Friday, July 20, 2007

Podcasting Tips

Podcasting is not so new any more. It seems to me, it is past the time that just throwing up an MP3 file is enough. I've heard some pretty poor production that made me just move on to the next selection on my player. So, here are a few tips I've picked up doing a podcast for our library for well over a year.
  1. Noise reduction. Record about 10-12 seconds of room sounds, as a sample, to have them removed after the recording is done. If you are recording a live event, conference presentation, record the room before it fills up with people. The air conditioning, computer fan, outside traffic and such add nothing and can be distracting. The sound of folks shuffling papers, coughing, etc., gives it a live feel. Don't worry about those. Very long pauses can be shortened.
  2. Sound compression. Compressing the sounds removes any clipping from segments that are recorded too loud and makes everything clearer. Do this after removing any noise.
  3. Volume. Make sure to record at a decent volume level. Then make sure the file plays back at a good level. I've downloaded files only to find they are too soft and getting the level right brings out the hum in the car's system. I just skip to the next selection. MP3Trim will do smaller files for free. Adjust the volume last.

Topic Maps

If you have any projects in a library environment that you are using or are planning to deploy that involves Topic Maps please here is a short survey. They are trying to get a general sense of what, if anything, the library community is doing with this technology.


The latest version of pymarc has the ability to change records from MARC-8 encoding to UNICODE, UTF-8. A task that most of our catalogs will have to go through in the next few years, I guess. Nice to have a tool for when that day arrives.
The pymarc module provides an API for reading, writing and modifying MARC records from python. MARC (MAchine Readable Cataloging) is a metadata format for bibliographic data.


While it's not rocket science to read MARC, it's also not something you want to code very often, so pymarc does the lifting for you. pymarc allows you to read records, extract arbitrary fields from each record, update records, and write records back out in transmission format.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

OPAC Replacement

The open-source Next-Gen library catalog browser, VuFind has been released. Currently only works with Voyager, other systems are planned or you could help write the code. Features include:
  • Search with Faceted Results
  • Live Record Status and Location with Ajax Querying
  • "More Like This" Resource Suggestions
  • Save Resources to Organized Lists
  • Tagging
  • Commenting
VuFind is a library resource portal designed and developed for libraries by libraries. The goal of VuFind is to enable your users to search and browse through all of your library's resources by replacing the traditional OPAC to include:
  • Catalog Records
  • Digital Library Items
  • Institutional Repository
  • Institutional Bibliography
  • Other Library Collections and Resources
VuFind is completely modular so you can implement just the basic system, or all of components. And since it's open source, you can modify the modules to best fit your need or you can add new modules to extend your resource offerings

Wednesday, July 18, 2007


There is a new version of the LibX Edition Builder.
LibX is a Firefox extension that provides direct access to your library's resources.
LibX is an open source framework from which editions for specific libraries can be built.
Currently, 61 academic and public libraries are offering LibX editions to their users, an additional 86 libraries are testing editions.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

MODS in the Digital Llibrary

The Digital Library Federation Aquifer Metadata Working Group has announced the release of the DLF Aquifer MODS Guidelines Levels of Adoption.
The Levels of Adoption document is intended to supplement the Digital Library Federation / Aquifer Implementation Guidelines for Shareable MODS Records, released in November 2006 under the auspices of the DLF Aquifer initiative. The Shareable MODS Guidelines represent a record-centric view of Aquifer's goals, whereas it is often helpful to set priorities for metadata creation with a user- and use-centric view. The newly-released Levels of Adoption document describes five general categories of user functionality that are likely to be supported by following specific recommendations from the Guidelines. It attempts to provide additional guidance to MODS implementers in the planning process by documenting what sorts of functionality is possible when certain elements of the Guidelines are followed.

These documents, together with an FAQ for implementation (forthcoming - stay tuned!), were written primarily to assist institutions preparing metadata for aggregation via the DLF Aquifer initiative, but the Working Group expects they could also be useful in preparing metadata for other aggregations, or for using MODS in a local environment. Comments on the Levels of Adoption are welcome, and can be sent to any Working Group member. Contact information for Working Group members is available from the Levels of Adoption page.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Great Offer from a Great Organization

How's this for a great offer?
Special offer for new members:

Join WAML for only $20 (normally $30)

The Western Association of Map Libraries (WAML) is looking for folks who want to expand their knowledge of maps and geospatial information through fun-filled networking opportunities and information-packed meetings and journals!

$20 (normally $30 a year) -- Good for new members only. Membership good from now till June 30, 2008, but offer ends July 31, 2007.

The Western Association of Map Libraries (WAML) is an independent association of map librarians and other people with an interest in maps and map librarianship. Membership in WAML is open to any individual interested in furthering the purpose of the Association which is "to encourage high standards in every phase of the organization and administration of map libraries."

Membership is not limited to people living in the Western US and Canada, but is open to everyone.

  • Subscription to the Information Bulletin (IB)
  • Discounted registration fees to WAML's bi-annual meetings
  • Practical workshops on topics such as aerial photos, scanning projects, and map cataloging
  • Networking regarding geospatial and cartographic information
  • Participation in WAML's electronic discussion board
WAML's Information Bulletin is issued three times a year and enjoys worldwide readership. It includes feature articles, photo essays, Association business, book and electronic resources reviews, new map lists, and selected news and notes.

WAML meetings are the most fun-filled library-related events you can attend!! They occur in the Spring and Fall. They are small (around 50 people), held in great locations such as Fairbanks, Seattle and Boulder, and have great field trips and delicious banquets. The presentations deal only with geospatial topics. Roundtable discussions and workshops take place at every meeting. The registration fee runs from $35 to $60. The accommodations are reasonably priced, the camaraderie is great, and the tone is relaxed. Often, WAML has a "map exchange" where attendees bring their withdrawn and extra copies of maps and make them available for others. We are headed to the Denver in October 2007!!

Field trips have taken WAML members to national parks, volcanoes, mountain tops, museums, and vineyards/wineries.

In the last few years, WAML has met in Seattle, Honolulu, Fairbanks, Chico California, Boulder Colorado, Santa Cruz, Palo Alto California, Portland, Provo Utah, Vancouver BC, Flagstaff Arizona, Pasadena California. Future meeting sites include Denver Colorado, Las Vegas Nevada, Salt Lake City Utah, and Yosemite National Park.

If that weren't enough, you are invited to give presentations at the conferences OR write articles for the Information Bulletin. Presentations and papers run from the very formal to "how I done good." In the past WAML presenters and IB authors have been not just librarians but scholars, novelists, artists, map collectors, map dealers, scientists, and cartographers.

Come join us. The price is right. The offer is limited. Good times, good friends and good maps await you!

To join the Western Association of Map Libraries, fill out the information on the web site.

Updates to MARC

There are updates to the MARC formats available.