AALL Spectrum

AALL Spectrum / January/February 2018 / Volume 22, Number 3

AALL Spectrum / Published by American Association of Law Libraries

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46 AALL SPECTRUM | WWW.AALLNET.ORG metadata will nd those skills useful for creating data models and formats required for many web development projects. ose who are accustomed to helping patrons use web resources may nd this experience helpful when faced with basic interface design decisions. Identifying these existing skills may bring to light projects where a relatively small investment in new technical abilities can amplify the existing capabilities of library sta. For most of us, it is neither realistic nor desirable to attempt to add the skills of full-time web developers to the already extensive competencies expected of professional librarians. Instead, it makes sense to focus on developing technological skills in areas that complement the existing skills and interests of library sta, and that address genuine needs for the library and its users. Narrowing the scope of what needs to be learned right away—moving away from "I want to learn JavaScript" and toward "I want to learn JavaScript to solve this specic problem"—provides a quick return for the library while also helping sta identify specic code and patterns that are helpful in their context. Libraries, Codes, and the Future JavaScript, jQuery, and JSON have become essential building blocks of the web, and an understanding of what they are and how they are used may be helpful for achieving the high level of technical and information literacy to which librarians aspire. Additionally, they are mature technologies that are relatively accessible to novice coders due to the large amount of open source code, documentation, and advice available on the open web. Beyond any specic technologies, law libraries may benet from embracing a culture in which sta are encouraged to invest in foundational technological skills. While many law libraries embrace new technology, there can sometimes be more emphasis on learning consumer-level tools, in the form of new vendor products and features, and not enough emphasis on the type of fundamental skills that can be re-used project aer project. While this article has focused on JavaScript and related foundational technologies of today's web, the same argument could be made for time spent master- ing other powerful and possibly more accessible tools like spreadsheet formulas or regular expressions. Other scripting languages, such as Python, which is popular among librarians who work with metadata, may prove a better investment in a less web- oriented context. e possible uses for these mature, stable technologies are everywhere, but it takes a willingness to invest sta time to nd and identify these opportunities. ¢ In CSS, selectors indicate which elements on the page a given style applies to. In jQuery, CSS selectors can be used to further manipulate those items. CSS selectors are based on simple patterns, but the patterns can be combined in order to create more complex selec- tors. There are many types of CSS selectors; the following table shows four examples. AALL2go EXTRAS Watch the 2015 AALL Annual Meeting program "So You Want to Be a Web Services Librarian?" at bit.ly/AM15Web. Watch the 2015 AALL Annual Meeting program "Enough to Be Dangerous: 00000110 Things Every Librarian Needs to Know About Coding," at bit.ly/AM15Coding. NICK SZYDLOWSKI DIGITAL INITIATIVES & SCHOLARLY COMMUNICATIONS LIBRARIAN Boston College Law Library Newton, MA nick.szydlowski@bc.edu © 2018 BY NICK SZYDLOWSKI TYPE OF SELECTOR EXAMPLE EXPLANATION Element h3 Selects all

elements (level three headers) on the page. Class .headline Selects all elements with the class "headline." ID #footer Selects the element with the ID "footer." nth-child :nth-child(1) Selects any element which is the first child of its parent element. CSS SELECTORS The CSS selector h3.headline:nth-child(1) would select all

elements with the class "head- line" that are the first child of their parent element. This is what that element might look like in a page:
This is the Headline Text

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