OhioLINK Mentors Three Students in the Google Summer of Code

OhioLINK is pleased to mentor three students working on projects for Ohio’s higher education and libraries around the world during the Google Summer of Code 2006. The three projects are:

JPIP Browser Applet and Streaming Server

Near Consensus for Tag “fedora-dr”

I think it is safe to say that most everyone favors using “fedora-dr” as a common tag for FEDORA(.info) activities. If you want to take a stand on moral grounds, you can also tag your items as simply “fedora”, but please also use the “fedora-dr” tag until we’ve gotten around to taking over more of the world.

This, of course, is just a recommendation from a loose confederation of self-selected interest users. You can follow it or ignore it as you like. Thanks to everyone who offered an opinion.

The Problem with MARC and AACR: the World Doesn’t Disco Anymore

My undergraduate background is in computer science, and from that perspective I have a great deal of admiration for MARC and AACR as well as their creators and proponents: Henriette Avram and Michael Gorman. At their creation, MARC and AACR propelled library services to new heights of efficiency and usefulness. Here’s my problem, though: we no longer live in the 1970s, and the fundamental tools of our trade should not be based in nearly 40-year-old technology.

Seeking a Tag for /The/ FEDORA

Michael Giarlo and I have been having a comment conversation in the Fedora Disseminators to Enable Accessible Repository Content posting about coming up with a common del.icio.us/technorati/flikr/etc. tag to help us find each others stuff. I’ll claim modest ignorance, as I did in the comments, to the social order surrounding tags, but would point out that it is unlikely that at the moment our use of the ‘fedora’ tag by itself would be drown out by its usage for a certain flavor of the Linux operating system.

Digital Books, Layperson’s Summary

The New York Times Sunday Magazine had an article with the title Scan This Book! that one could consider to be the best (latest) summary of the race to digitally scan and serve up books. This is an article I could give my mother (Happy Mother’s Day, Mom!) that would help explain what I do and why I do it. The article describes the Google and Open Content Alliance projects, of course, but it also listed several others that I hadn’t heard of before, including a project at Stanford University that is separate from the Google-run effort, an effort by a Chinese firm with 1.2 million books so far on its way to scanning every title in 900 universities in China, and the Million Book Project from Carnegie Mellon University. (It didn’t mention the International Children’s Digital Library, though, — one of my favorites.)

Fedora, Objects, Datastreams, Filesystems, and a Correction

In an earlier post, I extolled the virtues of Fedora as an ideal candidate for digital preservation because “[a]ll of the metadata (descriptive, preservation, and relationship to other objects) and managed datastreams that make up a digital object are ‘serialized’ to a single XML file on a file system.” Well, as I found out last week, it isn’t quite that straight forward.

Last week we had a problem with Fedora running on our production server — it had locked up tight in a wait-state for some sort of disk I/O and not even a `kill -9` could get rid of it. So I rebooted the server. Then the Fedora service wouldn’t start again — it complained about corruption in the Kowari triplestore. Okay, so we’d have to blow away the Kowari database and the MySQL database and reload.

Thanks to Summer of Code applicants

Although we were a little concerned right about this time last week, you came through with a wonderful suite of applications with OhioLINK as the mentoring organization for the Google Summer of Code. In the end, we are blown away not only by the increase in quantity over last year, but also the quality as well. We received seven for the video snapshot idea, five for the grid-based bulk video conversion tool, one each for the JPIP-based disseminator and applet client, plus a half-dozen proposals for things we didn’t have on our list.

OhioLINK seeking additional applicants for the Summer of Code

OhioLINK has received fewer applications for the Google Summer of Code than last year and have a number of areas not yet covered by proposals. Our project ideas page has suggestions related to applications we currently have under development, most dealing with applying JPEG 2000 to still image and moving image files. We have also listed library-related projects for the Sakai collaboration and learning environment.

Google is sponsors the Summer of Code to “keep student’s programming skills sharp” over the summer by pairing students with mentoring organizations to create open source applications. OhioLINK is participating as a mentoring organization and welcomes applications for projects in the area of library services and information management.

Fedora Disseminators to Enable Accessible Repository Content

Calling all accessibility technology experts! What follows is a line of thinking about using characteristics of the FEDORA digital object repository to enable access to content through non-graphical interfaces. Thanks to Linda Newman from the University of Cincinnati and others on the Friday morning DRC Developers conference call for triggering this line of thinking.

In a recent post defining universal disseminators for every object in our repository (if the last dozen words didn’t make sense, please read the linked article and come back), I hinted at having an auditory derivative of each object, at least at the preview level. During today’s conference call, Linda asked if such a disseminator could be used to offer different access points for non-GUI users. Well, why not? Let’s look back at the “presentation” part of the disseminator label:

Processing Raw Fedora Objects

Michael J. Giarlo wrote a very nice summary of my FEDORA trilogy (only three parts so far — I think there are more good things to say about FEDORA; and besides, I like Douglas Adams’ concept of what a trilogy should be), and added a piece that I hadn’t considered:

  1. Having one’s objects stored as XML on the filesystem also opens up opportunities to see how tools which act thereupon might be glued into the repository infrastructure. One such example might be for an XML-aware search engine (such as amberfish, Lucene, or Zebra). Since you’ve got low-level access to these files, it would be fairly simple to tack on a search & indexing system that is independent of your choice of repository.