Issue 12, 2010-12-21

Editorial Introduction: The Code4Lib Journal isn’t just for Coders

Although the primary goal of the Code4Lib Journal is to provide practical solutions for technologists working in libraries, it has a lot to offer non-technologists. Technology affects all of the work that our libraries are doing and will define what the future of libraries will look like.

by Ron Peterson
Coordinating Editor, Issue 12

Most of us spend the bulk of our days in front of a computer, even if we don’t consider ourselves technologists, because the processes that run the library are increasingly driven by technology. Every year technology becomes a more pervasive presence in our libraries. Every job is affected by technology, and the future of libraries is being shaped by the application of technology. Additionally, our parent institutions increasingly want to see data regarding how well we are serving our users. Using technology to generate or analyze this data will also become more important. The future of libraries is going to be decided by how, and how well, technology is applied to the needs of the library. If you are interested in libraries, you should be interested in the Code4Lib Journal.

Whether you are a technologist or not, the Code4Lib Journal has something to offer you. No matter what type of library you work in, the problems you face will be similar, and the technological solutions found at another library can help you solve a problem in your own. If you need to find a way to connect students with available computing resources, the solution presented by Kim Griggs in “How To Build a Computer Availability Map” may work for your library. If you are looking for a better way to manage your web site, but find Drupal too complex, “Creating Library Websites with Joomla: Not Too Big, Not Too Small, Just Right” may have an alternative that will work for you. If maintaining your subject guides has become too time intensive, “Subject Guides & More: Creatively Transforming an Open Source Management System” presents a solution for libraries with limited resources. These articles will give anyone working in libraries important insights into solutions for your problems.

If you aren’t a technologist, reading the Code4Lib Journal will also help you communicate with your IT staff. Reading about how another library implemented a solution will make you better prepared to discuss solutions in your own library. You will gain an understanding of what is involved when undertaking some of these technology projects, including the pitfalls that your library may face, as well as the advantages it may gain. Most importantly, you will get a sense of what challenges your IT staff face when they try to implement these solutions. The Code4Lib Journal focuses on articles written in accessible language that offer practical solutions to the problem faced by libraries. Being a regular reader of the Code4Lib Journal will help you familiarize yourself with the technology used in libraries. Even if you don’t work with technology yourself, you have to work with people who do. The better you understand the technology, the better you will be able to communicate with your IT staff. The article, “Practical Ways to Promote and Support Data Analysis Programs,” is a great example of collaboration between technologists and library professionals. “It shows that a better understanding of the work others do in the library can benefit everyone. Another example of a typical area where non-technical staff have to interact with technical staff is the area of e-resources. “Electronic Resources Security: a look at Unauthorised Users” can help all library staff members get a better understanding of tracking unauthorized use of licensed resources. Also, the article on WattJournals shows how you can use technology to make finding articles that your users can access through your library more efficient. The Code4Lib Journal provides an accessible way to look behind the curtain and see how your IT staff are thinking and the environment they are working in.

Technology is defining the future of libraries. There is no way to avoid it. Everyone working in libraries needs to be aware of the ways that technology is impacting our jobs. Keeping up with the Code4Lib Journal will help you stay aware of what other libraries are doing and how that may influence how your job will be done in the future. For example, understanding Agile development as it is applied to the creation of a mobile web site, “Using an Agile-based Approach to Develop a Library Mobile Website,” will help you get a handle on developing your mobile web site and give you some background about how technology projects are managed. Reading about the application of cloud-computing to digital preservation in “Using Amazon S3 in Digital Preservation in a mid sized academic library: case study of CCSU ERIS digital archive system” may inspire your own ideas for applying cloud computing or preserving digital objects. For more about cloud computing or to see the application of new cataloging technologies/methodologies to improve user experiences, you can check out “FRBRizing an E-Library : Migrating from Dublin Core to FRBR and MODS.” Monitoring technology journals is a great way to keep yourself prepared for the future. However, by the time new ideas and new solutions are published in traditional library journals, they are no longer new. The Code4Lib Journal moves quickly from proposal to published article in order to get your colleagues’ ideas to you while they are still fresh. The Code4Lib Journal is an excellent resource for looking into the future of libraries.

The Code4Lib Journal is a great way for technologists and coders to share the work they are doing for libraries and to learn about what their colleagues are doing. But you don’t need to be a technologist to read the Code4Lib Journal. The Code4Lib Journal offers a timely, accessible, and open way to learn about how people are using technology in their libraries and to find ways to apply it in your library. By learning about how technology is used in libraries, we can work together, technologists and non-technologists, to determine the future of the library.

One Response to "Editorial Introduction: The Code4Lib Journal isn’t just for Coders"

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  1. Eric Lease Morgan,

    Very nice editorial. I like how you appeal to people who are not computer programmers, and I especially like \reading the Code4Lib Journal will also help you communicate with your IT staff.\ Well put. We all have more in common that difference. Thank you. –ELM

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