From Melissa Anez, Project and Community Manager, Islandora Foundation
Charlottetown, PEI, Canada The Open Repositories 2015 Conference marked the completion of the first phase of the Islandora 7.x-2.x (Fedora 4 integration) project. A detailed project report about where things stand is available here: http://islandora.ca/content/fedora-4-project-update-v.
Some highlights include:
From James Evans, Product Manager, Open Repository
Novelist Angela Thirkell isn’t well known now. She’s one of a number of mostly forgotten female British writers of the middle of the last century, like Elizabeth Goudge, D.E. Stevenson and Winifred Watson. (For more about women like this check Persephone Books, which is doing a wonderful job of bringing these generations of books back into print.)
I discovered Thirkell a few years ago and read and enjoyed two or three of her books. A friend of mine went on a Thirkell binge over one summer and by the end of it was sick of her, but I had vague fond memories of 1930s or 1940s small-town England, with warm families and eccentric villagers and worries about the church fête. Inconsequential, but fun.
Hoping for something like this, I just read The Headmistress, published in 1944. I disliked it so much I decided I will never read Thirkell again.
Thirkell sets her novels in Barsetshire, the fictional county used by Anthony Trollope in the six Barsetshire Chronicles. Over the last three or four years (since last reading anything by Thirkell) I’ve read those and the Palliser novels (which as a series I prefer) and a number of other Trollope novels, and Trollope has become one of my favourite writers. He’s magnificent: the authorial voice, the insights into human nature, the richness and variety of the characters, the strong women, the analysis of money and class.
Because Thirkell uses Barsetshire as her setting, 60 or 80 years later, and uses some of the same families, it’s natural to compare them. Thirkell comes out as a mean-spirited smug snob. Where Trollope deeply understood people and their motivations—even people who, knowing it wasn’t the best thing to do, took some course of action that would hurt them or their loved ones—Thirkell has shallowness and caricature.
The Headmistress is about the once well-off Belton family, who, lacking money, move out of their country mansion and into a house in the village. The old place is taken over by a girl’s school, run by a smart, sensible woman (the titular character) who is one of the best people in the novel. She’s got smarts and wits and there’s something real about how a woman like her wasn’t able to become an academic and had to make her way teaching. The Beltons are pretty much an insufferable bunch, with a snobby mother (who is at one point repulsed by the hairy hands of a businessman who assumes a level of equality with her) and a whining daughter and two sons (one all right, the other an idiot). Mr and Mrs Belton feel out of place in the village, having come down in the world, but their friends are very kind to them in these trying circumstances.
There’s a female doctor who’s ridiculed. The hairy-handed businessman (who J.B. Priestley would have handled wittily as a rough diamond) is demeaned. He has a homely, rotund, boil-ridden daughter—who gets top marks in math and physics and is going to go into business with her father, but that’s belittled.
The entire book was so appalling, and such an insult to Trollope’s legacy, that I finished it just to see how it would turn out, and then I threw it in the fireplace because I couldn’t think of any better place to put it. It’s very bad Trollope fanfic.
Avoid Angela Thirkell. Read Trollope. And if you want to read an unjustly ignored female writer of that generation, go to Georgette Heyer and her historical novels. Magnificent fun.
Jake Orlowitz of the Wikipedia Library Project reports that Wikipedia will be having quite a presence at ALA Annual in San Francisco this week. Here are some details:
The Wikipedia Library invites you to the #WikiLovesALA editathon on June 26 from 1pm to 4pm at the Wikimedia Foundation Office, in celebration of the American Library Association annual conference this weekend in San Francisco.
All you need to do to participate is register:
We hope to see you there: to share knowledge, learn about Wikipedia, celebrate libraries, and create content about this amazing city, your institution’s collections, or that favorite subject you’ve been meaning to write about.
Drop by for engaging conversations about how Wikipedia works and how to get involved… and for free merchandise (Fri-Mon, Booth #2828 across from OCLC)Office Hours Join our ‘ask a Wikipedian’ office hours hosted by OCLC (Sat 3:00-4:00, Marriott Marquis, OCLC Blue Suite, ask at the front desk for the room number) Conference Program Attend our talk “Resource Discovery in the Age of Wikipedia” (Sun 1:00-2:00pm, 3010 W Moscone)
Evergreen Hosting Booth 3345 at ALA San Francisco
The Evergreen community will be hosting booth 3345 at ALA San Francisco on June 25th through 30th. Evergreen is open source library software that is used in more than 1,300 libraries around the world.
ALA conferences provide attendees with information on global issues effecting libraries. At ALA San Francisco there will about 900 exhibitors, including Evergreen.
Evergreen has all of the modules of traditional ILS, but without the restrictions of vendor driven ILS. Included with the software are modules for self-check out, self-registrations, acquisitions, reports and serials. It is continuously improving through semiannual updates and is customizable to meet the needs of various sized libraries.
Make sure to check out the Evergreen booth 3345 and meet real Evergreen users and hear their stories.
Tim and I are headed to San Francisco this weekend for the ALA Annual Conference.
Visit Us. Stop by booth #3634 to talk to us, get a demo, and learn about all the new and fun things we’re up to with LibraryThing for Libraries!
Stay tuned this week for more announcements of what we’ll be showing off. No, really. It’s going to be awesome.
Get in Free. In the SF area and want to go to ALA? We have free exhibit only passes. Click here to sign up and get one. It will get you just into the exhibit hall, not the conference sessions themselves.
Director Zhang began by surveying the digital landscape, emphasizing the ride of ebooks, digital journals, and machine reading. The CAS decided to embrace the digital-first approach, and canceled all print subscriptions for Chinese-language journals. Anything they don’t own they obtain through consortial relationships ...
This approach works well for a growing proportion of the CAS constituency, which Xiaolin referred to as “Generation Open” or “Generation Digital”. This group benefits from – indeed, expects – a transition from print to open access. For them, and for our presenter, “only ejournals are real journals. Only smartbooks are real books… Print-based communication is a mistake, based on historical practicality.” It’s not just consumers, but also funders who prefer open access.Below the fold, some thoughts on Director Zhang's vision.
Almost a decade ago, Vicky Reich created this fake Starbucks page to illustrate the fate awaiting libraries without collections that saw their role simply as purchasing agents for subscription content. Even if it succeeded in competing with Starbucks, such a library wouldn't be a research library; nothing would distinguish it as a venue for research. In countries that are negotiating access to subscription content for all their institutions centrally, or even for all their citizens, or if the Max Planck Institute's plan for open access succeeds, the library's role as providing access goes away. Director Zhang sees this clearly:
Chinese faculty now see the library’s main role as that of a buyer and archive maintainer. Yet libraries have outsourced collections, either deliberately or by the rise of the web. Libraries now hold on to a diminishing part of scholarly knowledge. Moreover, director Zhang observed that his library’s foot traffic has been declining – and he helped make it happen, by making an aggressive shift to the digital world. Which led him to ask a dangerous question: are libraries losing the right to be research libraries?His answer was that libraries need to evolve:
To begin with, the library needs to embed itself more deeply in the research and development process. Researchers need to do environmental scanning, trends and path analysis, data management and analysis, content distribution, identifying emerging topics, mapping trends, technology scanning, competition analysis, R+D exploration + discovery, and more. Xiaolin urged us to repurpose libraries to directly support these needs. Put another way, an analytical platform should be at the center of research libraries.Researchers clearly need these capabilities, but what advantages does a library at an individual University, or even a single national library, have in delivering such a platform to researchers? The key requirements for success are:
- Access to all the data which, until the open access transition is complete, individual libraries are not going to have.
- A highly-skilled, fast-moving team of developers, which individual libraries are not going to have, because the rewards in industry are much better.
- Access to large-scale compute and storage resources, which both libraries and companies can rent from the cloud.
- Mind-share, which Google in particular already has over libraries.
First, libraries need to build out their data analysis capacity. Second, they should create customized information environments for researchers.will work to keep University libraries, or even most national libraries, as true research libraries. Nevertheless, I applaud the efforts he is making:
The National Science Library publicly advocates for open access policies, infrastructure, and financial support. NSL is growing its digital repositories. It also helps local libraries analyze research topics, collaboration opportunities, and talent profiles. NSL now plays a role in national digital preservation, assists with strategic decision-making for STEM researchers and enterprises, and is now developing knowledge mapping and research profiling services. These are all things a national library should be doing, but note how difficult they would be for an individual University library. For almost all these libraries, remaining a research library rather than just a generic campus service requires distinguishing themselves from the herd. They aren't going to do that by layering services on top of content to which everyone has access, because they will lose the competition with companies and, Director Zhang hopes, national libraries in those spaces. The only way to do it is to have unique content on which to base unique services. In other words, collections.
As part of the White House’s Open Ebooks initiative, DPLA is calling on librarians and other information professionals to help coordinate books for inclusion in the program to help connect children with ebooks.
We are seeking motivated, engaged community members who have experience with building and organizing children and young adult book collections, who have time to spend building out the first two collections.
What’s involved in being a member of the DPLA Curation Corps? Primarily, enriching metadata to ensure that the best books get connected to their reader. We will be asking participants to help us cull publisher contributions and public domain collections to find the best titles to publish in September 2015 and January 2016. It is important that we not only indicate a title’s reading level, but also its age appropriateness, as well as additional subject headings so that a girl interested in grasshoppers, for instance, can find the right book to meet her need.
If you are interested in helping us connect books to young readers, and you have expertise in this area, please consider being a member of our Ebook Collection Curation Corps. We will announce the first class of Collection Curation Corps on July 18, 2015.
You do NOT have to be affiliated with a current DPLA hub library to participate. Participants will receive a $1,500 stipend.
To find out more about this project go to our White House Open Ebooks initiative page.
Questions about the Ebooks Collection Curation Corps? Email us.
In this series, inspired by the New York Times’ Sunday Routines, we gain a glimpse into the lives of the people behind LITA. This post focuses on Aimee Fifarek, who was recently elected Vice-President/President-Elect.
Aimee is the Customer Service, Technology and Digital Initiatives Deputy Director for Phoenix Public Library in Arizona. She made the move to PPL in April 2013 from Scottsdale Public Library, where she’d worked for 10 years, first as the IT Manager and then later as Senior Manager over IT, Technical Services and Collection Development. Aimee’s typical work week can include everything from contract negotiations to planning technology projects to addressing customer concerns.
WORKING OUT AND CLEANING UP Sundays are days for sleeping in at South Scottsdale home that Aimee shares with her fiancée Jason Boland. A Senior Trainer for Innovative Interfaces, Jason is often away during the work week for training trips, so the weekends are when most of the chores get done. Laundry gets started before a trip to the gym for Yoga or Step Class, and cleanup of the remnants of a crazy week get done after – but all that doesn’t start until 7 or 8am.
GREEN THUMB In addition to the inside chores, Aimee and Jason enjoy spending time in the back yard vegetable garden. They built large planter boxes this past year in order to keep the weeds out and give the veggies a chance during the year-round growing season. Squash, carrots, peppers and herbs are frequent thrivers.
BATTER UP! Living as they do in the heart of Spring Training activates, Sundays in March and April are frequently involve trips to the many baseball stadiums in the area. Jason is a California native and a devoted Oakland A’s fan. In addition to the A’s, Aimee and Jason try to find time to take in a Milwaukee Brewers game (Wisconsin is Aimee’s home state) or the hometown Arizona Diamondbacks.
WHERE TO? The two spend many weekends traveling. Despite his intense schedule, Jason loves to travel and will happily fly off for a weekend just after returning from a week away for work. Sometimes Aimee is able meet up with Jason at the end of one of his business trips, like recent trips to Minneapolis and Toronto. She enjoys being able to take advantage of Jason’s frequent flier miles and A-List status.
KP Aimee is just as happy at home, however, especially when spending time in the kitchen. Although they take full advantage of the fabulous restaurants and craft cocktail venues that Scottsdale has to offer, Sundays afford the extra time needed for shopping for and preparing a really good meal. Eating healthy in the Boland-Fifarek household is more about avoiding processed foods and cooking from scratch than counting calories – not to mention using lots of fun gadgets like the sous vide or the garlic chopper. Regardless of what they are preparing there is a 99% chance it will contain garlic.
WORDS AND PLAY Evening calls for a little “couch time.” Jason and Aimee are big fans of Sci-Fi and mystery series and routinely give their DVR a workout. Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Orphan Black, and Elementary are particular favorites. This is also a good time to finish the New York Times Sunday Crossword and KenKen before heading off to bed at 9pm or 10pm.