Monday, Sept. 23   |   Tuesday, Sept. 24   |   Wednesday, Sept. 25   |   Thursday, Sept. 26

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Monday, September 23


9:30 – 4:30

Hackfest @ Masonic Temple

Hackfest ideas and projects are in the google doc.

9:00 – 1:00

Digitization Overview and Best Practices @ QEII Library

Mark Leggott and Don Walsh

This workshop takes place in the boardroom (rm L5017A) in the QEII Library on the Memorial University Campus.

6:30 – 9:00

Hackfest Social @ The Ship

Come down for a drink and meet up with new and old friends @ The Ship, one of St. John’s great pubs! The pub is located just around the corner from the Masonic, at 265 Duckworth St. This event is open to all Access participants.

Tuesday, September 24

8:15 – 9:00 Breakfast
9:00 – 9:15 Welcome and housekeeping
9:15 – 10:15

Opening Keynote

“What a Long, Strange Trip It’s Been”

Roy Tennant

Senior Program Officer, OCLC

The last twenty years have seen incredible changes in libraries, society, and ourselves. Where were we in 1993 and how did we get where we are today? What were our successes, our failures, our laughably lame attempts to make progress? You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll want to punch your neighbor or throw things at the speaker. Try to behave yourself as we take a rollicking look back at where we’ve come from and discover how on earth we made it this far alive.

10:15 – 10:30 Coffee break
10:30 – 10:45 Ignite talk

Interoperability with Blacklight, EDS, and Fedora.

Sam Popowich

10:45 – 11:30

Gettin Sh*t Done in the Digital Archives

Nick Ruest & Anna St. Onge

We live in a reality where official documents are born, revised and disseminated online. Most post-secondary institutions have record retention schedules to facilitate the transfer of official records with lasting historical value to the archives. Implementing similar practices in the online environment is challenging, in part due to an organizational culture that does not view websites as official university records, but rather as transactional, fluid spaces, despite the fact that such spaces are increasingly the only source of important documents. In addition, economic pressures and cutbacks in the university sector makes enterprise level electronic records keeping systems out of reach for many. These challenges cannot be met with a single solution. We need to work strategically to collaborate on long-term plans to ensure that born-digital records find their way into the archives.

We will focus on our efforts within the library to capture and preserve a selection of websites and communications that document York’s campus activities, in a manner that is systematic and accessible. We will report on our efforts to pilot this approach both within the university environment and in the wider community. We will reflect on our efforts to share our practice, successes and failures publicly, working within events in which we have a personal or philosophical investment. A keynote speaker at a recent archival conference admonished the profession that “once one becomes an activist, one has lost one’s perspective and objectivity as a public servant.” We aim to test this assertion and demonstrate that ‘active’ professionals can contribute to the preservation of our own institutional memory, and document the wider online social movements shaping our collective experience.

11:30 – 12:00

Reinventing Discovery: An Analysis of Big Data

Andrew Nagy

As the late Steve Jobs would say, don’t listen to your customers, they don’t know what they want. Usability studies and live user analysis provide valuable feedback about your product or web site in terms of how the tool is used, but listening to the users about what they want out of the tool can result in a “whack-a-mole” scenario where you solve a problem for one user, but create new problems for other users. Analyzing usage data can provide a very different perspective on how live users actually use the tool and allow you to identify different personas and use cases. This talk will share how Serials Solutions collects and analyzes a dataset of queries and clicks generated by millions of users at hundreds of libraries around the world to find behaviors, patterns, successes and failures in the interface design and search algorithms and then how we leverage that to improve and redesign. We will share the details of our custom developed data warehouse system and how we leverage these tools to perform our analysis. We will also share with you before-and-afters that were developed based on the results of the ongoing analysis.

12:00 – 1:30 Lunch @ Masonic Temple
1:30 – 1:50

Building crowdsourced photographic collections with lentil and Instagram

Jason Casden

In January 2013, the NCSU Libraries opened the James B. Hunt Jr. Library at North Carolina State University. Telling the story of the new library was crowdsourced through an Instagram-based project called My #HuntLibrary. Developed collaboratively by our Digital Library Initiatives, Communications, and Special Collections departments, My #HuntLibrary is both a user engagement tool and a digital preservation effort. Photographs tagged #HuntLibrary are included in a collection that is displayed in multiple interactive, responsive views, ranging from four inches to twenty feet. The entire collection of digital images will be preserved in our digital archives.

In May 2013, the My #HuntLibrary code was released as an open-source Rails Engine called “lentil” in order to simplify the creation of similar projects. lentil is a framework for applications that harvest image metadata from Instagram, provides moderation, browsing, voting, and sharing tools, and harvests image files and submits donor agreements in preparation of ingest into external repositories. A lentil-based application can be quickly customized and deployed to any Rails-capable web server (including Heroku) as a complete crowdsourced photographic documentation project.

lentil serves as a platform for investigating questions related to library approaches to user engagement, the preservation of social media, large-scale interface design, and including new participants in digital archival materials creation and selection processes. This presentation will present insights based on user interviews, application usage data, image contributions, social media feedback, voting (community curation) trends, and experience integrating these materials into existing digital collections systems.

1:50 – 2:20

First Decade: Done and Dusted

Peter Binkley

Our flagship digitization project was launched ten years ago. As digital custodians, we were tasked by our director to think about preservation in the 500 year time frame. At the 2% point, it’s worth pausing to take stock.

Over the past decade our content has piled higher and higher, and ramified into a variety of new types: research data sets, user-contributed files of every variety in the institutional repository,etc. Media and the possible physical infrastructures for preservation have developed. The concept of the Trusted Digital Repository has been defined and necessary policy framework has been laid out. Opportunities for partnerships over distance and preservation in the cloud have emerged. The role of the library as the preservation agent in the research community has been both affirmed and questioned.

We have responded to these changes in various ways over the years. We have ramped up from megabytes to gigabytes to terabytes. We have migrated our core content from platform to platform. We have handled new content through a variety of channels involving partnerships with OCUL and Internet Archive. We have expanded our staff and our breadth of expertise. We are deploying a new platform this summer.

This talk will draw the trajectory of our experience of the past decade, and try to project it into the next 490 years. Listeners will gain a high-level view of the challenges and opportunities of digital preservation, grounded in a narrative of a decade of practical experience at a peer institution to which they can compare their own experiences.

2:20 – 2:50

The SFU Library Open Data API

Todd Holbrook and Calvin Mah

The SFU Library has built an Open Data API. Information that is normally stored in non public accessible databases such as library hours, real time computer availability, and current items on reserves could previously only be accessed by our own website and developers. An Open Data API allows us to easily share this data with other units on campus, and the rest of the university community.

The SFU Library Open Data API was first created to share items on reserves information with other units on campus. The question arose to what other data can we make available? Information such as which computer workstation is currently occupied could be shared. The data that creates our library hours is also made available.

The open data movement has become popular in the last few years. Most of the open data initiatives have been initiated by government. Libraries have traditionally not become involved in either being neither a consumer nor producer of open data. The SFU Library Open Data API is a modest start, but by developing generalized shareable interfaces we can make our own information open and available.

2:50 – 3:05 Ignite Talk

Bookfinder: find your books fast!

Steve Marsden and Fangmin Wang

Ryerson University Library has developed its award winning (2013 CLA recipient for innovative technology) “Book Finder” web application capable of mapping an items physical location down to the exact shelf it is located on. Designed with flexibility in mind, this program is capable of mapping and displaying all sorts of unique content and collections by identifying a contents type (DVD, Books, Reserve, etc..) and applying rules to only search material within that context.

In April 2013, we open-sourced our application on Github to share with the community. We encourage institutions to further develop and contribute improvements back so that the entire community will benefit.

3:05 – 3:30 Coffee Break
3:30 – 4:30

Culture Clash: IT Experimentation, Innovation, and Failure in Libraries

Dale Askey, Mark Jordan, Catherine Steeves, & MJ Suhonos

Celebrating failure is hip these days. Yet, library administrators have traditionally been circumspect about admitting failure — or taking risks that may lead to failure — perhaps for good reasons. An unfortunate result of avoiding failure is that doing so often precludes experimentation and innovation.

Within the predominant organizational culture in libraries, numerous subcultures exist side-by-side. The core subcultures — technical services, public services, and collections, to name three — tend to define the overall culture, while the subculture of library IT often remains on the periphery. The pace of broader IT innovation also far exceeds that of the library’s natural evolution, creating an inherent conflict of pacing that must be constantly negotiated.

Experimentation is common within library IT subculture and potential resultant failure is not typically perceived as negatively within IT as it is in most other areas of the library. Systems librarians are generally pragmatic and don’t trust potential solutions until they experiment with them. They learn from failure and try something else. Library IT administrators are sometimes caught between the try-it-and-see-what-happens culture of IT staff and the usually more cautious practice of library management.

The members of this panel will share their views on fostering a culture of innovation and why library administrators should embrace experimentation and risk and develop strategies for managing failure in positive ways. While the panelists may describe specific examples from their experience, this session is not intended to be a series of case studies. Panelists will take a cultural approach to exploring risk, failure, and innovation to suggest ways to build more productive, agile, and relevant libraries.

4:30 – 5:00

Ask Anything

7:00 – 10:00

Reception @ The Rooms

Join us at the Rooms for a gorgeous view of the St. John’s harbour, drinks and apps. Open to all Access participants.

Wednesday, September 25

6:30 Signal Hill Morning Walk
8:00 – 8:45 Breakfast
8:45 – 9:00 Housekeeping
9:00 – 9:45

From the Cloud to the Ground: Cataloguing, Linked Data and RDA Search Strategies

Heather Pretty and Catelynne Sahadath

In the decision to move from AACR (Anglo-American Cataloging Rules) to RDA (Resource Description and Access), the international cataloguing community has recognized that the cataloguing formats and standards of the past have constrained how we as cataloguers – and thus our patrons – have come to think about how we access library materials.

RDA, based on the Functional Requirements for Bibliographic Records (FRBR), is a fundamental change in how we think about the metadata connecting the increasingly wide variety of material we catalogue. After briefly reflecting on where we’ve come from, Heather Pretty will summarize the library world’s path to Linked Data thus far, and some of the ideas for our next steps.

In the second portion of the session, Catelynne Sahadath will address some of the practical changes to the library catalogue. She will introduce practical examples of search strategies that public services librarians can employ to optimize results in RDA and AACR2/RDA hybrid environments.

9:45 – 10:15

Building a Better Book (in the browser): Using HTML5 to Transform and Unlock Book Content

Jason Clark and Scott Young

Reading and the legacy of the book are cornerstones of the library as place and service. Too often, our library discussions have centered on the loss of the book artifact with not enough attention being given to the new forms of the book enabled by the web. In this presentation, we
will look at a beta HTML5 framework developed for a Montana State University History class project to publish a book in the browser ( Along with an analysis of these possibilities in the library setting, we will survey current efforts to remake the book in the web development and publishing world and bring the discussion to Access. Among the technical highlights we will discuss:

– Applying CSS3 to help create linear, readable layouts
– Building microdata to create structured data that turns books into APIs
– Creating searchable and findable content with semantic HTML5 markup
– Analyzing new metrics of interaction and use that are enabled by this new form
– Using web services and APIs to supplement and enhance the reading experience

Beyond the technical demonstrations and code samples, we will ground our discussion in the concept of the evolving book—what it means for the book as a medium to be hyperlinked, marked up, styled, and analyzed as a full participant in the web of data. Come learn about the possibilities and get energized as we rethink and explore new forms of reading by bringing our primary artifact, the book, into the networked environment.

10:15 – 10:30 Coffee Break
10:30 – 10:45 Ignite Talk

On the Road: Adventures in Mobile Hackery

Kim Martin & Sarah Simpkin

This summer, a team of grad students and librarians will be buying a bus, loading it full of gear, and driving from London, Ontario to Lincoln, Nebraska to take part in the Digital Humanities 2013 conference. Along the way, we’ll hacking, making, and filming the
experience. Once back in London, the bus will be converted to Canada’s first mobile technology education space. The DHMakerBus team will be working with local libraries and non-profit organizations to reach out to the community and to provide children and adults alike with a learning experience that they are unlikely to receive elsewhere. In this short session, we will be sharing what we made (and what we have learned!) on this great adventure in mobile DH.

10:45 – 11:15

Integrating Course Reserves as a Service in the LMS at UBC

Paul Joseph

The UBC Library, in partnership with UBC’s Information Technology Services and Centre for Teaching, Learning and Technology, has implemented a collaborative campus-wide course reserves service solely in the context of Blackboard, integrating with several key campus systems. The service is currently managed using the Ares application by Atlas Systems, and receives course and enrolment data in real-time via an enterprise message bus and restricts access to reserves in all courses and sections based on enrolment. The presentation will begin with background on the teaching and learning context at UBC — changes to the university’s copyright environment, the decision to implement Blackboard, and the need for UBC Library to provide an electronic course reserves service. It will touch on the decision to select Ares as a starting point and to provide access to it solely in the context of Blackboard. The presentation will then highlight the implementation of the system, focusing on three key data integrations for the provision of the service — integrated enrolment and library data, user access to the LMS integrated with the delivery of contextual library services, and the integration of the Summon API to expedite the instructor requesting process and to expose the library’s collections to faculty and students. The presentation will end looking to the near future at some exciting new developments for the course reserve service at UBC followed by a demonstration of the service, providing details on the integration of the different systems as well as insights into the development process, challenges, complexities and concomitant benefits.

11:15 – 12:00

Can they scale? Library discovery tools and new forms of scholarly communications

Corey Davis

The lately emergent discovery ecosystem is thriving, and its attendant technologies—which include discovery layers, link resolvers, and bibliographic knowledgebases—are seen by most academic libraries as essential. But as technology drives entirely new forms of scholarly communications, the systems and standards behind library discovery—including OpenURL and bibliographic knowledgebases—are showing limitations and calling into question the comprehensiveness of tools like Summon, Primo, and WorldCat Local. Hybrid journals, research data sets, and digitized special and archival collections all present unique challenges to systems built primarily around enabling discovery and access to monographs and paid-for journal articles. So how are discovery tools adapting to this new environment? This session will share the results of focused interviews with vendors of discovery products, such as Serials Solutions, Ex Libris, and OCLC, concerning the technical challenges of providing access to new forms of scholarly output. Attendees will learn the issues involved in surfacing open access research publications in centralized consolidated indices, the challenges of linking to such content, and how vendors are planning to move forward in this area. They will also be provided with a critique of the current discovery ecosystem in handling heterogeneous information resources, especially in contrast to information retrieval methodologies used at search engines like Google Scholar and Microsoft Academic Search.

12:00 – 1:30


Check out the local restaurants and flavours on your own.

1:30 – 2:30 David Binkley Lecture

Can One Story Change the World?

Jon Voss

Historypin Strategic Partnerships Director @ We Are What We Do

A typed journal from WWI fuels a young man’s dreams of time travel and allows us to explore the power of personal stories and photos, together with archival collections, to build connections across generations. These items take us through space and time, and the magical ability of cultural memory institutions to help bring these incredibly compelling dreams to life. The World Wide Web provides the cultural, technological, and legal frameworks to open the doors to innovation and imagination, and also enables libraries, archives and museums the world over to play a critical role. Not only are these efforts fostering global collaboration and sharing, but they’re also attracting new audiences that are interacting with and improving collections and institutions like never before.

2:30 – 3:00

Héritage: A Mega-Microfilm Project

William Wueppleman

This spring, Canadiana launched Héritage: a project to digitize an estimated 60 million images of archival microfilm held by Library and Archives Canada. This is a long-term project, with primary digitization expected to take about two years and supplementary metadata creation and curation estimated to be a ten year endeavour. The project presents multiple challenges: technical, logistical and financial.

This presentation will provide an overview of the project and a report of its progress over the first six months. It will also outline the long-term strategic plan for managing digitization; the creation and linking of enriched metadata; long-term preservation of and enduring public access to the resulting content; and the funding model that will (we hope) actually pay for it all.

If successful, Canadiana hopes that Héritage will serve as a model for large-scale open access digitization projects that can be applied to the enormous body of as yet undigitized Canadian documentary heritage.

3:00 – 3:30 Coffee Break
3:30 – 3:45 Ignite Talk

Create a discovery layer in minutes with CouchDB, Elasticsearch and jQuery (almost no programming required)

Jonathan Younker

Need a quick user interface/API for your catalogue data? Maybe one for the OAI data you harvested? Maybe the two together, plus a bunch of other disparate data sets? Roll it all into CouchDB (a NoSQL database), and index it all with Elasticsearch (with a full API, no less). Throw it into an available jQuery and Twitter Bootstrap template, and you have a full, responsive site to use as a production interface, a ‘shadow catalogue,’ a development site, whatever… Using freely available scripts and tools, the whole thing can be ready in minutes.

3:45 – 4:30

It’s dangerous to go alone! How about *we* do this!?

Steve Marks, Nick Ruest, Graham Stewart & Amaz Taufique

We’re all worried about preserving digital assets at some level. One of
the most concerning parts of this process is the storage component, and
as new and larger objects and collections come under libraries’ care,
the pressure to find long-term storage solutions is growing. There are a
lot of solutions vying for mind-share — many of them commercial — but
it’s unclear the extent to which these solutions really represent
sustainable alternatives. But what if there were a way for us to do
this? Not “us” you or me, but “us”: you *and* me. What if “us” is all of
us in the country? What does that mean for sustainability, and the
future of trustworthy repositories? If we could do this, what might it
look like? Are there models in place elsewhere that might help inform
what this Canadian solution might look like?

This session will discuss issues around sustainability with a variety of
commercial storage options and compare those with the significant
potentials created by a series of recent, open-source driven,
developments in the hardware and software worlds. We’ll talk about what
software and APIs are available to make a locally created storage
network accessible to your applications, and will demonstrate how you
can build a scalable community cloud storage solution using commodity
hardware that allows for middleware replication, geographic
diversification, object storage using a common API, and remote management.

4:30 – 5:00

Hackfest Reports

5:00 – 6:00

Screech-in @ Masonic Temple

A Newfoundland tradition!

8:00 +

Scuff ‘n Scoff Social @ YellowBelly

YellowBelly is a local brew pub and one of the surviving buildings from the great fire in St. John’s in 1892. A starting point for the famous George Street, renowned street of pubs and clubs.

Thursday, September 26

8:30 – 9:15 Breakfast
9:15 – 9:30 Housekeeping
9:30 – 9:50

Where Angel Investors Fear to Tread: Library Technology Innovation in a Time of Austerity

MJ Suhonos

The library automation industry is in a time of rapid technological transition: cloud-deployed services, web-based software, and digital systems which were all unimaginable only a few years ago. A steadily decreasing number of vendors continue to compete in a vicious oligopoly, while at the same time, a booming number of open-source projects are challenging established business models.

Within this environment, libraries are facing massive budgetary cuts, staffing freezes, and increasing technology licensing costs as vendors seek to retain profit margins. While libraries reluctantly weigh their vendor relationships, lack of funding for open-source software development makes for a frustrating lack of options in a shrinking industry. Much like the serials crisis before, the de facto “wait-and-see” stance has become untenable for systems librarians.

We now need to search for sustainable and scalable business models that can disrupt the existing market and provide much-needed alternatives. A startup is “a partnership or temporary organization designed to create new products or services under conditions of extreme uncertainty.” And yet, in a time that seems ripe for a surge of library startups, we are yet to see more than a handful. Why?

How can we balance organizational agility and sustainability? Whose responsibility is it to develop technology solutions? How do we minimize risk while incentivizing innovation? Where is the support for startups who can disrupt the library technology sector? This presentation will explore these questions from the perspective of a young startup trying to navigate such treacherous waters.

9:50 – 10:05 Ignite Talk

Linux Containers and Docker: A New Sort-Of Virtualization Framework That Will Leave You Confused, Yet Excited For The Future Of Virtualization Technologies, If That’s The Sort Of Thing You Usually Get Confused and/or Excited By

John Fink

A lighthearted romp through the recent history of virtual machines, with a particular focus on a feature in recent iterations of the Linux kernel known as Linux Containers, and a tool for working on those containers known as Docker. Docker and containers work together to provide a very lightweight and flexible virtualization framework that could change how libraries configure and deploy server side software. Attendees will learn about virtualization in general and Docker in particular and how they might apply it to their local context.

10:05 – 10:30 Coffee Break
10:30 – 10:50

Building a Local Dropbox Alternative to Facilitate Data Deposit

Alex Garnett

If you build it, will they come? In the case of research data repositories, the answer has so far been a solid “maybe.” Discipline-specific repositories with some history, like ICPSR or arXiv, have tended to fare better than university institutional repositories over the past several years. There are many possible explanations for why this may be the case, but in general it seems safe to assume that institutional repository-style deposit is not sufficiently consistent with or salient to researchers’ existing workflows. Thus it must come with some additional incentive – a stable home for “green” open access materials, and/or some additional visibility which allows the work to be more easily cited, and credit received for that citation.

When surveying our faculty for the features they most wanted to see in our new data repository platform, one of the most common responses was “Dropbox.” BC privacy laws currently preclude SFU faculty from making use of cloud services whose servers may be located in the United States – that is, in effect, all cloud services – and while our CIO has made an outreach effort to explain how and why to obey this policy, in some cases, there is no effective functional equivalent to status-quo cloud services, and some faculty have freely admitted to paying for cloud services while being unable to claim their cost due to university policy.

This talk will cover the technical architecture and design considerations of building a local
Dropbox alternative to facilitate data deposit.

10:50 – 11:20

“Why is this link dead? Aren’t government publications all online?” Preserving digital federal content with the Canadian Government Information Private LOCKSS Network.

Mark Jordan & Amanda Wakaruk

The vast majority of federal government information is digital and susceptible to both technological obsolescence and changes in information policy. In the past, content on government web sites has been lost to both factors. Concern about the lack of comprehensive web archiving or digital preservation activities within federal government agencies motivated a group of information professionals at twelve institutions to form the Canadian Government Information Private LOCKSS Network (CGI-PLN) in August of 2012. This session will describe the development of the CGI-PLN, its organizational mandate and structure, its activities, and its technical infrastructure. The PLN’s first collection (the Depository Services Program’s e-archive) will be presented as a case study, demonstrating how the CGI-PLN operated within an ambiguous, uncertain context and with a compressed/unknown timeline.

11:20 – 12:20

Closing Keynote

Community, understanding, courage and honesty

Rachel Frick

Director of the Digital Library Federation Program @ the Council on Library and Information Resources

We talk a lot about community today. But do we really know what it takes to have a healthy, functioning community that encourages innovation, open to new ideas, and is tolerant and trusting?

The success of libraries, and librarianship for that matter, has less to do about our grasp of technology and more about how we view ourselves, our professional mission, and how we choose to interact in the larger information network.

The keynote will explore the concept of community and how our individual actions play into the larger heath of our profession.

12:20 – 12:30 Closing