planet code4lib

Syndicate content
Planet Code4Lib - http://planet.code4lib.org
Updated: 15 weeks 6 days ago

Ng, Cynthia: Code4Lib 2014: Day 3 Lightning Talks

Thu, 2014-03-27 15:06
Lightning talks on Day 3 of Code4Lib. Bplgeo: A Geocoding Gem – Steven Anderson Why? * geographic data is neat, but unstructured and lacks standardization * names are great for faceting * great for plugins with coordinates Steps * just clone * mapquest not so great * bundle install * just added Code Boiling a […]

Ng, Cynthia: Code4Lib 2014: Closing Keynote

Thu, 2014-03-27 14:11
Interview with Valerie Aurora Had a moment when realized how great it felt to be talking to other women about the technology was working with. Could no longer encourage women to go into an area where women will get harassed. Gender Difference Libraries female dominated, but IT area is mostly male dominated. The female/male thing […]

Chen, Sean: org-mode ctrl-a & ctrl-e

Thu, 2014-03-27 03:14

I had been using a customized ctrl-a and ctrl-e (beginning-of-line and end-of-line) in my Emacs.

(defun smart-beginning-of-line ()
"Move point to first non-whitespace character or beginning-of-line.

If point was already at that position, move point to beginning of line."
(interactive)
(let ((oldpos (point)))
(back-to-indentation)
(and (= oldpos (point))
(beginning-of-line)
)))

Those of you who are OS X users: are basic Emacs keybindings which out of the box bound in a similar way.

Org-mode has been my note taking, todo list, and everything for a while. But one thing has been that the keybindings haven’t quite been right. Instead of going to the logical beginning of a heading (the text)

* Tasks

Should go to the beginning of the T in Tasks, in Org-mode the cursor would jump to the systematic beginning of the line. Uhuh, that makes sense but it isn’t what my brain _really_ wants.

Thus the amaziness of org and having a setting for everything

org-special-ctrl-a/e

Which smartly moves the cursor to where it should belong.

Thus the doctoring speaketh:

org-special-ctrl-a/e is a variable defined in `org.el'.
Its value is t
Original value was nil

Documentation:
Non-nil means `C-a' and `C-e' behave specially in headlines and items.

When t, `C-a' will bring back the cursor to the beginning of the
headline text, i.e. after the stars and after a possible TODO
keyword. In an item, this will be the position after bullet and
check-box, if any. When the cursor is already at that position,
another `C-a' will bring it to the beginning of the line.

`C-e' will jump to the end of the headline, ignoring the presence
of tags in the headline. A second `C-e' will then jump to the
true end of the line, after any tags. This also means that, when
this variable is non-nil, `C-e' also will never jump beyond the
end of the heading of a folded section, i.e. not after the
ellipses.

When set to the symbol `reversed', the first `C-a' or `C-e' works
normally, going to the true line boundary first. Only a directly
following, identical keypress will bring the cursor to the
special positions.

This may also be a cons cell where the behavior for `C-a' and
`C-e' is set separately.

You can customize this variable.

 


Hellman, Eric: The Asterisk behind NYPL and Bookish

Thu, 2014-03-27 01:28
Joe Regal grew up in a family that moved around. Granger, Indiana.  Lewiston, New York. Towanda, Pennsylvania. In every town there was a library, which young Joe would seek out as a haven of virtual stability. Regal remembers that in Fairfield, Connecticut, he picked up Breakfast of Champions, because the cover looked like a cereal box. He opened it and was thrilled to discover, right there on page 5, the "drawing" of an anus/asterisk. And the text of Kurt Vonnegut's novel was even more subversive than the drawing.
"Vonnegut was one of those writers who made me feel less alone.  He also made me understand that it was OK to break the rules, because often the rules were insane.  That message - captured even in the asterisk/anus drawing, though of course more deeply, richly, and powerfully in the actual writing! - meant so much to me at 13, it's hard to convey or even fully remember the totality of it.  The freedom, the sense that you could explore without fear of punishment or retribution - that's a lot of what the library meant to me as a kid.  It's easy for us to forget as adults that a book can literally save your life. Or even on a more prosaic level, if there was literally no cost to taking out a book, I could take out anything without worrying whether it was right for me. I could browse, read a bit, take it out, get bored, return it."As an adult Joe Regal translated his passion for books to a successful career as a literary agent. He believed so deeply in Audrey Niffenegger's The Time Travelers Wife that he ignored countless rejections until he found a publisher for it. ("I do not publish science-fiction." was the complete text of one rejection.)

As an agent, Regal could see first-hand what ebooks and Amazon were doing to the ability of authors, publishers and bookstores to sustain their livelihoods. He thought about what an seller of ebooks could and should be. There should be space for curation and community. Authors should be able to connect with readers. As he talked with others about his ideas, the concept of a new kind of website for ebooks began to take shape. (I got to know Regal and his family around this time.)

A few years later, Zola Books is a reality. Initially funded by friends of Regal (including Niffenegger), Zola has recently closed a $5.1 million seed round. The round includes a variety of authors and prominent individual investors led by Charles Dolan, founder of Cablevision and HBO. Even considering the funding, Zola's ambition is breathtaking. They've built a commerce platform like BN.com, a social platform like GoodReads, an HTML epub reader with proprietary DRM (not yet launched), and partner curation tools like- (stretching a bit) sort of a TripAdvisor for books. Not to mention a solid catalog of ebooks.

A recommendation engine has been a big space on the Zola development roadmap from the beginning. It's not easy technology, so when the recommendation engine built by Bookish became available (along with the Bookish website) at a fraction of its development cost, Zola, newly funded and in a hurry, snapped it up at a bargain-basement price.

The Bookish recommendation engine uses "finger-prints" of books in its algorithm. In other words, it works more like Pandora than like Netflix. The fingerprints are not just metadata and are not just text analysis, but use elements of both along with human-powered analysis.

recommendations for
Breakfast of ChampionsOn Monday, New York Public Library announced that it had integrated the Bookish-powered recommendation engine into their NYPL BiblioCommons-powered web catalog, fulfilling Regal's dream of being able to give back to the libraries he loved growing up, opening up unexpected books like Breakfast of Champions to new generations of readers.  The recommendations are live on the NYPL website, so you can decide for yourself if the recommendations are good or not. I found them to be intriguing, at least.

Apparently NYPL has been looking to add a recommendation feature to its website for a few years. They tracked potential partners along with Bookish to determine the best option, and had the benefit of seeing some advance demos before "Bookish Recommends" launched online. NYPL was impressed by Bookish's "big data back-end" and that it was not driven by sales; the number of titles the it covered at the outset was impressive.  NYPL will be assessing  performance over the first year to ensure that the recommendations are valuable to readers.

According to Patrick Kennedy, Co-founder and President at BiblioCommons,
"The background to this story is the interest a number of libraries have shared with us in broadening their role as a source of book recommendations in their communities.  The initiative will allow for better visibility and sharing of librarian recommendations and reviews, the integration of other third-party recommendations databases such as LibraryThing and NoveList.  Our goal is provide a neutral platform that allows libraries to integrate the sources of their choice.  In all cases the integration API is made available by the third parties to BiblioCommons with the understanding that any library on the BiblioCommons platform may license the content."Zola is hoping to make the Bookish API widely available to libraries and is considering a variety of licensing models. As Kennedy points out, there are recommendation services already available to libraries. The LibraryThing service (marketed by Bowker), is based on activities in the LibraryThing social network and is incredibly deep; the NoveList service from EBSCO takes a more traditional reader's advisory approach. The Bookish recommendation engine may not be based on sales the way Amazon's is, but if it doesn't help Zola sell ebooks, it will die. Can the mission of a library be advanced by using a tool whose ultimate purpose is to sell books? Or does it depend on the sort of bookseller behind the tool?

This conflict is probably why booksellers and libraries haven't been sharing as much book information infrastructure as you might expect. A library has different goals for a recommendation system than does a bookseller. Libraries need to steer users toward books of their collection that are less used, while booksellers need to present the user with books that the patron is most likely to buy. Which might ALWAYS be 50 Shades or Hunger Games.

But bookselling and libraries are both changing rapidly. With the big-box bookstore dying before their eyes, publishers are scrambling to find ways to continue putting books in front of readers. One possibility is that libraries will respond to this need and evolve a closer connection to commerce, and that booksellers will figure out how to tighten their connections to communities and their libraries. The alternative is that libraries and ebookstores grow apart to serve very different populations and needs – Amazon Prime and library subprime, if you will.

My guess is that libraries sharing infrastructure with booksellers will become the norm rather than the exception it is now. Monday's announcement by NYPL and Zola is more than just a website usability widget, it's about a vision of what libraries and booksellers can become. Zola has sent a love letter to the library world.
Notes
  1. Bookish.com started out as a joint venture of Penguin, Hachette, and Simon & Schuster. Bookish spent a vast amount of money developing the site.
  2. Competition between LibraryThing and Bookish might well lead to some changes. Bookish uses some content from LibraryThing, such as reviews, on its website. When Bookish launched, LibraryThing founder Tim Spalding wrote Besides reviews, Bookish has access to some other LibraryThing data, including edition disambiguation and recommendations. A glance at their recommendations, however, will show you that they're not using them "cold," but as some sort of factor."
  3. I wrote about BiblioCommons when they came out of stealth a few years ago. They've won the business of some very high profile public Libraries, NYPL and Seattle Public Library included. They have the big  benefit of starting from scratch with current web technology, and as a result have been innovating quickly.
  4. I took a look at how the integration was done. The Bookish API is a straightforward REST and JSON with access keys. ISBN-based queries such as

    http://api.bookish.com/recapi/api/v1/recommendations?maxItems=15&token=<token>&apiKey=<key>&isbn13s=9780670024902

    return JSON like:
    [{
      "basic": {
        "isbn13": "9780671742515",
        "bookUrl": "http://www.bookish.com/books/long-dark-tea-time-of-the-soul-douglas-adams-9780671742515/<token>",
        "imageUrl": "http://images.bookish.com/covers/m/9780671742515.jpg",
        "title": "Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul",
        "subtitle": "",
        "authors": ["Douglas Adams"]
      }
    }]

    The library-side integration done by BiblioCommons is ajaxy and javascript based; a javascript calls the api, pulls out the ISBNs and sends them back to BiblioCommons, which checks for the recommended ISBN in the catalog. A list of holdings is sent back to the browser for rendering. It looks like Bibliocommons itself does not call the bookish API, which could lend itself to easier integration with other recommender APIs.
  5. Another interesting recommender system in the library world is bX from ExLibris. It's a usage based system focused on article links, rather than books. Currently, bX will return book recommendations based on articles, but doesn't provide recommendations based on books.
  6. Don't confuse Bookish.com, the company acquired by Zola Books with booki.sh, the company acquired by Overdrive
  7. Not that we haven't had this problem at unglue.it, but why does NYPL list Robert Egan as the author of the ebook version of Breakfast of Champions? (Update: Answer from Amy Geduldig at NYPL- "The catalog entry here refers to the play Breakfast of Champions by Robert Egan, which is based on the novel by Vonnegut, but in and of itself is a different work, which is why Egan is listed as the author. ")
  8. All the book links in this post point at the NYPL BiblioCommons catalog so you can see try out Bookish Recommends for yourself.

Ng, Cynthia: Code4Lib 2014: Day 2 Afternoon

Wed, 2014-03-26 21:14
Afternoon presentations on Day 2 afternoon of Code4Lib 2014. Bulding for others (and ourselves): the Avalon Media System Michael B. Klein and Julie Rudder Avalon allows you to injest and provide access to video and audio. Community Feedback is Important! Added LTI (Learning Tools Interoperability) Sorry, you’ll have to look at (hopefully posted) notes/slides. Someone […]

Engard, Nicole: Bookmarks for March 26, 2014

Wed, 2014-03-26 20:30

Today I found the following resources and bookmarked them on <a href=

  • commandlinefu.com commandlinefu.com is the place to record those command-line gems that you return to again and again.

Digest powered by RSS Digest

The post Bookmarks for March 26, 2014 appeared first on What I Learned Today....

No related posts.

In the Library, With the Lead Pipe: Books Behind Bars: A Volunteer-run Prison Library Service in Winnipeg, Manitoba

Wed, 2014-03-26 18:00

Manitoba Library Association Prison Library Committee

In Brief: Beginning the summer of 2012, a group Canadian librarians in Winnipeg came together to discuss the lack of library services in the prison system in the province of Manitoba. The newly formed Prison Library Committee started a weekly drop-in library service at the Winnipeg Remand Centre (WRC) located in Winnipeg, Manitoba. This article will explore the importance of prison library services in the current context of prisons in Canada through our grassroots voluntary prison library service.

Introduction

As I sit down to write this article my mind floats back to a conference I recently attended on the topic of literacy and incarcerated youth. The focus was on increasing awareness of low literacy levels among “at-risk youth” in Canada and what changes would support these youth in developing literacy skills. A panel of people in executive positions in justice and non-profit organizations lamented the lack of communication between organizations, the lack of funding, the startling numbers of Aboriginal and new immigrant youth being incarcerated in Canada, and the enormous costs. While I left that panel without any solutions, it did provide me with insight into the types of discussions that are happening at high levels.

What is being talked about by many people is the need for change in the Canadian justice system.  The prison library project explained in this article is not an answer to these big questions.  It is simply a response to the fact that there was no library service in a prison located in downtown Winnipeg. This article will explore our grassroots prison library project and touch on some of the complex issues surrounding working with people who are serving time.

Prison Libraries in Canada

I would like to provide some context around the prison system in Canada and who is being incarcerated in our society. Statistics from the Office of the Correctional Investigator state that a third of inmates have a need for mental health treatment and three out of four have substance abuse issues. According to the report by Sapers, Aboriginal people make up 22% of the federal prison population but make up only about 4% of the general population. Aboriginal women make up 33.6% of federally sentenced women (Office of the Correctional Investigator, 2013). In addition, the number of Aboriginal people in Canadian federal prisons has gone up by more than 40% over the last 10 years, are over-represented in solitary confinement, and are kept behind bars for longer periods than non-Aboriginal inmates (2013). An inquiry into this unjust situation was conducted in 1999 (led by Justice Murray Sinclair) but 15 years later the number of Aboriginal people in prison has continued to increase, suggesting that the structural racism of the system has not changed.

In 2001, a national survey of libraries in federal prisons was undertaken by Ann Curry of University of British Columbia and colleagues Kris Wolf, Sandra Boutilier, and Helen Chan. The survey found that overall, prison libraries were meeting the needs of people in prison, however there was a great deal of variation among the sample and all of the libraries could use more resources and funding (2003). Since this survey, funding for libraries and for the staff to run them has been slashed. Despite the common perception that prisons have fully functioning libraries, many in Canada do not.

Many prisons do have a room with books in it or a small collection of books but do not have an information professional working there. This is often due to budget cuts or assigning the library work to a teacher who is already working in the institution. There is a directive by Correctional Services of Canada for the institution to provide library services which reflect the services provided in the community including computer resources (2007). In the news we hear of prison libraries closing and anecdotes from other librarians that demonstrate that this directive is not being adhered to.

When our committee first approached the Remand Centre in Winnipeg, there was no library in the building and just a few copies of books floating around brought in by prison staff members and from outside prisoner support organizations such as John Howard Society and Elizabeth Fry Society.

Winnipeg Remand Centre Open Library Project

Every day on my way to work in a downtown public library I walk by the Winnipeg Remand Centre. Every day thousands of downtown workers pass by the Remand. It is a tall building with dark windows which reflect the sky. Many of us don’t think about the hundreds of people inside.

The Remand Centre is a maximum security prison built in 1992 to hold approximately 290 people. The Remand has been consistently over-capacity for year and the average number of people serving time there has risen from 329 in 2005 to 406 in 2012 (CBC, 2012). This increase in numbers is disturbing. Overcrowding is a real issue for those who are incarcerated. Effective library services within this institution would provide some distractions from the very difficult situation people are being forced to live in. A small but eager group of librarians and library technicians (public, academic and special) decided not to ignore those people in the Remand.

For two hours every Saturday evening we turn the room usually reserved for people to meet with their lawyers into an ‘open library.’ We open up two cupboards full of books organized by genre and bring in a large cupboard on wheels which is also stocked with books. We pull out a sign that says “Welcome to the WRC Library,” tape it up on the wall, and rearrange tables and chairs. We use the tables to create book displays depending on what books are in stock.

Once we are all set up, we let the guard know they can bring groups down. The Remand divides people into men’s and women’s units and then into units based on gang affiliation to keep tensions lower. The unit the guards refer to as ‘trustees’ are those who get the privileges of doing work such as helping prepare meals, do laundry, and clean. We never see those who are in solitary but sometimes are asked to send a book or two up to them. The different groups cycle down based on a schedule. Sometimes the guards will come back and tell us no one feels like coming or there are family visits happening at the same time. Sometimes we will get up to 4 groups of 10 people in a row-half an hour per group.

When the patrons come into our open library they browse the displays, sit around and chat with us or each other, and choose three or four books each. We don’t track anything being taken—people can simply take the books with them. Even if they end up leaving or moving to a different institution, we tell them they can take the book if they aren’t finished with it. Otherwise, they can send it back to the library. It is a very basic service and has the primary goal of connecting readers with books they will enjoy. Within the grind of prison life this has the possibility to be a powerful connection.

Collections

Our collection is made up of items that were weeded from the public library’s collection, brand new or used books bought with donations from individuals and a small grant from the Manitoba Library Association, and books donated by supportive community members. Led by a dedicated collection development volunteer who is an experienced public librarian, we come together to sort by genre and label the books with a series of coloured dots to represent popular fiction categories such as mystery, science fiction, and romance. We base our collection development on the requests of our patrons tempered with the restrictions placed on us by the Remand. We scour used book sales to find copies of In Search of April Raintree by Beatrice Culleton Mosionier, our most requested book. Biographies, mysteries, and thrillers are very popular with patrons, as are works relating to self-help and addiction. As librarians, we work to get these books into our patron’s hands and constantly bring in new books in good condition.

One of the barriers prison librarians face is censorship. Longtime prison librarian and author Brenda Vogel terms collection development in prison libraries as a “collision with the absurd” (p. 42). There are many items which are not allowed into prisons and these restrictions are often based on antiquated ideas of what books those serving time “should” be reading. We have never been shown a guide to which books aren’t allowed past the Remand doors, but staff go through the books as they arrive in their weekly delivery. We base the collection on what we have been told during our orientation: there are no magazines allowed at Remand and no hardcovers. As a rule, books that fall into the true crime genre are not allowed, despite the fact that these books are often told from the perspective of victims of crime and may actually be insightful. Generally, our collection development volunteers follow a user-driven collection model. We take suggestions from our patrons at every open library and build off of these to create a collection that is appealing to them within this structured environment.

Many of our patrons have a love for reading, some are looking to learn new skills, and some are just bored. Many of the members of the committee have a love for reading and have had that magical experience of the right book at the right time—that book that you can identify with and takes you away or allows you to more fully investigate your own life. This is what we seek to provide for inmates through our collection.

Creating Space

The purpose of this article is to describe the library service I and other volunteers have worked on. This project, however, cannot be taken out of the context of historical and contemporary colonial trauma collectively experienced by Aboriginal people in Canada and systemic racism and the myriad forms of resistance. The justice system, as was shown in the Aboriginal Justice Report and by many other prison activists, is working against Aboriginal and racialized people in Canada. This can be seen on a global level as well—justice is not blind.

In the past year, we have started to use our two hour time slots for author talks and writing workshops, the first of which involved Niigaanwewidam Sinclair – a local Anishinaabe (Ojibway) academic and activist. For this event, Sinclair chose to read an excerpt from the book “Manitowapow: Aboriginal Writings from the Land of Water,” a collection of writings from Indigenous people across Manitoba. Over the course of an evening, the book was discussed with two groups of patrons, many of whom knew some of the contributors within the book, creating a personal connection within the context of the session. Sinclair made known to those in attendance that these stories were their stories—a potentially life changing thing to hear while incarcerated. For our patrons at the Remand, this brought a new and exciting dynamic to the open library experience, and because of the success of this session, we are looking to continue to host writers and speakers as we develop this project.

Still, I am not tragic

Not even in my addicted moments

A needle hanging from the vein of my creased arm

I was not tragic

Even as I jump from a boat in a vain attempt to join my ancestors

I am not tragic

Even in my disconnection from song, from dance,

I am not tragic

Even in seeing you as privileged,

As an occupier of my homeland in my homeless state

Even as men abduct as I hitchhike along these new highways

To disappear along this lonely colonial road

I refuse to be tragic

I have included an excerpt of Indigenous writer Lee Maracle’s Poem Blind Justice. I strongly encourage you to click through for the full piece. Maracle’s words point to the difficult relationship we can encounter as a volunteer in the prison system.  On a basic level, our committee opens a couple of cupboards filled with books and we wait for people to take them out and talk about the books with them. Prison librarian Brenda Vogel writes about the possibility to make a difference: “You are guaranteed to make a difference in the life of anyone who lives in a prison or jail by opening the door to a room filled with books or by distributing free reading material to someone sitting in a cell or lying on a bunk in a housing dorm” (Vogel, 175).  Niigaanwewidam Sinclair referred to our committee as a group of “brave librarians” who provide this library service in the prison. I appreciate this, as I think he meant it in the sense that we brave the often complicated and bureaucratic system in order to provide books to people who are seeking a connection, whether it is to a story or a conversation, or both.

Being involved in the prison library project has provided many insights for volunteers and we have received many gifts from working with people serving time. For those of us who are white and able bodied, we experience being inside of the prison in particular ways. Many of us are identifiable as “helpers” coming in and we would never be mistaken for inmates. It is easy to get stuck on thinking only about our successes and see our project as something that is “better than nothing.” We are offering a very limited service using volunteers for something that prison librarians should be funded to do. This is the nature of the system we are working in. The underlying power dynamic is always present but sometimes we can fool ourselves into thinking we are all equal. But we aren’t, some of us in the room aren’t able to leave. However, as Maracle so beautifully says “Still, I am not tragic” and to see the people we are working with as tragic is to accept the dominant narratives around those in prison. It has also been an incredible gift to work with some of the people who are inside who are so resilient and are survivors of things many of us can’t even imagine.

Looking Ahead

Currently the Prison Library Committee is working on building a library service at the Women’s Correctional Institution in Headingley, Manitoba which is about a half hour drive from downtown Winnipeg. This facility will require a different model to get the books to the women. There is a library space, however, we are not allowed to have the women come up to the space to check books out due to some internal issues within the prison. Instead, we will have bi-weekly book talks, with volunteers bringing books to classrooms for women to choose from. We also plan to offer author talks in this institution. In addition to our volunteer projects in the prisons, a number of librarians from across Canada are part of a newly formed network under the Canadian Library Association. We will be communicating and sharing information about our challenges and successes through an email list-serve.

In a time of “tough on crime” legislation, increasingly harsh sentences for property crimes and drug offenses, and the stripping down of services to the incarcerated, librarians such as ourselves need to be speaking out about these realities. Our volunteer run open library is something, but it is not enough.

For more information on the Winnipeg-based Prison Library Committee: http://www.mla.mb.ca/content/prison-library-committee

Disclaimer: Not everyone on the Prison Library Committee may share the same views expressed in this article.

Many thanks to Sarah Clark whose work this article is based on. Thanks to Ellie Collier as my In the Library with the Lead Pipe editor for her dedication and expert editing to help me create this article and to Kathleen Houlihan for her thought provoking and insightful comments as an external editor. Thanks to the Prison Library Committee for enabling me to explore this project through writing and to Syrus Ware for inspiration.

References:

CBC News (2012, Feb 7). Winnipeg Remand Centre well over capacity. Retrieved from: http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/manitoba/winnipeg-remand-centre-well-over-capacity-1.1224048

Correctional Service Canada (2007). Education programs and services for offenders. Retrieved from: http://www.csc-scc.gc.ca/text/plcy/cdshtm/720-cde-eng.shtml

Curry, A., Wolf, K., Boutilier, S., & Chan, H. (2003). Canadian federal prison libraries: a national survey.  Journal of Librarianship and Information Science, 35(3), 141-152.

Maracle, L. (2013). Blind Justice. Decolonization: Indigeneity, Education & Society, 2(1), 134-136.

Office of the Correctional Investigator (2013). Annual report of the office of the correctional investigator: 2012-2013. Retrieved from: http://www.oci-bec.gc.ca/cnt/rpt/pdf/annrpt/annrpt20122013-eng.pdf

Vogel, B. (2009).The prison library primer: A program for the twenty-first century. Lanham, Maryland: Scarecrow Press.

LITA: Jobs in Information Technology: March 26

Wed, 2014-03-26 17:24

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

Knowledge Librarian, Cigna,  Any Region

Technology Manager, Scott County Public Library, Georgetown,  KY

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

Ng, Cynthia: Code4Lib 2014: Day 2 Lightning Talks

Wed, 2014-03-26 15:56
Lightning Talks on Day 2 of Code4Lib 2014. Paired Programming – Carolyn Cole and Michael Tribone two coders working together two with disparate skills – back end person & front end/web person UI needed to look decent fast worked together looking at code snippets I spent a short amount of time with twilio – Mark […]

LITA: LITA Updates

Wed, 2014-03-26 15:56

This update includes information about the following:

  • Election is open
  • April Online Learning Opportunities
  • Annual Conference Highlights
  • LITA members named LJ Movers & Shakers
  • Two new guides now available
  • Staff change

2014 Election is open

If you were a LITA member in good standing as of January 31, 2014, you have been or will be notified by email with a unique passcode and information about how to vote. The election remains open through April 25, 2014, 11:59 pm Central time.

On May 2nd, the Election Committee will meet at the ALA offices to certify the election. The results will be released following that meeting.

April Online Learning Opportunities

  • All Aboard – the Party’s Starting! Setting a Course for Social Media Success.
    This two hour webinar on April 2nd provides a template for creating a comprehensive plan for social media usage and assessment, with an emphasis on creating a meaningful voice and a compelling personality. For registration and additional information, visit the course page.
  • Getting Started with GIS.
    This is a three week course where participants will gain knowledge of popular online mapping resources, the ability to create an online map, an introduction to GIS, GIS software and GIS data, and, an awareness of how other libraries are incorporating GIS technology into their library services and projects. For registration and additional information, visit the course page

Annual Conference Highlights

The 2014 Annual Conference in Las Vegas begins with three f2f learning opportunities offered to everyone who wants to attend. In other words, you can register for these workshops only or you can add them to your conference registration. Register online through June 20 for

  • Managing Data: Tools for Plans and Data Scrubbing,
  • Practical Linked Data with Open Source,
  • Web Therapy.

If you are attending Annual Conference, please do plan to attend the LITA Open House on Friday, June 27 at 3:00, the “Sunday Afternoon with LITA” which includes the Top Technology Trends program at 1:00, the LITA Awards Ceremony at 3:00 immediately followed by the President’s Program featuring Kimberly Bryant, founder of Black Girls Code. The programming is followed by the LITA Happy Hour at 5:30. For additional information, visit the LITA conference page.

LJ Movers & Shakers

The following LITA members were selected by Library Journal for their annual recognition as Movers & Shakers:

Rachel Vacek was identified as an innovator.

Laura Damon-Moore was identified as a change agent.

Sarah Sagmoen and Susan Lyon were identified as marketers.

Kyle Denlinger was identified as a tech leader.

Please join me in congratulating these members on being recognized by LJ.

Two New Guides Now Available

“Makerspaces Top Trainblazing Projects” by Caitlin A Bagley, and, “Responsive Web Design for Libraries” by Matthew Reidsma have been recently published. More details and order capability is provided through the ALA Store.

Staff Change

Melissa Prentice is now the Manager of Public Services at the Mead Public Library in Sheboygan, Wisconsin. Melissa has served the LITA membership for more than seven years. Please join us in wishing Melissa all the best in her new job

I encourage you to connect with LITA by:

  1. Exploring our web site.
  2. Subscribing to the LITA-L email discussion list.
  3. Visiting the LITA blog and LITA Division page on ALA Connect.
  4. Connecting with us on Facebook and Twitter.
  5. Reaching out to the LITA leadership at any time.

Please note:  the Information Technology and Libraries (ITAL) journal is available to you and to the entire profession.  ITAL features high-quality articles that undergo rigorous peer-review as well as case studies, commentary, and information about topics and trends of interest to the LITA community and beyond.
If you have any questions or wish to discuss any of these items, please do let me know.
All the best,

Mary
Mary Taylor, Executive Director

Library and Information Technology Association (LITA)
50 E. Huron, Chicago, IL 60611
800-545-2433  x4267
312-280-4267 (direct line)
312-280-3257 (fax)
mtaylor@ala.org

www.lita.org

Join us in Albuquerque, November 5-8, 2014 for the LITA Forum. The theme is “Transformation: From Node to Network”

LITA: LITA Preconferences

Wed, 2014-03-26 15:05
LITA Preconferences: Friday, June 27, 8:30am – 4:00pm Managing Data: Tools for Plans and Data Scrubbing Presenters: Abigail Goben, University of Illinois, Chicago; Sarah Sheehan, George Mason University; Nathan B. Putnam; University of Maryland As data continues to come to the fore, new tools are becoming available for librarians to assist faculty and use with their own data. This preconference would focus on the DMPTool and OpenRefine. The DMPTool will be presented to demonstrate customization features, review data management plans, best and worst practices, and writing a data plan for a data set a library may collect. OpenRefine will be demonstrated with sample data to show potential use with library data sets and more of the data lifecycle process; metadata will also be covered. Practical Linked Data with Open Source Presenters: Galen Charlton, Equinox Software; Jodi Schneider, DERI, NUI Galway; Dan Scott, Laurentian University; Richard Urban, Florida State University Sponsored by: Linked Library Data Interest Group (LITA / ALCTS) Linked Data can improve how libraries share their metadata, harvest it from non-library sources, and build better applications to connect patrons with library resources. However, what does this mean for the daily work of catalogers? This preconference will narrow the gap between theory and practice by presenting the state of the art for Linked Data management in open source integrated library systems and giving participants the chance to try it out. Web Therapy Presenters: Nina McHale, ninermac.net; Christopher Evjy, Jefferson County Library Having trouble managing your library’s web site? Content in chaos? Platform the pits? Statistics staggering? The doctors are in! In this full-day preconference, we will tackle a number of tough topics to help cure the ills that are keeping your library site from achieving total wellness. Specific topics will be determined by a survey sent in advance to attendees. Enjoy networking and problem solving with fellow web-minded library folks. Registration: Rates
  •  LITA Member $235
  •  ALA Member $350
  •  Non-Member $380
How-to To register for any of these events, you can include them with your initial conference registration or add them later using the unique link in your email confirmation. If you don’t have your registration confirmation handy, you can request a copy by emailing alaannual@compusystems.com. You also have the option of registering for a preconfernce only.
  • Register online through June 20
  • Call ALA Registration at 1-800-974-3084
  • Onsite registration will also be accepted in Las Vegas.

Ng, Cynthia: Code4Lib 2014: Day 2 Morning Presentations

Wed, 2014-03-26 15:02
Morning presentations of Day 2 of Code4lib 2014. Visualizing Solr Search Results with D3.js for User-Friendly Navigation of Large Results Sets – Julia Bauder of the search process, exploration is very confusing and stressful get a lot of results in our search tools not actually all that hard, but assuming data already in Solr Newer […]

Ng, Cynthia: Code4Lib Presentation: We Are All Disabled! Universal Web Design Making Web Services Accessible for Everyone

Wed, 2014-03-26 14:16
This is the write-up for the Code4Lib 2014 version of the presentation. The write-up of the  hour long version from last week is also available. The Code4lib version however was made with the Code4lib community in mind. There are slight differences from the actual presentation, primarily having removed the questions I asked the audience and […]

Open Knowledge Foundation: OKFestival Call for Proposals ending soon! Submit your proposal now!

Wed, 2014-03-26 13:36

We extended the deadline to give you an extra 2 weeks to come up with unusually brilliant, inventive, participatory session proposals for OKFestival 2014, but we’re getting very close to crunch-time now! This Sunday, March 30th, is the final deadline to submit the session you want to run at the festival. Then it’s over to our expert Programme Team to start selecting the proposals that will shake things up, get things done and all round inspire people at this year’s event.

Don’t miss your chance to submit an amazing idea! We’d love to see you to run an immersive, exploratory, ground-breaking session that challenges the boundaries of the Open Movement and gets things moving forward! So submit your proposal now, and hopefully we’ll be seeing you in Berlin in July.

If you want to collaborate with others, use our OKFestival Mailing List to find yourself the perfect partner, or shout out on Twitter using #OKFest14. Either way, get planning and make sure your submission is with us by Sunday 30th March.

ALA Equitable Access to Electronic Content: Road blocks to federally funded research

Tue, 2014-03-11 17:01

H.R. 4186, the Frontiers in Innovation, Research, Science and Technology Act (FIRST) was introduced yesterday in the House of Representatives by Chairman Lamar Smith (R-TX) and Rep. Larry Bucshon (R-IN) and referred to the Committee on Science, Space, and Technology, and to the Committee on Small Business. The ALA stands with SPARC in opposing Section 303 of this bill; a provision that would create unnecessary obstacles to the public’s ability to access research funded by tax-payers.

Now is not the time to create unwarranted challenges to the access of tax-payer funded research. After years of effort, the open access community celebrated the White House Directive on Public Access to the Results of Federally Funded Research and the addition to the FY14 Omnibus Appropriations Act to expand the National Institutes of Health’s access program to include the Departments of Labor, Education and Health and Human Services. These programs would more rapidly make the results of this research available to the public; while Section 303 would create challenges to federal agencies as they endeavor to participate.

Among other things, Section 303 would:

  • Establish a minimum allowed embargo period of 24 months, and allow its further
    extension to 36 months. No provisions to reduce embargo periods are included in this legislation.
  • Sanction simply linking to full text of articles on publishers websites, without ensuring that federal agencies retain a copy of the text of the articles reporting on their funded research.
  • Require federal agencies to repeat the work that they have already done in drafting plans for policies as required by the White House Directive on public access, and introduce an additional 18 month minimum delay while this work is duplicated.

Please take a moment to contact your Representative to express your dismay of a bill that would delay the public’s right to information.

The post Road blocks to federally funded research appeared first on District Dispatch.

ALA Equitable Access to Electronic Content: Road blocks to federally funded research

Tue, 2014-03-11 17:01

H.R. 4186, the Frontiers in Innovation, Research, Science and Technology Act (FIRST) was introduced yesterday in the House of Representatives by Chairman Lamar Smith (R-TX) and Rep. Larry Bucshon (R-IN) and referred to the Committee on Science, Space, and Technology, and to the Committee on Small Business. The ALA stands with SPARC in opposing Section 303 of this bill; a provision that would create unnecessary obstacles to the public’s ability to access research funded by tax-payers.

Now is not the time to create unwarranted challenges to the access of tax-payer funded research. After years of effort, the open access community celebrated the White House Directive on Public Access to the Results of Federally Funded Research and the addition to the FY14 Omnibus Appropriations Act to expand the National Institutes of Health’s access program to include the Departments of Labor, Education and Health and Human Services. These programs would more rapidly make the results of this research available to the public; while Section 303 would create challenges to federal agencies as they endeavor to participate.

Among other things, Section 303 would:

  • Establish a minimum allowed embargo period of 24 months, and allow its further
    extension to 36 months. No provisions to reduce embargo periods are included in this legislation.
  • Sanction simply linking to full text of articles on publishers websites, without ensuring that federal agencies retain a copy of the text of the articles reporting on their funded research.
  • Require federal agencies to repeat the work that they have already done in drafting plans for policies as required by the White House Directive on public access, and introduce an additional 18 month minimum delay while this work is duplicated.

Please take a moment to contact your Representative to express your dismay of a bill that would delay the public’s right to information.

The post Road blocks to federally funded research appeared first on District Dispatch.

ALA Equitable Access to Electronic Content: Supreme Court: “Stop warrantless cell phone searches”

Tue, 2014-03-11 16:57


Today, the American Library Association and the Internet Archive joined forces to file a “friend of the court” brief in David Leon Riley v. State of California and United States v. Brima Wurie, two Supreme Court cases examining the constitutionality of cell phone searches after police arrests. In the amicus brief, both nonprofit organizations argue that warrantless cell phone searches violate privacy principles protected by the Fourth Amendment.

Both cases began when police officers searched the cell phones of defendants Riley and Wurie without obtaining a warrant. The searches recovered texts, videos, photos, and telephone numbers that were later used as evidence. The Supreme Court of California found the cell phone search lawful in Riley’s case, but the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit, in Boston, reached the opposite conclusion and reversed Wurie’s conviction.

In the brief, the Internet Archive and the American Library Association argued that reading choices are at the heart of the expectation of personal privacy guaranteed by the Fourth Amendment. Allowing police officers to rummage through the smartphones of arrestees is akin to giving government officials permission to search a person’s entire library and reading history.

Today, ALA and Internet Archive leaders weighed in on the court case. Barbara Stripling, president of the American Library Association:

Today’s cell phones are much more than simple dialing systems—they are mobile libraries, holding our books, photos, banking information, favorite websites and private conversations. The Constitution does not give law enforcement free rein to search unlawfully through our private records.

Brewster Kahle, founder and digital librarian of Internet Archive:

The fact that technology has made it easy to carry voluminous sensitive and personal information in our pockets does not suddenly grant law enforcement unchecked availability to it in the case of an arrest. Constitutional checks are placed on the search of, for instance, a personal physical library and these checks should also apply to the comparably vast and personally sensitive stores of data held on our phones.

William Jay, Goodwin Procter partner and counsel of record on the amicus brief, added:

The Supreme Court has recognized that people don’t lose all privacy under the Fourth Amendment when they’re arrested. And one of the strongest privacy interests is the right not to have the government peer at what you’re reading, without a good reason and a warrant. We are pleased to have the chance to represent both traditional and Internet libraries, which have a unique ability to show the Supreme Court why our electronic bookshelves deserve the same protection as our home bookshelves.

“In my experience as a former federal prosecutor, a person’s smartphone is one of the things law enforcement are most eager to search after an arrest,” said Goodwin Procter partner Grant Fondo, a co-author of the brief. “This is because it holds so many different types of important personal information, telling law enforcement what the arrested person has been doing over the past few weeks, months, and even years—who they have been in contact with, what they read, and where they have been. Simply because this information is now all contained in a small smartphone we carry with us, rather than at home, should not take the search of this information outside the scope of one of our most important Constitutional protections—the right to protection from warrantless searches.”

The post Supreme Court: “Stop warrantless cell phone searches” appeared first on District Dispatch.

ALA Equitable Access to Electronic Content: Supreme Court: “Stop warrantless cell phone searches”

Tue, 2014-03-11 16:57


Today, the American Library Association and the Internet Archive joined forces to file a “friend of the court” brief in David Leon Riley v. State of California and United States v. Brima Wurie, two Supreme Court cases examining the constitutionality of cell phone searches after police arrests. In the amicus brief, both nonprofit organizations argue that warrantless cell phone searches violate privacy principles protected by the Fourth Amendment.

Both cases began when police officers searched the cell phones of defendants Riley and Wurie without obtaining a warrant. The searches recovered texts, videos, photos, and telephone numbers that were later used as evidence. The Supreme Court of California found the cell phone search lawful in Riley’s case, but the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit, in Boston, reached the opposite conclusion and reversed Wurie’s conviction.

In the brief, the Internet Archive and the American Library Association argued that reading choices are at the heart of the expectation of personal privacy guaranteed by the Fourth Amendment. Allowing police officers to rummage through the smartphones of arrestees is akin to giving government officials permission to search a person’s entire library and reading history.

Today, ALA and Internet Archive leaders weighed in on the court case. Barbara Stripling, president of the American Library Association:

Today’s cell phones are much more than simple dialing systems—they are mobile libraries, holding our books, photos, banking information, favorite websites and private conversations. The Constitution does not give law enforcement free rein to search unlawfully through our private records.

Brewster Kahle, founder and digital librarian of Internet Archive:

The fact that technology has made it easy to carry voluminous sensitive and personal information in our pockets does not suddenly grant law enforcement unchecked availability to it in the case of an arrest. Constitutional checks are placed on the search of, for instance, a personal physical library and these checks should also apply to the comparably vast and personally sensitive stores of data held on our phones.

William Jay, Goodwin Procter partner and counsel of record on the amicus brief, added:

The Supreme Court has recognized that people don’t lose all privacy under the Fourth Amendment when they’re arrested. And one of the strongest privacy interests is the right not to have the government peer at what you’re reading, without a good reason and a warrant. We are pleased to have the chance to represent both traditional and Internet libraries, which have a unique ability to show the Supreme Court why our electronic bookshelves deserve the same protection as our home bookshelves.

“In my experience as a former federal prosecutor, a person’s smartphone is one of the things law enforcement are most eager to search after an arrest,” said Goodwin Procter partner Grant Fondo, a co-author of the brief. “This is because it holds so many different types of important personal information, telling law enforcement what the arrested person has been doing over the past few weeks, months, and even years—who they have been in contact with, what they read, and where they have been. Simply because this information is now all contained in a small smartphone we carry with us, rather than at home, should not take the search of this information outside the scope of one of our most important Constitutional protections—the right to protection from warrantless searches.”

The post Supreme Court: “Stop warrantless cell phone searches” appeared first on District Dispatch.

Rochkind, Jonathan: Agility vs &#8216;agile&#8217;

Tue, 2014-03-11 12:33

Yes, more of this please. From Dave Thomas, one of the originators of the ‘agile manifesto’, who I have a newfound respect for after reading this essay.

Agile Is Dead (Long Live Agility)

However, since the Snowbird meeting, I haven’t participated in any Agile events, I haven’t affiliated with the Agile Alliance, and I haven’t done any “agile” consultancy. I didn’t attend the 10th anniversary celebrations.

Why? Because I didn’t think that any of these things were in the spirit of the manifesto we produced…

Let’s look again at the four values:

Individuals and Interactions over Processes and Tools
Working Software over Comprehensive Documentation
Customer Collaboration over Contract Negotiation, and
Responding to Change over Following a Plan

The phrases on the left represent an ideal—given the choice between left and right, those who develop software with agility will favor the left.

Now look at the consultants and vendors who say they’ll get you started with “Agile.” Ask yourself where they are positioned on the left-right axis. My guess is that you’ll find them process and tool heavy, with many suggested work products (consultant-speak for documents to keep managers happy) and considerably more planning than the contents of a whiteboard and some sticky notes…

Back to the Basics

Here is how to do something in an agile fashion:

What to do:

  • Find out where you are
  • Take a small step towards your goal
  • Adjust your understanding based on what you learned
  • Repeat

How to do it:

When faced with two of more alternatives that deliver roughly the same value, take the path that makes future change easier.

And that’s it. Those four lines and one practice encompass everything there is to know about effective software development. Of course, this involves a fair amount of thinking, and the basic loop is nested fractally inside itself many times as you focus on everything from variable naming to long-term delivery, but anyone who comes up with something bigger or more complex is just trying to sell you something.

http://pragdave.me/blog/2014/03/04/time-to-kill-agile/

I think people tricked by others trying to sell them something isn’t actually the only, or even the main, reason people get distracted from actual agility by lots of ‘agile’ rigamarole which is anything but.

I think there are intrinsic distracting motivations and interests in many organizations too: The need for people in certain positions to feel in control; the need for blame to be assigned when something goes wrong; just plain laziness and desire for shortcuts and magic bullets; prioritizing all of these things (whether you realize it or not) over actual product quality.

Producing good software is hard, for both technical and social/organizational reasons. But my ~18 years of software engineering (and life!) experience lead me to believe that there are no ‘tool’ shortcuts or magic bullets, you do it just the way Thomas says you do it: you just do it, always in small iterative steps always re-evaluating next steps and always in continual contact with ‘stakeholders’ (who need to put time and psychic energy in too).  Anything else is distraction at best but more likely even worse, misdirection.

And there’s a whole lot of distraction and misdirection labelled ‘agile’.


Filed under: General