[Today we're starting a new series on our blog, called Unexpected. With over eight million items in our collection (and growing!), there are countless unusual artifacts, and since we now bring together 1,400 different libraries, archives, museums, and cultural heritage sites in one place, we can begin to associate these surprising sources into rich categories and themes. Unexpected will showcase some of the most, well, unexpected, items and topics—just the tip of the DPLA iceberg. We hope the series inspires you to explore our collection further, to tell others about DPLA, and to use our materials for education, research, and just plain fun. —Dan Cohen]
The history of snow removal is a history of American ingenuity, in which the basic desire to get rid of the white stuff mixes in combustible and bewildering ways with the eccentric inclination to forge monstrous new machines.
Patents for snow removal stretch back through the nineteenth century. This patent for a snow plow, filed by David Grove in 1882, didn’t push the snow; it ingested it through its giant mouth and spat it out the side.
[Image courtesy UNT Libraries Government Documents Department via the Portal to Texas History]
Is there anything conveyor belts can’t do? This design from around 1930 tests that proposition.
[Image from the Boston Public Library via Digital Commonwealth]
Did you know that you can put a plow on virtually anything? The historical record says yes. Have a horse and some metal? You’ve got yourself a plow.
[Image from the Boston Public Library via Digital Commonwealth]
But don’t stop there. Go all the way, tinkerer friend. Get yourself some flywheels, some big gears, a few spare I-beams, cables and chains, and go to town.
[Image from the New York Public Library]
Are all the kids in the neighborhood going to come out to watch? You bet.
Perhaps you have a train. In that case, try a rotating plow of death.
[Image from Brigham Young University Harold B. Lee Library via the Mountain West Digital Library]
Live in Montana and have a train? You’re gonna need a bigger plow.
[Image from the University of Montana-Missoula's Mansfield Library Archives & Special Collections via the Montana Memory Project]
And why go with the standard truck plow when you can multiply the effect by having two plows and shoot snow out of both sides of your monster truck.
[Video from the Walter J. Brown Media Archives and Peabody Awards Collection via the Digital Library of Georgia]
Hope everyone in the Northeast enjoys the snow day, and remember, don’t use a shovel when you can let your imagination run wild—in the snow and in the Digital Public Library of America.
On Monday, ALA submitted comments to the National Archives and Records Administration’s Administrative Committee of the Federal Register regarding the proposed changes to the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR).
As Archives.gov states, “The Federal Register is an official daily legal publication that informs citizens of: rights and obligations, opportunities for funding and Federal benefits, and actions of Federal agencies for accountability to the public” and the CFR contains “Federal rules that have: general applicability to the public, current and future effect as of the date specified”.
Both documents are important in aiding researchers and promoting a more transparent government. Given a library’s role of providing public access to government information of all types, ALA was pleased at the opportunity to submit comments.
The post ALA responds to proposed changes to the Code of Federal Regulations appeared first on District Dispatch.
Good news! Registration for the 41st annual National Library Legislative Day is now open!
This two-day advocacy event brings hundreds of librarians, trustees, library supporters, and patrons to Washington, D.C. to meet with their Members of Congress to rally support for libraries issues and policies.
Registration information and hotel booking information are available on the ALA Washington Office website.
This year, National Library Legislative Day will be held May 4-5, 2015. Participants will receive advocacy tips and training, along with important issues briefings prior to their meetings.
First-time participants are eligible for a unique scholarship opportunity. The White House Conference on Library and Information Services Taskforce (WHCLIST) and the ALA Washington Office are calling for nominations for the 2015 WHCLIST Award. Recipients of this award receive a stipend ($300 and two free nights at a D.C. hotel) to a non-librarian participant in National Library Legislative Day.
For more information about the WHCLIST award or National Library Legislative Day, visit www.ala.org/nlld. Questions or comments can be directed to grassroots coordinator Lisa Lindle.
As we have said before, the Library of Congress and OCLC have been sharing information and approaches regarding library linked data. In a nutshell, we have two different use cases and strategies that we believe are compatible and complementary.
Now, in a just co-published white paper, we are beginning to share more details and evidence that this is the case.
This is actually just a high-level view of a more technical review of our approaches, and more details will be forthcoming in the months ahead. The Library of Congress’ main use case is to transition from MARC into a linked data world that will enable a much richer and more full-featured interface to library data. OCLC’s use case is to syndicate library data at scale into the wider web, as well as enabling richer online interactions for end-users.
OCLC is of course committed to enabling our member libraries to obtain the vital metadata they need for their work in appropriate formats, including BIBFRAME. This is one of the things we make clear in this paper.
As always, we want to know what you think. So download the paper, read it, and let us know in the comments below, or by email to the authors (their addresses on the title page verso) what you think.About Roy Tennant
Roy Tennant works on projects related to improving the technological infrastructure of libraries, museums, and archives.Mail | Web | Twitter | Facebook | LinkedIn | Flickr | YouTube | More Posts (85)
There are no obituaries for the war casualties that the United States inflicts, and there cannot be. If there were to be an obituary there would had to have been a life, a life worth noting, a life worth valuing and preserving, a life that qualifies for recognition. Although we might argue that it would be impractical to write obituaries for all those people, or for all people, I think we have to ask, again and again, how the obituary functions as the instrument by which grievability is publicly distributed. It is the means by which a life becomes, or fails to become, a publicly grievable life, and icon for national self-recognition, the means by which a life becomes noteworthy. As a result, we have to consider the obituary as an act of nation-building. The matter is not a simple one, for, if a life is not grievable, it is not quite a life; it does not qualify as a life and is not worth a note. It is already the unburied, if not the unburiable.
The Patron Privacy Technologies Interest Group was formed in the fall of 2014 to help library technologists improve how well our tools protect patron privacy. As the first in a series of posts on technical matters concerning patron privacy, please enjoy this guest post by Alison Macrina.
When using the web for activities like banking or shopping, you’ve likely seen a small lock symbol appear at the beginning of the URL and noticed the “HTTP” in the site’s address switch to “HTTPS”. You might even know that the “s” in HTTPS stands for “secure”, and that all of this means that the website you’ve accessed is using the TLS/SSL protocol. But what you might not know is that TLS/SSL is one of the most important yet most underutilized internet protocols, and that all websites, not just those transmitting “sensitive” information, should be using HTTPS by default.
To understand why TLS/SSL is so important for secure web browsing, a little background is necessary. TLS/SSL is the colloquial way of referring to this protocol, but the term is slightly misleading – TLS and SSL are essentially different versions of a similar protocol. Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) was the first protocol used to secure applications over the web, and Transport Layer Security (TLS) was built from SSL as a standardized version of the earlier protocol. The convention of TLS/SSL is used pretty often, though you might see TLS or SSL alone. However written, it all refers to the layer of security that sits on top of HTTP. HTTP, or HyperText Transfer Protocol, is the protocol that governs how websites send and receive data, and how that data is formatted. TLS/SSL adds three things to HTTP: authentication, encryption, and data integrity. Let’s break down those three components:
Authentication: When you visit a website, your computer asks the server on the other end for the information you want to access, and the server responds with the requested information. With TLS/SSL enabled, your computer also reviews a security certificate that guarantees the authenticity of that server. Without TLS/SSL, you have no way of knowing if the website you’re visiting is the real website you want, and that puts you at risk of something called a man-in-the-middle attack, which means data going to and from your computer can be intercepted by an entity masquerading as the site you intended to visit.Data encryption: Encryption is the process of scrambling messages into a secret code so they can only be read by the intended recipient. When a website uses TLS/SSL, the traffic between you and the server hosting that website is encrypted, providing you with a measure of privacy and protection against eavesdropping by third parties.
Data integrity: Finally, TLS/SSL uses an algorithm that includes a value to check on the integrity of the data in transit, meaning the data sent between you and a TLS/SSL secured website cannot be tampered with or altered to add malicious code.
Authentication, encryption, and integrity work in concert to protect the data you send out over TLS/SSL enabled websites. In this age of widespread criminal computer hacking and overbroad surveillance from government entities like the NSA, encrypting the web against interception and tampering is a social necessity. Unfortunately, most of the web is still unencrypted, because enabling TLS/SSL can be confusing, and often some critical steps are left out. But the digital privacy rights advocates at the Electronic Frontier Foundation are aiming to change that with Let’s Encrypt, a free and automated way to deploy TLS/SSL on all websites, launching in Summer 2015. EFF has also built a plugin called HTTPS Everywhere which forces TLS/SSL encryption on websites where this protocol is supported, but not fully set up (a frequent occurrence).
As stewards of information and providers of public internet access, librarians have a special duty to protect the privacy of our patrons and honor the public trust we’ve worked hard to earn. Just as we continue to protect patron checkout histories from unlawful snooping, we should be actively protecting the privacy of patrons using our website, catalog, and public internet terminals:
- Start by enabling TLS/SSL on our library websites and catalog (some instructions are here and here, and if those are too confusing, Let’s Encrypt goes live this summer. If your website is hosted on a server that is managed externally, ask your administrator to set up TLS/SSL for you).
- Install the HTTPS Everywhere add-on on all library computers. Tell your patrons what it is and why it’s important for their digital privacy.
- Urge vendors, database providers, and other libraries to take a stand for privacy and start using TLS/SSL.
Privacy is essential to democratic institutions like libraries; let’s show our patrons that we take that seriously.
Alison Macrina is an IT librarian in Massachusetts and the founder of the Library Freedom Project, an initiative aimed at bringing privacy education and tools into libraries across the country. Her website doesn’t have any content on it right now, but hey, at least it’s using HTTPS!
The inaugural in-person meeting of the LITA Patron Privacy Interest Technologies Group is at Midwinter 2015 on Saturday, January 31st, at 8:30 a.m. Everybody interested in learning about patron privacy and data security in libraries is welcome to attend! You can also subscribe to the interest group’s mailing list.
As many of us bundle up and prepare to head to Chicago for the ALA Midwinter Meeting, the ALA has added another discussion item for attendees—and beyond. Today the American Library Association (ALA) Office for Information Technology Policy (OITP) released a discussion draft national policy agenda for libraries to guide a proactive policy shift.
As ALA President Courtney Young states clearly: “Too often, investment in libraries and librarians lags the opportunities we present. Libraries provide countless benefits to U.S. communities and campuses, and contribute to the missions of the federal government and other national institutions. These benefits must be assertively communicated to national decision makers and influencers to advance how libraries may best contribute to society in the digital age.”
The draft agenda is the first step towards answering the questions “What are the U.S. library interests and priorities for the next five years that should be emphasized to national decision makers?” and “Where might there be windows of opportunity to advance a particular priority at this particular time?”
The draft agenda provides an umbrella of timely policy priorities and is understood to be too extensive to serve as the single policy agenda for any given entity in the community. Rather, the goal is that various library entities and their members can fashion their national policy priorities under the rubric of this national public policy agenda.
Outlining this key set of issues and context is being pursued through the Policy Revolution! Initiative, led by ALA OITP and the Chief Officers of State Library Agencies (COSLA) with guidance from a Library Advisory Committee—which includes broad representation from across the library community. The three-year initiative, funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, has three major elements: to develop a national public policy agenda, to initiate and deepen national stakeholder interactions based on policy priorities, and build library advocacy capacity for the long-term.
“In a time of increasing competition for resources and challenges to fulfilling our core missions, libraries and library organizations must come together to advocate proactively and strategically,” said COSLA President Kendall Wiggin. “Sustainable libraries are essential to sustainable communities.”
The draft national public policy agenda will be vetted, discussed, and further elaborated upon in the first quarter of 2015, also seeking to align with existing and emerging national library efforts. Several members of the team that worked on the agenda will discuss the Policy Revolution! Initiative and invite input into the draft agenda at the 2015 ALA Midwinter Meeting on February 1 from 1-2:30 p.m. in the McCormick Convention Center, room W196A.
From this foundation, the ALA Washington Office will match priorities to windows of opportunity and confluence to begin advancing policy priorities—in partnership with other library organizations and allies with whom there is alignment—in mid-2015.
Please join us in this work. Feedback should be sent by February 27, 2015, to oitp[at]alawash[dot]org, and updates will be available online.
The post Make your mark on national policy agenda for libraries! appeared first on District Dispatch.
A first-of-its-kind survey (pdf) finds that public libraries are the most common public Wi-Fi access point for African Americans and Latinos—with roughly one-third of these communities using public library Wi-Fi. This is true for 23 percent of white people, who list school as their top public Wi-Fi spot.
The study of Wi-Fi usage patterns by John Horrigan and Jason Llorenz for WifiForward also finds that communities of color are more likely to use Wi-Fi networks in public places, use them more often, and report greater positive impacts of Internet use than their white counterparts. A majority of all online users have at some point used Wi-Fi networks in public places.
The new report also shows that Wi-Fi boosts how people view the Internet’s benefits. Across all racial and ethnic categories, users of public Wi-Fi networks reported higher levels of satisfaction with how the Internet impacts their lives. African Americans and Latinos are more likely to report that the Internet—in general—has a beneficial impact on education, saving time and searching for jobs. This pattern holds when examining Wi-Fi users.
Clearly, library Wi-Fi is no longer ‘nice to have.’ It is essential to support The E’s of Libraries™—Education, Employment, Entrepreneurship, Empowerment and Engagement—in cities and towns nationwide. In fact, the latest data from the Digital Inclusion Survey finds that virtually all (98%) public libraries now offer Wi-Fi, up from 18 percent a decade ago. By offering free public access to the Internet via wireless connections, libraries serve as community technology hubs that enable digital opportunity and full participation in the nation’s economy.
The survey finds there is strong support for investing in wireless networks. Two-thirds of people, for instance, think improving Wi-Fi at libraries and schools would be a good thing. The overwhelmingly highest response, though, to a question about what stakeholders could do to improve the internet was to make it easier to make sure their personal information is secure. Both findings have relevance for libraries as new funding is now available through the E-rate program to improve library and school Wi-Fi access, and digital literacy training clearly demands attention to data privacy and security concerns.
The findings highlight the importance of improving the environment for wireless internet use, including making more Wi-Fi spectrum available—and sharing what we already have—at low, medium and high spectrum bands because each band offers different opportunities for Wi-Fi. As a founding member of WiFiForward, ALA actively advocates for ensuring adequate unlicensed spectrum to support the next-generation of technologies needed for our libraries and communities. Wi-Fi contributes close to $100 billion each year to the U.S. economy, and libraries depend on unlicensed spectrum to support everything from self-checkout and circulation systems to mobile learning labs.
Library broadband and Wi-Fi access are clearly part of the solution in narrowing the Digital Divide that still exists for many people and for supporting the full range of modern library services. We’d love to hear how your library Wi-Fi is making a difference in your community or on your campus, if you’d like share in the comments section.
The post Public libraries top public Wi-Fi spot for African Americans, Latinos appeared first on District Dispatch.
Want to comment on the Internal Revenue Service’s (IRS) tax form delivery service? Discuss your experiences obtaining tax forms for your library at “Tell the IRS: Tax Forms in the Library,” a session that takes place during the 2015 American Library Association (ALA) Midwinter Meeting in Chicago. The session will be held from 11:30 a.m.–12:30 p.m. on Sunday, February 1, 2015.
A new speaker will lead the interactive conference session: L’Tanya Brooks, director of media and publications for the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), will lead the discussion that will explore library participation in the agency’s Tax Forms Outlet Program (TFOP). The TFOP offers tax forms and products to the American public primarily through participating libraries and post offices. During the conference program, Brooks will discuss the IRS’ ongoing efforts to create a library-focused group that works with library staff members.
The session takes place in the McCormick Place Convention Center in room W187. Add the conference program to your scheduler.
Last week I found myself in a grey area. I set up a one-on-one tech appointment with a patron to go over the basics of her new Android tablet. Once we met in person I learned that what she really wanted was to monitor her daughter’s every move online. It felt like a typical help session as I showed her how to check the browsing history and set up parental controls. She had all the necessary passwords for her daughter’s email and Facebook accounts, which made it even easier. It wasn’t until she left that I realized I had committed a library crime: I completely ignored the issue of privacy.
I’m still mulling this over in my head, trying to decide how I should have acted. I’m not a parent, so I can’t speak to the desire to protect children from the dangers of the Internet. Chances are her daughter can work around her mom’s snooping anyhow. But as a librarian, a champion of privacy, how could I have disregarded the issue?
A friend of mine put it best when he said that situations like this devalue what we do. We’re here to help people access information, not create barriers. Being a parent in the age of the Internet must be a scary thing, but that doesn’t mean that any regard for privacy goes out the window. At the same time, it’s not our job to judge. If the same patron came in and said she wanted to learn about parental controls for a research paper, I wouldn’t have given it a second thought. You can see how the issue gets cloudy.
Ultimately, I keep going back to a phrase I learned from Cen Campbell, founder of Little eLit at ALA last year: “We are media mentors.” We are not parents, and we’re not teachers, rather we are media mentors. It’s our job to work with parents, educators, and kids to foster a healthy relationship with technology. Regardless of right or wrong, I was too quick to jump in and give her the answers, without going through a proper reference interview. I suspect that she was afraid of all the things she doesn’t know about technology; the great unknown that her daughter is entering when she opens her web browser. That was an opportunity for me to answer questions about things like Facebook, YouTube, and Snapchat, instead of blindly leading her to the parental controls. After all this, one thing I know for certain is that the next time I find myself in this situation, I’ll be slow to act and quick to listen.
I would love to hear back from other librarians. How would you act in this situation? What’s the best way to work with parents when it comes to parental controls and privacy?
Are you headed to ALA Midwinter this weekend and curious about what the LITA interest groups will be up to? See below for a current listing of LITA IG events!Saturday, January 31, 2015 10:30am to 11:30am
Imagineering Interest Group, Hyatt Regency McCormick Adler/CC 24C
The Imagineering Interest Group will meet to plan for future ALA Annual programs and meetings. We will also talk about future group endeavors, such as creating online resources. Please attend if you are interested in working with the group. Additional Information: Librarianship, Adult Services, Collection Development, Popular Culture, Reader’s Advisory
Open Source Systems Interest Group, Hyatt Regency McCormick Burnham/CC 23C
Meeting to discuss future projects for the Open Source Systems Interest Group.
Search Engine Optimization, Hyatt Regency McCormick Jackson Park/CC 10D
Attendees will have an opportunity to share their experiences with search engine optimization. We will also discuss the SEO Best Practices Wiki entry in Library Success: A Best Practices Wiki as well as the latest SEO tools.
ALCTS/LITA ERM Interest Group, MCP W194a
The ALCTS/LITA ERM Interest Group will host a panel entitled “Data-Driven Decision Making in E-Resources Management: Beyond Cost per Use.”1:00pm to 2:30pm
Library Code year – Saturday 1/31, 1-2:30pm, MCP W175c
LITA/ALCTS Linked Library Data Interest Group, MCP W192b
The ALCTS/LITA Linked Library Data Interest Group is hosting three presentations during its meeting at the ALA Midwinter Conference in Chicago. The meeting will be held on Sunday, February 1, from 8:30-10:00, in McCormick Place West, room W192b. To read the speaker abstracts, go here.
Nancy Lorimer, Interim Head of Metadata Department at Stanford University Libraries will speak about the Linked Data for Libraries project: The Linked Data for Libraries project: An Update
Kristi Holmes, the Director of Galter Health Sciences Library at Northwestern University and a VIVO Project Engagement Lead will speak about VIVO: Opening up science with VIVO
Victoria Mueller, Senior Information Architect and System Librarian, Zepheira: BIBFRAME: A Way Forward. Moving Libraries into a linked data world!10:30am to 11:30am
Drupal4Lib Interest Group, MCP W186c
The Drupal4Lib Interest Group was established to promote the use and understanding of the Drupal content management system by libraries and librarians. Join members of the group for a lively discussion of current issues facing librarians working with Drupal at any skill level. Bring your questions and meet your colleagues!
Game Making Interest Group, Hyatt Regency McCormick, DuSable/CC 21AB
The Game Making Interest Group will meet to discuss how we use games in libraries and to plan for our meeting and informal presentations at ALA Annual and future plans for the group. Please join us if you are interested in using games in libraries.
Library Consortia Automated Systems Interest Group, Hyatt Regency McCormick, Jackson Park/CC 10C
Managing IT services in a consortium has its own particular challenges and opportunities. The Library Consortia Automated Systems Interest Group provides an informal forum where people working in a consortium environment can share ideas and seek advice.
Public Library Technology Interest Group, MCP W194a
Will meet to discuss trends in technology that are applicable to public libraries.
User Experience Interest Group Meeting, MCP W176b
The LITA User Experience IG seeks 2-3 short presentations (10-15 minutes) on UX and Web usability for the upcoming 2015 ALA Midwinter Conference. This will be a physical meeting, and so the physical attendance for the ALA Midwinter is required for the presentation and/or attendance for this meeting. The LITA UX IG is also seeking the suggestions for discussion topics, things you have been working on, plan to work, or want to work on in terms of UX/Usability. All suggestions and presentation topics are welcome and will be given consideration for presentation and discussion. Please submit your topic in the comments section in ALA Connect (http://connect.ala.org/node/231586). You may also e-mail us off-the-list. Bohyun Kim, LITA UX IG chair firstname.lastname@example.org? and Rachel Clark, LITA UX IG vice-chair email@example.com:00pm to 2:30pm
Head of Technology Interest Group , MCP W176b
HoLT IG provides a forum and support network for those individuals with administrative responsibility for computing and technology in library settings. It is open for anyone to give short presentations on a library technology project you might be working on to explore issues of planning and implementation, technology management, support, leadership and other areas of interests library technology.
LITA/ALCTS Authority Control Interest Group – until 5:30pm, MCP W474b
The joint LITA/ALCTS Authority Control Interest Group provides a forum for discussion of a variety of issues related to authority control for online catalogs and for international sharing of authority of data.
Library of Congress: The Signal: From the Field: More Insight Into Digital Preservation Training Needs
The following is a guest post by Jody DeRidder, Head of Digital Services at the University of Alabama Libraries. This post reports on efforts in the digital preservation community that align with the Library’s Digital Preservation Outreach & Education (DPOE) Program. Jody, among many other accomplishments, has completed one of the DPOE Train-the-Trainer workshops and delivered digital preservation training online to the Association of Southeastern Research Libraries (ASERL).
As previously discussed on The Signal, DPOE has conducted two surveys to better understand the digital preservation capacities of cultural heritage institutions. The respondents provide insight into their digital preservation practice, what types of training are necessary to address their staffing needs and preferences for the best delivery options of training events. Between the 2010 and 2014 DPOE surveys, I conducted an interim survey in 2012 to identify the digital preservation topics and types of materials most important to webinar attendees and their institutions. A comparison of the information uncovered by these three surveys provides insight into changing needs and priorities, and indicates what type of training is most needed and in what venues.
In terms of topics, technical training (to assist practitioners in understanding and applying techniques) is the clear top preference in all three surveys. In the 2010 DPOE survey, the highest percentage of respondents (32%) ranked technical training as their top choice. This was echoed in the 2014 DPOE survey as well. In my 2012 survey, this question was represented by multiple options. (Each of the rankings referenced is the percentage of participants who considered training in this topic to be extremely important.) The top two selected were training in “methods of preservation metadata extraction, creation, and storage” (77%) and “determining what metadata to capture and store” (68%). Both of these could easily be considered technical training.
Other technical training options included:
- File conversion and migration issues (59%).
- Validating files and capturing checksums (54%).
- Monitoring status of files and media (53%).
- How to inventory content to be managed for preservation (42%).
These preferences are echoed in the DPOE 2014 survey, where respondents identified training investments that result in “an increased capacity to work with digital objects and metadata management” as the most beneficial outcome with a three-year horizon.
In the 2010 DPOE survey, the need for “project management,” “management and administration,” and “strategic planning” followed “technical training” in priority (in that order). By 2014, this had shifted a bit: “strategic planning” led “management and administration,” followed by “project management.” Last in importance to participants in both surveys was fundamentals (described as “basic knowledge for all levels of staff”).
Has the need for strategic planning increased? Topics in the 2012 survey that related to management included:
- Planning for provision of access over time (the third highest ranking: 65%).
- Developing your institution’s preservation policy and planning team (51%).
- Legal issues surrounding access, use, migration, and storage (43%).
- Self-assessment and external audits of your preservation implementation (34%).
Strategic planning might include the following topics from the 2012 survey:
- Developing selection criteria, and setting the scope for what your institution commits to preserving (52%).
- Selecting file formats for archiving (45%).
- Selecting storage options and number of copies (44%).
- Security and disaster planning at multiple levels of scope (33%).
- Business continuity planning (28%).
Thus it seems that in the 2012 survey, strategic planning was still secondary to management decisions, but that may have shifted, as indicated in the DPOE 2014 survey. A potential driving force for this shift could well be the increased investment in digital preservation in recent years.
When asked in 2010 about the types of digital content in organizational holdings, 94% of the respondents to the DPOE survey selected reformatted material digitized from collections, and 39.5% indicated digital materials. In 2014 the reformatted content had dropped to 83%, deposited digital materials had increased to 44%, and a new category, “born digital,” was selected by over 76% of participants. Within these categories, digital images, PDFs and audiovisual materials were the most selected types of content, followed closely by office files. Research data and websites were secondary contenders, with architectural drawings third, followed by geospatial information and finally “other.”
In the 2012 survey, participants were only asked to rank categories of digital content in terms of importance for preservation at their institution. Within this, 65% selected born-digital special collections materials as extremely important; 63% selected born-digital institutional records, and 61% selected digitized (reformatted) collections. “Other” was selected by 47%, and comments indicate that most of this was audiovisual materials, followed by state archives content and email records. The lowest categories selected were digital scholarly content (institutional repository or grey lit, at 37%); digital research data (34%), and web content (31%).
Clearly, preservation of born-digital content has now become a priority to survey respondents over the past few years, though concern for preservation of reformatted content continues to be strong. As the amount of born-digital content continues to pour into special collections and archives, the pressure to meet the burgeoning challenge for long-term access is likely to increase.
In both the 2010 and 2014 DPOE surveys, an overwhelming number of participants (84%) expressed the importance of ensuring digital content is accessible for 10 years or more. Training is a critical requirement to support this process. While the 2012 survey focused only on webinars as an option, both of the DPOE surveys indicated that respondents preferred small, in-person training events, on-site or close to home. However, webinars were the second choice in both 2010 and 2014, and self-paced, online courses were the third choice in 2014. As funding restrictions on travel and training continue, an increased focus on webinars and nearby workshops will be best-suited to furthering the capacity for implementing long-term access for valuable digital content.
In the interest of high impact for low cost, the results of these surveys can help to fine-tune digital preservation training efforts in terms of topics, content and venues in the coming months.
OPEN DATA DAY 2015 is coming and a coalition of partners have come together to provide a limited number of micro-grants designed to support communities organise ODD activities all over the world !
Open Data Day (ODD) is one of the most exciting events of the year. As a volunteer led event, with no organisation behind it, Open Data Day provides the perfect opportunity for communities all over the world to convene, celebrate and promote open data in ways most relevant to their fellow citizens. This year, Open Data Day will take place on Saturday, the 21st of February 2015 and a coalition of partners have gotten together to help make the event bigger (and hopefully better) than its has ever been before!
While Open Data Day has always been a volunteer led initiative, organising an event often comes with quite a hefty price tag. From hiring a venue, to securing a proper wifi connection, to feeding and caffeinating the volunteer storytellers, data wranglers and developers who donate their Saturday to ensuring that open data empowers citizens in their communities, there are costs associated with convening people! Our Open Data Day Coalition is made of open data, open knowledge and open access organisations who are interested in providing support for communities organising ODD activities. This idea emerged from an event that was organised in Kenya last year, where a small stipend helped local organisers create an amazing event, exposing a number of new people to open data. This is exactly what we are trying to achieve on Open Data Day!
As such, this year, for the first time ever, we are proud to announce the availability of a limited number of micro grants of up to $300 to help communities organise amazing events without incurring prohibitive personal costs. The coalition will also provide in-kind support in the form mentorship and guidance or simply by providing a list of suggested activities proven effective at engaging new communities!
The coalition consists of the following organisations (in alphabetical order): Caribbean Open Institute, Code for Africa, DAL, E-Democracy, ILDA, NDI, Open Access Button, Open Coalition, Open Institute, Open Knowledge, Sunlight Foundation and Wikimedia UK. Want to join? Read on.
Applying for a Microgrant!
Any group or organisation from any country can apply. Given the difference focus of our partners, grants in Latin America will be handled and awarded by ILDA. In the Caribbean, the Caribbean Open Institute will handle the process. Finally, The Partnership for Open Data will focus on other low to mid income countries. Of course, in order to ensure that we are able to award the maximum number of grants, we will coordinate this effort!
You can find the application form here. The deadline to apply is February 3rd and we aim to let you know whether your grant was approved ASAP.
Currently, we have one micro grant, provided by The Sunlight Foundation, for a group organising open data day activites in a high income country. We would love to provide additional support for groups organising in any country; as such, if you are interested in helping us find (or have!) additional funding (or other forms of in kind support such as an event space!), do get in touch (see below how to join the coalition). We will make sure to spread the word far and wide once we have additional confirmed support!
How to Apply for an Open Data Day Micro Grant
If you are organising an event and would like additional support, apply here. If your grant is approved, you will be asked to provide us with bank transfer details and proof of purchase. If it is not possible for you to make the purchases in advance and be reimbursed, we will be sure to find an alternative solution.
Is this your first Open Data Day event? Fear not! In addition to the grant itself, our coalition of partners is here to provide you with the support you need to ensure that your event is a success. Whether you need help publicising the event, deciding what to do, or some tips on event facilitation, we are here to help!
After the event, event organisers will be asked to share a short blog post or video discussing the event! What data did you work with, how many people attended, are you planning on organising additional events? We’d also love to hear about what you learned, what were the challenges and what you would have done differently?
You can publish this in any language but if possible, we would love an English translation that we can share in a larger blog series about Open Data Day. I you would like to have your event included in our summary blog series but are not comfortable writing in English, write to us at local [at] okfn [dot] org and we will help you translate (or connect you with someone who can!).
What To Do Now
The next step is to start organising your event so that you can apply for your micro-grant ASAP! We are aware that we are a bit late getting started and that communities will need time to organise! As such, we aim to let you know whether your grant has been approved ASAP and ideally by the February 6th, 2015. If February 3rd proves to be too tight a deadline, we will extend!
Finally, if you need inspiration for what to do on the day, we are building a menu of suggested activities on the Open Data Day wiki. Go here for inspiration or add your ideas and inspire others! For further inspiration and information, check out the Open Data Day website, which the community will be updating and improving as we move closer to the big day. If you need help, reach out to us at local [at] okfn [dot] org, or check in with one of the other organisations in the coalition.
Interested in joining the coalition?
We have a limited number of grants available and expect a large demand! If you are interested in joining the coalition and have either financial and/or in-kind support available, do get in touch and help us make Open Data Day 2015 the the largest open data hackday our community and the world has ever seen!