Snippets of recent happenings in the Lab:
I spent the week working on LibraryCloud News (a project that Jeff, David, and I have been batting around for a while). We hope LibraryCloud News will become the Hacker News for library dorks (instead of startup dorks). It’s a place where you can submit questions or a link to the community and then engage the community through comment-style discussion. (Exactly the way Reddit and Hacker News work) LibaryCloud News is powered by the same code that powers Hacker News and is humming along in the Amazon Cloud. If you’re interested, we’d love to have you help us beta test LibraryCloud News at http://news.librarycloud.org/
I spent a good portion of the week researching and installing Hadoop (distributed data processing) and Mahout (machine-learning algorithms) on one of our servers and running test scripts, in preparation for doing large-scale textual analysis over full-text corpora and metadata.
I recently was a member of a panel talking about DIY Libraries at the New School’s Mobility Shifts conference. Fellow panelists were Deanna Lee of the New York Public Library, and Linda Johnson, Director of Brooklyn Public Library. The three of us were asked to talk about how libraries’ strategies for cultural outreach, and for supporting patrons’ self-education, have evolved. The New School’s Shannon Mattern, moderated. We had a wonderful audience of students, librarians and others interested in how libraries are expanding their roles, especially as it relates to DIY learning. Lee gave a demonstration of Biblion, the NYPL’s new ipad application for browsing its digital collections. Johnson discussed ways that the Brooklyn Public Library is reaching out to citizens in the borough to boost computer literacy. Johnson noted that over 40% of Brooklyn residents do not have any type of internet access. To counter this, the Library has been lending laptops to users in the community, as well as providing computer classes, with great success. I spoke about the Harvard Library Innovation Lab and our ShelfLife / Digital Public Library of America’s Beta Sprint entry. It was a fun and inspiring event.
I participated in the Library Lab fair, where our Lab showed the two of its projects that received grants: LibraryCloud and a series of library innovation podcasts.
Spent the week working on the Ruhleben library exhibition.
Was out most of the week on vacation.