Interested in using DPLA to do family research, but aren’t sure where to start? Consider the family Bible. There are two large family Bible collections in DPLA—over 2,100 (transcribed) from the North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources, and another 90 from the South Carolina Digital Library. They’re filled with rich information about family connections and provide insight into how people of the American South lived and died during the—mainly—18th and 19th centuries.
Prior to October 1913 in North Carolina, and January 1915 in South Carolina, vital records (birth and death, specifically) were not documented at the state level. Some cities and counties kept official records before then, and in other cases births and deaths were documented—when at all—by churches or families. Private birth, death, and marriage events were most often recorded in family Bibles, which have become rich resources for genealogists in search of early vital records.
Family Bibles are Bibles passed down from one generation of relatives to the next. In some cases, such as the 1856 version held by the Hardison family, the Bible had pages dedicated to recording important events. In others, the inside covers or page margins were used to document births, deaths, and marriages. The earliest recorded date in a family Bible in DPLA is the birth of John Bullard in 1485.
Not only do family Bibles record the dates and names of those born, died, or married, but these valuable resources may identify where an event took place as well. Oftentimes, based on the way in which the event was recorded, the reader can sense the joy or heartache the recorder felt when they inscribed it in the Bible (for example, see the Jordan family Bible, page 8). You’ll even find poetry, schoolwork, correspondence, news clippings, and scribbles in family Bibles that provide insight into a family’s private life that might otherwise be lost (for examples, see the Abraham Darden, Gladney, and Henry Billings family Bibles).
Family Bibles—especially those from the southern US—may be of particular interest to African American genealogists whose ancestry trails often go cold prior to the Civil War. Before the 1860s, there is little documentary evidence that ancestors even existed beyond first names and estimated ages in bills of sale, wills, or property lists produced during slavery. Family Bibles are some of the only documents that contain the names of slaves, and in rare cases their ages, birthdates, and parentage.
A search on the subject term “Bible Records AND African Americans,” in the collection from the North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources, returns a set of 142 North Carolina family Bibles that contain at least one documented slave name. In a few cases, the list can extend to ten or more (for example, Simmons Family Bible, page 4). This information enables African American genealogists to begin to trace their ancestry to a place and time in history.
Because African Americans are listed among the slaveholding family’s names, it can sometimes be difficult to discern which are family members and which are their slaves, so some care is required when working with these records. Generally, slaves are listed without last names (for example, see page 7 of the Horton Family Bible).
Whether you are a family researcher or are simply interested in American history, the family Bibles from North and South Carolina will be of great interest. They tell deeply personal stories and expose a rich history hidden in the private collections of American citizens that remind us that all history is truly local.
Featured image credit: Detail from page 2 of the Debnam Family Bible Records. Courtesy of the State Archives of North Carolina via the North Carolina Digital Heritage Center.
All written content on this blog is made available under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. All images found on this blog are available under the specific license(s) attributed to them, unless otherwise noted.
Next week is Fair Use Week so let’s celebrate with a copyright tweetchat on Twitter. On February 25th from 3:00 to 4:00 p.m. (Eastern), legal expert Brandon Butler will be our primary “chatter” on fair use.
There are few specific copyright exceptions that libraries and educational institutions can rely on that deal specifically with media, so reliance on fair use is often the only option for limiting copyright when necessary. The wide array of media formats both analog and digital, the widespread availability of media content, the importance of media in the teaching and research, in addition to advances in computer technologies and digital networks were unheard of in the 1960-70s when Congress drafted the current copyright law.
But Congress recognized that a flexible exception like fair use would be an important user exception especially in times of dramatic change. Fair use can address the unexpected copyright situation that will occur in the future. Particularly with media, it’s a whole new world.
The tweetchat will address concerns like the following:
- Can I make a digital copy of this video?
- When is a public performance public?
- When can I break digital rights technology on DVDs?
- Is the auditorium a classroom?
- How can libraries preserve born-digital works acquired via a license agreement?
- And my favorite: What about YouTube? What can we do with YouTube?
Ask Brandon Butler your media question. Participate in the Twitter tweetchat by using #videofairuse on February 25, 2015, from 3:00 to 4:00 p.m. EST.
Brandon Butler has plenty experience with fair use. He is a Practitioner-in-Residence at American University’s Washington College of Law, where he supervises student attorneys in the Glushko-Samuelson Intellectual Property Law Clinic and teaches about copyright and fair use. Brandon is the co-facilitator, with Peter Jaszi and Patricia Aufderheide, of the Code of Best Practices in Fair Use for Academic and Research Libraries, a handy guide to thinking clearly about fair use published by the Association of Research Libraries and endorsed by all the major library associations, including the American Library Association (ALA).
Special thanks to Laura Jenemann for planning this event. Laura is Media Librarian and Liaison Librarian, Film Studies and Dance, at George Mason University, VA. She is also the current Chair of ALA’s Video Round Table.
The post Tweet questions about fair use and media resources appeared first on District Dispatch.
Lately I’ve taken to peppering my Twitter network with random questions. Sometimes my questions go unanswered but other times I get lively and helpful responses. Such was the case when I asked how my colleagues share their slide decks.
Figuring out how to share my slide decks has been one of those things that consistently falls to the bottom of my to-do list. It’s important to me to do so because it means I can share my ideas beyond the very brief moment in time that I’m presenting them, allowing people to reuse and adapt my content. Now that I’m hooked on the GTD system using Trello, though, I said to myself, “hey girl, why don’t you move this from the someday/maybe list and actually make it actionable.” So I did.
Here’s my dilemma. When I was a library school student I began using SlideShare. There are a lot of great things about it – it’s free, it’s popular, and there are a lot of integrations. However… I’m just not feeling the look of it anymore. I don’t think it has been updated in years, resulting in a cluttered, outdated design. I’ll be the first to admit that I’m snobby when it comes to this sort of thing. I also hate that I can’t reorder slide decks once they’re uploaded. I would like to make sure my decks are listed in some semblance of chronological order but in order to do so I have to upload them in backwards order. It’s just crazy annoying how little control you have over the final arrangement and look of the slides.
So now that you’ve got the backstory, this is where the Twitter wisdom comes in. As it turns out, I learned about more than slide sharing platforms – I also found out about some nifty ways to create slide decks that made me feel like I’ve been living under a rock for the past few years. Here are some thoughts on HaikuDeck, HTMLDecks, and SpeakerDeck.HaikuDeck
This is really sleek and fun. You can create an account for free (beta version) and pull something together quickly. Based on the slide types HaikuDeck provides you with, you’re shepherded down a delightfully minimalistic path – you can of course create densely overloaded slides but it’s a little harder than normal. Because this is something I’m constantly working on, I am appreciative.
I haven’t yet created and presented using a slide deck from HaikuDeck but I’m going to make that a goal for this spring. However, you can see a quick little test slide deck here. I made it in about two minutes and it has absolutely no meaningful content, it’s just meant to give you an easy visual of one of their templates. (Incentive: make it through all three slides and you’ll find a picture of a giant cat.)
One thing to keep in mind is that you’ll want to do all of your editing within HaikuDeck. If you export to Powerpoint, nothing will be editable because each slide exports as an image. This could be problematic if you needed to do last minute edits and didn’t have an internet connection. Also, beware: at least one user has shared that it ate her slides.HTMLDecks
This is a simple way to build a basic slide deck using HTML. I don’t think it could get any simpler and I’m actually struggling with what to write that would be helpful for you to know about it. To expand what you can do, learn more about Markdown.
From what I can tell, there is no export feature – you do need to pull up your slide deck in a browser and present from there. Again, this makes me a little nervous given the unreliable nature of some internet connections.
I see the appeal of HTMLDecks, though I’m not sure it’s for me. (Anyone want to change my mind by pointing to your awesome slide deck? Show me in the comments!)SpeakerDeck
I was so dejected when I looked at my sad SlideShare account. SpeakerDeck renewed my faith. This is the one for me!
What’s not to love? SpeakerDeck has the clean look I’ve craved and it automatically orders your slides based on the date you gave your presentation, most recent slides listed toward the top. Check out my profile here to see all of this in action.
One drawback is that by making the jump to SpeakerDeck I lost the number of views that I had accumulated over the years. On the same note, SpeakerDeck doesn’t integrate with my ImpactStory profile in the same way that SlideShare does. I haven’t published much so my main stats come from my slide decks. Not sure what I’m going to do about that yet, beyond lobby the lovely folks at ImpactStory to add SpeakerDeck integration.
One thing I would like to see a slide sharing platform implement is shared ownership of slides. I asked SpeakerDeck about whether they offered this functionality; they don’t at this time. You see, I give a lot of presentations on behalf of a group I lead, Research Data Services (RDS). Late last year I created a SlideShare account for RDS. I would love nothing more than to be able to link my RDS slide decks to my personal account so that they show up in both accounts.
Lastly, I would be remiss as a data management evangelizer if I didn’t note that placing the sole copies of your slides (or any files) on a web service is an incredibly bad idea. It’s akin to teenagers now keeping their photos on Facebook or Instagram and deleting the originals, a tale so sad it could keep me up at night. A better idea is to keep two copies of your final slide deck: one saved as an editable file and the other saved as a PDF. Then upload a copy of the PDF to your slide sharing platform. (Sidenote: I haven’t always been as diligent about keeping track of these files. They’ve lived in various versions of google drive, hard drives, and been saved as email attachments… basically all the bad things that I am employed to caution against. Lesson? We are all vulnerable to the slow creep of many versions in many places but it’s never too late to stop the digital hoarding.)
How do you share your slide decks? Do you have any other platforms, tools, or tips to share with me? Do tell.
Two weeks back a coalition of Open Data Day supporters announced a micro-grant scheme in an open call for groups with good ideas for Open Data Day activities. The response was overwhelming and over 75 groups from all corners of the world found the time to send in an application for one of the 300 USD micro-grants.
We were absolutely overwhelmed with the number of applications and sadly could only reward a small fraction of them, despite the vast majority being more than worthy of financial support. Through dire deliberations the following groups were selected:
- Suhrob Niyozov, on behalf of Open Data Initiative Tajikistan and online journal ICT4D (Tajikistan)
- Nikesh Balami, on behalf of Open Knowledge Nepal (Nepal)
- Anton Stoychev, on behalf of obshtestvo.bg (Bulgaria)
- Albanian Institute of Science (Albania)
- Yulli Jeremia, on behalf of the Dar es Salaam Open Knowledge Community (Tanzania)
- Okwuone Nkechi, on behalf of SabiHub (Nigeria)
- Anagho Emmanuel Anyangwe, on behalf of Netsquared Yaoundé Cameroon (Cameroon)
- Media Initiative for Open Governance in Uganda-MIFOGU (Uganda)
- Catherine Alwenyi Cassidy, on behalf of Fund Africa (Uganda)
- Rached Alaya, on behalf of CLibre (Tunisia)
- Ricardo Lafuente, on behalf of Transparência Hackday (Portugal)
- Nurunnaby Chowdhury, on behalf of Open Knowledge Bangladesh (Bangladesh)
- Subhajit Ganguly, on behalf of Open Knowledge India (India)
- Ahmed Maawy, on behalf of SwahiliBox (Kenya)
- Joseph De Guia, on behalf of Open Knowledge Philippines (Philippnes)
- Maheshwar Boodraj, on behalf of Mona School of Business & Management, UWI (Jamaica)
- Cesar Mendoza Quisbert, on behalf of ACM-SIM Foundation (Bolivia)
- Maricarmen Sequera, on behalf of TEDIC (Paraguay)
- Yamila García, on behalf of Open Knowledge Argentina (Argentina)
- Ignacio Alfaro Marín, on behalf of Abriendo Datos (Costa Rica)
- SocialTIC (Mexico)
- Danilo Oliveria on behalf of Bridge Co Working (Brazil)
- Fundación Ciudadano Inteligente (Chile)
- Alexander Plata, on behalf of Fundación Gobierno Abierto (Colombia)
- Maria Isabel Vega, on behalf of IPANDETEC (Panama)
- Antonio Cucho, on behalf of ODPE/Open Data Peru (Peru)
- Iris Palma, on behalf of Consortium for the Transparency in El Salvador (El Salvador)
- Data Uruguay (Uruguay)
We, the coalition behind the micro-grants, congratulate them all and look forward to help them alongside all other groups organizing Open Data Day activities.
For all the groups who were unfortunately not awarded funds this time around, we were still tremendously excited to read about their plans. We were severely limited in the funds we had available and are disappointed that we couldn’t support more groups! We hope that those groups will still be able to carry on and organize their planned event and we are here to provide . The vast majority of Open Data Day events are organized without budget, and in the spirit of the global volunteer community we hope that they will be able to as well! We look forward to support all Open Data Day organizers in other ways and will be pushing Open Data Day heavily on social media, blog posts etc.
If you have plans to organise an event, don’t forget to add it to the wiki and on the official Open Data Day world map of events. It’s still not too late to organise, so roll up your sleeves and jump into it! More than 200 events are already in progress, let’s reach 300!
See Spanish translation of this post.
On February 11th, we presented the Evolving Scholarly Record (ESR) Framework at the EMEA Regional Council annual meeting, in Florence. The topic was on spot, as the plenary talks preceding the ESR break-out session had paved the way for a more in-depth discussion of how libraries can re-invent their future stewardship roles in the digital domain.
Keynote David Weinberger had argued compellingly the day before, that the Web was a much better place for information to be in than the fixed physical containers of books and journals, and that its shape allowed for unlimited expansion, so that “on the web, nothing is filtered out, only filtered forward.” He continued to say: “Researchers like to put their findings on the web because it allows for discussion and a multiplicity of views, including disagreement.” In the follow-up session, Jim Neal made the same observation but phrased it somewhat differently, saying “researchers dump their work everywhere,” denouncing the “repository chaos” and asking who was responsible for ensuring scholarly integrity on the web? He sent a strong message about the need to decide what of continuing value should be preserved and the imperative to devise new types of cooperative strategies to steer the scholarly ecosystem in the right direction.
As the first speaker at the ESR-break-out session, I presented the Framework, highlighting: 1) the scattering of research outputs on the web and the expanding boundaries of the scholarly record, 2) the increased use of common web platforms by scholars for sharing their work at the risk of compromising scholarly integrity practices and of losing the ability to capture and preserve the scholarly record and 3) the fast changing configuration of stakeholder roles and the need for innovative practices to ensure that the recording of the ESR is organized in consistent and reliable ways. Ulf-Göran Nilsson (Jönköping University) wondered if the Framework might benefit from being complemented with an underlying economic framework, as he argued that the journal subscription model determined the traditional “Fix” and “Collect” roles of publishers and libraries respectively. He suggested that the economic models for OA-publishing are similarly likely to affect the dynamics of the ESR-stakeholder roles. Cendrella Habre (Lebanese American University) asked what libraries should do to start addressing the ESR-problem space?
Brian Schottlaender (UC San Diego), our second speaker, gave an enlightening reaction. He spoke about “rising to the stewardship challenge” and described how the curation of research data is becoming an increasingly important part of the stewardship tasks of the scholarly record. His “full-spectrum stewardship”-diagram gave a process view of the SR, with 1) the scholarly raw material as “inputs,” 2) the scholarly enquiry and discourse as “operators” and 3) scholarly publishing as “outputs.” Whilst libraries have traditionally focused on the outputs, they are now hiring archivists to capture the raw data as well. John MacColl (St Andrews), our third speaker/reactor, lifted the session to higher policy-levels – stressing the need for community conversations and for taking ownership of and control over stewardship. He thought the ESR-Framework could be instrumental in identifying problems and inefficiencies – and, solving these would in turn help counter chaos and “surrendering to the web.” With his metaphor of librarians as “hydraulic engineers of information flow,” he came full circle back to the theme of the Florentine meeting: “The art of invention.”
The talks will have inspired the audience to ask questions and to add their perspectives to the discussion – however there was too little time left. I would therefore like to invite those who attended and those who read this blog post, to leave their comments behind and to continue the conversation right here!About Titia van der Werf
Titia van der Werf is a Senior Program Officer in OCLC Research based in OCLC's Leiden office. Titia coordinates and extends OCLC Research work throughout Europe and has special responsibilities for interactions with OCLC Research Library Partners in Europe. She represents OCLC in European and international library and cultural heritage venues.Mail | Web | More Posts (2)
New vacancy listings are posted weekly on Wednesday at approximately 12 noon Central Time. They appear under New This Week and under the appropriate regional listing. Postings remain on the LITA Job Site for a minimum of four weeks.New This Week
Visit the LITA Job Site for more available jobs and for information on submitting a job posting.
If you have been following us here on District Dispatch, you probably have a pretty good idea what sort of policy and legislation we have had our attention turned to the past few months. From net neutrality to 3D printing, we do our best to keep you up to date on the happenings relevant to libraries here in the District.
That said, maybe you are new to District Dispatch! Or maybe you just can’t get enough of those Washington updates! Whatever the case, I present to you the latest 6 month report from the Washington Office. Find out what has been going on behind the scenes at the Office of Government Relations and the Office for Information Technology Policy by clicking the link below (PDF).
Islandora Camp in Madrid is still several months away and we are still accepting proposals for presentations from the community, but we wanted to give a little preview of the kind of content you can expect, for those who might still be on the fence about attending.Day One
On the first day of camp we address Islandora software and the community from a broad perspective. There are some standard topics that we cover at every camp, because they are always relevant and there are always updates:
- An update on the project and what is happening in the community
- A look at innovative Islandora sites around the world
- A look at the current software stack and modules in our latest release (which, by the time if iCampEU2, will be Islandora 7.x-1.5)
On the not-so-standard front, we will have Fedora 4 Integration Project Director Nick Ruest as part of our Camp instructor team, and he will be giving an update and (hopefully) an early demo of our Fedora 4/Islandora 7.x integration.Day Two
The second day of Islandora Camp is all about hands-on experience. If you are a librarian, archivist, or other front-end Islandora user (or interested in becoming one), the Admin track will go over how to use Islandora via its front-end menus and GUIs. We will cover basic site set up, collections, single and batch ingests, security configuration, and setting up Solr for discoverability. For the more technically inclined, we have a Dev track that delves into Islandora from the code side culminating in the development of s custom Islandora module so you can learn how it's done.Day Three
The last day of the event is turned over to more specific presentation and sessions from the community. Right now we are looking at some sessions on linked data, FRBRoo ontologies in Islandora, themeing, and multi-lingual Islandoras, but our Call for Proposals is open until March 1st, so this line up could change. If you have something you'd like to share with the Islandora Community, please send us your proposal!
If you have any questions about Islandora Camp in Madrid, please contact me.
This post has been crossposted to the Digital Library Federation blog.
Code4lib 2015 was held last week from February 9-12, 2015 in Portland, Oregon. The Code4lib conferences have grown in the last ten years, both in terms of size and scope of topics. This growth is particularly impressive when you consider that much of the work of organizing the conference falls upon a circulating group of volunteers, with additional organizational support from organizations like the Digital Library Federation. It has become clear to me that the Code4lib community is interested in ensuring that it can develop and support compelling and useful conferences for everyone who chooses to participate.
I believe communities like Code4lib are important for organizations like the Digital Public Library of America and the DLF in several ways. First, Code4lib conferences provide a structure that allows its community members to have venue to act on areas of interest. While Code4lib has a similar process to the DLF Forum for selecting sessions, the key difference is there are ample opportunities with semi-structured time for community members to self-organize. For example, each Code4lib conference has multiple blocks for five-minute lightning talks that open for signup at the conference itself. These presentations are often the most memorable content from the Code4lib conferences, as they include an element of risk, such as a live demo, an unrehearsed presentation, or untested ideas. Code4lib also ensures ample time for breakout sessions. Like lightning talks, topics for breakout sessions are determined at the conference itself, rather than in advance. These topics can range quite widely, from working sessions to collaborate on software development, to discussing ways to work through very specific but shared problems.
Secondly, Code4lib and communities like it provide a forum to talk through their values openly and honestly. While it was not an easy conversation, the community deliberated and ultimately developed a code of conduct for its conference and online channels. Conference presentations at this year’s Code4lib have also made it clear that there are social implications for the cultural heritage technology community in terms of how we adopt, develop, and release open source software, such as “Your Code Does Not Exist in a Vacuum” by Becky Yoose, and Jason Casden and Bret Davidson’s presentation, “Beyond Open Source.” Other important presentations from this year that talk about values within our community include Jennie Rose Halperin’s “Our $50,000 Problem: Why Library School?”; Margaret Heller, Christina Salazar and May Yan’s “How To Hack it as a Working Parent”; and the two keynote presentations by Selena Deckelmann and Andromeda Yelton.
Finally, Code4lib is important to organizations like DLF and DPLA because it provides the opportunity to have a strong regional focus. When community members have significant interest to see an event in their region, they are welcome to organize regional meetings or groups along the same rough model. So far, this has included several regional meetings in the United States and Canada, as well as two regional groups in Europe, Code4lib Japan, and Code4GLAM Australia. Having this flexibility can make it easier for people access to large travel budgets to participate in a larger community, and can improve outreach opportunities for organizations like DPLA and DLF.
DPLA and DLF have a great opportunity to support and learn more from the vibrant Code4lib community, by encouraging members within our networks to self-organize in similar ways. In particular, we at DPLA look forward to providing an opportunity to do this at DPLAfest 2015, to be held April 17-18, 2015 in Indianapolis. We are particularly eager to see members of the DLF and Code4lib communities attend and participate in shaping large-scale cultural heritage networks for the future. In addition, DPLA and DLF are offering DPLAfest 2015 cross-pollinator travel grants to support attendance by staff from DLF members not currently part of a DPLA Hub team. Please consider applying – we would love to support your attendance!
Intel announced in January that they are developing a new chip called Curie that will be the size of a button and it is bound to push The Internet of Things (IoT) forward quickly. The IoT is a concept where everyday items (refrigerators, clothes, cars, kitchen devices, etc.) will be connected to the internet.
The first time I heard of IoT was in the 2014 Horizon Report for K-12. Yes, I’m a little slow sometimes… There is also a new book out that was shared with me by one of the fellow LITA Bloggers, Erik Sandall, by David Rose titled Enchanted Objects: Design, Human Desire, and the Internet of Things. If you want an interesting read on this topic I recommend checking it out (a little library humor).
When I first heard of IoT, I thought it was really interesting, but wasn’t sure how quickly it would fully arrive. With Intel’s new chip I can imagine it arriving sooner than I thought. Last month, I blogged about Amazon Echo, and Echo fits in nicely with IoT. I have to say that I’d really like to see more librarians jump on IoT and start a conversation on how information will be disseminated when our everyday items are connected to the internet.
According to the author of an article in Fast Company, IoT is going to make libraries even better! There was an article written in American Libraries by Mariam Pera on IoT, Lee Rainie did a presentation at Internet Librarian, and Ned Potter wrote about it on his blog. But there is room for more conversation.
If anyone is interested in this conversation, please reach out!
If you could have one device always connected to the internet what would it be? You can’t say your phone.
Open Knowledge Foundation: Call for Applications: School of Data 2015 Fellowship programme now open!
We’re very happy to open today our 2015 Call for School of Data Fellowships!
Following our successful 2014 School of Data Fellowships, we’re opening today our Call for Applications for the 2015 Fellowship programme. As with last year’s programme, we’re looking to find new data trainers to spread data skills around the world.
As a School of Data fellow, you will receive data and leadership training, as well as coaching to organise events and build your community in your country or region. You will also be part of a growing global network of School of Data practitioners, benefiting from the network effects of sharing resources and knowledge and contributing to our understanding about how best to localise our training efforts.
As a fellow, you’ll be part of a nine-month training programme where you’ll work with us for an average of ten working days a month, including attending online and offline trainings, organising events, and being an active member of the thriving School of Data community.Get the details
Our 2015 fellowship programme will run from April-December 2015. We’re asking for 10 days a month of your time – consider it to be a part time role, and your time will be remunerated. To apply, you need to be living in a country classified as lower income, lower-middle income or upper-middle income categories as classified here.Who are we looking for?
People who fit the following profile:
- Data savvy: has experience working with data and a passion for teaching data skills.
- Social change: understands and interested in the role of Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) and the media in bringing positive change through advocacy, campaigns, and storytelling.
- Has some facilitation skills and enjoys community-building (both online and offline) – or, eager to learn and develop their communication and presentation skills
- Eager to learn from and be connected with an international community of data enthusiasts
- Language: a strong knowledge of English – this is necessary in order to communicate with other fellows, to take part in the English-run online skillshares and the offline Summer Camp
To give you an idea of who we’re looking for, check out the profiles of our 2014 fellows – we welcome people from a diverse range of backgrounds, too, so people with new skillsets and ranges of experience are encouraged to apply.
This year, we’d love to work with people with a particular topical focus, especially those interest in working with extractive industries data, financial data, or aid data.
There are 7 fellowship positions open for the April to December 2015 School of Data training programme.Geographical focus
We’re looking for people based in low-, lower-middle, and upper-middle income countries as classified by the World Bank, and we have funding for Fellows in the following geographic regions:
- One fellow from Macedonia
- One fellow from Central America – focus countries Costa Rica, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua
- One fellow from South America – focus countries Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador
- Two fellows based in African countries (ie. two different countries)
- Two fellows based in Asian countries (ie. two different countries)
As a School of Data fellow, you’ll be part of our 9-month programme, which includes the following activities:
- guided and independent online and offline skillshares and trainings, aimed to develop data and leadership skills,
- individual mentoring and coaching;
- an appropriate stipend equivalent to a part time role;
- Participation in the annual School of Data Summer Camp, which will take place in May 2015 – location to be confirmed.
- Participation in activities within a growing community of School of Data practitioners to ensure continuous exchange of resources, knowledge and best practices;
- Training and coaching of the fellow in participatory event management, storytelling, public speaking, impact assessment etc;
- Opportunities for paid work – often training opportunities arise in the countries where the fellows are based.
- Potential work with one or more local civil society organisations to develop data driven campaigns and research.
This year’s fellowships will be supported by the Partnership for Open Development (POD) OD4D, Hivos, and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in Macedonia. We welcome more donors to contribute to this year’s fellowship programme! If you are a donor and are interested in this, please email us at email@example.com.
Got questions? See more about the Fellowship Programme here and have a looks at this Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) page.- or, watch the Ask Us Anything Hangouts that we held in mid-February to take your questions and chat more about the fellowship.
Convinced? Apply now to become a School of data fellow. The application will be open until March 10th and the programme will start in April 2015.
Search is the cornerstone of the library website, and the primary goal of our online presence: to help users find resources and information so that they can do their work.
From Stacie Lemick, Programs and Operations Associate, SPARC
Washington, DC SPARC is pleased to announce that registration is now open for the upcoming COAR-SPARC Conference, Connecting Research Results, Bridging Communities, Opening Scholarship, to be held April 15th and 16th in Porto, Portugal.
Medical professionals have professional ethical codes. For instance, the psychologists who (it is argued) helped devised improved torture methods for the U.S. government are accused of violating the ethical code of their profession.
Do software engineers and others who write software have professional ethical duties?
Might one of them be to do one’s best to create secure software (rather than intentionally releasing software with vulnerabilities for the purposes of allowing people in the know to exploit), and responsibly disclosing any security vulnerabilities found in third party software (rather than keeping them close so they can be used them for exploits)?
If so, are the software developers at the NSA (and, more likely, government contractors working for the NSA) guilty of unethical behavior?
Of course, the APA policy didn’t keep the psychologists from doing what they did, and there is some suggestion that the APA even intentionally made sure to leave enough loophole, which they potentially regret. And there have been similar controversies within Anthropology. There’s no magic bullet to ethical behavior from simply writing rules, but I still think it’s a useful point for inquiry, at least acknowledging that there is such a thing as professional ethics for the profession, and providing official recognition that these discussions are part of the profession.
Are there ethical duties of software engineers and others who create software? As software becomes more and more socially powerful, is it important to society that this be recognized? Are these discussions happening? What professional bodies might they take place in? (IEEE? ACM?). The ACM has a code of ethics, but it’s pretty vague, it seems easy to justify just about any profit-making activity.
Are these discussions happening? Will the extensive Department of Defense funding of Computer Science (theoretical and applied) in the U.S. make it hard to have these discussions? (When I googled, the discussion that came up of how DoD funding effects computer science research was from 1989 — there may be self-interested reasons people aren’t that interested in talking about this).
Filed under: General
Cerf's talk was the first in a session devoted to Information-Centric Networks:
Vinton Cerf’s talk discusses the desirable properties of a "Digital Vellum" — a system that is capable of preserving the meaning of the digital objects we create over periods of hundreds to thousands of years. This is not about preserving bits, It is about preserving meaning, much like the Rosetta Stone. Information Centric Networking may provide an essential element to implement a Digital Vellum. This long-term thinking will serve as a foundation and context for exploring ICNs in more detail. ICN is a generalization of the Content-Centric Networks about which I blogged two years ago. I agree with Cerf that these concepts are probably very important for long-term digital preservation, but not why they are. ICNs make it easy for Lots Of Copies to Keep Stuff Safe, and thus make preserving bits easier, but I don't see that they affect the interpretation of the bits.
There's more to disagree with Cerf about. What he calls "bit rot" is not what those in the digital preservation field call it. In his 1995 Scientific American article Jeff Rothenberg analyzed the reasons digital information might not reach future readers:
- Media Obsolescence - you might not be able to read bits from the storage medium, for example because a reader for that medium might no longer be available.
- Bit Rot - you might be able to read bits from the medium, but they might be corrupt.
- Format Obsolescence - you might be able to read the correct bits from the medium but they might no longer be useful because software to render them into an intelligible form might no longer be available.
Bit Rot (not in Cerf's sense) is an inescapable problem - no real-world storage system can be perfectly reliable. In the TEDx talk Cerf simply assumes it away.
Format Obsolescence is what Cerf was discussing. There is no doubt that it is a real problem, and that in the days before the Web it was rampant. However, the advent of the Web forced a change. Pre-Web, most formats were the property of the application that both wrote and read the data. In the Web world, these two are different and unrelated.
Google is famously data-driven, and there is data about the incidence of format obsolescence - for example the Institut National de l'Audiovisuel surveyed their collection of audiovisual content from the early Web, which would be expected to have been very vulnerable to format obsolescence. They found an insignificant amount. I predicted this finding on twofold theoretical grounds three years before their study:
- The Web is a publishing medium. The effect is that formats in the Web world are effectively network protocols - the writer has no control over the reader. Experience shows protocols are the hardest things to change in incompatible ways (cf. Postel's Law, "no flag day on the Internet", IPv6, etc.).
- Almost all widely used formats have open source renderers, preserved in source code repositories. It is very difficult to construct a plausible scenario by which a format with an open source renderer could become uninterpretable.
That is the danger of closed, proprietary formats and something consumers should be aware of. However, it is much less of an issue for most people because the majority of the content they collect as they move through life will be documented in widely supported, more open formats.While format obsolescence is a problem, it is neither significant nor pressing for most digital resources.
However, there is a problem that is both significant and pressing that affects the majority of digital resources. By far the most important reason that digital information will fail to reach future readers is not technical, or even the very real legal issues that Cerf points to. It is economic. Every study of the proportion of content that is being preserved comes up with numbers of 50% or less. The institutions tasked with preserving our digital heritage, the Internet Archive and national libraries and archives, have nowhere close to the budget they would need to get that number even up to 90%.
Note that increasingly people's and society's digital heritage is in the custody of a small number of powerful companies, Google prominent among them. All the examples from the TEDx talk are of this kind. Experience shows that the major cause of lost data in this case is the company shutting the service down, as Google does routinely. Jason Scott's heroic Archive Team has tried to handle many such cases.
These days, responsibility for ensuring that the bits survive and can be interpreted rests primarily on Cerf's own company and its peers.
We’re deep into planning AccessYYZ and we want to know what we can do to make this conference perfect for you! On Tuesday, September 8 we’ll be throwing pre-conference events and we want your input on what we should organize. Should pre-con programming be kept more in the vein of other Access cons with just the Hackfest? Or should we switch it up to include a different option for those of you interested in gaining some tangible tech skills? Who better to decide this than you, the future attendees? Exactly what we thought.
The survey below includes the following options:
Hackfest is an informal event gives interested people the chance to work together in small groups to tackle interesting projects in a low stress environment. It’s open to attendees of all abilities and backgrounds, not just programmers or systems librarians. Hackfest is the place to roll up your sleeves and experiment with that new service idea or pick other people’s brains on a tricky problem. Just to be clear, the Hackfest is definitely occurring, regardless of the results of this poll.
Software Carpentry Workshop
Software Carpentry teaches basic computing skills in a peer-led environment. Originally developed for scientists, the organization has recently developed sessions specifically targeted at library workers. Generally, the workshop covers topics such as:
- the Unix shell (and how to automate repetitive tasks)
- Python or R (and how to grow a program in a modular, testable way)
- Git and GitHub (and how to track and share work efficiently)
- SQL (and the difference between structured and unstructured data)
You can learn more about Software Carpentry – both the workshops and the organization behind them – here.
Have a great idea for a 1-day something-or-other that we can organize for relatively little money? Let us know in the survey below!
What Should Our Pre-Conference Activities (on Tuesday) Look Like?I'd love to attend... The Hackfest A Software Carpentry Workshop Nothing! I don't plan to attend preconference events. Got a better idea? Let us know!
Recently, the Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR) announced a national competition to digitize and provide access to collections of rare or unique content in cultural heritage institutions, generously funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. This new iteration of the popular Hidden Collections program will enhance the emerging global digital research environment in ways that support expanded access and new forms of research for the long term. Its aim is to ensure that the full wealth of resources held by institutions of cultural heritage becomes integrated with the open web.
DPLA is excited to see among the program’s core values, the inclusion of three that are close to our hearts: Openness, Sustainability, and Collaboration.
We applaud CLIR in supporting DPLA by requiring all metadata created by the program to be explicitly dedicated to the public domain through a Creative Commons Public Domain Declaration License.
It is also admirable that the program states institutions may not claim additional rights or impose additional access fees or restrictions to the digital files created through the project, beyond those already required by law or existing agreements. Materials that are in the public domain in analog form must continue to be in the public domain once they have been digitized.
Here at DPLA we recognize that one key to sustainability is through the use of standards. CLIR’s Digital Library Federation program has developed an insightful wiki that not only is useful to program applicants, but to all those interested in how to manage digitization workflows as well.
Collaboration at DPLA not only happens among our contributing cultural heritage institutions, but we are also actively seeking ways for DPLA to partner with like-minded organizations. Working with CLIR and their Hidden Collections program is just one way we are connecting efforts, and we look forward to an even wider array of materials being made available to the public.
Editor’s note: This is a guest post by Marlon Hernandez
For the past year, across four different classes and countless bars, I have worked on an idea that is quickly becoming my go-to project for any Master of Information Science assignment; the Archivist Beer Vault (ABV) database. At first it was easy to explain the contents: BEER! After incorporating more than one entity the explanation grew a bit murky:
ME: So remember my beer database? Well now it includes information on the brewery, style AND contains fictional store transactions
WIFE: Good for you honey.
ME: Yeah unfortunately that means I need to add a few transitive prop… I lost your attention after beer, didn’t I?
Which is a fair reaction since trying to describe the intricacies of abstract ideas such as entity relationship diagrams require clear-cut visuals. However, drawing these diagrams usually requires either expensive programs like Microsoft Visio (student rate $269) or underwhelming experiences of freeware. Enter Lucidchart, an easy to use and relatively inexpensive diagram solution.
The website starts off users with a few templates to modify from 16 categories, such as Flowchart and Entity Relationship (ERD), or you can opt for a blank canvas. I prefer selecting the Blank (Name of Diagram) option as it clears the field of any unneeded shapes and preselects useful shapes.
While these shapes should be more than enough for standard diagrams, you are also free to mix and match shapes, such as using flowchart shapes for your wireframe diagram. This is especially helpful when creating high fidelity wireframes that require end product level of detail.
Once you have selected your template it is easy to begin your drawing by dragging the desired shapes onto the canvas. Manipulating shapes and adding text overlays is straightforward, you merely click the edge of the boxes of the shape you want and adjust the size of it, which can either be done manually or set to a specific pixel size. Using the program is akin to having access to Photoshop’s powerful image manipulation tools but in a streamlined user-friendly UI. Most users can get by with just the basic options but for advanced users there are settings to adjust your page size and orientation, add layers, revision history, theme colors, adjust image size, and advanced text options. The frequently updated UI adds user requested features and contains tutorials within the diagram menu.
It also contains intuitive features such as converting lines that connect entities into cardinality notations with pulldown options to switch to the desired notation style. This feature is not only practical but can also help with development. Getting back to the ABV, as I drew the entity structures and their cardinalities I realized I needed to add a few more transitive entities and normalize some of the relationships as I had a highly undesirable many-to-many relationship between my purchase table and items. As you can see below, the ABV’s ERD makes the complex relationships much more accessible to new users.
It was easy to move tables around as LucidChart kept the connections on a nice grid pattern, which I could also easily override if need be. This powerful flexibility lead to a clean deliverable for my term project. The positive experience I had creating this ERD lead me to try out the program for a more complex task, creating wireframes for a website redesign project in my Information Architecture class.
Tasked with redesigning a website that uses dated menu and page structures, our project required the creation of low, medium, and high fidelity wireframes. These wireframes present a vision for the website redesign with each type adding another layer of detail. In low fidelity wireframes, image placeholders are used and the only visible text are high level menu items while dummy text fills the rest. Thankfully LucidChart’s wireframe shapes contained the exact shapes we needed. Text options are limited but it did contain one of the fonts from our CSS font family property. Once we reached the high fidelity phase it was easy to import our custom images and seamlessly add them to our diagram.
Once again LucidChart provided a high quality deliverable that impressed my peers and professor. With these wireframes I was able to design the finished product. With LucidChart’s focus on IT/engineering, product management & design, and business, you can find a vast amount of shapes and templates for most of your diagram needs such as Android mockups, flowcharts, Venn diagrams and even circuit diagrams. There are a few more perks about LucidChart and a few lows.PERKS
- Free… sort of: For single users there are three levels of pricing; Free, Basic $3.33/month (paid annually), and Pro $8.33/month (paid annually). Each level adds just a bit more functionality than the last. The free account will get you up and running with basic shapes but limited to 60 per document. Not too bad if are you creating simple ERDs. Require more than 60 objects or an active line to their support? Consider upgrading to Basic. Need to create wireframes? Well you’ll need a Pro account for that. Thankfully, they are actively seeking to convert Visio users by offering promotional pricing for certain users. For instance, university students and faculty can follow the instructions on this page to request a free upgrade to a Pro account. Other promotions include 50% off for nonprofits and free upgrades for teachers. Check out this page to see if you qualify for a free or discounted Pro account. I can only speak for the Education account that adds not only the Pro features but also the Google Apps integration normally found under Team accounts.
- Easy collaboration… for a price: As seen in the figure below, users can reply, resolve or reassign comments on any aspect of the diagram.
All account levels include these basic functions. However, a revision history that tracks edits made by collaborators requires a Pro account. Moreover, sharing custom templates and shapes are functions reserved for Team account users, which starts at $21/month for 5 users.
One final note: each collaborator is tied to their own account limitations which means free account users may only use 60 shapes even if they are working on a diagram created by a Pro account.
- Chrome app: The Chrome app converts the website into a nice desktop application that is available offline. Once you are back online the application instantly syncs to their cloud servers. The app is fully featured and responds quicker than working on the website. Using the app is a much more immersive experience than the website.
- Pricing for non-students: As you can see by now LucidChart has an aggressive pricing plan. The Free account is enough for most users to decide if they want to create diagrams that involve more than 60 shapes. It is a bit disappointing to see that the Basic account only adds unlimited shapes and email support. Furthermore, wireframes and mockups are locked up behind the Pro level. Most of these Pro features should really fall under Basic. Still, the $99 annual price for a LucidChart Pro account is far less than Visio, which starts at $299 for non-students.
- Chrome app stability: For the most part the website has been a flawless experience, the same cannot be said for their Chrome app. There have been times where the application crashes to desktop, the constant syncing did save all of my work, or some shapes becoming unresponsive. There is also an ongoing bug that keeps showing me deleted documents, which do not appear on the website.
None of these knocks against the app have prevented me from using it but it is worth mentioning that the app is a work in progress and can feel like a lower priority for the company.
Don’t just take my word for it, you can try out a demo on their website that contains most of the Pro features. Are there any projects you can see yourself using LucidChart? Have a Visio alternative to share? I’d love to hear about any experiences other users have had.
Marlon Hernandez is an Information Science Technician at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory Library where he helps run the single-service desk, updates websites and deals with the temperamental 3D printer. He is currently in the final year of the MS-IS program at the University of North Texas. You can find him posting running reviews, library projects and beer pictures on his website: mr-hernandez.com.
2015-02-17, from a tent at the University of Melbourne
Thanks for a great first week last week and thanks for the lunch Peter Gale – I think I counted 12 of us around the table. I thought the week went well, and I actually got to help out with a couple of things, but you’ll all be carrying most of the load for a little while yet while I figure out where the toilets are, read through those delightful directives, policies and procedures that are listed in the induction pack, and try to catch up with all the work that’s already going on and the systems you have in place. All of you, be sure to let me know if there’s something I should be doing to start pulling my weight.
As you know, I have immediately nicked-off to Melbourne for a few days. Thought I might explain what that’s about.
I am at the Research Bazaar conference, #Resbaz.What’s a resbaz?
The site says:
The Research Bazaar Conference (#ResBaz) aims to kick-start a training programme in Australia assuring the next generation of researchers are equipped with the digital skills and tools to make their research better.
This event builds on the successful Doctoral Training programmes by research councils in the UK  and funding agencies in the USA . We are also looking to borrow the chillaxed vibe of events like the O’Reilly Science ‘Foo Events’ .So what exactly is ResBaz?
ResBaz is two kinds of events in one:
- ResBaz is an academic training conference (i.e. think of this event as a giant Genius Bar at an Apple store), where research students and early career researchers can come to acquire the digital skills (e.g. computer programming, data analysis, etc.) that underpin modern research. Some of this training will be delivered in the ‘hands-on’ workshop style of Mozilla’s global ‘Software Carpentry’ bootcamps.
You can get hands-on support like at an Apple Store’s Genius Bar!
- ResBaz is a social event where researchers can come together to network, make new friends, and form collaborations. We’re even trying to provide a camping site on campus for those researchers who are coming on their own penny or just like camping (dorm rooms at one of the Colleges will be a backup)! We have some really fun activities planned around the event, from food trucks to tent BoFs and watching movies al fresco!
It’s also an ongoing research-training / eResearch rollout program at Melbourne Uni.But what are you doing there Petie?
On Monday I did three main things apart from the usual conference networking, meeting people stuff.Soaked up the atmosphere, observed how the thing is run, and talked to people about how to run eResearch training programs
David Flanders wants us to run a similar event in Sydney, I think that’s a good idea, he and I talked about how to get this kind of program funded internally and what resources you need to make it happen.
Arna from Swinburne told me about a Resbaz-like model at Berkeley where they use part-time postdocs to drive eResearch uptake. This is a bit different from the Melbourne uni approach of working with postgrads:February 16, 2015 Attended the NLTK training session
This involves working through a series of text-processing exercises in an online Python shell, iPython. I’m really interested in this one, not just ‘cos of my extremely rusty PhD in something resembling computational linguistics, but because of the number of different researchers from different disciplines who will be able to use this for text-mining, text processing and text characterisation.
Jeff, can you please let the Intersect snap-deploy team know about DIT4C – which lets you create a kind of virtualised computer lab for workshops, and, I guess, for real work, via some Docker voodoo. (Jeff Christiansen, is the UTS eResearch Analyst, supplied by our eResearch partner Intersect).Met with Shuttleworth Fellow Peter Murray-Rust and the head of Mozilla’s science lab Kaitlin Thaney
We wanted to talk about Scholarly HTML. How can we get scholarship to be of the web, in rich content-minable semantic markup rather than just barely-on the web. Even just simple things like linking authors names to their identifiers would be a huge improvement over the current identity guessing games we play with PDFs and low-quality bibliographic metadata.
Kaitlin asked PMR and me where we should start with this, where would the benefits be most apparent, and the the uptake most enthusiastic? It’s sad but the obvious benefits of HTML (like, say being able to read an article on a mobile phone) are not enough to change the scholarly publishing machine.
We’ve been working on this for a long time, and we know that getting mainstream publisher uptake is almost impossible – but we think it’s worth visiting the Open Educational Resources movement and looking at textbooks and course materials, where the audience want interactive eBooks, and rich materials (even if they’re packaged as apps, HTML is still the way to build them). There’s also a lot opportunity with NGO and university reports where impact and reach are important, and with the reproducible-research crowd who want to do things the right way.
I think there are some great opportunities for UTS in this space, as we have Australia’s biggest stable of Open Access journals, a great basis on which to explore new publishing models and delivery mechanisms.
I put an idea to Kaitlin which might result in a really useful new tool. She’s got the influence at Mozilla and can mobilise and army of coders. I hope there’s more to report on that.
Kaitlin also knows how to do flattery:February 16, 2015 TODO
Need to talk to Deb Verhoeven from Deakin about the new Ozmeka project, an open collaboration to adapt the humanities-focussed Omeka respository software for working-data repositories for a variety of research disciplines. So far we have UWS and UTS contributing to the project, but we’d love other Australian and global collaborators.
Find out how to use NLTK to do named-entity recognition / semantic tagging on stuff like species and common-names for animals, specifically fish, for a project we have running at UTS.
This project takes a thematic approach to building a data collection, selecting data from UTS research relating to water to build a ‘Data Hub of Australian Research into Marine and Aquatic Ecocultures’ (Dharmae). UTS produces a range of research involving water across multiple disciplines: concerning water as a resource, habitat, environment, or cultural and migratory medium. The concept of ‘ecocultures’ will guide collection development which acknowledges the interdependence of nature and culture, and recognises that a multi-disciplinary approach is required to produce transformational research. Rather than privilege a particular discipline or knowledge system (e.g. science, history, traditional indigenous knowledge, etc), Dharmae will be an open knowledge arena for research data from all disciplines, with the aim of supporting multi-disciplinary enquiry and provoking cross-disciplinary research questions.
Dharmae will be seeded with two significant data collections, a large oral history project concerning the Murray Darling Basin, and social science research examining how NSW coastal residents value the coast. These collections will be linked to related external research data collections such as those on TERN, AODN, and, thanks to the generous participation of indigenous Australians in both studies, to the State Library of NSW indigenous data collections. Dharmae will continue to develop beyond the term of this project.
- Make sure Steve from Melbourne meets people who can help him solve his RAM problem by showing him how to access the NeCTAR cloud and HPC services.