book club

So a bunch of us in #code4lib are thinking of starting up a book club to read tech books together, learn from each other in the process, and hopefully use a bit of peer pressure to propel ourselves into actually finishing a book.

The first book we're proposing we read is Practical Common Lisp which is available in print and also online. Lisp and functional languages in general are enjoying a bit of a renaissance at the moment, so we figured this might be a good one to start with. It's also very, umm, practical--building working code to parse ID3 tags (metadata!) and the like.

Should we create a google group or something? Any suggested name for the group? Is there really any need to limit our membership to people in libraries? How about books4code?

Interested? Suggestions? Bueller? Feel free to tack comments on here.

Update: A Google Group and a wiki have been created.

Improving Code4LibCon 200*

There have been some posts in the blogosphere about things participants did not enjoy about the previous year's Code4Lib conference. Since planning has started for the 2007 conference, I thought now would be a good time to open the doors and ask what should be improved about the conference. What should be done the same and what should be done differently? Here is a place to start gathering voices...

Code4Lib Conference Hosting

If you wish to host a Code4Lib Conference in your community, please review this information before applying. The Code4Lib Conference occurs in or near February each year, to provide a complement to the Access Conference.

Requirements of a Hosting Site

  • A host (usually a committee) willing to make local arrangements and coordinate with the site. Many colleges and universities have conference planning assistance.
  • An auditorium or similar space suitable for the conference itself (min 250), and room for four or more "breakout" groups (30-50), which may be a combination of the main space and smaller rooms. Note that while a keynote may be held in an auditorium, it is preferable for the main conference day to have tables and chairs for seating.
  • Wireless network available to attendees free or sponsored by the conference
  • A commitment to work with the conference planning group to help keep attendee costs to a minimum. Past costs have been about $120-160 including meals for 3 days. This requires substantial sponsorship from outside institutions and the hosting institution.

Additional Desirable Qualities

  • Small college or university town (why? "amenities", my friend, amenities). Conferences are also often held in large cities.
  • Reasonably near a major airport (we are prepared to interpret this liberally if the other qualifications are strong)
  • Some distance away from the last conference site, all things being equal (to spread the travel pain)
  • Pre-conference day/events, preferably with optional separate registration

What the Hosting Site is Responsible For

  • Since there is no legal Code4Lib entity, the hosting site must provide a fiscal sponsor for signing any necessary contracts for space or hotel rental. From a legal point of view, the sponsor is putting on the conference with Code4Lib branding. This institution is responsible for gathering sponsorship and registration funds and then transferring them to next year's host. The hosting site may choose to contract with other entities as necessary to fulfill these responsibilities.
  • Managing the program planning process (scheduling and arranging the presentation application and voting process, etc.) Prior years have used a voting mechanism tied to the Code4Lib website (e.g., this); the same system may be used for subsequent conferences.
  • Arranging evening networking opportunities (e.g., interesting and/or good restaurants and bars and/or events)
  • Leading the effort to sign on conference sponsors (various members of the community are expected to volunteer to help sign up sponsors

What the Conference Planning Groups are Responsible For

These items are the responsibility of the Code4Lib Conference planning group (anyone on the conference planning list, which is open to anyone), but the conference host is often actively involved with these aspects as well:

  • Participating in garnering conference sponsors
  • Assisting with conference planning tasks

See also: How to Plan a Code4LibCon and the wiki for various pages used for previous conferences

Results of the journal name vote

Here are the results of the code4lib journal name vote:

  1. /lib/dev: A Journal for Library Programmers (14 votes)
  2. Indexed: The Library Coder’s Quarterly (11 votes)
  3. Code4Lib Journal (8 votes)
  4. TIE: /dev/lib/journal and Access Points (7 votes each)

All other names received 5 or fewer votes. 28 people voted, four of whom voted for 5 or more names.

Thanks to everyone who participated!

#dspace

If you are a dspace user/admin/fan there is a new irc channel on freenode #dspace for discussing all things dspace.

Topic: 

Create an archive for #code4lib?

* Public Centralized Archive (wide open)\n* Private Centralized Archive (code4lib.org registered only)\n* No Centralized Archive (no logging & I mean it!)\n* \n* \n

#code4lib logging

Since the code4lib conference the #code4lib irc channel has gained a lot of new voices with new ideas. In fact dsalo and ksclarke have already said all I can think of saying on the topic of the changing culture of the #code4lib channel. Some people have suggested that some of the ideas, such as a journal, doing outreach/consulting work, etc will require the irc channel to become a bit more 'professional'.

My theory is that having a public log might help encourage this sort of atmosphere. The logging would allow you to go 'off the record' if you really want to say something and don't want it viewable in the logs. In addition to making you think before you type, logging would have some other benefits:

  1. it would allow people with lives to scan the logs looking for stuff and get other work done
  2. it would encourage international participation by people who aren't online with the (Eastern|Central|Mountain|Pacific) Standard Tribe
  3. and most importantly it would allow for interesting consuming applications

At any rate I think that code4lib changing is a good thing. Afterall, an organism that has ceased changing is umm, dead. Unless there are any objections I'm going to create a poll and see what the general feeling on this is.

Topic: 

Code4lib Journal Name Vote

Vote for the Code4lib journal name!

Please log in to participate in voting!

The proposal with the most votes wins. You can cast as many votes as you wish, but may only vote a specific name once.

Happy voting!

#code4lib irc channel faq

Like any community, the #code4lib IRC channel can be intimidating to newcomers. For those who are new to the channel, here are some answers to Frequently Asked Questions.

What is IRC? How do I login to #code4lib?

Basic technical information is available here.

Is the channel logged?

Not publicly, no.

Who will I find on #code4lib?

There is an incomplete list of regulars here. This is not an official list of any kind. If you're not on it yet, feel free to add your nick, your name, and a link to your website.

What about panizzi zoia?

Zoia is a supybot who hangs out in #code4lib. To get a list of commands it understands, type @list (the "@" symbol tells zoia you're talking to it). Here's a quick list of the more common commands:

@help
Find out how to use a particular command. The correct syntax is (usually) @help followed by the command name, e.g. @help karma. You can also just ask the other people on the channel how to do something.
@quote
Add or display quotes that have been added to zoia's quote database. Type @quote add " welcome to code4lib!" to add a quote, @quote jeffdavis to see the last quote from a specific person, or @quote random to see a random quote
@naf
Look up a term in the Library of Congress authority files.
@ana
Create an English-language anagram of the word or phrase that you enter.
@tunes, @alltunes, @blockparty
These commands look up people's listening history on Last.fm. @tunes jeffdavis displays the last song that jeffdavis listened to, @alltunes jeffdavis lists the last half-dozen or so songs jeffdavis listened to, and @blockparty lists what people in the code4lib group on Last.fm are listening to. (Go ahead and add yourself to the code4lib Last.fm group if you like. You need to type @audioscrobbler add yourusername to be added to the blockparty.)
@insult, @praise
Causes zoia to insult or praise the person or thing of your choice.
@karma
You can increase or decrease the karma for a person or thing by appending two pluses or two minuses to the person or thing's name. For example, if you type jeffdavis++, my karma score will increase by 1. (You can't raise your own karma.) Type @karma jeffdavis to see the karma for that person/thing, or just @karma for the three highest and lowest karma scores. You can only raise or lower karma by one point at a time (so jeffdavis++++ will only raise jeffdavis' karma by one point, not two), and commenting does work (jeffdavis-- # you suck! works correctly, thanks to gsf's regex-fu).
@google
Do a Google search and show the first few results in-channel.
@more
If the results of a command are over a certain length, zoia may end his response with "more" or "2 more messages". You can use the @more command to display the rest of zoia's response. If you didn't give zoia the original command, add the nick of the person who did, e.g. @more jeffdavis (this only works for one message deep on another nick).
@dunno
When you send zoia a message it doesn't understand (for example, if you address it as if it were a person or get the syntax of a command wrong), it responds with a random error message. You can use the @dunno command to add a new error message to its repertoire, e.g. @dunno I don't know what you're talking about.

What do people talk about in-channel?

Information technology, software development, librarianship, cultural heritage, digital repositories, the web, programming languages, cataloging, metadata standards, beer, food... just about anything!

The channel is informal, and a lot of off-topic socializing takes place. Music is a common topic (many code4lib regulars are indie rock fans, and a disproportionate number are current or former bassists). There are also a number of inside jokes, since many of the people on the channel have known each other for a long time. Common in-jokes include:

  • Yngwie Malmsteen -- Wikipedia says: "Yngwie Johann Malmsteen, pronounced 'INGvay' ... is a virtuoso guitarist from Sweden who achieved widespread acclaim in the 1980s due to his technical proficiency and fusion of classical music elements with heavy rock guitar."
  • Wheedly-wheedly-whee! -- This is the sound Yngwie's guitar makes.
  • Unleash it! -- A common catchphrase, referencing the title of an Yngwie record.

If you don't understand something, just ask. That goes for the techie stuff as well as the social stuff -- for many regulars, #code4lib is where they learn about all kinds of interesting technology.

What are the ground rules?

  1. Respect everyone.
  2. Be sensitive of the fact that cultures, opinions and ideas of what is
    funny or appropriate are different, and that text is a very poor medium
    for conveying humor.
  3. Because this is the case, and people will be people, be quick to forgive and slow to take offense.

Aside from that, it's a bit of a free-for-all. Basically, use common sense, be respectful of others, and don't do anything that will get everyone kicked off of Freenode.

what does "++" mean?

The double-plus is used to increment someone's karma (see above, in the section about zoia).

How do you do that thing where you talk about yourself in third person?

Type /me agrees. This allows you to send a message like ***jeffdavis agrees rather than literally saying "I agree".

code4lib journal: draft purpose, format, and guidelines

There's been some good discussion on the code4lib mailing list about starting a code4lib journal. At this point it looks like we'll be trying to set something up, so I've taken a preliminary stab at formulating some policies and guidelines for publishing articles. I haven't yet tried to address some of the more innovative suggestions that have come up, and I've never set up a journal before, so please go ahead and make changes, additions, and comments (the draft is on the wiki so it can be edited directly).

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