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DuraSpace News: Fedora in Action: the Flexible and Extensible Digital Repository Platform

planet code4lib - Wed, 2014-10-22 00:00

Winchester, MA  Fedora ( is a robust, modular repository system for the management and dissemination of digital content. It is especially suited for digital libraries and archives, both for access and preservation. It is also used to provide specialized access to very large and complex digital collections of historic and cultural materials as well as scientific data.

Nicole Engard: ATO2014: Open Source Schools: More Soup, Less Nuts

planet code4lib - Tue, 2014-10-21 23:19

Charlie Reisinger works for Penn Manor school district and was our final talk tonight. Tablets are all the rage in schools these days and if we give them laptops we lock them down. And then we wonder why kids are so turned off of computing. Charlie shared with us the store of stone soup.

Last year they gave every one of their students a laptop powered with Linux and the program has been tremendously successful. In addition to the laptops they spun up a student help desk where the students could work together to unbox the laptops, label the, inventoried them, etc etc. They wrote a tool that is shared at:

With this model they taught the students not just how to use the computers, but how to be part of the community.

See more in Charlie’s Ted Talk.

The post ATO2014: Open Source Schools: More Soup, Less Nuts appeared first on What I Learned Today....

Related posts:

  1. ATO2014: Easing into open source
  2. ATO2014: Building a premier storytelling platform on open source
  3. ATO2014: The first FOSS Minor at RIT

Nicole Engard: ATO2014: The first FOSS Minor at RIT

planet code4lib - Tue, 2014-10-21 23:12

Remy DeCausemaker aka “RemyD” was up next to talk to us about the first FOSS Minor at RIT

Remy is the Hackademic at Rochester Institute of Technology. He works on a lot of student engagement at RIT to get students involved in open source. They have run about 50 hackathons in the last 5 years. They offer credit to students who work on open source and/or pay them to work on open source to show them that they can make a career at this. RIT offers the first open source minor in the United States. Three courses are required for this minor: Humanitarian Free and One Source Software Development (H-FOSS), Free and Open Source Culture, and Legal and Business Aspects of FOSS and Free Culture.

Remy uses a lot of common open source tools in his courses. Students have to log in to IRC to take roll, assignments are managed on Github and have to submit pull requests to hand their assignment in. The H-FOSS class has to design an educational game for the one laptop per child project as their final project.

Finally, if you’re in upstate New York and want to guess lecture Remy is inviting you in to his open classroom.

The post ATO2014: The first FOSS Minor at RIT appeared first on What I Learned Today....

Related posts:

  1. ATO2014: Easing into open source
  2. Collaborative Teaching for More Effective Learning
  3. ATO2014: Building a premier storytelling platform on open source

Nicole Engard: ATO2014: Unmanagement and Unleadership

planet code4lib - Tue, 2014-10-21 23:10

Luis Ibanez talked to us next about unleadership and unmanagement at All Things Open tonight.

We tend to celebrate leadership in sports, politics, in social movements. We make it sound like leaders are what are needed to succeed. That war stories don’t tell is the story of everyone else who made the success possible. When you emphasize leadership you miss what really went in to the success.

When you elevate the leader in a group of people you diminish everyone else. This makes the followers a little bit “mushy” and slow and dependent. The worst part of leadership is that it leaves the community members off the hook. This makes the community vulnerable (especially to zombies, aliens and the city bus).

Instead we want to educate and cultivate the community.

The post ATO2014: Unmanagement and Unleadership appeared first on What I Learned Today....

Related posts:

  1. ATO2014: Building a premier storytelling platform on open source
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  3. ATO2014: Easing into open source

Nicole Engard: ATO2014: Social media for slackers

planet code4lib - Tue, 2014-10-21 23:00

Rikki Endsley overheard this at a conference: “I don’t believe in social media” but she’s here to tell us that it’s real! Social media is a great way to direct people to where you want them – even your IRC channel. You want to share relevant interesting, accurate information with people – keep on message even with your retweets.

Make sure you avoid PR talk, write like you would talk to someone next to you.

Part of being on social media is begin “social”. You need to retweet, reply and reshare. Participate and grow your reach – ask your network to share particularly important content.

Remember to consider your schedule. If you’re going to an event in a different time zone schedule your tweets for that time zone. Don’t share in your local timezone if the event is 5 hours ahead of you – you’re missing those people.

Measure your success. You can do this with many tools that are out there.

Finally you want to promote all of your accounts.

The post ATO2014: Social media for slackers appeared first on What I Learned Today....

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Nicole Engard: ATO2014: Easing into open source

planet code4lib - Tue, 2014-10-21 22:23

Scott Nesbitt was up next with his talk titled: Easing into open source.

There are lots of people out there who are interested and eager to try open source, but don’t make that leap right away. Scott shared with us his tips as a technology coach of how to ease people in to open source. A lot of us learned by getting thrown in to the deep end and we did learn a lot – but for most people that doesn’t work. This leads to a lot of fussy, angry people and they decide that open source is not for them.

So, the first thing you can do is curb your urge to get up on your soapbox – it rarely works. Most people don’t really care about the 4 freedoms or the ethical reasons to use open source in the beginning. Instead go for the heart of it. Show them what they’re interested in – they’re interested in what open source can do for them. How can they do their work with it?

“I’m afraid of open source, I can’t program” – tell people that this isn’t true (I like to use Firefox as an example here). “But it’s not … ” – the answer is ‘So What?!’ the software we’re showing you is just as efficient as the proprietary options. Instead of going feature by feature, teach them how to do a specific task.

And finally remind them that free software does have a price – the price is in the form of time – time it takes to learn the software. It’s time – but it’s time very well spent.

Take baby steps. Show them how to crop an image in Gimp – but don’t show them all the features all at once. Once they have the basics they’re going to want to learn more advanced topics – or maybe they won’t – but they’ll be happy that they’re no longer paint licensing fees for their software.

The post ATO2014: Easing into open source appeared first on What I Learned Today....

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Nicole Engard: ATO2014: Building a premier storytelling platform on open source

planet code4lib - Tue, 2014-10-21 22:21

Up first at the All Things Open Lightning Talks was Jen Wike from Red Hat. started in 2010 as a platform to share stories about open source software. Jen denied for us the open source way (which is the twitter handle for the site) :

  • Openness
  • Transparency
  • Collaboration
  • Meritocracy
  • Rapid prototyping

One example of this is an inspiring story from that talked about the E-Nable group which creates 3D printable hands

At we ask why we tell these stories? It’s a great to way to share stories of people’s experiences of using open source as a better way to live and work. As a storyteller for open source we strive to educate people outside (as well as inside) of the open source community. We have pages like What is Open Source and What is Open Stack. We also have series for beginners and/or women in open source. has a moderator program where moderators write articles, give feedback, curate content and bring in more authors. This is essential for keeping new content rolling in on the site.

The post ATO2014: Building a premier storytelling platform on open source appeared first on What I Learned Today....

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District Dispatch: Write an E-rate essay in 1000 words or less

planet code4lib - Tue, 2014-10-21 20:50

Photo by Kennedy Library via Flickr

I was just asked if I could summarize the last year’s worth of E-rate work we have done in the American Library Association (ALA) Washington Office. Here’s the challenge: Can I do it in two pages or less? Apparently the answer is yes and this blog post may also be an all-time record for brevity (for which I am not known). So even though the summary and timeline (pdf) is right at two pages (and spiced up with bulleted lists and descriptive headers), you can get the gist of it right now:

Timeline of the E-rate Modernization Proceeding
  • July 2013: The Commission introduces the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM).
  • September 2013: Initial comments are due at the Commission.
  • November 2013: Reply comments are due.
  • March 2014: The Commission issues a Public Notice (PN) seeking additional comment.
  • April 2014: PN Initial comments are due April 7, reply comments due April 21.
  • July 2014: The Commission adopts the E-rate Modernization Report and Order and issues a Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (FNPRM).
  • September 2014: FNPRM initial comments are due September 15, reply comments due September 30.
  • The Commission is expected to vote on a second Order in November or December 2014.
    ALA (Recent) Engagement

In addition to ALA’s comments, we submitted another joint letter to the Commission urging it to address the broadband capacity gap for libraries. The Association for Rural & Small Libraries (ARSL), Organizations Concerned about Rural Education (OCRE), the State Educational Technology Directors Association (SETDA), and The Rural School and Community Trust joined ALA and the Public Library Association (PLA) on the letter.

What to Expect and When

Throughout the modernization proceeding, the Commission has made clear that its review of the E-rate program is a multi-phase process. In a speech made on September 29, the Chairman indicated that the next phase of the proceeding must address the “rural fiber gap.” Since that time, the focus at the Commission has been to identify policy changes that would address the barriers that prevent libraries and schools from securing affordable high-capacity broadband. The Commission is also looking at the need to increase the overall size of the fund. The Chairman is advocating that closing the fiber gap is a significant driving factor in determining the need for more funding. He is also looking at related issues such as the lack of competition among service providers—particularly in rural areas—and the lack of affordable broadband when it is available. ALA advocated for action on these three issues (availability, affordability, and increased funding) and is pleased that these issues are squarely before the Commission now.

All indications are that the Commission plans to vote on a second Order during their November open meeting, November 21. What does this mean? The Chairman must circulate a draft Order to the Commissioners October 31. One week before the public meeting, the Commission enters into the Sunshine Period where outside parties other than members of Congress or other federal agencies may not make presentations or otherwise advocate at the Commission. Commission staff, however, may reach out to outside parties to ask questions. During the open meeting the Commission staff present the draft Order, and Commissioners may ask questions and make statements prior to voting to adopt the Order (or not). The Order is made publicly available after the vote if it is adopted. Any rule changes go into effect 30 days after it is published in the Federal Register.

Additional information

• Ongoing coverage in the District Dispatch
• ALA E-rate filings to the FCC
• FCC E-rate modernization summary (pdf)
• FCC E-rate modernization fact sheet (pdf)
• Handy collection of major FCC E-rate modernization documents
The rulemaking process at the FCC

Read the E-rate summary and timeline (pdf)

The post Write an E-rate essay in 1000 words or less appeared first on District Dispatch.

Nicole Engard: Bookmarks for October 21, 2014

planet code4lib - Tue, 2014-10-21 20:30

Today I found the following resources and bookmarked them on <a href=

  • OpenHatch OpenHatch is a non-profit dedicated to matching prospective free software contributors with communities, tools, and education.
  • CORAL CORAL is an Electronic Resources Management System consisting of interoperable modules designed around the core components of managing electronic resources. It is made available as a free, open source program.
  • Journal of Free Software & Free Knowledge An Open Access Journal on the broad philiosophies around the FOSS movement, including aspects of software and other intellectual artifacts, emerging developments in this ecosystem, and interfaces with society.

Digest powered by RSS Digest

The post Bookmarks for October 21, 2014 appeared first on What I Learned Today....

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Code4Lib Journal: Editorial Introduction: On Being on The Code4Lib Journal Editorial Committee

planet code4lib - Tue, 2014-10-21 19:59
Behind the scenes of the The Code4Lib Journal...

Code4Lib Journal: Archiving the Web: A Case Study from the University of Victoria

planet code4lib - Tue, 2014-10-21 19:59
The University of Victoria Libraries started archiving websites in 2013, and it quickly became apparent that many scholarly websites being produced by faculty, especially in the digital humanities, were going to prove very challenging to effectively capture and play back. This article will provide an overview of web archiving and explore the considerable legal and technical challenges of implementing a web archiving initiative at a research library, using the University of Victoria's implementation of Archive-it, a web archiving service from the Internet Archive, as a case study, with a special focus on capturing complex, interactive websites that scholars are creating to disseminate their research in new ways.

Code4Lib Journal: Technical Challenges in Developing Software to Collect Twitter Data

planet code4lib - Tue, 2014-10-21 19:59
Over the past two years, George Washington University Libraries developed Social Feed Manager (SFM), a Python and Django-based application for collecting social media data from Twitter. Expanding the project from a research prototype to a more widely useful application has presented a number of technical challenges, including changes in the Twitter API, supervision of simultaneous streaming processes, management, storage, and organization of collected data, meeting researcher needs for groups or sets of data, and improving documentation to facilitate other institutions’ installation and use of SFM. This article will describe how the Social Feed Manager project addressed these issues, use of supervisord to manage processes, and other technical decisions made in the course of this project through late summer 2014. This article is targeted towards librarians and archivists who are interested in building collections around web archives and social media data, and have a particular interest in the technical work involved in applying software to the problem of building a sustainable collection management program around these sources.

Code4Lib Journal: Exposing Library Services with AngularJS

planet code4lib - Tue, 2014-10-21 19:59
This article provides an introduction to the JavaScript framework AngularJS and specific AngularJS modules for accessing library services. It shows how information such as search suggestions, additional links, and availability can be embedded in any website. The ease of reuse may encourage more libraries to expose their services via standard APIs to allow usage in different contexts.

Code4Lib Journal: Hacking Summon 2.0 The Elegant Way

planet code4lib - Tue, 2014-10-21 19:59
Libraries have long been adding content and customizations to vendor-provided web-based search interfaces, including discovery systems such as ProQuest’s Summon(™). Unlike solutions based on using an API, these approaches augment the vendor-designed user interface using library-provided JavaScript code. Recently, vendors have been implementing such user interfaces using client-centric model-view-controller (MVC) frameworks such as AngularJS, which are characterized by the use of modern software engineering techniques such as domain-specific markup, data binding, encapsulation, and dependency injection. Consequently, traditional approaches such as reverse-engineering the document model (DOM) have become more difficult or even impossible to use because the DOM is highly dynamic, the templates used are difficult to discern, the vendor-provided JavaScript code is both encapsulated and partially obfuscated, and the data binding mechanisms impose a strict separation of model and view that discourages direct DOM manipulation. In fact, practitioners have started to complain that AngularJS-based websites such as Summon 2.0 are very difficult to enhance with custom content in a robust and efficient manner. In this article, we show how to reverse-engineer the AngularJS-based Summon 2.0 interface to discover the modules, directives, controllers, and services it uses, and we explain how we can use AngularJS’s built-in mechanisms to create new directives and controllers that integrate with and augment the vendor-provided ones to add desired customization and interactions. We have implemented several features that demonstrate our approach, such as a click-recording script, COinS and facet customization, and the integration of eBook public notes. Our explanation and code should be of direct use for adoption or as examples for other Summon 2.0 customers, but they may also be useful to anyone faced with the need to add enhancements to other vendor-controlled MVC-based sites.

Code4Lib Journal: Parsing and Matching Dates in VIAF

planet code4lib - Tue, 2014-10-21 19:59
The Virtual International Authority File (OCLC Online Computer Library Center 2013) is built from dozens of authority files with tens of millions of names in more than 150 million authority and bibliographic records expressed in multiple languages, scripts and formats. One of the main tasks in VIAF is to bring together personal names which may have various dates associated with them, such as birth, death or when they were active. These dates can be quite complicated with ranges, approximations, BCE dates, different scripts, and even different calendars. Analysis of the nearly 400,000 unique date strings in VIAF led us to a parsing technique that relies on only a few basic patterns for them. Our goal is to correctly interpret at least 99% of all the dates we find in each of VIAF’s authority files and to use the dates to facilitate matches between authority records. Python source code for the process described here is available at

Code4Lib Journal: Mdmap: A Tool for Metadata Collection and Matching

planet code4lib - Tue, 2014-10-21 19:59
This paper describes a front-end for the semi-automatic collection, matching, and generation of bibliographic metadata obtained from different sources for use within a digitization architecture. The Library of a Billion Words project is building an infrastructure for digitizing text that requires high-quality bibliographic metadata, but currently only sparse metadata from digitized editions is available. The project’s approach is to collect metadata for each digitized item from as many sources as possible. An expert user can then use an intuitive front-end tool to choose matching metadata. The collected metadata are centrally displayed in an interactive grid view. The user can choose which metadata they want to assign to a certain edition, and export these data as MARCXML. This paper presents a new approach to bibliographic work and metadata correction. We try to achieve a high quality of the metadata by generating a large amount of metadata to choose from, as well as by giving librarians an intuitive tool to manage their data.

Code4Lib Journal: Using Zapier with Trello for Electronic Resources Troubleshooting Workflow

planet code4lib - Tue, 2014-10-21 19:59
Troubleshooting access problems is an important part of the electronic resources management workflow. This article discusses an opportunity to streamline and track troubleshooting using two web-based services: Trello and Zapier.

Code4Lib Journal: Developing Applications in the Era of Cloud-based SaaS Library Systems

planet code4lib - Tue, 2014-10-21 19:59
As the move to cloud-based SaaS library systems accelerates, we must consider what it means to develop applications when the core of the system isn't under the library's control. The entire application lifecycle is changing, from development to testing to production. Developing applications for cloud solutions raises new concerns, such as security, multi-tenancy, latency, and analytics. In this article, we review the landscape and suggest a view of how to be successful for the benefit of library staff and end-users in this new reality. We discuss what kinds of APIs and protocols vendors should be supporting, and suggest how best to take advantage of the innovations being introduced.

LITA: Midwinter Workshop Highlight: Meet the Programming Presenter!

planet code4lib - Tue, 2014-10-21 15:25

We asked our LITA Midwinter Workshop Presenters to tell us a little more about themselves and what to expect from their workshops in January. This week, we’re hearing from Elizabeth Wickes, who will be presenting the workshop:

Introduction to Practical Programming
(For registration details, please see the bottom of this blog post)

LITA: We’ve seen your formal bio but can you tell us a little more about you?

ElizabethI once wrote an entire Python program just so I could have a legitimate reason to say “for skittle in skittles.”  Attendees will meet this program during the workshop.  I can also fix pretty much anything with hot glue. 

LITA: Who is your target audience for this workshop?

Elizabeth: This workshop speaks to the librarian or library student who is curious about programming and wants to explore it within a very library-centric context.  So many of the existing books and resources on programming are for people with extensive math backgrounds. This workshop will present the core concepts and basic workflows with a humanities voice. 

LITA: How much experience with programming do attendees need to succeed in the workshop?

ElizabethAny amount is helpful, but nothing is required.  I’ll be presenting the topics from the ground up, presuming that folks have never seen any code before.

LITA: If your workshop was a character from the Marvel or Harry Potter universe, which would it be, and why?

ElizabethI would say Snape, if I had to pick a character.  But hear me out! The topic might seem moody and unapproachable, but on the inside just wants to love!  Also, programming is really like potions class, where you are combining lots of little pieces very precisely to somehow produce something shiny and beautiful.  My final argument: Alan Rickman.

LITA: Name one concrete thing your attendees will be able to take back to their libraries after participating in your workshop.

Elizabeth: Attendees will leave the workshop with a greater understanding of assessment strategies for material selection and a solid structure on which to build as a self-taught programmer.

LITA: What kind of gadgets/software do your attendees need to bring?

ElizabethParticipants should bring a laptop (not a tablet) with an operating system they are comfortable using.  Macs are easiest to set up but any current computer will work.

LITA: Respond to this scenario: You’re stuck on a desert island. A box washes ashore. As you pry off the lid and peer inside, you begin to dance and sing, totally euphoric. What’s in the box?

ElizabethPerhaps I’m singing because the box brought me a singing voice.  But seriously, I’d be super excited to get sunscreen in that situation.

More information about Midwinter Workshops. 

Registration Information: LITA members get one third off the cost of Mid-Winter workshops. Use the discount promotional code:  LITA2015 during online registration to automatically receive your member discount.  Start the process at the ALA web sites: Conference web site: Registration start page: LITA Workshops registration descriptions: When you start the registration process and BEFORE you choose the workshop, you will encounter the Personal Information page.  On that page there is a field to enter the discount promotional code:  LITA2015 As in the example below.  If you do so, then when you get to the workshops choosing page the discount prices, of $235, are automatically displayed and entered.  The discounted total will be reflected in the Balance Due line on the payment page. Please contact the LITA Office if you have any registration questions.

Aaron Schmidt: Library Websites Worth Looking At

planet code4lib - Tue, 2014-10-21 14:00

Last week Chris Zammarelli asked Amanda Etches and me for some library website inspiration. So we decided to compile a short list of some sites that we’re liking right now. If we missed one that you really like, please holler!

Hennepin County Library

We like:

The huge search box. The visual design of the site is pleasant, but the best part of the HCL website is the catalog integration. Totally into it. Search results are legible, and bib records aren’t filled with junk that people don’t want to see (though additional information is available below).

Red flags:

At 1440 x 900, there’s some odd white space on the left of most pages. (A somewhat minor gripe, to be sure.)

Addison Public Library

We like:

Legible typography, calm visual design, restrained content.

Red flags:

Wish the search box was a bit bigger, but it is in a conventional location so maybe that’s okay. Also, the site uses the classic and ever popular public library audience segmentation of kids/teens/adults. We understand the problem that this solves but think there’s probably a better solution out there somewhere.

MIT Libraries

We like:

Great homepage! Nice, clear, bold typography. Useful content.

Red flags:

Catalog isn’t integrated, lots of content thrown into link laden libguides.

CSU Channel Islands John Spoor Broome Library

We like:

Another great homepage! Very welcoming with friendly writing. Task oriented and a big search box.

Red flags:

Not responsive.


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