Tuesday, 30 March 2010

How academic libraries act like the Great Firewall of China

They fucked you up, the library's had,
They do not mean to, but they do....

So, researchers continue to live in the wondrous magic bubble that they are damned well entitled to view journals - why should they pay? they've never had to before. They have as skewed a view as to what they version of the internet looks like, as many Chinese.

To them, the internet must appear like a bunch of broken links. To academics, it appears like the land of goddamn milk and honey, just reach out and read any journal they like, free of charge.

You want academics to put more content out there? Cut the subscriptions and pass the bill onto directly onto them. They want access to the 'Journal of pointless bullshit'? They can pay for it. Themselves. Alone. Out of their precious budget.

Libraries, grow some balls, you are the consumer and you hold the power. Publishers believe they have you over a barrel as you can't be seen to piss off your academics.

I say it's time to piss them off.

It's time to remind them that they are getting fucked over every time they publish.

"No, sorry, we can't archive your life's work. You repeatedly whored out your copyright to a publisher, just because you couldn't be bothered to change the contract. We do however have an excellent paper recycling policy that you could make use of."

Frankly, I'm tired hearing academics bitch and moan about what they are entitled to.

You aren't entitled to fuck-all - you signed it all away. Go cry at someone else.

Friday, 12 June 2009

Updating the dictionary

Updating the dictionary to support the repository terms as they are used today

Devil's Dictionary Definitions:

DOId (pron. Doh-iyd)
State of wide-eyed euphoric ignorance in person(s) bedazzled by baroque identifier system (submitted by the tuxedo'd gentleman of the fens)

Duraspace (pron. Wat-ler-phauk)
What a system is prior to being useful. ("Is the system built yet, or is it just duraspaced?")

(Syn. - vapour, ethereal, nebulous, hot-air)

Persistent Identifier [Ed. note: existance of this is highly dubious]
Something librarians think is important, while the rest of the world couldn't give a toss as long as they can google it. If they can't google it, then it doesn't exist and it doesn't matter to them anymore.

Institutional Repository

"where research goes to die"


A mechanism to create multiple, incomplete copies of items, spread across the internet, in an apparent effort to make sure that when users search for something they find lots of useless links.

The actual aim is to make repository managers feel better about the tiny numbers of items they have by letting them see that everyone else has bugger all content as well.

Zentity (aka How to be able to use Open Office and still be tied to MS)
A really terribly closed system, which is "Open Source" in that you need to purchase a full MS server solution to host it and interact with it.

But, as noone gets fired for purchasing MS software like they should, this will likely have marketshare in the near future.

Agile development
This does not mean doing a waterfall method, but faster with more meetings and more milestones.

It also doesn't mean saying that you do pair-programming when you are the only developer.

A scrum is not another word for a meeting.

Agile development means being able to say "Fuck, I got it wrong" and changing the course of development to avoid a total waste of time and money to hit arbitrary and now, meaningless milestones.

Please, add your updated definitions to the bottom of this post!

Friday, 27 February 2009

The Cry of the Anarchic Librarian.

Block me, and I will go around you.

Build a wall, and I will build a door.

Lock the door and I will break a window.

And if I don’t have have a leader to inspire me, I will lead.

If I don’t have a team that will support me, I will recruit a team from beyond the organizational boundaries - every policy has a loophole, every system has a hidden reward.

(Torn from "The PARTICIPATORY LIBRARIANSHIP Starter Kit blog: http://ptbed.org/blog/?p=692 - taken out of context on purpose to mean what I intend.)

Inspired by: From TopatoCo

Wednesday, 28 January 2009

Internet Explorer - the world wants compensation.

Wbe developers - We spend time crafting wonderful, beautiful works, w3c compliant, accessible, and using the right tags for the right jobs.

Then we check it in IE5 or IE6 and spend the next couple of hours battling with IEs idiosyncracies and downright stupidity. So much time is wasted kowtowing to the myriad flaws and idiotic bullshit that IE flings upon us, forcing us to hack that which we know is right and correct into something that is somewhat correct, but with various workarounds and hacky solutions just to get it to look decent in Internet Explorer.

Internet Explorer, I spit on you. I have added the hours you have recently cost me to this site: http://internetexplorerwastedmytime.appspot.com - people, please rally up and add your wasted hours! With just 6 people, the wasted money is up to $5k! Let's see how much Microsoft has really cost the world! (via per hourly rates)

(Oh, and this site is being developed on the move - a friend of mine is making it while he commutes to and from work on the bus using his shiny new 3G connected Dell mini 9! And yes, the site is ironically crap looking to boot!)

Monday, 10 November 2008

Principles behind the Repository Manifesto

(based on http://agilemanifesto.org/principles.html)

We follow these principles:

Our highest priority is to satisfy the customer
through early and continuous delivery
of valuable software.

(We are not users of the systems we build, and shouldn't keep putting features in only we want. Which users care if it is OAIS compliant? And METS?)

Welcome changing requirements, even late in
development. Agile processes harness change for
the customer's competitive advantage.

(Go where the users are or want to be in terms of features, not where you think they should be. Users should be shielded from the underlying standards at ALL times.)

Deliver working software frequently, from a
couple of weeks to a couple of months, with a
preference to the shorter timescale.

(If you are not going to implement what you are designing and learn from it as you progress, then you have failed. Do not pass Go, hand in your library pass.)

Business people [USERS] and developers must work
together daily throughout the project.

Build projects around motivated individuals.
Give them the environment and support they need,
and trust them to get the job done.

(Don't just list projects you want doing and expect them to be done. Find people doing work the community finds compelling or interesting and fund them directly.)

The most efficient and effective method of
conveying information to and within a development
team is face-to-face conversation.

(More working meetings, fewer dissemination meetings. Discussion, not powerpoint.)

Working software is the primary measure of progress.

(No plan should get the go-ahead, without implementing the ideas or design alongside it.)

Agile processes promote sustainable development.
The sponsors, developers, and users should be able
to maintain a constant pace indefinitely.

("Projects" lead to having concepts like 'final deadline' and 'wrapup meetings'. Repositories are, by their remit, continuous services, and DO NOT FIT the project paradigm.)

Continuous attention to technical excellence
and good design enhances agility.

(Can't simply work on architectual astronomy without trying to implement, can't simply code and build without a valid design choice. Not one or the other, but working on both simultaneously makes for a good service.)

Simplicity--the art of maximizing the amount
of work not done--is essential.

(Re-use, re-use, re-use. We only need one good system, not 5. In all development, there is time for divergence and a time for convergence, and it's time we converged. Shame there's no good candidate to move to...)

The best architectures, requirements, and designs
emerge from self-organizing teams.

At regular intervals, the team reflects on how
to become more effective, then tunes and adjusts
its behavior accordingly.

(No design is static and no implementation is static, only your current users are. Build and cater for the users you do have, and aim to please those you don't.)

Thursday, 6 November 2008

Declaration of Independance of Metadata

"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that Metadata is essential to all Users, and that the Creation of Metadata endows certain inalienable Rights, that among these are the right to collect, the right to share and the pursuit of Happiness through the reuse of the Metadata.

That to secure these rights, Metadata Repositories are instituted among Servers, deriving their just powers from the consent of the Users, That whenever any Form of Repository becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the Users to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Repositories, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness through Openness.

Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Repositories long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that Users are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Repositories, and to provide new Guards for their future security."

So, OCLC... quit while you are ahead, before we get all July 4, 1776 on your ass.