Category: Web 2.0

CUNY on Twitter


From CUNY Academic Commons

File:Twitter bird logo 2012.svg.png File:CUNY logo - blue cube.jpg

see also CUNY Social Media Directory



CUNY Academic Programs


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updated 6-7-2013 … 20130607061114

Twitter Tools

From CUNY Academic Commons

Based on Matt Gold’s post “How to Create Blog Subscriptions”.

The Twitter Tools Plugin, which again is available from the dashboard of your blog, allows you to connect your blog posts to a twitter account. You can create an automated process so that every time a new blog post is published on your blog, an update with a link is posted on Twitter.

When you set up this plugin, be sure to go back into your twitter tools setting to make sure that the Application Type has read and write access (

Here’s a screenshot that shows the look of the resulting twitter account posts:

Twitter account connected to a blog

As you might notice, I activated the companion Twitter Tools: links plugin to create shortened URLs (useful on a platform like twitter that has a 140-character space limitation).

Open EdTech Projects at CUNY

From CUNY Academic Commons



Brian Lamb and James Groom are working on an article for EDUCAUSE about “the state of public institutions, open edtech, and the fate of the free world.” They plan to showcase examples of how open source tools and “networked collaboration” shape various open ed projects. Five such projects at CUNY are highlighted below, and Brian and James will use this page as a resource for their article.

e-Portfolios at Macaulay Honors College

Image:Eportfolio Honors.JPG

At Macaulay Honors College, students are encouraged to create e-Portfolios to collect school work, reflect upon it, and “present it to a range of different audiences.”  EPortfolios@Macaulay provides a way for students to creatively record what they have learned through blogs. Students can think of e-Portfolios as  “museums” which contains artifacts of their thinking and learning, and they can invite others “to take a look.”  Some rooms may be private, others exposed to the public.

Macaulay has created a 30-second “commercial” to help students see the variety of uses to which these eportfolios can be put.

And, hot off the press, a 7-minute introduction to what we’ve found and what we’ve gained from using WordPress for this purpose.  “Open Source and Open Directions



CAC.OPHONY is “a weblog on communication-intensive instruction at the college level and its implications for students about to face the challenges of writing and speaking publicly in professional settings.”  Developed at Baruch by the Fellows of the Bernard L. Schwartz Communication Institute,

Blogs at Baruch


Blogs at Baruch is “an on-line publishing platform platform” for the Baruch Community developed and maintain jointly by the Bernard L. Schwartz Communication Institute and the Baruch Computing and Technology Center.

The site is based on WordPress MU.

Here’s a partial list of projects on the system.

Here are some blog posts that detail its history:

Luke Waltzer, The Path to Blogs@Baruch

Blogs@Baruch Tag Archive at

CUNY Academic Commons


Officially launched less than a year ago, the CUNY Academic Commons pulls together professors and graduate students from the 23 separate campus of the City University of New York (CUNY). Members can have individual blogs, join groups, share ideas on group forums, and collaborate on a wiki. There are currently over 1000 members.

The Commons uses Buddy Press as its hub, with WordPress MU and MediaWiki as its spokes.

Looking for Whitman

Started in 2009, Looking for Whitman is a “multi-campus experiment in digital pedagogy” involving four separate schools: New York City College of Technology (CUNY), New York University, University of Mary Washington, and Rutgers University-Camden.

Funding was provided by the NEH Office of Digital Humanities.

The site is set up using WordPress MU.


From CUNY Academic Commons


The Drupal Open Source Project was started in 2001, and has a large community surrounding it.

Drupal Logo

‘Drupal’ comes from the Dutch word “druppel” or water droplet. (Legend has it that the project was originally going to be named but a typo in the domain application form (“dorp”) led to its final, more appealing name.)

Drupal is immensely popular, and is downloaded over a million times each year. Follow this link to see who is using Drupal.

Sample sites using Drupal



From CUNY Academic Commons


Wordle example generated from the Commons URL on 05/09/10 – courtesy of


Wordle is a web-based tool that creates cloud-like images from text you feed into it. You can cut a block of text and paste it into Wordle’s interface, or just provide a url, and Wordle will generate a customizable cloud. You can choose colors, fonts, layouts, or just click on randomize until you find one that suits your needs.

Possible Uses

Tired of searching the Web for an appropriate image for your web page? Just wordle it! According the terms of service, you can capture the images from the screen and use them anywhere, as long as you cite Wordle as the source. Just do a screen print, and paste into photoshop, crop out the stuff you don’t want, adjust the size, save it as a image, and you are good to go.

Images created by the web application are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 United States License.

LAMP Application

From CUNY Academic Commons

Photo courtesty of FHKE (Flickr), Creative Commons



LAMP is an acronym standing for Linux, Apache, MySQL, and PHP. Examples of LAMP applications include: WordPress, MediaWiki, Omeka, etc.

The acronym has several permutations, including WAMP (Windows instead of Linux) and MAMP (Mac instead of Linux). To install the PHP, Apache, and MySQL package on your computer, follow these links:


An open source operating system very similar to UNIX. The GNU project, begun in 1983, by Richard Stallman, lead to the creation of Linux, and is widely believed to have started the Open Source Movement.


An open source HTTP Web server, capable of running locally (i.e. on your Mac or PC) and on a server.


An open source, relational database which organizes data into tables and uses a standard query language (SQL) to access it.


A common server-side scripting language which uses SQL to access database rows, convert into objects, manipulate them, and dynamically generate HTML on the client machine.

Omeka Basics

From CUNY Academic Commons


Omeka Plug-ins — Image created using RTENOTITLE


This page provides some basic information about using Omeka. It does not in any way try to compete with the documentation found on Omeka’s wiki, screencasts, and group forums.   Definitely go there for technical help, and contribute to the Omeka community by asking questions, sharing insights, lessons learned, and best practices.  

Omeka’s Technology in a Nutshell

Omeka is a LAMP Application. It runs on Linux (operating system), Apache (web server), MySQL (database) and PHP (scripting language). On a simplistic level, the application can be broken down into three parts, it “core”, its plug-ins, and its themes.

Omeka’s “Core”

This is the heart of what makes Omeka work. As with all open source software, it is freely available to look at and modify. But in general, unless you have a really good reason, it is probably advisable to leave the core untouched. If you do modify this code, make a note of what you did, so that when you upgrade to a newer version, you can make you changes there too, if necessary.

Omeka’s Plug-ins

Plug-ins enhance Omeka with new functionality. They are purposefully left separate from Omeka’s core code. Developers from the Omeka’s community create plug-ins

Omeka’s Themes

Can Omeka play nice with WordPress?

The answer is up in the air. An interesting post on Omeka’s group group suggests that you can use a couple plug-ins to make it work. And check out the final result here.

Related Pages

Evaluating Open Source Solutions

From CUNY Academic Commons



How to choose whether an open source solution is right for your institution. Listed below are studies that tackle this question, and provide a framework for evaluation.

Impressions and Concerns about Implementation

Rafiq (2007) conducted an international study to measure the LIS community’s perception of OSS adoption in libraries. He distributed his online questionnaire via international library discussion groups and listsrvs. He found that his respondents (68% from developing countries) were in general, positive about OSS in libraries. Concerns were mainly related to support, documentation, and implementation difficulty for library staff.

Economics of Open Source

Writing for Educause, Trappler (2009) is also cautious about OSS, noting that this option can provide a “viable alternative,” though it does not always save money or resources (para 1). He warns educators to be aware of the licensing agreements, and read them as carefully as a proprietary software license.

In House Support

Trappler warns that the complexities of some OSS may require “in-house support,” and that it is not a “panacea” (para. 16). One advantage he notes is that it is much easier to try out OSS than proprietary software, and he encourages educators to always include OSS bids to expand competition with proprietary vendors.

According to Trappler, evaluating the “features, functions and maturity levels” of OSS products is vital to the selection process. If an OSS solution is chosen, an institution can benefit by becoming part of an OSS community, and sharing support functions. When “appropriately managed” OSS can be more effective and less costly than proprietary software (para 30-35).

Gauging an Organization’s Specific Needs and Capabilities

Ven, Verelst & Manaert (2008) echo Trappler’s cautions. Targeting ten Belgian organizations which had adopted OSS, their study recorded and analyzed face-to-face interviews with key employees. Points discussed were cost advantages, source code, maturity, vendor lock-in, and external support. The authors conclude that organizations should not base their decisions to adopt OSS on what other organizations are doing or the “claims in the literature.” Rather, decisions should be made according to the specific needs and capabilities of the organization (p.58-59).


  • Rafiq, Muhammad. (2009). LIS community’s perceptions towards open source software adoption in libraries. International Information & Library Review, 41(3), 137-145.
  • Trappler, Thomas J. (2009). Is There Such a Thing as Free Software? The Pros and Cons of Open-Source Software. EDUCAUSE Quarterly, 32(2), 10 pp.
  • Ven, K., Verelst, J., & Mannaert, H. (2008). Should you adopt open source software? IEEE Software, 25(3), 54-59. doi:Article

Related Pages

Open Source – Digital Libraries

From CUNY Academic Commons



There are several studies that focus specifically on open source digital library software, and it is important to see if this subset of OSS has any specific evaluation concerns.

Comparing Digital Library Packages

Goh et al. (2006) conducted a comparative study of four OSS digital library packages and compiled a checklist to evaluate such programs. The framework they developed breaks down the products into five criteria for evaluation: (1) content management; (2) user interface; (3) User administration; (4) system adminstraction; and (5) other requirements. Each of these major sections is further broken down into features, and each evaluator checks a box if the feature is available. Scores are weighted and tallied and then compared.

Omeka Case Study

The recently published case study by Kucsma et al. (2010) investigates Omeka as a web publishing tool. The authors worked on a project for METRO whose goal was to build a directory of 30 digital collections. Three different digital collection management systems were considered: WordPress, Omeka, and Content DM. Omeka was chosen because it was attractive, easy to install, extensible, and was compatible with web and OAI-PMH standards. (p. 1). While METRO has a long history with ContentDM, the product was not selected because, as the author write, it lacks many of the “characteristics of a modern digital exhibition tool” (p.2). WordPress was not chosen because of its lack of collection building tools and they was not enough time to write a plug-in. The authors provide a good synopsis of Omeka’s functionality and describe the plugins they employed in the process. In general they liked their experience building this collection of collections with Omeka. The weaknesses were primarily with Omeka’s administrative functions. The authors found the “Item Add” function clumsy and time consuming and complained about the lack of support for controlled vocabulary in tag fields. They admitted that these were fixable, but would hesitate using Omeka for a large scale project before the issues were addressed. Search and retrieval functions were found to be weak, by library standards. In general, they found Omeka’s control over data to be “loose.” (p. 8). They also found that documentation of the core processes had lagged behind. The incomplete Codex was felt to be slowed down development of new plugins. Of the many strengths, the authors point out Omeka’s exhibit building ease.


Related Pages

Open Source – Defect Tracking and Resolution

From CUNY Academic Commons



The Open Source development cycle tends to be quite different from the proprietary model. Software is developed faster, and defects are tracked by the community. Developers work together to find resolutions and address needed enhancements. The studies below describe the process.

Studies on Bugs and their Fixes

According to Ahmed et al. (2009), OSS does not follow proprietary vendors’ “traditional life cycle of software development,” and in general delivers software more quickly and depends on user involvement in “bug/defect detection.” (p. 175). Discounting concerns about the quality of OSS, the authors use statistical analysis to conclude that the OSS community’s use of group forums is more effective when it comes to tracking and resolving software defects than are propriety vendors’ use of maintenance teams. This empirical study of 619 group forums and project defect tracking systems found a positive correlation between group forum messages and defect resolution. The authors conclude that in an OSS project, “defects are not simply accepted” but rather the project’s “support network” collaboratively works to quickly resolve them. (p. 177). Closed software has a more traditional method of managing its software, and its “profit oriented vendors” generally assign maintenance teams to support maintenance releases (p. 174), while OSS has a “well-defined community with common interests” who in general contribute without “being employed, paid, or recruited.” The authors assert that by having many interested developers working on a common project, the quality of the software is greatly improved and defects are resolved faster. (p. 174).


  • Ahmed, F. et al. (2009). Defects in open source software: The role of online forums. Proceedings of World Academy of Science: Engineering & Technology, 40, 174-178.

Related Pages