Professional Development

ALA – graffiti research and panel sessions

Monday, June 27, 2011 6:09 am

On Saturday I had the pleasure of coordinating a panel on cloud computing “Updates to cloud computing for library services” that built on the session from last year. This year we had speakers from a wide range of areas talk about cloud computing in the 2 hour session.

Chris Tonjes from DC Public Library talked about the Amazon downtime. Krista Stapelfeldt from the University of Prince Edward Island talked about Islandora, a project based on fedora and drupal that uses cloud platforms. Carissa Smith from DuraSpace talked about the new DuraCloud platform (yes ZSR has a trial account!) and Yan Han from the University of Arizona talked about his work with the Afganistan digital library and other projects and how cloud computing made those projects possible.

The session was overflowing again this year and I cannot thank Krista, Yan, Carrissa and Chris enough for taking time to contribute to the session. There were a lot of questions from libraries who were seeking to either contextualize their own experience with cloud computing or who wanted to push in a new direction (e.g. Hosted digital library applications).

I also had the opportunity to present with Birong Ho and Scott Garrison on Sunday in a session titled “Does VuFind Meet the Need of Web 2.0 Users?” Birong and Scott are from Western Michigan and have done some really interesting work extending VuFind’s capabilities. In preparation for the talk Birong and I independently pulled some data from our catalog about types of searching in VuFind. While our numbers did not always match (particularly for the default search type), it was interesting to see a close match on the frequency of the use of subject searches (~24%). Of note there was an interesting discussion around the utility and sustainability of tagging in catalogs that sprung up mostly because attendees had some varied experience with this service.

After the Vufind session I wandered into the Vendor area and 1, caught up with some colleagues from UNC who are now at NCSU and 2, saw a poster from Clemson University on using a graffiti wall for research. The librarians used focused questions, sticky notes and a post-it board to gather data from students. The Clemson wall (top) is admittedly, a bit more academic than our own graffiti wall efforts (bottom) :).

The rest of Sunday was Lita Top Technology Trends (Social book reading, the death of the mouse and a discussion around individual information portals were my favorite trends), the presentation of the LITA Hi Tech Award to John Wilkin for his work on HathiTrust (Congratulations John!), and the opportunity to catch up with LIS folks at the ALISE reception.

Vufind updates

Wednesday, February 9, 2011 12:05 am

JP already talked about Vufind but I thought I would add in my notes from the Vufind talk today. Demian Katz (Villanova) took some time in the afternoon to talk about Vufind and its growing support for metadata standards other than MARC. The update centered on how Vufind had been re-tuned to be more agnostic with regards to metadata standards and encoding models. The redesign made use of “Record Drivers” to take control of both screen display functionality and data retrieval processes, OAI harvesters to gather data and XSL importing tools to facilitate metadata crosswalks and full text indexing.

Demian talked at some length about basic features of the metadata indexing toolkit. At the Vufind 2.0 conference he talked a bit about his ability to use the MST from the Extensible Catalog project and I wonder (no answer, just a question) how the toolkit development with Vufind matches with the XC project. Demian reported on the OAI-PMH harvester that will gather records remotely and load them into Vufind. i have used an early version of this tool to successfully harvest and import HathiTrust records and am encouraged to see that development has continued. Demian also mentioned a new XSLT importer tool that enables mapping an XML document into an existing SOLR configuration.

This represents an interesting step forward for Vufind as it will allow ZSR to think about harvesting and indexing data from our Dspace instance as well as other sources that support OAI harvesting. All of these features are going to come in the Vufind 1.1 release on March 21st! More to come on this as we get our test instance of Vufind running.

Vufind, day 2

Friday, September 17, 2010 2:16 pm

Day 2 started with some presentations on using web services (Voyager WS for instance), using jQuery to delivery bookbag services, and approaches to integrating collections from multiple catalogs into a single vufind instance.

Eric Morgan talked for a few moments about pulling quantitative data from bibliographic and full text information to enable post-discovery analysis of resources. He has a great overview of his experiments at Eric’s blog.

The morning wrapped up with breakout sessions on the specific features/directions for the next version of vufind. There were about 20 high level items (plug-in architecture, added data types, administration and installation platforms, etc.) that are going to be pulled together and discussed.

Following lunch the group discussed governance, leveraging available resources, and ‘whats next.’

Villanova recorded many of the sessions so if you are intersested – hit the links and enjoy!

VUFind 2.0 Summit – September 16 2010 – Morning Session Part 1
VUFind 2.0 Summit – September 16 2010 – Morning Session Part 2
VUFind 2.0 Summit – September 16 2010 – Afternoon Session

Vufind, day 1

Thursday, September 16, 2010 4:41 am

The Vufind 2.0 conference day 1 started off with an opening chat by Joe Lucia about the relationship between open source software, open access policies and open data initiatives. He connected these rather current ideas to more traditional notions of libraries (resource stewardship and service for example) and touched on the idea that current trends including cloud-based systems and a trend towards network-based applications could prove to be challenging to our current model of open source software.

A discussion that focused on examples of systems and data that have been developed in either open or closed spaces showed the room tended to believe that that open source and library missions are close together. I thought that it was interesting to note that there was a view that the trend in implementing systems, data repositories and services in cloud environments was a step towards consolidation of vendors and a move away from the empowerment of smaller organizations. Interestingly there was a follow-up presentation by an ExLibris representative on a service that they are hosting on Amazon’s EC2 platform! For me the interesting idea that came out of the morning was that we are increasingly subscribing to data services rather than purchasing systems (SerialsSolutions for our openURL resolver, Syndetics content for our catalog) and that models for providing community driven, open data services (Hathi trust for example) are still evolving.

As JP’s post indicates there were many ‘good idea’ presentations and lively discussions on Wednesday. Demain Katz talked about the work he has been doing to turn Vufind into an OAI-PMH harvester and server (this would make it incredibly easy for us to harvest the items in Dspace and index them in Vufind), Greg Pendlebury talked about providing social software features at a network rather than individual library scale and there was an interesting discussion about using both Vufind and the XC metadata services toolkit to add authority data and authority management to Vufind (still pretty exploratory). JP and I also talked about the Voyager WebServices approach to providing book-based services in Vufind and brainstormed some options for indexing multiple databases in a single Vufind instance.

One of the overriding questions of the day was ‘where is vufind going and what role will it play in our organizations over the coming years?’ In afternoon breakout sessions there was a lively debate about indexing complex digital objects and metadata (EAD for example!) and what the best approaches were for handing non-marc data and services. Another group discussed linked data/authority records and a third group discussed network-scale issues in implementing Vufind.

Villanova has been a great host so far and both the facility we are at (The Villanova Conference Center) and the dinner last night were great. More to come after the Thursday session.


Saturday, October 3, 2009 6:27 pm

Lots of stuff for day 2 of lita. I would be remiss if I did not mention the spectacular views that I saw during an early morning run :)

After the run, we started the day with David Weinberger who likes to talk about *my* favorite topic. Both Lauren and Susan have talked about David’s presentation and I don’t have much to add except to say that my favorite quote of the talk “Metadata is what you know, data is what you are looking for.”

During the day I attended a session on the Extensible Catalog ( XC is in beta now and is aiming for a Jan 2010 release. While XC has a discovery layer built in drupal, the harvesting and normalization tools that they are working on have been designed to work with multiple metadata types and systems.

The final presentation of the day focused on usability testing at the University of Illinois for Vufind. As we are currently in the midst of our Vufind service I thought that it would be a useful session. UofI has a very similar implementation as WFU (Advanced Search, Voyager implementation). CARLI (Consortium of Academic & Research Libraries in Illinois) has implemented for their 76 libraries who share a Voyager based I-Share catalog. 6 of those have Vufind running as their primary catalog.

The rollout for CARLI of Vufind was “experimental” and “rapid” :). they froze modifications in Oct 2008 in expectation of Vufind 1.0. Since then they have been tweaking interface & re-indexing but no major development. CARLI is unlikely to implement future versions of Vufind but may continue development that may help them work towards the XC.

One problem that CARLI solved with Vufind was to integrate the holdings of 76 libraries into a single vufind, something we have been trying to do! To do this, they added a field which was bibid plus institutional identifier.

code4lib 2009 – Vufind

Monday, February 23, 2009 2:03 pm

This morning kicked off code4lib 2009 with a series of pre-conferences. Both Kevin and I attended the Vufind preconference session which included an overview of vufind, install exercise, and a q&a session on vufind features and issues.

I documented lots of notes & tips on our Vufind project page in the library wiki and once we get back to WS we will be able to make some good progress on ironing out some of the features that we are interested in implementing.

Following an interesting lunch with some folks from Equinox (and a cold walk back to the hotel) I am getting ready for the Linked Data session. . .

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