Welcome to the Disruptive Library Technology Jester. From here you can browse the musings and visions of a library technologist as he walks the fine line between the best of the library profession on one side and the best of technology on the other.

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.


  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.