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Islandora: Islandora CLAW Calls: Alternating Schedule Starts this Week

planet code4lib - Mon, 2017-07-10 15:46

This is just a reminder that this week will mark the first time we're using our alternating schedule for CLAW Calls, alternating between 9:00 AM EST to 1:00 PM EST each week, so that we can welcome Islandora users from more time zones. This week's meeting will be at 9:00AM EST on July 12th. Agenda here.

If this is your first CLAW Call (or your first CLAW Call in a while), don't worry. We'll start with a long recap and update to get you up to speed. We hope to see you there!

LITA: Call for Panelists – 2018 ALA LITA Top Trends Program

planet code4lib - Mon, 2017-07-10 15:45

We are currently seeking nominations for panelists for the 2018 ALA Midwinter LITA Top Tech Trends program in Denver, CO!  You may nominate yourself or someone you know who would be a great addition to the panel of speakers.

LITA’s Top Trends Program has traditionally been one of the most popular programs at ALA. Each panelist discusses two trends in technology impacting libraries and engages in a moderated discussion with each other and the audience.

Submit your nominations at is Saturday, September 30, 2017.

The LITA Top Tech Trends Committee will review each submission and select panelists based on their proposed trends, experience, and overall balance to the panel. Submission Guidelines can be found at

For more information about the Top Tech Trends program, please visit


Brown University Library Digital Technologies Projects: Using synonyms in Solr

planet code4lib - Mon, 2017-07-10 14:43

A few days ago somebody reported that our catalog returns different results if a user searches for “music for the hundred years war” than if the user searches for “music for the 100 years war”.

To handle this issue I decided to use the synonyms feature in Solr. My thought was to tell Solr that “100” and “hundred” are synonyms and they should be treated as such. I had seen a synonyms.txt file in the Solr configuration folder and I thought it was just a matter of adding a few lines to this file and voilà synonyms will kick-in. It turns out using synonyms in Solr is a
bit more complicated than that, not too complicated, but not as straightforward as I had thought.

Configuring synonyms in Solr

To configure Solr to use synonyms you need to add a filter to the field type where you want synonyms to be used. For example, to enable synonyms for the text field in Solr I added a filter using the SynonymFilterFactory in our schema.xml

<fieldType name="text" class="solr.TextField" positionIncrementGap="100"> <analyzer type="index"> <tokenizer class="solr.StandardTokenizerFactory"/> <filter class="solr.ICUFoldingFilterFactory" /> <filter class="solr.StopFilterFactory" ignoreCase="true" words="stopwords.txt" enablePositionIncrements="true" /> <filter class="solr.SnowballPorterFilterFactory" language="English" /> </analyzer> <analyzer type="query"> <tokenizer class="solr.StandardTokenizerFactory"/> <filter class="solr.ICUFoldingFilterFactory" /> <filter class="solr.StopFilterFactory" ignoreCase="true" words="stopwords.txt" enablePositionIncrements="true" /> <filter class="solr.SynonymFilterFactory" synonyms="synonyms.txt" ignoreCase="true" expand="true"/> <filter class="solr.SnowballPorterFilterFactory" language="English" /> </analyzer> </fieldType>

You can add this filter for indexing, for querying, or both. In the example above I am only configuring the use of synonyms at query time.

Notice how the SynonymFilterFactory references a synonyms.txt file. This text file is where synonyms are defined. Notice also the expanded=true setting.

File synonyms.txt accepts the list of synonyms in two formats. The first format is just a list of words that are considered synonyms, for example:


With this format every time Solr see “100” or “hundred” in a value it will automatically expand the value to include “100” and “hundred”. For example, if we were to search for “music for the hundred years war” it will actually search for “music for the 100 hundred years war”, notice how it now includes both variations (100 and hundred) in the text to search. The same will be true if we were to search for “music for the 100 years war”, Solr will search for both variations.

A second format we can use to configure synonyms is by using the => operator to consolidate various terms into a different term, for example:

 100 => hundred

With this format every time Solr sees “100” it will replace it with “hundred”. For example if we search for “music for the 100 years war” it will search for “music for the hundred years war”. Notice that in this case Solr will include “hundred” but drop “100”. The => in synonyms.txt is a shortcut to override the expand=true setting to replace the values on the left with the values on the right side.

Testing synonym matching in Solr

To see how synonyms are applied you can use the “Analysis” option available on the Solr dashboard page.

The following picture shows how this tool can be used to verify how Solr is handling synonyms at index time. Notice, in the highlighted rectangle, how “hundred” was indexed as both “hundred” and “100”.

We can also use this tool to see how values are handled at query time. The following picture shows how a query for “music for the 100 years war” is handled and matched to an original text “music for the hundred years war”. In this particular case synonyms are enabled in the Solr configuration only at query time which explains why the indexed value (on the left side) only has “hundred” but the value used at query time has been expanded to included both “100” and “hundred” which results in a match.

Index vs Query time

When configuring synonyms in Solr is important to consider the advantages and disadvantages of using them at index time, query time, or both.

Using synonyms at query time is easy because you don’t have to change your index to add or remove synonyms. You just add/remove lines from the synonyms.txt file, restart your Solr core, and the synonyms are applied in subsequent searches.

However, there are some benefits of using synonyms at index time particularly when you want to handle multi-term synonyms. This blog post by John Berryman and this page on the Apache documentation for Solr give a good explanation on why multi-term synonyms are tricky and why applying synonyms at index time might be a good idea. An obvious disadvantage of applying synonyms at index time is that you need to reindex your data for changes to the synonyms.txt to take effect.

Terry Reese: MarcEdit 7 Main Window Wireframes and other notes

planet code4lib - Mon, 2017-07-10 14:35

I’ve been thinking about the new UI for MarcEdit 7.  I haven’t decided yet if the main window should have the ribbon or keep the menus (menus seem most appropriate for the MARC Tools and Main Window) – but the main thing I wanted to do with the new UI in MarcEdit 7, is to try and find ways to surface tools based on common questions/actions; as well as push the last used tools up.  I’ll keep the user defined buttons (I like those, I use them all the time).  One of the other things I’ll likely end up doing, presently I keep the MARCNext toolset framed in the main windows (as well as the about window). I’ll be pushing those into their own windows as the way it currently works – it complicates updates.  Also, all fonts will be updated from 8.5 point (the default) to 10.5 pt.  I’d like to set the default font to the Google Noto Fonts, but distributing the font is out of the question (the font set is 450 mbs in total — but maybe I can include something in the installer to allow users to select this font for download if they want…I’ll have to think about it).  With that, I’ll be improving the accessibility functionality so that users can continue to easily update font sizes.  In fact, I’ll be changing the window that shows when you first install to be a series of questions (rather than showing the preferences).  The questions will be:

  1. Preferred Font/Size: I’ll show current settings and sample of typography
  2. MARC Flavor:  You tell me are you using MARC21 or something else
  3. Default Z39.50/SRU servers (you’ll have a list of known servers to select from this way you have servers in the tool at the beginning)
  4. Link to the Tutorials/Help


After this, you’ll have the option to select the preferences and update all of the options.  But I’m looking for ways to make this easier so when users install MarcEdit 7 for the first time, you don’t have to look for specific settings (specifically fonts).

Feedback is welcome.



  • * Note — this wireframe is for the windows/Linux version.  Some of these concepts will make it to the MarcEdit Mac version — but I try to keep that development in line with Apples UI recommendations when possible.

FOSS4Lib Recent Releases: VuFind - 4.0

planet code4lib - Mon, 2017-07-10 13:45

Last updated July 10, 2017. Created by Demian Katz on July 10, 2017.
Log in to edit this page.

Package: VuFindRelease Date: Monday, July 10, 2017

HangingTogether: Visualizing Digital Humanities Workshop

planet code4lib - Mon, 2017-07-10 12:00

Last month I and four OCLC colleagues—William Harvey, Rob Koopman, Shenghui Wang, and Jeff Young—participated in a “Visualizing Digital Humanities” workshop held at the Lorentz Center at the University of Leiden (photo at right).  It brought together experts who had created “research datasets”, scholars, and visualization experts. Two of the four datasets were created by OCLC Research:

  • “Translation History of Works”, a linked data dataset consisting of bibliographic information about five works and all their associated translations extracted from WorldCat and enhanced by data retrieved from Wikidata.
  • “Semantic Maps of Research Disciplines”, consisting of clusters of documents in three categories, Digital Humanities, Digital Libraries, and Digital Curation.

The workshop was divided into plenary sessions where experts gave talks about their particular areas and seven working sessions where visualization experts and scholars collaborated with the dataset creators to come up with visualizations. I presented Challenges of Multilingualism, which focused on translations, as that is how we learn about other cultures and other cultures learn about us. I summarized OCLC Research’s exploration of enriching WorldCat records with data extracted from Wikidata to associate translations to the original work when that information is not included in the MARC records. (The full program is here).

We all enjoyed collaborating with experts during the five-day workshop. To sum up our experiences:

  • The opportunity to work in the same room, on the same problems, with some of the world’s experts was immensely For our translation dataset, our scholar noted the importance of including commentaries and interpretations (which we had excluded) along with different editions of the original and translations.
  • Visualization helps minds efficiently synthesize and transmit knowledge. Continuous conversations about the purpose of the visualization is critical so that the design is not led astray.
  • Team dynamics have a big impact on projects, especially in time-limited sprints. Face-to-face discussions were crucial to our efficiency. We were all impressed how quickly teams had something to show everyone!
  • Visualization researchers are not engineers—building a tool is not their focus. We were surprised at the reluctance for sharing modifications to open source software in this community.
  • For digital humanities, any visualization tool that helps researchers to locate source data that warrant “close reading” is valuable.

We returned with ideas for possible future research and papers we might publish about our work.

District Dispatch: Congratulations to Marijke Visser

planet code4lib - Mon, 2017-07-10 11:16

Associate Director and Senior Policy Advocate Marijke Visser (center) speaking on a panel about E-rate alongside her colleagues at ALA’s most recent National Library Legislative Day.

I had a great experience at the recent Conference in Chicago hope you did, too. There is such positive energy being amongst thousands of library folks dedicated to advancing services in their respective communities, the library profession and ALA. A particular highlight for me was announcing Marijke Visser’s promotion to Associate Director and Senior Policy Advocate at the Friday meeting of the OITP Advisory Committee.

Under Marijke’s leadership, ALA’s engagement and profile in libraries and coding have blossomed. The most recent development is Google’s sponsorship of $500,000 of funding to ALA to provide grants to libraries for coding initiatives, with a focus on promoting youth engagement by girls and other underrepresented groups in computer science-related educational and career paths. But this development is only the latest installment in a multi-year initiative with Google that includes an in-process project on MLS education and coding and an initial project to characterize the lay of the land.

Marijke’s work also serves to strengthen our collaboration with ALA divisions. In the latest effort, YALSA will administer the grant program (the request for proposals will be released in the next few weeks: please apply!). AASL, ALSC, YALSA and OITP will comprise the selection committee.

Through Marijke’s initiative, we also are collaborating with Rosen Publishing. Already one advocacy video for Libraries Ready to Code has been produced through the generosity of Rosen Publishing and more is in the works. In addition, we have a new collaboration with the National Center for Women & Information Technology and a budding one with another key organization in coding (stay tuned!).

Last, but certainly not least, is Marijke’s leadership in advocating for libraries within the E-rate program. Her work with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) helped lead to an increase in annual E-rate funding from $2.4 billion to $3.9 billion. We expect E-rate to rise on the FCC policy agenda once net neutrality is addressed, so work has begun on our strategy for advocacy this fall and into 2018. Marijke’s reputation also has developed within the world of telecommunications policy more broadly, as illustrated by her invitation to serve on an advisory committee of NTCA—the Rural Broadband Association.

I hope that you will join me in congratulating Marijke on this well-deserved recognition.

The post Congratulations to Marijke Visser appeared first on District Dispatch.

Terry Reese: MarcEdit 6.3 Windows Update

planet code4lib - Mon, 2017-07-10 04:32

As noted this week – I’ve updated MarcEdit 6.3. The updates are as follows:


* Enhancement: Exact Match searching in the Extract, Delete Selected Records tool

* Enhancement: Exact Match searching in the Find/Replace Tool

* Enhancement: Work updates in the Linked data tool to support the new MAC proposal

* Update: Performance improvements in the editor for loading large files faster. This was planned for MarcEdit 7, but I decided to make the change so that the final versions that support XP include this work.

* Update: Context Search additions/improvements

* Bug Fixes including: API updates (streaming function for exporting tab delimited was throwing an error), merge update when using 022$a as a query index, etc.)

* Plugin-framework updates: This requires making a change to the Interfaces that allows plugins and marcedit to speak to each other. I’ll be updating all plugins as a result. Newer versions of MarcEdit will update your plugins automatically

* Accessibility changes (couple forms weren’t scaling correctly with large fonts, large resolutions – this has been corrected)

Please note *you must update any plugins* after this update. If you don’t update, you must *decline* the plugin updates when offered. I had to update the plugin framework, which includes the Interface host file. This should mean anything to anyone, but the gist is, I had to change an assembly signature so once the update happens, you will have to update your plugins. I believe I’ve updated all the plugins that are currently in use. If I’ve missed something, let me know.

Updates are available via the automatic updates or from

Questions, let me know.


DuraSpace News: EXTENDED: Early Bird Discount for Fedora and Samvera Camp

planet code4lib - Mon, 2017-07-10 00:00

From the organizers of Fedora and Samvera Camp at Oxford

DuraSpace and Data Curation Experts are set to offer the Fedora and Samvera Camp at Oxford University, Sept 4 - 8, 2017. The camp will be hosted by Oxford University Oxford, UK and is supported by Jisc. The organizers are pleased to announce that the early bird discount registration price has been extended until July 24.

DuraSpace News: Information and Library Network Centre (INFLIBNET) National Workshop on VIVO Faculty Profile Management

planet code4lib - Mon, 2017-07-10 00:00

Gandhinagar, India  The Information and Library Network Centre (INFLIBNET), Inter-University Centre of UGC, Gandhinagar is organising "Three-day National Workshop on VIVO Faculty Profile Management System and Discovery’’ during August 16-18, 2017 at INFLIBNET Centre, Infocity, Gandhinagar, India.

About the workshop

Hugh Rundle: That’s classified: the hypocrisy and discrimination of Australia’s censorship regime

planet code4lib - Sun, 2017-07-09 20:30

For over a year, public libraries across Australia have been locked in negotiations with State and Federal governments over censorship. Unlike the New Zealand case of Into the River, when the entire country was talking about the see-sawing part-restriction and temporary ban on Ted Dawe’s young adult novel, very few Australians would even be aware of this situation. But the current negotiations highlight just how ridiculous Australia’s censorship regime is, and how hypocritical our political leaders are.

It’s not officially called ’censorship’, of course - Australia has ‘classification’. The crux of the problem is that under this system, anything that is not officially classified is either ‘unclassified’ or, if it has run the gauntlet, ‘refused classification’. In Australia it is unlawful to sell, distribute, rent, or exhibit a film or video game that has not been classified - so ‘refused classification’ is an obtuse way os saying “banned”. But aside from the obscurantist language, the big problem with Australia’s system is that video games and films are banned by default until they are given a classification.

Pay to Play

To understand why this is a problem for public libraries, it helps to understand how libraries procure material, and what sort of material they hold in their collections. In multicultural Australia, most public libraries hold material in several community languages. Often the high demand items in these community language collections are audio-visual - DVDs and, perhaps, music CDs. Unsurprisingly, the overwhelming majority of this material is filmed, produced and manufactured overseas, and the commercial market in Australia is very small. So whilst a local library service may cater to, say, a locally significant Maltese-speaking community, that community is commercially insignificant. This distinction is important when the mechanics of the Classification system are revealed. The Classification Board is funded by film and game makers - if you want to sell or exhibit your film or game, you have to pay for the privilege of having it classified. The minimum cost is $550, and for most films or TV series on DVD (61-120 minutes) it will be $730. Per film. As an importer of a language like Maltese, you are likely to have, at most, perhaps a dozen customers for each title. Even with a generous markup, the Classification fees are likely to exceed your entire profit on the title - perhaps even exceed the entire gross income. This is clearly unsustainable. For this reason, suppliers have simply neglected to submit foreign-language material to the Classification Board before selling it to libraries, and everyone pretended not to know they were breaking the law. Last year, libraries in New South Wales became concerned that they may be liable, and sought legal advice. The answer was fairly clear - libraries probably haven’t been breaching the law by purchasing and displaying unclassified material, but suppliers certainly have. As a consequence of this public legal advice, most public libraries across New South Wales and Victoria have ceased purchasing unclassified DVDs until the matter is resolved.

Confusing, arbitrary, inconsistent

The obvious solution to this problem is to change Australia’s arbitrary and biased Classification laws, but things aren’t quite that simple. Whilst the Classification Board is a national body linked to the Federal Attorney General’s office, enforcement of their decisions is actually governed by the States, for Constitutional reasons. Every State and Territory has more or less uniform Classification legislation, but any State or Territory can also, at least in theory, overrule the Classification Board and re-classify or de-classify titles within their borders. This also gives them the power to allow broad exemptions to the law - and that is what is being looked at in both New South Wales and Victoria to allow public libraries to once again purchase unclassified material. But the very fact that this can be done - and that State governments have made it clear that they have no intention of prosecuting libraries or library suppliers - shows how ridiculous and arbitrary Australia’s classification regime is.

The system is inconsistent both in terms of enforcement - with eight different jurisdictions making independent decisions about whether or not to enforce the law - but also in terms of what is required to be classified. Some types of films and games are exempt, whilst books are exempt by default - except when they’re not. So a DVD of a live concert by, say, Peaches, is exempt from classification and can be sold or lent to anyone, but if basically the same content was packaged as a feature film it would probably be close to an MA15+ rating. George R. R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series of novels can be freely lent to anyone, even though the DVDs of the television series based on them (Game of Thrones) are rated R18+. But look for American Psycho in your local library and you’ll only find the R18+ rated DVD on the shelf - the book is classified as Restricted literature, and by law libraries are not allowed to store it where people under 18 years of age might be able to access it.

The whole classification system is deeply flawed, and based not on logic or consistency, but fear. Conservatives fear that children will be corrupted, and that “standards of morality, decency and propriety” will be offended. Politicians fear that conservative voters will punish them if they relax censorship laws. This fear is driving poor policy and punishing cultural minorities, library users, and small businesses. Whilst some might argue that Australia should simply do away with our censorship system, if we’re going to have one there are two ways I think it could be vastly improved without materially changing the standards. These could be introduced together, or separately.


The simplest way to level the playing field would be to allow publishers and importers to self-regulate. With a clear set of classification guidelines, Governments could simply allow publishers to classify their own material. This would allow for the complete elimination of the Classification Board. If a complaint is made about a classification, it could be considered by the Classification Review Board, as is currently the case. Publishers could be penalised for flagrant or repeated mis-classifications, and the system would largely manage itself. Dealing with classifications in this way would save an enormous amount of time and money, and the end result would be basically the same as what we currently have.


The second technique, equivalence, could either be brought in as an (inferior) alternative, or work in tandem with self-classification. Legal equivalence is a long-standing concept in international law. Essentially it involves to countries or states agreeing that their laws on a particular matter are so similar that courts will consider certain decisions to be ‘equivalent’ in both states. An example is banking law in Europe, where (pre-Brexit) banks licenced to operate in Britain are generally able to operate in France without obtaining a French licence, or driving licences in Australia, where every State and Territory issues their own licenses but recognises those issued by the others.

Whilst film classification and rating systems vary from country to country, there are many broad similarities - as Wikipedia’s Motion Picture Content Rating System Comparison Table shows. To go back to our earlier example, under an equivalence scheme, an importer of Maltese films could simply put an Australian PG sticker on material rated Maltese PG, an M on Maltese 12 and 12A, an MA15+ on Maltese 15, and an R18+ on Maltese 18. If the system was combined with self-classification, the Classification Review Board could perhaps only review decisions where an importer has self-classified something differently to the equivalence guidelines (there is never going to be exact equivalence between different countries’ ratings).

The future

Some of these problems will simply disappear as films and games eventually come to be exclusively distributed over the internet. But the last thing we should want is for all the present problems to be transferred to a giant internet censorship regime. Australia’s censorship system is broken. Not only because it continues to ban books, but because it favours large publishers with deep pockets and mass audiences. It systematically criminalises films and games with niche Australian audiences. It is incoherent and inconsistent. Even the governments and agencies responsible for enforcing the law don’t really believe in it. Surely we can do better.

Meredith Farkas: Dear Professor

planet code4lib - Sun, 2017-07-09 19:15

I knew something was very wrong toward the end of Freshman year at Wesleyan. I’d begun to withdraw from the circle of friends I’d become so close to over the year that two of them came home with me over Spring Break. I either couldn’t fall asleep at all or slept 12 or more hours a day. I perseverated over every little thing and yet felt like a zombie. I kept my grades up, mainly because it felt like the only thing keeping me going. I wasn’t “me” anymore. It was my first brush with a major depressive episode, one that would last another year and a half and nearly kill me. By late Fall of sophomore year, when I had to meet with my advisor about my schedule for Spring term, I didn’t really feel like I’d make it to Spring term. I broke down in front of this highly respected history professor and told him I didn’t think I could stay at Wesleyan. I don’t remember exactly what he said to me, but I came out of that meeting feeling like someone cared about me and believed I could make it. He got me set up with campus mental health for counseling and checked back in with me a few times. His small kindness felt so very big to me at the time (and even now).

In addition to depression, I had a mean case of impostor syndrome, which was exacerbated by being at such a rigorous university. While I’d gone to a mediocre Florida public school, most of my friends went to the best private schools in the country where they’d studied things like Foucault in Freshman year. Some of my friends’ parents were nobel prize winners or famous playwrights, filmmakers, and authors. I felt constantly out of my depth; I didn’t know how I’d even gotten accepted.

But I was also so excited by what I was learning. I came to college wanting to better understand philosophy, history, and human behavior and I took so many courses that illuminated for me the human mind. I ended up writing a thesis that combined the three, a look at how the philosophical movement in Prussia from enlightenment thinking to romanticism (and the nationalism that came with it) led a tremendous number of the Jews of Berlin to convert to Christianity in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. But I almost didn’t do an honors thesis at all, had I not been convinced to do it by the professor who would become my thesis advisor, Oliver Holmes. He persuaded me that I could do it and that my crackpot theories around this topic were not actually so crazy. He even went to the powers that be to get me registered as a thesis student since it was after drop/add. He kicked my butt all year, made me read insane amounts of content, and made me a better writer than I’d ever been before. And had he not encouraged me, I would have missed out on one of the best intellectual experiences of my life.

Had I thought that either of these professors might have tweeted or shared information about me (even anonymously) on some other social media platform, I would never have approached them in the first place. I approached these two professors because I trusted them. I find the idea of my professors complaining about me mortifying. But that’s the world we seem to live in these days; a world where instructors take to social media to blow off steam about their students for infractions big and small or to share the funny things they say or requests they make. I call it “Dear Student” culture, for the truly awful blog that was a part of the Chronicle of Higher Ed for a while.

Jesse Stommel wrote a terrific piece about the “Dear Student” column and how it compelled him to quit writing for the Chronicle himself. I really appreciated these bullet points and his views on venting about students in public:

What everyone working anywhere even near to the education system needs to do:

  • Treat the least privileged among us with the most respect.
  • Recognize that the job of a teacher is to advocate for students, especially in an educational system currently under direct threat at almost every turn.
  • Laugh at ourselves and not at those we and our system have made most vulnerable.
  • Rant up, not down.

I certainly understand the need to vent. My professional colleagues and I vent to each other privately in areas in which we could not be overheard by students. Twitter is not such a place.

The other day, I saw a professor write about a student who had asked for the syllabus for a Fall course in July.

"Hi Professor. I know it's only July, but do you have the syllabus ready that we'll use in the fall? I want to.."

— Charles W. McKinney (@kmt188) July 6, 2017

Cute, right? At many universities, faculty do not have to have the syllabus done until the first day of class (though at other institutions, like San Jose State where I work part-time students can view the syllabus before they select classes for that term). If the syllabus isn’t ready, of course it’s reasonable to say no to the student. I might have sent the student an old copy if one existed, but I’m certainly not suggesting anyone should have to create something to satisfy the student. The original post was certainly not even in the same league of awful as the “Dear Student” articles (though he later argued with me that the students’ request was “utterly unreasonable” which made me give some side-eye), but the thread went on and others tweeted things that were more offensive to students, some of which the original poster agreed with.

“Overachievers finish last and piss us off!!!”

“This ridiculously early email should make up for the lack of interest I’m about to show once I’m enrolled”

“Now if only they were so interested in looking at the syllabus, *during* the semester…”

“…do you have the syllabus from for years ago Spring for my transfer…..Still No”

“My own view (since no one asked)? That is a human being who needs to learn to breathe. Deeply.”

“And then this student will fall silent and send out reply emails the last week of class asking for extra credit for all assignments missed!”

“Doesn’t the dimwit know to download the spring version and to get the quizzes and homework solutions then, too?”

“Hi profesor! Im premed lol kin u tell me bst way 2 gt As n ur class??? Thx uuuu!!!!”

“Some students think that putting a course together takes about as long as they take to write a paper (a few hours)! ;-)”

“this isn’t high school instructors don’t owe your fragile ass shit & neither does the world. Learn that in your four years & u may be ok”

“Plus, they’re really NOT going to get started on that reading. Told my senior seminar students what to read this summer. I’ll bet they don’t”

A student who looked up their professor for Fall and found this tweet would see all of those responses. I would imagine that the original poster is very busy with other work and research-related pursuits this summer. Maybe he is even overburdened with things he wishes he didn’t have to do. I don’t know. I agree 100% that having boundaries is definitely a good thing in academia. I know my first year as a librarian, I was so “students first” that I was answering research questions from students on Christmas day. I learned that I had to set up boundaries to have time with family and friends, because work could easily eat up every waking minute. But that student’s request was not “utterly unreasonable.” It is not utterly unreasonable to request a syllabus. Some instructors might have it ready and others won’t. If they then complained about the “no,” that would be unreasonable, but the question itself was not. And complaining about students or commenting on things they said on Twitter to get laughs or commiseration or whatever is just not a good idea.

I work at a community college now where a large portion of our student population are first-generation and returning students. These populations historically have come into college with a pretty low sense of self-efficacy and without some of the skills of “studentship” because they hadn’t learned them before. They come in not knowing the “rules” of academia and discover that, in fact, different instructors can have very different rules and practices. Even as a relatively privileged individual, I didn’t really understand much about how academia worked when I got to college and I certainly didn’t understand issues of academic labor. I hear from students all the time who tell me they feel like they don’t belong in college because they’re struggling. A lot of the students I deal with have experienced trauma in their lives, so knowing that they can trust the people who are paid to support their success is critical. For people who have experienced bullying or abuse, finding that their instructor wrote about something they said or asked on Twitter could destroy their trust not only in that instructor but in the institution.

Many academics are working at institutions where administration has increased class sizes, cut faculty development funding, and done other things that have made our work lives more difficult and less pleasant. I remember when all of a sudden my teaching load for the LIS class I taught at SJSU doubled from 15 to 30 with no additional compensation. I realized after a term that if I wanted to keep my sanity, I needed to change my assignments to make my grading load less intense. I feel like many faculty are frustrated with the labor conditions they are put under by administrators (which many don’t feel safe openly posting about on social media) that it creates an environment where they interpret even innocuous requests by students through that lens. And see students as adversaries with more privilege than they have. And it leads some of them to punch down, because there are no consequences for it and it allows them to let off steam. The students are not the enemy in these situations and treating them like they are doesn’t fix anything.

I think back to the class on Modern Political Thought I took with Prof. Holmes before I wrote my thesis. I was so shy and insecure that I almost never talked in class, which is pretty hard to do in a class of 10 students. The professor could have interpreted my silence as apathy or laziness or whatever. He could have made fun of my timidity. Instead, he gently tried to get me to talk. He encouraged me. He gave me good feedback on my essays. He believed in me. I can’t tell you what that meant. I was so fragile then that being called out would have wrecked me. And I know I’m not the only one. Jesse Stommel wrote a follow-up piece where he talks about some comments he received from students (btw, I love the post he links to under “student voices”).

What I listened to most intently during the aftermath of “Dear Chronicle” were the student voices, a number of whom commented anonymously on my piece:

“Part of the reason why I never asked for help was because I saw what my professors thought of those who did.”

“I dropped out of college, in large part due to the hoops I had to jump through to get my disabilities recognized. I was always so tired of having to justify myself and I didn’t want to have to argue ‘but I’m not like those students’ because then I’d be no better than the people judging me.”

“It’s a lot easier to stay motivated when you’re not made to feel like you’re stupid or a liar. It’s a lot easier to focus on studying when you’re not focused on having to justify yourself.”

This is where the conversation starts. By listening seriously to the voices of students and recognizing that students can be drivers of the conversation about the state of education. Teachers have anxieties. Teaching is one of the most emotionally difficult jobs I have done and can imagine doing. Of course, we need to vent. But it is not productive for us to continue creating spaces for teachers to vent that students can eavesdrop on but feel excluded from. I agree that we need to talk openly about real concerns, but there are better ways to have those conversations than by stereotyping, mocking, and shaming.

I have definitely had moments where I’ve felt overworked, under-appreciated, and burnt out. I’ve had moments where I’ve lost sight of why I was doing this work. I’ve felt annoyed with students at times. I’ve vented to colleagues, as I mentioned before. I don’t think that I’ve ever badmouthed a student on social media, but I’m willing to imagine that maybe I slipped up at some point. We all get into these negative head spaces sometimes, but we should remember that students are not the enemy and our role is to be their champions; to do what we can to help them be successful. My role is to facilitate their learning and help prepare them for the rest of their lives. My role is not to nitpick them, not give extensions when they are dealing with terrible things or are ill, assume they’re liars, or make fun of them for the amusement of my friends.

Do I think the faculty member who posted about the student’s request for the syllabus is a bad instructor? Of course not! I’m sure he cares very much about his students and did not mean any harm with what he wrote. I think in this era it is a very human thing to vent on social media about how busy we are, and it’s not a stretch to do that in such a way where you use a student’s question to that end. But writing about students on social media in any way that is other than positive is a bad idea. I would say that the same cautions apply to talking about students that way at conferences (which many of us learned from the ACRL Conference) and in articles.

When a student makes a request of an instructor, we often don’t know what issues and external stressors in the student’s life are behind the request. Just like they don’t know about the issues and external stressors in our lives. Approaching student requests with compassion rather than lumping them in with “all the students like them” builds the sort of student/faculty relationships that support student success.

Other articles/posts that have influenced my thinking about this issue:

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FOSS4Lib Recent Releases: Hydrax - 1.0.2

planet code4lib - Sat, 2017-07-08 19:57

Last updated July 8, 2017. Created by Peter Murray on July 8, 2017.
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Package: HydraxRelease Date: Friday, June 30, 2017

District Dispatch: One library’s creative advocacy campaign to #SaveIMLS

planet code4lib - Fri, 2017-07-07 16:44

In light of the threatened cuts to IMLS and federal library funding this year, we have seen an outpouring a support and an increase in advocacy efforts by librarian across the country. Over 42,000 emails were sent to the House and Senate during the Fight for Libraries! campaign alone! But many libraries did not stop at phone calls and emails.

In April, Manchester-by-the-Sea Public Library decided to showcase how different types of funding (including state and federal) help the library to provide valuable services for their patrons. The librarians tied balloons around objects and materials in the library, using different colored balloons to signify the different funding sources that made the resources possible. The result was a low-cost, eye-catching campaign that got the patron attention they were hoping for!

Balloon color key:

BLUE: Groups such as Friends of the library, Hooper Fund, Cape Ann Savings Bank
RED: State, federal support with grants, networks, deliveries, e-materials & more
YELLOW: Private gifts and donations of funds, materials, and resources

Balloons signifying different funding sources at Manchester-by-the-Sea Public Library Source: Manchester-by-the-Sea Public Library

We interviewed Kate Stadt, the Head of Youth Services at Manchester-by-the-Sea Public Library, about their creative response to the President’s budget and the proposed cuts to federal library funding.

What prompted you to put together this campaign?
This campaign came about as a response to the threat to see the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) defunded. We thought the campaign would be a great way to visually show patrons what services they use thanks to all sorts of funding, from the generosity of private donors, the Friends, and the Trustees, to the massive support from the federal and state governments. We were thrilled by the opportunity to simultaneously educate and celebrate our community. We decided to run this campaign during National Library Week to take advantage of the spirit of celebration sweeping libraries nationwide.

What kind of research did you need to do before you got started?
The first genesis of the idea came about many years ago when our current library director, Sara Collins, was at a conference and heard another librarian talking about using balloons to celebrate the library. Then this year, I was thinking of ways we could communicate the value of the services we provide more effectively to patrons. My idea was to put large price tags on different items patrons frequently use identifying who had provided the funds to make those services available. In conversation with the Friends of the Library, the decision was made to combine those ideas and mark items around the library with different-colored balloons, with each color representing a different source of funding.

What materials were used? Did you have a budget?
We used balloons and paper to post flyers about it and that’s it! The balloons were bought for us by the Friends of the Library. Overall, it was pretty inexpensive, although the balloons began to sink throughout the week and it would have been more expensive to get new ones. But the great thing about this project is that it’s adjustable and affordable – you can do as many balloons as your budget allows, or go with paper price tags for an even more thrifty option.

How did you promote the campaign to your community? Were there posters or flyers in the library? How about social media?
We promoted the campaign in several ways. We promoted it in newspapers as part of our weekly press release, put it on the signs outside, had flyers around the library, and educated the staff to be able to talk about what the balloons represented and where the funds had come from. I reached out to ALA and we promoted it on our Facebook page as well – the goal was to get the whole community celebrating! In some ways, we didn’t have to do a lot of promoting – those balloons brought attention to themselves!

How was the campaign received by the community?
The campaign was received very enthusiastically! The balloons created an instant positive impact on the moods of everyone who came in. They were an immediate connection point to the librarians; every day someone would come in and say, “What’s the occasion?” and I would get to say, “We’re having a party for the library to celebrate all the people and groups that have made our services possible!” Then we could naturally lead into explaining what the balloons meant and how the services had been paid for and the end result felt like we were positively educating the community on some of the more opaque aspects of the inner library workings. It really created a library-wide attitude of gratitude – us to the community, the community to us.

How do you see the campaign evolving over time?
I think it would be incredibly fun to do the campaign again, to take the goodwill the balloons built and really drill down into some more specific services that have had far-reaching effects. For example, we are able to provide teen services due to a state-administered IMLS grant. The grant paid for teen books, teen furniture, and helped create a teen librarian professional position. I would love to spend a day specifically highlighting that asset, as well as other tangible high-impact services on other days. I also would love to extend the education into advocacy. For example, it would be amazing to have the balloons up as well as a workstation for writing postcards to legislators or to pass out volunteer forms, or forms for the Friends of the Library, or information about donating to the library. The balloons highlight how our library thrives thanks to monetary support, but there is so much patrons can do on individual levels to support the library. Next year, it would be exciting to empower our library-loving patrons to be their own best advocates.

You can see more photos of the project on the Manchester-by-the-Sea Public Library’s Facebook page.

How has your library turned federal politics into local advocacy work? Do you have a campaign planned during the August recess, when Members of Congress will be back in their states and districts? Share your ideas in the comments and let us know how you plan to get involved.

The post One library’s creative advocacy campaign to #SaveIMLS appeared first on District Dispatch.

Terry Reese: MarcEdit 7 Update Notes

planet code4lib - Fri, 2017-07-07 13:51

I’ll be officially cutting the new branch of MarcEdit 7 for all the code in the project following the next release of MarcEdit 6.3.x.  The first thing I’ll be doing is updating all the dependencies to the new version of .NET 4.6.x essentially ending Windows XP support for MarcEdit 7.  I’ll be updating namespaces, and prepping the files for a first alpha release.  The very early releases will be preview releases for those that code against MarcEdit interested in testing the new namespaces, and for IT folks interested in testing the new installers, as this will also be the first version to include installers that can provide installation either in the current, traditional setup, or as a user.  The way I’ll be providing installation will be much the same way google does it.  Rather than selecting an download, users will download a single installer (likely an exe).  The installer will ask the user if you want to install for everyone (must be an admin) or just for the current user.  If you pick everyone, it will check your operating system, and download the appropriate installer.  This installer will require that you authenticate as an admin.  If you choose just the current user, it will check your operating system and will download the installer to install just within your user space (non-admin).  From the users perspective, the program will work exactly the same.  I’ll also include some detailed instructions for IT administrators that want to download the MSI files directly – this way folks that manage software via software distribution tools can still do that.  Additionally, to make management easier for IT folks, each version of MarcEdit will have its own SKU (or product code).  This is important when managing software distribution and one of the reasons most IT folks hate the way Google manages Chrome (all versions share the same ID). 

Once MarcEdit 7 alpha is available, I’ll likely post updates to MarcEdit 6.3.x and MarcEdit 7 concurrently until about Sept. 2017.  At that point, I’ll freeze 6.3.x.  That will be the final version supporting XP, and then will focus on updating MarcEdit 7.  Additionally, I’ll likely be posting a few wireframes of how I envision changing MarcEdit 7’s interface.  I will be updating the Main Window, the MARC Tools and the MarcEditor.  In fact, the MarcEditor will likely shift from the current menus, to the more traditional ribbon interface that you now see in most Windows applications, while the MacOS update will continue to follow Mac UI design guidelines.

Questions, let me know.


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

planet code4lib - Thu, 2017-07-06 00:00

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

Bethany Seeger has been a Fedora contributor to the Fedora repository team for two years. Her focus is on MODS XML to RDF mapping as Amherst migrates to Fedora 4.

DuraSpace News: REGISTER for The DSpace Anwendertreffen 2017

planet code4lib - Thu, 2017-07-06 00:00

From Pascal-Nicolas Becker, The Library Code GmbH

LITA: Jobs in Information Technology: July 5, 2017

planet code4lib - Wed, 2017-07-05 18:42

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

Bates College, Vice President for Information & Library Services and College Librarian, Lewiston, ME

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

HangingTogether: MARC: The Neck Pillow of Bibliographic Data

planet code4lib - Wed, 2017-07-05 16:41

Now that I have your attention with that bizarre title, let me explain. Recently I gave a keynote talk at the IATUL Annual Conference in Bolzano, IT. Since I had an 11-hour flight to Frankfurt, I bought a neck pillow at the airport. One time I flew back from Australia in economy and it took two months and multiple trips to the chiropractor to get my neck back in shape, so I wasn’t eager to repeat that.

Meanwhile, my talk was on my mind. Called “Data Designed for Discovery,” which I had given several times before, I talk about how MARC was designed for description and that linked data is designed more for discovery. I also realized that MARC really only makes sense in library systems — once it’s outside of a library system no one knows what to do with it. That’s when it hit me.

After being introduced at my keynote, I slipped on my neck pillow and went to the front of the room. I said, “You’re no doubt wondering why I’m wearing this neck pillow. You’re all world travelers, so you understand that there is one and only one context where wearing a neck pillow makes sense — on a long distance trip where you are expected to sleep sitting up. Outside of that context, like now, it is not just useless, it’s ridiculous.  Similarly, there is one and only one context in which MARC, our foundational bibliographic standard, makes sense — inside a library system. Outside of that context no one knows what to do with it. Therefore, MARC is the neck pillow of bibliographic data.” Unfortunately, I don’t think BIBFRAME is any better in this regard, as it is in a schema that only libraries will care about.

I then went on to describe the many ways in which bibliographic data in linked data form can be used both within our systems, to solve long-standing discovery problems, as well as outside of our systems for web crawlers and others to find and use (in form).

I don’t expect this metaphor to take off like my “MARC must die” statement, soon to be 15 years old, but if it works for you, feel free to use it.


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