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DSU Winter Practicum Report

I went to library school in order to work with rare books. At the start of the degree, my list of courses I expected I would need included coursework in book history, archives, and “digital humanities”, whatever that was. But somehow, through work and school and projects, I found myself in my final semester without actually getting any digital scholarship experience. So, imagine my surprise and delight when I found a project on the practicum list called “Building and Assessing Digital Collections in Islandora: 15th century Manuscripts”!

A Summer at the DSU

Working at the Digitial Scholarship Unit this summer has been amazing. I can’t believe how complementary it has been for my education. I have learned so much in a practical sense but also in a much broader sense of real workplace experience in a library with digital initiatives. It’s hard to list all the skills and knowledge I have acquired from such an immersive experience but let me talk a bit about the highlights of this summer.

Islandora Camp GTA: Day 1

by Sara Allain

Islandora Camp GTA kicked off with nearly 40 librarians, developers, and archivists gathered at the University of Toronto Scarborough. Fortified by coffee and muffins, we got down to the business of getting to know each other. Campers hailed from throughout Ontario and the East Coast, as well as Oklahoma, Michigan, Ohio, and Florida, and represented a diverse range of use cases and experience levels. The group ran the gamut from people who'd heard the word "Islandora" thrown around but had never touched the platform to folks who've been developing/administering Islandora for years. Leading us through the day's activities were Nick Ruest (York University), Jordan Dukart (discoverygarden), Kirsta Stapelfeldt (UTSC), and David Wilcox (Duraspace).

Converting Spreadsheets into MODSXML using Open Refine

by Sara Allain

Lately we've been trying to come up with a better way to create metadata for batch ingestion into Islandora. We just started preparing the UTSC Photographic Services Collection to go online - our lovely Young Canada Works summer student, Rachel, has been diligently selecting a few hundred candidates for the first phase of digitization - and it makes sense to start creating the metadata as well so that once we have digital surrogates we can bundle it all into Islandora via the batch ingest quickly. Since metadata creation/manipulation takes up a lot of my day, I started thinking about the most effective way to create XML using a workflow that would be optimal for our students, our systems, and me.

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