Interlibrary Loan Standards Undergoing Revision at the ISO Level

My employer (LYRASIS) is a member of NISO (the accredited standards organization for information and documentation in the U.S.), and as the primary contact I see and consider ballots for standards issues that impact LYRASIS member libraries. The Interlibrary Loan (ILL) Application Protocol Specification (a.k.a. ISO 10160/10161) is up for its periodic review, and there is a bit of interesting movement on this standard. ISO 10160/10161 became a standard in 1993 so it predates the modern era of the web. The group shepherding the standard realized that progress had overtaken the specification and they started work on a reformulation of inter-machine ILL standards. This ballot and its supplemental documentation gives a view of the plans.

A Great iPad Keyboard/Case Combination: New Trent Airbender

This is a review of the Airbender Bluetooth keyboard by New Trent (model IMP38W). I have been testing this unit since January 28, 2013, and traveled with it to Code4Lib in Chicago where I relied on the combination of the Airbender keyboard and iPad for a day of presentations with writing notes and searching the web for information. I received the unit from New Trent for testing and evaluation.

Product Image

Image from NewTrent.com

Interesting Shibboleth Use Case: Enforcing Geographic Restrictions

Last month’s HathiTrust newsletter had an interesting technical tidbit at the top about access to out-of-print and brittle or missing items:

One of the lawful uses of in-copyright works HathiTrust has been pursuing is to provide access on an institutional basis to works that fall under United States Copyright Law Section 108 conditions: works in HathiTrust that are not available on the market at a fair price, and for which print copies owned by HathiTrust member institutions are damaged, deteriorating, lost or stolen. As a part of becoming a member, institutions are required to submit information about their print holdings for fee calculation purposes. We have also been requesting information about the holdings status and condition of works, to facilitate uses of works where permissible by law (specifications for HathiTrust holdings data are available at http://www.hathitrust.org/print_holdings).

E-mail Phishing Attempts Get Trickier: Fake bounced mail and Fake mail-from-scanner

Two phishing1 attempts made it through the work spam filter earlier this month, and they show the creativity of bad guys as they try to get access to your machine. The attempts at social engineering were interesting enough I thought I’d describe them here. We’re getting pretty close the line where we can’t tell a legitimate e-mail from ones with nasty side effects.

The Fake Bounced Message


This message has the appearance of being a bounced e-mail from a server called ‘cyber.net.pk’.
Screenshot of a fake bounced e-mail message.

Screenshot of a fake bounced e-mail message.

W3C Incubator Group Report on Library Linked Data Published

This morning the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) announced the publication of the final report of the Library Linked Data Incubator Group. The abstract is reproduced below.

The mission of the W3C Library Linked Data Incubator Group, chartered from May 2010 through August 2011, has been “to help increase global interoperability of library data on the Web, by bringing together people involved in Semantic Web activities — focusing on Linked Data — in the library community and beyond, building on existing initiatives, and identifying collaboration tracks for the future.” In Linked Data, data is expressed using standards such as Resource Description Framework (RDF), which specifies relationships between things, and Uniform Resource Identifiers (URIs, or “Web addresses”). This final report of the Incubator Group examines how Semantic Web standards and Linked Data principles can be used to make the valuable information assets that library create and curate — resources such as bibliographic data, authorities, and concept schemes — more visible and re-usable outside of their original library context on the wider Web.

IETF May Form Working Group on “Reputation Services”

Last week I saw a post on the IETF Announcement List seeking feedback on the possible formation of a “Reputation Services” working group. That posting has more information, but the basic abstract is posted below. Now I will admit up front that I tend to see the world through librarian-colored glasses, but creating a mechanism that helps uses make a “meaningful choice about the handling of content requires an assessment of its safety or ‘trustworthiness'” sounds like something librarians should be involved with.

Fixing a Bad SSH authorized_keys under Amazon EC2

I was doing some maintenance on the Amazon EC2 instance that underpins DLTJ and in the process managed to mess up the .ssh/authorized_keys file. (Specifically, I changed the permissions so it was group- and world-readable, which causes `sshd` to not allow users to log in using those private keys.) Unfortunately, there is only one user on this server, so effectively I just locked myself out of the box.

$ ssh -i .ssh/EC2-dltj.pem me@dltj.org
Identity added: .ssh/EC2-dltj.pem (.ssh/EC2-dltj.pem)
Permission denied (publickey).

After browsing the Amazon support forums I managed to puzzle this one out. Since I didn’t see this exact solution written up anywhere, I’m posting it here hoping that someone else will find it useful. And since you are reading this, you know that they worked.

Call for Public Comment — W3C Library Linked Data Incubator Group

The W3C Library Linked Data (LLD) Incubator Group invites librarians, publishers, linked data researchers, and other interested parties to review and comment on drafts of reports to be published later this year. The LLD group has been chartered from May 2010 through August 2011 to prepare a series of reports on the existing and potential use of Linked Data technology for publishing library data. The group is currently preparing:

  • A report describing Benefits of LLD, an Overview of Existing Vocabularies and Data Sets, Relevant Technologies, Implementation Challenges, and Recommendations
  • A survey report of use cases describing existing projects

PPTP VPN for iOS with AT&T Uverse and DD-WRT

Wandering into public or semi-public wireless networks makes me nervous because I know how my network traffic can be easily watched, and because I’m a geek with control issues I’m even more nervous when using devices that I can’t get to the insides of (like phones and tablets). One way to tamp down my concerns is to use a Virtual Private Network (VPN) to tunnel the device’s network connection through the public wireless network to a trusted end-point, but most of those options require a subscription to a VPN service or a VPN installed in a corporate network. I thought about using one of the open source VPN implementations with an Amazon EC2 instance, but it isn’t possible with the EC2 network configuration judging from the comments on the Amazon Web Services support forums. (Besides, installing one of the open source VPN software implementations looks far from turnkey.) Just before I lost hope, though, I saw a reference to using the open source DD-WRT consumer router firmware to do this. After plugging away at it for an hour or so, I made it work with my home router, a AT&T U-verse internet connection, and iOS devices. It wasn’t easy, so I’m documenting the steps here in case I need to set this up again.