Archive for June, 2010

A poster session at ALA Annual

This Saturday, June 26th, I’ll be joining the first group of poster-session presenters at the 2010 ALA Annual Conference. I plan to talk/demonstrate the overall workflow for re-indexing metadata (from CONTENTdm) to generate external features for digital collection’s websites. Additionally, I’ll be ready to show others how to use the web-forms I’ve created to help them create their own search/browse/share features; I understand this work is somehow limited to CONTENTdm users, but with a little bit of tweak any of the scripts can be adapted to another Digital Management System.

Below is a small version of my actual poster, it’s a huge file (82X34 inches); it does seem a little too big for something like this :( -but who knows- I’ll wait and see how things go, I hope to get some interesting questions and feedback.

2010 ALA - Poster Session

There is definitely a lot going on there :) this weekend, so I look forward to attending some other (interesting) sessions -especially those with a focus on: digital libraries/collections, open source technology, scholarly communication, digital repositories, libraries in latin america, diversity, new leadership, etc.  Last but not least, since this is just my second time at an ALA Annual, I found this page “ALA Conference Survival Tips” quite useful :)  …and of course I also plan to get a live update from South Africa -especially on Saturday & Sunday at 2:30pm.


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Technical/Programming Skills

“If librarians are going to continue being relevant in the age of Google and Google Scholar, they need to move beyond the document and facilitate access to the increasing amounts of data that is being made available on the web. To do this effectively, librarians need to develop their programming skills.”
David Stuart in Research Information

In the same article, David highlights the role/power/benefit of APIs and mashup tools -which can help create rich and dynamic websites. Nowadays we often find ourselves with the dilemma of “too much” information and “no time” for an effective online research experience. While there won’t be an easy solution for this web usability challenge, many also agree that the effective use of web widgets can help developers to create websites where a single interface can integrate and display several –but related- pieces of data from different sources. This approach will most likely benefit the end-user experience; but for many web librarians/developers this will also mean learning and understanding the “programming language” for those web applications.


The above image from gives a good picture of the top APIs on the web. For those of us dealing with historical collections, I think it’s inspiring to see GoogleMaps at the top of the list, although our first own project/experiment was done in Flickr and the next one in the list will most likely be in YouTube.

Ok, so for us in the library world the question might be: do we have the time and resources to quickly learn the technical skills for creating those new web widgets/mashups? Well, we certainly have some choices; here is a list of some sites I’ve found useful:

Dynamic Drive, a great site with free and updated DHTML & Javascripts examples organized by categories.

Linda, a leading software training with a great tutorial video library, limited free access & previews on hundreds of tutorials; but your institution may be paying for it already.

PHP, a great site with introductory tutorials, online manuals, and may example with users’ feedback.

W3Schools, a web developer’s portal, with tutorials and examples relating to HTML, XML, CSS, JavaScript, PHP, and SQL; with an online test environment.

XML Files, a site where developers can get a basic introduction to XML, XML DTD, XML DOM, XML XSL, XML RSS and ASP.NET; with an online test environment too.

Last, for those interested in a more formal program, the Graduate Certificate in Digital Information Management program may be a good option. They were part of the panel “Educational Opportunities for Library and Museum Professionals” at the WebWise 2010 Conference -the second half of the video has some interesting questions from the audience!

Ok, I guess that’s it for now, and it’s time to get back to my current calendar widget for DSpace, which involves some PHP, JavaScript, and XML lines of code. This widget is part of a new theme for DSpace which is taking care of a good chunk of my summer -along with some fun from SouthAfrica -que viva el Mundial!

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