Month: July 2018

Gathering Publicly Available Information with an API

by Keno Catabay and Rachel Smart

This is a post for anyone who is interested in utilizing web APIs to gather content or simply have questions about how to begin interacting with web APIs. Keno Catabay and myself, Rachel Smart, both work in the Office of Digital Research and Scholarship on various content gathering related projects. Keno was our Graduate Assistant since Fall 2017, pursuing data and digital pedagogy interests as well as teaching python workshops. I am the manager of the Research Repository, DigiNole, and am responsible for content recruitment, gathering, and management and all the offshoot projects.

Earlier this summer, we embarked on a project to assist FSU’s Office of Commercialization to archive approved patent documents that university affiliated researchers have filed with United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) since the 80s. These patents are to be uploaded into DigiNole, our institutional repository, increasing their discoverability, given that the USPTO Patent Full-text and Image Database(PatFT) is difficult to navigate and DigiNole is indexed by Google Scholar.

This project was accomplished, in part, using the Patent-Harvest software developed by Virginia Tech libraries. The software contains a Java script that retrieves metadata and PDF files of the patent objects from PatFT through the new API the USPTO is developing for their database, currently in its beta stage. While the Virginia Tech Patent-Harvest was an excellent starting point–thank you, VTech!–we decided that communicating directly with the USPTO API would be more beneficial for our project long-term, as we could manipulate the metadata more freely. Although, currently we rely on the VTech script to retrieve the pdf files.

If you are harvesting data from an API, you will have to familiarize yourself with the site’s unique API query language. The USPTO API query language can be found here:  API Query Language. We also had to make sure we were communicating with the correct endpoint, a URL that represents the objects we were looking to harvest. In our case, we were querying the Patents Endpoint.

Communicating with the API can be difficult for the uninitiated. For someone with a cursory understanding of IT and coding, you may run into roadblocks, specifically while attempting to communicate with the API directly from the command line/terminal of your computer. There are two main HTTP requests you can make to the server: GET requests and POST requests. GET HTTP requests appear to be the preferred standard, unless the parameters of your request exceed 2,000 characters in which case you would make a POST request.

Image of Postman's interface during a query

Snapshot of Postman’s interface during a query

Keno chose to use Postman, a free software, to send the HTTP requests without having to download packages from the command line. Depending on how much traffic is on the server, Postman is able to harvest the metadata in a few minutes for us.

Instructions for writing the parameters, or the data that we wanted from USPTO, is clearly provided by the API Query Language site, patentsview.org. In our case, we wanted our metadata to have specific fields, which are listed in the following GET request.

GET http://www.patentsview.org/api/patents/query?q={“assignee_organization”:”Florida State University Research Foundation, Inc”}&f=[“patent_number”,”patent_date”, “patent_num_cited_by_us_patents”, “app_date”, “patent_title”, “inventor_first_name”, “inventor_last_name”, “patent_abstract”, “patent_type”, “inventor_id”,”assignee_id”]&o={“per_page”:350}

Note that the request defaults to 25 results, so o={“per_page”:350} was inserted in the parameters as we expected around 200 returned results from that particular assignee.

USPTO returns the data in JSON format, which is written in an easy-to-read, key/value pair format. However, this data needs to be transformed into the xml MODS metadata format in order for the patent objects (paired metadata and pdf files) to be deposited into the research repository. A php script already being used to transform metadata for the repository was re-purposed for this transformation task, but significant changes needed to be made. When the debugging process is completed, the php script is executed through the command line with the json file as an argument, and 465 new well-formed, valid MODS records are born!

This is a screenshot of the JSON to MODS php script

Snippet of the JSON to MODS transformation script

This project took about three weeks to complete. For those curious about what kinds of inventions researchers at FSU are patenting, the collection housing these patents can be found here in the Florida State University Patent collection. The frequency at which this collection will be updated with new patents is still undecided, but currently we intend to run the script twice a year to net the recently approved patents.

GUEST BLOG: Gaining work experience in Strozier.

Margaret Bell, undergraduate student and data analyst for FSU Libraries, provided insight into her experience working in data assessment.

Screen Shot 2018-07-27 at 2.22.10 PM.png

Margaret Bell, Bottom Left

As a senior undergraduate student at Florida State University, I’ve become very aware of the different opportunities to be pursued on both on and off campus. This awareness, however, took me years to develop – and had I not had a job on campus, I’m sure it would have taken a lot longer. With so many people to compete with for on-campus jobs, I remember being afraid that I would graduate with zero professional experience to put on my résumé – something that seemed a little too risky especially when considering that I had no idea of what I wanted to do post graduation. Although I’m still unsure of my path at this time, I was fortunate enough to secure a position in Strozier’s assessment department by the end of my sophomore year. Members of the assessment department are responsible for collecting and analyzing data related to FSU libraries (among many other things), so as a double-major in Psychology and Editing, Writing & Media, I certainly hadn’t foreseen “Data Analyst” being my first job title.

After a period of training and adjusting to my schedule, I quickly came to see the benefits of working in Strozier. This job has been an opportunity to learn more about the resources that FSU Libraries offers students, faculty, and staff. Not just offering a physical space for learning and studying, the libraries have also compiled an invaluable online source full of useful information. Working in assessment and having to update the assessment Facts & Figures page has allowed me plenty of time to become very familiar with the Libraries’ website – something I recommend that all students do.

As this was my first time having a regular part-time job, I came in with a few worries; mostly that I would have a difficult time juggling work with classes and other extracurriculars. However, I was pleased to discover an emphasis on school coming first. This allowed me to comfortably work around my other responsibilities while also being able to supplement my FSU experience with exposure to working in a professional environment. For that reason plus the availability of many different job positions, I would absolutely advise job-seeking students to consider working for FSU Libraries.

Enrichment related to my academic and professionally-related experience aside, working in the library has added so much to my time at FSU just in terms of the wonderful people I’ve met. The assessment team – including my amazing boss Kirsten Kinsley, mentor Elizabeth Yuu (a recent graduate with a Master’s in Biostatistics who also happens to be my idol), and awesome undergraduate peers Rachael Straley and Jake Tompkins – have made the latter half of my college experience better than I ever could’ve asked for. So if there’s one thing I’d recommend to future students, it’s to not take the library for granted.

Ever wonder how many people visit Strozier and Dirac?

 

37627868222_f92fb68e74_k.jpg

Long lines at Starbucks, lines backed up at the turnstiles and the constant search to find the best study spots. Sound familiar? FSU Libraries are one of the most visited places on campus and for good reason! We offer numerous services to help both students and faculty succeed including everything from free tutoring, equipment checkout, 3d printing, digital research scholarship, and not to mention over 2 million items in our collections. Ever wonder exactly how many people pass through our doors each semester?

24143649227_00e5ad5f74_k.jpg

When we examine how many student, faculty, staff, or guests have visited either Strozier or Dirac Science Libraries or both, we calculate a total of 37,499 unique visitors for the fall 2017. More of the unique visits tend to be those who visit Strozier or both Dirac and Strozier at least once during the semester.  The “both” in the following Venn diagram, means those individuals who went to both libraries at least once during fall 2017 (18,014).

 

strozdirac.jpg

 

Strozier & Dirac – A destination for students on the main FSU campus

In the fall 2017, of the total student body of 41,900 students, 42% visited Dirac Science Library and 66% visited Strozier at least once. Of these unique visits, 17,824 were students visiting Dirac and 27,682 setting foot into Strozier. 83% of the unique visits in Dirac were students and 81% of the unique visits were students in Strozier. 37964918135_a26a826a1b_k.jpg

FSU names new dean of University Libraries

Florida State University has named Gale S. Etschmaier as dean of University Libraries, effective Sept. 7.

Etschmaier has served as the dean of library and information access at San Diego State University since 2011.

“Florida State is pleased to welcome Gale Etschmaier as our next dean of libraries,” said Sally McRorie, provost and executive vice president for Academic Affairs. “Our extensive library operations are critical to student and faculty success at every level and in every program. Dean Etschmaier’s proven record of innovative leadership will help keep our academic progress toward the Top 25 on track.”

Etschmaier succeeds Julia Zimmerman, who concluded her 11-year tenure as dean June 30.

As dean, Etschmaier will be responsible for the visionary leadership and overall administration of University Libraries, including oversight of nearly 140 employees and an annual operating budget of more than $18 million. The university’s collections total more than 3 million volumes, with a website offering access to nearly 900 databases, 86,500 e-journals and more than a million e-books.

“I’m excited to join the University Libraries and participate in achieving the university’s strategic goals,” Etschmaier said. “Florida State University’s libraries have attained a record of distinction, and I welcome the opportunity to work with an exceptional group of faculty and staff to build on the existing excellence and chart a course for the libraries in the digital age.”

At San Diego State, Etschmaier provided leadership for the library and the university’s student computer hub with more than 700 computers. She oversaw 80 faculty and staff, 100 student assistants and a budget of approximately $12 million.

Prior to her tenure at San Diego State, Etschmaier spent a decade as associate university librarian for public service at George Washington University in Washington, D.C. During that time, she held interim appointments as the acting associate university librarian for collection development and acting associate university librarian for library information technology. Etschmaier also served as head of George Washington’s Document Delivery Services Department from 1995-2000.

Etschmaier earned a Bachelor of Arts in music from State University of New York Stony Brook and a Master of Library Science from SUNY Albany. She received a doctoral degree in education from the University of Pennsylvania in 2010.

Storbeck/Pimentel & Associates conducted the national search, and College of Arts and Sciences Dean Sam Huckaba chaired the 13-member search committee.

BY: AMY FARNUM-PATRONIS | PUBLISHED:  |  2:31 PM | 

FSU Libraries welcomes first cohort of Diversity Resident Librarian Program

Florida State University Libraries welcomes its first cohort of the university’s new Diversity Resident Librarian Program, which aims to increase the number of qualified academic librarians from members of traditionally underrepresented groups.

In alignment with Florida State’s strategic plan, the goals of the program are attaining more diversity of thought in program development and libraries practices and increasing agility in serving diverse student and faculty populations.

“We were looking for early career librarians who could offer us unique perspectives while we provide them with opportunities and assignments that will help them hone their skills in academic librarianship,” said Susannah Miller, interim dean of FSU Libraries and associate dean of administration.

During their three-year appointments, the four resident librarians will have the opportunity to develop competencies and skills in the areas of higher education librarianship. The program will concentrate on providing services to students and faculty, libraries operations including acquisition and collection management, special collections, and areas of strategic focus such as technology and digital scholarship.

“We hope that this program will open up opportunities for residents to begin long-term careers as academic librarians,” said Bridgett Birmingham, FSU’s diversity and inclusion librarian. “We are doing our part here at FSU Libraries to make sure that our academic libraries better reflect the diverse communities that we serve.”

The cohort also will engage in libraries practices, including faculty assembly activities, professional development, work teams and management meetings.

Each resident will be placed in a functional area where they will further hone their skills. Experienced librarians will provide mentorship and guidance to the residents specific to their needs and skill levels, and the residents will work with members of senior management on career-focused individual development plans.

Meet the residents:

 

Theresa Arias

Arias completed her Master of Library and Information Science degree at the University of Washington, and she will complete a Master of Arts in History with an Archival Administration Certificate from the University of Texas at Arlington this summer. Arias’ professional and research interests include information literacy, especially in underserved populations, and diversity and inclusion in collection development in archives and academic libraries.

 

 

Michael Mohkamkar

Mohkamkar is a graduate of the University of North Texas with a Master of Science inLibrary Science and Master of Arts in Linguistics. Before coming to FSU, he worked at the Dallas Public Libraries. His research interests include library usage by international and other minority student groups and working to promote accessibility of academic library materials.

 

 

 

Mallary Rawls

Rawls comes from the LeRoy Collins Main Library in Tallahassee, where she served as a Youth Services Information Professional for two years. She completed her Bachelor of Arts degree in interdisciplinary humanities and earned her Master of Library & Information Science, both from FSU. Her research interest includes information literacy, open access resources and increasing diversity and inclusion in academic libraries and research.

 

 

 

Dave Rodriguez

Before coming to FSU Libraries, Rodriguez spent nearly a decade working in film and audiovisual media preservation and exhibition. After graduating from New College of Florida (‘09), he earned an MA in film and media studies from the University of Florida (‘11), where he first began working with media collections. Rodriguez went on to attend The L. Jeffrey Selznick School of Film Preservation at George Eastman Museum, where he later served as an instructor and chief projectionist of the Motion Picture Department. He managed the archive at The Center for Moving Image Arts at Bard College before returning to his hometown of Miami in 2015. There, Rodriguez worked as an archival film projectionist in arthouse cinemas, as a technician at Continental Film & Digital Laboratory and in Special Collections at University of Miami Libraries. His research interests include digital stewardship, media archaeology, media art preservation and developing open educational resources and outreach in these areas.

To learn more about the Diversity Resident Librarian Program, contact Bridgett Birmingham at bbirmingham@fsu.edu.