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FOSS4Lib Upcoming Events: Hydra Developer Congress

planet code4lib - Fri, 2015-11-20 16:47
Date: Wednesday, February 3, 2016 - 09:00 to Friday, February 5, 2016 - 17:00Supports: HydraFedora RepositorySufia

Last updated November 20, 2015. Created by Peter Murray on November 20, 2015.
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See the meeting announcement on the Hydra mailing list for details.

Islandora: What is Islandora CLAW?

planet code4lib - Fri, 2015-11-20 15:32

Have you heard talk in the Islandora community lately about Islandora CLAW? Been wondering what that is?

As many of you are aware, the Islandora Community has been working on a new version that will be compatible with Fedora 4. We use an approximation of Drupal versioning for our own versions, so we fell into referring to that project as Islandora 7.x-2.x, with the current Fedora 3 compatible stack as Islandora 7.x-1.x. Just rolls off the tongue, doesn't it?

After any number of discussions, and several public presentations, about Islandora 7.x-2.x and its development, the project team proposed that maybe we could give it a working name that would be easier to reference, and more distinct from the Fedora 3 compatible stack, so we could stop rattling off numbers. The proposal went to the Islandora Roadmap Committee a few weeks ago, tied to a proposal to move 7.x-2.x development out of Islandora-Labs and into its own GitHub organization. A few names were bounced around, but in the end, we settled on a self-referential backronym: CLAW Linked Asset WebFramework, or just plain CLAW. And because a good number of us watched Inspector Gadget growing up, out lobster mascot got some extra gear.

And there you have it. Islandora CLAW is Islandora 7.x-2.x, just easier to say, and with an adorable mascot. 

LITA: A Linked Data Journey: Interview with Allison Jai O’Dell

planet code4lib - Fri, 2015-11-20 14:00

Image Courtesy of AJC under a CC BY-SA 2.0 license.


This is part three of my Linked Data Series. You can find the previous posts in my author feed. I’ve decided to spice things up a bit and let you hear from some library professionals who are actually implementing and discussing Linked Data in their libraries. These interviews were conducted via email and are transcripts of the actual interviews, with very minor editorial revisions. This first interview is with Allison Jai O’Dell.


Allison Jai O’Dell is Metadata Librarian and Associate University Librarian at the University of Florida, George A. Smathers Libraries. She is on the editorial teams of the RBMS Controlled Vocabularies and the ARLIS/NA Artists’ Books Thesaurus – and is working to publish both as enriched, five-star linked datasets. Learn more about her from her website.

The Interview

Can you give a brief description of TemaTres?

TemaTres is a free, open-source content management system for knowledge organization systems (KOS) – such as library thesauri, taxonomies, ontologies, glossaries, and controlled vocabulary lists.

Can you list some key features of TemaTres?

TemaTres runs on a Web-server, and requires only PHP, MySQL, HTML, and CSS. TemaTres is quick to install, and easy to customize. (Gosh, I sound like a salesperson! But it really is simple.)

TemaTres is a cloud-based solution for multiple parties to build and access a KOS. Out-of-the-box, it provides a back-end administration and editing interface, as well as a front-end user interface for searching and browsing the KOS. Back-end users can have varying privileges to add, edit, or suggest concepts – which is great for collaborative projects.

TemaTres makes it easy to publish Linked Data. Concepts are assigned URIs, and the data is available in SKOS and JSON-LD formats (in addition to other formats, such as Dublin Core and MADS). Relationships can be established not only within a KOS (where reciprocal relationships are automatically inferred), but also to external Web resources. That is, TemaTres makes it easy to publish five-star Linked Data.

How have you used TemaTres in your institution? Can you give an example?

I have used TemaTres on several thesaurus projects to streamline collaborative workflows and publish (linked) data. For example, at the University of Florida, George A. Smathers Libraries, we are using TemaTres to develop, publish, access, and apply local controlled vocabularies and ontologies. I am particularly excited to collaborate with Suzan Alteri, curator of the Baldwin Library of Historical Children’s Literature, to develop an ontology of paratextual features. Because our special collections are so unique, we find need to extend the concepts available in major library thesauri. With SKOS under the hood, TemaTres makes that possible.

What challenges have you faced in implementing TemaTres?

With TemaTres and SKOS, we now have the ability to create relationships between thesauri. This is a new frontier – external links have not previously been a part of thesaurus production workflows or thesaurus data. So, now we are busy linking legacy data, and revamping our processes and policies to create more interoperability. It is a lot of work, but the end result – the ability to extend major thesauri at the local or granular level – is tremendously powerful.

How do you see TemaTres and similar linked data vocabulary systems helping in the future?

The plethora of controlled vocabulary and ontology editors on the market allow us to publish not only metadata, but the organizational structures that underlie our metadata. This is powerful stuff for interoperability and knowledge-building. Why wait on the future? Get started now!

What do you think institutions can do locally to prepare for linked data?

There are two answers to this question. One is about preparing our data. Linked data relies on URIs and relationships. The more URIs and relationships we can squeeze into our data, the better it will perform as linked data. Jean Godby and Karen Smith-Yoshimura give some great advice on prepping MARC data for conversion to Linked Data. Relationships – that is, predicates in the RDF triple – can be sourced from relationship designators and field tags in MARC data. So, Jean and Karen advise us to add relationship designators and use granular field tagging.

The second answer is about preparing our staff. In the upcoming volume 34 of Advances in Library Administration and Organization (ALAO), I discuss training, recruitment, and workflow design to prepare staff for linked data. Library catalog theory (especially our tradition of authority control), metadata skillsets (to encode, transform, query, clean, publish, expose, and preserve data), and current organizational trends (towards distributed resource description and centralized metadata management) provide a solid basis for working with linked data.

Librarians tend to focus on nitty-gritty details – hey, it’s our job! But, as we prepare for linked data, and especially as we plan for training, let’s try not to lose the forest for the trees. Effective training keeps big picture concepts in sight, and relates each lesson to the overall vision. In the ALAO chapter, I discuss a strategy to teach conceptual change, inspire creativity, and enable problem-solving with linked data technologies. This is done by highlighting frustrations with MARC data and its applications, then presenting both the simplicity and rewards of the linked data concept.

Do you have any advice for those interested in linked data?

Do not simply publish linked data – consume it! Having a user’s perspective will make you a better data publisher. Try this exercise: Take a linked data set, and imagine some questions you might pose of the information. Then, try to construct SPARQL queries to answer your questions. What challenges do you face? And how would you change the dataset to ameliorate those challenges? Use these insights to publish more awesome data!


I want to thank Allison for participating in this wonderful interview. I encourage you to check out TemaTres and to think about how you can begin implementing Linked Data in your libraries. Stay tuned for the next interview!

Ed Summers: Music

planet code4lib - Fri, 2015-11-20 05:00

She was a music I no longer heard, that rang in my mind, itself and nothing else, lost to all sense, but not perished, not perished.

Robinson (1980), p. 160.

Robinson, M. (1980). Housekeeping: A novel (1st ed.). Farrar, Straus; Giroux.

Roy Tennant: The Things We Carry

planet code4lib - Fri, 2015-11-20 00:16

A long time ago I read the book The Things They Carried by Tim O’Brien. It is an eloquent and evocative account of the Southeast Asian War and how soldiers coped with a hell they could neither understand nor survive unscathed — if they lived at all.

Today I am not writing about anything nearly as dramatic and horrific as that. Rather, I want to touch on the fact that Tim O’Brien called out for special attention the things that a soldier chose to put in a pack and hump along a trail in the jungle as being indicative of who they were.

The point is that when you carry something around with you every day there is a reason. It doesn’t need to be a practical reason at all — but there is a reason. And by inspecting the objects and the meaning they hold for an individual you can gain an insight — however slight — into what makes them tick.

So today I put my cards (well, not cards, actually) on the table. In other circles, this is called your “everyday carry”. Although there can be a distinct tinge of survivalism to those who are into “everyday carry”, and pictures often show weapons, I’m more into a pacifist style of carry. I put things in my pockets that can help myself or others in a jam. I’m not out to kill anyone.

My “everyday carry” includes:

  • A Leatherman multi-tool.
  • A Swiss Army knife (which has things the Leatherman tool does not, such as tweezers and the absolutely essential corkscrew).
  • A flashlight.
  • 20 feet of paracord.
  • A 4GB USB drive.
  • A lighter.
  • A handkerchief and comb.
  • A cash wallet and a plastic card wallet.
  • A pen.
  • Breath freshening strips. Because.

What this might say about me I will leave up to your interpretation. Suffice it to say I’ve developed this over the years as being the things I need to feel prepared for what life might throw at me or those around me. Keep in mind that I live in earthquake country, where you never know when you might have to dig yourself or others out of the rubble.

Let me know in the comments what your “everyday carry” consists of, and why.

District Dispatch: December CopyTalk webinar scheduled

planet code4lib - Thu, 2015-11-19 20:16

By trophygeek

The next CopyTalk webinar will be on December 3, 2015 (the first Thursday of the month) at 2:00 pm Eastern/11:00 am. The topic will be the triennial 1201 rulemaking proceeding, this year’s announced exemptions, and proposals for changing this regulatory nightmare.

For those not familiar with the 1201 rulemaking process, be ready to step into DC wonk-land. The Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) of 1998 mandated that it is a violation to hack digital rights management (DRM) employed by rights holders to protect access to digital works. The objective was to prevent unauthorized users to access digital content. But Congress understood that sometimes hacking DRM is necessary to make a lawful use of a work. The rulemaking proceeding is used to identify those lawful uses that are exempt from the 1201 provision.

Bored already? Don’t be, because this year’s rulemaking was one for the books – one that led to consumer backlash and executive government intervention, and…wait for it…Congressional action (not yet).

This story is real…and really ridiculous. Tune in for laughs and a good dose of snarkiness.

Our speakers are Jonathan Band— familiar to many of you because Jonathan has been ALA’s copyright legal counsel for years—and Sherwin Siy, Vice-President for Legal Affairs at Public Knowledge, a civil society organization that fights the good fight. The ALA Washington Office collaborates with Public Knowledge on copyright, broadband, access to government information and other information policy issues.

If we have more than 100 attendees, we are charged some ridiculous amount that will come out of my pay check! So we ask that attendees watch the webinar with colleagues when possible.

This is the URL that will get you into the webinar on December 3. Register as a guest and you’re in. Yes, it’s FREE because the Office for Information Technology Policy and the Copyright Education Subcommittee want to expand copyright awareness and education opportunities.

An archived copy will be available after the webinar.

The post December CopyTalk webinar scheduled appeared first on District Dispatch.

District Dispatch: Connecting all Americans to broadband

planet code4lib - Thu, 2015-11-19 17:56

Closing the broadband gap=essential policy goal. Image from The Guardian.

Broadband access enables individuals to participate in a connected society and has been transforming lives with easier access to virtually everything from health care and education to farming operations and government services. Yet even though being connected to the broadband seems an imperative goal for today’s society, not all Americans are able to enjoy its economic and social benefits. In particular, rural populations have been marginalized in terms of gaining access to the broadband.

On November 18, I had the pleasure of attending a thought-provoking discussion about bridging the broadband gap between rural and urban areas. The event was co-hosted by Foundation for Rural Service and Smart Rural Community, an initiative of NTCA-The Rural Broadband Association, and held at the Capitol Visitors’ Center. Following welcoming remarks by Jessica Golden, Executive Director of Foundation for Rural Service, Rep. Bill Johnson (R-Ohio) directed the audience’s attention to the essential goal of bridging the broadband gap between rural and urban areas.

Lisa Mensah, Under Secretary of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, delivered the keynote speech in which she described governmental efforts to expand broadband opportunities linking rural and urban areas and emphasized how strategic and collective efforts to increase broadband connectivity in rural areas can lead to national prosperity. In follow-up, Joshua Seidemann, Vice President of Policy at NTCA presented findings of his recent study, “Beyond Rural Walls: Identifying Impact and Interdependencies Among Rural and Urban Spaces,” facilitating the panel discussion that followed.

Based on questions that addressed the impact of broadband investment and use and interdependencies between rural and urban regions, three panelists, Drs. Charles Fluharty (Rural Policy Institute), Norman Jacknis (Intelligent Community Forum) and Sharon Strover (University of Texas at Austin) detailed broadband gaps between rural and urban areas, the reality of how rural populations are deprived of benefits that broadband connections can bring, and discussed what can and should be done to close the broadband gap and reduce detrimental effects.

Other issues highlighted during the panel discussion included the difficulty of measuring the long-term outcome of broadband deployment, significance of the collective impact model that considers interdependencies between rural and urban areas, re-envisioning the role of libraries in this transition, the necessity of informing and persuading decision makers and grabbing media attention in appropriate ways. In particular, Dr. Strover and other panelists emphasized the important role that libraries can contribute, especially in rural areas, as anchoring institutions, to facilitate a synergistic effect for connecting rural and urban locales.

In closing remarks, Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) emphasized the importance of continued policy efforts to close the broadband gap. It is worth noting that while policy initiatives that promise to close the broadband gap deserve further review, enabling broadband connectivity is only one part of the equation. As the panel pointed out, managing human capital and increasing digital competency should not be overlooked. If individuals do not know how to take advantage of broadband technology, then they will likely remain unconnected and isolated from others in the digital world.

The post Connecting all Americans to broadband appeared first on District Dispatch.

Dan Scott: That survey about EZProxy

planet code4lib - Thu, 2015-11-19 17:42

OCLC recently asked EZProxy clients to fill out a survey about their experiences with the product and to get feedback on possible future plans for the product.

About half-way through, I decided it might be a good idea to post my responses. Because hey, if I'm working to help them, I might as well share it with my friends out in the library systems world So here are a few choice quotes from the comments section of the survey...

In response to a question about the "ease of use" of EZProxy

Nothing that requires configuration via a text file can be classed as "easy to use" these days.

When asked why I scored satisfaction lower than the maximum

The sluggishness to adopt current encryption protocols, and the unwillingness to use dynamically linked libraries, is a major black mark against the product.

Rather than "doing the right thing", it appears to be a marketing tactic to encourage adoption of 6.0 by making 5.7 fall behind. That's a disappointing tactic for a library cooperative to use in the world of libraries where security and protection of our patrons privacy is of great importance.

What one thing would I change about EZProxy

I would change the license to be an open source (GPL v3 or Apache 2.0) licence. OCLC could still derive revenue from providing hosted solutions and as the well-known trusted name being the product, but small segments of the community could vet the code and contribute enhancements that meet their needs (that they have been asking for without success for years now).

After being asked about the importance of five possible enhancements, three of which reflected a tighter integration with WorldShare services

(roughly) This is why I don't like the proprietary revenue model for the 6.x series--you're investing the revenue in shoring up your WorldShare offerings with features that are not useful to the customers that do not use the WorldShare platform.


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