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Open Knowledge Foundation: MyData 2017, Hack your heritage and other updates from Open Knowledge Finland.

Wed, 2017-05-03 11:20

This blog post is part of our summer series featuring chapter updates from across the Open Knowledge Network and was written by the team of Open Knowledge Finland.

It’s been a busy start to the 5th year of Open Knowledge Finland as it coincides with the celebration of Finland’s 100 years of independence and 250+ years of Freedom of Information. We have so much to update about! We promise it is a good read!

MyData & GDPR – new digital rights coming up!

MyData 2017 Conference is being prepared as we speak. A Programme team of over 40 people is working night and day (no exaggeration, we operate from various time zones) to make the conference happen. The event, held in Helsinki and Tallinn on Aug 30 – Sep 1, will address various aspects of MyData and digital human rights – GDPR, Ethics, Consent, interoperability, and privacy.Read more details here. The program was just published live today [May 3rd], and early-bird tickets sales just started! Get your ticket and subscribe to the low-volume newsletter at!

If you would like to help with hands-on organising or with creative planning tasks, the core organising team hosts weekly Talkoot events – read more and please join us here. We would especially like to have OK chapters as communication hubs so as to get participants and volunteers for the conference and to get participants and program proposals for the conference. Last year we had visitors from 24 countries – can we do even more this year?! We award volunteers with free access to the conference – so don’t miss this opportunity!

This year’s main conference partner is the Finnish Population Register Centre. As an institution, they hold the very core personal data about every Finn; making them a vital partner. Population Register Centre is also working closely with the Ministry of Finance on a MyData-inspired pilot project and the necessary mechanisms that are needed to include MyData ideology in their services. Contact the MyData 2017 team at

P.S. If you’re wondering about the relation of MyData and open data, check out Rufus Pollock’s excellent talk at MyData 2016:

and take a peek at OK Japan, who are organising a 400-person side event in May!

Finland is 100 years! So we’re hacking our cultural heritage in May

The 3rd Hack4FI – Hack your heritage brings together artists, programmers, designers, humanists, educators and others interested in digital cultural heritage and multi-professional collaboration between 5th – 7th May 2017 at YLE (Finnish Broadcasting Corporation) to create new cultural works, services and concepts in an international and inspirational surroundings.

Participants can explore with virtual technology, remix archival films, travel through time (!) by choosing one of the hosted tracks or choose their own directions and do with the material whatever they like!  Hack4FI 2017 hackathon will be organised in co-operation with AvoinGlam network and YLE whose premises will serve as the venue for the event together with partners in the GLAM sector. We expect some 80-100 hackers again!  

Follow #Hack4FI// or contact Sanna [] to get involved and for information.

Is it bedtime for democracy? We’d like to think not! [Hacking the future of democracy]

What does democracy look like in ten years? How can we increase people’s participation? Join Democracyhack to work on solutions and provoke discussion around democracy, participation and politics in future Finland! Open knowledge Finland, in conjunction with the Tulevaisuuden valtiopäivät event (Future Parliament) and the Finnish Independence Fund – Sitra are organising a democracy seminar and hackathon Democracyhack from  4th – 5th May. The hackathon is open to all, even non-Finnish speakers participants!  Contact the Democracyhack team [] for more information.

Creating a lobby register in Finland – our FOI work continues

OKFI just received a grant from The Helsingin Sanomat Foundation to work on the freedom of information. Our first task is to open the data on meetings with Finnish civil servants and members of Parliament so they can be used by journalists, researchers, activists and other non-governmental organisations. The Parliamentary visitors’ log was classified as public information by the Supreme Administrative Court on 20.12.2016, in a case, the Open Ministry took to court. The decision is crucial in helping to identify the extent of lobbying towards Parliament – and later, in other ministries, public bodies and authorities.

The next step will be creating transparency in the comprehensive and systematic collection of data through freedom of information requests, as well creating a database out of its responses. We are working together with the Data Protection Ombudsman to determine which data are not publishable (for example, family members or other representatives will not be published). Some personal guest information will be released after appropriately anonymizing the data (e.g. for statistical purposes). The data is published using the open CC-BY 4.0 license, so scientists, journalists and others can use it.

Our goal is to produce data visualisations, that concisely indicate connections between the visitors and the drafting of laws. We also aim to produce a short report about practical experiences and challenges in the systematic gathering of information based on freedom of information requests.

Monitoring hate speech in municipal elections 

As we headed towards the local elections, the topic of online hate speech once again raised its ugly head. So, we are learning and testing tools for hate speech by monitoring about 6,000 candidates, out of total 33,000 – using open data and artificial intelligence to analyse tweets and posts by the candidates. Social media posts were analysed in real time by an AI algorithm. If the messages were predicted to contain hate speech, messages were forwarded to the Non-discrimination Ombudsman. There, employees analysed the posts, and if they confirmed the content as hate speech, they contacted the political party in question (all parties had signed a European agreement against discrimination) or, in some cases, the public prosecutor. Unfortunately, some candidates will be taken to court for their racist misbehaviour.

This was a pilot project in partnership with The Finnish Non-discrimination Ombudsman, Finnish League for Human Rights, Ministry of Justice / Ethnic relations (ETNO), Academy of Finland Research projects from University of Helsinki, Aalto University and Tampere University (HYBRA, Citizens in the Making), Open Knowledge Finland, Futurice and others! Final results are due in May, the elections were held early in April. The source code is available at 

Other activities and projects that may be of interest Citizen science – recommendations to the Ministry of Education and Culture

Citizen science has most notably, been used as a method for creating observational data for life science research. Against the backdrop of current technological advancement, we need to create Citizen Science v 2.0 – open, diverse, responsible, dialogic and academically excellent. Regarding outcomes, we envision a set of concrete recommendations for national stakeholders; we will create understanding, awareness and discussion about citizen science as a scientific method and community; and we will catalyse a research agenda for a new kind of open citizen science. Contact: for more information. You can also watch a youtube video about the project here [in Finnish]:

For more information about the Citizen Science, see The European Citizen Science Association (ECSA) website

Protesting against the rising costs of scientific publishing 

Major international scientific publishers are currently enjoying remarkable profit margins. The scientific community produces research, usually publicly funded, edits the publications as unpaid volunteers, and then buys back the scientific publications. Publishers have increased the price of publications significantly year by year although in this digital era the trend should be the opposite. Through FOI requests and court cases by OKFI, we found out just how bad the situation was.

Now, seven active Open Science enthusiasts gathered support for the cause in Finland – and as a result, some 2800 academics are declining to peer review scientific journals, until proper agreements are held, and the situation is in control. This is a pan-European topic, and collaboration here could be fruitful, also within the Open Knowledge family. Contact Heidi [] and read more here:

Government’s analysis, assessment and research activities

Open Knowledge Finland delivered its first two commissioned projects for the Government’s analysis, evaluation and research activities, coordinated by the Prime Minister’s Office.

  1. Together with ETLA (Research Institute of the Finnish Economy), we implemented a project called “cost-effective utilisation of open data”. The project’s goal was to better understand and measure the impacts of open data and the use of the necessary public registers. We studied the relationship between the use of open data in companies and their innovation production and financial success. Furthermore, we proposed 10 concrete means of increasing the impact of open data in our society. Read the report here
  2. In partnership with the National Institute of Health and Welfare (THL) and Oxford Research, we implemented the Yhtäköyttä project (Common Knowledge Practices for Research and Decision Making). The project studied how to support evidence-based decision-making with wide participation. The objective was to design a systematic method with roles, practices, information structures and IT infrastructure that support each other. Read more about it here

Unfortunately, information on both projects is not available in English.

MyData Muutosvoimana

MyData Muutosvoimana (“MyData as a force of change”) is a new project launched under the stewardship of Aleksi Knuutila.

The project seeks to create modes of operation for opening up Finnish public administration data by MyData principles.

Other OKFI plans in 2017

Stuff we are working on: Creative Commons, Open Data Business cases, the impact of open data…and much more. For a comprehensive insight of Open Knowledge Finland, kindly have a look at

A new board & chairman for 2017

The start of 2017 saw a few organisational shifts and rule changes in OKFI to allow for scaling and more efficient operations for the future. We will now organise two general meetings per year. We also held our autumn meeting in December and voted for the new board to lead our efforts in 2017 – making this the second time within a year the board was elected :)!

Previous vice chairman Mika Honkanen took the lead as of January 1, 2017. Best wishes to Mika! Other re-elected previous board members are Susanna Ånäs, Liisi Soroush, Jessica Parland-von Essen, Raoul Plommer, Mikael Seppälä. And, nice to have two new members of the board, Aki Saariaho and Oskari Lappalainen! 

The long-term chairman Antti Jogi Poikola stepped aside as the lead – but thankfully continues as the treasurer (as an external advisor to the board) – and of course as one of the leading masterminds and visionaries on MyData. Congratulations to all!

New employees – new office!

Viivi Lähteenoja started as MyData 2017 producer (1-10/2017) and Aleksi Knuutila started as project manager for MyData Muutosvoimana (1-9/2017).

Teemu continues as full-time (executive director), just starting his third year. Sanna Marttila continues as part-time project manager (Creative Commons support -project, Hack4FI 2017 -project). 

Pia Adibe’s contract was extended, as she continues to steer our HR and Finance management. Liisi Soroush, Mikael Seppälä, Aki Saariaho, Raimo Muurinen, Kari Hintikka and Salla Thure are also employed in a 1-6 month part-time jobs.

We have submitted over 10 different project proposals this year – so we sure hope some funding is coming our way. New ideas always welcome – get in touch with

We also just relocated! Our new office is at Maria 0-1 startup centre, not far from the centre of Helsinki – a former hospital that now houses well over 300 people. It is exciting to be part of the Maria 01 community, where every day is a buzz!

Read More: Blog posts in English

Rebooting nations – what would states and democracy look like if we invented them today? In a series of democracy and Democracyhack-related posts, this one looks at what we in welfare states could learn from the libertarian, tech-loving anarcho-capitalists of Liberland!

Why Design for Data? Design for Data is one of our topics at Open Knowledge Finland. If interested, join the Design for Data Facebook group.

Collaborate with Open Knowledge Finland

We have submitted over 10 different project proposals, including work with OK Germany and OK Greece – so we sure hope some exciting cross-border work is coming our way. New ideas for collaboration always welcome – get in touch!

For any further information on OKFI activities, kindly contact (international activities contact point) and/or (Executive Director). Follow OKFI at @okffi ( 








LITA: Developing An OER Platform: Tips And Lessons Learned

Tue, 2017-05-02 14:00

Most campuses are knee-deep in OER efforts, whether this means managing stipend programs, passing OER policies or simply advocating for faculty awareness. OSU is no different, and we were lucky to be able to start our pilot OER program thanks to a generous donor. To date, we have 7 courses represented as part of our program and they are each in different stages of completion. More information about the program itself is available here:

We were surprised to learn that most of the faculty were interested in writing a text from scratch, which meant that we would have to develop a way for us to take their manuscripts written in Word and publish them. While this may sound simple, we suddenly found ourselves acting as copyeditors, “typesetters”, and publishers in one fell swoop. We had to very quickly develop workflows and determine how we would host and present each text so that these materials would look and feel like true open access books, similar to those found in OpenStax and other platforms.

This is how we addressed each issue we encountered:

We looked at various hosting options and landed on utilizing Adobe InDesign to develop a PDF as well as an e-pub version of each text. We also developed our own template for formatting each chapter and our own logo so that we could brand each text. We also had to develop a website where we are featuring information about each author, overall information about our program, as well as access to both versions of the textbook including the level of Creative Commons licensing information to be set for each work.

Developing materials for the web brings with its own unique set of issues, as we quickly realized that we had overlooked the important element of accessibility. We worked with our campus coordinator for accessibility and tried to retroactively add some elements where we could as well as work with authors still developing their text to ensure they integrated things like alternative text for images, font types and sizes, and appropriate color choices into their manuscripts prior to our formatting them.

We are currently working with our bookstore to develop on-demand printing so that students who wish to print and bind their own textbook can do so for a nominal fee. This entails them receiving a ticket from the bookstore that they can use to purchase the textbook they need. The printing information is linked from the campus FedEx site where they can pick and choose what binding and style they would like which then automatically calculates the cost of the printed copy.

While we are still working our way through these issues, it’s important to realize the level of commitment and technical expertise you will need if you plan to do something similar. While the work in Adobe InDesign is not difficult per se, it is time consuming and you need to ensure you have enough flexibility to make changes to templates and processes to accommodate unexpected changes in content or format. Most importantly, having a plan ahead of time and ensuring that all of your authors are clear about what’s expected of them and what they are responsible for versus your portion will hopefully go a long way towards streamlining your efforts. The British Columbia Open Textbook project has recently developed a great guide for this purpose: as it lays out all of this information in an easy to navigate document.

Finally, working with such organizations as the Open Textbook Network will allow us to continue sharing and developing best practices and talk with other institutions who are working on similar projects.


OCLC Dev Network: On-demand batch processing with the WorldCat Metadata API

Tue, 2017-05-02 13:00

The WorldCat Metadata API opens up new possibilities for institutions to contribute and manage their bibliographic data at scale.

FOSS4Lib Recent Releases: Islandora - 7.x-1.9

Tue, 2017-05-02 12:42

Last updated May 2, 2017. Created by Peter Murray on May 2, 2017.
Log in to edit this page.

Package: IslandoraRelease Date: Monday, May 1, 2017

Open Knowledge Foundation: How to Read the Global Open Data Index Results

Tue, 2017-05-02 12:41

The Global Open Data Index (GODI) is a tool to educate civil society and governments about open government data publication. We do so through presenting different information, including places scores, ranking, and scores for each data category per place, and comments by our submitters and reviewers.

Even though we try to make this assessment coherent and transparent as possible, interpreting the results is not always straightforward. While open data has a very strict definition, scoring of any index is a discretional action. In real life, you can’t be partly open – either the data fit the criteria, or they do not. 

This blog post will help GODI user to understand the following: 

– What does the final score mean? 

– How to interpret scores that vary between 0%, 40% or 70%? 

– What does a score of 0% mean?

For a more thorough explanation on how to read the results, go to 

What does the score mean?

Our scoring (ranging from 0% open to 100% open) does not necessarily show a gradual improvement towards open data. In fact, we assess very different degrees of data openness – which is why any score below 100 percent only indicates that a dataset is partially open. These levels of openness include public data, access-controlled data, as well as data gaps (See GODI methodology). To understand the differences we highly recommend reading each score together with our openness icon bar (see image below).

For instance: a score of 70% can say that we found access-controlled, machine-readable data, that cannot be downloaded in bulk. **Any score below 100% means “no access”, “closed access” or “public access”**. Here we explain what each of them means, and how the data for each category look in practice.

Public Access Data

Data is publicly accessible if the public can see it online without any access controls. It does not imply that data can be downloaded, or that it is freely reusable. Often it means that data is presented in HTML on a website.

The image above shows a search interface of a company register. It allows for targeted searches for individual companies but does not enable to retrieve all data at once. Individual search results (non-bulk) are displayed in HTML format and can then be downloaded as PDF (not machine-readable). Therefore the score is 70% and visualised as follow openness icon bar in our ranking:

Access-controlled data

Data is access-controlled if a provider regulates who, when, and how data can be accessed. Access control includes:

* Registration/identification/authentication

* Data request forms, data sharing agreement (stipulating use cases),

* Ordering/purchasing data.


There are many reasons for establishing access controlled data including website traffic management, or to maintain control over how data is used. It is debatable whether some registration/authentication mechanisms reduce the openness of data (especially when registration is automated). Data request forms, on the other hand, are clearly not open data.


This image shows a data request form. The dataset is entirely hidden behind a “paywall”. This often prevents our research team from assessing the data at all. In this case, we could not verify in which format the data will be provided, and neither whether the data are actually weather forecast data (the particular category we look at). Therefore this access-controlled data gained 0 points and counts as 0% open. By contrast,  access-controlled data often score very high, up to 85% (because we subtract 15 out of 100 points for access-controls like registration requirements). 


How to read a score of 0%?

The are many reasons why datasets will score 0%. We tried to address the reasons in the reviewer or submitter’s comments as well. See here for the main reasons:

Data gaps

A data gap can mean that governments do not produce any data in a given category. Sometimes, if GODI shows a zero percent score, we see data gaps. For instance the case for Western African countries that lack air quality monitoring systems, or countries that have no established postcode system. Data gaps indicate that the government information systems are not ready to produce open data, sometimes because resources are missing, at times because it is not a priority of government.

Exist, but only to governmental use

Sometimes government has the data, but for many reasons choose not to open it to the public at all.  

Not granular

Since our criteria look for particular granularity, we considered all datasets that didn’t reach this granularity levels as not granular, and therefore they were regarded as not available.

For example – Great Britain has published elections results, but not on poll station level, which is a crucial level to detect voter fraud. Therefore, while there is some data for UK elections, it is not at the right level and considered as non-existent.

 Do not fit our criteria

We are looking for particular datasets in GODI. When they don’t have all the characteristics we are looking for, we consider them as not available.

For the full explanation on how to read the results see –

Raymond Yee: Revisiting at I Annotate 2017

Tue, 2017-05-02 05:56

I'm looking forward to hacking on web and epub annotation at the #ianno17 Hack Day. I won't be at the I Annotate 2017 conference per se but will be curious to see what comes out of the annual conference.

I continue to have high hopes for digital annotations, both on the Web and in non-web digital contexts. I have used Hypothesis on and off since Oct 2013. My experiences so far:

  • I like the ability to highlight and comment on very granular sections of articles for comment, something the annotation tool makes easy to do. I appreciate being able to share annotation/highlight with others (on Twitter or Facebook), though I'm pretty sure most people who bother to click on the links might wonder "what's this" when they click on the link. A small user request: should allow a user to better customize the Facebook preview image for the annotation.
  • I've enjoyed using for code review on top of GitHub. (Exactly how complements the extensive code-commenting functionality in GitHub might be worth a future blog post.)

My Plans for Hack Day Python wrapper for

This week, I plan to revisit rdhyee/hypothesisapi: A Python wrapper for the nascent web API to update or abandon it in favor of new developments. (For example, I should look at kshaffer/pypothesis: Python scripts for interacting with the API.)

Epubs + annotations

I want to figure out the state of art for epubs and annotations. I'm happy to see the announcement of a partnership to bring open annotation to eBooks from March 2017. I'd definitely like to figure out how to annotate epubs (e.g., Oral Literature in Africa (at or Moby Dick). The best approach is probably for me to wait until summer at which time we'll see the fruits of the partnership:

Together, our goal is to complete a working integration of Hypothesis with both EPUB frameworks by Summer 2017. NYU plans to deploy the ReadiumJS implementation in the NYU Press Enhanced Networked Monographs site as a first use case. Based on lessons learned in the NYU deployment, we expect to see wider integration of annotation capabilities in eBooks as EPUB uptake continues to grow.

In the meantime, I can catch up on the current state of futurepress/epub.js: Enhanced eBooks in the browser., grok Epub CFI Updates, and relearn how to parse epubs using Python (e.g., rdhyee/epub_avant_garde: an experiment to apply ideas from to arbitrary epubs).

Role of page owners

I plan to check in on what's going on with efforts at to involve owners in page annotations:

In the past months we launched a small research initiative to gather different points of view about website publishers and authors consent to annotation. Our goal was to identify different paths forward taking into account the perspectives of publishers, engineers, developers and people working on abuse and harassment issues. We have published a first summary of our discussion on our blog post about involving page owners in annotation.

I was reminded of these efforts after reading that Audrey Watters had blocked annotation services like and genius from her domains:

In the spirit of communal conversation, I threw in my two cents:

Have there been any serious exploration of easy opt-out mechanisms for domain owners? Something like robots.txt for annotation tools?

DuraSpace News: DEMO: Recent Hyku Technical Advances

Tue, 2017-05-02 00:00

From Michael J. Giarlo, Technical Manager, Hydra-in-a-Box Project, Software Architect on behalf of the Hyku tech team

Stanford, CA  Here's the latest demo of advances made on Hyku.

DuraSpace News: INVITATION: DSpace UK and Ireland User Group Meeting

Tue, 2017-05-02 00:00

From Dr. Arthur Smith, Open Access Service Manager, Cambridge University Library 

Cambridge, UK  You are invited to attend the UK and Ireland User Group Meeting on May 17, at the University of Cambridge. Please register your attendance (either in person or via video conference) at the Eventbrite link below:

Islandora: It's alive! Islandora 7.x-1.9 Release Announcement

Mon, 2017-05-01 22:50

Most noble Islandora users and/or contributors including passers-by:

I have the pleasure to officially proclaim our most recent tech-social achievement: Shiny Islandora 7.x-1.9 Release   So, you wonder, where are the tangible, edible, results of this endeavor? Look no further:
  • Freshly baked release notes (warning, still hot):
  • Fancy Numbers: 55 bug fixes, 22 Improvements, 5 new features, 12 Doc and Code tasks and 22 document well-known-issues
  • A Release OVA/VM and its vagrant source counter part  (For the OVA: md5 is 0BF+WJ+MIehwhd1chaH/Lw== etag is d0117e589f8c21e87085dd5c85a1ff2f ) that works and includes ASCII art. 
  • The most amazing and most altruistic group of committers, testers, documenters and auditors plus many others that reported/used and exploited every single aspect of this awesome piece of software (yeah, you!) 
  1. Alan Stanley
  2. Adam Vessey
  3. Bayard Miller
  4. Ben Companjen
  5. Brandon Weigel
  6. Brian Harrington
  7. Bridger Dyson-Smith
  8. Bryan Brown
  9. Caleb Derven
  10. Charles Hunt
  11. Chris Stanton
  12. Cricket Deane
  13. Daniel Aitken
  14. Danny Lamb
  15. Don Richards
  16. Ed Fugikawa
  17. Erin Tripp
  18. Janice Banser
  19. Jared Whiklo
  20. Jennifer Eustis
  21. Jonathan Green
  22. Jordan Dukart
  23. Keila Zayas-Ruiz
  24. Kelsey Williamson
  25. Kim Pham
  26. Kirsta Stapelfeldt
  27. Matthew Miguez
  28. Melissa Anez
  29. Nat Kanthan
  30. Nelson Hart
  31. Nick Ruest
  32. Paul Cummins
  33. Peter MacDonald
  34. Robin Dean
  35. Rosie Le Faive
  36. Scott Ziegler
  37. William Panting
  38. Zach Vowell

Including all those friendly institutions: Members, collaborators, and partners that provided their staff's time to devote to this project, making this Seventh Islandora Community release happen on time and with the quality that already defines us (and that you expect)

  All the hard facts/JIRA tickets/closed issues and fireworks can be found in the release Notes and in my previous Release Candidates announcements, there is always more than what meets the eye between releases, but before finishing my role as manager for this release I want to thank all those who helped out while "releasing", especially Melissa Anez (because there is no community without our community manager), Bryan Brown for being as active as someone can be, checking in and out during the whole release, Rosie LeFaive for batch merging and reviewing so much code, Jared Whiklo for all those pongs in response to a ping (and for being so patient, I can drive people crazy), Daniel Lamb for transmitting his 7.x-1.8 knowledge, Kim Pham for all that deep testing of the stack, Adam Vessey and Jordan Dukart for helping everytime something against the time and laws of physics was needed and also for fixing Drupal Filter (also they fixed the only Blocker on time), Jon Green for repairing those nasty Travis-CI hiccups with well written code, Don Richards for asking the right questions and keeping track of docs and to all those new to a release and Github. Really thanks to everyone in our release team for playing for the same team and being nice. My role as facilitator was much easier thanks to you all.   Would love to get your feedback on this process and please don't hesitate on reaching out/ proposing better, nicer ways of doing this.   Enjoy!   Gracias   Diego Pino Navarro Islandora (ex)  7.x-1.9 Release Manager (because we have a RELEASE!)  

Library of Congress: The Signal: More DPOE in the Deep South

Mon, 2017-05-01 18:57

This is a guest post by Elizabeth Kelly, Digital Initiatives Librarian at Loyola University New Orleans, and Cheylon Woods, Archivist/Head of Ernest J. Gaines Center at University of Louisiana Lafayette.

Participants from the inaugural Digital Preservation Outreach & Education (DPOE) Train–the–Trainer in the Deep South recently delivered digital preservation training to library practitioners in the state of Louisiana. Charlene Bonnette (State Library of Louisiana), Gina Costello (Louisiana State University), Elizabeth Kelly (Loyola University New Orleans), Jeff Rubin (Tulane University), Zach Tompkins (Louisiana State Archives), and Cheylon Woods (University of Louisiana Lafayette) presented all six modules of the DPOE curriculum in a 3 hour pre-conference workshop, “Digital Preservation: From Identifying Content to Providing Access,” at the 2017 Louisiana Library Association Conference, organized by the The Louisiana Library Association.

DPOE trainers at the 2017 Louisiana Library Association Conference.

The workshop was held at the Lafayette Public Library – South Regional Branch on Tuesday, March 7. The Louisiana Library Association Subject Specialists sponsored the program, and refreshments were provided by the Friends of the Louisiana State Archives and the University of Louisiana Lafayette.

The conference theme was “Shaping the Future,” and presenters tailored the DPOE modules for library professionals from a variety of backgrounds and institutions. Through lecture, discussion, and hands-on activity, presenters led participants through developing a plan for preserving digital assets—whether born-digital archival materials, institutional records, or personal digital resources. 34 participants from primarily public libraries and some academic libraries attended the training.

The purpose of the workshop was to reach out to information professionals throughout the state of Louisiana and encourage then to take steps towards digitization by demonstrating the benefit and simplicity of the process. Many of the participants were on the cusp of digitization, and most were overwhelmed by the concept. All of the presenters took time to reassure participants that digitization is a natural advancement in the preservation process, and many steps towards digitization are already incorporated in preservation best practices. In addition to providing participants with resources, this workshop also provided participants with a network of fellow information professionals embarking on similar projects. These kinds of connections can serve as a support system as participants begin digitizing or advocating for digitization policies in their institutions.

The conference presenters were all previously trained in the DPOE curriculum. DPOE workshop graduates are designated as Digital Preservation Topical Trainers, and they are expected to develop training events of their own–hence the “train-the-trainer” model. By delivering digital preservation planning training within the state of Louisiana, the “Digital Preservation: From Identifying Content to Providing Access” presenters hope to improve the ability of Louisiana institutions to preserve their digitized and born-digital content. Kelly, Rubin, and Woods will reprise the workshop on May 24 in Fayetteville, Arkansas for a Society of Southwest Archivists Annual Meeting pre-conference session titled “Digital Preservation Planning Workshop.”

Jodi Schneider: David Liebovitz: Achieving Care transformation by Infusing Electronic Health Records with Wisdom

Mon, 2017-05-01 17:23

Today I am at the Health Data Analytics summit. The title of the keynote talk is Achieving Care transformation by Infusing Electronic Health Records with Wisdom. It’s a delight to hear from a medical informaticist: David M. Liebovitz (publications in Google Scholar), MD, FACP, Chief Medical Information Officer, The University of Chicago. He graduated from University of Illinois in electrical engineering, making this a timely talk as the engineering-focused Carle Illinois College of Medicine gets going.

David Liebovitz started with a discussion of the data problems — problem lists, medication lists, family history, rules, results, notes — which will be familiar to anyone using EHRs or working with EHR data. He draws attention also to the human problems — both in terms of provider “readiness” (e.g. their vision for population-level health) as well as about “current expectations”. (An example of such an expectation is a “main clinician satisfier” he closed with: U Chicago is about to turn on outbound faxing from the EHR!) He mentioned also the importance of resilience.

He mentioned customizing systems as a risk when the vendor makes upstream changes (this is not unique to healthcare but a threat to innovation and experimentation with information systems in other industries.) Still, in managing the EHR, there is continual optimization, scored based on a number of factors. He mentioned:

  • Safety
  • Quality/patient experience
  • Regulatory/legal
  • Financial
  • Usability/productivity
  • Availability of alternative solutions

As well as weighting for old requests.

He emphasized the complexity of healthcare in several ways:

An image from “Prices That Are Too High”, Chapter 5, The Healthcare Imperative: Lowering Costs and Improving Outcomes: Workshop Series Summary (2010)

  • Icosystem’s diagram of the complexity of the healthcare system

Icosystem – complexity of the healthcare system

  • Another complexity is the modest impact of medical care compared to other factors
    • such as the impact of socioeconomic and political context on equity in health and well-being (see the WHO image below).
    • For instance, there is a large impact of health behaviors, which “happen in larger social contexts.” (See the Relative Contribution of Multiple Determinants to Health, August 21, 2014, Health Policy Briefs)

Solar O, Irwin A. A conceptual framework for action on the social determinants of health. Social Determinants of Health Discussion Paper 2 (Policy and Practice).

Given this complexity, David Liebovitz stresses that we need to start with the right model, “simultaneously improving population health, improving the patient experience of care, and reducing per capita cost”. (See Stiefel M, Nolan K. A Guide to Measuring the Triple Aim: Population Health, Experience of Care, and Per Capita Cost. IHI Innovation Series white paper. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Institute for Healthcare Improvement; 2012).

Table 1 from Stiefel M, Nolan K. A Guide to Measuring the Triple Aim: Population Health, Experience of Care, and Per Capita Cost. IHI Innovation Series white paper. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Institute for Healthcare Improvement; 2012.

Given the modest impact of medical care, and of data, he suggests that we should choose the right outcomes.

David Liebovitz says that “not enough attention has been paid to usability”; I completely agree and suggest that information scientists, human factors engineeers, and cognitive ergonomists help mainstream medical informaticists fill this gap. He put up Jakob Nielsen’s 10 usability heuristics for user interface design A vivid example is whether a patient’s resuscitation preferences are shown (which seems to depend on the particular EHR screen): the system doesn’t highlight where we are in the system. For providers, he says user control and freedom are very important. He suggests that there are only a few key tasks. A provider should be able to do ANY of these things wherever they are in the chart:

  • put a note
  • order something
  • send a message

Similarly, EHR should support recognition (“how do I admit a patient again?”) rather than requiring recall.

Meanwhile, on the decision support side he highlights the (well-known) problems around interruptions by saying that speed is everything and changing direction is much easier than stopping. Here he draws on some of his own work, describing what he calls a “diagnostic process aware workflow”

David Liebovitz. Next steps for electronic health records to improve the diagnostic process. Diagnosis 2015 2(2) 111-116. doi:10.1515/dx-2014-0070

Can we predict X better? Yes, he says (for instance pointing to Table 3 of “Can machine-learning improve cardiovascular risk prediction using routine clinical data?” and its machine learning analysis of over 300,000 patients, based on variables chosen from previous guidelines and expert-informed selection–generating further support for aspects such as aloneness, access to resources, socio-economic status). But what’s really needed, he says, is to:

  • Predict the best next medical step, iteratively
  • Predict the best next lifestyle step, iteratively
  • (And what to do about genes and epigenetic measures?)

He shows an image of “All of our planes in the air” from flightaware, drawing the analogy that we want to work on “optimal patient trajectories” — predicting what are the “turbulent events” to avoid”. This is not without challenges. He points to three:

He closes suggesting that we:

  • Finish the basics
  • Address key slices of the spectrum
  • Descriptive/prescriptive
  • Begin the prescriptive journey: impact one trajectory at a time.

Hugh Cayless: Experiencing Technical Difficulties

Mon, 2017-05-01 16:28
I've been struggling with a case of burnout for a while now. It's a common problem in programming, where we have to maintain a fairly high level of creative energy all the time, and unlike my colleagues in academia or the library, I'm not eligible for research leave or sabbaticals. Vacation is the only opportunity for recharging my creative batteries, but that's hard too when there are a lot of tasks that can't wait. I have taken the day off to work before, but that just seems stupid. So I grind away, hoping the fog will lift.

A few weeks ago, the kids and I joined my wife on a work trip to Michigan. It was supposed to be a mini-vacation for us, but I got violently ill after lunch one day—during a UMich campus tour. It sucked about as much as it possibly could. My marvelous elder daughter dealt with the situation handily, but of course we ended up missing most of the tour, and I ended up in bed the rest of the day, barring the occasional run to the bathroom. My world narrowed down to a point. I was quite happy to lie there, not thinking. I could have read or watched television, but I didn't want to. Trying the occasional sip of gatorade was as much as I felt like. For someone who normally craves input all the time, it was very peaceful. It revealed to me again on how much of a knife-edge my consciousness really is. It would take very little to knock it off the shelf to shatter on the ground.

My father has Alzheimer's Disease, and this has already happened to him. Where once there was an acutely perceptive and inquiring mind, there remains only his personality, which seems in his case to be the last thing to go. I try to spend time with him at least once or twice a week, both to take a little pressure off my mother and to check on their general well-being. We take walks. Physically, he's in great shape for a man in his 80s. And there are still flashes of the person he was. He can't really hold a conversation, and will ask the same questions over and over again, my answers slipping away as soon as they're heard, but as we walked the other day, accompanied by loud birdsong, he piped up "We hear you!" to the birds, his sense of humor suddenly back on the surface. We are lucky that my parents have fantastic insurance and a good retirement plan, courtesy of an employer, the Episcopal Church, that cares about its people beyond the period of their usefulness.

Burnout is a species of depression, really. It is the same sort of thing as writer's block. Your motivation simply falls out from under you. You know what needs to be done, but it's hard to summon the energy to do it. The current political climate doesn't help, as we careen towards the cliff's edge like the last ride of Thelma and Louise, having (I hope metaphorically, but probably not for many of us) chosen death over a constrained future, for the sake of poking authority in the eye. My children will suffer because the Baby Boomers have decided to try to take it all with them, because as a society we've fallen in love with Death. All we can do really is try to arm the kids against the hard times to come, their country having chosen war, terror, and oppression in preference to the idea that someone undeserving might receive any benefit from society. We Gen-Xers at least had some opportunity to get a foot on the ladder. Their generation will face a much more tightly constrained set of choices, with a much bigger downside if they make the wrong ones. I don't write much about my children online, because we want to keep them as much as possible out of the view of the social media Panopticon until they're mature enough to make their own decisions about confronting it. At least they may have a chance to start their lives without the neoliberal machine knowing everything about them. They won't have anything like the support I had, and when we've dismantled our brief gesture towards health care as a human right and insurance decisions are made by AIs that know everything about you going back to your childhood, things are going to be quite difficult.

A symptom, I think, of my burnout is my addiction to science fiction and urban fantasy novels. They give me a chance to check out from the real world for a while, but I think it's become a real addiction rather than an escape valve. Our society rolls ever forward toward what promises to be an actual dystopia with all the trappings: oppressed, perhaps enslaved underclasses, policed by unaccountable quasi-military forces, hyper-wealthy elites living in walled gardens with the latest technology, violent and unpredictable weather, massive unemployment and social unrest, food and water shortages, and ubiquitous surveillance. Escapism increasingly seems unwise. Some of that future can be averted if we choose not to be selfish and paranoid, to stop oppressing our fellow citizens and to stop demonizing immigrants, to put technology at the service of bettering society and surviving the now-inevitable changes to our climate. But we are not making good choices. Massive unemployment is a few technological innovations away. It doesn't have to be a disaster, indeed it could lead to a renaissance, but I think we're too set in our thinking to avoid the disaster scenario. The unemployed are lazy after all, our culture tells us, they must deserve the bad things that have happened to them. Our institutions are set up to push them back towards work by curtailing their benefits. But It could never happen to me, could it?

And that comes back around to why I try to grind my way through burnout rather than taking time to recover from it. I live in an "at will" state. I could, in theory, be fired because my boss saw an ugly dog on the way in to work. That wouldn't happen, I hasten to say—I work with wonderful, supportive people. But there are no guarantees to be had. People can be relied on, but institutions that have not been explicitly set up to support us cannot, and institutional structures and rules tend to win in the end. Best to keep at it and hope the spark comes back. It usually does.

LITA: Take this important LITA emerging leaders Survey

Mon, 2017-05-01 15:30

Help us improve LITA’s virtual teams!

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. The teams target for their public report is ALA Annual 2017. 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

DPLA: Announcing new members of the 2017-2018 Education Advisory Committee

Mon, 2017-05-01 14:45

We are thrilled to welcome seven new members to the 2017-2018 DPLA Education Advisory Committee. We received an excellent response to the call for applications from many highly qualified candidates representing a broad array of fields and disciplines including History, English, Education, Art History, Library and Information Science, and Music faculty, university librarians and archivists, and independent researchers.

Together with the ten returning members of the Education Advisory Committee, new members will work in collaboration with DPLA staff to create and deliver curriculum for professional development using DPLA and its resources for inquiry-based instruction; develop best practices for implementing the Primary Source Sets; write new primary source sets; and provide input on online professional development modules between June 2017 and December 2018. For updates about DPLA’s education initiatives, join the DPLA education mailing list.

Meet the new members of the Education Advisory Committee:

Catherine Denial is the Bright Professor of American History at Knox College in Illinois, and chair of the History department.

Lucy Santos Green is an associate professor of Library and Information Science at the University of South Carolina’s Knowledge School.

Tona Hangen is an associate professor and department chair of the History and Political Science department at Worcester State University, where she teaches courses in historical methods and American social, intellectual, and religious history.

Nancy Schurr has taught American history for the past 15 years and is currently serving as an assistant professor of History at Chattanooga State Community College in Tennessee.

Jolie A. Sheffer is an associate professor of English and American Culture Studies and an affiliated faculty member in the Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies program at Bowling Green State University.

Virginia Spivey is an art historian specializing cross-sector teaching and learning in art history.

Sarah Thomson is a Ph.D. candidate in Teaching and Teacher Education at the University of Michigan, where she works with social studies teachers to develop students’ literacy skills with primary sources.

Read their full bios at on our Education Advisory Committee page.

Islandora: Islandoracon - Day Rates!

Mon, 2017-05-01 12:15

With two weeks left until Islandoracon and space still available, we are pleased to be able to open up single day registration at a rate of $149 CAD per day. Single day registration can be applied to any day of the conference. The overall schedule for the conference is:

With details available at the links above.

Hydra Project: UC Santa Barbara joins the Hydra Partners

Mon, 2017-05-01 08:36

We are delighted to announce that the University of California at Santa Barbara has become the latest Hydra Partner.

UC Santa Barbara has been successfully running the Alexandria Digital Research Library (ADRL) using a production instance of Hydra since 2013, at  The repository initially launched hosting Electronic Theses and Dissertations (ETDs) and has grown to include various born digital and digitized archival images.  Most recently they have implemented access to their collection of more than 10,000 wax cylinder recordings held by the Department of Special Research Collections.

The UC Santa Barbara team have been active participants in the community, not only attending every Hydra Connect to-date, but also by hosting community events such as Hydra Camp and the first West Coast regional Hydra meet up.

The team is putting the final touches on a release of ADRL that will provide access to digitized versions of their scanned map collections.  This release will highlight the use of Hydra to navigate complex object relationships and leverage Open SeaDragon and IIIF technologies to provide deep zoom interaction with high-resoultion scans.  This functionality will be rolled out later this year with an even larger GIS initiative following shortly after.

We welcome UCSB to the Partnership and look forward to even more collaboration with them in the future!

Hydra Project: Hydra 2016 Annual Report

Mon, 2017-05-01 08:26

Since its inception in 2008, Hydra has evolved from a loose consortium of a few like-minded people into a thriving community comprising many, many hundreds of people worldwide.  As Hydra has grown it has become more difficult for any one individual to keep track of all that is going on in, and all that has been achieved by, that community.  In late 2016 it was decided that Hydra would be well served by publishing an Annual Report each year to summarize its achievements both for those in the Hydra Community and for those who may be looking to find out more about it.

A copy of the 2016 Annual Report can be downloaded here.

Whilst we hope it will interest a wide audience, the Report is aimed primarily at managers and administrators and we would urge you to share it widely with colleagues who may find it of interest.

DuraSpace News: REGISTER for the 2017 VIVO Conference: Key Advantages

Mon, 2017-05-01 00:00

The new and improved VIVO 2017 Conference is set to take place August 2 - 4 at 

Jonathan Brinley: nginx as HTTPS proxy for Elasticsearch

Sun, 2017-04-30 18:05

Let’s say you have your local dev environment configured to use SSL. Your dev site is accessible at Wonderful! Now you need to add Elasticsearch to your project. Let’s add it to docker-compose.yml, something like:

version: "2" services: elasticsearch: image: environment: - - bootstrap.memory_lock=true - "ES_JAVA_OPTS=-Xms512m -Xmx512m" ulimits: memlock: soft: -1 hard: -1 nofile: soft: 65536 hard: 65536 mem_limit: 1g volumes: - elasticsearchindex:/usr/share/elasticsearch/data ports: - "9200" network_mode: "bridge" # and some other services like PHP, nginx, memcached, mysql volumes: elasticsearchindex:

How do you make requests to Elasticsearch from the browser?

Option 1: Set up a proxy in your app. This probably resembles what you’ll ultimately get in production. You don’t really need any security on Elasticsearch for local dev, but in production it will need some sort of access control so users can’t send arbitrary requests to the server. If you’re not using a third-party service that already handles this for you, this is where you’ll filter out invalid or dangerous requests. I prefer to let more experienced hands manage server security for me, though, and this is a lot of overhead just to set up a local dev server.

Option 2: Expose Elasticsearch directly. Since I don’t need security locally, I could just open up port 9200 on my container and make requests directly to it from the browser at http://localhost:9200/. Notice the protocol there, though. If my local site is at, then the browser will block insecure requests to Elasticsearch.

Option 3: Use nginx as a proxy. I’m already using a reverse proxy in front of my project containers. It terminates the SSL connections and then passes through unencrypted requests to each project’s nginx server. The project’s nginx container doesn’t need to deal with SSL. It listens on port 80 and passes requests to PHP with fastcgi.

server { listen 80 default_server; server_name; # ... more server boilerplate }

Since Elasticsearch is exposed via an HTTP API, we can create another server block to proxy Elasticsearch requests. First, make sure the nginx container can talk to the Elasticsearch container. In docker-compose.yml:

nginx: image: nginx:stable-alpine environment: -,* volumes: - ./nginx/default.conf:/etc/nginx/conf.d/default.conf:ro - ./nginx/elasticsearch-proxy.conf:/etc/nginx/conf.d/elasticsearch-proxy.conf:ro - ./nginx/php.conf:/etc/nginx/php.conf:ro links: - php - elasticsearch ports: - "80" network_mode: "bridge"

And then create elasticsearch-proxy.conf to handle the requests:

upstream es { server elasticsearch:9200; keepalive 15; } server { listen 80; server_name; location / { proxy_pass http://es; proxy_http_version 1.1; proxy_set_header Connection "Keep-Alive"; proxy_set_header Proxy-Connection "Keep-Alive"; } }

Now we can make requests to Elasticsearch from the browser at The nginx proxy will handle the SSL termination, and communicate with Elasticsearch using its standard HTTP API.

LibUX: Guest Posting

Fri, 2017-04-28 17:45

Hey there. Want to write for LibUX?

We should aspire to push the #libweb forward by creating content that sets the bar for the conversation way up there, and I would love your help. Our interests and topical commitment to the user experience, data, design, and development for libraries, non-profits, and the higher-ed web make LibUX a groovy place, and I am really proud of the articles, podcasts, and the community.

Now, I’d like to crowd this space a little bit with new and different people — like you. What do you think?

Topics and vibe

Write only about something you are really interested in or have insight into. These aren’t mutually exclusive, but I — hi, it’s me – Michael! — show preference for enthusiasm more than expertise. We are all friends just trying to figure this stuff out.

I’m looking for
1. beginner articles about research methods, models, principles, tools, concepts
2. useful data snippets and what it implies
3. opinion posts about privacy, personalization, design ethics, workflow, organizational culture, trends, …

and really just about anything you think makes sense for this blog and our community. Write with authority and don’t be overly concerned with being academic. If there’s a source, link it up, but we think conversations don’t start with a stern lecture. Have fun.

If you’d rather be given a topic, you’re in so much luck! I have an editorial board on Trello full of pitches.


I want to pay you for your work. Right now, it’s more like “buy a bunch of coffees” money rather than “pay some bills” money, but I think it’s an important gesture.

My budget is determined through Patreon support, so the volume of commissioned work I can afford is limited, but if you are cool with arranging some sort of barter — ad spots, heavy promotion, Patreon perks without being a patron (!) — let’s talk and figure something out.

Examples Reach out

So, let’s talk. Shoot me an email and we’ll discuss some ideas.