You are hereFeed aggregator / Sources / Library Technology Jester

Library Technology Jester

Syndicate content The Jester's Cap
We're Disrupted, We're Librarians, and We're Not Going to Take It Anymore
Updated: 18 hours 56 min ago

Kuali Reboots Itself into a Commercial Entity

Tue, 08/26/2014 - 00:10

Did you feel a great disturbance in the open source force last week? At noon on Friday in a conference call with members of the Kuali community, the Kuali Foundation Board of Directors announced a change of direction:

We are pleased to share with you that the Kuali Foundation is creating a Professional Open Source commercial entity to help achieve these goals. We expect that this company will engage with the community to prioritize investments in Kuali products, will hire full-time personnel, will mesh a “software startup” with our current culture, and will, over time, become self-sustaining. It enables an additional path for investment to accelerate existing and create new Kuali products.

As outlined in the Kuali 2.0 FAQ:

The Kuali Foundation (.org) will still exist and will be a co-founder of the company. It will provide assurance of an ongoing open source code base and still enable members to pool funds to get special projects done that are outside the company’s roadmap. The fees for Foundation membership will be reduced.

There have been some great observations on Twitter this morning. First, a series of tweets from Roger Schonfeld:

Community source models have proved inadequate to HighWire & Kuali: both have reorganized as profit-seeking initiatives. 1/3— Roger C. Schonfeld (@rschon) August 25, 2014

As collaborative software/hosting specialized to higher ed, did they have trouble recapitalizing in the community following start up? 2/3

— Roger C. Schonfeld (@rschon) August 25, 2014

And if so what should planners for other community collaborative initiatives such as HathiTrust bear in mind? 3/3

— Roger C. Schonfeld (@rschon) August 25, 2014

Lisa Hinchliffe points out a similar struggle by the Sakai Foundation last year.

.@rschon Different path but perhaps also lessons from Sakai?

— Lisa Hinchliffe (@lisalibrarian) August 25, 2014

Dan Cohen adds:

@DataG @griffey Hmm, looks more radical than an “adding a vendor” move or even a Mozilla Foundation->Mozilla Corporation move.

— Dan Cohen (@dancohen) August 25, 2014

And lastly (for the moment) Bryan Alexander adds a brief quote from Brad Wheeler’s conference call:

@rschon Cf Brad Wheeler: "college leaders perceive companies as more stable than communal projects" @dancohen @DataG @griffey

— Bryan Alexander (@BryanAlexander) August 25, 2014

My first interpretation of this is that there is a fundamental shift afoot in the perception of open source by senior leadership at higher education institutions. Maybe it is a lack of faith in the “community source” model of software development. Having a company out there that is formally responsible for the software rather than your own staff’s sweat equity makes it easier to pin the blame for problems on someone else. Or maybe it is that highly distributed open source projects for large enterprise-wide applications aren’t feasible — are communication barriers and the accountability overhead too large to move fast?

I do wonder what this means for the Kuali Open Library Environment (OLE) project. Kuali OLE just saw its first two installations go live this week. Will Kuali’s pivot towards a for-profit company make OLE more attractive to academic libraries or less? Does it even matter?

Lots of questions, and lots to think about.

Link to this post!

Categories: Library News

Thursday Threads: Twitter Timeline Changes, Report on Future Library Technology, USB Security

Thu, 08/21/2014 - 20:48

Receive DLTJ Thursday Threads:

by E-mail

by RSS

Delivered by FeedBurner

Two weeks in a row! This week’s DLTJ Thursday Threads looks at how Twitter changed its timeline functionality to include things that it thinks you’ll find interesting. Next, for the academic libraries in the audience, is a report from the New Media Consortium on trends and technologies that will libraries will likely encounter in the next five years. Lastly, news about research into how USB devices can spread malware in ways we can’t detect.

Feel free to send this to others you think might be interested in the topics. If you find these threads interesting and useful, you might want to add the Thursday Threads RSS Feed to your feed reader or subscribe to e-mail delivery using the form to the right. If you would like a more raw and immediate version of these types of stories, watch my Pinboard bookmarks (or subscribe to its feed in your feed reader). Items posted to are also sent out as tweets; you can follow me on Twitter. Comments and tips, as always, are welcome.

Your Twitter Timeline is No Longer Your Own

Twitter recently began adding tweets to your timeline that have been favorited by people you follow. The decision has been a controversial one, but it looks like it’s here to stay. Twitter has now formally changed its definition of your home timeline to note that it will add in content that it thinks you’ll want to see.- Tweets from People You Don’t Follow in Your Twitter Timeline Are Here to Stay, by Josh Ong, The Next Web, 19-Aug-2014

Additionally, when we identify a Tweet, an account to follow, or other content that’s popular or relevant, we may add it to your timeline. This means you will sometimes see Tweets from accounts you don’t follow. We select each Tweet using a variety of signals, including how popular it is and how people in your network are interacting with it. Our goal is to make your home timeline even more relevant and interesting.- What’s a Twitter timeline?, Twitter Help Center

Twitter was one of the last social network holdouts to not mess with its basic formula of what it showed you: what you saw in your timeline was based directly on who you subscribed to. (Well, we’ll ignore the sponsored tweet program for the moment.) As The Next Web points out, Twitter has changed the definition of “What’s a Twitter timeline?” page to include the second quote above. This isn’t full-blown filtering — Twitter is not (yet?) deciding to remove uninteresting tweets from your timeline. It is trying to show you other things that you may be interested in, though.

When I posted an earlier article from The Next Web on LinkedIn about this change, Steve Casburn noted the Medium article The downside of algorithmic filtering. That article pointed out that while the author’s Twitter timeline was full of tweets about the police shooting and later civil unrest in Ferguson, her Facebook wall was not — it had not made it through the algorithmic exclusion filter that Facebook put in place. The author goes on to ask, “what if Ferguson had started to bubble, but there was no Twitter to catch on nationally? Would it ever make it through the algorithmic filtering on Facebook? Maybe, but with no transparency to the decisions, I cannot be sure.”

I get that Twitter is trying to increase its “stickiness” by showing us things that it things will hold our interest right in line with things that we ask for. I hope that Twitter doesn’t decide to remove things that it things won’t be interesting to us. That would change the nature of Twitter dramatically and reduce its usefulness of getting outside of the “filter bubble.” (Interestingly, I’ve yet to see this new behavior myself in either Tweetdeck or the Twitter website.)

A Glimpse at the Future: The Library Edition of the Horizon Report

The NMC Horizon Report: 2014 Library Edition, examines key trends, significant challenges, and emerging technologies for their potential impact on academic and research libraries worldwide. While there are many local factors affecting libraries, there are also issues that transcend regional boundaries and common questions; it was with these questions in mind that this report was created. The NMC Horizon Report: 2014 Library Edition was produced by the NMC in collaboration with University of Applied Sciences (HTW) Chur, Technische Informationsbibliothek (TIB) Hannover, and ETH-Bibliothek Zurich. To create the report, an international body of experts from library management, education, technology, and other fields was convened as a panel. Over the course of three months in the spring of 2014, the 2014 Horizon Project Library Expert Panel came to a consensus about the topics that would appear here in the NMC Horizon Report: 2014 Library Edition.- NMC Horizon Report > 2014 Library Edition, New Medium Consortium

For 12 years, the New Medium Consortium (NMC) and the EDUCAUSE Learning Initiative (ELI) partnered to create the Horizon Report on higher education, a document that brings together practitioners to reach a consensus on emerging technologies in one-, three- and five-year time horizons. This year, NMC and others partnered to create the first report geared towards academic and research libraries. It covers topics like the evolving nature of the scholarly record and the rise of new forms of multidisciplinary research along with the adoption of technologies such as electronic publishing and bibliometrics. This document is well researched and footnoted. And if you want more depth, the project wiki is online with more details about the selected topics and other topics that didn’t filter to the top of the discussion.

USB Flash Drives as Vectors for Malware

Most USB devices have a fundamental security weakness that can be exploited to infect computers with malware in a way that cannot easily be prevented or detected, security researchers found. The problem is that the majority of USB thumb drives, and likely other USB peripherals available on the market, do not protect their firmware — the software that runs on the microcontroller inside them, said Karsten Nohl, the founder and chief scientist of Berlin-based Security Research Labs.- Most USB thumb drives can be reprogrammed to infect computers, by Lucian Constantin, InfoWorld, 1-Aug-2014

Computer users pass around USB sticks like silicon business cards. Although we know they often carry malware infections, we depend on antivirus scans and the occasional reformatting to keep our thumbdrives from becoming the carrier for the next digital epidemic. But the security problems with USB devices run deeper than you think: Their risk isn’t just in what they carry, it’s built into the core of how they work.- Why the Security of USB Is Fundamentally Broken, by Andy Greenberg, Wired Threat Level blog, 31-Jul-2014

Can you trust that USB flash drive? Arguably, no. The problem lies in the software that runs on the flash drive itself. Called the “firmware” it is that software that can be changed to, say, implant malware into files that are copied to and from the flash drive. Or the flash drive could be programmed to emulate a keyboard and “type” nefarious commands to the operating system. Or, most ingeniously in my mind, emulate a network adapter in such a way as to silently redirect all of you internet requests through a bad guy’s server.

Why has USB become the main way to connect peripherals to computers? Why hasn’t anything replaced it? Ars Technica has an in-depth article on the history of USB and other connectors that have tried to displace it.

Link to this post!

Categories: Library News

Thursday Threads: Payment Card Security, Crap Detection, VoIP in your Hand

Thu, 08/14/2014 - 20:56

Receive DLTJ Thursday Threads:

by E-mail

by RSS

Delivered by FeedBurner

Welcome to the revival of DLTJ Thursday Threads. With the summer over and the feeling of renewal towards this blog and its topics, I’m happy to be back sharing tidbits of technology that I hope you will find interesting. Today’s set of threads covers the gnarly security issues behind the bright-and-shiny chip-on-payment card systems being rolled out by banks and retailers in the U.S., a list of resources for checking things that you read about online, and a heads-up on changes to how your phone will work in the near future.

Feel free to send this to others you think might be interested in the topics. If you find these threads interesting and useful, you might want to add the Thursday Threads RSS Feed to your feed reader or subscribe to e-mail delivery using the form to the right. If you would like a more raw and immediate version of these types of stories, watch my Pinboard bookmarks (or subscribe to its feed in your feed reader). Items posted to are also sent out as tweets; you can follow me on Twitter. Comments and tips, as always, are welcome.

That Chip in your Credit Card May Not Be as Secure as Your Bank Hopes

According to new research, chip-based “Smartcard” credit and debit cards—the next-generation replacement for magnetic stripe cards—are vulnerable to unanticipated hacks and financial fraud. Stricter security measures are needed, the researchers say, as well as increased awareness of changing terms-of-service that could make consumers bear more of the financial brunt for their hacked cards.- Black Hat 2014: A New Smartcard Hack, by Mark Anderson, IEEE Spectrum, August 7, 2014

Although U.S. banks are issuing EMV cards now, it will be some time before they start to see a reduction in fraud.- EMV: Why Payment Systems Fail [postprint, pdf] by Ross Anderson and Steven J. Murdoch, Communications of the ACM, June 2014

The first quote comes from an article that covers a presentation made at this year’s Black Hat security conference in Las Vegas. The presenter at Black Hat is also a co-author of the Communications article. The first article gives an overview of some of the problems with the EMV system (an acronym for “Europay-Mastercard-Visa” — the three companies promoting the chip-on-payment-card system). For the real gory details, read the second article.

The bottom line is this, though — payment cards with chips are coming to U.S. The big Target data breach from last year only accelerated plans already in place to bring this technology to U.S. consumers. Banks may try to say that you, the consumer, are responsible for any charges made with your card and your PIN because this whole system has been set up to make sure only someone with the card and the PIN could have authorized the charge. As with many things dealing with computer security, reality is not quite so clear cut, so I recommend keeping an eye on this topic as the EMV system rolls out in the U.S.

A Recourse for Information Literacy

This document is a resource for assessing the accuracy or veracity of online information, organized under a number of headings. The objective of the resource is to improve the digital lives of individuals and to improve the quality of the online commons by increasing the number of people who know how to separate good info from bad info. It began as a chapter for my 2012 book, Net Smart: How to Thrive Online.- A Guide to Crap Detection Resources, by Howard Rheingold

This one crossed my Twitter stream as a retweet from someone else. Author Howard Rheingold has put together a list of places to go to, well, exercise your crap detection skills. With headings for “Political” and “Urban Legends, Hoaxes, and Emails” and “Journalism”, it is a resource that you may want to keep close-at-hand for checking into those things that sound too good to be true. The author also takes comments from others in the document, so it is a living document of contributions from others.

The Subsumption of Voice into IP Networks Continues

What in fact is really going on…is that this is the iceberg tip of a massive paradigm shift away from analog calling, at every level across the board. It’s not just a shift from PSTN, or Public Switched Telephone Network, in favor of IP-based calling, either. PSTN is the old-school wireline circuit that uses copper wires for analog voice. Half of residential U.S. wireline service is VoIP, according to a recent FCC report.But all calling, including mobile, is going IP.- How cellphone calling is going all Internet, by Patrick Nelson, Network World, August 1, 2014

Sure, we have Skype and FaceTime and some have VoIP (Voice-over-IP) phones on our desks. But the world just now getting to the point where VoIP is the way voice calls are made. In this opinion piece, the author outlines the many ways that voice calls are switching from circuit-switched to packet-switched right down to the devices we hold in our hands. (On medium- and long-haul phone circuits, that changeover happened long ago.) If done the right way, you won’t notice the change — except that your calls may be clearer and higher quality.

Link to this post!

Categories: Library News