We had our first meeting of GSD Seminar 09125, Library Test Kitchen.

Video by Ben Brady

We made ourselves a new Library Test Kitchen website too (based on LiL’s site structure).

Visit

 

The staff:

Jeffrey Schnapp from metaLab

Ann Whiteside, Director of the Loeb Architecture Library

Ben Brady, GSD graduate and LTK Spring 2012

Jessica Yurkofsky, GSD graduate and LTK Spring 2012 and current LiL resident.

and me.

 

We had a great turnout and are looking forward excitedly to what the Fall will bring.

new brains on library problems = eye-opening

Follow the goings-on at http://www.librarytestkitchen.org/

 


On off moments over this summer, Annie and I have put together our new site.  You know, splashed some water on our face.

That’s what you’re looking at.  LiL, freshened up.

The goals:

  1. Freshen up our look
  2. Mobile-friendly
  3. Make it really easy to add stuff, but no big-time CMS nonsense
  4. Fun
  5. Shareable

1) We’d built the original site about two years ago — a long time in internet time.  It worked, but it was a bit heavy and very fixed.  We wanted to lighten up things a bit.  Annie ended up on 2×4′s website and that started everything off.

As you’ll no doubt see, our homepage is HEAVILY inspired by 2×4′s work.  Ours is less refined, but gets at the general idea of a long pane of scattershot (but underlying grid adhering) images.

2) By now, a lot of the web has been Twitter Bootstrapped — folks everywhere have built their websites using Twitter’s recently open source web framework, Bootstrap.  There are a lot of reasons for this, but the primary one is packaging.  They’ve thrown in nice buttons, cross-browser fixes, and a good responsive grid to make your site work on mobile.  The elegant mobile handling is really why we started on this framework.

3) We wanted the site to be able to change a lot.  And frequently.  At the same time, neither of us wanted to muck around in the CMS worlds of drupal, etc. It’s just too complicated.  So we took the wordpress-as-CMS route.  Each project gets its own wordpress “page” that we link to.  Easy to update, manage, etc. We restyled a great, free wordpress theme called WordPress Bootstrap by 320 Press to make the blog look a lot like every other page.  That way a blog page (which is easy to author) can double as a project page and look pretty natural (nice hack Paul!).

Even cooler, Annie came up with a clever system to add all content — people, projects, etc. — info into one, easy-to-understand file (we’ve called it ingredients.json).   And then those assets ripple through all the pages.  She’ll go into it in another post.

4) Everybody seemed to like the mouse-over about us page from our last site.  So we took that and ran with it.  Some, not all, images come to life with a hover.  And some more than others – Jessica’s been dabbling in animating some .gif’s.  The hover state is not one that ports to mobile.  Any ideas port the fun to these devices?

5) I’d say this is the big point, we wanted to give our site away.  Take it. Run with it.  Modify it. Whatever. I got obsessed with the idea of sharing sites whole hog.  The site meets our needs as a lightweight wordpress CMS.  Wordpress was complicated enough. Maybe you find yourself in that position — or just want a pretty simple site that makes hovering things fun. It’s on github.  It ain’t all polished and buffed under the hood, and lot’s more documentation to come, but our site’s out. Make it your site, or improve it so we can add your changes to our site.

The site will take on more and more of its own character over time, but we’ve rebooted.  And it seems like it’s time.


The Berkman Center’s David O’Brien, Urs Gasser, and John Palfrey have just posted a 29-page “briefing paper” on the various models and licenses by which libraries are providing access to e-books.

It’s not just facts ‘n’ stats by any means, but here are some anyway:

“According to the 2011 Library Journal E-Book Survey, 82% of libraries currently offer access to e-books, which reflects an increase of 10 percentage points from 2010. … Libraries maintain an average of 4,350 e-book copies in a collection.”

“[T]he publisher-to-library market across all formats and all libraries (e.g., private, public, governmental, academic, research, etc.) is approximately $1.9B; of this, the market for public libraries is approximately $850M”

92% of libraries use OverDrive as their e-book dealer

Of the major publishers, only Random House allows unrestricted lending of e-books.

I found the section on business models to be particularly clarifying.

The Berkman Center’s David O’Brien, Urs Gasser, and John Palfrey have just posted a 29-page “briefing paper” on the various models and licenses by which libraries are providing access to e-books.

It’s not just facts ‘n’ stats by any means, but here are some anyway:

“According to the 2011 Library Journal E-Book Survey, 82% of libraries currently offer access to e-books, which reflects an increase of 10 percentage points from 2010. … Libraries maintain an average of 4,350 e-book copies in a collection.”

“[T]he publisher-to-library market across all formats and all libraries (e.g., private, public, governmental, academic, research, etc.) is approximately $1.9B; of this, the market for public libraries is approximately $850M”

92% of libraries use OverDrive as their e-book dealer

Of the major publishers, only Random House allows unrestricted lending of e-books.

I found the section on business models to be particularly clarifying.


Group hug at github.

We’ve been loving github lately. We used to manage our own Git repositories on a local development server, then we saw the glowing beacon that is github. We ran to it and we haven’t looked back.

Code management is as good as it gets. Project management is pleasant too thanks to github issues.

Please have a look around our home on github, http://github.com/harvard-lil. And don’t just look, hop in: fork projects you’re interested in -> fix bugs and make enhancements -> send us pull requests


Who are you, and what do you do?

I’m Annie Cain. I was once a librarian and maybe still am. Either way, I currently build web apps. For libraries. I also come up with ideas, help shape ideas and help execute & build non-web ideas.

Setup Annie Cain

What hardware do you use?

My work machine is a giant Mac Pro. Sometimes I bump my knee on it. A big-enough Acer monitor is connected to it. I use a Magic Mouse because the cord was cramping my style. My folding Sennheiser headphones are not audiophile approved, but they suit me just fine.

At home I have a MacBook Air. I think I’m the only one in the world who despises the MacBook Air.

When I go to meetings, I generally bring a Rhodia notebook and Zebra pen along. More often than not I also have a snack and the cheapest clear mug I cound find in Harvard Square, filled with water or tea. I live in fear that Republic of Tea will stop selling their Passion Fruit Papaya blend.

Sometimes I use my window as a refrigerator. I can fit a sandwich between the two panes of glass.

And what software?

MagiCal is the first thing I install on a new Mac.

I constantly use Exposé to find buried windows and access the desktop.

When working directly on the development server (which is all the time, scandalous!), I type code in BBEdit and push images up with Transmit. When I’m not feeling up to typing SQL in the Terminal (which is most of the time, scandalous!), I use Sequel Pro to interact with MySQL.

I use Firefox when web developing. Firebug provides most of what I need to understand what’s going on. MeasureIt and JSONView also help. Heck, I still use some features of the Web Developer extension. For my general browsing and Google Reader perusing, I use Chrome. I go to Byliner if I need a longer reading break.

Photoshop is the only one of the Suite that I know how to operate, so it’s the hammer for all of my graphics nails.

We’re not afraid to share our stuff on GitHub. It’s also super handy for collaboration and tracking code & issues.

Setup Annie Desk

What would be your dream setup?

Better lighting would probably get me a lot closer to a dream setup. Ideally I’d work on a laptop. Maybe connect it to a bigger monitor sometimes. It would definitely have an SD card slot.

A refrigerator would be nice as my window doesn’t stay cool in the summer. A mug warmer to keep my tea steamy would also be super.


Jessica Yurkofsky, The Setup

Who are you, and what do you do?

I’m Jessica. I just finished up the urban planning masters program over at the GSD. I’m hanging out at the lab for the summer, working primarily on Time/Slice, a project I started in the Library Test Kitchen. The Lab is very awesome.

What hardware do you use?

My most important hardware is my pen, which is a rotring extra-fine fountain pen. It was originally quite long; I had one break in my pocket so I sawed off the end and duct taped it. Now it fits in my pocket much better. My other piece of important hardware is a binder clip, which holds together a lot of printer paper full of my calendar, lists, notes, etc.

I rely on my MacBook Pro (4,1) for most things. It has a vintage 2008 battery that generates excessive heat, which can be nice in the winter. I also have an i5 iMac that I use for heavier stuff (a lot of GIS). My phone is a Nokia 6315i. The antenna broke off (also a pocket-related accident), so it is super svelte now. I have a Kindle Touch that I like a lot more than I expected to.

my pen writes well


What software do you use?

A lot of Adobe Creative Suite, mostly Illustrator, for design. Other than that, I like free things. For mapping I do use ArcGIS, but I’ve gotten really into TileMill recently. It makes maps that are nice and pretty. I use TextWrangler for coding, and Bean for typing words. When I really really need to write something, ommwriter is helpful.

Alfred makes using my computer a lot more enjoyable, as does  f.lux and jumpcut. Dropbox helps me to not lose all my important things. I use GeekTool for keeping important information on my desktop, such as the weather and my new year’s resolutions. My computer counts electric sheep when it sleeps.

I go back and forth between Chrome and Firefox, but with both I love TabCloud and and being able to send articles straight to my Kindle.

What would be your dream setup?
My dream setup would be a fort that could also get lots of sunlight. It would also have a little stop-motion animation setup ready to go at all times. It might be in a tree.