archives

Hands off! Best Practices and Top Ten Lists for Code Handoffs

Hands off! Best Practices and Top Ten Lists for Code Handoffs

  • Naomi Dushay, Stanford University Library, ndushay@stanford.edu

Transition points in who is the primary developer on an actively developing code base can be a source of frustration for everyone involved. We've tried to minimize that pain point as much as possible through the use of agile methods like test driven development, continuous integration, and modular design. Has optimizing for developer happiness brought us happiness? What's worked, what hasn't, and what's worth adopting? How do you keep your project in a state where you can easily hand it off?

Download the video

The Care and Feeding of a Crowd

The Care and Feeding of a Crowd

  • Shawn Averkamp, University of Iowa, shawn-averkamp at uiowa.edu
  • Matthew Butler, University of Iowa, matthew-butler at uiowa.edu

After a low-tech experiment in crowdsourced transcription grew into a surprisingly successful library initiative and demanded new commitments to user engagement, we found ourselves looking for a more efficient and user-friendly solution. We customized CHNM’s Scripto community transcription tool and various other Omeka plugins to develop a new site: DIYHistory.

We often receive questions about the technical side of both platforms, usually (to our dismay) from libraries who already assume they don't have the IT resources to pursue their own crowdsourcing initiatives. But we found that the software makes up only half of the recipe for success. Do you have compelling content? A long-term commitment to engaging with your users? Are you ready to promote your project far and wide? If so, then deploying a crowdsourcing initiative may be easier than you think.

Creating a Commons

"Creating a Commons"

  • Bess Sadler, Stanford University Library, bess@stanford.edu

The difference between an open source software project that gets new adopters and new contributing community members (which is to say, a project that goes on existing for any length of time) and a project that doesn't, often isn't a question of superior design or technology. It's more often a question of whether the advocates for the project can convince institutional leaders AND front line developers that a project is stable and trustworthy. What are successful strategies for attracting development partners? I'll try to answer that and talk about what we could do as a community to make collaboration easier.

Download the video

REST IS Your Mobile Strategy

REST IS Your Mobile Strategy

  • Richard Wolf, University of Illinois at Chicago, richwolf@uic.edu

Mobile is the new hotness ... and you can't be one of the cool kids unless you've got your own mobile app ... but the road to mobility is daunting. I'll argue that it's actually easier than it seems ... and that the simplest way to mobility is to bring your data to the party, create a REST API around the data, tell developers about your API, and then let the magic happen. To make my argument concrete, I'll show (lord help me!) how to go from an interesting REST API to a fun iOS tool for librarians and the general public in twenty minutes.

Download the video

All Teh Metadatas Re-Revisited

  • Esme Cowles, UC San Diego Library, escowles AT ucsd DOT edu
  • Matt Critchlow, UC San Diego Library, mcritchlow AT ucsd DOT edu
  • Bradley Westbrook, UC San Diego Library, bdwestbrook AT ucsd DOT edu

Slides, Video

Browser/Javascript Integration Testing with Ruby

Browser/Javascript Integration Testing with Ruby

  • Jessie Keck, Stanford University, jkeck at stanford dot edu

It's near impossible to build a rich web application without javascript. We have a lot of great patterns to follow, such as progressive enhancement, to make sure our rich web applications are usable, accessible, and testable. However; when javascript is involved the possibility exists that bugs can be introduced that won't get caught by most unit and integration testing frameworks.

This is where Watir (pronounced water) comes in. Watir can be used with popular ruby testing frameworks like RSpec and Capybara. This talk will show how to use the combination of these tools to write RSpec tests using Watir to spin up an application in a variety of browsers, navigate the application, and make assertions about the page using Capybara.

Tests using Watir are written in ruby but they don't necessarily need to test ruby application. You can test any application that you can point a browser at, so there are a wide variety of potential uses for tests written with Watir.

Linked Open Communism: Better discovery through data dis- and re- aggregation

Linked Open Communism: Better discovery through data dis- and re- aggregation

  • Corey A Harper, New York University, corey dot harper at nyu dot edu

Current library search interfaces focus on books, journals and articles but offer little access to related entities, such as people, places, and events. These entities are generally only represented as attributes of other metadata records. Linked data can power interfaces that surface these entities as first-class resources, integrating them into results alongside library materials.

This presentation will describe research into such an interface for exploring a particular subject area: the history of the Communist Party & labor movements in the US. A triple store was seeded by 1,600 EAD records from NYU's Tamiment Library and Wagner Labor Archives. Based on access points in the finding aids, the store was further populated with data from various sources, including MARC, id.loc, VIAF, and dbpedia. Identifiers are being assigned for a wide array of typed entities, and triples can then be re-assembled into new entity "records". These new records will be loaded into a discovery interface that will allow typical keyword searching across all contained entities, show links between entities, and include faceting on entity types.

Solr Update

Solr Update

  • Erik Hatcher, LucidWorks, erik.hatcher AT lucidworks.com

Solr is continually improving. Solr 4 was recently released, bringing dramatic changes in the underlying Lucene library and Solr-level features. It's tough for us all to keep up with the various versions and capabilities.

This talk will blaze through the highlights of new features and improvements in Solr 4 (and up). Topics will include: SolrCloud, direct spell checking, surround query parser, and many other features. We will focus on the features library coders really need to know about.

Download the video

De-sucking the Library User Experience

De-sucking the Library User Experience

  • Jeremy Prevost, Northwestern University, j-prevost {AT} northwestern [DOT] edu

Have you ever thought that library vendors purposely create the worst possible user experience they can imagine because they just hate users? Have you ever thought that your own library website feels like it was created by committee rather than for users because, well, it was? I’ll talk about how we used vendor supplied APIs to our ILS and Discovery tool to create an experience for our users that sucks at least a little bit less.

The talk will provide specific examples of how inefficient or confusing vendor supplied solutions are from a user perspective along with our specific streamlined solutions to the same problems. Code examples will be minimal as the focus will be on improving user experience rather than any one code solution of doing that. Examples may include the seemingly simple tasks of renewing a book or requesting an item from another campus library.

Google Analytics, Event Tracking and Discovery Tools

Google Analytics, Event Tracking and Discovery Tools

  • Emily Lynema, North Carolina State University Libraries. ejlynema AT ncsu DOT edu
  • Adam Constabaris, North Carolina State University Libraries, ajconsta AT ncsu DOT edu

The NCSU Libraries is using Google Analytics increasingly across its website as a replacement for usage tracking via Urchin. More recently, we have also begun to use the event tracking features in Google Analytics. This has allowed us to gather usage statistics for activities that don’t initiate new requests to the server, such as clicks that hide and show already-loaded content (as in many tabbed interfaces). Aggregating these events together with pageview tracking in Google Analytics presents a more unified picture of patron activity and can help improve design of tools like the library catalog. While assuming a basic understanding of the use of Google Analytics pageview tracking, this presentation will start with an introduction to the event tracking capabilities that may be less widely known.