Separating Configuration from Code in CollectionSpace

For the past few months I’ve been working on a project to migrate a museum’s collection registry to CollectionSpace. CollectionSpace is a “free, open-source, web-based software application for the description, management, and dissemination of museum collections information.”1 CollectionSpace is multitenant software — one installation of the software can serve many tenants. The software package’s structure, though, means that the configuration for one tenant is mixed in with the code for all tenants on the server (e.g, the application layer, services layer, and user interface layer configuration are stored deep in the source code tree). This bothers me from a maintainability standpoint. Sure, Git’s richly featured merge functionality helps, but it seems unnecessarily complex to intertwine the two in this way. So I developed a structure that puts a tenant’s configuration in a separate source code repository and a series of procedures to bring the two together at application-build time.

Footnotes

  1. From the answer to the first question of the CollectionSpace frequently asked questions. []

The Who, What, When, Where and Why of Library Discovery (text as intended for presentation)

Me and my Jester's Cap


Last week I was at the NISO Forum: The Future of Library Resource Discovery with a great group of colleagues as we challenged ourselves to think about the role of discovery services in the information-seeking habits of our patrons. In the closing keynote, I was projecting what library resource discovery interface might look like five years from now, and I was weaving in comments and ideas that had bubbled up in the in-person conversation and the Twitter channel. And yes, I did wear a jester’s cap for the presentation.

Included below is the text of the presentation as intended to be given on October 6, 2015, at the Mt. Washington Conference Center in Baltimore, Maryland. (I did stray from the text in a few places, but not in any significant way.) At the bottom is a postscript based on a conversation I had afterwards about the role of mobile devices in library resource discovery.

Registration Now Open for a Fall Forum on the Future of Library Discovery

Helping patrons find the information they need is an important part of the library profession, and in the past decade the profession has seen the rise of dedicated “discovery systems” to address that need. The National Information Standards Organization (NISO) is active at the intersection of libraries, content suppliers, and service providers in smoothing out the wrinkles between these parties:

Announcing “The Future of Library Resource Discovery” — a NISO Two-day Forum in October in Baltimore

Cover page from the NISO white paper "The Future of Library Resource Discovery"

Cover page from the NISO white paper “The Future of Library Resource Discovery”


In early October, NISO will be hosting a two-day forum on the future of resource discovery in libraries. This is an in-person meeting to extend the work of Marshall Breeding’s paper on the same topic that was published earlier this year:

  • Full paper, PDF, 53 pages
  • Summary from Information Standards Quarterly, Spring 2015, 27(1): pp. 24-30.

Thursday Threads: Battles over strong encryption, IPv4 addresses exhausted while IPv6 surges

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Two articles in each of two threads this week:

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Thursday Threads: New and Interesting from ALA Exhibits

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I’m just home from the American Library Association meeting in San Francisco, so this week’s threads are just a brief view of new and interesting things I found on the exhibit floor.

NOTE! Funding for my current position at LYRASIS ran out at the end of June, so I am looking for new opportunities and challenges for my skills. Check out my resume/c.v. and please let me know of job opportunities in library technology, open source, and/or community engagement.

Thursday Threads: Data Management Plans, Better Q/A Sessions, App for Bird Identification

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This week’s threads:

NOTE! Funding for my current position at LYRASIS runs out at the end of June, so I am looking for new opportunities and challenges for my skills. Check out my resume/c.v. and please let me know of job opportunities in library technology, open source, and/or community engagement.

Changes to “Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church” Wikipedia Page, Visualized

Edited after initial publication to add: My thoughts are with the people in and around Charleston, South Carolina, this evening. What is making it out of the media fog to me tonight is your compassion for each other. Please be well as you absorb, internalize, and recover from this shocking display of inhumanity. 

This afternoon, Ed Summers tweeted:

Thursday Threads: Let’s Encrypt is coming, Businesses want you coming to the office, OR2015 Summary

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Top Tech Trends, ALA Annual 2015 edition: Local and Unique; New metrics and citation tools

I threw my hat into the ring to be on the LITA Top Tech Trends panel at the ALA annual conference later this month in San Francisco, and never could I say that I was more excited not to be selected. (You can find more info on this year’s Top Tech Trends session in the ALA Conference Scheduler.) There is a great lineup of panelists this year:

  • Sarah Houghton (Moderator), Director of the San Rafael Public Library – @TheLiB
  • Carson Block, 20-year veteran of libraries and now a library technology consultant – @CarsonBlock