From Tim Donohue, DSpace Tech Lead
Winchester, MA Many core DSpace developers have been concentrating their efforts on upcoming DSpace 5.4 and 6.0 releases (links below). As a result the deadline for UI prototype submissions has been extended to Friday, December 4. We still ask that you only spend a maximum of 80 hours on your prototype (full guidelines may be found here). You are welcome to submit your prototype prior to the new deadline, if it is already nearing completion.
From Lance Stuchell, Digital Preservation Librarian, University Library, University of Michiganon behalf of the PDA 2016 Program Committee
Ann Arbor, Michigan We are pleased to announce that the annual Personal Digital Archiving 2016 conference will be hosted at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor on May 12-14, 2016.
Today I found the following resources and bookmarked them on Delicious.
- VersionPress WordPress meets Git, properly. Undo anything (including database changes), clone & merge your sites, maintain efficient backups, all with unmatched simplicity.
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That was the topic discussed recently by OCLC Research Library Partners metadata managers, initiated by Jackie Shieh of George Washington University, Naun Chew of Cornell and Dawn Hale of Johns Hopkins University. Information professionals want to repurpose, present and connect the data they have created and curated from century-old standards and practices by publishing library metadata in the linked data framework. Recent linked data efforts have highlighted the importance of identifiers— a unique alphanumeric string associated with a digital object and resolvable globally over networks via specific protocols that is unambiguous to use, find, and identify the resource. Local identifiers cannot be shared or re-used. We need identifiers to be unchanging over time, and independent of where the digital object is or will be stored, that is, “persistent”. Persistent identifiers help collections become accessible globally, as they can be used, shared and re-used.
The practice for assigning identifiers has been inconsistent. Focus group members noted that maintaining identifiers and losing semantics when mapping one identifier system to another as particular challenges.
Identifiers for “works” has been problematic, as there is no consensus on what represents a distinct work. Two different workflows were mentioned: 1) find an OCLC work ID and add it to the local record and 2) use local algorithms to cluster records in the local catalog, assign a local identifier, and then match that ID with external sources such as the OCLC work ID.
The discussions were wide-ranging, but tended to focus on identifiers for personal names over other types of entities. The desire to present a comprehensive compilation of scholarly output on faculty profile pages has prompted a number of research libraries to roll out ORCIDs (Open Researcher and Contributor ID) for their faculty. ORCID is seen as a way to address the big gap that currently exists in the LC/NACO and other national authority files that do not customarily include authors of journal articles and other scholarly output. Authority files are used only within the library domain. Funding agencies have begun to require ORCIDs as part of the submission process. Few felt that current authority workflows would scale to cover all an institution’s researchers; some journal articles may have several hundred different “authors” listed from multiple countries. Some researchers are reluctant to use any identifier they are not already using. Faculty can be sensitive about keeping their data private and the potential of “surveillance” or “Big Brotherism” by their institution. Automated ways of comparing faculty output can be seen as threatening.
Some outstanding issues with name identifiers:
- Some researchers already have a half-dozen or more ORCIDs as well as other identifiers.
- Skeletal entries make it difficult to determine whether they represent the same or different people.
- ORCID relies on self-registration, so the deceased are not covered. To be comprehensive, more than one identifier system is needed.
- There’s an emerging need for a name reconciliation service that can link multiple identifiers representing the same person.
- For identifiers registered through VIVO, it’s unclear what happens when the person moves to a new institution, retires or dies.
- Libraries’ data suppliers and system vendors need to support persistent identifiers.
Identifiers for organizations are even more complex than those for persons, as organizations can merge, split, acquire other organizations, have multiple hierarchies, change locations, etc. The Representing Organizations in ISNI Task Group is documenting these issues and recommending some ways to better represent organizations with International Standard Name Identifiers (ISO 27729). These identifiers are important to accurately reflect researchers’ affiliations so that institutions can compile and report their scholarly output easily. Digital Science’s newly released GRID (Global Research Identifier Database) includes ISNI identifiers and maps institutions through GeoNames. GRID is seen as a way to help facilitate linking and promoting the work of the organization.
Identifiers for data sets such as digital resources and collections in institutional repositories include system-generated IDs, locally-minted identifiers, PURL handles, DOIs (Digital Object Identifiers), URIs, URNs and ARKs (Archival Resource Keys). Some are using DataCite to mint and publish DOIs. Resources can have both multiple copies and versions and change over time. Institutional repositories used as collaborative spaces can lead to multiple publications from the same data sets. Libraries want to be able to link related pieces such as preprints, supplementary data and images with the publication. Multiple DOIs pointing to the same object pose a problem. Some libraries are considering using the EZID created by the California Digital Library to mint and publish unique, long-term identifiers and thus minimize the potential for broken citation links. Ideally, libraries would contribute to a hub for the metadata describing their researchers’ data sets regardless of where the data sets are stored.
About Karen Smith-Yoshimura
Karen Smith-Yoshimura, program officer, works on topics related to renovating descriptive and organizing practices with a focus on large research libraries and area studies requirements.Mail | Web | Twitter | More Posts (63)
Fifty years ago this October, the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965 was signed into law, forever changing American immigration policy and the country’s demographics. The 1965 law abolished quota systems established in the 1920s that put restrictions on earlier waves of immigration, and allowed for many groups of non-European immigrants to enter the country.
In celebration of the anniversary, listen to stories of generations of American immigrants, part of the Immigrant Stories collection, a fascinating archival project organized by the Immigration History Research Center (IHRC) at the University of Minnesota, and available to DPLA users via the Minnesota Digital Library.
The comprehensive digital storytelling project “came out of a desire to capture the stories of the most recent immigrants and refugees,” Immigrant Stories Project Manager Elizabeth Venditto said. The stories—some of men and women who arrived in the United States only months before, some whose families immigrated generations earlier—share unique perspectives on the lives of immigrants and their families. These stories are in their own words, of their own making, and offer a personal insight into race and culture in the United States.
There are many ways that participants can submit stories to the Immigrant Stories archive. The model, which began with a pilot project last year in Minneapolis and St. Paul, is adaptable, to meet a variety of needs for participants of all ages, skill-levels, and languages. There are free community workshops to help guide participants, along with a version for college students, and for adult ESL learners. The IHRC creates close relationships with educators, and relies on low-cost, simple software.
There are few requirements as to how these digital stories should look. The general prompt is to create a three to five minute story about an aspect of the individual’s migration experience. The story doesn’t have to be in English. If participants choose to speak in another language, the IHRC will work with a translator to help create subtitles. The stories incorporate a variety of multimedia elements, too, which creates a rich representation of the individual’s story– it’s not just one person’s words, it’s citizenship documents, family photos, music, or home videos, too.
It also provides new digital skills to men and women, even if that means facilitators work one on one with participants, particularly elders, to get the hang of the platform. It also gives people an outlet to talk about a relevant, contemporary issue as it’s happening, providing a complex and intimate look at the impact of policies like the Immigration and Nationality Act.
A powerful example is the story of Htun Lin an ESL student and Karen refugee from Burma who had been in the United States for six months before he created his story. During his time living in a refugee camp in Thailand, Htun Lin learned how to shoot and edit video. He was able to take part in the project while he was living in St. Paul, and Immigrant Stories gave him the space to share his story. There are other poignant stories like Htun Lin’s in the archive, like Thaigo Heilman, a DREAMer from Brazil, or Mustafa Jumale from Somalia who created his digital story in a class at the University of Minnesota.
While the project started in Minnesota, there are now programs in six locations in cities across the United States, representing a variety of immigrant communities and potential users. These programs take place in charter schools, museums, and other social service organizations. A recent NEH grant has allowed the IHRC to create an online portal where people can create and submit a digital story, regardless of location, which will go live in the summer of 2017.
This incredible archive gives contemporary immigrants and refugees—who are in a situation where, Venditto describes, people in power are talking about and making decisions about them–the opportunity to tell their own stories in their own words in a way that is accessible and lasting. Their stories are well worth a listen! You can also follow the #MyImmigrantStory on Twitter to learn more about the project.View the Immigrant Stories collection here
Last week, Islandora Camp went to Hartford, Connecticut, where 36 Islandorians came together (mostly from the eastern US, with a few travellers putting on more miles to take part) to share what they are doing with Islandora and learn more about the project.
We kicked off on Tueaday, October 20th with a round of presentations focussed on the Islandora project and the community behind it, including a review of how we do our volunteer releases, all the different ways to take part in the community, and a look ahead at Islandora 7.x-2.x and how pulling processes out of Drupal actually makes it easier to use all that Drupal has to offer as a CMS. We also called upon the gathered attendees to step up and show off their own Islandora sites, such as Barnard College's beautiful landing page, the innovative workflows of Williams College, York University's infinitely scrolling Solr View of cats, and an example from Hamilton College of the incredible things you can do with basic, un-altered Islandora modules and a little theming (which is, alas, behind a firewall for now [ed. to add: and here it is!]).
On Wednesday we broke into tracks for day long workshops on either Islandora from the front end (admin track), or code-side development (dev track). The Admin Track, with myself and UConn's Jennifer Eustis for instructors, set a record for fastest completion of the curriculum, leaving an hour and half to spare to explore other parts of Islandora (and issue a pull request!). On the dev side, Nick Ruest and Danny Lamb led the room through Islandora's coding standards and practices before exploring how to work with Solr by updating the Meme Solution Pack.
Thursday was the last official day of camp, marked by presentations on sites and tools from the Islandora Community, like how to use Ansible and Vagrant to streamline testing and deployment, how Barnard College set up their site, and how LDP and PCDM will shape Islandora's future. Slides from most presentation are available as links in the camp schedule.
But it didn't end there! On Friday, October 23rd, a smaller group got together to talk about Islandora and Hydra, and how our two project can work together and hopefully even share the same Fedora 4 repository, in the not-too-distant-future. Stakeholders from both communities put in a long day of discussion about concerns such as metadata, security, import/export, and how to handle derivative creation.
It was a great week and we hope that you will join us at future Islandora Camps. Next up is Fort Myers, Florida in March 2016.
“The willingness with which our young people are likely to serve in any war, no matter how justified, shall be directly proportional to how they perceive the Veterans of earlier wars were treated and appreciated by their nation.”
— George Washington
The Veterans History Project honors the lives and service of all American veterans –not only the warriors but all who have served their country, “From the motor pool to the mess hall,” as director Robert Patrick puts it. VHP collects, preserves and makes available the stories and memorabilia of American veterans so that future generations may better understand the realities of military life and of war. To date, VHP has collected items from over 98,000 veterans, about 15% of which is available online.
The items from each woman or man are considered to be one unique “collection.” Many of the collections include first-person accounts of the veteran’s experience. And that is where great power resides, in a person recounting his or her memories. Whereas a writer of history constructs a narrative out of facts, a witness to history can say, “I was there. This is what I saw, what I experienced and what I felt.”
Congress enacted the Veterans History Project 15 years ago today, on October 27, 2000, as part of the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress. The authorizing legislation was sponsored by Representatives Ron Kind, Amo Houghton, and Steny Hoyer from the U.S. House of Representatives and Senators Max Cleland and Chuck Hagel from the U.S. Senate.
“After hearing veterans in my family share their stories, I wanted to find a way to preserve all veterans’ stories for researchers, historians, educators, and most importantly future generations,” said Congressman Kind.
Peter Bartis, folklife specialist in the American Folklife Center and the author of the comprehensive guide, Folklife and Fieldwork, was deeply involved in the foundation of the Project. “Members of Congress got deeply engaged with the Veterans History Project and it was a good opportunity for the Library to demonstrate what it could do for the general public, not just for scholars,” said Bartis.
Oral histories — written, audio and video — enrich the collections. But there are challenges in every step of the recorded oral-history process, from the interview to posting the file on the web page. “Most veterans are reticent,” said Monica Mohindra, section head of programming coordination and communications for VHP “They are not necessarily going to come forward and volunteer to tell people how heroic and awesome they are.”
It falls on a loved one, friend or volunteer to encourage the veteran to sit and talk about themselves and their experiences, to open up, often to relive and articulate traumatic memories. Some veterans believe their experiences are just not important enough to talk about, let alone capture for posterity, so they need coaxing and assurance. Recording the oral history requires an advocate for the veteran, someone to pull it together.
When an advocate is ready to interview a veteran, VHP has plenty of “how to” resources, which they distilled from the American Folklife Center’s decades of oral history best practices into a field kit: cover letter, biographical data form, veterans release form, interviewer’s release form, audio and video recording log, photograph log, and manuscript data sheet.
These materials alone were sufficient for the days of audio cassette and videocassette tapes (which VHP acquired plenty of and still digitizes) but moving into the digital age, the project field kit also includes information on media and formats standards. Additional resources, such as Oral History in the Digital Age, delve deeper into the digital recording equipment and in best production practices, such as three-point lighting for video and the basics of digital audio recording.
Part of the value of digital files is that they can be shared online almost instantly. But curating them can be challenging. “I’ve been reviewing the tens of thousands of optical disks we’ve received since the project started,” said VHP archivist Andrew Cassidy-Amstutz. “Taking the content off before the disk has a chance to fail — in some cases it has failed, unfortunately — but extracting as much of the content off each disk as fast as I can and then uploading it to the Library’s content transfer system.” (The Signal interviewed Cassidy-Amstutz in March 2014 about digital preservation in VHP.)
VHP offers advice on how to prepare for the interview and how to conduct the interview, advice that covers the production elements of recording as well as the professional elements of how to be a good interviewer and listener. The rest is up to the openness and receptivity between interviewer and interviewee.
Once the interview is submitted to the VHP, it is marked for digitization (if it is not already digital), tagged with metadata and eventually archived in the Library of Congress’s digital repository for long-term preservation. “We generally receive about 5,000 collections per year,” said Cassidy-Amstutz. “Maybe 300 to 400 per month. That includes anything from new collections to new content arriving to be added to existing collections…We go through cycles of rapid acquisition, especially at the end of semesters when educators — who assigned the project to their students — have the chance to assemble it all together and send it out to us.”Adapting to the times and technology, VHP is working toward creating an online submission process for uploading digital files directly into their system. There may be an app eventually. The project could benefit from crowdsourcing the transcription of the hundreds of thousands of digitized letters and cards, which would contribute enormous value to their keyword search for researchers once the transcriptions are indexed. VHP is also collaborating with the Oral History Association to develop a pamphlet titled Doing Veterans Oral History.
VHP continues to reach out to veterans, including the steady stream of new veterans. And there will always be new veterans. “We can keep growing the project,” said Congressman Kind. “I urge everyone to ask veterans they know to record their stories. This is the last ask of a grateful nation to our veterans. What better way to preserve this important history of what it was like to protect our nation while honoring our veterans at the same time.”
Hi LITA members (and beyond):
My name is Brianna Marshall and I am the editor of the LITA blog. Last week, the post “Is Technology Bringing in More Skillful Male Librarians?” by Jorge Perez was published on the blog. The post has understandably sparked considerable discussion on Twitter. Jorge has indicated an interest in writing a follow up post to clarify his viewpoints vs. the viewpoints expressed by the authors he cited, so I won’t speak for him beyond saying that I believe his intentions were to highlight issues around the stereotyping of male librarians. In his communications with me, he indicated that the provocative title and brevity was intended to spark a conversation with blog readers, not to be flippant about the issues. Again, I will let him provide clarification on the content of the post itself.
As I looked at the conversation on Twitter, I noticed a number of comments that implied that the viewpoints, quality, and tone of this post was endorsed by LITA as an organization. There have also been comments questioning who would allow something like the post to be published. As blog editor, I want provide greater transparency on how the blog has worked under my direction. I wholeheartedly welcome ideas to improve this process.
The LITA blog has a revolving team of regular writers who volunteer to contribute a new post once every 1-1.5 months, depending on how full the schedule is and how many regular writers we have at a given time. I provide a blog content and style guide to reference, as well as encouragement to ask for opinions and feedback from the team through our shared listserv. (I’ve added a link to the content and style guide to the LITA blog about page, if it is of interest.) While I work directly with guest writers who publish on the blog, it is not manageable for me to review or oversee all posts by regular writers. Peer feedback prior to publication is solicited at the author’s discretion; it is encouraged but not required or enforced. Ultimately, as a blog that tries to produce and publish new content multiple times per week, additional oversight has not been sustainable. A level of trust and knowledge that a post may go through that elicits negative reactions is, in my opinion, just part of the trade-off. However, the conversation around this post has sparked a renewed discussion among the LITA blog writers about our review processes and whether there are additional measures to help support each other in producing high-quality writing. As blog editor my critique of the post is not the content but rather that the author’s ideas are not fully developed, leading to a rushed post that at first read seems like Jorge is putting forth ideas that he is, I believe, instead critiquing.
It would deeply sadden me to have the efforts of a really incredible group of writers in the LITA community overshadowed by negative reactions to this blog post. I know I am often impressed by the writers’ thoughtful posts on a diverse array of topics. While as the blog editor I regret that the topic that brought about this conversation is an unclear post about a controversial issue, it’s great to be part of an engaged library tech community and I welcome any feedback to help us make improvements. In particular, I invite you to apply to be a blog writer during the next call for writers, and in the meantime to propose a guest post. We would love to feature your ideas!
Lastly, I appreciate Galen Charlton for his thoughtful response, everyone who has contributed to the LITA listserv thread, and for the tweets that sparked this conversation.
Brianna, LITA Blog Editor
Attend this informative and fast paced new LITA webinar:
Monday November 2, 2015
1:00 pm – 2:00 pm Central Time
Register Online, page arranged by session date (login required)
We’re all awash in technological innovation. It can be a challenge to know what new tools are likely to have staying power and what that might mean for libraries. The 2014 LITA Guide, Top Technologies Every Librarian Needs to Know, highlights a selected set of technologies that are just starting to emerge and describes how libraries might adapt them in the next few years. In this 60 minute webinar, join the authors of three chapters from the book as they talk about their technologies and what they mean for libraries. Those chapters covered will be:
Impetus to Innovate: Convergence and Library Trends
Presenter: A.J. Million
This presentation does not try and predict the future, but it does provide a framework to understand trends that relate to digital media.
The Future of Cloud-Based Library Systems
Presenters: Elliot Polak & Steven Bowers
The “cloud” has come to mean a shared hardware environment with an optional software component. In libraries, cloud computing technology can reduce the costs and human capital associated with maintaining a 24/7 Integrated Library System while facilitating an uptime that is costly to attain in house.
Library Discovery: From Ponds to Streams
Presenter: Ken Varnum
Libraries, and libraries’ perceptions of the patrons’ needs, have led to the creation and acquisition of “webscale” discovery services. These new services seek to amalgamate all the online content a library might provide into one bucket.
Review of The 2014 LITA Guide, Top Technologies Every Librarian Needs to Know
”Contains excellent advice about defining the library’s context, goals, needs, and abilities as a means of discerning which technologies to adopt … introduces a panoply of emergent technologies in libraries by providing a fascinating snapshot of where we are now and of where we might be in three to five years.” — Technical Services Quarterly
Steven Bowers is the director of the Detroit Area Library Network (DALNET), at Wayne State University. He also co-teaches a course on Integrated Library Systems for the Wayne State University School of Library and Information Science, with his colleague Elliot Polak. Bowers was featured in the 2008 edition of the Library Journal’s Movers & Shakers.
A.J. Million is a Ph.D. candidate in the School of Information Science & Learning Technologies (SISLT) at the University of Missouri, where he teaches digital media and Web development to librarians and educators. He has written journal articles that appeared in Cataloging and Classification Quarterly, the Journal of Library Administration, and OCLC Systems and Services. His dissertation examines website infrastructure in state government agencies.
Elliot Polak is the Assistant Library Director for Discovery and Innovation at Wayne State University. Prior to joining Wayne State Elliot spent three years at Norwich University serving as the Head of Library Technology responsible for evaluating, maintaining, and implementing systems at Kreitzberg Library.
Ken Varnum is the Web Systems Manager at the University of Michigan Library. Ken’s research and professional interests include discovery systems, content management, and user-generated content. He wrote “Drupal in Libraries” (2012) and edited “The Top Technologies Every Librarian Needs to Know” (2014).
Can’t make the date but still want to join in? Registered participants will have access to the recorded webinar.
- LITA Member: $45
- Non-Member: $105
- Group: $196
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, email@example.com
This week’s readings included some dire looks at life after the PhD: Kovalik (2013) on how easy it is to slip through the cracks of academia, and Johnson (2014) on the hyper-competitive life of the postdoc. Both were quite sobering. Johnson describes the problem in the health sciences where reduced government funding has led to situations where academic research labs are increasingly dependent on cheap labor (postdocs), who do most of the actual science, while the faculty jobs are increasingly difficult to find, because there are too many postdocs being cranked out to do the research. It was a somewhat frustrating article because while it hinted at how smaller labs could help correct this problem, it really didn’t explain how that could work. Would the problem just be harder to identify if there were lots of smaller labs, rather than fewer large ones? I like to think there is more to this idea of smaller labs, that are geared more to research. Perhaps they are more like projects with longer funding cycles than labs?
I followed one of Johnson’s citations to Alberts, Kirschner, Tilghman, & Varmus (2014) which painted a very bleak picture of federal funding drying up, and its impact on the research lab. The authors attribute this to many factors, but the primary one is an unending growth model that began after World War 2 with Vannevar Bush. It seems like a systemic problem that we can see reflected in our financial systems. But I actually liked this article because it ends with a list of recommendations that were at least understandable.
One of the things that the authors suggest is weaning research labs off of using grant funding to pay for postdoc positions and using funding that is oriented towards training:
To give federal agencies more control over the number of trainees and the quality of their training, we propose moving gradually to a system in which graduate students are supported with training grants and fellowships and not with research grants. Fellowships have the virtue of providing peer review of the student applicants, and training programs set high standards for selection of students and for the education they receive.
They also suggest that labs increase the number of full time staff (requiring support from the University):
We believe that staff scientists can and should play increasingly important roles in the biomedical workforce. Within individual laboratories, they can oversee the day-to-day work of the laboratory, taking on some of the administrative burdens that now tend to fall on the shoulders of the laboratory head; orient and train new members of the laboratory; manage large equipment and common facilities; and perform scientific projects independently or in collaboration with other members of the group. Within institutions, they can serve as leaders and technical experts in core laboratories serving multiple investigators and even multiple institutions.
As a staff person at the University of Maryland I feel good about these recommendations. But where I can’t help but wonder if there are enough training grants available, particularly in the field of information science. What are effective ways to make the case to your university that you need additional staff? I guess these may vary from institution to institution.
Johnson remarks on how learning to be a researcher as a doctoral student doesn’t always translate very well into the job that you end up doing when you get out:
The problem is that any researcher running a lab today is training far more people than there will ever be labs to run. Often these supremely well-educated trainees are simply cheap laborers, not learning skills for the careers where they are more likely to find jobs — teaching, industry, government or nonprofit jobs, or consulting.
This reminded me of this visualization I saw recently of initial career choices after receiving a PhD from Stanford University:
Click on the image for the full report. Wouldn’t it be great if all universities did this?
Maybe I missed it, but what Alberts et al. (2014) didn’t seem to address was the significant numbers of post doctoral students that head directly into business, government or the scary, gray unknown. Hopefully that unknown area isn’t unemployment! I have to imagine that a significant number of biomedical researchers go immediately to work in corporate labs. What impact does this have on the enterprise of open science?
The implication here is that doing a PhD must necessarily involve opportunities to gain experience with industry, government and non-profits. How can this be achieved while not compromising the independence of research? It reminds me of how important my internships were as a Masters level student.References
Alberts, B., Kirschner, M. W., Tilghman, S., & Varmus, H. (2014). Rescuing uS biomedical research from its systemic flaws. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 111(16), 5773–5777. Retrieved from http://www.pnas.org/content/111/16/5773.full
Johnson, C. (2014). Glut of postdoc researchers stirs quiet crisis in science. The Boston Globe. Retrieved from https://www.bostonglobe.com/metro/2014/10/04/glut-postdoc-researchers-stirs-quiet-crisis-science/HWxyErx9RNIW17khv0MWTN/story.html
Kovalik, D. (2013). Death of an adjunct. Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 18. Retrieved from http://www.post-gazette.com/opinion/Op-Ed/2013/09/18/Death-of-an-adjunct/stories/201309180224
Join us in November for a two-part webinar series devoted to DuraSpace Services, “2015 Accomplishments and A Sneak Peek at What Lies Ahead.” This series will highlight the recent developments of our suite of services including DSpace Direct, ArchivesDirect, DuraCloud and our soon to be released service, DuraCloud Vault.
Details and registration are available here.
These are “sum reflextions” on travel; travel is a good thing, for many reasons.
I am blogging in front of the Pantheon. Amazing? Maybe. Maybe not. But the ability to travel, see these sorts of things, experience the different languages and cultures truly is amazing. All too often we live in our own little worlds, especially in the United States. I can’t blame us too much. The United States is geographically large. It borders only two other countries. One country speaks Spanish. The other speaks English and French. While the United States is the proverbial “melting pot”, there really isn’t very much cultural diversity in the United States, not compared to Europe. Moreover, the United States does not nearly have the history of Europe. For example, I am sitting in front of a building that was build before the “New World” was even considered as existing. It doesn’t help that the United States’ modern version of imperialism tends to make “United Statesians” feel as if they are the center of the world. I guess, that is some ways, it is not much different than Imperial Rome. “All roads lead to Rome.”
As you may or may not know, I have commenced upon a sort of leave of absence from my employer. In the past six weeks I have moved all of belongings to a cabin in a remote part of Indiana, and I have moved myself to Chicago. From there I began a month-long adventure. It began in Tuscany where I painted and deepened my knowledge of Western art history. I spent a week in Venice where I did more painting, walked up to my knees in water because the streets flooded, and I experienced Giotto’s frescos in Padua. For the past week I experienced Rome and did my best to actively participate in a users group meeting called ADLUG — the remnants of a user’s group meeting surrounding one of the very first integrated library systems — Dobris Libris. I also painted and rode a bicycle along the Appian Way. I am now on my way to Avignon where I will take a cooking class and continue on a “artist’s education”.
Travel is not easy. It requires a lot of planning and coordination. “Where will I be when, and how will I get there? Once I’m there, what am I going to do, and how will I make sure things don’t go awry?” In this way, travel is not for the fient of heart, especially when venturing into territory where you do not know the language. It can be scary. Nor is travel inexpensive. One needs to maintain two households.
Travel is a kind of education that can not be gotten through the reading of books, the watching of television, nor discussion with other people. It is something that must be experienced first hand. Like sculpture, it is literally an experience that can only exist time & space in order to fully appreciate.
What does this have to do with librarianship? On one hand, nothing. On the other hand, everthing. From my perspective, librarianship is about a number of processes applied against a number of things. These processes include collection, organization, preservation, dissemination, and sometimes evaluation. The things of librarianship are data, information, knowledge, and sometimes wisdom. Even today, with the advent of our globally networked computers, the activities of librarianship remain essentially unchanged when compared to the activities of more than a hundred years ago. Libraries still curate collections, organize the collections into useful sets, provide access to the collections, and endeavor to maintain all of these services for the long haul.
Like most people and travel, many librarians (and people who work in libraries) do not have a true appreciation for the work of their colleagues. Sure, everybody applauds everybody else’s work, but have they actually walked in those other people’s shoes? The problem is most acute between the traditional librarians and the people who write computer programs for libraries. Both sets of people have the same goals; they both want to apply the same processes to the same things, but their techniques for accomplishing those goals are disimilar. One wants to take a train to get where they are going, and other wants to fly. This must change lest the profession become even less relevant.
What is the solution? In a word, travel. People need to mix and mingle with the other culture. Call it cross-training. Have the computer programmer do some traditional cataloging for a few weeks. Have the cataloger learn how to design, implement, and maintain a relational database. Have the computer programmer sit at the reference desk for a while in order to learn about service. Have the reference librarian work with the computer programmer and learn how to index content and make it searchable. Have the computer programmer work in an archive or conservatory making books and saving content in gray cardboard boxes. Have the archivist hang out with computer programmer and learn how content is backed up and restored.
How can all this happen? In my opinion, the most direct solution is advocacy from library administration. Without the blessing of library administration everybody will say, “I don’t have time for such ‘travel’.” Well, library work is never done, and time will need to be carved out and taken from the top, like retirement savings, in order for such trips abroad to come to fruition.
The waiters here at my cafe are getting restless. I have had my time here, and it is time to move on. I will come back, probably in the Spring, and I’ll stay longer. In the meantime, I will continue with my own personal education.
This weeks seminar was focused on citizen science. We had three readings: Wiggins & Crowston (2011), Quinn & Bederson (2011), Eveleigh, Jennett, Blandford, Brohan, & Cox (2014) and were visited by the author of the first paper Andrea Wiggins. This class was a lot of fun because prior to talking about the readings we spent an hour walking around the UMD campus looking for birds, and collecting observations with Andrea’s eBird mobile app.
Along the way we chatted about how her dissertation research used an in depth case study of eBird (a project from the Cornell Lab of Ornithology), in which she did a great deal of participant observation. I was particularly struck by her observation of how important the knowledge she gained about birding, and the relationships she developed as part of this work were to her dissertation work, as well as her academic career. Although she works in the field of information science, some of her most well known work has been with ecologists that she was put in touch with as part of this birding observation. Andrea stressed how important it is for her research to be put to use in the world, when it comes to creating applications like eBird, or effecting policy. This seems like a deep lesson for discovering and building a meaningful research topic. Another thing that occurred to me as I was writing up these notes was how meta this part of her research was: observing the humans who were observing the birds.
We did spot a few birds on our walk, which you can see in Andrea’s eBird checklist. When we came back to the class we took a brief tour through the eBird website, and looked at how the data was collected and made available. Andrea said that they had some initial difficulty drawing people to using the eBird application, but this changed when they brought in some active birders to help design the application, which helped spread the word about the application. Perhaps there was a participatory design story that could be told, or that has been told. Now they are swimming in data, which they make quarterly and annual of snapshots available to the public. My only quibble with the datasets they make available is that they have their own peculiar license instead of using a Creative Commons license, like CC-BY-NC-SA. The participation in the project is truly impressive; take a look in your area to see what birds have been observed. I found a handful of people in my neighborhood had documented some 104 species of birds, mostly in 2014 and 2015.
One additional topic that came up was ethical considerations when making the data available on the Web. A lot of birders will use their actual names, so in sharing observation data you are also providing information about your location at particular times. There are obvious privacy implications here, that are necessarily balanced with the birders desire to participate in the community of other active birders. Another consideration is rare birds that are found, which can result in an increased number of people to come and see the bird, which could impact their environment. eBird themselves provide some guidance on these concerns. I suspect some of these issues will come up again in a few weeks when Katie Shilton visits our class to talk about values in design.
The papers provided a nice variety of views into the domain. Quinn & Bederson (2011) surveyed the landscape of human computation, which seems to have its genesis in the pioneering work of [Luis von Ahn] at Carnegie Mellon (who invented ReCAPTCHA which he later sold it to Google). The paper is quite structured in its approach to what is in and out of scope for human computational work, and provides a taxonomy or rubric for the field. It’s a nice article to help situate ideas in the field of human computation. Wiggins & Crowston (2011) similarly provided a useful look at the relatively new field of citizen science with particular attention to how the degree of virtuality and goal orientation can be additional participatory types. It also seems like this is one of the first papers to deliberately include purely virtual citizen science projects like GalaxyZoo.
The last paper Eveleigh et al. (2014) was suggested by Jonathan who led the discussion and also is working with Andrea on citizen science projects. I really enjoyed this paper because it took a deep dive into a user study of GalaxyZoo. There is already a significant body of research of how crowd sourcing projects like Wikipedia tend to have a large number of contributions from a small numbers of people. The general approach is that the more we understand about how these super-users behave the better these systems can be built and sustained. There is a certain logic to that approach, but what hasn’t been explored so much is how the users who submit less behave, and how important they are to the health of the overall system. The long tail of small contributions is actually extremely important, and designing systems that allow for this level of engagement is under-developed.
The paper actually almost felt like two papers to me, since it was a mixed methods paper that first surveyed OldWeather users about their motivations (extrinsic and intrinsic) for participation, and then did a series of in depth follow on interviews to help identify what the barriers to and constraints of participation were for the individuals on the long tail. In the classroom discussion I indicated that it felt like two papers to me, but on rereading pieces of it now I see that the two parts of the study were more connected than I initially recognized. The results of the survey were used to sample OldWeather users that had different motivations and participation patterns.
The findings were interesting, especially regarding the identified design patterns in OldWeather that helped encourage lower volume contributions:
- Facilitate independent working and participant choice.
- Optimize tasks to fit within busy lives.
- Publicize scientific outcomes.
- Sell citizen science snacks, not gourmet meals!
- Enable personalized feedback to affirm quality.
There seems a lot of useful information here to build and test new citizen-science and crowd-sourcing projects. I know I have habitually thought of the expert user when desigining user interfaces and applications. Focusing on the dabbler seems like an extremely valuable lesson. Even the dropout who no longer contributes, but enjoys getting project update emails, and spreads the word about the project to friends and colleagues is important. Now that I think about it this was one of the underlying themes in Mauricio Giraldo’s talk about NYPL’s Building Inspector earlier this year in MITH:
I think his talk is largely about what it means to design for dabbling, and how important this activity is for building substantial engagement.
PS. the more I think about it the more I like the model Andrea presented for using particpant observation as a core part the work I do in studying appraisal in Web archives. Finding the balance between observation, participation and collaboration will be difficult, because I don’t want to maintain too much critical distance from the work.References
Eveleigh, A., Jennett, C., Blandford, A., Brohan, P., & Cox, A. L. (2014). Designing for dabblers and deterring drop-outs in citizen science. In Proceedings of the 32nd annual ACM conference on human factors in computing systems (pp. 2985–2994). Association for Computing Machinery.
Quinn, A. J., & Bederson, B. B. (2011). Human computation: A survey and taxonomy of a growing field. In Proceedings of the SIGCHI conference on human factors in computing systems (pp. 1403–1412). Association for Computing Machinery.
Wiggins, A., & Crowston, K. (2011). From conservation to crowdsourcing: A typology of citizen science. In System sciences (HICSS), 2011 44th Hawaii international conference on (pp. 1–10). IEEE.
Here’s the complete list of answers to “What would you like to see added to Blacklight?” from the Blacklight community survey I distributed last month.
Some of these are features, some of these are more organizational. I simply paste them all here, with no evaluation on my own part as to desirability or feasibility.
- Keep up the great work!
- Less. Simplicity instead of more indirection and magic. While the easy things have stayed easy anything more has seemed to be getting harder and more complicated.
Search inside indexing patterns and plugin.
Better, updated, maintained analytics plugin.
- Support for Elasticsearch
- Blacklight-maps seems fantastic if you don’t need the geoblacklight features.
- (1) I’ve had lots of requests for an “OR” option on the main facet limits–like SearchWorks has. The advanced search has this feature. We have a facet for ‘Record Type’ (e.g. publication, object, oral history, film, photograph, etc) and we have users who would like to search across e.g. film or photograph. That could be implemented with a checkbox. Unfortunately it’s a little above my Rails chops & time at this point to implement.
(2) We do geographic name expansion and language stemming. It would be sweet to be able to let users turn those features off. Jonathan Rochkind wrote an article awhile back on how to do that–again, I unfortunately lack Rails chops & time to implement that.
- To reduce upgrade/compatibility churn, I wonder if it might be helpful to avoid landing changes in master/release until they are fully baked. For major refactorings/ruby API changes, do all dev in master until the feature is done churning and everyone relevant is satisfied with it being complete. As opposed to right now it seems as if iterative development on new features sometimes happens in masters and even in releases, before a full picture of what the final API will look like exists. Eg SearchBuilder refactorings.
- A more active and transparent Blacklight development process. We would be happy to contribute more, but it’s difficult to know a longer-term vision of the community.
- Integration with Elasticsearch
Filed under: General
Cover images from books circulate widely on the internet. They are featured in online bookstores, they get picked up by search engines. Inevitably, they get re-used and separated from their context. Today (2015) "teh Internetz" firmly believe that the cover image is a portrait of Mary Astell.
- Google (look at the infobox)
- A blog post on English Historical Fiction Authors
- Another blog post about the Astell Project
- The Astell Project's Twitter feed
- A website from Cambridge University
- A Portland State history professor's website
- Wheaton College's Philosophy News
- Articles from Italy, Spain, Spain, Turkey, Canada,
- Pinterest, Find-A-Grave
But the painting doesn't depict Mary Astell. It was done 30 years after her death. In her book, Sutherland notes (page xii):No portrait of her remains, but such evidence as we have suggests that she was not particularly attractive. Lady Mary Wortley Montagu’s granddaughter records her as having been “in outward form [...] rather ill-favoured and forbidding,” though Astell was long past her youth when this observation was made.
Wikipedia has successfully resisted the misattribution.
A contributing factor for the confusion about Mary Astell's image is the book's failure to attribute the cover art. Typically a cover description is included in the front matter of the book. According to the Director of the University of Calgary Press, Brian Scrivener, proper attribution would certainly be done in a book produced today. Publishers now recognize that metadata is increasingly the cement that makes books part of the digital environment. Small presses often struggle to bring their back lists up to date, and publishers both large and small have "metadata debt" from past oversights, mergers, reorganizations and lack of resources.
Managing cover art and permissions for included graphics is often an expensive headache for digital books, particularly for Open Access works. I've previously written about the importance of clear licensing statements and front matter in ebooks. It's unfortunate when public domain art is not recognized as such, as in Eloquence, but nobody's perfect.
The good news is that University of Calgary Press has embraced Open Access ebooks in a big way. The Eloquence of Mary Astell and 64 other books are already available, making Calgary one of the world's leading publishers of Open Access ebooks. Twelve more are in the works.
You can find Eloquence at the Calgary University Press website (including the print edition), Unglue.it, DOAB, and Internet Archive. Mary Astell's 1706 pamphlet Reflections Upon Marriage can be found at the Internet Archive and at the University of Pennsylvania's Celebration of Women Writers.
And maybe in 2025, teh internetz will know all about Sir Joshua Reynold's famous painting, Not Mary Astell. Happy Open Access Week!
Yes the title of this blog post is sensational. After reading Chapter 7 from Hicks’ 2014 book titled Technology and Professional Identity of Librarians, I was appalled to read that the few male librarians in our profession are negatively stereotyped into being unable to handle a real career and the male dominated technology field infers that more skillful males will join the profession in the future. There is a proven concept that the competitive environment of technology is male dominated. If this is true, then will more males join librarianship since it is becoming more tech-based? There are a lot of things that are terrible about all this – males have tough stereotypes to overcome and there is a misconception that technology is the omen that will bring in more capable male librarians to the field. I am going home early to sit at home, cry, read a scholarly book, and drink my tea with my pinkie sticking out – thank you very much.
What do male and female librarians think about technology and gender in our profession? Comments please…
All information on this post comes from Chapter 7 Technology, Gender, and Professional Identity:
Hicks, D. (2014). Technology and professional identity of librarians: The making of the cybrarian. Hershey, PA: IGI Global.
Further Reading on the topic of gender and librarianship visit – Chapter 4 That’s Women’s Work: Pink Collar Professions, Gender, and the Librarian Stereotype:
Pagowsky, N., & Rigby, M. E. (2014). The librarian stereotype: Deconstructing perceptions and presentations of information work. Chicago, IL: American Library Association.
It’s baaaaa-aaaack! S. 754, the often and aptly tagged “zombie” Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act of 2015 (CISA) reemerged this month in the Senate in new and, to be fair, somewhat improved guise. Massive opposition by a broad coalition of companies and civil society groups, including ALA, kept an even worse version from a vote this summer. But make no mistake; the bill in its current form is still being (mis)advertised by its sponsors as a means of preventing serious cyber-attacks like those perpetrated recently against the Office of Personnel Management, the Pentagon’s non-classified email system and Sony (among many other businesses).
CISA remains dangerously overbroad in key respects. It continues to pose a serious threat to personal privacy by allowing the internet, phone, financial services, credit bureaus and other institutions that hold your personal information to voluntarily “share” that data with federal security agencies if they believe they see indicators of a cyber-attack. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) would serve as an initial “portal” for this data which they’d then be obligated to (over)share with many other arms of government at multiple levels, including the Department of Defense (DoD), the National Security Agency (NSA), the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and state law enforcement agencies.
ALA and many of its coalition partners support key amendments by Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT) to protect the Freedom of Information Act (No. 2587) and Senator Al Franken (D-MN) to narrow key definitions of terms like “cyberthreat” to better protect privacy (No. 2612).
Even if they are adopted, ALA urges every member of the Senate to vote “NO” if and when the CISA “Manager’s Amendment” to S. 754 reaches the floor.
Of special concern to libraries is a provision of the bill that, while narrowed in the Manager’s Amendment, could still expose library and municipal networks to disruption at the hands of defensive “countermeasures” taken by a company or government office that believes itself to be under cyber-attack.
In addition, with thanks for these points to the Open Technology institute, even as amended the version of CISA that the Senate will vote on in a matter of days is still fatally flawed because of:
- Weak requirements for companies to remove personally identifiable information: The most important improvement the Senate can make to CISA during the amendment and debate process is to enhance the front-end protections for communications content and personally identifiable information (PII) by strengthening the requirement to remove that sensitive and unnecessary information. Strengthening this requirement would reduce all other privacy and civil liberties concerns, since there would be less PII to be mishandled or misused by the government or by companies. Because of how broadly CISA defines the term “cyber threat indicator,” the information that is shared could include a tremendous amount of unnecessary personal information. A chart outlining some of the types of “cyber threat indicators” that could be shared that could reveal the most personal information, is available here.
- Vague definitions of “cybersecurity threat” and “cyber threat indicator”: CISA’s definition for cybersecurity threat is the lynchpin for all of the authorities it creates. Entities may monitor their systems, sharing cyber threat indicators, and deploy defensive measures, in order to protect against a cybersecurity threat. However, CISA’s definition of cybersecurity threat includes any perceived threat, regardless of whether the action or event would be reasonably likely to cause harm. This definition is so broad that CISA could lead to significant over-sharing, which would undermine security objectives by forcing responders to sift through large quantities of unnecessary information, such as information concerning false positives. Additionally, CISA’s definition for cyber threat indicator includes some vague categories related to potential harms and “other attributes” that could lead to companies sharing unnecessary or inactionable content or PII. Thus, CISA’s broad definitions of “cybersecurity threat” and “cyber threat indicator,” and the resulting excessive sharing of useless information could significantly undermine its effectiveness because it could slow down or distract security experts as they try to identify and respond to legitimate threats.
- Authorization to share acquired information with any federal entity, including the NSA: Domestic cybersecurity and information sharing should be controlled by a civilian federal agency. Authorizing sharing with any federal entity enables companies to share information directly with military and intelligence agencies like the DoD, NSA and CIA, which undermines civilian control.
- Unclear authorization for DHS and all other federal entities to delay dissemination of cyber threat indicators to apply privacy guidelines and remove unnecessary PII: While the Manager’s Amendment allows for some delay in dissemination of threat information, delay is only permissible if all appropriate federal entities, including DoD and the Director of National Intelligence consent to the means and purpose of the delay. This undermines civilian control, and does not make clear that DHS has the authority to delay dissemination of cyber threat indicators to other entities in order to apply the privacy guidelines and to remove improperly shared or unnecessary personal information.
Look for an action alert very soon with all the details you’ll need to help stop CISA now. Thanks!
- Op-ed in The Hill: Tech industry leaders oppose CISA as dangerous to privacy and security
- Op-Ed in The Hill: Is CISA gift-wrapped for hackers and nation-state actors?
An out of town friend asked for vegetarian restaurant recommendations. I asked my friends on Facebook, then checked their suggestions on Urban Spoon. Finally I filtered out some places I don’t like. Lots of people seemed to find the list useful, so I’m posting it here too. The best options are not downtown, so if you’re in town for DLF Forum or Open Education this is another reason to get out of downtown.
Last updated October 2015.Expensive
I would recommend The Acorn, or Grub if you want to go out for a really nice meal with friends who are not veg.
- The Acorn (3995 Main Street) , gets really good reviews from friends, Urbanspoon 82%
- Heirloom Vegetarian (1509 West 12th) , also gets great reviews from friends, Urbanspoon 70%
- Grub (4328 Main Street) not strictly vegetarian, but they always have a vegetarian/vegan options that are lovely. There’s also a sweet patio in the back, and they make boozy punch, which is nice. Urbanspoon 91%
- Meet on Main, (4288 Main Street) is delicious burgers (try the angry burg) and the best fries in town. They also make vegetarian versions of comfort food like stroganoff, as well as hippie style veggie bowls.
- Chomp Vegan Eatery (3586 Fraser Street) “vegan food that doesn’t suck”
- Jamjar Folk Lebanese Food (2280 Commercial Drive) tasty fresh Lebanese food, while not exclusively vegetarian there are lots of veggie options.
- Nuba (4 locations). The downtown location is my go to for group dinners with people who are vegetarian and meat eaters. They also have good drinks. Urbanspoon 90%
- The Naam (2724 West 4th Ave) Some people recommended this. I say ‘meh’, though sometimes you are craving some potato wedges with miso gravy and a salad with grated beets in it. I wouldn’t go out of your way to go here. Though it’s open 24 hours, so it’s got that going for it. Urbanspoon 75%
- Po Kong (1334 Kingsway) fake meat! Gluten! Vegetarian Chinese food. Urbanspoon 85%
- Chau Veggie Express (5052 Victoria Drive between 34th and 35th) , vegetarian and vegan Vietnamese food. I haven’t been here before but I will go. Urbanspoon 96% (!!!)
- Veggiebowl (2222 Kingsway) a little further out but another vegetarian and vegan Vietnamese place.
- Planet Veg (1941 Cornwall Ave) tasty wraps and stuff, apparently. If you go to Kits beach or the Museum of Vancouver or Planatarium (or the Archive, though I don’t know why you would do that) it’s nearby. Urbanspoon 83%
- Bandidas Taqueria (2781 Commercial Drive) , tasty! Cute staff! Lots of bikes! Though if you are from Texas (you probably have pretty picky tastes in tacos and might want to skip Mexican food in Canada) Urbanspoon 83%
- 3G Vegetarian Restaurant (3424 Cambie Street) lots of tasty fake meat, including “chicken wings”. Nom. Urbanspoon 86%
- Fassil Ethopian (Fraser and Broadway) – has a great veggie combo. Friend’s favourite Ethopian restaurant. Urbanspoon 91%
- Axum Ethopian (1279 East Hastings) Urbanspoon 89%
- East is East (a couple of locations) tasty food but kinda pricey. It always seems to be full of white hippies. I think people who are not white hippies (or don’t live in the neighbourhood) go elsewhere for Indian food. Urbanspoon 88%
- Zend Conscious Lounge (1130 Mainland Street) upscale vegetarian in Yaletown. $18 for a wrap, but tasty.
- Black Lodge (630 Kingsway). Twin Peaks themed small vegetarian neighbourhood bar with good drinks and tasty junk food. They make delicious coconut bacon.
- Storm Crow Tavern (1305 Commercial Drive) “Planet Hollywood for geeks, a sports bar for nerds: a place where gamers, sci-fi and fantasy fans can hang out, drink a tasty microbrew and nosh on tasty edibles in Vancouver’s eclectic Commercial Drive neighbourhood”. The menu has many vegetarian options.
- Earnest Ice Cream (2 locations) always has one vegan flavour that’s made with a coconut milk base. They make really delicious ice cream with interesting flavours. It’s a toss up between Whiskey Hazelnut and Serious Chocolate as my favourite.
- Cartems Donuterie (2 locations) also sells vegan and gluten free donuts. I think that Lucky’s Donuts are better, but they don’t have a vegan option.
- Foundation, bad service from cranky hipsters, expensive for what it is
- Wallflower, meh. Consensus that the both food and service have gone downhill.
Recently a misreading of ebook sales figures was taken as an omen prophesying the impending ebookalypse. This data ignored sales from ebooks without isbns – you know, those self-publishing types – but the word was out and the question was raised: so what gives?
As of 2015 ebook readership has nevertheless yet to meaningfully pull away from print as we might have predicted a few years back. Last month, I wrote that ereading’s failure to increase the gap may be a user experience problem. An interesting thought that proves the point that good UX is good business.
So, in this podcast, that’s pretty much what we talk about. Additionally, I suggest it might be more ethical and financially sound for libraries [especially] to eschew – or, at least, be hyper-critical of – ebook vendors and the user experience of their product, and explain why it is that Amazon Kindle is the successful outlier.
Listen closely for slightly paranoid-but-cool programmatically abridged ebooks. Hashtag #personalization.
The Digital Public Library of America (http://dp.la/) seeks a full-time Developer to support the technical aspects of the organization’s operational needs. This position is directly involved in ensuring that DPLA’s ingestion process of harvesting, mapping, enriching, and indexing metadata we receive from our partners runs smoothly, reliably, and according to schedule. In addition, the position actively supports DevOps at DPLA, particularly in terms of developing and implementing tools and procedures to provision, administer, monitor, and maintain DPLA’s infrastructure and applications.
This position is part of DPLA’s Technology Team, which is is responsible for development, deployment, and management of all of DPLA’s technical infrastructure, including our staff- and public-facing applications, the DPLA Platform API, and the components that drive them. The DPLA Technology Team is a group of technologists with a commitment to open access, open source, and working collegially and collaboratively both inside and outside the organization at an international scale. We have a well-defined and evolving set of core values, including maximal openness to DPLA technology and infrastructure; diversity; transparency; reliability, accountability, and shared responsibility; empathy and mutual respect; leadership; and continued learning and growth.
We are seeking a curious and enthusiastic individual who recognizes both their technical strengths and areas for growth, and can help us work effectively to further DPLA’s mission to bring together the riches of America’s libraries, archives, and museums, and make them freely available to all. A belief in this mission, and the drive to accomplish it over time in a collaborative spirit within and beyond the organization, is essential.
Reporting to the Director for Technology, the Developer:
- Supports DPLA’s metadata ingestion process, ensuring that it runs efficiently, reliably, and scalably, through development of application modules and metadata mappings, and through the initiation and monitoring of ingestion processes.
- Collaborates closely with internal and external stakeholders in the ingestion process, including the DPLA Data Services Coordinator, the DPLA Assistant Director for Content, and technical staff at DPLA partner institutions.
- Provisions, deploys, maintains, evaluates performance for, and monitors both infrastructure and applications managed by DPLA, along with other DPLA Technology Team members.
- Performs other related duties and participates in special projects as assigned.
As a member of the DPLA Technology Team, the Developer:
- Contributes to the design, development, testing, integration, support, and documentation of user-facing applications and back-end systems.
- Supports content management policies, process, and workflows, and contribute to the development of new ones.
- Collaborates with internal and external stakeholders in planning and implementation of applications that support DPLA’s mission, strategic plan, and special initiatives.
- Maintains knowledge of emerging technologies to support the DPLA’s evolving services.
- Embodies and promotes the philosophy of open source, shared, and community-built software and technologies.
- Brings creative vision around possibilities for work with data that we haven’t yet imagined.
- Experience with one or more programming languages and web application frameworks, such as Ruby/Rails, Python/Django, PHP, or Java.
- Experience with one or more infrastructure-as-a-service providers, such as Amazon Web Services.
- Experience with common system administration and application maintenance tasks in Linux environment, using an automation and configuration management tool such as Ansible (our current system of choice), Chef, Puppet, or CFEngine.
- Demonstrated experience working effectively in a team environment and the ability to interact well with stakeholders.
- Demonstrated experience and working knowledge of version control systems, such as Git, Mercurial, or Subversion.
- Demonstrated desire and enthusiasm about learning new toolsets, programming languages, or methods to support software development.
- Excellent written and verbal communication skills.
- Excellent analytical and organizational skills.
- Experience with extract-transform-load workflows with varying input sources, such as XML, JSON, CSV, and relational databases.
- Experience working in a digital library, or in a technical role within a cultural heritage institution such as a library, archives, or museum.
- Demonstrated experience with performance analysis in infrastructure-as-a-service environments such as Amazon Web Services.
- Demonstrated experience with integrating user-facing applications with REST application programming interfaces.
- Demonstrated experience with continuous integration, and opinions about how we can best leverage it.
- Two or more years of experience with Ruby on Rails.
Highly Useful Qualifications
- Demonstrable knowledge of metadata standards and protocols used in the cultural heritage sector, such as Dublin Core, MODS, MARCXML, OAI-PMH, ResourceSync, and OAI-ORE.
- Experience with RDF and JSON-LD, as well as tools that support transformation of data into RDF.
- Experience with PostgreSQL database administration, Lucene-based search platforms such as Elasticsearch and Solr, triple stores, or graph databases.
- Demonstrated experience in working effectively in a geographically-distributed organization.
- A record of contributions to open source projects or communities, including code, bug reports, documentation, training materials, or workshops.
This position is full-time. DPLA is a geographically-distributed organization, with headquarters in Boston, Massachusetts. Ideally, this position would be situated in the Northeast Corridor between Washington and Boston, but remote work based in other locations within the United States will also be considered.
Like its collection, DPLA is strongly committed to diversity in all of its forms. We provide a full set of benefits, including health care, life and disability insurance, and a retirement plan. Starting salary is commensurate with experience.
Please send a letter of interest, a resume/CV, and contact information for three references to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please put “Developer (Ingestion and Operations)” in the subject line. Questions about the position may be directed to Mark A. Matienzo, Director of Technology, at email@example.com. We will begin reviewing applications on November 9, 2015, but will continue to accept applications until the position is filled.
The Digital Public Library of America strives to contain the full breadth of human expression, from the written word, to works of art and culture, to records of America’s heritage, to the efforts and data of science. Since launching in April 2013, it has aggregated 11 million items from 1,600 institutions. The DPLA is a registered 501(c)(3) non-profit.