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DPLA: Girl Scout super stars

planet code4lib - Thu, 2015-03-26 19:22

Unless you haven’t been out of your house for the past month, you know that it’s Girl Scout cookie season. The girls out tugging boxes of cookies around the neighborhood are learning all sorts of skills they’ll use later in life as political leaders, entertainers, astronauts, and athletes. Literally. For proof, check out this list of 25 of the most famous Girl Scouts while enjoying the last of your Thin Mints and Caramel Delights…until next year.

Madeleine Albright, former US Secretary of State

Marion Anderson, singer

Lucille Ball, comedian and film studio executive

Lynda Carter, actress and star of “Wonder Woman.”

Rosalyn Carter, former First Lady

Chelsea (and Hillary) Clinton

Katie Couric, journalist

Sandra Day O’Connor, former Supreme Court Justice

Queen Elizabeth II

Carrie Fisher, actress

Dorothy Hamill, figure skater

Jackie Joyner-Kersee, Olympic athlete

Dorothy Lamour, actress and singer

Shari Lewis, puppeteer and children’s entertainer

Christa McAullife, teacher aboard the Space Shuttle Challenger

Michelle Obama, First Lady

Nancy Reagan, former First Lady

Sally Ride, astronaut

Chita Rivera, actress, dancer, and singer

Gloria Steinem, political activist

Martha Stewart, businesswoman

Shirley Temple, actress

Mary Tyler Moore, actress

Dionne Warwick, singer

Venus Williams, tennis player


Banner image from Digital Commonwealth, Boston Public Library.

FOSS4Lib Recent Releases: Jpylyzer - 1.14.1

planet code4lib - Thu, 2015-03-26 15:50

Last updated March 26, 2015. Created by Peter Murray on March 26, 2015.
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Package: JpylyzerRelease Date: Wednesday, March 25, 2015

FOSS4Lib Recent Releases: Siegfried - 1.0

planet code4lib - Thu, 2015-03-26 15:45

Last updated March 26, 2015. Created by Peter Murray on March 26, 2015.
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Package: SiegfriedRelease Date: Sunday, March 22, 2015

FOSS4Lib Updated Packages: Siegfried

planet code4lib - Thu, 2015-03-26 15:44

Last updated March 26, 2015. Created by Peter Murray on March 26, 2015.
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Siegfried is a PRONOM-based file format identification tool.

Key features are:

  • complete implementation of PRONOM (byte and container signatures)
  • reliable results (siegfried is tested against Ross Spencer’s skeleton suite and QA tested against DROID and FIDO output using
  • fast matching without limiting the number of bytes scanned
  • detailed information about the basis for format matches
  • simple command line interface with a choice of outputs (YAML, JSON, CSV)
  • a built-in server for integrating with workflows and language inter-op
  • power options including debug mode, signature modification, and multiple identifiers.
Package Type: Data Preservation and Management Package Links Operating System: LinuxMacWindows Releases for Siegfried Programming Language: GoOpen Hub Link: Hub Stats Widget: 

CrossRef: CrossRef Extends Management Team, Appoints Ginny Hendricks To Focus on Member and Community Outreach

planet code4lib - Thu, 2015-03-26 15:39

26 March 2015, Lynnfield, MA - CrossRef, the global not-for profit digital hub for scholarly communications, is pleased to announce the addition of Ginny Hendricks to its management team in the newly-created role of Director of Member and Community Outreach, where she will be responsible for marketing, business development, member services, and product support. The appointment reflects CrossRef's mission to innovate for the future of scholarly content, and to foster collaboration among an increasingly diverse community of publishers, researchers, authors, libraries, funders, and beyond.

Executive Director, Ed Pentz, says "I'm very pleased Ginny is joining the CrossRef team; her international experience, background in scholarly publishing, and digital marketing expertise, make her the perfect person to spearhead the CrossRef brand, lead outreach around the world, and contribute to our ongoing success."

Ginny Hendricks says: "CrossRef is indispensible to the reliable running and progression of scholarly communications and its scope is broadening to accommodate changing publisher needs and serve the wider communities. I'm excited to work with some great people and to be able to contribute to such a central part of scholarly publishing."

Ginny has run Ardent Marketing for nine years where she consulted with publishers to develop multichannel marketing plans, brand and launch online products, and build engaged communities. Prior to consulting she managed the launch of Scopus at Elsevier, where she established advisory boards and outreach programs with library and scientific communities. In 1998 Ginny started an early e-resources help desk for Blackwell's information Services and later led training and communication programs for Swets' digital portfolio in Asia Pacific, Middle East, and Africa. She's lived and worked in many parts of the world and has managed globally dispersed creative, technical, and commercial teams. She co-hosts the Scholarly Social networking events in London, and is considering finishing her Master's of Science in Digital Marketing Communications. Ginny will start on Monday 30th March and can be reached via twitter @GinnyLDN or email

About CrossRef
CrossRef ( serves as a digital hub for the scholarly communications community. A global not-for profit membership organization of scholarly publishers, CrossRef's innovations shape the future of scholarly communications by fostering collaboration among multiple stakeholders. CrossRef provides a wide spectrum of services for identifying, locating, linking to, and assessing the reliability and provenance of scholarly content.

Contact: Ed Pentz at

View this news release on the CrossRef website.

Library of Congress: The Signal: Checking in with NGAC and the National Spatial Data Infrastructure

planet code4lib - Thu, 2015-03-26 14:36

Satellite data, January 1, 2014. Photo courtesy of NCDC/NOAA.

Several times a year I attend meetings of the National Geospatial Advisory Committee, a federal advisory committee that reports to the chair of the Federal Geographic Data Committee. The NGAC pulls together participants from across academia, the private sector and all levels of government to advise the Federal government on geospatial policy and ways to advance the vision of a National Spatial Data Infrastructure. They held two days of meetings in DC on March 17 and 18, 2015 and I was happy to have the opportunity to attend.

We originally got involved with the group when two members of the GeoMAPP project team (Zsolt Nagy and Dennis Goreham) were named founding NGAC members (PDF) and we’ve kept up with it because of the wealth of information that comes out of the meetings about national geospatial policy initiatives.

The group’s membership changes over time, but in the past has included Jack Dangermond, the founder of Esri, and currently includes both Michael Jones of Google (one of the inventors of Google Earth) and Steve Coast, the founder of OpenStreetMap.

Julie Sweetkind-Singer, the Assistant Director of Geospatial, Cartographic and Scientific Data & Services at Stanford University libraries and a former principal investigator on the NDIIPP National Geospatial Digital Archive project, is now the Vice Chair of the group.

As usual, the committee covered a number of topic areas that have ramifications for the library, archive and museum digital stewardship communities.

FGDC Report/GAO Report

A chief area of discussion in the FGDC’s report to the attendees was the March 16 release of the Government Accountability Office report “Geospatial Data: Progress Needed on Identifying Expenditures, Building and Utilizing a Data Infrastructure, and Reducing Duplicative Efforts.” This is the second GAO report in the past 3 years on geospatial information, with the first, “Geospatial Information: OMB and Agencies Need to Make Coordination a Priority to Reduce Duplication,” having been released on November 26, 2012.

GAO’s objectives with the report were to

(1) describe the geospatial data that selected federal agencies and states use and how much is spent on geospatial data; (2) assess progress in establishing the National Spatial Data Infrastructure; and (3) determine whether selected federal agencies and states invest in duplicative geospatial data.

The report urged Congressional input towards a national addressing database, while also recommending that the Office of Management and Budget and associated federal agencies fully implement national spatial data infrastructure activities.

Crowd-Sourced Geospatial Data

Next came an interesting presentation on the concepts of crowd-sourced data, citizen science and volunteered geographic information, as well as crowd-sourced data initiatives happening inside the Federal government. It featured Sophia Liu, a Mendenhall Postdoc Fellow at the U.S. Geological Survey; Denice Ross, a Presidential Innovation Fellow at the Department of Energy; and Sean Gorman from

Key questions that crossed each of the presentations included the challenges with integrating crowd-sourced data with agency-originated data while validating its integrity, as well as potential legal consequences when agencies rely on crowd-sourced data for action. One suggested way to address the validity question is to incorporate a “human-in-the-loop” to vet, edit or “massage” crowd-sourced data to ensure its accuracy and usability. See for further info.

There was also a bit of discussion on the difference between “ambient” crowd-sourced data (think traffic data compiled from the location reports of cell phones) and volunteered geographic information such as that found in citizen-mapping initiatives such as OpenStreetMap.

Geospatial Privacy Subcommittee Report

The Geospatial Privacy Subcommittee of the NGAC is largely exploring the privacy challenges presented by Unmanned Aircraft Systems and as such is somewhat out of our purview. An important recent document on this front is “Presidential Memorandum: Promoting Economic Competitiveness While Safeguarding Privacy, Civil Rights, and Civil Liberties in Domestic Use of Unmanned Aircraft Systems” released on Feb. 15, 2015.

COGO Report card

Geospatial: application by user dleithinger on Flickr

COGO is the Coalition of Geospatial Organizations, a grouping of private sector geospatial organizations such as the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), American Society for Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing (ASPRS), Association of American Geographers (AAG), National States Geographic Information Council (NSGIC) and a number of others.

On February 16, 2015 they published their first “Report Card on the U.S. National Spatial Data Infrastructure” (PDF). The report was written by an expert panel led by former Wyoming governor James E. Geringer (who presented the findings at the meeting). The focus of the initial report card is on the status of the seven FGDC “framework” data layers and how they are being maintained and accentuated to meet the needs of a national spatial data infrastructure. As the report says, “by evaluating the Federal government’s efforts to lead and coordinate the creation and maintenance of these data, this report reflects on how well the NSDI is meeting its goals.” According to COGO the student is not doing too well.

There was ample discussion on whether COGO was measuring the right thing (is it a measure of what’s actually getting done in a somewhat hostile budgetary environment, or are agencies being measured against an abstract standard of what should be done based on the original goals of the NSDI?) and whether this report could do more harm than good for acquiring future resources across the federal geospatial community.

During the discussion on the report it was noted that the 2016 President’s budget includes an increase of nearly $150 million for the USGS, including “an increase of $11 million for the USGS to support the community resilience toolkit, which is a web-based clearinghouse of data, tools, shared applications, and best practices for resource managers, decision-makers, and the public,” so at least there’s recognition that work does need to get done.

Geospatial Data Act of 2015

Finally, not on the meeting agenda but hanging over all the discussions was the “Geospatial Data Act of 2015,” introduced by Senators Hatch and Warner on March 16, 2015, the day prior to the start of the meeting. The text of the legislation is at, and my initial reading (note: I am not a lawyer!) is that it codifies in law things that are attempting to be implemented in current practice. Several important items in the proposed bill:

  • Each covered agency shall include geospatial data as a capital asset for purposes of preparing the budget submission of the President.
  • Each covered agency shall disclose each contract, cooperative agreement, grant or other transaction that deals with geospatial data on
  • Greater OMB oversight, and a limitation on receiving future funds for data that does not conform to FGDC standards.

The next NGAC meeting is June 9-10, 2015. As always, they are open to the public.

Thom Hickey: Moving to Wikidata

planet code4lib - Thu, 2015-03-26 13:43

VIAF has long interchanged data with Wikipedia, and the resulting links between library authorities and Wikipedia are widely used.  Unfortunately we only harvested data from the English Wikipedia (, so we missed names, identifiers and other information in non-English Wikipedia pages.

Fortunately the problem VIAF had with Wikipedia was similar to the problems that Wikipedia itself had in sharing data across language versions.  Wikidata is Wikimedia's solution to the problem, and over the last year or two has grown from promising to useful.  In fact, from VIAF's point of view Wikidata now looks substantially better than just working with the English pages.  In addition to picking up many more titles for names, we are finding a million names that do not occur in the English pages, and names that match those in other VIAF sources has nearly doubled to 800 thousand from 440 thousand.

Since we (i.e. Jenny Toves) was reexamining the process, we took the opportunity to harvest corporate/organization names as well, something we have wanted for some time, so some 300K of the increase comes from those.

We expect to have the new data in VIAF in mid to late April 2015 and it is visible now in our test system at

The advantages we see:

  • Much less bias towards English
  • More entities (people and organizations)
  • More coded information about the entities
  • More non-Latin forms of names
  • More links into Wikipedia

This will cause some changes in the data that are visible in the VIAF interface.  One of these is that VIAF will link to the Wikidata pages rather than the English Wikipedia pages, and we are changing the WKP icon to reflect that ( to ).  This means that Jane Austen's WKP identifier (VIAF's abbreviation for Wikipedia) will change from WKP|Jane_Austen to WKP|Q36322.  Links to the WKP source page will change from


Although it is possible to jump from the Wikidata pages to Wikipedia pages in specific languages, we feel these links are important enough that we will be importing all the language specific Wikipedia page links we find in the Wikidata.  These will show up as 'external links' in the interface in the 'About' section of the display.

A commonly used bulk file from VIAF is the 'links' file that shows all the links made between VIAF identifiers and source file identifiers (pointers to the bulk files can be found here).  The links file includes external links, so the individual Wikipedia pages will show up in the file along with the Wikidata WKP IDs.  Here are some of the current links in the file for Lorcan Dempsey:   BAV|ADV11117013   BNF|12276780

. . .   SUDOC|031580661   WKP|Lorcan_Dempsey   XA|2219


The new file will change to:   BAV|ADV11117013   BNF|12276780

. . .   WKP|Q6678817   WKP|   XA|2219


Lorcan only has one Wikipedia page, the English language one.  Jane Austen has more than a hundred, and all those links will be there.

Of course, this also means some changes to the RDF view of the data.  We're still working on that and will post more information when we get it closer to its final form.


Galen Charlton: Unsolved problems

planet code4lib - Thu, 2015-03-26 11:50

I saw a lot of pain yesterday. I will see more pain today.

Pain from women saying that it’s back to the whisper network for them. Pain from women acknowledging the many faults of whisper networks.

Pain from women who do not want to be chilled — and who yet find themselves in the far north, with the wolves circling.

Pain from women who have seen their colleagues fail them before, and before, and before — and who have less hope now that the future of libraries will be any better.

Pain from women who fear that licenses were issued yesterday — licenses to maintain the status quo, licenses to grind away the hopes and dreams of those women in libraries who want to change the world (or who simply want to catalog books in peace and go home at the end of the day).

Above all, pain from women whose words are now constrained by the full force of the law — and who are now the target of every passerby who has much time and little empathy.

I will speak plainly: Lisa Rabey and nina de jesus did a brave thing, a thing that could never have rebounded to their personal advantage no matter the outcome of the lawsuit. I respect them, and I wish them whatever peace they can find after this.

I will speak bluntly to men in the library profession: regardless of what you think of the case that ended yesterday — regardless of what you think of Joe Murphy’s actions or of the actions of Team Harpy — sexual harassment in our profession is real; the pain our colleagues experience due to it is real.

It remains an unsolved problem.

It remains our unsolved problem.

We must do our part to fix it.

Not sure how? Neither am I. But at least as librarians and library workers, we have access to plenty of tools to learn, to listen.

Time to roll up our sleeves.

DuraSpace News: UPDATE: Toward a Strategic Vision and Technical Roadmap for DSpace

planet code4lib - Thu, 2015-03-26 00:00

From Jonathan Markow, DuraSpace CSO

Winchester, MA  The DSpace Steering Group, working with the DSpace Community Advisory Team (DCAT) and DuraSpace, has organized an initiative to present a strategic vision and technical roadmap for DSpace, representing significant community contributions during the past two years. 

FOSS4Lib Upcoming Events: Fedora 4 Training Workshop at TCDL

planet code4lib - Wed, 2015-03-25 20:48
Date: Tuesday, April 28, 2015 - 13:30 to 17:30Supports: Fedora Repository

Last updated March 25, 2015. Created by Peter Murray on March 25, 2015.
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Fedora team members Andrew Woods and David Wilcox will be presenting a Fedora 4 Training Workshop at the 2015 Texas Conference on Digital Libraries (TCDL) to be held April 27-28 in Austin, Texas. The Fedora 4 Training Workshop will be held on April 28 from 1:30 PM to 5:30 PM and is is free for conference attendees.

FOSS4Lib Recent Releases: DuraCloud - 3.2.3

planet code4lib - Wed, 2015-03-25 20:33

Last updated March 25, 2015. Created by Peter Murray on March 25, 2015.
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Package: DuraCloudRelease Date: Tuesday, March 3, 2015

FOSS4Lib Updated Packages: DuraCloud

planet code4lib - Wed, 2015-03-25 20:31

Last updated March 25, 2015. Created by Peter Murray on March 25, 2015.
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Package Type: Preservation RepositoryLicense: Apache 2.0 Package Links Releases for DuraCloud Operating System: Browser/Cross-PlatformLinuxTechnologies Used: TomcatProgramming Language: JavaJavaScript Upcoming Events for the DuraCloud Package Open Hub Link: Hub Stats Widget: works well with: Fedora RepositoryDSpaceArchivematica

Nicole Engard: Bookmarks for March 25, 2015

planet code4lib - Wed, 2015-03-25 20:30

Today I found the following resources and bookmarked them on Delicious.

  • Contributoria Contributoria is an independent journalism community. The platform enables journalists and writers to collaborate on all aspects of the writing process, including commissioning, editing and publication.
  • ARSenic A free, open-source, web-based audience response system

Digest powered by RSS Digest

The post Bookmarks for March 25, 2015 appeared first on What I Learned Today....

Related posts:

  1. New Official Koha Site
  2. OSCON Keynote: Creating Communities of Inclusion
  3. Edit your photos in Flickr

FOSS4Lib Upcoming Events: ArchivesDirect Information Session

planet code4lib - Wed, 2015-03-25 20:25
Date: Wednesday, April 1, 2015 - 11:00 to 12:00Supports: ArchivematicaDuraCloud

Last updated March 25, 2015. Created by Peter Murray on March 25, 2015.
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From the announcement:

Please plan to attend the upcoming live information session and demonstration of the new ArchivesDirect service on Wednesday, April 1st at 11am ET. In order to attend, registration is required and is available here!

FOSS4Lib Upcoming Events: Introduction to Archivematica

planet code4lib - Wed, 2015-03-25 20:23
Date: Thursday, April 9, 2015 - 15:00 to 16:00Supports: Archivematica

Last updated March 25, 2015. Created by Peter Murray on March 25, 2015.
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From the announcement

We are offering our next Introduction to Archivematica Webinar on Thursday, April 9, from 3-4 PM Eastern. Please join us for an overview of Archivematica’s basic workflows to preserve digital content. Registration is FREE, but space is limited and it fills up quickly. Click here to register.

FOSS4Lib Recent Releases: Koha -

planet code4lib - Wed, 2015-03-25 20:21
Package: KohaRelease Date: Monday, March 23, 2015

Last updated March 25, 2015. Created by Peter Murray on March 25, 2015.
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Koha fixes an erratum in the 3.18.5 release where a change needed for the proper functioning of the patch for bug 13380 (Auto fill order cancellation reasons from authorised values) had not been included. Libraries who have already upgraded to 3.18.5 are advised to upgrade to as soon as possible.

Koha also includes an unrelated fix for bug 12399 (opaccredits printing at top on printable version).

FOSS4Lib Upcoming Events: Koha Seminar Finland 2015

planet code4lib - Wed, 2015-03-25 20:19
Date: Thursday, May 21, 2015 - 08:00 to Friday, May 22, 2015 - 16:30Supports: Koha

Last updated March 25, 2015. Created by Peter Murray on March 25, 2015.
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Koha Seminar Finland 2015
21-22 May 2015 Joensuu
The First Koha Seminar in Finland for Library and Information Professionals.
Registration is open until 30 April.

HangingTogether: Hallmarks of library cooperation

planet code4lib - Wed, 2015-03-25 20:11

The OCLC Research Library Partnership offers opportunities for staff to learn from peers in other countries. Hideyuki Seki of Keio University took advantage of this opportunity to ask the OCLC Research Library Partners Metadata Managers Focus Group members for examples of their most successful collaborations with other institutions’ libraries and the factors that contributed most to their success. He wrote:

In the US, many cooperative activities or collaborative projects among research libraries are in progress. In contrast, it is difficult to organize tangible projects among university libraries in Japan. The reason of the difference between US and Japan on this issue might be explained by the differences in cultures, customs and structures of the organizations, but I hope we could learn some hints for invigorating cooperative activities among Japanese research libraries by studying the actual situations in other countries in more depth.

The focus group members responded with an impressive list of successful collaborations to share discovery, collections, expertise and standards development. Examples included: Arabic Collections Online to digitize public domain Arabic language texts and provide a unified publication and discovery platform for the digital objects; Articlereach; Australian Newspaper Plan (ANPlan) (a program to collect and preserve every newspaper published in Australia); Biodiversity Heritage Library; Borrow Direct; the Copyright Review Management System, a collaborative effort to help provide copyright determinations for volumes in HathiTrust; Emblematica Online portal; Getty Research Portal; the Kuali Open Library Environment (OLE) project; Libraries Australia; the National Bibliographic Database in Australia and the National Union Catalogue in New Zealand; NACO and the Program for Cooperative Cataloging; NSLA (national libraries of Australia and New Zealand, and the State and Territory libraries of Australia working collaboratively to strengthen the information infrastructure in Australia and New Zealand); the NSLA eResources Consortium (an e-resources purchasing consortium); Primeros Libros de las Americas, digitizing surviving copies of the first books published in the New World prior to 1601; the OCLC Research Library Partnership’s SHARES program; Trove; the UKB, the Dutch consortium of thirteen university libraries and the National Library of the Netherlands.

On a smaller scale, members noted inter-institutional cooperation agreements for shared storage such as the Western Regional Storage Trust (WEST); digitizing materials held by other institutions; the Columbia and Cornell 2CUL partnership to pool resources to provide content, expertise and services and its current Technical Services Integration; the Indiana and Northwestern Universities’ Avalon Media System project to develop an audio and video repository; the CIC Cooperative Cataloging Initiative; the California Digital Library’s  offerings of system wide preservation and access services; Stanford’s collaboration with the Bibliothèque nationale de France on the French Revolution Digital Archive; Hong Kong’s Joint University Librarians Advisory Committee and its Hong Kong Academic Library Link (HKALL) for resource sharing; the Manhattan Research Library Initiative (MaRLI) to coordinate collection development and resource sharing among NYU, Columbia and the New York Public Library; New Jersey’s Digital Media Repository (NJVid); the Orbis Cascade Alliance; the University System of Maryland and Affiliated Institutions (USMAI).

Factors that contributed to success:

  • Project Scope. Clearly articulated project scope and expectations.
  • Common goals. The partners need to have values that align, a common understanding of the desired outcomes. The benefits of the partnership must outweigh any risks.
  • Clearly understood roles and responsibilities. Each partner needs to bring something of value to the collaboration; e.g. funds, skills, knowledge, data/content.
  • It must be a true partnership in which the collective contribution of the partners creates more than any could have achieved individually.
  • Administrative support and funding. There needs to be support for the partnership at high levels in each organization, and the willingness to invest in it.
  • Governance. The nature of the partnership needs to be understood and agreed, with written agreements in place. In addition, there needs to be explicit decisions made about financial administrations, governance, and ways to resolve issues that arise.

These success factors reminded me of the five “Catalysts for collaboration” in the 2009 report, Think Global, Act Local – Library, Archive and Museum Collaboration written by my colleagues Ricky Erway and Günter Waibel. Excerpts:

  • Vision – For a collaborative idea to succeed, it has to be embedded in an overarching vision all participants share. This vision is what makes it worth the effort to overcome obstacles.
  • Mandate – A mandate, expressly conveyed through strategic plans or high-level directives—as well as less formal modes of encouragement—can kindle and direct enthusiasm for collaboration. (On the flipside, the absence of a mandate can have a corrosive effect on activities as uncertainty about administrative backing dominates discussions.)
  • Incentives – Staff evaluations and departmental assessments should include collaborative activities in their appraisals. Collaborative work should be supported through promotion, monetary incentives and public recognition.
  • Change Agents – At every stage, collaboration can benefit from the presence of a “change agent”—a trusted individual, department, or program that keeps the effort alive, injects it with a dose of resources (ideas, technology, staff) at the right time and keeps participants focused on the overall vision to which they are aiming.
  • Mooring – Collaborations thrive and survive when they have an administrative mooring or a home base from which they can conduct operations, communicate with others, and incorporate their efforts into the broader mission of their institution.

The “Collaboration as a continuum” graphic which precedes this blog entry is from that 2009 report.

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.

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In the Library, With the Lead Pipe: A radical publishing collective: the Journal of Radical Librarianship

planet code4lib - Wed, 2015-03-25 10:30

From Flickr user, Julian Stallbrass, licensed under CC BY 2.0. Image has been cropped.

In Brief: the Journal of Radical Librarianship is a new open-access journal publishing scholarly work in the field of radical librarianship. The focus on critical approaches to librarianship and anti-marketisation of information is reflected not only in our subject matter but in our publishing model, our licensing model, and our organisational practices. We hope to foster open and engaging discussions about radical approaches to librarianship and information studies.

There’s a growing amount of discussion in the UK about ‘radical librarianship’: a concept that covers a range of ideas about political engagement in librarianship and information studies. 2015 sees the launch of the Journal of Radical Librarianship: a new publication attempting to capture some of that discussion and disseminate it to a wider audience in an open and critically rigorous way. Fundamentally we want to promote discussion about the political nature of librarianship and to discuss radical alternatives to current practices and prevailing thinking in the profession.

A radical approach

Broadly speaking, ‘radical librarianship’ could be said to be a focus on the ethical roots of librarianship. Some of these ethical considerations are articulated by authors like Froehlich1 and include respect for the individual and individual freedom, social responsibility, and organisational obligations. Central to radical librarianship’s ethics is presenting an alternative to the prevalent trend towards marketisation of libraries. Over the past few decades, libraries have shifted towards a market-oriented approach: one that emphasises marketised solutions to service provision (that is, solutions used in the private-sector free market environment).

For example, Clark and Preater (2014) point to the use of market-oriented language in professional discourse: “As a profession we have broadly accepted the idea of members or users as “customers” or “consumers”, and accepted the need to adopt market strategies to meet their needs… This is so accepted that a rejection of this approach, for example rejecting the label of “customer”, has become seen to be old-fashioned and outdated.”2 LIS ‘thought leaders’ and writers tell libraries to market themselves, to adopt the practices of successful retail chains. Social media pundits tell librarians to think about their ‘personal brand’ and to manage their online presence as if it were a social marketing campaign. An Independent Library Report for England published in December 2014 recommended to the UK Government that libraries “can only be saved if they become more like coffee shops with wi-fi, sofas and hot drinks”3. The recommendation that libraries adopt private sector service practices like this is present in a lot of professional discourse in librarianship and has been aptly chronicled in recent years by Public Libraries News and Informed.

This trend must be seen within the context of the prevailing social framework of neoliberalism. Neoliberalism can be defined as the belief “that markets are inherently efficient and that the state and public sector have no essential role to play in economic development apart from facilitating the expansion, intensification and primacy of market relations.”4 It is an emphasis on laissez-faire capitalism and the free market and the theory was a formative tenet in the economic policies of Conservative Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher in the UK and Republican President Ronald Reagan in the USA during the 1980s5. As organisations – and governments – across society have adopted neoliberal practices, libraries have followed unquestioningly. The move towards a market-oriented approach has been framed in LIS professional discourse as not just a progressive approach but as necessary to the survival of libraries. Following the trend in professional literature, librarians at management level have shaped their library’s practices to fit the neoliberal theory. The prevailing (and ‘progressive’) view implicitly “advocates a belief there is a market relationship between the service and the user, with barriers placed between the two, and reduces the relationship between libraries and users to a transactional one with the library supplying information – viewed as a commodity in a market setting.”6 Libraries have been encouraged to think of their objectivity as political neutrality and librarians have been discouraged from thinking about the political implications of their work.

Radical librarianship is an alternative position. It acknowledges that libraries are and always have been inherently political7 rather than – as has been the accepted view – politically and ideologically neutral8. It argues that the ethical roots of librarianship are openness, free access to information, and a strong community spirit – principles we apply differently to the neoliberal appropriations of those terms – and that practice in librarianship should be true to these roots. It attempts to present a real alternative to the current orthodoxy in library discourse: a discourse that sits within a wider dominant ideology of capitalism.

From Flickr user, library_mistress, licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0.

In the UK, this has manifested in the Radical Librarians Collective, a loose affiliation of like-minded library and information workers who come together to challenge the marketisation of libraries and the prevailing neoliberal position. The Radical Librarians Collective facilitates communication between like-minded people and hosts non-hierarchical events for discussion and social interaction.

At a Radical Librarians Collective meeting in London, UK, in May 2014, a group raised the idea of a publication space for writing on the subject of radical librarianship. Publishing work on radical librarianship in the form of an academic journal would be a way to bring theory and practice together. “At this stage, the most significant victory for the radical alternative is to open dialogue about the alternatives. Without dialogue, without alternatives being voiced and discussed, there is no hope for a radical alternative.”9 The Journal of Radical Librarianship will facilitate that dialogue.

A radical journal

The Journal of Radical Librarianship is a new open-access journal publishing a combination of peer-reviewed scholarly writing and non-peer-reviewed commentary and reviews. We’re looking for work on the subject of radical librarianship and related areas. Broadly speaking, anything that investigates the political aspects of librarianship or takes a critical theory-based approach to LIS10. The journal is available at and is open for submissions.

Information ethics are core to the journal’s mission and so the team have made a conscious effort to adopt practices in keeping with our shared moral code. We have set up the journal in such a way as to support the exchange and reworking of knowledge: we want to make work as freely available to the public as possible and we want to encourage ‘remixing’ of the ideas in our published work11.

In practical terms, this commitment to an ethical publishing code has informed our hosting and our licensing. The journal is hosted on an Open Journal Systems platform: an open-source piece of software from the Public Knowledge Project designed to facilitate open-access publishing for journals and other publications. Works in the Journal of Radical Librarianship are published under Creative Commons licenses: either Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 (CC BY) or Creative Commons Public Domain (CC0) licenses. The CC0 license has allowed this article to reuse some of the content of the journal’s introductory editorial by Stuart Lawson12. Although under CC0 others can freely use the content without attribution to the source, articles can also be referenced normally with attribution in citations.

The focus on alternative approaches also informs our editorial team structure. The current team includes a range of people from different sectors with different experience. As we continue, we will have a fluid editorial team with a non-hierarchical structure easily receptive to change. From the beginning, we’ve focused on collective decision-making with no single person able to make big decisions without consulting the rest of the team. Through use of online communication and collective decision-making software Loomio, we’ve made decisions that reflect compromise and direct diplomacy and that don’t give authority to any individual team member.

Though centred in the UK, the Journal of Radical Librarianship has an international scope and we encourage submissions from anywhere in the world. We hope to publish work in multiple languages as a recognition that, in order to share knowledge as widely as possible, we should not preference one language over others. Submissions are accepted in any language.

Fundamentally the Journal of Radical Librarianship aims to provide a publication space for alternatives in librarianship discourse. In the LIS publishing landscape, there is little space for writing that challenges – or falls outside the assumptions of – society’s dominant neoliberal ideology. While much library publishing ignores the political context of library and information studies and presents libraries as politically neutral institutions, the Journal of Radical Librarianship situates LIS within the political framework of society and examines library issues from that perspective.

The Journal of Radical Librarianship is not unique in LIS publishing: several other publications produce work with similar scope. We acknowledge their value and hope to work together as complementary rather than competitive publications. Progressive Librarian is a journal produced by the US-based Progressive Librarians Guild; Library Juice Press is a publisher of a number of books on “theoretical and practical issues in librarianship from a critical perspective”; Collaborative Librarianship is a journal publishing work on cooperative librarianship. In the Library with the Lead Pipe can also be included in this list for its commitment to open-access and progressive publication practices and we’d like to thank them for giving us the space to write about the Journal of Radical Librarianship. This is just a selection of English-language publications in similar areas and demonstrates that there is an ecosystem of library and information authors interested in exploring radical and critical approaches. We want to position the Journal of Radical Librarianship as an attempt to enrich the existing community by applying innovative scholarly approaches to the field.

From Flickr user, ijclark, licensed under CC BY 2.0.

A radical community

The Journal of Radical Librarianship is open for submissions. If you’re unsure about an idea for submission, please email

For peer-reviewed articles, we are looking for pieces that take radical approaches to subjects such as: information literacy, politics and social justice, scholarly communication, equality and diversity, library history, management and professionalism, and political economy of information and knowledge. Our editorial team is flexible and we will look at work outside those boundaries.

We’re also looking for non-peer-reviewed pieces. We accept editorials and commentary on relevant political issues or library issues. We’re also accepting reviews of media relevant to the scope of the journal. If you’re interested in becoming a reviewer, please contact

We want a discussion. Only by working together and discussing subjects out in the open in a free and unrestrained way will we be able to bring about change. We want people to read the work we publish, think about it, argue about it, disagree with it, use it in their working lives. We want people to think critically and act radically. We want people to see the alternatives. We want to talk about libraries. We want to talk about politics. We want to talk about radical librarianship.


Thanks to the editorial team of the Journal of Radical Librarianship for contributions and feedback on this article and for all the hard work involved in setting up and running the journal. Thanks to Stuart Lawson for his sterling work on getting us up and running. We’d collectively like to thank the editorial team at In the Library with the Lead Pipe for giving us the space to contribute this piece and for their excellent editorial input.

  1. Froelich, T., 1998. ‘Ethical Considerations Regarding Library Nonprofessionals: Competing Perspectives and Values’, Library trends, 46 (3), pp. 444-466
  2. Clark, I., and Preater, A., 2014. ‘Creaters not consumers: visualising the radical alternative for libraries’, Infoism, 2014-11-13
  3. Clark, N., 2014. ‘The great British library betrayal: Closures bring national network to brink of ‘absolute disaster’, reveals official inquiry’, The Independent, 2014-12-17
  4. Lowes, D. E., 2006. The anti-capitalist dictionary: movements, histories and motivations. London: Zed Books, p. 170.
  5. Jones, C., et al., 2005. For business ethics. London: Routledge, p. 100.
  6. Clark and Preater, op. cit.
  7. Giroux, H. A., 2004. ‘Neoliberalism and the Demise of Democracy: Resurrecting Hope in Dark Times’, Dissident Voice, 2004-08-07,
  8. Lewis, A. M., 2008. Introduction. In: Alison M. Lewis (ed.), Questioning library neutrality: essays from progressive librarian. Duluth, MI: Library Juice Press, pp.1-4
  9. Clark and Preater, op. cit.
  10. Smith, L., 2014. ‘Radical Librarians Collective (Part Three): Critical Theory’, Lauren Smith, 2014-05-16
  11. Lessig, L., 2008. Remix: making art and commerce thrive in the hybrid economy. London: Bloomsbury Academic,
  12. Lawson, S., 2015. ‘Editorial’, Journal of Radical Librarianship, vol. 1,

Open Knowledge Foundation: Open Data Day 2015 Recap #4: Hacks, Meet Ups and Data Exploration in Africa!

planet code4lib - Wed, 2015-03-25 08:39

Open Data Day 2015, which took place on February 21, was celebrated in hundreds of communities around the world. In this blog series, we have been highlighting the discussions and outcomes of a small selection of the hacks, data dives and meetups that were organised that day. In this fourth post in the series, we will be looking at a selection of events that took place in Africa, from Tunisia to South Africa and Nigeria to Kenya! If you want to learn more about what transpired in other parts of the world, check out our recaps posts on Asia, the Americas and Europe.

Open Data Day was rocking this year on the African continent, here is just a sample of some of the incredible events that were organised through open community members!


As far as we can tell, the award for largest open data day event in the world goes to the open data community in Yaoundé, Cameroon who managed to pile 2,000 people into the amphitheater at the University of Yaoundé to learn about open data and its potential to improve the lives of citizens in Cameroon. Furthermore, as if 2,000 people in an university amphitheater on a Saturday afternoon wasn’t impressive enough, the event had 5,000 registered participants and incredible online engagement.

The NetSquared Yaoundé community brought together students, open data experts and professors to listen and learn about the importance of open data and specifically the benefits that open data can bring education, economic development, citizen engagement and government transparency and accountability. In a keynote talk, the president of the College of Law and Political Science at the University of Yaoundé emphasised the importance open data for researchers in Cameroon and West Africa as a whole, highlighting that access to open data allows researchers to better understand the challenges they are facing and to developed evidence based and locally specific solutions.

Our hats are off to the open data community in Cameroon, what an exceptional result!


In Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, open data day was attended by technologists, programmers, hackers, students, activists and NGOs, all of whom came together to grow the local open knowledge community, introduce newcomers to civic hacking and demonstrate the incredible storytelling power of data and data driven projects. Overall, the event was a great success. Several open data projects were presented and a number of open data challenges were identified discussed (for example, the lack of open licence, FOIA, and reluctance of government agencies to share data). Together, participants, shared their strategies to overcome these challenges and brainstormed an effective best path forward.

Participants acknowledged the very real challenge that the open movement is facing in Tanzania as some civil society groups still fail to see the value of coming together to collectively raise a louder voice in demanding open government data. Ultimately, participants determined that the open movement in Tanzania would benefit from increased community building efforts and targeting new partners in order to push the open agenda forward with a larger, more joined-up, base. The participants also determined that there was a need to encourage government officials to attend events like this in the future.


In Nigeria, the open data community organised Benin City’s first open data hackathon with resounding success.

The goal of the event was simple, to raise awareness for open data by using the agricultural sector as an example and demonstrating how data was being used by entrepreneurs in the sector. By the end of the day, organisers hoped that they would generate a pool of ideas on how to stimulate innovation within the agricultural sector through data driven applications and were pleased to report that a number of ideas emerged from the day’s discussion. Keynote presentations were used to introduce key concepts and provide examples of open data. Subsequently, participants were asked to get their hands dirty and actually work with data and think about solutions to challenges within the sector.

Open Data Day participants in Benin City worked with agriculture data from the state’s open data portal – The emerging projects are still in development phase and are not yet online but organisers were incredibly excited to see participants working with the data the government has been publishing!


Kampala, Uganda was bustling with open data day activities this year, so much so that hackathons were carried out across two weekends!

On February 28th, Reality Check organised an open data day event for journalists, researchers, entrepreneurs, students and technologists. This followed up on data storytelling from the week before. Participants learned about the strengths and weaknesses of tools like videos, pictures, charts as well as about the various tools that are available. Participants learned how to clean and visualise data it in order to use it for effective storytelling. New visualisations were created as well. .. Check it out here.

The participants discussed the progress that had been made over the past year, specifically focusing on what worked and what didn’t, in order to plan better for the year to come. The event was a great success and created such excitement among participants that many of them want to meet and discuss the subject on a monthly basis! In addition, a new google group as well as facebook page were opened to allow people can keep in touch and continue to engage with one another online as well as offline.

Finally, in February in Kampala, open data related activities were not limited to one off hackathons> check out the awesome Code for Africa Bootcamp organised the following week! February was a busy month for open data in Uganda!


In Tunisia, Clibre organised a meetup with a diverse group of participants to celebrate open data day 2015! There were a number of participants with little to no technical knowledge and the goal of the meetup was to expose all participants to the concept of open data and open government as well as to discuss the legal implications of open government in light of the new Tunisian constitution.

Following the presentations and discussion, a number of initiatives using Open Data in Tunisia were presented. M. Nizar Kerkeni, president of the CLibre Association, presented the new open data portal developed for the city of Sayada. At the end of the day, after having had the chance to play around with the new data portal, M. Ramzi Hajjaji from CLibre announced that an official web portal for the city of Monastir would be launched soon, inspired by the portal developed for the city of Sayada.

You can check out a full report of the day (in French) on their website, along with a number of videos (in Arabic)!


Open Data Day in Mombasa, Kenya was celebrated by organising four separate focus groups in order to explore the potential of open data in the following key areas: security, economy, education & conservation.

The conservation group looked at data on everything from marine and wildlife conservation to the conservation of historic buildings and sites in Mombasa. They looked for various datasets, analysed the data and created various data visualisations documenting pertinent trends. The group exploring the potential of open data on the economy built a prototype for an open tendering system for the government of Kenya, scoping the necessary features and potential impact. The participants exploring open data in education brainstormed various ways in which open data could help parents and students make more informed choices about where they go to school. Finally, in the security group, participants discussed and hacked on ways that they could use open data to combat corruption and fraud.

South Africa

In South Africa, Code for South Africa organised an Data Easter Egg Hunt! If you want to find out more, check out the awesome video they made on the day!


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