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Jez Cope: Implementing Yesterbox in emacs with mu4e

Thu, 2016-10-27 07:30

I’ve been meaning to give Yesterbox a try for a while. The general idea is that each day you only deal with email that arrived yesterday or earlier. This forms your inbox for the day, hence “yesterbox”.

Once you’ve emptied your yesterbox, or at least got through some minimum number (10 is recommended) then you can look at emails from today. Even then you only really want to be dealing with things that are absolutely urgent. Anything else can wait til tomorrow.

The motivation for doing this is to get away from the feeling that we are King Canute, trying to hold back the tide. I find that when I’m processing my inbox toward zero there’s always a temptation to keep skipping to the new stuff that’s just come in. Hiding away the new email until I’ve dealt with the old is a very interesting idea.

I use mu4e in emacs for reading my email, and handily the mu search syntax is very flexible so you’d think it would be easy to create a yesterbox filter:

maildir:"/INBOX" date:..1d

Unfortunately, 1d is interpreted as “24 hours ago from right now” so this filter misses everything that was sent yesterday but less than 24 hours ago. There was a feature request raised on the mu github repository to implement an additional date filter syntax but it seems to have died a death for now. In the meantime, the answer to this is to remember that my workplace observes fairly standard office hours, so that anything sent more than 9 hours ago is unlikely to have been sent today. The following does the trick:

maildir:"/INBOX" date:..9h

In my mu4e bookmarks list, that looks like this:

(setq mu4e-bookmarks '(("flag:unread AND NOT flag:trashed" "Unread messages" ?u) ("flag:flagged maildir:/archive" "Starred messages" ?s) ("" "Today's messages" ?t) ("" "Last 7 days" ?w) ("maildir:\"/Mailing lists.*\" (flag:unread OR flag:flagged)" "Unread in mailing lists" ?M) ("maildir:\"/INBOX\" date:..1d" "Yesterbox" ?y))) ;; <- this is the new one

William Denton: My job description

Thu, 2016-10-27 03:20

Recently I’ve chatted with a few colleagues at work about sharing job descriptions, so I thought I’d post mine. I’m the scholarly analytics librarian at York University. At York University Libraries the librarian and archivist job descriptions have, I think, accumulated years—possibly decades—of text from previous iterations and other job descriptions, the origins and purposes of which are now lost. One day we may update them. In the meantime, here’s mine with some explanatory comments.

The description begins with a summary, the first sentence of which is the brief description of the scholarly analytics work:

Leads and works with colleagues in identifying and analysing data and metadata related to the collections and services of the Libraries in support of the teaching, learning and research mission of the University.

Ultimately everyone’s work at York means supporting the teaching, learning and mission of York because that’s what York is there to do. It’s a university, and everything on campus, from faculty research to grounds-keeping to running the wifi to fundraising, is there to support teaching, learning and research—and the student experience, which is also part of all our planning.

Then there’s the brief description of being the math and stats librarian. I think all the subject and liaison librarians have something very similar:

Under the direction of the Head, Steacie Science and Engineering Library, provides assistance to the users of the Library, and under the direction of the University Librarian and the Head, Steacie Science and Engineering Library, select, develop and maintain library collections in all formats for mathematics and statistics according to established library policies and procedures.

“Under the direction of” does not imply direct involvement or close supervision. Excellent collection development, in line with policies and procedures, is the goal, but how we do that is up to us. I’m part of a group that’s helping us all get better at that by sharing insights and best practices.

This last sentence meant I covered the data librarian while he was on sabbatical, but you’d never guess it from the cryptic wording:

Temporarily serve as liaison and consultant for inquiries regarding a variety of locally maintained and networked data sources.

When the job description is updated, that will be removed.

Then there’s a page and a half of detailed responsibilities, which starts with the main work, being scholarly analytics librarian:

The Scholarly Analytics Librarian will devote significant time to enhancing the role of data and metadata analysis in the Libraries in support of the University curricular and research activities. Leads and works with colleagues to identify useful and relevant data and metadata, analyse these and disseminate the results.

In conjunction with various library committees (e.g. Assessment, Teaching & Learning, Collection, etc.) provides leadership in use and deployment of tools and platforms to support data and metadata analysis and dissemination in support of teaching, learning and research at York and the operations of the Libraries. Advocates for the use and dissemination of open data in appropriate administrative and scholarly contexts, and liaises with colleagues and researchers about open data, data management, and digital scholarship.

Engages in systems operations and software development in support of scholarly analytics, data and bibliographic work, as needed.

The next line means I’m still overseeing the delivery of customized research recommendations in Moodle (our course management system) and the student portal, including my-librarians. This is left over from when I was web librarian. It’s in maintenance mode now, and I hope to hand it off to a group actively involved in the Libraries’ work in Moodle:

Lead and work with colleagues to enhance delivery of library resources and services via established and emerging web-based systems such as Moodle (or other course management systems), the student portal, etc.

Then it’s boilerplate stuff that all subject and liaison librarians have, with, I think, more or less just the name of their branch changed:

Assists users with their information needs by advising on the most effective search strategy and/or method of finding information. Identifies the resources, print or electronic, most likely to answer a question. Develops and renews web tools and resources. Makes effective referrals as required.

Plans, build and maintains information resources in all relevant formats for the Steacie Science and Engineering Library. Participates in the development of policies and procedures for collection development and maintenance. Principle activities include the selection of appropriate materials; allocation of resources budget among formats; planning and implementation of resource sharing and related programs in accord with library programs; collection analysis and evaluation; design and implementation of use and user studies in accord with library programs; collection review for preservation, protected access, remote storage or discard.

Maintains effective liaison with faculty, students and library colleagues and with other resource centres to ensure the development of user-relevant collections and services at York. Particularly, interprets library policies to users and recommends collection, service and policy needs to appropriate colleagues within the University.

Contributes to information literacy programs in a variety of formats by evaluating needs of students and faculty; conducts classes and prepares necessary instructional support materials.

And finally stuff that, I think, all librarians have, again with just the branch name changed. Notice the strangled language, for example how I will provide “input to the decision-making process within the Libraries through meetings and other communication devices.” We always seem to end up adding unnecessary words to cover all bases: “Will endeavour and attempt to facilitate and empower colleagues and co-workers to collegially discuss and consider issues and matters relating to the operations and undertakings of the Libraries.”

Prepares annual and special budgets and reports as required.

As a member of Steacie Science and Engineering Library, develops policies and procedures, coordinates services and implements policies, services and standards. Interprets policies, services and standards to departmental staff, to library staff and to library users. Participates in the hiring, evaluation, training, motivation and supervision of staff as appropriate in consultation with the Head of the Library and other appropriate library personnel. Works in a collegial administrative environment.

Service and professional development and research:

Serves on library committees and provides input to the decision-making process within the Libraries through meetings and other communication devices.

Maintains awareness of university developments and develops professionally by membership on university committees and by attending and participating in meetings, workshops, conferences, etc.; and by reading relevant literature.

Maintains liaison with colleagues in regional libraries (and others as appropriate) in order to develop cooperative programs.

Contributes to librarianship and scholarship by carrying out professional research and scholarly work and by activity in professional associations.

And finally:

Carries out other responsibilities as assigned in accordance with established procedures.

“Other duties as assigned”—surely the last line of every job description ever written. Librarians and archivists are members of the York University Faculty Association, a union, so “established procedures” and past practice matter a lot.

Reading it over line by line, I’m happy to say I actually do all of that. It’s a varied mix, and it’s a great job. The next big step is writing up what I’ve been doing and releasing the code.

Aaron Schmidt: Library Life Sticker Pack for Messages

Thu, 2016-10-27 02:00

Library nerd? Like having fun? Enjoy sending text messages?

Get the Library Life Sticker Pack app for Messages. 100% free, 100% fun.

Or, if you’re not on iOS, you can just copy and paste from here. Have fun!

All illustrations are by the amazing Amanda Etches. You should buy one of her “bookish” pins.

DuraSpace News: NEW DEMO from the Hydra-in-a-Box Tech Team

Thu, 2016-10-27 00:00

From Mike Giarlo, software architect, Stanford University Libraries, on behalf of the Hydra-in-a-Box tech team

Palo Alto, CA  Development on the Hydra-in-a-Box repository application continues, and here's our latest demo. Continued thanks to Indiana University for contributing to these sprints!

LITA: Jobs in Information Technology: October 26, 2016

Wed, 2016-10-26 18:07

New vacancy listings are posted weekly on Wednesday at approximately 12 noon Central Time. They appear under New This Week and under the appropriate regional listing. Postings remain on the LITA Job Site for a minimum of four weeks.

New This Week

Vassar College, Digital Library Developer, Poughkeepsie, NY

University of North Carolina Wilmington, Digital Initiatives Librarian/Lecturer, Wilmington, NC

Visit the LITA Job Site for more available jobs and for information on submitting a job posting.

Access Conference: So Long and Thanks for All the Fish

Wed, 2016-10-26 16:09

So, Access2016 / AccessYFC is wrap!

Thanks to all who participated, spoke, shared, attended, watched online, tweeted, Slacked, organized, sponsored and evangelized from the AccessYFC Organizing Committee. We had a blast hosting and are very happy with the way things went.

We would still love feedback from those in attendance. You should have received a survey invitation (if not two now) from Eventbrite. Please take the time (5 minutes or so) to respond. It will help the Fredericton team when planning future conferences and will guide preparations for Access 2017 in Saskatoon, SK.

The Access 2016 YouTube playlist has been added to the Access Conference channel, so you can now watch individual presentations rather than suffering through an entire morning. Let us know if there are any issues.

We will soon turn the reins over to the University of Saskatchewan. We doubt that they can provide the exceptional fall weather that we orchestrated here in Fredericton, but we are confident it will be another Access worth attending.

Access2016 / AccessYFC Organizing Committee

Hydra Project: CfP reminder: OR2017 Proposals due on Nov 20

Wed, 2016-10-26 15:17

As a reminder, OR2017’s call for proposals has an earlier-than-normal deadline this year. Proposals are due November 20, 2016. So please start thinking now about what topics, presentations, panels, workshops, etc. would be most useful and valuable for next year’s conference, and get your submissions written up in the next few weeks.


Open Knowledge Foundation: Open source in everyday life: How we celebrated the Software Freedom Day in Bengaluru

Wed, 2016-10-26 09:59

The free and open source software (FOSS) enthusiasts just celebrated the Software Freedom Day (SFD) on September 17 all across the world. This year, a small group of six of us gathered to celebrate SFD in the Indian city of Bengaluru. The group consisted of open source contributors from communities such as Mozilla, Wikimedia, Mediawiki, Open Street Map, and users of FOSS solutions.

Each participant shared their own stories of how they got connected with FOSS and what component it plays in their day-to-day life. From how a father has been trying to introduce about open source to his young son while migrating from proprietary to open source back and forth as his job demands so, to an Open Street Map contributor who truly believes that large-scale contributions to open source can make the software as robust as proprietary ones and even better because of the freedom that lies in it. All of those who gathered agreed with the fact that FOSS has widened their freedom in choosing how they want to use, share and remix the software they use.

When Software Freedom Day was started in 2004, only 12 teams from different places joined. It grew to a whopping 1000 by 2010 across the world. About the aim of the celebration, SFD’s official website says,

“Our goal in this celebration is to educate the worldwide public about the benefits of using high-quality FOSS in education, in government, at home, and in business — in short, everywhere! The non-profit organization Software Freedom International coordinates SFD at a global level, providing support, giveaways and a point of collaboration, but volunteer teams around the world organize the local SFD events to impact their communities.”

The participants in our group bounced both technical and philosophical questions to each other to gauge the actual usage of FOSS in real life, and we are moving towards adopting openness as a society. And all the participants also agreed that there is a significant disconnect in communicating widely about the work that many Indian FOSS and other free knowledge communities are doing. So they planned to meet more regularly in events organized by any of the FOSS communities and try to connect with more people using social media and chat groups so that these interactions shape into an annual event to bring all open communities under one roof.


What are FOSS, Free Software, Open Source,  and FLOSS?


Free and open source software (FOSS or F/OSS), and Free/Libre and Open-Source Software (FLOSS) are umbrella terms that are used to include both Free software and open source software. Adopted by well-known software freedom advocate Richard Stallman in 1983, the free software has many names — libre software, freedom-respecting software, and software libre are some of them.

As defined by the Free Software Foundation, one of the early advocates of software freedom, free software allows users not just to use the software with complete freedom, but to study, modify, and distribute the software and any adapted versions, in both commercial and non-commercial form. The distribution of the software for commercial and non-commercial way, however, depends on the particular license the software is released under.

The Creative Commons licenses have recommendations for a broad range of free licenses that one can choose for the software-related documentations and any creative work they create. Similarly, there are several different open licenses for software and many other works that are related to software development.  “Open Source” was coined as an alternative to free software in 1998 by educational advocacy organization Open Source Initiative. Open source software is created collaboratively, made available with its source code, and it provides the user rights to study, change, and distribute the software to anyone and for any purpose.

Supported by several global organizations like Google, Canonical, Free Software Foundation, Joomla, Creative Commons and Linux Journal, Software Freedom Day draws its inspiration from the philosophy that was grown by people like Richard Stallman who argues that free software is all about the freedom and not necessarily free of cost but provides the liberty to users from [proprietary software developers’] unjust power. SFD encourages everyone to gather in their own cities (map of places where SFD was organized this year), educate people around them about free software, promote on social media (with the hashtag #SFD2016 this year), even hacking with free software, organizing hackathons, running free software installation camps, and even going creative with flying a drone running free software!

From South Asia, there were 13 celebratory events in India, 8 in Nepal, 1 in Bangladesh and 4 in Sri Lanka. South Asian countries have seen the adoption of both free software and open source software, in both individual and organizational level and by the government. The Free Software Movement of India was founded in Bengaluru, India in 2010 to act as a national coalition of several regional chapters working for promoting and growing the free software movement in India. The Indian government has launched an open data portal at portal for, initiated a new policy to adopt open source software, and asked vendors to include open source software applications while making Requests for proposals. Similarly, several free and open source communities and organizations like Mozilla India, Wikimedia India, Centre for Internet and Society, Open Knowledge India in India, Mozilla Bangladesh, Wikimedia Bangladesh, Bangladesh Open Source Network, Open Knowledge Bangladesh in Bangladesh, Mozilla Nepal, Wikimedians of Nepal and Open Knowledge Nepal in Nepal, Wikimedia Community User Group Pakistan in Pakistan, Lanka Software Foundation in Sri Lanka, that are operating from the subcontinent also promote free and open source software.

We promote open source and open Web technologies in the country. We are open to associate/work with existing open source or other community-run, public benefit organizations.
“Internet By The People, Internet For The People” (from Mozilla India wiki)

Mohammad Jahangir Alam, a lecturer from Southern University Bangladesh argues in a research paper that the use of open source software can help the government save enormous amount of money that are spent in purchasing proprietary software,

“A large sum of money of government can be saved if the government uses open source software in different IT sectors of government  offices and  others sectors,  Because the government is providing computers to all educational institute from school to university level and they are using proprietary software. For this reason, the government is to expend a significant amount of many for buying proprietary software to run the computers. Another one is government paying a significant amount of money to the different vendors for buying different types of software to implement e-Governance project. So, the Government can use open source software for implanting projects to minimize the cost of the projects.”

Check more ideas for celebrating Software Freedom Day, and a few more here while planning for next year’s Software Freedom Day in your city.

DuraSpace News: 4Science: More Collaborations, More Features

Wed, 2016-10-26 00:00

From Susanna Mornati, Chief Operating Officer, 4Science Milano Italy  October has been another busy month for 4Science!

The DSpace-CRIS Community now has a new member, the Cyprus University of Technology, that made the decision to migrate from DSpace to DSpace-CRIS. 4Science was asked to provide them with the necessary support.

DuraSpace News: An Overview of the Security Fixes Implemented in a DSpace Repository

Wed, 2016-10-26 00:00

From DMRS Infotech Ghaziabad, India  DMRS  Infotech, a DuraSpace registered service provider in India, recently fixed a few DSpace based repository security vulnerabilities for one of its customers. The customer, a large Government organization in India, wished for their repository to go live quickly and DMRS was able to provide the fixes within a short period of time. Here is an overview of the services we provided.

DuraSpace News: It's Not About the Code, but What You're Coding For

Wed, 2016-10-26 00:00

From @mire  A few months ago we were once again on a quest for new co-workers. Selecting candidates based on a few conversations and tests is always an intense process. Luckily, there’s always one important indicator telling us if a candidate may be suited for a job at Atmire.

DuraSpace News: Qatar University Library Strengthens Functionality of its Institutional Repository Through Elsevier's ScienceDirect APIs

Wed, 2016-10-26 00:00

From Elsevier Improving Coverage and Discoverability of Published Research by Qatar University Authors

Peter Sefton: Pick, Pack, Publish: Cr8it and Of The Web

Tue, 2016-10-25 22:00

Here’s a presentation that was given at eResearch Australasia in October 2014, but which was never put online. I’ve rescued this from Google Docs, and cleaned it up slightly.

This presentation is about two complementary open source software products that have been produced by a consortium of partners including the University of Western Sydney, the University of Newcastle and Intersect Australia. These products are designed to bridge the gap between easily ­accessible­ style working-­data file­sharing and synchronization, and the publishing and archiving of mature research data sets.

Cr8it (crate­it) is a file packaging and publishing application that lets users of just about any research discipline package data together with metadata in order to maximise its future potential for reuse using Data Crates. ­ The crate format is designed to include as much metadata as possible to maximise data usefulness, plus the actual data payload. Cr8it is a plugin for the ownCloud open source file ­synchronization and sharing platform. Owncloud is becoming familiar to Australian researchers from the AARNet Cloudstor+ service.

Of The Web (OTW) is a toolkit for extracting metadata from generic and domain­ specific file formats, and creating web­ previews. For example: the toolkit can be used for extracting time series data from proprietary formats. It can also be used to automatically generate summary web­pages for data.

Cr8it and OTW are built on a wide range of open source componentry.

Researchers now need to have end-­to­-end data management plans in place for all data, and all data must be archived appropriately to comply with the various codes and funding arrangements under which researchers are operating. National funding initiatives and projects such as the Australian National Data Services’ Metadata Stores program have now provided both the infrastructure and the opportunity for development of capability within institutions. As eResearch and library professionals we have noted that just about every research group we deal with uses or similar file share and synchronisation services; this class of service is clearly the “killer app” for distributed teams working with file­based data. We have also observed that there is a gap in eResearch infrastructure between working­ data on file­shares and desktops, and the “proper” Research Data Repositories, eResearch tools, data capture tools and virtual laboratories now being established at universities.


  • gap/ gulf between files and repositories
  • increasing need for researchers to cite data and the lack of easy routes to do this
  • The lack of decent low-end data packaging standards that are usable and accessible
  • The lack of plug-compatible, single-function solutions to build easy routes
  • Extreme range of data management use cases
  • The inability of big initiatives such as ANDS, NeCTAR, Cloustor+ to solve the micro use cases researchers face everyday
  • The lack of definitive and effective institutional name authority solutions for people, projects and data.

This gap is a huge barrier for researchers, as most tools require either laborious uploading of data, or forces researchers re­organise their data. Cr8it is designed to bridge that gap and eliminate the need to re­organise or move data, allowing it to be harvested, or ‘picked’ in situ. Our aim is to enable a seamless process, without disrupting the researcher’s workflow, to package research datasets, add metadata, and connect with data curation processes to publish a data description to the Research Data Commons and to appropriate discipline and other repositories. There are two main triggers for this: (a) publishing a research article, with supporting data and (b) archiving data at the end of a project.

Researchers now need to have end­-to­-end data management plans in place for all data, and all data must be archived appropriately to comply with the various codes and funding arrangements under which researchers are operating. National funding initiatives and projects such as the Australian National Data Services’ Metadata Stores program have now provided both the infrastructure and the opportunity for development of capability within institutions. As eResearch and library professionals we have noted that just about every research group we deal with uses or similar file share and synchronisation services; this class of service is clearly the “killer app” for distributed teams working with file­based data. We have also observed that there is a gap in eResearch infrastructure between working­data on file­shares and desktops and the “proper” Research Data Repositories, eResearch tools, data capture tools and virtual laboratories now being established at universities.

This gap is a huge barrier for researchers, as most tools require either laborious uploading of data, or forces researchers re­organise their data. Cr8it is designed to bridge that gap and eliminate the need to re­organise or move data, allowing it to be harvested, or ‘picked’ in situ. Our aim is to enable a seamless process, without disrupting the researcher’s workflow, to package research datasets, add metadata, and connect with data curation processes to publish a data description to the Research Data Commons and to appropriate discipline and other repositories. There are two main triggers for this: (a) publishing a research article, with supporting data and (b) archiving data at the end of a project.

One of the main drivers for this work is that researchers need persistent identifiers such as Digital Object Identifiers (DOIs - see for publicly available datasets.

We need automated software to orchestrate all the IDs and URLs for data sets and keep them up to date. Cr8it is the precursor to all of this; it is designed to be a way for a researcher to pick their data, package it, and then publish it.

First up we’ll talk about Of The Web (OTW). This is not to be confused with Off The Web.

Of The Web (OTW) is a plug-in framework for developing web-­based previews for all kinds of files. In essence, it converts files that are stored on-the-web but which can’t be easily processed by-the-web (ie: they need to be downloaded before they can be opened), into HTML file previews which are native to-the-web. At the moment OTW can generate previews for office formats (word processing documents, and presentations) and create web­ previews of spreadsheets, as well as CSV export[2]. OTW can also extract embedded technical metadata from common image formats, and convert Markdown format to HTML. OTW has a plug-in architectrure, which means the sky is the limit on the kinds of files which can have previews created.

Cr8it is OTW-aware. If OTW previews and metadata are present when Cr8it is building a data package, Cr8it will integrate the extracted metadata and previews into the README file of the data package.

This slide shows an example. This is a preview for a “Patch Clamp” abf file used in neurophysiology:

The goals of the American National Centre for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA) Brown Dog project are similar to that of Cr8it and OTW with regard to the accessibility of long-tail research data. Brown Dog focuses on data file discovery, the extraction of metadata from files, and data file conversion into compatible local formats. Commencing in October 2013, Brown dog has a budget of $US10.5M over 5 years. Refer to

Another similar project is Fondz by Ed Summers at the US Library of Congress. Frondz has a preservation focus. See

The Islandora project is also looking at this kind of thing, using the Taverna workflow system to orchestrate file format conversions as well as scientific workflows.

OTW is available on Github at

This slide shows an overview of the Pick/Pack/Publish process which we’ll go through over the next few slides.

Out on the long tail, researchers often work with feral files.

These files get used across multiple projects, and often the names of the files are not particularly informative.

ownCloud is a share/sync/see service which is similar to Dropbox. It can synchronise files from a user’s desktop to the cloud and show them in a web environment. In this screenshot, you can see a view of the same file as on the previous slide.

Owcloud is open source. Universities can run their own instance of the software and effectively create their own cloud-based file share.

We have modified the Owncloud Files application to allow users to add their shared data files and folders to a named crate.

Here’s the main cr8it editing screen for the crate named “Long-tail Dog Study”. This screenshot shows the files and folders that have been added to the crate. It is a shopping-cart-like table-of-contents. The actual Owncloud files and folders are not copied to the crate, only item references are added to the crate.

There’s a lot going on here.

Within a crate, the user can drag, drop and rename folder and file items without affecting the original Owncloud folder or file names. “Backlit Dogs” is much better than “05” and anything is better than “PA050109.JPG”. This name is used in the HTML README file as metadata. But it does not change the file name of the exported file, as this may affect analysis code.

Cr8it collects high-quality linked metadata. For things like names of people and grants, the system looks-up a name-authority. This means that we maximise opportunities to create links between data-sets, publications and people.

We will be adding more linked-lookups including linking data to research context such as facilities and instruments.

This site allows an institutional user to set up public definitions of existing equipment and facilities, which can then be looked up. These definitions only need to set up and described once.

Researchers can download their data in zip format, which we’ll look at in a minute, or ‘push’/publish the data to a repository.

The obvious question is: what if there’s a lot of data? Answer; We’re working on ways of publishing the data in-situ so it does not have to be moved.

A brief note about standards: last year a subset of the Authors of this paper (the ones called Peter) presented at eResearch 2013 on how we use the Bagit and Zip standards to make ‘data crates’ in the HIEv application. See

When the zip file is downloaded from cr8it, the crate data comes in the bagit format. The data is laid-out on disk in the same way as the original Owncloud files and folders, but with an HTML README file which travels with the data. For presentation purposes, the README is organised according to the structure of crate, with better titles for files and directories if the researcher has taken the time to rename and re-organise them. THe README also contains embedded linked (not necessarily open) data in both human and machine readable formats.

Together with Of The Web, cr8it can also produce EPUB ebooks, which is something we’ll talk about in a separate presentation.

District Dispatch: One more week to join the Congressional App Challenge

Tue, 2016-10-25 20:42

Libraries around the country held workshops over the summer to teach students coding skills – now is the chance to show off those skills! This is the last full week for  students (high school and below) to submit entries for the Congressional App Challenge, which ends on Wednesday, November 2.

The Challenge was created in 2014 by the Congressional Internet Caucus to highlight the value of computer science and STEM education by encouraging students to learn how to code. The Challenge is open to all U.S. students in participating districts. (So far, 192 members of Congress from 43 states are participating.) Students are invited, either as individuals or as teams of up to four, to create and submit their own software application for mobile, tablet, or other computing devices on a platform of their choice. The Challenge accepts projects and projects created in other programs, and all coding levels are welcome and encouraged to participate.

As Marijke Visser wrote in a District Dispatch post in July, apps will be judged by a panel of local computer science professionals and congressional representatives, and the winners in each district will have the honor of being recognized by their Congressional representative. (Idea: your local library could be the perfect venue for the ceremony to award the winner from your congressional district!)

If your library has already supported Congressional App Challenge submissions, please let us know so that we can acknowledge projects on our blog. Email Marijke Visser at

The post One more week to join the Congressional App Challenge appeared first on District Dispatch.

District Dispatch: ALA writes to French council on information access

Tue, 2016-10-25 17:42

Yesterday, ALA submitted a letter to the Conseil d’État (Council of State) in France regarding Google’s appeal of the decision of the Commission Nationale de l’informatique et des libertés (CNIL) implementing a ruling of the European Court of Justice. This decision concerns Google, Inc. and the issue commonly known as the “right to be forgotten” (RTBF). Some of you will recall our program at the 2016 ALA Midwinter Meeting on the RTBF, which compels search engine companies to have links to certain personal information removed from search results on their names.

ALA submitted a letter to the Council of State in France regarding Google’s appeal of the decision to implement a ruling of the European Court of Justice.

To implement this ruling, CNIL insists that Google must delist not only from but from other instances of the search engine, including ALA has several concerns about this interpretation that center around extraterritoriality. That is, the nature of information access (e.g., via by persons within the territory of the United States would be involuntarily determined, in part, by the French Government, which we find to be inconsistent with the professional norms of librarianship and likely federal law.

The decision as proposed would damage libraries and other cultural institutions in the U.S. In our letter, we urge that it be revisited and serious consideration given to accepting Google’s framework already in place for qualifying requests under this ruling. Specifically:

  • Google delists from all European Union (EU) and European Free Trade Association (EFTA) domains of the Google search engine; and
  • Google delists from other versions of the Google search engine, including, when they are accessed from within the country of residence of the complainant.

The ALA letter was the result of efforts by the Office for Intellectual Freedom and the ALA Washington Office, with valuable contributions from Tomas Lipinski of the University of Wisconsin at Milwaukee and Jim Neal, ALA President-elect, and review and endorsement by ALA President Julie Todaro. Thanks to all!

The post ALA writes to French council on information access appeared first on District Dispatch.

LITA: Work Smarter with “Online Productivity Tools”

Tue, 2016-10-25 16:02

Attend the latest LITA webinar:

Online Productivity Tools: Smart Shortcuts and Clever Tricks

Presenter: Jaclyn McKewan
Tuesday November 8, 2016
11:00 am – 12:30 pm Central Time

Register Online, page arranged by session date (login required)

Become a lean, mean productivity machine!

In this 90 minute webinar we’ll discuss free online tools that can improve your organization and productivity, both at work and home. We’ll look at to-do lists, calendars, and other programs. We’ll also explore ways these tools can be connected, as well as the use of widgets on your desktop and mobile device to keep information at your fingertips. Perfect for any library workers who spend a significant portion of their day at a computer.

Details here and Registration here

Webinar takeaways will include:

  • Keep track of regular repeating tasks by letting your to-do list remember for you
  • Connect your calendars and to-do lists
  • Use mobile and desktop widgets to keep information at your fingertips

Jaclyn McKewan is the Digital Services Coordinator at WNYLRC, where she has worked since 2008. Her job duties include managing the Ask Us 24/7 virtual reference program, New York Heritage Digital Collections, and internal networking/IT.

Look here for current and past LITA continuing education offerings

Questions or Comments?

For questions or comments, contact LITA at (312) 280-4268 or Mark Beatty,

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As libraries continue to ramp up digitization efforts for unique archival and special collections material, the segregation of archival finding aids from their digitized counterparts presents an accumulating discoverability problem for both patrons and library staff. For Utah State University (USU) Libraries, it became evident that a system was necessary to connect both new and legacy finding aids with their digitized content to improve use and discoverability. Following a cross-departmental workflow analysis involving the Special Collections, Cataloging and Metadata, and Digital Initiatives departments, a process was created for semi-automating the batch linking of item and folder level entries in EAD finding aids to the corresponding digitized material in CONTENTdm. In addition to the obvious benefit of linking content, this cross-departmental process also allowed for the implementation of persistent identifiers and the enhancement of finding aids using the more robust metadata that accompanies digitized material. This article will provide a detailed overview of the process, as well as describe how the three departments at USU have worked together to identify key stakeholders, develop the procedures, and address future developments.