Most of the responses I've seen have focused on the raw technology. For
a different perspective, I'm going to assume that you know how to
program, and do it well, and that you are looking for advise with
regards to working in a library. Here's my take:

1. Learn about your organization. Figure out what makes it tick. Every
library is unique, and libraries are a unique type of organization. Make
an effort to understand the values and theory of librarianship.
Librarians love to talk about this, so don't be afraid to ask. 

2. Don't forget to look at trends outside of "Libraryland". A lot of
professional library discussion takes place in an echo chamber, and bad
ideas often get repeated and gain credibility as a result. Librarians
usually overstate the uniqueness of their organizations and professions.
When the question, "What are other libraries doing?" arises in
addressing a technical problem, don't be afraid to generalize the
question to other types of organizations. Too often, the answer to the
question, "What are other libraries doing?" is "Failing." Emulate for
the sake of success, not conformity.

3. Do your best to control your situation. Most likely, you will be
managed by committee. Most likely, you will not have a competent project
manager. Learn to gather your own requirements, develop your own project
plans, set reasonable expectations with your users, set and meet
obtainable deadlines, and stop scope creep dead in its tracks. Once
you've mastered that, tell us how you did it. Most of us work under very
difficult organizational pressures.

4. Be suspicious of extraordinary claims by library vendors. More often
than not they will "cluck defiance".

5. Follow standards to the best of your ability.

6. Innovate. Be creative. Find new solutions to old problems. Remember
why you became a programmer. Expect resistance. Ignore bad advice.

Best of luck in your endeavors.

- David

David Cloutman <>
Electronic Services Librarian
Marin County Free Library 

-----Original Message-----
From: Code for Libraries [] On Behalf Of
Wayne Lam
Sent: Tuesday, July 21, 2009 8:15 PM
Subject: [CODE4LIB] Long way to be a good coder in library

Hi all,

  I am new in here and i am currently worked in the library too.
I am always confused that when i read the post in here, there are always
something i don't understand
and there are so much to learn.
  So, the question is, hows everybody learns to be a good coder for
libraries, what s the secret and what
kind of technology are most important to learn?



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