Professional Development

Thoughts from day 1 of LITA

Saturday, October 3, 2009 5:37 am

I flew in early Friday morning and just made it in time for the opening Keynote. Both Susan and Lauren have talked about this presentation already but I was struck with the statistics she presented from some Pew Internet Trust research. I have to admit that while I agree with the premise that libraries should deliver collections and services on mobile platforms, ‘going mobile’ includes a whole new set of technical and service issues that need to be addressed.

Lita is always a good chance to catch up with folks and today was no exception. A brief conversation with Aaron Trehub at Auburn pointed me to their soon-to-be-public Qualified Dublin Core version of vufind. Following the keynote I caught a session on how the Library of Congress is releasing Open Source Software, a session on how to secure and deploy Linux on public workstations in your library, and the tail end of Lauren’s talk on Bite Sized Repositories.

In short the LOC open source release experience documented their release of an archive specification, initial set of tools called Bagit ( Some interesting issues that came up during that process included:

  1. Questions from the legal office about the source, content, intended use, and legal history of the code being released
  2. A discussion about whether/how to form a developer community for their release – being a release manager for a community is a significant investment of time
  3. Forming an informal group of people to discuss related issues (

More to come on Saturday I am sure!

Berkman Center for Internet & Society Webinar – Lee Dirks

Friday, September 18, 2009 2:27 pm

On Friday Erik & Sarah watched a webinar sponsored by the Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University. The speaker was Lee Dirks, the Director, Education & Scholarly Communication at Microsoft External Research.

Lee discussed the future of scholarly communication, touching on issues of preserving the entire research process (including background research, testing, collaboration, etc). He also talked about the role that linked data and complex community-based data analysis sites such as Swivel and Freebase are doing to create a new type of research archive.

His themes also included cloud computing, linked data, and preservation and archiving, and new publication mechanisms including, SciVee, Mendeley/Papers, and Jove (Journal of Visualized Experiments). His discussion of these sites was cursory but touched on some really neat ways in which machine readable data is being used to create/preserve knowledge.

He touched on SmugMug, Google Wave, and other cloud based sites on the way to talking about Duraspace/Duracloud as examples of new approaches to archiving and providing services for complex data.

He concluded with the observation that there is still a gap between what these systems are capable of and what researchers and scientists know/think about e-research and the role it plays in science, peer review, and publication.

During the Q&A a discussion about data-aggregation sites included Fluxnet and Dataverse, a data harvesting and preservation site (similar it appears to the Internet Archive) that provides cloud solutions for the archiving and preservation problem that Lee said was one of the goals of Duracloud.

The most provocative comment of the session (roughly quoted) was:

“The safe world of collecting books and scholarly journals has been done…data curation, provision of services, working with publishers, and working with scholars…grey literature…that is the stuff we need to apply our skills to.”

Inevitably, this raised the question of “what makes a good librarian?” The answer focused on a ‘service orientation’ that builds services on top of data that includes business, informatics, legal, and technology training.

Interested in more? the NSF report on Data in the 21st Century is a good place to start!

OLE Project webcast

Wednesday, October 1, 2008 3:01 pm

This afternoon, a group of Carptenter, PCL, and ZSR library staff gathered together to watch the first OLE Project webcast. The webcast discussed their scope, goals, and accomplishments to date. The project is still in its early stages but intends to design a new ILS based on SOA principles. Interestingly, they are already looking towards the “build” phase which will possibly start in July 2009.

During the Q&A session, there was an interesting statement that there was hope that the build phase would take about 2 years. There were some related comments about being able to use the development efforts of other projects as well.

There are some detailed notes in the library wiki.

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