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District Dispatch: Massive advocacy surge forestalls cybersecurity showdown

planet code4lib - Thu, 2015-08-06 20:41

Congratulations! You, and more than 6 million other fax-firing outraged citizens, helped convince the Senate on its last day of pre-recess debate not to take up S. 754, the privacy-hostile Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act (CISA). . . at least until Congress returns after Labor Day.

Kick the can down the road

While modified by its principal authors, Intelligence Committee Chair Richard Burr (R-NC) and Ranking Democrat Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), to respond to profound criticism from ALA and many other privacy advocates, S. 754 as it came to the Senate floor on Thursday remained a deeply troubling and flawed bill. Many Senators were and will again be prepared to offer amendments to blunt CISA’s sharpest anti-privacy edges.  Even if they succeed, however, the Senate’s final version of S. 754 still will have to be reconciled with the House’s very different cyber bills and the end product is unlikely to be one that civil liberties advocates, ALA among them, can support.

Summer may be a time for hammocks and naps, but not when it comes to making sure that every Senator know just how bad a bill CISA is and just how much you want your Senator to  vote “NO” when and if it returns to the Senate floor. Stay tuned to District Dispatch, and ALA’s Twitter and Facebook pages, for more on when and how best to deliver that message.  For now, enjoy that lemonade in the shade; you earned it!

The post Massive advocacy surge forestalls cybersecurity showdown appeared first on District Dispatch.

Nicole Engard: Bookmarks for August 6, 2015

planet code4lib - Thu, 2015-08-06 20:30

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

  • Computer Science Learning Opportunities We have developed a range of resources, programs, scholarships, and grant opportunities to engage students and educators around the world interested in computer science.

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The post Bookmarks for August 6, 2015 appeared first on What I Learned Today....

Related posts:

  1. Contribute to Open Source
  2. Teach Students Open Source
  3. Collaborative Teaching for More Effective Learning

Patrick Hochstenbach: Penguin in Africa

planet code4lib - Thu, 2015-08-06 03:53
Filed under: Comics Tagged: africa, cartoon, comic, hunt, hunter, hunting, Penguin

DPLA: Summer of Space Exploration

planet code4lib - Wed, 2015-08-05 19:22

This summer has been one full of space exploration. NASA’s New Horizons mission brought us new discoveries and breathtaking images of Pluto. July and August also marked a host of scientific milestones, marking man’s first walk on the moon, among other breakthroughs that helped pave the way for New Horizons. You can explore some of the milestones of American space exploration in the DPLA collections.

The first space probe to send back images of the moon, the Ranger VII, was launched on July 28, 1964. It was also the first successful flight in the Ranger program, which had tried and failed to send a number of unmanned spacecraft to photograph the moon in the early 1960s. The Ranger VII sent more than 4,000 pictures back to earth and helped scientists prepare the eventual Apollo landing sites.

Close-up images of the Moon from the Ranger VII, 1964. Courtesy of the National Archives and Records Administration.

The Ranger Lunar Probe. Courtesy of the National Air and Space Museum via Smithsonian Institution.















Five years later, NASA astronauts walked the very lunar surface that the Ranger VII photographed. The Apollo 11 spacecraft carried the first humans to the moon, with Neil Armstrong’s historic first steps being broadcast live on TV for viewers back on Earth. You can view objects (including Armstrong’s spacesuit) in the DPLA, via the National Air and Space Museum collection.

A National Security Action memo about the Apollo program, 1962. Courtesy of the National Archives and Records Administration.


Decades later, the Curiosity, an unmanned rover, explored the surface of another planet–Mars. The Curiosity, a robotic vehicle, launched in November 2011 and touched down on the surface of Mars in August 2012. It sent back the first images of Mars, and videos from the Curiosity were watched across the world online. On the one-year anniversary of its landing, the rover played “Happy Birthday,” marking the first song played on another planet. Learn more about the Curiosity mission in this collection of stories from Minnesota Public Radio. You can also read NASA’s Curiosity flight data, from the United States Government Publishing Office.

The most recent space exploration discoveries come from New Horizons, a space probe which captured stunning images of Pluto this summer. Aside from the mock-up of the New Horizons probe, from the National Air and Space Museum, you can find a variety of other related space history items in the DPLA collections, too. Notably, these depictions of the solar system (this ornate 1876 quilt, and an orrery mechanical model, both from the National Museum of American History) created before the discovery of Pluto show just how far scientists have come in their astronomical discoveries.

“The Solar System,” 1869. Courtesy of David Rumsey.

LITA: Jobs in Information Technology: August 5, 2015

planet code4lib - Wed, 2015-08-05 18:51

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:

Manager, Information Technology, Timberland Regional Library, Olympia, WA

Vice President – Digital Services, Backstage Library Works, Bethlehem, PA

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

Open Knowledge Foundation: Beauty behind the scenes

planet code4lib - Wed, 2015-08-05 15:57

Good things can often go unnoticed, especially if they’re not immediately visible. Last month the government of Sweden, through Vinnova, released a revamped version of their open data portal, Ö The portal still runs on CKAN, the open data management system. It even has the same visual feeling but the principles behind the portal are completely different. The main idea behind the new version of Ö is automation. Open Knowledge teamed up with the Swedish company Metasolutions to build and deliver an automated open data portal.

Responsive design

In modern web development, one aspect of website automation called responsive design has become very popular. With this technique the website automatically adjusts the presentation depending on the screen size. That is, it knows how best to present the content given different screen sizes. Ö got a slight facelift in terms of tweaks to its appearance, but the big news on that front is that it now has a responsive design. The portal looks different if you access it on mobile phones or if you visit it on desktops, but the content is still the same.

These changes were contributed to CKAN. They are now a part of the CKAN core web application as of version 2.3. This means everyone can now have responsive data portals as long as they use a recent version of CKAN.

New Ö

Old Ö

Data catalogs

Perhaps the biggest innovation of Ö is how the automation process works for adding new datasets to the catalog. Normally with CKAN, data publishers log in and create or update their datasets on the CKAN site. CKAN has for a long time also supported something called harvesting, where an instance of CKAN goes out and fetches new datasets and makes them available. That’s a form of automation, but it’s dependent on specific software being used or special harvesters for each source. So harvesting from one CKAN instance to another is simple. Harvesting from a specific geospatial data source is simple. Automatically harvesting from something you don’t know and doesn’t exist yet is hard.

That’s the reality which Ö faces. Only a minority of public organisations and municipalities in Sweden publish open data at the moment. So a decision hasn’t been made by a majority of the public entities for what software or solution will be used to publish open data.

To tackle this problem, Ö relies on an open standard from the World Wide Web Consortium called DCAT (Data Catalog Vocabulary). The open standard describes how to publish a list of datasets and it allows Swedish public bodies to pick whatever solution they like to publish datasets, as long as one of its outputs conforms with DCAT.

Ö actually uses a DCAT application profile which was specially created for Sweden by Metasolutions and defines in more detail what to expect, for example that Ö expects to find dataset classifications according the Eurovoc classification system.

Thanks to this effort significant improvements have been made to CKAN’s support for RDF and DCAT. They include application profiles (like the Swedish one) for harvesting and exposing DCAT metadata in different formats. So a CKAN instance can now automatically harvest datasets from a range of DCAT sources, which is exactly what Ö does. For Ö, the CKAN support also makes it easy for Swedish public bodies who use CKAN to automatically expose their datasets correctly so that they can be automatically harvested by Ö For more information have a look at the CKAN DCAT extension documentation.

Dead or alive

The Web is decentralised and always changing. A link to a webpage that worked yesterday might not work today because the page was moved. When automatically adding external links, for example, links to resources for a dataset, you run into the risk of adding links to resources that no longer exist.

To counter that Ö uses a CKAN extension called Dead or alive. It may not be the best name, but that’s what it does. It checks if a link is dead or alive. The checking itself is performed by an external service called deadoralive. The extension just serves a set of links that the external service decides to check to see if some links are alive. In this way dead links are automatically marked as broken and system administrators of Ö can find problematic public bodies and notify them that they need to update their DCAT catalog (this is not automatic because nobody likes spam).

These are only the automation highlights of the new Ö Other changes were made that have little to do with automation but are still not immediately visible, so a lot of Ö’s beauty happens behind the scenes. That’s also the case for other open data portals. You might just visit your open data portal to get some open data, but you might not realise the amount of effort and coordination it takes to get that data to you.

Image of Swedish flag by Allie_Caulfield on Flickr (cc-by)

This post has been republished from the CKAN blog.

Patrick Hochstenbach: Figure drawing on mondays

planet code4lib - Wed, 2015-08-05 13:15
Trying out a combintation of B4 pencil and white pencil on brown paper. Bit hard to see the white lines while drawing. These were quick 4-minute sketches. Filed under: Figure Drawings Tagged: art, art model, nude model, Nudes, pencil

LITA: Learning through WordClouds: Visualizing LITA Jobs Data

planet code4lib - Wed, 2015-08-05 13:11

I am in no way attempting to create an evidenced-based scholarly study on employment movements.  This is an attempt to satisfy my recent fascination with data visualization and curiosity to use them to inspire discussion.  On August 4, 2015, sometime in the morning, I took data from the employment opportunities advertised on the LITA Job site in order to see some trends.  The jobs are posted under the regions Northeastern, Southern, Midwestern, and Western Regions; none posted outside of the United States at the time of my mini-experiment.  This information may be helpful to current job seekers or folks currently employed who may be interested in areas to venture out or compliment their current repertoire. I hope these visualizations will conjure some discussion or ideas.  Out of the sixty-seven total ads listed, 34 were from universities, 14 from colleges, 9 from public libraries, and 10 from other libraries such as vendors or special libraries.

Organization/Library-type employment post percentage – university, college, public, and other

Job Titles
As librarians, we master the art of keyword searching but sometimes we may struggle with finding those specific words that can bring back that needed information.  This may happen with job searching.  Library, librarian and technology as keywords can only take you so far.  In the past, when looking for employment, I felt I may be unaware of exciting jobs out there due to not knowing the magic terms.

wordcloud of advertised job titles minus the word librarian, library, and university

After visualizing the job titles on the list, I discovered I like reading the more obscure words rarely used.  These terms are a helpful way to understand duties, but also motivate you.  Take for instance the enticing words included on some; emerging, collaborator, integrated, initiative, or innovation. I especially love the job title Data and Visualization Librarian, posted by Dartmouth College Library.

Duties and Required/ Preferred Qualifications
Out of the 67 current posts, 44 positions had this information readily available, 23 were filled, a broken link, or the link provided lead to the homepage or job search page of the organization.

Wordcloud of duties, and required/preferred qualifications

After you get passed the usual words that pop out, there may be knowledge from the smaller, more obscure words.  For programmers, the usual contenders were CSS (cascading style sheets), Java, XSL (EXtensible Stylesheet Language), APIs (Application programming interface), and RDF (Resource Description Framework).  I was not aware of MVC.  It seems that ASP.NET MVC is a Microsoft web and app creation tool.  Microsoft has wonderful tutorials at .    Another learning experience came from a somewhat prominent acronym – RIS. RIS is a standardized tagging system used to effectively interchange citation information between platforms.  XML’s XPath and D3 were also new to me. Some areas to possibly develop your skills are in RDA (Resource Description & Access) and 3D software and printing.

This small exercise gave me, not only a small snippet of employment information to be aware of, but gave me more respect towards the use of word clouds.

Word Cloud Web Tools:
Word Cloud Generator:

FOSS4Lib Upcoming Events: Hack-A-Way 2015

planet code4lib - Wed, 2015-08-05 13:09
Date: Wednesday, November 4, 2015 - 09:00 to Friday, November 6, 2015 - 17:00Supports: Evergreen

Last updated August 5, 2015. Created by Peter Murray on August 5, 2015.
Log in to edit this page.

From the announcement:

After much deliberation, forecasting, haruspicy the dates for the 2015 in Danvers MA (just north of Boston) have been selected and it will be November 4th – November 6th.


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