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Welcome to code4lib BC!

Begun in Summer 2013, this chapter aims to create connections and professional development opportunities for folks from British Columbia and surrounding areas.

2014 Code4lib BC Spring Workshops

General Info

When: Friday, May 2, 2014

Cost: $15 + taxes/fees per workshop (note: lunch is not included)

What: Four half-day workshops are being offered at two different venues in Downtown Vancouver. See below for further details.

Who: A diverse and open community of library developers and non-developers engaging in effective, collaborative problem-solving through technology. Anyone from the library community who is interested in library technologies are welcome to join and participate, regardless of their department or background: systems and IT, public services, circulation, cataloguing and technical services, archives, digitization and preservation.

As a Code4Lib event, we adhere to the Code4Lib Code of Conduct, which seeks to provide a welcoming, harassment-free environment. Please see the Code of Conduct for further details.

Register here: https://www.eventbrite.ca/e/2014-code4lib-bc-spring-workshops-tickets-11107666329

Special thanks to Vancouver Public Library, Simon Fraser University, and the BC Libraries Cooperative for their support in making these workshops possible.

Locations and Schedule

At VPL Central (Peter Kaye Room)

9:00am-12:00pm Web/Usability Testing on a budget! / Cynthia Ng
12:00pm-1:00pm Lunch Break
1:00pm-4:00pm Introduction to Designing for the Web Today: HTML5, CSS3, and JQuery / Schuyler Lindberg

At SFU Harbour Centre (Room 1500)

9:00am-12:00pm Intro to Python / Alex Garnett
12:00pm-1:00pm Lunch Break
1:00pm-4:00pm Intro to Archivematica / Mark Jordan

Workshop Descriptions

Web/Usability Testing on a budget!

With Cynthia Ng

  • If you take care of even a small part of the website, you want to have some kind of feedback from your users. However, you're just one person, and you have a budget of $100. What do you do? This session will give you some hands on practice using a few methods to help you do some usability testing on a low budget.
  • Please bring a laptop, multiple sheets of paper, and at least one pen.

Cynthia Ng is currently on contract as an Accessibility Librarian at the Centre for Accessible Post-secondary Education Resources BC (CAPER-BC) housed at Langara College. She takes a holistic approach with focus on users to improve library websites. She also frequently volunteers as a mentor at technology events.

Introduction to Designing for the Web Today: HTML5, CSS3, and JQuery

With Schuyler Lindberg

  • A practical introduction to HTML5, CSS3, & JQuery, this workshop will cover the fundamentals of modern front-end web design. Not your typical "hello world!" code-from-scratch approach, it will demonstrate how to 'stand on the shoulders of giants' and take advantage of open source tools and templates to very quickly construct a fully-functional, responsive, HTML5 web site.
  • Bring a laptop and your favorite text editor (I recommend Sublime Text). No prior experience necessary.

Schuyler Lindberg completed his MLIS at SLAIS in 2012, and after a stint as a Digital Asset Management Consultant at BC Hydro, began his current role as Interaction Designer for Digital Projects at UBC Library Systems & Information Technology where he tests, designs, and develops user interfaces for library web applications. He is currently building a unified portal for the library's digital collections

Intro to Python

With Alex Garnett

  • This 3 hour workshop will introduce the fundamentals of Python as a first (or second) programming language. It will provide an overview of syntax, best practices, and how to get from A to B in simple, purposeful tasks, taking string parsing as an example. This will include a brief review of (relatively) sane approaches to doing iterative development on your own, including how to solve errors on a case-by-case basis, without having to read coding manuals from cover to cover.
  • Participants are strongly encouraged to bring their own machines (Windows, Mac, or Linux okay) so that they can walk away from the workshop with a workflow that works for them.

Alex Garnett works on Data Curation and Digital Preservation at SFU Library. Most of his coding is self-taught, which is a good thing when it isn't a bad thing. He doesn't always like it when he hears people start evangelizing about how everyone should learn to code, but he's caught himself talking about how some people really ought to learn really useful and fun things like string functions on occasion. He has strong feelings and a bad back.

Intro to Archivematica

With Mark Jordan

  • This 3 hour workshop will introduce Archivematica as a comprehensive, ready-to-deploy digital preservation platform. We will also cover basic preservation planning and long-term management of preserved content. Participants will have the opportunity to run Archivematica on their own laptops.
  • Preparation for the workshop: Please come with a Mac, Windows, or Linux laptop that has the most recent version of VirtualBox installed. (Note that virtual machines will run slowly on computers with less 4 GB of RAM.) A virtual machine image running Archivematica will be distributed at the workshop. Participants who cannot bring a laptop will be partnered with someone who has one.

Mark Jordan is Head of Library Systems at Simon Fraser University. His current obsession is automating digital preservation processes but he is also interested in a lot of other things.

Past Events

First Annual Code4lib BC Event

When: November 28 and 29, 2013

Where: SFU Harbour Centre, Vancouver, BC map

Cost: $20

Accommodations: Info coming soon.

Register here: https://code4libbc2013.eventbrite.ca/ 2013-11-21: We are full at 80 people but the waitlist is open.

What: It’s a 2 day unconference! A participant-driven meeting featuring lightning talks in the mornings, hackfest in the afternoons, with coffee, tea and snacks provided. Lightning talks are brief presentations which are typically 5-10 minutes in length (15 minutes is the maximum) on topics related to library technologies: current projects, tips and tricks, or hacks in the works. Hackfest is an opportunity to bring participants together in an ad hoc fashion for a short, yet sustained period of problem solving, software development and fun. In advance of the event, we will gather project ideas in a form available through our wiki and registration pages. Each afternoon the code4libBC participants will review and discuss the proposals, break into groups, and work on some of the projects.

Who: A diverse and open community of library developers and non-developers engaging in effective, collaborative problem-solving through technology.Anyone from the library community who is interested in library technologies are welcome to join and participate, regardless of their department or background: systems and IT, public services, circulation, cataloguing and technical services, archives, digitization and preservation. All are welcome to help set the agenda, define the outcomes and develop the deliverables!

Why: Why not? code4libBC is a group of dynamic library technology practitioners throughout the province who want to build new relationships as much as develop new software solutions to problems.

Tag d'hash: #c4lbc

If you’re ready to get your hands dirty with library technology practitioners, join us!

As a Code4Lib event, we adhere to the Code4Lib Code of Conduct, which seeks to provide a welcoming, harassment-free environment. Please see the Code of Conduct for further details.

Our first annual code4libBC event could not have been made possible without the generous financial support of:

  • BCCATS (British Columbia Cataloguing and Technical Services Interest Group)
  • BC Electronic Library Network
  • BC Libraries Cooperative
  • Kwantlen Polytechnic University
  • Simon Fraser University
  • University of Victoria

And special thanks to the BC Libraries Cooperative for assisting the organizing group with administrative duties.

Also thanks to all our organizers

  • Paul Joseph (Chair)
  • Calvin Mah
  • Caroline Daniels
  • Cynthia Ng
  • Gordon Coleman
  • Jeff Davis
  • John Durno
  • Mark Jordan
  • May Chan
  • Shirley Lew

Feel free to email Paul Joseph at paul.joseph@ubc.ca with questions or comments.

Lightning Talk Proposals and Hackfest/Breakout Suggestions: Submit them here.



9:00 Welcome & Announcements
Lightning Talks
10:30 Coffee break
10:45 Schedule Jam
11:00 Breakout Sessions
1 Hour Lunch (On Your Own) Suggestions
3:15 Break
3:30 Breakout Reports
5:00 Social


9:00 Announcements
Lightning Talks
  • Mark Jordan - DOCR/SMD Source code
  • Peter Tyrrell - Parsing PDF into Various Formats, Powershell scripts
  • John Durno - Uploading to Internet Archive via API
  • Colleen Bell - Integrating ERM & Libguides Content
  • James MacGregor - PKP Article Level Metrics with OJS and OMP
  • Jonathan Schatz - The Story of BC Libraries' IT Environments
  • Sarah Sutherland - RFP Evaluation Process
  • Paul Joseph - UBC Digital Library Framework
  • Calvin Mah / Todd Holbrook - SFU Library - Hours Database
10:30 Coffee break
11:00 Breakout Sessions
  • New bibliographic environment with May and Mark
  • Engaging digital asset viewer
  • library hours tool & api
  • UBC IT Reorg by Paul
  • Learn more about Archivematica with Misty and Courtney
  • Library Hours Tools & API
  • Hacking ILS's - Google doc
1 Hour Lunch (On Your Own) Suggestions
3:15 Break
3:30 Breakout Reports
4:00 End of Day

Lightning Talk Proposals

John Durno, University of Victoria

  • Filling up the Internet Archive using their S3-like API. UVic recently uploaded 750G of old newspapers and metadata (over 15,000 issues) to the IA via their API, based on Amazon's S3, by way of a simple python script making use of the boto library and a wrapper supplied by one of the IA developers. The API proved surprisingly robust, and I'd like to spread the word.

Peter Tyrrell, Andornot

  • Setting up Apache Solr to index and search over multiple source types: database and fielded data, Excel/CSV, scanned mags and newspapers, PDFs, word processor documents, websites, geolocations, etc. Focus will be on schema and DataImportHandler considerations, plus amusing anecdotes as time allows.
  • Another option would be: scripts that parse a PDF into a TIF, JPG, TXT, and positional XML per page via djvulibre and imagemagick libraries. Make 'em ready for indexing and flexible display.
  • I could maybe go over how to (and how NOT to) represent and display hierarchical (cough, archival) data in an Apache Solr index. Mostly this would be a juicy rant about how just how ruddy difficult I found it.

Stefan Khan-Kernahan, The University of British Columbia

  • UBC is launching an in-house product for managing course reserves that helps streamline workflows between faculty & library, within library staff (e.g copyright control etc.), and library & student, which I'd like to present on, the content of which would be on completed modules to date and learning lessons for others

Marcus Emmanuel Barnes, Simon Fraser University

  • Normalizing existing digitized content into standardized packages for robust long-term management. A report on SFU Library's METS-Bagger tool, with a discussion of the benefits, design principles used for the packaging specification, and potential next steps.

Colleen Bell, University of the Fraser Valley

  • I've been using PHP, JSON, and Libguides widgets to integrate Libguides content into our ERM and ERM content into our Libguides. This is particularly useful for libraries using SFU's researcher suite, but could provide ideas for anyone, since the code generated by the PHP can be displayed in any web page.

Mark Jordan, Simon Fraser University

  • Libraries are realizing the potential for both exposing their locally managed content as Linked Data and for consuming Linked Data. One of the types of local data that offers a lot of promise for leveraging Linked Data's capabilities is the controlled subject terms applied to local digital collections. I would like to demonstrate how I've enriched SFU's Editorial Cartoons Collection's descriptive metadata with URIs from http://id.loc.gov, paying particular attention to those from the Thesaurus for Graphic Material.
  • Explanation and demo of docr/smd, a distributed Optical Character Recognition platform designed to use smartphones and tablets to do the OCR.

May Chan, Burnaby Public Library

  • Hackfests for the Uninitiated. For all sorts of reasons, hackfests can be intimidating to first-timers and especially to those who have little or no programming ability. To encourage those new to this form of collaborative learning, my LT will relate key a-ha! moments from my first hackfest experience, especially some difficult truths learned.
  • The Code4Lib Conference Gender and Minority Scholarships. One of the ways Code4Lib supports gender and cultural diversity is to offer conference scholarships to women, transgendered persons and persons of ethnic or aboriginal descent. As a way to encourage potential BC applicants, this LT will give some nuanced background on the scholarship program and application process.

Calvin Mah / Todd Holbrook, SFU Library

  • SFU Library - Hours Database. The Library Hours Database developed by Todd Holbrook at SFU Library is a tool for managing library hours. The SFU Library hours page is generated by this database: http://www.lib.sfu.ca/about/hours

Sarah Sutherland, Canadian Legal Information Institute

  • I would like to discuss the process involved in evaluating the responses to requests for proposals for technology projects. There are often several very good submissions once the basic requirements are met, and at that point it becomes more about the style of the vendor and what kind of project it is. We recently went through this process, so I will use some anonymized examples from our process to illustrate my talk.

Cynthia Ng, CILS @ Langara College

  • Shifting Perspectives: From Disability Accommodation to Universal Design

Too often we design for the "average" user and then tack on accommodations for those with disabilities, but there is no "average" user to speak of, and we all use "assistive" technology. With this presentation, I hope to help shift the way we think about library services and their delivery.

Linda Woodcock, Kwantlen Polytechnic University

  • RDA : 10 Things. Walks through an RDA record focusing on new data elements and changes from AACR2. Will talk about benefits to user and possibilities for the future use of new data.

Jonathan Schatz, BC Libraries Cooperative

  • This summer a colleague and I toured three library federations BC as "field librarians". These treks were part of a unique project to survey the IT environments of the Co-op's member libraries. In addition to sharing the data with the libraries as actionable status reports, we are developing an app to track all this member data for our support team, allowing for a high-level snapshot of Sitka libraries. I want to tell a quick story about what sorts of configurations and solutions we saw out there, what seem to work, what to avoid and perhaps some DIY tips for technology management for libraries with fewer resources.

James MacGregor, Simon Fraser University Library

  • Public Knowledge Project has been working with PLOS to implement article level metrics within OJS and OMP. We are past the initial development stage, with a number of implementations live in production environments. We will discuss the available toolset, and future plans for it.

Misty De Meo, Artefactual Systems

  • Archivematica Format Policy Registry (FPR)

Archivematica is an open-source digital preservation platform.
Starting with version 1.0, Archivematica has made much of the standard behaviour of Archivematica configurable. The FPR provides a database of the recognized formats in Archivematica along with the rules used to control how files are identified, how metadata is extracted, and how files are normalized, all of which is customizable by users without changing the Archivematica source code. This lightning talk would go over the FPR and what it enables in Archivematica, as well as the open-source FPR administrator app.

  • FITS performance optimizations

Archivematica has begun work on performance improvements to reduce the performance overhead of the FITS file identification tool in digital preservation workflows. This lightning talk would go over the major performance bottlenecks discovered and discuss the ways in which Archivematica is working to improve them.

Hackfest/Breakout Suggestions

Requests, but facilitator needed:

  • Want to put us where the user is - discuss
  • collaboratively improve an open source project's crappy documentation
  • my website is stuck in a crappy institutional CMS. What can I do with it?

John Durno, University of Victoria

  • Develop an Omeka module that uses the Internet Archive to host video and audio content, essentially using Omeka as the front end user interface while taking advantage of the IA's media delivery/streaming capabilities. I envision two components: content and metadata would be uploaded via Omeka's admin interface. The IA's media player would be embedded in the public interface for content delivery.

Stefan Khan-Kernahan, The University of British Columbia

  • Building a more engaging digital asset viewer than what is provided by ContentDM/competitors. Details: current digital asset presentation (e.g Content DM), whilst providing all the ""necessary"" information for the user (image + metadata etc.) simply lack in user engagement. If universities are expecting to build interest in these collections among current/future students, they need to cater for a more involved experience. I am proposing an image viewer for digital assets that allows tagging/hotspot that trigger supplementary information beyond metadata (e.g. video explanations of areas on maps, how they came to be etc)

Karen J. Nelson, Capilano Unversity Library

  • Could we have a quickie: 1. FRBR explanation. 2. ditto data exchange. 3. ditto linked data. 4. bibframe. 5. WEMI language

Jonathan Jacobsen, Andornot

  • I'm working on a virtual exhibit project using Omeka right now, so I second the idea of an Omeka breakout session. Would love to connect with some other Omeka users/developers. In particular, to discuss the Solr plug-in.

Scott Leslie, BC Libraries Cooperative

May Chan, Burnaby Public Library, and Mark Jordan, Simon Fraser University

  • New bibliographic environment. This breakout session will provide opportunities for us to explore new and emerging models for bibliographic data, such as FRBR, the DCMI Abstract Model, and BIBFRAME with the context of the Resource Description Framework (RDF) and Linked Data. This breakout will take the approach of self-directed learning in a collaborative environment (i.e. there will be no expert talking heads). In the first hour, we will individually review some suggested background material. As we work through the material, we will record topics of interest and questions here. Feel free to add other suggested resources and related topics/questions at any time. Feel free to add to the Glossary. In the second hour, based on things learned and topics/questions generated in Hour 1, we will assemble into groups of 2 or 3 and develop a 10-minute 'overview' of one topic/question to explore further. We can sign up for them once we collectively finalize the topics. In the last hour, we will present our overviews to the larger group.

Janis McKenzie, Simon Fraser University

  • What do we really know about library use and what can we do with this information? The general idea of this breakout session is to connect those who made decisions about public services (and want to make more informed public service decisions) and those who have access to data on how library resources of all types are being used. The expected outcome would be to work towards identifying the types of activities that reflect how libraries are used today, with a focus on the impact of new, emerging, and future library services.