context, and are frequently complex, unpublished raw primary sources that present a plethora of management issues from privacy and intellectual property rights affecting access to preservation and security needs of one-of-a-kind materials. Archivists’ experiences with creating collecting policies, selecting and appraising unique collections for long-term value, negotiating privacy and copyright issues, and creating secure and trusted repositories can prove invaluable for data curation planning and decision making. A key strategy she used was articulating how archival theory and practice could be used to help institutions meet the ISO 16363 requirements for establishing trustworthy digital repositories.

I was not surprised about the amount of convincing Sammie had to do with campus stakeholders, because my research suggests the same thing when it comes to librarians. However, as an outsider looking in, I must admit I was surprised that librarians were included in the group of campus stakeholders that needed convincing. Although archivists and librarians have different areas of expertise, I thought they would have proactively joined forces to seize on the value of their complementarities. The work archivists and librarians could accomplish together, given their areas of expertise would seem to strengthen the argument that they have major roles in planning and implementing e-Research support on campus. Wendy’s presentation reinforced this thought, but her collaboration with Lizzy was expected as part of her job responsibilities.

It made me wonder how many archivist-librarian pairings exist on campuses engaged in e-Research support. If you are actively working together in an archivist-librarian pairing please comment or respond to this blog post. Tell us what sparked your collaboration. How has it changed your thinking about your professional practice? What have been your strategies for a successful collaboration? What value has it added? Are you finding that you’re stronger together?

About Ixchel Faniel

Ixchel M. Faniel is a Research Scientist at OCLC. She is currently working on projects examining data reuse within academic communities to identify how contextual information about the data that supports reuse can best be created and preserved. She also examines librarians' early experiences designing and delivering research data services with the objective of informing practical, effective approaches for the larger academic community.

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DuraSpace News: Introducing the VIVO Community Pages

Tue, 2015-09-29 00:00

Hidden treasures are even better when they are discovered. The VIVO community wiki pages are one of those treasures. This section of the DuraSpace wiki offers the VIVO community a wealth of information, best practices and valuable resources that can assist institutions in implementing, managing and sharing VIVO data and resources. Here are highlights of what you will find in the VIVO Community pages.

Considering VIVO

DuraSpace News: ¿Hablas español?

Tue, 2015-09-29 00:00

Winchester, MA  If you would like to keep up with DuraSpace news, events, opportunities and initiatives in Spanish please subscribe to DuraSpace Informe. This new bi-monthly newsletter will be published for the first time in the beginning of October and will feature current strategic information of interest to Spanish speaking users of DSpace, Fedora and VIVO open source projects.

DuraSpace News: Coming soon in Converis, from Thomson Reuters

Tue, 2015-09-29 00:00

From Danielle Pokusa, Thomson Reuters

DuraSpace News: FIND OUT How to Take Advantage of DSpaceDirect: Your Fast and Affordable Repository Solution

Tue, 2015-09-29 00:00

Winchester, MA  Do you need a fast, efficient and affordable hosted repository solution? DSpaceDirect is a service offered by DuraSpace based on the popular DSpace open source repository software.  DSpaceDirect provides access, management, and preservation of any content or file type in a hosted repository environment making digital resources discoverable by your users and easily managed by you.

District Dispatch: Candidates should focus on community anchors

Mon, 2015-09-28 21:25

Libraries serve everyone in the community, photo courtesy of Cherry Hill Public Library.

Libraries: The quintessential community organization in the digital age

Given the critical role of local communities to our nation’s economic strength, ALA’s Alan Inouye, director of the Office for Information Technology Policy (OITP), is urging the presidential candidates to make communities, and specifically libraries in their role as community anchors, a central part of the candidates’ campaign conversations.

Libraries are now digitally-enabled community spaces with an array of technology training and resources, Inouye explains, noting that “Libraries, as well as other community anchor institutions, are best positioned to effect positive change towards an economy for the future that works for everyone.”

His op ed article is published in the Digital Beat Blog of the Benton Foundation.

Take a moment to check it out!

The post Candidates should focus on community anchors appeared first on District Dispatch.

Nicole Engard: Bookmarks for September 28, 2015

Mon, 2015-09-28 20:30

Today I found the following resources and bookmarked them on Delicious.

  • Zulip A group chat application optimized for software development teams

Digest powered by RSS Digest

The post Bookmarks for September 28, 2015 appeared first on What I Learned Today....

Related posts:

  1. Software Freedom Day in September
  2. Another way to use Zoho
  3. September Workshops

LITA: Teaching Patrons About Privacy, a LITA webinar

Mon, 2015-09-28 18:00

Attend this important new LITA webinar:

Teaching Patrons about Privacy in a World of Pervasive Surveillance: Lessons from the Library Freedom Project

Tuesday October 6, 2015
1:30 pm – 3:00 pm Central Time
Register Online, page arranged by session date (login required)

In the wake of Edward Snowden’s revelations about NSA and FBI dragnet surveillance, Alison Macrina started the Library Freedom Project as a way to teach other librarians about surveillance, privacy rights, and technology tools that protect privacy. In this 90 minute webinar, she’ll talk about the landscape of surveillance, the work of the LFP, and some strategies you can use to protect yourself and your patrons online. Administrators, instructors, librarians and library staff of all shapes and sizes will learn about the important work of the Library Freedom Project and how they can help their patrons.

Alison’s work for the Library Freedom Project and classes for patrons including tips on teaching patron privacy classes can be found at:

Alison Macrina

Is a librarian, privacy rights activist, and the founder and director of the Library Freedom Project, an initiative which aims to make real the promise of intellectual freedom in libraries by teaching librarians and their local communities about surveillance threats, privacy rights and law, and privacy-protecting technology tools to help safeguard digital freedoms. Alison is passionate about connecting surveillance issues to larger global struggles for justice, demystifying privacy and security technologies for ordinary users, and resisting an internet controlled by a handful of intelligence agencies and giant multinational corporations. When she’s not doing any of that, she’s reading.

Register for the Webinar

Full details
Can’t make the date but still ant to join in? Registered participants will have access to the recorded webinar.


  • LITA Member: $45
  • Non-Member: $105
  • Group: $196

Registration Information:

Register Online, page arranged by session date (login required)
Mail or fax form to ALA Registration
call 1-800-545-2433 and press 5

Questions or Comments?

For all other questions or comments related to the course, contact LITA at (312) 280-4268 or Mark Beatty,

Mashcat: Mashcat face-to-face event in Boston: call for proposals

Mon, 2015-09-28 17:15

We are excited to announce that the first face-to-face Mashcat event in North America will be held on January 13th, 2016, at Simmons College in Boston, Massachusetts. We invite you to save the date, and we hope to have registration and a schedule for this low-cost (less than $10), 1-day event announced in November.

At present, we are accepting proposals for talks, events, panels, workshops or other for the Mashcat event. We are open to a variety of formats, with the reminder that this will be a one-day, single-track event aiming to support the cross-pollination goals of Mashcat (see more below). We are open to proposals for sessions led virtually. Please submit your proposals using this form. All proposals must be received by November 1st, 2015, midnight, and we will respond to all proposals by November 8th, 2015.

Not sure what Mashcat is? “Mashcat” was originally an event in the UK in 2012 which was aimed at bringing together people working on the IT systems side of libraries with those working in cataloguing and metadata. Three years later, Mashcat is a loose group of metadata specialists, cataloguers, developers and anyone else with an interest in how metadata in and around libraries can be created, manipulated, used and re-used by computers and software. The aim is to work together and bridge the communications gap that has sometimes gotten in the way of building the best tools we possibly can to manage library data.

Thanks for considering, and we hope to see you in January.

Library of Congress: The Signal: Stewarding Academic and Research Content: An Interview with Bradley Daigle and Chip German about APTrust

Mon, 2015-09-28 14:20

The following is a guest post by Lauren Work, digital collections librarian, Virginia Commonwealth University.

In this edition of the Insights Interview series for the NDSA Innovation Working Group, I was excited to talk with Bradley Daigle, director of digital curation services and digital strategist for special collections at the University of Virginia, and R. F. (Chip) German Jr., program director of the APTrust, about the Academic Preservation Trust.

Lauren: Tell us about the Academic Preservation Trust and how the organization addresses the needs of member institutions.

Bradley and Chip: The APTrust is a consortium of 17 members who believe that their combined expertise and experience can provide more efficient and effective means to answering the challenges of digital stewardship. The consortium’s objective is to establish new collaborative strategies to help in addressing the complex and daunting issue of preserving the digital scholarly content produced or managed by universities. The group draws upon the deep knowledge of its members to target specific solutions that are content, technological, and administratively focused. Each member has representatives that work locally with their organization and then bring that knowledge back to the larger collective. This dialogic approach provides the methodology by which challenges are identified, analyzed, and then addressed in the best manner possible for the consortium.

The consortium is governed by its members, and it is operated and managed by a small staff based at the University of Virginia Library.  The core APTrust team organizes and deploys the resources of the group in an open, collaborative manner. We work to guide and seek guidance from the consortium itself.

Lauren: You mentioned that members work within their organization and share what they learned with the consortium. Could you talk a bit more specifically about what are members expected to contribute to APTrust? What are some of the resources from which members can benefit?

Chip German. Courtesy of AP Trust.

Bradley and Chip: The APTrust seeks to provide broad, scalable solutions that identify the true costs of preservation. In this manner, we hope to provide the economic and business models for digital preservation that any level of organization can adopt and deploy locally. Working together, we hope to create solutions that anyone can use.

To that end, members play a key role in seeking out both the problems and solutions to specific preservation challenges. For example, we have a current sub group of members who are focused specifically on the requirements for becoming a Trusted Digital Repository. This qualification is highly desired by some members but not necessarily everyone at the same level. Therefore, the ability to form special interest groups who can plumb the depths of a given issue and then bring a condensed version back to the collective is one of the many ways we use engagement and need to move the entire effort forward. We also have groups that are focused on our communications efforts as well as storage security. Some of these groups will disband once the initial work is concluded–others (like the TDR) represent the ongoing need for focused attention.

Lauren: You recently confirmed your mission statement, and the word “innovative” is used. How do you define or hope to define APTrust as an innovator in the field of digital preservation?

Bradley and Chip: The APTrust sees innovation as an ongoing goal. Preservation issues are not easily solved and once solutions are determined the problem set can mutate. Innovation means that we are striving for the best solution we can identify at the time and continue to identify and adapt and solve. Innovation is ongoing and the product of a great deal of collaborative effort on the part of everyone in the APTrust. We never see solutions as final but rather structures that need constant repair.

Lauren: Digital preservation is a daunting topic for many organizations, and the effort sometimes faces a “Why try?” stance. What advice do you have for those attempting to form digital preservation guidelines for their own organizations?

Bradley and Chip: The stewardship of our digital heritage is indeed an overwhelming and daunting task. It is always a matter of perspective–the best being an acknowledgement that we will never be able to accomplish it in its entirety. As with the physical realm, we can only hope to do our best at any given time. Digital preservation requires perspective and humility.

As with most efforts at this scale, often the most effective approach is to define the problem and then create a plan that speaks to what is possible for your organization. Define the scope, choose what is important and start in small but achievable chunks. As with collections, one must define the scope and not try to collect everything. Specialize if it makes sense for your organization–content type, format type, level of preservation. We have found it most useful to create levels of preservation–mapping to what is achievable by your organization and use that as a guide. Start somewhere and you will find you can make a difference, no matter how small.

Lauren: Technology changes quickly, and keeping up with evolving hardware, software and formats is an issue. As APTrust accepts all types of formats from its institutions, what advice do you have for librarians and archivists who need to make the preservation case for funding the technologies and infrastructure to support digital preservation in their organizations?

Bradley Daigle. Photo by Luca DiCecco.

Bradley and Chip: This goes back to defining your organization’s levels of preservation. For example, the lowest level of preservation may simply be a piece of metadata that states something existed at one time but is no longer extant. The highest level may be the management of those digital files in an emulated environment. The crux of sustainability lies in overlapping two mutable matrices: a map of what preservation levels are meant to do overlaid on a technical implementation matrix that defines how that level can be accomplished. This way you can adapt to new trends in technology. The former matrix, that of collecting or preservation levels, should change very little over time. The technical implementation, however, should adapt to evolving trends.

Lauren: Digital preservation benefits are not immediate, and it can be difficult to demonstrate value, even for the immediate future. How did APTrust articulate the value of digital preservation and make the case for allocating current resources to reap long-term benefits?

Bradley and Chip: The APTrust consortium benefits from a shared belief that digital preservation is not a luxury service. We represent organizations whose mission it is to steward our cultural record–in whatever form it takes. The old adage of there being only two kinds of people: those who have lost data – and those who will lose data – applies here. Most organizations have taken on digital preservation in one manner or another. APTrust offers the ability to provide scalable services at cost–with the added benefit of collective problem solving. Certainly there are preservation solutions out there for any level of organization. However, in taking this singular approach, you are also taking the full brunt of solving each preservation solution on your own as it arises.

We believe that a consortial approach leverages the strengths of all its partners which leads to quicker, more efficient (read: cheaper) solutions. Preservation isn’t solved in a day–it is solved in many ways every day. The more people you have scanning the landscape for challenges and solutions the more effective and scalable your solution.

Lauren: There are many advantages to the consortium model for digital preservation. What advantages do you think individual institutions or smaller consortia might have in their approach to digital preservation?

Bradley and Chip: As we mentioned, the advantages to the “many mind” approach can have dramatic benefits. The ability of a group to identify an arising challenge, task a small group to investigate that challenge, and then bring that knowledge back to the collective has been proven repeatedly. Given the scale, complexity, and scope of digital preservation, doing this at any level is critical to moving us all forward in solving these issues.

Lauren: What do you see as the greatest challenge for digital preservation?

Bradley and Chip: The main challenge for preservation has always been the same: it is infrastructure and infrastructure is not sexy. If you are doing your job and doing it well, no one notices. People only notice when you fail. This fact is inculcated in our society. Witness all the home renovation shows. People don’t care about knob and tube wiring – until they have to replace it. No one wants to pay for that work, they would rather have that brushed nickel six burner stove that everyone will notice and love. That is the challenge of preservation – making the case for the cost of this endeavor is difficult because it is so resource intensive. However, the cost of failing is much higher. It is already likely that we will have a gap in our digital cultural heritage as we play catch up to operationalizing enterprise digital preservation. Let’s just hope it is not too late.

Islandora: Back to the Long Tail

Mon, 2015-09-28 14:09

It's that time again. Let's wag the Long Tail of Islandora and have a look at some of the really great work being done out in the Islandora community and review some modules that might solve a problem you're having:

Streaming Media Solution Pack

Created by UPEI's Rosie LeFaive and born from the Bowing Down Home project, this module allows you to create and manage Islandora objects representing externally hosted streaming resources, which can be catalogued and displayed via an Islandora instance. You can also store copy of the file as an Islandora object.

EAD Solution Pack

EAD finding aids in Islandora! This module from Chris Clement at Drexel University Libraries lets you ingest EAD and make it browsable. Check out this example.

Islandora Context

From Simon Fraser University's Mark Jordan (Chairman of the Islandora Foundation!) Provides a set of Context "conditions" and "reactions" for Islandora objects. Think of this module as an "if-this-then-that" configurator for Islandora repositories.

Islandora Custom Solr

A neat little tool from Jared Whiklo at the University of Manitoba, this module will replace Sparql queries with Solr queries where possible for speed improvements.

Islandora RML

A great module from Frits Van Latum of Delft University, Islandora RML gets triples from xml datastreams e.g. MODS and stores these triples in RELS-EXT. Triples consist of the URI of the fedoraObject as subject, a generated predicate and a generated object.

LITA: Triaging Technologies

Mon, 2015-09-28 14:00
Flickr/Etienne Valois, CC BY NC ND

I manage digital services and resources at a small academic library with minimal financial and human resources available. For almost a year, I served as solo librarian for fixing and optimizing the library website, library services platform, electronic resources, workflows, documentation, and other elements of technology management vital to back-end operations and front-end services. Coping with practical limitations and a vast array of responsibilities, I resorted to triage. In triage management, the primary consideration is return on investment (ROI) – how stakeholder benefits measure against time and resources expended to realize those benefits.

Condition Black: The technology must be replaced or phased out because it is dysfunctional and impossible to fix. Into this category fell our website, built with the clunky and unusable Microsoft SharePoint; our laptops running Windows XP and too old to upgrade to a more current operating system; and our technology lending service, for which we had no funds to upgrade the dated technologies on offer. Down the road we might write this last item into the budget or solicit donations from the community, but at the time, the patient was DOA.

Condition Blue: The technology is current, optimal for user needs, and can be left essentially to run itself while library technology managers focus on more urgent priorities. Into this category fell the recently upgraded hardware at one of our campus libraries, as well as LibCal, a study room booking system with faultless performance.

Condition Green: The situation requires monitoring but not immediate intervention, not until higher-order priorities have been addressed. This was the situation with OCLC WorldShare Management Services (WMS). This LSP offers only limited functionality—scandalously to my mind, subscribers still have to pull many reports via FTP. But the platform is cheap and handles the core functions of circulation, cataloging, and interlibrary loan perfectly. For us, WMS was low-priority.

Condition Yellow: The situation needs to be salvaged and the system sustained, but it is still not quite the top priority. In this category fell the OCLC knowledge base and WorldCat discovery layer, which in Hodges University’s instance experiences incessant link resolution issues and requires constant monitoring and frequent repair tickets to OCLC. A screwy discovery layer impacts users’ ability to access resources as well as creating a frustrating user experience. BUT I decided not to prioritize knowledge base optimization because the methodology was already in place for triaging the crisis. For years my colleagues had been steering students directly toward subject databases in lieu of WorldCat.

Condition Red: The system is in dire need of improvement – this is Priority 1. Into this category fell the library’s content management system, LibGuides. My first priority on taking over web services was to upgrade LibGuides to Version 2, which offers responsive design and superior features, and then to integrate the entire library website within this new-and-improved CMS. I would also argue that internal customer service falls into this category – staff must documentation, training, and other support to do their work well before they can exceed expectations for external customer service. These are the critical priorities.

A few additional points.

1. Library technologists must revisit traige placements periodically and reassess as needed. Movement is the goal – from conditions Red to Blue.

2. Library technologists must eschew using triage as a stopgap measure. Triage is vital to long-range planning in terms of budget allocation, project management, and other responsibilities. Triage is planning.

3. Where each priority is placed in a triage system is contingent on local needs and circumstances. There is no one-size-fits-all generalization.

How do you use triage at your library? Is it a useful approach?