Coding for Librarians : Applied knowledge is the best kind

There’s been an impressive amount of librarian chatter about Code Year, a new initiative from the people behind Codeacademy. Codeacademy offer free introductory programming tutorials using JavaScript as the language of choice and it looks like this is also the approach Code Year will take. Discussion has already started on Twitter (hashtag #libcodeyear or #catcode) and IRC (#libcodeyear @ Freenode).

JavaScript is often proposed as a starter coding choice, at least in part due to it’s ubiquity (got browser? got JavaScript!). I’m not going to get into a language war, deciding what programming language to start with largely depends on a) what you like and b) what you want to build. And there are plenty of other places you can hear the arguments from every possible angle. It also depends on your own learning style. Don’t get discouraged if one of the tutorials doesn’t work for you, there are plenty others that might fit better with the way you learn. There’s a plethora of courses and learning resources out there, many of which have been listed on the Cat Code wiki.

The best coding tutorials (IMHO) are the ones that help you create something practical and/or applicable to your area of interest. And, with that in mind, I’ve started a list of open source library projects that may be of interest to those getting started with writing code. These projects aren’t necessarily beginner level (many of them aren’t) but provide examples of real code in action and something that you may be able to use and (eventually) contribute to.

Learning JavaScript?

Learning PHP?

Learning Ruby and/or Ruby on Rails?

These are just a few examples which I hope to keep adding to and, of course, suggestions are more than welcome.

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Heading towards web scale discovery- from the journals

The latest issue of Library Technology Reports looks at Web Scale Discovery services and there’s an interview with the author, Jason Vaughan, on the ALAtechsource.org blog. Together these provide a pretty decent overview of the current status of web scale delivery systems and why these might just be the library systems of the future.

For now though, there’s still a lot being said about next-generation catalogues. In the latest issue of Information Technology and Libraries, the University of Illinois looks at the Usability of the VuFind Next-Generation Online Catalog, while Library Resources & Technical Services includes a case study looking at  Creating an Un-Library Catalog using a lightweight content management system.

1. These articles are available via the CILIP subscription to Proquest Library Science.

A guide to blogging and library blogs

Ned Potter at The Wiki Man has produced a  Blogging Workshop Workbook for a session at the New Professionals Conference and made it and the other presentation materials available via his blog. It covers blogging platforms, setting up a library blog and why blogs are important for libraries. A great, comprehensive resource for those looking to extend or improve their library’s web presence.