I just got finished listening to Ursula Franklin’s The Real World of Technology lectures from 1989. I’m kind of embarrassed to admit that I didn’t know about her work until the news of her passing went around in social media a few weeks ago.
There are five lectures in all, each an hour long, which can be streamed directly for free. I ended up downloading the mp3s that the flash player uses so I could easily listen to them on my commute to work. If you’d like a copy get in touch. If you prefer there is a book too … but you’ll be missing out on Franklin’s delivery, which is a big part of the wit and warmth of the lectures.
The lectures are ultimately about re-centering technology on the needs of people, rather than capital markets, the machinery of war, and natural destruction. Even with a gap of 30 years her message still rings clear as a bell today. We’re in the middle of talking about principles or values at work, so when Franklin talked about her own principles I wanted to jot them down. You probably will need to listen to the lectures to get at the meaning behind words like, but I imagine they will mostly make sense.
I can’t emphasize enough that we need a great deal of principled discourse. That discourse is political, in the sense that feminists say the personal is political. The discourse should be authentic in the sense of giving priority to experience and to genuine and verifiable information rather than to hearsay. It should seek out those with direct experience, those on whom technology impacts.
One needs also to pay particular attention to the language of this discourse. A lot of clarification can occur by simply attending to the language. Whenever somebody talks to you about benefits or costs of particular development don’t ask what benefits, ask whose benefits, whose costs. To come back to the discourse that we have to have with each other: on the basis of these discussions we could make up a checklist … let’s make a civic list. When one looks at projects that are under discussion … one can ask:
- Whether it promotes justice.
- Whether it restores reciprocity.
- Whether it confers divisible or individible benefits.
- Whether it favors people over machines.
- Whether the strategy of implementation maximizes gain or minimizes disaster.
- Whether conservation is favored over waste.
- Whether the irreversible stands back because the reversible is favored.
We are thrilled to announce that the collections of Recollection Wisconsin, are now ‘live’ in DPLA! As our newest Service Hub, Recollection Wisconsin has made some 400,000 new records representing photographs, books, maps, artifacts and other historical resources from more than 200 Wisconsin collections accessible in DPLA. Like all of our Service Hubs, Recollection Wisconsin represents a collaborative effort among a wide range of institutions, large and small. We want to send a special shout out and welcome to the Recollection Wisconsin governing partners: Wisconsin Library Services, The University of Wisconsin-Madison, Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction, Wisconsin Historical Society, Milwaukee Public Library, The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and Marquette University.So what exactly can you find in Wisconsin’s collections?
We know what you’re thinking… cheese and beer! Or, try mixing both for a tasty appetizer as the recipe below for Beer-Cheese Bites from the Historic Recipe File at Milwaukee Public Library suggests.
- “Beer-Cheese Bites,” Milwaukee Sentinel, December 20, 1979, from Milwaukee Public Library’s Historic Recipe File.
- “Cheese with a Made in Wisconsin Trademark” from UW-Madison Archives via University of Wisconsin Digital Collections.
- The first class in cheesemaking, Wisconsin Dairy School, 1907, from UW-Madison Archives via University of Wisconsin Digital Collections.
- "Fred Miller Brewing Co., Milwaukee, U.S.A." ca. 1895, from Turning Points in Wisconsin History via Wisconsin Historical Society.
Find some of the best local highlights from Wisconsin in the State of Wisconsin Collection, from University of Wisconsin Digital Collections, the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee’s postcard collection, the Exploring Cultural History Online collection from Winding Rivers Library System; the Ozaukee and Sheboygan Memories community archive from Eastern Shores Library System.
In addition to highlighting Wisconsin’s local specialties, the collections from the new Wisconsin Hub will help tell the local stories that bring to life broad ideas and landmark events in our nation’s history. For example, Francis Deleglise’s letters, from the collection of Langlade County Historical Society, capture his experience on the front lines of the Civil War as a member of Wisconsin’s famous Iron Brigade. The Great Lakes Maritime History Project reflects the rich history of maritime trade and travel on the Great Lakes and other Wisconsin waterways, while The Home Front: Manitowoc County in World War II collection adds to DPLA’s body of resources on the impact of World War II on the lives of men, women, children, and families on the home front across the country. Finally, the College of Menominee Nation’s Termination and Restoration collection documents the Menominee Nation’s successful grassroots effort to restore their status as a federally recognized tribe after the government’s termination of that status in 1954, speaking to crucial struggles for Native American sovereignty and rights during the twentieth century.
- The first page of a letter in French from Civil War soldier Francis Deleglise to his father from Baltimore describing treatment for his injuries sustained at the Battle of Gettysburg, August 14, 1863, from the collections of Langlade County Historical Society.
- Advertisement of the Diamond Jo Line Steamers and the St. Louis and St. Paul Packet Co., from University of Wisconsin - La Crosse, Murphy Library Special Collections.
- A special wartime edition of The Ship, a school newspaper at Manitowoc Vocational School in honor of Citizenship Day, from Manitowoc Historical Society via University of Wisconsin Digital Collections.
- Women employees of Globe Shipbuilding Company, 1942, from University of Wisconsin-Superior via University of Wisconsin Digital Collections.
- Invitation to the second annual DRUMS (Determination of Rights and Unity for Menominee Shareholders) Convention and Pow Wow, 1972, from College of Menominee Nation S. Verna Fowler Academic Library/Menominee Public Library.
Our newest hub also makes important contributions to our coverage of LGBT History and the Civil Rights Movement. Wisconsin’s LGBT History collections, including the Gay People’s Union Collection, ACT UP Milwaukee Videos, Milwaukee Gay/Lesbian Cable Network Programs, and the Milwaukee Transgender Oral History Project represent the experiences and activism of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community in Milwaukee. As part of DPLA, these collections can now be explored alongside the rich LGBT history collections of other hubs such as Minnesota Digital Library, New York Public Library, and Digital Library of Georgia.
- "GPU Band Poster" advertising "Liberated Together," 1973, part of the Gay People's Union Collection, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Libraries via University of Wisconsin Digital Collections.
- Cover of the Gay Liberation Organization Manifesto, a handbook describing the Gay Liberation Organization’s mission and purpose, part of the Gay People's Union Collection, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Libraries via University of Wisconsin Digital Collections.
- Screenshot from "Brand New Queer Program," October 5, 1993, part of ACT UP Milwaukee Records, 1990-1996, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Libraries.
- Screenshot from "Queer Program," April 1994, part of ACT UP Milwaukee Records, 1990-1996, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Libraries.
Wisconsin also adds to the rich field of materials documenting the Civil Rights Movement. The Freedom Summer Digital Collection from Wisconsin Historical Society adds hundreds of manuscript documents and photographs detailing the diverse civil rights campaigns organized by SNCC, CORE, and other groups in Mississippi during the summer of 1964 and beyond. The March on Milwaukee collection brings together resources from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and Wisconsin Historical Society and highlights the important role of Milwaukee, “the Selma of the North,” as a battlefield of the Civil Rights Movement. In DPLA, these collections now join such collections as the Civil Rights Digital Library contributed by the Digital Library of Georgia, Washington University of St. Louis’ Eyes on the Prize interview collection, the Freedom Riders 40th Anniversary Oral History Project, North Carolina Digital Heritage Center’s civil rights collections, and PA Digital’s civil rights collections also documenting the Civil Rights Movement beyond the American South.
- Freedom Day School Poster, May 18, 1964, from the collections of University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, part of March on Milwaukee - Civil Rights History Project.
- Children coloring during Freedom Summer, 1964, from the Freedom Summer Digital Collection, Wisconsin Historical Society.
- Fair Housing Demonstration, Milwaukee, 1967, from the collection of Wisconsin Historical Society, part of March on Milwaukee - Civil Rights History Project.
- Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party fundraising letter to Freedom Summer participants’ parents, signed by Annie Devine, Victoria Gray, and Fannie Lou Hamer, 1964, Freedom Summer Digital Collection, Wisconsin Historical Society.
- Council of Federated Organizations (COFO) volunteer Richard Gould reflects on nonviolence during Freedom Summer trainings, 1964, part of the Freedom Summer Digital Collection, Wisconsin Historical Society. Richard N. Gould Papers, 1963-1965.
As you begin your exploration of all things from and about Wisconsin, remember we have only scratched the surface here! Recollection Wisconsin also makes new archaeological artifacts, maps and atlases, photos documenting twentieth century Native American communities, and audio recordings of Wisconsin’s folksongs available in DPLA, to name a few more highlights.Join us in sending a warm welcome to Wisconsin and look for more highlights from our newest hub on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram!
Library of Congress: The Signal: The NEH “Chronicling America” Challenge: Using Big Data to Ask Big Questions
This is a guest post by Leah Weinryb Grohsgal of the National Endowment for the Humanities.
Historic newspapers offer rich histories of American life, with glimpses into politics, sports, shopping, music, food, health, science, movies and everything in between. The National Digital Newspaper Program, a joint effort between the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Library of Congress, seeks to preserve and provide open access to America’s historic newspapers via Chronicling America. The site now contains over eleven million pages of digitized newspapers as well as a digital directory of over 150,000 titles from small towns and big cities across the United States.
Not only are the newspaper pages openly available, but the data is too. The Library of Congress has developed a user-friendly Application Program Interface, which can be used as a doorway into the newspaper data in Chronicling America. Because of this commitment to openness, users can now interact with these rich sources both as individual pages and as big data sets used to show trends over time and space.
NEH recently asked the public, “How can you use open data to explore history?” We invited members of the public to produce creative web-based projects demonstrating the potential for using the data found in Chronicling America. Entries could be data visualizations, web-based tools or other innovative and interesting web-based projects. Entries came through Challenge.gov, the U.S. government’s hub for federal prize and challenge competitions. The nationwide competition garnered extremely high-quality entries on a variety of subjects, which showed the importance of and potential for making this rich historical data openly available.
The results are in. NEH has announced six open data challenge prize recipients. The winners will receive cash prizes and will attend the National Digital Newspaper Program annual September meeting in Washington, D.C. to present their work. We join with the Library of Congress in celebrating the questions and insights that can be gained from making open data and excellent primary sources accessible to the public.
And the winners are…
American Public Bible: Biblical Quotations in U.S. Newspapers
Entry By: Lincoln Mullen, Assistant Professor, Department of History and Art History, George Mason University (Fairfax, VA)
This project tracks Biblical quotations in American newspapers to see how the Bible was used for cultural, religious, social or political purposes. Users can either enter their own Biblical references or choose from a selection of significant references on a range of topics. The project draws on both recent digital humanities work tracking the reuse of texts and a deep scholarly interest in the Bible as a cultural text in American life. The site shows how the Bible was a contested yet common text, including both printed sermons and Sunday school lessons and use of the Bible on every side of issues such as slavery, women’s suffrage and wealth and capitalism.
Second Prize (Tie)
American Lynching: Uncovering a Cultural Narrative
Entry By: Andrew Bales, PhD Student in Creative Writing, University of Cincinnati (Cincinnati, OH)
This project explores America’s long and dark history with lynching, in which newspapers acted as both a catalyst for public killings and a platform for advocating for reform. Integrating data sets on lynching created by Tuskegee University, the site sheds light on the gruesome culture of lynching, paying close attention to the victims of violent mobs. The site allows readers to use an interactive chronological map of victim reports and see their state-by state distribution, linking to Chronicling America articles.
Second Prize (Tie)
Historical Agricultural News
Entry By: Amy Giroux, Computer Research Specialist, Center for Humanities and Digital Research, University of Central Florida (Orlando, FL)
This site allows users to explore information on the farming organizations, technologies and practices of America’s past. The site describes farming as the window into communities, social and technological change and concepts like progress, development and modernity. Agricultural connections are of significance to those interested in various topics, including immigration and assimilation, language use and communication, education and affiliations and demographic transitions.
Third Prize (Tie)
Entry By: Kristi Palmer, Associate Dean of Digital Scholarship, Indiana University-Purdue University (Indianapolis, IN)
This project tracks the origins of the word “Hoosier.” The site’s maps visually demonstrate the geographic distribution of the term “Hoosier” in the Chronicling America data set. This distribution is measured by the number of times the term appears on a newspaper page. Each point on the map shows a place of publication where a newspaper or newspapers contain the term. Another feature on the web site is the Word Clouds by Decade visualizations, which are created by looking at the word “Hoosier” in context. The text immediately surrounding each appearance of the word is extracted and from this the most frequently occurring terms are plotted.
Third Prize (Tie)
Entry By: Claudio Saunt, Professor, Department of History, Co-Director, Center for Virtual History and Associate Director, Institute of Native American Studies, University of Georgia (Athens, GA)
This site discovers patterns, explores regions, investigates how stories and terms spread around the country and watches information go viral before the era of the internet. The site argues that newspapers capture the public discourse better than books do because of their quick publication schedule. For example, users can track “miscegenation,” a term coined in 1863 by a Democratic Party operative to exploit fears about Lincoln, and “scalawag,” a recently arrived term that quickly gained currency after 1869. Other examples for use are tracking regional differences in language, tracing the path of epidemics and studying changing political discourse over time and space.
K-12 Student Prize
Digital APUSH: Revealing History with Chronicling America
Entry By: Teacher Ray Palin and A.P. U.S. History Students at Sunapee High School (Sunapee, NH)
These students used Chronicling America newspaper data to create a variety of visualizations —- maps, charts and timelines -— to explore questions about U.S. history. The projects use word frequency analysis -— a kind of distant reading -— to discover patterns in news coverage. Some examples of investigations include geographic coverage of Plessy v. Ferguson, temporal trends in the use of the words “secede” and “secession,” articles about Uncle Tom’s Cabin by year, state-by-state coverage of the KKK and geographic trends in coverage of labor unions.
An organisation website is its main public image or at least this is what we believe in at Open Knowledge International. For a while now, our website has needed design attention and update of content. We have therefore decided to revamp our website and give it some new look and features.
Our primary thinking behind our site is how to make the work and the people of Open Knowledge International more relatable. How can we take complex terms like open data and civic tech and make them something that anyone can relate to? Also, we wanted to see how the OKI team can use the website to connect and learn more about one another. Also, we wanted the site to reflect our how we are working towards our mission, to make “A world where knowledge create power to the many, not the few.” We highlighted our projects and how they strive towards that goal.
Our work on the site is not done, and probably will always be a work in progress. We believe in “release fast, release often” approach, and hope that you can give us feedback about the website, as well as help us to find bugs (although we tried to catch them all in advance!). Like all of our work, you can get the source code for the website here, and use it for your work if you see something that you like.So what did we do?
A new homepage – We believe that people are in the focus of our work and we tried to reflect it on our homepage. Here you can see highlights of our work, latest projects and navigate to sections that explain to you who we are and what we are doing.
Project page – For the last two years, the OKI website didn’t have a project page. Since our projects are the core of our work, we added a project page where you can see all of our past project and all the projects that we are currently working on.
Network Guidelines – We move our network guidelines from a google doc to the website so it will be easier to find them.
New page templates – We gave our general pages a new look and improved the navigation on the site.
A new team page – We are very proud of our diverse and global team, but we wanted to make our team page a bit more than that. As a remote team, our office is our “Slack” channel (yes, yes, we don’t have a physical office!). Working in the virtual space has a lot of advantages, but it is very hard to get to know your teammates on a closer level. We, therefore, decided to use both our website and Slack to create a feature that will allow both the team and you, the users, to get to know team members better. OKI team members can update their team member page status by updating Slack in 5 categories – reading, eating, listening, working and location. This way you can know in real time where are we and what are we doing. It already provoked some excellent conversations in within our staff, and I hope it will make you closer to us as well.
Network page – we want to give the network page a new look so it will be easier to understand who is part of the OKI network and what different parts of the network are doing. The content there is up to date, and we will keep updating it.
Research – During the years we have done a lot of research in OKI. We want to give it a dedicated place on the site (in the meanwhile, you can find our work on our research repository).
Funding – We would like to improve our funding page and give you more information about or sources of financing. We are now examining what will be the best way to do so.
Press page – The current page has outdated content. Sierra Williams, our incoming Communication Manager, will update this page and will lead the future work on the whole website.
Let us know what you think about our site by leaving some feedback about it on our forum.
We are excited to announce Washington University of St Louis (WUSTL) as a Hydra Partner!
At HydraConnect 2015, Andrew Rouner and Chris Freeland expressed interest in getting more deeply involved in Hydra and moving toward partnership. That fall, WUSTL partnered with DCE and went into production with their “Goldenseal” repository (http://repository.wustl.edu) in February, followed quickly by their production instance of Avalon (http://streamingvideo.wustl.edu) in March. Andrew shared “These launch efforts concluded with a Hydra “Stop and Learn” event we held May 13th, aimed primarily at WU personnel but extending to colleagues from various cultural organizations regionally. The event featured sessions on an overview of Hydra, a closer look at the technology stack, a review of the Hydra community development model, and a poster session (a la HydraConnect) on subjects we currently are now or are hoping to explore with Hydra.” Additionally they have become involved in Hydra interest and working groups.
This represents not only major development efforts and engagement within the Hydra Community but also acting as strong advocates among regional cultural organizations. Join us in welcoming Washington University of St Louis and see everyone at Hydra Connect 2016!
With only one full-time employee, the Belgian Open Knowledge ship is only a small one to sail. Nonetheless, Pieter-Jan Pauwels has proven to be a worthy captain. The rest of the crew consists of a bunch of student positions, interns, volunteers and of course, the Open Knowledge Belgium board.
Even though Open Knowledge Belgium is such a small team, we’re quite proud of what we’ve achieved the past few months. Let’s start with Diplohack Brussels. In April we co-organised the first Diplohack Brussels in the Council of the European Union, together with the Dutch Presidency of the EU. The 24-hour hackathon focused on creating more transparency within the Brussels Bubble with the Council of the European Union introducing their Council vote Open Dataset.
Then, we got to present a crowdsourcing project we’ve been working on for quite some time. W4P (“We For Progress”) is an crowdsourcing tool that allows you to build your own crowdsourcing platform! This project was funded by CHEST Project, a European consortium of partners working around streamlining funding for small to medium scale social innovation projects.
At the moment open Summer of code 2016 takes place. That’s a four-week programme that allows students to work on open innovation projects. While having a student job for the summer, they learn more about coding and other hard skills, and gain more soft skills such as working in a team and giving pitches. We act as a sort of match maker between companies and students. Organisations come to us with open source projects and meanwhile we recruit students and put the right student on the right project. Only skilled and enthusiastic students who are willing to learn, may enter #oSoc.
According to us, open Summer of code is one of the most important projects for Open Knowledge Belgium. We educate students and companies about open source and open innovation at one hand, and provide students with real-life experience. Experience that can make a difference when you’re looking for your first job. It’s also one of our projects that doesn’t have any governmental funding. It’s our sixth edition so far, but we’re thinking about rebranding it next year. Open Summer of code is no longer only about code: It’s about so much more. Beside front- and back-enders, we need students who are skilled in UI/UX design, business development, marketing and communication. Also, we don’t only deliver pure code, we aim for complete projects. Going from brainstorming and coding to marketing and presenting, you need to be a jack of all trades, not only a king of code. By rebranding, we hope to attract more diverse profiles and spread the open knowledge word among other publics too.
We’re curious what the future will bring. The Belgian government tries to implement more open data and open knowledge, but those are still baby steps. There’s a lot of room for improvement, and thus a lot of room for Open Knowledge Belgium to grow. At the moment, we have five working groups about themes such as mobility and tourism, but we got a few requests for working groups about new themes such as university (college) data and open badges. Yup, the Belgian chapter most certainly has a bright future ahead of it – one where our little raft might turn into a nice ship.
This race must be familiar for many women: she’s overqualified for the promotion, he’s unqualified, and yet it’s still a contest.
— (((Touré))) (@Toure) July 29, 2016
I had lunch with a friend recently and we talked about a guy we both know (let’s call him Joe) who rapidly rose through the ranks at the university where he works. He went from an entry-level position to being a co-director of a unit within a year, and recently became the sole director of that unit. Joe’s co-director was a brilliant woman (let’s call her Jane) who had served faithfully at the university for years and years, was a solid manager, and was well-liked by pretty much everyone. But instead of her, Joe the wunderkind was made Jane’s superior in a unit they previously had supervised together. Joe’s a really nice guy (though not a very direct person), but there was no logical reason why he should have gotten the job over her other than that the Associate VP the whole unit reports to took Joe under his wing from the start. We talked about how often this kind of thing seems to happen, even in libraries, and how, in most cases we could think of, it was men who saw a meteoric career rise.
And in cases where we could think of women who had meteoric career trajectories, it was usually a result of having a powerful male mentor or champion. Look at Sheryl Sandberg. Without Larry Summers, would she have achieved all she did? He set her up in many ways for her later successes. Of course there are great female mentors and champions out there, but it’s unusual to see them giving their proteges anything other than good advice and access to their network. The only mentors in the OLA Mentoring Program that I’m aware of having directly hired their mentees were men and research studies have suggested that male mentors are more likely to provide more concrete support and promotion.
Of course a lot of this is anecdote, but I can’t tell you how often I’ve heard stories like the one I mentioned from women in our profession. And the data backs up the notion that men have an easier time climbing the ladder, even in our female dominated profession. According to Jessica Olin and Michelle Millet’s terrific Lead Pipe article “Gendered Expectations for Leadership in Libraries,” men make up only about 20% of our profession, yet they represent up around 40% of all ARL library directors (which was a significant drop actually!). They also cite a Harvard Business Review blog post which suggested that “manifestations of hubris — often masked as charisma or charm — are commonly mistaken for leadership potential, and that these occur much more frequently in men than in women.” They go on to describe the characteristics of effective leaders and how those characteristics more frequently occur in women than men. It made me wonder: Do we have an archetype of a library leader/manager and are those characteristics more common in men than women? I think we do. And I think, as Jessica and Michelle suggest, we often punish female leaders for not fitting that mold (or complaining that they’re too aggressive if they do).
This got me thinking about this historic (and often disturbing) presidential election. I was a huge Bernie Sanders fan from the beginning because I believe, as he does, that income inequality is at the heart of of so many problems in our society. I rooted for him until the bitter end, when he left the race. I wasn’t even going to watch the Democratic National Convention, as disgusted as I was with politics, but the historic nature of a woman accepting the nomination for President made me change my mind. And I’m glad I did. I learned a lot about Hillary Clinton that I didn’t previously know. I got swept up in the historic victory for women in America. And the more I thought about Hillary and what she’s done over the years, the more I see the universal struggle of women toward leadership positions in her story.
Look at the barriers to women becoming leaders in their chosen fields now. Now look back to the 1970s and 80s, when things were much worse. In the mid-1970s, 89% of all ARL library directors were male (at a time when they had even smaller % representation in our profession). Imagine how much worse it was in politics. Imagine how many more compromises a woman had to make to get to the top than a man did. Hillary Clinton accomplished so much for women, children, and access to healthcare in the 70s and 80s, as a law student, a lawyer, a law professor, and as the first lady of Arkansas. She then faced criticism as First Lady of the United States for her involvement in developing policy for the White House as if she wasn’t sufficiently qualified to do so. So many of the criticisms launched against Hillary Clinton both then and now are gendered (if I hear the term pantsuit one more time I’m going to scream). She was criticized for following her heart over her political ambitions and supporting her husband’s political career. Then she was criticized for not being a meek wife and first lady. Then she was criticized for pursuing her own political ambitions. At one point she was criticized for being too feminist. Now she’s not feminist enough. Her clothes are too expensive. Her clothes are too ugly. Would any of these things be said of a man?
I’m still a big fan of Bernie Sanders, and am grateful that he pushed the Democratic Party a bit more to the left. And, there are many things Hillary Clinton has done and positions she’s taken and flip-flops (gay marriage anyone?) she’s made that I disagree with, but that’s been pretty much true of every presidential candidate I’ve ever supported (including Bernie, with his lack of support for gun control). I don’t feel I can trust her, but I trusted Obama and his support of domestic surveillance and his lack of transparency was a huge slap in the face to so many of us.
I guess what I’m saying is, I’m with her. And I’m grateful for the historic example she has set for women in America. And I hope one day a woman will have the exact same opportunities to become a leader as her male counterparts without having to change or compromise who she is or get help from a man.
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
Visit the LITA Job Site for more available jobs and for information on submitting a job posting.
Virtual reality is all the rage these days, with options ranging from complete virtual worlds real or imagined, to new programs that allow users to conduct surgery on digital patients. According to Educause, VR “uses visual, auditory, and sometimes other sensory inputs to create an immersive, computer-generated environment. VR headsets fully cover users’ eyes and often ears, immersing the user in the digital experience” (Please see Educause article #1 below).
It’s one thing to think about the technology itself, which mostly comprises of a gaming quality computer equipped with an operating system of Windows 7 or higher, a minimum of 32 gigabytes of memory, a 5 or 7-core processor, and a high-end graphics card such as Nvidia GeForce GTX 970 as well as an accompanying set of peripherals which offer options from the very cheap and low-tech such as Google Cardboard, to some higher-end headsets such as HTC Vive:
- Google Cardboard already has thousands of apps and games you can explore: https://store.google.com/product/google_cardboard
- Oculus Rift offers headsets and can integrate with a mobile phone: https://www.oculus.com/
- HTC Vive allows for 360 degree development: https://www.htcvive.com/us/
- Sony Playstation VR enhances your gaming experience with software and peripherals: https://www.playstation.com/en-us/explore/playstation-vr/
But it’s harder to imagine how we can work with students and faculty in a pedagogical context in order to create a (virtual) learning environment. Here are some ideas:
- Design: This technology would not only enable the creation of 3D objects and buildings, but would allow artists to jointly design something in a collaborative setting.
- Gaming: Gamers will now be able to touch and explore the world around them in ways never possible before. Don’t just kill a zombie, become one!
- Models: Can’t make it to Egypt to see the pyramids with an archaeology class? Now you can explore them both inside and out in a VR world of your choosing.
- Simulations: As mentioned before, you could simulate anything from open heart surgery to a trip in outer space.
Ok, ok. Some of these applications do require programming knowledge, testing time, and additional software. So what can you do as a first step?
- Start small. Can’t afford an HTC Vive headset? Try Google Cardboard instead which comes with pre-made games and applications as a way to start learning about VR and the opportunities it presents. Use what’s already available before branching out into designing something from scratch.
- Partner with others on campus. Chances are there are faculty and students who are already experimenting with this technology either because they are interested in it on a personal level, or because they would like to integrate it into their curriculum. Even working with one other person is better than trying to figure everything out by yourself.
- Think about how these experiences can enhance learning rather than focusing on the technology itself. In other words, what is it that these tools will enable students to learn that they could not have before or perhaps how might learning differ in this type of environment? Conducting some comparative assessment might yield some interesting results in terms of the quality of learning that occurs in a VR environment versus a “normal” one.
- We are still grappling with digital literacy, metaliteracy, and other similar outcomes to measure learning in a virtual environment, but it would be interesting to develop outcomes for virtual reality as a way to quantify not just how but what type of learning takes place. VR framework anyone?
Here are some additional resources:
- 7 Things to Know about VR Headsets: https://library.educause.edu/resources/2014/12/7-things-you-should-know-about-vr-headsets
- Promise of VR in Higher Education: http://er.educause.edu/articles/2016/3/the-promise-of-virtual-reality-in-higher-education
- Stanford Teaching Commons: https://teachingcommons.stanford.edu/teaching-talk/virtual-reality-and-education
Another Islandora CLAW volunteer sprint has come to a close! A whopping ten sprinters came together to finish up 11 tickets. This sprint's MVPs have to be Kirsta Stapelfeldt and Kim Pham from the University of Toronto Scarborough, who tackled a monumental documentation task to turn Diego Pino's CLAW lesson webinars into written docs, generating 65 pages of notes so far. The work continues, but this was an amazing start!
Big thanks to all of our sprinters:
Nick Ruest (York University)
Jared Whiklo (University of Manitoba)
Diego Pino (Metro.org)
Ben Rosner (Barnard College)
Ed Fugikawa (University of Wyoming)
Don Richards (University of Tennessee Knoxville)
Marcus Barnes (Simon Fraser University)
Kirsta Stapelfeldt (University of Toronto Scarborough)
Kim Pham (University of Toronto Scarborough)
The next Islandora CLAW sprint will take place from August 15 - 26th, led by our Technical Lead, Danny Lamb. You can sign up here to take part.
Learn about how to support client-side consumers of Linked Data and APIs.
Fresh from our summer hiatus, we — Amanda and Michael — talk shop with Steve Thomas, host of the popular podcast Circulating Ideas, about the design, process, and grind of podcasting, metrics, quality, and monetization. Steve’s flagship is the Fresh Air of the library world in style and in quality.
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Austin, TX Please join us for a Fedora User Group Meeting on October 7, 2016 in Bern, Switzerland at the University Library of Bern from 10:00AM to 1:00PM. The meeting will be held immediately following the 13th International Conference on Digital Preservation iPres 2016, October 3-6, hosted by The Swiss National Library.
Austin, TX Check out OpenVIVO before, during, and after the 2016 VIVO conference! With OpenVIVO, it's easy to find presentations and other conference materials on the 2016 VIVO Conference page. Speakers and presenters can link slides, flyers, and other documents to OpenVIVO for conference attendees and others in the scholarly ecosystem.
Neylon starts by identifying the three possible models for the sustainability of scholarly infrastructures:
Infrastructures for data, such as repositories, curation systems, aggregators, indexes and standards are public goods. This means that finding sustainable economic models to support them is a challenge. This is due to free-loading, where someone who does not contribute to the support of the infrastructure nonetheless gains the benefit of it. The work of Mancur Olson (1965) suggests there are only three ways to address this for large groups: compulsion (often as some form of taxation) to support the infrastructure; the provision of non-collective (club) goods to those who contribute; or mechanisms that change the effective number of participants in the negotiation. He points out the issues around club goods:
In the case of digital infrastructures a public good (such as an online article or dataset) can be converted to a club good (made excludable) by placing an authentication barrier around it to restrict access to subscribers (as is the case for online subscription journals and databases). Buchannan and those that further developed his 1965 paper on the economics of clubs have probed how club goods and club size relate (Buchannan, 1965). A core finding is that such sustainable clubs have an equilibrium size that depends on congestion in access to good (the extent to which it is purely non-rivalrous) and the value it provides. With digital resources congestion is low, and the club can therefore grow large. This creates a challenge. Digital resources are not natively excludable, a technical barrier has to be put in place. As the group size rises the likelihood of "leakage" (sharing, or piracy if you prefer) increases. Thus resources are expended on strengthening excludability which leads to both economic and political costs as seen in the Open Access debate. Clearly, the waste of resources caused by implementing excludability for scholarly communication is immense. It starts with the many billions of dollars of excess rent extracted by the commercial publishers in the form of profit, but it doesn't stop there. To that must be added the resources these publishers spend on marketing, sales, on maintaining their subscription management and enforcement systems, and on anti-piracy measures. All of which decrease the value to society of the underlying public goods.
But that isn't the end of the waste. Because subscriptions are so expensive, the publishers' customers spend large staff resources negotiating with the publishers to try to reduce them. In many countries entire organizations are devoted to this task. And the waste doesn't end when licenses are agreed. As Barbara Fister points out, the customers then spend resources acting as unpaid police enforcing the terms of the licenses.
Infrastructures, such as repositories for data, articles and code, are very close to the ideal of public goods. Mancur Olson in The Logic of Collective Action (1965) discusses how group size has a profound influence on the provision of public goods, in particular noting that provision is only possible for small groups, or where the public good is a byproduct of the provision of non-public goods that are provided to contributors. Indeed Olson's description of the groups that can and cannot provide public goods maps closely onto scholarly infrastructures. ... The transition from small to large is challenging and "medium" sized infrastructures struggle to survive, moving from grant to grant, and in many cases shifting to a subscription model. The LOCKSS Program has sustained itself since 2007 partly by using the "Red Hat" model of free, open-source software and paid support, and partly by operating the CLOCKSS Archive under contract to a separate non-profit. Publishers pay for their content to be preserved and libraries pay to support this non-profit. Diversity in business models is important, and not something that Neylon discusses. While these models have sustained the LOCKSS Program, they have limited its ability to scale up to address the whole problem space. Alternate approaches have been equally unable to scale.
Neylon observes that:
Subscription and membership models such as those used for online subscription journals and for some data infrastructures have been our traditional model and are an example of the second approach. These models are breaking down as the technology of the web and the agenda for transparency and open access leads to unbundling, the separate of the different services being provided. This tends to mean commercial suppliers focus on club and private good provision and neglect public good provision. Addressing this will require the development of support models more like taxation. However systems of taxation require a shared - and ideally globally shared - sense of the principles of governance and resource distribution. Our experience would suggest that although open access (if it uses Creative Commons licenses) significantly reduces the cost of preserving the scholarly literature, it reduces the motivation to subscribe to its preservation even more. This can be seen in the difficulty current archives have in preserving the output of the "long tail" of smaller publishers. To the extent that the open access model succeeds, breakdown is likely.
Membership models can work in those cases where there are club goods being created which attract members. Training experiences or access to valued meetings are possible examples. In the wider world this parallels the "Patreon" model where members get exclusive access to some materials, access to a person (or more generally expertise), or a say in setting priorities. Much of this mirrors the roles that Scholarly Societies play or at least could play. Usenix is an example of a society that has successfully transitioned from charging for publications to running meetings, whose proceedings are available to attendees beforehand and to all afterwards. An annual membership is, in effect, buried in the meeting price.
Neylon argues that:
the focus on sustainability models prior to seeking a set of agreed governance principles is the wrong approach. Rather we need to understand how to navigate from club-like to public-like goods. We need to define the communities that contribute and identify club-like benefits for those contributors. We need interoperable principles of governance and resourcing to provide public-like goods and we should draw on the political economics of taxation to develop this. One form of governance model exists already. Funding agencies can place conditions on the funds they supply to scholars, and they have increasingly been doing so. The UK government has mandated that all papers submitted for the next REF (Research Excellence Framework) be open access, and this has transformed UK scholars attitude to open access.
The core of the policy is that journal articles and conference proceedings must be available in an open-access form to be eligible for the next REF. In practice, this means that these outputs must be uploaded to an institutional or subject repository. Imagine that the requirement for the succeeding round were to be that the paper, the data and the software were all to be freely available from a repository maintained by the University. Universities routinely tax their scholars for infrastructure, and if maintaining a repository and forcing scholars to deposit their work were a condition of future funding they would be highly motivated to tax for this purpose. As a result of their unhappiness with author processing charges, the Wellcome Trust recently established in cooperation with Faculty of 1000 their own open access publishing platform. Conditioning their research grants on publication of the results via their platform would be feasible and revolutionary.
First we can make a prediction to be tested: All sustainable scholarly infrastructures providing collective (public-like) goods to the research community will be funded on one of the three identified models (taxation, byproduct, oligopoly) or some combination of them. and:
Second, we can look at stable long standing infrastructures (Crossref, Protein Data Bank, NCBI, arXiv, SSRN) and note that in most cases governance arrangements are an accident of history and were not explicitly planned. Crises of financial sustainability (or challenges of expansion) for these organisations are often coupled to or lead to a crisis in governance, and in some cases a breakdown of community trust. Changes are therefore often made to governance in response to a specific crisis.
Where there is governance planning it frequently adopts a "best practice" model which looks for successful examples to draw from. It is not often based on "worse case scenario" planning. We suggest that this is a problem. We can learn as much from failures of sustainability and their relationship to governance arrangements as from successes. The reference to SSRN is interesting given Neylon's earlier post, Canaries in the Elsevier Mine: What to watch for at SSRN, which is about what the history of the governance change at Mendeley when Elsevier purchased it tell us about what to look for at SSRN now that Elsevier has purchased it:
The elements that I have argued were lost after Mendeley was purchased.
- Advocacy: SSRN always occupied a quite different space in its disciplinary fields to that of Mendeley, and has never had a strong policy/advocacy stance. Nonetheless look for shifts in policy or narrative that align with the STM Article Sharing Policy or other policy initiatives driven from within Elsevier. Particularly in the light of recent developments with the Cancer Moonshot in the US look for efforts to use SSRN to show that "these disciplines are different to science/medicine".
- Redirection: This is the big one. SSRN is a working paper repository. That is its central function. In that way it is different to Mendeley where you could always argue that the public access element was a secondary function. Watch very closely for when (not if) links to publisher versions of articles appear. Watch how those are presented and whether there is a move towards removing versions that might (perhaps) relate closely to a publisher version. Ask the question: is the fundamental purpose of this repository changing based on the way it directs the attention of users seeking content?
Last updated August 1, 2016. Created by Peter Murray on August 1, 2016.
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The next DC Area Fedora User Group Meeting will take place on September 22-23 at the USDA National Agriculture Library. This event is free to attend.
Register here: https://goo.gl/forms/Vxek7FUEXx5gTv8h1
Last week, the American Library Association (ALA) was pleased to host a delegation of librarians from Belarus. These visitors are invited to the United States under the auspices of the International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP) of the U.S. Department of State. The delegation included Ms. Oksana Knizhnikova, Minsk Regional Library; Ms. Rafeyeva Maryna, Gomel Regional Universal Library; Ms. Tatsiana Nalobina, Brest Regional Library; and Ms. Natalia Stankevich, Tavlay Central City (Baranovichi) Library.
The discussion was wide ranging. We talked about trends in information technology in U.S. libraries, such as ebooks, networking, and spaces for creating content. Access to digital information from the government was discussed, as was the organization and funding of the library sector of Belarus (so, yes, we learned some stuff too). A particular interest of the guests is the role of ALA in the library community (the comparable association in Belarus was founded only in 1992), including ALA’s advocacy roles and international activities.
The IVLP brings rising leaders to the U.S. on a three week professional program. The objectives for this delegation are:
- To examine the role and function of libraries and information specialists in U.S. society;
- To explore the importance of community-based partnerships and strategies for promoting sustainability in American libraries; and
- To demonstrate the diversity of library services and to explore the impact of new advancements in digital and online technologies on various types of libraries.
The next stop for the delegation is Portland, Oregon.
The ALA representatives in this meeting were Alan S. Inouye, Jessica McGilvray, and Nick Gross. We thoroughly enjoyed the time together and look forward to future meetings with representatives from around the world as we fulfill one of the responsibilities of the Washington Office—to represent ALA and U.S. libraries with international delegations.
Guest Post: written by Joanne Parsont, WE THE ECONOMY, Big Picture Instructional Design,
WE THE ECONOMY is a series of 20 short films that use animation, comedy, music, documentary, and scripted storytelling to demystify a complicated topic while empowering students to take control of their own economic future. Just in time for the new school year, a limited number of these great media resources are being made available free of charge to middle and high school teachers across the country.
The film collection comes with companion classroom materials aligned with Common Core, C3, and subject area standards in ELA, media literacy, civics, social studies, math, science, and more. A limited number of free DVDs and guides are available for qualifying classroom teachers, so visit their website to find more information and enter.
And coming this fall, WE THE VOTERS! Keep an eye out for ALA’s announcement of the next anthology of short films and educational materials, offering a fresh perspective on voting, democracy, elections, and governance ahead of the 2016 elections.