Issue 50, 2021-02-10


Eric Hanson

Resuming our publication schedule

Managing an institutional repository workflow with GitLab and a folder-based deposit system

Whitney R. Johnson-Freeman, Mark E. Phillips, and Kristy K. Phillips

Institutional Repositories (IR) exist in a variety of configurations and in various states of development across the country. Each organization with an IR has a workflow that can range from explicitly documented and codified sets of software and human workflows, to ad hoc assortments of methods for working with faculty to acquire, process and load items into a repository. The University of North Texas (UNT) Libraries has managed an IR called UNT Scholarly Works for the past decade but has until recently relied on ad hoc workflows. Over the past six months, we have worked to improve our processes in a way that is extensible and flexible while also providing a clear workflow for our staff to process submitted and harvested content. Our approach makes use of GitLab and its associated tools to track and communicate priorities for a multi-user team processing resources. We paired this Web-based management with a folder-based system for moving the deposited resources through a sequential set of processes that are necessary to describe, upload, and preserve the resource. This strategy can be used in a number of different applications and can serve as a set of building blocks that can be configured in different ways. This article will discuss which components of GitLab are used together as tools for tracking deposits from faculty as they move through different steps in the workflow. Likewise, the folder-based workflow queue will be presented and described as implemented at UNT, and examples for how we have used it in different situations will be presented.

Customizing Alma and Primo for Home & Locker Delivery

Christina L. Hennessey

Like many Ex Libris libraries in Fall 2020, our library at California State University, Northridge (CSUN) was not physically open to the public during the 2020-2021 academic year, but we wanted to continue to support the research and study needs of our over 38,000 university students and 4,000 faculty and staff. This article will explain our Alma and Primo implementation to allow for home mail delivery of physical items, including policy decisions, workflow changes, customization of request forms through labels and delivery skins, customization of Alma letters, a Python solution to add the “home” address type to patron addresses to make it all work, and will include relevant code samples in Python, XSL, CSS, XML, and JSON. In Spring 2021, we will add the on-site locker delivery option in addition to home delivery, and this article will include new system changes made for that option.

GaNCH: Using Linked Open Data for Georgia’s Natural, Cultural and Historic Organizations’ Disaster Response

Cliff Landis, Christine Wiseman, Allyson F. Smith, Matthew Stephens

In June 2019, the Atlanta University Center Robert W. Woodruff Library received a LYRASIS Catalyst Fund grant to support the creation of a publicly editable directory of Georgia’s Natural, Cultural and Historical Organizations (NCHs), allowing for quick retrieval of location and contact information for disaster response. By the end of the project, over 1,900 entries for NCH organizations in Georgia were compiled, updated, and uploaded to Wikidata, the linked open data database from the Wikimedia Foundation. These entries included directory contact information and GIS coordinates that appear on a map presented on the GaNCH project website (, allowing emergency responders to quickly search for NCHs by region and county in the event of a disaster. In this article we discuss the design principles, methods, and challenges encountered in building and implementing this tool, including the impact the tool has had on statewide disaster response after implementation.

Archive This Moment D.C.: A Case Study of Participatory Collecting During COVID-19

Julie Burns, Laura Farley, Siobhan C. Hagan, Paul Kelly, and Lisa Warwick

When the COVID-19 pandemic brought life in Washington, D.C. to a standstill in March 2020, staff at DC Public Library began looking for ways to document how this historic event was affecting everyday life. Recognizing the value of first-person accounts for historical research, staff launched Archive This Moment D.C. to preserve the story of daily life in the District during the stay-at-home order. Materials were collected from public Instagram and Twitter posts submitted through the hashtag #archivethismomentdc. In addition to social media, creators also submitted materials using an Airtable webform set up for the project and through email. Over 2,000 digital files were collected.

This article will discuss the planning, professional collaboration, promotion, selection, access, and lessons learned from the project; as well as the technical setup, collection strategies, and metadata requirements. In particular, this article will include a discussion of the evolving collection scope of the project and the need for clear ethical guidelines surrounding privacy when collecting materials in real-time.

Advancing ARKs in the Historical Ontology Space

Mat Kelly, Christopher B. Rauch, Jane Greenberg, Sam Grabus, Joan Boone, John Kunze and Peter M. Logan

This paper presents the application of Archival Resource Keys (ARKs) for persistent identification and resolution of concepts in historical ontologies. Our use case is the 1910 Library of Congress Subject Headings (LCSH), which we have converted to the Simple Knowledge Organization System (SKOS) format and will use for representing a corpus of historical Encyclopedia Britannica articles. We report on the steps taken to assign ARKs in support of the Nineteenth-Century Knowledge Project, where we are using the HIVE vocabulary tool to automatically assign subject metadata from both the 1910 LCSH and the contemporary LCSH faceted, topical vocabulary to enable the study of the evolution of knowledge.

Considered Content: a Design System for Equity, Accessibility, and Sustainability

Erinn Aspinall, Amy Drayer, Gabe Ormsby, and Jen Neveau

The University of Minnesota Libraries developed and applied a principles-based design system to their Health Sciences Library website. With the design system at its center, the revised site was able to achieve accessible, ethical, inclusive, sustainable, responsible, and universal design. The final site was built with elegantly accessible semantic HTML-focused code on Drupal 8 with highly curated and considered content, meeting and exceeding WCAG 2.1 AA guidance and addressing cognitive and learning considerations through the use of plain language, templated pages for consistent page-level organization, and no hidden content. As a result, the site better supports all users regardless of their abilities, attention level, mental status, reading level, and reliability of their internet connection, all of which are especially critical now as an elevated number of people experience crises, anxieties, and depression.

Robustifying Links To Combat Reference Rot

Shawn Jones, Martin Klein, and Herbert Van de Sompel

Links to web resources frequently break, and linked content can change at unpredictable rates. These dynamics of the Web are detrimental when references to web resources provide evidence or supporting information. In this paper, we highlight the significance of reference rot, provide an overview of existing techniques and their characteristics to address it, and introduce our Robust Links approach, including its web service and underlying API. Robustifying links offers a proactive, uniform, and machine-actionable way to combat reference rot. In addition, we discuss our reasoning and approach aimed at keeping the approach functional for the long term. To showcase our approach, we have robustified all links in this article.

Machine Learning Based Chat Analysis

Christopher Brousseau, Justin Johnson, Curtis Thacker

The BYU library implemented a Machine Learning-based tool to perform various text analysis tasks on transcripts of chat-based interactions between patrons and librarians. These text analysis tasks included estimating patron satisfaction and classifying queries into various categories such as Research/Reference, Directional, Tech/Troubleshooting, Policy/Procedure, and others. An accuracy of 78% or better was achieved for each category. This paper details the implementation details and explores potential applications for the text analysis tool.

Always Be Migrating

Elizabeth McAulay

At the University of California, Los Angeles, the Digital Library Program is in the midst of a large, multi-faceted migration project. This article presents a narrative of migration and a new mindset for technology and library staff in their ever-changing infrastructure and systems. This article posits that migration from system to system should be integrated into normal activities so that it is not a singular event or major project, but so that it is a process built into the core activities of a unit.

ISSN 1940-5758