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code4lib 2013

The Avalon Media System: A Next Generation Hydra Head For Audio and Video Delivery

The Avalon Media System: A Next Generation Hydra Head For Audio and Video Delivery

Slide presentation

  • Michael Klein, Senior Software Developer, Northwestern University LIbrary, michael.klein AT northwestern DOT edu
  • Nathan Rogers, Programmer/Analyst, Indiana University, rogersna AT indiana DOT edu

Based on the success of the Variations digital music platform, Indiana University and Northwestern University have developed a next generation educational tool for delivering multimedia resources to the classroom. The Avalon Media System (formerly Variations on Video) supports the ingest, media processing, management, and access-controlled delivery of library-managed video and audio collections. To do so, the system draws on several existing, mature, open source technologies:

  • The ingest, search, and discovery functionality of the Hydra framework
  • The powerful multimedia workflow management features of Opencast Matterhorn
  • The flexible Engage audio/video player
  • The streaming capabilities of both Red5 Media Server (open source) and Adobe Flash Media Server (proprietary)

Extensive customization options are built into the framework for tailoring the application to the needs of a specific institution.

Our goal is to create an open platform that can be used by other institutions to serve the needs of the academic community. Release 1 is planned for a late February launch with future versions released every couple of months following. For more information visit and

EAD without XSLT: A Practical New Approach to Web-Based Finding Aids

EAD without XSLT: A Practical New Approach to Web-Based Finding Aids

Slide presentation

  • Trevor Thornton, New York Public Library,

The New York Public Library is reengineering its system for delivering archival finding aids on the Web. The foundation of this system is a data management application, written in Rails, within which collections and their components are managed as associated model instances, and descriptive data is stored natively as JSON and HTML. Front-end applications interact with the back-end via a flexible API that is capable of returning any part of the description at any level. This approach provides a number of benefits over the traditional XML/XSLT approach:

  • Data is stored natively in the format in which it is needed by the front-end application, making rendering much faster
  • Finding aid data can be lazy-loaded via AJAX requests
  • Enables presentation of the archival description beyond the traditional finding aid structure (alternate arrangements, visualizations, etc.)
  • Links to digital assets can be maintained independently of archival description
  • Data cleanup and normalization can be accomplished during and/or after ingest of original data into the system, ensuring data quality and consistency
  • Data is stored in a schema-neutral format, enabling easy transformation into other formats as required (e.g. RDF for semantic web applications, future version(s) of EAD schema for harvesting, etc.)

In this session I will describe the architecture of this system and its data model, and discuss the challenges presented in the design process.

Hacking the DPLA

Hacking the DPLA

Slide presentation

  • Nate Hill, Chattanooga Public Library, nathanielhill AT
  • Sam Klein, Wikipedia, metasj AT

The Digital Public Library of America is a growing open-source platform to support digital libraries and archives of all kinds. DPLA-alpha is available for testing, with data from six initial Hubs. New APIs and data feeds are in development, with the next release scheduled for April.

Come learn what we are doing, how to contribute or hack the DPLA roadmap, and how you (or your favorite institution) can draw from and publish through it. Larger institutions can join as a (content or service) hub, helping to aggregate and share metadata and services from across their {region, field, archive-type}. We will discuss current challenges and possibilities (UI and API suggestions wanted!), apps being built on the platform, and related digitization efforts.

DPLA has a transparent community and planning process; new participants are always welcome. Half the time will be for suggestions and discussion. Please bring proposals, problems, partnerships and possible paradoxes to discuss.

Pitfall! Working with Legacy Born Digital Materials in Special Collections

Pitfall! Working with Legacy Born Digital Materials in Special Collections

Slide presentation

  • Donald Mennerich, The New York Public Library, don.mennerich AT
  • Mark A. Matienzo, Yale University Library, mark AT

Archives and special collections are being faced with a growing abundance of born digital material, as well as an abundance of many promising tools for managing them. However, one must consider the potential problems that can arise when approaching a collection containing legacy materials (from roughly the pre-internet era). Many of the tried and true, "best of breed" tools for digital preservation don't always work as they do for more recent materials, requiring a fair amount of ingenuity and use of "word of mouth tradecraft and knowledge exchanged through serendipitous contacts, backchannel conversations, and beer" (Kirschenbaum, "Breaking badflag").

Our presentation will focus on some of the strange problems encountered and creative solutions devised by two digital archivists in the course of preserving, processing, and providing access to collections at their institutions. We'll be placing particular particular emphasis of the pitfalls and crocodiles we've learned to swing over safely, while collecting treasure in the process. We'll address working with CP/M disks in collections of authors' papers, reconstructing a multipart hard drive backup spread across floppy disks, and more.

ARCHITECTING ScholarSphere: How We Built a Repository App That Doesn't Feel Like Yet Another Janky Old Repository App

ARCHITECTING ScholarSphere: How We Built a Repository App That Doesn't Feel Like Yet Another Janky Old Repository App

Slide presentation

  • Dan Coughlin, Penn State University,
  • Mike Giarlo, Penn State University,

ScholarSphere is a web application that allows the Penn State research community to deposit, share, and manage its scholarly works. It is also, as some of our users and our peers have observed, a repository app that feels much more like Google Docs or GitHub than earlier-generation repository applications. ScholarSphere is built upon the Hydra framework (Fedora Commons, Solr, Blacklight, Ruby on Rails), MySQL, Redis, Resque, FITS, ImageMagick, jQuery, Bootstrap, and FontAwesome. We'll talk about techniques we used to:

  • eliminate Fedora-isms in the application
  • model and expose RDF metadata in ways that users find unobtrusive
  • manage permissions via a UI widget that doesn't stab you in the face
  • harvest and connect controlled vocabularies (such as LCSH) to forms
  • make URIs cool
  • keep the app snappy without venturing into the architectural labyrinth of YAGNI
  • build and queue background jobs
  • expose social features and populate activity streams
  • tie checksum verification, characterization, and version control to the UI
  • let users upload and edit multiple files at once

The application will be demonstrated; code will be shown; and we solemnly commit to showing ABSOLUTELY NO XML.

Code4Lib 2013 Scholarship (deadline: December 14, 2012)

Oregon State University and the Digital Library Federation are sponsoring five scholarships to promote gender and cultural diversity. Each scholarship will provide up to $1,000 to cover travel costs and conference fees for one qualified attendee to attend the 2013 Code4Lib Conference, which will be held in Chicago, Illinois, from Monday,February 11 through Thursday, February 14. The Code4Lib scholarship committee will award two scholarships per category, awarding the remaining scholarship to the best remaining candidate in either category. The Code4Lib scholarship committee will award these scholarships based on merit and need.


Applicants, if eligible, may apply for both scholarships, but no applicant will receive more than one scholarship. Past winners of either scholarship are not eligible for either scholarship. Scholarship recipients will be required to write a short trip report to be submitted to the scholarships committee by February 17, 2012.


For more information on the Code4Lib Conference, please see the conference website:

and write-ups of previous Code4Lib Conferences:


The Gender Diversity Scholarships will provide up to $1,000 to cover travel costs and conference fees for two qualified applicants to attend the 2013 Code4Lib Conference. Any woman or transgendered person who is interested in actively contributing to the mission and goals of the Code4Lib Conference is encouraged to apply.


The Minority Scholarships will provide up to $1,000 to cover travel costs and conference fees for two qualified applicants to attend the 2013 Code4Lib Conference. To qualify for this scholarship, an applicant must be interested in actively contributing to the mission and goals of the Code4Lib Conference and must be of Hispanic or Latino, Black or African-American, Asian, Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander, or American Indian or Alaskan Native descent.


To apply, please send an email to Jeremy Frumkin ( with the following (preferably combined into a single PDF, if possible):

  • Indication of which scholarship (Gender or Minority or both) to which you are applying
  • A brief letter of interest, which:
    1. Describes your interest in the conference and how you intend to participate
    2. Discusses your statement of need
    3. Indicates your eligibility
  • A résumé or CV
  • Contact information for two professional or academic references

The application deadline is Dec. 14, 2012.
The scholarship committee will notify successful candidates the week of Jan. 1, 2013.

Code4Lib 2013 Schedule

Schedule for the 2013 Code4Lib Conference in Chicago, IL.
PDF version

Pre-conference Program
Monday, February 11

Pre-Conference day overview:
08:00-09:00 - Registration
09:00-12:00 - Morning sessions
12:00-13:30 - Lunch (on your own)
13:30-16:30 - Afternoon sessions
TBA - Evening session

Preconference Descriptions

Full Day Pre-Conferences:

Morning Pre-Conferences (09:00 - 12:00)

Afternoon Pre-Conferences (13:30 - 16:30):

Conference Program
Tuesday, February 12

Wednesday, February 13

Thursday, February 14

Code4Lib 2013

The Basics

Schedule (HTML) | Schedule (PDF) | Schedule (Lanyrd)

Streaming URL :

Thanks to Tara Robertson for sponsoring ad-free streaming.

Breakout Session Signups

When: Monday-Thursday, February 11-14
Where: UIC Forum: 725 W Roosevelt Rd. Chicago‚ IL 60608  Map

Library of Health Science (preconference): 1750 West Polk Street Chicago, IL 60612   Map

Richard J. Daley Library (preconference): 801 S Morgan St, Chicago, IL 60607   Map


Conference Info


Registration for Code4lib 2013 was closed as of Thursday, January 31. (Registration was $160 and registration was capped at 400 people.)

Schedule (HTML) | Schedule (PDF)

Pre-conference sign up

Lanyrd page for the conference

Save the schedule to your calendar

Volunteer sign up page


Gender Diversity & Minority Scholarships

Conference Wiki

New to code4lib?

Come to dinner on Tuesday

Hacking code4lib

Code of Conduct


Hotel Info

The Crowne Plaza

733 W. Madison St, Chicago, IL 60661 Map
(312) 829-5000
Reservations, $115+ tax

Bus arrival times (#8-Halsted): From hotel to UIC Forum     From UIC Forum to hotel


Getting Around


Locals prefer the Chicago Transit Authority. You can pay in cash, but it's much easier (and a bit cheaper*) to purchase a transit card. You can buy one at the airport, the Dominick's Grocery Store 1/2 block north of the hotel on Halsted Street, or at any train station.

Get bus and train arrival time information from the CTA mobile site.

If you don't have a transit card, a cash trip will cost you $2.25. Exact change is required.

*As of last month, it now costs $5 to travel to and from O'Hare airport via the train. Hello, tourist tax!


Reasonably-priced for short trips around the Loop, but if you're going to the airport, the CTA is the more reliable (traffic-wise) and cheaper option.

Call or book online:


If you're staying at the Crowne Plaza and fancy a walk, it will take you about 25 minutes. The stretch of Halsted Street south of the hotel goes through the heart of Chicago's lively Greektown neighborhood.

Standard safety procedures apply: be aware of your surroundings, don't walk alone at night or if you're uncomfortable, etc.





Orbis Cascade Alliance
Digital Library Federation (Scholarships)
Oregon State University (and Scholarships)
Penn State University




Princeton University Library
University of California San Diego Library
The Cherry Hill Company
Dominican University Graduate School of Library and Information Science



Developer Challenge

Hacking Fedora 4 (cash prizes)

Twitter: #c4l13

IRC channel: #code4lib

Code4Lib Conference 2013 Call for Propoosals

We are now accepting proposals for Code4lib 2013.

Code4lib 2013 is a loosely-structured conference for library technologists to commune, gather/create/share ideas and software, be inspired, and forge collaborations. The conference will be held Monday February 11th (Preconference Day) - Thursday February 14th, 2013 in Chicago, IL. More information can be found on the host committee information page.

Head over to the call for proposals page on the Code4Lib Wiki and submit your idea for a prepared talk for this year's conference! Proposals should be no longer than 500 words, and preferably many less.

Prepared talks are 20 minutes (including setup and questions), and focus on one or more of the following areas:

  • tools (some cool new software, software library or integration platform)
  • specs (how to get the most out of some protocols, or proposals for new ones)
  • challenges (one or more big problems we should collectively address)

The community will vote on proposals using the criteria of:

  • usefulness
  • newness
  • geekiness
  • uniqueness
  • awesomeness

Proposals can be submitted through Friday, November 2nd, 5pm PT. Voting will commence soon thereafter. The submitter (and if necessary a second presenter) will be guaranteed an opportunity to register for the conference.

Proposals for preconferences are also open until November 2nd, 5pm PT.

We cannot accept every prepared talk proposal, but multiple lightning talk and breakout sessions will provide everyone who wishes to present with an opportunity to do so.

Looking forward to seeing your proposals!
-Cynthia aka TheRealArty
Program Committee Lead

Keynote voting for the 2013 conference is now open!

Thanks to Ross Singer, the Diebold 2K13 machine was rebooted for votes at Keynote speaker votes.

Since the meeting is in Chicago next year we expect you to vote early
and vote often. Voting will stop when we cats and dog votes beat those
of humans and robots.

(Reposted without permission from the code4lib mailing list)


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