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DPLA: Building the newest DPLA student exhibition, “From Colonialism to Tourism: Maps in American Culture”

planet code4lib - Wed, 2014-10-29 17:00

Oregon Territory, 1835. Courtesy of David Rumsey.

Two groups of MLIS students from the University of Washington’s Information School took part in a DPLA pilot called the Digital Curation Program during the 2013-2014 academic year. The DPLA’s Amy Rudersdorf worked with iSchool faculty member Helene Williams as we created exhibits for the DPLA for the culminating project, or Capstone, in our degree program. The result is the newest addition to DPLA’s exhibitions, called “From Colonialism to Tourism: Maps in American Culture.”

My group included Kili Bergau, Jessica Blanchard, and Emily Felt; we began by choosing a common interest from the list of available topics, and became “Team Cartography.” This project taught us about online exhibit creation and curation of digital objects, copyright and licensing, and took place over two quarters. The first quarter was devoted to creating a project plan and learning about the subject matter. We asked questions including: What is Cartography? What is the history of American maps? How are they represented within the DPLA collections?

Girl & road maps, Southern California, 1932. Courtesy of the University of Southern California Libraries.

As we explored the topic, the project became less about librarianship and more about our life as historians. Cartography, or the creation of maps, slowly transformed into the cultural “maps in history” as we worked through the DPLA’s immense body of aggregated images. While segmenting history and reading articles to learn about the pioneers, the Oregon Trail, the Civil War, and the 20th Century, we also learned about the innards of the DPLA’s curation process. We learned how to use Omeka, the platform for creating the exhibitions, and completed forms for acquiring usage rights the images we would use in our exhibit.

One of the greatest benefits of working with the team was the opportunity to investigate niche areas among the broad topics, as well as leverage each other’s interests to create one big fascinating project. With limited time, we soon had to focus on selecting images and writing the exhibit narrative. We wrote, and revised, and wrote again. We waded through hundreds of images to determine which were the most appropriate, and then gathered appropriate metadata to meet the project requirements.

Our deadline for the exhibit submission was the end of the quarter, and our group was ecstatic to hear the night of the Capstone showcase at the UW iSchool event that the DPLA had chosen our exhibit for publication. Overjoyed, we celebrated remotely, together. Two of us had been in Seattle, one in Maine, and I had been off in a Dengue Fever haze in rural Cambodia (I’m better now).

The Negro Travelers’ Green Book [Cover], 1956. Courtesy of the University of South Carolina, South Caroliniana Library via the South Carolina Digital Library.

Shortly after graduation in early June, Helene asked if I was interested in contributing further to this project: over the summer, I worked with DPLA staff to refine the exhibit and prepare it for public release. Through rigorous editing, some spinning of various themes in new directions, and a wild series of conversations over Google Hangouts about maps, maps, barbecue, maps, libraries, maps, television, movies, and more maps, the three of us had taken the exhibition to its final state.

Most experiences in higher education, be they on the undergrad or graduate levels (sans PhD), fail to capture a sense of endurance and longevity. The exhibition was powerful and successful throughout the process from many different angles. For me, watching its transformation from concept to public release has been marvelous, and has prepared me for what I hope are ambitious library projects in my future.

View this exhibition

A huge thanks to Amy Rudersdorf for coordinating the program, Franky Abbott for her work editing and refining the exhibition, Kenny Whitebloom for Omeka wrangling, and the many Hubs and their partners for sharing their resources. 

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.

LITA: Jobs in Information Technology: October 29

planet code4lib - Wed, 2014-10-29 16:58

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

Head of Guin Library, Oregon State University, Newport, OR

Visit the LITA Job Site for more available jobs and for information on submitting a  job posting.

Open Knowledge Foundation: Open Access in Ireland: A case-study

planet code4lib - Wed, 2014-10-29 15:33

Following last week’s Open Access Week blog series, we continue our celebration of community efforts in this field. Today we give the microphone to Dr. Salua Nassabay from Open Knowledge Ireland in a great account from Ireland, originally posted on the Open Knowledge Ireland blog.

In Ireland, awareness of OA has increased within the research community nationally, particularly since institutional repositories have been built in each Irish university. Advocacy programmes and funder mandates (IRCSET, SFI, HEA) have had a positive effect; but there is still some way to go before the majority of Irish researchers will automatically deposit their papers in their local OA repository.

Brief Story

In summer 2004, the Irish Research eLibrary (IReL) was launched, giving online access to a wide range of key research journals. The National Principles on Open Access Policy Statement were launched on Oct 23rd 2012 at the Digital Repository of Ireland Conference by Sean Sherlock, Minister of State, Department of Enterprise, Jobs & Innovation and Department of Education & Skills with responsibility for Research & Innovation. The policy consists of a ‘Green way’ mandate and encouragement to publish in ’Gold’ OA journals. It aligns with the European policy for Horizon 2020. OA on national level is managed by the National Steering Committee on OA Policy, see table 3.

A Committee of Irish research organisations is working in partnership to coordinate activities and to combine expertise at a national level to promote unrestricted, online access to outputs which result from research that is wholly or partially funded by the State:

National Principles on Open Access Policy Statement

Definition of OA

Reaffirm: freedom of researchers; increase visibility and access; support international interoperability, link to teaching and learning, and open innovation.

Defining Research Outputs:

“include peer-reviewed publications, research data and other research artefacts which
feed the research process”.

General Principle (1): all researchers to have deposit rights for an AO repository.

Deposit: post-print/publisher version and metadata; peer-reviewed journal articles and
conference publication. Others where possible; at time of acceptance for publication; in
compliance with national metadata standards.

General Principle (2):Release: immediate for meta-data; respect publisher copyright, licensing and embargo (not
normally exceeding 6months/12months).

Green route policy – not exclusive

Suitable repositories

Research data linked to publications.

High-level principles:

Infrastructure and sustainability: depositing once, harvesting, interoperability and long-term preservation.

Advocacy and coordination: mechanisms for and monitoring of implementation, awareness raising and engagement for ALL.

Exploiting OA and implementation: preparing metadata and national value-added metrics.

Table 1. National Principles on Open Access Policy Statement. https://www.dcu.ie/sites/default/files/communications/pdfs/PatriciaClarke2014.pdf and http://openaccess.thehealthwell.info/sites/default/files/documents/NationalPrinciplesonOAPolicyStatement.pdf

There are seven universities in Ireland http://www.hea.ie/en/about-hea). These Irish universities received government funding to build institutional repositories in each Irish university and to develop a federated harvesting and discovery service via a national portal. It is intended that this collaboration will be expanded to embrace all Irish research institutions in the future. OA repositories are currently available in all Irish universities and in a number of other higher education institutions and government agencies:

Higher Education

Government Agency

Institutional repositories

Subject repository

Dublin Business School; Dublin City University; Dublin Institute of Technology; Dundalk Institte of Technology; Mary Immaculate College; National University of Ireland Galway; National University of Ireland, Maynooth; Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland; Trinity College Dublin; University College Cork; University College Dublin, University of Limerick; Waterford Intitute of Technology

Irish Virtual Research Library & Archive, UCD

Health Service Executive Lenus; All-Ireland electronic Health Library (AieHL); Marine Institute; Teagasc

Table 2. Currently available repositories in Ireland

AO Ireland’s statistics show more than 58,859 OA publications in 13 repositories, distributed as can be seen in the figures 1 and 2.

Figure 1. Publications in repositories.From rian.ie (date: 16/9/2014). http://rian.ie/en/stats/overview

Some samples of Irish OA journals are:

- Crossings: Electronic Journal of Art and Technology: http://crossings.tcd.ie;

-Economic and Social Review: http://www.esr.ie;

-Journal of the Society for Musicology in Ireland: http://www.music.ucc.ie/jsmi/index.php/jsmi;

-Journal of the Statistical and Social Inquiry Society of Ireland: http://www.ssisi.ie;

-Minerva: an Internet Journal of Philosophy: http://www.minerva.mic.ul.ie//;

-The Surgeon: Journal of the Royal Colleges of Surgeons of Edinburgh and Ireland: http://www.researchgate.net/journal/1479-666X_The_surgeon_journal_of_the_Royal_Colleges_of_Surgeons_of_Edinburgh_and_Ireland;

-Irish Journal of Psychological Medicine: http://www.ijpm.ie/1fmul3lci60?a=1&p=24612705&t=21297075.

Figure 2. Publications by document type. From rian.ie (date: 16/9/2014). http://rian.ie/en/stats/overview

Institutional OA policies:

Name

URL

OA mandatory

OA Infrastructure

Health Research Board (HRB) - Funders

Webside: http://www.hrb.ie

Policy:http://www.hrb.ie/research-strategy-funding/policies-and-guidelines/policies/open-access/

Yes

No

Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) – Funders

Webside: http://www.sfi.ie

Policy: http://www.sfi.ie/funding/grant-policies/open-access-availability-of-published-research-policy.html

Yes

No

Higher Education Authority (HEA) – Funders

Webside: http://www.hea.ie

Policy: http://www.hea.ie/en/policy/research/open-access-scientific-information

No

No

Department of Agriculture, Food and Marine (DAFM) – Funders

Webside: http://www.agriculture.gov.ie

Policy:http://www.agriculture.gov.ie/media/migration/research/DAFMOpenAccessPolicy.pdf

Yes effective 2013

No

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) – Funders

Webside: http://www.epa.ie/

Policy:http://www.epa.ie/footer/accessibility/infopolicy/#.VBlPa8llwjg

Repository: http://www.epa.ie/pubs/reports/#.VBmTVMllwjg

Yes

Yes

Marine Institute (MI) – Funders

Webside: http://www.marine.ie/Home/

Policy: http://oar.marine.ie/help/policy.html

Repository: http://oar.marine.ie

No

Yes

Irish Research Council (IRC) – Funders

Webside: http://www.research.ie

Policy: http://www.research.ie/aboutus/open-access

*Yes

No

Teagasc – Funders

Webside: http://www.teagasc.ie

Policy: http://t-stor.teagasc.ie/help/t-stor-faq.html#faqtopic2

Repository: http://t-stor.teagasc.ie

*No

Yes

Institute of Public Health in Ireland (IPH) – Funders

Webside: http://www.publichealth.ie

Policy: http://www.thehealthwell.info/node/628334?&content=resource&member=749069&catalogue=Policies,%20Strategies%20&%20Action%20plans,Policy&collection=none&tokens_complete=true

Yes

No

Irish Universities Association (IUA) – Researchers

Representative body for Ireland’s seven universities:

http://www.iua.ie

https://www.tcd.ie/research_innovation/assets/TCD%20Open%20Access%20Policy.pdf

http://www.ucd.ie

Yes effective 2010

Yes

Health Service Executive (HSE) – Researchers

Webside: http://www.hse.ie/eng/

Policy:http://www.hse.ie/eng/staff/Resources/library/Open_Access/statement.pdf

Repository: http://www.lenus.ie/hse/

Yes effective 2013

Yes

Institutes of Technology Ireland (IOTI) – Researchers

Webside: http://www.ioti.ie

-

No

Dublin Institute of Technology (DIT) – Researchers

Webside: http://dit.ie

Policy: http://arrow.dit.ie/mandate.html

Repository: http://arrow.dit.ie

*Yes

Yes

Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (RCSI) – Researchers

Webside: http://www.rcsi.ie

Policy: http://epubs.rcsi.ie/policies.html

Repository: http://epubs.rcsi.ie

*No

Yes

Consortium of National and University Libraries (CONUL) – Library and Repository

Webside: http://www.conul.ie

Repository: http://rian.ie/en

-

Yes

IUA Librarians’ Group (IUALG) - Library and Repository

Webside: http://www.iua.ie

Repository: http://rian.ie/en

-

Yes

Digital Repository of Ireland (DRI) - Library and Repository

Webside and Repository: http://www.dri.ie

DRI Position Statement on Open Access for Data: http://dri.ie/sites/default/files/files/dri-position-statement-on-open-access-for-data-2014.pdf

Yes

effective 2014

Yes

EdepositIreland - Library and Repository

Webside: http://www.tcd.ie/Library/edepositireland/

Policy: https://www.tcd.ie/research_innovation/assets/TCD%20Open%20Access%20Policy.pdf

Repository: http://edepositireland.ie

Yes

Yes

*IRC: Some exceptions like books. See policy.

*Teagasc: Material in the repository is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial Share-Alike License

*DIT: Material that is to be commercialised, or which can be regarded as confidential, or the publication of which would infringe a legal commitment of the Institute and/or the author, is exempt from inclusion in the repository.

*RCSI: Material in the repository is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial Share-Alike License

Table 3. Institutional OA Policies in Ireland

Funder OA policies:

Major research funders in Ireland

Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food: http://www.agriculture.gov.ie/media/migration/research/DAFMOpenAccessPolicy.pdf

IRCHSS (Irish Research Council for Humanities and Social Sciences): No Open Access policies as yet.

Enterprise Ireland: No Open Access policies as yet.

IRCSET (Irish Research Council for Science, Engineering and Technology): OA Mandate from May 1st 2008:http://roarmap.eprints.org/63/

HEA (Higher Education Authority): OA Mandate from June 30th 2009: http://roarmap.eprints.org/95/

Marine Institute: No Open Access policies as yet

HRB (Health Research Board): OA Recommendations, Policy: http://roarmap.eprints.org/76/

SFI (Science Foundation Ireland): OA Mandate from February 1st 2009: http://roarmap.eprints.org/115/

Table 4. Open Access funders in Ireland.

Figure 3. Public sources of funds for Open Access. From rian.ie (date: 16/9/2014), http://rian.ie/en/stats/overview

Infrastructural support for OA:

Open Access organisations and groups

Open Access projects and initiatives. The Open Access to Irish Research Project. Associated National Initiatives

RIAN Steering Group. IUA (Irish Universities Association) Librarian’s Group (Coordinating body). RIAN is the outcome of a project to build online open access to institutional repositories in all seven Irish universities and to harvest their content to the national portal.

NDLR (National Digital Learning Repository):http://www.ndlr.ie

National Steering Group on Open Access Policy. See Table 3

RISE Group (Research Information Systems Exchange)

Irish Open Access Repositories Support Project Working Group. ReSupIE: http://www.irel-open.ie/moodle/

Repository Network Ireland is a newly formed group of Repository managers, librarians and information: http://rni.wikispaces.com

Digital Repository Ireland DRI is a trusted national repository for Ireland’s humanities and social sciences data @dri_ireland

Table 5. Open Access infrastructural support.

Challenges and ongoing developments

Ireland already has considerable expertise in developing Open Access to publicly funded research, aligned with international policies and initiatives, and is now seeking to strengthen its approach to support international developments on Open Access led by the European Commission, Science Europe and other international agencies.

The greatest challenge is the increasing pressure faced by publishers in a fast-changing environment.

Conclusions

The launch of Ireland’s national Open Access policy has put Ireland ahead of many European partners. Irish research organisations are particularly successful in the following areas of research: Information and Communication Technologies, Health and Food, Agriculture, and Biotechnology.

Links

- Repository Network Ireland / http://rni.wikispaces.com

-Open Access Scholarly Publishers / http://oaspa.org/blog/

- OpenDoar – Directory of Repositories / http://www.opendoar.org

- OpenAire – Open Access Infrastructure for research in Europe / https://www.openaire.eu

- Repositories Support Ireland / http://www.resupie.ie/moodle/

-UCD Library News / http://ucdoa.blogspot.ie

- Trinity’s Open Access News / http://trinity-openaccess.blogspot.ie

- RIAN / http://rian.ie/en/stats/overview

Contact person: Dr. Salua Nassabay salua.nassabay@openknowledge.ie

https://www.openknowledge.ie; twitter: @OKFirl

CC-BY-SA-NC

Library of Congress: The Signal: 2014 DPOE Training Needs Assessment Survey

planet code4lib - Wed, 2014-10-29 14:01

The following is a guest post by Barrie Howard, IT Project Manager at the Library of Congress.

Last month the Digital Preservation Outreach and Education (DPOE) Program wrapped up the “2014 DPOE Training Needs Assessment Survey” in an effort to get a sense of the state of digital preservation practice and understand more about what capacity exists for organizations and professionals to effectively preserve digital content. This survey is a follow up to a similar survey that was conducted in 2010, and mentioned in a previous blog post.

The 17-question survey was open for seven weeks to relevant organizations and received 436 responses, which is excellent considering summer vacation schedules and survey fatigue. The questions addressed issues like primary function (library, archive, museum, etc.), staff size and responsibilities, collection items, preferred training content and delivery options and financial support for professional development and training.

Response rates from libraries, archives, museums, and historical societies were similar in 2010 and 2014, with a notable increase this year in participation from state governments. There was good geographic coverage, including responses from organizations in 48 states, DC and Puerto Rico (see below), and none of the survey questions were skipped by any of the respondents.

Figure 1. Geographic coverage of survey respondents.

The most significant takeaways are: 1) an overwhelming expression of concern that respondents ensure their digital content is accessible for 10 or more years (84%), and; 2) evidence of a strong commitment to support employee training opportunities (83%). Other important discoveries reveal changes in staff size and configuration over the last four years. There was a marked 6% decrease in staff size at smaller organizations ranging from 1-50 employees, and a slight 2% drop in staff size at large organizations with over 500 employees. In comparison, medium-size organizations reported a 4% uptick in the staff range of 51-200 and 3% for the 201-500 tier. There was a substantial 13% increase across all organizations in paid full-time or part-time professional staff with practitioner experience, and a 5% drop in organizations reporting no staff at all. These findings suggest positive trends across the digital preservation community, which bode well for the long-term preservation of our collective cultural heritage.

One survey question tackled the issue of what type of digital content is held by each institution. While reformatted material digitized from collections already held has the highest frequency across all respondents (83%), born-digital content created by and for your organization trails close behind (76.4%). Forty-five percent of all respondents reported that their institution had deposited digital materials managed for other individuals or institutions. These results reflect prevailing trends, and it will be interesting to see how things change between now and the next survey.

Figure 2. Types of digital content held by each responding organizations (percentages are a portion of the 436 respondents, and each respondent was allowed to choose multiple types).

The main purpose of the survey was to collect data about the training needs of these organizations, and half a dozen questions were devoted to this task. Interestingly, while online training is trending across many sectors to meet the constraints of reduced travel budgets, the 2014 survey results find that respondents still value intimate, in-person workshops. In-person training often comes at a higher price than online, and the survey attempted to find out how much money an employee would receive annually for training. Not surprisingly, the majority (25%) of respondents didn’t know, and equally as important, another 24% reported a modest budget range of $0-$250.

When given the opportunity to be away from their place of employment, respondents preferred half or full-day training sessions over 2-3 days or week-long intensives. They showed a willingness to travel off-site up to a 100-mile radius of their places of work. There was a bias towards training on applicable skills, rather than introductory material on basic concepts, and respondents identified training investments that result in an increased capacity to work with digital objects and metadata management as the most beneficial outcome for their organization.

DPOE currently offers an in-person, train-the-trainer workshop, and is exploring options for extending the workshop curriculum to include online delivery options for the training modules. These advancements will address some of the issues raised in the survey, and may include regularly scheduled webinars, on-demand videos and pre- and post-workshop videos. The 2014 survey results will be released in a forthcoming report, which will be made available in November, so keep a watchful eye on the DPOE website and The Signal for the report and subsequent DPOE training materials as they become available.

SearchHub: Economic Stimulus from Washington: Prizes for Stumping The Chump!

planet code4lib - Wed, 2014-10-29 02:09

Most of the time, if you see “Washington”, “November” & “$” in the same article, you are probably reading about Elections, Campaign Finance Reform, Super-PACs, Attack Ads, and maybe even Criminal Investigations.

This is not one of those articles.

Today I’m here to remind you that on November 13th, you can “Win, Win! Win!!!” big prizes if you have a tough Lucene/Solr question that manages to Stump The Chump!

  • 1st Prize: $100 Amazon gift certificate
  • 2nd Prize: $50 Amazon gift certificate
  • 3rd Prize: $25 Amazon gift certificate

To enter: just email your tough question to our panel of judges via stump@lucenerevolution.org any time until the day of the session. Even if you won’t be able to attend the conference in D.C., you can still participate — and maybe win a prize — by emailing in your tricky questions.

To keep up with all the “Chump” news fit to print, you can subscribe to this blog (or just the “Chump” tag).

The post Economic Stimulus from Washington: Prizes for Stumping The Chump! appeared first on Lucidworks.

DuraSpace News: PARTICIPATE: DuraSpace Projects Launch Leadership Group Elections

planet code4lib - Wed, 2014-10-29 00:00

Winchester, MA  DuraSpace’s open source projects—DSpace, Fedora, and VIVO—are officially launching the nominations phase of the Leadership Group elections to expand the community's role in setting strategic direction and priorities for each project.

New Project Governance

DuraSpace News: Digital Preservation Network (DPN) Launches Member Content Pilot

planet code4lib - Wed, 2014-10-29 00:00

A step toward establishing an operational, long-term preservation system shared across the academy

Jonathan Rochkind: “Is the semantic web still a thing?”

planet code4lib - Tue, 2014-10-28 23:29

A post on Hacker News asks:

A few years ago, it seemed as if everyone was talking about the semantic web as the next big thing. What happened? Are there still startups working in that space? Are people still interested?

Note that “linked data” is basically talking about the same technologies as “semantic web”, it’s sort of the new branding for “semantic web”, with some minor changes in focus.

The top-rated comment in the discussion says, in part:

A bit of background, I’ve been working in environments next to, and sometimes with, large scale Semantic Graph projects for much of my career — I usually try to avoid working near a semantic graph program due to my long histories of poor outcomes with them.

I’ve seen uncountably large chunks of money put into KM projects that go absolutely nowhere and I’ve come to understand and appreciate many of the foundational problems the field continues to suffer from. Despite a long period of time, progress in solving these fundamental problems seem hopelessly delayed.

The semantic web as originally proposed (Berners-Lee, Hendler, Lassila) is as dead as last year’s roadkill, though there are plenty out there that pretend that’s not the case. There’s still plenty of groups trying to revive the original idea, or like most things in the KM field, they’ve simply changed the definition to encompass something else that looks like it might work instead.

The reasons are complex but it basically boils down to: going through all the effort of putting semantic markup with no guarantee of a payoff for yourself was a stupid idea.

The entire comment, and, really the entire thread, are worth a read. There seems to be a lot of energy in libraryland behind trying to produce “linked data”, and I think it’s important to pay attention to what’s going on in the larger world here.

Especially because much of the stated motivation for library “linked data” seems to have been: “Because that’s where non-library information management technology is headed, and for once let’s do what everyone else is doing and not create our own library-specific standards.”  It turns out that may or may not be the case, if your motivation for library linked data was “so we can be like everyone else,” that simply may not be an accurate motivation, everyone else doesn’t seem to be heading there in the way people hoped a few years ago.

On the other hand, some of the reasons that semantic web/linked data have not caught on are commercial and have to do with business models.

One of the reasons that whole thing died was that existing business models simply couldn’t be reworked to make it make sense. If I’m running an ad driven site about Cat Breeds, simply giving you all my information in an easy to parse machine readable form so your site on General Pet Breeds can exist and make money is not something I’m particularly inclined to do. You’ll notice now that even some of the most permissive sites are rate limited through their API and almost all require some kind of API key authentication scheme to even get access to the data.

It may be that libraries and other civic organizations, without business models predicated on competition, may be a better fit for implementation of semantic web technologies.  And the sorts of data that libraries deal with (bibliographic and scholarly) may be better suited for semantic data as well compared to general commercial business data.  It may be that at the moment libraries, cultural heritage, and civic organizations are the majority of entities exploring linked data.

Still, the coarsely stated conclusion of that top-rated HN comment is worth repeating:

going through all the effort of putting semantic markup with no guarantee of a payoff for yourself was a stupid idea.

Putting data into linked data form simply because we’ve been told that “everyone is doing it” without carefully understanding the use cases such reformatting is supposed to benefit and making sure that it does — risks undergoing great expense for no payoff. Especially when everyone is not in fact doing it.

GIGO

Taking the same data you already have and reformatting as “linked data” does not neccesarily add much value. If it was poorly controlled, poorly modelled, or incomplete data before — it still is even in RDF.   You can potentially add a lot more value and more additional uses of your data by improving the data quality than by working to reformat it as linked data/RDF.  The idea that simply reformatting it as RDF would add significant value was predicated on the idea of an ecology of software and services built to use linked data, software and services exciting enough that making your data available to them would result in added value.  That ecology has not really materialized, and it’s hardly clear that it will (and to the extent it does, it may only be if libraries and cultural heritage organizations create it; we are unlikely to get a free ride on more general tools from a wider community).

But please do share your data

To be clear, I still highly advocate taking the data you do have and making it freely available under open (or public domain) license terms. In whatever formats you’ve already got it in.  If your data is valuable, developers will find a way to use it, and simply making the data you’ve already got available is much less expensive than trying to reformat it as linked data.  And you can find out if anyone is interested in it. If nobody’s interested in your data as it is — I think it’s unlikely the amount of interest will be significantly greater after you model it as ‘linked data’. The ecology simply hasn’t arisen to make using linked data any easier or more valuable than using anything else (in many contexts and cases, it’s more troublesome and challenging than less abstract formats, in fact).

Following the bandwagon vs doing the work

Part of the problem is that modelling data is inherently a context-specific act. There is no universally applicable model — and I’m talking here about the ontological level of entities and relationships, what objects you represent in your data as distinct entities and how they are related. Whether you model it as RDF or just as custom XML, the way you model the world may or may not be useful or even usable by those in different contexts, domains and businesses.  See “Schemas aren’t neutral” in the short essay by Cory Doctorow linked to from that HN comment.  But some of the linked data promise is premised on the idea that your data will be both useful and integrate-able nearly universally with data from other contexts and domains.

These are not insoluble problems, they are interesting problems, and they are problems that libraries as professional information organizations rightly should be interested in working on. Semantic web/linked data technologies may very well play a role in the solutions (although it’s hardly clear that they are THE answer).

It’s great for libraries to be interested in working on these problems. But working on these problems means working on these problems, it means spending resources on investigation and R&D and staff with the right expertise and portfolio. It does not mean blindly following the linked data bandwagon because you (erroneously) believe it’s already been judged as the right way to go by people outside of (and with the implication ‘smarter than’) libraries. It has not been.

For individual linked data projects, it means being clear about what specific benefits they are supposed to bring to use cases you care about — short and long term — and what other outside dependencies may be necessary to make those benefits happen, and focusing on those too.  It means understanding all your technical options and considering them in a cost/benefit/risk analysis, rather than automatically assuming RDF/semantic web/linked data and as much of it as possible.

It means being aware of the costs and the hoped for benefits, and making wise decisions about how best to allocate resources to maximize chances of success at those hoped for benefits.   Blindly throwing resources into taking your same old data and sharing it as “linked data”, because you’ve heard it’s the thing to do,  does not in fact help.


Filed under: General

Cherry Hill Company: Islandora Camp Colorado - Bringing Islandora and Drupal closer

planet code4lib - Tue, 2014-10-28 22:40

From October 13 - 16, 2014, I had the opportunity to go to (and the priviledge to present at) Islandora Camp Colorado (http://islandora.ca/camps/co2014). These were four fairly intensive days, including a last day workshop looking to the future with Fedora Commons 4.x. We had a one day introduction to Islandora, a day of workshops, and a final day of community presentations on how Libraries (and companies that work with Libraries such as ours) are using Islandora. The future looks quite interesting for the relationship between Fedora Commons and Drupal.

  • The new version of Islandora allows you to regenerate derivatives on the fly. You can specify which datastreams are derivatives of (what I am calling) parent datastreams. As a result, the new feature allows you to regenerate a derivative through the UI or possibly via Drush, which something the Colorado Alliance is working to have working with the ...
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FOSS4Lib Recent Releases: Service-Proxy - 0.39

planet code4lib - Tue, 2014-10-28 21:14
Package: Service-ProxyRelease Date: Monday, October 27, 2014

Last updated October 28, 2014. Created by Peter Murray on October 28, 2014.
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New IdentityLayer field, indexIconUrl, meant for defining another per-user logo, supplementing iconUrl.

FOSS4Lib Recent Releases: Archivematica - 1.3.0

planet code4lib - Tue, 2014-10-28 21:12
Package: ArchivematicaRelease Date: Friday, October 24, 2014

Last updated October 28, 2014. Created by Peter Murray on October 28, 2014.
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Important note: this is not a required upgrade from 1.2.x. Only new users, those wanting to try out 14.04, or DuraCloud account holders need this release.

Nicole Engard: Bookmarks for October 28, 2014

planet code4lib - Tue, 2014-10-28 20:30

Today I found the following resources and bookmarked them on <a href=

  • ZenHub.io ZenHub provides a project management solution to GitHub with customizable task boards, peer feedback, file uploads, and more.
  • Thingful Thingful® is a search engine for the Internet of Things, providing a unique geographical index of connected objects around the world, including energy, radiation, weather, and air quality devices as well as seismographs, iBeacons, ships, aircraft and even animal trackers. Thingful’s powerful search capabilities enable people to find devices, datasets and realtime data sources by geolocation across many popular Internet of Things networks
  • Zanran Numerical Data Search Zanran helps you to find ‘semi-structured’ data on the web. This is the numerical data that people have presented as graphs and tables and charts. For example, the data could be a graph in a PDF report, or a table in an Excel spreadsheet, or a barchart shown as an image in an HTML page. This huge amount of information can be difficult to find using conventional search engines, which are focused primarily on finding text rather than graphs, tables and bar charts.
  • Gwittr Gwittr is a Twitter API based search website. It allows you to better search any Twitter account for older tweets, linked web pages and pictures.
  • ThingLink Easily create interactive images and videos for your websites, infographics, photo galleries, presentations and more!

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LITA: Midwinter Workshop Highlight: Meet the Field Research Presenter!

planet code4lib - Tue, 2014-10-28 19:51

We asked our LITA Midwinter Workshop Presenters to tell us a little more about themselves and what to expect from their workshops in January. This week, we’re hearing from Wayne Johnston, who will be presenting the workshop:

Developing mobile apps to support field research
(For registration details, please see the bottom of this blog post)

LITA: Can you tell us a little more about you?

Wayne: I am currently Head of Research Enterprise and Scholarly Communication at the University of Guelph Library. Prior to joining the Library I worked for the United Nations in both New York and Geneva. My international experience includes work I’ve done in Ghana, Nepal, Croatia and Canada’s Arctic.

LITA: Who is your target audience for this workshop?

Wayne: I think this workshop will be most relevant to academic librarians who are supporting research activity on their campuses.  It may be of particular interest to those working in research data management.  Beyond that, anyone interested in mobile technology and/or open source software will find the workshop of interest.

LITA: How much experience with programming do attendees need to succeed in the workshop?

Wayne: None whatsoever.  Some experience with examples of field research undertaken by faculty and/or graduate students would be useful.

LITA: If you were a character from the Marvel or Harry Potter universe, which would it be, and why?

Wayne: How about the Silver Surfer?  By living vicariously through the field research I support I feel that I glide effortlessly to the far corners of the world.

LITA: Name one concrete thing your attendees will be able to take back to their libraries after participating in your workshop.

WayneYou will be equipped to enable researchers on your campus to dispense with paper data collection and discover new efficiencies and data security by using mobile technology.

LITA: What kind of gadgets/software do your attendees need to bring?

WayneNothing required but any mobile devices would be advantageous.  If possible, have an app that enables you to read QR codes.

LITA: Respond to this scenario: You’re stuck on a desert island. A box washes ashore. As you pry off the lid and peer inside, you begin to dance and sing, totally euphoric. What’s in the box?

WayneA bottle of craft beer.

More information about Midwinter Workshops. 

Registration Information: LITA members get one third off the cost of Mid-Winter workshops. Use the discount promotional code:  LITA2015 during online registration to automatically receive your member discount.  Start the process at the ALA web sites: Conference web site: http://alamw15.ala.org/ Registration start page: http://alamw15.ala.org/rates LITA Workshops registration descriptions: http://alamw15.ala.org/ticketed-events#LITA When you start the registration process and BEFORE you choose the workshop, you will encounter the Personal Information page.  On that page there is a field to enter the discount promotional code:  LITA2015 As in the example below.  If you do so, then when you get to the workshops choosing page the discount prices, of $235, are automatically displayed and entered.  The discounted total will be reflected in the Balance Due line on the payment page. Please contact the LITA Office if you have any registration questions.

Library of Congress: The Signal: Data Infrastructure, Education &amp; Sustainability: Notes from the Symposium on the Interagency Strategic Plan for Big Data

planet code4lib - Tue, 2014-10-28 16:38

Last week, the  National Academies Board on Research Data and Information hosted a Symposium on the Interagency Strategic Plan for Big Data. Staff from the National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation, the U.S. Geological Survey and the National Institute for Standards and Technology presented on ongoing work to establish an interagency strategic plan for Big Data. In this short post I recap some of the points and issues that were raised in the presentations and discussion and provide links to some of the projects and initiatives that I think will be of interest to readers of The Signal.

Vision and Priority Actions for National Big Data R&D

Slide with the vision for the interagency big data activity.

Part of the occasion for this event is the current “Request for Input (RFI)-National Big Data R&D Initiative.” Individuals and organizations have until November 14th to provide comments on “The National Big Data R&D Initiative: Vision and Actions to be Taken” (pdf). This short document is intended to inform policy for research and development across various federal agencies. Relevant to those working in digital stewardship and digital preservation, the draft includes a focus on issues related to trustworthiness of data and resulting knowledge, investing in both domain-specific and shared cyberinfrastructure to support research and improving data analysis education and training and a focus on “ensuring the long term sustainability” of data sets and data resources.

Sustainability as the Elephant in the Room

In the overview presentation about the interagency big data initiative, Allen Dearry from the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences noted that sustainability and preservation infrastructure for data remains the “elephant in the room.” This comment resonated with several of the subsequent presenters and was referenced several times in their remarks. I was glad to see sustainability and long-term access getting this kind of attention. It is also good to see that “sustainability” is specifically mentioned in the draft document referenced above. With that noted, throughout discussion and presentations it was clear that the challenges of long-term data management are only becoming more and more complex as more and more data is collected to support a range of research.

From “Data to Knowledge” as a Framework

The phrase “Data to Knowledge” was a repeated in several of the presentations. The interagency team working in this space has often made use of it, for example, in relation to last years “Data to Knowledge to Action” event (pdf). From a stewardship/preservation perspective, it is invaluable to recognize that the focus on the resulting knowledge and action that comes from data puts additional levels of required assurance on the range of activities involved in the stewardship of data. This is not simply an issue of maintaining data assets, but a more complex activity of keeping data accessible and interpretable in ways that support generating sound  knowledge.

Some of the particular examples discussed under the heading of “data to knowledge” illustrate the significance of the concept to the work of data preservation and stewardship. One of the presenters mentioned the importance of publishing negative results and the analytic process of research. A presenter noted that open source platforms like iPython notebook are making it easier for scientists to work on and share their data, code and research. This discussion connected rather directly with many of the issues that were raised in the 2012 NDIIPP content summit Science@Risk: Toward a National Strategy for Preserving Online Science and in its final report (pdf). There is a whole range of seemingly ancillary material that makes data interpretable and meaningful. I was pleased to see one of those areas, software, receive recognition at the event.

Recognition of Software Preservation as Supporting Data to Knowledge

Sky Bristol from USGS presenting on sustainability issues related to big data to an audience at the National Academies of Science in Washington DC.

The event closed with presentations from two projects that won National Academies Board on Research Data and Information’s Data and Information Challenge Awards. Adam Asare of the Immune Tolerance Network presented on “ITN Trial Share: Enabling True Clinical Trial Transparency” and Mahadev Satyanarayanan from the Olive Executable Archive presented on “Olive: Sustaining Executable Content Over Decades.” Both of these projects represent significant progress supporting the sustainability of access to scientific data.

I was particularly thrilled to see the issues around software preservation receiving this kind of national attention. As explained in much greater depth in the Preserving.exe report, arts, culture and scientific advancement are increasingly dependent on software. In this respect, I found it promising to see a project like Olive, which has considerable implication for the reproducibility of analysis and for providing long-term access to data and interpretations of data in their native formats and environments, receiving recognition at an event focused on data infrastructure. For those interested in the further implications of this kind of work for science, this 2011 interview with the Olive project explores many of the potential implications of this kind of work for science.

Education and Training in Data Curation

Slide from presentation on approaches to analytical training for working with data for all learners.

Another subject I imagine readers of The Signal are tracking is education and training in support of data analysis and curation. Michelle Dunn from the National Institutes for Health presented on an approach NIH is taking to develop the kind of workforce that is necessary in this space. She mentioned a range of vectors for thinking about data science training, including traditional academic programs as well as the potential for the development of open educational resources. For those interested in this topic, it’s worth reviewing the vision and goals outlined in the NIH Data Science “Education, Training, and Workforce Development” draft report (pdf). As libraries increasingly become involved in the curation and management of research data, and as library and information science programs increasingly focus on preparing students to work in support of data-intensive research, it will be critical to follow developments in this area.

David Rosenthal: Familiarity Breeds Contempt

planet code4lib - Tue, 2014-10-28 15:00
In my recent Internet of Things post I linked to Jim Gettys' post Bufferbloat and Other Challenges. In it Jim points to a really important 2010 paper by Sandy Clarke, Matt Blaze, Stefan Frei and Jonathan Smith entitled Familiarity Breeds Contempt: The Honeymoon Effect and the Role of Legacy Code in Zero-Day Vulnerabilities.

Clarke et al analyze databases of vulnerabilities to show that the factors influencing the rate of discovery of vulnerabilities are quite different from those influencing the rate of discovery of bugs. They summarize their findings thus:
We show that the length of the period after the release of a software product (or version) and before the discovery of the first vulnerability (the ’Honeymoon’ period) is primarily a function of familiarity with the system. In addition, we demonstrate that legacy code resulting from code re-use is a major contributor to both the rate of vulnerability discovery and the numbers of vulnerabilities found; this has significant implications for software engineering principles and practice. Jim says:
our engineering processes need fundamental reform in the face of very long lived devices.Don't hold your breath. The paper's findings also have significant implications for digital preservation, because external attack is an important component of the threat model for digital preservation systems:
  • Digital preservation systems are, like devices in the Internet of Things (IoT), long-lived.
  • Although they are designed to be easier to update than most IoT devices, they need to be extremely cheap to run. Resources to make major changes to the code base within the "honeymoon" period will be inadequate.
  • Scarce resources and adherence to current good software engineering resources already mean that much of the code in these systems is shared.
Thus it is likely that digital preservation systems will be more vulnerable than the systems whose content they are intended to preserve. This is a strong argument for diversity of implementation, which has unfortunately turned out to increase costs significantly. Mitigating the threat from external attack increases the threat of economic failure.

HangingTogether: Lots more on researcher identifiers

planet code4lib - Tue, 2014-10-28 13:19

I blogged earlier this year inviting feedback on the OCLC Research Registering Researchers in Authority Files Task Group‘s draft report-and we did receive some, much appreciated. Now the report is published!

Along with it, we’ve published supplementary datasets detailing our research:

  • our use case scenarios
  • characteristics profiles of 20 research networking or identifier systems
  • an Excel workbook with
    • links to 100 systems the task group considered
    • the functional requirements derived from the use case scenarios and their associated stakeholders
    • compilation of the 20 characteristics profiles for easy comparison
    • the 20 profiled systems mapped to their functional requirements.

The report, supplementary datasets, and a slide with the Researcher Identifier Information Flow diagram used in the report (and which can be repurposed, with attribution) are all available on the Registering Researchers in Authority Files report landing page.

If I had to choose the key message from all of this, it would be that research institutions and libraries need to recognize that “authors are not strings” and that persistent identifiers are needed to accurately link their researchers with their scholarly output and to funders.

The report could be considered the “executive summary” of the task group’s two years’ worth of research. No one identifier or system will ever include all researchers, or meet all functional requirements of every stakeholder. If you’re weighing pros and cons of different identifier systems, I’d suggest you look at the profiles and our mappings to the functional requirements.

Collaborating with such talented experts on the task group has been a great pleasure. Now that we’ve delivered our final output, I’m looking forward to your reactions and feedback!

About Karen Smith-Yoshimura

Karen Smith-Yoshimura, program officer, works on topics related to renovating descriptive and organizing practices with a focus on large research libraries and area studies requirements.

Mail | Web | Twitter | More Posts (52)

Islandora: iCampCO's Secret Sauce - a Guest Blog

planet code4lib - Tue, 2014-10-28 12:56

The following guest post was written by Islandora Camp Colorado attendee Bryan Brown, who joined us from Florida State University:

Islandora Camp CO was over a week ago now, but I’m still digesting the experience. Having been to several conferences before, I was expecting something similar where a Sage on the Stage lectures about some abstract topic while the audience passively listens (or doesn’t). I was pleasantly surprised at the smaller and more personal atmosphere of iCamp, where we were free to ask questions in the middle of presentations and instructors revised their talks based on what the audience was most interested in. Instead of canned slideshows, Islandora Camp is an interactive experience that could vary wildly depending on who attends. This is because the core theme of Islandora Camp, and maybe even Islandora in general, is community.

From the first day where we all introduced ourselves and how we are using Islandora, I quickly felt like I knew everyone at camp and felt no hesitation to strike up a conversation with others about their work. The conversations I had with other campers about how they are using Islandora stuck with me just as much as the presentations and workshops. I met a lot of interesting developers and administrators who are working on projects similar to my own and came back to Florida with a greatly extended network of fellow Islandorians I could work with to solve shared problems. Instead of treating our Islandora instances like unique snowflakes and solving our problems in a vacuum, we need to come together and discuss these problems as a community so we can create better solutions that help more people.

The future of Islandora is not up to the Islandora Foundation or Discovery Garden, but with Islandora users. If you want Islandora to be better, it’s not enough to sit around and wait for new modules to come out or complain about problems they might have. File bug reports when you find an issue. Volunteer to test modules for new releases. Contribute your patches as a pull request. Join an interest group. There are lots of ways to get involved in the Islandora community, even if you aren’t a developer. Since we are all using the same system, we are all in the same boat. This sense of connectedness might just be the secret sauce that makes iCamp such a great experience.

DuraSpace News: DSpace-CRIS News from CINECA

planet code4lib - Tue, 2014-10-28 00:00

From Michele Mennielli, Cineca

Casey Bisson: Unit testing WordPress plugins

planet code4lib - Mon, 2014-10-27 22:18

We’ve been unit testing some of our plugins using the old WordPress-tests framework and tips from this 2012 blog post. The good news is that the framework has since been incorporated into core WP, the bad news is that it was changed along the way, and it wasn’t exactly easy to get the test environment setup correctly for the old WordPress-tests.

I’ve had a feeling there must be a better way, and today I discovered there is. WP-CLI has plugin unit test scaffolding that’s easy to install. Pippin’s Plugins’ guide to the scaffold is helpful as well. My experience was pretty smooth, with the following caveats:

  • cd $(wp plugin path --dir my-plugin) is just another way of saying “cd into the plugin’s directory.” It’s good to see the example of how wpcli can be used that way, but way easier for me to type the path.
  • bin/install-wp-tests.sh came out with some unexpected permissions. I did a chmod 550 bin/install-wp-tests.sh and was a lot happier. It’s possible (perhaps likely) that I’m missing a sexy unix permissions trick there, and the permissions are intentionally non-executable for non-root users, but there’s no obvious documentation for that.
  • The bin/install-wp-tests.sh needs to run with a user that can create databases (probably root for many people). I’m usually pretty particular about this permission, but the convenience factor here depends on it.
  • The old framework expected -test.php to be the file suffix, the new approach expects the files to be prefixed with test-

All those are pretty minor, however. I think this approach will make it far easier to make tests distributable. The support for Travis (and from there to Github) is super sexy. All together, this should make tests easier to write and use.

Followup

I’ve added the scaffold to some of my most popular plugins:

Only bCMS has a meaningful test, written by Will Luo, but we’ll see where it goes from here. I’m still working out issues getting the test environment setup both locally and in Travis. Plugin dependencies, configuration, and git submodules are among the problems.

Nicole Engard: Bookmarks for October 27, 2014

planet code4lib - Mon, 2014-10-27 20:30

Today I found the following resources and bookmarked them on <a href=

  • JSON2HTML json2html is an open source javascript library that uses JSON templates to convert JSON objects to HTML.

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