Locating the library at Mozfest 2014

The annual Mozilla conference (aka Mozfest) covers a wide range of topics and many that are very relevant to information professionals, including many on the ‘Build and Teach the Web’ track and others from across the other 11 tracks that formed the 3-day event. The Librarian-run courses tended to be on the Science Track because.. umm… library science.

Mozilla has been doing a lot of work on web literacy in the past few years, much of which revolves around their range of WebMaker tools and the development of the Web Literacy Map.

Many sessions focused on developing reusable resources to teach web literacy skills. The Girls in Tech Teaching Kit session was led by Kim Wilkins (TechGirls) and continued development on a teaching kit that was developed at last year’s conference. Particpants were able to share their own stories of getting started in tech via the Hello World programme.

There was also a lot of work around the next release of the web curriculum over the weekend. The Web Literacy Map 2.0: community survey is one way you can feed into the development of the next version of the Web Literacy Map.

The people behind the great Mozilla-powered MOOC platform, P2PU, have put together a reusable ‘Course in a box’ using Github, Jekyll and Discourse that was demonstrated during the ‘Build Your Very Own Open Course’ session.
There’s a course that walks you through what you need to learn to build your own course (which is both helpful and brilliantly meta) so it’s easy to find your way even if you’re new to these tools.There’s also a support commmunity you can access at: community.p2pu.org.

Technology Volunteers, at the University of Warwick, do outreach sessions to teach kids (as well as parents and teachers) how to create their own sensors using Scratch and Arduino. They do some great stuff. (seriously, check out all work their doing. All of their tutorials are available).

Next, was the ‘Hacking the hack the library’ session organised by David Riordan (@riordan), Aurelia Moser (@auremoser) and Jennie Rose Halperin (@little_wow). The workshop was a chance to contribute to a draft curriculumn that can be adopted and remixed by libraries and so a lot of the discussion was around resources and teaching approaches for technical skills, particularly coding.

The notes for the session, with a great list of education resources for learning (or teaching) coding skills, are available and you can see the curriculum in development on Github: https://github.com/mozillascience/training_for_libraries

There were lots of different aspects to the discussion in this session, including the important role of mentors for people getting started and different approaches that we’d experienced or used ourselves that might apply. Some of the examples of existing models given were the Maptime community, Mashed Library events and also a training programme in place at the British Library (some additional details for which have now been shared on the Software Carpentry site).

Mozfest 2014 photo

On day two, Fiona Tweedie, from the University of Melbourne demonstrated some of the work The Research Bazaar folks are doing with the Python Natural Language Toolkit in her session ‘Text as Data: data carpentry for Humanities and Social Sciences’. The session was a chance to test drive new course materials for teaching NLTK for use in the humanities

You can also see the course materials that are being developed on github: https://github.com/resbaz/lessons/

There was a GLAM workshop held throughout Sunday, Mozilla GLAM rockers, Not your momma’s galleries, libraries, archives, and museums! that have also shared their notes.

Penguin publishing were in attendance over the weekend introducing their Your Fry project. This is a chance for users to remix content from Stephen Fry’s last two books to develop new takes on the text and Penguin are holding various Your Fry events around the world.

This is just a small fraction of the sessions that happened during Mozfest and as other write-ups start to appear we will add the links here to try and create as comprehensive a picture of the event as possible. But if you’re interested in finding out more about the intersection between Mozilla and libraries, #mozlib is a good place to start.