Archive for 2010

Tech Skills & DiVeRsItY: A 2011 Puzzle

diversity-puzzle-2011Today is my last day at work -before the break- and as I’m getting ready to update and finish a “personal statement” for a report, the topics of Tech Skills & Diversity keep coming up and they seem to maintain some momentum/significance in my work and expectations for 2011. Two good examples are:

ALA Discovering Librarianship, my participation in this program will definitely play a major role in my diversity/service work in the next three years. This week, we had the very first webinar and Miguel Figueroa provided an overview of some (historical) data in the field of librarianship, higher education and the US in general; a copy of the Diversity Count Publication is available on the ALA website. The Discovering Librarianship program will officially kick off in January at ALA MidWinter in San Diego. The first year will focus on training (e.g. recruitment and marketing skills); the second year will be the actual field work (e.g. attending career fairs); and the third year will be devoted to assessment. In the short-term, I’m very excited to join this national and diverse group of people who are already involved in diversity initiatives; in the mid-term, I look forward to talking/working with some high/college students; and finally if everything goes as planned (as it should) I think this ALA program will make some key contributions to support existing or new diversity initiatives in higher education at the national level.

2011 Code4Lib Conference, yesterday I received some very good news (something like a x-mas present) the Code4Lib Scholarship Committee has selected my application to receive one of the Minority Scholarships to attend the 2011 Conference in Bloomington, IN. The scholarships are sponsored by Oregon State University and the Western North Carolina Library Network, thanks to all! This will be an excellent venue to meet a large group of library technologists with extraordinary contributions/roles in the fast-changing world of information access and research in higher education. I look forward to attending my very first tech-conference in February and I definitely hope to learn some effective strategies for coding and/or tweaking. I’m positive this experience will be a good addition to a work in progress about professional opportunities for new librarians from underrepresented groups. See you in Indiana :)

Anyway, now time for a needed break and Feliz Año Nuevo 2011!


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LARPS: Scholarship & Service

Scholarship and Service are main sections in LARPS -a local system established for librarians who seek promotion and continuing contract.  This week, as I worked on this section for the first draft of my Third Year Report, I found one interesting surprise: the Re-Indexing CONTENTdm metadata page -I created in 2008- has been mentioned/cited in a book chapter “Collaborative Digitization Goes Local” by Ken Middleton and Mayo Taylor.  I knew that some CONTENTdm users have regularly used this page; one way to know it is by checking the web stats or by replying to some of those emails!  Anyway, it’s always good to know that the work we’ve done here at Miami has helped someone else.  And speaking of CONTENTdm/DSpace customization, last month I was also happy to learn that a manuscript about this work has been accepted for publication -more details about it soon!

Going back to the report, it was also gratifying to write about two recent grant projects: Digitizing Freedom Summer funded by the Ohio Humanities Council and the Migration of a Newspaper Collection funded by the State Library of Ohio.  Grant projects can be fun and they definitely give some flexibility for purchasing new equipment and help undertake new risks/projects :) … perhaps my only concern is with the writing component –but that’s just me and my foreign language issues :(

I also enjoyed writing about the Creative Activity sub-section of my report, especially now as I’m working on the new DSpace Customization page; creating an online tutorial for documenting what works for us and providing access to the source code seems to support the idea of collaboration –maybe someone out there can help us improve our own code!  A second component of the DSpace page will be a Theme Gallery, which is already scheduled for a presentation/workshop with OhioLINK members by the end of January.

Last, since Service is also part of the LARPS puzzle, it was good to have some on-going activities such as: ALA Discovering Librarianship, TEDSIG of ALAO, MN Institute & the Open Access Journal project, 2012 JCLC, 2011 OVGTSL, MidWest CONTENTdm User Group, Accessibility Forum and Expo working group, and IFLA Special Interest Group on Indigenous Matters.

Alright, enough writing for now, time for a short break and nos vemos pronto!


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DSpcace 1.7.0 Testathon

Today is the last day for the DSpace 1.7.0 Testathon. In the last 2-3 weeks, DSpace developers have been gathering all type of feedback and real tests from the DSpace community for the next major release -Version 1.7. Out of the four new key features, I’m particularly interested in two: Mirage or a clean new theme for XMLUI and Discovery Layer or a faceted browse of site metadata. Read more about it from the DuraSpace Blog.

DSpace 1.7 (demo site)

A quick reading and overview of the new XMLUI theme and the faceted browse option suggests that in the near future DSpacers will have the ability to create more robust and friendly web interfaces. I think that having the ability to create customized web sites is a much needed work for many DSpace users -especially for those projects dealing with more than just text-based collections. In our case, this will mean at least image and video collections. One thing that I’m not sure about is whether the new XMLUI theme will allow a single collection use more than one theme. Sometimes it’s just handy to have the option to create a custom theme for Collection A, but at the same time, to create another custom theme for Collection A and B. I guess one way to find out more about the new version is to actually install it, and for that, we’ll just need to check the download site.

And speaking of DSpace themes and web customization, today I’ve confirmed my participation to help/lead/conduct a workshop with OhioLINK members in January. Topics will probably include: installing/configuring new themes, hiding/tweaking div elements, embedding external files, copying/creating XSLT templates, creating external browse features, etc. I think this will be basically a summary of the work we’ve done here at Miami in customizing the Scholarly Commons site and in migrating a couple of image collections into DSpace.

…anyway, more to come soon!


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2010 ALAO Annual Conference

Last Friday, October 29th, I attended the 2010 ALAO Annual Conference in Columbus, OH.  It was my very first time at this one-day local conference and it was a busy day.

As a co-chair of the Technical, Electronic, and Digital Services Interest Group (TEDSIG), this year I helped in creating this TEDSIG poster.
2010 TEDSIG Poster
My day started in helping/setting up our table –including some publicity materials, a form for suggestions for the spring workshop, and a membership sing-up sheet –yes, we got some new members!

I also attended the session “Quantitative Assessment of Diversity Goals, Methods, and Tools” presented by Eileen Theodore-Shusta and Christopher Guder from Ohio University.  The presenters talked about the work of the Diversity Committee in administering two surveys (in 2009 and 2010) to assess the progress in meeting their diversity goals –originally set in their strategic plan in 2006.  It was interesting to learn that one of their findings was the need for more training opportunities; I think finding “good incentives” for increasing participation is still very essential for any type of training.

In the afternoon, John Millard and I had a poster session on our recent LSTA summer project.  We basically talked about the major activities completed in this five months project.  We had about 30 visitors and 5 extended conversations with people who were interested in our experience of migration a large collection from CONTENTdm to DSpace.
Miami Student Poster (2010 ALAO)

All visitors received a bookmark, which looks something like this:
Bookmark (LSTA)

In general, I found this conference very worthwhile.  I made some new contacts within the ALAO network and I look forward to going back in 2011.

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Open Access Week 2010

This global event is currently underway -now in its 4th year.  According to the official OpenAccessWeek website, this year (again) there are hundreds of events taking place at universities and research institutions from many parts of the world.  A list of selected events is available at:

While many will agree that there is still a “long” way to go for a real OA movement, the following three examples are definitely good examples of the benefits of OA:

SciVee | Making Science Visible, a mashup of traditional open-access content with rich media; the image below is an example of an article where users can view both the text document and a video with further explanation of the work.  This project was initiated in 2007, more details about this great initiative is available at:
Link to Article

OMICS Publishing Group, provides access to many publications in multiple format -including audio files.  The image below is an example of how users can choose the format to access, this type of customization is also a good example of web accessibility.
Link to Journal of Cancer Science and Therapy

452º F, this “new” journal is providing translation to its publications in four languages: English, Spanish, Catalan, and Basque.
452 F (Journal)
Multi-lingual journals will definitely have the potential to minimize the information divide; although it must be an expensive service, the investment will definitely help to increase the impact and readership to scholarly content.  An example is available at:

Finally, the above cases are just examples of many described in the Open Access Week blog, feel free to browse around and …it’s great to see some of these OA initiatives already in place.

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