On Feb 23, 2006, at 5:03 PM, Raymond Yee wrote:

>   * Do you perceive a need for mechanisms beyond what we already
> have for the code4lib community for learning/teaching each other or
> those outside the community?

Yes! The code4lib community as it exists is great for people who
already have a hacker mentality, (i.e. aren't afraid to try new
things, and already have enough context and infrastructure to be able
to jump in) but it isn't really approachable for newbie accidental-
geek types, or people who want to pick up skills but aren't sure how.
I think that this kind of education could fill a critical need in
many libraries. I hear so often from people who want to go open
source, but can't hire new staff and can't find ways to train their
existing staff in open source, so they end up going with pay-ware
simply because the company can offer training.

>   * What mechanisms might we employ?  The workshop model came to
> many people's minds.  What do you think of the workshop model?
> What other mechanisms might work?

I think the workshop model works very well for some things, but we
also might want to think about online tutorials, or some kind of
hybrid. IRC taught hands-on workshops, maybe?

>   * What specifically would you like to learn from this community?
> What would you like to teach?   Who would you like to teach a
> course/lead a workshop and on what topics?

I would like to see a course about designing XML/XSL applications -
something that goes beyond the intro to XSL tutorials that are out
there. What does an XSL based application look like? What are some
approaches to handling huge files? What are some ways to manage data?
What are your indexing and searching options? Personally, I'd like to
see it taught using cocoon. And, as long as I'm daydreaming, I'd like
to see it taught by Peter Binkley, although I suspect he is too busy
to do such a thing.

I would be interested in teaching a very introductory cocoon class,
and this is something I am already starting to develop for my home

>   * What are organizational frameworks we can already work within
> to make "code4lib as a school" as bureaucratically lightweight as
> possible w/o too many downsides?

Well, the code4lib conference is an obvious partner, as is the Access
conference. You could have a pre- or post- conference workshop. In
the past I've also attended summer institutes like those hosted by
the Electronic Text Center at the University of New Brunswick (http://  These would all mean travel,
though, which isn't an option for everyone.

The traveling trainer is an other option -- if someone develops a
course, they can fly to a place where a group of people want to take
it. It costs less to fly one person that a whole group.

I also like the idea of hooking into #code4lib and having kind of a
seminar. People interested in a topic could agree to meet in
#code4lib-classroom or something and either follow along with a
tutorial together, or else do something more free-form where they can
ask questions and engage with each other. This would eliminate travel
costs, and everyone can work in their own environments (yay! no one
will make me use a windows machine like they usually do in workshops!)

I'm very interested to hear what other people propose, too.

Bess Sadler

Elizabeth (Bess) Sadler
Metadata Specialist for User Projects

Digital Research and Instructional Services (DRIS)
Box 400129
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University of Virginia
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