Archive for January, 2011

A Gallery Theme for DSpace!

Yes, it seems like we’re finally wrapping up some good results for this “much needed” project! Between the summer and fall of 2010, I spent some time learning/testing/understanding/implementing a few customizations for DSpace -using the Manakin or XMLUI framework.  A more detailed documentation will be available -soon- on the Customizing DSpace page.

The ultimate goal is to develop a set of themes primarily for non-text collections; which undoubtedly brings a set of challenges especially when dealing with file viewers or players. For instance, the lack of an easy mechanism to access a set of files or “bitstreams” associated with a single record forced us to investigate and implement an alternative method for embedding a flash-based image viewer for the Miami Student Newspaper collection.

The trick was to write an XSLT template that takes the the filename of the primary bitstream in DSpace and calls an external PHP file; which then reads an external folder with JP2 files and displays the images using an open source image viewer -OpenZoom. This technique seems to work well, in fact, it could be customized for embedding DjVu files or maybe e-books from the Open Library.

For an image collection, we decided to work on an existing theme customization work initially developed by NITLE; which uses a TJPzoom viewer with a magnifier feature -very cool! This theme seems to work great for the Frank Snyder Photograph collections with single images; a possible change (upgrade) for this theme would be to add a navigation option (perhaps based on JavaScript) for displaying multiple images associated with a single record. For this theme, we also added a custom XSLT template for displaying local metadata labels -including some linkable terms in the subject field.

Last, we also created a video theme, which embeds videos from Vimeo and we’re currently testing it for the new Dalai Lama Video collection. Here we used a method similar to what CONTENTdm does for video collections; we uploaded an image with a filename that matches the vimeo ID file; then create an XSLT template that takes the filename (primary bitstream) and create a custom URL which then calls and embeds the vimeo player in DSpace.  For some collections, we also have the transcripts and with this technique, we could easily add the transcript next to the video … but that’s in the next theme upgrade!

Ok, that’s it for now; part of the next steps will be to “formally” document the process of installing the new themes and get them installed in our production instance hosted at OhioLINK.


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ALA Midwinter & Training

ala-midwinter-2011Last week, I attended three orientation sessions at the ALA Midwinter conference in San Diego, CA.  The sessions were part of the official start of the ALA Discovering Librarianship program, which aims to build a network of early career librarians who can work with the ALA-Diversity Office to identify and help college students pursue careers in librarianship.

We had three sessions; the first one started with messages from three ALA leaders: Roberta Stevens, Camila Alire, and Molly Raphael.  They spoke about the commitment of ALA to support this type of diversity initiative; they also emphasized on the ongoing need to support similar programs with a focus on people who are already in the profession.  It was definitely great to hear what they think about ALA’s goal towards diversity in the profession, especially in tough economic times.  Next, we talked in groups about the decisions that led us to pursuing a degree in librarianship.  I was particularly happy to meet another librarian with an interest in the changing roles of technology in librarianship and information access.

The second session was focused on the need and opportunities for new professionals from underrepresented groups.  At my table, we talked about some of the regional, national, and ALA programs and conferences that support early career librarians from diverse groups.  I shared with my group two recent personal examples: the Minnesota Institute and the Code4Lib Diversity Scholarships.  Then, Lorelle Swader from the ALA Office of Human Resources and Development talked about career paths; which reminded me of a possible addition to a working manuscript about Technical Skills for New Digital Librarians.

The third and last session started with a presentation about Benefits and Rewards; I think some of the topics that came up in this discussion could be incorporated into materials for advocacy, outreach, and recruiting activities.  We also worked on a template for writing personal stories and on a pre-draft of an Elevator Speech.  In the next few months, we will continue to work on the promotion and marketing materials; we will also start looking for possible career fairs to attend in late 2011 or early 2012.

Last but not least, despite the great winter weather in San Diego, I also managed to attend two LITA sessions: Technology Trends in Academic Libraries and Drupal for Digital Library Programs.  It was interesting to learn about projects where developers are using Drupal on top of DSpace or Fedora.  But for now, I just need to get done with a couple of XSLT files for a workshop later this week!


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