Busy Spring…new Services

Out with the old…

I haven’t blogged much in the last several months mostly because almost every spare moment has been dedicated to launching Miami’s new Center for Digital Scholarship. This is a major renovation both to the physical plant and the service model for the department we used to call “Digital Initiatives” Our vision is to serve as a collaborative partner with faculty, students, and staff by providing digital library, data repository, multi-media, digitization, scholarly communication, geospatial and data management services so that members of the Miami community can accomplish their research, scholarly, and teaching goals.

Learn more on our website: http://cds/lib.muohio.edu/

ZAP! Brookwood percussion group

ZAP!  in concert!
ZAP! in concert!

So my son Sean made it into the paper this week, and in the model of blog as fridge door, here is the clipping. ZAP! Is one of those examples of cool programs local teachers take the initiative to create for our kids, proving that the time of a dedicated teacher is truly priceless.

Thanks Mrs. Froude!


Retro Digital

With all the talk about a newly struggling Kodak, this article from Fast Company advocates Kodak refocusing on its film business. What? Film? Isn’t film dead?

Not so fast. I recently re-discovered some slides I took in 1984 and decided to scan them with an equally ancient Nikon slide scanner. The images linked below is what I got. Forgive the rather cliche subject choices, but I was ONLY 16 when I shot these. 28 years later, and these slides are still usable and, if I do say so, look pretty good. They were shot on Kodak film that is no longer produced.

Clouds over Suburbia
My Grandpa Ernest’s Rose Garden

Support Open Access: Create a Faculty Profile on the new Scholars Portal

So, you want to support open access and highlight your work at the same time? Consider creating a personalized faculty profile and contributing your scholarly work to Scholarly Commons, Miami’s portal to faculty scholarship.

Don’t have a lot of free time? No problem. The new Scholars Portal is easy and quick to setup. Here’s a step by step guide:

Step 1: Point your web browser to http://scholars.muohio.edu and click on “Create/Edit your Profile”

Step 2: Login with your Miami uniqued and password

Step 3: Edit your information (include a candid or formal photo if you want)

Step 4: Press the “Submit Changes” button.

That’s it! Four short steps and your profile is complete.

Once you’re ready to contribute your work, simply choose the “Create/Edit your profile” and then click the big red “Get Started Button”.

If you have questions about getting your work ready for submission, feel free to email commons@lib.muohio.edu or talk to your library liaison.

Teaching in the Cloud Presentation

Katie Gibson and I just finished up our presentation at the OSU Innovate! ELearning in Action Conference. Lot’s of great questions and comments. Unlike most presentations, this one felt like a true discussion. Pretty cool all around.

The Abstract:
Teaching in the Cloud: Replacing Monolithic Course Management with Web 2.0

Course management software (CMS) used in higher education is often multi-layered, poorly organized, and difficult for students to navigate. At Miami University, six librarians teaching different sections of a course in the Interactive Media Studies department bypassed institution-supported course management software in favor of Ning.com. This breakout session will present lessons learned from this experiment, discuss pros and cons of abandoning institutionally supported systems, and explain how the adoption of this new technology affected teaching.

Here’s the Link via slideshare

Adventures in DSpace 1.6

I thought I’d use this space to document my experience installing and running DSpace 1.6 RC1.  First off, we’ve been anxiously awaiting 1.6 for it seems like forever.  We’ve been running DSpace 1.5.x in the Miami instance at the OhioLINK DRC but were really looking forward to some of the features promised in 1.6.  The short list?

  • batch metadata editing
  • statistics integrated into xmlui
  • built in support for qualified dublin core in the OAI module (BONUS: ORE support!
  • browser-based import and export of collections

Building the SandBox

Since I wanted to run this in a sandbox, I decided to start with Virtualbox running on a Apple iMac.  Into a new Virtual machine, I installed the latest Ubuntu, 9.10 or Karmic Koala.  Since I wanted to be able to ssh into the box, and access my DSpace installation from the outside world, I also setup port forwarding in VirtualBox using instructions similar to these.  For the impatient, to enable port forwarding of port 8080 on the host to port 8080 on the guest (called ubuntu), type these commands at the hosts command line:

VBoxManage setextradata ubuntu “VBoxInternal/Devices/pcnet/0/LUN#0/Config/http8080/HostPort” 8080
VBoxManage setextradata ubuntu “VBoxInternal/Devices/pcnet/0/LUN#0/Config/http8080/GuestPort” 8080
VBoxManage setextradata ubuntu “VBoxInternal/Devices/pcnet/0/LUN#0/Config/http8080/Protocol” TCP

Installation of Ubuntu on a Virtual machine is an exercise left to the reader.

Installing DSpace 1.6

The install documentation is pretty good actually.  I was able to follow the  DSpace 1.6 Documentation to get everything to install.  Use apt-get to install any dependencies, like the JAVA JDK, maven, postgres, tomcat6, etc.  the only glitch was getting Tomcat to start (ouch, pretty big glitch)  It turns out that it’s not too hard to fix See This for DSpace 1.5, but the same principle applies.

Make sure Ubuntu is using the right Sun JDK, change the permissions to Tomcat’s files, and set the user that Tomcat runs as:

sudo update-alternatives –set java /usr/lib/jvm/java-6-sun/jre/bin/java

sudo chown -R dspace /var/cache/tomcat6
sudo chown -R dspace /var/lib/tomcat6
sudo chown -R dspace /var/log/tomcat6
sudo chown -R dspace /etc/tomcat6

Edit /etc/default/tomcat6 to set these parameters:

Start tomcat6 and if you followed all the other installation steps correctly you should have a DSpace1.6RC1 instance running.

Next time: First impressions.

Harvesting CONTENTdm by way of OAI-PMH

I needed to find a quick way to harvest the dublin core metadata from a CONTENTdm collection, without being able to export it out of the admin interface. A little PHP, the CONTENTdm OAI-PMH interface, and some experimentation on the Open Archives Repository Explorer (http://re.cs.uct.ac.za/) and I was able to come up with this quick hack in php. Presented here in case it is ever useful to anyone besides myself.


CONTENTdm to DSpace

There are probably lots of ways to do this, but this is mine.  As part of our migration to the OhioLINK DRC I’ve created a quick php script to 1) take the default export format of CONTENTdm, 2) translate a mapping of fields to the appropriate dSpace ones, and 3) create the DSpace bulk submission package for it. You will need php5+ running on a unix-like system with allow_fopen set to true. It may work on Windows, but I haven’t tested it and I probably won’t. You could upgrade your Windows Installation and have better luck though.

You can find the scripts here. CAVEAT: These are ugly hacks at best http://staff.lib.muohio.edu/~millarj/cdmtab2dspace/


  1. Export your data from CONTENTdm in the control panel. Select a Tab Delimited export and make sure to check “Return field names in first record” 
  2. Next, open the resulting text file in a spreadsheet application of your choice. If you don’t want to munge dates and other non-text data, make sure each column is imported as the “Text” type. Excel for example, has a hard time with ISO dates.
  3. Add a row to the top of the spreadsheet and place the appropriate DSpace fieladn mes (minus the dc. prefix) above the CONTENTdm field to be mapped. If you want to skip a field, just use “skip” as the DSpace field label.
  4. Save it back out as a tab-delimited file.
  5. Download the script and edit it to customize to your hearts content.
  6. Run the script from a unix/linux/macosx commandline “php cdmtab2dspace.php”

At the top of the script are various customizations/configurations. To see how things will look, set $test_mode = “on” When ready to run it live, change that bit to “off”

In particular, customize/rewrite the “move_bitstreams” function to, you guessed it, move the bitstreams (digital objects) from wherever you have them into the submission package.

Changing filename case in bash

I keep having to google for this, so I decided to write it down here. This is how to change the case of every file in a directory to lowercase. It’s a great way to fix the case insensitivity seen when moving files from a windows filesystem to a Unix-y one. We have several windows PC’s in our lab for special machines with windows only requirements.

When in the directory where the files are stored, issue this command from the Bash shell prompt

for i in `ls`; do mv $i `echo $i | tr '[A-Z]' '[a-z]'`; done