3D printers may seem novel, but they are already being harnessed for social good. A prime example: The Silicon Valley-based social advocacy organization Benetech has forged a partnership between libraries, museums and schools to level the playing field for learners with disabilities. Learn more about this innovative partnership at the 2016 American Library Association (ALA) Annual Conference in Orlando, Fla.
During the session, “3D Accessibility Synergy: Anchor Institutions ‘Make’ Opportunities for Diverse Learners,” attendees will learn about how this partnership is giving rise to new learning tools and strategies that help individuals with print and other disabilities more easily grasp complex science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) topics. The session takes place on Saturday, June 25, 2016, 3:00-4:00 p.m. in the Orange County Convention Center in Room W105A.
Session speakers include Lisa Wadors Verne, program manager of Education, Research and Partnerships for Benetech; and Charlie Wapner, senior information policy analyst for the American Library Association’s Office for Information Technology Policy (OITP).
The post How are libraries offering socially-conscious 3D services? appeared first on District Dispatch.
On Friday, June 10th I gave a short talk at the OLITA Digital Odyssey 2016 conference, which had a theme this year of privacy and security. My talk addressed the evolution of our public and loaner laptops over the past decade, from bare Windows XP, to Linux, Windows XP with the addition of Deep Freeze, to the decision two years ago to move to Chromebooks.
Given that Snowden made it clear that multinationals such as Google, Apple, and Facebook co-operate with government agencies to make user data available, we did not make the decision to adopt a product that emphasizes cloud storage and thus potentially compromises the privacy of our users lightly. Rather, we made that decision in the context of a resource-constrained institution that had already adopted Google Apps for Education for its student population--and with a reflection on the vulnerabilities to which our particular implementation of Windows 7 + Deep Freeze was exposing our users.
I've made the presentation, with the speaker notes surfaced as callouts, available, and embedded it below. I'd love to hear your thoughts.
In late April–a month into the last quarter of our fiscal year–I was presenting at a statewide deans’ council on a major proposal (the short version: tightening up our “loose federation”) when the emails started arriving. In minutes, everything changed. Suddenly I was in the middle of Fiscalpocalypse 2016, a crisis the diameter of Jupiter.
For the next five weeks, I lived and breathed the Fiscalpocalypse. Suddenly thrust by necessity into the role of chief fiscal analyst, I began running report after report (not without a lot of coaching and encouragement from other financial analysts), pushing hard to find the real answers to basic questions: how much do we have, what are our obligations, what do we need to keep or cut, and what contractual obligations am I able to commit to.
It’s what I did at 4 a.m., 9 p.m., weekends, holidays, every spare moment. I had a lot of spare moments because the stress of this situation bore down on me like the atmospheric pressure on Venus. Sleep was scarce and troubled. Reading anything unrelated to the issue was impossible; staring at pages, all I saw were numbers. Even half-hour walks or visits to the YMCA found me absentmindedly going through the motions while my brain churned ceaselessly, yammering through multiple scenarios, combing through formulae for clues. The clues were important, because I needed to know how we got to Fiscalpocalypse 2016 so I would understand how to get us out of it.
It was not entirely unanticipated. Once you start asking, “Do we need an audit?” you already know the answer. And the system worked, because there was a “catch” from above that resulted in those emails and in my temporarily expanding my portfolio to include budget analyst. But actual situations have jagged edges missing from anticipation of the same, and those edges hurt.
Nevertheless, there came a Sunday afternoon when I felt profound relief washing over me, releasing the muscles in my back and neck until I felt myself uncurl and sit fully upright for the first time since the crisis began. I went for a walk, and was able to listen to a podcast and enjoy the flowers. I had dinner, and tasted the food. I slept the night through. I woke up and felt, to use that great expression, like my old self. I greeted old self warmly. She was missed.
It wasn’t that the situation was better. It was rather grim. It was that finally, I knew exactly what was going on. And note, I didn’t “feel” or “believe” I knew what was going on; I knew it. Because the thing about numbers is that most of the time, if you have confidence, experience, and are handy with basic arithmetic, as long as your data are credible, you can manage a budget for any institution smaller than say, the Air Force.
Most of us can do arithmetic; the confidence will come with experience. What has struck me repeatedly across my twenty-plus years in libraries is the dearth of experience: too many library professionals go much too long in their careers before they participate in managing budgets. By budgets, I don’t mean a small chunk of money set aside for spending on books, not that this isn’t a good place to start. I mean the whole solar system: salaries, materials, operations. Even in private institutions where most regular salaries are kept confidential, two out of three of those planets should be available to up and coming professionals.
It’s good practice to have other eyes on your numbers (which I do), but I will be frank and say that across the years, particularly at jobs in smaller institutions, it’s been up to me to pretty much manage the beans on my own. I was accountable for each bean and it was assumed I would “make book,” and without really thinking about it, I did that (I guess because I had to do that in the Air Force, and I didn’t think about it much there either).
And what I know about numbers is they are impervious to emotion. I can cry my eyes out, and the numbers don’t get bigger or smaller. I can fume and rant, and they stay just as they are. I can wander the halls with a tragic face, and when I come back, the numbers are exactly as I left them. It’s something I like about numbers, at least the sort of numbers we deal with in library budgets: in this crazy malleable fungible mutable world, numbers just ARE.
(Now, this rule applies internally. It does not apply to outside forces who may indeed may have multiple interpretations of fiscal policies that have significant impact on allocations and so on. I’m referring to the paper sack of money a library administrator sits on and manages.)
Here is a pattern from my career: I arrive at an institution, I get hands-on with a budget (either a big chunk assigned to me, or the whole thing), and I unearth the bugs. It could be approval plans someone forgot about, mindlessly siphoning money every year though nobody needs those resources any more. (For a long while, I could count on finding forgotten microfilm subscriptions.) It could be a personnel line or another item from another department erroneously appearing in my ledger. These things really happened at different institutions, and they weren’t a big deal. In each case I found myself earning the respect of the financial folks because they saw I wasn’t queasy about budgets and I wasn’t afraid to dig in and do the work.
But for a lot of library people, for a major portion of their career, the bulk of the budget is a distant drumbeat. There is enough money or not enough or suddenly some left over, and that’s what they know. Nor are they pushed, or push themselves, to learn the basic skills they need to manage money. I consider my Excel skills modest, but I have seen library professionals in fairly important positions unable to do basic tasks such as filtering, subtotaling, and linking formulas. Far too many times I have looked at a spreadsheet where X+ Y is a hand-keyed sum that does not equal the sum of X + Y, or where a number sits without explanation: what is it, and where did it come from? Some of the scariest documents I have ever seen in my career were annual fiscal forecasts, purportedly ledger-based, created in Microsoft. Effing. Word.
And let’s not discuss how many library organizations have been stricken with accounting fraud that happened because one person in an organization had exclusive control of the money and the executive just didn’t “do math.” When “Father Knows Best,” watch out.
People, these are LIBRARY BUDGETS. I remember someone telling me our budget was complex and I said no, the federal budget is complex, we don’t have enough money to be complex. Library budgets don’t require understanding credit default swaps or synthetic CDOs. Even if you have more than one fund (and we do) and even if those funds can change from year to year (and that’s true as well), and of course everything goes up in cost all the time: in the end, to quote a Wendy’s commercial that was a mantra of logistics management during my time in the Air Force, parts is parts.
A lot of fiscal literacy boils down to being willing to look at the numbers logically and head-on. Not emotionally, not with “oh but I don’t do math,” not with a pernicious disinterest in the source of life (and that’s what money is to a library), but just pulling out those skills that got you through fourth grade.
Once upon a time long ago, in a galaxy far away, I spent two days in a conversation that went like the following. Assume the usual facts about FTEs (full time equivalents); there are no tricks or hidden exceptions in this example, and let me give you this crucial factoid: the number this is based on is $144,000.
Person A: How many student worker FTE did we have last year?
Person B: 2.6.
Me: No way.
Person B: 2.6.
Person A. I don’t really know anything about this.
Me: Arrgh! There’s no way! (Opens calculator, just in case fourth-grade math skills had vanished) How could student workers make this much?
Person B: It’s annualized.
(Note use of jargon to try to deflect inquiry. Of course FTE is based on an annual calculation, but it’s not “annualized,” though I do consider student workers a good investment, in the more general sense.)
For the next two days, I kept saying “no way,” because anyone with basic math sense knows that student workers don’t earn that much; even if you don’t know the rate of pay, you know, from a quick scribble on that scratchpad you keep in the front of your skull right above your eyeballs, that 144,000 divided by 2.6 would result in a salary of ca. $55,000 a year. That’s before you factor in more insider baseball knowledge, such as the size of the library and student headcount so on. It’s like when grocery store eggs shot up in price last year and I thought holy moley, a dollar-plus an egg? I didn’t need to pull out a calculator to know something strange had happened to the price of eggs. In the end, I was tolerated, not believed, by Person B. I hope Person A has since nurtured at least a soupcon of mathematical curiosity.
But anyway, back to the present tense. Fiscalpocalypse 2016 isn’t over, but it’s under control. At MPOW, the plane is no longer flying into the side of the mountain; it now has excellent airspeed and heading, and my hand is firmly on the throttle. It’s a smaller plane, but I know what it is made of, from its nose cone to its flamethrowers to its empennage, and I will trade in a large, bloblike uncertainty hurtling who knows where for a trim but crisp certainty with a functioning GPS any day. I’m where I need to be in relation to knowing our finances, not just for the moment but the future, and I make sure key people know the deets, too. This is how I run things now, as I have elsewhere. Yes, we will be hiring a budget analyst, and I look forward to firing myself from my role as CFO (though not from my responsibility to know what is going on). But if there is one good thing to come out of this, it is the opportunity for me to dig deep into the financials and get to truly know the source of life for all we do. War is not peace, numbers do not cry or pout, and blessedly, parts is parts.Bookmark to:
We are pleased to announce that booking for Hydra Connect 2016 is now open. Booking details, along with information on the conference hotel and the preferential rate we have arranged there, can be found at the Hydra Connect 2016 wiki page.
Get your Early Bird Access 2016 tickets now!
Early Bird Sales will end Monday July 11th. Don’t miss out on this amazing deal. Full conference tickets include admission to hackfest, two and a half days of our amazing single-stream conference and a half-day workshop on the last day.
Note: HST rates in New Brunswick go up to 15% on July 1st, so DON’T WAIT. A 2% percent savings means more lobster in your carry-on for the trip home.
It is all you can eat for one amazingly low price. And we mean that literally! Prices include continental breakfast and unlimited coffee at the Hackfest, Hackfest Social hors d’oeuvre and light fair, Opening Reception at the Beaverbrook Art Gallery and full breakfast and lunch each day during the regular conference.
Still unsure? Check out the our amazing line-up of speakers and keynotes.
Speakers should take advantage of the special speaker’s rate which also closes on July 11th.
We look forward to seeing you under beautiful Fall colours in Fredericton this October.
Learn about how to use Python to consume linked data from a specific graph URL.
Last updated June 9, 2016. Created by Peter Murray on June 9, 2016.
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Islandora Camp will be visiting Kansas City, MO this Fall. October 12 - 14, you can join us at the University of Missouri-Kansas City for three days of Islandora sessions, workshops, and community presentations.
Camp consists of three days of Islandora content:
Lucidworks is pleased to announce the release of Fusion 2.4 (download, release notes, press release). This new release features several key enhancements allowing for the rapid building and deployment of data-driven experiences.Index Pipeline Simulator
The Index Pipeline Simulator provides a powerful interface for configuring index pipelines and previewing pipeline output with a sample data set before they are applied to the entire data source. This allows for easy debugging of index pipeline output in a sandbox environment.Time Series Partitioning
To allow for easy management and querying of time-series data, Fusion collections can now be configured by time window. Using a configurable set of Solr collections, each time series collection stores data for that given time window. Time based queries are automatically directed to the appropriate partition.SAML Support
Fusion now supports version 2.0 of the Security Assertion Markup Language (SAML), allowing businesses to use existing authentication identities for more finely-tuned and flexible access control.Spark Integration Updates
Our new Spark Jobs API allows for the management and configuration of Spark jobs from Fusion, as well as retrieving cluster information.Connector Enhancements
The Box.com connector now indexes metadata and supports authentication using OAuth 2, via the JWT Auth App Service.
The Jive connector now supports indexing of Jive groups and places.
All of the above along with faster pipeline stage processing and improved diagnostics for investigating deployment issues. Fusion 2.4 ships with Apache Solr 5.5.1 and Apache Spark 1.6.1, and is fully supported for production deployments.
Lucidworks Fusion 2.4 is available today. For more information and to download the product, please visit https://lucidworks.com/products/fusion/.
The Senate Appropriations Committee today delivered good news for libraries by increasing funding for LSTA Grants to States and National Leadership Grants to Libraries, while also providing level funding for Innovative Approaches to Literacy (IAL). The Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies Appropriations Subcommittee approved the bill just two days ago with no amendments or controversial policy riders.
The Grants to States program, which the President’s budget proposed cutting by $950,000, will instead be increased in the Senate bill by $314,000, raising its total funding to $156.1 million for FY2017. That reflects an increase of over $1.25 million from the President’s request. National Leadership Grants will also receive a $314,000 increase, bringing its total to $13.4 million. Overall, the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) will receive a $1 million increase to $231 million for FY2017.
Innovative Approaches to Literacy, just authorized in last year’s Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), will receive level funding in the Senate bill of $27 million for FY2017. One half of IAL funding is reserved for school library grants with the remaining reserved for non-profits.
ALA acknowledges the leadership of Senator Jack Reed (D-RI), and the deep commitment to library funding of many other key Senators, including Appropriations Committee Chairman Thad Cochran (R-MS), Subcommittee Chairman Roy Blunt (R-MO), Subcommittee Ranking Member Patty Murray (D-WA) and Senator Susan Collins (R-ME). ALA members from Maine, Mississippi, Missouri, Rhode Island, Washington are urged to send messages of thanks to these Senate offices.
The House Appropriations Committee has not yet announced a timetable for moving its Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies FY2017 funding bill. Despite the “no drama” Senate Subcommittee’s markup earlier this week, the overall Appropriations outlook remains very much in doubt. Few Washington insiders are expecting all 12 appropriations bills to pass the House and Senate. Rather, many are expecting one or more “Continuing Resolutions” to keep the government open beyond the October 1 start of the Fiscal Year. A messy “omnibus” spending package providing funding for numerous agencies also is expected to be considered later this year. A government shutdown, however, is not anticipated.
Libraries are working with government agencies and nonprofits to connect people to the digital world. From the U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development’s ConnectHome effort to the Federal Communications Commission’s Lifeline Program to citywide digital inclusion initiatives, libraries are playing leadership roles in connecting low-income Americans online. Policy and library leaders will discuss public policy options and share exemplars of how libraries and allies are expanding digital opportunities at the 2016 American Library Association (ALA) Annual Conference.
During the conference session “Addressing Digital Disconnect for Low-Income Americans,” leaders will explore efforts to connect disadvantaged Americans to the digital world. The session takes place on Saturday, June 25, 2016, 4:30-5:30 p.m. in the Orange County Convention Center in Room W103A.
Session speakers include Veronica Creech, chief programs officer of EveryoneOn; Felton Thomas, director of the Cleveland Public Library and president-elect of the Public Library Association (PLA); and Lauren Wilson, legal advisor to the Chief of the Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau at the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). Larra Clark, deputy director of the ALA Office for Information Technology Policy, will moderate the program.
The post What’s working to connect all Americans to the digital world? appeared first on District Dispatch.
The Senate Rules Committee voted unanimously this afternoon to recommend that the full Senate approve the nomination of Dr. Carla Hayden to serve as the nation’s next, first female, first African American and just fourteenth Librarian of Congress in history. As the Committee’s vote was announced, ALA launched a large-scale grassroots and social media campaign to encourage all Senators to support her confirmation, and to urge Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) to schedule a Senate vote on her nomination immediately.
In a statement released immediately after the Committee’s vote, ALA president Sari Feldman said: “Once confirmed, she will be the perfect Librarian to pilot the Library of Congress fully into the 21st century, transforming it again into the social and cultural engine of progress and democracy for all Americans that it was meant to be.” Feldman then called upon Dr. Hayden’s supporters “in every corner of the nation” to use “ALA’s Legislative Action Center to contact every Senator — whether by email, tweet or phone — with this simple message: Please confirm Dr. Carla Hayden now!” Given the Rules Committee’s strong endorsement, and the absence of any public opposition to her nomination, that vote easily could come before the Senate takes its extended summer recess in mid-July, and quite possibly before the fast-approaching Independence Day recess beginning July 1st. That means there’s no time to lose to show your support for librarianship and Dr. Hayden.
Fortunately, contacting your two U.S. Senators by emailing, tweeting or phoning them couldn’t be easier. Just access ALA’s Legislative Action Center, choose your preferred method of communicating, and follow the few easy prompts. (You’ll also find more background on Dr. Hayden and the history of the Librarian’s position at the Action Center, and here, if you like.)
Once confirmed, Dr. Hayden — a past-President of ALA — will be the first professional librarian to be named Librarian of Congress in over 60 years. Don’t hide your pride! Please, take action now — and encourage your friends and colleagues to do the same — to make that a historic reality very soon.
Islandora CLAW Community Sprint 08 is coming up at the end of the month, and we want you to join in. New(ish) sprinter Ben Rosner gave us an inside look at what it's like to start working on CLAW as a developer and we have plenty of tasks that an interested newcomer can tackle for Sprint 08. Not a developer? No problem. We've got an extensive documentation ticket to build up written docs from our existing CLAW lessons videos - a great opportunity to learn more while you're creating something that will help other Islandora users.
The sign up sheet is here. We'll have a sprint kick of meeting on June 20 to sort out who is going to do what, and find everyone a job that fits their skills and interests.
This May, Managing Director Adam Ziegler was a guest on the Lawyerist podcast, discussing recent goings-on at the Library Innovation Lab.
Sam Glover and Adam discuss the future of law, its challenges and how the Innovation Lab endeavors to address these. Perma.cc is chiefly discussed, along with H2O and the Free the Law project.