A new promising fall semester!

Fall at MiamiOH

I know it’s already the end of the 3rd week of this semester … but for some reason, the last 20+ days seemed to have gone just super fast … and in a few more weeks, the weather will remind us that this fall season/semester is going to come to an end. Having said that, this morning as I updated my to-do list for the next 2-3 months … it does look busy but also very promising! Of course, only time will tell how much of that we can effectively and creatively accomplish … this time, my projects seem to be floating around 3 two main categories:

Coding, Testing & Prototyping: in the next couple of weeks, we’re hoping to finalize a local workaround for an “author profile” page in DSpace, the solution will involve using some REST API, PHP, CSS and jQuery lines of code. Also, in October, we’ll officially start working on our recently awarded IMLS Sparks Grant, which aims to develop an on-demand Digital Scholarship Applications dashboard for Miami faculty. Another interesting web programming/development work is going to happen with a group of Computer Science capstone students who will be assisting us with the NEH Freedom Summer App … and finally in this list, I’m also very excited to formally start some tech exploration and maybe reverse engineering for Open Educational Resources, I believe a lot of what we’ve learned about e-books and digital publishing will come very handy :-)

Writing & Planning: of course, after all the work on some of these projects, sometimes there is a requirement for writing/publishing results … this semester, on top finishing up my article on Tools and Technologies for Faculty Web Publishing Projects, I’ll also be co-writing the NEH white paper for the FS App, another document in the planning is an initial impact and web stats publication for the Digital Literacy Partnership project, which will include the assistance of a senior undergrad student! As for planning and creativity, this year I’m also working with a library working group on creativity and innovation and we’re about to decide on 3-5 C+I library initiatives for the year!

Teaching: one of the highlights in the fall semesters, is teaching a section of IMS 201 … this year, changes include: new assignment rubrics in Canvas, a weekly summary and discussion with random student presentations on Fridays, revised and updated in-class exercises and room for creativity/innovation for the Digital Publishing final project.

Finally … yes, it’s going to be a busy semester, but it does look like a very promising one -which might include some immigration paperwork news!


Companion website & recorded presentation

This summer, we had a soft launch for the companion website or digital archive for the book Sex for Sale: Six Progressive-Era Brothel Dramas by Katie N. Johnson.  We believe creating companion sites like this one for print publications can truly benefit readers as they get richer/updated/dynamic content, and authors also benefit as they have more options for extending the reach of their research.  I was in charge for some of the technical side of the project e.g. putting in place an organization structure for the site’s content, modifying the WordPress software to produce a clean and user-friendly interface, installing custom plugins and themes, etc.

Also, in early July I attended the 2015 ARIS Summit in Madison, WI and this time I decided (or had) to record my talk, the good news is that Ann Elizabeth helped with the content … the bad news is that I was –again- reminded that video editing can also be super time-consuming.  Anyway, I think I had a good time at the Summit and now I just cannot wait for some of the upcoming features in ARIS e.g. group and world behavior (sounds like the glue/magic for collaborative playing), ARISjs (maybe the workaround for embedding minigames), and ARIS for Android :-) … so just in case someone is interested in our captioned video talk, check this out:

Finally, both of these faculty-driven projects are unique for CDS and they exemplify the potential and benefits of digital publishing, digital humanities, and collaborative work among scholars, students and librarians.


Summer plans!

Now that the spring semester is officially over, it’s probably a good time to start planning what the next 2-3 months will look like.  Among my top priorities are: evaluating and testing the author profile module for DSpace, customizing the cover page for articles in Scholarly Commons, finalizing/launching the companion website for Dr. Katie Johnson’s latest book Sex for Sale: Six Progressive-Era Brothel Drama, and getting ready for my talk at the 2015 ARIS Summit.  Additionally, and because some of my spring projects had flexible deadlines, I still need to work and check the ‘complete’ box for some other projects as well e.g. FS Documentary, Captioning PILOT project, DLP and spring e-text files, and some last changes for my IFLA book chapter.

The DSpace work is definitely something that my team has been looking into for awhile and we definitely hope to be able to implement a faculty profile module, add/customize some metadata fields on the cover page for articles, and create a couple of custom input forms … learning how to edit some .java files and rebuilding DSpace seems to be part of the fun! … of course, this summer will also be special because of my new dental accent, which is forcing me to actually record myself for some of my talks -my next big challenge will be for the ARIS talk in Madison, WI in July … y para terminar, I’ll also have to make/take some time off and work on my immigration paperwork, we finally see the light at the end of the tunnel :-)


Writing & Deadlines

deadlineWithout necessarily thinking about it, in January and in the last few days I’ve spent a good chunk of my time writing and writing and trying to meet certain deadlines.   Of course, most of us don’t like deadlines, although I think we all need deadlines because they can certainly help and keep us on track.  Somebody at EdTech put it this way “Deadlines can be both a blessing and a curse, deadlines force productivity, a timeline and a game plan that might otherwise go undefined.”  Anyway, part of my writings included a mid-year report for our NEH/FS project, an IMLS/Sparks proposal, a book chapter, and a couple of lines of PHP code -maybe I should have done more of this type of writing!

As for my new deadlines, we’re looking at March 30 for our FS 2.0 app beta test; I think Ann Elizabeth and I have managed to understand most of the new functionalities in the ARIS beta editor, the way it handles conversations is definitely 100% better than the previous version.  Perhaps my only complain so far, why cannot we duplicate our games?  Another set deadline is on April 27, when Marcus and I will give a talk at the 2015 Computers in Libraries Conference in Washington DC –my section will be on the ‘captioning pilot’ project we’re currently working on.  Other spring semester activities will include some on-going faculty projects, meetings and work on the MiamIdeas initiative, a couple of lectures for IMS201 on eBooks including one for Kate’s class, and some DSpace/WordPress/Omeka coding!

Lastly … sometimes I also wish there was a deadline for the PERM review process :-(

Fall semester: first half is now over!

At the beginning of this semester, I told a couple of people that I might not survive the first half … and the main two reasons for that early thought were two projects that required some special/unknown tests/research/coding … trying to come up with a realistic deadline when the learning curve is kind of uncertain is a bit of a challenge.  However, here we’re already fully emerged into the second half and I’m pretty sure the next 5-6 weeks will go just fine!

FS game instructionsFirst of all, the Freedom Summer Game was probably my top priority in September and even though we saw all the new features in ARIS 2.0 … because of the amount of work we had in the “old” editor, it was clear that we were better off in sticking to the older version and in the end, it allowed us to develop a good understanding of how the “characters scripts” work … or how to add some HTML code for text formatting.  Anyway, this first version of the project seems to be almost done, we’ve collected some good feedback including a new/short “storyboard” version by David Gagnon, the ARIS inventor.  On my end, some of the lessons learned include: WiFi can be very tricky, therefore devices with no GPS should be excluded; eliminating extra text/buttons on the screen is a MUST; the lack of a “back” button seems to a shared/common concern among playtesters  … perhaps the good news is that some of these issues will be fixed in ARIS 2.0 … which is another reason we want to migrate to that new version -as soon as we can.  During the conference, we kind of made it official that we’ll be working on a version 2 and it should be released sometime in the spring semester … so stay tune!

In early September, we also learned that there was an opportunity to demo the Middle East Media project at an international conference in Qatar … well, something like this was definitely a good reason/excuse to finalize the “beta” version of this site.  One of the major changes was modifying the header.php file as we added a few PHP lines to check if the page being displayed is one of the new “custom taxonomy” pages or not.  Overall, this project has allowed us to test some of the functionalities that WordPress and its plugins can offer to this type of scholarly websites.

closed captioningLast, we finally have some good news for the Miami Video Captioning PILOT project, this week we’re getting ready to hire 2-3 students who will be helping us transcribe selected videos.   We’re still hoping to launch a site for this pilot project sometime around the 2015 Access For ALL Symposium.  Finally, with all the TO-DOs I had for the first half of October, it was easy to completely forget about an IFLA book chapter proposal … however, the editors were kind enough to extend the deadline for a week and now my proposal is in review :-)

Esto es todo por ahora, hasta la próxima!