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New This Week:
Visit the LITA Job Site for more available jobs and for information on submitting a job posting.
Do you love Access? Are you an event planning whiz, thrilled by the prospect of planning Canada’s foremost library technology conference? Were you inspired by the Herculean efforts of past Access Organizing Committees in bringing passionate, intelligent humans together to discuss and troubleshoot some of the most significant issues in libraries? Do you have a burning desire to ensure that Access 2016 is in your neck of the woods? Excellent. We want to hear from you!
Like any forward thinking conference, Access is already looking for next year’s host. There are no restrictions placed on where the conference can be held or who organizes it (because we’re super accepting like that). As a general library technology conference, we encourage people from academic, public, or special libraries (or even some combination of all three if that’s more your style) to throw their hat in the ring.
For those who are sort of/possibly/definitely interested in hosting, you can check out the hosting guidelines on our site (http://accessconference.ca/about/hosting-guidelines/).
If the prospect of hosting Access tickles your fancy (and ideally, the fancy of some other humans you know in the same general geographic area), go ahead and submit a proposal to email@example.com. Proposals must address all aspects of the hosting guidelines.
We’ll be accepting proposals until August 28th, 2015*.
*That’s really more than enough time to put together a solid team and a brilliant proposal, right? Right. We thought so too.
In the Fall of 2014, the University of Michigan Library IT unit launched a new initiative called the “Front Door process.” The name resulted from our desire to create a centralized space or “Front Door” through which Library colleagues can submit project requests. With an eye towards increasing transparency, LIT developed this new process with three goals in mind: gather IT project requests into a centralized space, provide a space for a simplified IT project queue or workflow, and have both spaces accessible to everyone in the Library.
In the past few months, there has been considerable discussion among Washington information and technology leaders about who should lead the Library of Congress, now that James Billington has announced his retirement. Today, in an op-ed published today in Roll Call, Alan Inouye, director of the American Library Association’s (ALA) Office for Information Technology Policy, asks leaders to re-imagine the future of the agency and its role in Washington. In the piece, Inouye writes:
We are at a pivotal point in the digital revolution. How Americans work, govern, live, learn and relax is changing in fundamental ways. Today’s digital technologies are helping spur economic and social shifts as significant as those brought on by the manufacturing and distribution innovations of the industrial revolution. As part of the digital revolution, the roles, capabilities and expectations of information institutions (e.g., mass media, Internet companies, universities and libraries) have transformed and must continue to evolve.
And, indeed, a number of the key players in today’s information ecosystem didn’t even exist when Billington became the librarian of Congress in 1987 — such as Google, Yahoo!, the Internet Archive, Facebook, Twitter, Amazon, Wikipedia, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the Digital Public Library of America.
In light of this we need to consider: What are the necessary roles of federal government institutions such as the Library of Congress in the digital revolution? How can such institutions best promote innovation and creativity, and not get in the way of it? Which public interest responsibilities in the digital society inherently fall into the bailiwick of the federal government? We have many questions but few answers, and only modest cross-agency discussion and a dearth of cross-sector discussion of these bigger questions.
Today I found the following resources and bookmarked them on Delicious.
- Hacker League We Power Hackathons
- Livecoding Watch People Code Products, Live. Learn coding. Learn Programming
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I haven’t been able to blog much recently. But at the recent ALA Annual Conference at San Francisco, I presented on the topic of what it takes to implement a makerspace at an academic library. This was to share the work of my library’s Makerspace Task Force that I chaired and the lessons that we learned from the implementation process as well as after we opened the Innovation Space at University of Maryland, Baltimore, Health Sciences and Human Services Library back in April.
If you are planning on creating a makerspace, this may be useful to you. And here is a detailed guide on 3D printing and 3D scanning that I have created before the launch of our makerspace.
I had many great questions and interesting discussion with the audience. If you have any comments and things to share, please write in the comments section below! If you are curious about the makerspace implementation timeline, please see the poster “Preparing for the Makerspace Implemnetation at UMB HS/HSL” below, which my coworker Everly and I presented at the MLA (Medical Library Association) Meeting this spring.
(1) Slides for the program at ALA 2015 Conference, “Making a Makerspace Happen: A discussion of the current practices in library makerspaces and experimentation at University of Maryland, Baltimore.”
Making a Makerspace Happen (2) Poster from the MLA 2015 Meeting: Preparing for the Makerspace Implemnetation at UMB HS/HSL
The American Library Association (ALA) and libraries have a long and increasingly recognized commitment to addressing digital inclusion and digital readiness needs in the United States. I count my own engagement back more than a decade talking to reporters about the role libraries play in providing both a digital safety net and a launching pad for deeper technology use to advance education, employment and creativity.
In the wake of the National Broadband Plan and new opportunities at the Federal Communications Commission, the ALA Office for Information Technology Policy convened a digital literacy task force in 2011. Librarians from school, public and academic libraries delved more deeply into issues of effective practice, assessing impact, and building capacity to raise awareness of library work in this space and how to further advance it. These lessons and research from the Digital Inclusion Survey have continued to inform our work—from E-rate to Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act advocacy.
So, when staff at the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) reached out to ALA, we were happy to talk about an emerging initiative to address the divide we both see clearly for low-income Americans. Not only is it the right thing to do, but we know America’s libraries already are doing this work day in and day out and are actively engaged in building locally relevant solutions to address community priorities. Committing to work with local libraries to deliver tailored, on-site digital literacy programming and resources to public housing residents is a “no-brainer.”
The launch of ConnectHome last week marked a milestone in this work, and we were excited to help kick off the program with a statement featuring ALA President Sari Feldman and Oklahoma State Librarian Susan McVey on-site representing libraries at the event with President Obama in Durant, Okla. I was pleased to join HUD Secretary Julián Castro in the Bronx with Metropolitan New York Library Council executive director Nate Hill and New York Public Library President Anthony Marx; and North Carolina State Librarian Cal Shepard met the Secretary later that day in Durham, N.C., along with Durham County Public Library Director Tammy Baggett and N.C. Chief Deputy Secretary of the Department of Cultural Resources Karin Cochran (see Cal’s blog here).
Nationally, the program will initially reach over 275,000 low-income households – and nearly 200,000 children – with the support needed to access the Internet at home. Internet service providers, non-profits and the private sector will offer broadband access, technical training, digital literacy programs, and devices for residents in assisted housing units.
As much as I enjoyed hearing from Secretary Castro, New York Mayor Bill de Blasio and others at the Mott Haven Community Center, meeting and brainstorming with ConnectHome collaborators PBS, New York Public Media and GitHub was even more fun. The options for digital content creation, collaboration and distribution to advance education and community engagement – at both the local and national levels – were dizzying. Of course, it helps that more libraries already are engaging with GitHub and that ALA and libraries have a long history of programming with PBS and public media through the National Endowment for the Humanities.
I expect the excitement and possibility of our conversation last week will be played out dozens of times in the coming months in the 28 communities where ConnectHome will pilot. Libraries will find both familiar community collaborators and new opportunities to serve public housing residents and explore new intersections. Building greater awareness of libraries’ roles in meeting community needs, creating and strengthening relationships with governmental, non-profit and commercial partners, and building mutually beneficial and impactful programs and policy responses are at the heart of the Policy Revolution! initiative and the future of libraries.
Like pretty much everyone outside the Obama administration, ALA learned which communities would be in the pilot last Wednesday and began reaching out to library directors in these communities:
Albany, GA; Atlanta, GA; Baltimore, MD; Baton Rouge, LA; Boston, MA; Camden, NJ; Choctaw Nation, OK; Cleveland, OH; Denver, CO; Durham, NC; Fresno, CA; Kansas City, MO; Little Rock, AR; Los Angeles, CA; Macon, GA; Memphis, TN; Meriden, CT; Nashville, TN; New Orleans, LA; New York, NY; Newark, NJ; Philadelphia, PA; Rockford, IL; San Antonio, TX; Seattle, WA; Springfield, MA; Tampa, FL; and Washington, DC.
Last week’s launch, of course, was just the beginning. ALA looks forward to amplifying the great work already underway in libraries in ConnectHome communities and coordinating directly with libraries to support their work individually and as a group, as well as develop and share relevant resources.
Does your library have a relationship with its Public Housing Authority already? We’d love to hear about it! Do you have other questions or suggestions about ConnectHome? Check out the FAQ or drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Guest Post by Cal Shepard, State Librarian of North Carolina
On July 16 I made my way to a small recreation center in the middle of an urban neighborhood in Durham, N.C. Not my usual haunt on a summer afternoon, to be sure! I went to hear Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Julián Castro announce the ConnectHome project as Durham is one of 27 pilot cities. The initiative will expand high-speed broadband by making it available and affordable to low-income families living in public housing.
Secretary Castro came to the T.A. Grady Recreation Center in Durham to talk about how children and adults alike need to be connected in order to do homework and learn digital literacy skills. One of the goals of this initiative is to build regional partnerships and Secretary Castro made sure to recognize ALL partners during his remarks (including the American Library Association.)
Librarians know that far too many Americans currently lack the technology access and skills to participate fully in education, employment and civic life. Broadband is essential, and I am pleased President Obama has made digital opportunity for all a top priority. In Durham county last year, public library users signed on to 360,000 sessions on library computers, and were offered more than 350 free digital literacy courses, from basic computer classes to advanced Microsoft Office and graphic design training. And that is just within the walls of the library!
Later this year Durham County Public Library Director Tammy Baggett and her staff will begin offering technology-based courses in the Oxford Manor public housing community, including programs that focus on STEAM literacy for children and teens, and job readiness computer training for adults.
This is what libraries do every day — we connect with partners to move our communities forward. Last Thursday I met multiple people, and I can see working with any one of them for the benefit of libraries and our communities throughout North Carolina. I learned about organizations that I didn’t even know existed and swapped business cards like I was playing a card game! I’m sure that not all of these contacts will result in lasting relationships, but I am guessing that a few of them will—if not today then tomorrow or next year.
And THIS is why I’m excited about this project in Durham. While the ConnectHome idea may come from Washington, the execution will come from the local level. In the process, the library will make new friends and develop new partners. That is good for everybody and makes us all stronger.
By the way – after the event Secretary Castro was looking forward to his first taste of famous North Carolina barbecue. I wonder how he liked it?
With the last update, I made a few significant modifications to the Merge Records tool, and I wanted to provide a bit more information around how these changes may or may not affect users. The changes can be broken down into two groups:
- User Defined Merge Field Support
- Multiple Record merge support
Prior to MarcEdit 6.1, the merge records tool utilized 4 different algorithms for doing record merges. These were broken down by field class, and as such, had specific functionality built around them since the limited scope of the data being evaluated, made it possible. Two of these specific functions was the ability for users to change the value in a field group class (say, change control numbers from 001 to 907$b) and the ability for the tool to merge multiple records in a merge file, into the source.
When I made the update to 6.1, I tossed out the 3 field specific algorithms, and standardized on a single processing algorithm – what I call the MARC21 option. This is an algorithm that processes data from a wide range of fields, and provides a high level of data evaluation – but in doing this, I set the fields that could be evaluated, and the function dropped the ability to merge multiple records into a single source file. The effect of this was that:
- Users could no longer change the fields/subfields used to evaluate data for merge outside of those fields set as part of the MARC21 option.
- if a user had a file that looked like the following —
sourcefile1 – record 1
mergefile – record1 (matches source1)
mergefile – record2
mergefile – record3 (matches source1)
Only data from the mergefile – record 1 would be merged. The tool didn’t see the secondary data that might be in the merge file. This has always been the case when working with the MARC21 merge option, but by making this the only option, I removed this functionality from the program (as the 3 custom field algorithms did make accommodations for merging data from multiple records into a single source).
With the last update, I’ve brought both of these to elements back to the tool. When a user utilizes the Merge Records tool, they can change the textbox with the field data – and enter a new field/subfield combination for matching (at this point, it must be a field/subfield combination). Secondly, the tool now handles the merging of multiple records if those data elements are matched via a title or control number. Since MarcEdit will treat user defined fields as the same class as a standard number (ISBN technically) for matching – users will now see that the tool can merge duplicate data into a single source file.
Questions about this – just let me know.
Guest Post by Johnna Percell, Google Policy Fellow
On Thursday, July 16, ALA Washington Office welcomed a few of my colleagues in the Google Policy Fellowship to a lunch discussion of the office’s portfolio. The Google Policy Fellowship provides an opportunity for undergraduates, graduates, and law students who are interested in Internet and technology policy to spend the summer working at public interest groups here in DC as well as in Ottawa, San Francisco, and other cities around the world.
Fellows in attendance Thursday included Sasha Moss, who is working with R Street Institute; Miranda Bogen, a fellow with the Internet Education Foundation; Ian Dunham from the Future of Music Coalition; Maria Paz Canales, who is at the Center for Democracy and Technology; and of course me. The discussion brought together a wealth of experience and insight into many interesting facets of technology policy.
ALA staffers Alan Inouye, Carrie Russell, and Stephen Mayeaux were kind enough to take time out of their day to share with us why libraries are invested in policy and how ALA’s Washington Office is working to further those interests of concern to libraries everywhere. The discussion covered ALA’s work on open access, the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), copyright, orphan works, mass digitization and the changing roles of cultural institutions.
This prompted a rousing discussion of how emerging technologies are re-writing (have re-written?) the rules of creation, ownership, and access to information. The Internet is breaking down barriers between the role of a consumer and that of a creator. To fully participate in society, you must have access to technology necessary to engage in this exchange. Libraries have an important position at the intersection of disruptive technology, innovation, and access that allows them to facilitate greater participation by everyone.
At the end of our discussion, we all affirmed the urgency of updating laws and policies to address the changing nature of information. It’s invigorating to have the opportunity to spend my summer engaging these ideas with my fellow Google Policy Fellows – a crop of future information professionals who, thanks to ALA, are now more aware of the essential role of libraries in information technology policy.
The post ALA Washington Office hosts Google Policy Fellow lunch appeared first on District Dispatch.
If you are interested in Open Access and Open Data and haven’t hear about ContentMine yet then you are missing out! Graham Steel, ContentMine Community Manager, has written a post for us introducing this exciting new tool.
ContentMine aims to liberate 100,000,000 facts from the scientific literature.
We believe that “The Right to Read is the Right to Mine“: anyone who has lawful access to read the literature with their eyes should be able to do so with a machine.
We want to make this right a reality and enable everyone to perform research using humanity’s accumulated scientific knowledge. The extracted facts are CC0.
Research which relies on aggregating large amounts of dynamic information to benefit society is particularly key to our work – we want to see the right information getting to the right people at the right time and work with professionals such as clinical trials specialists and conservationists. ContentMine tools, resources, services and content are fully Open and can be re-used by anybody for any legal purpose.
ContentMine is inspired by the community successes of Wikimedia, Open StreetMap, Open Knowledge, and others and encourages the growth of subcommunities which design, implement and pursue their particular aims. We are funded by the Shuttleworth Foundation, a philanthropic organisation who are unafraid to re-imagine the world and fund people who’ll change it.
This posh has been reposted from the Open Access Working Group blog.
This update will have four significant changes to three specific algorithms that are high use — so I wanted to give folks a heads up.
1) Merge Records — I’ve updated the process in two ways.
a) Users can now change the data in the dropdown box to a user-defined field/subfield combination. At present, you have defined options: 001, 020, 022, 035, marc21. You will now be able to specify another field/subfield combination (must be the combination) for matching. So say you exported your data from your ILS, and your bibliographic number is in a 907$b — you could change the textbox from 001 to 907$b and the tool will now utilize that data, in a control number context — to facilitate matching.
b) This meant making a secondary change. When I shifted to using the MARC21 method, I removed the ability for the algorithm to collapse multiple records of the same type with the merge file into the source. For example, after the change to the marc21 algorithm, in the following scenario, the following would be true:
source 1 — record 1
merge 1 — matches record 1
merge 2 — matches record 2
merge 3 — matches record 3
The data moved into source 1 would be the data from merge1 — merge 3 wouldn’t be seen. In the previous version prior to utilizing just the Marc21 option, users could collapse records when using the control number index match. I’ve updated the merge algorithm, so that default is now to assume that all source data could have multiple merge matches. This has the practical option of essentially allowing users to take a merge file with multiple duplicates, and merge all data into a single corresponding source file. But this does represent a significant behavior change — so users need to be aware.
2) RDA Helper —
a) I’ve updated the error processing to ensure that the tool can fail a bit more gracefully
b) Updating the abbreviation expansion because the expression I was using could miss values on occasion. This will catch more content — it should also be a bit faster.
3) Linked Data tools — I included the ability to link to OCLC works ids — there were problems when the json outputted was too nested. This has been corrected.
4) Bibframe tool — I’ve updated the mapping used to the current LC flavor.
Updates can be found on the downloads page (Windows/Linux) or via the automated update tool.
- 32-bit: http://marcedit.reeset.net/software/MarcEdit_Setup.msi
- 64-bit: http://marcedit.reeset.net/software/MarcEdit_Setup64.msi
Omeka is a content management systems (CMS) that facilitates the creation of online exhibits. Traditionally, exhibit creators needed to have web design skills to create a webpage. Using Omeka, the process for creating exhibits websites is simpler, which allows exhibit creators to easily extend the presence of our physical objects.
DuraSpace News: Call for Submissions for the Third Annual New England National Digital Stewardship Alliance Meeting
North Dartmouth, MA The University of Massachusettes Dartmouth and Brown University will host the Third Annual New England National Digital Stewardship Alliance Meeting on September 25 in The Grand Reading Room at the Claire T. Carney Library, University of Massachusetts Dartmouth.
Submission topics include a variety of topics including but not limited to:
Yesterday, Patrick Murray-John had a great suggestion on Twitter: a DPLA event celebrating Ada Lovelace day:July 21, 2015
In case you don’t know much about Ada Lovelace, an English mathematician in the early 19th century and the namesake of the awesome Ada Initiative, or perhaps you don’t know about the Ada Lovelace Day, check out this site: http://findingada.com/.
I think a DPLA event for Ada Lovelace day is a fantastic idea, and I put forward the thought that we have a DPLA Ada Lovelace Event that occurs in different cities and communities on that same day, October 13. Each event would introduce people to the Ada Lovelace as well as the DPLA collections and API, then support making apps, syllabi, exhibitions, or other creations focused on highlighting women in mathematics, science, and technology - like Ada herself. These events could communicate virtually to share ideas and excitement, either through Twitter (the proposed hashtag currently is #dplada, but that could change), via a website for the day (http://www.dpladalovelace.us, set up by Patrick MJ), and through community report-backs via the DPLA blog or other such site.
A group of interested folks are now looking into making a possible DPLA Ada Lovelace Event ‘template’, with guidelines and such for all DPLA community representatives or perhaps just folks interested in seeing this happen in their community. The http://www.dpladalovelace.us site would also give more information about this template, the Ada Lovelace Day, the DPLA, and contacts for the various events folks are trying to pull together across the map. Anyone and everyone is welcome to contribute to the existing DPLA Ada Lovelace Event template here. If you are interested in trying to organize such an event, that is the place to mention it currently (until we get a bit further with the planning stages).On a related and personal note…
This part of the post just goes into my own views on the importance bringing people like Ada Lovelace to the forefront. Feel free to skip, as most of the DPLA Ada Lovelace Day info so far is up top.
One of the reasons I find this event so important, besides that the DPLA and surrounding library tech communities just do amazing work, is my own tension with my own Mathematics academic background. The surge in interest and visibility of important historical figures like Ada Lovelace brings into light the struggles women and minorities had and continue to have in STEM fields (science, technology, engineering, mathematics), as well as our battles with imposter syndrome and lack of support/allies.
This half of a blogpost is not about that topic broadly, which is well-covered by others who are better placed to discuss it, but my own disappointment in myself that I didn’t make more of my own Mathematics background and trying to understand what happened. Upon starting college the first time around, I really focused on the sciences. Engineering, Physics, Meteorology, Computer Science - I considered, even started, majors in them all. But beyond my own inability to settle on one topic, the communities in these academic departments supporting women was lacking at best - despite being at the small, liberal arts college I ended up at. I don’t have the horror stories I’ve heard from other women studying in STEM fields, but I didn’t feel like I should stay in these fields either. Having to continually explain that an engineering study group meeting was not a ‘date’ was wearing. When I had a new solution for a computer science problem, the ‘techie guys’ on my dorm floor showed so much astonishment that I created it, it became embarrassing. When I got a 98 on a Physics exam, my professor was convinced I cheated, then when disproven, thought perhaps his tests were then too easy (despite the fact that I got grief for breaking the curve in that class for everyone else). There are other such stories - we all have them, and it just is a testement to how continued, ‘soft rejections’ can seem benign when isolated, but together become a destructive force.
However, I ended up in the Mathematics department, which was was welcoming. There was more than 1 token women professor, as well (although the gender balance in terms of who was tenured versus adjunct was what you’d expect, sadly, and the inclusion of minorities entirely lacking). Most of the female students, though by no means all, in the department were studying to be Math teachers in secondary schools - this was a very popular track for people from the area, and served a great purpose. But I never got into that. When it came time for graduation, however, I had a lot of personal turmoil (hey, college, don’t we all have that) and moved to NYC. I considered pursuing Mathematics at the graduate level, but it just didn’t manifest, despite being accepted to a few programs. I had massive amounts of what I know now to be imposter syndrome, among other things to deal with. I instead ended up teaching middle school Mathematics in Washington Heights (and turned out to be an absolutely horrible middle school teacher, but hey you don’t know until you try). How I got this position remains a bit of a mystery to me looking back, since I had done absolutely no education courses, nor any sort of tutoring work. But a women in mathematics, I mean, of course you’re going to be a math teacher…? (This was the view of my family, friends and random strangers on the street) Who knows what effect hearing that so often had. There was a lot more involved in this outcome for me than societal pressures, I freely admit, but I wonder how big something that seemed/seems so trivial could be.
Regardless, I went through a lot of careers, jobs, etc. in NYC. I’m glad I moved there, despite my hard introduction via Dominican culture, the NYC Public Schools System and Mathematics education. But looking at where I am now, and getting excited about events like this Ada Lovelace Day, and the growing support for women and minorities in STEM, I can’t help but feel disappointment in myself for how little I did with what was, at one time, a great love and amount of time invested in learning Mathematics - in particular, abstract algebra and topology. Like what happens when you stop speaking a language daily, it fades away. Eventually, the assumption became, whether to do with my gender or because I accidentally fell into a career in libraries or both or neither, is that I’ve (only) got a humanities background. Generally folks with that assumption mean well, and its unintentional/unknown on their part, but for me, it hits a nerve every time (that I used to be able to hide pretty well, but have just given up trying to hide as of late). Add weird community ideas on cataloging/metadata work and gender to this mix, and it gets even more complicated. Trying to turn this minefield into a village is rough but needed worked.
Yet, the library tech community has generally been a stellar space for me to work out these issues and responses, because of the growth and support within it for projects like the Ada Initiative and now the DPLA Ada Lovelace Day possible event(s). So I’m excited to see this happen, if only for my own personal work. But I also realize these events cannot happen without us getting involved, imposter syndrome (or something I have with stepping in to help organize events, “I’m being too bossy” syndrome, which I’d argue is a subclass of imposter syndrome) or no. So, hey, you, get involved in helping make this happen. Because we all have stuff to work through, and working together on events like this can help.
Again, this is where the organizing for the DPLA Ada Lovelace is currently happening, and I hope to see you involved: here All are welcomed to contribute and collaborate.
And, to hell with societal pressures, I’m planning to get my next degree in Computer Science, if only as a belated thank you to that Computer Science professor I had in college who told me, ‘you should consider a compsci degree, I’d be happy to support you in this department’. I only realized much later what she was trying to say.
Kara Sowles and Francesca Krihely gave an afternoon workshop at OSCON on how to plan and run tech events. I’m hoping to be doing more and more of this at work in the near future so I was sure to take copious notes.
A successful event is one that feels like magic – that everyone and everything is running smoothly and you never notice the organizers. To create a successful event you just nee the passion to do it.
So let’s get started! First things first, you need to create a document. A shared document with you and your collaborators where you have a ‘single source of truth’. This document has to be kept up to date – it should not just be a series of email. We started with a sample document provided by Kara and Francesca.Purpose and Goals
Purpose: to meet and connect w/ users of software
Goal: 25 qualified leads – users to reach out to after
Purpose: Teach girls to code
Goal: Have 100 girls attend and 50% of them finish the projects
While this is all great, you also have to think about your constraints – things you can’t do. For example if you want to host at your office you might not be able to have 200 attendees. You’re constrained by the space. Your budget might also be a constraint you have to work within. The amount of time you have to plan needs to be defined and will constrain how you accomplish your mission.Structure
- Networking event: bring people together just to chat with each other. This can be a launching point for a bigger event.
- User groups: pretty informal and easier to run than some events. These continue over time though
- Office hours: a simple way to get people together to communicate at specific times
- Online events: work as a great resource for communities that are worldwide. This can be collaborative or one person talking to everything.
- Hack-a-thon: a great way for people to understand new ideas, interact with new technologies and meet new people. These can be collaborative or competitive – so you need to decide what you want.
The key is to think about your community and what kind event they need.Work with a Team
Once you have the structure in place – how do you get help/work in a team of people on the event. When building your team you want to give people the opportunity to get involved (sometimes people don’t know you want help), establish clear roles in order to empower them and make sure there is something in it for the volunteers (WIIFM – What’s in it for me).
Once your team is in place you need to use them/work with them. You need regular checkins, refer often to your document and always remember to delegate and be a good leader.Content
You’re now ready to talk about the content to be covered at your event. This might be speakers, collaboration, workshops and/or activities.
Hack-A-Thon content is a little different from other events because usually in other events content is chosen ahead of time, at hack-a-thons the content is being created on site and is the entire point of the event. Content produced at these events can be extremely valuable to your project. These are also opportunities for sponsors because people see their products being used in a real way. You can also have people share their work on sites like Hacker League to make the event more open.
For the other events you the main source of content is usually the speakers. The first way to get speakers is to invite them. When you invite people you should let the speakers know what you’re going to provide them – honorarium, expense coverage, free registration, etc. The other way to get speakers is to submit a call for speakers. The nice thing with this is that you get a ton of submissions, but that’s also a downside as you’ll have a lot of content to wade through. Make sure that your call page is clear about what you’re looking for along with examples.
In the end when choosing your speakers you need to go back to your document and review your purpose for the event and hold yourself to that purpose.
After doing all the work to get speakers on your agenda, you then need to ‘handle’ them. Speakers are often very busy and you need to give them all relevant information in one document/email. It’s most likely that they’re not going to want to wade through a bunch of emails to find all the information about their talk. You also want to be sure that your speakers actually accept [personal story time – I was once on a conference program and had no idea I was on the program because my confirmation email got lost in the mail].
In addition to speakers you are going to need great facilitators/MCs – this is the person who shares announcements with the attendees throughout the program.
Think about whether or not you want to record the talks at your conference. If you do plan to record sessions that can be very costly. If you do record videos make sure you share your content widely. Share on your website, blog, github, or other sites.Venue
When you start searching for a venue you want to go back to your constraints to see how many tracks you want, what your budget is, and how many people will be attending. Some places to look:
- 20-80 person event
- Tech company offices
- 80-150 person event
- Tech offices (less likely)
- Co-working spaces
- 150-250 person event
- Universities are still an option
- Fun local spaces (movie theaters, art galleries)
- Professional venues (conference centers)
When looking at venues remember to think about amenities. If you’re doing a hack-a-thon you need tables and power and internet.
If you want to look for spaces you can go to a site called Cvent – don’t just trust their site though, do your own research. When looking at hotels remember that while they’re easy to find, they can be really expensive (food and av for example have to come from in house).
When talking to offices you really want to make sure you send them all your details and requirements (# of attendees, date and time, entrance fee, length of event, food, etc etc) – these places are usually dong your a favor and are not prepared like hotels for hosting events.
When it comes to AV, make a wishlist but also know what you really need versus want. Some places you can’t bring your own stuff in – so keep that in mind.How much does it cost?
This section was a series of awesome slides with sample costs. It all boils down to deciding what you want to spend. You can see my full set of images in my OSCON album on Flickr.Sponsorships
Sponsors are a positive part of your event. It can be a lot of work to find these sponsors and make sure they follow through on their promises. You have decide how large a part of your event they want them to be. For some audiences, over-exposure to sponsors can be annoying.
Here are some reasons sponsors might want to contribute to your event:
- recruiting and hiring
- lead generation
- community building
- they believe in your mission
To get sponsors you should have a sponsorship prospectus that you can send out with all the info needed to convince sponsors. In your prospectus you want to have:
- attendee demographics
- who is the target audience
- purpose/mission of event
- format of the event
- what sponsors get
You need to decide ahead of time what sponsors can ‘buy’ and can’t. Can they have a talk slot? can they have the branding control of your talk? etc etc.
Sponsors love booths! These might not always be the best thing for your event though – if there isn’t a ton of movement of the attendees they might not be the best option.Social spaces
When thinking about your attendees back from your purpose, plan your space. If you have a lot of people who might have to charge their batteries – for electronics and for their brains. Think about your activities with your audience in mind.
Also remember to ‘map your flow’ – see where people will be walking and make sure their pathways allow for easy movement.
Part of that social space is the food you’re offering. How messy is it? How accessible is it?Diversity
You want your event to be accessible to all. First it’s key to set your expectations right on the events page:
- Code of Conduct
- Accessibility Info
From that list – you must have a Code of Conduct. You need to train your staff on handling CoC violation reports, list this clearly and publicly for all to see and make sure it’s sent to the speaker confirmation emails.
Think through if you want your event to be family-friendly and/or parent friendly. You might want to provide child care or events for children.Promoting your event
Go where your attendees go to announce your event, post on newsletters, post on local websites and of course social media!
Use incentives to get people to come to your event.Logistics
Most of our event is the planning process, only a small part is onsite at the event – keep that in mind.
Goals + Constraints = Logistics
So, for example, if you have a goal to host 200 attendees you want to be sure you have enough food and a room big enough to fit them.
To tackle logistics you want to stay organized from start to finish with your document, use calendars and remember to delegate! You can also pretend that you’re launching a product – your event is the product. You need project managers, milestones, deadlines and tasks – just list you do with a product release.
Francesca gave us another handy doc we can use for this.
Remember that not all attendees will have smartphones so a printed out schedule is a great thing to give out. OSCON does a daily schedule they print out and hand out on the day of. You can also get standing banners for $150-$200 online and it feels much more professional. Signage is really important as well to get people where they want to go.
If you’re looking for cheap swag take a look at Sticker Mule for stickers! Remember that swag should be so people remember the event and maybe thank yous for your speakers or staff.
Once you’re onsite you want to have a few ‘events kits’ – for example you want to put in batteries, tape, pens, rubber bands, etc. in a bag so you have it on hand at all times.Day of
It’s now the day of the event!! Remember what we’ve said a bunch already – DELEGATE! Make sure everyone has everyone else’s phone number so you can reach whomever you need to reach. And no amount of prep will prevent something from going wrong – just stay calm and be ready to tackle the problem.Post-Event
Finally the event is over … and it’s all a blur of adrenaline and fear. You’re not done yet! Go back to your document and update it. Make sure you met all of your goals. You also want to give yourself a break – either a work from home day or a day off completely.
You’ll want to think about a post event survey. You won’t get everyone to respond so make sure you have some multiple choice and text fields where you can get a genuine response. Using the survey you can measure if you got your intended audience. If you want people to fill out the survey you can have a prize associated with the survey to get more answers.
Finally, you do need to do a post-mortem with your team.
If you want to see the whole talk you can find the slides online.
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We are very pleased to announce our 2015-2016 Education Advisory Committee. From an extremely qualified pool of over 300 candidates who responded to our Call for Educators Participants, including educators in many fields and institutions across the U.S., we have selected ten outstanding participants.
The Education Advisory Committee will help DPLA staff build and review curated content sets for education users and plan future education projects. This effort is part of our Whiting Foundation-funded education work. To learn more about our plans, read about our educational use research findings.
If you’d like to follow along with our education work, please email email@example.com.Education Advisory Committee
Adena Barnette is a thirteen-year educator at Ripley High School in West Virginia. She serves on her school’s literacy and curriculum teams and as the social studies department chairman. After being selected as a James Madison Fellow in 2011, she earned her Master’s degree in American History and Government from Ashland University.
Kerry Dunne is the Director of History & Social Studies for Boston Public Schools. Prior to BPS, she served as the K-12 Social Studies Director for the Arlington (Mass.) Public Schools for 7 years, taught history and served as the history department head for 9 years at Framingham High School. Kerry teaches the Pedagogy of Teaching History class at Brandeis University and is appointed to the board of the Massachusetts Council for the Social Studies (MCSS).
Ella Howard is an Associate Professor of History at Armstrong State University in Savannah, Georgia, where she teaches urban history, digital history, material culture, and popular culture. She has previously worked on a Teaching American History grant with local K-8 educators. Her book Homeless: Poverty and Place in Urban America was published by the University of Pennsylvania Press in 2013.
Melissa Jacobs is a Coordinator for Library Services in the New York City Department of Education. She is the founder and former chair of the American Association of School Librarians (AASL) Best Apps for Teaching and Learning, a member of AASL’s Executive Board as Member-at-Large, and the current President of the School Library Systems Association of New York State.This year she was honored with Library Journal‘s Mover and Shakers Award and was named Queens College Graduate School of Library and Information Studies Alumna of the Year.
Susan Ketcham has been teaching English since 2000. She graduated from Purdue University with a BA in English Education and has recently added School Library to her teaching license. This year will be her 14th at East Central High School in St. Leon, Indiana. While she has taught every grade level from 6th-12th, this year she will teach English 9, Honors English 11, and Genres of Literature.
Jamie Lathan is a 14-year social studies teacher at a residential high school (North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics) in Durham, North Carolina. He received his BA in History and MAT in Social Studies teaching from the University of Virginia and his Ph.D. in Curriculum, Culture, and Change from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He also serves as dean of distance education and extended programs at his high school.
Lakisha Odlum is currently a secondary English Language Arts teacher in New York City. She has been a teacher for 11 years of elementary school through college classes, and will be teaching a graduate course in the fall for student teachers in the English Education department at Teachers College, Columbia University. Over the past three years she has participated in programs through the New York Public Library, National Endowment for the Humanities, and the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History.
Albert Robertson is a middle school social studies teacher at Meadow Glen Middle School in Lexington, SC. He has taught world history from ancient times all the way up to the present to 6th and 7th graders for the past nine years. This year he was honored as his district’s teacher of the year and as a top five finalist for South Carolina. He currently works as the district lead teacher for middle level social studies and also as an adjunct professor of Historical Literacy and Middle Level Social Studies Methods at the College of Charleston and Newberry College, respectively.
Melissa Strong is an associate professor of English at Northeastern State University in Tahlequah, Oklahoma, where she teaches American literature, gender studies, and writing in traditional, blended, and online formats. She recently published an article on The Long Day, a 1905 best seller exposing the difficult living and working conditions of women in unskilled jobs Nickel and Dimed style, and her essay on teaching with images is forthcoming in MLA Options for Teaching the Literatures of the American Civil War. She is an AP reader for English Literature.
James Walsh is the social studies department chair at Scott County High School, Kentucky’s largest public High School, near Lexington, Kentucky. He has also had the opportunity to work with the C3 teachers project and just started a doctoral program at the University of Kentucky.
My first session at OSCON this year was hosted by Jono Bacon on Community Management.
We’ve seen a remarkable growth in community all over the world – people are getting together to make things, do things, hack, etc. Just this simple idea of peel getting together to make communities makes Jono excited (me too). If you take away the screens, computers, internet, etc – we’re all just people. We all have a basic set of concerns, opportunities, and insecurities. We all want a feeling of self-worth and to do that we need to contribute to communities (family, friends, etc). One key to this is the growth of internet connectivity. People in countries who were never connected before are getting connected – we also have the grown of smart phone use – this means that we as human beings can get to gather and connect to create communities and contribute to making, sharing, creating and more.
Open source is powered by communities! Wikipedia is powered by communities sharing knowledge and making it open! There are sustainable farming groups all over the world. We have the maker revolution. We also notice a lot more political activism because people can get together in easier ways.
Despite all of that we’re inefficient as people – these communities were all mostly accidents. We learn about communities by watching others, the renaissance comes when people swap from watching to writing it down and replicating that information.
Jono shared with us his written down/packaged thoughts on community management in this 1/2 day workshop.
If we want to build strong communities we have to start with a mission. We have to have a point and a focus. In order to assess the type of mission we want we have to look at the world we’re in. First off we’re in the post-Snowden land of privacy, the land of 3D printing and the maker revolution and a world where everyone is getting connected to the internet.
If building a community within or for your business seems like a marketing ploy it will fail. The day was broken up as follows:
- We need a vision – this is the ‘fluffy’ part
- We need requirements – Communities are chaotic, and that makes them fun, but we do need to have some sort of requirements
- We need to make a plan – there are many communities that have naturally sprung up (the ice bucket challenge) but the very best communities have a plan behind them
- We need an infrastructure
- We then need to figure out how to get people involved
- Once we have people join we need to measure the value of the community (especially if you’re at a company)
- The key thing is refinement. We will screw some stuff up – and this is a good thing. Failure is an opportunity to be better
Want to learn more sign up at : http://communityleadershipforum.com
Community leadership is about taking all the talents you’re surrounded about and bringing them together. Contributions come in many shapes and sizes. Not all contributions are code and documentation – some of it is just ideas!Strategy (Vision + Mission + Plans):
Vision – what are we going out there to do? The elevator pitch that will get people excited. Take a global community of connected people and make then as efficient as possible. Jono breaks communities in to two types : read and write. Read communities are those that are user groups – people who need a place to talk and share. Write communities want to get together to change things – open source projects are write communities and the focus of today.
The first thing we need to accept is that people are irrational. We need to use a bit of social engineering or behavioral economics to manage our communities.
Jono brought up the SCARF model (read the full PDF) – this is the core foundation for creating a successful community:
- Status – Clarity in relative importance
- Certainty – Creating a sense of security and predicability
- Autonomy – Building in choice in your environment (even if those choices all lead to the same results – order don’t work – letting people pick is the key)
- Relatedness – Defining clear social groupings and systems (build strong teams and help them work together)
- Fairness – Reducing unfair opportunity and rewards
Every community is different, but every community that is great is great because of great leadership. Some of the most impactful leaders though can be at the bottom of the food chain.
What is great leadership? It’s broken in to two areas:
- Helping people to succeed in their goals
- Helping people to be the best that they can be
The goal with strategy is that we want to build predictable yet surprising results. Instead of trying to convince people who are skeptical – go out there and do it and surprise them. You also have to be honest – you cannot promise success when starting a new community – some things are going to work and some are not.
There are three steps to starting your community within a company or as an extension of your company:Observe:
- look at your environment
- define requirements
- define expectations
- identify key players – this is really important – you need to find the people you want to influence and that you want to influence you
- assess risks/threats to you and others – when you join a company there are going to be people who are gunning for you and those people will bemoan the work that you’re doing and others will actively try to derail your work – these are the people you want to make friends with
- explore short/long term changes – see how quickly people are joining and leaving a company
- create a mission statement – this isn’t something you create once and never look at again – it’s something people should think about every single day ‘why are we doing this?’
- create a set of values – from the mission statement you can pull out a set of values
- create a longer term roadmap – “in 2 years we want to be here”
- create a staff engagement plan – if you work for a company how are you going to get out there an engage with people
- create a community engagement plan – find a way to make visiting the community a habit
- create a budget – “pick a budget and don’t spend all of it”
- a strategic plan (for the execs)
- an elevator pitch (for the staff) – max 5 min – better if under 3
- an execution plan (for you)
- relationships (for the teams)
In the end you have 4 core documents you end up with: mission statement, elevator pitch, strategic plan, implementation plan. Through all of this you want to communicate your strategy, keep people included and make them feel like they’re part of the process.Planning:
Collaborative planning is really really hard! We want to build a culture in which people can plan together but not everyone in your community should play a role in how you plan. These people might be loud, but lack the skills to assist in planning. You need to find the best people to contribute to the plan because they have earned it.
There are two types of people in open source communities – hackers and maintainers. Hackers want to create things! Maintainers want to build stable software and fix bugs and do QA.
For the hackers you want to build a culture of chaos so people and join in easily. This is like an on ramp to the project. You also need project plans in place for the maintainers.
5 areas to consider when planning:
- opinionated – it’s okay to say no to people! If you say yes to everyone the best you can be is average
Objective Key Results (OKR) – a process used at Google. The first step is to plan your next 3 month period – create some measurable objectives (no more than 5). Next you define key results – set these to be deliberately ambitious (on the edge of impossible), but measurable outcomes (no more than 3 for each objective. Next you document the previous two steps and share them with everyone (when you share ambitious goals with the public you don’t want to look like an idiot by not achieving them). You need to provide updates regularly and you have to stress that these are ambitious goals that I might not meet. We shouldn’t just seek to have great results, but regularly exercising and stretching ourselves to make ourselves better. After the 3 month period you grade yourself from 1 to 10. 1 being that you didn’t do a thing – 10 being you finished everything. You should be getting about a 6 or 7 – if you’re getting a 10 then you’re not stretching yourself enough. Finally you want to revise and improve your goals for the next period. Because your assessing yourself you get to improve yourself – it’s not designed to be a tool for your boss to grade you.
The next thing we need to do is connect to the hearts and minds of people. A plan that doesn’t have people on board is just words. We want people to really excited about the work we do – building communities is the way we make the world a better place.Infrastructure:
To build a community is a collaborative effort.
New people will join your community and won’t know what it is or how they can contribute. They want to see that this is a community that is eager to include them – this is the marketing part of things. Next they’re on the ‘on ramp’ in to your community. To get people on the on ramp you want to make it clear that people are critical to what we’re doing and that we want them participate. The next step is to get those community members to develop skills. This is more than providing tools to help people learn, but including instructions on how to participate. People don’t want to read reams of information – we live in the time of twitter and Facebook – we need to provide efficient instructions – quick bullet points. Once our new members have learned how to contribute you want them to ‘do something’. To help with this create a list of bite sized bugs – easy bugs to fix that new members are encouraged to fix. Then once they contribute be sure to provide feedback – people want to feel validated.
For your open source project you’re going to see a basic facilities:
- communication channels
- collaborative editing / knowledge base (wiki)
- code hosting
- issue tracking
- news delivery (blog)
- social media
Jono shared his list of recommendations for these different tools:
The one tool missing on the slide was issue tracking – Jono says Bugzilla is popular and so is Launchpad.Growth
Growth is about engagement. We want people to become ‘sticky’ – we want them to stick around. Jono’s goal is 66 days. 66 days is how long it takes to develop a habit. So we want to encourage conversation, creation, communications and conduct to get our communities to grow in a healthy way.Measuring Impact
“If you’re not measuring it, it didn’t happen”
Aggregate measurements tell a fuller story than KPIs (single number to tell how well something is working). KPI is something like there are a 1000 people on the forum, but an aggregate measurement is something like levels where at level 1 you have to spent X amount of time on the site, participate in X topics, etc etc etc. So then when you say you have 500 level 1 members on your site you know what that means.
What you’re looking for are the stories, the patterns and the trends. If you want to identify a great community member is – look a the whole of their contribution – not just how much code the contribute, but how they participate in discussions as well. Come up with a scale for your community.
Quality is way more important than quantity. Having lots of data is not more important than providing quality data. The data is there to show outcomes and outcomes are about patterns and trends not numbers. You want to illustrate the practical ways that you have succeeded in your community.
Our measurements might show that we failed – and that’s okay. You need to fail and learn from it and improve upon things. Don’t let the fear of failure stop you from measuring the impact of your community. Seeing “failure” in your data lets you realign your plans and community to figure out how to succeed at your goals.Reading recommendations:
Abundance: The Future Is Better Than You Think – by Peter H. Diamandis and Steven Kotler
Art of Community by Jono Bacon (of course)
The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change by Stephen R. Covey
Making Things Happen: Mastering Project Management by Scott Berkun
The Starfish and the Spider: The Unstoppable Power of Leaderless Organizations by Ori Brafman and Rod A. Beckstrom
- Keynote: Licensing Models and Building an Open Source Community
- How to not do support
- Being a woman in an open source community