The best paper I read this year is Reconfiguring the Academic Dance: A Critique of Faculty’s Responses to Administrative Practices in Canadian Universities by Claire Polster, a sociologist at the University of Regina, in Topia 28 (Fall 2012). It’s aimed at professors but public and academic librarians should read it.
Unfortunately, it’s not gold open access. There’s a two year rolling wall and it’s not out of it yet (but I will ask—it should have expired by now). If you don’t have access to it, try asking a friend or following the usual channels. Or wait. Or pay six bucks. (Six bucks? What good does that do, I wonder.)
Here’s the abstract:
This article explores and critiques Canadian academics’ responses to new administrative practices in a variety of areas, including resource allocation, performance assessment and the regulation of academic work. The main argument is that, for the most part, faculty are responding to what administrative practices appear to be, rather than to what they do or accomplish institutionally. That is, academics are seeing and responding to these practices as isolated developments that interfere with or add to their work, rather than as reorganizers of social relations that fundamentally transform what academics do and are. As a result, their responses often serve to entrench and advance these practices’ harmful effects. This problem can be remedied by attending to how new administrative practices reconfigure institutional relations in ways that erode the academic mission, and by establishing new relations that better serve academics’—and the public’s—interests and needs. Drawing on the work of various academic and other activists, this article offers a broad range of possible strategies to achieve the latter goal. These include creating faculty-run “banks” to transform the allocation of institutional resources, producing new means and processes to assess—and support—academic performance, and establishing alternative policy-making bodies that operate outside of, and variously interrupt, traditional policy-making channels.
This is the dance metaphor:
To offer a simplified analogy, if we imagine the university as a dance floor, academics tend to view new administrative practices as burdensome weights or shackles that are placed upon them, impeding their ability to perform. In contrast, I propose we see these practices as obstacles that are placed on the dance floor and reconfigure the dance itself by reorganizing the patterns of activity in and through which it is constituted. I further argue that because most academics do not see how administrative practices reorganize the social relations within which they themselves are implicated, their reactions to these practices help to perpetuate and intensify these transformations and the difficulties they produce. Put differently, most faculty do not realize that they can and should resist how the academic dance is changing, but instead concentrate on ways and means to keep on dancing as best they can.A Dance to the Music of Time, by Nicolas Poussin (from Wikipedia)
About the constant struggle for resources:
Instead of asking administrators for the resources they need and explaining why they need them, faculty are acting more as entrepreneurs, trying to convince administrators to invest resources in them and not others. One means to this end is by publicizing and promoting ways they comply with administrators’ desires in an ever growing number of newsletters, blogs, magazines and the like. Academics are also developing and trying to “sell” to administrators new ideas that meet their needs (or make them aware of needs they didn’t realize they had), often with the assistance of expensive external consultants. Ironically, these efforts to protect or acquire resources often consume substantial resources, intensifying the very shortages they are designed to alleviate. More importantly, these responses further transform institutional relations, fundamentally altering, not merely adding to, what academics do and what they are.
About performance assessment:
Another academic strategy is to respect one’s public-serving priorities but to translate accomplishments into terms that satisfy administrators. Accordingly, one might reframe work for a local organization as “research” rather than community service, or submit a private note of appreciation from a student as evidence of high-quality teaching. This approach extends and normalizes the adoption of a performative calculus. It also feeds the compulsion to prove one’s value to superiors, rather than to engage freely in activities one values.
Later, when she covers the many ways people try to deal with or work around the problems on their own:
There are few institutional inducements for faculty to think and act as compliant workers rather than autonomous professionals. However, the greater ease that comes from not struggling against a growing number of rules, and perhaps the additional time and resources that are freed up, may indirectly encourage compliance.
Back to the dance metaphor:
If we return to the analogy provided earlier, we may envision academics as dancers who are continually confronted with new obstacles on the floor where they move. As they come up to each obstacle, they react—dodging around it, leaping over it, moving under it—all the while trying to keep pace, appear graceful and avoid bumping into others doing the same. It would be more effective for them to collectively pause, step off the floor, observe the new terrain and decide how to resist changes in the dance, but their furtive engagement with each obstacle keeps them too distracted to contemplate this option. And so they keep on moving, employing their energies and creativity in ways that further entangle them in an increasingly difficult and frustrating dance, rather than trying to move in ways that better serve their own—and others’ —needs.Dance II, by Henri Matisse (from Wikipedia)
She with a number of useful suggestions about how to change things, and introduces this by saying:
Because so many academic articles are long on critique but short on solutions, I present a wide range of options, based on the reflections and actions of many academic activists both in the past and in the present, which can challenge and transform university relations in positive ways.
Every paragraph hit home. At York University, where I work, we’re going through a prioritization process using the method set out by Robert Dickeson. It’s being used at many universities, and everything about it is covered by Polster’s article. Every reaction she lists, we’ve had. Also, the university is moving to activity-based costing, a sort of internal market system, where some units (faculties) bring in money (from tuition) and all the other units (including the libraries) don’t, and so are cost centres. Cost centres! This has got people in the libraries thinking about how we can generate revenue. Becoming a profit centre! A university library! If thinking like that gets set in us deep the effects will be very damaging.
The Library of Congress, Office of Strategic Initiatives and the Institute of Museum and Library Services are pleased to announce the official open call for applications for the 2015 National Digital Stewardship Residency, to be held in the Washington, DC area. The application period is from December 17, 2014 through January 30, 2015. To apply, go to the official USAJobs page link.
To qualify, applicants must have a master’s degree or higher, graduating between spring 2013 and spring 2015, with a strong interest in digital stewardship. Currently enrolled doctoral students are also encouraged to apply. Application requirements include a detailed resume and cover letter, undergraduate and graduate transcripts, two letters of recommendation and a creative video that defines an applicant’s interest in the program. (Visit the NDSR application webpage for more application information.)
For the 2015-16 class, five residents will be chosen for a 12-month residency at a prominent institution in the Washington, D.C. area. The residency will begin in June, 2015, with an intensive week-long digital stewardship workshop at the Library of Congress. Thereafter, each resident will move to their designated host institution to work on a significant digital stewardship project. These projects will allow them to acquire hands-on knowledge and skills involving the collection, selection, management, long-term preservation and accessibility of digital assets.
We are also pleased to announce the five institutions, along with their projects, that have been chosen as residency hosts for this class of the NDSR. Listed below are the hosts and projects, chosen after a very competitive round of applications:
- District of Columbia Public Library: Personal Digital Preservation Access and Education through the Public Library.
- Government Publishing Office: Preparation for Audit and Certification of GPO’s FDsys as a Trustworthy Digital Repository.
- American Institute of Architects: Building Curation into Records Creation: Developing a Digital Repository Program at the American Institute of Architects.
- U.S. Senate, Historical Office: Improving Digital Stewardship in the U.S. Senate.
- National Library of Medicine: NLM-Developed Software as Cultural Heritage.
The inaugural class of the NDSR was also held in Washington, DC in 2013-14. Host institutions for that class included the Association of Research Libraries, Dumbarton Oaks Research Library, Folger Shakespeare Library, Library of Congress, University of Maryland, National Library of Medicine, National Security Archive, Public Broadcasting Service, Smithsonian Institution Archives and the World Bank.
George Coulbourne, Supervisory Program Specialist at the Library of Congress, explains the benefits of the program: “We are excited to be collaborating with such dynamic host institutions for the second NDSR residency class in Washington, DC. In collaboration with the hosts, we look forward to developing the most engaging experience possible for our residents. Last year’s residents all found employment in fields related to digital stewardship or went on to pursue higher degrees. We hope to replicate that outcome with this class of residents as well as build bridges between the host institutions and the Library of Congress to advance digital stewardship.”
The residents chosen for NDSR 2015 will be announced by early April 2015. Keep an eye on The Signal for that announcement. For additional information and updates regarding the National Digital Stewardship Residency, please see our website.
See the Library’s official press release here.
An archive of the CopyTalk webinar “Introducing the Statement of Best Practices in Fair Use of Collections Containing Orphan Works of Libraries, Archives and Other Memory Institutions” is now available. The webinar was hosted in December 2014 by the ALA and was presented by speaked Dave Hansen (UC Berkeley and UNC Chapel Hill) and Peter Jaszi (American University).
In this webinar, the speakers will introduce the “Statement of Best Practices in Fair Use of Collections Containing Orphan Works for Libraries, Archives, and Other Memory Institutions.” This Statement, the most recent community-developed best practices in fair use, is the result of intense discussion group meetings with over 150 librarians, archivists, and other memory institution professionals from around the United States to document and express their ideas about how to apply fair use to collections that contain orphan works, especially as memory institutions seek to digitize those collections and make them available online. The Statement outlines the fair use rationale for use of collections containing orphan works by memory institutions and identifies best practices for making assertions of fair use in preservation and access to those collections.
CopyTalks are scheduled for the first Thursday of even numbered months.
Archives of two earlier webinars are also available:
International copyright with Janice Pilch from Rutgers University Library)
Open licensing and the public domain: tools and policies to support libraries, scholars and the public with Tom Vollmer from the Creative Commons
LITA will have multiple learning opportunities available over the upcoming year. Including hot topics to keep your brain warm over the winter. Starting off with:
Getting Started with GIS (Geographic Information Systems)
Instructor: Eva Dodsworth, University of Waterloo
Offered: January 12 – February 9, 2015, with asynchronous weekly lectures, tutorials, assignments, and group discussion. There will be one 80 minute lecture to view each week, along with two tutorials and one assignment that will take 1-3 hours to complete, depending on the student. Moodle login info will be sent to registrants the week prior to the start date.
WebCourse Costs: LITA Member: $135 ALA Member: $195 Non-member: $260
Register Online, page arranged by session date (login required)
Getting Started with GIS is a three week course modeled on Eva Dodsworth’s LITA Guide of the same name. The course provides an introduction to Geographic Information Systems (GIS) in libraries. Through hands on exercises, discussions and recorded lectures, students will acquire skills in using GIS software programs, social mapping tools, map making, digitizing, and researching for geospatial data. This three week course provides introductory GIS skills that will prove beneficial in any library or information resource position.
No previous mapping or GIS experience is necessary. Some of the mapping applications covered include:
- Introduction to Cartography and Map Making
- Online Maps
- Google Earth
- KML and GIS files
- ArcGIS Online and Story Mapping
- Brief introduction to desktop GIS software
Participants will gain the following GIS skills:
- Knowledge of popular online mapping resources
- ability to create an online map
- an introduction to GIS, GIS software and GIS data
- an awareness of how other libraries are incorporating GIS technology into their library services and projects
Instructor: Eva Dodsworth is the Geospatial Data Services Librarian at the University of Waterloo Library where she is responsible for the provision of leadership and expertise in developing, delivering, and assessing geospatial data services and programs offered to members of the University of Waterloo community. Eva is also an online part-time GIS instructor at a number of Library School programs in North America.
Register Online, page arranged by session date (login required)
Don’t forget the final session in the series is coming up January 6, 2015. You can attend this final single session or register for the series and get the recordings of the previous two sessions on Web Mapping and OpenStreetMaps. Join LITA instructor Cecily Walker for:
Coding maps with Leaflet.js
Tuesday January 6, 2015, 1:00 pm – 2:00 pm Central Time
Instructor: Cecily Walker
Register Online, page arranged by session date (login required)
Webinar Costs: LITA Member $39 for the single session and $99 for the series.
Questions or Comments?
For all other questions or comments related to the course, contact LITA at (312) 280-4268 or Mark Beatty, email@example.com.
The DMCA (which added chaff to the Copyright Act of 1976) includes a new Chapter 12 regarding “technological protection measures” which is another name for digital rights management (DRM). The law says that it is a violation to circumvent (=hack) DRM that has been used by the rights holder to protect access to digital content. One cannot break a passcode that protects access to an online newspaper without being a subscriber, for example.
Here’s the problem: Sometimes DRM gets in the way of actions that are not infringements of copyright. Let’s say you have lawful access to an e-book (you bought the book, fair and square), but you are a person with a print disability, and you need to circumvent to enable text-to-speech (TTS) functionality which has been disabled by DRM. This is a violation of the circumvention provision. One would think that this kind of circumvention is reasonable, because it simply entails making a book accessible to the person that purchased it. Reading isn’t illegal (in the United States).
Because Congress thought lawful uses of protected content may be blocked by technology, it included in the DMCA a process to determine when circumvention should be allowed- the 1201 rulemaking. Every three years, the Copyright Office accepts comments from people who want to circumvent technology for lawful purposes. These people must submit a legal analysis of why an exemption should be allowed, and provide evidence that a technological impediment exists. The Copyright Office reviews the requests, considers if any requests bear scrutiny, holds public hearings, reads reply comments, writes a report, and makes a recommendation to the Librarian of Congress who then determines if any of the proposals are warranted. (The whole rigmarole takes 5-6 months). An exemption allows people with print disabilities to circumvent DRM to enable TTS for 3 years. After that length of time, the exemption expires, and the entire process starts over again. It is time consuming and costly, requires the collection of evidence, and legal counsel. The several days of public hearings are surreal. Attendees shake their heads in disbelief. Everyone moans and groans, including the Copyright Office staff. I am not exaggerating.
One would think that rights holders would just say “sure, go ahead and circumvent e-books for TTS, we don’t care.” But they do care. Some rights holders think allowing TTS will cut into their audiobook market. Some rights holders think that TTS is an unauthorized public performance and therefore an infringement of copyright. Some authors do not want their books read aloud by a computer, feeling it degrades their creative work. This madness can be stopped if Congress eliminates, or at least amends, this DMCA provision. Why not make exemptions permanent?
In the meantime…
The Library Copyright Alliance (LCA), of which ALA is a member, participates in the triennial rulemaking. Call us crazy. We ask, “What DRM needs to be circumvented this time around?” This question is hard to answer because it is difficult to know what library users can’t do that is a lawful act because DRM is blocking something. We solicit feedback from the library community, but response is usually meager because the question requires proving a negative.
For the last couple of rulemaking cycles, LCA focused on an exemption for educators (and students in media arts programs) that must circumvent DRM on DVDs in order to extract film clips for teaching, research and close study. To be successful, we need many examples of faculty and teachers who circumvent DRM to meet pedagogical goals or for research purposes. Right now, this circumvention allows educators to exercise fair use. BUT this fair use will no longer be possible if we cannot prove it is necessary.
For those librarians and staff who work with faculty, we ask for examples! We want to extend the exemption to K-12 teachers, so school librarians: we need to hear from you as well. Heed this call! Take a moment to help us survive this miserable experience on behalf of educators and learners.
NOTE: Ideally, we would like examples on or before January 15th, 2015, but will accept examples through January 28th, 2015
Contact Carrie Russell at ALA’s Office for Information Technology Policy at firstname.lastname@example.org. Or call 800.941.8478.
Arnbak et al point out that users are forced to trust all Certificate Authorities (CAs):
A crucial technical property of the HTTPS authentication model is that any CA can sign certificates for any domain name. In other words, literally anyone can request a certificate for a Google domain at any CA anywhere in the world, even when Google itself has contracted one particular CA to sign its certificate. Many CAs are untrustworthy on their face:
What’s particularly troubling is that a number of the trusted CAs are run by authoritarian governments, among other less trustworthy institutions. Their CAs can issue a certificate for any Web site in the world, which will be accepted as trustworthy by browsers of all Internet users. The security practices of even leading CAs have proven to be inadequate:
three of the four market leaders got hacked in recent years and that some of the “security” features of these services do not really provide actual security.Customers can't actually buy security, only the appearance of security:
Information asymmetry prevents buyers from knowing what CAs are really doing. Buyers are paying for the perception of security, a liability shield, and trust signals to third parties. None of these correlates verifiably with actual security. Given that CA security is largely unobservable, buyers’ demands for security do not necessarily translate into strong security incentives for CAs. There's little incentive for CAs to invest in better security:
Negative externalities of the weakest-link security of the system exacerbate these incentive problems. The failure of a single CA impacts the whole ecosystem, not just that CA’s customers. All other things being equal, these interdependencies undermine the incentives of CAs to invest, as the security of their customers depends on the efforts of all other CAs. They conclude:
Regardless of major cybersecurity incidents such as CA breaches, and even the Snowden revelations, a sense of urgency to secure HTTPS seems nonexistent. As it stands, major CAs continue business as usual. For the foreseeable future, a fundamentally flawed authentication model underlies an absolutely critical technology used every second of every day by every Internet user. On both sides of the Atlantic, one wonders what cybersecurity governance really is about.
Flipping through a recent issue of a tech-centric trade publication that shall not be named, I was startled to see that ads on the inside flap and the back cover both featured big QR codes. Why was I startled? Because techies, including many librarians, have been proclaiming the death of the QR code for years. Yet QR codes cling to life, insinuating themselves even into magazines on information technology. In short, QR codes are not dead. But they probably ought to be.
Not everywhere or all at once, no. I did once see this one librarian at this one conference poster session use his smartphone to scan a giant QR code. That was the only time in five years I have ever seen anyone take advantage of a QR code.
When reading a print magazine, I just want to roll with the print experience. I don’t want to grab my phone, type the 4-digit passcode, pull up the app, and hold the camera steady. I want to read.
I’d rather snap a photo of the page in question. That way, I can experience the ad holistically. I also can explore the website at leisure rather than being whisked to a non-mobile optimized web page where I must fill out 11 fields of an online registration form to which UX need not apply.
So . . . Should I Use A QR Code?
— Jonathon Colman (@jcolman) April 7, 2013
Peter Murray: Thursday Threads: Google Maps is Good, DRM is Bad, and Two-factor Authentication can be Ugly
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Three threads this week: how mapping technologies have come such a long way in the past few years, and why explaining digital rights management is bad for your sanity, a cautionary tale for those trying to be more conscious about security their digital lives.
Feel free to send this to others you think might be interested in the topics. If you find these threads interesting and useful, you might want to add the Thursday Threads RSS Feed to your feed reader or subscribe to e-mail delivery using the form to the right. If you would like a more raw and immediate version of these types of stories, watch my Pinboard bookmarks (or subscribe to its feed in your feed reader). Items posted to are also sent out as tweets; you can follow me on Twitter. Comments and tips, as always, are welcome.The Huge, Unseen Operation Behind the Accuracy of Google Maps
The maps behind those voices are packed with far more data than most people realize. On a recent visit to Mountain View, I got a peek at how the Google Maps team assembles their maps and refines them with a combination of algorithms and meticulous manual labor—an effort they call Ground Truth. The project launched in 2008, but it was mostly kept under wraps until just a couple years ago. It continues to grow, now covering 51 countries, and algorithms are playing a bigger role in extracting information from satellite, aerial, and Street View imagery.- The Huge, Unseen Operation Behind the Accuracy of Google Maps, by Greg Miller, Wired, 8-Dec-2014
A fascinating look at the application of machine learning to map-making. What used to be hand-done (and is still hand-done with projects like Open Street Map) is now machine done with human review.Things That Make the Librarian Angry: Enforcing artificial scarcity is a bad role for a public institution
Having a waiting list for library ebooks is really stupid, on the face of it. As a librarian I’m pretty savvy about digital content—enough to know that patrons want it, lots of it. However, we have a short list of ways that we can offer it in a lendable fashion. At work I keep my game face on. At home I just want to tell people the truth, the frustrating truth: offering digital content in this way has short term benefits but long term negative consequences.- Things That Make the Librarian Angry, by Jessamyn West, The Message — Medium, 12-Dec-2014
Jessamyn leads the layperson through the limited choices that librarians need to make as they select ebooks paired with her frustration at not being able to always say what she wants to say to patrons. Digital is different, and when we try to make it behave like physical objects we find that the analogous processes break down.The Dark Side of Apple&aposs Two-Factor Authentication
I’d turned two-factor on my Apple ID in haste when I read Mat Honan’s harrowing story about how his Mac, iPhone and other devices were wiped when someone broke into his iCloud account. That terrified me into thinking about real security for the first time.
When I finally had time to investigate the errors appearing on my machine, I discovered that not only had my iCloud account been locked, but someone had tried to break in. Two-factor had done its job and kept the attacker out, however, it had also inadvertently locked me out.
The Apple support page relating to lockouts assured me it would be easy to recover my account with a combination of any two of either my password, a trusted device or the two-factor recovery key. When I headed to the account recovery service, dubbed iForgot, I discovered that there was no way back in without my recovery key. That’s when it hit me; I had no idea where my recovery key was or if I’d ever even put the piece of paper in a safe place.
Two factor authentication — when you sign into a system with both something you know (your password) and something you have (like an app that generates a sequence of numbers based on the current time) — is an important step to increase the security of your online identity. But as with all things dealing with security (i.e. choosing strong, unique passwords and not sharing accounts), it isn’t always easy to do it right. It takes effort and forethought (as in this case, the need to print and safely store that long string of random letters) to do effectively.Link to this post!
This is a joint blog post by Open Knowledge CEO Laura James and Open Knowledge Founder and President Rufus Pollock.
From Rufus: I want to express my deep appreciation for everything that Laura has done. She has made an immense contribution to Open Knowledge over the last 3 years and has been central to all we have achieved. As a leader, she has helped take us through a period of incredible growth and change and I wish her every success on her future endeavours. I am delighted that Laura will be continuing to advise and support Open Knowledge, including joining our Advisory Council. I am deeply thankful for everything she has done to support both Open Knowledge and me personally during her time with us.
From Laura: It’s been an honour and a pleasure to work with and support Open Knowledge, and to have the opportunity to work with so many brilliant people and amazing projects around the world. It’s bittersweet to be moving on from such a wonderful organisation, but I know that I am leaving it in great hands, with a smart and dedicated management team and a new leader joining shortly. Open Knowledge will continue to develop and thrive as the catalyst at the heart of the global movement around freeing data and information, ensuring knowledge creates power for the many, not the few.
By Bram Luyten, @mire
DuraSpace News: A View From CNI Breakout Sessions: SHARE, Linked Data for Libraries, Fedora 4 and VIVO
Winchester, MA The recent CNI Fall Member Meeting held in Washington, DC featured a wide variety of topics in multiple breakout sessions of interest to practitioners in the fields of digital information technology and scholarly communication. The following are just a few session highlights.
SHARE (SHared Access to Research Ecosystem), “Update on SHARE Developments”
Last updated December 17, 2014. Created by Peter Murray on December 17, 2014.
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The 4.3.1 release of Sufia includes the ability to store users' ORCID identifiers and display them in the user profile, and includes enhancements to usage statistics. It also includes support for Blacklight 5.8 and a good number of bugfixes. Thanks to Carolyn Cole, Michael Tribone, Valerie Maher, Adam Wead, Misty DeMeo, and Mike Giarlo for their work on this release.
View the upgrade notes and a complete changelog on the release page: https://github.com/projecthydra/sufia/releases/tag/v4.3.1
In addition to funding the federal government, H.R. 83, the appropriations bill that was signed into law last night by President Obama, officially changes the name of the federal agency that helps to ensure a more transparent government. Language in section 1301 renames the Government Printing Office to the Government Publishing Office and while the agency will still retain its well-known initials (GPO), this name will better represent their work moving forward.
Davita Vance-Cooks, now titled the Director of the Government Publishing Office (previously Public Printer), stated in their press release, “this is a historic day for GPO. Publishing defines a broad range of services that includes print, digital, and future technological advancements. The name Government Publishing Office better reflects the services that GPO currently provides and will provide in the future”. ALA looks forward to continuing our work with the newly renamed agency!
New vacancy listings are posted weekly on Wednesday at approximately 12 noon Central Time. They appear under New This Week and under the appropriate regional listing. Postings remain on the LITA Job Site for a minimum of four weeks.New This Week
Visit the LITA Job Site for more available jobs and for information on submitting a job posting.
Serendipity can still top search. I learned about the Digital Public Library of America (DPLA) not online, but in a print article about efforts in Minnesota to share its history digitally. It was intriguing. Thus began my exploration of DPLA: search, sign up, receive some emails, open and read a few, get intrigued and before you know it you are applying to be a DPLA Community Rep.
I live in Missouri – in the vast Middle Border country – which is an odd amalgamation of several histories; border state, Midwest, gateway to the west and approaching its bicentennial of its entrance into the Union. Missouri: the land of Mark Twain, Jesse James, Harry Truman, Scott Joplin, Charlie Parker and Jon Hamm. I was intrigued by the way in which DPLA provides a new way to discover, organize and share a history already known, and to deliver it digitally. The approach is disruptive – often a feature of technology innovation – and challenging to old-school approaches to doing history. Being involved with local and state historical societies you can get a skewed view of the general public interest given that these membership organizations are challenged to renew their base and reassess their role.
But your harsh assessment changes after attending a National History Day in Columbia (MO). It had been some time since I had seen that many folks at a history-related event outside of a local appearance by David McCullough. I left that experience renewed in the thought that local and regional history has a promising, but perhaps, different future. Young students want to discover, share and interpret stories of places, events, and ideas. But they likely will do it new ways. Search and discover begins not at the library, but on an electronic device.
This year DPLA is an official sponsor of National History Day in Missouri. With the excellent assistance of the DPLA staff, teaching guides and materials were prepared sharing DPLA resources related to this year’s theme: Leadership and Legacy in History. Also a prize was created for the student whose work made the best use of DPLA-related resources at the state finals next spring. My simple hope is these young folks will move from searching online, to helping get the history of our state online. Otherwise we may lose much near-history of the Show-Me State or have it hidden to others. We have extensive records of centuries past – paper records stored, few finding aids and limited public hours for research in libraries and archives. Getting online – the indexes, if not actual documents, images and audio files – is essential. And before more recent history is lost–not to the dustbins of history, but landfills–as this “greatest generation” leaves us, we have a chance learn what they did, know and experience.
As we announced earlier in the month, we have been communicating and collaborating with the Library of Congress over our different approaches to library linked data.
The Library of Congress is developing BIBFRAME, which is slated to eventually replace MARC by providing the added benefits that will accrue to using a linked data solution for our library metadata. Meanwhile, we here at OCLC have a different set of use cases, largely around syndicating library data to the wider web, and we have chosen to base our efforts on the metadata standard most widely adopted by web search engines, Schema.org.
We feel that these approaches are not in competition and by better understanding our different approaches we can all learn about how best to make our data assets available on the web as linked data. The first major step in this process is a whitepaper, currently in collaborative development by OCLC and LC staff, that will compare and contrast our different approaches. The goal is to publish this in time for ALA Midwinter at the end of January 2015, so watch for it!About Roy Tennant
Roy Tennant works on projects related to improving the technological infrastructure of libraries, museums, and archives.Mail | Web | Twitter | Facebook | LinkedIn | Flickr | YouTube | More Posts (84)
When? All workshops will be held on Friday, January 30, 2015, from 8:30-4:00 at McCormick Place in Chicago IL.
Cost for LITA Members: $235 (ALA $350 / Non-ALA $380, see below for details)
Here’s this year’s terrific line up:
Developing mobile apps to support field research
Instructor: Wayne Johnston, University of Guelph Library
Researchers in most disciplines do some form of field research. Too often they collect data on paper which is not only inefficient but vulnerable to date loss. Surveys and other data collection instruments can easily be created as mobile apps with the resulting data stored on the campus server and immediately available for analysis. The apps also enable added functionality like improved data validity through use of authority files and capturing GPS coordinates. This support to field research represents a new way for academic libraries to connect with researchers within the context of a broader research date management strategy.
Introduction to Practical Programming
Instructor: Elizabeth Wickes, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
This workshop will introduce foundational programming skills using the Python programming language. There will be three sections to this workshop: a brief historical review of computing and programming languages (with a focus on where Python fits in), hands on practice with installation and the basics of the language, followed by a review of information resources essential for computing education and reference. This workshop will prepare participants to write their own programs, jump into programming education materials, and provide essential experience and background for the evaluation of computing reference materials and library program development. Participants from all backgrounds with no programming experience are encouraged to attend.
From Lost to Found: How user Testing Can Improve the User Experience of Your Library Website
Instructors: Kate Lawrence, EBSCO Information Services; Deirdre Costello, EBSCO Information Services; Robert Newell, University of Houston
When two user researchers from EBSCO set out to study the digital lives of college students, they had no idea the surprises in store for them. The online behaviors of “digital natives” were fascinating: from students using Google to find their library’s website, to what research terms and phrases students consider another language altogether: “library-ese.” Attendees of this workshop will learn how to conduct usability testing, and participate in a live testing exercise via usertesting.com. Participants will leave the session with the knowledge and confidence to conduct user testing that will yield actionable and meaningful insights about their audience.
LITA members get one third off the cost of Mid-Winter workshops. Use the discount promotional code: LITA2015 during online registration to automatically receive your member discount. Start the process at the ALA web sites:
When you start the registration process and BEFORE you choose the workshop, you will encounter the Personal Information page. On that page there is a field to enter the discount promotional code: LITA2015
As in the example below. If you do so, then when you get to the workshops choosing page the discount prices, of $235, are automatically displayed and entered. The discounted total will be reflected in the Balance Due line on the payment page.
Please contact the LITA Office if you have any registration questions.
Last updated December 17, 2014. Created by Peter Murray on December 17, 2014.
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Goobi is an open source software application for digitisation projects and workflow management in libraries, museums and archives.
Goobi allows to model, manage and supervise freely definable production processes. Goobi includes importing data from library catalogues, scanning and content-based indexing and the digital presentation of results in standardised formats.Package Type: Digital RepositoryLicense: OtherDevelopment Status: Production/Stable Package Links Browser/Cross-PlatformTechnologies Used: TomcatProgramming Language: JavaDatabase: MySQLOpen Hub Link: https://openhub.net/p/goobi-productionOpen Hub Stats Widget:
Editor’s Note: This post is part of ACRL TechConnect’s series by our regular and guest authors about The Setup of our work.
After being tagged by Eric Phetteplace, I was pleased to discover that I had been invited to take part in the “This is How I Work” series. I love seeing how other people view work and office life, so I’m happy to see this trend make it to the library world.
Name: Bryan J. Brown (@bryjbrown)
Location: Tallahassee, Florida, United States
Current Gig: Web Developer, Technology and Digital Scholarship, Florida State University Libraries
Current Mobile Device: Samsung Galaxy Note 3 w/ OtterBox Defender cover (just like Becky Yoose!). It’s too big to fit into my pants pocket comfortably, but I love it so much. I don’t really like tablets, so having a gigantic phone is a nice middle ground.
Current Computer: 15 inch MacBook Pro w/ 8GB of RAM. I’m a Linux person at heart, but when work offers you a free MBP you don’t turn it down. I also use a thunderbolt monitor in my office for dual-screen action.
Current Tablet: 3rd gen. iPad, but I don’t use it much these days. I bought it for reading books, but I strongly prefer to read them on my phone or laptop instead. The iPad just feels huge and awkward to hold.
One word that best describes how you work: Structured. I do my best when I stay within the confines of a strict system and/or routine that I’ve created for myself, it helps me keep the chaos of the universe at bay.
What apps/software/tools can’t you live without?
- Bash: I’ve tried a few other shells (tcsh, zsh, fish), but none have inspired me to switch.
- Vim: I use this for everything, even journal entries and grocery lists. I have *some* customizations, but it’s pretty much stock (except I love my snippets plugin).
- tmux: Like GNU Screen, but better.
- Vagrant: The idea of throwaway virtual machines has changed the way I approach development. I do all my work inside Vagrant machines now. When I eventually fudge things, I can just run ‘vagrant destroy’ and pretend it never happened!
- Git: Another game changer. I shouldn’t have waited so long to learn about version control. Git has saved my bacon countless times.
- Anaconda: I’m a Python fan, but I like Python 3 and the scientific packages. Most systems only have Python 2, and a lot of the scientific packages fail to build for obscure reasons. Anaconda takes care of all that nonsense and allows you to have the best, most current Python goodness on any platform. I find it very comforting to know that I can use my favorite language and packages everywhere no matter what.
- Todo.txt-CLI: A command line interface to the Todo.txt system, which I am madly in love with. If you set it to save your list to Dropbox, you can manage it from other devices, too. My work life revolves around my to-do list which I mostly manage at my laptop with Todo.txt-CLI.
- Dropbox: Keeping my stuff in order across machines is a godsend. All my most important files are kept in Dropbox so I can always get to them, and being able to put things in a public folder and share the URL is just awesome.
- Google Drive: I prefer Dropbox better for plain storage, but the ability to write documents/spreadsheets/drawings/surveys at will, store them in the cloud, share them with coworkers and have them write along with you is too cool. I can’t imagine working in a pre-Drive world.
- Trello: I only recently discovered Trello, but now I use it for everything at work. It’s the best thing for keeping a group of people on track with a large project, and moving cards around is strangely satisfying. Also you can put rocket stickers on cards.
- Quicksilver for Mac: I love keyboard shortcuts. A lot. Quicksilver is a Mac app for setting up keyboard shortcuts for everything. All my favorite apps have hotkeys now.
- Todo.txt for Android: A nice mobile interface for the Todo.txt system. One of the few apps I’ve paid money for, but I don’t regret it.
- Plain.txt for Android: This one is kind of hard to explain until you use it. It’s a mobile text editor for taking notes that get saved in Dropbox, which is useful in more ways than you can imagine. Plain.txt is my mobile interface to the treasure trove of notes I usually write in Vim on my laptop. I keep everything from meeting notes to recipes (as well as the previously mentioned grocery lists and journal entries) in it. Second only to Todo.txt in helping me stay sane.
What’s your workspace like?
My office is one of my favorite places. A door I can shut, a big whiteboard and lots of books and snacks. Who could ask for more? I’m trying out the whole “standing desk” thing, and slowly getting used to it (but it *does* take some getting used to). My desk is multi-level (it came from a media lab that no longer exists where it held all kinds of video editing equipment), so I have my laptop on a stand and my second monitor on the level above it so that I can comfortably look slightly down to see the laptop or slightly up to see the big display.
What’s your best time-saving trick?
Break big, scary, complicated tasks into smaller ones that are easy to do. It makes it easier to get started and stay on track, which almost always results in getting the big scary thing done way faster than you thought you would.
What’s your favorite to-do list manager?
I am religious about my use of Todo.txt, whether from the command line or with my phone. It’s my mental anchor, and I am obsessive about keeping it clean and not letting things linger for too long. I prioritize things as A (get done today), B (get done this week), C (get done soon), and D (no deadline).
I’m getting into Scrum lately, so my current workflow is to make a list of everything I want to finish this week (my sprint) and mark them as B priority (my sprint backlog, either moving C tasks to B or adding new ones in manually). Then, each morning I pick out the things from the B list that I want to get done today and I move them to A. If some of the A things are complicated I break them into smaller chunks. I then race myself to see if I can get them all done before the end of the day. It turns boring day-to-day stuff into a game, and if I win I let myself have a big bowl of ice cream.
Besides your phone and computer, what gadget can’t you live without?
Probably a nice, comfy pair of over-the-ear headphones. I hate earbuds, they sound thin and let in all the noise around you. I need something that totally covers my ears to block the outside world and put me in a sonic vacuum.
What everyday thing are you better at than everyone else?
I guess I’m pretty good at the whole “Inbox Zero” thing. I check my email once in the morning and delete/reply/move everything accordingly until there’s nothing left, which usually takes around 15 minutes. Once you get into the habit it’s easy to stay on top.
What are you currently reading?
- The Information by James Gleick. I’m reading if for Club Bibli/o, a library technology bookclub. We just started, so you can still join if you like!
- Pro Drupal 7 Development by Todd Tomlinson and John K. VanDyk. FSU Libraries is a Drupal shop, so this is my bread and butter. Or at least it will be once I get over the insane learning curve.
- Buddhism Plain and Simple by Steve Hagen. The name says it all, Steve Hagen is great at presenting the core parts of Buddhism that actually help you deal with things without all the one hand clapping nonsense.
What do you listen to while you work?
Classic ambient artists like Brian Eno and Harold Budd are great when I’m in a peaceful, relaxed place, and I’ll listen to classical/jazz if I’m feeling creative. Most of the time though it’s metal, which is great for decimating to-do lists. If I really need to focus on something, any kind of music can be distracting so I just play static from simplynoise.com. This blocks all the sound outside my office and puts me in the zone.
Are you more of an introvert or an extrovert?
Introvert for sure. I can be sociable when I need to, but my office is my sanctuary. I really value having a place where I can shut the door and recharge my social batteries.
What’s your sleep routine like?
I’ve been an early bird by necessity since grad school, the morning is the best time to get things done. I usually wake up around 4:30am so I can hit the gym when it opens at 5am (I love having the whole place to myself). I start getting tired around 8pm, so I’m usually fast asleep by 10pm.
Fill in the blank: I’d love to see _________ answer these same questions.
Richard Stallman. I bet he’d have some fun answers.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
Do your best. As simple as it sounds, it’s a surprisingly powerful statement. Obviously you can’t do *better* than your best, and if you try your best and fail then there’s nothing to regret. If you just do the best job you can at any given moment you’ll have the best life you can. There’s lots of philosophical loopholes buried that perspective, but it’s worked for me so far.