DPLA: National Endowment for the Humanities announces award to support expansion of DPLA Hub network
The National Endowment for the Humanities awarded $250,000 to the Digital Public Library of America today, in support of DPLA’s effort to continue to build its network of Service Hubs across the United States. The funds will be used to help cover states that currently do not have an on-ramp, through a state or regional digital library, for their collections to get into DPLA’s national, open collection. The award is being made as part of NEH’s new Common Good initiative, which is highlighting and demonstrating the importance of the humanities to the general public.
“We see our mission of bringing the riches of America’s libraries, archives, and museums to everyone as in great harmony with Chairman Adams’ Common Good initiative,” said Dan Cohen, DPLA’s Executive Director. “We deeply appreciate receiving this funding under that banner, and look forward to working with NEH and its other grantees to connect the public with the works of the humanities for years to come.”
The National Endowment for the Humanities has been a major supporter of DPLA from its inception. Today’s grant supplements the $1,000,000 that NEH provided to help launch DPLA in April 2013.
“These supplemental funds from NEH will allow us to continue to grow the map by supporting DPLA’s efforts to assist in the development of new state and regional based Service Hubs,” said Emily Gore, DPLA Director for Content. “The increase in hubs will allow us to come closer to reaching our goal of having an on-ramp to DPLA for all interested cultural heritage institutions in the US.”
The NEH’s official announcement can be found here.
About the National Endowment for the Humanities
Created in 1965 as an independent federal agency, the National Endowment for the Humanities supports research and learning in history, literature, philosophy, and other areas of the humanities by funding selected, peer-reviewed proposals from around the nation. Additional information about the National Endowment for the Humanities and its grant programs is available at: www.neh.gov.
The Digital Public Library of America (http://dp.la) strives to contain the full breadth of human expression, from the written word, to works of art and culture, to records of America’s heritage, to the efforts and data of science. Since launching in April 2013, it has aggregated over 8.5 million items from over 1,700 institutions. The DPLA is a registered 501(c)(3) non-profit.
Time to take another tour of the edges of Islandora, where work is being done in the community on tools and modules that you can use (or help to build!) to make your Islandora better. Previous iterations of this blog have featured modules that long since became part of the Islandora release stack, and we hope that some of today's featured modules will also make that journey someday:
The Manuscript Solution Pack, developed by discoverygarden, is an important step forward for digital humanities support in Islandora, allowing users to create and view manuscripts with the upload of TEI and XSLT and CSS documents.
Users will be able to view transformed manuscript TEI (via the upload XSLT) side by side with the image(s) of the manuscript (via the Open Seadragon viewer), and browse all of this via Box / Folder hierarchies as defined by their record in an associated finding aid, such as EAD.
This module is explicitly a work in progress and not ready for use, but when it is finished it will allow a user to ingest database dumps (.SQL files) as Islandora objects that are then spun up into live, browsable (read-only) database instances using Docker and Adminer.
This module is being developed by Ashok Modi of Cherry Hill to support a project where fedora objects that were in Islandora 6.x had to be moved over to to Islandora 7.x and into new content models. To use it, you give it credentials for to the islandora 6.x site, provide a PID, and that object can be copied over to Islandora 7.x.
Tuque connects to the remote repo, gets the object and its datastreams, and maps them to the appropriate 7.x solution pack content model to bring over.
There are still some bugs to work out and an ongoing discussion here on the listserv if you want to know more.
The brainchild of discoverygarden's Dan Aitken (you may know him as QADan), this module adds two new fieldsets to collection management pages, to handle derivatives on one object or many objects at once. The first allows a user to generate or regenerate any and all available derivative datastreams on selected or all objects in a collection. The second allows a user to regenerate the DC datastream for selected or all objects in a collection.
Our last Long Tail module comes from Donald Moses at UPEI. Islandora Taxonomy Autocompletes works with Drupal taxonomies and Islandora XML Form Builder form fields to bundle up some authority driven autocomplete options for your MODS metadata. If you want to add new authorities to the list, Don would love to hear from you.
CrossRef is happy to announce new discounts for bulk deposits of datasets and book chapters or reference entries that will take effect from April 1st, 2015. The goal of the discounts is to make it easier for CrossRef member publishers to deposit high volumes of datasets and book chapters or entries in reference works that are currently too expensive.
The following discount fee schedule will apply for deposits from a single title or database made in a CrossRef billing quarter effective April 1st, 2015.
The following discount fee schedule will apply for deposits from a single book title or reference work made in a CrossRef billing quarter effective April 1st, 2015.
If you have any questions about our fees please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
The deadline for WHCLIST nominations is quickly approaching! If you are planning to nominate a non-librarian, first-time attendee of National Library Legislative Day, the nomination requirements are due no later than April 1, 2015. The winner of this award receives a stipend of $300 and two free nights at the Liaison hotel.
The White House Conference on Library and Information Services Taskforce (WHCLIST) has been an effective force in library advocacy nationally, statewide and locally since the White House Conferences on Library and Information Services in 1979 and 1991. WHCLIST has provided its assets to the ALA Washington Office to transmit its spirit of dedicated, passionate library support to a new generation of advocates. Both ALA and WHCLIST are committed to ensuring the American people get the best library services possible.
The criteria for the WHCLIST Award are:
- The recipient should be a library supporter (trustee, friend, general supporter) and not a professional librarian.
- Recipient should be a first-time attendee of NLLD.
Representatives of WHCLIST and the ALA Washington office will choose the recipient. The ALA Washington Office will contact the recipient’s senators and representatives to announce the award. The winner of the WHCLIST Award will be announced at NLLD.
To apply for the WHCLIST award, please submit a completed NLLD registration form; a letter explaining why you should receive the award; and a letter of reference from a library director, school librarian, library board chair, Friend’s group chair, or other library representative to:
Grassroots Communications Coordinator
American Library Association
1615 New Hampshire Ave., NW
Washington, DC 20009
Note: Applicants must register for NLLD and pay all associated costs. Applicants must make their own travel arrangements. The winner will be reimbursed for two free nights in the NLLD hotel in D.C and receive the $300 stipend to defray the costs of attending the event.
A sprinkling of spring links.
When to wend and why to wind
Be The First display at the library highlights hidden gems that have never been checked out
Transferable, regrowable, distributed memories. Maybe libraries contain storehouses for flatworms and not text.
If baby carrots successfully market themselves as junk food, libraries should market themselves as? Extreme coupons?
Software is eating the world. So is mobile.
This is going to be another several post series as I wade through some of the data we have been collecting for the past year related to metadata editing and various events within a metadata record’s lifecycle.Background
For the past few years the UNT Libraries has been collecting data about how long our metadata editors are spending editing records in our systems. We’ve written on the overall change of metadata in our digital library and presented those findings as last years Dublin Core Metadata Initiatives conference in Austin Texas with a paper called “How Descriptive Metadata Changes in the UNT Libraries’ Collection: A Case Study“. The goal of collecting data about metadata change is that we will have a better idea of how our metadata editors are interacting with our systems.What is an edit event?
Our metadata system will create a log entry when a user opens a record to begin editing. This log acts as the start of a timer for the given edit session of that specific record by a given user. When the user publishes that metadata record back into the system the log entry is queried, the amount of time that has passed is recorded along with the metadata editors username, identifier for the record and state (hidden or unhidden) is in when the item is saved. This information is submitted to the Metadata Event Service and logged.
An edit event ends up looking like this once it has been createdid event_date duration username record_id record status record status change record quality record quality change 73515 2014-01-04T22:57:00 24 mphillips ark:/67531/metadc265646 1 0 1 0
With this information we are able to create a number of views into the metadata editing workflow in our environment, we can easily see the number of metadata edits on a given day, within the month and for the entire period we’ve been collecting data. We can view the total number of edits, the number of unique records edited, and finally the number of hours that our users have spent editing records within a given period.
Below are a few screenshots from our Edit Event Service web-interface.
We are able to query a given day, month, year to view statistics as well as show the rankings and information for a specific user or digital object in the system.Analyzing a year of data.
We were interested in taking a deeper look at the metadata edit events and that is what the following posts in this series will cover. A year’s worth of metadata edit data was extracted from the event service. This was paired with two other datasets, descriptive metadata about the items editing including contributing institution, collection, resource type and format fields. We also classified each user in the dataset with their status as either an UNT-Employee or Non-UNT-Employee, and finally their rank as either Librarian, Staff, Student, or Unknown rank. These datasets were merged to form a complete record for each metadata event in the Edit Events Dataset. They were added to a Solr index that was used in analyzing this data.
A total of 94,222 edit events occurred from January 1, 2014 to December 31, 2014 and are the base dataset for the analysis presented here.Month, Day, Hour
During 2014 we averaged 7,852 metadata edits per monthJanuary 10,133 February 5,082 March 5,960 April 5,543 May 6,622 June 5,136 July 8,099 August 10,508 September 10,989 October 12,840 November 7,712 December 5,598
Looking at the day of the week that metadata edits occurred shows the expected pattern of the majority of metadata editing activities taking place during the week with fewer happening on the weekend. The breakdown by day of the week is presented in the table below.Sunday Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday 2,765 17,506 19,580 16,876 20,838 14,416 2,241
The hour of day that metadata is edited is interesting to take a look at. For the most part you will see the majority of editing being done during the work week, with the afternoons being the time of day that most records are edited. The full data is presented below.Hour Edit Events 0:00 237 1:00 77 2:00 58 3:00 41 4:00 19 5:00 86 6:00 290 7:00 601 8:00 1,836 9:00 6,189 10:00 8,948 11:00 8,868 12:00 8,134 13:00 10,760 14:00 11,653 15:00 11,184 16:00 9,114 17:00 4,868 18:00 3,564 19:00 2,439 20:00 1,947 21:00 1,787 22:00 937 23:00 585
Presented as a graph you can easily see the swell of metadata editing in the afternoons.
If you combine the day of the week and hour of the day data into a single table you will get something like this.
In the image above, green is lower number of edits and red represents higher numbers of edits. It shows that Thursday afternoons tend to be very busy, while Friday is much lighter compared to other days of the week.
That’s it for the first post in this series, I have a plan for information about Who is editing records, What records are they editing, and then finally How Much time are we spending on metadata editing. Check back for future posts.
As always feel free to contact me via Twitter if you have questions or comments.
Today I was stopped at a red light in downtown Santa Rosa, and I looked over to see a tough guy in a muscle car with sheer delight plastered across his face. We were enjoying the same magical scene: thousands of tiny white petals scudding across the avenue, swirling in the air, drifting onto benches and signs and people.
This could explain the sneezing fit I had last night, but that snowglobe moment was worth it. When we were contemplating this move, no one said we would experience this beautiful warm snowfall. No one has commented on it to me at all. I guess it’s just me and Tough Guy, thrilled by the floor show.
I had no idea how beautiful this small city, and our neighborhood in particular, would be in the spring. The neighbors’ gardens are not even in full bloom, yet every block is resplendent with color and redolent with fragrance. My rosebushes, brave little souls who survived five years on a cold, partially shaded, windswept deck in San Francisco, are stretching their limbs toward the warmth and the light, their foliage thick and lush, their buds fat, the first rose gorgeously impeccable.
I am stretching my own limbs to the light as well, professionally and in my growth as a scholar–and with leadership studies, of course the two are ever entwined). Coming back from some reasonably tolerable conference, I realized I was happy to walk into the library. It is a human institution and not the Good Ship Lollypop, but it’s filled with caring people determined to make a difference in other people’s lives. (I wonder what things were really like on GSL, anyway. Probably lots of dental issues.)
Last night I turned in my last short homework assignment for the doctoral program. Assuming it doesn’t bounce back to me with a request for revision (Lord please no — I cannot write anything more about net neutrality), I have completed my last class for this program. Up next: completing my qualifying paper, studying for and taking comprehensive exams, developing and defending a dissertation proposal, then doing the research for, writing, and defending my dissertation.
Piece of cake, eh?
Yes, a lot of work, and the doctoral work is folded under a lot of work-work, and (since some of you may be wondering) compounded by my mother’s health care crisis, which has its four-month anniversary in two days. It’s one of those life crises many of us will deal with at some point — a foreign land that, when you get there, you find populated with a lot of people you know.
But I get a lot of sustenance from my doctoral work. My qualifying paper is about the lived experiences of openly gay and lesbian academic library directors. (A friend of mine teased me that I should interview myself, which reminded me of a stern lecture everyone in my class in the MFA program received about The Crime Of Solipsism, which sounded like something we should stand in a corner for.)
I deeply love this research project, and I earned this love. I did the hard thing — prolonging this project by over a year by torpedoing two papers that were too small, too meaningless, too insufficient, too lacking in rigor; papers I wouldn’t want to see my name on — to find my literary-research beshert, that topic I was meant to wrap myself around. The kind of topic that pulls me into its own snowglobe, where I stand arms upraised in its center, watching meaning swirl around me, its brilliant small bits glinting in the sunlight.
Later on, I hope, I’ll write a bit more about my research. I owe a lot to the great people who shared their time and thoughts about my work in this area, giving me courage to ditch the crap and focus on the gold, and to the subjects who providing fascinating, heartening, hilarious, heart-tugging, thoughtful, surprising, invigorating, and fully real interviews for my research. The Association of Openly Gay and Lesbian Academic Library Directors could fit in a hotel suite, but it’s a group I’d share that suite or even a foxhole with, hands-down.Bookmark to:
I’ve been quiet of late, as we’ve not been doing any user testing this term; instead we’ve been taking a step back and thinking bigger about our website. But after attending the User Experience in Libraries conference (UXLibs) last week, I’m excited to move forward with user testing/research and thinking big.St. Catharine’s College, Cambridge, site of UXLibs
UXLibs was amazing amazing. Don’t believe me? Check out the #UXLibs Twitter stream during the week of the conference. I’m not going to try to capture the essence of the conference (see these posts by Ned Potter, and conference organizer Andy Priestner for that). Rather, I’m just pulling out particular bits from my notes that resonate most strongly with me. Many of these may not make sense out of context, but I’m happy to provide context if you ask.
From the keynote by Donna Lanclos:
- What happens if we decenter staff expertise?
- Find out what users understand not what they want
- Not helping with wayfinding but engagement with creation
- If an activity has intrinsic value, does it need to be assessed?
- We want people to “revel in independent thought” (Revel!)
- If we’re going to do ethnography, we have to be okay with feeling uncomfortable, and with feeling comfortable with ambiguity. We need institutional support for uncertainty.
- A pedagogy of questions involves “a voracious not-knowing” (from @jessifer)
- Do a small proof-of-concept project and use ethnography to see if it’s working
From a workshop with Andrew Asher:
[we explored a couple of ethnographic techniques: cognitive mapping (e.g. asking people to draw a map of the library from memory, or mapping out where they went when and what they did there), and respective process interviews (asking people to draw each step of a step-by-step process as you ask them about that process)]
- The location of mapping exercises (i.e. in the library or away from it) doesn’t seem to influence the content of the maps created
- Mapping can demonstrate where prime real estate is being used for low-impact things
- Commuter campuses [and so probably commuter students] are very different from residential, when looking at mapping journals
- Drawing can help with specificity but don’t get too hung up on the drawing
From the keynote by Paul-Jervis Heath:
- People are fundamentally unable to tell you what will help them (they don’t know or don’t notice)
- Should vs want creates an interesting tension -> how do you help people be the better version of themselves?
- Books are sharks!
- Rules of improv are good rules for ideation
- I really have to read Gamestorming one of these days
From a workshop with Matt Borg and Matthew Reidsma:
[we were introduced to the wonderful world of grouping post-its with affinity mapping (by voice, pain points and then categories) and empathy mapping (by what people say, what they think, what they do, and what they feel)]
- Maybe we should add “games” to our “search books, articles and more” Summon box
- We need to have empathy with our colleagues, as well as with our users
- Add the demographic, etc. metadata to post-its to make it easier to find patterns
From the keynote by Matthew Reidsma:
- All those links on the website – people put them there
- Interacting with things = making meaning
- Usability is beyond functional, it’s making sure people have meaningful interactions with the world
- It’s easy to recover from breakdowns [errors, confusion] when you understand how the thing you’re using/doing works
- Usability could be helping people better understand our tools/services so they can better recover
- Test to learn, not just perfect; learn how people cope
There was so so so much more than this. I have a follow-up post on some bigger picture stuff. But there’s so much more than that too. I’m going to be processing this conference for a while.
Today I found the following resources and bookmarked them on Delicious.
- Free Online Learning at GCFLearnFree.org From Microsoft Office and email to reading, math, and more, GCFLearnFree.org offers 125 tutorials, including more than 1,100 lessons, videos, and interactives, completely free.
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In a departure from the things I normally talk about here, I’m going to do a short(?) series of posts on health-related stuff — some apps and tools I like (or don’t), plus some recipes I’ve been into lately. It should go without saying that by “health” I do not mean body-shaming of any variety. Body-shaming also will not be tolerated in the comments. This series is about good habits and feeling good (and a little bit of gadget love), and that’s all.
Still, not everybody’s into health stuff, or any other topic I might post about, and I get that. If you use an RSS reader, here are top-level sub-feeds you can choose to subscribe to, so that you only see certain topics (and there are sub-sub feeds, but I leave all that as an exercise to the reader):
- Librarianship (fairly self-explanatory, except it also includes posts about books and the ALA)
- Technology (includes programming, usability, engineering, and science)
- Social Justice (codes of conduct, inclusivity and diversity, #libtechgender)
- Teaching and Learning (instruction, pedagogy, classes I’m taking or teaching
- Leadership (a lot of stuff about communication, so talks I’ve given also end up in this one
- Crafts (things I make, things others make that I like, recipes)
- Geekery (stuff about birds and games, apparently)
- Health stuff is actually under a category I call “On a Personal Note,” a holdover from when this was just a professional blog, although you can get to just the health stuff, too.
I’ve been trying to find shiny clouds around unfortunate situations, and these health posts are kind of an extension of that. I did not intend to be unemployeda freelancer at this juncture, but it’s finally given me the space to step back and realize what bad habits I’d developed during my working life, in terms of self-care and (de)prioritizing my health. This last job was also the last straw, because it turns out I don’t do well with constant high stress and a bunch of 60-80 hour weeks back to back. Nobody should have to deal with that, but especially if one is fighting a chronic illness, that’s just no way to live. The down side is that my health deteriorated quickly. The up side is that, once I left (ironically, I left for other reasons, not for my health), I really had to take stock, and I am doing so well now, at least in terms of habits. My health is already noticeably better, and I have tools in place to help it continue to improve. And I mean that both in the sense of managing my illness and in improving my general health.
Which is to say, nothing I share is going to be arthritis-specific, although if it relates to arthritis or other chronic illnesses, I’ll mention it.
Also, it’s the first day of spring, so we’re all thinking about renewal and about getting out of the house. It just seems like a good time for this kind of thing!What do I plan to post?
I want to talk about my activity tracker and how it compares to other options out there. (I ditched the Fitbit, despite loving it.) I want to talk about this stupid — but delightful! — app I use to make myself drink enough water each day, plus a related app that is not a particularly good motivator for increasing one’s step count — so I probably want to talk about incentives and motivation, in general, too. I have at least two recipes I want to share… maybe more. And, I don’t know, maybe I’ll talk about tea or the healing power of cute animal photos or bad behavior I’ve seen in fitness forums. I use MyFitnessPal, but I don’t currently have a post in my head about it (unless someone wants to read a compare/contrast with SparkPeople?).
So it might only be three posts, or it might be more. Much like when I give a talk, I never know exactly what I’m going to say until I start writing. :)
Updated March 16, 2015
Catholic Theological Union
Considering Disability Journal
Faculty of Entrepreneurship and Business, Universiti Malaysia Kelantan
Fondazione per la Flora italiana
Indonesian Food Technologists
International Society of Offshore and Polar Engineers
Journal Agriculture and Forestry
Society for Applied Anthropology
The Family in America
The Journal of Clinical and Pediatric Dentistry
The Society of Digital Information and Wireless Communications (SDIWC)
United Scientific Group
United States Sports Academy
Universitat Rovira I Virgili
Center for World Mission
Cesuca - Centro Ensino Superior de Cachoeirinha
Cumhuriyet University Sciences Journal
Electronic Journal of Social Sciences
Institute for Cognitive Science
Institute of Business Management and Rural Development
Institute of Korean Studies
Institute of Social Science, Sogang University
Journal of Black Sea Studies
Kahramanmaras Sutcu Imam University Journal of Engineering Sciences
Korean Academy of Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology
Korean Association of Socio-Historical Studies
Korean Securities Law Association
Korean Society of Strategic Management
Korean Studies Institute
Pro Ciencia Periodicos Cientificos
Research Institute of Korean Culture
S/N Korean Humanities
Sociedade Brasileira de Urologia
Last updated March 9, 2015
American Mental Health Counselors Association
Audio Engineering Society
Auricle Technologies, Pvt., Ltd.
Austrian Geological Society (OGG)
Croatian Society of Art Historians
Editorial Board of Journal Radioelectronics, Nanosystems, Information Technology RENSIT
Entomological Society of Israel
Eurasian Academy of Sciences
Future Energy Service and Publishing
Harvard Education Publishing Group
Institute of Environmental Sciences and Technology (IEST)
International Academy Publishing (IAP)
Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art
Pyatigorsk State Linguistic University
Techmind Research Society
The Finnish Society of Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing
The NCHERM Group, LLC
Bumhan Philosophical Society
Centro Universitario de Maringa
Daegu Historical Association
Historical and Social Educational Ideas
Institute of Archaeology and Ethnography SB RAS
Journal of Security Strategies
Kazan Medical Journal
Modern Studies in English
Panorama of Brazilian Law
Raizes e Amidos Tropicais/Tropical Roots and Starches
Real Economy Publishing
Sociedade Brasileira de Dermatologia
Updated March 16, 2015
Total no. participating publishers & societies 5945
Total no. voting members 3232
% of non-profit publishers 57%
Total no. participating libraries 1933
No. journals covered 38,288
No. DOIs registered to date 72,733,198
No. DOIs deposited in previous month 469,198
No. DOIs retrieved (matched references) in previous month 39,460,869
DOI resolutions (end-user clicks) in previous month 117,830,222
Our opening round of competition featured blow-outs, buzzer-beaters, and upsets! Thirty-two conferences battled in the first round, and only 16 will continue on to the second round.In first round action, the conferences competed on the total number of basketball-related publications* in their collective collections. The Big Ten, Big West, and Northeast conferences cruised to blow-out victories over their opponents, with the Big Ten enjoying the largest margin of victory in the first round. We also had some squeakers! American Athletic and Summit League “beat the buzzer” and scraped into the second round on razor-thin margins of victory – American by 45 publications, and Summit by a mere 20 publications!
We had some bracket-busting upsets in the first round, too! Sure, larger collective collections tend to have more basketball-related publications than smaller collections. But Big South, American Athletic, Conference USA, Summit League, and Ohio Valley all proved that smaller collections can’t be overlooked in this tournament – these tenacious collections all scored upset victories over larger collections. We anoint Big South as the official “Cinderella” of the tournament! Big South engineered the biggest first-round upset, claiming victory with a collective collection less than half the size of its opponent’s.
WorldCat contains more than 20,000 basketball-related publications – books, movies, periodicals, and more. How many does your favorite conference have in its collective collection? Check the table below for individual conference scores.
By the way, in case you were wondering …… so the tournament mega-collective-collection – the collective collection covering all the tourney participants – includes about 40 percent of the basketball-related publications in WorldCat. These conference collective collections definitely “got game” when it comes to basketball!
Bracket competition participants: if your conference took an early exit from the tournament, all is not lost! Remember, if no one picked the tournament Champion, all entrants will enter a random drawing for the big prize!
The tournament is just heating up! Stay tuned for second round action – results will be posted March 27.
*Number of basketball-related publications determined by identifying all publications in WorldCat with the string “basketball” present in a FAST topical subject heading. Conference totals reflect the number of these publications held by at least one conference member. Data is current as of January 2015.About Brian Lavoie
Brian Lavoie is a Research Scientist in OCLC Research. Brian's research interests include collective collections, the system-wide organization of library resources, and digital preservation.Mail | Web | LinkedIn | More Posts (9)
…which happens to be right now.
We thought we were being smart (read: making our lives easier) by having an automated form for submissions. As some of you know, this wonder form has been rather…temperamental (to say the least). We’ve also come to realize it’s been stealthy stealing submitted proposals from us. And that’s just not right.
So we’ve decided to do away with the form and accept submissions old-school style: via email to email@example.com. Those of you that submitted a proposal that wasn’t stolen by a technological foe should have gotten a confirmation email from us that all is well. You can put your feet up and relax, knowing that the form submission gods are smiling down upon you. If you didn’t get this confirmation email, please let us know. You may have to re-submit your proposal.
We’re sorry. We promise to give you lots of good food in September to atone for our screw up.
Below is my closing keynote, “Libraries Meet the Second Machine Age” given for the 2015 Library Technology Conference on March 19, 2015 at St. Paul, MN. I want to send big thanks to the conference steering committee who invited me and those who watched and shared my keynote either on-site or online and their thoughts and ideas with me. The topic was a bit unusual for a library conference. So I am particularly grateful for the opportunity I had to talk about this kind of topic with many others. (And imagine the surprise when it was actually well received.) For those interested, the video recording of the keynote is at http://www.ustream.tv/recorded/60105499. The slides are available at http://www.slideshare.net/bohyunkim/libraries-meet-the-second-machine-age.
* * *
Hi everyone, thank you for having me today. I am very excited to be here at LTC with all of you, library technologists. We are passionate about applying technology, so that our library patrons can succeed in their education, their jobs, and their lives.1. What is Technology to Us?
If you would indulge me for a minute, I would like to play this short video. This video shows Tomatan, a wearable robot that sits on your shoulder and feeds you nutritious tomatoes while you are running so that you can defeat fatigue. As you can see from this Japanese invention, technology is evolving in a way that we have not fully anticipated before. What is technology to us today? This article in Harvard Business Review talks about a study of how self-service kiosks at chain restaurants such as Taco Bell or McDonald’s change customer behavior. This study found that when people are ordering their food with these self-service kiosks or in-house apps, they tend to spend about 30% more on food than when they order with a human server.2. Today’s Libraries as Technology Hubs
Libraries are really shaking off the traditional image as a quiet reading room with stacks of books. More and more media coverage of libraries today focuses on the innovative technology being introduced at libraries for library patrons to utilize and try it out.
Take Google Glass for example. I know it has been phased out by Google for a while now for various reasons. But when it was a coveted cutting-edge technology item, it was libraries that acquired these items and started lending them to library patrons, so that the public can try it out, feel what it is like to wear a pair of Google Glasses, and experience what is like to live in the future. MacPhaidin Library at Stonehill College is one of those libraries that lends Google Glass. Similarly, University of Michigan Library’s 3D Lab offers equipment and services for 3d printing, advanced visualization, rapid prototyping, 3d scanning, and motion capture. Chicago public library has the Maker Lab, where library patrons can learn how to design a 3D model and 3D-print the digital models they made at the library. Stacie Library at York University held a Hackfest.
People no longer come to libraries just to borrow books. They come to libraries to rent tools, try and learn new technologies, participate in a hackathon, practice and record a video presentation, hold online conference meetings, and group study in libraries’ many technology-enabled spaces such as these equipped with a large LCD screen that can mirror the small computer screen.
And we have taken up all of these new things while continuing the traditional library services, such as bibliographic instruction, reference, cataloging, circulation, serials management, and systems. Many of us also revamped our library websites, OPACs, and other patron-facing online systems, so that our patrons can have excellent user experience. Many of us try to provide uniform and consistent user experience between the library’s online and physical space. Due to our strong interests in improving library patrons’ user experience, UX has become a common term widely used among librarians nowadays. Considering these, it seems that libraries emerged as a sure winner of the digital revolution. We offer what the public wants the way they want as much as we can.
The mass media sure seem to have noticed it. This article in the Huffington Post, for example, calls libraries ‘hubs of technology.’ But is there something we are missing in this picture or something we can do better? Libraries advocate technology and innovation. But so do many other institutions. How are libraries different?
Today, I would like to talk about information and libraries in the second machine age. Two things may strike you odd. First, what is the second machine age? Second, why does it matter to information and libraries? I will explain what the second machine age is in a moment. But I want to also tell you that I bring up this concept of the second machine age because I think it provides an important context for the role that information and technology play in our library patrons’ daily lives.3. The Second Machine Age and Innovation
What made the second machine age possible was the digital revolution. The digital revolution refers to the shift from analog, mechanical, and electronic technology to digital technology. This began in the late 1950s with the adoption of digital computers and digital records. The World Wide Web started in 1991 and it has been thriving with the exponential growth of computing power as you can see from this graph.
This graph shows how drastically one dollar’s worth of computer power grew from 1980 to 2010. In 1980, with one dollar you could get the computing power for doing a billion computations 7-8 times per second. Only after 30 years in 2010, we reached the point where one dollar’s worth of computing gets us a billion computations over 100 million times over, during one second. From 7-8 times to one hundred million times, that is indeed an exponential growth.
One of the defining characteristics of the second machine age is smart machines and innovation. So let’s take a look at how innovation have changed our lives.
Some innovations are awesome. As many of you would recognize, this is the book bot at NCSU Libraries. No longer do patrons need to browse the stacks to locate the book they want. All they need is to put a request on a computer, and this book bot will retrieve the title for you.
Some innovations are liberating. In 2013, Michael Ebeling set up the first 3D printing lab in South Sudan to manufacture 3d printed prosthetic arms for local children who lost their arms and cannot afford commercial prosthetics. This area had a lot of people who lost their limbs due to the war and the mines left from the war. A 3D printed prosthetic arm costs only about $100 to make. But the cost of a commercial one ranges from $3000 to $30000. The locals learned how to 3d print the parts and assemble them into a prosthetic arm. So this will continue to benefit the people in that area.
Some innovations can change the research practice at an academic field. Since its founding in 2005, Mechanical Turk, a crowd-sourcing task system from Amazon, has become an increasingly popular way for university researchers to recruit subjects for online experiments and surveys. It’s cheap, easy to use, has about 500,000 workers. But as these Turkers complete and participate in a dozen or more surveys and experiments everyday for years, they have become professional surveyees and experimentees. Consequently, the responses to research surveys and experiments conducted at the Mechanical Turk have begun to show skewed results.
Some innovations can be simply harmful. As most of you know, Lenovo, the world’s largest PC maker was caught having the spyware that is a a huge security risk for users installed on its OS to increase a little bit of their revenue from selling out users’ web-browsing patterns.
Some innovations can harbinger a huge change from what we currently consider natural. An example of this is self-driving cars to be programmed and manufactured by technology companies such as Apple and Google, probably in the near future. What would happen to the taxi-industry or the car insurance industry if these self-driving cars become reality?
Some innovations can make us uncomfortable. More and more stores now have self-checkout machines. You have to ring up your own purchases, pay, and bag them yourself. These businesses cut their costs and maximize their profit by transferring the service labor that they used to provide, now to customers. The same has been happening with banks. There are far fewer bank branches now than several years ago and even those that stay open have a drastically smaller number of tellers because banks replaced them with ATMs.
Needless to say, this kind of technology innovation that results in the mass-scale automation has a huge impact on the economy. And we have been living with that impact for quite a while now.4. What Is the Second Machine Age?
Economists Erik Brynjolfsson and Andrew McAfee at MIT observed the seemingly contradictory phenomenon in the current economy that productivity increases while employment stagnates or decreases. Traditionally, the growing productivity have meant more jobs. For that reason, we often equate economic growth with more employment opportunities. For example, in the first machine age, productivity, employment, and median income all rose in tandem. But in the second machine age, the growth in productivity has been decoupled from jobs and income. As this graph shows, productivity continues to go up as machines replace the human labor, bringing in more efficiency. But this now happens with less employment and wage stagnation instead of more employment opportunities and higher wages.
This is what economists call “the second machine age”. And what is driving this new unwelcome trend is the rise of smart machines and their substitution for human labor.
Another economist Tyler Cowen at George Mason University also observed this phenomenon. He predicts that in the future, we will be living in the world where there are only two groups exist, highly-skilled and well-paid elites and the rest. He sees employment and wage polarization in the future due to the displacement effect of computerization. His book title “Average is over” summarizes this view. In this view, store clerks and bank tellers who lost their jobs due to the automated self-check out machines and ATMs were the first signs of this displacement effect of computerization.
So the simple and repetitive manual labor that can be easily automated by machines and even perform better than humans are going away. But the jobs that complement or improve the performance of machines are in high demand. Data scientist is one of such jobs. The digital revolution has enabled us to amass an astronomical amount of data. But in order to make sense of it and find usable patterns there, humans are still needed. Forbes called data scientist ‘the hottest jobs in IT.’ Harvard Business Review calls data scientist ‘the sexiest job of the 21st century.’
If you are familiar with chess, you will know that today’s world champions of chess are not chess geniuses but teams of computers and individuals who are good at utilizing these computers to determine the best move at a given point in a chess match. These are called Centaur teams and they are better chess players than humans alone or or machines alone.
The optimal interplay between humans and machines has become the new drive of today’s economic growth. Business and industry call for more highly skilled workforce who can work well with smart machines, while eliminating jobs that can be fully automated by machines. This thins out the middle class, diminishes the upward mobility, and increases the overall economic inequality.
A French economist, Thomas Piketty’s recent book, Capital, showed, the return on capital is higher than the return on labor. This trend will continue as technology advances. Income from capital, not earnings, predominates now at the top of the income distribution. So if you don’t have extra money to invest and can’t afford to live on the return of that investment, you have to work and your wage will be less than what you can make out of financial investment.
This is why Paul Krugman says we are entering a new gilded age.
So ok, this is what is happening in our world right now economically. What does that mean to libraries? We can see: (1) There will be a greater room for libraries to grow and contribute towards job-related continuing education and lifelong learning. (2) Libraries will have to play even a greater role in bridging the gap between the haves and the have-nots in terms of making information and technology resources available as widely and evenly as possible.5. Education: Preparing the Future Workforce
It is entirely possible that the current trend of decreasing job opportunities and wages paired with increasing economic growth and productivity may reverse rather than continue. Some think that advances in artificial intelligence and broad technological development may create employment possibilities that we cannot yet begin to imagine.
But whichever way the future goes, one thing is clear. Education will be a key to the growth of employment opportunities and economic growth in the age of smart machines. Humans need to be able to work more efficiently operating or working alongside with machines. And this requires more education.
As we can see from this graph, the years of schooling at age 30 has been increasing steadily since 1875 until now, although the rate of increase slowed quite a bit since the 1950s.
One of the mundane but undeniable goal of education is preparing the future workforce. Higher education in particular is being more and more closely aligned with the needs of today’s businesses and industry than ever before.Even just a few decades ago, higher education used to be deemed as a rare opportunity and time to pursue learning for the sake of learning, explore the truth in knowledge. I doubt many college students of today hold this view, however.
Some even goes as far as placing the value of higher education solely in meeting the needs of the labor market. Just about a month ago, the Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker called for a change in the university of Wisconsin’s mission statement in his state budget proposal with a $300 million cut . He suggested removing century-old language in the university mission statement such as “search for truth,” and “improve the human condition.” Instead, he suggested replacing them with “meet the state’s workforce needs.”
Today’s businesses and industry prefer employees who come with the necessary skills that can be immediately put to use at work to those who need to be trained on the job. This is clearly seen in the practice of internships and an increasing number of certificate programs.
This has pushed higher education in the direction of vocationalism, and led some universities to experiment further with competency-based education. The basic idea of competency-based education is to graduate students equipped with proven skills that can be immediately applied at workplaces. This contrasts with the traditional credit-based education where students complete a certain number of credit hours before they graduate. Competency-based education is still new, but three big-ten universities – Michigan, Purdue and the Wisconsin— are already experimenting with this model.
Mitch Daniels, the president of Purdue University said: With its transdisciplinary, competency-based bachelor’s degree, “Businesses will not have to guess whether these students really are ready for the market, ready for their business, ready for the world” because the degree will be given for only those with proven competencies.
University of Michigan offers a new master’s of health professions education, which is both competency-based and distance-education. The Univ. of Wisconsin System’s “Flexible Option” offers five competency-based online credentials, which range from a certificate to bachelor’s degrees.
These competency-based education meets the changing needs of today’s businesses and industry and can potentially reduce the time and the cost of educational programs by utilizing learning analytics and other educational technology tools to track and measure students’ progress and skills obtained. Without these technology tools, competency-based education is not possible. In this new climate of the labor market, learning never really ends because workers are expected to constantly renew their skills. They have no choice but to become self-directed lifelong learners to stay employed.
The closer alignment between education and the labor market even influences the K-12 education. The influence of digital revolution and the idealization of the start-up culture is an important background of the ongoing discussion about whether children should learn how to code (meaning computer program) at school. STEM is being highlighted more than any other subjects these days. Makerspaces and 3d printing are being introduced as early as at the level of elementary schools.6. The Maker Movement as a Game Changer for Creativity and Innovation
We have seen how the changing economic conditions are influencing today’s education. As librarians, we all are in the business of education. And the direction of today’s education deserves some serious reflection. (A) Where does a library stand when the greatest value of education is primarily found in obtaining successful employment? (B) What is the role of a library when education is reduced to merely equipping students with the skills that will make them hirable?
Of course, I fully expect that many of you would argue that this may be an exaggeration. After all, don’t we champion more creativity, innovation, and entrepreneurship than ever before in education and libraries? Don’t the maker movement and makerspaces, for example, demonstrate such things as creativity and innovation a great deal?
How about university-industry partnership and even libraries as start-up incubators? After all, many of us read articles and opinion pieces like this that argue for more industry-university partnership in higher ed and libraries as start-up incubators for budding entrepreneurs. Wouldn’t it be amazing if every library has a lively makerspace, where all library patrons make things, form a learning community, tap on their imagination and creativity, and plan and start their businesses, which further generate more jobs and bring us out of the economic stagnation?
Probably, it was this idea that the maker movement can revive economy and create more jobs that led the White House to host the first-ever Maker Faire last year. There, President Obama called the US ‘the nation of makers.’
I do not deny that there are great benefits in the industry-university partnership. There is also an undeniable positive value in the maker movement and 3d printing. 3D printing democratized manufacturing by allowing individuals without access to huge machines and a factory to design and make things that they want, often at a much lower costs than commercial products.
3D printing can make an ingenious idea into reality such as this 3d printed book for the blind. As we all know, makerspaces and 3d printers can be useful tools in hands-on learning, which can drastically improve students’ learning process and outcome.
It is also driving cutting-edge innovation in life sciences. Surgeons can now improve the success rate of a complicated surgery drastically by having a 3d printed parts of a patient’s body in advance and plan for individual differences. 3D printing can also be utilized to produce personalized medications for individuals without incurring huge costs as a result. We are also looking at tissue and organ 3d-printing, which will result in revolutionary advances in regenerative medicine.
This is Dr. Hack at University of Maryland, Baltimore, School of Dentistry. He teaches dental students digital dentistry. Digital dentistry means dentistry that uses new digital tools to improve the traditional dental treatment process. As you can see here, digital dentistry makes it possible to scan a patient’s tooth, create a digital scan of a crown, and then make the crown on the spot with a milling machine – similar to a 3d printer. Patients don’t have to hold the clay-like material in their mouth to create a mold and have a temporary filling done while waiting for the permanent crown is made. Digital dentistry drastically cuts down the time that a patient has to wait until the artificial tooth is made. In the past, this took 2-3 weeks. Digital dentistry enables dentists to complete the same process in only an hour or two.7. What We Often Fail to See in the Mainstream Maker Movement
But there is another aspect to the maker movement and 3D printing that are rarely discussed and talked about. The maker movement was able to go mainstream in such a short time because it promises to deliver exactly what today’s businesses and industry need, the adaptable workforce. As a matter of fact, I think that the current maker culture represents the combination of neo-liberalism, techno-utopianism, the demand of the labor market for the adaptable workforce as the main background. Let me explain.
Thank about it. The kind of people who can spend hours and hours of their free time learning and doing 3d modeling and printing have certain advantages that a lot of people don’t. First, they have access to such technology. Second, they can afford investing their free time and money in learning such stuff. Third, they are already knowledgeable and tech-savvy enough to navigate this new technology scene and use it to their advantage.
But the current maker culture conveniently ignores all these differences that pre-exist between those makers and the rest. Instead, it simply depicts makers as the heroes of the ultimate freedom. Makers make things with their own hands, unlike the majority of those who simply consume things that are made by others. Makers are tech-savvy. And with their creativity and technical knowledge, they will not only innovate businesses, create more jobs, but also usher in more open and transparent society and culture for all of us to benefit. This is the promise of the idealized maker movement.
How wonderful would that be? Now we can all 3D-print our way to prosperity freedom. Only if it were so simple.
What is often overlooked, however, is that the current idealization of the maker culture unduly emphasizes individuals over systems & misplaces freedom where regulations are needed. It unfairly treats work as a hobby without pay, and spreads the unsustainable and unfair expectation that people should develop their skills constantly at their leisure outside of work.
This is neo-liberalism that ignores the issues of systematic inequality and reduces it to the matter of individual effort. The belief that technology can build a culture that is more transparent and open is techno-utopianism that tries to solve sociopolitical problems with technology alone. Instead, all we hear about the maker culture is how productive and innovative makers are. They are the future of the new “infinitely adaptable and flexible” workforce that the labor market is looking for.8. Productivity Culture & Freedom to Self-Exploit
The most defining characteristics of our era are productivity and efficiency. These two have become a mantra in every realm of our life – corporate, public, labor, administrative, and education.And what accompanies productivity and efficiency is positivity and affirmation. We not only work harder to produce more and to be more efficient. We also do so with the can-do attitude, constantly ‘choosing’ to put more efforts towards work ‘with our own will.’ The current maker culture embodies all of these. We are all familiar with the statement that we are the managers of ourselves. Here, if we fail, all the faults lie with us, us alone.
Even those who write books are now expected to be more like entrepreneurs than writers. This Economist article describes how authors must be more businesslike than ever to succeed these days. Just writing well is not good enough any more.
But in the midst of all these frenzied pursuits for productivity and efficiency in new capitalism and its hyper-competition environment, people experience burnout and depression. Even though we long for the work-life balance, many of us take work to home and tie ourselves to our smartphones. We end up answering work e-mails around the clock no matter what our salaried work hours are. We and our society together even made business and exhaustion a kind of status symbol, an evidence of self-importance. Take a look at this presentation title in this year’s Code4Lib Conference “How to Hack it as a Working Parent: or, Should Your Face be Bathed in the Blue Glow of a Phone at 2 AM?.” This testifies to this struggle that all of us experiences.
What is interesting about our society is that we have such a strong belief that we are all ‘free’ agents in all aspects of our lives, that in order to make a better life, we exploit ourselves to an unprecedented degree. The harder it is to find traditional employment, the more tech-savvy, the more creative, the more productive, and the more innovative we have to become. And while doing so, we forget that we are also shaped and limited by something much bigger than us and that we do not always have control over.
Short of income? Why don’t we share our rides in Uber and share our guest bedroom through Airbnb while starting a new business at a garage? Here is our opportunity to participate in the global community of sharers and to contribute to the budding alternative sharing economy.
But the truth is that these new start-up businesses like Uber and Airbnb are operating in the realm where appropriate regulations and taxes are absent while unfairly competing with the existing taxi and hotel businesses. This is how a 26-year-old got the Uber bill of $362.57 for a 20 min. ride on the Halloween night after celebrating her birthday with friends. She couldn’t pay her rent after this bill. In Barcelona, Airbnb and Uber are in the middle of a controversy.
As German Philosopher Byyngchul Han wrote in his essay published in Süddeutsche Zeitung, “Anyone without money doesn’t have access to sharing. Even in the age of access, people without money remain shut out. Airbnb, the community marketplace that turns homes into hotels, even saves on hospitality. The ideology of community or collaborative commons leads to total capitalization of the community. Aimless friendship is no longer possible. In a society of reciprocal evaluation, friendliness is also commercialized. One is friendly to get a better ranking online. The harsh logic of capitalism prevails in the so-called sharing economy, where, paradoxically, nobody is actually giving anything away voluntarily.” (English translation from German)
And on the other hand, if you are a Uber driver, you don’t have any protection and labor rights that drivers from usual taxi companies may have. Because you are now an entrepreneur responsible for everything except paying the premium for using the Uber service to get your customers. You are free to boost your productivity and your efficiency. But you are all alone when the social safety net is needed.9. The Limits of Personal Donations
I do not deny that technology achieves wonderful things. I sound like a cynic but I am not.
When the news of a Detroit man who walks 21 miles everyday to work was reported, donations poured in reaching at almost $350,000. The Humans of New York photographer who posts people’s photographs with their stories on Facebook raised over $1 million dollars for inner-city students.These would not have been possible without technological advances such as crowd-sourcing online platforms such as GoFundMe.
But these are non-systematic solutions to systematic and structural problems. What bothers me most is that there are more than one person who needs the mass transportation to get to work because they cannot afford a car, maintenance, and required insurance. There are more than one school that needs funding to provide better opportunities for children to experience the world outside of their small neighborhood. It’s not possible for us to organize fund-raising for each and every one of them. We need to build a system in which everyone can live a better life instead of rescuing a few selected individuals in a desperate need appealing to individuals’ good will and personal donations.
While crowd-sourced fund-raising such as these were well-meant by all means, it is an unsustainable solution to a systematic problem whose solutions should not be found in individual donations. Such solution can lead to avoiding more fundamental questions, such as why the established political, economic and legal systems resulted in the lack of mass transportation that people need to get to their workplaces in the first place, and how we can address those issues systematically.10. The Role of Libraries is Never Apolitical.
Just like those crowd-sourced fundraising campaigns, as an educational institution, the role of libraries is never apolitical. The more prevalent and powerful an ideology is, the harder it is to discern and critique its influence on us. Whether we like it or not, schools, colleges, and libraries will continue to operate as an an agency to make students and patrons more hirable by improving their skills and providing more information, more resources, and more exposure to technology. The relationship of economic exchange in education – that is, students as clients and knowledge/skills as commodities – will continue and accelerate.
Cathy Eisenhower and Dolce Smith wrote in their book chapter “The Library as Stuck Place: Critical Pedagogy in the Corporate University,” the following: “In the current climate of accountability and austerity, libraries have become veritably “obsess[ed] with quantitative assessment, student satisfaction, outcomes, and consumerist attitudes towards learning.””
We can understand how we got there. But that does not mean that we need to stay there. We do not want knowledge to be treated as mere commodities. We do not want learning to be reduced to mere transactions that will build up to just enough competencies to make our patrons hirable. For that, we need to first and foremost understand that the role of libraries is never apolitical.11. Libraries as a Socially Meaningful and Responsible Public Institution
Libraries need to find ways to establish their stance as a socially meaningful and responsible public institution and reflect that in the ways they operate. We should be able to serve library patrons with the full understanding of the current socioeconomic and political conditions that shape libraries and their fiscal realities. After all, ideologies are human constructs. They can be changed, but only when we understand them. This is why libraries value knowledge and understanding.
One of the founding theorists of critical pedagogy, Henri Giroux said “… one of the fundamental tasks of educators is to make sure that the future points the way to a more socially just world, a world in which critique and possibility —in conjunction with the values of reason, freedom, and equality— function to alter the grounds upon which life is lived.”
We celebrate and advocate creativity and innovation not just for more productivity and economic growth. The goal of productivity and growth cannot be more productivity and growth. Productivity and growth do not have an inherent value. The fact that we find this hard to accept testifies how steeped we are in the productivity culture.
As library technologists, we should ensure that our application of technology works towards altering the grounds upon which life is lived ‘for the better,’ not worse. As library technologists, we need to pay particularly close attention to the way technologies are meshed with ideology and what effect it has on the library’s mission and our patron’s lives. Technology is a powerful tool for boosting productivity and enabling innovation. But it loses its value when such productivity and innovation is pursued blindly.12. Challenges for Libraries
There are challenges in re-establishing libraries as a more socially responsible and meaningful institution, however. In her blog post in Inside Higher Ed, Barbara Fister wrote “Surveys that Ithaka conducts periodically of faculty and of library directors show a growing gap in our beliefs about what libraries are for. Increasingly, library directors (with the exception of those at research libraries) assign more importance to the learning that happens in libraries and less to maintaining collections. (On the other hand) Faculty surveyed think the most important role of the library is the provision of the information they want for their research and teaching.”
Fister perceptibly notes that the new ACRL Framework for Information Literacy articulates how ambitious librarians are about the kind of learning that academic librarians want to promote. This framework indeed intends to teach students how to think about information and help them understand that information and knowledge are socially constructed. Here what librarians set out to achieve in educating our library patrons, so that they can effectively and consciously navigate today’s complex information landscape, goes beyond the traditional expectation of our library stakeholders.
(As a side note, it would be worthwhile to think about how this ACRL framework for information literacy translates to the realm of technology. Just as with information, understanding the social context and effects of the technology adoption and use becomes more and more critical as technology pervades our daily lives.)
I believe that the changing focus of libraries from collections to learning, particularly ‘critical learning,’ is the right one. I also believe that librarians have been successfully developing more innovative ways to make that learning happen in a more relevant and exciting manner to patrons.
Here, for example, librarians at Mount Holyoke College Library in MA and Whittier College Library in CA organized Exciting Food workshop. This workshop was designed to familiarize students with various citation styles. Librarians showcased the citations of the recipes for each snack and the recipes came from a range of sources from books, websites, magazines to archival materials.
The Toronto Public Library now let library patrons to check out other humans at its “Human Library” event. The idea of the Human Library first emerged about a decade ago. It was designed to promote dialogue, reduce prejudices and encourage understanding by informally talking to “people on loan” who come from various backgrounds. The Toronto Public Library held its first Human Library event at five branches on Nov. 6, attracting more than 200 users who checked out the likes of a police officer, a comedian, a sex-worker-turned-club-owner, a model and a survivor of cancer, homelessness, and poverty.
The Human Library project suggests a way in which libraries that primarily deal with knowledge and information can at the same time operate as a more socially responsible and meaningful institution in the community, not just providing the best value for money for borrowed books, other resources, and library services. In this climate of the commodification of education and the constant demand on libraries to prove its ROI value, it will be a long way to hash out the details of the library operation that will achieve such a goal – going beyond equipping patrons with desired job skills and providing just necessary information resources.
But here are some pointers that libraries can take from other fields.13. Ideas from Fields Outside of Libraries
Design and Violence is a project by the Museum of Modern Art in NYC. It curates and presents selected design objects and invite experts from fields as diverse as science, philosophy, literature, music, film, journalism, and politics to respond to those design objects and spark a conversation with all readers.
Here is an example post by Steve Pinker, Harvard College professor and a well known psychologist. He writes about a million dollar block. A million dollar block refers to a single city block, residents from which are incarcerated and states are spending in excess of a million dollars a year to keep them in jail. 1 million dollars just for the residents of a single city block because the concentration of the incarcerated in those blocks are that high. These maps of those “million dollar blocks” show the city-prison-city-prison migration flow in five of the nation’s cities.
In a different post, Alex Vitale, a Brooklyn College professor, discusses a civil disobedience suit designed to be worn by street protesters equipped with a wireless camera on the head and a speaker on the chest to protect them from police batons. Not necessarily practical but quite symbolic.
Here, the National Aquarium and Climate Central in Baltimore invite Maryland middle and high school students to participate in a contest that examines the impacts of climate change.
Biohackers are developing low-cost and non-toxic ink from bacteria as an alternative to toxic and costly commercial ink. Boihackers are known for seeking solutions to significant problems, which are not addressed by big pharmaceutical or biotechnology companies because they are not sufficiently profitable.
“Be My Eyes” App invites sighted people to sign up to help the blind to be their eyes in the time of need. You can help the blind through this mobile app with things such as if a blind person turned off the bathroom light indeed or if she or he is safe to cross the busy intersection when the traffic lights are broken.
When libraries consider in which direction they will pursue their next exciting project, remembering that libraries can act as a more socially responsible and meaningful institution than now as well as an information & knowledge sharing institution – while pursuing that project- can make a big difference.
We live in an increasingly racially segregated residential communities. This article in VOX shows that residential segregation rose dramatically throughout the US over the first half of the 20th century. This graph demonstrates this dramatic rise of county-level segregation in 1880 and 1940 for the Eastern US. All areas of the US experienced rising residential segregation levels, both North and South as well as urban and rural.
We also increasingly live a filter bubble which makes us blind to the perspectives and opinions different from ours. This is the result of personalized relevance rankings by search engine companies like Google and Yahoo. This is shown when we search for BP, for example, one of us gets the news results about BP’s oil spills while the other only gets the BP’s stock prices and the company information.
We also live in the times in which more and more micro-power structures are being openly questioned. Many of you would have seen this Rumblr titled “Men taking up too much space on the train” and thought “wow finally people are speaking up.” Similarly “mansplanation” has become a legitimate word that refers to the phenomenon in which men assume they know more when they are talking to women when they actually don’t. These are not new phenomena. These have been happening for decades. But we have been silent about them for many many years. Same-sex marriage is legal now in 37 states. Sexists remarks are no longer tolerated in professional conferences. A racist tweet can literally cost someone a job just in a flight’s time. As shown in the Ferguson story, current news reach us days earlier through the social media than through the mass media. As you can see here, the Ferguson story started appearing in Twitter on Saturday Aug 9, 2014 while the cable news networks didn’t get the first report out until Monday Aug 11,2014.
Libraries can play a pivotal role in educating people in areas that are neglected by other institutions such as filter bubble, residential segregation, assistive technologies, the awareness of environmental issues, and socioeconomic/ political problems in communities.
I believe that libraries can be a little bit like the Left Shark that did its own thing and was widely appreciated and adored.
In the beginning of this keynote I asked “many institutions advocate technology and innovation; how are libraries different?” This is our time to answer that question.14. Librarianship Is All about Money and Power.
Lastly, I want to read you this anecdote from a wonderful article I recently read. This anecdote is about a librarian.
“One of my colleges is a quiet, diminutive lady, who might call up the notion of Marion the Librarian. When she meets people at parties and identifies herself, they sometimes say condescendingly, “A librarian, how nice. Tell me, what is it like to be a librarian?” She replies, “Essentially it is all about money and power.”
Where else other than at libraries, shall we find the critical distance for reflecting on today’s constant push for productivity and efficiency?
(This was written to be more as my notes, and so it is not the exact script of my talk. But hopefully, it would be still useful to some folks. All the references in my slides were given as URLs in each slide, and you can grab them all easily in the “Transcripts” section on my slides in Slideshare.net.)
Well, we didn’t want to ruin your Friday by making you sweat about putting together your last-minute Access proposal. So we’ve decided to extend the deadline by one week! That way we can make you sweat next Friday instead (when you’re still putting things together last minute style)!
Anyway, make sure you submit your proposals by 11:59 pm on Friday, March 27th, 2015 by submitting your brilliance to firstname.lastname@example.org. We had a fancy form, but it broke. In your email, please let us know:
- Your name
- Your email address
- The format of your proposed session
- The content of your proposed session (1-2 paragraphs)
- If you’ve presented at Access before
- And if your proposal is not accepted in its proposed format, if you would be willing to present in an alternate format
Also, we will have diversity scholarships available to assist those from traditionally underrepresented and/or marginalized communities with registration and travel costs. We want to help you attend, so please submit!
This blog post is cross-posted from the CKAN blog.
CKAN 2.3 is out! The world-famous data handling software suite which powers data.gov, data.gov.uk and numerous other open data portals across the world has been significantly upgraded. How can this version open up new opportunities for existing and coming deployments? Read on.
One of the new features of this release is the ability to create extensions that get called before and after a new file is uploaded, updated, or deleted on a CKAN instance.
This may not sound like a major improvement but it creates a lot of new opportunities. Now it’s possible to analyse the files (which are called resources in CKAN) and take them to new uses based on that analysis. To showcase how this works, Open Knowledge in collaboration with the Mexican government, the World Bank (via Partnership for Open Data), and the OpenSpending project have created a new CKAN extension which uses this new feature.
It’s actually two extensions. One, called ckanext-budgets listens for creation and updates of resources (i.e. files) in CKAN and when that happens the extension analyses the resource to see if it conforms to the data file part of the Budget Data Package specification. The budget data package specification is a relatively new specification for budget publications, designed for comparability, flexibility, and simplicity. It’s similar to data packages in that it provides metadata around simple tabular files, like a csv file. If the csv file (a resource in CKAN) conforms to the specification (i.e. the columns have the correct titles), then the extension automatically creates the Budget Data Package metadata based on the CKAN resource data and makes the complete Budget Data Package available.
It might sound very technical, but it really is very simple. You add or update a csv file resource in CKAN and it automatically checks if it contains budget data in order to publish it on a standardised form. In other words, CKAN can now automatically produce standardised budget resources which make integration with other systems a lot easier.
The second extension, called ckanext-openspending, shows how easy such an integration around standardised data is. The extension takes the published Budget Data Packages and automatically sends it to OpenSpending. From there OpenSpending does its own thing, analyses the data, aggregates it and makes it very easy to use for those who use OpenSpending’s visualisation library.
So thanks to a perhaps seemingly insignificant extension feature in CKAN 2.3, getting beautiful and understandable visualisations of budget spreadsheets is now only an upload to a CKAN instance away (and can only get easier as the two extensions improve).
To learn even more, see this report about the CKAN and OpenSpending integration efforts.
(This post was co-written by Open Knowledge and Fabrizio Scrollini from ILDA)
In our follow-up series about Open Data Day 2015, which took place on February 21 across the world, we will now highlight some of the great events that took place across the Latin America and the Caribbean. See our previous post about Asia-Pacific and Europe.
The Americas saw a lot of activity during this Open Data Day. Events, hackathons, formal and informal discussions were some of the activities in which the continent engaged through the day. There is an emerging movement with different levels of experience, maturity and resources but with lots of enthusiasm and great perspectives for the future.Argentina
The Argentine Open Data Community came together to participate in a full day of activities in Buenos Aires, organized by Open Knowledge embassador, Yamila Garcia. Different members of the community presented their experience in lighting talks that took place throughout the day. Presenters shared experiences about their work in the federal government, Buenos Aires municipality, media, hacking space and advocacy. In a different room, round tables were set up in order to deliberate and plan on the future of open data in Argentina. Subjects like Innovation and the upcoming elections. Hopefully, Ideas will be taken forward and will help to shape the eco-system of Open Data in Argentina. Read more about the event here.Brazil
Brazil held 6 events in 6 different cities this Open Data Day. In the small Sao Carlos, there was a roundtable discussion about open data policies. The group tried to convince local authorities about the importance of having open data policies that can help build a more transparent and open political process. In Teresina, the local group took a more hands on approach. The local hacker club organised hackathon and all the outcomes were shared under open knowledge licence. San Paulo was also in a coding mood and orginized a hackathon with the LabHacker, PoliGNU, Thacker and Comptroller General of São Paulo (SP-CGM) to promote the use of dataset and the creation of new apps in the fields of Water, Health and transport (See summary of the event here).
Read more about ODD 2015 in Brazil on the Open Knowledge Brasil blog.Chile
In Chile, Fundación Ciudadano Inteligente took a different approach and moved open data from the virtual space to the streets. As Felipe Alvarez mentions in his blog post, members of Ciudadano Inteligente got out of the office in Santiago and went to meet the citizens in Valparaíso, the second biggest city in Chile. Their objective was simple – to engage with citizens and to know what data they would like to see open. Some interesting topics came up such as expenditure on conservation efforts and local festivals as well as civil rights issues. In addition, the guys invited participants to join AbreLATAM, the regional un-conference that will take place this year in Santiago, Chile.Uruguay
The Uruguayan community was busy around a cup of fresh coffee plotting on how to use local government data to visualize women’s right issues. For four hours engineers, designers, communication people and policy wonks tried some ideas and look for available open data on this topic. With geographical data available and wikipedia, the team took on the task to visualize streets that are named after notable women in Montevideo. The results were a bit discouraging but expected: only 100 out of 5000 streets in Montevideo are named after women. This result catalysed a small community that worked for two weeks on developing this interactive website that acknowledges and explain the role that these women played in Uruguayan history. No doubt, this was a very productive open data day for this country!Paraguay
Paraguayans did not have enough with one day so they had a whole week for open data activities! Groups like TEDIC took the streets hand in hand with government officials to paint murals with data. Also the government launched the national open data portal among other initiatives that are fostering the nascent open data scene in ParaguayCosta Rica
In central America “Ticos” are building their open data community. Abriendo Datos Costa Rica is a nascent initiative which co-organised the Costa Rica open data day reaching out to other civil society stakeholders. The event had a wide variety of participants and topics focusing mostly on what data relevant to society should the government open next. Hopefully, open data day is just the beginning for more activities in the country. You can see some of their pics here.El Salvador
In El Salvador a group of civil society organised a roundtable to discuss uses of open data in journalism. Taking a deep look into journalistics practices in El Salvador and Costa Rica the group discussed how to use open data in their day to day assignments. El Salvador has one of the few open data portals that is run by civil society in the region.Peru
Peru saw an epic event organised by the Community Open Data Peru in Lima, where local specialists share knowledge and developed projects together during the whole day. The event galvanised the local open data community which is now spreading through other communities in Peru. Peruvians are very keen to work in several projects and this event may be big stepping stone for a more sustainable and diverse open data community in Peru.
In Guatemala Accion Ciudadana organised a day based on exploring the community need and their understanding of open data. Participants identified how open data could help their community in daily and strategic issues. The event showed the different levels of understanding participants had about open data. Social Tic Executive Director Juan Manuel Casanueva delivered a training based on community’s perceptions of Open Data. This was one of the first activities in Guatemala about open data and probably one of the many to come!Mexico
As usual, the Mexican community know how to party with data. In Mexico city, hundred people came to celebrate open data accompanied by Parilla and beer. Participants could choose to go to one of the four workshops that were offered, participate in a hackathon for sustainability or to discover new findings in a data expedition. In addition, a conversation around the state of openness in Mexico developed after the presentation of the the Mexican local and global index results and participant raised ideas for how to grow the local community.Panama
In Panama IPANDETEC, organized an awesome day which involved a hackathon, documentary screenings, conferences and workshops. The event was set up in collaboration by the chapters in Panama Floss, Wikimedia, Mozilla, Fedora and Creative Commons, as well as IPANDETEC.
In Medellin Fundación Gobierno Abierto invited school of data fellows to deliver trainings about scraping data. Furthermore the community also spent time to reflect on the regional and local science of open data, as well as get into developing ideas for further action, advocating for open data all across Colombia, both nationally and locally.Jamaica In the Caribbean a great event took place at the Mona School of Business and Management (MSBM) and organized by the Open Caribbean Institute. The day kicked off by Dr. Maurice McNaughton, who delivered a 1 hour workshop data visualization based on online resources from School of Data. Then, fuelled by Coffee and Pizza, the students divided into three team where they started to develop data visualizations in three fields – the 2015-2016 Budget, High school track and field data and Development Alert!, an online tool for increasing transparency and public engagement on projects that impact the environment and public health. One on the visualizations, a dashboard for field and track data is now available online here. Over all, it seems like a great start to many more Open Data Day in the Caribbeans! Summary
All in all the region is showing a vibrant community evolving, showing different degrees of resources and levels of understanding of open data. This is then complex but also presents an opportunity to engage and support more groups here. We could not support as many as we wanted to but this ODDay shows that open data in the Americas is here to stay. Check out some more detailed reports in Spanish on the open data day activities on the Yo Gobierno website (see also here), in this blog post from DAL and this one from BID.
13 mini Grants were given to organisers in the region, as part of the Open Data Day microgrant partnership thanks to ILDA, the Caribbean Open Institute and The Partnership of Open Data. See you next year with even more exciting events and news!
Millions in federal funding for libraries is currently hanging in the balance. In order to saving library funding from the chopping block – particularly the Library Services Technology Act (LSTA) and Innovative Approaches to Literacy (IAL) programs —library supporters need to contact offices of their Representative and Senator and ask them to show support for continued library funding by signing “Dear Appropriator” letters about LSTA and IAL that three Members of Congress who are huge library champions have drafted to the Appropriations Committees in the House and Senate. The more Members of Congress that we can get to sign these “Dear Appropriator” letters, the better the chance of preserving and securing real money for libraries so that libraries can continue to do all the great work they do in their communities. The only way we can achieve this is through grassroots efforts. Members of Congress need to hear from as many voters as we can rally to action.
Please email or phone your members of Congress and ask them to sign the Dear Appropriator letter supporting LSTA and IAL, then ask all other library supporters you know to do the same by no later than March 20th. Contact info is available on our action center (just put in your zip code in the box on the lower right side).
To see whether your Members of Congress signed the letters last year, view the FY 2015 Funding Letter Signees document (pdf). If so, please be sure to thank and remind them of that when you email or call! More information can be found on this earlier post.
Please take a few minutes and contact your Members of Congress. You can find their contact information and talking points at our action center.
- LSTA Letter – The Library Services and Technology Act is the primary source of federal funding for libraries in the federal budget. The bulk of the program is a population-based grant funded to each state through the Institute of Museum and Library Services.
- IAL Letter – The Innovative Approaches to Literacy ensures children and schools in underserved communities have access to books and other reading material and services. Through IAL programs, children are better prepared to succeed in high school, college, and in 21st century jobs.