Tag Archives: drupal

A terrible keynote, but a very solid DrupalCamp

6 Dec

On Monday, I attended DrupalCamp here at Cornell. Overall, the event was great. Though I was hindered by a nasty cold that had set in over Thanksgiving break, the sessions I attended were excellent: one talked about web accessibility, providing both historical and legal context and then providing practical advice for using the tools of responsive web design to create accessible sites. Another talked about preparing for Drupal, and again gave an excellent overview of what was involved in the creation of a Drupal site before digging into the pragmatic needs of such an endeavor. Wonderful stuff, and just the sort of thing that got me to sign up in the first place.

The keynote, sadly, was another story. For whatever reason, the organizers gave over this important task to a representative of one of the vendors, and it was disastrous. I documented this on Twitter:

(NOTE: I am not sure why WordPress won’t let me embed the Storify. I’ve tried several times and no longer care.)

Like I said, the rest of the event was excellent. In fact, I’m willing to assume at this point that the speaker — or more likely, his employer Acquia — promised the organizers a very different speech. But the “you need to think like a business!” rhetoric we got was wholly inappropriate; whether or not you think that mindset has any validity*, it’s certainly not new thinking. We’ve been living it for as long as I’ve been working in academic libraries, and playing buzzword bingo*** with us isn’t inspirational, it’s insulting.

I went to DrupalCamp to get a bit more insight into using Drupal; I’m not a developer, but I wanted a better context for working with the developers on several upcoming projects. I got that, and would attend similar events in the future. I also got a good story out of it, so all in all I’d call the event a success.


* Note: I don’t. It’s better served in another post, but the short version is that academic institutions aren’t businesses, and the principles that currently drive business in Western society don’t even produce successful businesses, so we can’t expect them to produce a viable academy. Not to say there aren’t things that can be learned from other sectors and spheres, but we can’t expect success by pretending that they aren’t other sectors and spheres.**

** Actually, that might be my whole post on the topic. We’ll see.

*** I almost shouted “BINGO!” when he put up the “THE FUTURE IS AGILE!” slide, though to be fair that might be the free square in the middle of the board.

Day 3 of #cil11 (I don’t *feel* tardy)

28 Mar

I’m not even gonna pretend this isn’t almost a week late.

Wednesday started with a lot of logistical stuff: checking out of the hotel, packing the car, bidding Nina farewell as she drove down to Virginia to the home of the folks we stayed with post-conference. I followed much later, via Metro.

Then I went to one of the best presentations I’ve seen at a CiL. The semantic web is a concept that I’ve only had the vaguest grasp of previously, but Lisa Goddard and Gillian Byrne of the Memorial University of Newfoundland explained it thoroughly and engagingly. Did you know Drupal 7 incorporates RDF as a core functionality? I didn’t.* Don Hawkins over at LibConf.com breaks the whole thing down damned well; go give it a read.

In the afternoon, I was up again. First, Mitzi Cole and Jeremy Gottwig discussed the great repository work they’re doing at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center.** Then Amy Buckland rocked the mic, cutting through some of the rhetoric surrounding repositories, and exposing many of the inherent assumptions that underlie their perception and planning.

Finally, I got up and ranted for a bit. My thesis statement, presented almost immediately so that folks could tweet it and run were they so inclined: “Digital projects in libraries are chronically understaffed; as librarians and digital projects staff, we must become advocates for changing that situation if we want these projects to succeed.” I consider myself quite lucky when it comes to the staff hours my library is willing to commit to our work, but even we’re stretched pretty thin… and you rarely go to a presentation about digital projects without hearing about how the presenters wish they had more people.

The rest of the presentation included funny pictures, the insulting of Disney, and the tweaking of Google. Many folks tweeted the bit about how technologies go obsolete, shiny gets dull, but people will last.*** Some folks dug my reference to the 1893 World’s Fair. Thank the gods for Twitter; how else would I have known how it went?

I think there may be a blog post at some point to render what I said into text. But it was an enjoyable presentation to give, despite the difficult topic, and I’m glad folks seemed to dig it.

I may have one more post left in me, on the conference as a whole. We’ll see.


* Hell, I don’t even know if I said that right.

** No relation, I think.

*** I think the images helped; if you check the presentation, that line starts with the picture of the Apple IIe. How can you not love that machine?


19 Jun

By way of Bruce Baugh’s livejournal, I discovered Worldle: a fun little application that lets you turn texts into (visual) art. I was unable to resist the temptation to so transmogrify my massive planning, marketing, and assessment project from this past Spring:

Also, thanks to all the folks who suggested resources on Drupal! It is greatly appreciated.


16 Jun

Does anyone out there with experience using Drupal have advice on the best way to get started on learning to use it? I’m going to enact my usual game plan (“set up and account and play around”), but if others have better suggetions I’d definitely appreciate them.


(And a note for people who read my previous post: there is a subtle but important different between “narcissistic” and “selfish”.)