Posts Tagged ‘Code4Lib’

Code4Lib - Virtual Lightning Talk

I know I was late and therefore I couldn’t join the group this afternoon, when I tried to login I got a message “Error: you cannot attend the meeting because its capacity has been reached.” :-(

Anyway, in case anyone is interested on the topic of File Viewers for DSpace Collections, here is a link to a PDF file with a basic outline of the talk; also, key points of what I was going to talk about include:

Why viewers for DSpace?
DSpace is quite popular in the academic world, many institutions are using it now for a variety of objects –e.g. manuscripts, maps, books, videos, etc.  In January 2011, there was a discussion on this topic in the DSpace tech listserv; several people jumped in and talked about the need/importance of an out-of-the-box solution for DSpace.

How others are doing it?
- Texas A&M -the developers of the XMLUI framework- for a folio collection, they’re using thumbnails as links to individual pages, the page images are then displayed on a pop-up window using some Lightbox script.
- Another solution is provided by @mire –a commercial organization that develops modules for DSpace.  Their Document Streaming Module enables in-browser viewing of document files and it based on the Scribd’s iPaper document viewer.
- There is also a test/prototype using PDFs and the Google Docs Viewer.

Local evaluation of alternatives (workarounds)
- In the summer of 2010 we implemented a flash-based viewer that reads jp2 files and feeds a dynamic viewer based on OpenZoom -a front end of the IIPImage server; the viewer includes zoom and full-screen options and it seems to work great for newspaper or magazine files.
- More recently, we tested an existing PHP script that can take a DjVu file and creates JPG files for each page; in the same script, we customized a basic toolbar that can help users navigate from page to page or use a drop-down menu to jump to any page.
In both cases, we’re using some PHP scripts to generate the preview files and then using an identifier to embed them into DSpace.

What’s next?
Obviously, the desired goal in implementing a file/document viewer in DSpace is to optimize the interaction between a DSpace record page and users.  With the current default option, there is no preview and if users need to view a page or some pages in a multi-page file, they would need to manually download the file … and for a file with 100+ pages and/or 50+ MB, this can be an issue.  So I think the hope is that someday with the help of others, we can have an Out-Of-The-Box Document Viewer for DSpace, which ideally can include features like: zooming, searching, options for exporting to other formats, as well as something that can work on any device -regardless of their screen size, OS or browser.

Oh well, that’s it for now … feliz fin de semana!  :-)


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2011 Code4Lib Conference

2011 Code4Lib ConferenceA couple of weeks ago -thanks to a scholarship- I was in Bloomington, IN attending the 2011 Code4Lib Conference. I think the conference organization was great and it was well attended too -even with some international attendees. Two main characteristics of the conference were: the single-track method allowed new comers to avoid the problems of choosing between breakout sessions; and many participants were not only taking notes, commenting or twitting about the sessions, but also coding. It was also great to hear that some of the projects presented were actually “ideas gathered” at the previous conference; in short, Code4Lib seems to be a great place for brainstorming and initiating new projects that can produce deliverables for real-life projects in matter of months.

Some of my favorite presentations were:

The Lightning Talks seems to be an excellent method for learning about a variety of topics in a short period of time, some of my favorites included: AjaxyDialog jquery-ui widget, Blacklight and Hydra at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Open data and the Biodiversity Heritage Library experience, Mobile Web Apps for Library Exhibits, Digital Humanities and Libraries, and A Guide for the Perplexed.

The Ask Anything session was also an interesting one, questions and answers ranged from basic to advanced, from on-site to online, from short to long; as a new comer, the question of the day was “What should we teach new librarians about coding/programming/hacking?” The answers included: learn and try something simple and quickly, install LINUX, find an interesting and short-term project, use the command line … and I think we could also add one more: join Code4Lib -which could be as simple as joining the listserv, attending a conference, checking the Journal or maybe just making time to watch the archived videos from the 2011 Conference.

Once again, thanks Code4Lib organizers!


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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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