Digital Odyssey 2013: Big Data, Small World Notes & Takeaways

Big Data

  • 90% of the world’s data was created in the last 2 years
  • can tell us much that other information cannot
  • emphasize the need for analysis and interpretation
  • your data is mined and used to make decisions for you, even more so in the future
  • to prepare, know that big data will affect data management, discovery tools, new jobs, revised skills requirements, and revised infrastructures
  • businesses will be made up of who has the most data and knows how to best use it Continue reading “Digital Odyssey 2013: Big Data, Small World Notes & Takeaways”

Access 2012 Day 2: Ignite Talks

Dead Easy Data Visualization for Libraries

by Sarah Severson

Why use visualization?

Synthesize information to make good decisions.

For example, Seattle Public Library

3 types

  • infographic: decoded information, characterized by small amounts of data
  • data visualization: by-directional encoding with larger data sets, normally done algorithmically
  • data art: characteristic of unidirectional encoding, no labels, no actionable insight, just pretty

Explanatory – Clean, simple


  • Choose your question – may change, so don’t get hung up on it
  • Consider your source: Designer + audience + data


Book to read: Designing Data Visualizations by Iliinsky & Steele

New Means to New Ends

by Mike Kastellec

Talking about the NCSU hackerspace focusing on gaming and virtual space.

Created their own cloud for students and faculty.

Providing technology as a core library service.

This presentation had a lot to do with showing off some new spaces, so it’s hard to put into words, but here’s a visual tour of the Hunt Library.

Sharing the Unshareable – Dental Clinic Images in a University Image Repository

by Janet Rothney

Drawers of slides that can only be used within the university (not public).

Have to include experts, because library staff don’t know what’s going on in the images. Also, needed something university-wide to make the repository live longer.

Fedora, Drupal, Islandora, through discovery garden hosted on Amazon and jura(sp?) space.

MeSH wasn’t specific enough, so chose crossopedia (sp?) which is a specialized controlled vocabulary for dentistry. Had path chart for tagging including all options and what went first.

Currently using shared drive in order to restrict use.

Can track patients by number without identifying patient.

ID is required to access the system.

Hope to later share structure and process with other dental organizations and groups.

More notes on the Access 2012 Live Blog.

Code4lib Day 1: Lightning Talks Notes

Al Cornish – XTF in 300 seconds (Slides in PDF)

  • technology developed and maintained by California Digital Library
  • supports the search/display of digital collections (images, PDFs, etc)
  • fully open source platform, based on Apache Lucene search toolkit
  • Java framework, runs in Tomcat or Jetty servlet engine
  • extensive customization possible through XSLT programming
  • user and developer group communication through Google Groups
  • search interface running on Solr with facets
  • can output in RSS
  • has a debug mode

Makoto Okamoto – saveMLAK (English)

  • Aid activities for the Great East Japan Earthquake through collaboration via wiki
  • input from museum, library, archive, kominkan = MLAK
  • 20,000 data of damaged area
  • Information about places, damages, and relief support
  • Key Lessons
    • build synergy with twitter
    • have offline meet ups & training

Andrew Nagy – Vendors Suck

  • vendors aren’t really that bad
  • used to think vendors suck, and that they don’t know how to solve libraries’ problems
  • but working for a vendor allows to make a greater impact on higher education, more so than from one university (he started to work for SerialsSolution)
  • libraries’ problems aren’t really that unique
  • together with the vendor, a difference can be made
  • call your vendors and talk to the product managers
  • if they blow you off, you’ve selected the wrong vendor
  • sometimes vendor solutions can provide a better fit

Andreas Orphanides – Heat maps

The library needed grad students to teach instructional sessions, but how to set schedule when classes have a very inflexible schedule? So, he used the data of 2 semesters of instructional sessions using date and start time, but there were inconsistent start times and duration. The question is how best to visualize the data.

  • heatmap package from clickheat
  • time of day – x-dimension
  • day of the week – y-dimension
  • could see patterns in way that you can’t in histogram or bar graph
  • heat map needn’t be spatial
  • heat maps can compare histogram-like data along a single dimension or scatter-like plot data to look for high density areas

Gabriel Farrell – ElasticSearch

Nettie Lagace from NISO

  • National Information Standards Organization (NISO)
  • work internationally
  • want to know: What environment or conditions are needed to identify and solve the problem of interoperability problems?

Eric Larson – Finding images in book page images

A lot of free books exist out there, but you can’t have the time to read them all. What if you just wanted to look at the images? Because a lot of books have great images.

He used curl to pull all those images out, then use imagemagick to manage the images. The processing steps:

  1. Convert to greyscale
  2. Contrast boost x8
  3. Covert image to 1px by height
  4. Sharpen image
  5. Heavy-handed grayscaling
  6. Convert to text
  7. Look for long continuous line of black to pull pages with images

Code is on github

Adam Wead – Blacklight at the Rock Hall

  • went live, soft launch about a month ago
  • broken down to the item level
  • find bugs he doesn’t know about for a beer!

Kelley McGrath – Finding Movies with FRBR & Facets

  • users are looking for movies, either particular movie or genre/topic
  • libraries describe publications e.g. date by DVD, not by movie
  • users care about versions e.g. Blu-Ray, language
  • Try the prototyped catalog
  • Hit list provides one result per movie, can filter by different facets

Bohyun Kim – Web Usability in terms of words

  • don’t over rely on the context
  • but context is still necessary for understanding e.g. “mobile” – means on the go, what they want on the go
  • sometimes there is no better term e.g. “Interlibrary Loan”
  • brevity will cost you “tour” vs. “online tour”
  • Time ran out, but check out the rest of the slides

Simon Spero – Restriction Classes, Bitches


  • lets you define properties
  • control what the property can apply to
  • control the values the property can take
  • provides an easy way to do this
  • provides a really confusing way to do this

The easy way is usually wrong!

When defining what can apply to and the range, this applies to every use of the property. An alternative is Attempto.

Cynthia Ng – Processing & ProcessingJS

  • Processing: open source visual programming language
  • Processing.js: related project to make processing available through web browsers without plugins
  • While both tend to focus on data visualizations, digital art, and (in the case of PJS) games, there are educational oriented applications.
  • Examples:
    • Kanji Compositing – allows visual breakdown of Japanese kanji characters, interact with parts, and see children.
    • Primer on Bezier Curves – scroll down to see interactive (i.e. if you move points, replots on the fly) and animated graphs.
  • Obvious use might be instructional materials, but how might we apply it in this context? What other applications might we think of in the information organization world?

Since doing the presentation, I have already gotten one response by Dan Chudnov who did a quick re-rendering of newspaper data from OCR data. Still thinking on (best) use in libraries and other information organizations.

It’s over for today, but if you’d like more, do remember that there is a livestream and you can follow on twitter, #c4l12 or IRC.