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Spreadsheets, Templates, Generators, and NO Database: Static Web Methods for Agile Library Infrastructure

Do you really need all those databases and PHP? Is implementing that big complicated web platform really necessary for your next project? Maybe not–and you might not miss them at all. Many library and digital humanities practitioners are pursuing viable alternatives powered by modern static web development. This presentation offers a provocation to rethink the way libraries do digital infrastructure through the lens of minimal computing. We ask: what are the opportunity costs of traditional heavy library web platforms and what can we gain from a static web methodology? We will share our experience building library websites and digital scholarship projects using spreadsheets, Markdown, templates, and static generators. Time invested in managing servers, maintaining platform updates/security, and learning idiosyncratic admin systems, is time away from actually creating amazing projects–> Using a static web methodology to minimize our infrastructure has opened up a more agile and sustainable approach to our digital initiatives, while growing internal skills, collaboration, and empowerment. And if we can do it (i.e. librarians with no IT or developers), you probably can too, and a static web approach might be just the right fit for your next project.


2:00 PM
15 minutes