Author Archives: Mark Eaton

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 […]

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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 […]

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Making an annotation tool at CodexHack

I spent last weekend at CODEX Hackathon working on a tool called LitRen. LitRen is meant to make ebooks editable and annotatable. The idea behind this project was that editable ebooks would help people who write fan fiction: fanfic authors could insert their ideas and stories into ebooks, or even modify the existing text as […]

Posted in ebooks, hackathon | Comments closed

Archiving with TCAT

For quite some time now, our library has been archiving tweets about our college using twarc. This has been fine, so I hadn’t really dug any deeper into the world of archiving bots until earlier this week when my colleague Shawna Brandle approached me about using TCAT, the Twitter Capture and Analysis Toolset. TCAT has […]

Posted in archives, tcat, twarc, twitter | Comments closed

Integrating open source projects in our library

Recently, our library was considering adopting Augur, a CUNY-made open source reference desk transaction tracking program. It’s a nice program that fills a very specific niche function. We tested Augur at our library for a couple of weeks. Yet despite its niftyness, we didn’t implement it at Kingsborough. This was mainly because it added an […]

Posted in open source | Comments closed
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