Wednesday, November 17 2021

Workstation Software Updates

Some software irritants co-incided with the time to upgrade workstation software

Over the next little while, I plan to update this site with some of the learnings of the past couple of years when it has been fairly dormant. One of those aspects is how things have changed with regard to costs of setting up and running an archive. While I will deal with this is detail later, the key point here is that we run a series of little Raspberry Pi single board compluters as archive workstations.

These workstations are tightly linked, though wirelessly connected, to the archive server and associated network.  Recent activity has shown a few irritants, rather than shortcomings, in the configuration of the workstations.  Among these were sound being hit and miss, and occasional speed variations that were causing trainee archivists to fear they'd done something wrong, an unfortunate outcome.

I decided to allocate some time to resolving these issues, but as I did so, it was announced that the latest version of the Raspberry Pi OS, codenamed Bullseye, had been released.  Now it should be possible to upgrade the workstations, and indeed, I did give it a go.  I had forgotten how slow it is to do an upgrade in this way. For other reasons, the Raspberry Pi foundation recommend a new build, rather than an upgrade.  But all the close integration customisation on the workstations woudl have to be re-done.

It turned out that this was actually the better way of doing this. The customisations were fairly well documented and easy to re-implement. While I was about it, Ii looked at the possibility of using a different operating system (thought still Linux based) for the workstations. This was partly to alllow archivists a more familar look to their desktops, and partly to provide a potentially richer feature set.  Also, other Linux distibutions are available as 64-bit versions, squeezing more out of the little raspberry Pis, whie the Raspberry Pi OS 64 bit version is not yet on general availability.  Eventually I decided to stay with the Rspberry Pi OS and resolve the irritants.  In fact, the upgrade di that for me, and so it was a worth while investment of time.

In general, I would expect to have to spend time on each workstation at intervals of a year or so, other than occasional updates. Also in general, one would do a full upgrade every two years. But as these workstations are now being used to a greater extent, we were able to fold in some of the practical aspects practice has thrown up.

Longer term web site archiving

A new site and an archived old site

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Monday, August 3 2020

Assynt Archive now run by the Assynt Crofters' Trust

The Assynt Community Digital Archive started life in 2009 as a sub-project of a larger project run by the Assynt Community Association. Over the years, the Community Association has morphed into a different body with different priorities, and the Archive became a less easy fit. For several years  […]

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Wednesday, May 13 2020

Ownership, responsibility, activity

A word about the way things may turn out with community activity, It is sometimes useful to talk about community archiving activity as an initiative, rather than the more common term, project. The word "initiative" suggests a continuing process rather than one that needs action for a  […]

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Tuesday, March 1 2016

Gaelic Place Names - collating local culture

As in many rural communities, place names in Assynt mean a lot more than merely words on maps.  They indicate what is and was important to everyday life, and very often give a glimpse of how much more the land was used in times gone by.  Alastair Moffat notes in one of his books that the landscape,  […]

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Tuesday, November 25 2014

Tech Notes - Running Omeka under Lighttpd

December 2021: I am leaving this post available in full in case anyone lands here via a search engine.  The configuration supplied in the main post stopped working a while ago, and I did not bother to look further into the issue, but I recently had a need to deploy Omeka under lighttpd.

The first item to note is to ensure that .ini files are excluded so that the database configuration (db.ini) remains inaccessible. Usually this would be defined in the main lighttpd.conf file, but one may add this to a virtual host.  Either way, ensure you have a line something like this:

static-file.exclude-extensions = ( ".php", ".pl", ".fcgi", ".ini" )

Regarding the configuration below, after some help from gstrauss of the lighttpd development project, the following simple one-line configuration works to allow Omeka to work well under Lighttpd. Please ensure you understand what this is doing before deploying it, and if you with to use it, it will be at your own risk. The assumption is that Omeka runs at the root of the domain or at the root of its own virtual host. The previous four lines of regular expression can now be replaced with this one line:

url.rewrite-if-not-file = ( "^(/admin)?([^?]*)" => "/$1/index.php${url.path}${qsa}" )



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Friday, February 14 2014

Learnings from a community archiving project

One of the odd things about a community archiving system is that it is used really in fits and starts.  Much of the time, it may simply sit there, with peaks of activity coming when volunteers have time to carry out archivists tasks, or training is carried out.  The Assynt Community Digital Archive  […]

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Thursday, August 15 2013

Zim wiki - More personal information tools

Example Zim wiki showing image incorporated in a note

A wiki is a brilliant idea, created by Ward Cunningham when he released his WikiWikiWeb, a system that allowed groups of people to create and edit documents and notes easily and with minimal training.  To create links, it uses the concept of Wikiwords, and exampe being this - WikiWord - with  […]

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