Join the Community: Open Source is Nothing Without You

During the American Library Association meeting in Chicago in 2013 I gave an “ignite” talk on open source software in libraries. (The “ignite talk” format, if you’re not familiar, is one in which “each speaker is allocated five minutes of presentation time and is accompanied by 20 presentation slides. During presentations, each slide is displayed for 15 seconds and then automatically advanced.”1 ) The talk was geared to inspiring community involvement and commitment in open source projects. The abstract:

The open source method for developing software works best when everyone contributes a little bit to the process. Do you benefit from open source? Do you wish the open source you use was a little better? Don’t know why the community nature of open source is important? Hear what you can do to make the world a better place by nudging your favorite open source project along a path to perfection.

My ALA Midwinter 2011 Schedule

The end-of-year holidays are behind us and (in the northern parts of the northern hemisphere) the cold days of winter in front of us. What better time to bag it all and head to the warm(er) temperatures of San Diego, California for the ALA Midwinter meeting. I mean — come’on — do you really want to dive into all of that work that piled up over the past week or so? (You say that even more work will pile up if you attend the meeting? Bah, humbug!) If you are going, I wholeheartedly endorse the new ALA Connect-based meeting planner. It is at times frustratingly slow, but chock full of ways to slice-and-dice meeting events that were not possible in the earlier version. (I’m going to put in a suggested enhancement that the iCal file export includes URLs to the meeting listing online; that would be immensely helpful.)

Midwinter Meeting Schedule (Plus News of a Free Midwinter Airport Shuttle)

The year is coming to a close, so that must mean that the midwinter meeting of the American Library Association is right around the corner. Yep, there it is — just two and a half weeks away in Boston. A conference in Boston in January — the rates have got to be cheap. 1 Given the fast approaching meeting, it is definitely time to strategize about how to tap into the pulse of library-land. Here is my plan so far. If you would like to get together in the spaces between meetings, or at the meetings themselves, let me know!

Comments on Google Book Search Settlement Coming to a Head (Again)

Ah, it is the beginning of September when thoughts turn to going back to school, the days turn a little colder (in the northern hemisphere) and the smell of lawsuit briefs is in the air. Well, okay — the latter might not be what you expect, but this is a special September, after all. Postponed from May, the deadline for filing comments in the Google Book Search settlement is coming up. And everyone is weighing in (“again” for some) on the details of the settlement. A couple of highlights.

Summary of Recent Google Book Search Settlement Activities

Today was to be the deadline for objecting to, opting out of, and/or filing briefs with the court on the Google Book Search Settlement. That was the plan, at least, when the preliminary approval statement from the court was issued last year. That deadline changed, and that is part of a recent flurry of activity surrounding the proposed Settlement. This post provides a summary of recent news and an index of documents that you might want to read for more information.

Library Associations File Amicus Brief for Google Book Search Settlement

The American Library Association (through the Association’s Washington Office and the Association of College and Research Libraries Division) and the Association of Research Libraries filed a brief [PDF] with the court in support of the Google Book Search Settlement while asking the judge to “exercise vigorous oversight” over details the settlement. In the 22-page amicus1 brief, the library associations say they do not oppose the settlement, but they do request that the courts provide strict oversight of the activities of Google and the Book Rights Registry. From page 2 of the brief:

The Settlement, therefore, will likely have a significant and lasting impact on libraries and the public, including authors and publishers. But in the absence of competition for the services enabled by the Settlement, this impact may not be entirely positive. The Settlement could compromise fundamental library values such as equity of access to information, patron privacy, and intellectual freedom. In order to mitigate the possible negative effects the Settlement may have on libraries and the public at large, the Library Associations request that this Court vigorously exercise its jurisdiction over the interpretation and implementation of the Settlement.

The brief then describes “concerns with the Settlement, and how the Court’s oversight can ameliorate those concerns.”

Footnotes

  1. Latin: “friend”, informal form of amicus curiae of “friend of the court” — Wiktionary []

ALCTS Forum on Creating and Sustaining Communities Around Shared Library Data

Community-shared metadata has certainly been a hot topic of late. It is timely, then that ALCTS is sponsoring a panel discussion about sharing library-created data inside and outside the library community at the upcoming ALA Midwinter meeting in Denver. From the panel description:
Panelists will share a variety of perspectives on community norms, policies, and best practices for accessing, using, and sharing the data that supports the discovery and delivery of library collections. What can libraries and the organizations that serve them learn from the open data movement and sites like Wikipedia? What principles and practices for shared data creation and maintenance will most help and strengthen libraries in the future? Panelists will also be addressing the changes in the OCLC Record Use Policy, particularly in light of the recent announcement from OCLC on the establishment of the Review Board of Shared Data Creation and Stewardship.

The panel is called the ALCTS Forum: Creating and Sustaining Communities Around Shared Library Data, and it will be on January 26th from 8:00am to 10:00am at the Colorado Convention Center, Korbel Ballroom 3C. Yours truly has been asked to speak on shared catalog data from the perspective of a library membership organization (OhioLINK) that provides consortial access to a large union catalog, licensed content, dissertations, and digital media. Also on the panel are:

LITA Announces an Unconference for May 2009

Earlier this week, LITA announced its unconference event: LITACamp. The meeting is scheduled for May 7-8, 2009 at the OCLC Conference Center in Dublin, Ohio.

Downloading the ALA Annual Meeting Planner to Your Mac iCal

First, kudos to the vendor that runs the ALA Meeting Planner website. They listened to suggestions and now include a way to download your event planner information to your desktop/handheld device using the iCalendar standard. It is available from the “Downloads and Printing” page of your meeting planner homepage. (You’ll need to sign in using the e-mail address listed on your ALA Annual Registration form plus the password “ala”.) Jump down to the end and select the “iCAL” button next to “Personal Itinerary” to download the iCalendar file.