Archive for 2009

Proposals, drafts, …and more writing!

Yes, after a great x-mas break with the familia and a some friends, now we’re back home and it’s the last week of 2009.  So before this week (year) wraps up, here I’m finishing up with a couple of proposals for 2010! …as well as advancing with an article draft which will be due in mid January.  Between the great food (tamales y chocolate) and these topics (Open Access, CONTENTdm, Diversity & LIS, Latin America & Technology) I plan to keep myself somewhat focused in the next 2 days!

Research Information MagazineWell, since writing is often a follow-up to some reading too, this afternoon I spent some time reading/thinking/reading the December issue of the Research Information Magazine. The main title on the cover can be a good source of inspiration for some new year’s resolution :) .  For me, a new programming skill will probably be Java -hello DSpace and/or IR+

Also, last week I had a very interesting conversation with an educator who talked about some of the future benefits of heavy text mining and machine translation for developing countries.  As many research studies have pointed out, one of the next goals of the global information society is “to reduce the information gap” …well, quick and efficient translation of abstracts may be a good start, and let’s not forget about the ongoing efforts towards Open Access in the developed world!  Will future generations be better off? …probably so, but in the meantime there is a lot do, see you in 2010!

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Scholarly Communication

As member of a new Scholarly Communication (SC) group, this semester we’ve been doing some research and work about this topic.  Since I’m leading the website design for this group, I recently proposed a site prototype based on three factors: structure, content, and usability.

Based on the principle “no need to reinvent the wheel” I initially spent some time browsing some other SC websites.  This was helpful, especially in identifying some of the key and consistent sections (e.g. copyright, journal pricing, Open Access, etc.) that other universities are using to communicate with their faculty.

Here is a short summary of the proposal:

  • Structure, no more than 4 sections (pages), an appealing and faculty-oriented splash page, a consistent navigation menu, and an easy method for edits/updates.  For the sake of consistency, we’re going to use the Library’s template and probably use Drupal as well.
  • Content, four proposed sections: Copyright (including an update for the Author Rights document), Journal Pricing (with some details by discipline), Alternatives for SC (description and links to green/gold models of publishing), and OA (news, facts or policies).
  • Usability, information will be provided in clear and concise way in order to avoid scrolling, a prominent box for news and facts and contact information on the main page, and a link from the main library homepage.

In a second phase, it’d be interesting to include a section where faculty can share their opinion about SC -similar to what the University of California is doing.  Which reminds me of a “Faculty Profile” feature currently in progress for the Scholarly Commons project …see you soon!

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Share-It: embedding CONTENTdm images

As part of the “tips and tricks” session for the 2010 MidWest CONTENTdm User Groups Meeting, someone suggested that there should be an easy way for embedding images from CONTENTdm into blogs or websites.  Something like this will -definitely- facilitate the sharing of information and interaction between CONTENTdm users and the general public.

Anyway, a few lines of PHP and JavaScript code seem to give an alternative solution for this option, it’s not (completely) done yet, but this is how it should look like in a blog or website.

Alumni Library from the northeast ca. 1925
Alumni Library from the northeast ca. 1925

The code to be pasted includes 3 pieces of data: a) title of the image; b) an image of 350px linked directly from the CONTENTdm site; and c) of course a link back to the actual record using the persistent URL.  This method avoids saving a copy of an image before uploading it to a blog or website.  It provides a simple way to copy some HTML code and embed into an external site.

How it works?

…that’s it for now, …hopefully something like this will be useful for bloggers and the online community in general!

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Yes, MAMP is my most recent installation on the Mac OS

As many would probably agree, from time to time, it’s useful to try or run a script without logging into a “formal” server.  Being able to write a PHP script which interacts with a MySQL database is also handy.  Anyway, the real reason to install MAMP is because I’ll need to run a couple of applications that require an Apache server.  It was also happy to see a quick tutorial about a local (test) installation of Drupal using MAMP.  In fact, in the long term we’re planning to use Drupal to provide a robust front-end interface to digital collections physically stored in DSpace.   Who knows, this may be just the starting point!

After all, the University Libraries is already using Drupal for its website!

BTW: here is the direct link to download MAMP

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Pico vs Vi

Well, maybe the title should be “before Pico, now Vi” because …after a few years of using Pico as my default editor, now I’m slowly convincing myself to use Vi.  Here is why:  even though Pico is a lot easier to use and learn, these days I’m editing some huge XML and XSLT files.  I often need to replace a word in an entire file and that’s something I cannot do in Pico; whereas in Vi this is what I need:


Another Vi function I’m using lately is the invocation of a shell while editing a file, sometimes after a quick change I need to restart a service or while editing a file I need to get the exact variable name from a different file.  In Pico I could have 2 terminal windows open, but in Vi I can do this by typing :! and a command.

:!ls –la

Ok, now I know, …a big part of this change has to do with my recent move to the Mac environment, in the past I used to just download a file to my desktop and edit it in Notepad++, I cannot do that on the Mac :-( Instead, I found and installed Vim –an extension of Vi- and so far it’s working fine. :-)

…hope to post some more Vi tricks as I learn my way through!

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