Tuesday, May 27, 2014 - 13:29

The UTSC Library, with the support of the UTSC and York University libraries, is proud to be the host for Islandora Camp GTA

In lieu of our usual summer Islandora Camp in PEI, our 2014 Canadian camp is going to the big city. #iCampGTA will take place on the campus of the University of Toronto Scarborough from August 6-8, 2014. If you have any questions about the GTA Camp, please contact us.

Register Schedule Accommodations and Travel  Call for Proposals T-Shirt Logo Contest - win your registration!

See additional details on the Islandora Website. Hope to see you there!

Tuesday, May 27, 2014 - 13:23

Register for this event

We invite proposals for Digital Pedagogy and the Undergraduate Experience: An Institute

Proposals should contain a title, an abstract (of approximately 250 words) plus list of works cited, and the names, affiliations, and website URLs of presenters; fuller papers will be solicited after acceptance of proposals, for circulation in advance of the gathering to registered participants.

Alternatively, you can propose a workshop related to Digital Pedagogy, with the same stipulations as above. 

Please send proposals before 30th June 2014 to Paulina Rousseau, prousseau@utsc.utoronto.ca

Tuesday, May 27, 2014 - 12:41

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See the Institute and THATCamp Schedule


Instructional Centre - Rooms IC-300, 302, 306, 1265 Military Trail, Toronto 

Join us for an event that considers the way digital scholarship is changing the landscape of undergraduate pedagogy!

Emerging technologies have had an immense impact on the way that research is now conducted by scholars in academic disciplines. There is a move toward the use of computers, applications, and larger, non-discrete data sets for what is increasingly termed “digital scholarship.” Thanks to these advanced developments in computing, research in all fields has taken on a much more collaborative nature, and has resulted in experimentation with research outputs in new formats, and the creation of new intellectual products. These major changes in research methodology mandate the development of new skill sets, both in faculty and in the training of students. As such, Digital Literacy and Pedagogy must become a priority for undergraduate and graduate students, as well faculty members who must inherit and participate in new, digitally-mediated methodologies.

This institute will explore the potential impact that Digital Pedagogy can have on student experience, with specific focus on the undergraduate level. This will include the following topics:

How can digital research methodologies be used to improve undergraduate engagement? What are the best methods for teaching students digital skills so that they can participate in the creation of digital research? What has proven to be successful, What political and ideological decisions do educators involved in digital scholarship need to make in order to benefit students, preparing them for work beyond the academy, and how can this influence the formation of canons that might help stabilize the field, and How can faculty members shift from transmitting knowledge to facilitating projects, co-inquiring and co-learning with students in activity-centered projects.

This institute will bring together digital scholars with considerable expertise in the area of Digital Pedagogy, and will consist of plenary sessions, informational sessions, hands on workshops involving digital tools, workshops focusing in methods for integration of digital pedagogy into both specific courses and the larger curriculum. It will also involve presentations from students who have participated in the development of digital scholarship projects in hopes of gaining insight into the integration of this skill sets improves the learning experience and job readiness.

Featured events will include plenary talks by Rebecca Frost Davis, Director of Instructional and Emerging Technologies (St. Edwards University, Fellow at NITLE), and Lisa Spiro (Executive Director, Digital Scholarship Services, Rice University, Former Director of NITLE labs).

The institute will close with THATCamp, which will allow scholars to discuss the most pertinent issues that concern them in the realm of digital pedagogy, and will be preceded by Islandora Camp. 

This Institute is generously sponsored by the UTSC Library Chief Librarian, the UTSC Office of the Dean and Vice President Academic, the Office of the University Chief Librarian, University of Toronto, and UTSC's Centre for Digital Scholarship. 

See our Call for Proposals. Due by June 30th, 2014

Register for this event

Sunday, May 11, 2014 - 18:09

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!

Thursday, May 8, 2014 - 16:32

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 second day of Islandora Camp has ended, and I’ve had far less time to take notes. This is because we split into our separate sessions (administrators and developers) and Donald Moses and I were instructing in earnest. Though we missed our developer friends, we pushed on into a deep-dive of the Islandora administrative interface. 

Typically, the administrative track starts off with an overview of basic site-building and user management functions in Drupal (a hurdle for some Islandora administrators) before moving to a review of Islandora permissions (and an overview of FedoraCommons) before ending in with Solr. This day-long session was designed by Melissa Anez, the Islandora Foundation Project & Community manager. Donald Moses and I both admire the graceful approach Melissa has taken in designing hands-on sessions that ease people into the sometimes daunting world of Drupal, FedoraCommons, and Solr and how these applications meet in the Islandora ecosystem. 

That said, this admiration didn’t stop us from getting diverted (sorry Melissa!) into discussions of media management, the philosophy behind Islandora’s extension of pre-existing Drupal modules, the art of authoring namespace prefixes, and desirable server setups (to vagrant or not to vagrant?).

Because we could not get enough of being smooshed together in small underground spaces, camp finished off with a lovely dinner at the bottom of Covent Garden. The dev and admin tracks were reunited with much comparison of personal histories and accents, and plans for Islandora. It sounds like the Dev track also went well. I came back to the hotel with my family (one year olds don't really like talking about Islandora), but most of camp is still out there in the city, painting the town Islandora-t-shirt red.

I forgot how much I get out of these camps, and how great it is (after 4 years of Islandora) to see new faces interspersed with established Islandorians. What a lovely bunch of people!

If this sounds interesting, come to Islandora Camp GTA!

Wednesday, May 7, 2014 - 17:07

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.


Camp started this morning in a basement room of the King’s college Strand campus. Altogether, we are 20 folks from Canada, Korea, Germany, Italy, Croatia, and areas of the UK. Our morning roundtable discussion revealed that our professions are as diverse as our countries of origin - there are developers (of course) as well as librarians, archives, administrators, private company service providers, and government staff. But we’re unified by our interests - In no particular order, the leitmotifs of IslandoraCamp UK are shaping up to be:

The Institutional Repository Multisites RDF/Linked Data Long-term preservation Archives and Islandora Running at Head & Migration (Systems Sustainability) Internationalization


After a very animated morning break, it was time for show and tell. Nick Ruest showed off his WARC Solution pack for archiving websites.  It looks like this. Particularly cool is the idea of running a local wayback machine to show off the archived files.  

Nick then showed some great new content views he’s been building using Islandora Solr Views. This module isn’t part of the current release, basically because it doesn’t respect access control. But, it is great for an open collection, and particularly impressive in the hands of Nick and his (York’s) rich metadata. Nick showed us how he’s leveraging Infinite Scroll to show off 11,000 digitized slides, and a beautiful map of georeferenced assets using leaflet.js.

We also took a look at Innisfil Public Library’s “Faces of Innisfil” project. This awesome public library is using the Islandora Simple Workflow Module to crowdsource community photos, which are then vetted by a site administrator. 

At this point, there was a discussion of Biological Data sets in Islandora. Giancarlo Birella presented on the V2P2 repository for storing, searching, and sharing data from research on plant microorganism-virus interactions. Mike Haft, from the Freshwater Biological Association had stories from the trenches, and many good suggestions for useful tools and existing taxonomies. 
A great initial output of Giancarlo’s project has been a documentation wiki V2P2 Repository Dev Zone. As a convener of the documentation group, I’m definitely bookmarking this to see how we might be able to promote or contribute to this work. 

We talked about Darwin Core, which, as Mike pointed out, is good for samples, but not for books. This sparked a discussion of repositories using mixed schemas (for example MODS for book records and Darwin Core for specimens). An interesting outshoot of this question was whether attendees wanted to consume other taxonomical authorities, or wanted to be sources of taxonomical authority. Donald also talked about the progress made in the OAI module over the last release cycle, which has really emerged as a great way of publishing metadata. Also good for folks to know: D6 had a harvester for OAI, but D7 does not - 

The camp then shifted to a discussion of the peculiarities of different systems infrastructures and the challenges this poses for generalizing different migration, ingestion, and update scripts in diverse server environments (particularly when the scripts need to be reviewed for any sensitive information). Donald Moses provided a tour of the Robertson Library (UPEI) Github Organization, including the scripts his team has published. The general consensus is that the more public-facing tools, the better.  

Donald also showed off the Newspaper Solution Pack in Islandnewspapers.ca.  UPEI has built a very nice landing page for the Newspaper level of the collection, and a calendar view of the repository contents. The newspaper pack’s native ITQL queries were slowing down the system, as did an attempt to swap out ITQL with one large Solr query. The solution was to leverage smaller custom Solr queries in a module that will be released in the next cycle. 

Nick also gave us an overview of how he has overwritten default urls to make them prettier and more informative using an Islandora Path Auto module written by “Rosie,” Rosemary le Faive (who is sadly not at camp). Leveraging Drupal’s path auto module, you can use this code to set up URL patterns using tokens. This hasn’t been offered as a release module, because the default SPARQL query is hardcoded, and has to be edited to accommodate each project. 

at 11:45 the air conditioning kicks in. It’s a good moment for everybody in a tiny room with a bunch of people and computers. Offhanded comments are made about SKOS vs MADS.

The last presentation before we move to the release modules is about a new viewer for the Video solution pack (video.js). Watch for Nick’s link on the lists in the coming weeks! 

After lunch, we finished a discussion of tools and modules in the latest Islandora release, which led to a discussion of why certain things wind up in the release and some things don’t, which meant looking at some Travis files to determine how contributors prepare contributions and a quick tour of the developer documentation. In the end, we toured all of the currently released modules and tools, including the new digital preservation suite, image annotation module, command-line batch ingests, and lots of others. We talked media annotation and the media fragments spec.

Alan gave us a tour of a new Xquery module for Islandora that allows for batch editing of repository content - this means you can do things like find and replace text across the whole repository. This seems very powerful, and also terrifying (thank goodness there is a preview query function). As Alan pointed out, the bigger your xquery, the more chance there is of making a mistake. For now, it was exciting enough to see Alan batch edit the DC of several objects to make the content UPPERCASE. Finally, Islandora has its very own Kanye West Button. 

When we were talking about XML Form Builder, it became clear that this tool has uses we are still figuring out. In particular, various Drupal modules can be leveraged by the form builder. Nick demoed the use of Chosen for better select lists, and Donald talked about Taxonomies and Forms. It would be great to get a coordinate picker in there from one of Drupal's many map modules.

The end-of-day Installfest went pretty well, but revealed that some windows users have to edit BIOS in order to use the new VM (which is 64 bit instead of 32 bit). Tomorrow, we split into our administrative and developer streams. As always, I wish I could be sitting in both places at once... 

If this sounds interesting, come to Islandora Camp GTA!



Tuesday, April 29, 2014 - 13:06

The annual TRY Library Staff Conference brings together librarians from the libraries of the University of Toronto, Ryerson University, and York University for a day of communal professional development and networking. DSUers Sara Allain and Sarah Forbes will be conducting a session on free and open source tools for digital curation projects, focusing on the practical application of Inkscape, GIMP, SublimeText, and ImageMagick to process digital images and create metadata.

Sara Allain will also be presenting as UTSC's representative for the Collections UofT repository project, along with Kelli Babcock (UofT Libraries ITS), Karen Suurtamm (UofT Archives and Records Management), and Danielle Robichaud (Kelly Library, St Michael's College). Check out the session description here.


Friday, April 25, 2014 - 18:20

by Sara Allain

On April 21st, members of the DSU had the pleasure of hearing Claire Potter, Professor of History at The New School, speak about the role of digital humanities and its practitioners in academic departments. There were two areas in particular that resonated with us in the DSU: professional acceptance of digital scholarship and the gap in digital competencies.

Digital humanities reopens classic texts to new forms of scholarship.

Claire talked in depth about the problems facing humanities departments, and the problems that digital scholarship has had in addressing those issues. The presentation cited the privileging of codex-based research - that is, deep reading and other forms of book-focused knowledge generation, culminating with a monograph -  in the hiring and tenure process as an ongoing struggle facing researchers in digital scholarship. She noted that the AHA just wrote their first hiring guidelines for digital scholars this year. This area also concerns the DSU   - our lifeblood is the scholars who come to the library seeking a partnership that will support, sustain, and expand their digital projects. UTSC is a good place to be a digital scholar.  But, in order to create a professional culture that can sustain projects across years, digital scholarship must be understood as on par with codex-based research. We often wonder, "What scholarship isn't digital nowadays?" Building that understanding into hiring and tenure practices will make digital scholarship stronger as it brings a wider representation of the scholarly population into these conversations.

Computers too often feel like brooms, not pens.

Claire's second point resonated with us directly - a digital competency gap still very much exists within our institutions - in particular, to quote her verbatim: "The idea that young people are digital natives is crap." Faculty members, researchers, and students all face a steep learning curve. It is hard to envision the possibilities represented by digital scholarship when concepts like text encoding and relational databases are little understood. Claire suggested that the place to start addressing this is with our graduate students - as the next generation of scholars, they will be the individuals who lead the charge towards widespread adoption of scholarly research using digital technologies. While they may not be digital natives, there's certainly potential for them to become digital converts. Introducing graduate students to browser coding (HTML and CSS), markup (XML), encoding (TEI), and programming languages (python, Ruby, whatever's hot) will give them a point of contact is a great place to start. Let's introduce graduate students to programmers and developers and give them a vocabulary to communicate with tech people - librarians included. After Claire's talk, it seems obvious that this will improve digital literacy and stand them in good stead in both academia and the business world.

The point led to an in-house discussion of how we serve faculty members, researchers, and students here at UTSC - not just the ones that are already embedded in the unit, but also the ones that might be peeking into digital scholarship from the edges. We want to bring those people in - we want to make them feel comfortable in a digital environment. Which is why, this summer, we're participating in several events that will introduce digital scholarship tools like Islandora and OpenRefine to faculty members from a variety of subject areas - at the Berkshire Conference on the History of Women, the Roots and Routes Summer Institute, and through our own pedagogical institute following August's Islandora Camp GTA (details TBA). We hope to see you there!

Check out a Storify of tweets from the event.

Friday, April 25, 2014 - 16:52

Consider us for your practicum placement!

We invite students in INF2173 at the University of Toronto's iSchool to take a look at the four practicum placements currently on offer at the Digital Scholarship Unit in the UTSC Library. The four projects encompass data migration, citation management, coyright research, and information literacy, among many other relevant skills. To learn more about working with the DSU for a practicum, check out our previous student Ned Struthers' blog post: Why do a practicum project at the DSU?

The UTSC Library is easily accessible via TTC, and as all of our projects contain a digital component there is a possibility that work can be done from home (subject to discussion between the student and supervisor). All practicum projects are listed via the iSchool's practicum website.

OpenOasis Wordpress Migration

The practicum student will be responsible for assessing, advising, and completing a migration of the content from the OASIS sourcebook’s Joomla-based website to a fresh Commons in a Box installation. Commons in a Box is a Wordpress-based system that packages CUNY Academic Commons functionality for use in research and teaching. The student will work with professionals and technical staff and will be using project management software to track progress. Associated tasks may include the creation of a current content list, the development of a set of recommendations for new information architecture, and migration of content.

History of the Periodic Table of Elements

The UTSC Library’s Digital Scholarship Unit is currently working with UTSC’s Department of Physical and Environmental Sciences (DPES) in order to create an online History of the Periodic Table of Elements. This project aims to highlight the rich history of the Periodic Table of the Elements by assembling citations and increasing the access to the most significant primary sources (papers related to the development of the periodic law and periodic table) together through one comprehensive, openly accessible online resource that can be utilized for students and scholars interested in chemistry and the history of the discipline alike. The practicum student will be responsible for identifying and searching relevant library catalogues, databases and repositories in order to compile a listing of citations, library holdings (print and full-text electronic) and copyright status of seminal, primary source papers related to the development of the Periodic Table of the Elements. 

Digital Literacy Instructional Modules

UTSC Library’s Digital Scholarship Unit has identified a need for undergraduate and graduate students to develop skills in the area of digital scholarship in order to make them fully capable researchers. As such, the Digital Scholarship Unit is seeking a practicum student to contribute to an infrastructure-building project to develop curriculum, assessment tools, and program metrics for a suite of course modules on common digital scholarship tools and topics. The practicum student will be responsible for creating instructional content in the form of online modules for the following tools: Zotero, wikis and blogs, screen-casting and Prezi, text analysis, TEI, scholarly publishing and movie editing. These modules will be delivered using BlackBoard course management software, and will be integrated into a summer Insititute hosted at UTSC that will focus on Digital Pedagogy. The practicum student will work closely with the Digital Scholarship Librarian, the Information Literacy Librarian, as well as a Liaison Librarian for a specific subject area. This is a wonderful opportunity for the practicum student to gain skills in developing digital literacy curriculum and assessment skills. 

CONTENTdm Migration

The UTSC Library’s Digital Scholarship Unit is currently moving its digital content from CONTENTdm to Drupal, and eventually to Islandora. The practicum student will build on the work of our previous practicum student to research, develop and implement a migration plan for the metadata harvested from CONTENTdm. The student will work closely with library professionals and technical staff and will be using project management software to track progress. Associated tasks may include the development of Drupal content models and modules, metadata crosswalks, feedback on high-level milestones, and research.

Friday, April 25, 2014 - 09:30

Part II of this post can be found here.

The Problem

Recently, organizers of the Berkshire Conference on the History of Women approached us because they wanted Drupal to display a Zotero group library populated with references to relevant digital scholarship projects, including the tags that had been associated with them by the conference organizers.

Figuring out an Approach

The Zotero plugin for Drupal requires Biblio, which was a little more furniture than we wanted in our Drupal site. In addition, it’s been a little while since the module’s received any love (stay tuned for news on that front)! New Jack Librarian’s 2012 post on loading Zotero into a webpage with PHP suggested a compelling and quick solution, but didn't really suit this non-bibliography-ish data, and it didn't let us leverage the Zotero tags in Drupal taxonomies. 

So, we sidestepped the plugin using Drupal's feeds Xpath parser, which allows you to use Xpath to select XML nodes in an incoming feed, and map them to fields in a Drupal content type. 

The Setup

Here’s our endpoint. A page with content that has been brought in from a Zotero library. I’m not linking to the page, because it’s likely to change location. 

1. First, we needed the right content from Zotero. If you go to a Zotero Group Library, view the whole library, and then subscribe to the feed, the default query is as follows:


So, it's not all of the content, and more significantly, we don't get the tags.

After playing with the API documentation we decided on the following


Tags were mapped as follows in MODS

<default:subject> <default:topic>[tag]</default:topic> </default:subject>

2.  Once we could get the content we needed from Zotero, built two content types: one to process the feed, and the other to store the resulting nodes. 

Our "Zotero Custom Feed Item" was set up with all the fields we needed to leverage in a view at the end. 

3. After our content types were set up, we navigated to Structure > Feeds importers > Add importer and we created a feeds importer attached it to the Zotero Custom Feed Processer content type we created in the last step. Here are our basic settings for the feeds importer.

Of particular interest here are the mappings, which use Xpaths as their source. Note also that we needed a unique element. We used the Title, which is not really ideal, but worked well for our content. Any unique field will work. Also important here was that we want Zotero tags to search the Drupal Taxonomy Vocabulary "Tags," and when a term does not exist, we want the importer to create it. 

4. Once our importer was set up, we created a Zotero Custom Feed Processer node. This is where we put our actual Xpath queries, and the url to the feed we want to parse, and imported the content. 

* Oxygen wrote the Xpaths for me. 

When you import from your Feed, you can dump out the results of your queries. This will help you troubleshoot if you’re not getting the results you want. 

Finishing touches

We used Drupal Feeds Image grabber to get an image into most of the content. It’s a crapshoot - sometimes the image is spot on, and sometimes it’s pretty random. I’m sure there’s tuning that could be done. Though it’s a little outdated, there’s a great screenshot/tutorial for FIG here

We set up the view to display our content, and used Taxonomy menu block to give us a navigation panel for the tags. Feeds Tamper helped us clean up some of the output.

One problem we had that we didn’t anticipate is getting the content to auto-update. As far as we can tell, you need to map a unique element to NodeID in order to get nodes to update (and to prevent a feed from creating duplicates). We tried with zapi:key from our feed, but it threw a bunch of sql errors relating to content typing and uniqueness. We tried several other tamper plugins to try to generate hash or otherwise uniquely identify items in the feed, but so far no dice.

Sadly, we can't spend more time on this at the moment, but there are thankfully minimal changes to the library at present (and it’s a two-click operation to delete all existing nodes and just refresh from the feed manually). We're hoping to return to this before the conference, because our plan is to use a similar process to bring in other projects we find and keep the conference feed alive, and it would be great for this to auto update.

For now, I was really happy for the opportunity to play with the xpath parser plugin. Please feel free to contact me with errors and addendums, or just to commiserate if you're facing a similar set of challenges!

Thursday, April 24, 2014 - 16:36

Students of UTSC! Sticking around for the summer? Why not come and work at the Digital Scholarship Unit. You can view and apply for the unit's work study jobs through your Career Centre Online account, searching the Work-Study Job Board with the Job IDs listed below. There are 13 postions available in the unit.

Click here to learn more about workstudy

Publishing and Research Assistant - Bioline (2 Positions)  Job ID 34433

Bioline International is an electronic publishing centre located in the Department of Social Sciences. As a publishing and research assistant at Bioline International, the successful applicant(s) will be involved in a variety of day-to-day activities and special assignments relating to the conversion of journal content and the addition of this content to the Bioline website. He or she will also participate in various activities related to the management and organization of the Bioline International project and may assist with the organization and implementation of research projects. Applicants should be generally comfortable with computers and have a high-level of confidence in using most standard, popular office programs as well as Internet applications. Applicants must be able to communicate effectively through written formats such as email.

Metadata Improvement Assistant - Bioline (2 Positions) Job ID 34431

Bioline International is an electronic publishing centre located in the Department of Social Sciences. As a metadata improvement assistant, the successful applicant(s) will work to identify, improve and reload legacy metadata for Bioline journals. He or she will improve access to valuable research published in the developing world by updating and reorganizing existing metadata, adding new journal metadata to the Bioline website, and performing quality control activities. He or she may participate in facilitating metadata exchange projects with collaborating groups. A general comfort level with computers and the web and a strong attention to detail is required - no prior programming experience necessary. 

Research Assistant - Bioline (2 Positions) Job ID 34416

Bioline International is an electronic publishing centre located in the Department of Social Sciences. As a research assistant, the successful applicant(s) will refine the list of applications to join Bioline International using eligibility and inclusion criteria to determine whether journals are published in developing or transitional countries, articles are peer reviewed, publishers are willing to offer their journals on an open access basis, and are ready and willing to work actively with the Bioline staff. He/She will regularly survey Bioline’s collections to identify inactive journals and areas in which additional materials are needed. Applicants will keep abreast of health and agriculture related information and potential journals for addition to the collection. The successful applicant(s) will also be involved in a variety of day-to-day activities and special assignments relating to the conversion of journal content and the addition of this content to the Bioline website as they arise. Applicants should be generally comfortable with computers and have a high-level of confidence in using most standard, popular office programs as well as Internet applications. Applicants must be able to communicate effectively through written formats such as email.

DSU Archives Assistant (3 Positions) Job ID 34434

As the DSU Archives assistant, the successful applicant(s) will provide support for the maintenance, creation, and description of DSU special collections and provide other support for scholarly publishing initiatives as required.  The successful applicant(s) will also be involved in a variety of day-to-day activities and special assignments relating to the digitization of items and the addition of this content to the unit’s online Drupal/Islandora/Wordpress systems. Applicants should be generally comfortable with computers and have a high-level of confidence in using most standard, popular office programs as well as Internet applications. Applicants must be able to communicate effectively through written formats such as email.

Gunda Gunde Project - Image Processing and Metadata (4 Positions) Job ID 33618

The successful candidate will assist with the digitization of an archival collection in the UTSC Library, including entering basic descriptive metadata, complete basic editing of existing files using Photoshop, and ensure that archival files are saved to a shared directory. The student will gain insight into the role of the Digital Scholarship Unit, which enables access to research and provides a secure storage space for materials.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014 - 16:17

This summer, the Berkshire Conference on the History of Women comes to Canada for the first time. The DSU is pleased to be participating in the conference both by lending our resources for infrastructure support and by teaching a workshop on Islandora during the Berks' Digital Lab on Friday 23 May. You can check out the Digital Lab schedule here. A list of digital projects curated by Berks organizers is available here

Visit the Conference Website

About the Berkshire Conference of Women Historians and "Big Berks":

The Berkshire Conference of Women Historians formed in 1930 in response to women academics’ sense of professional isolation. Although allowed to join the American Historical Association (the professional organization for historians in the U.S.), women were never invited to the “smokers,” the parties, the dinners and the informal gatherings where the leading men of the profession introduced their graduate students to their colleagues and generally shepherded them into history jobs in colleges and universities.

The best-known aspect of our organization is the meeting of the Berkshire Conference on the History of Women, or “Big Berks,” held every three years. The Big Berkshire Conference began in the early 1970s and grew out of the flourishing interest in women’s studies across the country. The first Berkshire Conference on the History of Women took place at Douglass College, Rutgers University, in 1973. Expecting only 100 or so participants, the Douglass conference drew instead three times that number, prompting calls for another.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014 - 15:55

This summer, members of the DSU will be conducting workshops on Islandora and OpenRefine at the Roots and Routes Summer Institute at UTSC. From the Roots and Routes 2014 page on Serai:

Unlike traditional academic conferences, the Roots & Routes Summer Institute features a combination of informal presentations, seminar-style discussions of shared materials, hands-on workshops on a variety of digital tools, and small-group project development sessions. The institute welcomes participants from a range of disciplines with an interest in engaging with digital scholarship; technical experience is not a requirement. Graduate students (MA and PhD), postdoctoral fellows and faculty are all encouraged to apply.

This year's theme, "Sociability and Materiality," aims to capture a range of historical problems and their attendant methodological and epistemological challenges. Participants are invited to define and approach this theme from the position of their individual disciplines and research interests. For example, what place does "the Mediterranean" have in discussions about manuscript, print, and digital cultures and their interpretation? What can historians, art historians, archaeologists, and other scholars learn from one another when tackling these problems? (How) are themes such as sociability and materiality useful in the study of the premodern Mediterranean? How can attention to materiality and sociability make salient the various practices of knowledge production of different disciplinary traditions, and what do such practices entail? What new ways of envisioning archives (as processes as well as products) are being facilitated by digital technologies? How do digital media and methodologies change the ways in which we identify, access, and interpret historical records? What might "collaborative research" in digital environments have to learn from (and teach) the history of earlier forms of scholarly sociability? How does the recent resurgence in the history of material culture speak to longer-term interest among historians of the book in the materiality of textual artifacts?

More details and a complete program to follow. In the meantime, check out our past institutes (2011, 2012) contact us for more details, or go to our registration site. 

Roots and Routes runs from 26 May to 3 June 2014. For more information, check out the Roots and Routes page on the Serai website.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014 - 18:13

As a grad student I've often found it challenging to find ways to apply the theory I've learned and gain practical experience in my field. This challenge motivated me to complete a practicum project during my final semester in the Master of Information Program at the University of Toronto. While I had a number of projects from which to choose, I decided on the DSU primarily because it allowed me to develop and demonstrate the digital skills that are in demand in my profession.

The project I signed up to complete involved helping the DSU migrate four collections of metadata from one access framework (CONTENdm) to another access framework (Islandora). While I initially thought this project would mostly consist of editing XML files and developing Drupal forms, I ended up doing far more interesting and complicated work than I had imagined. By the end of my practicum I had learned enough Python to script a small program to automate the creation of folders and the movement of files, had used Mogrify to batch edit hundreds of images using the command line, and learned more about XML namespaces than I thought possible. I also got the opportunity to work with the awesome staff at the DSU which would be worth it all on its own.

Looking back, my decision to complete a practicum project at the DSU was one of the smartest decisions I made while at the iSchool. I can directly credit this experience with landing a fulltime/permanent position in my field before graduation, as I was able to point to this practicum during job interviews as evidence of my technical ability and use my supervisor as a reference. Also, if you're interested you can check out some of work I did for the DSU on GitHub.

Monday, March 17, 2014 - 12:18

Scholarly content that is freely available to the public or Open Access (OA) is often talked about in the context of journal publishing. However, the Open Access movement is also having significant effect on academic book publishing. 

On February 13th, UTSC's Centre for Digital Scholarship, in collaboration with the UTSC Library's Digital Scholarship Unit, hosted a two hour seminar Open Access Books: Trends & Options that introduced how new publishing partnerships and digital technologies are transforming scholarly book publishing.

The afternoon got off to a lively start with a lunch sponsored by the Centre for Digital Scholarship and opening remarks and acknowledgements from UTSC faculty member Leslie Chan

The first speaker Dr. Lucy Montgomery then told the story of the Knowledge Unlatched project through a co-ordinated Skype and PowerPoint presentation. This new project strives to create a sustainable route to Open Access by leveraging the combined power of libraries to secure long-term cost savings for their own institutions. A copy of Lucy's slides and talking points are posted on SlideShare. I'm happy to report back that in the days following the presentation that the University of Toronto Libraries has signed on as a charter member of this innovative approach to opening up access to a pilot collection of humanities and social science monographs through Creative Commons licences.  

The second speaker, Pierre Mournier joined us in person on route to the Interrogating Access conference. He shared a brief overview of the Open Access landscape in Europe, his take on economic OA models for books and the OpenEdition ecosystem and their approach to creating sustainable Open Access publishing. Of particular note is the OpenEdition Books platform for books in the humanities and social sciences which now includes 1225 titles - more than half of which are openly accessible to all in HTML format with additional services and formats through OpenEdition's Freemium model for subscribing libraries and institutions.

Watch the complete video of the seminar: