Issue 30, 2015-10-15

Editorial Introduction: It’s All About Data, Except When It’s Not.

Data capture and use is not new to libraries. We know data isn’t everything, but it is ubiquitous in our work, enabling myriads of new ideas and projects. Articles in this issue reflect the expansion of data creation, capture, use, and analysis in library systems and services.

It’s all about Data. As we all know, libraries have been generating, capturing, using, analyzing, and manipulating data for a long time. “Data” is a popular buzzword now, especially when preceded by the word “big” or followed by the word “management”. The Code4Lib Journal has been publishing articles about data since its first issue, with Andrew Bullen’s piece about wrangling historical demographic data,[1] among others. This issue’s lineup has an unusually heavy emphasis on data, perhaps a reflection of the urgency among government and publishing stakeholders regarding data generation and preservation, perhaps because for libraries it is all about data.

Except when it’s not. We also know, because libraries have a long relationship with data, it’s not all about data. It’s also about conventions that become standards in working with data. It’s about things like data security, tools to manipulate data, and careful planning for curation because of factors like hardware and software obsolescence. And it’s about what data can do for us, like improve discovery, also a major topic in this issue.

While there are several data-centric articles here, there are also cool tools created by library coders sharing their work with the community, such as, in this issue:

Integration of Library Services with Internet of Things Technologies, where Kyriakos Stefanidis and Giannis Tsakonas present SELIDA, a module developed for Koha.

TopicSpace: Rapid Prototyping a Mobile Augmented Reality Recommendation App, in which Jim Hahn, Ben Ryckman, and Maria Lux describe their work using UX methods to drive development.

Streamlining Book Requests with Chrome, which describes the development and use of a handy Chrome extension developed by Dr. Rachel Schulkins and Joseph Schulkins

SierraDNA – Demonstrating the Usefulness of Direct ILS Database Access, by James Padgett and Jonathan Hooper, which describes three use cases with Innovative Interface’s Database Navigator Application.

In the data-related cool tools department, we have:

Manifold: a Custom Analytics Platform to Visualize Research Impact, in which Steven Braun describes his work developing a research assessment tool for the University of Minnesota School of Medicine.

Data Munging Tools in Preparation for RDF: Catmandu and LODRefine, where Christina Harlow explains the handy tools she set up for catalogers at the University of Tennessee Knoxville.

Generating Standardized Audio Technical Metadata: AES57, by Jody Ridder, describing the AES57 standard and the fits2aes tool developed at the University of Alabama.

Collecting and Describing University-Generated Patents in an Institutional Repository: A Case Study From Rice University, in which Scott Carlson and Linda Spiro describe the Fondren Library’s project to populate a local repository with University owned patents

Open Journal Systems and Dataverse Integration– Helping Journals to Upgrade Data Publication for Reusable Research is about an open source tool for submitting data for publication, described here by a group of authors representing the institutions responsible for its development (Micah Altman, Eleni Castro, Mercè Crosas, Philip Durbin, Alex Garnett, and Jen Whitney)

And saving the best for last, Collected Work Clustering in WorldCat, where Janifer Gatenby, Gail Thornburg and Jay Weitz describe recent progress implementing clustering in a FRBR world.

We hope you enjoy this data-centric issue, remembering that it’s all about libraries and data.


[1] Connecting the Real to the Representational: Historical Demographic Data in the Town of Pullman, 1880-1940

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ISSN 1940-5758