Captioning at the movie theater

This week I learned more about how captions work at the movie theater. I went to a Regal cinema and saw the new Ghostbusters (2016) movie.

The captions at the theater aren’t projected on the screen, where everyone would be able to see them, and possibly be distracted by them. (The exception, of course, is for foreign language films that have been subtitled – though subtitles typically don’t describe other audio effects and music, while captions for the deaf and hard of hearing will contain descriptions of important sounds). Theaters that offer captions typically have special equipment available to support this feature.

Update 2016-08-15: The DC Deaf Moviegoers group has informed me that words on the screen are also an option.

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Web Scraping for Open Data Week – 2014 Virginia Tech Salaries

This week Virginia Tech libraries are celebrating dissemination and free use of data with Open Data Week. As part of Open Data Week, Philip Young, curator of the Open@VT blog, worked with Code for New River Valley – a volunteer organization of software developers – to create technology focused sections about web scraping and APIs.

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Speculation: Library Mobile Development Lab

Last year I started speculating about a library mobile development lab at Virginia Tech, but I never fully developed the idea. Now happens to be a good time to communicate this idea to some of my colleagues in the library, and at other libraries, so I’m publishing some of my thoughts and will continue to revise them as things happen.


According to an April 2015 report from the Pew Research Center, 64% of all adults, and 85% of adults between the ages of 18-29 own a smartphone.  In April 2014, analytics provider Flurry reported that the average U.S. consumer spent 2 hours and 42 minutes per day on a mobile device, including 2 hours and 19 minutes using apps.  Banks, retail outlets, and towns have joined other organizations in developing and releasing mobile applications.

The popularity of smartphones among the typical college-aged population has created a demand for high-quality, native smartphone apps that provide access to educational resources and library services.

The lack of a centralized campus authority to provide I.T. services beyond basic network infrastructure, security, and mass software licensing needs has created an opportunity for the library to develop its own innovative mobile applications.

In addition, the status of the new library as the center of campus collaboration will allow the library to take a leadership role in helping other educators at the university to create learning  technology tools that appeal to today’s device-wielding populace.

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Omeka Play Date: ColorCodeSyntaxHighlighting Plugin

Today Patrick Murray-John, Omeka Director of Developer Outreach, is visiting Virginia Tech and hosting Omeka technical sessions and play dates along with Amanda French.

I’ve had a desire to learn more about Omeka for a while, as a pathway to work on interesting digital humanities projects. Today I dug up an experimental hack project that I put together in September, the  ColorCodeSyntaxHighlighting plugin.

The ColorCodeSyntaxHighlighting Plugin for Omeka displays computer source code files inline on Omeka item pages, and performs color syntax highlighting similar to what you might find in your IDE.


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VTechWorks Video – an Apple TV app for our Institutional Repository

On Friday, October 30th, 2015, Apple released the 4th generation of its Apple TV product, a device that’s built to stream internet video to high-definition televisions. Perhaps the most interesting change in this iteration is that Apple opened up the product to app developers.

Virginia Tech Library has a collection of library event and university related videos, courtesy of the event capture group. Many of the videos are stored in VTechWorks, our institutional repository. This seemed like an obvious choice for a library related video app.

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Collaboration snapshot for Virginia Tech, ACRL 2013

I’ve been thinking about collaboration. I often prefer to work alone. It’s quieter and easier with my sensory issues, and for some types of projects the work is done sooner. These tend to be the projects where the work is complex enough for a group to feel justified in discussing options, but that are still simple enough that implementation doesn’t actually require a group.

I often work with my door closed, because for a time that was the only way that I could get anything done. I may have overdone things.

I drew a collaboration sketch of Virginia Tech presenters at ACRL 2013 using GraphViz.

A network diagram with maroon nodes depicting Virginia Tech involvement in ACRL 2013

Virginia Tech presenter collaboration, ACRL 2013

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