You are here

Feed aggregator

Open Knowledge Foundation: Announcing the Legislative Openness Data Explorer

planet code4lib - Fri, 2016-07-08 11:08

The Open Government Partnership (OGP) is premised on the notion that sharing success stories can encourage further experimentation and reform. This is certainly true with parliaments, where the Legislative Openness Working Group (LOWG) has repeatedly witnessed the value of sharing information and experience.  

To ensure that good practice is effectively captured and shared, the Working Group has collected comparative, global information on legislative openness practices. That information, which was gathered through an open survey process, is now publicly available.

Interested in comparative information on legislative openness? Curious about global good practice? Analyse the collected information, download the raw data, or contribute to this growing database at:   

Capturing and compiling good practice can help advance reform efforts. By offering inspiration and guidance, these success stories can encourage reformers to follow in the footsteps of their colleagues. Comparing performance around the world or within a specific region can also be a useful incentive to catalyze reform efforts and empower open parliament champions.

For the Open Knowledge network, this website can serve as a jumping off point for further research into legislative data availability or advocacy around access to legislative information. Inspired in part by the Open Data Index, this crowdsourced effort represents an attempt to assess availability of legislative information. Parliaments, as the representative organ of government, stand to benefit immensely from more fully embracing open data and play an enormous role in creating a broader culture of openness across government. Hopefully, this website can inspire and inform further work in this area by members of the community.

Please note that the site is currently in beta, and the administrators expect additional changes to improve functionality and further clean the collected data. If there are specific features you would like to see added, or existing features you would like to see changed, please reach out to: This is very much a work in progress, and your contributions and suggestions are hugely appreciated.


What does the site provide?

The Legislative Openness Data Explorer provides global, comparative information on legislative openness practices. The current dataset focuses on legislative transparency, specifically what types of information are available and how the public can access that information. The core feature of the site is a customizable data table and map that presents the collected information. Using a red, yellow, green color scheme, the Explorer offers users a general summary of performance on a particular issue. For more detailed information, users can click the colored icon to see additional, detailed information.

For those interested in specific countries or regions, there is the option to generate a unique map. These visualizations make it easy to compare performance between different chambers of parliament on specific issues, either regionally or globally.


The Explorer’s customizable data table provides a snapshot of performance in several areas of parliamentary transparency.


Thirty one chambers of parliament are currently covered on the site, though the administrators anticipate that many additional countries will be added in the coming months. If you are interested in adding data for a new chamber of parliament or country, please see this page. During Global Legislative Openness Week 2016 (GLOW), the Working Group will lead a campaign to collect information on all OGP member countries.

The website also includes a collection of good practice examples, drawing on the OpenGov Guide and related resources. This is of course an incomplete list, and users are able to submit additional examples here. This section is intended to help inspire and guide reform efforts. If you are interested in committee transparency, for instance, this tool will provide you with a growing collection of examples in that area.  


The Explorer’s mapping feature shows mixed performance in Europe when it comes to publishing verbatim committee transcripts.


This website can be used in a number of ways. For parliaments, the data will allow them to easily gather examples of good practice, be it publishing draft legislation in open formats or streaming video of committee meetings online. These good practices can provide reform minded parliamentarians or staff with new ideas and and guidance. For civil society, the collected data will enable simple comparisons between parliaments, which could be used to inform advocacy efforts and incentivize openness reform. Ultimately, the Working Group developed this resource to help support the creation of strong legislative openness commitments in OGP member countries.


How can I contribute?

It is important to note that this site is a work in progress. The site administrators anticipate making continual tweaks and improvements to the site and would welcome thoughts, comments, or questions. Additionally, users are able to submit new information on countries not yet covered, suggest edits to the existing data, or contribute a good practice example. For more information on how you can contribute, see this page. This resource was created by the global legislative openness community, and its usefulness will rely on the community’s continued engagement and support. For more information on the Legislative Openness Data Explorer, please see this page.


The Working Group would like to thank KohoVolit, a Czech and Slovak parliamentary monitoring organization, for their efforts and support. KohoVolit was responsible for building and supporting the design of the site.

D-Lib: Deploying Islandora as a Digital Repository Platform: a Multifaceted Experience at the University of Denver Libraries

planet code4lib - Fri, 2016-07-08 10:43
Article by Shea-Tinn Yeh, Fernando Reyes, Jeff Rynhart, Philip Bain, University of Denver

D-Lib: Text Mining at an Institution with Limited Financial Resources

planet code4lib - Fri, 2016-07-08 10:43
Opinion by Drew E. VandeCreek, Northern Illinois University Libraries

D-Lib: Analysis of International Linked Data Survey for Implementers

planet code4lib - Fri, 2016-07-08 10:43
Article by Karen Smith-Yoshimura, OCLC Research

D-Lib: The Pathways of Research Software Preservation: An Educational and Planning Resource for Service Development

planet code4lib - Fri, 2016-07-08 10:43
Article by Fernando Rios, Data Management Services, The Sheridan Libraries, Johns Hopkins University

D-Lib: Exporting Finnish Digitized Historical Newspaper Contents for Offline Use

planet code4lib - Fri, 2016-07-08 10:43
Article by Tuula Pääkkönen, Jukka Kervinen, Kimmo Kettunen, National Library of Finland; Asko Nivala, University of Turku, Finland; Eetu Mäkelä, Aalto University, Finland

D-Lib: Participatory Culture in Memory Institutions: of Diversity, Ethics and Trust?

planet code4lib - Fri, 2016-07-08 10:43
Article by Chern Li Liew and Ferne Cheetham, Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand

D-Lib: Preservation Challenges in the Digital Age

planet code4lib - Fri, 2016-07-08 10:43
Article by Bernadette Houghton, Deakin University, Geelong, Australia

D-Lib: Preservation

planet code4lib - Fri, 2016-07-08 10:43
Editorial by Laurence Lannom, CNRI

LITA: An Important LITA web course on Universal Design for Libraries and Librarians

planet code4lib - Thu, 2016-07-07 18:50

Consider and register for this new LITA web course:

Universal Design for Libraries and Librarians


  • Jessica Olin, Director of the Library, Robert H. Parker Library, Wesley College; and
  • Holly Mabry, Digital Services Librarian, Gardner-Webb University

Starting August 1, 2016

A Moodle based web course with asynchronous weekly content lessons, tutorials, assignments, and group discussions.

Register Online, page arranged by session date (login required)

Universal Design is the idea of designing products, places, and experiences to make them accessible to as broad a spectrum of people as possible, without requiring special modifications or adaptations. This course will present an overview of universal design as a historical movement, as a philosophy, and as an applicable set of tools. Students will learn about the diversity of experiences and capabilities that people have, including disabilities (e.g. physical, learning, cognitive, resulting from age and/or accident), cultural backgrounds, and other abilities. The class will also give students the opportunity to redesign specific products or environments to make them more universally accessible and usable.


By the end of this class, students will be able to…

  • Articulate the ethical, philosophical, and practical aspects of Universal Design as a method and movement – both in general and as it relates to their specific work and life circumstances
  • Demonstrate the specific pedagogical, ethical, and customer service benefits of using Universal Design principles to develop and recreate library spaces and services in order to make them more broadly accessible
  • Integrate the ideals and practicalities of Universal Design into library spaces and services via a continuous critique and evaluation cycle

Here’s the Course Page

Jessica Olin

Is the Director of the Library, Robert H. Parker Library, Wesley College. Ms. Olin received her MLIS from Simmons College in 2003 and an MAEd, with a concentration in Adult Education, from Touro University International. Her first position in higher education was at Landmark College, a college that is specifically geared to meeting the unique needs of people with learning differences. While at Landmark, Ms. Olin learned about the ethical, theoretical, and practical aspects of universal design. She has since taught an undergraduate course for both the education and the entrepreneurship departments at Hiram College on the subject.

Holly Mabry

Holly Mabry received her MLIS from UNC-Greensboro in 2009. She is currently the Digital Services Librarian at Gardner-Webb University where she manages the university’s institutional repository, and teaches the library’s for-credit online research skills course. She also works for an international virtual reference service called Chatstaff. Since finishing her MLIS, she has done several presentations at local and national library conferences on implementing universal design in libraries with a focus on accessibility for patrons with disabilities.


August 1 – September 9, 2016


  • LITA Member: $135
  • ALA Member: $195
  • Non-member: $260

Technical Requirements:

Moodle login info will be sent to registrants the week prior to the start date. The Moodle-developed course site will include weekly new content lessons and is composed of self-paced modules with facilitated interaction led by the instructor. Students regularly use the forum and chat room functions to facilitate their class participation. The course web site will be open for 1 week prior to the start date for students to have access to Moodle instructions and set their browser correctly. The course site will remain open for 90 days after the end date for students to refer back to course material.

Registration Information:

Register Online, page arranged by session date (login required)
Mail or fax form to ALA Registration
call 1-800-545-2433 and press 5

Questions or Comments?

For all other questions or comments related to the course, contact LITA at (312) 280-4268 or Mark Beatty,

District Dispatch: ALA conference panel explores resources for digital inclusion

planet code4lib - Thu, 2016-07-07 18:18

Guest Blogger Rebeccah Baker served as the Student-to-Staff Program participant for the ALA Office for Information Technology Policy (OITP) at the 2016 ALA Annual Conference. Rebeccah completed her M.L.S. at the University of Maryland’s College of Information Studies in May 2016.

“Half of American families that earn less than $25,000 annually are not connected to the internet,” said Larra Clark, deputy director of the ALA Office for Information Technology Policy (OITP), who moderated the session “Addressing Digital Disconnect for Low-Income Americans” at the 2016 ALA Annual Conference in Orlando, Florida. This OITP session focused on the collaborative efforts among libraries, government agencies, and nonprofits to connect disadvantaged Americans to the digital world. From the U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development’s (HUD) ConnectHome effort and nonprofit EveryoneOn initiative, to the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) Lifeline Program, ALA and libraries are actively playing leadership roles in connecting low-income Americans online.

Veronica Creech, chief programs officer of the Washington, D.C.,-based nonprofit EveryoneOn introduced the organization and its partnership with the White House initiative to close the digital divide and support both the ConnectHome and ConnectEd initiatives. EveryoneOn partners with local internet service providers to offer free or $9.95 home internet service in 48 states and the District of Columbia. The organization also works with device refurbishers to facilitate the purchase of discounted computers, and collaborates with libraries to advertise free digital literacy training. EveryoneOn has helped over 200,000 households connect to the internet and hopes to connect an additional 350,000 households by the year 2020. The organization’s platform aggregates location-specific results for discount internet offers, device providers, and digital literacy centers.

From frankieleon, via Flickr.

Felton Thomas, director of the Cleveland Public Library and president-elect of the Public Library Association (PLA), shared how the public libraries in Cleveland, one of 28 communities participating in the ConnectHome pilot, are expanding digital opportunities for individuals in HUD housing. The Cleveland ConnectHome program provides internet access hotspots to 350 children who both live in HUD housing and participate in after-school programs. The library staff train the students and their parents how to use the hotspots, navigate the internet, and understand the importance of internet safety.

With the success of the pilot program, there are hopes that the ConnectHome project will scale to connect HUD households in the rest of the country. The one-year anniversary of the program takes place July 15, 2016, so stay tuned for more news.

Lauren Wilson, legal advisor to the Chief of the Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau at the FCC, discussed the Lifeline Program’s expansion to broadband as a result of a vote for the Lifeline Modernization Order in March. Beginning December 1, 2016, Lifeline will support broadband services by giving individuals $9.25 per month and $25 more on tribal lands. Individuals eligible for benefit programs like Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), Supplemental Security Income (SSI), Federal Public Housing Assistance, Veterans Pension and Survivors Benefit Programs, Tribal-specific programs, and those with an income at or below 135% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines are eligible.

Public libraries serve their communities by providing a trusted non-judgmental space where individuals can access information through library services such as no-fee public access to the internet, digital collections, and training. This position gives these libraries the opportunity to actively play leadership roles in connecting low-income Americans to the internet. By assisting patrons with digital literacy training and promoting awareness of programs such as ConnectHome, ConnectEd, EveryoneOn, and Lifeline, we can help ensure that these programs will be successful in bringing millions more Americans online.

The post ALA conference panel explores resources for digital inclusion appeared first on District Dispatch.

Terry Reese: MarcEdit Linked Data Platform–custom linking indexes

planet code4lib - Thu, 2016-07-07 18:17

Over the past year and half, I’ve been working with MarcEdit to provide the ability for users interested in doing URI entification against various known vocabularies, as well as adding these vocabularies into an authority processing workflow.  The processes work well for the handful (15-20) defined indexes that MarcEdit currently queries.  But long-term, libraries may see a proliferation of indexing services, and the ability to add custom linking services into MarcEdit will become more important. 

So, with the next version of MarcEdit – I’ll be making a change.  While MarcEdit will still have custom code that handles some of the larger national indexes (because this makes sense) – all the information about the collections, their internal labels, and JSON object paths (for values) will be moved into the rules file.  The upside to this is that users will be able to customize the queries MarcEdit is making against a linked data service (if they want) – but more important, they can add their own linked data services.  Initially, custom services will need to return well-formed JSONLD, where the value for the specified URI can be referenced as a JSON object path (i.e., this the path used with the AAT index: results.bindings[0].subj.value), but if it matches that criteria, you’ll be able to add your own services into MarcEdit, and if MarcEdit encounters your defined index label within your metadata, it will ping the service. 

Within the rules file, you’ll see this new structure represented as:

      <name>US Library of Congress Subject Heading</name>
      <path />

Since many of the indexes (national indexes) MarcEdit queries now do not use JSON in their return (or MarcEdit utilizes a special, optimized process) – these will not have paths.  But for other sources like MESH headings, Getty headings, you’ll be able to see how this structure is being utilized.

I’m still testing these changes – as the changes to the linked data framework affect a number of parts of the application – but these will be part of the next update.


District Dispatch: Top secret, hush, hush

planet code4lib - Thu, 2016-07-07 18:15

The American Library Association touts the importance of the free flow of information and access to information especially from the government and the public sector. A lack of government transparency only leads to speculation and a distrust of the government.  ALA has a Government Documents Round Table whose members focus on effective access to government information. The ALA Washington Office regularly advocates for government transparency.  The Intellectual Freedom Office fights censorship.  Access to information is a core value of librarianship.  Obviously this access thing is a big deal for the library profession. We are heavily invested in information access and government transparency—tenets that support democracy.

Image from

So, it’s no wonder that librarians were surprised to hear at the ALA Annual conference that the U.S. Copyright Office planned to hold closed meetings to discuss revision of Section 108, the “library exception.” The process was announced in the Federal Register on June 2.  Interested parties were asked to schedule a meeting with the Copyright Office, located in Washington, DC. (Soon after the announcement the Copyright Office said that phone conversations could also be scheduled).  There will be no public record of who attends the meetings or what is discussed.  The Library Copyright Alliance has scheduled a private meeting with the Copyright Office to share our thoughts on section 108 revision – after all, libraries are the beneficiaries of the “library exception.” And we have already shared what we think about revision of the law (repeatedly), and we are against it.  But the very fact that these discussions are confidential takes a lot of nerve.  We have never heard of an instance where a government agency seeking public comment does not provide public access to the comments.  This is not a national security issue after all.  Section 108 is about interlibrary loan, preservation and replacement of library resources, and copies that libraries can make for users, not global surveillance programs.

Admittedly, the Copyright Office has been upfront about it.  They believe that Section 108 needs to be updated to better reflect the digital environment.  Indeed, they have said that Section 108 needs to be re-written altogether.  They have already drafted Section 108 legislation that we haven’t seen.  In short, they have already made a decision on what they are going to recommend to Congress, and the purpose of these closed meetings is merely a consummation.

I stopped by the Library of Congress exhibit space while at ALA Annual, talked to a representative from the Copyright Office and asked why the Office chose to have confidential meetings.  He did a fine job of talking to me for a good 10 minutes without answering my question.  I did glean that the Copyright Office was ready to move forward.  They want to wrap up this issue.  Now is not the time to solicit comments that would be publicly posted from a bunch of Internet whackos who don’t know what they’re talking about.  It will only lead to more confusion and time wasted. Let’s not wrangle with another SOPA. They know what they are doing.

The post Top secret, hush, hush appeared first on District Dispatch.

NYPL Labs: Open Audio Weekend Hackathon: Exploring Audio Accessibility for the Public Good

planet code4lib - Thu, 2016-07-07 15:12

On June 25 and 26, the Library welcomed developers, designers, data scientists, audio producers, and others to a two-day hackathon designed to advance the cause of audio accessibility and explore future uses of media archives online. This event built upon and extended our work on Together We Listen, a project generously supported by a Knight Foundation prototype grant which was awarded to NYPL and our incredible partners The Moth to crowdsource corrections to computer-generated transcripts.

Kicking Off the Day

Open Audio Weekend attracted a diverse group of participants, with backgrounds in libraries, oral history, software development and more.

Image by Jemma Brown

All Open Audio Weekend participants received t-shirts designed by NYPL's Brian Foo. The design is five different representations of the spoken phrase "Open Audio Weekend" which Brian stitched together from audio clips in the NYPL Community Oral History project. The first representation is the words, the second is the phonetic transcription, the third is musical notation based on the pitches and rhythms of the speakers, the fourth is the pitch analysis based on raw frequency data of the speakers, and the last is the waveform or amplitude of the speech.

We shared an audio mashup (created by Tim Lou Ly) of Moth stories and excerpts from NYPL’s Community Oral History Project.

Open Audio Weekend Themes

Participants formed into small groups around the following prompts, designed to focus work around broad themes:

  • Discover: What new experiences can we make around discovery of audio?
  • Find: How can we make it easier to search audio?
  • Listen: What are some meaningful ways we can augment the experience of listening to audio?
  • Share: How can we make it easier to share audio?
  • Learn: What can we learn from audio? How can audio be used in an educational context?
  • Engage: How can we engage a community through audio?
  • Access: How can we make audio collections more usable for people with disabilities?
Participant-Designed Projects

The projects presented during our shareout on Sunday afternoon represented a rich array of prototypes and creative imaginings of the future of audio accessibility. The full list of projects is available on the GitHub repo for the event, and here are the highlights!


Crowdscribe is a proof of concept for a Chrome extension that supports crowdsourced transcriptions. Users can request transcriptions of media using the extension, and users who are on the same webpage at the same time will get a notification to help transcribe media on the page. This prototype raises awareness around accessibility, allows for the crowdsourcing of transcription, and is designed with live events in mind. By targeting live events, the extension builds upon existing communities and audiences.

BPL Sampler

Have you ever wondered what an oral history would sound like overlaid on top of hip hop beats? Check out the BPL Sampler, which remixes voices excerpted from the Brooklyn Public Library Our Streets, Our Stories project.

P.I.T.C.H.Y. D.A.W.G. (Perfecting Interactive Technology for Content Heard by You Despite Awkward Word Groupings)

In addition to being an imaginatively named project, P.I.T.C.H.Y. D.A.W.G. combines the experience of listening to audio with exploring related media, with the option of 3 modalities: Audio Only, Highlights, Full Experience.


Mapping place names from oral history collections. To build this prototype, the group ran transcripts through the Stanford Named Entity Recognizer. These place names were then plotted on a map, creating a cartographic way of browsing audio and transcriptions.


InstaBurns is an experiment in auto-generating common terms and their frequency from transcripts in order to explore the relationship of terms within and across audio files. The InstaBurns platform also uses significant terms to automatically generate a slideshow of related images using the Google Image API.


A-to-V is a one-stop central database where collectors of oral histories provide searchable information about their audio files and make those files directly available to users.

Homemade History

A project modeling potential engagement and reuse activities around oral history collections. Building on NYPL's Open Transcript Editor, this model would allow for users to clip two minutes of an oral history and record their own complimentary response to the clip which would be ingested back into the larger collection.

Last but not least, the entire event was transcribed in real time by Stanley Sakai from the Open Steno Project.

Thanks to all the participants for making our weekend-long hackathon a great success. Thanks also goes to our great Together We Listen partners PopUp Archive and The Moth, as well as contributing partners Gimlet Media, Buzzfeed Audio, Fresh Air, WNYC Archives, Library of Congress, Brooklyn Public Library, PRI's The World in Words, Columbia University Master of Arts in Oral History Program and to the support of the Knight Foundation for making all of this possible.

More scenes from the event below!

Equinox Software: Another Library Joins the Evergreen Virginia Project

planet code4lib - Thu, 2016-07-07 14:29


Duluth, GA–July 7, 2016

Equinox is pleased to announce that it has successfully migrated Amherst County Public Library to Evergreen within the Evergreen Virginia Project, managed by the Library of Virginia.  Equinox completed the migration in early June.  Amherst is hosted on Equinox’s Sequoia platform along with the rest of the consortium.

Amherst has two locations and circulates over 100,000 items plus electronic resources.  The two locations serve close to 16,000 patrons in Amherst County.  Rose Schoof, Evergreen Virginia Project Manager, had this to say about the migration:  “The word to describe our migration process would be “easy”.  The vast knowledge that Erica and the rest of the team possess is phenomenal.”

The addition of Amherst brings the number of libraries in the Evergreen Virginia Project to 23.  We look forward to helping the Project grow even more in the years to come.

About Equinox Software, Inc.

Equinox was founded by the original developers and designers of the Evergreen ILS. We are wholly devoted to the support and development of open source software in libraries, focusing on Evergreen, Koha, and the FulfILLment ILL system. We wrote over 80% of the Evergreen code base and continue to contribute more new features, bug fixes, and documentation than any other organization. Our team is fanatical about providing exceptional technical support. Over 98% of our support ticket responses are graded as “Excellent” by our customers. At Equinox, we are proud to be librarians. In fact, almost half of us have our ML(I)S. We understand you because we *are* you.  We are Equinox, and we’d like to be awesome for you.

For more information on Equinox, please visit

About Evergreen

Evergreen is an award-winning ILS developed with the intent of providing an open source product able to meet the diverse needs of consortia and high transaction public libraries. However, it has proven to be equally successful in smaller installations including special and academic libraries. Today, almost 1200 libraries across the US and Canada are using Evergreen including NC Cardinal, SC Lends, and B.C. Sitka.

For more information about Evergreen, including a list of all known Evergreen installations, see

About Sequoia

Sequoia is a cloud-based library solutions platform for Evergreen, Koha, FulfILLment, and more, providing the highest possible uptime, performance, and capabilities of any library automation platform available. Over 27,000,000 items within the Sequoia platform in the last year.  It was designed by Equinox engineers in order to ensure that our customers are always running the most stable, up to date version of the software they choose.  

For more information on Sequoia, please visit


Islandora: Islandora CLAW Sprint 008 - Complete!

planet code4lib - Thu, 2016-07-07 12:49

The Islandora CLAW project saw its eighth all-volunteer sprint come to a close on Friday with eight completed tasks. You can check out the results here.

Big thanks to our sprinters:

  • Nick Ruest (York University)
  • Jared Whiklo (University of Manitoba)
  • Bryan Brown (Florida State University)
  • Melissa Anez (Islandora Foundation)
  • Diego Pino (
  • Ben Rosner (Barnard College)

Sprint MVP this time around is shared between Jared Whiklo for stepping up as sprint leader, and Ed Fugikawa (University of Wyoming) for opening, working on, and completing an issue during the sprint when he wasn't even sprinting.

The next volunteer sprint is coming up July 18 - 29. If you're interesting in participating, the issues up for grabs are listed here (or suggest some new ones!). Non-developers might be particularly interested in documentation tickets 259 and 281, which are a great way to learn more about Islandora CLAW while creating something useful for your fellow Islandorians. Whatever your interests and skills, if you can give us some of your time, we can almost certainly find a good use for it.

Sign up to sprint here


Subscribe to code4lib aggregator