The No Library Whining Zone: The End…or The Beginning? (and Prizes!)

First, a quick update on my anxiety inducer, the ALA Elections.  I ran for – believe it or not – three offices: 

I was kind of hoping to have an ALA Triple Crown election season – it would have been the first Triple Crown of any kind since the year I was born (in horse racing, but still).  

We had 64 people openly pledge via my Google Form to go 24 hours – one day – without complaining, whining or just being plain snarky about libraries – be it their library or the general state of the profession.  Nearly everyone kept the pledge for all 24 hours!  We also had folk who did not fill out the form for whatever reason (found out about it after I closed the form, wanted to do it on their own without incentive) also participate.   So wonderful!   People spread the love on Twitter with our two hashtags, #nolibrarywhining and #goodlibrarykarma. (The latter, and what we will use going forward, is courtesy of Andy Woodworth, Man Who is So Good With Hashtags He Will Have One For His Upcoming Wedding.*)

We’ll get to the reflections and Jerry Springer-esque final thoughts in a moment, but first the important stuff: PRIZES!

First, everyone who participated and was listed on the Google Form will receive a #goodlibrarykarma ribbon, to proudly wear at ALA Annual or your next conference and show that you support spreading the positive love about our profession, even when things don’t always look great.   The ribbons will be blue with yellow text to promote the sunshine we should bring to our colleagues’ lives.   If you took the pledge and are listed on this spreadsheet, you need to go to Column E (highlighted in yellow) and let me know if you are coming to ALA or not.  If you are, you can come find me and I will give you your ribbon.  If not, I will send it to your home or office.  If you did this independent of filling out my form and want a ribbon, let me know!  We’ll work something out.

Second, thanks to some generous donations, we have Fabulous! Prizes!  I wish I could award all of you a Fabulous Prize but, um, I have rent and student loans to pay. 🙂

First, I want to award two first prizes to two folk who took the pledge, and then went above and beyond that pledge.  They encouraged others on Twitter and spread word about it on their own blogs.  For their efforts, I am awarding Matt Kirschner and J. Shore each a $15 gift certificate to a store of their choosing.   Matt and J. Shore, get in touch with me via Facebook/Twitter DM/email (librariankate7578 at gmail dot com) for your addresses and where you would like some found money.  Their posts on the subject are linked above, so go read them!

(Although she did not fill in the form, I did find another great post from Bonnie Powers on topic when my post got a pingback.  You should go read her post as well!)

Second, I want to award 15 $5 Starbucks gift cards to 15 people that took and completed the pledge by Ye Olde Random Number Generator, using the row numbers from the original spreadsheet.  Those 15 people are as follows:

  1. Margaret Driscoll
  2. Laura P.
  3. Tomissa Porath
  4. Michelle, aka @winelibrarian on Twitter
  5. Katherine Adelberg
  6. Claire Schmieder
  7. Holly Blosser
  8. Naomi Toftness
  9. Krista Nolan
  10. Carson Block
  11. Elizabeth Moreau
  12. Carrie Cleary
  13. Amelia, aka @litjrzygirl on Twitter
  14. Leigh Milligan
  15. Rosalyn Metz

These 15 folk, plus our two other winners, are highlighted in Orange on the list I linked above. Please get in touch with me via Facebook/Twitter DM/email (librariankate7578 at gmail dot com) for your preferred mailing address.  (You’ll also get your ribbon in the mail with your gift card.)

Everything should be sent out by the end of May/beginning of June, once I get the ribbons ordered.

And now, some final thoughts….

Is this going to be an ongoing thing?  Yes.  J. Shore declares that we should make every Wednesday a “No Whine Wednesday” – and I am completely on board.  Thus, if you would like, every Wednesday, take a pledge as best you can to refrain from being snarky, complaining, or being a Debbie Downer about our great profession in public social media spaces.  If you want to take it further, great – some people were doing it in their offices, others had accountability buddies. I love so much that folk took this and made it their own – and also shared how their lives improved as a result!

I will have plenty of ribbons at ALA (along with what was my ALA election tagline, “ALA is IKEA Furniture”) at Annual Conference, so if you are there and want to either learn more about #goodlibrarykarma or pledge to participate, find me (I’m easy to find since I will be wearing a tiny top hat each day) and I will be more than happy to give you one and talk about ways we can improve library culture, online and offline.  This discussion can, should, and will continue. Liz Burns (you may know her from her blog on School Library Journal) shared some thoughtful questions I want to use as a springboard for discussion on our workplace cultures that I leave you with as final thoughts:

  1. When does someone change from someone who has voiced a complaint to a complainer? How can one do one productively without becoming a chronic complainer who is no longer heard?
  2. How can one voice disagreement in a constructive way? Is it possible to do without being misinterpreted?
  3. Is it possible to have sarcasm or snark or a joke online, especially in a fluid, changing context such as twitter, where an individual tweet may be taken out of a bigger context?
  4. Is silence acceptance? When is it just a lost exercise to voice disagreement, and when does it matter?
  5. What is the best way to deal with the frustrations of getting one’s buttons pushed online, sometimes deliberately, other times not so?

My sincerest thanks to all who participated in any way.   Blessings to all of you!

* I dare you, Woodworth. 😀

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Posted in LIS | 2 Comments

The No Library Whining Zone: A Social Experiment

Call it refreshed perspective from the double-team of ACRL and a relaxing holiday in Florida, but I came back to find that library land seems to have gotten their knickers in a knot of late.  If it wasn’t the New York Times attempting to be “on it” with archivists, or another editorial from the Annoyed Librarian that hit every button (and some we didn’t know existed), the ALA election results countdown (that’s mine), or the latest Pew report – something had the collective profession up in knots and on edge – and ready to go Will McAvoy loose cannon.

This, coupled with some self-reflection on my own anxiety and negative attitudes towards my professional life (and a side dish of a Twitter conversation with Andy Woodworth, Liz Burns, and Steve Thomas), leads me to propose a social experiment:  Not publicly complaining or whining about libraries – anything from your crazy patrons to the state of the profession – for 24 hours, starting tomorrow (2 May) at noon EST, and ending at 12:01 PM EST on 3 May.

The full rules are here (and are still under some form of development, so you may see minor changes in the next couple of hours), and if you would like to participate, sign up here.  And yes, there are prizes. 🙂

No good experiment goes uncriticized….

The beauty of social media is the ability to share an idea quickly and easily.  The other side is that criticism to your idea can be shared just as easily, and just as quickly.  I wanted to add a section here to respond to what I saw, hopefully answering questions and alleviating concerns.

This experiment does not advocate not talking about your problems, forcing joy, hiding stress, or anything related to those ideas.  I’ve been in talk therapy for depression for 3+ years, and I know firsthand the benefits of venting when you have a problem.  Do not let taking this pledge affect your mental health and emotional well-being.  In short: IF YOU NEED TO VENT TO SOMEONE ABOUT A BAD DAY AT WORK, VENT – but do it privately.  Mad about what the Annoyed Librarian said this week? Take it offline, at least for a day.   Upset because your budget got slashed?  Take if offline for a day.   Private conversations are exempt from the #nolibrarywhining pledge (that’s our hashtag on Twitter, use it!), as are posts you may have scheduled weeks ago to go live (for example, an opinion piece in Library Journal or ACRL TechConnect).

This experiment is also not intended to advocate being a “nice” person (you know, that bad connotation the word “nice” can bring, particularly for women) and withholding necessary criticism to make this profession better.  I welcome criticism in all its forms – otherwise, I would not be devoting half a blog post to answering what I have already seen in response to my proposal.  I view this as a palate cleanser*, a chance to regain balance in acting out of emotion (that has the potential to damage your professional reputation) and thoughtfully contributing to conversation.

I hold no illusions about changing the world with this (except for the person who wins because they will have $25 of found money to their favorite shop).  It’s not for everyone.  I emphasize this is an experiment – it could be a complete bust and everyone fails within half hour of the pledge period starting.   Or, it could lead to a larger dialogue about how we support each other and our institutions and how we communicate and present ourselves.   We can go either way.

A co-worker has the following photo in her office:

Photo1

(apologies for poor photo quality – I was taking this on the run).

This “THINK” philosophy is good to live by, and one I want to try to implement in my life.  I don’t see it as inhibiting constructive criticism – in fact, I see it as helping it.   My hope is that by taking a day to abstain from being reactionary in negative ways to our profession, we can step back, THINK, and form something very thoughtful later.  Social media makes it too easy to not THINK.

On a final note, I would be remiss if I did not mention, and pay proper credit to, my friend Heather Monroe Kinne, who came up with this idea in our knitting community months ago in response to a very serious spate of bullying.   It was her idea of #MoreLove that got the idea started in the back of my head months ago, and everyone else mentioned earlier that gave it the time and place to start. (She devotes an episode of her podcast The Fiberista Files to it, but I’m having problems getting on her page right now to link to the episode.)

I hope you will join us in a brief day of celebrating the positive aspects of our profession and our workplaces, putting on hold everything that makes us frustrated about libraries, if only for a day.

* Evidence I watch a lot of cooking shows, though credit goes to Sophie Brookover for using the term first.

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Posted in Everyday Life, LIS, Opinion | 1 Comment

Leaning In Without Falling Out of Your Seat

I just finished Sheryl Sandberg’s Lean In – a fascinating work.  While most of her arguments and anecdotes were not new information to me (have heard and read them elsewhere), two particular passages from the book struck me:

From page 132 (emphasis mine):

It’s not only working parents who are looking for more hours in the day; people without children are also overworked, maybe to an even greater extent…After the married women spoke about how hard it was to balance their lives, the single woman interjected that she was tired of people not taking her need to have a life seriously.  She felt that her colleagues were always rushing off to be with their families, leaving her to pick up the slack.  She argued “My coworkers should understand that I need to go to a party tonight – and this is just as legitimate as their kids’ soccer game – because going to a party is the only way I might actually meet someone and start a family so I can have a soccer game to go to one day!”  I often quote this story to make sure single employees know that they, too, have every right to a full life. 

The gut reaction upon reading this passage (since I could not do the Dance of Joy right there on Metro North) was, “YES. THIS.” In my previous life in Lawyer Land, I worked in a firm that prided itself on being a family friendly environment with flexible work arrangements for support staff with families, and (until the policy was abused) a very liberal attitude towards children in the office.  I was never discriminated outright in that job as a single, childless woman and was happy to work in a firm where family was as important as your billable hours. In the legal industry, it is very hard for women to find that career/family balance.  However, I was not without my self-doubt.  Was the fact that I wanted to leave early to pursue graduate education or take a day off to go to a program at the Museum of Modern Art less important than my colleagues who had to take time off because their children were sick or had an unexpected snow day?  What was being said behind my back?  Was it affecting how people perceived my work ethic?

I’m in an office now with much different demographics than that law firm, but when I have those moments of doubt about my right to a full life (even if that life is without children), I know that I deserve that right.

From page 164:

The more women help one another, the more we help ourselves.  Acting like a coalition truly does produce results.  In 2004, four female executives at Merrill Lynch started having lunch together once a month. They shared their accomplishments and frustrations.  They brainstormed about business.  After the lunches, they would all go back to their offices and tout one another’s achievements.  They couldn’t brag about themselves, but they could easily do it for their colleagues. Their careers flourished and each rose up the ranks to reach managing director and executive office level.  The queen bee was banished, and the hive became stronger. (Source)

Search back to my earlier posts on gender in libraries and you’ll be able to keenly sense my despise for the attitude we have in our profession for eating our young, being the Mean Ones (Girls and Guys) – in short, a cutthroat attitude.   Now, this should not be interpreted as “don’t be competitive” – finding a job, and staying good at that job to advance and allow you to take the next steps in your career, require a certain level of drive.  (Remember: THERE IS NO SILVER SPOON.)  But, don’t let that drive take over your life.  You will burn many bridges you can’t afford to lose.

As you know, I ran for ALA Council for the third consecutive year, this year with an informal ticket of candidates.  I would be lying through my teeth if I said I wasn’t going through anxiety about election results, and a massive amount of self-doubt about my ability to win an election.  I would also be lying if I said I wouldn’t be upset if I didn’t win – because I worked my keister off (along with my fellow  ticket members) to campaign for the seat. (I now have keen awareness of the mental, physical, and emotional toll that Presidential candidates go through – even for an association office, the campaign work was tiring*.)  What I will not do is let that anger and sadness dictate my life, especially to my fellow candidates – building each other up does so much more than taking each other down.  We all pledged this evening to support whomever from our caucus won, give virtual hugs and pep talks to those that didn’t, and not let jealousy, bitterness, and spite over one election dictate the rest of our professional lives.  (And then go out for shawarma afterwards.**)

Lean In is not without its controversy (see this, this, and this – and that’s just a very small sample set), but it is a fascinating read that affected me in many ways.  I hope to continue expounding on Sandberg’s thoughts.

* True story: Back in December 2008, I happened to be visiting the Metropolitan Museum of Art the same day as Bill and Hillary Clinton – and came face to face with the former Secretary of State.  She looked lovely, but she also looked old.  You could tell that the 2008 primary took a toll on her in many ways.   After this ALA election cycle, I have empathy for what she went through. (As for Bill – he looked GREAT. Veganism looks good on him.)

** ALA Election results are posted on 3 May 2013, the same day as the United States release of Iron Man 3.  The shawarma jokes, they write themselves.

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Posted in Feminism | 6 Comments

Who Rule the World? Girls – Part 2a: When the Bullied Becomes the Bully

Library-land has had more than its fair share of Internet bullying of late (see this and this) and I thought I had seen it all.   I thought we had reached the darkest portions of the ugly underbelly of the Internet.

And then the Adria Richards story broke.  And that ugly underbelly reached depths I never thought possible.

For those not familiar with the story (now being called “Donglegate”), here’s the basics:

  • SendGrid developer Adria Richards is at PyCon (largest gathering of developers of open source programming language Python), when she overhears two male developers use certain technical terms (“fork” and “dongle”) in a sexual manner.
  • Rather than confront the men about their inappropriate language and violation of the PyCon Code of Conduct, Adria decides to take their photo without their consent and publicly share it on Twitter and the conference Twitter feed.
  • After meeting with all parties involved in the matter, PyCon officials remove the men from the conference.
  • One subsequently gets fired from his job at PlayHaven.
  • The Internet explodes.  And by “explodes” I mean a DDoS (Distributed Denial of Service) attack against her company, online petitions calling for her firing, and some other very ugly things I won’t talk about here.
  • SendGrid fires Richards.

The first, and thus far, best, post I read on the matter, from Amanda Blum, sums it up simply and effectively:   Nobody wins.

We now have two talented developers – one with a family to support, another making strides for her gender in a primarily male world – without jobs.

We have two companies who had opportunities to use this horrid incident as a teachable moment – for their employees, for their company, for the tech world.  Instead, they pushed the panic button.  Now they are without two talented people on their staff and have reputations to rebuild.

We have seen the ugliest side of the internet.   No one, no matter how toxic a character, deserves such serious threats.  NO. ONE.  Have we really stooped that low to wish criminal acts and loss of life on someone?

We have done a disservice for women, at a time when we need to thoughtfully and carefully explore and unpack issues of women in the workplace.  I don’t agree with what Richards did – from what I have read, she is a strong personality and rubs many the wrong way – but she could have handled it in a much more professional, measured and classy way – with just the gentlemen directly involved and conference officials.  (That’s a sad lesson I learned in college – the more you involve in a dispute, the bigger the fallout becomes.)  Taking photos without consent and making examples of people is not the right way to do it.  It makes women in tech and women in the workplace look like shrill bitches.  (And with that, this blog now gets a PG-13 rating.) Again, this was a highly teachable moment, and Richards blew it.

The Library Journal Movers and Shakers award brings out the haters (a small but loud group), at a time when we should be honoring and celebrating our peers. It’s easier to hide behind the veil of social media or the veil of criticism when airing very strong views.  I saw people take down some of this year’s winners in all matter of ways, all stemming from a justified personal offense.  However, when the bullied becomes the bully in pursuit of redemption for their wrong, things go too far.

As I did back in February, I call for calm.  I call for measured discussion.  I call to act and behave as the adults and professionals we are.   I saw some very ugly behavior from people I have met at conferences and interact with on Twitter daily, and it makes me very sad. No one wants to watch their friends and colleagues commit professional suicide, and I saw quite a bit of that last week.

To quote VentureBeat’s reporting:

Everyone escalated, instead of taking a half a moment to think, relax, chill, give the benefit of the doubt, be a little easy-going, and realize that everyone is bloody well human and we all make mistakes.

Guys. Seriously.  Let’s stop acting like children.  NOW.

I hope that our own community of plugged in librarians learns (or has learned) from their awful behaviors of the past few weeks.  I also hope things never go as far as they did with Richards this week.   If they do, I’ll be out of this profession faster than you can say “Ranganathan.”

Additional Coverage: 

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Posted in LIS, Opinion, Tech | 2 Comments

I am Powered By Drupal!

First, the good stuff:  It’s ALIVE!  You can go to katekosturski.com, which will redirect you to katekosturski.info and you can see my shiny new Drupal site.  I am officially powered by Drupal!

(I may have actually cackled like Frankenstein when I refreshed the page after the FTP upload.  Maybe. Okay, definitely.) 

The direct site is actually now katekosturski.info instead of katekosturski.net.  The latter domain had some problems registering and propagating, but katekosturski.info was up and running nearly straightaway.  (Important to note:  I am not a patient person.) Fortunately the good folk at Dreamhost were able to resolve all issues, including a serious lag in getting my account approved, very quickly.

Some good soul at the American Library Association thought the original I Built a Drupal Thing post was impressive enough to feature in this week’s AL Direct newsletter.  I’m in the Tech Talk section near the end.  Whomever you are that did this, thank you. 🙂 

Screen Shot 2013-03-20 at 6.54.47 PM

Today’s work on the site was a mix of cleanup and experiments:

  • Moving my files from external linking via Dropbox to my host server, and renaming them. I have the space on Dreamhost; why rely on a third party provider?  (I still cannot believe the crappy naming conventions I had used. Spaces in filenames? Really?)  
  • Checking and rechecking and re-rechecking links to make sure they worked.  Much of this was using relative filenames to check content when the site was in beta mode.  Those had to be removed when the site went live, and when your site goes live at 11:30 PM EST you’re not going to catch every little thing because it’s already past your bedtime.
  • Setting up a content block on the site to show the latest posts from the blog.  I keep the external site for the blog (though I do plan to install a WordPress module and blog right from the site), but users can see the latest 4 posts right in the navigation (with links that take you right to the site):

Screen Shot 2013-03-20 at 10.02.38 PMThis is done through the core Aggregator module, though others tell me there are similar modules out there.   For what I wanted to do, Aggregator worked best.  There is an option to view the entire blog on the site, but it is the RSS feed of the blog and I don’t recommend it for two reasons:

  1. It looks really messy.  It is not good content strategy. 
  2. The screenshots I like to use do not show up in the feed. 

Now this was actually a little tricky to do – the block with the content showed up when I was logged in, but not when I logged out of the site.  Permissions on the block did not work – the secret is in the permissions tab under the People -> Permissions.   You want to ensure that the boxes for Anonymous and Authenticated users under “View News Feeds” are checked:

Screen Shot 2013-03-20 at 10.33.12 PM

Look close and you’ll see that I had to search on drupal.org to figure this solution out for myself first.  That is the beauty of Drupal – community based solutions.  🙂 

There is, of course, still much to learn – content types and views are another long term project.  The Drupal core has the basic Article and Basic Page content types, but you can include others to fit your needs, such as for a graduate school portfolio or a job posting site.  These add to the dynamic feel of a site – type your information into the content type form, and the page will populate according to the parameters you have set in the content type.  Views are simply previews of how information populated into the form.

If you want to learn more about my (very basic) experiences, I am giving a Virtual Lightning Talk for the Code4Lib group on 3 April at 1:30 PM EST.  Title: How I Taught Myself Drupal in a Weekend (And You Can Too).  This will cover my experiences in building a Drupal site, getting around the basic content, the troubleshooting I encountered, and some ways you can dive in (head first? :)) to learning Drupal.

Exciting? Yes.  Fun?  Completely. Frustrating? At times. (See difficulties with getting feed block to show up when not logged in site.)   Worthwhile?  Absolutely.  How long before Drupal Camp CT 2013?  🙂

A final note:  The top item in the navigation on the site relates to the American Library Association elections that are taking place this week through 26 April.  The ALA Think Tank Caucus for Council is a self-aligned group of librarians (note that we are not endorsed by ALA; we formed this group independently)  that are running for the ALA Council, the policy making body of the association.  The page I host on my site includes links to the web presence of my fellow candidates, election information, my candidate statement, our Facebook page, and my responses to a Facebook Q&A held in February.  If you are an ALA Member in good standing as of 31 January 2013, we would all appreciate your vote.  

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Posted in LIS, Tech | Leave a comment

Tech Interlude #2 – I Built a Drupal Thing!

Drupal was on my radar since August, when I went to Drupal Camp CT. (Read about those experiences here.) After camp, Life got in the way, so any tinkering with Drupal was put off to the side….for over six months.  With the ALA Elections coming (psst…I’m running for ALA Council with these awesome folk), and feeling inspired after learning Github*, now felt as good of a time as any to get back into Drupal.

(If you don’t remember what Drupal is, the short answer is that it’s a open source website content management system.  The long answers can be found here and here.)

I had a local server and installation complete from Drupal Camp CT, which made the learning process easier – the back end was all finished.  In the space of two days, I had some modules and themes installed, customized the theme I chose for the final site to my liking, most of my content from my old site imported and streamlined, and the site residing on a local LAMP server we made from a desktop PC I received in an office computer lottery.

You will see now that if you go to katekosturski.com, it redirects to this blog. Later this week, I will be registering katekosturski.net as a domain, and katekosturski.com will redirect there. (I paid for katekosturski.com for two years through Weebly, and still have a year to go on the plan – easier for me to redirect than try to figure out how to cancel. Plus, a whole bunch of business cards with katekosturski.com and a conference looming means we think of something quick and dirty.)

Here’s a sneak peek:

Screen Shot 2013-03-17 at 7.50.41 PM

The new main page

Screen Shot 2013-03-17 at 7.50.53 PM

The landing page for all my projects, before and after library school

Screen Shot 2013-03-17 at 7.51.12 PM

Sample project page (from one of my library school courses)

Screen Shot 2013-03-17 at 7.51.24 PM

The list of technology competencies that keeps getting longer and longer…

Screen Shot 2013-03-17 at 7.52.04 PM

The Contact Me Page

Lessons learned from this very intense course:

  • Writing down your passwords is not always necessarily a bad thing.   Doing the local (XAMPP on the Macbook Pro) to the LAMP server migration was tough, because I did not remember what my XAMPP database login and passwords were.   We were able to get this completed thanks to the Drupal Backup and Migrate module.  (Did I write down the login information for the LAMP server? Yes.)   Using a service like LastPass is also on my shortlist, just in case the notebook gets damaged or destroyed. 
  • Installing a rich text editor should be the first thing you do.  It makes creating and migrating content so much easier. I know HTML tags, but they take time to type out, and then you have to worry about ensuring tags are nested and closed properly.
  • You will come up with one way to organize your content, then scrap it for another, and then another, and then another.  The screenshots above are from iteration #3 of the site.
  • Themes.  Oh Themes.  All the themes.  Looking at all the themes (462 for Drupal 7 alone) is like going down a rabbit hole, but absolutely necessary to find the ideal theme for your site, one that combines functionality and usability with appearance.  It took me about 20 tries before I settled on the right theme – and even that required some customizing – I didn’t like the original font, and with a little knowledge of cascading style sheets (CSS), I got it looking the way I wanted.

Would I recommend learning Drupal? Yes.  You may not be able to pick it up in a weekend – some people call the learning curve a learning cliff.  The best ways to learn it are to (a) attend a local Drupal Camp or Drupal meetup, and (b) just go in and play around, break things.  If you really need a quick and dirty Drupal solution, Drupal Gardens is the way to go.

I know I’ve only scratched the surface with Drupal.  More experimentation to come.

* Thanks to Andromeda Yelton, who causes trouble in a good way. By the way, did you know she’s running for LITA Board?  You should go vote for her. Also, she built this which is just full of adorableness and tell you LITA members and prospective members how you can get involved.

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Posted in LIS, Tech | 4 Comments

Tech Interlude: Git to the Hub

Yesterday, thanks to a great tutorial from the Library Code Year Interest Group, I completed my first successful project on GitHub.

If you don’t know what GitHub is, it’s a web-based open source repository for collaboration on software development.   It uses the Git revision control system to track a project’s revision history.

This tutorial used some very basic functions of Github – forking (copying) and cloning a project to your local server, editing the project, committing the project back to your remote GitHub access, and then committing it to the larger project.

You do have to have a level of familiarity with programming, and comfort with command lines in a terminal window.  If you’re a programming novice, I would not recommend this.

The tutorial (written by Eric Phetteplace) goes into more depth, but there are six basic steps to the project.

  1. Installing Git – this took the longest, if you can believe it.  This is the Curse of the Mac – the recommended product due to ease of install, xCode, is a Big File (1.65 GB).  
  2. Creating a GitHub Account
  3. Forking and Cloning the Repository You Will Be Working On – In short, this is making a local remote copy of the repository on your account, and then cloning that copy on to your hard drive.  I do have some comfort with terminal applications, but I still got stuck here due to my limited experience with terminal commands, particularly with navigating the project folders on my hard drive. With some persistence, I got things to work. (I also discovered later there are GitHub GUI interfaces, like this one for the Mac, which look great but I feel like are the easy way out for the novice.  Has anyone used them?)
  4. Editing the Repository – in this case, adding your name and a link to your GitHub account to a list of people.
  5. Committing Your Changes Back to the Remote Github Server – taking your locally saved changes back up to Github
  6. Sending a Pull Request – this is the notification to the project managers that your changes are complete and ready for review and (hopeful) inclusion.

I was so excited when I saw my changes on Github, and when I sent the pull request, I had to take screenshots (you’re going to want to click on them to make them larger).

Githubstep5This is the result after the commit request that pushes the changes back to Github.  I was in glee at what a few command lines would do, especially having little experience in writing terminal commands.  

6sti

 

The request to have my changes committed to the main project. It’s out of my hands now….

githubchangesfinal

Whee!  I’ve been approved!  (Yes, I saved the e-mail.  And yes, that is inbox zero on your left.) 

I wish I had Git and Github in one of my previous jobs at a law firm, where I was responsible for our website.  I was the final step in reviewing changes put on the site, like when an attorney adds a publication or a new bar admission.  The process was very analog – the attorney had to submit their changes on a website form (either by themselves or through me), those changes went through administration, then to IT (who implemented them), then to me for final review.  If I found something wrong, it went back to IT – and sometimes languished there when IT had other, higher concerns.  Attorneys would get frustrated when their request to have their admission to New York state not show up on their site, and there was nothing I could do about it (except come begging to IT baked goods in hand). 

With Git and Github, I could track the project on the site, thus receiving notifications of changes, i.e. when IT made a change to the site.  I could download, review the HTML files and then make whatever changes I needed to make – fixing spelling, closing tags, etc.  I can then commit the changes back, have IT integrate them into the main project and bring the site live.

I would also be remiss if I did not commend Eric for a finely written tutorial and companion video tutorial.  Both were highly detailed and worked well together – if I did not understand something in the written instructions, I could go back to the video and watch Eric visually step through the task.  This is how the Python class I took through Coursera/University of Toronto taught, and it was utterly effective.

I’m looking forward to whatever else Code Year does with GitHub.  It looks like they want to do a web design project – and when you look at what I wrote above, it’s no surprise I am way too excited over that. 🙂

Oh, and if you want to follow me on Github, here I am.

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Posted in LIS, Tech | 4 Comments