Monday, July 16, 2018

Revised RDA Toolkit workshop

Recently I was able to attend a workshop at the American Library Association Annual Meeting, sponsored by the RDA Steering Committee, providing an introduction to the beta revised RDA Toolkit. The RDA Steering Committee (RSC)  initiated the RDA Toolkit Restructure and Redesign (3R) project in 2017, redesigning the toolkit to align with the IFLA Library Reference Model.

The beta Toolkit is available at https://beta.rdatoolkit.org/rda.web/ and users are encouraged to explore and provide feedback. Presentations from the workshop are available on the RSC's presentation site, http://www.rda-rsc.org/node/560.

What do I think the takeaways are? An understanding of the IFLA LRM is essential to navigating the revised toolkit as all instructions are organized in accordance with this model. The toolkit is very much a work in progress, so it is difficult to tell how it will be to work with, examples are incomplete and some navigational aids have yet to be developed. While the language used is very consistent, it is also somewhat opaque. The new version will be reliant on "application profiles" to provide guidance to catalogers for use of the recording options presented for each data element. It is anticipated that communities of practice, e.g. music catalogers, law catalogers, will develop best practices for catalogers working in these areas.

The RSC has not determined a date for transition to the revised toolkit; they must first agree that the 3R project is complete. The RDA Board must unanimously approve the determination. A transition date will then be announced; the original site will remain available for one year beyond that date so users can move to the new toolkit.

Monday, July 2, 2018

Stanford Libraries Awarded Grant to Implement LD Environment


The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation has awarded Stanford Libraries a $4 million grant to lead an effort to integrate library data into the greater Web via linked data. Stanford will be partnering with Cornell, Harvard, and the University of Iowa to implement a prototype environment and tools over the next two years. A deliberate partnership with the Program for Cooperative Cataloging (PCC) and the Library of Congress has been included in the project, allowing for an expansion of the number of libraries that will be able to implement linked data.

More details can be found in the press release on Library Technology Guides at https://librarytechnology.org/pr/23584.

Monday, June 25, 2018

Getting to Know TS Librarians: Jason LeMay


1. Introduce yourself:
I am Jason LeMay, Assistant Law Librarian for Cataloging and Metadata at Emory University’s Hugh F. MacMillan Law Library in Atlanta, Georgia.

2. Does your job title actually describe what you do? Why/why not?
Most of the time, yes. My primary role is cataloger, and during normal times I spend a substantial amount of my time at work cataloging more complex materials that need original cataloging. I also spend a fair amount of time cataloging rare materials, with a large backlog of early modern European dissertations to guarantee that I’ll be busy for quite a long time.

Most recently, I’ve been spending the bulk of my time performing my now-retired supervisor’s duties – paying invoices, dealing with vendors, and general administrative technical services tasks. Now that this position has been filled, I anticipate being able to return to my growing backlog of cataloging.

3. What are you reading right now?
I actually just finished my latest book yesterday, The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank. I’m finally getting around to my list of “books everyone should read,” and Anne Frank’s diary was up near the top. I’ll probably keep with the theme and start on Wiesel’s Night next.

4. You suddenly have a free day at work, what project would you work on?
I would probably tackle some rare books that have been getting neglected. I have a few bound-withs that are waiting that would probably top my list. I generally dislike cataloging bound-withs, so they tend to get left until I truly have time to work on them.

Thursday, June 7, 2018

LawArXiv One Year Anniversary Report

It hardly seems like it's been over a year since we posted about the launch of LawArXiv. LawArXiv now houses nearly 700 open access legal articles. The organization has published a One Year Anniversary Report.

Some of the highlights from the report:

  • 89% of the submissions to the repository are from Cornell, one of the developers of the platform
  • The majority of the submissions deal with intellectual property law
  • A process for batch uploading of articles was developed in April 2018

Goals for the coming year included:

  • Adding the ability for institutions to use their branding on their submissions
  • Setting up subject-based email alerts
  • Adding a data field for the institution of the article author

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Getting to Know TS Librarians: Elizabeth Outler



1. Introduce yourself (name & position).
I am Elizabeth Outler, Assistant Director for Technical Services at Oliver B. Spellman Law Library, Southern University Law Center in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

2. Does your job title actually describe what you do? Why/why not?
I think my job title is pretty accurate, though my experience in the TS field is only a couple of years at this point, so I may be mistaken about what is typical. I have recently arrived at Southern and my first task has been working on a cataloging and processing backlog that has stacked up while they waited for hiring to be approved. In the past my role focused on acquisitions, so this is different territory for me. I’m also getting to be in charge of Systems, which again, isn’t really in my training background, but I like it. I really enjoy learning new skills and solving problems, so I am having a pretty good time, and I think I have a great job.

3. What are you reading right now?
I am sort of an abomination – a librarian who does not read. The only explanation for this phenomenon that I have been able to come up with is that law school, and studying for the bar examination, scarred all my reading brain cells and I just don’t want to do it anymore. I do have a book on my nightstand that I have been creeping through when I make myself pick it up: Gifts of the Crow: How Perception, Emotion and Thought Allow Smart Birds to Behave Like Humans, by John Marzluff & Tony Angell. I like birds, and am particularly interested in crows, so this was a birthday present a few years ago. It is a fascinating book.

4. If you could work in any library (either a type of library or a specific one), what would it be? Why?
I am totally in love with my undergraduate alma mater, Smith College, so if I could work in any library, it would be Neilson Library, which is currently undergoing a major renovation designed by Maya Lin. (See https://www.nytimes.com/2016/10/17/arts/design/maya-lin-unveils-redesign-of-smith-college-library.html) 


Friday, May 25, 2018

Linked data for librarians - new online tutorial

Drexel University's College of Computing and Informatics and the Institute for Library and Museum Services have recently released an online course, Linked Data for Librarians. The course provides an accessible, free and open access introduction to linked data concepts. 

The first part of the course is designed to provide introductory material, part two covers more advanced material and hands on exercises. Each module requires a relatively brief time commitment concluding with a series of questions designed to check the user's understanding of the material presented.

The course is designed and presented by Seth van Hooland, Associate Professor, Département des Sciences de l'Information et de la Communication, Université libre de Bruxelles, and Ruben Verborgh, professor of Semantic Web Technology at IDLab, a group of Ghent University/imec.

As of this writing, I have completed the first three units of Part 1. The material is well organized, examples are well thought out, and the topics are presented in what seem to be new and creative ways. I am looking forward to completing the balance of the material.

Course citation: van Hooland, S. and Verborgh, R. (2017) “Linked Data for Librarians.” Available at http://course.freeyourmetadata.org/

Course outline:

Part 1
  • Introduction
  • Understanding data modesl
  • Possibilities and limitations of RDF
  • Data quality
  • Data profiling and cleaning
Part 2
  • Vocabulary reconciliation
  • Metadata enriching
  • REST
  • Decentralization and federation
  • Conclusions

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

2018 IIIF (International Image Interoperability Framework) Conference

Registration is currently open for the 2018 IIIF Conference held May 21-25 in Washington, DC. The IIIF Conference is co-hosted by the Library of Congress, the Smithsonian Institution, and the Folger Shakespeare Library, with an aim to advance the adoption of the IIIF framework. 

IIIF (International Image Interoperability Framework) is a framework for publishing image-based resources in a way that enables images across repositories to be presented in IIIF-compatible image viewers. In particular, images can be “viewed, cited, annotated, and compared” side-by-side. In this example, you can view and compare digitized Litchfield Law School student notebooks from the Harvard Law Library collection and the Yale Law Library collection, in a Mirador viewer. The Harvard collection of student notebooks is from Harvard’s Digital Repository Service and the Yale collection is from the Internet Archive.   

Pre-conference workshops will demo and showcase Mirador and Universal Viewer, two open-source applications that are gaining growing communities of adopters among libraries and museums. 

Conference takeaways will focus on:
  • How to adopt IIIF at your institution
  • Leveraging open source software to get more out of your collection of images  and video
  • Use cases and best practices from IIIF adopters
  • The latest developments in the community including IIIF A/V

Monday, April 23, 2018

Getting to Know TS Librarians: Heather Buckwalter




1. Introduce yourself (name & position).
Hi, I’m Heather Buckwalter and I am the Serials/Acquisitions Librarian at Creighton University Law Library. I joined the staff at Creighton Law Library in 1996. Although I have been in this position for over 20 years my duties and responsibilities have changed with the evolution of libraries. I have survived two building renovations and two ILS migrations.

2. Does your job title actually describe what you do? Why/why not?
Yes and No. I do manage serials and acquisitions for the law library but I am also responsible for electronic resource management, government documents, collection development, the Law School’s Archives, and I am the Law Library’s liaison to the University’s Systems Librarian. I also work at the Reference Desk 5-10 hours a week.

3. What are you reading right now?
Currently I am reading American Assassin by Vince Flynn. I love thrillers and mysteries and after seeing the movie I wanted to see how well they did adapting the book.

4. If you could work in any library (either a type of library or a specific one), what would it be? Why?
I started out in graduate school to concentrate in Law Librarianship and was lucky enough to work at the Law Library as a grad student. I did toy with the idea of going into preservation/conservation but it seemed I was destined for Law Libraries. I am responsible for the repair work and binding in my library so at least I do a little conservation.

5. You suddenly have a free day at work, what project would you work on?
Wow. This is actually a tough question since it doesn’t happen. I think if I had a free day I would work on data cleanup. With our migration to a new ILS there is lots of data that did not migrate very well. I recently went to a local conference where colleagues spoke about using regular expressions and OpenRefine to clean up data and was intrigued.


Digital Scholarship Guide

One of the project the Labs team at the Library of Congress worked on in 2017 was developing a guide for digital resources. The guide was rolled out in 7 posts this year on The Signal, but is now conveniently available as a single document, the Digital Scholarship Resource Guide.

This document is a fairly comprehensive look at what digital scholarship is and how to get a project off the ground, from digitization basics to file storage and preservation to document analysis and assigning metadata to analysis projects with digital data.

If you'd prefer the original posts, here they are:

  1. Why Digital Material Matters
  2. Making Digital Resources
  3. So now you have digital data...
  4. Text Analysis
  5. Tools for Spatial Analysis
  6. Network Analysis
  7. People, Blogs and Labs


Friday, April 13, 2018

Long-term Survival of PDF/A Files

PDF/A is widely marketed and regarded as a preservation file format. However, a recently published article, “PDF/A Considered Harmful for Digital Preservation” by Marco Klindt serves as a prudent reminder that the PDF/A file format is not a comprehensive solution for preservation in itself.  

For digital information to exist in the long term, the data that comprise the information content needs to remain discoverable, machine readable, and renderable for human consumption. If preserving digital content means that we are planning for the potential reuse of data, a computer needs to be able to read and extract this information in the future. However, there are significant challenges to preserving PDF files in the distinction between what the human eye can read and what a machine can interpret and extract.  

PDF/A is intended to serve as the long-term archival version of PDF files. However, as the author notes, while PDF/A is marketed and widely adopted as a preservation format, “comprehensive policies regarding the use of PDF in archives seem to be rare” and “using PDF/A as a container for files complicates preservation workflows and might be considered an additional risk.” PDF documents preserve the visual appearance, structure, and format of the original document, but this comes at a potential cost for the reusability of data. A PDF/A document created at Level A (accessible) conformance is designed to improve a document’s accessibility through the use of tagging to markup the structure and content of a document, which in turn should help support both visibility and reuse. However, in its current version, PDF/A-3 still presents multiple challenges.  

Klindt discusses the risks and shortcomings through observations of existing inadequacies and challenges with the creation and reuse of PDF/A documents. The risks identified here undermines confidence in the suitability of PDF/A for long-term preservation. A few of the challenges discussed include impediments to text and content extraction in addition to information loss during the creation and conversion process. It is worth noting that while the author acknowledges PDF/A validation issues has been largely addressed by the creation of veraPDF, an open-source PDF/A validator, he argues that validation is a “necessary condition” but does not mitigate risks to future reuse of content. 

An understanding of these risks and shortcomings of PDF/A for preservation purposes underscores the need for comprehensive strategies and policies at the institutional level to safeguard digital content within a flawed archival solution. There are a number of useful, previously published resources on PDF/A cited in this article, including the National Digital Stewardship Alliance (NDSA) report on The Benefits and Risks of the PDF/A-3 File Format for Archival Institutionsand a National Information Standards Organization (NISO) Information Standards Quarterly article, “Preserving the Grey Literature Explosion: PDF/A and the Digital Archive”.  The PDF/A-4 standard is expected to be published sometime in 2018. 

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Revisions to Legal Requirements and Program Regulations (LRPR)


The current guide for Federal Depository Library Program (FDLP) libraries was designed to be an easier to use consolidation of the various rules and regulations as they relate to depository library requirements. Issued in 2011, the Legal Requirements and Program Regulations of the Federal Depository Library Program (or LRPR) has been showing its age. However, with changes to Title 44 on the horizon (see https://www.fdlp.gov/about-fdlp/23-projects/3353-title-44-revision for more information), there has been reluctance to completely rewrite this guide.

Because of this, I was a little surprised to see an email from the “FDLP Webmaster” announcing a revised edition of LRPR. The changes in this 2018 revision are minor, to be sure. They boil down to:
  • Rescindment of regulation 10 (tangible item selection requirement)
  • Updated FDLP email list information
  • Inclusion of regional discard policy
  • References to new FDLP decals
None of these changes are groundbreaking, but it always helps to have the most current information at hand when dealing with FDLP requirements. Get the latest edition at https://www.fdlp.gov/requirements-guidance/legal-requirements.