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Hydra Project: Workshop Program released for Hydra Connect 2016

planet code4lib - Sat, 2016-07-30 13:26

The Hydra Connect 2016 Program Committee is pleased to announce that the timetable for the Workshop day on Monday 3rd October is now available.  This year, in addition to workshops, we are also providing a half-day of optional “orientation sessions” aimed specifically at new or nearly-new members of the Community.  Workshop convenors have provided a synopsis for each session and these should help you choose between them.  Nearer the time, we shall ask those who have registered for Connect to specify which workshops they plan to attend so that we can allocate sessions to appropriately sized rooms.  Further details of the conference program will be available soon.

Speaking of “registered” – have you registered for Hydra Connect 2016 yet?  This year it’s taking place at the Boston Public Library (with some workshops at Northeastern University) from Monday 3rd October to Thursday 6th October 2016.  Tickets for the four-day event are $135 and we have arranged a preferential hotel rate at the nearby Sheraton.  Information about the conference, booking, workshops etc can be found via the Hydra Connect 2016 wiki page at  We are delighted, thanks to the assistance our Hydra Community, to provide selected materials in Spanish this year!

We will be asking each institution sending delegates to the conference to provide a poster for the Tuesday afternoon Poster Session. We’ll have plenty of lightning talks and breakout sessions as well. Start thinking of your great ideas now!   You’ll be hearing from us on these topics soon.

If you can only make it to one Hydra meeting in 2016/17, this is the one to attend!  You know what they say, “book early to avoid disappointment!”

LITA: Providing Access through GIS Data at Avery Library

planet code4lib - Fri, 2016-07-29 14:00

Technological advances can have a variety of effects on access to information. New technologies can change the breadth, depth, and sheer amount of information we can readily consume. They can also fundamentally change the way in which we organize and access that information. One example is the way in which the use geolocation coordinates (also knows as GIS data) as an access tool has changed in the last decade or so.

While I was working at the Avery Library of Architectural and Fine Arts I was part of a concerted effort to explore the possibilities that GIS data offers for providing access to and context for collections. This is a brief look at three different projects that highlight different ways in which the same basic data can be used to change the way in which a library user interacts with a collection.


The New York Real Estate Brochures (NYRE) Collection

The NYRE project is a look at a collection of over 9,200 individual pieces of real estate promotional materials from the greater NYC area, starting in the 1920s and ending in the 1970s. It was launched in 2010 and is a valuable resource for researchers interested in trends in NYC real estate development, and the first project at Avery to include geolocation as an active component of the discovery process.

The collection consists of over 9,200 advertising brochures, floor plans, price lists, and related materials that document residential and commercial real estate development in the five boroughs of New York and outlying vicinities from the 1920s to the 1970s.

For this project, GIS coordinate information was added to the bibliographic record and then used to tag each object as being part of a neighborhood. Researchers then have the option to filter the collection by neighborhood, and the interface plots all of the materials tagged to a particular neighborhood on a map. The data is being used to section the collection into areas of potential research interest, and then to show how items of a specific designation interact geographically with one another.


Built Works Registry

The Built Works Registry was launched in 2014 as an attempt to create a geolocation authority control resource for works of architecture around the world. The project brings together data from forty-two different sources to form a single data entity that provides a point of reference for a building’s geographical location, similar to the function provides by the ISBN/ISSN standards. If you are interested in learning more about how the project came together feel free to check out the project blog.

Wy is this resource important? Building names and associations can and do change (for example, did you know that the New York Waldorf Astoria Hotel changed locations in the late 1920s?). I was briefly involved in the data validation effort for this project, and I can tell you from first hand experience that identifying a structure from its name or other descriptive information can be a difficult task. However, including the BWR identifier in your dataset lets users know exactly what building is being described.


Seymour B. Durst Old York Library 

The Old York Library project was what I worked on for most of my tenure at Avery, a collection of over 40,000 objects related in one way or another to New York City. Collection materials span over 200 years (from the late 16th century into the late 20th), and cover a variety of topics and subject matter, including politics, economics, art, special events, and real estate development and the built environment. The only thread joining all of these items together is their relationship to NYC.

Because the collection focus was geographic in nature, we decided to include geographic information (neighborhood, street address, GIS coordinates) about an item’s subject matter, and to use that data to develop a map-based discovery tool, giving users of the site a spatial discovery tool to go along with more traditional text-based searches. This approach puts special emphasis on where something took place, and gives users an intuitive, “physical” interface to relate that something to other collection materials based on their location.


The main lesson I learned while working on these projects was about the versatility of tools. All of these projects basically use the same GIS data; what varies is the purpose to which the data is put, based on the different perceived needs of each project’s target audience. There is no single way of providing access to a collection, just a set of tools that librarians can use in whatever way they believe best fits the user’s information needs.

District Dispatch: Report from the DNC

planet code4lib - Thu, 2016-07-28 21:57

I’m just back from Philadelphia. Wow—the extent of the programming, meetings, and receptions is staggering. The Democratic National Convention basically took over Center City. A nirvana for policy and political types—familiar faces everywhere, but also many new ones. Here I’ll briefly report on aspects that are most relevant (or appropriate) to our ALA work.

This is a national election and so naturally enough the focus is on major national issues. Millennials are receiving considerable attention here in Philadelphia as discussed in a session hosted by The Atlantic. This session included Sen. Chris Coons (D-DE), Rep. Ben Ray Luján (D-NM), and Rep. Joseph Crowley (D-NY), who intimated that Democrats have particular appeal to this demographic. There was also discussion of demographics more broadly, which included Ruy Teixeira of the Center for American Progress and Karlyn Bowman of the American Enterprise Institute. Of the many trends raised, the bottom line one is that the white electorate is shrinking by about two percentage points in each four-year electoral cycle—and this is the key electoral issue in the long run. For us, what are the implications for libraries and library staff in terms of resources and services offered, especially for helping increasingly diverse communities of people to engage in the political process?

Panelists at the DNC discuss the Democratic Party’s appeal to millennials. Left to right: David Wasserman, House Editor, The Cook Political Report; Rep. Luján (D-NM); Sen. Coons (D-DE); Rep. Crowley (D-NY); and Molly Ball, Staff Writer, The Atlantic.

There were some events closer to home, substance-wise. In particular, Siobhan Reardon, President and Director of the Free Library of Philadelphia, served on a panel about digital inclusion organized by the Media Mobilizing Project. This panel was keynoted by FCC Commissioner Mignon Clyburn and included city officials from Philadelphia and New York and a representative of PhillyCAM (Philadelphia Community Access Media), which also hosted the event.

It was a really good session in articulating the problems of inadequate broadband access within the particular context of Philadelphia. Reardon really nailed some of our key messaging for libraries “as the true onramp to learning.” She pointed out that while broadband and devices are essential, basic AND digital literacy are needed, too, to make effective use of technology. She also acknowledged the importance of the E-rate program, advocated for school libraries, and explained how libraries are valuable resources in enabling distance learning.

In another broadband session, the focus was on the Hillary Clinton tech agenda. This session, held at the Business Forward Briefing Center, featured Rep. Anna Eshoo (D-CA) and Sara Solow, Domestic Policy Advisor, Hillary for America, with two executives from Google and several other representatives from the broadband policy community. They emphasized the importance of broadband for everyday life and how improving broadband is featured in Hillary Clinton’s tech agenda. In her first 100 days, Clinton plans to introduce a jobs bill that would include broadband infrastructure. The intent is to build on programs already in place. While fiber may be desirable for the long run, not everyone will be on fiber in the near-term, and so we need to focus on practical solutions for today as well looking at the long-term. An important objective is to ensure that community anchor institutions (CAIs) have strong broadband capabilities, expanding the scope of CAIs to include train stations, subways, recreation centers, public buildings, and more.

Siobhan Reardon, President and Director of the Free Library of Philadelphia (third from left) discusses digital inclusion in a Media Mobilizing Project panel keynoted by FCC Commissioner Mignon Clyburn (far left) at the DNC

The last event that I want to briefly mention is a reception held in honor of Vernon Jordan, Jr. It was a packed room (and unfortunately my photo didn’t come out very well) and pretty emotional. Jordan talked about his youth and his encounters with racial discrimination. He also talked about his work and friendship with the Clintons over the past several decades.

In sum, my time in Philadelphia was an exhilarating and exhausting experience. There were opportunities for talking about libraries and developing new relationships and collaborations everywhere, really just limited by my energy to pursue them. Next time, I will invest more time into the political convention enterprise. But for now, onward!

Just as a reminder, Margaret Kavaras wrote a couple of posts from the Republican National Convention: Young Women Rising and STEM education.

The post Report from the DNC appeared first on District Dispatch.

DPLA: Kelcy Shepherd Joins DPLA as Network Manager

planet code4lib - Thu, 2016-07-28 14:00

The Digital Public Library of America is pleased to announce that Kelcy Shepherd will be joining its staff as DPLA Network Manager, beginning August 1, 2016.

In this role, Shepherd will work with Director for Content, Emily Gore, Curation and Education Strategist, Franky Abbott, and Data Services Coordinator, Gretchen Gueguen, to maintain and expand DPLA’s growing network of Hubs with responsibilities including oversight of Hubs communications; coordination of the Hubs application process; facilitation of education and training across our Hub professional network; and support for DPLA’s education and curation initiatives including Exhibitions, Primary Source Sets, and Ebooks.  Shepherd will also help ensure the success of all partners across the DPLA Hub network by providing necessary documentation, statistics and support for various needs and activities of our current and prospective Hubs.

“We are excited to have Kelcy join the DPLA Content team,” said Emily Gore, Director for Content. “Kelcy’s expertise and experience in community building and digital collections management make her an excellent choice to lead the next phase of development and fostering of the DPLA Hubs Network.”

Kelcy Shepherd has worked on digital archives and digital library projects for over fifteen years, focusing on effective collaboration and community-building. Prior to joining the DPLA, she was the Head of Digital Programs at the Amherst College Library, providing leadership for the creation, curation, delivery, and preservation of digital collections. She has been an active member of the Digital Library Federation and the Society of American Archivists (SAA), and has taught workshops and courses for SAA, the Visual Resources Association, and the Simmons College Graduate School of Library and Information Science. She holds a master’s degree in Library and Information Science from Simmons College, and a BA in Art & Design with a second major in Anthropology from Iowa State University.

Welcome, Kelcy!

Open Knowledge Foundation: Making data social, now in the Open Data Handbook

planet code4lib - Thu, 2016-07-28 10:56

The most important thing for the Network team at Open Knowledge International is the community we build around data. The tools we build to achieve this are crucial as well since they allow people to make even more and better plans and projects. To continue doing this, we are restructuring a bunch of technological tools for the community use. In this case, we are moving valuable information from our old Wiki server to the Open Data Handbook.

Throughout the years, our wiki has been filled with lots of knowledge, but in the last year, we have seen a decline in its ongoing updates and usage. We, therefore, decided that the best way to share and publish knowledge for our network will be the handbook.  

Originally published in 2012, the Handbook has become the go-to resource for the open data community. It was written by the expert members of the open data community and has been translated into over 18 languages. Whether you want to learn about the why and how of open data or you’re working on a particular subject, the Handbook can serve as a resource for how to open data, finding use cases or a bunch of different resources that we’ve collected. However,  we realised we were missing a vital part of building a community around data: Events!

To fix this, we added a section on Making Data Social. Whether it is an online event, a meeting to talk about data or showcase some work, we’ve gathered all the Open Knowledge Network learnings from past years and put them in a centralized place, guiding you step by step on how to run an event around data.  

You can check out this new section here. And as always, we welcome input and translations to other languages from anyone in the community. Just submit your pull request and we’ll look into including the submissions. 

DuraSpace News: WATCH OR2016 Recorded Presentations

planet code4lib - Thu, 2016-07-28 00:00

Austin, TX  Organizers of the 2016 Open Repositories Conference held in Dublin June 13-16, 2016 have made more than 40 selected video recordings of conference sessions available on YouTube.  If you missed the conference this is a great resource for catching up on community activities.

Cynthia Ng: Minor Redesign to the NNELS Website

planet code4lib - Wed, 2016-07-27 20:46
The last time I really worked on the website, I did not change the look of the site at all, simply using the existing look and making it responsive. After some feedback and based on general good UX practices, I made a couple of mock ups on how to improve the site with some minor … Continue reading Minor Redesign to the NNELS Website

LITA: Jobs in Information Technology: July 27, 2016

planet code4lib - Wed, 2016-07-27 19:09

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

Cooperative Computer Services, Executive Director, Arlington Heights, IL

New York University Division of Libraries, Digital Production Editor, New York, NY

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

DPLA: Building a stronger user experience with our community’s help

planet code4lib - Wed, 2016-07-27 15:00

Following several studies about the use and usability of the DPLA website, we’ve just completed a set of small but significant changes.  We believe these changes will create a more pleasant, intuitive experience on our website, connecting people more easily with the cultural heritage materials our partners provide.

During the evaluation phase of the project, we drew insight from multiple sources, and benefitted greatly from our community network.  In consultation with DPLA staff, two volunteers conducted usability studies of our website, interviewing and observing yet more volunteers as they interacted with our site. Professional UX researcher Tess Rothstein conducted a pro bono study of users’ experiences searching the DPLA, while DPLA Community Rep Angele Mott Nickerson focused her study on our map, timeline, and bookshelf features.  In addition to these interviews, we conducted in-depth analysis of our usage statistics, gathered via Google Analytics.  In addition to the studies,  we considered  informal feedback from our community of users and partners.

Here are a few lessons we learned, and what we’ve done in response:

Highlighting full access

Anyone who has done a usability study is familiar with the shocking moment when your product completely fails to engage a user in its intended way.  For us, that moment came when a first-time user of our website did not realize that they could get all of the digital materials on our website right now, for free.  They were just one click away from total access — and they didn’t click!  

To ensure that future users don’t miss out, we’ve done a few key things to highlight that our contributors provide public access to all the materials users discover through DPLA. For example, a link that use to read “View object” now says something like this:

Refining a search

DPLA is a treasure trove of cultural heritage materials – but sometimes it can be hard to find just the right thing amidst millions and millions of items.  Our research gave us a clearer picture of how to help users when their first search attempt returned too much — or too little — of a good thing.

For example, many of our users rely on our “Refine search” filter to narrow their search results and hone in on truly relevant materials.  In our usability studies, we paid attention to which filters interviewees used, whether or not the filters helped them achieve their goals, and what interviewees told us about their usefulness.  We corroborated these observations with analytics data, looking at which filters are used most frequently and when used, which filters are most likely to be followed by a “click” on a search result.  

As is often the case with user-driven decision-making, our findings surprised us.  We had predicted that filters with the best-quality metadata would prove most useful, but that was not always the case.  Ultimately, we moved the most in-demand filters, like subject and location, to the top of the page, and bumped the lesser-used filters, like type and date, to the bottom.

Making room for new ebooks features

DPLA is actively working toward an innovative future for ebooks.  To make space for this work, we decided to retire the “Bookshelf,” our original interface for browsing the ebooks collection.  Developed by Harvard Innovation Lab, the “Bookshelf” provided a unique search experience that will continue to inform our work with online search and ebooks.

No bugs, please!

Staying on top of bugs and layout issues – especially those that our community members take the time to report – is an essential component of usability.  We identified and fixed many during the project.  Thanks especially to everyone who has chatted with us or contacted us about bugs on the website.

Future work

This round of improvements is but one component of our community’s ongoing efforts to improve usability of and access to digital materials.  While small, low-cost improvements like these will make an immediate positive impact, we are also actively engaged in conversations about improved metadata quality, new technologies, and stronger community relationships.


District Dispatch: Next CopyTalk on rights statements

planet code4lib - Wed, 2016-07-27 13:40

From Lotus Head

Avoid the heat and stay inside on August 4 for a free webinar on “ Communicating Copyright Status through Metadata.” is a collaborative project of DPLA and Europeana to create a standard way of communicating the copyright status of works in digital collections. The project is built on the idea that accurate and clear rights statements are needed to help both organizations and users understand how they can use digital collections. This session, led by members of the working group that developed the statements, will address what does, how it was created, and its first stages of adoption by digital libraries both in the US and abroad.


Emily Gore, Director of Content at DPLA and Right Statement Working Group Co-Chair

David Hansen, Clinical Assistant Professor & Faculty Research Librarian at UNC School of Law and Right Statement Working Group Member

Day/Time: Thursday, August 4 at 2pm Eastern/11am Pacific for our hour long free webinar.

Go to and sign in as a guest. You’re in.

This program is brought to you by OITP’s copyright education subcommittee.

The post Next CopyTalk on rights statements appeared first on District Dispatch.

Open Knowledge Foundation: Open Data as a Human Right: the Case of Case-Law

planet code4lib - Wed, 2016-07-27 09:45

This blog post was written by Simon Matet and Antoine Dusséaux. French version follows the English one

Open data is sometimes considered first as a way to foster economic growth through the development of innovative services built on public data. However, beyond this economic perspective, important though it may be, access to public sector information should be seen first and foremost as an unprecedented opportunity to bridge the gap between the government and its citizens. By providing a better access to fundamental public services and promoting transparency and accountability, open data has the potential to guarantee a greater respect of fundamental human rights. In this respect, access to case-law (the law developed by judges through court decisions) could become a pioneering application of open data to improve our democratic societies.

According to the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR), publicity of court decisions, “by making the administration of justice transparent”, is a condition for a fair trial, the guarantee of which is one of the fundamental principles of any democratic society. There is no concrete publicity without a free access for any citizen to court records. This is why the ECHR considers that the ability for any citizen to obtain copies of judgments, without the need to show a legitimate interest, “protects litigants against the administration of justice in secret” and “is also one of the means whereby confidence in the courts can be maintained”. Furthermore, according to the European Parliament, “certain aspects of (in)accessibility of Court files cause serious legal problems, and may, arguably, even violate internationally recognised fundamental human rights, such as equality of arms.”

For those reasons, all over the world, diffusion of case law is a public service task. However, accessing court documents can prove a daunting task for untrained, private citizens, reporters, and NGOs. In some countries, corporations or charities have captured the market of access to judicial precedents as governments proved unable or unwilling to fulfill this key mission. For instance, an important part of English judge-made law is owned by a private charity, the Incorporated Council of Law Reporting. In others, decisions are sold by courts to private legal publishers. For example, the Administrative Office of the US Courts collects $145 million in fees to access court records, every year. As a result, citizens usually only have access to a small selection of court decisions.

However, modern communication technologies and digitization now make it possible to provide free online access to millions of public court documents.

Open legal data would guarantee the respect of fundamental rights and also increase legal certainty. Indeed not only do citizens need to know the law, in codes and statutes, they also need to understand the concrete application and interpretation of the law by courts. Therefore, a free access to court records can help litigants to prepare their trials, for instance while assessing the opportunity of a negotiation. In the 21st century, the Internet must be seen as a valuable opportunity to enhance the transparency of the judiciary and improve legal certainty.

Open data of jurisprudence shows that behind the mere economic gains, access and reuse of public sector information is a fundamental instrument for extending the right to knowledge, which is a basic principle of democracy, and is a matter of human rights in the information age. The judiciary should not be left behind the ongoing digital transformation of public policies. In this domain, some countries, such as the Netherlands, have already made great efforts to provide a free access to citizens to a large amount of court decisions, while respecting litigants’ privacy, but most countries still have a long way to go. Although access to legislation is already included in the Open Data Index by Open Knowledge, it only requires all national laws and statutes to be available online, and not judge-made law. Since case law is an important source of law, especially in countries of common law tradition, it should be included in the legislation dataset in future versions of the Open Data Index.


DuraSpace News: VIVO Conference Update: Join Us for a PIDS Panel Discussion

planet code4lib - Wed, 2016-07-27 00:00

Austin, TX  In two weeks the 2016 VIVO Conference, Aug 17-19, is set to kick-off in Denver!

Please join us on Friday August 19 at 2:15 PM for a panel discussion on "Persistent Identifiers: Where we are now and the role of Networking Profile Systems in Shaping Their Future" with invited panelists:

DuraSpace News: VIVO Updates for July 17–New Steering and Leadership Group Members, VIVO 1.9 Testing, VIVO and SHARE Synergy

planet code4lib - Wed, 2016-07-27 00:00

From Mike Conlon, VIVO Project Director

Steering Group Updates  The VIVO Leadership Group has nominated new members for the VIVO Steering Group to serve three year terms.  Mark Fallu of the University of Melbourne, Mark Newton of Columbia University, and Paul Albert of Weill Cornell Medicine have each agreed to serve.  Please join me in welcoming them to the Steering Group!  Short biographies below:

DuraSpace News: Fedora 4 Integration Support Included in Islandora Foundation Goals

planet code4lib - Wed, 2016-07-27 00:00

Austin, TX  The Islandora Foundation held its Annual General Meeting recently and adopted a set of strategic goals to provide focus for development efforts in 2016 - 2017. Goals include a strong commitment to the CLAW project which is the next version of Islandora that supports Fedora 4 and the Portland Common Data Model (PCDM), which provides interoperability at the Fedora level.

FOSS4Lib Upcoming Events: Blacklight Summit

planet code4lib - Tue, 2016-07-26 22:56
Date: Wednesday, November 2, 2016 - 08:00 to Friday, November 4, 2016 - 17:00Supports: Blacklight

Last updated July 26, 2016. Created by Peter Murray on July 26, 2016.
Log in to edit this page.

The Princeton University Library is looking at hosting another Blacklight Summit this fall with tentative dates of Wednesday, November 2nd through Friday, November 4th. We are thinking the event will be organized similar to last year’s format with demonstrations of Blacklight-powered applications, sessions about enhancing Blacklight applications, and ample time for community roadmapping, code exchange and development.

Library of Congress: The Signal: Recommended Formats Statement: Expanding the Use, Expanding the Scope

planet code4lib - Tue, 2016-07-26 17:32

This is a guest post by Ted Westervelt, head of acquisitions and cataloging for U.S. Serials – Arts, Humanities & Sciences at the Library of Congress.

“Model Photo: Parametric Gridshell.” Photo by James Diewald on Flickr.

As summer has fully arrived now, so too has the revised 2016-2017 version of the Library of Congress’s Recommended Formats Statement.

When the Library of Congress first issued the Recommended Formats Statement, one aim was to provide our staff with guidance on the technical characteristics of formats, which they could consult in the process of recommending and acquiring content. But we were also aware that preservation and long-term access to digital content is an interest shared by a wide variety of stakeholders and not simply a parochial concern of the Library. Nor did we have any mistaken impression that we would get all the right answers on our own or that the characteristics would not change over time. Outreach has therefore been an extremely important aspect of our work with the Recommended Formats, both to share the fruits of our labor with others who might find them useful and to get feedback on ways in which the Recommended Formats could be updated and improved.

We are grateful that the Statement is proving of value to others, as we had hoped. Closest to home, as the Library and the Copyright Office begin work on expanding mandatory deposit of electronic-only works to include eBooks and digital sound recordings, they are using the Recommended Formats as the starting point for the updates to the Best Edition Statement that will result from this. But its value is being recognized outside of our own institution.

The American Library Association’s Association for Library Collections Technical Services has recommended the Statement as a resource in one of its e-forums. And even farther afield, the UK’s Digital Preservation Coalition included it in their Digital Preservation Handbook this past autumn, bringing the Statement to a wider international audience.

The Statement has even caught the attention of those who fall outside the usual suspects of libraries, creators, publishers and vendors. Earlier this year, we were contacted by a representative from an architectural software firm. He (and others in the architectural field) has been concerned about the potential loss of architectural plans, as architectural files are now primarily created in digital formats with little thought as to their preservation. Though the Library of Congress has a significant Architecture, Design and Engineering collection, this is a community that overlaps little with our own. But he saw the intersection between the Recommended Formats and the needs of his own field and he came to us to see how the Recommended Formats might relate to digital files and data produced within the fields of architecture, design and engineering and how they might help encourage preservation of those creative works as well. This, in turn, led to the addition of Industry Foundation Classes — a data model developed to facilitate interoperability in the building industry — to the Statement. We hope it will lead to future interest, not simply from the architectural community but from any community of creators of digital content who wish their creations to last and to remain useful.

We have committed to an annual review and revision of the Recommended Formats Statement to ensure its usefulness to as wide a spectrum of stakeholders as possible. In doing so, we hope to encourage others to offer their knowledge and to prevent the Statement from falling out of sync with the technical realities of the world of digital creation. As we progress down this path, one of the benefits is that the changes each year to the hierarchies of technical characteristics and metadata become fewer and fewer. More and more stakeholders have provided their input already and, happily, the details of how digital content is created are not so revolutionary as to need to be completely rewritten annually. This allows for a sense of stability in the Statement without a sense of inertia. It also allows us to engage with types of digital creation with which we might not have addressed as closely or directly as was possible. This is proving to be the case with digital architectural plans and it is proving to be even more the case with the biggest change to the Recommended Formats with this new edition: the inclusion of websites as a category of creative content.

At the time of the launch of the first iteration of the Recommended Formats Statement, websites per se were not included as a category of creative content. This omission was the result of various concerns and perspectives held then but there was no gainsaying that it was definitely an omission. Of all the types of digital works, websites are probably the most open to creation and dissemination and probably the most common digital works available to users, but also not something that content creators have tended to preserve.

Unsurprisingly, this also tends to make them the type of digital creation that causes the most concern to those interested in digital preservation. So when the Federal Web Archiving Working Group reached out about how the Recommended Formats Statement might be of use in furthering the preservation of websites, this filled a notable gap in the Statement.

Naturally, the new section of the Statement on websites is not being launched into a vacuum. The prevalence of websites and much of their development is predicated on the enhancement of the user experience, either in creating them or in using them, which is not the same as encouraging their preservation. It is made very clear that the Statement’s section on websites is focused specifically on the actions and characteristics that will encourage its archivability and thereby its preservation and long-term use.

Nor does the Statement ignore the work that has been done already by other groups and other institutions to inform content creators of best practices for preservation-friendly websites, but instead builds upon them and links to them from the Statement itself. The intention of this section on websites is twofold. One is to provide a clear and simple reminder of the importance of considering the archivability of a website when creating it, not merely the ease of creating it and the ease of using it. The other is to bring together those simple actions along with links to other guidance in order to provide website creators with easy steps that they can take to ensure the works in which they are investing their time and energy can be archived and thereby continue to entertain, educate and inform well into the future.

As always, the completion of the latest version of the Recommended Formats Statement means the beginning of a new cycle, in which we shall work to make it as useful as possible. Having the community of stakeholders involved with digital works share a common commitment to the preservation and long-term access of those works will help ensure we succeed in saving these works for future generations.

So, use and share this version of the Statement and please provide any and all comments and feedback on how the 2016-2017 Recommended Formats Statement might be improved, expanded or used. This is for anyone who can find value in it; and if you think you can, we’d love to help you do so.

Equinox Software: Altoona Area Public Library Joins SPARK

planet code4lib - Tue, 2016-07-26 17:21


Duluth, Georgia–July 26, 2016

Equinox is proud to announce that Altoona Area Public Library was added to SPARK, the Pennsylvania Consortium overseen by PaILS.  Equinox has been providing full hosting, support, and migration to PaILS since 2013.  In that time, SPARK has seen explosive growth.  As of this writing, 105 libraries have migrated or plan to migrate within the next year.  Over 3,000,000 items have circulated in 2016 to over 550,000 patrons.  We are thrilled to be a part of this amazing progress!

Altoona went live on June 16.  Equinox performed the migration and also provided training to Altoona staff.  They are the first of 8 libraries coming together into the Blair County Library System.  This is the first SPARK migration where libraries within the same county are on separate databases and are merging patrons and coming together to resource share within a unified system.  Altoona serves 46,321 patrons with 137,392 items.

Mary Jinglewski, Equinox Training Services Librarian, had this to say about the move:  “I enjoyed training with Altoona Area Public Library, and I think they will be a great member of the PaILS community moving forward!”

About Equinox Software, Inc.

Equinox was founded by the original developers and designers of the Evergreen ILS. We are wholly devoted to the support and development of open source software in libraries, focusing on Evergreen, Koha, and the FulfILLment ILL system. We wrote over 80% of the Evergreen code base and continue to contribute more new features, bug fixes, and documentation than any other organization. Our team is fanatical about providing exceptional technical support. Over 98% of our support ticket responses are graded as “Excellent” by our customers. At Equinox, we are proud to be librarians. In fact, half of us have our ML(I)S. We understand you because we *are* you. We are Equinox, and we’d like to be awesome for you. For more information on Equinox, please visit

About Pennsylvania Integrated Library System

PaILS is the Pennsylvania Integrated Library System (ILS), a non-profit corporation that oversees SPARK, the open source ILS developed using Evergreen Open Source ILS.  PaILS is governed by a 9-member Board of Directors. The SPARK User Group members make recommendations and inform the Board of Directors.  A growing number of libraries large and small are PaILS members.

For more information about about PaILS and SPARK, please visit

About Evergreen

Evergreen is an award-winning ILS developed with the intent of providing an open source product able to meet the diverse needs of consortia and high transaction public libraries. However, it has proven to be equally successful in smaller installations including special and academic libraries. Today, over 1400 libraries across the US and Canada are using Evergreen including NC Cardinal, SC Lends, and B.C. Sitka.

For more information about Evergreen, including a list of all known Evergreen installations, see

LibUX: Library Services for People with Memory Loss, Dementia, and Alzheimers

planet code4lib - Tue, 2016-07-26 15:43

Sarah Houghton (@TheLiB) summarizes what her team has learned about serving older adults with memory issues. We can make accommodations in our design, too. In May, Laurence Ivil and Paul Myles wrote Designing A Dementia-Friendly Website, which makes the point that

An ever-growing number of web users around the world are living with dementia. They have very varied levels of computer literacy and may be experiencing some of the following issues: memory loss, confusion, issues with vision and perception, difficulties sequencing and processing information, reduced problem-solving abilities, or problems with language. Just when we thought we had inclusive design pegged, a completely new dimension emerges.

I think specifically their key lessons about layout and navigation are really good.

What’s more, as patrons these people may be even more vulnerable because, as Sarah says, libraries are trusted entities. So these design decisions demand even greater consideration.

Libraries are uniquely positioned to see changes in our regular users. We have people who come in all the time, and we can see changes in their behavior, mood, and appearance that others who see them less often would never recognize. Likewise, libraries and librarians are trusted entities–you may have people being more open and letting their guard down with you in a way that lets you observe what’s happening to them more directly. Finally, people who work in libraries generally really care a lot about other people–and that in-built sensitivity and care can help when seeing a change in someone’s mental health and abilities. Sarah Houghton

Library Services for People with Memory Loss, Dementia, and Alzheimers

The post Library Services for People with Memory Loss, Dementia, and Alzheimers appeared first on LibUX.

District Dispatch: Coding at the library? Join the 2016 Congressional App Challenge

planet code4lib - Tue, 2016-07-26 15:21

Last week marked the official start of the 2016 Congressional App Challenge, an annual nationwide event to engage student creativity and encourage participation in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) and computer science (CS) education. The Challenge allows high school students from across the country to compete against their peers by creating and exhibiting their software application (or app) for mobile, tablet, or computer devices. Winners in each district will be recognized by their Member of Congress. The Challenge is sponsored by the Internet Education Foundation and supported by ALA.

Why coding at the library? Coding could come across as the latest learning fad, but skills developed through coding align closely with core library activities such as critical thinking, problem solving, collaborative learning, and now connected learning and computational thinking. Coding in libraries is a logical progression in services for youth.

If you’ve never tried coding before, the prospect of teaching it at your library may seem daunting. But even a cursory scan of libraries across the country reveals that library professionals everywhere, at all levels of experience, are either teaching kids how to code or enabling it through the use of community volunteers.   Teens and tweens are learning to code using LED lights and basic circuits, creating animated GIFs, designing games using JavaScript and Python in CodeCombat and the youngest learners are experiencing digitally enhanced storytime with apps and digital media at the Orlando (FL) Public Library. Kids at the Onondaga (NY) Public Library learn coding skills by developing a Flatverse game over the course of a 4 day camp. Girls at the Gaithersburg (MD) Public Library are learning to code in “Girls Just Want to Compute,” a two week camp for teen and tween girls. These programs and many others are a prime way to expose kids to coding and inspire them to want to keep learning.

The App Challenge can be another means to engage teens at your library. Libraries can encourage students to participate in the Challenge by having an App Challenge event-  host an “App-a-thon,” have a game night for teens to work on their Apps, or start an App building club.

At the launch, over 140 Members of Congress from 38 states signed up to participate in the 2016 Congressional App Challenge.  Check to see if your district is participating and if not, you can use a letter template on the Challenge Website to send a request to your Member of Congress.

If you do decide to participate we encourage you to share what you’re doing using the App Challenge hashtag #HouseofCode and ALA’s hashtag #readytocode @youthandtech. The App Challenge runs through November 2. Look for more information throughout the competition.

The post Coding at the library? Join the 2016 Congressional App Challenge appeared first on District Dispatch.


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