Thursday, September 3, 2015

CONTENTdm Users Group, Nashville, August 2015

Jill Craig, Western Maryland Regional Library.

Making Maps with the CONTENTdm API, Marcus Ladd, Miami University of Ohio
This was a session on how to build a map of a geographically-oriented collection in CONTENTdm with publicly available PHP and Javascript resources. 

Marcus had a postcard collection of cards from Ohio. His code, which he shared on github,, uses the address of the image from his CONTENTdm url and that links to an sql table using javascript. This way CONTENTdm api harvests the data and Google maps creates a map using the address to create coordinates. Marcus has additional steps as he described the application as “buggy”. Miami University, Ohio, Bowden Postcards Collection

The question I would have is whether this program would work with our data which does not contain recognizable street addresses. The Confederate dead were buried in locations like “Mrs. Lucketts barn”. In that case I would need to create the lat/long myself, add to the CONTENTdm database  and then use the google api.  There are several other applications where pinpointing the location will be helpful.

Introduction Data Cleaning and Preservation, Morgan Daniels, Vanderbilt University
My need to clean up data is much less than Tracy’s but I can still see a use for OpenRefine ( ), OpenRefine is an open source application that runs through Google.  It adds power to the kinds of  things I have been doing in Excel and makes decisions for you, so instead of having to sort a field, see what the options are, select which is correct, and then search and replace. It would replace all variants for “Hagerstown” for example with the most commonly used term.  I would need to be cautious in using with names that may have been correct at some point, like “Hagers-town” and “Boonesborough” – transcription spellings are unique
and their spellings are unique

CONTENTdm Users Group, Goucher College, May 2015

Jill Craig, Western Maryland Regional Library.

CONTENTdm Users Group, Goucher College, May 2015

Jennifer K. Galas, University of Scranton

She described a campus with many potential data collectors but no simple way for them to add to a database. They could benefit from the diverse knowledge of the staff and inspire everyone to become a content creator.

Jennifer created a google spreadsheet available on the web for faculty and students to input. Then she utilized two javascripts - Tabletop.js and handlebars.js to create custom scripts.
The result is a collection which includes pages like Gannon Hall, University of Scranton 
She also used mapsheet.js which would be worth investigating to see if it is better than other mapping scripts.

I can see a non-centralized data entry system making it easier for data to be entered in our various libraries or counties. 

Working with Text and PDFs – Geri Ingram
Users expect full-text search-ability across the repository, but will also expect the data to be linked. Linked data will eventually provide the engine for new knowledge creation, for Washington County’s data on Antietam to, in Geri’s term, “become visible in the web-of-things” through worldcat and dpla.

Geri suggested using the metadata templates at page level; compound object level and for PDFs. On the Website Configtool: to suppress display of components of compound objects in search results, which would mean a search would find a word in a compound object and not pull up every single page. This is done by selecting pagetype = PDF 

Materials commonly assembled as compound objects would be Yearbooks, Papers, Postcards, Books.
Metadata can be at a page-level or object level.

I need to try the post card option of a compound object for the postcards we have that have information on the back of the image.  

The State Library of North Carolina Digital Repository has some useful ideas to for making a site more usable and user-friendly. It is a site I will look at again when my backlog is reduced.

ContentDM Users Group 2015 @ Nashville Public Library

ContentDM Users Group 2015 @ Nashville Public Library
Author Name: Tracy Carroll
Library System: Western Maryland Regional Library
Date: August 6-7, 2015
Learning Event website:

Top 3 things learned:
1. How to Clean up data using OpenRefine
2. How to make maps pinpoints using a Google and a ContentDM API
3. How to properly save images in ContentDM.

How to implement:
  1. OpenRefine can be used to clean up data that we've inherited or data that we've received and would like to use on Whilbr but we need to clean the data to store it in ContentDM.  Bad data makes it harder to search and find what you're looking for when you're searching a database.  An example of something we consistently run in to, we may have a spreadsheet and in one field there is data that is inconsistent.  It may say "Street", "St.", "street", "st", not because it's wrong but because different people entered the data and now the data is inconsistent.  OpenRefine will let us clean up all of the records so that they all say "Street" or "street" or whatever we decide all of the records will show.  Previously we would do a find and replace several times until everything is consistent.  OpenRefine groups and counts the records so it will show you that you have 100 "Street"s and 200 "St"s and you can replace all 300 records in seconds.  Win!  This is such a huge deal for us because sometimes we can spend hours or days cleaning up data.  OpenRefine where have you been all of my life?! lol. 
  2. The session "Making Maps with the CONTENTdm API" used code for mapping that can be used where we'd like to provide some interaction for a collection.  On the old Whilbr website there is a flash application of the Confederate Dead buried at Antietam that is one of our most popular collections.  The collection is great, but with wider use of mobile devices, part of the collection that uses a map of the burial sites can't be viewed on devices that don't support flash.  We could take the data from this collection and use this new code to build an interface that would work on all devices.  
  3.  In "Behind the Scenes of Image Storage & Retrieval in CONTENTdm" there were tips for how to save and store images in a format that displays best in ContentDM.  The presenter gave recommendations on standards for saving and storing images and showing how they are changed and modified through ContentDM.  They were good reminders for what looks best inside of ContentDM.  We currently have a great standard for saving and uploading images in our ContentDM, but this provided a good reminder.  She also went through in great detail what happens to the images inside of ContentDM based on what the original file type.

Additional learning:  While ContentDM continues to create their mobile platform for current sites, we did learn that we can keep track of what is happening with their mobile version at: They are still developing a few things that aren't functioning, like Compound Objects, but providing us with the link is helpful to be able to see what's happening with it.  There currently is no timeline for release but we are hopeful that it will be sometime in 2016.

Coding in Libraries Sharing at Branch Meeting

Authors' names: Tammy Gantz and Jennifer Ross
Library System: Washington County Free Library
Date of program: 08/31/2015

Description of Activities:

Jennifer Ross and I presented the Coding in Libraries box to branch employees. We gave a quick overview of the items available in the box and then presented Squishy Circuits in detail. We showed the branch members what a program with Squishy Circuits might look like. They used the LEDs, batteries, play doh and clay. They created a series circuit and a parallel circuit. We also talked about electricity safety. Hopefully branch members will offer this program at their branches.

Digi-Spaces-Coding with the Raspberry Pi

Author name: Cyndi Powell
Library System: Washington County Free Library
Date of program: 08/13/2015

Digi-Spaces-Coding with the Raspberry Pi

Description of Activities: 

At the start of the program, I explained what a Raspberry Pi is and gave examples of what it is used for and the types of things that it is capable of being turned into. For example, how security system, used by hobbyists and inventors, micro-computer...these were some of the things I talked about. I showed the teens the different plug-ins and hooked it up to a keyboard, mouse and projector screen.

Most of the program was an introduction to coding with the program Python, which is already pre-loaded on the Raspberry Pi. I followed an activity found in the book called "Raspberry Pi Projects" by Andrew Robinson from Chapter 2 called "Generating an Insult". I found this to be a good introductory project because the coding language was simple and it was a short series of commands. I led them through the project, typing in the code, showing them how the program worked, talking about the different commands, the different screens and how the program can easily be modified.

Then I gave them a project to follow that I found in a book called "Help your kids with computer coding : a unique step-by-step visual guide, from binary code to building games" by Carol Vorderman. We followed Program #4 "Ghost Game". I let the teens follow the instructions for writing the code. We ran their program and played the game. Then we looked further through the second book at the explanations of what it is we did when we wrote the coding. This book is a great resource and explains everything in a clear, user friendly language and it's a visual guide which is great too!

The last 10-15 minutes of the program, the teens were experimenting and modifying the Ghost Game
program. Adding more doors, ghosts and commands. It was great to see them apply the knowledge they had learned from the exercises we did and start to explore the different
possibilities in coding!

OverDrive Digitpalooza 2015

Author Name: Christopher McGee
Library System: Allegany County Library Systems
Learning Event website:

Top 3 things learned:

1. Libraries must realize "books are not the product. Reading is the product." (Andrew Richard
Albanese - Publishers Weekly.) This was a major theme for the event. Libraries should support and encourage reading. eBooks are not a challenge to our traditional services. Rather, they are a tool for
promoting those services by making reading convenient and accessible for some audiences.

2. eBooks offer libraries the chance to reach new audiences, like professional men ages 30-60. Libraries have to challenge themselves to develop promotional tools to reach this audience. One library used "Digital Bookshelf" posters in prominent public spaces. Another created digital library cards that could be signed up for online. (Verification of address, etc. was achieved by mailing a registration number to the patron's home address. The patron has to return the number to the library via e-mail to keep the account from expiring.) In various ways, library staff worked to curate and promote their eBook and eAudiobooks just as they would their print materials, not as a collection itself but as specific items in their collection.

3. OverDrive will be launch a new web interface this fall that will be cleaner and nicer, but more importantly, it will have behind-the-scenes features that make browsing and searching much, much faster. How to implement: Library staff can not think of eBooks and other digital content as "technology" that can be relegated to staff members who identify or have been identified as the techies at their branch or in their system. eBooks and eAudiobooks are BOOKS. The technology is getting easier and isn't really the focus anymore. The content is the focus now. Print books,
eBooks, apps, browsers, etc. are merely the delivery tools for the content. Staff need to remember to offer customer service by staying abreast of what's available, what a particular patron's reading interests are, and how patron can get desired material in the format that's best and most convenient for them. We need to encourage library staff to see electronic content in this way.