Archive for July, 2010

Digital Collections Going Mobile: An iPad Test!

It’s been almost a week already since I first got an iPad :) …why now? well, with the all the attention that “mobile” services are getting in the media, our Digital Initiatives team proposed/decided to start “prototyping” a mobile version -of the The Miami Student Newspaper Archive in DSpace- for the iPads.  This “apple” device seems to a very good candidate for digital collections; its display (1024×768) makes it an ideal choice for displaying medium-large images such as newspaper pages, maps, manuscripts, etc.

Today’s test looked like this:
mustudent prototype for iPads

The actual work/test will involve a couple processes: a) decide which format to use, current choices are PDF or DjVu; b) export/create an XML file from DSpace with at least four fields: title, publication date, handle, and a URL for the actual file to display; c) modify a calendar page -for browsing- with the appropriate CSS and JavaScript files for the iPad; and hopefully that’s it!

For the regular website of this LSTA-funded project, we’re using an open source tool (OpenZoom) which does an excellent job in displaying large newspaper images with zooming and full-screen options –very cool! …but it’s based on flash, so that’s why we have to use a different format for the iPad test.  And speaking of flash issues on the web, this afternoon I came across this presentation “HTML5’s Multimedia Future” which was part of the OSCON 2010 – O’Reilly Conference in Portland, Oregon.  It seems like HTML5 will make a big difference on the use of multimedia on the web.

On a separate -but related note- I think the iPad is just what I needed to stop printing articles; as happy as I was with the double-sided option on my printer, this new device seems to be a better choice, especially if I try to go green :) …we’ll see how it goes!

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2010 Minnesota Institute

Last week (July 10-17), I was in Minneapolis, Minnesota attending the
7th Minnesota Institute for Early Career Librarians from Traditionally Underrepresented Groups.


It was a pleasure to represent Miami in such a diverse and committed group of new professionals with a passion about the future of librarianship and its contribution to higher education at different levels.  At the end of the week, many of us agreed that the success of the institute relies on at least three factors: a) the ongoing commitment from the founders of the institute: Linda DeBeau-Melting and Peggy Johnson, Associate University Librarians at the UM; b) the cumulative work from the two facilitators: DeEtta Jones and Kathryn Deiss, both with a great deal of experience in the field of librarianship; and c) the investment for professional development from our host institutions and the support from supervisors and colleagues.

The content was divided into two main categories:
Leadership skills, we started the discussion with our reactions to the pre-institute readings (Book: StrengthsFinder 2.0 by Tom Rath and Article: Managing Oneself by Peter Drucker); then, we moved to Communication Styles and Organizational Culture.  The core message was to understand/accept that every individual has his/her own way of work -based on strengths, culture, values, title, experience, etc.; however, when a group of people need to work for a common project, then it becomes necessary to not only know those (different) qualities but to utilize them in relevant roles in order to achieve excellence at work.  In today’s ever changing environment, there seems to be a greater need to develop a deep understanding of oneself, learn and apply new skills, and decide how one can best enhance an organization’s performance.

Professional skills, for two days we worked on grant writing, the instructor was Lori-Anne Williams, Grant Writer for the UM.  Dr. Williams walked us through the general process of Grant Proposals with a special focus on medium-large federal grants.  We also spent a morning session on tips for searching grant opportunities through specialized websites such as: Community of Science,, GrantsNet, Foundation Center, etc.  One of the trends for successful grant projects seems to be collaboration either at multi-departmental or multi-institutional levels -who knows, maybe someday some of the participants in this institute can work on a joint project.

In conclusion, the institute was an “inspiring” gathering; I enjoyed talking/learning from people who are very committed to the field of librarianship.  I plan to utilize this opportunity to continue to improve my leadership and professional skills for the benefit of Miami.  It’s my goal to take a more proactive role in the groups I currently belong to -including MUL’s Diversity Cluster, Center of American and World Cultures, Association of Latino/a Faculty and Staff, and the Technical and Digital Services Interest Group of ALAO.

Last but not least, during the institute I also got three very good news:

  • Jason Michel and I got an acceptance letter for an article on the migration of two image collections from CONTENTdm into Flickr.
  • I have received an invitation to convert my ALA poster session into an article and I do have a deadline in a few weeks.
  • I have identified at least 3 co-authors for potential publications in the near future (topics on Open Access and Latin America, Maps/GIS and Digital Collections, Technical Skills for new librarians, Diversity and Workforce, etc.)

…ok, I guess that’s it, now back to my DSpace and Manakin work!

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My “busy” 2010 Summer

We often think of summer as a time to rest/relax and take some time off -well, this summer doesn’t seem to be like that :( -at least not for me.

One of my top priorities is to create a DSpace theme for a newspaper collection that we’re migrating into DSpace, it’s coming along and/but we just thought about a new possible addition to the project; that is, a mobile experiment using the so popular iPads -we’ll see how things go with that. Other recent activities include: a trip to ALA Annual, a two-days seminar on “Privileges and Allies” at Miami, and (next week) a one-week Institute at the University of Minnesota. Additionally, this month I officially started a two-years term as co-chair of the Technical and Digital Services Interest Group (TEDSIG) of the Academic Libraries Association of Ohio (ALAO).

Regarding ALA Annual, I just came back from Washington DC where I had a poster session “Re-Using Today’s Metadata for Tomorrow’s Research” where I talked about the web-customization we have implemented for our digital collections in the last two years. I had about 20 visitors and at least four extended conversations :) -I was also happily surprised to learn about a possible opportunity to convert my poster session into an article, I really hope we can work that out sometime this year.

Right after ALA, I attended a two-days seminar at the Marcum Conference Center; the topic was about Diversity and Inclusion and was facilitated by Frances Kendall.  At moments, the conversation got very -touching and reflective- and  made us (me) realized that we all have received some sort of privilege in our lives, but that also implies/means that we all have some sort of responsibility to give something back to society.  In the end, I was very happy to have initiated at least two (possible) collaborative works for the MUL’s Diversity Cluster.

…and next week, I’ll be heading up to Minneapolis for the 7th biannual Minnesota Institute for Early Career Librarians from Traditionally Underrepresented Groups.  It does sound like a “life-changing” experience, I do look forward to meeting a new crew of people interested in the future of libraries in higher education –see you there!

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