The following is a guest post by Abbie Grotke, Lead Information Technology Specialist on the Web Archiving Team, Library of Congress.
Recently the Library of Congress launched a significant amount of new Web Archive content on the Library’s Web site, as a part of a continued effort to integrate the Library’s Web Archives into the rest of the loc.gov web presence.
This is our first big release since we launched the first iteration of collections into this new interface, back in June 2013. The earlier approach to presenting archived web sites turned out to be a challenge to allow us to increase the amount of content available, so in a “one step back, two steps forward” move, the interface has been simplified, and should be more familiar to those working with Web Archives at other institutions – item records point to archived web sites displaying in an open-source version of the Wayback Machine. This simplification allowed the Library to increase the number of sites available in this interface from just under 1,000 to over 5,800. The most recent harvested sites now publicly available were harvested in March-April 2012. The simplified approach should also allow catching up with moving more current content into the online collections.
There are now 21 named collections available in the new interface; some had been available in our old interface but are newly migrated; other content is entirely new. With this launch, we are particularly excited about the addition of the United States Congressional Web Archives, which for the first time allows researchers to access content collected since December 2002 up thru April 2012. Each record covers those sessions where a particular member of Congress was serving, such as for Barack Obama as senator during two sessions, or the example of Kirsten E. Gillibrand serving in the House and Senate, represented on one record despite a URL change.
Other newly available collections include the Burma/Myanmar General Election 2010 Web Archive, Egypt 2008 Web Archive, Laotian General Election 2011 Web Archive, Thai General Election 2011 Web Archive, Vietnamese General Election 2011 Web Archive and the Winter Olympic Games 2002 Web Archive.
We still have some work to do to move the U.S. Election Web Archives from our old interface, so for the time being researchers interested in those collections will need to refer back to the old site. Eventually we will be combining the separate Election collections into one U.S. Election Archive that will allow better searchability and access, and migrating them over (and then “turning off” the old interface).
We hope researchers will enjoy access to these new web archive collections.
I’ve recently attended some of my first conferences/meetings post-MLIS and I thought I’d pass on the information I learned from my experience navigating them for the first time.
Courtesy of Jatenipit. Pixabay 2014
Always be prepared to promote
This is the most dreaded aspect of networking. It essentially implies schmoozing and self-aggrandizement, but if you consider it as a socializing you’ll realize it’s an essential part of getting to know others in the profession and the roles they play in their organization. If you’re new to the information profession, it can be a great opportunity to ask other professionals about the path they took to enter the industry. More often than not when they find that you’re new to the profession, they’ll offer you advice. They’ll be curious to know what your career goals are and why you’re attending. This is a great opportunity to ask for their business card or contact information. If you find that you’ve built a good rapport and want to become more familiar with their work/organization, you should offer your business card (more on this later).
The thing about promotion
If you’re at a conference on behalf of an organization, then you’re on the company dollar. Therefore your mission is to network, learn and share. Since I plan on attending conferences to learn more about the profession and network, I couldn’t talk shop about procedures and management. If you are attending on behalf of an organization you’re expected to create professional networks and trace them back to your institution. It sounds intimidating, but if you allow yourself to soak-up as much information as possible, while being open about what works and doesn’t for your information environment, you’ll find others may want to emulate your framework and share theirs in return.
You have leverage too
Believe it or not the pros don’t know everything. Sometimes when you’re new to a profession you can become caught-up in what you don’t know and the list of skills you need to get to that ever distant “next level.” I was very surprised to find that many of the resources I was familiar with escaped the purview of individuals working in the digital records management and archives field. I introduced The Signal Digital Preservation and the Cancer Imaging Archive into a conversation and a few individuals took genuine interest in my explanation of their services. While earning your degree or working in different information environments, you are exposed to a variety of resources and ideas that others aren’t aware of. Don’t count yourself out, you have something to add to the conversation.
Think outside the box
There is no need to be intimidated about approaching new acquaintances during a professional conference. Most of the time you’re meeting with people who remember what it’s like to be at the forefront of a new career. It can be exciting and informative to strike-up a conversation with a presenter. There is nothing wrong with inquiring about lunch plans and meeting outside of the conference venue during scheduled breaks. The relaxed atmosphere of a restaurant is where funny stories of the trade can be passed along and you’ll get to know each other on a personal level. There are several factors that account for good networking and having an outgoing personality is one of them. While being personable is fine, doing so in a respectful manner is most apt.
Handy business cards
If you’re using a conference to network for future employment, then you need to have business cards. At larger conferences you can be one in hundreds of attendees. Business cards are a great way to establish that you’re prepared and professional. However, providing an acquaintance with your contact information is not enough. Perhaps you may want to ask for their card if you want to continue the conversation after the conference concludes. It’s likely that they’ll never take a look at your business card again, so it’s important to follow-up with an e-mail to remind them of the highlights of the conversation you had and how you’d like to collaborate with them going forward.
If you’re hoping to enter a new field post-graduation, at a minimum your business card should include: your name, degree(s) and university, your phone number and e-mail. You can also add a specialization to encompass your career trajectory such as Librarian, Electronic Resource Specialist or Certified Webmaster. For points of contact beyond your phone number and e-mail, providing your website, online portfolio or LinkedIn URL is a great way to showcase your web presence. If you can connect with another professional’s LinkedIn, you will not only increase their awareness of you, but you will be exposed to their extended network as well.
An added bonus
If you are networking for employment, one thing that you don’t want to do is outrightly ask about potential employment with another attendee’s organization. I’ve seen this happen before and it can be off-putting for the person being asked as well as anyone involved in the conversation. If you’re a new graduate or changing careers, the conversation will naturally flow into questions about your career plans. If the person you’re speaking with feels inclined to mention an upcoming opportunity, then it is an added bonus. Otherwise, enjoy yourself and take advantage of the learning opportunity. You’ll be in a room filled with like-minded professionals and everyone wants the most of their experience.
Are you planning on attending any conferences this year? What takeaways do you have from conferences you’ve attended in the past? Let me know in the comments section.
We’re happy to announce that the WorldShare License Manager API is now available in Production.
From Andrew Woods, Technical Lead for Fedora, on behalf of the Fedora team.
Winchester, MA The Fedora team is pleased to announce that Fedora 4.2.0 was released on May 19, 2015 and is now available.
The focus of the 4.2.0 release was twofold:
Establish an Audit Service
Create and exercise tooling for Fedora 3 to 4 migrations
Reminder: The application window to apply for the Robert L. Oakley Memorial Scholarship, a scholarship opportunity that supports research and advanced study for librarians in their early-to-mid-careers, closes on June 1, 2015. The annual $1,000 scholarship, which was developed by the American Library Association and the Library Copyright Alliance, supports librarians interested in intellectual property, public policy and copyright law.
Applicants should provide a statement of intent for use of the scholarship funds. Such a statement should include the applicant’s interest and background in intellectual property, public policy, and/or copyright and their impacts on libraries and the ways libraries serve their communities. Additionally, statements should include information about how the applicant and the library community will benefit from the applicant’s receipt of scholarship. Statements should be no longer than three pages (1,000 words). The applicant’s resume or curriculum vitae should be included in their application.
Applications must be submitted via e-mail to Carrie Russell, crussell[at]alawash[dot]org. Awardees may receive the Robert L. Oakley Memorial Scholarship up to two times in a lifetime. Funds may be used for equipment, expendable supplies, travel necessary to conduct, attend conferences, release from library duties or other reasonable and appropriate research expenses.
The award honors the life accomplishments and contributions of Robert L. Oakley. Professor and law librarian Robert Oakley was an expert on copyright law and wrote and lectured on the subject. He served on the Library Copyright Alliance representing the American Association of Law Librarians and played a leading role in advocating for U.S. libraries and the public they serve at many international forums including those of the World Intellectual Property Organization and United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization.
Oakley served as the United States delegate to the International Federation of Library Associations Standing Committee on Copyright and Related Rights from 1997-2003. Mr. Oakley testified before Congress on copyright, open access, library appropriations and free access to government documents and was a member of the Library of Congress’ Section 108 Study Group. A valued colleague and mentor for numerous librarians, Oakley was a recognized leader in law librarianship and library management who also maintained a profound commitment to public policy and the rights of library users.
The post Reminder: Apply now for the Oakley Memorial Scholarship appeared first on District Dispatch.
It’s come to the LITA Board’s attention that the Confederation of Open Access Repositories is circulating a statement against Elsevier’s new sharing policy. (You can find that policy here.) COAR is concerned that the policy imposes long embargoes for open access content (up to 4 years); applies retroactively; and restricts author’s choice of Creative Commons license. Numerous individuals and library organizations, including ALA and ACRL, have signed on to this statement; the LITA Board is discussing doing likewise.
But we represent you, the members! So tell us what you think. Should LITA sign on?
A question in a mail list I’m on introduced me to a git feature that was very new to me: it’s possible to have git rewrite the repository URLs to always use HTTPS or git+ssh, etc.
This one-liner seems to force https:git config --global url.https://github.com/.insteadOf git://github.com/
Or you can add these to your .gitconfig:# Use https instead of git and git+ssh [url "https://github.com/"] insteadOf = git://github.com/ [url "https://github.com/"] insteadOf = firstname.lastname@example.org: # Use git and git+ssh instead of https [url "git://github.com/"] insteadOf = https://github.com/ [url "email@example.com:"] pushInsteadOf = "git://github.com/" [url "firstname.lastname@example.org:"] pushInsteadOf = "https://github.com/"
It’s been just about a month now since the conclusion of the second annual DPLAfest in Indianapolis, where about 300 people gathered to discuss the current and future state of digital collections and digital publishing. Those in attendance included librarians, archivists, publishers, authors, developers, and other interested members of the community. My own participation at the conference was generously made possible by a DPLA + DLF Cross-Pollinator Travel Grant, which allowed me share with and learn from DPLA community during the two-day event.
Put simply, my time at the DPLAfest was inspiring, based largely on my interactions with the DPLA community, which I found to be vibrant, welcoming, ingenious and altogether energizing. A fellow travel grant recipient, Laura Wrubel, has recently written on her own experiences at the conference. In her post, Laura identified a tangible excitement and a feeling of momentum that accompanied the conference, and I must agree wholeheartedly. An unmistakable atmosphere of positivity and possibility flowed through the conference and its attendees. Allow me to share an example.
My participation in the conference revolved mainly around the hackathon. On the first day of the conference, a large group of attendees learned how to access the DPLA API, and from there we split into smaller groups to discuss possible app ideas. My fellow brainstormers in this process included Alexandra Murray, Laura Wrubel, and Brandon Locke. The four of us were mostly DPLA newcomers, and were attending the conference in an exploratory mode. Even with our status as novices, however, we were received as a peers into the DPLA community. As we talked through app ideas among each other and with the larger group, the support we received from DPLA community members was immediate and enthusiastic. DPLA staff Audrey Altman, Mark Breedlove, Mark Matienzo, and Tom Johnson were all on hand to provide direction and feedback as we worked first through ideas and then through code.
In thinking back to when I first learned of the DPLA, the earliest experience I could recall was the Fall 2013 meeting of the Coalition of Networked Information, where I attended a presentation by Dan Cohen. The DPLA was a mere 8 months into its existence at that time, and I remember being impressed not only with its mission and vision, but also the sticker on Dan’s laptop:
In the 16 months since, the DPLA has grown into a fully-realized digital library platform that now provides access to over 10,000,000 metadata-rich records from over 1,600 contributing institutions, and with a killer API to boot. With such a diverse number of digital objects, a vibrant, supportive community, and a forward-thinking vision for digital collections and digital services, the DPLA represents a spirit of creative exploration (demonstrated nicely in the DPLA App Library).
A query of the DPLA API shows that my institution, Montana State University Library, has so far contributed 1,632 records to the DPLA through the Mountain West Digital Library. We plan to increase our contribution by several more thousand records over the next several months, including records from the Acoustic Atlas, our newly-formed collection of natural sound recordings from the American West. My participation in the DPLAfest has served to strengthen my own interest and motivation for exploring, building, and creating with digital library objects, and I am now even more excited to see the DPLA’s collection and community continue to grow and strengthen.
Earlier this week, First Lady Michelle Obama joined the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) Acting Director Maura Marx to present the 2015 National Medal for Museum and Library Service to ten exemplary libraries and museums National Medals for their service to their communities. Now in its 21st year, the National Medal is the nation’s highest honor conferred on libraries and museums, and celebrates institutions that make a difference for individuals, families, and communities.
National Medal recipients include:
- Cecil County Public Library (Elkton, MD)
- Craig Public Library (Craig, AK)
- Embudo Valley Library and Community Center (Dixon, NM)
- Los Angeles Public Library (Los Angeles, CA)
- Amazement Square (Lynchburg, VA)
- Louisiana Children’s Museum (New Orleans, LA)
- Museum of Northern Arizona (Flagstaff, AZ)
- New York Hall of Science (Queens, NY)
- The Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture (New York, NY)
- The Tech Museum of Innovation (San Jose, CA)
During the event, First Lady Michelle Obama said to the recipients: “The services that you all provide are not luxuries. Just the opposite. Every day your institutions are keeping so many folks in this country from falling through the cracks. In many communities our libraries and museums are the places that help young people dream bigger and reach higher for their futures, the places that help new immigrants learn English and apply for citizenship…the places where folks can access a computer and send out a job application so they can get back to work and get back to the important process of supporting their families.”
Denise Davis, director of the Cecil County Public Library in Elkton, Md., spoke about receiving the prestigious recognition:
Public libraries have a powerful role in creating opportunities by keeping the doors to knowledge open, allowing creativity to flourish, and never letting barriers become insurmountable.
The next deadline for nominating a library or museum is October 1, 2015. Learn more about the National Medal at www.imls.gov/medals.
Library of Congress: The Signal: The K-12 Web Archiving Program: Preserving the Web from a Youthful Point of View
If you believe the Web (and who doesn’t believe everything they read on the Web?), it boastfully celebrated its 25th birthday last year. Twenty-five years is long enough for the first “children of the Web” to be fully-grown adults, just now coming of age to recognize that the Web that grew up around them has irrevocably changed.
In this particular instance, change is good. It’s only by becoming aware of what we’re losing (or have already lost) that we’ll be spurred to action to preserve it. We’ve been aware of the value of the historic web for a number of years here at the Library of Congress, and we’ve worked hard to understand how to capture the Web through the Library’s Web Archiving program and the work we’ve done with partners at the Memento project and through the International Internet Preservation Consortium.
But let’s go back to those “children of the Web.” Nostalgia is a powerful driver for preservation, but most preservation efforts are driven by full-grown adults. If they’re able to bring a child’s perspective to their work it’s only through the prism of their own memory, and in any event, the nostalgic items they may wish to capture may not be around anymore by the time they get to them. What’s needed is not just a nostalgic memory of the web, but efforts to curate and capture the web with a perspective that includes the interests of the young. And who better to represent the interests of the young than children and teenagers themselves! Luckily the Library of Congress has such a program: the K-12 web archiving program.
The K-12 Web Archiving program has been operating since 2008, engaging dozens of schools and hundreds of students from schools, large and small, from across the U.S. in understanding what the Web means to them, and why it’s important to capture it. In partnership with the Internet Archive, the program enables schools to set up their own web capture tools and choose sets of web resources to collect; resources that represent the full range of youthful experience, including popular culture, commerce, news, entertainment and more.
Cheryl Lederle, an Educational Resource Specialist at the Library of Congress, notes that the program builds student awareness of the internet as a primary source as well as how quickly it can change. The program might best be understood through the reflections of participating teachers:
- “The students gained an understanding of how history is understood through the primary sources that are preserved and therefore the importance of the selection process for what we are digitally preserving. But, I think the biggest gain was their personal investment in preserving their own history for future generations. The students were excited and fully engaged by being a part of the K-12 archiving program and that their choices were being preserved for their own children someday to view.” – MaryJane Cochrane, Paul VI Catholic High School
- “The project introduced my students to historical thinking; awareness of digital data as a primary source and documentation of current events and popular culture; and helped foster an appreciation and awareness of libraries and historical archives.” – Patricia Carlton, Mount Dora High School
And participating students:
- “Before this project, I was under the impression that whatever was posted on the Internet was permanent. But now, I realize that information posted on the Internet is always changing and evolving.”
- “I find it very interesting that you can look back on old websites and see how technology has progressed. I want to look back on the sites we posted in the future to see how things have changed.”
- “I was surprised by the fact that people from the next generation will also share the information that I have collected.”
- “They’re really going to listen to us and let us choose sites to save? We’re eight!”
Collections from 2008-2014 are available for study on the K-12 Web Archiving site, and the current school year will be added soon. Students examining these collections might:
- Compare one school’s collections from different years.
- Compare collections preserved by students of different grade levels in the same year.
- Compare collections by students of the same grade level, but from different locations.
- Create a list of Web sites they think should be preserved and organize them into two or three collections.
What did your students discover about the value of preserving Web sites?
When a disk in a RAID-5 array fails and is replaced, all the data on other drives in the array must be read to reconstruct the data from the failed drive. If an unrecoverable read error (URE) is encountered in this process, one or more data blocks will be lost. RAID-6 and up can survive increasing numbers of UREs.
It has been obvious for some time that as hard disks got bigger without a corresponding decrease in BER that RAID technology had a problem, in that the probability of encountering a URE during reconstruction was going up, and thus so was the probability of losing data when a drive failed.As Trevor writes:
Putting this into rather brutal context, consider the data sheet for the 8TB Archive Drive from Seagate. This has an error rate of 10^14 bits. That is one URE every 12.5TB. That means Seagate will not guarantee that you can fully read the entire drive twice before encountering a URE.
Let's say that I have a RAID 5 of four 5TB drives and one dies. There is 12TB worth of data to be read from the remaining three drives before the array can be rebuilt. Taking all of the URE math from the above links and dramatically simplifying it, my chances of reading all 12TB before hitting a URE are not very good.
With 6TB drives I am beyond the math. In theory, I shouldn't be able to rebuild a failed RAID 5 array using 6TB drives that have a 10^14 BER. I will encounter a URE before the array is rebuilt and then I’d better hope the backups work.
So RAID 5 for consumer hard drives is dead.Well, yes, but RAID-5, and RAID in general, is just one rather simple form of erasure coding. There are better forms of erasure coding for long-term data reliability. I disagree with Trevor when he writes:
There are plenty of ways to ensure that we can reliably store data, even as we move beyond 8TB drives. The best way, however, may be to put stuff you really care about on flash arrays. Especially if you have an attachment to the continued use of RAID 5.Trevor is ignoring the economics. Hard drives are a lot cheaper for bulk storage than flash. As Chris Mellor pointed out in a post at The Register about a month ago, each byte of flash contains at least 50 times as much capital investment as a byte of hard drive. So it will be a lot more expensive, even if not 50 times as expensive. For the sake of argument, lets say it is 5 times as expensive. To a first approximation, cost increases linearly with the replication factor, but reliability increases exponentially. So, instead of a replication factor of 1.2 in a RAID-5 flash array, for the same money I can have a replication factor of 12.2 in a hard disk array. Data in the hard drive array would be much, much safer for the same money. Or suppose I used a replication factor of 2.5, the data would be a great deal safer for 40% of the cost.
For #DayOfDH yesterday I created a quick video about some data normalization work I have been doing using Wikidata entities. I may write more about this work later, but the short version is that I have a bunch of spreadsheets with names in them (authors) in a variety of formats and transliterations, which I need to collapse into a unique identifier so that I can provide a unified display of the data per unique author. So for example, my spreadsheets have information for Fyodor Dostoyevsky using the following variants:
- Dostoeieffsky, Feodor
- Dostoevski, F. M.
- Dostoevski, Fedor
- Dostoevski, Feodor Mikailovitch
- Dostoevsky, Fiodor Mihailovich
- Dostoevsky, Fyodor
- Dostoevsky, Fyodor Michailovitch
- Dostoieffsky, Feodor
- Dostoievski, Feodor Mikhailovitch
- Dostoievski, Feodore M.
- Dostoievski, Thedor Mikhailovitch
- Dostoievsky, Feodor Mikhailovitch
- Dostoievsky, Fyodor
- Dostojevski, Feodor
- Dostoyefsky, Theodor Mikhailovitch
- Dostoyevski, Feodor
- Dostoyevsky, Fyodor
- Dostoyevsky, F. M.
- Dostoyevsky, Feodor Michailovitch
- Dostoyevsky, Feodor Mikhailovich
So, obviously, I wanted to normalize these. But I also want to link the name up to an identifier that could be useful for obtaining other information, such as an image of the author, a description of their work, possibly link to works by the author, etc. I’m going to try to map the authors to Wikidata, largely because there are links from Wikidata to other places like the Virtual International Authority File, and Freebase, but there are also images on Wikimedia Commons, and nice descriptive text for the people. As an example here is the Wikidata page for Dostoyevsky.
To aid in this process I created a very simple command line tool and library called wikidata_suggest which uses Wikidata’s suggest API to interactively match up a string of text to a Wikidata entity. If Wikidata doesn’t have any suggestions as a fallback the utility looks in a page of Google’s search results for a Wikipedia page and then will optionally let you use that text.SKOS
Soon after tweeting about the utility and the video I made about it I heard from Alberto who works on the NASA Astrophysics Data System and was interested in using wikidata_suggest to try to link up the Unified Astronomy Thesaurus to Wikidata.
— Alberto Accomazzi (@aaccomazzi)
Fortunately the UAT is made available as a SKOS RDF file. So I wrote a little proof of concept script named skos_wikidata.py that loads a SKOS file, walks through each skos:Concept and asks you to match the skos:prefLabel to Wikidata using wikidata_suggest. Here’s a quick video I made of what this process looks like:
I guess this is similar to what you might do in OpenRefine, but I wanted a bit more control over how the data was read in, modified and matched up. I’d be interested in your ideas on how to improve it if you have any.
It’s kind of funny how Day of Digital Humanities quickly morphed into Day of Astrophysics…
Today I found the following resources and bookmarked them on Delicious.
- Coffitivity Coffitivity recreates the ambient sounds of a cafe to boost your creativity and help you work better.
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We have discovered problems with WMS Collection Management API write operations - including both Create and Update - and are advising users of this web service to limit their usage to the Read and Search operations only for now.
A leading panel of library and publishing experts will provide an update on the library ebook lending market and discuss best ways for libraries to advance library access to digital content at the 2015 American Library Association’s (ALA) Annual Conference in San Francisco. The interactive session, “Making Progress in Digital Content,” takes place from 10:30 to11:30a.m. on Sunday, June 28, 2015. The session will be held at the Moscone Convention Center in room 2018 of the West building.
During the session, an expert panel of library leaders from ALA’s Digital Content Working Group (DCWG) will provide insights on the most promising opportunities available to advance library access to digital content. Organizational leaders will discuss ALA’s efforts toward exploiting digital content access opportunities. Audience input will be sought to inform ALA priorities in this area. The program features DCWG co-chairs Carolyn Anthony and Erika Linke, along with additional guest panelists.Speakers
- Carolyn Anthony, co-chair, ALA Digital Content Working Group; director, Skokie Public Library (Illinois); immediate past-president, Public Library Association
- Erika Linke, co-chair, ALA Digital Content Working Group; associate dean of Libraries and director of Research and Academic Services, Carnegie Mellon University Libraries
The post Panel to discuss ebook lending growth at 2015 ALA Annual Conference appeared first on District Dispatch.
New vacancy listings are posted weekly on Wednesday at approximately 12 noon Central Time. They appear under New This Week and under the appropriate regional listing. Postings remain on the LITA Job Site for a minimum of four weeks.
New This Week
Visit the LITA Job Site for more available jobs and for information on submitting a job posting.
A 15-year-old interesting brief column from noted usability expert Jakob Nielsen, which I saw posted today on reddit: First Rule of Usability? Don’t Listen to Users
Summary: To design the best UX, pay attention to what users do, not what they say. Self-reported claims are unreliable, as are user speculations about future behavior. Users do not know what they want.
I’m reposting here, even though it’s 15 years old, because I think many of us haven’t assimilated this message yet, especially in libraries, and it’s worth reviewing.
An even worse version of trusting users self-reported claims, I think, is trusting user-facing librarians self-reported claims about what they have generally noticed users self-reporting. It’s like taking the first problem and adding a game of ‘telephone’ to it.
Nielsen’s suggested solution?
To discover which designs work best, watch users as they attempt to perform tasks with the user interface. This method is so simple that many people overlook it, assuming that there must be something more to usability testing. Of course, there are many ways to watch and many tricks to running an optimal user test or field study. But ultimately, the way to get user data boils down to the basic rules of usability:
- Watch what people actually do.
- Do not believe what people say they do.
- Definitely don’t believe what people predict they may do in the future.
Yep. If you’re not doing this, start. If you’re doing it, you probably need to do it more. Easier said than done in a typical bureaucratic inertial dysfunctional library organization, I realize.
It also means we have a professional obligation to watch what the users do — and determine how to make things better for them. And then watch again to see if it did. That’s what makes us professionals. We can not simply do what the users say, it is an abrogation of our professional responsibility, and does not actually produce good outcomes for our patrons. Again, yes, this means we need library organizations that allow us to exersize our professional responsibilities and give us the resources to do so.
For real, go read the very short article. And consider what it would mean to develop in libraries taking this into account.
Filed under: General
“Miles from Tomorrowland,” a relatively new show from Disney Junior, has plotted a course to bring computer science to young viewers. Perhaps more importantly, the team behind the show has made intentional choices to encourage young girls to consider computer science and other science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields as great options for the future. The show has been developed as a collaborative effort between Disney, Google, and National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). On Monday, the three organizations gathered at the Google offices in Washington, D.C. to showcase the success and think about future plans. But what does this have to do with libraries? Patience…first we must consider the backstory.
Following in the footsteps of the original Star Trek where creator Gene Roddenberry cast Nichelle Nichols as Lt. Uhura in one of the first professional roles for an African-American female, “Miles from Tomorrowland” showcases women in key positions. In the show, a family is travelling through space working for the Tomorrowland Transportation Authority. The captain of the family ship is the mother, and Miles’ big sister Loretta is the computer science whiz who guides Miles through his adventures and is always ready to save the day. What are we currently doing in our libraries—and what more might we be doing—to also highlight women in STEM and leadership fields?
Nichelle Nichols’ portrayal of Uhura on Star Trek was inspirational to many women in the 1970s. She was even hired by NASA to help bring more women and minorities into the space program; a mission that resulted in the recruitment of the first six women astronauts – including the very notable Sally Ride – in 1978.
The idea of having a female astronaut as captain of the ship in Miles of Tomorrowland was based on real life astronaut Dr. Yvonne Cagle. Dr. Cagle, the second African-American woman selected by NASA for astronaut training, completed her training in 1998 and has been working as a strong advocate for getting more young women into STEM fields ever since.
The statistics are a bit frightening when you really stop and consider them. in 1984, one year after Sally Ride became the first American woman in space and in the prime of Adm. Grace Hopper’s media coverage as a female computer scientist, only 37 percent of those entering computer science fields were women according to research from Google. Things have not improved; in fact the situation has become quite alarming. In 2009, women made up only 18 percent of those pursuing computer science. Today, despite making up roughly half of the U.S. workforce, women fill less than 25 percent of STEM (pdf) related jobs in the country.
“Miles from Tomorrowland” is hoping to change things. Creator Sascha Paladino spoke yesterday about the birth of his twin sons as inspiration for the show. He wanted his sons to see positive female role models in the captain and a big sister who used computer programming to solve problems. Quick…name three books from your library that feature female military commanders, female scientists, or female computer programmers.
For older readers, the first challenge is relatively easy thanks to some amazing science-fiction series like David Weber’s Honor Harrington or Elizabeth Moon’s (herself a former computer specialist with the Marines) Vatta and Serano books. Octavia Butler’s work also stands out as promoting both women characters and highlighting people of color as protagonists. For younger readers? Margaret Bechard’s “Star Hatchling” and Madeline L’Engle’s “A Wrinkle in Time” come to mind. But where are the mainstream series like Junie B. Jones or Cam Jansen where girls are shown being interested in and excelling in STEM fields?
What I took away from the event yesterday is that there is a huge amount of interest in encouraging young girls to consider STEM careers. Google, Disney, and NASA are working on this through “Miles from Tomorrowland” for very young viewers, but also in other ways. Google’s Made with Code project empowered girls as coders able to take over their state’s Christmas tree at the White House and program the lights.
What I also heard yesterday is that more work is needed. Two Congresswomen, Representative Susan Brooks (R-IN) and Representative Suzan DelBene (D-WA) are working to highlight the importance of STEM in schools and the need to encourage girls to go into STEM fields. They have co-sponsored an effort to have computer programming added to ESEA as a required field for K-12 education. Who better to lead this instructional effort than the school librarians? Who better to support the early learning that can accompany efforts like “Miles From Tomorrowland” and the extension beyond the classroom than public librarians?
So then the question. The whole point of this post. Are you ready to step up and participate in this effort? Google’s research shows that one of the key contributing factors to young women considering a STEM field in college is encouragement from a parent or other adult (teacher, guidance counselor…librarian?). What will you do in your library to encourage girls and young women to become interested in STEM fields? How will you support their learning to help them build self-confidence as STEM experts? How will you help bridge the gender divide in STEM careers to better help the country fill the numerous current and future STEM field job openings?
How will your library and you as a librarian become a champion of STEM learning for all – but especially for the currently underrepresented such as women and minorities?
The following is a guest post by the entire group of NDSR-Boston residents as listed below. For their final posting, the residents present an overview of their individual professional development projects.
Rebecca Fraimow (WGBH)
One of the best things about this year’s NDSR in Boston is the mandate to dedicate 20% of our time to projects outside of the specific bounds of our institution. Taking coursework, attending conferences, creating workshops — it’s all the kind of stuff that’s invaluable in the archival profession but is often hard to make time for on top of a full-time job, and I really appreciated that NDSR explicitly supported these efforts.
While I definitely took advantage of the time for my own personal professional development — investing time in Python and Ruby on Rails workshops and Harvard’s CopyrightX course, as well as presentations at AMIA, Code4Lib, Personal Digital Archives, NEA and NDSR-NE — the portion of my 20% that I’ve most appreciated is the opportunity to expand the impact of the program beyond the bounds of the immediate NDSR community. With the support of the rest of the Boston cohort, I partnered with my WGBH mentor, Casey Davis, to lead a series of workshops on handling audiovisual analog and digital material for students at the Simmons School of Library and Information Science. It was fantastic to get a chance to share the stuff I’ve learned with the next generation of archivists (and, who knows, maybe some of the next round of NDSR residents!).
As a cohort, we’ve also teamed up to design workflows and best practice documents for the History Project — a Boston-based, volunteer-run LGBT archive with a growing collection of digitized and born-digital items. This project is also, I think, a really great example of the ways that the program can make an impact outside of the relatively small number of institutions that host residents, and illustrates how valuable it is to keep expanding the circle of digital preservation knowledge.
Samantha Dewitt (Tufts University)
The NDSR residency has been a terrific experience for me, with the Tufts project proving to be a very good fit. Having been completely preoccupied with the subject of open science and Research Data Management in these past nine months, I am finding it hard to let go of the topic and I endeavor to continue working on this particular corner of the digital preservation puzzle. These days, data sharing and research data management frequently arise as topics of conversation in relation to research universities. Consequently, I had little trouble finding ways to add digital data preservation to my “20%” time. I looked forward to sharing the subject with my NDSR cohort whenever possible!
In November, our group attended a seminar on data curation at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics. Several weeks later, I was able to meet with Dr. Micah Altman (MIT) to explore the subject of identifying and managing confidential information in research. Also in November, the Boston Library Consortium & Digital Science held a workshop at Tufts on Better Understanding the Research Information Management Landscape. Mark Hahnel, founder of Figshare, and Jonathan Breeze, CEO of Symplectic, spoke. This spring, Eleni Castro, research coordinator and data scientist at Harvard, met with our group to discuss the university’s new Dataverse 4.0 beta. Finally, in April, I was excited to be able to attend the Research Data Access and Preservation Summit in Minneapolis, MN. It has been a busy nine months!
Joey Heinen (Harvard Libraries)
The “20%” component of the National Digital Stewardship Residency is a great way for us to expand our interests, learn more about emerging trends and practices in the field and also to stay connected to any interests that might not align with our projects. My 20% involved a mixture of continuing education opportunities, organizing talks and tours and contributing to group projects which serve specific institutions or the field at large. For continuing education I learned some of the basics of Python programming through the Data Scientist Training for Librarians at Harvard.
For talks and tours, I organized a visit to the Northeast Document Conservation Center (largely to learn about the IRENE Audio Preservation System ) and with the Harvard Art Museum’s Registration and Digital Infrastructure and Emerging Technologies departments. I also co-organized an event entitled “Catching Waves: A Panel Discussion on Sustainable Digital Audio Delivery” (webex recording available soon on Harvard Library’s YouTube Channel). For developing resources I participated in the AMIA/DLF 2014 Hack Day in a group that developed a tool for comparing the output of three A/V characterization tools (see the related blog post) and also designed digital imaging and audio digitization workflows for the History Project.
Finally, I participated in NDSR-specific panels at the National Digital Stewardship Alliance – Northeast meeting (NDSA-NE) and the Spring New England Archivists conference as well as individually at the recent American Institute for Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works conference. All in all I am pleased with the diversity of the projects and my level of engagement with both the local and national preservation communities. (As a project update, here is the most recent iteration of the Format Migration Framework (pdf)).
Tricia Patterson (MIT Libraries)
Two weeks left to go! And I ended up doing so much more than I initially anticipated during my residency. My project was largely focused on diagrammatically and textually documenting the low-level workflows of our digitization and managing digital preservation processes, some of the results of which can be seen on the Digital Preservation Management workshop site. But beyond the core of the project, so much else was accomplished. I helped organize both an MIT host event and a field trip to the JFK Library and Museum for my NDSR compadres. Joey Heinen and I co-organized a panel on sustainable digital audio delivery, replete with stellar panelists from both MIT and Harvard. I collaborated with my NDSR peers on a side assignment for the History Project. I also shared my work with colleagues at so many different venues, like presenting at the New England Music Library Association, giving a brown bag talk at MIT, writing on our group blog, being accepted to present with my MIT colleagues at the International Association of Sound and Audiovisual archives conference, and in the final days of my residency, presenting at the Association of Recorded Sound Collections conference.
All in all, a lot has been crammed into nine brief months: engaging in hands-on experience, enhancing my technological and organizational knowledge, forging connections in the digital preservation community and beyond. It really ended up being a vigorous and dynamic catapult into the professional arena of digital preservation. Pretty indispensable, I’d say!
Jen LaBarbera (Northeastern University)
Though my project focused specifically on creating workflows and roadmaps for various kinds of digital materials, I found myself becoming more and more intrigued by the conceptual challenges of digital preservation for the digital humanities. Working on this project as part of a residency meant that I had some flexibility and was given the time and encouragement to pursue topics of interest, even if they were only indirectly related to my project at Northeastern University.
As a requirement of the residency, each resident had to plan and execute an event at their host institution, and we were given significant latitude to define that event. Instead of doing the standard tour and in-person demonstration of my work at Northeastern, Giordana Mecagni and I chose to reach out to some folks in our library-based Digital Scholarship Group to host a conversation exploring the intersections between digital preservation and digital humanities. The response from the Boston digital humanities and library community was fantastic; people were eager to dive into this conversation and talk about the challenges and opportunities presented in preserving the scholarly products of the still fairly new world of digital humanities. We had a stellar turnout from digital humanities scholars and librarians from all over the Boston area, from institutions within the NDSR Boston cohort and beyond. We didn’t settle on any concrete answers in our conversation, but we were able to highlight the importance of digital preservation within the digital humanities world.
My experience with NDSR Boston will continue to be informative and influential as I move on to the next step in my career, as the lead archivist at Lambda Archives of San Diego in sunny southern California. From the actual work on my project at Northeastern to the people we met through our “20%” activities – e.g. touring NEDCC, attending Rebecca’s AV archiving workshops at Simmons, working with the History Project to develop digital preservation plans and practices – I feel much more prepared to responsibly preserve and make available the variety of formats of digital material that will inevitably come my way in my new position at this LGBTQ community archive.