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code4lib 2013

Ask Anything!

Ask Anything!


Wherein you ask...anything, a.k.a. "Human Search Engine". A chance for you to ask a roomful of code4libbers anything that's on your mind: questions seeking answers (short or long), requests for things (hardware, software, skills, or help), or offers of things. We'll keep the pace fast, and the answers faster.

Come with questions and line up at the start of the session and we'll go through as many as we can; sometimes we'll stop at finding the right person or people to answer a query and it'll be up to you to find each other after the session. If you don't ask questions, you get a stand-up routine, and poorly told jokes. (No pirates this year...)

Facilitated by Carmen Mitchell, California State University, San Marcos.

carmenmitchell at gmail. also @carmendarlene

(Thanks to Ka-Ping Yee and Dan Chudnov for the inspiration/explanation, reused here in part.)

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Code4Lib 2014 Call for Host Proposals

The Code4Lib Community is calling for proposals to host the 2014 Code4Lib Conference. Information on the kind of venue we seek and the responsibilities involved can be found at the conference hosting web page [1] and on the Code4Lib Wiki [2].

The deadline for proposals is Sunday January 27, 2013. The decision will be made over the course of the following weeks by a popular vote. Voting will begin on or around Friday February 1, 2013 and will continue through the first three days of Code4Lib 2012 until 11:59PM Eastern on Wednesday, February 13th. The results of the vote will be announced on Thursday, February 14th, the final day of Code4Lib 2013.

You can apply by making your pitch to the Code4Lib Conference Planning list [3]; attention to the criteria listed on the conference hosting page is appreciated. May the best site win!

Feel free to take a look at past proposals for ideas. Winning proposal from 2013:
http://tigger.uic.edu/~kayiwa/code4lib.html

2012 Winner:
https://sites.google.com/site/code4lib2012seattle/

2011 Proposals:
https://wiki.dlib.indiana.edu/display/EVENTS/Code4Lib+2011+Proposal
http://www.library.yale.edu/~dlovins/c4l/code4lib2011.html
http://sites.google.com/site/code4libvancouver2011

1. http://code4lib.org/conference/hosting
2. http://wiki.code4lib.org/index.php/How_To_Plan_A_Code4LibCon
3. code4libcon@googlegroups.com

HTML5 Video Now!

HTML5 Video Now!

  • Jason Ronallo, North Carolina State University Libraries, jnronall@ncsu.edu

Can you use HTML5 video now? Yes.

I'll show you how to get started using HTML5 video, including gotchas, tips, and tricks. Beyond the basics we'll see the power of having video integrated into HTML and the browser. We'll look at how to interact with video (and other time-based media) via JavaScript. Finally, we'll look at examples that push the limits and show the exciting future of video on the Web.

My experience comes from technical development of an oral history video clips project. I developed the technical aspects of the project, including video processing, server configuration, development of a public site, creation of an administrative interface, and video engagement analytics. Major portions of this work have been open sourced under an MIT license.

HTML5 Video Now! slide deck and speaker notes


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Data-Driven Documents: Visualizing library data with D3.js

Data-Driven Documents: Visualizing library data with D3.js

  • Bret Davidson, North Carolina State University Libraries, bret_davidson@ncsu.edu

Several JavaScript libraries have emerged over the past few years for creating rich, interactive visualizations using web standards. Few are as powerful and flexible as D3.js[1]. D3 stands apart by merging web standards with a rich API and a unique approach to binding data to DOM elements, allowing you to apply data-driven transformations to a document. This emphasis on data over presentation has made D3 very popular; D3 is used by several prominent organizations including the New York Times[2], GOV.UK[3], and Trulia[4].

Power usually comes at a cost, and D3 makes you pay with a steeper learning curve than many alternatives. In this talk, I will get you over the hump by introducing the core construct of D3, the Data-Join. I will also discuss when you might want to use D3.js, share some examples, and explore some advanced utilities like scales and shapes. I will close with a brief overview of how we are successfully using D3 at NCSU[5] and why investing time in learning D3 might make sense for your library.

[1]http://d3js.org/
[2]http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2012/08/24/us/drought-crops.html
[3]https://www.gov.uk/performance/dashboard
[4]http://trends.truliablog.com/vis/pricerange-boston/ [5]http://www.lib.ncsu.edu/dli/projects/spaceassesstool

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Actions speak louder than words: Analyzing large-scale query logs to improve the research experience

Actions speak louder than words: Analyzing large-scale query logs to improve the research experience

  • Raman Chandrasekar, Serials Solutions, Raman DOT Chandrasekar AT serialssolutions DOT com
  • Susan Price, Serials Solutions
  • Analyzing anonymized query and click through logs leads to a better understanding of user behaviors and intentions and provides great opportunities to respond to users with an improved search experience. A large-scale provider of SaaS services, Serials Solutions is uniquely positioned to learn from the dataset of queries aggregated from the Summon service generated by millions of users at hundreds of libraries around the world.

    In this session, we will describe our Relevance Metrics Framework and provide examples of insights gained during its development and implementation. We will also cover recent product changes inspired by these insights. Chandra and Ted, from the Summon dev team, will share insights and outcomes from this ongoing process and highlight how analysis of large-scale query logs helps improve the academic research experience.

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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.

We’ll share library catalog usage data pulled from Google Analytics, including information about features that are common across the newest wave of catalog interfaces, such as tabbed content, Google Preview, and shelf browse. We will also cover the approach taken for the technical implementation of this data-intensive JavaScript event tracking.

As a counterpart, we can demonstrate how we have begun to use Google Analytics event tracking in a proprietary vendor discovery tool (Serials Solutions Summon). While the same technical ideas govern this implementation, we can highlight the differences (read, challenges) inherent in utilizing this type of event tracking in vendor-owned application vs. a locally developed application.

Along the way, hopefully you’ll learn a little about why you might (or might not) want to use Google Analytics event tracking yourself and see some interesting catalog usage stats.

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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.

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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.

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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.

It is hoped that this prototype will be a model for a new kind of interface to library, archive & museum metadata targeted to particular subject domains, and could inform the development of a similar dis- and re- aggregation approach for entire library collections.

http://www.slideshare.net/charper/linked-open-communism-c4l13

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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.

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