Sunday, July 30, 2006

A goodbye celebration

I took the kids to the goodbye celebration for Reg Bolton this afternoon. To describe him as a circus educator would be underselling him. He was teacher, clown, scholar, stage manager, director, committee member, writer, friend, bulls**it detector, raconteur, father, husband, innovator, leader and transformer of young lives.

Fig2. Life enhancement aid

I'd seen him perform a couple of times. Both kids had done workshops and performances with him, (I'd been lured into doing my first handspring in 15 years at one of them). He'd asked me a couple of questions when I was on the ref. desk while he was doing his PhD at MyUniversity. I wouldn't have said we were mates, or even that he would have known who I was particularly. But, I'm sure that if I had asked him if it was OK to attend, he would have said "Yeah, of course, come along, join in". And he would have meant it. I wanted the kids to understand the difference one person could make, and to see how to make life a circus.

It was a colourful group of people packed into the Camelot Theatre ...most wearing bright clothes and with hair that would certainly stand out in the boardroom. Lots of little kids. Average age of everyone was about 30. Reg was almost 61 when he died a fortnight ago.

Simon ,an internationally acclaimed unicyclist performed and told us how he started unicycling in a workshop with Reg at the Woodford folk festival. Mike Finch, the artistic director of Circus Oz told us how he emailed everyone in his contact list on learning of Reg's death and a large proportion emailed back saying how they'd just recently had this conversation with Reg, seen that performance of his, received this email etc from Reg. Mike noted that if Reg had given so much of himself in the last two weeks, then how much he must have given over his lifetime.

He also mentioned that celebrations of Reg's life are taking place in several places in Australia and one in New York. Circus Monoxide planned a celebration where memories of Reg were written down, placed into a suitcase that was then set alight and floated away on water.

Two young jugglers showed us their tricks. Two older jugglers demonstrated a belt that Reg had designed, allowing a juggler with a bad back to clip juggling clubs in a "hula skirt" around his waist and not bend down to get them . People told of starting careers teaching circus skills after reading his book, Circus in a Suitcase. Several other performers involved us all in their enthusiasm and joy, balancing children, singing, performing "the Hunter" routine with large sticks, showing a video of a kids' performance.

There were many, many stories of Reg encouraging people to be better than their best. The story of the one legged stiltwalker over at the Theatre Australia forum demonstrates how Reg constantly showed people how they could improve, even when they hadn't considered the possibility.

Reg's son, Jo, showed a series of slides of Reg's life and his family. Daughter Sophie gathered us around in a circle and danced a comedy Charleston, complete with crowd "oohing" and "aahing" on cue. Reg hadn't seen her do this before, so she dedicated it to him.

At the end of the performances and open mic, we all grabbed our circus props - diabolos, juggling balls, clubs, rings, hoops, spinning plates, stilts, unicycles, a couple of fitballs and made our way across the road to a local reserve. Everyone juggled, balanced and threw until there was a countdown 10...9...8...7..6..5...(energy rising)..4...3...2...1..and Up! all the balls and hoops and diabolos and other equipment were thrown into the air. Show over? No..we all stayed on the reserve, playing for another hour and a half. Kids and adults , seasoned performers doing amazing tricks and beginners learning simple tricks for the first time.

For me, the spirit of Reg was there when Mr3, who was too reluctant to come forward when a circus mum encouraged parents and kids to join her in a balancing act, spent the next 30 minutes that we sat in the audience practising standing balances on my lap.

Friday, July 28, 2006

Wait for meeee

When I was 4, one of my favourite Little Golden Books was The Wait-for-Me Kitten. I probably identified with the little cat who could never keep up with the rest of the litter and was left plaintively crying "wait for meeeee". My parents' friends all had kids several years older than me. I remember trailing the big kids from game to game, wanting to join in. Sometimes they'd even climb a tree to avoid me.

Plaintive puss missing social network. to relate it to libraries. Yesterday, I read in The Ubiquitous Librarian about how he has uploaded his library's instructional material to You Tube. "How cool, that's where the users already hang out", I thought. This morning I wasn't quite so sure. It was definitley an appropriate use of the site, and he describes very well how he set it up and the technical gap it fills. I'm just not sure about my knee jerk reaction.

Meredith Farkas has talked extensively about whether we are invading our clients' "personal web space" by having a
facebook or MySpace. presence. She concluded that we are not, but with the proviso that it should be done well if we are going to do it. (Read the post, as that is a very slim description.)

Our younger users are definitely there. The question is "should we be there too?". Or would we come across like a little kid following the big kids around, yelling "wait for meeeee?".

I guess it's a bit like blogs. If there is a need for them, then they are great tools. A couple of times recently I've heard of organisations considering starting blogs "because there's an expectation", but without really knowing what they'd post. Same applies with some of the social web sites. If there is a need that they fill and we enjoy using them, then we should do so. If we are just doing it to join our users on their own turf, I'm not sure it is a good enough reason, and that we won't come off looking like prats.

I'd like to see us focus on the big, big advantage we have over, YouTube and MySpace. We have physical space as well as web space. We have realtime, realtouch, realsee chat available with realpeople. We can create a social environment that should leave the social web spaces crying "wait for meeeee".

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Bananas matter.

This morning CW gave the background to the recent shortage of bananas in Australia:
I haven't eaten a banana since the end of March this year, when Tropical Cyclone Larry devastated Northern Queensland and wiped out most of the banana crop. According to the Australian Banana Growers' Council, 90%, $300 million worth, of our commercial banana crop was destroyed

Fig. 1 Inflation in the last quarter

Strangely enough I drafted a post about bananas last night. I tried to turn it into a comment on her blog, but it just grew too big. Here's my take on bananas....

It all starts with a tale about a proud king. This version is taken from Look Smart Find Articles.

Once upon a time, a proud, old king asked his daughters, "How much do you love me?"
"I love you more than gold and silver" one daughter replied.
"I love you more than diamonds and rubies and pearls," her sister said.
"I love you more than salt," answered the third daughter.
The king grew angry when he heard this last answer. "How dare you compare me to something as poor and common as salt?" he raged, and he banished the unfortunate girl from the kingdom.

Storytellers from many lands have long told versions of this tale. The details of each story differ, but the end is the same in all. The foolish father is served a meal without a single speck of salt in it. The food is so dull and tasteless he cannot eat it; and so he learns how truly valuable is common salt and he is reunited with his daughter.

Like the proud king, we are discovering what the lack of a common table item does to our daily life. CW talks about the personal effects of this deprivation, but there is another side. One that involves riches like diamonds and rubies.

Inflation is on the rise in Australia. Usually this is due to rising house prices, petrol going up again, resource prices lowering...but, this quarter what is applying inflationary pressure is ...bananas. Or rather the increase in price of fruit by 52%. Banana prices have increased 250%. (Source: As CPI goes bananas, RBA is sure to shift rate The Age Online, 25 July 2006)

I'm just tickled by the absurdity of economists mentioning my favourite fruit in the same sentence as "Reserve Bank" and "CPI". Should be more of it.

Mr3 has just been introduced to banana smoothies. I won't give an exact location, but most days we walk to a deli nearby and buy our overripe bananas for $4.99 per kilo.
The price of petrol was up by 11% in the last quarter also. I guess we're just doing our bit for the economy.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Not quite as good as a couch...

MyUniversity Library has a new book display. It has comfy couches. I can watch what other people are choosing. I can flick through several books in one sitting..not reading, browsing. It is in a corridor between two buildings, and right near our reference desk. This means people strolling past or waiting for the ref. desk are introduced to our new stock.

Comfy chairs, books on wall.

I don't like the list of new books in our catalogue. I can't absorb it in one glance...and it takes too much effort to read each title. I do like the way it displays the cover of one new book on the backlinked page.

AM sent me a nice half way idea for those times when I can't get into the library and browse.
Edward Vielmetti , who writes the Superpatron - Friends of the Library, for the net blog has made a mashup using the RSS feed from the Ann Arbor District Library 's Innovative Interfaces catalogue. He's taken the cover pictures of books featured in the new books list and placed them all on a single screen. He explains it here and has an image of it here. Clicking on a cover takes you to the catalogue record.

Now, all I need is someone to somehow integrate the function that lets you "look inside" an item, sit on my comfy couch and pretend.

Sunday, July 23, 2006 going swimmingly

HAPPY BIRTHDAY... (affectionately known as lint) is two weeks old today. So far we have had 23 posts and 83 comments...and not all of them from me. We had 256 hits on Friday. We have had some really great feedback via other blogs. Try a google blog search on our name ( like this ) to see them.

My favourite post so far has been
VALA meeting (melbourne) 28th June brief report
from sparkle, where she passed on some very useful information about RFID, got really personal and told us what she had for dinner and amused us by telling us how she momemtarily mistook Barry Jones for Bob Ellis. Blogging at its best.

My favourite comment so far has been one from Kate in response to Hoi's
Blogging and the public libraries post. Hoi described her planned thesis topic. Kate mentioned a relevant paper she was in the middle of writing for presentation at Information Online 2007. Why is it my favourite? Because I have been rabbiting on about new technologies like blogs allowing academics to bypass academic libraries as the conduit for scholarly discourse.

If this type of hook up is happening on our blog, then I'm sure that it is happening everywhere in all disciplines. Kate might have talked about her research to Hoi if they met while attending the same function, but the chances are slim. While blogs may not become formal sites for scholarly exchange, the informal linkups between researchers are increased.

I'm not going to republish my posts from here, but I will every so often add a pointer. Here's one to my post on
Blogs: Who’s reading? Who’s writing? .

Now I shall finish my leek, potato and lentil soup and continue on with my (kid free!!!) evening, again with the cat stuffed up my poncho. Excuse me.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

All linked up

Connections abounded last night.

CW and I gave our workshop about how to blog a conference at the State Library, then moved on to the monthly Perth bloggers meetup at a pub about 100 metres away. I drove home thinking about so many things, but this morning I'm dwelling on how people want to interconnect, arrange things so they can connect, help others to connect, and accidentally connect.

Reg Bolton bringing out the best in Mr3.

Where were the connections?

  • JJ talking about the need for country librarians to link up and how blogs and wikis may help.
  • K3 seeing that the conference blog could be a conduit for matching spare rooms in Perth with attendees needing accomodation.
  • Richard talking about holding barcamp in Perth on August 5th, the same day as they happen all around the world.
  • Chatting about the effect that Reg Bolton had on so many people in Perth and around the world. He taught not only his circus skills, but also empowered others to teach them. No-one will ever do it like he did, and certainly is not likely to touch so many lives in the same way.
  • Finding out that Dee had gone to school in the same Southwest town as me and even knew a couple of the same people.
  • Talking about how I was at a party a few years ago and everyone co-incidentally had some kind of link to Z, except for me. Toxic Purity telling me that she knew someone, W, who tended to be the same. Yes, it then turned out that most of us sitting around the table actually did know W.
  • Comparing notes about breastfeeding with Toxic Purity and Skribe and marvelling about the networks that are set up by people who have been there, done that to help parents and babies learn how to do something that no-one expects to have to actually learn.
Like yesterday, a good day...but this time, no reframing necessary.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006


Now, if my last post left you waiting in anticipation for something called "Why write another post about blogging", then you'll be disappointed. But disappointment is where I'm going today, so please come along. (I'll guarantee you won't be disappointed).

Last night, 14 months after my father died, my brother signed the papers accepting my offer to buy his share of the house that we both inherited. Yesterday, CW and I changed the name of the Let's Blog Click06 blog to blog the conf, after the Click06 committee asked us to. Both events were the tail end of much to-ing and fro-ing and many phone calls.

Let me tell you about how I learned about "reframing". You'll see why further down. Every year we take Mr3 to the Kalparrin family camp while Mr8 has a weekend with his grandparents. This year we had breakfast with two Clown Doctors, who are people with real hospital name badges and the very serious job of using humour to lighten the stress for everyone in hospital. After much fun and laughter, the kids went of to be even more silly and we parents settled down to learn about using humour in our lives.

One of the exercises involved breaking up into small groups and each of us describing a problem that was bugging us. These people have kids with disabilities, so as you can imagine, the problems not trivial. What did the others have to do? Reframe it. Describe why it was actually an advantage. Make it funny. Take it to ridiculous extremes. Have fun with it. One person complained that she had to go to work the next day. "Well, you won't need to do housework". "You'll be in airconditioning and out of the heat", "That makes you appreciate being here more", "You're out meeting people", "You may be discovered by a talent agent and go on to be really famous". All around the room, we were erupting in gales of laughter about the most serious and complicated things.

So, do you want to know what I did yesterday? I learned about some people. I discovered how supportive other people can be. A couple of things finished up so I can use my energy on other things. I had a chance to really piss some people off and refrained. I learned that the workshop CW and I are giving tonight to help librarians understand blogging really is necessary. I went on a picnic with my kids and rolled down the hill in the sun and got grass stains all over my jeans.

Hope your day was as much fun as mine.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Twists and turns of blogging part 1

Played Twister in the sunshine at a park today. Not relevant to my topic, except to give the title and images for the next two posts. Part two is "Why write another post about blogging?". This one is...

My boss asked me to look at blogging and similar tools and how we could use them in our academic library. I was on the reference desk during a public holiday and thought I'd polish off a report in a couple of shifts. That was 3 months ago. I'm now one month into facillitating a two month project for libray staff where we use new technologies- like blogs, RSS and wikis to assess whether they are useful to us. It's called MULTA (My University Library Thinking Aloud).

This week we do blogs. Participants already have blogs within the site. (Its a TikiWiki installation, so they are a bit ''toy" ,but adequate for the project ). I've written a wiki page giving the basics of blogs, which probably anyone who could research could fake. the past three months, I've learned a few things that you couldn't fake without hanging out in the biblioblogosphere:

1. Comments are a huge part of the blogosphere.

A hidden iceberg this one, but a delightful one. Posts make up the starting points and the catalysts, but the comments are where you'll find the good goss. And where you'll make the connections and networks to link your blog posts to others. I know I click through to the blog of everyone who leaves a comment here.

2. Quoting other blogs is not stealing, but creating community.
I hope I'm right on this one. I was worried when I first started quoting and linking to others' blog posts. I thought that it meant that I was being unoriginal and not using my own thoughts and voice. Now I'm beginning to think that it's another way of creating community. One of my posts was mentioned in another blog, then re-quoted by another blogger. I was so flattered, and interested in where they would go with what I started.

3. Be very careful when you talk about blogging to non-bloggers.
Do not presume that non-bloggers know about what type of things are blogged, and how informal and celebratory this can be. Say, for example, you told a non-blogger that you and a bunch of other passionate soccer fans were blogging the world cup. Don't presume that they'd understand that you weren't part of FIFA or speaking on their behalf. You may need to spell it out.

4. Remember the aggregators when you design your template.
Many of your casual readers can become regular readers if you add a feed from your blog. If you do want this, go to a site like feedburner and create a feed, or find out how to add a feed to your template directly.

If the point of your blogging is to get as many clicks as possible, you might was to try these tips from blogger about promoting your blog. Or take a reality check about why you blog in the first place.

5. Remember the aggregators when you design your content.
My last post had an embedded video. Looks great on my blog here at blogger. Does it show up on my PDA ..Naaah. Does it show up on my bloglines feed?...Naaah. Don't presume that your posts will be read at your blog site and add links accordingly.

Now when I get my act together, I should revamp my Flickr account and store the image from this post there. Then I can add the link to my post.

6. Remember the aggregators and searchbots when you think noone's watching.
My groovy stats meter shows me what link brought people to my blog. Who would have thought that a google search on "hot water bottles" or "library sleepover Illinois 2006" would land a reader here...but they did. You can't predict who will get here and how..but they will come.

7. Does it fill a gap for you ?
Recently some participants in MULTA have been discussing what makes something blogworthy. I guess I'm writing the posts that I would like to read, rather than those I think other people want to read. A big difference, but one that I think gives a better voice to my posts, and is more likely to link me to oher people like me. I don't much care for basenjis, so I don't blog about them..but I'm sure some people would like to read about them..they'll just do it on someone else's blog. Me, I'm sticking with my Cornish Rexes.

Friday, July 14, 2006

Extreme librarianship?

Pottering about in Library Garden I found this post about the Bookcart Drill Team World Championships held at the 2006 ALA conference.

Now I had visions of frantic librarians (or more likely attendants) powering toward shelves, loading on as many books as possible, speed arranging them by Dewey and incurring injuries as they lunged toward the finish line.'s something altogether more elegant, more courtly, precise and restrained. Eat your heart out Esther Williams!

Watch the winning team here:

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Don't try this in bed.

My Co-Pilot snores. Loudly. It wakes me up. Nothing could be more disturbing, right?

Uh, uh. He's going to a specialist about it soon. Specialist wants me to go too. Why? Co-Pilot is asleep when it happens, so doctor will ask me about it.

We even have homework.
Co-pilot has to .....sleep.
I have to....make a recording of the snoring and when Co-pilot stops breathing (sleep aponea).

So, last night I was awakened by an end-of-the-world chainsaw noise next to me. Shall I get up and find my PDA? OK. Snoring settles down. Doze. Snoring starts.

Turn on PDA

"Bip". The "recording started" noise wakes Co-Pilot slightly. I'm too tired to get out of bed, turn on the light and switch off quiet bipping setting. Doze. Listen to breathing become shallower, shallower, shallower... building up to an aponea "Bip". No good. Noise stops the snoring.

Inadvertently have discovered the cure for Co-Pilot's snoring. Works better than hitting or turning him onto his side. Inadvertently have discovered cure for sleeping for me. 4:30am and I was up for the day.

Mr 3 had previously woken me up at 12:30am, wanting his wheatbag microwaved again. (We use them instead of hot water bottles).

Today I was a bleary-eyed semi-human traveller.

Tonight I'll unbip my PDA and see whether I can tape my Co-Pilot's snoring. Wish me luck and pleasant dreams.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Raise a glass to the techies, the generous and the thieves.

Currently I have four web sites I'm nannying. They are always open in my browser and often send me auto-generated emails to tell me what is going on there. This blog is one, the blog is another. There's the Let's Blog Click06 blog and then a work project, MULTA (My University Library Thinking Aloud), which is a tikiwiki installation.

What amazes me is that I can do this at all, without crashing the whole kit and caboodle and bringing shouts of ire from users and other administrators. I've been a System Librarian and I've done a unit in computing at uni (mainly programming in PASCAL - really relevant today). I wouldn't say that this qualified me to administer any site...yet here I am.

I wouldn't have attempted anything like it a few years ago, although I had the same skills. What's changed?
  1. "Off the shelf", free sites that hold your hand abound. They know how to give you power and safety all at once.
  2. Open source software is easily available with lots of documentation, so I can easily evaluate it before installing it.
  3. More techie sorts with "can do" attitudes. Once I thought I'd be bugging a tech if I spoke to them in lay terms, now they are much more approachable (or I'm less overwhelmed).
  4. I've found that people who get a buzz out of doing something are usually very generous about helping newbies. Now I'm finding that I'm meeting more "regular people" who can do this type of site admin and will share, share, share.
  5. Nifty stuff that I can nick is everywhere. So far I've stolen a site counter from someone else's blog. I have my eye on a nifty way of adding subject headings to my blogger blog. I don't even have to wait until her back is turned.
  6. Previously special interest groups with the best collaborative spirit possible just didn't have the tools to create and administer a group run site. Now we can do it together and act as a cheer squad and tea and coffee makers for each other. Not only do we run the site we want, but we hothouse skills together as well.
So...I'm learning,learning, learning thanks to a bit of techie friendliness, generous spirits and old fashioned theft.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Not the official web site...

A couple of weeks ago two male contestants were kicked off the reality TV show Australian Big Brother for putting their privates just where they should not be.

Where could you go to see a downplayed, spin added description of the event? The official site. Where could you go to find pointers to the footage that was broadcast, a discussion of the ehics of the contestants and the show and get a feel for how passionate fans felt about it. A fan site like Behind Big Brother Australia, or Australian Big Brother's Journal .

This lead me to think about whether a "not the official site" is a threat or an asset to an organization. So I've dot pointed my thoughts and Cluetrained them up a bit. Also in the style of "The user is not broken" (over at Free Range Librarian).

Why our non official web site is good for your official site:

1. You spending money on market research, focus groups and stakeholders meetings? Come to our site and see what we really think.
2. People at our site care about what you do. Passionately. We give up our free time to hang out together and talk about you.
3. Do things that please us and we will talk about it. LOUDLY
4. Do things that we think are crap we will talk about it. LOUDLY
5. We'd love to hear from you.
6. We don't own you. How you present yourself is your business.
7. You don't own us. How we present ourself is our business.
8. If we are not right for our users, they will drop away from our site and not tell us.
9. If you are not right for your users, you will hear about it here.
10. You probably don't want to send traffic to our site :) ,but we are certainly sending it to yours.
11. All publicity is good publicity.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Ever the evangelist....

I'm showing my good friend S how a blog works. We've just taken Mr 3 and Mr 8 to see the Enchanted Wood performed by a children's theatre company.

S is also a librarian, so I've given her a 5 minute tour of blogs and wikis.

Very collaborative blogging

Spent a couple of chunks of the weekend setting up a couple of new blogs with CW. My blog count is now 11 in two months. Counting the new two, that's four active "real" blogs.

We'd muttered and mumbled about blogging the upcoming Click06 conference here is Perth. We were also muttering and mumbling with some other Ozlibloggers about a collaborative Australian libraryland blog.

We stopped muttering, bought some webhosting,got a domain name, installed some software, set up some templates, found a structure, decided a scope and we got ourselves two blogs ready for Australian Librarians to play in. Well, not quite ready...the RSS feeds aren't up and there are a few "under construction" signs about. is a collaborative blog to track what is happening in Australian libraries. We want to include things like events, ramblings, job postings, interesting pointers to web sites and "how to" posts. We want it to be more conversational and informal than any official organisation could set up.

Let's Blog Click06 is set up so that a team of bloggers can track the September conference. Nothing to do with me being away on a family holiday during the conference!

It was great to work with CW. We follow the same kind of serpentine work path. We get to the goal, but she meanders in similar places where I would.

It's also great to have someone who can make more time to work on the project than me. And doesn't mind me saying "we need to do x, y, z, so how about you do x and y, I'll get a phone number for z and you can do the other 10 steps involved". I guess you could call that collaboration.

While I'm tied up finding a bandaid so Mr 3 can smell it and helping Mr 8 get his behaviour under control, I know someone somewhere is doing what we mapped out. It's a good feeling.

I need to say a thank you to my Co-Pilot and M who looked on bemusedly while their houses were invaded and they lost their life companions in the blogosphere for the weekend. And supported us with advice and cups of tea.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Hey, I was just blessed !

Folk just don't do enough blessing these days.

As I turned into my street tonight, I passed a young mum and her son carrying large suitcases in the rain. They'd just got off at the bus stop. I was going their way, so I offered them a lift.

Turned out they were going to a house a couple away from mine.

As they left the young mum said to me "That's good karma for you. God bless you".

It quite made my day in the way a simple "thank you" just wouldn't have.

If your'e reading this, bless you.

Saturday, July 08, 2006

From there to here....

I drove two very nice library practicum students to OurUniversity Sattelite Campus Library on Thursday. Both are finishing their graduate diplomas in library studies, which will qualify them to be ....LIBRARIANS....

C. had her mind on the "what job will I do when I get my bit of paper?", "how will I get it that job?" and was asking questions around it. I found it enjoyable, because it made me think about my own path from there to here.

I tried to tell her that often, it's "right place right time"...or making it so. Applying for "job I never thought I'd take in library sector that doesn't interest me that is available NOW"...and seeing where it takes you. Proving to an employer that you turn up regularly to work on time, don't offend your clients, can make your job interesting and are open to networking. Same as any job really.

So...where have I did I find the job and why do I think they employed me? The only one I thought I wanted to do at library school and seemed to have the best skill set for (law librarian) was the one that made me unhappiest.

1. Library Officer at OldStateUniversity. Ad in student newspaper. I was a second year student, probably with another 3 years to go. Didn't even get interviewed. Suspect academic record and name of colleges I'd attended helped. Rating on a good for me scale: 9/10 for putting me through uni and making library school a lot easier.

2.Law Librarian/Researcher at Small Private Law Firm. Ad on student noticeboard in library school. Firm wanted a cheap, unqualified student to replace contract librarian. I was cheap, unqualified and was planning to go back to studying law. Rating on a good for me scale: 10/10 for making me decide to never, ever be a lawyer, 10/10 for looking good on my CV and giving me great networking and useful skills, 3/10 for making me unhappy for 18 months.

3.Contract cataloguing all resources in state branch of Large International Accounting Firm.Ad in small print employment column in State newspaper. With inexperience I named an hourly rate that seemed like a fortune to me and very low to them. Running a special library had given me cataloguing skills that suited the job. Being a relatively recent graduate meant I hadn't yet forgotton all my cataloguing.
Rating on a good for me scale: 8/10 for getting me a job after extended holiday. 6/10 for interest.

4.Systems Librarian at Suburban Public Libraries Large ad in State newspaper. I still had "new graduate" gloss. My CV had a "familiar with" section where I listed any software that I'd been in the same room as in the last 5 years. No-one else really applied and their Good Person had just left and they needed somone NOW.
Rating on a good for me scale: 9/10 because I "grew up" in that job, gained a really useful skill set, was mentored and allowed to stretch my wings, loved the work environment and could set my own direction for most of my day.

Community Infromation Librarian at funky seaside TinyCity Large ad in State newspaper. I'd always wanted to live in fsTC and I get my kicks from promoting community cohesiveness. I wasn't the strongest applicant in any single area, but they told me they liked what I offered in all areas...and my boss at SPL had told them that I coped very well with b**chy staff. Rating on a good for me scale: 10/10 for learning new skills, loving the job itself, some of the colleagues, being at the centre of fsTC. 2/10 for staff environment and the 2 hour daily commute.

Systems Librarian at Suburban Public Libraries Large ad in State newspaper. Old work colleagues telling me job was availalbe. Ex-boss phoning me and asking me to apply. I already liked them and lived 5 minutes away, they liked me. It was my old job. Still had to have an interview (where I gushed over one of the interviewer's pregnant tummy and then realised that I should straighten up and be proffessional). Rating on a good for me scale:10/10 for even more encouragement and opportunity for professional growth. 0/10 for not being something I could still do with a new baby and when I finally moved to fsTC.

Reference Librarian at OurUniversity Library Ad on WAIN listserv, the library listserv for our state. Submitted CV via email. Don't really know why they employed me. I could work Sundays and funny hours and was relatively young? Rating on a good for me scale:10/10 for getting me back into the workforce, updating my skills, great work colleagues and letting me do a project that challenges me, but is nothing to do with the rest of my job.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

You know you're new to blogging when....

you are checking your feeds at bloglines, enjoying each update of your favourite bloggers and unthinkingly you click on your own blog...and actually EXPECT THERE TO BE A NEW POST THERE.

Is this just my quirk or did other people do this at first?

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Do we wiki in WA? We do!

Two recent presentions at WA academic libraries now have wikis with summaries of the papers:


Western Australian University Libraries Resource Access Group

Held at Murdoch University Library May 2006

Curtin University of Technology
Linda Sheedy, LIS Reserve Supervisor
E-Reserve - Library and Information Service - Curtin University of Technology

Edith Cowan University
Erin Smith, Library Technician Subscription Services
eReserve @ ECU Library

Murdoch University
Jean McKay, Manager, Liaison Services
Electronic Course Materials Service at Murdoch University Library

University of Western Australia
Jill Benn, Acting Humanities & Social Sciences Librarian
E-reserve at UWA Library – the CMO & EPO in the LRS: Building the Foundation Project


Collaborative Action for Reference Competencies and Information Technology

Held at Murdoch University June 2006.

New Technologies and Libraries

Constance Wiebrands, Senior Librarian Curtin Business School & Sue Grey-Smith, Senior Librarian Research Services

Curtin Library & Information Service

Podcasting@your Library

Jaya Berk, Librarian Learning Services; Jody Atkinson, Librarian Resources & Access and Sonja Olsen, Librarian Learning Services
Curtin Library & Information Service

Interacting with Online Subject guides

Luke Padgett, Librarian, Learning Services
Curtin Library & Information Service

IRIS (Introductory Research and Information Skills): innovation through collaboration

Jenny Golding, Reference Librarian Humanities & Social Sciences Library
University of Western Australia


A Usability Test for an Evidence Based Solution

Agnes Noronha, Faculty Librarian Business & Law ECU; Maureen Couacaud, Subject Librarian Business & Law
Edith Cowan University Library

MULTA:Murdoch University Library Thinking Aloud

Kathryn Greenhill, Reference Librarian
Murdoch University Library

Monday, July 03, 2006

If was truly Innovative

Hey...wanna see what happens to Amazon when accessed through an Innovative Interfaces OPAC?

Click here,
If Amazon sucked like our old OPAC . Go on, I'll wait.

If it can do this to a vibrant, dynamic site like Amazon, imagine how your collection could look if you didn't have this type of OPAC interface.

This was created by David Walker, Web Development Librarian at Cal State San Marcos library, who has some really excellent projects in his blog, including:
  • Shrew, a system that provides a fully customizable and extensible interface to the Innovative catalog system, as well as a an SRU and OpenSearch server.(see this record for Vikram Seth's A suitable boy)
  • RSS Creator, a system that leverages SFX and Metalib to create RSS feeds for any journal or newspaper indexed and abstracted in a library's subscription databases.
I'm seriously impressed and just wish I had his skill set. Then I'd feel Really Useful.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Mash it and glu it...more fun than Girl Guides

I did not enjoy sewing the pack's patchwork quilt in my previous life as a Girl Guide. It was inevitably dragged out when it rained or the pack leader just ran out of inspiration. Now there is a type of patchworking that seems a lot more fun.

Look on the sidebar of many blogs these days and it's not just "my profile" and "last posts". There are data harvested from many different sources, all linking "live" to other sources and changing as that source changes. I'm not just talking RSS feeds here.

There is the "what I'm currently consuming" link to display what is playing on iTunes on the user's PC. There is the "books in my personal library" link to Libary Thing. There's the "search my site with google" search box. There's the "Weather for my city" box. What's going on here?

They are mashups. Take content from one site, refilter it a bit or a lot, combine it with content from another site, squish 'em all together and you got youself a mashup. The content is obtained via the site's public interface or API.

To see how far you can go, check out the Mashup Dashboard at Programmable Web (Thanks CM for the pointer). Users submit their latest mashup and give a bit of background about how they done it good

When I visited the site, the second vaguely librariany site I browsed was the..Similarity Web . At the site, Similar Product Visualisation with AWS , one can search Amazon's stock and then see a display via flash of similar items, going back two degrees. Book covers of similar items are arrayed like playing cards around the central item. Item details show in the right hand column when the cover is moused over. Not sure whether the link will stay, but here's one I did for Vikram Seth's A Suitable Boy. Press the "Visualize Web" button to see the cards being dealt out. (Be afraid OPAC, be very afraid...)

I'd love to learn about using mashups in a library context. Well, now I can learn by doing.... but just don't have the time. Library vendor, Talis is running a competition called
Mashing up the library , announced in their Shared Innovation blog. Entries close 18 August 2006. Or if one felt a bit more generalist, one could enter google's new competition to create a gadget for google desktop. Entries close July 31st. Or why not create the uber-library-google-desktop-gadget and blitz both competitions?

A simple mashup site that allows users to have all their, Flickr, blogger etc items in one place, but doesn't then rearrange them in mind-boggling ways, is suprglu. Worth checking out. Thanks CW for the pointer.

Second Life Library

One of the side routes that I've filed under "explore when you have more time, maybe in your next life" is the Second Life Library. This is a library service set up in the multi-multi-user virtual world of Second Life, accessible free online.

Enjoying Your First Life? Why Not Add a Second? Developing Library Services in Second Life at Serious Games Source some members of the Alliance Library System outline who they are:

Alliance Library System started the Second Life Library project in April 2006 in response to a shift in people of all ages from media consumers to media creators. They are all spending more time on the Internet and they want to create and contribute, not just consume. Alliance Library System (ALS), located in East Peoria, Illinois, is one of nine regional library systems in Illinois. ALS has 259 member libraries of all types (academic, special, school and public). We provide a variety of services for our members including continuing education, consulting, grant writing, and new technology initiatives.

Within the Second Life Library they have a library building, conduct online seminars, staff the library 2 hours per day, set up vendor database trials (real ones, like EBSCO) and have email reference. To me, a couple of benefits are - it's meeting the users where they hang out and providing services there ; and it's a place where vendors can show their wares to an interested world wide audience of librarians.

Alliance also run the OPAL (Online Programming for All Librarians) site, "an international collaborative effort by libraries of all types to provide web-based programs and training for library users and library staff members".

Second Life library has it's own blog (Second Life Library 2.0), and it's well worth dipping into this or the actual site every so often when you need a fun break from work, that you can still call work.

So I don't wake up at 5am trying to list things in my freezer...

I'm halfway through drafting a librarian-y post about mashups. Was just checking my feeds before bed, when I was infected by the "five things" meme. Thanks (?) cw

5 items in the freezer
  1. Three months worth of home made tomato sauce for pasta so that Monday's meal is always easy.
  2. Three months worth of home made kidney bean Mexican sauce, so the kids can be fed if we have to find a meal in a hurry or want to eat adult stuff.
  3. Home made date and oatmeal slice. Six bags full made by Mr 3. and me on Monday.
  4. Apricot and bran and something else muffins.
  5. Eight loaves of preservative free wholemeal bread.
5 items in my closet
  1. Genune 1960's black silk handkerchief hem dress that was obviously hand sewn for someone with my exact body proportions. Found in the upmarket Vinnies shop in Freo and bought for $20. Still waiting for occasion to wear it.
  2. My parents' old x-rays.
  3. A bundle of letters that my Great Uncle Jack sent to my Grandma during the war.
  4. Probably the cat, curled up on whatever has dropped to the floor.
  5. A box full of too many extra shoes. Haven't worn them for 10 years. Probably never will. Can't discard.
5 items in my car
It's new enough for us to take junk out of it when we leave. How long will that last?
  1. Small Matchbox car.
  2. Water bottle.
  3. Rug covering back seat.
  4. Uncollected by Paul Jennings.
  5. Road atlas.
(5 items in my car when we went to Mandurah today
  1. Large crate of brio.
  2. Large crate of duplo.
  3. Red suitcase for Mr 8 who was going for a sleepover.
  4. Cane picnic basket.
  5. Dustpan and brush.)

5 items in my purse
Don't have a purse. Use small leather bag on string around my neck
  1. PDA.
  2. Mobile phone.
  3. Keys.
  4. Cards, card, cards and cash.
  5. 2 GB thumb drive that has NEVER BEEN USED.
5 random things (because this is a five things meme)
  1. Way past my bedtime.
  2. Mr 3 is having a sleepover in our bed because Mr 8 is having a sleepover away from home.
  3. Mr 8 is going to a rollerskating party tomorrow and I can't wait to strap my skates on again. I'm a woman of an age where I was a teen inspired (not repulsed) by Cliff Richard on roller skates singing "Wired for Sound", and Olivia Newton John roller skating in Xanadu.
  4. I'm wearing a polar fleece poncho that I sewed for my Co-Pilot because he always wanted a poncho, then promptly stole to use as a dressing gown.
  5. I get to sleep without trying to do this meme all night now. Yay!