Science Expo & Library Test Kitchen

Hi all! Here’s a quick update on what we’ve been up to this term:

Science Literacy Week Readers’ Advisory


The awesome folks at the Woodward Library hosted a Science Expo as part of their #scilit16 celebrations. We brought our Magic Mirror, which showcased a list of Great Science Reads contributed by UBC Faculty. Meanwhile, we filled the RAD with 100 Science Fiction and 100 Non-Fiction Science recommendations of our own.

Many thanks to Sally Taylor and the other event organizers for inviting us to participate!

Experimenting at “Library Test Kitchen”

Back in September, a faculty member passed on this article about a course called “Library Test Kitchen” at Simmons College. We decided to start up an informal, bi-weekly drop-in event of the same name. Our hope is that creating a regular space for experimentation and collaboration will encourage us and our fellow students get comfortable with technology outside of class. Here’s a sample of what people have been up to so far:

  • Collaborating with a community library as they migrate their Koha-based catalogue
  • Harvesting metadata from UBC’s Open Collections using its API
  • Talking about linked data while creating ontologies in Protégé
  • Coloring + eating snacks

Have something you want to learn or a tool you want to test drive? Let us know!

Sound interesting?

Test Kitchen #3 will be Tuesday, November 15 from 5-7pm. This time, we’ll be in the shiny new Pod Room, a mysterious glass box of a room that appeared in the corner of the SLAIS computer lab after a summer of renovations. Stop by to find out what the Pod Room is, what technological treasures it may hold, and what cool things we can make by our powers combined.


Mirror Mirror on the Wall…

Hello again, gentle readers. It’s been a while, but we’re finally back to tell you all about the Magic Mirror we made for the 2016 Vancouver Mini Maker Faire. Check it out! It’s us, but also a book recommendation!

humans reflected in magic mirror displaying book recommendation

Got questions? So did the people we met at VMMF! We’re working on a more detailed blog post about how we made our mirror, but for now, here are answers to some common questions.

Frequently Asked Questions:

What is it?

Why it’s a magical mirror, of course! But instead of caring about your appearance (you look great, by the way), it gives you a random book recommendation. (Also, the magic is Raspberry Pi and Javascript.)

How does it work?

What you see here is a piece of 2-way mirror atop a computer monitor. That monitor is hooked up to a Raspberry Pi running the original Magic Mirror code. We created an additional module, based on the existing Weather module, that calls up the Goodreads API to generate random book recommendations from our to-read shelf.

Can I make one?

Yes, absolutely! We’re working on a more detailed blog post about how we made our mirror. For now, though, we’d recommend starting with this Magic Mirror code and these great blog posts by the original Magic Mirror creator. You can also find our Goodreads module on GitHub.

How much did it cost?

With a Raspberry Pi already on hand, we spent about $150.

Does it recommend books based on my face?

No, but we’re flattered that you think we could implement that. We like your privacy, and we don’t think your face actually says that much about what you’d like to read. (Unless maybe you’ve got a Harry Potter tattoo on your forehead.)

What’s that animal?

ramIt’s a baby ram jumping on a book. A talented team member used her 8-bit gif skills to create it after we started calling our mirror “the RAM” (for “Readers Advisory Mirror”). We library folk love acronyms.


What’s next?

We’d love to make the mirror more interactive by adding a motion sensor. For now, we’ll be using it to showcase Faculty Great Reads at the UBC Library’s Science Expo on Sept 22nd. If you have other ideas, please send them our way!

Who would you like to thank?

Just kidding, no one asked us this. We’d like to express some gratitude anyway. Huge thanks to the people who made this project possible, including:

  • The staff, faculty, and our fellow students at SLAIS, who generously donated bake sale money and let set up camp in the Kitimat Lab;
  • Adam Brykajlo, programmer extraordinaire, who was instrumental in creating the Goodreads module;
  • Our BFFs Krista and Jay, who sacrificed their Saturday so that we could have snack breaks at Makerfaire; and
  • Matthew Murray, esteemed ASIS&T Alumni, who forwarded the Magic Mirror idea and generously donated his FreeGeek credit for the purchase of our monitor.

Raspberry Pi Construction!

So we bought a Raspberry Pi recently in order to make a rad RA fortune telling machine for the Vancouver Mini Maker Faire. This week a bunch of us got together in order to get everything working and installed, and hook it up to the rest of the machine.

It looks like this! It’s pretty tiny.

Installing stuff!

Stripping wires for the printer.

Screwing wires into another thing!

Stuff is happening! Wait, should this be happening?

Apparently not. We goofed up and had to reinstall the operating system.

This takes a long time. So…

We played Pirates of the Caribbean Life! It is really terrible and poorly made. But it was hilarious!

Meanwhile, Stephanie, Monica, and Eka (she took this photo) are actually doing work. Thankfully they fixed things.

We take the lid off the Pi (this took too long and too many people) and hooked up the printer. And things didn’t work.

Guess what! You have to plug in the HDMI cable for things to show up on screen. We forgot to do this multiple times. Grad school!

Oh my gosh! It’s working!!!!

Next time we’ll get our button to work, and get the software that will print the readers’ advisory information to print. Hurray!

Thanks to Eka, Stephanie, Monica, Anna, Krista/Eva, Irina, Robert, and me (Matthew).


Member vote in favor of name change to Association for Information Science & Technology

Dear All,

The voting process regarding the proposed name change of our association has now concluded, with 89.7% in favor of the change to Association for Information Science & Technology (ASIS&T). 

The Board will now work with Headquarters to implement the change.

Thanks to all members who voted! We look forward to continuing to work with you and on your behalf as we begin this new era for our association.

Best regards,

Diane Sonnenwald, Immediate Past President

Andrew Dillon, President

Harry Bruce, Incoming President

Linda A. Smith, President 2010-2011


A New Mailing List for ASIS&T@UBC

Dear all,

UBC is in the process of shutting down Interchange…well, they have been for quite some time.
We want to play it safe and are moving to a new mailing list.
You will receive individual invitations to the mailing list within the next 48 hours.

An overview of the ways we communicate with you:
1) Our blog: http://blogs.ubc.ca/asist/
2) Our Twitter account: http://twitter.com/asistubc
3) Our Wiki, mainly for Cool Tools Days: http://wiki.ubc.ca/ASIST
4) Our mailing list via a Google Group (replacing the Interchange mailing list): https://groups.google.com/forum/?fromgroups#!forum/asist-ubc

Meeting minutes, event announcements and other news will usually be posted on the blog and via the mailing list.
A brief summary and a link will be posted on Twitter.
For organizing Cool Tools Days, announcements will include a link to the content for the specific Cool Tools Days in our Wiki.
Everyone can, provided having a CWL account, can then add themselves as presenter for the Cool Tools Day.


ASIS&T Annual Meeting 2012: Call for Student Volunteers

ASIS&T 2012 Annual Meeting

October 26-30, 2012

Baltimore, MD

Respond by September 13, 2012


To help ASIS&T student members who might not otherwise be able to participate in ASIS&T meetings, we provide an opportunity to attend the sessions and network with other members in exchange for assisting us in running the meeting.  Students who have participated in our program have found the experience “terrific.”


How the Program Works:


In exchange for complimentary registration, we’ll ask you to help us run the conference.  You’ll serve as a room monitor for about three sessions each day for three days.  In addition, you’ll help out either at our registration desk or conference headquarters for a 4-hour period on one day of the conference. We’ve listed below the activities that you are expected to perform as part of the program.


1.             Monitoring Sessions

  We’ll solicit your choices of sessions, by time period, and try to schedule you into the sessions you prefer wherever possible.  Monitoring involves assisting the speakers and moderators, checking for name tags at the door, ensuring that the necessary AV equipment is on hand, encouraging participants to complete evaluation forms, and generally helping makes the session go smoothly. Volunteer will also be required to obtain copies of slides and presentation.

(Additionally, you will be expected to SMILE AND BE FRIENDLY!)


2.             Registration

  Registration assistance involves facilitating the registration process, keeping a record of registrants, handing out materials, etc. 


3.             Placement Center

  The Placement Center office is kept open throughout the meeting for the convenience of attendees and employers to network and interview.

How to Participate:


If you would like to be considered for, the 2012 Annual to be held October 26 – 30 in Baltimore, MD.  Please forward your name, address, phone, fax and e-mail numbers to:


American Society for Information Science & Technology

ATTN.: ASIS&T 2011 Annual Meeting

1320 Fenwick Lane, Suite 510

Silver Spring, MD 20910

FAX: (301) 495-0810

e-mail: saddo@asis.org


There are a limited number of positions  available, and applications are considered on a first come/first served basis, so be sure to let us know of your interest by September 13, 2012.





Stephan Addo

American Society for Info Science & Technology

Director of Membership & Meetings

1320 Fenwick Lane, Ste. 510

Silver Spring, MD 20910

PH: 301-495-0900 FAX: 301-495-0810




SIG DL’s Call for Proposals from Undergrads, Master’s, and Recent Grads for ASIST 2012

An opportunity we want to share with you:

“Digital Liaisons: Shifting Borders in Interdisciplinary Collaborations”


SUBMISSION DEADLINE: September 15, 2012
The Special Interest Group for Digital Libraries (SIG DL) of ASIS&T is seeking proposals for an Undergraduate, Master’s, and Recently Graduated Undergraduate and Master’s Students (May 2010 or later) student research program at the ASIS&T 2012 Annual Meeting in Baltimore Oct. 26‐30.

This session is intended to provide students with an opportunity to present their work during the main conference on
areas of interest relevant to information and knowledge management. The session will also serve as a social meeting
point to facilitate networking between students, faculty, and professionals. Note: students do not have to attend the
conference in order to qualify.
To accommodate students who cannot attend the conference, we are accepting pre-made
video presentations and mailed‐in posters. All abstracts, presentation media, and posters will be published on the
SIG DL website after the conference.

The full Call for Proposals is located here: http://www.asis.org/SIG/sigdl/cfp2012.html

SUBMISSION FORM: http://bit.ly/MnxxRj
ACCEPTANCE NOTIFICATION: by September 20, 2012


A prize of $300 will be given for the best paper and $150 for the best poster. A prize for honorable mention for one paper and one poster with a prize of $100 each will be awarded. Several $50 dollar runner-up prizes will also be awarded.

Email: asist.sigdl@gmail.com
Web: http://www.asis.org/SIG/sigdl/


InfoCamp Seattle 2012 — Save the Date!

From the Seattle InfoCamp ’12 Planning Team:

Save the Date!

Greetings, InfoCampers!

We’re happy to announce that planning for InfoCamp Seattle 2012 is underway and things are lookin’ GOOD. So mark your calendars for InfoCamp Seattle 2012!

When: October 13 & 14
Where: Mary Gates Hall, University of Washington

We’ll be gathering again at the University of Washington’s beautiful Seattle campus on October 13th and 14th. The Saturday opening festivities and keynote and Sunday plenary speaker will be in the Kane Hall auditorium. All other events, the sessions designed and led by you, our fearless InfoCampers, will happen in Mary Gates Hall (home of the UW’s Information School).

Come (re)experience our unique egalitarian format, in which the sessions are delivered by innovative, inspirational, and ingenious participants — YOU. As always, it will be you, the participant, talking amongst yourselves, driving the content of InfoCamp, and drinking massive quantities of coffee!

This year, to illustrate the nature of InfoCamp, we’re putting together a series of video shorts for your education and entertainment! The first one is posted — view it on our website or YouTube and check back for more episodes!!

For more information, check out http://seattle.infocamp.org

You’ll be hearing from us again when registration opens in August. See you all in a few short months!

– your Seattle InfoCamp ’12 Planning Team