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Cynthia Ng: Write the Docs Lightning Talk: Write the Accessible Docs

planet code4lib - Tue, 2017-05-16 22:47
I totally blame @yo_bj for this talk since she was the one who pushed the lightning talk sign up board at me. I hope it was interesting and/or useful to some people. Slides to be migrated and properly put together in my GitHub Repo later When talking about being accessible, I’m talking here about available … Continue reading Write the Docs Lightning Talk: Write the Accessible Docs

Tim Ribaric: code4Lib North 2017 presentation material

planet code4lib - Tue, 2017-05-16 20:04

Another spring, another code4Lib North.

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Cynthia Ng: Write the Docs Day 2: Morning Presentations

planet code4lib - Tue, 2017-05-16 19:21
Doing talk timing this morning while writing notes, so forgive me if I don’t get everything but videos and slides should be up later after the conference is done. Kenzie Woodbridge – Everyone’s a player (in a mid-90s MUD) There are many ways to look at situations. Changing the way you look at a situation … Continue reading Write the Docs Day 2: Morning Presentations

Cynthia Ng: Write the Docs 2017 Day 1: Morning Presentations

planet code4lib - Tue, 2017-05-16 16:36
Notes from the morning talks. If there are things that you think could be improved, talk to an organizer. Learn, make friends, have fun! Kate Voss – Error Messages: Being Humble, Human, and Helpful will make users Happy Error messages are frustrating. Users will get the message and will think, now what? Attribute frustration to … Continue reading Write the Docs 2017 Day 1: Morning Presentations

Open Knowledge Foundation: How can journalists best handle public fiscal data to produce data-driven stories? An interview with Nicolas Kayser-Bril

planet code4lib - Tue, 2017-05-16 12:45

Nicolas Kayser-Bril is the former CEO and co-founder of Journalism++ (J++), a group of investigative journalists that specialises in data-driven reporting. As part of OKI’s own involvement in, we had the good fortune of working with  J++ on the question how public budget and spending data can be used to tackle corruption. In this short interview, Diana Krebs (Project Manager for Fiscal Projects at OKI) asked Nicolas about his experience on how journalists today can best handle public fiscal data to produce data-driven stories.


Are journalists today equipped to work with fiscal data such as budget and spending data?

Different sorts of journalists use budget and spending data in different ways. Investigative outlets such as the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (of Panama-Papers fame) or investigative lone wolves such as Dirk Laabs (who investigated privatizations in East Germany) are very much able to seek and use such data. Most other types of journalists are not able to do so.


Where do you see the gaps? What kind of skill sets, technical and non-technical, do journalists need to have to write data-driven stories that stick and are water-proof?

The largest gap is the lack of incentive. Very few journalists are tasked with investigating government spending and budgets.

The ones who do, either because they are interested in the topic or because they are paid investigative journalists, sometimes lack the field-specific expertise that allows for quick judgments. One can only know what’s abnormal (and therefore newsworthy) if one knows what the normal state of things is. In public budgets, few journalists know what is normal and what’s not.


Do you think it’s helpful for journalists to, when in doubt, work closely with experts from the public administration to enhance their fiscal data knowledge?

Journalists are trained to find experts to illustrate their articles or to provide information. It would help to have easy-to-reach experts on public funding that journalists could contact.


What are the ingredients for a sustainable increase of fiscal data knowledge among journalists, so that the public can be informed in a credible and informative way?

These are two different issues; it would be a mistake to believe that the information the public receives is in any way linked to the work of journalists. This was true in the last century, when journalists were de facto intermediaries between what happened and reports of what had happened. (They were de facto intermediaries because all means of communication involved a need to package information for film, radio, TV or newspapers).

For journalists to produce more content on budget and spending issues, they must be incentivised to do so by their organizations. This could mean for news organizations to shift their focus towards public accountability. Organizations that have, such as ProPublica in the USA and Correctiv in Germany, happen to employ journalists who know how to decipher budget data.

For the public to be informed about public budget and spending, the availability of interesting and entertaining content on the issue would help. However, demand for such content could also be boosted by the administration, who could celebrate citizens who ask questions on public budgets, which is currently not the case. They could also teach the basics of how government – and government finance – works at school, which is barely done, when at all.


J++ has developed several projects around unlocking fiscal data such as, a quite serious satire tutorial webpage for journalists and civil society activists to look for budget stories in the public administration. Their latest coup is “The Good, the Bad and the Accountant”, an interactive online application that puts users in the shoes of a manager of a big cities to learn about and recognize patterns of corruption within the public administration.

Open Knowledge Foundation: OK Sweden collaborates with the Internet Foundation (.SE)…and other updates

planet code4lib - Tue, 2017-05-16 10:00

This blog post is part of our on-going Network series featuring updates from chapters across theOpen Knowledge Network and was written by the Open Knowledge Sweden Team. 

We have a new collaboration with the Internet Foundation (.SE) in Sweden, which is an independent organisation which promotes a positive development of the internet for the benefit of the public in Sweden. Open Knowledge Sweden, KTH Mentorspace and other organisations will collaborate under the umbrella of Open Knowledge and Innovation Lab (OKINLAB), and as an initial support, we will be using .SE’s Co-Office in Stockholm

We are hosting a researcher, Xiaowei Chen who received funding from Alexander Humboldt Foundation in Germany to study and compare the Swedish Freedom of Information (FOI) to Germany’s “Informationsfreiheitsgesetz” (Freedom of Information). He is also receiving support from Open Knowledge Foundation Germany for his research. Read more about the Xiaowei’s project here.

Open Knowledge Sweden’s chairman, Serdar Tamiz was invited to be a researcher panel discussant on Open Science and Open Access organised by Swedish National Library and Karlstad University. Jakob Harnesk, Library Director of Karlstad University moderated the discussions where Nadja Neumann, Fil.dr, Karlstads University and Erika Sandlund, Docent, Karlstads University were other discussants. Erika Sandlund could not attend in person due to illness so she sent over her notes/answers via email.

Open Access Meeting- Researcher Panel

In addition to other local researchers and librarians, there were two international guests:

  1. Kathleen Fitzpatrick, Associate Executive Director & Director of Scholarly Communication at the Modern Language Association, New York, USA. She is also the co-founder of the digital scholarly network MediaCommons and presented new ways of publishing
  2. Vincent Bonnet, Director vid the European Bureau of Library, Information and Documentation Associations (EBLIDA), Haag, Holland. Vincent presented how libraries and librarians are changing.

It may appear awfully early, but Asmen Gul, project manager of OKAwards has already started work towards OKAwards 2017 which will be held close to the end of 2017. Asmen is already working with professional Event Manager Erika Szentmartoni for OKAwards 2017. More updates to follow soon. 

As mentioned in our previous update, we are part of the pan-EU CLARITY Project. Together with other 6 partners, we presented our findings to the EU Committee in Brussels as a first-year review. Project partners received very constructive feedback to improve their output and progress for the second half of the project. Project partners will have another meeting on 10th of May in London to coordinate the second half of the project.

Fredrik Sjöberg, Executive Director of OK Sweden

In our previous update, we shared a not so secret with you about OK Sweden having its first Executive Director, Fredrik Sjöberg. He works at the digital agency Creuna and is into everything that’s open and digital. He also likes to find digital opportunities that help create a better and more open society and has created communicative solutions using open source for over 10 years. He is an avid advocate of open data and wants more people to see the benefits of sharing. Frederik has already introduced new structures and strategies for the OK Sweden and after the initial planning period, you will hear more from our new Executive Director.

Also, we are about having a new election for the board and the chairmanship position. The Meeting is scheduled to be on 13th of May. Board members who have fulfilled membership obligations will have the right to elect the new board.

Follow Open Knowledge Sweden twitter page [@OKFSE ] for more updates.


District Dispatch: UMD, OITP and YALSA announce first cohort of YX Librarians

planet code4lib - Mon, 2017-05-15 19:32

ALA’s Office for Technology and Information Technology Policy is pleased to support the University of Maryland’s iSchool YX Graduate Certificate program as part of its Youth & Technology portfolio. We will be working closely with the YX partners to explore how the participating students work can augment our Libraries Ready to Code (RtC) initiative. Dr. Mega Subramaniam and Linda Braun, faculty in the YX Program are also RtC team members. Amanda Waugh is a doctoral candidate in the iSchool at the University of Maryland and contributed this post.

This cohort includes 14 librarians from across the country, they serve babies through teens in urban and rural communities and have already shown themselves to be leaders in their field.

We are proud to announce the first cohort of YX Librarians for 2017-2018. The Youth Experience (YX) Certificate is an innovative graduate certificate in professional studies from one of the top library and information studies programs in the nation, University of Maryland. Working with partners, including both ALA’s Office of Information Technology Policy (OITP) and the Young Adult Library Service Association (YALSA), UMD’s iSchool will train this first cohort of youth service librarians to be leaders in harnessing technology, learning and assessment and design thinking. Through the generosity of the Institute of Museum and Library Services, the 2017-2018 cohort is receiving substantial stipends to defray tuition.

This cohort includes 14 librarians from across the country, they serve babies through teens in urban and rural communities and have already shown themselves to be leaders in their field. They have received grants from the National Science Foundation, ALSC and Dollar General, been recognized as ALA emerging leaders, served on national awards committees like the Alex, Morris and Printz Awards and developed innovative programming in their libraries. To learn more about the cohort, see

The YX Certificate will begin on May 24-25 with an on-campus orientation and attendance at the Human-Computer Interaction Lab’s Symposium, then continue for the next 12 months as the librarians take four online courses focusing on information studies and learning theory, technology and learning, design thinking and youth and developing and sustaining community partnerships. Throughout the program, the librarians will be working in their communities to apply the knowledge they are learning in class, both through programming and through publications and presentations.

For more information about the YX Certificate, see The iSchool gratefully acknowledges the support of the Institute of Museum and Library Services in the creation and continuation of the YX Certificate.

The post UMD, OITP and YALSA announce first cohort of YX Librarians appeared first on District Dispatch.

Jonathan Rochkind: On choices

planet code4lib - Mon, 2017-05-15 17:44

In a blog essay about non-rational devotion to software choices (the author argues it’s inevitable), a quote sprang out at me that reminds me of many decisions I’ve seen made at large institutions, as well as in distributed open source development:

As Neo realizes in The Matrix: the problem is choice. The problem is always about choice. People don’t like to choose, because that makes them accountable. It’s far easier to make someone else make the choice and just follow, creating the delusion that you made a “rational” choice because “the group” validates it.

I don’t think avoiding the choices serves us well. (Or pretending to; there’s always a choice).  Even if the choices aren’t going to be somehow 100% verifiable rational or best (and that’s the thing with choices, they always involve some risk). We do our best, also trying to avoid putting more time into a choice than it’s worth.

I’m not sure you’re ever going to teach large institutional administrators that though. Avoiding accountability for choices seems to be good for their careers. Maybe for all of our careers in the current environment, which is part of the challenge. “Nobody ever got fired for choosing IBM” indeed.  Doesn’t mean there was no risk to your mission or purpose in choosing IBM; but perhaps minimized risk to your career.

Eventually going with what everyone else is going with (or what you thought they were), or going with a consultant/contractor to avoid accountability for the product… is going to result in a catastrophic failure.  And then maybe things will change. Or it won’t, or not one that harms anyone’s career, and then maybe they won’t.

Filed under: General

District Dispatch: White House survey provides additional opportunity to #SaveIMLS

planet code4lib - Mon, 2017-05-15 16:52

The White House is currently seeking public input on how the federal government can be better organized—with a focus on which government agencies should be reformed or eliminated. The official survey follows an Executive Order “directing the Director of the Office of Management and Budget to propose a plan to reorganize governmental functions and eliminate unnecessary agencies, components of agencies, and agency programs.”

While framed in terms of eliminating government programs, the survey provides an opening to speak to the value of small but vital agencies like the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS). So, after you have called your Senators to ask them to sign the FY 2018 Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) and Innovative Approaches to Literacy (IAL) Dear Appropriator letters, log on here to add your voice to the record on the impact of IMLS and other federal agencies to libraries, museums and the communities we serve. The last survey question is the most open-ended regarding “any other ideas for reorganizing the Federal government.”

The survey is open until June 12.

The post White House survey provides additional opportunity to #SaveIMLS appeared first on District Dispatch.

DPLA: DPLA Launching Ebook Pilot

planet code4lib - Mon, 2017-05-15 14:45

By DPLA Ebook Consultant Micah May, Director of Business Development and Senior Strategist Michele Kimpton and Ebook Program Manager Michelle Bickert

This is the second in a series of posts about DPLA’s ongoing work to maximize access to ebooks. Check out the first post in this series introducing our plans and learn more about the Sloan Foundation grant funding this work.

At DPLAfest this past April, the DPLA Board of Directors approved a plan to move forward with an ebook pilot aimed at improving access to a broad selection of open and licensed ebooks through market-based methods. We at DPLA are evaluating what we could potentially do from a community and technology perspective to help libraries maximize patron access to ebooks and other e-content. Through the pilot, set to launch in early fall, DPLA will manage technology solutions for 3-5 large public libraries and consortia.

First, some background: US libraries began providing ebooks through OverDrive in 2004. Since then, library ebooks have been provided through siloed, vertically integrated systems in which users can discover and borrow books from a given vendor only in that vendor’s website and apps. In 2012, a group of frustrated library leaders mobilized to form Readers First to fight for a better user experience for their patrons. This grassroots movement has advocated with some success for more open systems and empowered libraries to demand more from e-content vendors. These innovative, library-driven efforts have also led to multiple IMLS-funded grant projects moving us closer to the vision of a national digital platform.

DPLA’s approach to help libraries maximize access to ebooks and other e-content is to work with technology providers, publishers, distributors and public libraries to offer a comprehensive technology solution managed by DPLA. The first component of the solution addresses content acquisition. The second is a curation portal that serves as a circulation manager based on the Open Publication Distribution System (OPDS). We believe helping US libraries move to OPDS-based distribution could greatly expand access for patrons. OPDS is a simple, elegant syndication format based on Atom and HTTP.  It allows libraries to use a standard protocol for the aggregation, distribution, discovery, and acquisition of electronic publications.

Our hope is this solution will enable libraries to move to an open, OPDS-based service architecture without deploying additional software or incurring costs beyond content and DRM fees. Libraries would be able to merge content from various sources, including popular publisher content and free, open content curated by DPLA and others in the community, and serve it through curated user interfaces to drive deeper discovery and thus more use of existing collections.

We will continue update you on our progress with pilot libraries, and related DPLA + Ebooks projects. We will also be sharing our vision for open access content, publisher relationships, and community engagement in future blog posts and announcements.

Questions? Email us.

Brown University Library Digital Technologies Projects: Django vs. Flask Hello-World performance

planet code4lib - Mon, 2017-05-15 13:46

Flask and Django are two popular Python web frameworks. Recently, I did some basic comparisons of a “Hello-World” minimal application in each framework. I compared the source lines of code, disk usage, RAM usage in a running process, and response times and throughput.

Lines of Code

Both Django and Flask applications can be written in one file. The Flask homepage has an example Hello-World application, and it’s seven lines of code. The Lightweight Django authors have an example one-page application that’s 29 source lines of code. As I played with that example, I trimmed it down to 17 source lines of code, and it still worked.

Disk Usage

I measured disk usage of the two frameworks by setting up two different Python 3.6 virtual environments. In one, I ran “pip install flask”, and in the other I ran “pip install django.” Then I ran “du -sh” on the whole env/ directory. The size of the Django virtual environment was 54M, and the Flask virtual environment was 15M.

Here are the packages in the Django environment:

Django (1.11.1)
pip (9.0.1)
pytz (2017.2)
setuptools (28.8.0)

Here are the packages in the Flask environment:

click (6.7)
Flask (0.12.1)
itsdangerous (0.24)
Jinja2 (2.9.6)
MarkupSafe (1.0)
pip (9.0.1)
setuptools (28.8.0)
Werkzeug (0.12.1)

Memory Usage

I also measured the RAM usage of both applications. I deployed them with Phusion Passenger, and then the passenger-status command told me how much memory the application process was using. According to Passenger, the Django process was using 18-19M, and the Flask process was using 16M.

Loading-testing with JMeter

Finally, I did some JMeter load-testing for both applications. I hit both applications with about 1000 requests, and looked at the JMeter results. The response time average was identical: 5.76ms. The Django throughput was 648.54 responses/second, while the Flask throughput was 656.62.

Final remarks

This was basic testing, and I’m not an expert in this area. Here are some links related to performance:

  1. Slides from a conference talk
  2. Blog post comparing performance of Django on different application servers, on different versions of Python

Open Knowledge Foundation: Civic Lab Brussels launched!

planet code4lib - Mon, 2017-05-15 13:42

Open Knowledge Belgium in collaboration with Wikimedia Belgium has launched Civic Lab Brussels – a biweekly action-oriented gathering of open enthusiasts with different backgrounds and skills who work together on civic projects.

This post was first published on Open Knowledge Belgium’s website.

Introduction to Civic Lab Brussels from Dries Van Ransbeeck How did we come up with this idea?

It all started during a fruitful discussion with Open Knowledge Germany at Open Belgium earlier in March. While talking about the 26 OK Labs in Germany, more specifically being intrigued by the air quality project of OK Lab Stuttgart, we got to ask ourselves: why wouldn’t we launch something similar in Brussels/Belgium?

In about the same period of time, some new open initiatives popped up from within our community and several volunteers repeatedly expressed their interest in contributing to Open Knowledge’s mission of building a world in which knowledge creates power for the many, not the few.

Eventually, after a wonderful visit to BeCentral – the new digital hub above Brussels’ central station – all pieces of the puzzle got merged into the idea of a Civic Lab: bringing volunteers and open projects every 2 weeks together in an open space.

Much more than putting open projects in the picture

The goal of Civic Labs Brussels is two-fold:

  1. on the one hand, offering volunteers opportunities to contribute to civic projects they care about.
  2. On the other hand, providing initiative-takers of open project with help and advice from fellow citizens.

Open in the case of our Civic Lab means, corresponding to the Open Definition, yet slightly shorter so that anyone can freely contribute to and benefit from the project. No strings attached.

During our Civic Lab meetups, we didn’t only put open initiatives in the picture and hang out with other civic innovators. We also want to get things done and create impact. Therefore, our meetups always take place under the same format of short introductory presentations (30 min) — to both new and ongoing projects — followed by action (2 hours), whereby all attendees are totally free to contribute to the project of their choice and can come up with new projects — just let the organising team know in advance.

Kickoff Civic Hack Night

At our kickoff meetup, we were pleased to welcome 33 open believers — which corresponds to a show-up rate of 92% (!)— and had 4 projects presented:

Thanks to the diversity among attendees, our kickoff meetup turned out to be a big success. This is also where the potential lies for Civic labs: bringing researchers, hackers, civil servants, entrepreneurs and civil society representatives in the same room and inviting them to collaboratively work on open projects.

Civic Labs Brussels Kickoff

What to expect from our next Civic Lab meetups?

During our next open gathering there will be presentations about both running projects —e.g. air quality, OpenStreetMap and open food data — as well new projects in Civic Lab Brussels as, for instance, from Wikimedia Belgium and Dewey.

Next, to those project-specific presentations, we’d like to invite researchers and students to come and tell us about their findings from their work related to anything open and international visitors to meet our local community and share their stories. Last but not least, we’re happy to announce that Chris and Umut, both interns at Open Knowledge Belgium, will also present the onboarding process they developed for W4P – open source crowdsourcing platform – during the Civic Lab meetup on 23 May.

BeCentral: location of Civic Labs Brussels

How to get involved:

Noteworthy: Civic Lab Brussels has its own Wiki page –

Access Conference: Access in Saskatoon

planet code4lib - Mon, 2017-05-15 13:00

Early-bird registration is currently open, but we realize that it has been 19 years since Saskatoon last hosted Access and some community members may not know much about our fine city. We’re proud to host this year’s Access Conference in our hometown of Saskatoon, also know as Bridge City, Paris on the Prairies, ToonTown, and the Library Tech Hub of the World.

As conference attendees, you’ll have the chance to roam the city for a couple days and participate in some of the social events we have organized. There’s a great selection of restaurants and pubs in Saskatoon, along with a vibrant arts and music scene. We’ll do our best to give you a sample of what the city has to offer.

A quick word or two about Toon Town for those who haven’t been here or for some reason hate using Wikipedia:

Bridge City is on Treaty 6 territory and the homeland of the Métis with the South Saskatchewan River playing an important role in the history and culture. Seven bridges and numerous festivals and activities are organized along its wondrous shores. The Meewasin Valley trails traverse sixty kilometers of pathways and provide residents and visitors with opportunities to explore the area year-round. Wanuskewin Heritage Park, one of Canada’s National Historic Sites, brings to life the history and culture of the Northern Plains Indians and the nearby Duck Lake Regional Interpretive Centre houses a collection of artifacts relating to First Nations, Métis, and pioneer history from 1870 to 1905.  These along with several other cultural centres provide visitors with ample opportunity to get their prairie culture fix.

Paris on the Prairies is (or was at one time) also home to notable figures such as Joni Mitchell, Yann Martell, Guy Vanderhaeghe, Farley Mowat and over 1 million NHLers including Gordie Howe. We don’t want to brag or anything, but we could probably kick your city’s ass in a game of shinny and then write a novel or song about it the next day.

Overall, the Library Tech Hub of the World is widely considered to be the number one city on the prairies and chances are this will be the best conference you’ve ever attended.

D-Lib: SHARE: Community-focused Infrastructure and a Public Goods, Scholarly Database to Advance Access to Research

planet code4lib - Mon, 2017-05-15 11:13
Article by Cynthia R. Hudson-Vitale, Washington University in St. Louis; Richard P. Johnson, University of Notre Dame; Judy Ruttenberg, Association of Research Libraries; Jeffrey R. Spies, Center for Open Science, University of Virginia

D-Lib: At the Edges of the National Digital Platform

planet code4lib - Mon, 2017-05-15 11:13
Article by Sharon Strover, University of Texas at Austin; Brian Whitacre, Oklahoma State University; Colin Rhinesmith, Simmons College; Alexis Schrubbe, University of Texas at Austin

D-Lib: Toward Gigabit Libraries

planet code4lib - Mon, 2017-05-15 11:13
Article by Susannah Spellman, U.S. Unified Community Anchor Network, Internet2; James Werle, K20 Initiative, Internet2; Carson Block, Carson Block Consulting

D-Lib: The Software Preservation Network (SPN): A Community Effort to Ensure Long Term Access to Digital Cultural Heritage

planet code4lib - Mon, 2017-05-15 11:13
Article by Jessica Meyerson, Briscoe Center for American History, UT-Austin; Zach Vowell, California Polytechnic State University; Wendy Hagenmaier, Georgia Institute of Technology; Aliza Leventhal, Sasaki Associates; Fernando Rios, Johns Hopkins University; Elizabeth Russey Roke, Emory University; Tim Walsh, Canadian Centre for Architecture

D-Lib: The Digital Public Library of America and the National Digital Platform

planet code4lib - Mon, 2017-05-15 11:13
Article by Emily Gore, Michael Della Bitta and Dan Cohen, Digital Public Library of America

D-Lib: The National Digital Stewardship Residency: Building a Community of Practice through Postgraduate Training and Education

planet code4lib - Mon, 2017-05-15 11:13
Article by Rebecca Fraimow, WGBH; Meridith Beck Mink; Margo Padilla, Metropolitan New York Library Council (METRO)


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