A Note from Paul Jones: Year of ibiblio past

This year in October, appropriately at Halloween, ibiblio/sunsite/metalab entered our 18th year. Who would have thought? No one of course but let’s revisit only the past 12 months quickly.

To quickly cite some major accomplishments that you may have missed:

We were cosponsored, with NCSU’s Institute for Advanced Analytics, the International World Wide Web Conference held in Raleigh in the spring (I was co-chair with Michael Rappa of NCSU). This is the official Tim Berners-Lee/W3C sponsored web conference, which drew over 1,500 participants from all over the world. I was able to put together underwriting by 8 different UNC units (Provost Office, Vice Chancellor for Research, two Senior Associate Deans of Arts and Science, Computer Science, Public Health, and Journalism and Mass Communication with logistics support from SILS) and even better to repay the underwriters. This past in part thanks to the great work of Janna Anderson of Elon who ran a new “FutureWeb” section offered at a reduced rate. We even finished with a small but important to ibiblio profit.

This fall I was awarded an IBM Faculty Research Grant which will be used to help develop our BitTorrent/Osprey site with an eye toward the sharing of virtual machine images for cloud computing.

We also partnered with Simpson Garfinkel of the Naval Postgraduate School and Cal Lee of SILS on an NSF grant to use BitTorrent/Osprey to share large disks images to be used in the teaching and learning of computer forensics.

We partnered with ITS on a grant of a disk array from Netapp. We’ll be using that disk array as we transition our hosting from MCNC to campus (more on that below).

We received a very important gift of $50,000 from the Beal Fund of the Triangle Community Foundation on behalf of Lulu.com. Thanks, Bob.

New SILS Dean Gary Marchionini has put together a coalition to underwrite ibiblio’s cost of operations for the next three years by bringing together commitments from the Provost Office, the University Libraries, ITS and SILS. This doesn’t cover all of our needs but it does mean that basic costs to continue are now insured.

We have had quite a change of staff. In many ways, this isn’t unusual since most of our staff are students—and if we all do right they graduate and move on. Our student ibiblians are really important to us. Many stay on for several years and carry a lot of our operations responsibilities, but we can pretty much plan on their growing and graduating.

But this year began with one of our sysadmins, Ken Chestnutt, leaving to take another job and as quickly as he left, his position, which was supported by campus IT (aka ITS), was eliminated due to budget cuts. Donald Sizemore continued as the lone full time sysadmin until late spring when he left to join the School of Journalism. Luckily, we had a very strong recruitment pool for Don’s former position. From that strong pool, we selected John Reuning, who began work with us as a student then later as a full time employee before going to work off-campus.

One of John’s largest responsibilities is to oversee the move of the ibiblio services from MCNC to UNC campus. This move once accomplished will yield not only a savings of $3400/month in hosting charges, but will put all of our services on new equipment and in a more manageable virtualized environment. Working with ITS staff, our goal is to set a standard in more modern operations of virtual datacenters for the campus as well as to continue to serve our ibiblio users and contributors and to train students.

And do take a look at the new ibiblio home page which the ibiblians of this fall cooked up. It’s more dynamic and cleaner in look and feel.

Besides the IWWW Conference, ibiblio and myself have done a lot of media and outreach work in the past year including public radio, panels on net neutrality and even giving a class on the short stories of Raymond Carver at the NC School of Science and Math (see my vitae for details).

But no one I know personally has had as nice a coverage and mentions for their good work than newly-Doctor-ed Fred Stutzman. Fred not only completed the SILS PhD program being hooded this month, but his programs Freedom and Anti-Social seem to have been in every major publication as a lifesaver for writers. Any software endorsed by Nick Hornby and Nora Ephron is good by me.

Thanks to you all for making 2010 a great year at ibiblio


P.S. It’s not too late to send a contribution to help us help you.