Library Geeks 004 - Intro Geek

Ed Summers joined Ross and me this time around to talk about how we all got our start on the coding side of libraries. It's another long, but fun, one.

Ed mentions the ongoing books4code initiative to start a distributed book group for hacker-types; they're already a few chapters into the current title, but there should be plenty of time to catch up.

Later Ed mentions his perl "backpan" history, where you can find prehistoric MARC modules.

As per usual, find episode four through the iTunes Music Store, or directly from the podcast feed.


lengthy podcasts

Wow. Two shows in a row over an hour and a half! When am I going to find time to listen to them? Maybe you should break things up a little or shorten the episodes. Anything over 45 minutes is a bit much for a podcast.

you're right-

...but we're still learning how to do this. We'll get better and make it tighter as we go.

In the meantime, you're under no obligation to listen all the way through. :)

Solid file this time

Hey Dan, however you encoded this one, it stayed together all the way through for me, thanks!


great episode. i'm listening all out of order.

did you really finish ultima III?

You and Ed and Ross talked

You and Ed and Ross talked about the low expectations for developing/coding/programming in libraries.

I think you meant this in a few senses: library services/websites get relatively low traffic, so that we don't have to optimize all that much. Also, even small innovations are highly lauded, and huge innovations often get blank looks, at least for a few years (DSpace, OpenURL).

What would high expectations look like?

high expectations

I think the sort of thing that dan, ross and I have worked on in crafting the unAPI specification is the sort of work that has high expectations associated with it. Perhaps more than 'high' they are 'great' :-)

In unAPI you find an attempt to craft a protocol that attempts to fix a problem with the current state of deployed web applications, and to position it in such a way so that it is picked up and implemented by all sorts of developers. In a similar way I think getting the microformat folks to agree on a recommendation for marking up citations in HTML would be having a high expectation. These are people problems more than technology problems.

In some ways I think that this also gets at interoperation. How well your application interoperates with the wider world of applications, and anticipating the sorts of interfaces that are of value is a very difficult thing.

I also think that the software development that goes on in libraries is often custom fitted to a particular scenario in a particular library. Designing an application that has relevance not only for your library, but for all sorts of libraries, and making it easy to obtain, install and configure are also high expectations for typical library applications.