Historical Perspectives of Canadian Publishing - LAUNCH!!!

Oops, I was supposed to write about this last Thursday when we actually launched. Busy, busy week. So, without further ado - Historical Perspectives on Canadian Publishing!

So, here is the actual library news story. The site was a year in the making, and still has some content that will be added. An immense amount of hard work was put in by the team. I would like to give a special thanks for all the hard work put in by the project coordinator, Judy Donnelly, Bev Bayzat who handled the data management portion of the project, and Matt McCollow who took over the majority of development responsibilities on the site. Also, many thanks to all of our students who worked on the project - Belinda Hanson, Asiya Zareen, Sherry Sun, and Justina Chong.

Ok, now for the geeky stuff. There are 963 records in the site at the moment, covering approximately 3500 images, audio interviews, and a video tour of Coach House Press. Once again, this collection was built with Drupal and is a sub-site of the overall McMaster University Library Digital Collections site. Users can comment on records and case studies, and logged in users can tag records.

During the development phase of the project, we decided to use the Faceted Search module a lot more than we had used it previously. Most notably in the right hand navigation. When users are in a record, a variety of fields are exposed to the faceted search module, thereby allowing them to discover other similar content based on the metadata from the record.

Finally, Matt put in some hard work during the last week of the project to get Jplayer working in the records which had audio, and Galleriffic for galleries in the "Themes."

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Totally Bombastic Thursday Madness!

I have been trying to been a wee bit more bombastic in each post this week. However, today will be very difficult. A normal two hour commute to work today, took an amazing three hours! Other than that, I spent the ENTIRE day in meetings. The meeting were actually *really* good. And, no that is not sarcasm. You better be incredibly happy you read this post now, and pleased by the included LOLcat. kthxbai.

Research Help Desk...

Day three...

Morning:

Yes, email.

Got into work early to cover on Research Help Desk for a colleague. I always find my shift on the help desk quite comical. I get the feeling that students and faculty don't know how the approach the guy covered in tattoos sitting at the help desk with a laptop. Once they find out that I am actually a librarian, and not a student, or some weirdo sitting there, they seem quite surprised. Anyhoo, helped some people out during my desk shift, and amazing event took place. Somebody wanted to know the LC call numbers for a specific area so they could BROWSE BOOKS! To quote myself, "I feel like a real librarian when I work the reference desk!"

Did some trouble shooting from the code I pasted yesterday. The code runs fine on the test server, but doesn't play nice on the production server. Grr!

Decided to wholly abandon Tweetdeck, and move back to Twitterfox. Tweetdeck has been buggy lately, and every time I fire it up and let it run for awhile, my laptop almost melts a hole through the desk.

Thought about bacon.

Afternoon:

Surprise, Surprise, EMAIL!

Listened to the new Search Engine podcast, File Sharing IS Fair Use and listened to a few JISC podcasts while working on the new digital collections server. Updated a couple bash scripts - RSYNC and mysqldump backups on a cron. Let's see if UTS shuts me down again!?

Spent some time consulting on another digital project. In the future we may have the handwritten manuscripts of somebody that I will not name yet. Working on getting the documents OCR'd, and output as txt files, and METS/ALTO.

Are you thinking about bacon? You should be!

Decided to listen to a bunch of Dead Kennedy's in order to make it through the afternoon. Did some more consulting with the Northrop Frye journal.

Spent the rest of the day reading faculty handbooks, and prepping for a meeting tomorrow. Oh yeah, entered in the phase 3 of operation: TELL EVERYBODY ABOUT VIKINGKITTENS.COM!

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Memes, Smemes, Email, SQL, and Galleries

Library Day in the Life - meme validation below

Theme of the day was SQL queries.

Morning:

Email, email, email, email.

Cleaned up some more raunchy code in a effort to make the theme migration to Drupal 6 less hectic. Lots of SQL queries to un-hack code, and write said code in a standardized fashion. Note to self, do not ever hire immature developers.

Continued to work with Bepress on setting up a couple new journals. Hopefully by the fall we should launch three or four journals; Text Technology, Early Theatre, Bridges: Conversations in Global Politics, and a Northrop Frye journal.

Afternoon:

Email, email, email, email.

Investigated more code. Finished cleaning up all the bugs with the test Drupal 6 migration. All that is left is migrating the themes, and cleaning out the hacks. Cool new stuff on the way, Media RSS!

Genius me realized I had ZERO image galleries in the Digital Collections site. So, SQL queries being the theme, I setup galleries for a PW20C general gallery, a PW20C posters, a World War, 1939-1945, German Concentration Camps and Prisons Collection general gallery, and finally a Russel Library general gallery.

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Internment Camp Correspondences, Gestapo Camp Correspondences, updates, and Russell Library

More updates on the World War, 1939-1945, German Concentration Camps and Prisons Collection. The Internment Camp Correspondences are now finished. There weren't too many of them - only 56 to be exact. With the internment camp letters finished, we have moved on to the Gestapo Camp Correspondences.

I have also added the "Related Information" feature to the World War, 1939-1945, German Concentration Camps and Prisons Collection and Russell Library Collection. It is just a block in the right column, which is an extension of the faceted search module. Also, in somewhat related news regarding the Russell Library Collection, I have inherited another worker who will be going through the records and added cover images, title page images, and book plate images to records without them.

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Concentration Camp Correspondences

After an entire year of scanning and meta data entry by a couple of amazing students, we have finished a portion of the World War, 1939-1945, German Concentration Camps and Prisons Collection. The entirety of the Concentration Camp Correspondences [http://digitalcollections.mcmaster.ca/concentration-camp-correspondence] - 1031 to be exact - are up online with full meta data records. Also, a *very* help volunteer has been going through and translating/summarizing the records. If anybody knows German, Yiddish, Polish, or French and would like to volunteer, please contact me.

Now that all of the records are up, some new discovery features will be added this week. *Hopefully*

The next section of the collection to be scanned is the Internment Camp Correspondences. We got a few done today, and they can be previewed here: http://digitalcollections.mcmaster.ca/internment-and-transit-camps-corre...

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2009 OLITA Digital Odyssey

I must say that the Digital Odyssey was the best one day event I have been to. Just a fantastic day with fantastic people talking about awesome projects. It cheered me up and gave me hope in these crap times. Best part of the day had to be Mike Ridley's keynote speech - The Age of Information is over. It is time for the Age of Imagination. It will be the library's job to nurture and foster creativity.

Workshops attended:

Walter Lewis - The Perfectibility of Data. I must say that Walter may be a bigger metadata fascist that I am. He showed some cool stuff that I didn't know about - media rss feeds! Then using Cooliris to visualize said feed. Also, finally realized how simple it is to provide proper data to interact with google earth & google maps. Just latitude and longitude coordinates!!!

Loren Fantin - Planning and Managing a Digitization Project. Lots of great stuff in Loren's talk. Don't see a blog entry on the Digital Odyssey site yet, so no link. Biggest lessons learned - scope creep!!! & digitization should be apart of collection management.

Art Rhyno - OCR Options for Scanned Content. Great session on the basics & overview of OCR, and OCR software options. Provided many examples from a variety of OCR software packages. Mostly ABBYY & Ocropus.


The text to my presentation, pdf of slides, keynote file, and powerpoint file.

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Richard Sylvan - Life and Works

We have launched a new (small) collection - Richard Sylvan - Life and Works. This is an ongoing collection, so materials will be added as they are digitized. The materials in this collection consist mainly of publications by the Australian philosopher Richard Sylvan/Routley. Additionally, we have tied the collection in with the IR. A community and series was setup for this special collection.

The collection was put together during an independent study course by Alex Alvarez, and Nicholas Griffin. Griffin is also the Literary Executor of Richard Sylvan/Routley.

Richard Sylvan/Routley

library clouds in the sky with [diamonds]?

Bacon...

Sorry, had to get that of the way. Those who know, know. Those who do not, oh well. I will address it later... subtly???

Awhile back we got hit with the perfect-downtime-storm. A RAID controller battery randomly failed, and I was down for quite a few hours. Then a day or two later ... a brown-out occurred. Somehow, some way, this killed the brand new RAID controller on the DB server, and disemboweled the RAID controller on the web server. I was down for almost a week awaiting repairs vendors and IT. During this period of utter embarrassment and fury, I finally took somebody up on a long-standing offer to put all of my digital collections stuff on a BEEFCAKE server. I ordered my [twin node] BEEFCAKE and decided that high availability and redundancy was the way to go.

So, I began building a proof of concept: Tomax & Xamot [LAMP with hint of wonderful Tomcat, Java, Solr, and Djatoka for blooming ideas] are my sinister production machines with Heckle & Jeckle [HAProxy & KeepAlive] providing the load balancing. After many hours, the proof of concept succeeded. Kill apache and/or mysql on Tomax, Xamot will be right there still fighting for the Cobra Commander.

I've been sitting on BEEFCAKE for a week or so, almost ready to go to production. But for the last week, I have been diligent with my 99-part hearty diet of bacn, Batman, Green Lantern Corp, and Promethea. Combined with the nicotine patch, my head has been in the clouds - in a good way. I was pretty undecided about the Cloud for a long time and Stallman's talk at U. of T. threw me even farther to one side of the fence {GPL loophole], but Fink's idea-machine-brain rambling on about creating a Cloud at LibMac (another possible proof of concept) started turning gears. (Side note, Fink is more rabid about Open Source than I). The collections within the Digital Collections, (namely PW20C, Concentration Camp Correspondences, Bertrand Russell, Canadian Publishing, et al) are sitting on a fair chuck of metadata begging for something to be done with it. Add that to the Mass Digitization Project (DC, METS/ALTO, and fingers crossed TEI), and EVERGREEN!!! Oh what to do, what do to???