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Open Knowledge Foundation: Launch: promotes transparency within the educational system in Germany

Wed, 2017-04-12 08:41

This blog was written by Moritz Neujeffski, School of Data Germany team.

School of Data Germany, a project by Open Knowledge Foundation Deutschland, helps non-profit organisations, civil rights defenders and activists to understand and use data and technology effectively to increase their impact on societal challenges. Profound knowledge in processing data allows individuals and organisations to critically reflect and to influence public debates with evidence-based arguments. is the outcome of our first partnership with BildungsCent eV. Together we explored the programs schools in Germany offer students beside general lessons and advocated for a transparent German education system. While we definitely learned a lot about the school system in Germany, we provided specially tailored Workshops for BildungsCent eV. We addressed how to clean, analyse and visualise data and what pitfalls to look out for in digital projects.

Education is more than school lessons. Character and drive often develop outside the classroom. Public information on schools in Germany is sparse and not often available in a structured and organised format. Together with BildungsCent eV., we investigated the availability and access of data on schools in Germany.

The focus of our investigation: How is data on schools best communicated to the public? How does that affect the potential of schools to be important social hubs?

Findings of our analysis:

Parents, students, teachers, politicians, and civil society organisations benefit from enhanced information on the German school system that is provided on School of Data Germany and BildungsCent eV. campaigned for more transparency in the educational sector and promoted dialogues between stakeholders in educational policy.We also provided an overview of more than 30,000 schools of general education in Germany.

The interactive map makes it possible to search for and filter according to specific school types. The educational sector differs among the 16 German federal states. We gathered information on the development of each individual school system, public spending within the educational sector, and the employment situation of teachers for each state.

Moreover,  3,000 profiles for schools in Berlin and Saxony containing their mission statements, the number of students and teachers per school, study groups and cooperations between schools and actors from civil society, public departments, the private sector and other relevant stakeholders were set up. All this data as used in the project is available as open data on our website.

Our aim is to facilitate the use of educational data by journalists, politicians, scientists, the civic tech community, and stakeholders of educational policy. Concluding remarks on school activities & cooperations in Berlin and Saxony
  •  413 out of 800 general education schools in Berlin communicate their activities to the Ministry of Education, Youth and Family.
  • On average, they provide eight activities in at least four areas such as environment, literature, handcraft, and technology besides regular lessons.
  • In Saxony, 1206 out of 1500 schools of general education report to the statistical office.
  • In total, they offer 11,600 activities. On average, this amounts to ten activities in five different areas per school.
  • Sporting activities are most prominent in both federal states. Partners from civil society and public affairs are the highest among schools in both states.

Schools promote the well-being and development of children and adolescents through diverse projects, partners, and activities. They are an important component of the livelihood and learning environment of students and provide an important perspective on society.

To establish a holistic picture of the German school system and to increase transparency and the ability to compare federal states on educational matters, data has to be better collected, organised, and structured at the state level. Administrations, especially need to improve their performance in order to foster an effective debate on the German school system.


OCLC Dev Network: Upcoming Backward Incompatible Changes to WMS APIs

Tue, 2017-04-11 19:00

OCLC will be installing an update to several WMS APIs on July 9, 2017 which contains backward-incompatible changes.

District Dispatch: Panels announced for National Library Legislative Day 2017

Tue, 2017-04-11 18:59

There are just 20 days until National Library Legislative Day, and the speaker lineup is our best yet! You’ve likely already heard that Hina Shamshi from the ACLU will be joining us as our keynote speaker. Now check out some of the other panels we have planned:

The Political Dance

  • Jennifer Manley
    Managing Director, Prime Strategies NYC
  • Christian Zabriskie,
    Executive Director, Urban Librarians Unite; Branch Administrator, Yonkers Public Library

At times government relations feels like a complicated tango filled with intricate footwork and precise timing. This conversation between political activist Christian Zabriskie and Government Relations and Communications Consultant Jennifer Manley will cover a huge range of topics including navigating the new abnormal in Washington, being unafraid to play the game, and how to leverage the press and social channels for your government relations efforts. Buckle up, it’s gonna be a fast talking roller coaster of wonky fun.

Speaking Truth to Power (and Actually Being Heard!)

  • Brian Jones – Partner, Black Rock Group
  • Tina Pelkey – Senior Vice President, Black Rock Group

William Carlos Williams was a poet, not a lobbyist, but he was on to something when he said: “It is not what you say that matters but the manner in which you say it; there lies the secret of the ages.” Well, we’re not sure about that secret to the ages part, but we guarantee that speaking “truth to power” is a whole lot easier and ultimately successful when you speak Power’s language. Learn how to – and how not to – make libraries’ best case when you “hit the Hill” on May 2nd after you get home.

Libraries Ready to Code

  • Marijke Visser – Associate Director, Office for Information Technology Policy
  • Other speakers TBD

Come to this program to learn about the great promise of coding in libraries. Programs in libraries bring opportunity to youth to learn about and develop skills not only in coding, but also in the broader computational thinking behind coding. For advocacy, the story of library-based coding programs positions libraries as key institutions to prepare youth to consider and pursue STEM and many other careers based on computing and tech.

Democracy dies in darkness: helping editorial boards shed light on issues facing your community

  • Molly Roberts – Digital Producer for Opinions, The Washington Post
  • Gina Millsap – Chief Executive Officer, Topeka & Shawnee County Public Library (KS)

The Washington Post’s new motto echoes a truth librarians live by: an informed citizenry is necessary for democracy to thrive. What does that mean for the collective opinion voice of a major news outlet? How can library professionals help shed light on community issues for editorial boards? Learn how editorial boards take positions and why librarians need to be at the discussion table.

Interested in taking part in National Library Legislative Day, but unable to come to D.C. yourself? Register to participate digitally, and sign up for our Thunderclap.

The post Panels announced for National Library Legislative Day 2017 appeared first on District Dispatch.

David Rosenthal: The Orphans of Scholarship

Tue, 2017-04-11 15:00
This is the third of my posts from CNI's Spring 2017 Membership Meeting. Predecessors are Researcher Privacy and Research Access for the 21st Century.

Herbert Van de Sompel, Michael Nelson and Martin Klein's To the Rescue of the Orphans of Scholarly Communication reported on an important Mellon-funded project to investigate how all the parts of a research effort that appear on the Web other than the eventual article might be collected for preservation using Web archiving technologies. Below the fold, a summary of the 67-slide deck and some commentary.

The authors show that sites such as GitHub, Wikis, Wordpress, etc. are commonly used to record artifacts of research, but that these sites do not serve as archives.  Further, the artifacts on these sites are poorly preserved by general Web archives. Instead, they investigate the prospects for providing institutions with tools they can use to capture their own researchers' Web artifacts. They divide the problem of ingesting these artifacts for preservation into four steps.

First, discovering a researcher's Web identities. This is difficult, because the fragmented nature of the research infrastructure leads to researchers having accounts, and thus identities at many different Web sites (ORCID, Github, ResearchGate, ...). There's no consistent way to discover and link them. They discuss two approaches:
  • EgoSystem, developed at LANL, takes biographical information about an individual and uses heuristics to find Web identities for them in a set of target Web sites such as Twitter and LinkedIn.
  • SourceMining ORCID for identities. Ideally, researchers would have ORCID IDs and their ORCID profiles would point to their research-related Web identities. Alas, ORCID's coverage outside the sciences, and outside the US and UK, is poor, and there is no standard for the information included in ORCID profiles.
Second, discovering artifacts per Web identity. This is easier. Once you have a researcher's Web identities, conventional Web searching and page analysis techniques can harvest artifact links quite effectively. However, there is potentially a serious problem of over-collection. For example, which of the images in a researcher's Flickr account are research-related as opposed to vacation-related?

Third, determining the Web boundary per artifact. This is the domain of Signposting, which I wrote about here. The issues are very similar to those in Web Infrastructure to Support e-Journal Preservation (and More) by Herbert, Michael and myself.

Fourth, capturing artifacts in the artifact's Web boundary. After mentioning the legal uncertainties caused by widely varying license terms among the sites hosting research artifacts, a significant barrier in practice, they show that different capture tools vary widely in their ability to collect usable Mementos of artifacts from the various sites. Building on Not all mementos are created equal: measuring the impact of missing resources, they describe a system for automatically scoring the quality of Mementos. This may be applicable to the LOCKSS harvest ingest pipeline; the team hopes to evaluate it soon.

The authors end on the question of how the authenticity of Mementos can be established. What does it mean for a Memento to be authentic? In an ideal world it would be that it was the same as the content of the Web site. But, even setting aside the difficulties of collection, in the real world this isn't possible. Web pages are different every time they are visited, the Platonic ideal of "the content of the Web site" doesn't exist.

The authors mean by "authentic" that the content obtained from the archive by a later reader is the same as was originally ingested by the archive; it hasn't been replaced by some evil-doer during its stay in the archive. They propose to verify this via a separate service recording the hashes of Mementos obtained by the archive at the time of ingest, perhaps even a blockchain of them.

There are a number of tricky issues here. First, it must be possible to request an archive to deliver an unmodified Memento, as opposed to the modified ones that the Wayback Machine (for example) delivers, with links re-written, the content framed, etc.  Then there are the problems associated with any system that relies on stored hashes for long-term integrity. Then there is the possibility that the evil-doer was doing evil during the original ingestion, so that the hash stored in the separate service is of the replacement, not the content obtained from the Web site.

LITA: #NoFilter: Social Media Planning for the Library

Tue, 2017-04-11 14:19

The #NoFilter series explores some of the challenges and concerns that accompany a library’s use of social media. In my January 2017 post, I discussed the importance of generating thoughtful and diverse social media content in order to attract users and stimulate discussion of the library’s materials and services.

Part and parcel of the content generation process is planning. Wouldn’t it be great if social media wasn’t something the library had to think about in depth? If all of the content for various platforms could just be created on the fly, a content generation process seamlessly integrated into every staff member’s workflow? It’s a beautiful idea and it does happen this way at times. For example, you are walking through your library and you come across some stunning afternoon light pouring through a window. You take out your phone, snap a picture, and share it on Instagram or another platform. Done!

Photo taken while shelving in the Othmer Library’s Reading Room, Philadelphia, PA

However, the reality is that there are time constraints on library staff. Social media is often just one more task heaped onto a staff member’s already full plate. Spontaneous social media content isn’t always possible. To ensure that social media is carried out in a meaningful way and on a regular basis, a balance must be struck between it and the other requirements of one’s position. Hence the need for planning not only the topics of posts, but also who is responsible for such posts.

In my library (the Othmer Library of Chemical History), social media planning takes the following form: our team of seven meets once a month  to discuss content for the coming month. This meeting generally takes 30 minutes, on rare occasions an hour. We come to the table with historical dates (for us, it’s mostly dates pertaining to the history of science field), famous birthdays, fun days such as Record Store Day, and holidays. We also discuss campaigns such as #ColorOurCollections as well as general themes like Women’s History Month (March) or National Cookie Month (October). We discuss what we have in our collections that relates to these days and themes. Team members then volunteer to create content for particular days. We keep track of all these elements (content ideas, post-meeting brainstorming about these ideas, and those responsible for creating posts) using Trello, an online project management tool. I will delve into all of the details of our Trello boards in a future post.

As a result, we are able to produce social media content consistently and in a way that isn’t taxing on staff.

Less stress through planning = Happy staff who are enthusiastic about contributing to the library’s social media efforts = Fun and varied content for users to engage with online.

What does social media planning look like in your library? Share your experience in the comments below!

Open Knowledge Foundation: Frictionless Data Case Study:

Tue, 2017-04-11 11:18

Open Knowledge International is working on the Frictionless Data project to remove the friction in working with data. We are doing this by developing a set of tools, standards, and best practices for publishing data. The heart of Frictionless Data is the Data Package standard, a containerization format for any kind of data based on existing practices for publishing open-source software.

We’re curious to learn about some of the common issues users face when working with data. In our Case Study series, we are highlighting projects and organisations who are working with the Frictionless Data specifications and tooling in interesting and innovative ways. For this case study, we interviewed Bryon Jacob of More case studies can be found at

How do you use the Frictionless Data specs and what advantages did you find in using the Data Package approach?

We deal with a great diversity of data, both in terms of content and in terms of source format – most people working with data are emailing each other spreadsheets or CSVs, and not formally defining schema or semantics for what’s contained in these data files.

When ingests tabular data, we “virtualize” the tables away from their source format, and build layers of type and semantic information on top of the raw data. What this allows us to do is to produce a clean Tabular Data Package[^Package] for any dataset, whether the input is CSV files, Excel Spreadsheets, JSON data, SQLite Database files – any format that we know how to extract tabular information from – we can present it as cleaned-up CSV data with a datapackage.json that describes the schema and metadata of the contents.

What else would you like to see developed?

Graph data packages, or “Universal Data Packages” that can encapsulate both tabular and graph data. It would be great to be able to present tabular and graph data in the same package and develop tools that know how to use these things together.

To elaborate on this, it makes a lot of sense to normalize tabular data down to clean, well-formed CSVs.or data that more graph-like, it would also make sense to normalize it to a standard format. RDF is a well-established and standardized format, with many serialized forms that could be used interchangeably (RDF XML, Turtle, N-Triples, or JSON-LD, for example). The metadata in the datapackage.json would be extremely minimal, since the schema for RDF data is encoded into the data file itself. It might be helpful to use the datapackage.json descriptor to catalog the standard taxonomies and ontologies that were in use, for example it would be useful to know if a file contained SKOS vocabularies, or OWL classes.

What are the next things you are going to be working on yourself?

We want to continue to enrich the metadata we include in Tabular Data Packages exported from, and we’re looking into using datapackage.json as an import format as well as export.

How do the Frictionless Data specifications compare to existing proprietary and nonproprietary specifications for the kind of data you work with? works with lots of data across many domains – what’s great about the Frictionless Data specs is that it’s a lightweight content standard that can be a starting point for building domain-specific content standards – it really helps with the “first mile” of standardising data and making it interoperable.

What do you think are some other potential use cases?

In a certain sense, a Tabular Data Package is sort of like an open-source, cross-platform, accessible replacement for spreadsheets that can act as a “binder” for several related tables of data. I could easily imagine web or desktop-based tools that look and function much like a traditional spreadsheet, but use Data Packages as their serialization format.

Who else do you think we should speak to?

Data science IDE (Interactive Development Environment) producers – RStudio, Rodeo (python), anaconda, Jupyter – anything that operates on Data Frames as a fundamental object type should provide first-class tool and API support for Tabular Data Packages.

What should the reader do after reading this Case Study?

To read more about Data Package integration at, read our post: Try This: Frictionless Sign up, and starting playing with data.


Have a question or comment? Let us know in the forum topic for this case study.

DuraSpace News: Bethany Seeger–Connecting Around Fedora Migration and Mapping

Tue, 2017-04-11 00:00

The Fedora repository project relies on many individuals and institutions to make the project successful. We are grateful for their commitment and will showcase their contributions in a series of community profiles aimed at recognizing our contributors’ achievements, and introducing them to the rest of the community.

DuraSpace News: JOIN Fedora at ELAG2017 Athens

Tue, 2017-04-11 00:00

Austin, TX  The 41th European Library Automation Group (ELAG) Systems Seminar will be held at the National Technical University of Athens, in Athens, Greece from June 6 to 9 2017. If you will be traveling to ELAG2017 ( please join us at the Fedora Bootcamp, “Automating Digital Curation Workflows with Fedora,” on June 6.

John Miedema: I Tried to Walk Away from Lila but Good Ideas are Persistent

Mon, 2017-04-10 23:57

Remember Lila? Did you think I had abandoned her? If you did not follow my earlier blog you might be a little confused. Lila is not a live person. Lila was a conceptual design for a “cognitive writing technology,” natural language processing software to aid with reading and writing. It was a complex and consuming project. I tried to walk away from Lila but good ideas are persistent. Below you see a screenshot of a more basic project, a tool for analyzing individual After Reading essays and comparing them to the whole work.

The user interface is comparable to Voyant Tools by Stéfan Sinclair & Geoffrey Rockwell. Lila 0.1 has unique functions:

  1. On a Home screen a user gets to enter an essay. Lila 0.1 is intended to accept the text of individual essays created by me for After Reading. An Analyze button begins the natural language processing that results in the screen above. The text is displayed, highlighting one paragraph at a time as the user scrolls down.
  2. The button set provides four functions. The Home button is for navigation back to the Home screen. The Save button allows the user to save an essay with analytics to a database to build an essay set or corpus. The Documents button navigates to a screen for managing the database. The Settings button navigates to a screen that can adjust configurations for the analytics.
  3. The graph shows the output of natural language processing and analytics for a “Feeling” metric, an aggregate measure based on sentiment, emotion and perhaps other measures. The light blue shows the variance in Feeling across paragraphs. The dark blue straight line shows the aggregate value for the document. The user can see how Feeling varies across paragraphs and in comparison to the whole essay. Another view will allow for comparison of single essays to the corpus.
  4. The user can choose one of several available metrics to be displayed on the graph.
    • Count. The straight count of words.
    • Frequency. The frequency of words.
    • Concreteness. The imagery and memorability of words. A personal favourite.
    • Complexity. Ambiguity or polysemy, i.e., words with multiple meanings. Synonymy or antonmy. A measure of the readability of the text. Complexity can also be measured for sentences, e.g., number of conjunctions, and for paragraphs, e.g, number of sentences.
    • Hyponymy. A measure of the abstraction of words.
    • Metaphor. I am evaluating algorithms that identify metaphors.
    • Form. Various measures are available to measure text quality, e.g., repetition.
    • Readability by grade level.
    • Thematic presence can be measured by dictionary tagging of selected words related to the work’s theme.
  5. All metrics are associated with individuals words. Numeric values will be listed for a subset of the words.
  6. Topic Cloud. A representation of topics in an essay will be shown.

The intention is to help a writer evaluate the literary quality of an essay and compare it to the corpus. A little bit like spell-check and grammar-check, but packed with literary smarts. Where it is helpful to be conscious of conformity and variance, e.g., author voice, Lila can help. It is a modest step in the direction of an artificial intelligence project that will emerge in time. Perhaps one day Lila will live.

District Dispatch: Copyright First Responders webinar now available

Mon, 2017-04-10 18:35

Celebrating National Library Week by introducing our new fair use coasters! Each one describes one of the factors of fair use. (We think copyright education should be fun.) Collect all four at ALA’s Annual conference this summer.

If you missed last week’s CopyTalk “Copyright First Responders” webinar, it’s alright – we have an archived copy!

Kyle Courtney of Harvard University’s Office for Scholarly Communication talked about the development of a decentralized model of copyright expertise in an academic setting — the Copyright First Responders (CFR) program. We know that copyright guidance is needed more now than ever before, and it is impossible for one lone copyright specialist or scholarly communications librarian to reach every academic department. The CFR program starts with a subject specialist and then adds on copyright expertise through a rigorous training model developed by Kyle. After taking the course, the subject specialist is ready to address the more basic queries of their department faculty. The more difficult questions are forwarded on to the more experienced level of CRPs and if necessary, then on to Kyle himself.

Hey, why shouldn’t every librarian have a bit of merriment with copyright! Listen to Kyle’s engaging talk about CFR. It may take off soon across the United States. One important lesson: make it fun!

The post Copyright First Responders webinar now available appeared first on District Dispatch.

District Dispatch: Congress is in recess, make it count

Mon, 2017-04-10 16:57

National Library Week is the perfect time to make sure that your congressional representative in the House and both U.S. senators know you want them to fight for full federal library funding for fiscal year 2018. They are now home for two full weeks for their spring recess, so you have ample opportunity to make that point loudly, clearly and in as a many places as you can.

2017 Congressional Calendar (Source: The Hill)

Right now is prime time to Fight for Libraries! and against the President’s proposal to eliminate IMLS and efforts in Congress to slash virtually all federal library funding.

First, don’t worry about intruding on your representative’s and senators’ schedule. Congress may be in “recess,” but these breaks from Washington are officially known as “district work periods,” so their days (and nights) are filled with meetings with constituents like you, as well as visits to schools, companies and – yes – potentially libraries back home.

Second, get on their schedules. Call their office nearest you (here’s a handy directory) and ask to meet with your member of Congress and Senators (or their senior staff) during the work period so you – and perhaps three or four other library supporters or patrons (for example, a business owner, social worker, clergy person, soccer mom or dad or any other fans of libraries) – can ask them to oppose eliminating IMLS and support full funding for library programs like LSTA and Innovative Approaches to Literacy in FY 2018. You can find all the background info you need and talking points at Fight for Libraries!

Third, make some noise. Odds are your members of Congress will be hosting at least one Town Hall meeting during the recess. Go! Tell them: 1) how important federal funding is to your local library (an example of how LSTA money gets used would be ideal, but not essential); and 2) that you want them to oppose eliminating IMLS and any cuts in the already very modest funding libraries receive from the federal government. (States get a total of just over $150 million annually under LSTA and IAL receives just $27 million, half of which is dedicated to school libraries.)

Fourth, and really importantly, if you run a library system or library branch contact your members’ local offices and invite your Representative and both Senators to visit your library where you can show them first-hand the incredible things that a 21st century library does for their constituents. Even if that means you can’t deliver any messages that specifically relate to legislation or library funding while you’re “on duty,” it will be enormously valuable to inform your representative’s and senators’ understanding of what a library is and does and how vital their local libraries are to hundreds of thousands of voters in their communities. Hosting a visit and giving a tour is not lobbying and isn’t barred by any laws anywhere.

Finally, whatever contacts you arrange with your members of Congress and their staffs, remember to email them afterwards with a reminder of what you asked for or discussed and, most importantly, to thank them for their time and support. Civility isn’t dead and will help ensure that your efforts pay off in the end.

That’s all there is to it. Drop us a line at the ALA Office of Government Relations if you need any help or to let us know how your meeting or library visit went.

The post Congress is in recess, make it count appeared first on District Dispatch.

LITA: Help us improve LITA’s virtual teams!

Mon, 2017-04-10 16:16

LITA’s Emerging Leaders team is embarking on a project to give you the tools you need to make the most of your committees and interest groups. But before we can do that we need your help!

We are working to review the online tools and best practices currently in use, and make recommendations which will serve to improve collaboration between Committee/Interest Group chairs and members. Please take a few minutes to complete our survey.

If you have any questions, be sure to indicate them in the survey, or contact LITA at

Thanks in advance!

Emerging Leaders Project Team D

  • Jessica Bennett, Missouri State University
  • Bri Furcron, State of Arizona Library
  • Catie Sahadath, University of Ottawa
  • Jennifer Shimada, Relay Graduate School of Education
  • Kyle Willis, OCLC

Jonathan Rochkind: One way to remove local merged tracking branches

Mon, 2017-04-10 15:51

My git workflow involves creating a lot of git feature branches, as remote tracking branches on origin. They eventually get merged and deleted (via github PR), but i still have dozens of them lying around.

Via googling, getting StackOverflow answers, and sort of mushing some stuff I don’t totally understand together, here’s one way to deal with it, create an alias git-prune-tracking.  In your ~/.bash_profile:

alias git-prune-tracking='git branch --merged | grep -v "*" | grep -v "master" | xargs git branch -d; git remote prune origin'

And periodically run git-prune-tracking from a git project dir.

I do not completely understand what this is doing I must admit, and there might be a better way? But it seems to work. Anyone have a better way that they understand what it’s doing?  I’m kinda surprised this isn’t built into the git client somehow.

Filed under: General

David Rosenthal: Research Access for the 21st Century

Mon, 2017-04-10 15:00
This is the second of my posts from CNI's Spring 2017 Membership Meeting. The first is Researcher Privacy.

Resource Access for the 21st Century, RA21 Update: Pilots Advance to Improve Authentication and Authorization for Content by Elsevier's Chris Shillum and Ann Gabriel reported on the effort by the oligopoly publishers to replace IP address authorization with Shibboleth. Below the fold, some commentary.

RA21 is presented as primarily a way to improve the user experience, and secondarily as a way of making life simpler for the customers (libraries). But in reality it is an attempt to cut off the supply of content to Sci-Hub. As such, it got a fairly rough reception, for three main reasons:
  • In an open access world, there's no need for authorization. Thus this is yet more of the publishers' efforts to co-opt librarians into being "personal shoppers moonlighting as border guards" as Barbara Fister puts it. As someone who has been involved in implementing Shibboleth and connecting to institution's identity infrastructure I can testify that the switch to Shibboleth might in the long run make librarians lives easier but between now and the long run there stands a whole lot of work. Since it is intended to protect their bottom lines, the publishers should pay for this work. But instead they are apparently seeking grant funding for their pilot program, which is pretty cheeky. Maintaining their bottom line is not exactly in the public, or the funding agencies, interest.
  • The analysis of the user experience problem on which the PR for this effort is based is flawed, because it is publisher-centric. Sure, Shibboleth could potentially reduce the burden on the off-campus user of logging in to many different publisher Web sites. But if that is the problem, there are much simpler solutions to hand that libraries, rather than publishers, can implement. Simply proxy everything, as Sam Kome (see here) reported the Claremont Colleges do successfully, or use VPNs (which would have the additional benefit of making off-campus users much safer). But, as studies of the use of Sci-Hub show, the real problem is the existence of the many different publisher Web sites, not the need to log into them. What readers want is a single portal providing access to the entire academic literature, so they only have to learn one user interface. Yet another example of the power of increasing returns to scale in the Web world.
  • Even if in an ideal world the use of Shibboleth could completely prevent the use of compromised credentials to supply sites such as Sci-Hub, which in the real world it can't, doing so is in no-one's interest. The presence of copies on these sites is not a problem for readers, whether or not they use those copies. The presence of copies on those sites is in the librarian's interests, as they may exert downward pressure on publisher prices. If copies elsewhere were really a serious problem, ResearchGate's 100M copies, about half of which are apparently copyright violations, would be twice as big a threat as Sci-Hub. None of those copyright violations are the result of compromised credentials, so Shibboleth implementation wouldn't cut them off. Publishers seem content to live with ResearchGate.

District Dispatch: Register your DMCA agent by December 2017

Mon, 2017-04-10 14:00

TheDigital Millennial Copyright Act instituted the “notice and takedown” rule to protect online service providers — in our case, libraries, universities and schools — who provide public access computers from infringement by third parties if online service providers supply the name and contact information of a designated agent to receive claims of copyright infringement. For more details on this law and regulation see:

The U.S. Copyright Office asks that online service providers register or re-register an agent to create an up-to-date online directory of agents that rights holders can contact. Libraries and educational institutions who provide open access computers and/or wifi should designate a person who will receive these notices. This person may be the head of the school district, director of the library, personnel from the IT department, legal counsel or other designated staff.

The registration process is straightforward and must be done to benefit from the safe harbor established in Section 512 of the copyright law.

Complete a registration form at and provide contact information. Maintain the currency and accuracy of the information, updating it as necessary. Pay a $6 dollar fee.

Registrations must be submitted by December 31, 2017. A new registration process will open every three years.

More Resources

The post Register your DMCA agent by December 2017 appeared first on District Dispatch.

Islandora: Two Community Surveys

Mon, 2017-04-10 13:01

There are a couple of matters in the Islandora community that need your feedback through a short survey:

Slack for Islandora

The Islandora Roadmap Committee recently took up a discussion about whether the Islandora community might benefit from having a Slack channel, run by the Islandora Foundation and making use of their free licensing for non-profits. There are a lot of technical details to work out (hosting, maintenance, logging, etc), but before we delve into those, we thought it would be best to start off by surveying the community to see if there's interest in having a Slack channel at all.

Currently we use irc, Skype, Google Hangouts, and FreeConferenceCallHD for voice and text chatting. Slack could be an additional option, or we could try to move meetings from the existing options over to Slack, depending entirely on what the community prefers.

Please let us know if you're interested in having Slack as a channel for the Islandora community by answering this three-question survey. You can also write out your pinions in more details in this listserv discussion.

Support for PHP <5.6

This three-question survey is to capture data about Islandora community needs for PHP version support, without asking people to expose their install details in public. Responses are anonymous. 

Why we're doing this:

Under new versions of PHPUnit 6 all of our tests are failing because they started to use namespaced PHP classes. The older version of PHPUnit 5.7 has a compatibility layer with PHPUnit 6, so we can update our tests to use namespaces and run them on PHPUnit 5 & 6. However PHPUnit 5 only supports PHP 5.6+ and PHPUnit 6 only supports PHP 7+. This means that currently we are using PHPUnit 4 for our tests with PHP 5.3, 5.4 and 5.5. So if we want to update to namespaced test classes we need to travis testing of PHP 5.3, 5.4 and 5.5. 

PHP 5.6, 7.0 and 7.1 are the only officially Zend supported versions of PHP right now: 

We only use PHPUnit tests in the 7.x version of Islandora in Tuque and Islandora Scholar. Jonathan Green made these pull requests to propose that we only test with 5.6, 7.0 and 7.1 in our tests that rely on PHPUnit: 

If you want to give a more detailed opinion, there is further discussion taking place on the listserv here.

Thank you for your feedback!

Access Conference: Sponsor Access 2017!

Mon, 2017-04-10 11:00

Access sponsors play a big part in keeping the conference affordable and fun. There is still plenty of time to get in on the action for Access 2017 in Saskatoon. If your organization is interested in helping make Access a success check out the sponsorship opportunities page for all of the information you need. You could help fund an awesome social event, the hackathon, a critical coffee break, or pitch something to us!

Our sponsorship levels of recognition are: Adamantium($2500 +)
  • recognition of your participation in all Access conference marketing
  • logo prominently featured on Access homepage and sponsorship banner
  • mention by the conference chair in opening and closing remarks
  • highest rotation in sponsor slideshow displayed between sessions
Gold ($1500)
  • recognition of your participation in all Access conference marketing
  • logo featured on Access homepage
  • mention by the conference chair in opening and closing remarks
  • high rotation in sponsor slideshow displayed between sessions
Silver ($1000)

  • recognition of your participation in all Access conference marketing
  • logo featured on Access Sponsors web page
  • high rotation sponsor slideshow displayed between sessions
Bronze ($500)

  • recognition of your participation in all Access conference marketing
  • logo featured on Access Sponsors web page
  • inclusion in sponsor slideshow displayed between sessions
Pewter ($250)
  • recognition of your participation in all Access conference marketing
  • logo featured on Access Sponsors web page


If you are interested in sponsoring Access 2017, please send an email to with the following information:

  • name of organization
  • name of contact person
  • email address of contact person
  • amount of support
  • targeted sponsorship opportunity(ies) of interest, as applicable

Open Knowledge Foundation: Open Knowledge Philippines and Mapua students celebrates Open Data Day 2017

Mon, 2017-04-10 07:36

This blog is part of the event report series on International Open Data Day 2017. On Saturday 4 March, groups from around the world organised over 300 events to celebrate, promote and spread the use of open data. 44 events received additional support through the Open Knowledge International mini-grants scheme, funded by SPARC, the Open Contracting Program of Hivos, Article 19, Hewlett Foundation and the UK Foreign & Commonwealth Office. This event was supported through the mini-grants scheme under the Human Rights theme.

The Open Knowledge local group in the Philippines co-organised International Open Data Day 2017 with the student council of Mapua Institute of Technology, Makati Campus. 

Joseph De Guia (left), Local ambassador of Open Knowledge Philippines with the Mapua SOIT Student Council officers who co-organized the International Open Data Day 2017

The program was attended by invited speakers, special guests, the local tech community as well as student groups on campus. The program was divided into two sessions: the morning session was on open data awareness while the afternoon session was an open data workshop. The event was attended by close to 200 participants.

Event registration

Creating awareness about Open Data in the Philippines

The session was opened with a welcome and opening remark from Mr Joseph De Guia (local group ambassador of Open Knowledge Philippines) on the theme of the celebration: “Solving problems in the society”. Participants were then showed two videos:  open data from Open Knowledge International and the School of Data Summer Camp to introduce them to the people working behind the scenes at Open Knowledge International and their advocacy work in “showing the value of open data for the work of civil society; how effectively use open data; and making government information systems responsive to civil society.”

Dr Lagmay presenting the portal of Project NOAH

The keynote speaker was Dr Alfredo Mahar Lagmay, Executive Director of the National Operational Assessment of Hazards (Project NOAH) of University of the Philippines. He delivered the message “the use of open data to make disaster resilient Philippines” through the use of Project NOAH. The project has been made available to the public and has encouraged participative and collaborative effort through crowdsourcing and mapping to improve the emergency response during calamities and disasters.

Ms. Stepahine Azarias of Open Data Philippines team – DICT, DOST-iGovPhil during her talk.

The next speaker was Ms Stephanie Azarias, team lead of Open Data Philippines of the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT). Ms Azarias highlighted the harmonisation of government data disclosure through open data and freedom of information (FOI). She presented the open data portal, freedom of information portal and the projects of Integrated Government Philippines Project (iGovPhil).

Ms Gemma Mendoza of during her talk about social activism and using open data in journalism and reporting for social good.

Other speakers were Paul De Paula of Drupal Pilipinas, Ms Gemma Mendoza of The speakers shared their common interest in open data as well as what they’re doing in this area. Drupal Pilipinas Tech Community volunteers are advocating open source application development for Drupal that can be used in open data portal (such as DKAN). is an online media company who is also doing research and investigative journalism for social good. These speakers brought new ideas on how open data can be explored and used to solve problems in the society.


Open Data Workshop

Part of the afternoon session was an opportunity for the students to be engaged in an open data workshop. The students were provided with a brief background about the open data sets to be used in the Project NOAH weather and disaster monitoring.

Joseph leading and facilitating the discussion during the “open data workshop.”

They were guided in downloading the datasets from the Open Data portal and using the FOI data portal. They were also encouraged to formulate their research agenda as their capstone topics. This was followed by a “show and tell” which is a short demonstration of their understanding of the program and discussion of the topics.


The speakers were given the opportunity to encourage students to take steps in open data movement and activism. They were also able to inspire the students, faculty members and other attendees of the event to take part in the open data education and use them to solve the problems in the society. The speakers were awarded a certificate of appreciation at the end of the event.

Awarding a token of appreciation to Dr Lagmay

According to a student participant:

The open data day celebration was a great avenue to learn the value of open data and the tools being used to solve problems in the society, such as disaster assessment through crowdsourcing and mapping, developing an open data portal, data journalism and a lot more.

The Open Knowledge Philippines team is happy to have helped organise the open data day celebration and appreciative of the opportunity to show participants the value data can make in information systems and in effect help facilitate and solve problems in the society. We also had the chance to introduce participants to projects that are effectively using open data through the work of civil societies to push for better services from the government.

The stickers, program and poster prints were sponsored by Open Knowledge International. The swags were provided by DOST-DICT iGovPhil Project and Open Data team. The snacks and lunch provided by the organiser – Open Knowledge Philippines.

The event photos can be viewed on our Facebook community page – and, video documentation can be played  here:

The International Open Data Day 2017 was organised by Open Knowledge Philippines and with the help of the Mapua Institute of Technology Student Council, Makati campus. The event was sponsored by Open Knowledge International and supported by Project NOAH, University of the Philippines, Open Data Philippines – DICT and DOST, Drupal Pilipinas, and

Like and follow us on Facebook Open Knowledge Philippines and on Twitter @OpenKnowledgePH

See you next year for another open data day celebration, and hopefully, we will be much better and present innovative solutions and create impact through open data!

LibUX: Listen: Andy Priestner (29:17)

Mon, 2017-04-10 04:35

Andy Priestner (@andytraining) is a global trainer and consultant on user experience, leadership, social media, and LEGO Serious Play. He’s the originator and chair of UXLibs, among many things a best-in-show UX conference, as well as the title of the book he edited with Matt Borg. 

In this episode, we were able to wrangle our timezones and chat about the upcoming conference, as well as Futurelib — an open innovation program exploring the future role of academic libraries within the University of Cambridge through ethnographic studies — and, really, what prompted Andy to resign.

  • 4:00 – About the “team challenge” at UXLibs, plus shout-outs to Ned Potter, Matt Borg, and Donna Lanclos.
  • 9:04 – The state of user experience design in these institutions
  • 11:55 – What happened with Futurelib
  • 18:02 – Andy on leaving his job and going freelance
  • 20:48 – The Tracker Project: eye-tracking people in libraries with glasses

You can also  download the MP3 or subscribe to Metric: A UX Podcast on OverCastStitcher, iTunes, YouTube, Soundcloud, Google Music, or just plug our feed straight into your podcatcher of choice.

DuraSpace News: REGISTER for OR2017–Take Advantage of Early Bird Registration 'til April 21

Mon, 2017-04-10 00:00

From the organizers of the International Conference on Open Repositories