Archive for 2011

Meetings, DSpace tweaking, and writing

This is the last official week at work in 2011 :-) … and I’m still trying to figure out what else I can accomplish this week -if any- as well as checking/updating my notes for some interesting activities that either kept me busy in the last few weeks or will keep my busy once I get back in January.  Here is a quick review:

teamwork1Meetings: this semester I was part of a search committee … so in late November and early December we had four candidates on campus; on-site interviews are always fascinating, especially for those key and unexpected (follow-up) questions that often come up from either candidates or the audience.  In November and on behalf of ALFAS, I co-chaired the 4th Social Justice Read-In -which was part of the Eighth Annual Human Rights and Social Justice Program- this one-hour event was a great success -thanks to some great collaborative work with students, faculty, and staff.

dspace-logoDSpace tweaking: this work definitely remains as one of my favorite activities … even though it often involves some moments of “coding-confusion” especially when it comes down to jQuery and/or XSLT –not to mention some failed Java attempts.  Anyway, in early December we were once again (chosen) to be the test institution for deploying the new IIP Viewer on our production instance at the DRC, that was how we got our two Civil War collections up and running with the new viewer.  In the last week of classes, we also received a request to put online a 2007 lecture sponsored by the Center for American and World Cultures (CAWC), this request was a good reminder that we needed to enable a video player in Scholarly Commons … so after a couple of days of testing, we now have three video collections on this site: CAWC’s lectures, Dalai Lama visit, and the recent Civil War Symposium.

grant-writingWritings: this month I’ve been working on the final draft of a manuscript on Open Access & Latin America -en Español :-) … it’s almost there and I do plan to finish/submit it soon.  And because Spanish seems to gain some interest in what I do, this week I’m also drafting an outline for a possible grant proposal that will aim to develop a Spanish Language Learning Resource –ya veremos!  Another exciting writing activity is a SPARKS grant proposal that a colleague and I are currently working on –which will involve a couple of very interesting ideas such as: an automated audio file creation based on text and a synchronized audio and text using HTML5.

Last but not least, this day has been GREAT so far … this morning I was part of a very successful meeting (I think), which will most likely translate into a new project in 2012; I also got a package from Emerald with 5 copies of an article we recently published; and this afternoon I got an iPad2 –which will become my motivation for re-taking an existing prototype for presenting non-born-digital files on mobile/tablet devices, and maybe the development of a basic iOS application for library digital collections … we’ll see, but for now that’s it FELICIDADES Y NOS VEMOS EN EL 2012! :-)


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Conferences: Library 2.0 & ALAO

Library 2.0 WorldWide Virtual ConferenceLast week was quite a busy week for me -not to mention a night with only 3 hours of sleep, but that’s a different story.  Anyway, on Thursday, November 3rd, I started my day with an early (6:30 AM) online presentation on “Technical Skills in Digital Library Programs” which was kind of a report on a recent publication I co-authored with John Millard.  My talk was part of the 300+ presentations at the Library 2.011 WorldWide Virtual Conference.  I think the conference was a huge success, according to the website, they had more than 5,000 people registered from more than 150 countries … and it was FREE.  So thanks to the co-founding sponsors: The School of Library and Information Science (SLIS) at San José State University, Classroom 2.0, and the Global Education Conference.  If anyone is interested in watching some of the sessions, links to all the recordings are available at: :-)

On Friday, November 4th, I attended the 2011 ALAO Annual Conference in Toledo, OH.  There, I had to wear a couple of different hats :-( … at first, I setup an information table for the Technical, Electronic, and Digital Services Interest Group (TEDSIG), just as last year, we asked visitors to suggest possible topics for the upcoming 2012 spring workshop.  Also, at lunch I presented the TEDDY Award, which recognizes an individual’s significant contributions to TEDSIG & ALAO.  This year, the winner was Anne Gilliland, Head, Copyright Management Office, at the Ohio State University Libraries.  Among Anne’s contribution to ALAO include: served a term as the Technical Services Interest Group Co-Chair, served on the ALAO Executive Board, presented at a number of TEDSIG workshops and at several ALAO annual conferences.

In the second session, I was also part of a panel “Planning your Digital Resource Commons and Institutional Repository: What do you need to know?”  In this group of six speakers, I talked about the possibilities and technical requirements needed for customizing the front-end of DSpace.  I also provided a quick overview of the DSpace registry and the number of institutions worldwide using the software for both IR and digital library (digitized) content.  In the afternoon, John Millard and I hosted a poster session:
ALAO poster
This poster demonstrated methods of loading and displaying diverse type of cultural heritage objects using the DSpace.

In the last session, I attended a talk on “Diversity Program: Incorporating Cultural Awareness into your Library,” by Heather Maloney & Michelle McKinney from the University of Cincinnati, Blue Ash College.  The talk was about the development of a greater understanding of each other and the diverse population that a library serves.  In the Q&A section, it was great to share something about the Chinese videos created at Miami.  Ok, that was then, now back to some more coding and proposal writing! :-)


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Open Access Week 2011

Yesterday was the last day of this year’s Open Access (OA) Week.  A very nice “summary” of the history of OA by Tom Olijhoek is available on the site.  As a five years old initiative, I think it was great to hear about the number of activities -from conferences, workshops to twitter entries- that took place in hundreds of institutions from dozens of countries in the past seven days … perhaps one of the most significant (related) events is the upcoming 9th Berlin Open Access conference –to be held for the first time in America.

OA-at-MULThis year the Scholarly Communication working group at Miami also held an active awareness campaign which highlighted a pop-up image on the library’s homepage with the traditional OA Lock and the message “What if you had no access to the library?” Other activities included five blog posts on OA on the library’s News & Notes section, as well was the distribution of flyers on campus with links to the Scholarly Commons and the Scholars at Miami sites.

A quick look at the Directory of Open Access Journals, it appears that the top 20 countries remain to be almost the same as to what it was last year.  A couple of interesting changes include: Egypt was one of the only three countries that added/registered more than 100 journals in 2011; Iran is now in slot # 17 with a total of 113 journals; and (too bad) now there are only 5 Spanish speaking countries in the top list.
DOAJ - 2011

Last but not least, as part of an upcoming “project” … in the last couple of weeks, I’ve reading some tutorials about Open Journal Systems  -which seems to be one of the most popular options out there –especially for “peer-reviewed” journals.  But just as I finish with this post, a new alternative has been published in the Code4Lib Journal Open Access Publishing with Drupal … anyway, I guess different choices for different needs :-)


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Day of Digital Archives 2011

digital-archives-dayToday is the day to “raise awareness of digital archives among both users and managers … archivists, digital humanists, programmers, or anyone else creating, using, or managing digital archives are asked to devote some of their social media output to describing their work with digital archives … by collectively documenting what we do, we will be answering questions like: What are digital archives? Who uses them? How are they created and managed? Why are they important?”

As someone working in an academic library, I’m always interested in the intersection between digital archives and academic libraries. For a recent presentation proposal, I found that one of the 2010 Top 10 Trends in Academic Libraries was “Digitization of unique library collections will increase and require a larger share of resources.” This trend, along with the current development in digital technologies are definitely creating new opportunities for increasing access and value to unique and rare collections housed in libraries, archives, and museums. One of the challenges, however, in creating a digital collection or archive is dealing with a number of factors that can affect the decision-making process … examples of those factors are presented in the article The Collection Management Perspective by Linda M. Matthews.

Once a digital archive is online, another activity that also deserves special attention is maintenance, which often requires processes such as migration or web redesign. Here -at Miami University Libraries- we’re exactly in that process of moving our local digital archive into a statewide repository … just today, I’ve learned that our most recent ticket has been closed and a DSpace theme is correctly installed on our production instance available at: … where the two first collections will be about Civil War Diaries.

Ok, that’s it for today … oh and as a side note on the Day of Digital Archives, this morning I was surprised by an email (inquiry) on a customization work done a couple of years ago … it’s always rewarding to know that whatever has worked for us … can also work for others :-)


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The American Civil War [Digital Collections]

This year, as part of the 150th anniversary of the beginning of the American Civil War, the Miami University Libraries are creating digital collections of important Civil War (CW) materials currently housed in the Walter Havinghurst Special Collections. So far, two collections are under development: Civil War Diaries Collection and Samuel Richey Collection of the Southern Confederacy. In terms of providing online access to these digitized manuscripts or to any non-born-digital file … despite the current technologies (e.g. Djatoka Image Server, IIP Image Server, DjVu Libre, XTF, or the IA BookReader), there seems to room for changes in order to provide a enhanced user experience for digitized multi-page items.

So back to our CW collections, since we’re loading the data into a DSpace repository -hosted at OhioLINK- we’ve been “testing” a couple of options for the image viewer. The ultimate goal will be to use the new IIP Viewer currently on “test” mode.


The viewer -will- feature a toolbar with options for zooming, panning, rotating and viewing images in full screen mode; the viewer also includes a navigation box with thumbnails helps in browsing multi-page files. But since this is not ready -yet- for a DSpace production instance, a plan B has been to re-use a DjVu/JPG viewer that has worked well for us in the past. It may not be as catchy as the IIP viewer, but it features a basic toolbar with zoom and page navigation options … and perhaps the big plus is that because it uses regular JPG files for display, it works great on any device and/or browser -which is not true for the flash-based IIP viewer.


Anyway, either viewer will -soon- allow us to provide access to large, high-resolution, and multi-page objects in these two Civil War collections. A first formal presentation is scheduled for October 22nd at the Symposium “The American Civil War: Why It Still Matters” in King Library Room 320. The symposium is officially the kick-off for a grant-funded reading and discussion series “Let’s Talk About It: Making Sense of the American Civil War” sponsored by the National Endowment for the Humanities, the American Library Association, and the Miami University Humanities Center. More information about this program is available at:

Ok, that’s it for today … now back to an outdated -but sill needed- DSpace document on XMLUI tips & tricks … as well as to complete the copyright assignment form for an article I co-authored on “Technical Skills for New Digital Librarians” scheduled for publication next month in Library Hi Tech News.


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