Thursday, November 30, 2006

Just missed a classic moment in kiddie rock.. Greg the Yellow Wiggle quits

Mr4 has an orientation afternoon at his new school this afternoon, and Mr9-next-week has one tomorrow. Otherwise, I would have had a lot of explaining to do.

The fifth wiggle? Mr-then-7 even had the yellow shirt.

For the last couple of years, we joined the pilgrimage of parents and kids worshipping at the alter of The Wiggles for their annual concert in Perth. If we'd been there this morning, we would have been part of kiddie rock history. Greg Page, the Yellow Wiggle, announced he's quitting the group due to health problems.He has a condition called Orthostatic intolerence, which Dr Kathryn understands is "falling over when you stand up".

The official announcement states that understudy, Sam Moran, will take his place. I'm imagining an update of The Red Shoes called The Yellow Skivvy.

After hearing that Steve Irwin had died the day before we visited the Australia Zoo, and then the Big Red car breaking down in the middle of the Wiggle's house at Dreamworld, I'm kind of glad we weren't there, or we would have felt strangely responsible.

(Honestly, these are randomly selected from over 100 cards)

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Meme-y begging

Please, please, please join in on this one....please, please...even if you have to create a blog to do so............does that sound enough like begging?

Please see below.

Via Ruminations:

Scott Kaufmann's trying to measure the speed of memes.

If you'd like to help out, follow these steps, and I quote:
1. Write a post linking to this one in which you explain the experiment. (All blogs count, be they TypePad, Blogger, MySpace, Facebook, &c.)
2. Ask your readers to do the same. Beg them. Relate sob stories about poor graduate students in desperate circumstances. Imply I'm one of them. (Do whatever you have to. If that fails, try whatever it takes.) [I have no sob stories: do it if you want to?]
3. Ping Technorati.
He'll be reporting on what he finds at the forthcoming MLA convention.

Via Bitch Ph.D.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Speaking in tongues: Libworm and VLINT

Two new library resources:

1. Libworm: describes itself as:

"the librarian RSS engine
over 1000 RSS feeds go in
exactly what you need comes out!"
I still subscribe to feeds for individual blogs, rather than feeds for searches. I've noticed that some more techno-savvy bloggers are tending toward the latter. This may just be the tool that makes me switch - but I doubt it, I'm too attached to connecting with people's voices and their individual lives

2. VLINT ( blog central for Australian Libraries in Other Worlds)

Since Lorelei Junot very nicely offered me a building in Cybrary City for Australian Libraries to share, we've been pottering about the building. VLINT started as a place to record the nuts and bolts, daily operations of the project. This gives whoever takes on the project (soon I hope) a history to work with.

snail suggested that we could broaden it to include Australian Libraries in all "Other Worlds". Great idea. I really hope someone interested in virtual library branches or gaming in libraries starts posting.

TODAY'S HIPPIE CARD: Let go of the past

Keep "Library2.0" in Wikipedia

There is a proposal currently for discussion on Wikipedia that the entry for "Library 2.0" be deleted from Wikipedia.

Initial proposal says that it is...
A neologism coined by a blogger and used by bloggers, not notable Lurker "

The people I'd expect have jumped in and defended it, using the arguments I'd expect. They cite legitimate academic articles to show how the term has escaped the bilbioblogosphere. It is now being used by librarians who have never read a blog in their lives, to describe a change in our profession.

In itself, it's an interesting debate about the "Library 2.0" concept it just the "2.0" label whacked on the end of another concept, to form a buzzword...or is it a shorthand to describe a new way of serving our clients?

I'm also enjoying learning about how Wikipedia works as a living, breathing "debate" and reflecting about what this means for "set truths" found in an encyclopedia like Wikipedia. I don't remember any entry in my print version of Encyclopedia Britannica changing from one reading to the next. Does this lead to more or less certainty about the veracity of the facts?

I was just as fascinated watching the "discussion" page for Steve Irwin's entry immediately after his death.

found via Panlibus...


Friday, November 24, 2006

Oil your bras...

Having pushed our library staff outside their comfort level with the MULTA project, I was at it again today - this time videoing some of them for the 5 weeks screencast. We all contributed to the project, so I wanted their voices heard too.

When it was my turn, LB who knows how to do this type of thing, attached the radio mike to my shirt and I smiled and spoke into the camera. I felt like a prize 'nana.

Half way through.."STOP..the mike's picking up a squeaking noise". Mike clipped higher up. Still squeaking. Shoes removed. Still squeaking. Chair changed. Still squeaking.

"It's happening when you move forward".....

Finally worked out it was the underwire from my bra. Or underplastic in this case.

Before you try videoblogging, check your bra for squeaks.


Thursday, November 23, 2006

Party in Second Life for Australian Libraries

Here's our official notice about the Christmas party LINT is holding for Australian Libraries in Second Life.

By the way, congratulations to fellow-linter, Michelle McClean who has been award a Ramsay and Reid scholarship to spend 3 weeks travelling the US looking at Library 2.0 technologies in public libraries. Imagine getting to visit with John Blyberg and then checking out the Imaginon in Charlotte.


Virtual end of year party for Australian Libraries in Second Life.

The Australian libraries blog,, is hosting an end-of year party in Second Life on 13th December, 6pm to 8pm Western Australian time. [This is 1am San Francisco time; San Francisco time also being Second Life time.]

Second Life is a virtual world, with a population of over 1 million, in which large companies, schools and universities (IBM, Dell, Harvard) have set up shop. Reuters newsagency has its own correspondent there. According to a September 2006 Popular Science article, Second Life, through currency trading, shopping and land sales, has a GDP of $64 Million. Recently, Australian Libraries were given a free building for a year on Cybrary City, courtesy of Talis and the Alliance Library System in return for 2 hours per week work on library services for SL residents.

The party will include a tour of Info Island and Info Island II by Lori Bell from Alliance Library Systems. We will follow the yellow brick road from the Oz library to the Kansas State Library Virtual Branch next door. Then, back to our building to hang out... dance on the dance floor, snare some cyber snacks, and go easy on the virtual alcoholic beverages.

You can join in virtually from your own PC, or come and look over our shoulders in real life. If you join in virtually, it would be a good idea to check out Second Life before the event:

1. Go to the Second Life website.
2. Check the systems requirements.
3. Go to the join up page and choose one of the family names offered..and make up your first name.
4. You will be asked for your credit card details, but do not have to give them.
5. Download the Second Life client to your PC.
6. Choose how you'd like your avatar (representation in SL) to look.
7. Enter...explore.
8. Teleport to just outside our building at: 207, 68, 23. (Often passersby can help you out to do this) Alternatively, we can teleport you to our building, if you send a message.

For further details, please contact Con Wiebrands (flexnib at gmail dot com) or Kathryn Greenhill (sirexkat at gmail dot com). If you are already exploring Second Life and would like to meet up, our SL names are Paradoxa Kurrajong (Con) and Emerald Dumont (Kathryn) - feel free to IM us!

Hope to see you on Info Island!

Kathryn and Con


Saturday, November 18, 2006

I'm going to Aurora.

February 2007. Threadbo Alpine Village. 5 days. 31 other potential leaders. 2 Facilitators. Mentors from the top of the field. No idea what it will involve.Thrilled.

From the background on the Aurora Leadership Institute home page:

The Institute's mission is to assist future leaders in the library and associated cultural and information industry to maximise their leadership skills and potential. We want to position leaders to be proactive and effective voices in a dynamic and sophisticated information environment.

This is done through a combination of experiential learning, group and individual exercises, and by working with a strong team of senior and experienced Australian and New Zealand mentors. The Institute programme includes exploration of leadership concepts including vision, risk taking, creativity, communication, and styles of leadership. It is a demanding, challenging and exciting experience.

MPOW and the two librarians who recommended me have been really supportive in the whole process. If you're reading this - thanks.

I had a single motivation to apply. Peta's post on LINT which was, a rather straightforward call for applicants. When someone asked a question about what it involved, 10 people immediately jumped in and basically said "go for it...the best preparation is not to expect's gruelling but you'll use what you learn for the rest of your career".

To apply, I needed to frame what I do, and what I want to do, as leadership. I'd seen leaders as charismatic and determined sorts who make other people's decisions for them and then somehow convince them that this is what they really wanted to do. Always surrounded by flunkies and constantly watching their backs because they'll be challenged by someone else who wants to be the leader. That's just not for me.

But..if leadership can be keeping a central focus on what the library user wants and sharing and enthusing and encouraging and networking and learning and facilitating, then I'll take that on.

The only down side is that it's two weeks after both kids start at a new school. One is going to kindy for the first time, the other starting mainstream school after being in a special educational program. When I talked the application over with my mother-in-law she told me that my boys would see a mum who was following her dreams and fulfilled by what she was doing. Wow! I'd only been stressing out and hadn't seen it quite so positively.

What I'll actually be doing is so mysterious that the naughty little girl in me is imagining Masonic kinds of rituals involving binding books in buckram while reciting Dewey. And finding out that LCSH actually has a sacred narrative meaning authored by Da Vinci. And maybe that Canberra really was designed using
spiritual mathematics , and the National Library is a key point in it all.

This blog will be a great place for me to reflect and track my path in all of this.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Need debugging that is.

I went away to camp for the weekend and came back to find that Mr4 had been throwing up. Mr8 and the Co-Pilot had become very messy by Monday/Tuesday.

Wednesday night during my reference desk shift, I began feeling a bit woozy, but wasn't sure it was the bug. I tried to talk myself out of it, but gave up at 8pm and went home an hour early. Good thing too. What I did next was not fitting for a library.

Staying home from work this morning, but hope to make it in this afternoon to lead a play session with the new internal blog. The launch has been delayed until library renovations are finished at the end of January.

The Co-Pilot is off on his own camp this weekend, so I need to get perky to look after the kids. I definitely need to be better by Thursday when I help with the Year 3 end-of-year-sleepover-at-school camp.

TODAY'S HIPPIE CARD: Talk to someone

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Monday, November 13, 2006

Librarian 2.0 Manifesto and videocasting

Read the book? Now see the movie.

Kingrss has creatively turned Laura Cohen's excellent "A Librarian's 2.0 Manifesto" into a videocast at YouTube.

It's great to see the free and meditative form used, and the shots from Burning Man. Along with David King's "Are you blogging this?" clip, and the St Joseph County Public Library's "Ray of Light" clip, it' s giving me an idea of what's "allowed" in library videocasts (that would be.... personalised, creative, artistic, captivating, free form and alternative visions).

I've written the main points of my screencast for 5 weeks to a Social Library onto Post It notes and shuffled them around in my exercise book. Tomorrow night at work, I start turning them into slides using Captivate, to create a draft storyboard and something I can build into a fully fledged screencast.

The wonderful L. from our Teaching and Learning Centre is very experienced with shooting video and interviewing, so she has offered to slot in some "vox pop" micro-interviews with staff who participated. I just need to tell her what I want asked. We'll experiment in changing the video to the right format, compressing it, then dropping it seamlessly into Captivate.

Not sure where I should draw the line for my screencast between a "professional" feel and a "fun" feel. If I'm alert, I guess I could aim for both...but I don't want to confuse everyone with anarchy.


Thursday, November 09, 2006

Everything's up to date in Cybrary City!

Wooo and hoo! Talis and Alliance Library System have just announced the construction of a new island in Second Life - Cybrary City. Read more about Cybrary City here.

It will have resources for librarians, plus provide space for real life libraries to have a SL prescence. No mention of the word "free", but here's hoping.

Rochelle and CW have recently written about their first experiences in Second Life. Mine was similar when there wasn't an event on, but I had a great time at the Grand Opening of Info Island - watching Lorelei Junot behead herself with a guillotine at the spooky costume party and sitting in the cinema watching Rocky Horror Picture Show with other Library Friends. Oh yes, I also enjoyed the learning in the auditorium.

Image: Home not so sweet. Not sure about the pink hippo either.

The Linden gods of Second Life have played dice with my avatar, poor Emerald Dumont (green hill - geddit?) by making her home inside a small model of a volcano in Mahulu. Everytime I teleport home, I end up in the volcano, thrashing about in fire and have to ask passerbys to teleport me out. At least I'm not like John Blyberg, who in SL had a grand piano stuck on his head for a while.

I'm beginning to think of SL not as a game or a virtual world, but as a user interface, similar to a web browser. A successful game would be interesting all the time. A successful virtual world would feel "real" all of the time.

A user interface can be friendly or unfriendly, but if it works well, then your focus should be on what you used it for, rather than the interface itself. If you browse the web with Firefox and what you find is boring, offensive, or unsatisfying, you don't walk away disenchanted with Firefox.

In academic libraries, we will soon have huge numbers of undergraduates who are used to this type of interface from gaming. They love it and understand it. To deliver the services where they are, we should understand it - and maybe learn to love it - pink hippos and all.


( I never, ever cheat with these cards, just draw 'em as they come, but they keep being pertinent to my posts!)

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Brewing another blog beast.

I'm setting up an internal communications blog for our academic library using WordPress. Why?
  1. We have too many email lists for internal communications
  2. All of us are saving emails in our own subdirectories on the same server
  3. To create a searchable archive
  4. To introduce staff to RSS feeds
  5. Experimenting so that we know how to create a ridgy-didge one to talk with our users
Image: Hubble bubble. There is no cookbook.

We hope to have it up by Friday. FRIDAY!!!

CW and I huddled around a PC one weekend at her house to set up LINT, so I've done a WordPress install before, but I'm finding out about .php, .css, ftp, plugins and the Gimp as I use them. I know I'm just learning - but I still keep beating myself up about not providing the perfect introduction to blogging bliss for the library staff.

Because I'm not Grand Zen Master Coder, I know it won't look exactly how I want it or do exactly what I want. I still want it to be something that people will "get", and hopefully enjoy. When you're asking people to change work methods, fun and enjoyment is not usually the result, so maybe I'm being a bit naive there.

We're replacing several email lists with the one blog, so I've set up categories with RSS feeds to match each list. The idea is that staff will subscribe to the categories that match the lists they already get, plus have access to all the other information whizzing about - all in a searchable archive.

I'm using these plugins:
  • Category LiveBookmarks Plus Allows browsers to autodiscover category feeds, plus inserts an RSS icon next to the category name in the sidebar.
  • Ultimate Tag Warrior so that we can tag posts and create tag clouds.
  • Dagon Design Import Users . If you give it a file with usernames and their emails, it automatically adds them as users, creates a password and emails it to them.
  • WordPress Suicide. So I can blow away the data on the test version and upload templates etc. from the copy I've been working on here.
  • I've also added a patch, Ticket #1790: category-title-in-category-feeds.patch that inserts the category name after the blog name in the RSS title. (Pretty useless if all the feeds have the same title!)

In another post, I'll describe some of the decisions we needed to make in setting up the blog, just in case you're thinking of doing the same.


Sunday, November 05, 2006

Librarian bundles for philosophy scholars.

My last post discusses how some clever librarians are using web tools to bundle useful resources to clients. Here's an example of how a philosophy subject librarian could use them.


The search box below uses google to make a single search of these resources. (Try it - it's a real one and works)

HOW TO: follow the steps at Google Co-Op searches. (I added the banana on wheels image just to play around with adding a logo).


If you click this buttonreferral link you'll see a page with a clickable button. Click it to add the search box above as a "search provider" in your Internet Explorer 7 toolbar.

HOW TO: follow the steps at Innovate

Some useful blogs for philosophy scholars are:
Epistememlinks list of blogs
Conscious Entities
Pain for philosophers
Philosophy of friendship

I've been playing with, but didn't quite get it together to create an OPML file for importing into an RSS aggregator, but I'm sure you get the idea.

HOW TO: Follow the pointers from What I learned today.

Thanks to CM for sparking my interest in this one.

New librarian skill - bundling!

New toys are fun. Even better when they herald a change in how we do things.
Their play paves the way for regular librarians to combine our collection development skills and powerful web tools to "bundle" electronic information, resources and searches for our clients

Prerequisites to use some of the powerful "bundling" tools are:
  • Librariany skills to select something useful to bundle
  • Ability to follow step by step instructions
  • Ability to cut and paste text
  • A bit of knowledge about where to embed code in a web page...or skills to use the "View Source" option and steal ideas from other web pages.
I work as a Philosophy subject librarian. In my next post, I've used the "how to's" from the posts above to show some of the relevant "bundling" services I could create for philosophy scholars at my university.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Going back to my village

I'm off down South for my Aunty Rose's 90th birthday party.

I grew up in a small country town, and once a year or so, I go back and visit my aunts and godmother, and the graves of my mum, dad and sister.

I read a lot of Indian fiction, and it often has a protaganist who leaves their home village for the big city. For the first 18 years of my life, I knew everyone, their place in life, and they knew me. Never saw the parallels before.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

OPML and the Internet Librarian conference

OPML is widely used to group a whole lot of RSS feeds into one bundle, ready for importing into an RSS aggregator.

I just imported my first OPML file into RSS Reader. I tried at Bloglines , but it said it would take 2 hours to import, and I was just too impatient. Bloglines has been a bit flakey recently, anyhow, with outages and delayed updates.

You could use OPML to provide "starter feeds" for people setting up RSS. You could provide information from a subject search, especially if the client wanted to know relevant resources rather than information. The grazr box on Peta's sidebar at Innovate is another use of OPML. To create OPML files, you can use a site like OPML Workstation.

What was in my bundle? Feeds associated with the Internet Librarian 2006 conference held 23 -26 October in Monterey, California. Over 1000 delegates attended and it had sessions like videocasting with David Lee King, RSS feeds and javascript with Meredith Farkas and mashups with John Blyberg. Here's the full program.

The OPML file was created by Nicole Engard at What I Learned Today .The goodies she packed in were feeds for :
  • tags IL06 and IL2006
  • technorati tags IL06 and IL2006
  • flickr photos tagged IL06 or IL2006
  • conference wiki at pbwiki
  • conference organiser's blog
This week has been quiet in my "library techie" folder at bloglines. Last week it was full of detailed notes from the conference sessions. If I want to follow up any, I can look at posts from 23-26 October in blogs on this list of people blogging the conf. It was compiled by Jennifer at Life as I know it .
TODAY'S HIPPIE CARD: New beginning

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Getting past the blog monsters

If I want to get past other people's blog-o-meters, maybe I should try some short snappy posts, and change the blog name to something like:

(images follow, so if they haven't downloaded to your aggregator, come visit)