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Andromeda Yelton's picture

Library Code Year interest group report - ALA Midwinter 2013

We met on Saturday the 26th in Seattle.   Thanks to everyone for a thoughtful, engaged discussion with lots of points of view represented.  Attendees should feel free to add to this report!

  • 20 attendees (2 of them via Google Hangout -- thanks to Margaret Heller for setting that up)
  • We discussed what an entry-level code curriculum for librarians might need
    • web services/APIs and metadata = two main, relevant project areas
    • real-world projects/quick rewards; not everyone has immediate workplace application for code skills so collaborative open-source projects fill a gap
    • is HTML too basic/does it "count" as code? We agree it's not the same as programming but is an important onramp to all sorts of great skills.
    • CodeYear's PyMARC is a great resource but it didn't get there soon enough - need to point more people at it
    • The prerequisite skills people need to contribute to open source projects, besides coding: development environment setup, IRC, github. Let's facilitate all three.
  • Goals for Annual
    • set up IRC channel (this now exists - #libcodeIG on freenode. Never done IRC? It's easy.  Follow these instructions: https://plus.google.com/105377961473848035143/posts/fgGpVovA4qT but substitute libcodeig for libtechwomen. Or join both!)
    • do Github tutorial
    • select 2 projects (web services, metadata) and community managers that can serve as friendly, real-world entry points for librarians who code
    • Use catcode wiki, IRC, Connect, etc. to point people at learning resources that already exist -- don't reinvent the wheel
    • Point people Boston Python Workshop's  tutorial on how to set up a development environment as needed: https://openhatch.org/wiki/Boston_Python_Workshop_6/Friday
    • Come up with Python projects to point people at after the preconference
    • Plan the preconference!
  • Action items
    • Andromeda - set up IRC channel (done! #libcodeIG on Freenode)
    • Cochairs - have monthly meetings (make sure to publicize & invite members, communicate out afterward; transparency ftw!)
    • Becky - check up on PyMARC
    • Jason Clark - talk to TechSource about teaching opportunities
    • Margaret - talk to LITA education committee about (possibly revenue-generating) partnership opportunities
    • Everyone - brainstorm projects and community managers suitable for onramping librarians into (to be identified by Annual)
    • Eric and minions - make Github project happen
    • Cochairs and minions - make preconference happen
Margaret Heller's picture

I've actually already talked to the Education Commitee, and we are starting the conversation. One of the easiest things that people can do to get started with this if you have an idea for something to teach is to fill out this form: http://www.ala.org/lita/learning/propose/form. You don't have to have a fully formed idea yet, the committee can work with you to make it more marketable to fill a niche.

Some of the issues are identifying suitable teachers who can deliver the material and answer questions in an online learning format--a different skill than writing a tutorial or answering questions in IRC. If you don't want to teach but know someone who would be great, please let me know. I think the key is to make sure that the people with no funding and some self-direction can access material to teach themselves, but also to make sure that we pay attention to what is better presented in a class format and make sure that some revenue is coming in.

Margaret Heller's picture

I've actually already talked to the Education Commitee, and we are starting the conversation. One of the easiest things that people can do to get started with this if you have an idea for something to teach is to fill out this form: http://www.ala.org/lita/learning/propose/form. You don't have to have a fully formed idea yet, the committee can work with you to make it more marketable to fill a niche.

Some of the issues are identifying suitable teachers who can deliver the material and answer questions in an online learning format--a different skill than writing a tutorial or answering questions in IRC. If you don't want to teach but know someone who would be great, please let me know. I think the key is to make sure that the people with no funding and some self-direction can access material to teach themselves, but also to make sure that we pay attention to what is better presented in a class format and make sure that some revenue is coming in.

Becky Yoose (non-member)'s picture

"CodeYear's PyMARC..." should read "CodeYear's Python module..." They haven't quite got pymarc in their Python instance yet, but I'll keep checking regularly.

Toby Greenwalt's picture

One potential opportunity for onramping might be next year's PLA conference. I know it's been a struggle to get more public librarians involved, and this might be a good opportunity to bring some folks out of the woodwork. 

The good news: I'm on the conference planning committee for PLA, so I can certainly make the case for Code Year-type representation, either as an event or a preconference. 

The bad news: Because I'm on the committee, I'm fairly certain my duties won't leave me with any time to actually participate in conference activities. But I'm willing to serve as a go-between between these two groups in order to help create something useful for both groups. 

Proposals for conferences and preconferences are due by March 29th. I'm happy to brainstorm ideas, if anyone wants to get in touch here or off-list. 

Toby

Andromeda Yelton's picture

1) I think running stuff at PLA would be AWESOME.

 

2) I expect that the Python preconference we're running at Annual could be rerun for PLA. We'll have done all the work of customizing the content for the time slot, all the materials will exist, et cetera -- it'll just need people willing to TA and do PLA-specific logistics.

 

3) I really can't do that. Too much on my plate.  But if any PLA people would like to run it, I AM happy to make sure you get all our materials, lessons learned, et cetera.  Seriously, we will hand you a preconference in a box.

LITA Board of Directors, 2013-2016

http://andromedayelton.com

@ThatAndromeda

jason clark (non-member)'s picture

Hey, Everyone,

I wanted to add my notes form the discussion we had surrounding what might make sense as a library code curriculum. If you remember, we talked about different skills and tasks that would be useful to know if you are working with code in libraries. Based on what I was hearing, I'm grouping the ideas into four branches (possible course modules?). And when necessary, I added some possible further explanations or skills...

jason  (@jaclark)

--------------------------------------------------

First Branch: Front-end Development

  • Web services and APIs 
    • building a book app 
  • Mobile development
    • jQuery mobile
  • HTML and CSS introduction
  • Simple Javascript workshop

Second Branch: Metadata Munging and Indexing

  • XSLT
  • Crosswalking data
  • Importing data
  • Parsing data server side
  • Ingesting data
  • Harvesting data
  • How to create an index (solr)

Third Branch: DIY hardware programming

  • Arduino programming
  • Raspberry Pi
  • Make your own LibraryBox

Fourth Branch: Shell programming

  • Installation of programs
  • Moving around the command line
  • File manipulation
  • Batch processing