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LITA: Jobs in Information Technology: November 4, 2015

Wed, 2015-11-04 19:53

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:

Serials Librarian, University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, AR

Head, Technology Systems and Support Services, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA

Vice President for Libraries & Information Technology Services, CUNY Queens College, Flushing, NY

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

NYPL Labs: Emigrant City: An Introduction

Wed, 2015-11-04 17:09

NYPL Labs and the Irma and Paul Milstein Division of United States History, Local History and Genealogy are excited to announce the launch of Emigrant City, the Library's newest, online participatory project. Emigrant City invites you to help transcribe recently digitized mortgage and bond record books from the Library’s collection of Emigrant Savings Bank records. Your transcriptions will help make the materials digitally accessible to all, including genealogists, educators, historians. In the process, you'll get a detailed glimpse of real estate transactions and immigrant life during a foundational period of New York City's history. Help the Library build this exciting new resource!

Still operating today, Emigrant Bank is the oldest savings bank in New York City and the ninth-largest privately owned bank in the country. It was founded in 1850 by 18 members of the Irish Emigrant Society with the goal of serving the needs of the immigrant community in New York. NYPL’s Manuscripts and Archives Division houses the Library’s collection of the early records from the bank. The collection’s first mortgage record is dated February 20, 1851. From the mid-19th century through the 1920s, there are an estimated 6,400 mortgages, each telling a story of upward mobility in a rapidly expanding city. (Two of these stories are found in mortgages 1 and 87, belonging to Francis A. Kipp and Mary O'Connor, respectively. Stay tuned for a forthcoming blog post detailing their stories.)

These real estate records have remained largely invisible and difficult to search. However, the full Emigrant Savings Bank collection is frequently consulted by genealogists and historians, among others. This collection contains a wide variety of materials about the bank's depositors and borrowers, including minutes of the board of trustees and finance committee. Portions of this larger collection, the test books,  have even been digitized and made available through (This resource is available onsite at all NYPL locations.) Through digitization of the real estate records, and transcribing the hand-written information they contain, we hope to expose this underused portion of the collection to enable new discoveries and research.

Emigrant City is also an experiment. Digitizing materials is much more than simply creating a digital image of a manuscript or artifact. Though computers have made fantastic advances in automatically converting digitized pages into searchable text, vast troves of information exist in libraries and archives that require careful human labor to unlock their deeper contents to search engines and digital researchers. So here at NYPL Labs, we’ve been working with the citizen science mavens at Zooniverse, with generous support from the National Endowment for the Humanities, to prototype of a highly configurable crowdsourcing framework called Scribe that could be used on a wide range of historical and archival material.

Emigrant City joins a collection of crowdsourcing projects launched by NYPL in recent years, including Building Inspector and What's on the Menu? Go to to get started! There are lots of records to go through, and when finished, we’ll have a robust data-set of verified, structured data. Meanwhile, the team is working to create browsing and bulk download options for this wealth of information. With the growing data set, we’ll be able to find myriad stories, like those of Francis Kipp and Mary O'Connor, and to ask innumerable questions. It’s a lot of work, but we’re confident we can do it. Join us!

Roy Tennant: EBook Reader Ownership Falls. Duh.

Wed, 2015-11-04 16:56

A Pew Research Center survey has discovered something that some might be surprised to read: “Today, about one-in-five adults (19%) report owning an e-reader, while in early 2014 that share was a third (32%).” This is quite a notable drop, especially considering that MP3 player ownership has dropped only slightly in the same period. One could argue that a smartphone is an excellent replacement for an MP3 player, but is a less than satisfactory replacement for an ebook reader.

Tablet ownership (45% of U.S. adults) is much higher than that of ebook readers, but of course as we all know tablets can be quite serviceable ebook readers. In fact, I called single purpose devices dead upon the arrival of Apple’s iPad, and although it has taken much longer than I expected, the trend surfaced by Pew seems to bear out that prediction. I know that I happily use my iPad as an e-reader, and I know that many others do as well.

The fact that I can also stream video, play music, do online banking, surf the web, etc. makes an ebook reader begin to sound like the brick that more people are discovering that it is.

Islandora: Dispatches from the User List: Embedding objects, CPU loads, and ingest performance improvements

Wed, 2015-11-04 15:21

The Islandora listserv is a great place to get help, let the community know about interesting things you're working on, and seek collaborators. This week (as we have done in the past), we'll take a quick look at some conversations going on that more people should know about.

Embedding islandora content in other sites is a use case brought up by Jennifer Eustis from the University of Connecticut. They have users who might like to grab an Islandora object, copy a line of code, and plop it into other sites running of different platforms - jut s as you can do with a Youtube video or a Google map. Turns out there's been a JIRA ticket for this feature since June, where Nick Ruest notes that the University of Oklahoma has already started some work, using oEmbed and the Drupal oEmbed module, which could be generalized for the Islandora community. If it's something you might want to use too, chime in and add your use case. Certainly there are multiple ways of tackling this need - Donald Moses and Paul Pound from UPEI built their own Islandora Video Filter module to accomplish site-wide embedding of videos.

The thread CPU Load was Went up sharply! contains some brilliant troubleshooting by University of North Carolina Charlotte's Brad Spry, after a user reported problems with CPU load for an Islandora site that had to support 10,000 users. The original problem is still under investigation with further support from some other volunteer troubleshooters, but Brad's tools and methods for diagnosing and alleviating server load issues have broad applications for other sites and are well worth exploring if you have experiences similar issues.

In another example of volunteer troubleshooters being awesome, Eric Koester from Andrews University went to the listserv to get advice on options to improve overall ingest timeframes, and Diego Pino and Brad Spry delivered some options that are worth just quoting here:


First: RAM. Derivatives and ingestion of binaries is Memory consuming. The more fine tuned you have your java env, the more speed you will get. @Brad Spry has a deep knowledge on this. Second: Logging. Generating logs is good for debugging and understanding what is happening, but if you already have everything tuned and working, tested, etc, my experience is that if you have too fine logs for fedora, gsearch, solr and catalina, then this will also add some ingestion time. Third: if you disable gsearch (even ActiveMQ if needed) on massive ingestion, tenable afterwards and do reindexing manually, speed up is gained also. Same for derivatives, good idea to do them offline.   But there are also other options here:   a.1) you can batch ingest only metadata first, then put together a script for completing the binary datastreams (keeping track of the PIDS) using fedora client (look at a2 for ideas)   a.2) @Giancarlo Birello has some good info on batch ingesting (using external tools to islandora) They have a lot of books and they do derivatives outside Islandora.  a.3) They also have a taverna workflow.   b) Fedora allows read-only replication. This is very useful because you can have an master that gets the ingestion and some "clones - slaves" that serve (using a journaling system) read online to the outside world. Since the slaves get all the activeMQ messages, they do also gsearch indexing.   c) You can also easily /but time consuming rebuild a parallel Fedora server using only the object store (Akubra or the legacy) by shutting down one fedora, copying that folder to another Fedora, rebuild, start. You can copy  ActiveMQ messages still waiting for being processed if you wan't, but i think in your case b) is more optimal.   Also, other way, the way we do things, is to have multiple REPO's acting as "one to the public" by sharing a common Solr collection using, e.g Solr Cloud. So you can split your work on different servers and expose at least global search via a common search.   Lastly but very important. It's a good to take Fedora4 and Islandora2 in consideration. Fedora4 resolves a lot of the issues regarding distributed scenarios and concurrent ingesting, and @Daniel Lamb has come up with some very interesting implementations based on Camel and also directly on php (Chullo) to manage  your problems. We are on a development stage where use cases and of course involvement (developers from the community are very needed) is a must, so i encourage you to get involved.


One performance tip: If you place your object upload location in close proximity to Drupal's temp and Fedora's temp, some like ingest file operations can happen on the same drive instead of having to copy files across the system bus between multiple drives.    

This particular issue has a noticeable effect on derivative generation performance:

...but I'm shifting my hope to Islandora 2.0 and Fedora 4.0 for ultimately resolving that issue.   Every Islandorian shares the same desire for the very best ingest and derivative generation performance!  

There are also some very advanced Islandora implementations, like Diego mentioned, which background and offload derivative generation processes.  You can read more about the characteristics of such a configuration here:

To your question of creating a fleet of Islandora boxes for simultaneous Fedora ingest, that is an intriguing possibility...  If each system could utilize the same MySQL and same filesystem, it sounds feasible; it certainly inspires curiosity :-)    On AWS, one can use RDS for centralized MySQL and EFS for a true shared filesystem, but EFS is still in preview mode and not released for production, YET.    S3 is not appropriate for Fedora's objectStore and resourceIndex, this much I learned the hard way.    But an autoscaling fleet of ingest servers has a definite appeal, for sure :-)

It is absolutely possible to have single master "ingestion" box and then copy the results to a live production server at night; that pretty much describes my current implementation.   I have such a strategy with a built-in safety mechanism, which only allows a full sync (the Tomcat side) to happen if NO ingest or BagIt writing operations are detected:

drush_ready=$(ps aux 2>/dev/null |grep drush 2>/dev/null |wc -l)
loadingdock_ready=$(/usr/bin/lsof /mnt/island1-loadingdock | grep -e "[[:digit:]]\+[wu]\{1\}" |wc -l)

if (( $drush_ready == '0' || $drush_ready == '1' && $loadingdock_ready == '0'))

#full sync

I came up with a "heartbeat" style strategy to communicate with the receiving system exactly what is about to happen.   If a full sync is detected, the receiving system will shutdown Tomcat in anticipation of full synchronization.   After the full sync is complete, the receiving system rebuilds its Fedora Resource Index and starts itself up.    It can be done!

Want more? Sign up or browse the arhicves on Google Groups

In the Library, With the Lead Pipe: Gendered Expectations for Leadership in Libraries

Wed, 2015-11-04 13:00

Photo by Flickr user Nic McPhee (CC BY-SA 2.0)

In Brief

Despite significant gains in representation at the administration level, there is still a disparity between the percentage of women in our profession and women as library leaders. Additionally, even when women attain leadership roles, even top positions in libraries, there are still hurdles in the shape of gendered expectations. This article examines the history of gender representation in the field, discusses some recent trends, and then makes some recommendations for creating an environment in which women can succeed and how, more specifically, the profession could become more supportive of women in leadership roles.


The path to the director’s office is convoluted for some and a straight shot for others, and the reasons we want to move up into administrative roles are even more varied. For some, financial considerations are uppermost. Others seek careers in administration based on a conviction that “I can do a better job than my boss. I know it!” And then there are those individuals who know, from the moment they fill out their graduate school applications, that they want to be the “head cheese in charge” of a library. Both men and women (and people who do not fall at either end of that false binary) can and do make good leaders, but stereotypes and gendered expectations present an unexpected barrier for many of us. Women are often perceived as nice, kind, and nurturing, while men are usually perceived as forceful, knowledgeable, and decisive. If you do not fall neatly into one of these stereotypical modes, or even if you do, gender expectations can be at the root of a lot of workplace difficulties. In our case, both authors made the decision to seek a job in administration in part based upon the disproportionate gender representation among library directors, university librarians, and other leadership positions in the field. Also, let’s be honest: we both knew we could do it better than some of the ways we had seen it done. And yes, we both ran face-first into gendered expectations.

Anyone reading this article is probably aware of the disparity in the numbers of men and women in librarianship. It’s something that people talk about. A lot. Since the beginning of the 20th century, women have comprised 75% of the librarian profession (Beck, 1991). But, by the middle of the century, the recruitment of men into the profession tipped the scales in administrative and management positions (O’Brien, 1983). Librarianship then became a predominantly female profession that was overwhelmingly led by men. This trend changed in the latter part of the last century and into the current one: according to Association of Research Libraries (ARL), male director representation dropped to around 40% (ARL, 2010, cited in a literature review published by DeLong in 2013), which is a significant change. However, since the gender breakdown of the profession as a whole is still around 80% women and 20% men (according to multiple sources cited), this is still not a representative number. Moreover, while it seems that we may have balanced the scales in terms of leadership positions (balanced to 50/50, that is, with some claims of salary parity for those that make it to the top) (Deyrup, 2004), it is clear that a related issue began to emerge, probably due to the increasing numbers of women in leadership positions: a strong (mis)perception of women as leaders. Meaning, even though there are more women leaders now, we are still not doing it right. Or, more to the point, we are not doing it the way people want us to do it. We do not act like men. This is not, then, parity. It isn’t enough to have women in administrative positions and for them to be paid at similar rates, though that’s a great start. We want leaders, male or female or people who don’t identify in those ways, to be valued for what they each bring to their organizations.

In this essay, we will consider some of the gendered expectations of leadership and how all of this bears on academic library leadership. We will also tell you how it makes us feel. We hope that it makes you angry like it did us. We hope that it makes you want to help us change the system. We are speaking both from our experiences and from evidence found in the literature, and we know that the lived daily experiences of gender-non-conforming and non-binary individuals can play out differently. We also want to affirm that race, age, and other cultural perspectives will influence not only your own experiences but the reactions of those around you. Much of our research, which affirmed our suspicions, falls within the library literature, but there is a large body of work in business and psychology about the role of gender and gendered expectations in leadership. One further caveat: we know that available statistics usually skew towards ARL libraries, but we feel this reflects the reality present in academic libraries at large. We hope that some of what we have learned personally and through considering the literature of the field is transferrable to other library types and even to other female dominated professions, but we would never presume to suggest that our solutions are a one-size-fits-all response to these expectations.

Gendered Leadership in Our Lives

The authors proposed this article out of a joint frustration with our own experiences as we transitioned from middle management as a department head and an information literacy coordinator respectively. We experienced a broad range of situations that were clearly gendered in nature, experiences we shared with each other and with other women leaders in our own and related professions (Harris, 1992) only to find that we weren’t alone. It helped ameliorate the frustration to know others have had similar or even identical experiences. Many female leaders we know were told to be nicer to their subordinates. We’ve also had similar experiences with being called slightly (or even blatantly) sexist things that, when mentioned to higher ups, were met responses like “well, that’s just the culture around here.” We we were not the only ones who’d had experiences at work with people who disliked our “style” as women leaders. Being told to contain our anger when we see male colleagues yell at even the highest administrators with no negative repercussion is another source of frustration. For us, writing this article is a way to take our frustrations and experiences and turn them into something useful.

When we spoke about our own experiences to a small group of other female library administrators, we were overwhelmed but not really surprised by their sharing of similar experiences. We asked permission to share some of their words in this essay, and promised anonymity in return. The authors both know that “challenging the status quo strongly enough to have an impact on it but not so strongly that one cannot succeed within it” (Fletcher, 1999, p. 131) is a difficult balance to strike, and giving others voice is important to us.

One of our colleagues explained, “At my current job, I recently stood/spoke up for all the women… when one employee thought it was appropriate to make a sexist comment. [Our male superior] still hasn’t spoken to this employee because the conversation makes him ‘uncomfortable.’” Another spoke about how she’s afraid to speak up: “I want to start a blog but I won’t because I know it will be used against me. I want to tweet like I used to [before coming to work at my current job] but know I can’t. It’s just so disheartening to know if I was a man that this would not be a thing.” We also heard about what happens when women take middle management roles in the intersection of librarianship and educational technology: “I suspect that the head of the tech/library department both a) thinks I’m stupid because I’m a woman and a librarian and b) is threatened by me because he’s realizing that I’m a lot better than him at certain things. It would be funny if it weren’t so frustrating.” Another participant in the conversation shared how it’s not just leaders in libraries, but also women who take leadership positions in professional organizations: “I remembered watching certain women get torn apart in my state association for being too brash, too bossy, too ‘too’. I really admired many of them, and this still makes me sad and angry.” We were also pleased to hear what can happen when things go well, from someone who had left a previous job due to gender-based problems: “Thank the high heavens I landed in a job (with an amazing female director) that supports me, encourages me to succeed and fail and all that good stuff!”

Gendered Leadership Everywhere

These themes were born out when we looked beyond our own experiences. What we found in looking through literature, both in and outside of our field, was at times enraging and at times soothing in that it made us feel better that we were not imagining bias. It exists. Gendered expectations of women leaders is a thing people in library science and beyond have been writing about for some time. A piece on the Harvard Business Review blog network is especially worth noting here. “Why Do So Many Incompetent Men Become Leaders?” by Tomas Chamorro-Premuz (a professor of business psychology at University College London and a faculty member at Columbia University) features a discussion of literature related to traits of successful leaders. In particular, Chamorro-Premuz posits that “the main reason for the uneven management sex ratio [in for-profit industries] is our inability to discern between confidence and competence,” (¶2). The author also spoke eloquently about the problematic nature inherent in the narcissism of Hollywood-Picture-Perfect leadership, as well as how easy it is to promote such leaders because “a much bigger problem is the lack of career obstacles for incompetent men” (¶10). We all know competent, supportive, and deeply qualified male library leaders, but it does bear repeating: there are not as many career obstacles for men as for women who want to ascend to administration, which means it is easier for men who hold themselves authoritatively without actual authority to fool people into believing the lie. This is not to say that all incompetent library administrators are men, but it does say something that our profession is made up of an estimated 80% women, and yet the women in leadership is in the 50% range.

This idea that fewer obstacles are placed in the paths of men who aspire to leadership is born out in other research. Of particular interest is the work of Ruth Simpson who wrote, “Masculinity at Work: The Experiences of Men in Female Dominated Occupations,” a little over ten years ago, in her work focusing on “pink professions.” The conclusions shared by Simpson reflect our personal experiences in the field. Even if the subjects of Simpson’s study were uncomfortable with the distinctions, they readily admitted that much of what is done within “women’s work” fields is divided into front line work (women) and management (men). One particular criticism struck home: “ideologies and discourses of gender have a crucial role to play in promoting and sustaining the sexual division of labour and the social definition of tasks as either ‘men’s work’ or ‘women’s work,’” (5). Crossing the lines of expected roles has multiple possible repercussions. Negative outcomes, such as feminization and stigmatization, are possible, but the positive outcomes for men – such as “career effect” (implied professionalism and immediate respect) and “assumed authority” (being seen as the one in charge, despite a lack of experience) – are much more common. Even more discouraging was how, in this study, male librarians and nurses felt freer to make mistakes and not be called to task for it, especially with regards to mistakes outside of the performance of duties, such as being repeatedly late to work.

Women and Leadership: We Keep Reading and Writing about the Dichotomy

As previously mentioned, the struggle of women to live up to or to fight gendered expectations of leadership positions is well-documented and a topic of strong dichotomies. Some say women are doing quite well as leaders and some articles even suggest women make the best leaders. Fairly recently, the mainstream media has been touting that companies can be most successful if they hire women to lead, while surveys of personnel still reveal that people prefer to work for men (Eagly, 2007). When women are leaders, they are expected to act in a very specific, gendered way. Alice Eagly noted at an invited address at the American Psychological Association in 2006 that:

Women are faced with accommodating the sometimes conflicting demands of their roles as women and their roles as leaders. In general, people expect and prefer that women be communal, manifesting traits such as kindness, concern for others, warmth, and gentleness and that men be agentic, manifesting traits such as confidence, aggressiveness, and self direction (Eagly, 4).

To our eyes, that quote speaks to a commonly held perception: only men are expected to be agenic. If women are, then those women fail the “gender” test.

We found similar themes everywhere we looked, and we found a lot while looking. In fact, we were surprised to find how deeply our topic had been researched previously. It was not so much that we thought we were the first to realize the issues of gender in leadership as that we hadn’t expected so much of it to fall within the realm of library science literature. In our experiences and training, we’d been presented with an image of library leadership as a somewhat monochromatic perspective, as predominantly male. One piece we encountered went so far as to explain the gender breakdown thusly: “It was the natural order for men to be heads of academic libraries, particularly major research libraries, and the male minority presumably advanced the careers of other men” (DeLong, 64). Regardless of the past, the representation in our leadership has seen significant improvement. However, DeLong (who provided the statistics we quoted earlier in the article) shared a perspective that is a bit disheartening:

Women who aspire to leadership positions in libraries should be aware that the pace of change and acceptance of women in leadership roles continues to be slow, perhaps even slackening, and they will continue to find barriers and obstacles to surmount in attaining the career and leadership roles that they desire. (69)

It would be easy for us to say that we, as a profession (both librarians and the subset of academic librarians), just need to set aside gendered expectations, but that would be naive at best and more realistically could be seen as disingenuous. Fighting stereotypes definitely needs to be part of the effort, but we need to do more. By writing this article, we are hoping to confront these expectations as a first step. The larger work of intersectional feminists is slowly but surely shifting the attention of our broader culture, and this essay is our way to add our voices to theirs. We want to go a step further, however. We would like to share with you some ideas that have seen us and colleagues through difficult times. We would also invite you to comment on this essay to share your own approaches, with the obvious caveat of asking you to pay attention to the Lead Pipe Comment Policy.

More Personal Experience

So, how does it make two female library administrators feel to read article after article about how people really prefer male leaders and if they have to have a woman leader, they’d like her to fit their stereotype of “Be soft. But, wait. Don’t be too soft.”? Well, it feels like reality.

We came together to write this article because we started sharing our personal experiences with each other and found much in common. While both of the authors feel supported by our respective administrations, we have at times, especially early in our management careers, felt isolated, marginalized, and a myriad of other feelings because we weren’t perceived as the “right kind of female leader.” Not nice enough or too nice. Too harsh and bossy or too wishy washy. The interest in this literature and research came from a genuine place: from two women who do not fit the stereotype of overly warm or nice but both consider themselves to be empathetic, kind, and effective.

Conducting this survey of the literature, reading about these issues in depth, made us both angry, but it was also an affirming experience because it confirmed that we have not been imagining things. There is a clear gender bias both in how employees view their bosses and what their expectations are for those leaders. The question for us is now: what do we do to change these perceptions, if anything, and more importantly, what can we do to help our peers who understand this struggle and those who will come after us?

What Do We Do Now?

Talk to anyone who has researched the topic of library leadership and gender in the last thirty years and you will get a lot of nodding heads. “Yeah, I read that too.” “Yep, that’s what I was finding.” Librarians are writing and reading and writing and reading about the problems of gender in our profession, but we need to do more.

We need to walk the talk. We, managers and staff alike, need to be good allies. There is no one experience for women or women leaders or women academic librarian leaders, and we need to listen to the experiences of others – not just people who are like us. How do you get people to be supportive and good allies in the workplace? There are certainly best practices to follow such as partnering with campus Human Resources offices to offer training that address sexism, racism, homophobia, and encourage inclusivity. Having others come into your library to offer the training also takes away the idea that the woman leader is the one pushing the agenda. This last thought is crucial. At larger institutions with larger libraries, library administrators can probably dictate these kinds of training without pushback, but at smaller institutions like ours we want to make sure people don’t feel singled out.

But what does the woman leader do when she feels that she’s fighting an uphill battle without allies and is treated differently because of her gender? She must begin to confront the situation and document mistreatment.

We also need to work to fight against the stereotypes and preconceived notions. The tattooed and tough librarian is just as misleading a stereotype as the bunned, cardigan wearing, shushing one. Nobody is going to demonstrate exclusively female traits (conciliatory, nurturing, etc.) nor exclusively male ones (decisive, powerful, etc.). This suggestion is admittedly a perfect example of “easier said than done,” but it still bears stating.

Our national and state professional organizations need to help. There are numerous opportunities for leadership development, but none that specifically focus on the development and support of women as leaders. Women leaders may have increased our numbers and we may have achieved parity in salary in certain kinds of positions in academic librarianship, but that’s just the start. Our job descriptions might be identical, but the day-to-day reality of our jobs can look different from our male counterparts, and we need some help. Existing support systems and training opportunities, such as the Leading Change Institute (formerly the Frye Leadership Institute) and the College Library Directors Mentor Program are a helpful start, but gender is barely mentioned, if at all, in such settings. There are structures in place for general leadership growth, but almost nothing exists that specifically addresses gender.

Both of the authors have been fortunate in the support we’ve received as we worked our way up the hierarchy of academic librarianship, but we both also had major hurdles to overcome with regards to gendered expectations. We can’t help but think that if we have faced these challenges, others have to be facing similar or even worse. We needed and created a support system in order to keep growing as leaders, but we know that’s not enough. The real fear is that if we do not change the system, if we don’t create a space for women to be encouraged, respected, promoted, and treated equally in library management, then the numbers will again drop and there will be less women leadership in libraries. Again. Women leaders are receiving too many mixed messages. Those who want to make the changes do not often have enough structural power to do so. We need a larger, vocal, active voice. We want to encourage our community to take action and develop workshops and other continuing education opportunities specifically for women. But they need to be in a safe environment. Women deans and directors need a place to talk to each other where they can talk about what really happens in their workplaces and not worry that it will get back to their campuses or libraries. It needs to be constructive and honest. We need to know what to do with problem situations at work where we know we are being treated unfairly, but no one on our campuses can give us more honest advice than “keep documenting it.” The problem is that documenting things and eventually removing the people involved doesn’t get at changing the underlying culture and systemic sexism. We need training in how to deal with situations that are not taken seriously at our workplaces. We need to create a stronger, more active and open peer group.

We’ve developed this kind of community in the backchannels and whisper networks, but we’d like to see it become more intentional and supported by our professional organizations. Furthermore, there is no space where most of us feel safe enough to share our thoughts about how we are treated as leaders. That is one of the biggest problems of all. At the very least, our leadership literature and training needs to be gender-inclusive (meaning that it specifically addresses the challenges of gender) instead of gender-neutral (which usually comes out male-oriented). We feel strongly that women do not need to act more like men. Men also do not need to just play their societally expected “gender role.” And while we have mostly used the convenient shorthand associated with the fictional gender binary, we also strongly believe that people who identify as other than cisgendered need space and freedom of gender-expression as well. We all need to be ourselves.

Instead of a Conclusion, A Call to Action

We need to give each other room to maneuver and grow. The most important advice we have was reflected in a recently published article: Christina Neigel writes, “Librarians need to be empowered to question assumptions about what it means to be a librarian in the 21st century by having a clear understanding of how their own profession is subject to social relations of power and domination,” (522). In other words, we need to remember that libraries are changing and growing organizations that need room to reflect our past as well as our future.

Through writing this article, the authors struggled with how honest to be about our own experiences. We know this problem is more than our immediate environs. There are certainly individuals who have made us uncomfortable, like the administrator who made an off color comment and defended it when an objection was voiced, but it’s not about the individuals. It’s about the system, the culture. Women need to mentor each other and build each other up. Finding a network of other female administrators is invaluable. The women who are like-minded, who have been there and done that, can lead you through the minefield that is often library administration. Part of our conversation took place in a private online space, and the affirmations we got made us realize that we are trying to start a community. We need a way to pair mentors with mentees. Perhaps this article is a bit of us thinking out loud, with a solid grounding in the literature, about what shape that could take. There are only two of us, but we see a need for something like the #libtechgender movement. We are proposing a partner hashtag and community that could grow beyond this article. We want to start #libleadgender. We want to find a way to pair those who are considering leadership with those who’ve already taken that step. We know there are models that work to pair new leaders with experienced administrators, but part of our intention in writing this piece is to encourage future leaders to take that step. We’ve both had conversations with new librarians who see what it’s like to lead a library and have sworn it wasn’t for them. But again, there are only two of us and if we really want to change perceptions and expectations of gender for leadership in libraries, we will need help. What do you say? Are you in?

The authors would like to thank the people involved with #libtechgender discussions, especially Coral Sheldon-Hess, for getting us thinking in this way. We might not have pursued writing this article if not for their important work. We would also like to thank our support group of other female librarians for their insight, personal experiences and quotes that helped frame this work. And of course thanks to our reviewers Marie Radford, Annie Pho, and Ellie Collier.

Selected Bibliography

Beck, C. (1991). Reference Services: A Handmaid’s Tale. Library Journal, 116(7), 33-37.

Chamorro-Premuzic, T. (2013, August 22). Why Do So Many Incompetent Men Become Leaders? Harvard Business Review. Retrieved from

DeLong, K. (2013). Career Advancement and Writing about Women Librarians: A Literature Review. Evidence Based Library and Information Practice, 8(1), 59-75.

Deyrup, M. (2004). Is the Revolution Over? Gender, Economic, and Professional Parity in Academic Library Leadership Positions. College & Research Libraries, 65(3), 242-250.

Eagly, A. (2007). Female Leadership Advantage And Disadvantage: Resolving The Contradictions. Psychology of Women Quarterly, 31, 1-12.

Fletcher, J.K. (1999). Disappearing Acts: Gender, Practice, and Relational Practice at Work. Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press.

Harris, R.M. (1992). Librarianship: The Erosion of a Woman’s Profession. Norwood, NJ: Ablex. Pub. Corp.

Neigel, C. (2015). LIS Leadership and Leadership Education: A Matter of Gender. Journal of Library Administration, 55(7), 521-534.

O’Brien, Patricia Nancy (1983). “The Recruitment of Men into Librarianship, Following World War II.” In The status of Women in Librarianship: Historical, Sociological, and Economic Issues, edited by Kathleen M. Heim. New York: Neal-Schuman, 51-66.

Simpson, R. (2004). Masculinity at Work: The Experiences of Men in Female Dominated Occupations. Work Employment and Society, 18 (2), 349-368.

District Dispatch: Restrictions thwart 3D printing exemption

Tue, 2015-11-03 23:32

Library of Congress’ rules for unlocking 3D printers thwart the exemption. Courtesy of Amanda Slater, Flickr.

Copyright Office to makers: Break unfair 3D printing DRM – but not really.

Since late last year, the American Library Association has been tracking and participating in the latest round of the 1201 Rulemaking. Through this rulemaking process, the Copyright Office evaluates petitions for hacking barriers to digital content (formally known as Digital Rights Management) for lawful purposes. (ALA recently welcomed exemptions for the use of film clip excerpts for educational purposes as well as MOOCs and literacy programs offered by libraries and museums–see related statement).

As you might imagine – given its increasing salience in tech and policy discussions – 3D printing was a topic for consideration in the 1201 proceedings this time around. In keeping with ALA’s efforts to establish the library community as a major player in the ongoing efforts to create frameworks for using and providing access to 3D printers, ALA’s Washington D.C. Copyright team was one of the leading voices in the 3D printing debates pursuant to the 1201 Rulemaking. The Library Copyright Alliance (LCA) – a library organization triumvirate including ALA, the Association of Research Libraries (ARL) and the Association of College and Research libraries (ACRL) – joined D.C.-based think tank Public Knowledge in standing up for fair access to 3D printing technology.

LCA and Public Knowledge asserted that the Copyright Office should formally allow users to break digital locks designed to limit the types of filaments a 3D printer will print with because doing so
does not violate copyright law. Last week, the Copyright Office rendered its verdict on our argument, and…well, we got news alright. Here’s what it said:

The exemption [to the prohibition against breaking the digital locks] shall not extend to any computer program on a 3D printer that produces goods or materials for use in commerce the physical production of which is subject to legal or regulatory oversight…

So, in other words, if your printer has a digital lock limiting the kinds of materials that can be used in the printing process, as a user you can break that lock – but only if:

  1. Your printer is not capable of printing goods or materials intended for use in commerce.
  2. Your printer is not capable of printing goods or materials that are subject to legal or regulatory oversight.

You don’t have to marinate long over these two qualifications to be perplexed, and even vexed by the Copyright Office’s finding. Re: #1 – it’s hard to imagine a printer that’s not at least capable of printing an item that’s designed to be marketed. Re: #2 – it’s similarly hard to imagine a 3D printer that’s not at least capable of printing an item that’s subject to legal or regulatory oversight. One might even argue that virtually every item under the sun is, to some degree, subject to oversight of this kind.

Boiling it down, the Copyright Office seems to have said, “If your 3D printer has a filament-restricting technology, go ahead and circumvent it – as long as the 3D printer isn’t…well…a 3D printer.” It would be funny if it weren’t such unfortunate news for users and providers of 3D printing technology.

For a more thorough analysis of the Copyright Office’s Section 1201 3D printing rules, read a blog post by Michael Weinberg, formerly of Public Knowledge, now of 3D printing marketplace Shapeways.

The post Restrictions thwart 3D printing exemption appeared first on District Dispatch.

LITA: Double Robotics fun at LITA Forum

Tue, 2015-11-03 21:13

Attention Forum registrants and procrastinators!

Register for the 2015 LITA Forum in Minneapolis, MN by November 10th and be entered in a drawing to test-drive a telepresence robot provided by Forum sponsor, Double Robotics!

15 lucky winners will have the opportunity to try out networking and navigating the keynote presentations or concurrent sessions with a robot double. So if you haven’t already, take 5 minutes and register already.



Also, accommodations are still available at the Forum hotel, the Hyatt Regency Minneapolis, but they’re going fast.

Are you the planning type? Design your Forum experience ahead of time by signing up for Forum events and activities on the Forum Wiki.

Forum Sponsors:

EBSCO, Ex Libris, Optimal Workshop, OCLCInnovativeBiblioCommons, Springshare, SirsiDynixA Book ApartRosenfeld Media and Double Robotics.

See you in Minneapolis!

Karen Coyle: The Standards Committee Hell

Tue, 2015-11-03 20:01
I haven't been on a lot of standards committees, but each one has defined a major era in my life. I have spent countless hours in standards committees. That's because a standards committee requires hundreds of hours of reading emails, discussing minutiae (sometimes the meaning of "*", other times the placement of commas). The one universal in standards creation is that nearly everyone comes to the work with a preconceived idea of what the outcome should be, long before hearing (but not listening to) the brilliant and necessary ideas of fellow members of the committee. Most of these standards-progressing people are so sure that their sky is the truest blue that they hardly recognize the need to give passing attention to what others have to say.

In one committee I was on, the alpha geek appeared the first day with a 30-page document in hand, put it on the table, and said: "There. It's done. We can all go home now." He was smiling, but it wasn't a "ha ha" smile, it was a "gotcha" smile. That committee lasted over two years, two long, painful years in which we never quite climbed out of the chasm that we were thrown into on that first day. Over that two-year period we chipped away at the original document, transformed a few of its more arcane paragraphs into something almost readable, and eventually presented the world with a one hundred page document that was even worse than what we had started with. Thus is the way of standards.
" is so perfect in fact that the underlying model can be applied to any - absolutely any - technology in the universe."A particular downfall of standards committees is what I will call "the perfect model." I can only describe it with an analogy. Let's say that you are designing a car (by committee, of course), and one member of the group is an engineer with a particular passion for motors. In fact, he (yes, so far I've only run into "he's" of this nature) has this dream of the perfect internal combustion engine. Existing engines have made too many compromises -- for efficiency and economy and whatever other corners manufacturers have desired to cut. But now there is the opportunity to create the standard, the standard that everyone will follow and that will make every internal combustion engine the perfect, beautiful engine. The person (let's call him PersonB, reserving PersonA for oneself, or perhaps the chair of the committee, or, depending on the standards body, for the founder of the standards body and inspiration for all things technological) has developed a new four-stroke engine, which he modestly names with an acronym that includes his name. We'll call this the FE (famous engineer) 4x2 engine. The theory of the FE4x2 is as finely honed as the tolerances between the pistons and their housing; it is so perfect in fact that the underlying model can be applied to any - absolutely any - technology in the universe. Because of the near-divine nature of this model, the use of common terminology cannot describe its powers. Perhaps it would be preferable to not name the model and its features at all, leaving it, like Yahweh, to be alluded to but never spoken. However, standards bodies must describe their standards in documents, and even sell these to potential creators of the standard product, so names for the model and its components must be chosen. To inspire in all the importance of the model, terms are chosen to be as devoid of meaning as possible, yet so complex that they produce awe in the reader. Note that confusion is often mistaken for awe by the uneducated.

 Our committee now has described the perfect engine using the universal model, but the standards organization survives on hawking specifications to enterprising souls who will actually create and attempt to sell products that can be certified by the August Authoritative Standards Organization. This means that the thing the standard describes has to be packaged for use. Because the model is perfect, the package surely cannot be mundane. You don't put this engine in something resembling a Sears and Roebuck toaster oven. No, the package must have class, style, and a certain difficulty of use that makes the owner of the final product really think hard about what each knob is for. In fact, it would be ideal if every user would need to attend a series of seminars on the workings of this Perfect Thing. There's a good market for consultants to run these seminars, especially those members of the community who haven't got the skill to actually manufacture the product themselves. Those who can't do, as the saying goes, teach.

The final package needs also to justify the price that will be charged by purveyors of this product. It needs to be complex but classy. It has to waft on the wind of the past while promising an unspecified but surely improved future. The car committee needs to design a chassis that is worthy of the Perfect Engine. Committee members would love for it to be designed around a yet-to-be developed material, one that just screams Tomorrow! Again, though, there is that need to sell the idea to actual manufacturers, so the committee adds to the standard a chassis made of tried-and-true materials that must be tortured into a shape that could be, but probably will not be, what the not-yet-real future technology allows.
"But what about the children?"Whatever you do, do not be the person on the committee who asks: But what about the driver? How comfortable will it be? Will it be safe? Can children ride in it? (Answer: no, anyone who cares about the Perfect Engine will obviously have the sense to eschew children, who will only distract the adult's attention from the admiration of the Perfect Engine.) And never, ever point out that the design does not include doors for entering the vehicle. It's perfect, okay, just leave it at that. This is how we get a standard, and the industry around a standard; an industry that exists because the standard is so deeply just and true and right that no one can figure out how to use it, yet, because it is a standard from the August Authoritative Standards Organization, the rightity and trueness of the standard simply cannot be questioned. Because it is, after all, a standard, and standards exist to be obeyed.
"I've got mine!"Another downfall of a standards committee is when the committee has one or more members of the "I've got mine" type. These are folks who already have a product of the genre the standard is meant to address, and their participation in the committee is to assure that their product's design becomes the standard. There are lots of variations on this situation. A committee with only one "I've got mine" becomes a simple test of wills between the have and the have nots. A committee with more than one "I've got mine" becomes a battleground. The have nots on this committee might as well just go home because their views of what is needed are so irrelevant to the process that they can have the same effect on the outcome of the standards work by not being there. Who wins the battle depends on many things, of course, but I'd usually advise that you bet on the largest, richest "I've got mine." It is especially helpful if the "I've got mine" holds patents in the area and can therefore declare (true story) "If you create it, we'll destroy you with with patent claims."

Like the engineer of the perfect model, the "I've got mine" has an idee fixe. In this case, though, the idee may not be perfect or complete or even usable. But it exists, and "I've got mine" does not want to change. Therefore every idea that is not already in the product of "I've got mine" meets with great resistance. At various points in the discussion, "I've got mine" threatens to take his ball and go home. For reasons that have never been clear to me, the committee takes this threat seriously and caves in to "I've got mine" even though most members of the committee actually understand that the committee would be more successful without this person.
"...even though they repeat often the mantra "We can always blow it up and start over" they never, never start over."This then takes me to downfall number 3: once standards committees dig themselves into a hole, once they have started down a path that is quite clearly not going to result in success, and even though they repeat often the mantra "We can always blow it up and start over" they never, never start over. The standard that comes out always looks like the non-standard that went in on day one, regardless of how dysfunctional and mistaken that is. This is one of the reasons why there are standards on the books that were developed through great effort and whose person hours would add up to hundreds of thousands or even millions of dollars spent and yet they have not been adopted. Common sense allows people outside of the bubble of the standards committee process to admit that the thing just isn't going to work. No way. That's the best possible outcome; the worst possible outcome is that through an excess of obedience in a community with a hive mind the standard is adopted and therefore screws everything up for that community for decades, until a new standards committee is launched.
"...we can have a new standard, but nothing can really change."If you think that committee will solve the problem, then I suggest you go back to top of this essay and begin reading all over again. Because by now you should be anticipating downfall number 4: we can have a new standard, but nothing can really change. The end result of applying the new standard has to be exactly the same as the result obtained from the old standard. The committee can therefore declare a great success, and everyone can give a sigh of relief that they can go on doing everything the same way they ever did, perhaps with slightly different terminology and a bunch of new acronyms.

Now off I go to read some more emails, asking myself:  "Is this the time to ask: what about the children?"

Karen Coyle: Libraries, Books, and Elitism

Tue, 2015-11-03 18:54
"So is the library, storehouse and lender of books, as anachronistic as the record store, the telephone booth, and the Playboy centerfold? Perversely, the most popular service at some libraries has become free Internet access. People wait in line for terminals that will let them play solitaire and Minecraft, and librarians provide coffee. Other patrons stay in their cars outside just to use the Wi-Fi. No one can be happy with a situation that reduces the library to a Starbucks wannabe."James Gleick, "What Libraries (Still) Can Do" NYRDaily October 26, 2015
This is one of the worst examples of snobbery and elitism in relation to libraries that I have seen in a long time. It is also horribly uninformed. Let me disassemble this a bit.

First, libraries as places to gather is not new. Libraries in ancient Greece were designed as large open spaces with cubbies for scrolls around the inside wall. Very little of the space was taken up with that era's version of the book. They existed both as storehouses for the written word but also a place where scholars would come together to discuss ideas. Today, when students are asked what they want from their library, one of the highest ranked services is study space. There is nothing wrong with studying in a library; in fact, as anyone with a home office knows, having a physical space where you do your studying and thinking helps one focus the mind and be productive. 

Next, the dismissive and erroneous statement that people use "terminals" (when have you last heard computers called that?) to play solitaire and Minecraft completely ignores that fact that many of our information sources today are available only through online access, including information sources available to most users only through the library. If you want to look up journal articles you need the library's online access. Second, many social services are available online. The US government and most state governments no longer provide libraries with hard copies of documents, but make them available online. From IRS tax preparation help to information about state law and city zoning ordinances, you absolutely must have Internet access. Internet access is no longer optional for civic life. I can't imagine that anyone is waiting in line at a library for a one-hour slot to build their Minecraft world, but if they are, then I'm fine with that. It's no less "library-like" than using the library to read People magazine or check out a romance novel. (Gleick is probably against those, too.)

Gleick doesn't seem to know (and perhaps Palfrey, whose book he is reviewing, ditto) that libraries have limits on ebook lending.
And a library that could lend any e-book, without restriction, en masse, would be the perfect fatal competitor to bookstores and authors hoping to sell e-books for money. Something will have to give. Palfrey suggests that Congress could create “a compulsory license system to cover digital lending through libraries,” allowing for payment of fair royalties to the authors. Many countries, including most of Europe, have public lending right programs for this purpose.This completely misses the point. Libraries already lend e-books, with restriction, and they pay for them in the same way that they pay for paper books -- by paying for each copy that they lend. Suggesting a compulsory license is not a solution, and the public lending right that is common in Europe is for hard copy books as well as e-books. The difference being that the payment for lending in those countries does not come out of library budgets but is often paid out of a central fund supporting the arts. Given that the US has a very low level of government funding for the arts, and that libraries are not funded through a single government mechanism, a public lending payment would be extremely difficult to develop in this country.  There is the very real risk that it would take money out of already stretched library budgets and would  further disadvantage those library systems that are struggling the most to overcome poor local funding.

I don't at all mind folks having an opinion about libraries, about what they like and what they want. But I would hope that a researcher like Gleick would do at least as much research about libraries as he does about other subjects he expounds on. They - we - deserve the same attention to truth.

District Dispatch: Libraries Transform officially launched!

Tue, 2015-11-03 18:18

NBC News interviews ALA President Sari Feldman about the national Libraries Transform campaign.

Libraries Transform was officially launched on Thursday, October 29, by ALA President Sari Feldman who was here in Washington, D.C. to kick-off this national campaign to increase public awareness of the value, impact and services provided by libraries and library professionals.

Her visit was amplified by street teams on Capitol Hill, the National Mall, Union Station, Penn Quarter, Foggy Bottom, Dupont Circle and Georgetown, among other popular D.C. neighborhoods, where the team handed out Starbucks gift cards after passers-by answered a quiz about their library experiences. Taking part in the tour with Sari were: Keith Michael Fiels, ALA Executive Director, Cathleen Bourdon, ALA Associate Executive Director, Macey Morales, Deputy Director, ALA Public Awareness Office, Hallie Rich, Communications and External Relations Director, Cuyahoga County (OH) Public Library, Lisa Lindle, Grassroots Communications Specialist for ALA’s Washington Office, and me.

Museum Library

First up was a visit to the Smithsonian National Museum of American History’s Dibner Library of the History of Science and Technology, where we experienced the marvel of the museum’s Fantastic Worlds exhibit, featuring the worlds of fiction inspired by extraordinary 19th Century discoveries and inventions.

Mary August Thomas, Smithsonian Libraries deputy director, highlights examples of extremely valuable rare books within the Smithsonian libraries collection.

Smithsonian Libraries Deputy Director Mary Augusta Thomas and her team hosted an equally fantastic behind-the-scenes visit revealing an uncommon glimpse of some of the items that make up the Smithsonian libraries’ over two million volumes, of which more than 50,000 are rare books and manuscripts, including a jaw-dropping view of a first edition of the 1543 De Revolutionibus Orbium Coelstium by Copernicus (The Revolution of the Heavenly Orbs) and the first English translation of Euclid’s Elements from 1570 featuring 3-dimensional solids in pop-up form, among other Smithsonian library treasures.

School Library

Thomson Elementary school 4th and 5th grade students discuss with ALA President Sari Feldman how library digital learning is enhancing their educational experience, while Librarian Jeminnia States listens.

Next stop was Thomson Elementary School, set in an historic red brick building nestled among row houses and business establishments on the busy L street corridor. There, Sari Feldman was able to join Librarian Jeminnia States and 4th and 5th graders enthusiastically engaged on their library laptops and desktop computers. During a panel discussion, the students revealed how important the library and their ability to navigate online resources has been to their love of learning while also noting that for all but one, English is not the language spoken at home. It illustrated the transformative role that libraries are playing for under-served groups, overcoming language and cultural differences to foster individual opportunity.

University Library

At George Washington University’s (GWU) Gelman Library, Vice Provost for Libraries Geneva Henry and her team revealed the way academic libraries are transforming the educational experience of college students while serving faculty and researchers at the same time. Curriculum growth, research application development, community collaboration and bridging multiple disciplines through collaborative research were four significant areas highlighted.

For example, all GW freshmen are required to take one of the University Writing classes, which are co-taught by librarians who take students beyond finding sources and using databases to imaginative ideas for approaching online research. One writing class that Librarian Bill Gillis co-teaches includes a short-term study abroad writing and research class to Paris each summer.

GWU Vice Provost for Libraries Geneva Henry welcomes ALA President Sari Feldman to the Gelman Library

Social Feed Manager is a prototype application developed by the GW Libraries to collect social media data from Twitter and potentially other social media sources. It connects to Twitter’s approved API to collect data in bulk and makes it possible for scholars, students, and librarians to identify, select, collect, and preserve Twitter data for research purposes. Along with GWU, many colleges are collecting and analyzing the expansive role of social media in 21st Century life, including UCLA’s work in connecting up collections of news issues augmented by social media, and North Carolina State University’s deep dive analysis through its Social Media Archives Toolkit and Social Media Combine.

One of Libraries Transform banners displayed during  launch in D.C. This one appears outside George Washington University Gelman Library.

The D.C. Africana Archives Project is a collaborative archival resource that will document the culture, history and politics of black life in D.C. And cross-disciplinary collaboration has led to Software Developer-Librarian Justin Littman’s work with stakeholders throughout the university to implement an Expert Finder for GW faculty, librarians, and staff. This Expert Finder will make the publications and research interests of the GW community visible and searchable to facilitate new and innovative partnerships.

ALA President Sari Feldman is presented with a Libraries Transform plaque created on the laser printer by Maryann James-Daley, interim manager of The Labs at Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library.

Public Library

Final stop of the day was Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Public Library. A vibrant part of the DC community, MLK library boasts its expansive Digital Commons which offers 70 computers loaded with software such as the Adobe Creative Suite; access to tools like an Espresso book machine; and enhanced meeting rooms and gathering spaces aimed at encouraging creation and innovation. Its Dream Lab is a collaborative, shared space for small organizations, groups and individuals using technologies to develop and sustain new ventures; Studio Lab is a state-of-the-art studio to produce a broadcast or record a podcast; and its Fabrication Lab is stocked with a laser cutter, Shopbot and seven 3D printers spitting out anything from replacement parts for broken equipment to decorative replicas of the U.S. Capitol building.

“Clearly today’s libraries are not just about what we have for people, but what we do for and with people,” Sari said at the conclusion of the day.  “The goal of the Libraries Transform campaign is to change the perception that ‘libraries are just quiet places to do research, find a book, and read,’ to a shared understanding of libraries as dynamic centers for learning in the digital age.  Libraries of all kinds foster individual opportunity that ultimately drives the success of our communities and our nation.”

Government Officials Meet with ALA leaders

During the Libraries Transform campaign launch in Washington, Sari also took part in high level meetings at the Department of Labor (DOL) and at the Library of Congress, which were organized by Emily Sheketoff, executive director of ALA’s Washington Office. DOL officials discussed collaborative opportunities with the ALA leaders through the Workforce Investment program; while at the Library of Congress they met with Acting Librarian of Congress David Mao and Chief of Staff Robert Newlen, who said they welcome the chance to work closely with ALA.

The post Libraries Transform officially launched! appeared first on District Dispatch.

David Rosenthal: Emulation & Virtualization as Preservation Strategies

Tue, 2015-11-03 16:00
I'm very grateful that funding from the Mellon Foundation on behalf of themselves, the Sloan Foundation and IMLS allowed me to spend much of the summer researching and writing a report, Emulation and Virtualization as Preservation Strategies (37-page PDF, CC-By-SA). I submitted a draft last month, it has been peer-reviewed and I have addressed the reviewers comments. It is also available on the LOCKSS web site.

I'm old enough to know better than to give a talk with live demos. Nevertheless, I'll be presenting the report at CNI's Fall membership meeting in December complete with live demos of a number of emulation frameworks. The TL;DR executive summary of the report is below the fold.

Recent developments in emulation frameworks make it possible to deliver emulations to readers via the Web in ways that make them appear as normal components of Web pages. This removes what was the major barrier to deployment of emulation as a preservation strategy. Barriers remain, the two most important are that the tools for creating preserved system images are inadequate, and that the legal basis for delivering emulations is unclear, and where it is clear it is highly restrictive. Both of these raise the cost of building and providing access to a substantial, well-curated collection of emulated digital artefacts beyond reach.

If these barriers can be addressed, emulation will play a much greater role in digital preservation in the coming years. It will provide access to artefacts that migration cannot, and even assist in migration where necessary by allowing the original software to perform it. The evolution of digital artefacts means that current artefacts are more difficult and expensive to collect and preserve than those from the past, and less suitable for migration. This trend is expected to continue.

Emulation is not a panacea. Technical, scale and intellectual property difficulties make many current digital artefacts infeasible to emulate. Where feasible, even with better tools and a viable legal framework, emulation is more expensive than migration-based strategies. The most important reason for the failure of current strategies to collect and preserve the majority of their target material is economic; the resources available are inadequate. The bulk of the resources expended on both migration and emulation strategies are for ingest, especially metadata generation and quality assurance. There is a risk that diverting resources to emulation, with its higher per-artefact ingest cost, will exacerbate the lack of resources.

Areas requiring further work if emulation is to achieve its potential as a preservation strategy include:
  • Standardization of the format of preserved system images, the way they are obtained by emulators, and the means by which emulations of them are exposed to readers. This would enable interoperability between emulation components, aiding contributions and support from the open-source community.
  • Improvements to the tools for associating technical metadata with preserved software to enable it to be emulated, and the technical metadata databases upon which they depend. This would reduce the cost of preserved system images.
  • Clarification, and if possible relaxation, of the legal constraints on the creation and provision of access to collections of preserved system images. This would encourage institutions to collect software.

FOSS4Lib Recent Releases: Islandora - 7.x-1.6

Tue, 2015-11-03 14:54

Last updated November 3, 2015. Created by Peter Murray on November 3, 2015.
Log in to edit this page.

Package: IslandoraRelease Date: Monday, November 2, 2015

FOSS4Lib Recent Releases: veraPDF - 0.6

Tue, 2015-11-03 14:53

Last updated November 3, 2015. Created by Peter Murray on November 3, 2015.
Log in to edit this page.

Package: veraPDFRelease Date: Friday, October 30, 2015

Islandora: Release Announcement: Islandora 7.x-1.6

Tue, 2015-11-03 14:24

Islandora 7.x-1.6

We are proud to announce our fourth community release; Islandora 7.x-1.6.

This was a biggest release team yet, over 40 wonderful volunteers, and our first release that included a community maintenance sprint!

I'm calling this release: Towards a better and stronger community!

Release date: 2 November, 2015

New Modules

  • Islandora Altmetrics - Altmetrics integration. Fun fact, this module came out of the Islandora Conference Hackfest! (Donald Moses (UPEI), and William Panting (discoverygarden inc.)
  • Islandora Newspaper Batch - This module extends the Islandora batch framework so as to provide a Drush and GUI option to add newspaper issues and pages to an existing newspaper object. (Mark Jordan (Simon Fraser University), and discoverygarden inc.)
  • Islandora Populator - A framework to facilitate the population of XML forms during the usual ingest workflow. (discoverygarden inc.)
  • Islandora Usage Stats - A module for Drupal 7 to track views and downloads of Islandora items. (Ryerson University, and discoverygarden inc.)

Supported Versions

Islandora has been tested with the following versions of major dependencies:

  • Drupal 7
  • Fedora 3.5, 3.6.2, 3.7.0, 3.8.0, 3.8.1
  • GSearch 2.6.2, HEAD
  • Solr 3.6.2, 4.2.0
  • PHP 5.3.3, 5.4, 5.5
  • Djatoka 1.1
  • Java (Oracle) 6,7,8 (Djatoka requires Sun/Oracle Java)

Release Notes

A couple highlights given the community theme:

  • Every module now has a file that outlines how to contribute. Check it out!
  • Every module README links back to the Duraspace Confluence documentation
  • Every module tests against Fedora 3.8.1 thanks to some tireless community effort
  • Four new modules that illustrate community collaboration in making them happen

The full details with links can be found on the Duraspace wiki (summary included below).

The release VM can be downloaded here.

Final note, this will be my last release as release manager for 7.x-1.x. It has been an honour and privilege serving as release manager. I could not have done any of this without you all. Thank you very much!!!

Release Team

Release Manager

  • Nick Ruest

Component Managers

  • Adam Vessey
  • Ashok Modi
  • Daniel Aitken
  • Diego Pino
  • Donald Moses
  • Jared Whiklo
  • Jordan Dukart
  • Mark Jordan
  • Nelson Hart
  • Nick Ruest
  • Peter Murray
  • Rosie Le Faive
  • William Panting


  • Brad Spry
  • Brian Harrington
  • Caleb Derven
  • Devin Higgins
  • Emily Toner
  • Jared Whiklo
  • Joanna DiPasquale
  • Kelli Babcock
  • Kelsey Williamson
  • Kim Pham
  • Lingling Jiang
  • Logan Cox
  • Marcus Barnes
  • Mark Baggett
  • Mark Cooper
  • Melissa Anez
  • Rosie Le Faive
  • Ryan Townshend
  • Scott Ziegler
  • Zach Vowell


  • Alex Kent
  • Brian Harrington
  • Caleb Derven
  • Dan Aitken
  • Gabriela Mircea
  • Islandora Foundation Documentation Interest Group
  • Janice Banser
  • Jennifer Eustis
  • Joanna DiPasquale
  • Kelli Babcock
  • Lingling Jiang
  • Mark Baggett
  • Mark Cooper
  • Matthew Miguez
  • Melissa Anez
  • Robin Dean
  • Ryan Edge


  • Brian Harrington
  • Caleb Derven
  • Courtney
  • Matthews
  • Diego Pino
  • Janice Banser
  • Jared Whiklo
  • Kelli Babcock
  • Linda Richter
  • Lingling Jiang
  • Mark Cooper
  • Matthew Miguez
  • Melissa Anez
  • Phil Suda
  • Scott Ziegler
  • Will Panting


New Feature


  • [ISLANDORA-821] - create script to validate the drupal filter xml
  • [ISLANDORA-1015] - Maintain citeproc
  • [ISLANDORA-1194] - islandora_solr_metadata silently fails if filtered_html does not exist
  • [ISLANDORA-1218] - Rendering breadcrumbs can be horribly slow on sites with a large RI
  • [ISLANDORA-1219] - Checkbox to let a user delete a datastream's derivatives when purging a datastream
  • [ISLANDORA-1302] - The function islandora_compound_object_navigation_block was moved from the .module into include/
  • [ISLANDORA-1326] - Collection description ignores linebreaks
  • [ISLANDORA-1333] - Solr Metadata: Separate field config, add ability to truncate field output in display.
  • [ISLANDORA-1334] - Allow filtering of DSIDs to apply checksums to
  • [ISLANDORA-1339] - Content model labels are confusing to users. Collection policy should allow configurable labels for when the user has to choose a cmodel.
  • [ISLANDORA-1345] - Make JAIL block use a template
  • [ISLANDORA-1346] - no point in returning many objects when we only need one
  • [ISLANDORA-1349] - Command-line batch ingest does not respect COLLECTION_POLICY nor XACML POLICY
  • [ISLANDORA-1352] - Create a FCREPO 3.8.1 drupalauthfilter
  • [ISLANDORA-1353] - Command-line batch doesn't work correctly with islandora:sp_basic_image
  • [ISLANDORA-1368] - [UIIG] Use radio buttons instead of select when selecting Content Model and Forms.
  • [ISLANDORA-1370] - Collection grid view defaults to 10 per page.
  • [ISLANDORA-1373] - Add jpg/jpeg support to web archive solution pack for screenshots
  • [ISLANDORA-1376] - Add "--output_ingest_set" feature to islandora_batch_scan_preprocess
  • [ISLANDORA-1382] - Add hook to notify other modules that no search results were found
  • [ISLANDORA-1384] - Video SP should let you play an MP4 OBJ without creating and storing a derivative.
  • [ISLANDORA-1390] - Can't grab all relationships within a specific namespace on an object
  • [ISLANDORA-1400] - Display metadata on collection objects
  • [ISLANDORA-1417] - Add MADS cleanup xsl
  • [ISLANDORA-1434] - Create hook_islandora_get_breadcrumb_query_predicates()

Bug Fixes

  • [ISLANDORA-811] - warnings and mangled images found in basic solution pack
  • [ISLANDORA-872] - Quotation marks aren't saved/displayed properly in repeatable tag fields
  • [ISLANDORA-1030] - fully support setting models array with an array
  • [ISLANDORA-1034] - Solr metadata -- decode_entities
  • [ISLANDORA-1087] - Get a WSOD when using xml form with template and changing tabbed template values.
  • [ISLANDORA-1088] - When sharing all objects with another collection, the processing message doesn't exit
  • [ISLANDORA-1148] - Long titles do not generate appropriate Fedora labels
  • [ISLANDORA-1181] - newspaper view is broken when newspaper issues have XACML policies
  • [ISLANDORA-1184] - islandora_batch failing to import MARCXML
  • [ISLANDORA-1226] - openseadragon config throws error on drupal multisite
  • [ISLANDORA-1234] - Create Bag on object modification loop possibly caused by users who rarely logout
  • [ISLANDORA-1240] - Bag not created on object update
  • [ISLANDORA-1258] - TECHMD and TECHMD_DFXML datastreams downloads as .xsl not .xml
  • [ISLANDORA-1292] - Citeproc shouldn't try to render dates it doesn't have
  • [ISLANDORA-1299] - Find Collections autocomplete is case sensitive
  • [ISLANDORA-1303] - errors when updating xacml module
  • [ISLANDORA-1304] - "Enable search navigation block" in Solr Search causes OpenSeadragon to error and results in non-display of large images when images are accessed through search results
  • [ISLANDORA-1312] - Add option to append object URL to redirect URL
  • [ISLANDORA-1317] - Invalid argument in
  • [ISLANDORA-1318] - thumbnail image link is broken in solr metadata display for person in entities
  • [ISLANDORA-1320] - Citation exporter calling out to old CiteProc
  • [ISLANDORA-1322] - setDescription fails for Managed DC on collections
  • [ISLANDORA-1328] - <meta> tags are not generated for thesisCModel objects
  • [ISLANDORA-1335] - Retroactive query does not get book/newspaper pages in the collection
  • [ISLANDORA-1342] - a trailing space in a form identifier breaks the form
  • [ISLANDORA-1344] - Solr metadata display not displaying field data
  • [ISLANDORA-1348] - ZIP Importer regression causing supplemental non XML datastreams to be missed
  • [ISLANDORA-1350] - Scholar creates physicalDescription fields that are overwritten by the default MODS form.
  • [ISLANDORA-1356] - IAV blows up if book 'info' is a single space
  • [ISLANDORA-1380] - Form Builder buttons (add, copy, paste, delete) disappear when you click on a form element in Chrome and Chromium
  • [ISLANDORA-1387] - Ampersand appears double encoded in breadcrumbs
  • [ISLANDORA-1388] - Facet Page searches don't honor default query namespace
  • [ISLANDORA-1389] - Broken dynamic citations for theses
  • [ISLANDORA-1399] - drush batch ingests may loop infinitely for some OS distros
  • [ISLANDORA-1412] - Importing zip file with more than 50 marc xml files
  • [ISLANDORA-1413] - Video SP uses invalid search to valid selected MP4 encoders
  • [ISLANDORA-1414] - islandora_xml_forms: Drupal 7.39 breaks autocomplete functionality
  • [ISLANDORA-1416] - Large Image SP can create bad derivatives of JP2s
  • [ISLANDORA-1418] - page number sequence validation fails when ingesting many books in a single directory
  • [ISLANDORA-1419] - Derivative Generation on Web Archive is Broken After Adding JPG Functionality
  • [ISLANDORA-1425] - Double urlencoded links break subsequent search facet links
  • [ISLANDORA-1429] - Islandora Batch getNamespace causes warning in Islandora Importer
  • [ISLANDORA-1430] - Zip Importer Fails to Generate Derivatives on docx, xlsx, pptx, etc...
  • [ISLANDORA-1431] - Compound object importer not sorting files read from ZIP
  • [ISLANDORA-1432] - Compound tab appearing empty when should display at least associate to parent
  • [ISLANDORA-1436] - Paged content PDF to TIFF extraction missing flag
  • [ISLANDORA-1441] - Paged Content Race Condition(s)
  • [ISLANDORA-1443] - Basic theme preprocess function incorrectly named
  • [ISLANDORA-1447] - Solr Advanced Search Block Term Permissions Not Saving
  • [ISLANDORA-1449] - Fix Drag-and-drop in Form Builder
  • [ISLANDORA-1450] - deleting file that does not exist while making derivatives
  • [ISLANDORA-1458] - Islandora Usage Stats For Collection view is double encoding urls
  • [ISLANDORA-1461] - "Solution packs required objects" page: xml-model processing instruction error
  • [ISLANDORA-1468] - Solr Facet Pages doesn't create facet links to first letter for lowercase terms
  • [ISLANDORA-1469] - Missing include in
  • [ISLANDORA-1472] - Can't view metadata display when using pdf.js reader for book object
  • [ISLANDORA-1477] - Checksum function doesn't activate until save button is pressed once
  • [ISLANDORA-1482] - Audio SP MP3 derivative leaks temp files
  • [ISLANDORA-1509] - Ingest form typo
  • [ISLANDORA-1512] - Drush installer for videojs-plugin won't run.
  • [ISLANDORA-1513] - Checksum checker can run as anon and cause infinite loop.
  • [ISLANDORA-1514] - Updating a datastream for a multiple CMODEL Object , using XML Form, removes already present CMODEL
  • [ISLANDORA-1518] - Usage stats blows up search results if term is too long.
  • [ISLANDORA-1522] - batch page ingest in islandora_paged_content does not respect UUID

Code Tasks

  • [ISLANDORA-965] - Clean up travis branch refs
  • [ISLANDORA-1080] - php_lib and travis
  • [ISLANDORA-1149] - Fedora 3.8.1 test coverage
  • [ISLANDORA-1229] - Setup TravisCI integration for Form Fieldpanel
  • [ISLANDORA-1274] - Form Field Panel -- Coding standards
  • [ISLANDORA-1296] - Add $associations to $elements in theme('islandora_solr_metadata_display', $elements)
  • [ISLANDORA-1306] - Remove deprecated variables from
  • [ISLANDORA-1343] - About Collection Policies points to old documentation
  • [ISLANDORA-1360] - Remove mention of kdu_expand from README
  • [ISLANDORA-1385] - Update Usage Stats README to comply with README template
  • [ISLANDORA-1386] - Configure TravisCI for Usage Stats
  • [ISLANDORA-1395] - Newspaper collection policy uses "New TIFF" for its content models' default name
  • [ISLANDORA-1396] - Update all Islandora Foundation READMEs ##Development section.
  • [ISLANDORA-1397] - Update Travis config to use new container infrastructure
  • [ISLANDORA-1398] - Add Java8 & fcrepo 3.8.1 to TravisCI config for Drupal Servlet Filter
  • [ISLANDORA-1404] - Add TravisCI configuration to Islandora Altmetrics
  • [ISLANDORA-1405] - Add TravisCI configuration to Islandora Solr Facet Pages
  • [ISLANDORA-1408] - Add php 5.5 to Islandora Solr View TravisCI config
  • [ISLANDORA-1415] - Add TravisCI configuration and update README for Islandora Populator
  • [ISLANDORA-1422] - Malformed default form for Web ARChive Solution Pack
  • [ISLANDORA-1451] - Inconsistent ways of getting object from ingest form after submitting file upload
  • [ISLANDORA-1456] - islandora-video.tpl.php variable documentation includes wrong variable
  • [ISLANDORA-1510] - Remove deprecrated 7.x-1.5 constants
  • [ISLANDORA-1511] - Remove call to deprecated IslandoraBookDeprecateString


  • [ISLANDORA-841] - transform in islandora_importer fails to crosswalk dateCreated
  • [ISLANDORA-842] - Edismax documentation task
  • [ISLANDORA-898] - PID search in SOLR advanced search
  • [ISLANDORA-1178] - using zip importer on large files
  • [ISLANDORA-1210] - Deleting agregate objects don't transverse the graph.
  • [ISLANDORA-1288] - Unchecking option in Compound Object Solution Pack seems to have no effect
  • [ISLANDORA-1309] - XACML Editor compatibility issue with Islandora Scholar Embargo Module
  • [ISLANDORA-1332] - --content_models="comma-separated list of content models" doesn't work, creates havoc
  • [ISLANDORA-1340] - Islandora Scholar needs citeproc-php library
  • [ISLANDORA-1354] - ImageMagick module should be listed as a dependency
  • [ISLANDORA-1355] - Installation documentation should not be asking people to run simpletest or phpunit
  • [ISLANDORA-1357] - Update Drupal filter documentation - 3.8.0 filter is ok to use with 3.8.1 filter
  • [ISLANDORA-1365] - Document that RSS Fields are limited by the Solr Display Fields
  • [ISLANDORA-1383] - Add a to each Islandora Foundation release repository
  • [ISLANDORA-1394] - Update READMEs for each Islandora Foundation repository to link back to wiki documentation
  • [ISLANDORA-1403] - PHP and Apache2 Recommended Settings
  • [ISLANDORA-1423] - Readme Audit for islandora_jwplayer
  • [ISLANDORA-1426] - Video section of "Notes on Solution Pack and Tool Dependences" points to a now non-existent Medibuntu
  • [ISLANDORA-1444] - Islandora Populator ingest step should admit where it's coming from
  • [ISLANDORA-1445] - MARCXML ingest step language could be improved.
  • [ISLANDORA-1448] - Document that retroactvely enabling checksums regenerates derivatives
  • [ISLANDORA-1454] - Directory structure for input data is misleading
  • [ISLANDORA-1462] - Incomplete comment in mods_to_dc.xsl regarding roleTerm
  • [ISLANDORA-1470] - if full path isn't provided in Image Toolkit for convert, PDF TN fails
  • [ISLANDORA-1492] - 'Issue' section, not 'Collection' section
  • [ISLANDORA-1493] - Path to Book Solution Pack configuration page has changed
  • [ISLANDORA-1495] - create documentation for usage stats
  • [ISLANDORA-1496] - Book batch directory structure needs clarification
  • [ISLANDORA-1501] - "Create OGG locally" option text unclear
  • [ISLANDORA-1503] - Edit "Content Models, Prescribed Datastreams and Forms" section of Documentation
  • [ISLANDORA-1520] - Add FAQ about Islandora objects needing public access before appearing in sitemap
  • [ISLANDORA-1528] - Clarify that islandora_batch bypasses checkbox setting in PDF module


SearchHub: Solr on Docker

Tue, 2015-11-03 13:17

It is now even easier to get started with Solr: you can run Solr on Docker with a single command:

$ docker run --name my_solr -d -p 8983:8983 -t solr

That creates a new Docker container using the new official Solr image, which includes OpenJDK and the latest release of Solr.

Then with a web browser go to http://localhost:8983/ to see the Admin Console (adjust the hostname for your docker host).

To use Solr, you need to create a “core”, an index for your data. For example:

$ docker exec -it --user=solr my_solr bin/solr create_core -c gettingstarted

In the web UI if you click on “Core Admin” you should now see the “gettingstarted” core.

If you want to load some example data:

$ docker exec -it --user=solr my_solr bin/post -c gettingstarted example/exampledocs/manufacturers.xml

In the UI, find the “Core selector” popup menu and select the “gettingstarted” core, then select the “Query” menu item. This gives you a default search for “:” which returns all docs. Hit the “Execute Query” button, and you should see a few docs with data. Congratulations!

This video demonstrates the image used with the user interface (Kitematic) from the Docker Toolbox on OSX:


Further instructions, including on how to run in a multi-container configuration can be found in the documentation, with further details in the FAQ. The code for this image is available in the docker-solr Github repository.

For those interested in how this came together: the image is based on the popular makuk66/docker-solr image, and you can see how that was further refined to be even friendlier to use and to better fit into Docker’s maintenance model in this pull request. A big thank-you to the Docker team for their help there.

The post Solr on Docker appeared first on

Jenny Rose Halperin: Body as natural disaster

Tue, 2015-11-03 02:49

On supporting a loved on with chronic illness Originally published on Medium

My mother’s disease is like a natural disaster: It’s not always a raging storm, but when it is, it’s incomprehensible, devastating, and random.

For reasons not entirely understood, my mother’s immune system has been slowly destroying her liver for the last 25 years. When she was diagnosed in the early 1990s, she was given eight years to live, but a liver transplant purged the sickness from her body ten years ago. After a few months of unexplained fatigue this summer, we learned that the disease had returned, a relatively rare occurrence in post-transplant patients. I sat and wept on a bench in Central Square when I learned it had taken up residency in her body again, sure and strange as a warm ocean current, ready to wreak havoc.

She’s lived through cancer, a stroke, epilepsy, diabetes, osteoporosis, shattered bones, dental issues, jaundice, a liver that functions at five percent of normal capacity, and a million other ailments I’ve left out because I simply can’t remember anymore. Modern medicine makes human lives seem less fragile, salvageable but broken like the wreckage from a storm. Her body bears scars like Frankenstein’s monster, incisions that run from her ribcage to hipbones, swollen joints and random bruises, brittle hair and teeth.

My mother’s disease, called Primary Biliary Cirrhosis, is not contagious or causal, and it is not strictly genetic, though I have a slightly higher chance of manifesting an autoimmune disorder at some point in my life. 75 percent of people living with autoimmune disease are women, and though the disease category is one of the leading causes of death and disability among women under 65, research into their genesis as a whole remains largely inconclusive. Although autoimmune diseases are fairly common, and are a diverse category of disease that affects every major organ group, Primary Biliary Cirrhosis is officially registered as a “rare disease.” While research into its management has been promising, I doubt there will be a real cure within my lifetime.

The pained, slightly confused expressions of sympathy that cross peoples’ faces when I tell them about my mother are predictable to me now, and I keep a catalog of promised kindnesses in my head I can call when I need them. In the case of chronic illness, the most well-intentioned acts of compassion can become a burden: trying to schedule when dinner can brought to your home, shoving another quiche into the freezer, an “I can’t imagine what you’re going through,” talk. a hug as you inevitably break down when you run into an acquaintance on the street. Then, of course, there are those who don’t know what to say: the friends who disappear, the family members who never come.

I’ve learned that during a long-term illness, most people fall away, slowly becoming unglued from the spine and dropping like pages from an old paperback or moldering like a waterlogged novel. I recognize that most friends have limited experiences with long-term degenerative illness, though I have become acutely aware that each person carries a significant number of individual, hidden traumas. Even the blessed suffer, and mental pain is unquantifiable because it is as systemic and ubiquitous as a chronic illness. Pain is as inevitable and often random as death or natural disaster. It is a primary life experience that binds us to others.

Ten years ago, my mother’s physical pain was assuaged when she received a new liver from a woman I call Linda, though I don’t know her real name. Linda died in a car crash on a Saturday evening outside of New Haven, Connecticut in September of 2005, and by 9AM the next morning, her liver was pumping my mother’s bile. That Sunday, my father bought three copies of the New York Times so we wouldn’t have to share as we sipped black coffee and waited for the nurse to call our names. Transplantation saved her life, but the disease left marks on her body and mind, leaving her scarred, knocked down, and largely adrift. Wandering the landscape of a life shattered by disease, we can only look in the empty windows of what could have been.

In my college entrance essay I compared my mother’s transplant to my own prom: a momentous life event that felt strange, inevitable, and weirdly glamorous. I used the essay to describe how my mother’s fragility underscored my own need to live vibrantly. I wrote,

Had my mother not been ill for most of my life, I would be a different person. Much of my desire to embrace life and connect with people in my own, small way comes from my sense of mortality. This sense of life’s transience propelled me to grow up quickly… Our serendipitous adventures have proven that our relationship is blessed. …However, the greatest impression that she has made on me is that every minute of the day I know there is someone in the world who loves me more than anything. My mother always says that I am “the best thing that ever happened to her.” Her unwavering affection has shaped me as a confident and capable woman who shares her love of life.

This essay remains one of my favorite personal pieces, and I’ve come back to it often in the last few months. Each appointment and emergency room visit brings me back to a childhood spent in hospitals, the long waits when I first understood life and health are tempestuous and unguaranteed. Tim Lawrence wrote in his recent essay “Everything Doesn’t Happen for a Reason,” “Being diagnosed with a debilitating illness cannot be fixed… [It] can only be carried.” Accepting that some things don’t happen for a reason can free our minds to grieve. Carrying the weight of trauma rather than taking responsibility for events beyond our control helps us better understand our pain and the pain of the people we love.

I’ve been thinking lately of a healer I know who told me that if she could be reincarnated as a plant, she would be a wild raspberry. After cataclysmic weather events, the wild raspberry is the first edible plant to return to the area, so that in times of crisis, it provides valuable sustenance. I try to find a wild raspberry in some hidden spot during the darkest times, whether it’s a few uninterrupted hours chatting in a hospital room or a trip home to drive my mother around town and have dinner with my parents. I savor the metaphorical sweetness of the tiny red berries because I know they cannot last forever, but that they allow my mother to live now, for us to live, together.

DuraSpace News: The 2015 VIVO Conference Was a Success!

Tue, 2015-11-03 00:00

From VIVO conference organizers

Winchester, MA  The VIVO2015 conference was the best yet! With a wonderful turnout of attendees, the conference was a great collaboration of ideas as it provided many opportunities for learning.

You will not want to miss 2016's conference. This year's conference will offer more insightful information, great networking events, and exciting keynotes.

Mark your calendar now to attend the 2016 conference happening:

DuraSpace News: HELP Create a DSpace 6.0 Test Plan for Non-Developers

Tue, 2015-11-03 00:00

From Bram Luyten, @mire  

Heverlee, Belgium  To follow up on one of the topics that came up at the UK DSpace User Group Meeting last week, I am distributing information about the test plan that DCAT (DSpace Community Advisory Team) is currently building.