Author Archives: Mark Eaton

Highlighting new books for faculty

This post is co-written with Julia Furay. Thanks to the dedicated work of our acquisitions librarian, Prof. Julia Furay, the Kingsborough library buys a lot of interesting books throughout the academic year. Typically, these are displayed on the New Books shelf for about a week before they find their permanent homes upstairs in the library […]

Posted in Excel, new books, python | Leave a comment

Teaching librarians to build Twitter bots

Robin Davis (@robincamille) and I are running a Twitter bot-making workshop next week at ALA Annual in New Orleans. We’ve run this workshop a couple of times before, and it’s always been a positive experience. It’s a great way to introduce people to Python while building something fun. Right now, I’m in the midst of […]

Posted in bots, twitter, workshop | Comments closed

Mapping libraries and archives on Mastodon

I’ve enjoyed being on Mastodon for the past year. It reminds me of how Twitter was in the early days. But Mastodon’s decentralized structure means that I find it hard to wrap my head around the entirety of the fediverse. For better or worse, I only see the parts that are adjacent to my instance. […]

Posted in api, archives, libraries, mastodon | Comments closed

The fictograph

APIs are useful for librarians. There are many things we can do with API data to benefit our libraries. But we don’t have to only make practical tools; we can also make things that are a bit silly. For example, I made a tool I’ve called the Fictograph, which lets you plot the awesomeness of […]

Posted in api, goodreads | Comments closed

A reason to like broken Python

Python developers often want their code to be “Pythonic”, usually meaning that they want what they write to be particularly suited to the idiom of the language. To the beginner, this usually seems like an obviously good idea, but so vague as to be hard to put into practice. To be honest, I often opt […]

Posted in language, python | Comments closed

Other ways forward

Learning new technologies is empowering in a very immediate way, but moving the needle with technology over time requires constant learning. However, I’m not a fan of the metaphor of “keeping up”; it makes me a bit uncomfortable. I’m less interested in the growth of technology, and more interested in growing as a learner. It’s […]

Posted in learning | Comments closed

In praise of tech meetups

I’ve said before that communities of people matter in programming. But of course that’s not the only factor worth considering. Having the place and time to code is essential too. For those of us who aren’t professional developers, those hours are often hard to find in our rather full schedules. That’s one reason why I […]

Posted in learning, meetup | Comments closed

On indexing

Before working at CUNY, I occasionally made back-of-the-book indexes for books in religious studies, anthropology and gender studies. Indexing is fun, though very time-consuming work. It doesn’t make much money, but it’s gratifying and interesting. I feel that indexing is a field with a lot of potential. Building conceptual maps of book-length texts is, in […]

Posted in indexing, open source | Comments closed

Building usability testing tools

My colleague Carlos and I have been doing some usability testing recently, and have built some of our own tools to make it happen. We created a testing interface using JavaScript, which has largely been a success. Our interface gives students tasks to complete, and workspaces to complete them. Reassuringly, students participating in our study […]

Posted in javascript, python, usability | Comments closed

Programming language matters

While it is probably true that you can learn to code in any programming language, lately I’ve felt that language choice is nonetheless important. The languages we learn affect the kind of work we end up doing a bit further down the road. I’ve recently begun to notice how leaning to code in Python has […]

Posted in language, python | Comments closed
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