The First UC Libraries Code Camp

This post was co-authored by Stephen Abrams.

Military camp on Coronado Island, California. Contributed to Calisphere by the San Diego History Center. Click on the image for more information.

Military camp on Coronado Island, California. Contributed to Calisphere by the San Diego History Center. Click on the image for more information.

So 30 coders walk into a conference center in Oakland… No, it’s not a bad joke in need of a punch line, it instead describes the start of the first UC Libraries Code Camp, which took place in downtown Oakland last week. These coders were all from the University of California system (8 out of 10 campuses were represented!) and work with or for the UC libraries. CDL sponsored the event and was well represented among the attendees.

The event consisted of two days of lively collaborative brainstorming on ways to provide better, more sustainable library services to the UC community.  Camp participants represented a variety of library roles– curatorial, development, and IT– providing a useful synergistic approach to common problems and solutions. The camp was organized according to the participatory unconference format, in which topics of discussion were arrived at through group consensus.  The final schedule included 10 breakout sessions on topics as diverse as the UC Libraries Digital Collection (UCLDC), data visualization, agile methodology, cloud computing, and use of APIs.  There was also a plenary session of “dork shorts” in which campus representatives gave summary presentations on selected services and initiatives of common interest.

The conference agenda, with notes from the various breakouts, is available on the event website. For those of us that work in the very large and expansive UC system, get-togethers like this one are crucial for ensuring we are efficiently and effectively supporting the UC community.

Of Note

  • We established a GitHub organization: UCLT. Join by emailing your GitHub username to uc3@ucop.edu.
  • We are establishing a Listserv: uclibrarytech-l@ucop.edu
  • Next code camp to take place in the south, in January or February 2015. (we need a southern campus to volunteer!)

Next Steps

  1. Establish a new Common Knowledge Group for Libraries Information Technologists. We need to draft a charter and establish the initial principles of group. Status: in progress, being led by Rosalie Lack, CDL
  2. Help articulate the need for more resources (staff, knowledge, skills, funding) that would allow libraries better support data and researchers creating/managing data. Status: database of skills table is being filled out. Will help guide discussions about library resources across the UC.
  3. Build up a database of UC libraries technologists; help share expertise and skills. Status: table being filled out. Will be moved to GitHub wiki once completed.
  4. Establish a collaborative space for us to share war stories, questions, concerns, approaches to problems, etc. Status: GitHub Organization created. Those interested should join by emailing us at uc3@ucop.edu with their GitHub username.
  5. Have more Code Camp style events, and rotate locations between campuses and regions (e.g., North versus South). Status: can plan these via GitHub organization + listserv
  6. Keep UC Code Camp conversations going, drilling down into some specific topics via virtual conferencing. Status: can plan these via GitHub organization + listserv. Can create specific “teams” within the GitHub organization to help organize more specific groups within the organization.
  7. Develop teams of IT + librarians to help facilitate outreach and education on campuses.
  8. Have CDL visit campuses more often to run informational sessions.
  9. Have space for sharing outreach and education materials around data management, tools and services available, etc. Status: can use GitHub organization or …?

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