Issue 3, 2008-06-23

Editorial Introduction – Issue 3

Code4Lib Journal seeks to share ideas for solving issues and, hopefully, inspire new ideas.

by Ron Peterson

The Code4Lib Journal reaches out

The Code4Lib Journal is a unique avenue of communication within the Code4Lib community. Unlike the other avenues which invite people in, the Journal seeks to reach out to people in all areas of library work. Most of the communication channels for Code4Lib are directed internally to the community. The mailing list provides a venue for people interested in libraries and technology to come together and talk about issues that interest them. The IRC channel provides the same people a way to communicate with each other in real time. And the Code4Libcon gives them an opportunity to meet face to face to present and discuss ideas. But the Code4Lib Journal attempts to disseminate these ideas and others, in order to engage people wherever they are, whether they are technologists or not.

The Code4Lib Journal aims to reach beyond the email list, the IRC channel, and the conference to find people looking for technological solutions to the problems facing libraries or proposing solutions for those problems. The Journal invites people to participate by contributing their successes (and failures), ideas, and thoughts to the Journal by submitting articles. But it also invites people to participate as readers of articles. These readers can then contribute to the discussion by commenting on an article or implementing an idea in their library that they read about in the Journal. Or maybe they will take something they read about in the Journal, build on it, and make it better.

Hopefully, Issue 3 (as with Issues 1 and 2) will provide that spark for someone and they will take one of the ideas presented and make it their own and take it to the next level. And once they have done that, they will come back and tell us how they accomplished their goals so that someone else can learn from their experiences. To that end, Issue 3 of the Code4Lib Journal continues the breadth and depth of articles that were established by the first two issues of the Journal.

What’s inside

Articles range from Mason Hall’s solution for collecting and analyzing statistics on virtual reference transactions using IM to an article on using MARC records to build an Archival Collections Portal, a process that Terry Catapano, Joanna DiPasquale, and Stuart Marquis describe. There are articles that address solutions to everyday problems, such as how Rebekah Kilzer and Beth Black improved off-campus access to library resources at The Ohio State University. And there are articles that take on broader issues like creating a controlled environment where the tools used for the preservation of digital objects can be tested and evaluated, as Brian Aitken, Petra Helwig, Andrew Jackson, Andrew Lindley, Eleonora Nicchiarelli, Seamus Ross, and Jacqueline Slats detail in “The Planets Testbed: Science for Digital Preservation“.

Issue 3 also includes practical solutions for problems, like Jeremy McWilliams‘ use of the Flickr API to create machine tags for a ceramics image collection. At the same time, this issue looks at the future of cataloging, with Galen Charlton discussing the possibility of distributed cataloging using Git and Bazaar to create, enhance, and exchange library metadata.

If cataloging doesn’t interest you, then you can read how Andrew Bullen used OCR software to bring historic sheet music to life and tell the story of the Iroquois Hotel fire of 1903. For web developers, Joshua Dodson describes how he used WordPress to create Subject Guides. And finally, Jason Clark’s article, “Making Patron Data Work Harder“, describes how to improve search results by tracking patron searches.

The Code4Lib Journal gets its license

In order to facilitate the ability of our readers to build upon the ideas presented in the Journal, beginning with Issue 3 all articles are licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution (CC-BY) license. The CC-BY license lets you reuse, share, and build upon the work presented in the article, as long as you credit the author for the original creation. This licensing is required for inclusion in the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ) and to receive a SPARC Europe Seal. Code snippets included in the text are included under the CC-BY license. For other code included with an article, we recommend, but don’t require, an open source license. We are contacting all authors with articles published in previous issues to request they license their previously published Code4Lib Journal articles under the CC-BY license.

As mentioned above, Code4Lib is more than a Journal. So you don’t need to wait for the next issue to learn more. Even if, like myself, you weren’t able to make to the 2008 Code4Libcon, you can catch up with the presentations on Google video or at Internet Archive. Or you can join the discussion on the IRC channel or the email list. You can learn more about Code4Lib at http://www.code4lib.org. Code4Lib is about building a community to address the problems facing libraries using technology. If you aren’t already a part of that community, I hope that the articles in this issue will reach out to you, inspire your own ideas, and draw you into our community.

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