Two weeks ago, I attended the ACRL 2015 Conference. It was a wonderful opportunity to network with other librarians, and hear of the various projects that are undertaken within the profession today. The conference also had a number of keynote presenters which were eye-opening and enlightening. Continue reading “#ACRL2015 Report Back”
At ACRL, they had a professional photographer take headshots for the attendees at the conference. I’m writing a longer post about the conference, but here’s a great photo that I had gotten for free. Continue reading “ACRL Headshot Photo”
Today, I had the opportunity to teach other librarians on how to use the Bootstrap framework. It was a workshop sponsored by the LACUNY Emerging Tech Committee. It was well-received, and I was happy I could discuss what I think is one of the best web development tools out there. Here is the presentation and handout I used.
Ironically, I used Bootstrap for this blog site for a long time, but now I’m experimenting with the new WordPress theme, Twenty Fifteen. It’s as minimalist as Bootstrap and also responsive. That is not to say that Bootstrap isn’t a good framework, but it’s always a good idea to expand your web toolbox!
UPDATE: The Video Roundtable released the notable videos list! More info here.
I attended my first ALA Midwinter Meeting in Chicago this week.
It was a great experience attending the conference and meeting many people I have communicated with in the various committees I participate in. One of the great things about ALA is putting faces to names and connecting IRL. Continue reading “ALA Midwinter 2015”
I’m going to ALA MidWinter in Chicago this week. One of the committees I have volunteered for is the Video Roundtable’s Notable Videos for Adults committee, where we review films to suggest for other libraries. I recently watched this video about Aaron Swartz, called The Internet’s Own Boy. It is highly recommended if you want to learn about the contributions that Swartz had made for the betterment of society. It can be viewed for free on YouTube.
I’ve very happy to announce that my book Usability and the Mobile Web: A LITA Guide, has been pressed by ALA TechSource!
If you are interested in the basics of usability for mobile devices, user-centered design, and some tips on building mobile sites for your library, you can get a copy here or better yet, ask your local library to pick up a copy.
Much thanks goes to Pat Hogan, Angela Gwizdala, and Rob Christopher at ALA for allowing me this opportunity. A very special thanks to Paul Mendelson who copy edited the book.
This week I’ve had a couple of data loss stories.
I’m applying for promotion which requires creating a CDR (believe it or not) containing evidence of all the service, scholarly work, and librarianship work I’ve accomplished over the 8 years. I submitted the CDR, which also contains my teaching portfolio, CV, and self-evaluation for review. I thought it would be a good idea to backup my work.
At my institution, we have a shared network drive for all faculty for backup purposes. As I was copying over my work to this shared drive, my destination partition filled. This stopped the data transfer, and at the same time erased most of my source files. I didn’t discover this for a few days because I usually let file transfers happen in the background as I’m doing other work. I found a backup – although a few months old – that I could reconstruct from. Maybe at the end of the semester I could get a copy from my file, but my department chair doesn’t know if that’s possible.
My other story is a bit more interest. I migrated our library’s website onto an Amazon instance. One of the things I really wanted to change from our server to this new one is updating WordPress from the browser without using FTP. This includes the core, plugins, and themes. This can be done by adding( ‘FS_METHOD’, ‘define’ ); to the wp-config.php which forces a direct IO exchange using PHP.
This also requires messing with permissions using the chmod command on the commandline. As I was changing the subdirectories of a few files, I accidently typed sudo chmod 644 /*
This basically changed the permissions for the whole file structure of the instance. I didn’t catch it until I noticed that I had denied myself permission from much of the OS on the new server. In a frantic effort, I rebooted the instance thinking that this would fix the permissions problems. Instead, this caused a kernal panic and the system couldn’t even boot. It was dead in the water.
After talking to a friend (Thanks Adam!) who has experience working with AWS instances, he suggested I take a snapshot backup of the inaccessible OS. That way, my data could still be accessible. He also suggested to start a similar built instance and try to access the snapshot that way.
Basically we have 2 AWS instances: broken and fixed. Take a snapshot of the broken instance and turn that into a EBS volume. Then, use the fixed instance to access the EBS volume. Detailed instructions on how to access a EBS volume can be found here.
Surprisingly, this worked. I was able to access a file structure whose whole permission scheme had been changed accidentally. I think this is the real power of cloud computing, to generate machines quickly and easy, for data recovery.
Moral of the story: make backups. Sometimes your backups can crash, but if you make consistent backups that won’t be a problem. Also, make multiple backups!
My next project is to install Apache Solr on a micro instance to drive our site’s search engine. Fun!
As part of the travel grant I was awarded, I had to write up a report about attending the recent LITA Forum conference. Below is the essay.
A shout out goes to Christina Harlow who also attended the LITA Forum and provided some excellent live tweets. I highly suggest you follow her on Twitter – @cm_harlow Continue reading “LITA Forum Report Back”
I was recently awarded a LACUNY Professional Development Travel Grant for my travel to LITA Forum this year!
I am thankful for such a great opportunity to help my travel funds to the conference this year. I’ll make a blog post about my writeup about the conference and include slides for my presentation on mobile usability on the City Tech website.
Below is my application essay: Continue reading “LACUNY Professional Development Travel Grant”
For the last year, I have been working on a manuscript for ALA TechSource. I have received word from my editor, Patrick Hogan, that my manuscript has been approved for production.
This LITA Guide, entitled (for now) Usability and the Mobile Web, examines mobile usability testing for library websites. I firmly believe that usability is necessary for the success of a library’s website. It provides evidence on how well the site works from its most important component: its users.
This LITA Guide will provide an outline of what usability is, the differences between mobile sites, apps, and hybrids, and how to conduct a mobile usability test.
There are some CUNY librarians that have been immensely helpful in writing this guide, based on our informal and formal conversations on mobile library websites and apps. You should take a look at their blogs for some of the amazing work that they do!