Author Archives: Mark Eaton

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 | Leave a comment

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

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 […]

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I made my own altmetric

I’m waiting for one of my colleagues to lend me some books on bibliometrics. However, in the meantime, in my naïveté, I have created a metric[1]. My metric is not a terribly good one, though perhaps it is no worse than some other well-established ones. While it somewhat defensibly measures reach and productivity, my metric […]

Posted in git, metrics | Comments closed

DIY Twitter analytics

Our library uses Twitter (@kbcclibrary) to communicate with our students and faculty. Along with our tweeting, we rely on metrics to keep tabs on our Twitter presence. We get these metrics exclusively from free tools: the native Twitter Analytics page, but also third party analytics sites like Tweetstats and the free version of (the unfortunately […]

Posted in twitter, visualization | Comments closed

On trying (and failing) to learn shell scripting

I tried to lean shell scripting in the summer of 2000. It seemed doable: isn’t it basically executing a bunch of shell commands in a row? I got some books, which I read half-heartedly, tried a few things, and then gave up. Shell scripting, which I had hoped would be the easiest entrée into programming, […]

Posted in ksh, shell | Comments closed

Visualizing library data

Using Twarc-Report, a tool made by Peter Binkley at the University of Alberta Libraries, I made some visualizations of our library’s archive of twitter data. Here’s one of them: This shows how the hashtags in various tweets about Kingsborough are related. You can see the full interactive version of that visualization here. Neat, right? Twarc-Report […]

Posted in d3, twarc, visualization | Comments closed
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