Archive for the ‘Open Access’ Category

Wireframes, Prototypes & DSpace web customization

wireframe-exampleThose five words were quite popular in my to-do lists in November … first, they make up more than a third of the requirements for a new and exciting job description we’re working on; second, I spent some good time working on a couple of fixes for the DSpace mobile theme; third, I recently added a few jQuery lines to embed videos in DSpace; and finally, this week I sat down with a faculty for 1.5 hours prototyping a new website for one of her projects –in this session, we created three wireframes and today I actually worked on the first one, which obviously required some HTML & CSS editing –and some image tweaks in Photoshop as well.  Speaking of prototypes, wireframes, and web customization … two great video tutorials I recently saw in are: Creating an Effective Content Strategy for Your Website, where the author talks about how to think strategically about content in many formats (text, images, videos, animations, and infographics); and Interactive Data Visualization with Processing, where the author presents techniques on how to start communicating ideas and diagramming data in a more interactive way.

dspace-logoAs for DSpace tweaks, we continue to add video content to our Scholarly Commons site; the current OhioLINK approach is to upload an mp4 file and a special flash theme streams the content in DSpace, this method works great on computers … however, on devices with no flash support (e.g. iPad) users simply cannot get to see the video.  In theory, a possible solution would be to use HTML5 video standards; in fact, I ran a couple of test using but there seems to be a limitation -at least during my tests- with large videos (30+ minutes), sometimes it’ll take for ever to start playing … and because many of the videos on our site are over 30 minutes, I decided to go back to a video theme I created a year ago.  This video theme relies on videos hosted on Vimeo; the trick is to upload a copy of the video in Vimeo and add the vimeo URL in the metadata (e.g. dc.relation.isversionof: … and with the following jQuery lines, “all” users will get the see/play the video; if the device/browser supports flash, it’ll play the regular mp4; if not, it’ll embed the vimeo file.  Examples include the videos in the Open Access Week collection.  BTW: the audio in one of the videos was “low/noisy” … so the workaround was: a) export an mp3 file from iMovie; b) use Audacity features (amplify and noise filters) to enhance the audio and export a new mp3 file; c) import the new mp3 in iMovie; and d) create an mp4 file using MPEG Streamclip.

  // detect non-flash support
  if (typeof navigator.plugins['Shockwave Flash'] !== 'undefined') {
  // if supported, then do nothing
  // alert('support');
     } else {
  // hide mp4 and embed vimeo file -if exists-
  // alert('no support');
  // check for number of links
  if (($("div#ds-body
     table.ds-includeSet-table a").length) > 2 ) {
  // select vimeo file URL
  var htmlStr = $("div#ds-body
      table.ds-includeSet-table a:eq(1)").html();
  var htmlStr = htmlStr.replace('', '');
  // replace mp4 code with vimeo iframe
  var htmlStr = $("object:first").replaceWith
      ("<iframe src='" +
      htmlStr + "' width='500' height='375' </iframe>");
  } else {
  // no vimeo file for this record

As for the VIDEOJS, we’re most likely going to use it for another project where the average run-time is 2-5 minutes … cannot wait to test something with the caption option!  Last but not least, two recent news: my article in Spanish on Open Access & Latin America is now officially online; and a late email exchange this afternoon confirmed that DSpace 3.0 has been officially released … I have to say that it’s absolutely great to see the “mobile theme” in this new release … saaaaalu’ :-)


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October was -again- a busy month … from meetings, reach-out activities, article reviews, digital humanities, open access, coding to ALAO.

As we continue to work towards the “goal” of the CDS to support faculty and students’ digital projects, this month I was part of a couple of new and interesting potential collaborations.  In mid October we met with a professor who is interested in implementing a digital and interactive component to a Freedom Summer project, we’re now looking at the ARIS platform and hopefully we can either re-use it or find something similar to it … one key feature of ARIS is its support for developing mobile games.  We also met with a group of students who are currently working on a “journal” project; our potential contribution would be with the technical infrastructure and for that, we’re most likely to use OJS, which continues to be the most popular system for peer-review and open-access journals.  A third meeting took place thanks to a contact made by one of our library liaisons; in this case, a history grad student is interested in adding a “map” layer to create some data visualization for a collection from the 16th century … an example in mind is the Mapping the Republic of Letters.

Open Access (logo)Also, there is no doubt that the Sixth Annual Open Access Week was a big highlight for this month.  For us, the first of two MUL events during OA week was the Digital Humanities Symposium; the event was an opportunity for faculty, grad students and librarians to listen to two outside and five local speakers … as well as to talk about what DH could mean for them/us.  The second event was a talk How Open Scholarship is Changing Research, which was organized by the Library’s Scholarly Communication working group.  Moreover and for the second year, online visitors found a pop-up image on the library’s homepage with a message “What if you had no access to the library?” … will this help create an awareness about the ongoing problem of journal cost? mmm who knows, although for many, the Harvard’s statement about “not being able” to keep up with all the subscription costs may also help others understand the problem.

As for my tech/learning activities, this month was a good time to start learning a bit more about Git.  Because of my mobile theme contribution to DSpace 3.0, I finally understand (better) the benefits of a version control software; although at first, Git can be quite overwhelming or confusing.  A good tutorial I found is Git Essential Training by Kevin Skoglund. There is definitely more to learn, but so far, my list of 10+ GIT commands are keeping me busy!

Last, on Friday Oct. 26 I was again at the 38th ALAO Annual Conference.  Our CW team had a poster session -which was about the work we did for the CW Symposium and the ALA/NEH book-discussion series.
Civil War - ALAO (poster)
I was also part of talk Skate to Where the Puck is Going to Be, where we presented an overview of the CDS … the outline included: Setting the stage, Designing the space, Reaching our clients, Tech tools, and Services.

Ok, that’s it for now … now back to some GIT experiments as well as finish up with a draft for D-Lib Magazine :-)


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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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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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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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