Saturday, December 30, 2006

Changes to this blog and advanced apologies

I'm putting the finishing touches on migration from Blogger Beta to Wordpress on my own domain, in time for 1 January 2007.

When it's done, I'll do a couple of big posts on the lines of "Wow..THESE are the plugins to use if you're going to do THAT" and "Welcome to my new place, here's the details".

Here's a sneak preview of the header:

If I've previously linked to any posts on your blog, you may notice new pingbacks from my new domain. That happens when my old posts get imported to Wordpress.

Posts from the new blog should just appear in the Feedburner feed, without you having to do anything. If you don't subscribe through the feedburner feed, here's the details: I'm guessing that when the new blog is fed in, the 111 previous posts from this blog will show up in your aggregator. Apologies for this in advance.

I'm busy, busy, busy and having fun, fun, fun so will update more soon.

New job descriptions for libraries

When people ask me "what do you work as?", I can easily say "Reference Librarian and Philosophy Subject librarian". The other bit of my job, which is looking at emerging technologies and how we can use them in our library, doesn't have an official label or job title.

Back in June, when thinking about what Librarian 2.0 jobs would look like for Australian libraries, I said:

I suspect Librarian 2.0 positions will be created as people in existing positions redefine their jobs and add a bit here, drop a few responsibilities there.
I'm really excited by a trend in the US, one that I hope will hit here. Entire postitions are being created for librarians to do tasks that didn't even exist 2 or 3 years ago. I'm encouraged by the Emergent Technology Librarian at East Michigan University Library and the ten (yes, ten!!) new positions being funded at the Albany Library at the State University of New York.

1. EMERGENT TECHNOLOGIES LIBRARIAN at the East Michigan Univeristy Library

I chuckled when the ad posted on Web4Lib said they were looking for an applicant with "mad skillz". Made me feel about 100 years old and terribly unhip.

Position Description:

The Eastern Michigan University Library seeks a proactive, creative, service-oriented individual to play a key role on its Information Services Team. The Emergent Technologies Librarian will serve as an explorer of and advocate for the use of emergent technologies to support online learning and enhance the effectiveness of library information and instructional services . The Emergent Technologies librarian will coordinate virtual/chat reference initiatives and provide scheduled reference assistance (face-to-face, email, telephone, virtual/chat).


    • Explore, evaluate, and encourage the deployment of emergent technologies to engage library users and staff in new ways

      Provide training and support for other librarians on emergent technologies

      Explore and develop opportunities to integrate library resources and services into course management, online learning, and other campus software initiatives

      Collaborate with other librarians to develop online learning initiatives

      Coordinate, assess, and work with other librarians to evolve virtual/chat reference initiatives

      Provide scheduled reference desk and virtual/chat reference service, including some evening and weekend hours

2.Ten new postions at SUNY

Laura Cohen's library has just received "huge, anonymous donation to fund ten new positions for as long as we want them". (Yes, Virginia, there is a Library Santa Claus). They've set aside one position to use later. With the other positions, they are dreaming big, and realise that there is overlap between the positions:
  1. Social Networking Support Librarian
  2. Collaborative Publishing Librarian
  3. Multimedia Publishing Librarian
  4. Coordinator of Student Participation
  5. Programming Risk Taker
  6. OPAC Transformation Librarian
  7. Testbed Technologist
  8. Remote User Librarian..

and the one that really caught my fancy.... After 38 years, I finally know what I want to do when I grow up!!
9. Exploration and Training Librarian:

Does what all librarians should do but wlll get to do it full time: read, experiment, play, develop skills, listen to conference and training broadcasts, imagine and ruminate. Will develop a seminar program to present colleagues with the results of these efforts. Will assist colleagues in determining new ways of doing things based on these explorations. Will recommend readings, Web sites, podcasts, RSS feeds, etc., to assist in staff education. Establishes a culture of fun-loving, beta-craving, humorous attitude toward change.

TODAY'S HIPPIE CARD: Let go of the past

UPDATE: A couple of hours after I wrote this, into my aggregator popped an article from Michael Stephens on ALA Techsource that nicely summarises the last year of Librarian2.0 job descriptions in the US. Desperately seeking the adaptive librarian: on the 2.0 job description (part 3).

How my local library is getting it right for me

Just visited my local public library for the first time in about 3 months.

They’ve upgraded their website and a new feature caught my eye. New users can create a temporary membership online. This allows them to reserve items today, and provide their ID when they come to collect the item. A quick trawling of the web reveals this is probably “bog standard” with the Spydus ILS. I also liked the “item not in our library - fill in this request form and we’ll try to get it” option.

As someone who once joined up 4 family members at a loans desk, while trying to control a bored two year old, I applaud this. I would have loved to have entered our family’s details at my leisure and then known that what I wanted was ready for pickup BEFORE I ventured to the new library.

I registered both kids for an interactive storytelling of Charlotte’s Web with riveting “get-em-up-off-their-bums-and-moving” storyteller, Glenn Swift, next month. Having visited Narnia with him last year and re-enacted the battle scene in the library with spaghetti string and balloon swords, they can’t wait (OK…me neither!).

Mr 9 also joined in the Australia wide Summer Reading Club..after seeing at the front door the cool prizes he could win. He received a very nice “showbag” of reading related activities, including a “choose your book type” flowchart quiz, that steered him toward book choices that would suit him. He gets to go to a party where they dish out the prizes at the end of January.

The library also had very bright new signage - not just a small part of the shelf labelled, but large cardboard cutouts taking up the entire side of the shelf, top to bottom. Very clear and made each shelf feel individual, and like it held an adventure.

I left the library as one happy user.

TODAY'S HIPPIE CARD: Gentle Okayness

Thursday, December 28, 2006

The "To Be Read" Challenge

This looks like fun, so I'm doing it. The "To Be Read" Challenge from MizB of Literary Cache. I found it via Wanderings of a Student Librarian.

The idea is that before 1 January 2007, you list in your blog 12 books that have been on you TBR list for more than 6 months. Then, you read one per month. And..there's a sweetener from MizB:
Every 3 months, for the duration of the challenge, I will pick one challenge participant's name from a "hat". That person --if they've read the amount of books for that time (ie: 3 books in 3 months; 6 books in 6 months, etc)-- will receive a small gift (via snail-mail) from me.
If you have a "Staff's favourite picks" list on your website or posted in your library, why not add a "Staff's TBR list"? It would be great to share with your users, they'd get to know a bit more about you, about some of your bookstock and it would provide such an interesting talking point.

As I wrote the last paragraph, I thought "of course, this would only apply to public libraries". But I'm wondering...."Why couldn't we do it in an academic library?". Too worried about our credibility as a research institution, or that our users don't come to us for THAT kind of thing. If not, why not?

Here's my list. It turned out to be harder than I thought. I've just found out that I'm pretty good at following up and reading books on my TBR list:

  1. A delicate balance - Rohinton MISTRY

  2. Tipping point:how little things can make a big difference - Malco

  3. Born on a blue day - Daniel TAMMET

  4. A spot of bother - Mark HADDON

  5. Martini: a memoir - Frank MOOREHOUSE

  6. A prayer for Owen Meany - John IRVING

  7. The night watch - Sarah WATERS

  8. I know why the caged bird sings - Maya ANGELOU

  9. The tent - Margaret ATTWOOD

  10. The bone people - Keri HULME

  11. One hundred years of solitude - Gabriel GARCIA MARQUEZ

  12. History of Western Philosophy - Bertrand RUSSELL

Special mentions, but published in the last 6 months:

  1. The inheritance of loss - Kiran DESAI

  2. Chart throb - Ben ELTON

  3. Moral disorder - Margaret ATTWOOD

UPDATE 29.12.06: This one has been sitting on my bedside table so long that it's become part of the furniture, so I owe it a mention to prod me into finishing it:

  • Johnathon Strange and Mr Norrell - Susanna CLARKE

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

5 things you didn't know about Kathryn Greenhill

I've been sitting out here on the "C" list in Australia, waiting to be tagged with this meme. I've just had three "driveby" taggings - of the "if you're reading this, you're tagged" kind - so off I go...
  1. Neither my husband nor I were born Greenhill. It's the family name we chose when our first child was born. We changed our names by deed, then registered the birth.
  2. I've just come out of 9 years of looking after small children and dying parents, so the opportunity to choose what I do with some hours of my day is novel and exciting. I'm like a kid in a lolly shop.
  3. In 1991, I was removed by police from a public bar in Swansea, Tasmania, making the front page of the Mercury. I was having a quiet drink with some other women the night after the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission had ruled that the RSL could not legally continue to exclude women from the bar. The RSL President was drunk and belligerent and removing us was how the police kept the peace.
  4. I have a morbid fear of beetroot. The smell, the stains, the texture, the taste, the look...all spine-chilling.
  5. I am very good at yoyo tricks. I had pneumonia when I was 11, during a yoyo craze. While I was off school recovering, I put the time to good use.
Consider yourself driveby tagged if you're reading this, but particularly if you are:
  1. CW
  2. Dave Pattern
  3. Feral TB
  4. Rochelle Hartman
  5. Judy O'Connell


Sunday, December 24, 2006

YouTube and I say "Happy holidays".

Here's one I made earlier today at the windy beach.

If the YouTube viewer doesn't appear in your aggregator, try going here:

Friday, December 22, 2006

Only 9 more days to help Peter pick his glasses.....

I'm always fascinated by people using blogs creatively.

One of the students at my uni needs help picking his new glasses frames. The terms of his health insurance means he has to do it by 31 December. On his blog, he's posted pictures of himself wearing different frames and would like people to use comments to vote on the best.

He's shortsighted, so can't see what he looks like in the mirror..without his glasses.

Give him your opinion as a Christmas present......

Pick my glasses.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Oh you cain't getta man with a booooook!

Oh yes you can..if you live in Victoria.

The State Library of Victoria is running "Text appeal" bring-a-book speed dating sessions. I can't explain it any better than the library itself:

Love is in the air at the State Library of Victoria this summer.

Text Appeal is a new take on the traditional dating formula. Each person brings a book they love, loathe or have recently read to act as a conversation starter. Jane Austen may find Patrick O’Brien, Salman Rushdie could be captivated by Zadie Smith, and JK Rowling - can take her pick. The books people bring may reveal who they are, who they aren't and perhaps who they are looking for, all in a three-minute conversation.

Text Appeal will run once a month from December 2006 to February 2007, with the final event being held on Valentine’s Day.

Time 6 Dec 2006, 17 Jan & 14 Feb 2007; 7-9.30pm
Venue Experimedia
Bookings Registration is essential. Fill in the form below, tel 03 8664 7555 or email
Cost $20 per session - drinks, entertainment and the promise of a bookish romance included (a three-for-the-price-of-two discount applies to group bookings

Now, I'm not looking for love..but I am really nosy about other people's reactions to their reading. I'd love to take part in something like that, particlularly listening to those who just hate my favourites.

My Co-Pilot has pointed out that if I did go along, I'd probably end up with my nose in the book and ignoring the person on the other side of the table. Hmmmm...after that comment, maybe I am in the market for lurve!

Monday, December 18, 2006

Skype and google..they're talking!!!

Now that I've installed skype, my google search results display clickable links to some telephone numbers so I can start a VOIP call with just one click. That's them below with the Australian flag next to them.

My vague and not-so-tech-savvy-this-morning-brain thinks....."is this something to do with microformats, and should I find out more about them...they look fun".

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Hey Jude! Congratulations

Congratulations to all winners in the 2006 Edublog awards, but particularly my fellow Australian and fellow librarian, Judy O'Connell.

Hey Jude! won in the "Best Library/Best Librarian Blog" category. I'm hoping she'll answer a few questions I emailed her so that we can publish them on LINT tomorrow.

For a heartwarming ...aaaahhhhh... kind of moment, check out Duck Diaries. This won the convenor's prize, awarded by Josie Fraser who tabulated the scores. It's the story of a duck which built a nest in the playground of a school..told by the kids in pictures and words.

Skype high and Edublog awards night

My telephony is being dragged kicking and screaming into the 21st century. I'm about the only person I know who isn't a dab hand at texting. In the language of my son's school report, this skill is still "emerging" for me. It's my last bastion of ludditism..because tonight, I finally succumbed to:

Why? A nifty llittle email arrived in my gmail box this morning reminding me that the 2006 Edublogger awards are being announced tonight at 11pm Western Australian time.

LINT ( has been nominated in the "Best Library/Librarian blog 2006" category.
There are 5 entrants in all, three from Australia.

The awards are being transmitted directly from the chat room and Skypecast. It is also streamed live into the Worldbridges building on Info Island in Second Life. A text chat room ran at the same time so people could paste in links and accept awards via text if their microphones didn't work.

Here's how it looks live with a skype window open and the chat window open:

Results were updated live on the blog as announced.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

If you love something, set it free...

Here's some radical ideas...
  • What if users don't care where their library material comes from?
  • What if they are happy if they get what they want, when they want it, in a timely and friendly manner?
And more...
  • What if users don't care where our catalogue records come from?
  • What if instead of a "no holdings" screen, we told users if an item existed in another library and gave them a "yes/no" option to start an interlibrary loan?
  • What if individual libraries got out of the business of running catalogue information, centralised that bit..and then we focussed on just getting the material to user?
  • How many people work at Amazon keeping their bib data accurate? Could we harness the hours and hours of people power, chewed up in library cataloguing departments, to keep centralised records accurate?
  • What extra could we do for our users if, instead of just interrogating and uploading/downloading our own data from union catalogues, we could manipulate and repackage records from other libraries too?
These are some of my thoughts after listening to the latest Library2.0 Gang podcast from Talis called The Mellon rewards WPOpac...and opens an Open Data door? It discusses Casey Bisson's Mellon Award for his work with WPOpac...and his library's decision to use the USD50 000 award to buy Library of Congress Records and redistribute them under Creative Commons liscence. It then ranged further to discuss what would happen if we all pooled our records.

I've already admitted to not fully understanding the implications of this. Although the podcast made a few things clearer, I think that I need to see more from Casey about what his plans are, and whether he plans to value add, before I really "get" it.

Some of the points I noted were:
  • The barrier MARC poses to sharing our records with "non library" people. Converting the records to XML would be make them much more accessible.
  • Libraries could probably have shared records in this way before, but just haven't.
  • What would be the motivation for an agency with lots of data to share it? ...there was a long silence and then someone tentatively suggested..."Hugs??"
  • Often in-house standards or the ILS used determines which fields of a MARC record are loaded on a library's system. Often data that cannot be immediately used is not uploaded, so restrospective use is impossible.
  • What if libraries just went ahead and pooled our records, and then coped with legal ramifications later?
  • Why do bloggers link book references to Amazon and not a library?
  • The United States does not have a National Library like we have in Australia. The Library of Congress is there foremost to serve the elected members.
  • What we could do with pooled records remains to be discovered.
Amy Ostrom's laundry list of features she'd like to see on OAPCs (from the NGC list) dovetails nicely in to this...and no doubt also influenced my thoughts.


Friday, December 15, 2006

Pimp my PC

Over at Tech Explorer, Corey asks "what does your computer say about you?" He had the thankless task of visiting a large number of staff computers in his library.

I was interested that many people had loaded in a favourite background image. Our electronic services librarian says this reminds her ...and others...that she has a life outside work.

10 years ago, I customised my first work laptop with the album cover for Sergeant Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band.

Instead of the Windows close down noise, I had Bollywood. I sampled in Sri Devi singing the "awi wiwi wiwi wiwi wiwiw wi" bit of Hawa Hawaii from Mr India.

I think I must have got it out of my system, because after that I haven't really fiddled with my PC settings too much... I just make everything a subltle shade of lilac, nowadays. And set the default browser to Firefox.

But.. I think I might be expressing myself outside my PC, at least at home....

Analyse This !!


Thursday, December 14, 2006

Caught out at the library....

Last time our house was broken into, we were at home and the perps. broke a window with a big crash. Why they didn't use the unlocked door next to it, we don't know. Our neighbour remarked:
"If they had more brains, they'd probably be in a different business".

Here's further proof... Prison Escapee cought after checking MySpace.
Darren Bates had escaped from a Georgia county jail and was arrested in Philadelphia after checking his Myspace account. Bates accessed the page from a public computer at the main branch of the Philadelphia Free Library.

Authorities say Bates regularly checked into his account from the library and used his real name. Police aren't saying exactly how Bates was caught, but most websites regularly track visitors by the IP address and those addresses can be traced back to a physical location.

Yep..just what every crim. who's been deprived of the joys of society does...visits his public library.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Librarian's pyjamas

Today I bought a pair of cool-bananas librarian's pyjamas at K-Mart, not CafePress. What is the world coming to?

Cancel my subscription...I don't want your issues.


Poor pus-y pierced punk puss

Beware of gross tale to follow....if you want to read about happier animals, try this article about the rabbits who take ecstacy.

Nougat trendsetting

Poor Nougat had a grass seed surgically removed from her ear a couple of weeks ago. On Tuesday I noticed a lump on her cheek on the same side. Took her into Dr Jess, our neighbourhood vet.

Jess saw that Nougat had been fighting and picked a very small scab off the top of the cat's head. She then gently pressed on the cat's cheek.

A lava flow of greeny smelly pus poured out of the little puncture in the top of the cat's head, and flowed down. Jess kept pushing. I'd say about one and a half teaspoons of gunk came out. Exorcist city!

Nougat had to stay in the night and Jess operated the next day. After Nougat's cheek was drained, it had to be kept open. She now has a piece of fishing line looped inside her head...entering through the wound at the top of her cheek, through the cheek and out the hole at the bottom of it.

For the next week or so, we have to pick the scab off the top of her head, wash off the ooze and turn the string to keep the wound open. And wrap her in a towel to stop her clawing us and stick an antibiotic down her throat twice a day.

So..girls and boys, if you want a nice fluffy kitten for Christmas, just ask yourself....are you prepared for it all to turn out like this??

Look listen read

Last night, when I had time and inclination to blog, I accepted blogger's offer to take two minutes to tansfer my blog to blogger beta. That was around 8:30pm. When I went to bed around midnight, it was still converting. Hence the 25 "new" posts from this blog this morning in my aggregator.

So...will blog again when I have time. Meanwhile, if you want to know some of what I've been doing:

HIPPIE CARD: Fulfilment

Thursday, December 07, 2006 are sooooo dropped!

Dear Bloglines,

It's over between us.

You were my first serious aggregator relationship. I know I flirted with RSS Reader and RSS Popper, but I settled on you.

I loved checking in on you and how you responded with new and exiting feeds. I loved those extras you did for providing a blogroll on my sidebar and letting me see what others subscribed to. The "Sub with bloglines" button. Ahh..memories.

I used you as my first blogging software. I know I was misguided and you just couldn't fulfil that need...but I thought your great aggregation made up for it.

I used to visit you regularly and you were always ready with an update. Recently, you've just not been up for RSS fun when I drop by. Your performance is.....slow. I know some users want intimacy and a bit of teasing with their updates, but for me it's all about frequency, frequency, frequency.

I'm sorry, but I've been dallying with google reader. It's not quite as fancy as you are, and doesn't have all the features you have..but it can give good update.

I hope you understand. It's time for me to move on. I hope to keep in touch through my sidebar, but for now I just don't want more than that.

Goodbye and good luck.


Sunday, December 03, 2006

My Life-hacks

Was just commenting over at Pop Goes the Library on Sophie Brookover's post, On Not Doing It All -- Further Thoughts on Life Hacking. She reports changes in her life since her column on the life/work balance in the September 2006 Library Journal, Priorities and Professionalism.

Among her life-hacks are:

  • getting a career coach
  • using Remember the Milk
  • chunking her tasks
  • Ensuring that her extra-curricular activities match her long term goals
Here's how I responded to her question about how I Not Do it All:

I'm mum to 2 little boys, work 2 days a week looking at new web tools for my library, and do professional development many, many hours more. My trap is that my employer lets me do half my work from home, around the household chaos.

Thing 1. For me, it's the maxim "SLEEP COMES FIRST". Sounds simple, but every time things go out of whack with us, it's because I'm not sleeping enough. With babies, that meant restructuring so I slept when the baby slept, no matter what else needed doing, or other interesting adult fun was to be had.

Now, it's turning the PC off at night so I get enough sleep. I've not been doing it in the last few weeks (working on projects, having too much fun) and am a gumpy messy b*tch. I know I need to go back to that first principle for my life to work.

Thing 2. I live by my PDA. Have bought one for my Co-Pilot and we sync. to the home PC, so I can share the load by putting tasks on my calendar I know he'll pick up.(They have his name next to them - he has to :))

Thing 3. I've been experimenting with saying "yes" more. When I did that, I realised that most of the things I'd been saying "no" to were things that I said I couldn't do because I had a family. I was saying "yes" to baking cakes for the kids' schools, but "no" to professional opportunities and fun nights out. Worth the experiment. I've become happier, but now need to re-tweak my life to get it back in balance (see Thing 1.)

Thing 4. Exercise. It works. I sleep better and have more energy, so the time pays for itself by making my other hours much more fun and productive. Now, after a 5 week family holiday, I have to get back into it. (see Thing 1)

(Oh, now you will think I'm making them up..but they ARE random. Honest)

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Power of one....

People with enthusiasm, who embrace what they do with joy and encourage others, can change the lives of hundreds of people...far more than most committees do. Here's a few of them...

Fig 1. Enthuse, embrace, learn, play.

Enthuser 1 - LORI BELL
Lori always seems to be online when I visit Second Life. She was showing librarians around Info Island 10am Western Australian time this morning, yet when I just emailed her (about 9pm my time), she replied straight away. She's getting out of bed at 3am her time to show us around as part of our LINTy party.

She is co-ordinating countless projects in Second Life, creates a Real Life buzz around her project and is a hub around which many folk are empowered to try out skills in Second Life. She's part of a team but she works many extra hours and brings extra ooomph to it.


Enthuser 2 - WARREN HORTON

Director General of the National Library of Australia, 1985 - 1999. I've been doing a bit of reading about Aurora and discovered that the foundation is self funded due to a legacy he left on his death in 2003. He believed in empowering future librarians, and was deeply involved in Aurora's inception and running until he died.

I've been reading how he scrutinized the applications and took delight in matching applicants with mentors. He was affectionately called the "Grand Poo-bah" by participants and mentors when he joined in each 5 day live-in course. He let down his guard and talked frankly about some of his best and worst decisions. He had an extensive knowledge of who was where in the library world, and apparently a talent for suggesting who should be where.


Richard runs the Fremantle Light and Sound Museum. He's not a librarian, but a passionate ex-science teacher who won the Premier's Award for Science Communication 2006, He single-handedly runs his collection as a volunteer, in a small room in our local museum..and always seems to be there when we visit. He lets us play with his stuff collected over 40 years, talks to us about it and we leave thinking about it for days afterward.

The last few times we visited, we
  • Played "Pong" on an old tele-tennis machine hooked up to a portable black and white TV
  • Ran our fingers along a string dangling from a christmas card and heard it play a tune due to the friction of our fingers over the special bumps in the string
  • Used a magnet to distort the picture on an old black and white TV set
  • Wore special red and blue specs and goggled at Michael Jackson and Dr Who in 3D
  • Placed our $50 notes under ultraviolet light to reveal the anticounterfeiting marks on it
  • Used a typewriter - a highight for Mr4 who now wants to get one.
  • Debated whether the baffles on a gramaphone really made the sound quality better
  • Looked through periscopes and kaleidoscopes and stroboscopes.


Enthuser 4 - REG BOLTON
I've previously blogged about Reg Bolton. He packed an entire circus into his suitcase and inspired and taught thousands of children that they had the power to amaze. He had a few "circus swear words" that he banned from his Big Top

"No, Can't, Impossible, Embarrasing, Difficult"

TODAY'S HIPPIE CARD: Face the situation.