Book Club

Monday, January 23
Read a selection from Library As Platform, by David Weinberger & The API at the Center of the Museum, Seb Chan. Consider the questions on the cover page. We will discuss these and run an exercise during class. )
Monday, January 30
Skim excerpts from A Pattern Language, Christopher Alexander. Design Patterns: Elements of Reusable Object-Oriented Software, by Erich Gamma et al. Holub on Patterns: Learning Design Patterns by Looking at Code, by Allen Holub. )
Monday, February 6
Read the introduction to The Twelve-Factor App, and sections II, III, V, and VI. Think about whether, how, and why these apply to (1) the Labs, and (2) your mini-projects. Also consider (3) analogies between the twelve factors, and libraries and other institutions. )
Monday, February 13
Can I help you find something?, by Rosten Woo.
Atop being amazing at visualizing data for the civic good, Rosten’s an old friend and super-interesting artist whose work is worth a close look.
A discussion will follow about two topics in particular:
   I. Dewey Decimal vs. Library of Congress indexing systems
   II. How the Sitterwork Library system works. Be sure to explore the catalog and dive into how it works )

Review the topics in GitHub’s Open Source Guide Select two topics, read them, and be prepared to discuss how they apply to your Mini-Project 1, Mini-Project 2, or a project you’ve created or contributed in the past. )

Optional Readings

The following are optional but recommended. Over the course of the semester, we will choose selections from some of them (at which point those selections become non-optional).

Architecture and Design

  • Code/Space, Rob Kitchin
  • The Gift, Lewis Hyde
  • The Edition

Software Development

  • Continuous Delivery, Jez Humble and David Farley
  • Continuous Integration: Improving Software Quality and Reducing Risk, Paul M Duvall, Steve Matyas, Andrew Glover
  • Release It!, Michael Nygard
  • UML Distilled, Martin Fowler

Pattern Languages

  • A Pattern Language, Christopher Alexander
  • The Timeless Way of Building, Christopher Alexander
  • Design Patterns: Elements of Reusable Object-Oriented Software, by Erich Gamma, Richard Helm, Ralph Johnson, and John Vlissides. (The “Gang of Four”). The Wikipedia page contains a list of patterns.
  • Patterns of Enterprise Application Architecture, Martin Fowler. online catalog
  • Enterprise Integration Patterns: Designing, Building, and Deploying Messaging Solutions, Gregor Holpe and Bobby Woolf. Wikipedia; online catalog.
  • Analysis Patterns: Reusable Object Models, Martin Fowler
  • Holub on Patterns: Learning Design Patterns by Looking at Code, Allen Holub
  • “Patterns in Enterprise Software”, Martin Fowler. A catalog of software pattern catalogs.
  • Are Pattern Languages Missing Language Features.

Libraries and Knowledge

  • Everything is Miscellaneous: The Power of the New Digital Disorder, David Weinberger
  • The Knowledge: How to Rebuild Civilization in the Aftermath of a Cataclysm, Lewis Dartnell.
  • “Annals of Scholarship: Discards”, Nicholson Baker, The New Yorker, April 4, 1994


  • “The Library of Babel”, Jorge Luis Borges. Magical realist fiction, around some issues involving cataloging a library that contains all possible boooks.
  • A Canticle for Leibowitz, Walter M. Miller, Jr. Monks preserve scientific knowledge after an apocalpyse.
  • The Diamond Age, Neal Stephenson. Features a (physical) interactive book, backed by AI, that attempts to impart contextually relevant knowledge.
  • Sum: Forty Tales from the Afterlives, David Eagleman.