Category Archives: General

Of ISBN reliability, and the importance of metadata

I write a lot of software that tries to match bibliographic records from one system to another, to try and identify availability of a desired item in various systems. For instance, if I’m in Google Scholar, I might click on … Continue reading

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unicode normalization in ruby 2.2

Ruby 2.2 finally introduces a #unicode_normalize method on strings. Defaults to :nfc, but you can also normalize to other unicode normalization forms such as :nfd, :nfkc, and :nfkd. some_string.unicode_normalize(:nfc) Unicode normalization is something you often have to do when dealing … Continue reading

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simple config for faster travis ruby builds

There are a few simple things you can configure in your .travis.yml to make your travis builds faster for ruby builds. They are oddly under-documented by travis in my opinion, so I’m noting them there. NOKOGIRI_USE_SYSTEM_LIBRARIES=true Odds are your ruby/rails app uses … Continue reading

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subscription libraries, back to the future

Maybe you thought libraries were “the netflix for books”, but in this Wired article, The ‘Netflix for Books’ Just Invaded Amazon’s Turf, it’s not libraries they’re talking about, and it’s not just Amazon’s turf they’re invading. Although they’re talking about the … Continue reading

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“Streamlining access to Scholarly Resources”

A new Ithaka report, Meeting Researchers Where They Start: Streamlining Access to Scholarly Resources [thanks to Robin Sinn for the pointer], makes some observations about researcher behavior that many of us probably know, but that most of our organizations haven’t succesfully responded … Continue reading

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Preservation in a war zone

On the cover of today’s NYTimes (print washington edition) Race in Iraq and Syria to Record and Shield Art Falling to ISIS By ANNE BARNARD MARCH 8, 2015 BAGHDAD — In those areas of Iraq and Syria controlled by the … Continue reading

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Factors to prioritize (IT?) projects in an academic library

Most important: Impact vs. Cost Impact is how many (what portion) of your patrons will be effected; and how profound the benefit may be to their research, teaching, learning. Cost may include hardware or software costs, but for most projects we … Continue reading

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ethical code for software engineering professionals?

Medical professionals have  professional ethical codes. For instance, the psychologists who (it is argued) helped devised improved torture methods for the U.S. government are accused of violating the ethical code of their profession. Do software engineers and others who write … Continue reading

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Be careful of regexes in a unicode world

Check out the following, which I wrote some time ago: See any problem with that? What is \w and \s again? The ruby docs helpfully explain: /\w/ – A word character ([a-zA-Z0-9_]) /\s/ – A whitespace character: /[ \t\r\n\f]/ See … Continue reading

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Ruby threads, gotcha with local vars and shared state

I end up doing a fair amount of work with multi-threading in ruby. (There is some multi-threaded concurrency in Umlaut, bento_search, and traject).  Contrary to some belief, multi-threaded concurrency can be useful even in MRI ruby (which can’t do true … Continue reading

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