Archive for the ‘Open-Source Software’ Category

Cozy Cloud

happycloud

Cozy Cloud is a french startup funded by the Mozilla startup accelerator. Cozy is open-source software they’ve released that let’s you host your own personal cloud-based services. You set it up on your server and have access to a calendar, photos, files, address book, RSS feeds and pretty much every type of cloud-based service that is supposed to synch with your computers and mobile devices.

The proposal is that by hosting your own information, it is more secure than using services. It also makes it easier to control your information by keeping in one place you can more easily get it out of and giving you the ability to destroy the whole installation with one command.

If you don’t want to manage your own server, they offer a hosted service  in beta.

Anniversary

I missed this site’s 10th birthday. Didn’t even notice it was coming up until I was working on the redesign. It’s utterly bizarre to think that one of my websites is that old but another is even older. Both the site and myself have changed a lot over the years.

Screenshot of the current design

I did get it a present though. If I kept a swear jar while I was working on the php of the new theme I could buy myself a lot of the good chocolate (which I needed while fooling around with WordPress and php). So it’s not only responsive (try making your browser window smaller), I can change the whole color scheme and both fonts on a whim. I learned a lot about the new options in WordPress and current web design options to work with both the increase in mobile devices and screen resolutions, which was one of the reasons I did it. And I have ideas for several blog posts, which is a plus.

I also revised the list of Open-Source Software for Libraries (finally). It had gotten kind of short after a few years of trimming dead links, but I was very surprised and pleased with the amount of projects I found once I started looking. It’s still not comprehensive but it is a good starter guide to software that might be useful in a library setting.

Google Course Builder, why it’s cool and why it’ll fail

I was very excited when I saw the announcement for Google’s new Course Builder platform. Education is such a big part of libraries but they’re all on their own, constantly reinventing the wheel from scratch. A free, consistent platform librarians could build on and share the way they have other technologies could make life a lot easier for librarians in the public and special sectors as well as academics.

So I went digging for information.

  1. It looks like you can limit registration to your course using Google’s Apps for Education service so that only people from your school try to access restricted resources.
  2. It’s a hosted app so the URL is “theappname.appspot.com.”
  3. It won’t work for most educators I know.

The last is disappointing. Course Builder’s webpage describes several of the same options included in Blackboard except with more flexibility, making for a promising alternative. However, the problem is in the backend. These courses aren’t products of an application, they’re apps themselves.

In short, you have to be at least a minor programmer to make this work. To even start requires installing Python on your own computer which leaves most library systems out (IT departments tend to frown on that sort of thing). Creating the course needs HTML and more than light javascript knowledge at the very least.

I don’t know many educators with these kinds of  skills or the time to acquire them.

Course Builder is definitely in beta with several features already requested. It’s possible it’ll become more user-friendly in the next year but Google doesn’t have a very good track record with that.

In short,  join the community to provide much-needed feedback if you can, or check back next year to see if it’s still around.

Publishing Scholarly Articles with WordPress

WordPress is one of, if not the most, popular pieces of software for blogging and managing websites, mostly because of the ease of installation. But customizing it can be a difficult and technical process.

Annotum is a WordPress theme built for publishing research papers. It has all of the functionality built-in for multiple authors to collaborate, edit, review, and import and export in the NLM-DTD format. It creates the correct document structure by default and has visual editors for figures, references, tables, and equations. Because it creates an Article post type, you can still use the same installation as a regular blog.

It is an available theme on WordPress.org, so you can just create a blog and choose it. If you host your own WordPress blog, you can download it from the depository and customize how it looks with a child theme.

Why the White House's Embrace of Drupal Matters

techPresident – Why the White House’s Embrace of Drupal Matters

Drupal developers are abuzz with the realization that the White House’s new Recovery.gov site was built using the free and open-source content management platform Drupal. Pre-Recovery.gov, the perhaps highest-profile use of Drupal had been the Onion website. But that’s not the only reason that Drupal fans are excited. I asked two CMS expert friends to help me understand the situation, and here are a few of the reasons they gave for why the White House’s embrace of Drupal is momentous:

Open-source software is the most cost-effective and often the most user-friendly option for academic and educational users but central IT groups are usually too wedded to Windows and afraid of the unknown to look at them.

Having such a visible use of open-source software from a traditionally technology conservative source should hopefully speed up its acceptance by the mainstream.

Guggenheim Museum goes with Koha

LISNews.org | LibLime Koha is Chosen by the Guggenheim Museum

Tina N. Burger dropped by to spread The Word on The Guggenheim Museum going with Koha. The Guggenheim chose LibLime for its open-source expertise, and is confident that the partnership will better enable the museum to achieve its future library automation goals: “Working with LibLime will greatly reduce the learning curve that presents itself in most new projects. As we are undertaking this project with the intent to adapt the system to our needs, rather than implementing a known system, their knowledge is invaluable.”

How cool. Maybe the next time a library is considering a change they’ll be more open to OSS too.