Another little quick comment, adding to the chorus of lurkers and people who aren't sure if they're coders.  Someday I hope to get to a code4lib conference (if only to tell people in person I knew Jonathan Rochkind way back when), but in the meantime I've been on this list on and off (but mostly on) since I graduated, and it's been nothing but a wonderful resource, and a place I know I can always turn for that time when I have a tech question.

But I wanted to point out a possible resource for those of us who aren't sure of what we know and who want to know more.  Coursera has been on my radar through multiple channels, but not yet on here.  It appears they do have some basic programming courses, as well as theory.  I'm curious to know if anyone has taken any of these, or has any thoughts on this method of learning...

Amy Donahue, MLIS, AHIP
User Education/Reference Librarian
Medical College of Wisconsin Libraries - Link. Learn. Lead.

-----Original Message-----
From: Code for Libraries [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Bess Sadler
Sent: Thursday, November 29, 2012 12:07 PM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: [CODE4LIB] What is a "coder"?

On Nov 29, 2012, at 6:13 AM, Christie Peterson <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

> If this were "training" in the sense of a seminar or a formal class on the exact same topics, I would be eligible for full funding, but since it's a "conference," it's funded at a significantly lower level. I'll gladly take suggestions anyone has for arguments about why attendance at these types of events is critical to successfully doing my work in a way that, say, attending ALA isn't -- and why, therefore, they should be supported at a higher funding rate than typical "library" conferences. Any non-coders successfully made this argument before?
> Cheers,
> Christie S. Peterson

Christie you are not the only person who can get travel funding for training but not for conferences, and you are not the only person on the fence about whether you belong in code4lib. In my mind you are exactly the kind of person I would like to attract to code4lib, so I very much hope you'll join us. Archives in particular are facing significant technological challenges right now, and as someone who has been known to develop software for born digital archives[1] I have seen how vital it is to have a common language and vocabulary, and a common way of approaching problem solving, in order to create a system that will actually work according to archival principles. 

One option to consider would be signing up for one of the pre-conferences. Given the background you've described and the challenges you face in your career, I think you could make a very strong argument that having a basic introduction to programming concepts would be helpful for you. Luckily there is a free full-day of training to be had the day before the conference starts! Please consider joining us at the RailsBridge and/or Blacklight workshops or at any of the other workshops that look interesting to you that you think you could pitch as training. 

Even outside of the code4lib context, I strongly encourage others who face those kinds of travel funding constraints to get creative. Some of the best learning opportunities of my life and the best pivotal moments in my career happened because members of this community decided there was an unmet need and they were going to do something about it. CurateCAMP springs to mind. The many regional code4lib meetings are in this category. And also: one time when a few code4lib folks were trying to get open source discovery projects off the ground we just decided to create an "Open Source Library Discovery Summit" in Philadelphia, declared ourselves invited speakers, and attended. And it was a very successful meeting and a very good use of university funds! 

Christie, if there is training or skills development that, if it were offered at code4lib, would do you some good, you are certainly not the only person who could benefit from it. I strongly encourage you to think about what training opportunities are missing in your corner of the library / archives world, and then have some conversations with members of this community about how we could provide that training together. I would love to hear your thoughts on the subject. 

Best wishes,

[1] Tell your funders you have to go to code4lib because hydra is the future of born digital archives and this is the conference where the developers hang out and you need to talk to them about strategic directions for their project so that it will address your problems. :D