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DuraSpace News: Register for the VIVO Conference Before Second Early Bird Deadline

Thu, 2015-07-09 00:00

It's your last chance to take advantage of the discounted early bird rate. Register by July 17th and SAVE $100! With engaging industry experts, breakout sessions, and fun networking events, the Sixth Annual VIVO Conference is a must-attend event. Learn more and register online today at http://vivoconference.org/

FOLLOW THE CONVERSATION

Follow the conversation about the conference on Twitter at #vivo15

Cynthia Ng: CascadiaFest: CSS Afternoon Part 1 Notes

Wed, 2015-07-08 23:30
After the CSS Layer Tennis (check out the tag “cascadiacss” on codepen), the day continued with more talks. Here’s part 1 of the afternoon. Shay Howe: CSS as a Service: Maintaining Style Build a lot of website, and have separate code bases which is good, but replicating a lot of base styles. Build on top … Continue reading CascadiaFest: CSS Afternoon Part 1 Notes

Cynthia Ng: CascadiaFest: CSS Morning Talks Part 2 Notes

Wed, 2015-07-08 22:40
Continuation of Day 1 CascadiaCSS talks. Here’s the second part of the morning. Gregor Adams: Exploring Fractals in CSS Examples in nature e.g. Nautilus, Lightning, Tree, Romanesco Broccolli Background pictures are all based on fractals using CSS. What is a Fractal? A natural phenomenon or mathematical set, that exhibits a reapting pattern, that displays at … Continue reading CascadiaFest: CSS Morning Talks Part 2 Notes

Cynthia Ng: CascadiaFest: CSS Morning Talks Part 1 Notes

Wed, 2015-07-08 22:10
First day of CascadiaFest is CSS day. Here are my notes from the first part of the morning talks. Alan Mooiman: CSS is dead, long live CSS There is a trend where we declare something dead much like a monarch. CSS Preprocessors clearly useful: code organization customizable DRY-ness They give you a lot of flexibility, … Continue reading CascadiaFest: CSS Morning Talks Part 1 Notes

Peter Sefton: This site is going to change! Again!

Wed, 2015-07-08 22:00

I’m planning to upgrade this site in the next couple of days, moving away from WordPress to a static site generated using Pelican.

If you have a feed reader set up then there is a chance that it will stop working. As far as I know the feeds are at:

  1. http://ptsefton.com/feed – An RSS feed, I’m going to redirect this to the one below. Your feed reader will probably cope. Feedly at least seems to be OK with redirects.
  2. http://ptsefton.com/feed/atom – This will be the only feed on the new site

If you care about keeping up with this thing (and I know some of you still do) then you might like to check back at the site and re-subscribe to the feed if it stops working. I’m planning another post tomorrow, so if you don’t see an update, check back next week. Or let me know what weird Wordpress feed URL you’re using apart from the above and I’ll add a redirect.

Why?
  • All the cool kids are doing it, static sites that is, although not necessarily using Pelican.
  • We’re changing the blog at work from WordPress to Pelican. We wanted:
    • To use a Python-based system cos Python is a standard language for researchers
    • To reduce our attack surface by getting rid of the script-kiddy’s favourite CMS.
    • To get some experience using Markdown for writing, cos that’s trending up in research-land, including looking at publications that pull in data in a reproducible kind of way
On this day in 2007

Ok, so it was a different day in 2007, but here’s what I wrote last time I made a big change here.

Nicole Engard: Bookmarks for July 8, 2015

Wed, 2015-07-08 20:30

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

  • Library Analytics Toolkit The Library Analytics Toolkit is a dashboard that pulls library data together in a way that allows both librarians and library users to identify and respond to trends and changes in collections, usage, and other data. It enables libraries to understand, analyze, and visualize the patterns of activities, including checkouts, returns, and recent acquisitions, and to do so across multiple libraries.

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The post Bookmarks for July 8, 2015 appeared first on What I Learned Today....

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District Dispatch: Landmark victory for school libraries and students today!

Wed, 2015-07-08 19:14

Photo credit: Francis W. Parker School (Chicago, IL).

Does your voice matter? Yes, it does!! It’s official and, incredibly, it’s virtually UNANIMOUS. Thanks in large part to the enthusiastic response to our call to action yesterday, and a boost from mega-author James Patterson, the U.S. Senate today voted 98 – 0 in favor of the bi-partisan Reed-Cochran Amendment to S. 1177, the Every Child Achieves Act of 2015! This amendment will explicitly make effective school library programs part of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act.

Prior to the vote, both Sens. Jack Reed (D-RI) and Thad Cochran (R-MS) spoke eloquently in support of this amendment and the importance of school libraries. Their work has been invaluable in garnering attention for the important role that an effective school library program plays in a student’s education.

BUT . . . while this is an important “win”, our work is not quite finished. Stay tuned as the bill moves forward! Next steps for this bill will be: continued discussion on the Senate floor, a Senate vote, and then — once the House has finished work on its own H.R. 5 — the House and Senate will appoint a conference committee to resolve any disagreements and arrive at a bill that both can agree on.
GO school libraries!!!

The post Landmark victory for school libraries and students today! appeared first on District Dispatch.

Harvard Library Innovation Lab: Link roundup July 8, 2015

Wed, 2015-07-08 19:02

This is the good stuff.

Why I Vote GIF

GIFs as emoji. Yup. Seems like that’s a good path.

The Fine Art of Forgery

As fragile … objects are rendered … plentiful, the benefits of accessibility are pitted against … authenticity

Stuff in Space

Very cool interactive map of all the space junk orbiting Earth.

As Bar Codes Replace Tickets, Something Is Lost Before the First Pitch

Printed tickets and date due slips have a lot in common.

A New Word on the Internet

The web is a subset.

LITA: Jobs in Information Technology: July 8, 2015

Wed, 2015-07-08 18:54

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

Online Learning Librarian, Pennsylvania State University Libraries, University Park, PA

Digital Anthology Encoding Specialist, The Folger Shakespeare Library, Washington, DC

Visit the LITA Job Site for more available jobs and for information on submitting a job posting.

OCLC Dev Network: WMS Collection Management API Update

Wed, 2015-07-08 14:00

An update to the WMS Collection Management API is scheduled for 7/26/2015.

pinboard: Prizewinners

Wed, 2015-07-08 01:05
2015 #LODLAM prize info up - enjoy @dannyarcher power of LOD mashup #musetech #code4lib #digitalhumanities

Code4Lib Journal: Connecting Historical and Digital Frontiers: Enhancing Access to the Latah County Oral History Collection Utilizing OHMS (Oral History Metadata Synchronizer) and Isotope

Wed, 2015-07-08 00:31
The University of Idaho Library received a donation of oral histories in 1987 that were conducted and collected by a local county historical society in the 1970s. The audio cassettes and transcriptions were digitized in 2013 and 2014, producing one of the largest digital collections of oral histories - over 300 interviews and over 569 hours - in the Pacific Northwest. To provide enhanced access to the collection, the Digital Initiatives Department employed an open-source plug-in called the Oral History Metadata Synchronizer (OHMS) - an XML and PHP driven system that was created at the Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History at the University of Kentucky Libraries - to deliver the audio MP3 files together with their  indexes and transcripts. OHMS synchronizes the transcribed text with timestamps in the audio and provides a viewer that connects search results of a transcript to the corresponding moment in the audio file. This article will discuss how we created the infrastructure by importing existing metadata, customized the interface and visual presentation by creating additional levels of access using complex XML files, enhanced descriptions using the Getty Art and Architecture Thesaurus for keywords and subjects, and tagged locations discussed in the interviews that were later connected to Google Maps via latitude and longitude coordinates. We will also discuss the implementation of and philosophy behind our use of the layout library Isotope as the primary point of access to the collection. The Latah County Oral History Collection is one of the first successful digital collections created using the OHMS system outside of the University of Kentucky.

DuraSpace News: REGISTER: Fedora 4 Workshop and User Group Meeting in Paris

Wed, 2015-07-08 00:00

Winchester, MA  A one-day Fedora 4 Workshop and User Group Meeting will be held on Sept. 25, 2015 in Paris, France. The event coincides with the Sixth RDA Plenary Meeting and will take place in the same venue–the Conservatoire national des arts et métiers. The agenda includes a Fedora 4 workshop, Fedora user group presentations from regional Fedora users, and will conclude with a wrap-up discussion. There is no charge for this event.

HangingTogether: Archivists should be key players in managing born-digital library materials

Tue, 2015-07-07 22:55

As an archivist, I’m acutely aware of the broad applicability of archivists’ skills and expertise to the challenges facing research libraries—challenges in areas beyond those traditionally seen as within the archivist’s purview. This has become increasingly true as we become more deeply enmeshed in the complexities of the digital age. In recent years I’ve observed many situations in which teams of expert librarians and technologists have experienced setbacks in managing born-digital materials due to issues that an archivist could have recognized and addressed at the outset. How so, you might ask?

For the long answer, read The Archival Advantage: Integrating Archival Expertise into Management of Born-digital Library Materials, hot off the press today from OCLC Research. For a quick overview, read on.

In this essay I argue for involving archivists in managing digital materials that may be neither acquired by nor in the custody of the archives; examples include research data, websites, and email. These three types of material have analog equivalents (lab notebooks, university newsletters, and correspondence), while others are in digital formats that do not (blogs, Twitter, wikis, and software). All of these types of material are within the scope of what research libraries should consider acquiring and preserving, particularly as our concept of the scholarly record evolves.

Archivists specialize in issues crucial for managing unique materials—i.e., those for which the original exists in a single location, multiple copies aren’t published and distributed, and a particular owner (whether an individual or an organization) owns and controls the content. Consider the extent to which the digital formats named above match these characteristics.

The essay focuses on ten areas of archival expertise, describing some of the complexities of each and posing sample questions that can arise in the digital context. Other research library staff may have skills that intersect, but these ten are part of an archivist’s daily routine.

  • Ownership
  • Donor relations
  • Intellectual property
  • Appraisal
  • Context of creation and use
  • Authenticity
  • Restrictions on access and use
  • Transfer of ownership
  • Permanence
  • Collection-level metadata

For instance, let’s look at some of the issues associated with donor relations.

The decision to donate one’s papers, or those of a loved one, can be an emotional experience. Archivists therefore carefully establish and build upon relationships of trust, negotiate terms of the donation, raise any pertinent legal issues, and discuss possible restrictions on sensitive material. Some donors ask pointed questions about how the institution will manage the materials. Relationships may continue for years and must be nurtured to ensure the institution’s reputation as a desirable home for others’ materials. Institutional archivists often must educate administrators and staff about the importance and benefits of transferring material to the repository. Large organizations usually have records retention schedules that stipulate which types of office records have permanent value and should be transferred to the archives when no longer actively in use. In working with donors of all types, archivists discuss the scope of materials that have sufficient value to be placed in the archives. Typically, only a small percentage of materials created are declared permanent and designated for transfer to the archives.

Any or all of these issues may pertain with a digital donation: Some sample questions: Should the deed of gift cover any special issues because of the digital format? Does it matter if the donor or anyone else has copies of all or significant portions of the digital material? Do we have to consult the donor before we recover deleted files? Do the digital records contain any personal information we should redact? What happens if we choose not to retain some material after acquiring it? With whom do we discuss these issues if the creator is deceased?

The descriptions and sample questions for each of the ten areas reveal the tip of the iceberg of an archivist’s expertise. Research libraries should take full advantage of archivists’ array of skills so that unpublished digital resources can be managed efficiently, effectively, and responsibly.

About Jackie Dooley

Jackie Dooley leads OCLC Research projects to inform and improve archives and special collections practice. Activities have included in-depth surveys of special collections libraries in the U.S./Canada and the U.K./Ireland; leading the Demystifying Born Digital work agenda; a detailed analysis of the 3 million MARC records in ArchiveGrid; and studying the needs of archival repositories for specialized tools and services. Her professional research interests have centered on the development of standards for cataloging and archival description. She is a past president of the Society of American Archivists and a Fellow of the Society.

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Library of Congress: The Signal: How Academics Manage their Personal Digital and Paper Information in their Digital Work Space

Tue, 2015-07-07 17:48

This is a guest post from Assistant Professor Kyong Eun Oh and Doctoral Student Vanessa Reyes, Simmons College School of Library and Information Science.

I asked them to share their research with readers of The Signal because some of the digital preservation challenges that Simmons College faces — and Oh and Reyes researched — hold true for many other colleges and universities: spreading awareness to professors and students about curating their own digital files. How can their institution help? Should their institution even help?

Vanessa Reyes, Simmons College. Photo by Vanessa Reyes.

As a part of our ongoing research project, Managing Paper-Based Personal Information in Our Digital World, we investigated the differences between managing personal digital information and personal paper-based information among academics. Advances in technology have affected personal archiving behaviors; what is relatively unknown is:

  • Which practices are being carried out by academics in managing different formats of personal information?
  • Is there is any preference for one format over the other?
  • What is the proportion of paper-based and digital personal information?
  • What are the strengths and weaknesses in managing two different formats?

Kyong Eun Oh, Simmons College. Photo by Anne Pepitone.

We recruited nine full-time faculty members in various disciplines, visited each of their offices and asked them to give a grand-tour of their offices while describing how they keep and manage their personal collections. Then we interviewed each of them about how they managed their personal paper-based and digital information in their offices.

A preliminary analysis of the results showed that regardless of discipline, professors predominantly kept personal digital information over personal paper-based information in their offices. Also professors maintained digital information for a longer period of time compared to paper-based information.

For example, Participant 8 stated, “So the electronic information, I basically have not stopped collecting them since I got a computer. I have a hard drive back in my apartment that has papers that I wrote for my freshman year. Paper-based information doesn’t tend to stick around that long.” The reason digital information items were kept longer seemed to be primarily because of the vast space available to store their digital information. For instance, Participant 9 said, “I’ve got, like, a gigabyte on my hard drive on my laptop. There’s no real reason to get rid of it.” These responses indicated the importance of having enough space to keep personal information.

The strengths of managing digital information, compared to paper-based information, included:

  • Easier management
  • Vast storage space
  • Accessibility
  • Findability
  • Ability to have multiple copies
  • Perceived longer lifespan.

For example, Participant 7 responded, “Digital information takes a lot less space and I think because the way I’m set up, it’s easier to organize and I always have it on backup.” In a similar vein, Participant 6 said, “Digital. I think it’s faster, it’s easier, it’s more ecological – how do you say, environmentally friendly, you know, you always have it there, you go back to your email and you do search.” These responses reveal the significance of easy management and findability of information in personal information management (PIM).

It also brings up a common issue in the digital preservation field, which is the importance of having personal digital information in a safe and accessible place, especially when there is no preservation plan. Based on the initial results from this study, we can think about the following questions to widen the conversation. (1) How many academics have a plan for maintaining their personal information? (2) If they have backups of their personal digital information, do they have a regular backup or maintenance schedule? To have digital information always available in a safe location, it is necessary to have an adequate plan or system that supports this. In the case of our study, no participants mentioned following a preservation plan for their personal digital documents or having a reliable system that supports preserving their personal information items.

We also found the weaknesses of managing digital information when compared to paper-based information. These included:

  • Difficulty in taking notes
  • Loss of physical interaction
  • Decreased readability
  • Less portability
  • Need to have a machine/device to access information
  • Loss of personal sentiment.

For example, Participant 8 mentioned that, “Sometimes, in meetings, it’s easier to just draw a quick few notes than trying to put things on the text in a way that I will be sure to remember that I put it there later, and it won’t just kind of blend in.” While describing what he/she likes about managing paper-based information, Participant 2 said, “Transportability, readability, and I have it. I don’t have to access it.” Participant 5 also mentioned that, “I think there’s something tangible and quantifiable and weighable about paper that evades the electronic forms of communication.” These statements showed that while managing digital information is easier that people still like to have a tangible relationship with paper, which is a unique characteristic of interacting with non-digital information.

What were mentioned as weaknesses of managing digital information files including “less portability” as well as “need to have a machine/device to access information” highlighted the importance of having a machine-independent storage, which can be accessed without using a particular machine, such as virtual spaces. For example, if the storage is virtual, personal digital information could be easily accessed independent from the physical location or device.

Investigating how professors manage their personal information has been fascinating. The issue of personal digital archiving on campus, especially among academics, is emerging as an important topic. As we found in our study, most academics in the digital age predominantly keep their personal data in digital formats, although they still manage paper-based information.

Our study suggests that it would be ideal for academics to have a content management system that:

  1. provides ample space
  2. is easily accessible from various locations
  3. preserves information securely
  4. has enhanced searching and sorting functions.

If academics can set up a privacy level for different personal information items, having this system as a campus-wide digital repository may also promote effective information sharing.

Another recommendation is to partner information professionals with academics to create a system based on academics’ needs. This will contribute to securely preserving academics’ scholarly work and supporting the productivity of academics.

What we have introduced here is a portion of our preliminary analysis of data. We aim to dig deeper and further examine this area to enrich our understanding of the practices of the academics’ PIM. We expect that the results from our research project will deepen our understanding of how academics manage their personal information. We also hope that this study will contribute to the development and design of various PIM systems, tools, and applications that support academics’ management of their personal information.

District Dispatch: Amendment to help save school libraries moving now!

Tue, 2015-07-07 17:29
Ask Your U.S. Senators to Support Vital Reed-Cochran Amendment to ESEA!

Today, the U.S. Senate will begin debate on modifying and reauthorizing the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), the federal government’s principal education statute. First up will be a bipartisan amendment crucial to school library funding by Sens. Jack Reed (D-RI) and Thad Cochran (R-MS).

Passing the “Reed-Cochran Amendment” (summarized here (pdf)) will help save and expand school libraries in every state in the nation by explicitly authorizing school districts to use ESEA funds to develop and foster effective school library programs . . . programs with certified school librarians at their core.

The Amendment already has the backing of Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN), Chair of the Senate’s Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee that unanimously approved the basic bill now before the Senate (S. 1177, Every Child Achieves Act of 2015) . . . but the Reed-Cochran Amendment needs at least 48 more votes to pass.

Across the United States, studies have demonstrated that students in schools with effective school library programs learn more, get better grades, and score higher on standardized tests than their peers in schools without such resources.

Now is the time to speak up for our children!

Author James Patterson supports school libraries!

The Reed-Cochran Amendment will provide vital assistance to local education authorities and schools in “developing effective school library programs to provide students an opportunity to develop digital literacy skills and to help ensure that all students graduate from high school prepared for postsecondary education or the workforce without the need for remediation.”

TODAY is the day! Please, take a moment to call your Senators’ offices NOW!

Just tell the staff member who answers that you urge the Senator to “vote YES on the Reed-Cochran Amendment to S. 1177!” It’s easy and it’s crucial. Please act now!

The post Amendment to help save school libraries moving now! appeared first on District Dispatch.

HangingTogether: Six Takeaways: Stewardship of the Evolving Scholarly Record

Tue, 2015-07-07 15:28

Over the past year, OCLC Research has been exploring the evolving scholarly record and its implications for libraries – see our June 2014 report The Evolving Scholarly Record, and the follow-on workshop series aimed at identifying new challenges in gathering, organizing, and curating the scholarly record.

The evolution of the scholarly record calls for a corresponding evolution in the stewardship strategies that ensure scholarly materials persist for many generations to come. This is the focus of our new OCLC Research report, Stewardship of the Evolving Scholarly Record: From the Invisible Hand to Conscious Coordination. The report describes some new directions in constructing reliable, trusted stewardship arrangements around the highly distributed and diverse outputs of contemporary scholarship.

In Stewardship of the Evolving Scholarly Record, we suggest that today’s scholarly record requires a shift to a new stewardship paradigm driven by conscious coordination. We hope you take the time to read the report, but for those who would like a preview, here are six takeaways:

1. The scholarly record is growing in volume, diversity, complexity, and the distribution of custodial responsibility. The result is a much deeper, more complete record of scholarly inquiry than what was captured in the past – and one that differs significantly from the traditional print-based scholarly record that library collections, services, and infrastructure have been built around. Today, the scholarly record is imperfectly approximated in the aggregate library resource, because libraries are not – and cannot – collect the full range of scholarly outputs that now comprise the evolving scholarly record.

2. Traditional, print-centric stewardship models relied on the “invisible hand” to secure the scholarly record. Stewardship of the print-based scholarly record was largely a byproduct of an uncoordinated, highly distributed, and duplicative process of managing local collections for local use. In the manner of Adam Smith’s invisible hand, the aggregation of many internally-directed, relatively autonomous efforts to maintain and preserve local collections led, unintentionally, to a socially beneficial outcome – the gathering and curation of the overall scholarly record. But the “invisible hand” approach to stewardship is inadequate for today’s scholarly record.

3. Future stewardship models require conscious coordination. Conscious coordination will replace the “invisible hand” as the guiding principle behind stewardship of the evolving scholarly record. The keys to conscious coordination are context, commitments, specialization, and reciprocity: local stewardship decisions will be informed by a broader, system-wide context, including how the local collection fits into a system-wide stewardship effort; declarations of stewardship commitments will be made around portions of the local collection on behalf not only of local users, but also a broader external stakeholder community; networks of distributed stewardship responsibilities will coalesce into a well-defined division of labor within cooperative arrangements, with libraries placing greater emphasis on specialization in collection-building; and reliable, relatively frictionless access to all scholarly materials distributed across the network will be obtained through robust, trusted resource-sharing arrangements.

4. Consciously-coordinated stewardship strategies need to right-scale consolidation, cooperation, and community mix. Implementing consciously-coordinated stewardship for the scholarly record leads to a number of important decision points around right-scaling. Right-scaling consolidation means optimizing the degree of concentration or centralization of the collections, services, and infrastructure involved in a particular stewardship effort. Right-scaling cooperation involves finding the appropriate number of participants in a coordinated stewardship activity, e.g., a small group of institutions, a consortium, a region, etc. Finally, right-scaling community mix is about leveraging benefits from diversifying stewardship partners beyond peer institutions or legacy associations.

5. Reducing transaction costs facilitates conscious coordination. Conscious coordination involves increased interaction with, and reliance on, external partners. Effective interaction comes with costs: for example, the costs of finding appropriate partners, negotiating agreements, setting up and maintaining governance mechanisms, monitoring and enforcing performance. In economics, the costs of interaction are called transaction costs. An important element of building robust stewardship strategies for the evolving scholarly record is identifying and minimizing transaction costs within cooperative stewardship arrangements.

6. Incentives to participate in consciously-coordinated stewardship should be linked to broader institutional priorities. Consciously-coordinated stewardship often requires academic libraries to collect locally, and share globally. This can conflict with the academic library’s traditional role as a service provider in support of its local university community, to the extent that individual libraries function less as autonomous local service hubs, and more like nodes in complex networks of specialization, mutual dependence, and collective responsibility. Preserving a clear institutional identity in such circumstances, as well as strengthening local stewardship incentives, requires close alignment of increasingly global stewardship commitments with broader institutional priorities.

Our report is only the beginning of a conversation. In it, we limit ourselves to describing the broad contours of what consciously-coordinated stewardship might look like for the evolving scholarly record. Much work remains to be done to translate these ideas into robust stewardship arrangements that will preserve the scholarly record in all of its diversity and complexity. Connecting users to the scholarly record is a fundamental part of an academic library’s mission. That mission has not changed, but the means by which it is achieved must evolve in concert with the scholarly record itself.

Consciously-coordinated stewardship of the scholarly record is part of a broader trend in the library community to move various activities, services, and infrastructure “above the institution” and into networks of cooperation and coordination. OCLC Research explores this trend in its Understanding the System-wide Library (USL) research theme. Please visit the USL home page for more information.

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.

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David Rosenthal: IIPC Preservation Working Group

Tue, 2015-07-07 15:00
The Internet Archive has by far the largest archive of Web content but its preservation leaves much to be desired. The collection is mirrored between San Francisco and Richmond in the Bay Area, both uncomfortably close to the same major fault systems. There are partial copies in the Netherlands and Egypt, but they are not synchronized with the primary systems.

Now, Andrea Goethals and her co-authors from the IIPC Preservation Working Group have a paper entitled Facing the Challenge of Web Archives Preservation Collaboratively that reports on a survey of Web archives' preservation activities in the following areas; Policy, Access, Preservation Strategy, Ingest, File Formats and Integrity. They conclude:
This survey also shows that long term preservation planning and strategies are still lacking to ensure the long term preservation of web archives. Several reasons may explain this situation: on one hand, web archiving is a relatively recent field for libraries and other heritage institutions, compared for example with digitization; on the other hand, web archives preservation presents specific challenges that are hard to meet. I discussed the problem of creating and maintaining a remote backup of the Internet Archive's collection in The Opposite of LOCKSS. The Internet Archive isn't alone in having less than ideal preservation of its collection. It's clear the major challenges are the storage and bandwidth requirements for Web archiving, and their rapid growth. Given the limited resources available, and the inadequate reliability of current storage technology, prioritizing collecting more content over preserving the content already collected is appropriate.

LITA: Online Surveys in Libraries: Tips and Strategies

Tue, 2015-07-07 13:00

Editor’s Note: This is part two of a two-part guest post on survey use in libraries by Celia Emmelhainz.

Learning the Craft of Surveys
  • Learn the craft. Survey-building is a craft, so study up on survey design. Luckily for you, there’s a free Coursera course on Questionnaire Design that started on June 1, 2015. I can attest that the lectures are useful.
  • Don’t be afraid to start small and develop more nuanced surveys over time. You’ll learn what sorts of questions and approaches actually work for you.
  • Consider representative, quota, or cluster sampling rather than trying to get responses from everyone. Don’t know what that is? Take Solid Science: Research Methods for free on Coursera, starting this August 31, 2015. It’s well worth it for library research.

Getting Responses
  • Why do this? Nobody wants to take surveys, unless they’re underemployed; is there a compelling reason they should take yours? Is the benefit really worth the collective time?
  • Keep it short. 
  • Seriously, the best way to get responses is to keep it to 4-5 focused questions.
  • A 20-30% response rate is good, especially if you don’t offer prizes. The more focused you can make the invitation look, the better your results may be.
Keep it Useful
  • Mix it Up. Don’t just ask the same questions over and over in a yearly survey. Unless your survey is well-designed by a social scientist, in line with the library’s strategic plan, and you have the tools to analyze longitudinal data, you’re not going to make good use of the data.
  • Don’t duplicate. Don’t collect data you could collect elsewhere (usage stats, gate counts). If you see that some questions don’t change much year to year, consider rotating questions in and out so that the survey stays both short and informative.
  • Always run a pilot: check your question wording with a few trial respondents before sending the whole thing out. Feel free to change or eliminate questions that aren’t returning useful answers.
  • Surveys get stronger if multiple institutions or social scientists do them together.
Good Survey Design
  • Important stuff first. Put demographic questions on the last page; getting topical the topic is usually more important.
  • Get partial data. Even when you put the important things first, unfinished surveys are normal. Choose a survey program that captures partially-completed pages. SurveyMonkey doesn’t return page results until respondents click ‘next’, while SurveyGizmo seems to capture even partial pages.
  • Consider your pages. The fewer pages you have, the more likely people will complete the survey. But if one page has too many questions, they may also stop. It’s a balancing act!
  • Stay phone-savvy. Check how easy the survey is for smartphone users. I learned the hard way that a long survey may scare mobile users away.
Survey Ethics
  • Get IRB Review. If you plan to publish or present results as ‘scientific research,’ submit the survey to your campus IRB board. An anonymous survey may be judged as ‘exempt’ from further review, but at least you’ve had the IRB take a look.
  • And/or, respect ethical principles. Often customer surveys, usability studies, educational surveys, or personal surveys of friends online don’t require an ethics review. But it’s good to live by the Belmont Principles anyway: design surveys that respect individuals, are just, do no harm, and benefit others.
  • Even if there is no ethics review required, maximize the benefit and minimize the harm.
  • Don’t collect identifying data. Google Apps and Qualtrics let you extract usernames or demographic data from campus accounts—but that’s likely a violation of privacy. Don’t collect data that could be leaked, and safeguard the data you do collect.
Survey Analysis and Results
  • Have a goal. As my colleague Amanda Rinehart has recommended: a library survey is strongest if you can map each question to a specific hypothesis. Don’t just throw questions into the dark; instead, make sure you can act on the answers to each question you ask.
  • Think before questioning. If analyzing by gender, race, or age isn’t useful, don’t ask those questions. Keep questions closely tied to your hypothesis or survey goal, as you can always survey a different subset of users later.
  • Show the value. Value the time others put into your surveys; make sure you do something for users with the results, and make the link clear!

Any other suggestions? Add them to the comments below!

Celia Emmelhainz is the social sciences data librarian at the Colby College, and leads a collaborative blog for data librarians at databrarians.org. She has worked on library ethnography and survey projects, and currently studies qualitative data archiving, data literacy, and global information research. Find her at @celiemme on twitter, or in the Facebook databrarians group.

Terry Reese: MarcEdit OSX Public Build #2

Tue, 2015-07-07 04:53

Interesting thing about software development — everything can work so great within your own environments, but then be so uneven once they move outside of them.  The variable that changed — real data…and that’s why you make things available for folks to play with.

First, thanks to those that downloaded the preview and gave it a whirl.  I got responses that ranged from — looks great, when will [my favorite missing function] be ported to, I tried click on this button and things crashed.  The crashing was something I didn’t expect — but it was a good lesson in making sure that all user data is validated.  I took for granted that all data passed between the API components would be OK — and it wasn’t, and when it wasn’t, problems ensued, which could not be fixed without resetting the config settings manually (which made me realize I need to ensure this can be done automatically like in the Windows/Linux version).

So, I had a late night ahead of me for some unrelated reasons, and I took a crack and hardening the validation and making the portions of the program that accept user data more fault tolerant.  And, I’m back to the point where I can’t break it…so, I’ll let you all take another crack at it.

If you downloaded the preview yesterday — the first time you open the program, you’ll be notified that a new version is available.  You can click on the download button and follow the link.  Otherwise, you can download the program from the downloads page.

Download Page URL: http://marcedit.reeset.net/downloads
Direct Link: http://marcedit.reeset.net/software/MarcEdit.dmg

Change log is below

–tr

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1.0.7 ChangeLog
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* Bug Fix: Open/Save Dialog Validation — These functions were not validating user data and this was causing problems. These functions now validate data, and if they cannot recover from an error, will simply return a blank value.
* Bug Fix: Run Tasks — Some of the task elements were not running. This has been corrected.
* Bug Fix: Window flashing when running tasks — this still exists a little bit (small flicker), but prior, windows were opening and staying open on each task element.
* Bug Fix: Change File prompt not being run on close – this occurred when an update was made that returned zero results. The value that managed data changes was cleared, and the window was allowed to close without prompt. This has been corrected.
* Bug Fix: The about page wasn’t listing the names that supported this development. This was a regression due to some changes made to how this particular UI component renders. This has been corrected.
* Enhancement: MARC Tools — when select a file to process, the program autofills the save file with the appropriate extension.
* Enhancement: MARC Tools — the Edit File button is now enabled after breaking
* Enhancement: Document Types — I’ve enabled document type support within the program. The application does not yet self register file extensions to the application, but if you associate the .mrc or .mrk files with the application, it will now handle opening these files correctly.

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