I'm away from the Digital Scholarship Unit this week in semi-sunny London, as an instructor for Islandora Camp UK. Here are some of my notes:
Note: Fresh and Maybe Flawed.
The final day of Islandora Camp reunited the Developers and Adminstrator's tracks.
People were trickling to the whiteboard to record their Github handles for addition to the Islandora Github Organization.
Last night’s late-nighters are among those who got up this morning for a run through the city. After everybody got some coffee, we started with Alan Stanley’s presentation on producing digital editions.
The presentation comes out of the Editing Modernism In Canada (EMIC) project and its partners. I worked on EMIC in earlier days, and it was interesting to see the progress - particularly the integration of Desmond Schmidt/Austese Work, and the CollateX tool. In FedoraCommons, versions of a work are being stored as separate objects, against which these tools are run to detect differences and help in the contruction of digital editions. I need to get back to a review of the AUSTese workbench to explore what's been happening in the Digital Humanities community.
The Module that Alan (and discoverygarden) are building also provides WYSIWYG TEI creation through the Canadian Writing and Research Collaboratory (CWRC)’s CWRCWriter application. Alan says that “it works, but it needs a lot of tweaking,” meaning that we have a little while to wait before this project is generalized and released to the community, but it's very exciting to see in action.
Donald’s Form Builder session came next; Form Builder's a big and complex tool, and Donald promises to post his slides from this and other presentations on the same page as the conference schedule. Beyond teaching the tool and its interface, Donald faciliatated coversation about encoding validation steps for forms through the interace. Validation is currently in the hands of the form creator, or encoded by hand. It would be great to see a more generalized solution. Since camp, there’s been an interesting post on the lists about validation for specific form fields.
After this, it was time for a break, followed by the awards - here are our recipients!
- “Old School Strength” to Draženko Celjak for VM installation on Windows XP (the brave soul).
- “Continuous Passion About Integration” to Simon Fox, from the Freshwater Biological Association, future Travis expert, and sherif of Islandora code.
- “Friendly Traveller” to Ken Kim from Next Aeon Korea, for coming such a long way and being such a collegial camper.
- “The Spirit Award” to Anna Jordanous with many thanks for her hard work making camp a success, everything from finding us a space to bringing power cords and coordinating the social event.
We took a group pic at this point. You might have seen it on twitter.
After this, we were on to the community presentations.
Luis Martinez-Uribe, from Fundación Juan March, talked about how discoverygarden helped his organization, which distributes funding and provides stewardship for Spain’s cultural life, set up Islandora. There were a lot of interesting things about this presentation: FJM chose Islandora because the project was led by a librarian (Mark Leggott), many of the views in the site were generated via exports from Archivist Toolkit, and there are a lot of custom views for content, some using third-party tools (like the popular Simile widget). FJM has also used Fusion Tables in Google to make some neat visualizations about the artists that have been showcased over the years. The project is a testament to the value of structured data, as Luis says,“It actually pays off to prepare the data.”
FJM is also interesting because they’ve gone to a completely different display layer (not Drupal). Being a Windows shop without any in-house PHP expertise, they developed a .net FJM-Islandora Library that replaces Tuque. We saw the library in action on a large collection of exhibition catalogues dating back to the early 1970s.
This is around the time that Nick turns around with twinkling eyes and says: “I wonder if I can get d3 to work with Solr” - I’m still watching his twitter feed to see what emerges.
The last presentation before lunch was from Caleb Derven at the University of Limerick. He's spent the last few years developing infrastructure. Although many of the repositories in Ireland run Dspace, Hydra, or bespoke front ends for Fedora, Caleb worked with discoverygarden to build out 20TB of storage affiliated with an Islandora installation, citing Islandora as a more flexible approach better suited to the types of staff and expertise at his institution. He’s interested in EAD support in Islandora, and I sadly have to run to feed Henry before I get to hear the rest of his presenation. I felt like Caleb and I spent most of the camp trying to get together for a conversation about Islandora and archives, but weren’t successful.
Next up were two presentations from the Freshwater Biological Association (FBA) outlining their approach to RDF - First Nicholas Bywell showed off FBA's Object Linker module, which integrates with fixed vocabularies and provides autocomplete against a preferred term collection. The group creates authorities for terms using MADS, but notes that one could modify to use SKOS pretty easily. Anna Jordanous follows, and her presentation introduces the group’s use of Linked API from Epimorphics and sparks a discussion of how to take data in a spreadsheet and produce linked data.
After the FBA presentation, Donald Moses introduces the new IR code, which is probably worthy of its own blog post. It’s a really big suite of modules, with good support for ingest of citations from things like doi, pmid, endnote and RIS through to display that leverages CSL stylesheets and the creation of custom bibliographies. Then it’s time for a quick break.
After the break, Ken Kim talks about how his group has photographed thousands of Korean artifacts and made them available in a Drupal website that supports eight languages. We end camp with a discussion of the future, including the implications of Fedora 4 and Drupal 8 - while nobody had any clear timetables or deadlines, the commitment of the community to a future Islandora is pretty clear, as is the desire for a good upgrade path. For now, there are lots of new sites going up daily in Islandora 7, and I’m amazed at how far the code has come since my first camp in 2010.
Watch for the presentation slides to go up and we'll tweet when we see them.
If this sounds interesting, come to Islandora Camp GTA!