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District Dispatch: National STEM Video Game Challenge kicks off

planet code4lib - Fri, 2014-12-12 19:49

The National STEM Video Game Challenges begins a series of workshops tomorrow at the Free Library of Philadelphia as part of Computer Science Education week. The Challenge, the result of a partnership between the Smithsonian, the Joan Ganz Cooney Center, and E-Line Media,  begin a series of workshops tomorrow, December 13, 2014 as part of Computer Science Education week. The Challenge is also supported by IMLS, the Grable Foundation, AARP, and Mentor Up. It was inspired by President Obama’s “Educate to Innovate” campaign, which focuses on science, technology, engineering and math education.

The first 14 workshops are confirmed at the following locations:

  • December 13, 2014, 1-4pm: Free Library of Philadelphia, Lillian Marrero Branch
  • December 20, 2014, 1-4pm: Science Museum of Virginia, Richmond, VA
  • January 3, 2015, 1-4pm: Pima County Public Library, Tucson, AZ
  • January 14, 2015, 4-7pm: City of New Braunfels Public Library, New Braunfels, TX
  • January 24, 2015, 10am-2pm: Museum of History & Industry, Seattle, WA
  • January 25, 2015, 12-4pm: Port Townsend Public Library, Port Townsend, WA
  • January 26, 2015, 10am-1pm: Port Townsend Public Library, Port Townsend, WA
  • February 5, 2015, 6-8:30 pm: Billings Public Library, Teen Game Design Workshop, Billings, MT
  • February 6, 2015, 1-3:30 pm: Billings Public Library, Librarian Workshop, Billings, MT
  • February 7, 2015, 1-3:30 pm: Billings Public Library, Librarian Workshop, Billings, MT
  • February 7, 2015, 1-4pm: Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum Teen Workshop, New York, NY
  • March 6, 2015, 9am-2pm: SciTech Days, Carnegie Science Center, Pittsburgh, PA
  • March 7, 2015, 1-4pm: Carnegie Science Center, Teen Workshop, Pittsburgh, PA
  • March 7, 2015: Carnegie Science Center, Teacher Workshop, Pittsburgh, PA

Additional dates and locations can be found on their website. Librarians and museum staff are encouraged to visit the website and take advantage of the mentor resource kit, a hands-on workshop guide, game design resources and additional guidance.

Entries for the Video Game Challenge will be accepted through February 25, 1015. Only entries submitted by students grades five through twelve will be accepted. For more information about the contest, visit the STEM Challenge website.

The post National STEM Video Game Challenge kicks off appeared first on District Dispatch.

William Denton: The sandbar

planet code4lib - Fri, 2014-12-12 18:08

This metaphor for life and death from Pale Gray for Guilt (1968), one of John D. MacDonald’s Travis McGee novels, came to mind the other day. I looked it up, and here it is for easy reference.

Picture a very swift torrent, a river rushing down between rocky walls. There is a long, shallow bar of sand and gravel that runs right down the middle of the river. It is under water. You are born and you have to stand on that narrow, submerged bar, where everyone stands. The ones born before you, the ones older than you, are upriver from you. The younger ones stand braced on the bar downriver. And the whole long bar is slowly moving down that river of time, washing away at the upstream end and building up downstream.

Your time, the time of all your contemporaries, schoolmates, your loves and your adversaries, is that part of the shifting bar on which you stand. And it is crowded at first. You can see the way it thins out, upstream from you. The old ones are washed away and their bodies go swiftly by, like logs in the current. Downstream where the younger ones stand thick, you can see them flounder, lose footing, wash away. Always there is more room where you stand, but always the swift water grows deeper, and you feel the shift of the sand and the gravel under your feet as the river wears it away. Someone looking for a safer place can nudge you off balance, and you are gone. Someone who has stood beside you for a long time gives a forlorn cry and you reach to catch their hand, but the fingertips slide away and they are gone.

There are the sounds in the rocky gorge, the roar of the water, the shifting, gritty sound of sand and gravel underfoot, the forlorn cries of despair as the nearby ones, and the ones upstream, are taken by the current. Some old ones who stand on a good place, well braced, understanding currents and balance, last a long time. A Churchill, fat cigar atilt, sourly amused at his own endurance and, in the end, indifferent to rivers and the rage of waters. Far downstream from you are the thin, startled cries of the ones who never got planted, never got set, never quite understood the message of the torrent.

District Dispatch: No luck on FOIA this Congress

planet code4lib - Fri, 2014-12-12 17:42

The Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) (S. 2520) bill has been on a roller coaster the last few weeks! We were hopeful. Then thought it wasn’t possible. Then the law, which would give private citizens greater access to government information, passed the Senate and hope was revived. But no, sadly attempted FOIA reform is now reliably reported over and done for this Congress.

Photo by Rich Hill via Flickr

In the House of Representatives, with its 435 Members, the rules of the chamber are deliberately designed so that individual Representatives generally have no say in what bills come up for votes, when they’ll be considered, or what amendments might be in order. In sharp contrast, the Rules of the Senate empower every one of the 100 Senators to profoundly affect what’s considered, when and on what terms. What’s more, the Senate has long honored the unofficial practice of allowing any Senator to place a “hold” on a bill—for any reason or no reason—effectively preventing it from even being considered by the body.

On Monday, in the last few hours of the 113th Congress (which is likely to permanently adjourn today), Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-WV) placed just such a hold on S. 2520, critical FOIA reform legislation by outgoing Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-VT).

Sen. Leahy’s bipartisan FOIA Improvement Act of 2014, co-authored with Republican Sen. John Cornyn of Texas, proposed a host of badly needed improvements in FOIA. The bill was unanimously approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee in November and, after Sen. Rockefeller removed his hold, the bill was unanimously approved by the full Senate this week and sent to the House where FOIA reform took a backseat to last minute appropriations discussions.

We have worked with and others on this bill and will be sad to see its official death at the close of this Congress.

On the decidedly “plus” side, S. 2520 would have:

  • Recodify pro-transparency standards that existed in FOIA itself as recently as the Clinton Administration, but which were rolled back during the Bush Administration. The Clinton-era standards were temporarily reinstated by Executive Order of the President. Sen. Leahy and other FOIA champions believe, however, that this standard of openness must be permanently preserved in statute rather than being subject to the political whims of whomever may be President in the future;
  • Address the overuse of “Exemption 5” to FOIA, which covers “inter-and intra-agency records,” by creating a 25-year limit on withholding pre-decisional agency documents;
  • Tackle some of the procedural inefficiencies of FOIA by encouraging proactive disclosure of frequently requested documents, and by clarifying when agencies can and cannot charge fees when they exceed statutory deadlines;
  • Strengthen the Office of Government Information Services (OGIS), the public’s FOIA ombuds¬man, by requiring that agencies notify information requestors regarding the availability of alternative dispute resolution options through OGIS as an alternative to litigation.

While it now looks like the 113th Congress will adjourn without adopting S.2520, we will join with other like-minded groups next Congress to begin the process of attempting to pass these common sense reforms all over again. We thank Sens. Leahy and Cornyn for their admirable attempt to improve the FOIA process and look forward to working with them again during the 114th Congress.

The post No luck on FOIA this Congress appeared first on District Dispatch.

LITA: Tech Yourself Before You Wreck Yourself – Vol. 4

planet code4lib - Fri, 2014-12-12 17:22

Art by Jason Garrattley

What a year it’s been, TYBYWYers! Last month, I talked about gratitude. This month, I’m focusing on the future. Let’s put a pretty bow on 2014 and take a peek at all the shiny opportunities 2015 has to offer. I promise I won’t tell your mom you looked at your presents.

If this is your first time stumbling upon this monthly feature of the LITA Blog, Tech Yourself Before You Wreck Yourself is a curated assortment of online education opportunities for aspiring library technologists at all levels of experience. I focus on webinars, MOOCs, and other free/low cost options for learning, growing, and increasing tech proficiency. I’m glad you’re here!

Monthly MOOCs

This coming year, you may have made a few tech education resolutions, and I’m going to help you keep them!

If you want to learn to code, the University of Michigan’s Programming for Everybody is a great place to start. The course This course aims to teach everyone to learn the basics of programming computers using Python. The course “has no pre-requisites and avoids all but the simplest mathematics. Anyone with moderate computer experience should be able to master the materials in this course.”  Get in there and start coding, TYBYWYers! I love avoiding all by the simplest mathematics.

I would also be remiss if I didn’t mention a slightly less techy MOOC being presented Northwestern University, Content Strategy for Professionals: Engaging Audiences for Your Organization. We are all challenged by the demands of creating and curating compelling content (she wrote as she curated content she hoped was compelling). Go learn from some masters, and tell me what you think.

Worthwhile Webinars

Tech On, TYBYWYers!

Have a wonderful holiday season, and I’ll see you in the new year.


M. Ryan Hess: The People Wide Web

planet code4lib - Fri, 2014-12-12 17:14

The debate around Net Neutrality has taken an interesting spin of late. Just as foes to Net Neutrality have gotten closer to their goal of setting up tollways and traffic controls on the information superhighway, some drivers are beginning to build their own transportation system altogether.

Net Neutrality is a concept that has been the norm on the Internet since its inception: the idea that every website gets equal treatment by Internet Service Providers (ISPs). But of course, media companies and the ISPs could conceivably benefit greatly if surcharges for access to higher bandwidth were allowed on the Net. For example, let’s say that Cable Company A offers priority bandwidth to Media Company X, allowing it to serve super high-def streaming video to users at lightning speed. However, Startup Company Z will then be obligated to compete against Media Company X for that bandwidth in order to provide the same quality service. Same goes for Blogger Y.

Fat chance of that. Indeed, given the pace at which media consolidation continues to go unchecked by regulators, were Net Neutrality abandoned, the Internet would quickly resemble something akin to how Network Television dominated communication in the years before high-speed Internet arrived.

And this is what concerns many people since a free, open web has so clearly promoted innovation. So far, the battle is not lost and Net Neutrality is still the norm. Nevertheless, some are creating back up plans.

This past week, BitTorrent, the people behind the popular torrent app uTorrent, announced they are exploring the creation of a new Internet which takes back control of the web and distributes access to websites across peer-to-peer networks.

Called Project Maelstrom, this torrent-based Internet would be powered by a new browser which would effectively rework the Internet into a much freer network with pretty much no gatekeepers.

Details are sparse at the moment, but essentially access to websites would be served as torrents, and thus not served from a single server. Instead, the sites would exist across the peer-to-peer network, in small, redundant bits living on people’s computers. Essentially, its the same technique used for torrent-based file sharing. When you try to access a site, your computer queries the torrent network and dozens of computers begin sending you the packets you need to rebuild the web page in question on your browser. And even as the web page is partially assembled, your computer then begins sharing what it already has with other people trying to access the site.

The result could likely be a much faster Internet, with much greater assurances of privacy. But technical questions remain and this does sound like it could take some time. But wow, what a revolution it would be.

Of course, this could get tricky to pull off. As you may have heard this week, the infamous torrent website Pirate Bay was taken down by authorities in Sweden this week. Pirate Bay serves up links to torrents allowing people to download everything from freeware applications to Hollywood movies that haven’t even been released yet and so has been targeted by law enforcement for years now. Even on today’s Internet, Pirate Bay could conceivably come back online at any time. But if the BitTorrent’s peer-to-peer Internet were realized, Pirate Bay would be back up instantaneously. Indeed, it would probably never come down in the first place. Same goes for Dark Net sites that sell everything from drugs to human beings, which have also been recently taken offline.

Bottom line is: Project Maelstrom is another example of how a free and open Internet is unlikely to ever go away. Question is, how much freedom is a good thing?

My own personal take is that taking back control of the Internet from media companies and ISPs would, on balance, be a great thing. Bad people do bad things in the physical world and that’s why we have never defeated crime 100%. As long as there is an Internet, there will be those that abuse it.

But even more importantly, innovation, freedom of speech and freedom to access information are core to advancing society. So I welcome Project Maelstrom.

So here’s a toast to the People-wide Web!

OCLC Dev Network: Systems Maintenance on Dec 13

planet code4lib - Fri, 2014-12-12 14:45

Web services that require user level authentication will be down for systems maintenance to the Identity Management system (IDM) for 30 minutes beginning at 3am on Dec 13th. This down time will affect OCLC’s worldwide data centers as follows:

District Dispatch: IMLS announces Sparks! Ignition library grants

planet code4lib - Fri, 2014-12-12 06:26

The Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) is now accepting applications for Sparks! Ignition Grants for Libraries, a small grants program that encourage libraries and archives to prototype and evaluate innovations that result in new tools, products, services, or organizational practices.

Photo by Cushing Library Holy Names University via Flickr

The grants enable grantees to undertake activities that involve risk and require them to share project results–whether they succeed or fail–to provide valuable information to the library field and help improve the ways libraries serve their communities.

Libraries may qualify for $10,000 to $25,000 in small grants, and there are no matching requirements. Projects must begin on October 1, November 1, or December 1, 2015. Learn more about program guidelines and more information about the funding opportunity. The application deadline is February 2, 2015.

Have questions? IMLS staff members are available by phone and email to discuss general issues relating to the Sparks! Ignition Grants for Libraries program. Library staff members are encouraged to participate in a webinar to learn more about the program, ask questions, and listen to the questions and comments of other participants.

The webinar is scheduled for Tuesday, January 6, 2015, at 4 p.m. ET. See grant program guidelines for additional webinar details.

The post IMLS announces Sparks! Ignition library grants appeared first on District Dispatch.

DuraSpace News: COMMENTS REQUESTED: VIVO Strategic Goals for 2015-2016

planet code4lib - Fri, 2014-12-12 00:00

From Layne Johnson, VIVO Project Director

Winchester, MA  15 VIVO Goals for 2015-2016 have been Identified and selected by the VIVO Strategy Group and are presented for comment.

District Dispatch: ALA wants high-resolution images of your library

planet code4lib - Thu, 2014-12-11 20:01

As part of the American Library Association (ALA) Washington Office’s ongoing efforts to modernize and reinvigorate the District Dispatch blog, the office is seeking large high-resolution images of patrons using services offered by your library.

Photo by Jason Armstrong.

We will use high-resolution images of your library on the District Dispatch when we discuss government and information technology policies that impact libraries.

High-resolution images can include photos of:

  • Library patrons, young and old, using digital tools and resources, such as 3D printers, computers, tablets or digital collections
  • Students participating in tutoring or mentoring programs
  • Jobseekers participating in employment programs
  • Book storytimes
  • Makerspace activities
  • Innovative library programs or classes
  • Community forums
  • Outdoor images of your library

Your library images will bolster the ALA Washington Office’s advocacy efforts in Washington. Please send all images to ALA Washington Office Press Officer Jazzy Wright at jwright[at]

The post ALA wants high-resolution images of your library appeared first on District Dispatch.

Library of Congress: The Signal: NDSA New England Regional Meeting Recap

planet code4lib - Thu, 2014-12-11 14:53

The following is a guest post by Meghan Banach Bergin, Bibliographic Access and Metadata Coordinator, University of Massachusetts Amherst Libraries.

NDSA NE Regional Meeting. Photo Credit: Jennifer Gunter King

On October 30th, the second New England Regional National Digital Stewardship Alliance (NE NDSA) meeting was held at the University of Massachusetts Amherst Libraries.  The meeting was generously sponsored by the Five Colleges Digital Preservation Task Force and the UMass Amherst Libraries and coordinated by myself and Jennifer Gunter King, Director of the Harold F. Johnson Library at Hampshire College.  The first NE NDSA meeting was hosted last year by WGBH and the Harvard Library at WGBH in Boston and coordinated by Karen Cariani and Andrea Goethals.

This year’s meeting began with an overview of the NDSA and its goals and purpose by Dr. Micah Altman, Director of Research at MIT Libraries and Chair of the NDSA Coordinating Committee.  Dr. Altman also discussed the NDSA’s 2015 National Agenda, which is aimed at senior institutional decision makers and includes recommendations on specific actions that can be taken now to coordinate the large-scale acquisition and management of all different types of born-digital content – some of which may not be the type of content that is traditionally collected by libraries and archives.  The actions recommended in the National Agenda include things like advocating for resources; enhancing staffing and training; fostering multi-institutional collaboration as well as shared software platforms, tools and services; and developing standards and best practices, especially in the areas of format migrations and long-term data integrity.

This was followed with a presentation by Aaron Rubinstein and Shaun Trujilo about collaborative digital preservation efforts (PDF) among the five schools in the Five Colleges Consortium (University of Massachusetts Amherst, Smith College, Mount Holyoke College, Hampshire College and Amherst College).  Recent efforts included hosting Nancy McGovern’s Digital Preservation Management workshop and the Digital POWRR (Preserving Digital Objects with Restricted Resources) workshop, preparing a digital preservation readiness guide and checklist, and applying what was learned in a practical way with a pilot project to install and test Archivematica.

From Kathryn Gronsbell’s, AVPreserve, Presentation. Photo Credit: Jennifer Gunter King

Next was a presentation by Eleni Castro, Research Coordinator at Harvard University, on DataVerse, which is a repository for sharing, citing and preserving research data.  Her presentation highlighted some of DataVerse’s most recent data publishing efforts, (PDF) which include dataset versioning, standards-based data citations and integration with journal publishing workflows.

After that we heard from Michele Kimpton, Chief Executive Officer of DuraSpace, about the new DuraCloud/Archivematica Pilot project to integrate the two services (PDF) and provide a hosted digital preservation platform that will hopefully meet all of the needs identified in the Digital POWRR tool grid.  Our last presentation before we broke for lunch was by Kathryn Gronsbell of AVPreserve, who discussed the role of taxonomies in digital preservation strategies (PDF) and how they can help us to more efficiently find and organize the information we are preserving.

After lunch, we reconvened the meeting with a lightning talk by Casey Davis, Project Manager for the American Archive of Public Broadcasting at the WGBH Media Library and Archives.  Casey talked about digital media failures during the born-digital phase of the American Archive of Public Broadcasting Project.

We then had a series of lightning talks by the residents of the National Digital Stewardship Residency program in Boston.   Andrea Goethals, Manager of Digital Preservation and Repository Services at Harvard, and Nancy McGovern, Head of Curation and Preservation Services at MIT Libraries, gave an overview of the NDSR program (PDF) and discussed the Boston NDSR program more specifically.  Then we heard from the residents themselves about their projects:

  • Samantha DeWitt talked about her residency project at Tufts University.  Samantha is helping Tufts to gain a more complete understanding of the research data produced by its faculty, research staff and graduate students.  She is also investigating strategies for producing metadata for Tufts-created datasets for their Fedora-based repository.
  • Rebecca Fraimow, who is doing her residency at WGBH, explained her involvement with many different aspects of daily operations within the WGBH Media, Library and Archives department and her project which is to examine and help improve the overall workflow for preserving digital media as WGBH migrates from managing files with Filemaker databases and a proprietary DAM system to a Fedora-based Hydra repository.
  • Joey Heinen talked about his project at Harvard Library which is to develop migration plans for three specific, now-obsolete formats — Kodak PhotoCD, RealAudio and SMIL Playlists.
  • Jen LaBarbera then discussed her residency at Northeastern University’s Archives and Special Collections, where she is working on ingesting recently born-digital content into the Our Marathon digital archive that was created as a digital humanities project following the bombing at the 2013 Boston Marathon.  She is working on transferring all of the materials (in a wide variety of formats) from their current states/platforms (Omeka, external hard drives, Google Drive, local server) to a new iteration of Northeastern’s Fedora-based digital repository.
  • Tricia Patterson talked about her residency at the MIT Lewis Music Library.  Tricia is working to develop a digital preservation workflow for digital audio files that are part of the “Music at MIT” digital audio project.

NDSA NE Regional Meeting discussion session. Photo credit: Meghan Banach Bergin

The day concluded with a breakout discussion session where we broke into groups and talked about several topics chosen by meeting attendees.  The topics included preserving born-digital versus digitized content, digital preservation systems and tools, leveraging intellectual data using taxonomies and other tools, and video archiving.

The day’s agenda, presentations, and notes from our afternoon discussions (PDF) are posted here:

Since the first two meetings were so successful, we are hoping to make this an annual meeting with different institutions volunteering to take on hosting and coordination from year to year.  Some plans are already being discussed for next year’s meeting, so stay tuned for more information.

Peter Murray: Thursday Threads: All about online privacy, or lack thereof

planet code4lib - Thu, 2014-12-11 11:44
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Are you paranoid yet? Are you worried that the secret you shared anonymously might come right back to you? Or wondering why advertisements seem to follow you around from web page to web page? Or just creeped out by internet-enabled services tracking your every move? Or angry that mobile carriers made it very easy for anyone to track every page you visited from your smartphone? Or maybe you will simply give up any personal information for a delicious cookie? (Are you paranoid now?)

This week’s DLTJ Thursday Threads highlights a selection of stories from the past couple months that show what’s happening with information we might consider private and how companies are trying to monetize our every move and our every click. It would seem, at least from my tiny view of the internet, that concerns about online privacy are growing. For the librarians reading this post, you’ll know that protecting patron privacy is core to our ethos. Yet sometimes our seemingly innocent actions — adding a Facebook “Like” button or gathering usage reports via Google Analytics — feed our patron’s information right into the heart of corporate interests whose ideals may not align with our own. If you are a member of the Library Information Technology Association, I encourage you to look at the newly formed Patron Privacy Interest Group and — if you will be at the ALA Midwinter meeting — come to the interest group’s first meeting on Saturday, January 31, 2015 from 8:30am to 9:30am.

Feel free to send this to others you think might be interested in the topics. If you find these threads interesting and useful, you might want to add the Thursday Threads RSS Feed to your feed reader or subscribe to e-mail delivery using the form to the right. If you would like a more raw and immediate version of these types of stories, watch my Pinboard bookmarks (or subscribe to its feed in your feed reader). Items posted to are also sent out as tweets; you can follow me on Twitter. Comments and tips, as always, are welcome.

Your Favorite Anonymous App Is Not Anonymous At All

Not all of the incidents with the major anonymous messaging apps in the past year have been identical. Some were straight up hacks. Some were exploits revealed. Some were just invasive data collection measures exposed. They all support the thesis that anonymous apps tend not to stay anonymous, however. And you shouldn’t surrender a bunch of sensitive information through these apps, because you’ll probably get screwed. Let’s look at this issue app by app.

- Your Favorite Anonymous App Is Not Anonymous At All, by Adam Clark Estes, Gizmodo, 9-Dec-2014

When data gets creepy: the secrets we don’t realise we’re giving away

At the same time, something much more interesting has been happening. Information we have happily shared in public is increasingly being used in ways that make us queasy, because our intuitions about security and privacy have failed to keep up with technology. Nuggets of personal information that seem trivial, individually, can now be aggregated, indexed and processed. When this happens, simple pieces of computer code can produce insights and intrusions that creep us out, or even do us harm. But most of us haven’t noticed yet: for a lack of nerd skills, we are exposing ourselves.

- When data gets creepy: the secrets we don’t realise we’re giving away, by Ben Goldacre, The Guardian, 5-Dec-2014

We Can’t Trust Uber [or anyone else collecting our data]

Uber isn’t alone. Numerous companies, from social media sites like Facebook to dating sites like OKCupid, make it their business to track what we do, whom we know and what our typical behaviors and preferences are. OKCupid unashamedly announced that it experimented on its users, sometimes matching them with incompatible dates, just to see what happened.

The data collection gets more extensive at every turn. Facebook is updating its terms of service as of Jan. 1. They state in clearer terms that Facebook will be tracking your location (unless you disable it), vacuuming up data that other people provide about you and even contacts from your phone’s address book (if you sync it to your account) — important provisions many of Facebook’s 1.35 billion users may not even notice when they click “accept.”

We use these apps and websites because of their benefits. We discover new music, restaurants and movies; we meet new friends and reconnect with old ones; we trade goods and services. The paradox of this situation is that while we gain from digital connectivity, the accompanying invasion into our private lives makes our personal data ripe for abuse — revealing things we thought we had not even disclosed.

- We Can’t Trust Uber, op-ed by Zeynep Tufekci and Brayden King, New York Times, 7-Dec-2014

AT&T Stops Using Undeletable Phone Tracking IDs

AT&T says it has stopped its controversial practice of adding a hidden, undeletable tracking number to its mobile customers’ Internet activity….

The move comes after AT&T and Verizon received a slew of critical news coverage for inserting tracking numbers into their subscribers’ Internet activity, even after users opted out. Last month, ProPublica reported that Twitter’s mobile advertising unit was enabling its clients to use the Verizon identifier. The tracking numbers can be used by sites to build a dossier about a person’s behavior on mobile devices – including which apps they use, what sites they visit and for how long.

The controversial type of tracking is used to monitor users’ behavior on their mobile devices where traditional tracking cookies are not as effective. The way it works is that a telecommunications carrier inserts a uniquely identifying number into all the Web traffic that transmits from a users’ phone.

- AT&T Stops Using Undeletable Phone Tracking IDs, by Julia Angwin, ProPublica, 14-Nov-2014

How Much of Your Data Would You Trade for a Free Cookie?

In a highly unscientific but delicious experiment last weekend, 380 New Yorkers gave up sensitive personal information — from fingerprints to partial Social Security numbers — for a cookie. “It is crazy what people were willing to give me,” said artist Risa Puno, who conducted the experiment, which she called “Please Enable Cookies,” at a Brooklyn arts festival. … To get a cookie, people had to turn over personal data that could include their address, driver’s license number, phone number and mother’s maiden name. More than half of the people allowed Puno to take their photographs. Just under half — or 162 people — gave what they said were the last four digits of their Social Security numbers. And about one-third — 117 people — allowed her to take their fingerprints. She examined people’s driver’s licenses to verify some of the information they provided.

- How Much of Your Data Would You Trade for a Free Cookie?, by Lois Beckett, ProPublica, 1-Oct-2014Link to this post!

DuraSpace News: DSpace 5.0 Previews: Auto Upgrade and Batch Import Features

planet code4lib - Thu, 2014-12-11 00:00

Winchester, MA  Throughout the month DuraSpace is highlighting key features that will be available to the community in the upcoming release of DSpace 5.0.

Auto Upgrade Feature

Moving your repository to DSpace 5 from earlier versions of DSpace is about to get easier with the new “Auto Upgrader”.

DuraSpace News: DuraSpace Adds 40 New Contributors in 2014 Campaign

planet code4lib - Thu, 2014-12-11 00:00
Winchester, MA  Many thanks to our community for the success of the 2014 DuraSpace fundraising campaign. The total dollars raised was $1.25 million, ensuring that DuraSpace open source projects, DSpace, Fedora and VIVO, continue to serve the global communities that depend on them into the future. In addition the generous, ongoing institutional contributions of developer time, talent and commitment are critical to the success of our projects. We deeply appreciate your support.  

DuraSpace News: Webinar Recording Available: "The SHARE Notification Service"

planet code4lib - Thu, 2014-12-11 00:00

Winchester, MA  Eric Celeste, SHARE’s Technical Lead presented a webinar on, “The SHARE Notification Service” on December 10, 2014.  This was the second webinar in the DuraSpace Community Webinar Series, “ All About the SHared Access Research Ecosystem (SHARE).”  Eric included an architectural overview of the service, a demonstration, and information about how to include new resources in the service. He also described how the service may be integrated with future SHARE initiatives or local systems.

Jonathan Rochkind: debugging apache Passenger without enterprise

planet code4lib - Wed, 2014-12-10 18:35

I kind of love Passenger for my Rails deployments. It Just Works, it does exactly what it should do, no muss, no fuss.  I use Passenger with apache.

I very occasionally have a problem that I am not able to reproduce in my dev environment, and only seems to reproduce on production using Passenger apache. Note well: In every case so far, the problem actually had nothing to do with passenger or apache, there were other differences in environment that were causing it.

But still, being able to drop into a debugger in the Rails actually running under apache Passenger would have helped me find it quicker.

Support for dropping into the debugger, remotely, when running under Apache is included only in Passenger Enterprise.  I recommend considering purchasing Passenger to support the Passenger team, the price is reasonable… for one server or two. But I admit I have not yet purchased Enterprise, mainly because the number of dev/staging/production servers I would want it on to have it everywhere starts to make the cost substantial for my environment.

But it looks like there’s a third-party open source gem meant to provide the same support! See .   It’s two years old in fact, but just noticing it today myself, huh.

I haven’t tried it yet, but making this post as a note to myself and others who might want to give it a try.

The really exciting thing only in Passenger Enterprise, to me, is the way it can deploy with a hybrid multiple process+multi-threaded-request-dispatch setup. This is absolutely the best way to deploy under MRI, I have no doubts at all, it just is (and I’m surprised it’s not getting more attention).   This lower-level  feature is unlikely to come from a third-party open source, and I’m not sure I’d trust it if it did. The open source Puma, an alternative to Passenger, also offers this deploy model. I haven’t tried it in Puma myself beyond some toy testing like the benchmark mentioned above.  But I know I absolutely trust Passenger to get it right with no fuss. If you need to maximize performance (or deal with avoiding end-user latency spikes in the presence of some longer-running requests), and deploy under MRI, you should definitely consider Passenger Enterprise just for this multi-process/multi-thread combo feature.

Filed under: General

Open Knowledge Foundation: A round-up of Open Knowledge Community events around the world!

planet code4lib - Wed, 2014-12-10 18:28

One of the best opportunities that being part of a community offers is the chance to collaborate and make things happen together – and when we want this to happen in sync, what’s better than convening an (in person or online) event?

Just before the end of the year, let’s collect a few highlights from the Open Knowledge Community events you posted about on the Community Stories Tumblr (so nicely curated by Kathleen Luschek of the Public Library of Science – thank you!)!

Joseph De Guia, Open Knowledge Philippines local group ambassador, TJ Dimacali, journalist and media manager, and Happy Feraren, School of Data Fellow participated in the festival exhibition and lightning talks series spreading the word about the Open Government Data, Lobbying Transparency, Open Education, Open Spending working groups and the School of Data programme. Find out more about it here.

Open Knowledge El Salvador local ambassador Iris Palma, joined the panel focusing on Open Data and Open Access together with Caroline Burle from W3C (Brazil) and Pilar Saenz from Fundacion Karisma (Colombia). Further information about the event can be found here.

In line with the OKFestival (in Berlin) and the Latin American and Caribbean Internet Governance Forum (in San Salvador), Open Knowledge El Salvador, Creative Commons El Salvador and Association of Librarians of El Salvador celebrated the first Open Knowledge Meeting in El Salvador). The event focused on Open Knowledge, Open Data, Creative Commons Licenses, Open Education and the Declaration for Open Knowledge in El Salvador. Congratulations!

Open Knowledge Greece organized an open workshop to discuss and propose the positions and proposals of the group on the National Action Plan. Please find here all comments and suggestions that were stated in the meeting, published in both Greek and English.

Open Knowledge France hosted a data expedition in Paris at La Gaité Lyrique during the digital festival Futur en Seine to find, analyse, visualise and tell stories with existing open data on air pollution. All about it on the group’s blog!

These are wonderful examples of what happens when we get together, all you event organizers out there rock! Are you running an Open Knowledge event? We want to hear from you – please submit quick posts about your events to the Community Tumblr (details about how/where here). Let’s share the community’s great work, inspire each other, and spread the open knowledge love far and wide!

Post a link to your favorite 2014 open knowledge event in the comments below:

LITA: Jobs in Information Technology: December 10

planet code4lib - Wed, 2014-12-10 18:21

New vacancy listings are posted weekly on Wednesday at approximately 12 noon Central Time. They appear under New This Week and under the appropriate regional listing. Postings remain on the LITA Job Site for a minimum of four weeks.

New This Week

Deputy County Librarian,  County of Santa Clara, San Jose, CA
Digital Access & Discovery Specialist, Tennessee Technological University, Cookeville, TN
Librarian, Santa Barbara City College Luria Library, Santa Barbara, CA
System Administrator, University at Albany,  Albany, NY

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



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