Monday, August 26, 2013

Post-password future?

Probably the single most frustrating thing in my work with students in the library is seeing them give up trying to use online subscribed resources and ebooks because 'it's all too hard'. This could be in regard to setting up accounts, forgotten passwords, slow or unreliable internet, the perception that it's complicated or too time-consuming, Google search is an easy alternative, uncertainty about how to search within and reference online materials, or a combination of these factors.

This week's ANZ 23 mobile things topic is Adobe ID. Students at the academic library where I work have to create an account with Adobe to access ebooks on the free Adobe Digital Editions software for the desktop or laptop, and also to use an ebook reader app such as Overdrive or Bluefire on a mobile device. The Adobe ID allows them to transfer books protected by Digital Rights Management (DRM) on to their computers. Next, students have to create an account with our ebook provider Ebsco, and then they have to sign in with their college password to access our online resources. That's 3 user names and 3 passwords to download their first ebook. Also, every time there is an update for an app that uses Adobe ID for authentification, the ID password needs to be re-entered. It really takes persistence! I've heard this type of cumbersome process described as a 'usability chore'.

There's no way around passwords. They are needed in the academic library context to limit access to subscription resources to enrolled students, and to connect a student with their personal information such as current checkouts. Students also need passwords to login to Mendeley reference manager, software that is installed on the library computers, their cloud-based email, individual databases in order to receive alerts, and so on - it's never-ending. In an average day at work, I login to around 15 password protected sites or programs. My computer has many of them stored, but for students using the library computers there are no stored passwords.

*A scary note on Chrome's password security - did you know that you can see every password that has been saved in the browser in the advanced settings page? And you don't need a password to get access to that! Just don't leave your computer unattended if you use Chrome and value your privacy...

Some questions circling in my mind:

Is it sensible or bad practice to suggest they use the same password for data that is not especially sensitive/confidential? (The more passwords students have to remember, the more likely it is that they will a choose a single simple password, or no password. Do you password protect your laptop/tablet/phone??)

Has my organisation made it easy to use a single login for multiple services / products?

How often does having to sign up and log in dissuade someone from accessing a service or product?

Why haven't we moved into the post-password future that has been hinted at by the likes of Google and Apple? (fingerprint logins, ring logins, etc.)

Are passwords only about security/access or are they just as much about collecting data?

Are password apps as trustworthy as they claim to be? 

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Social Curation

My family and friends think I'm nuts because I don't have a TV and I don't read the paper or magazines (unless they're free!). But I've noticed time and time again that I hear the latest news before they do, and manage to keep hyper-informed about issues that matter to me, be that current news, or things that I'm personally or professionally interested in. I admit I spend a lot of time glued to the screen (either my desktop at work, or my phone or laptop at home) but I'm a very selective consumer of information and I know how to evaluate it. Also I love discovering new sources of information and I'm not overly attached to any one source - if a website that I like starts to fill up with advertising at the expense of content, then they've lost my patronage. To be honest there is another reason why I don't have a TV or pay for content - it's because I can think of a million other things I'd rather spend my (limited!) money on and the internet offers everything I need. I pay for fast and reliable internet and I choose the content. And speaking of choosing content...
content curation tools
Image by Aivar Ruukel on Flickr, creative commons licence
Actually, this post was supposed to be about social curation tools because that's the topic for ANZ23mthings for this week - Thing 14: Curating with Pinterest, Tumblr, and and co-incidentally it also happens to be the week that we are launching our PD reading project at work, using the lovely as a platform. As part of the process of choosing which of the many social curation tools to go with, we analysed and compared a whole bunch of them. We rejected Delicious and Diigo as being old school in the way that they displayed content - visually uninteresting - although they did have better group and privacy settings. We rejected Pinterest on the basis that it was more suited to images and browsing rather than deeper reading, and we weren't that impressed with the web interface although it's great on a tablet or smartphone. Everyone was impressed by Flipboard but felt that it was once again more suited to the touch interface rather than the desktop, and didn't have enough scope for commenting on articles on the desktop version. Although I've decided to use it for my personal use and totally loving it.

We ended up being happy with our choice of although we are still in the early stages of our project. The aim is to get the whole team contributing articles of interest to our work, read the one's that spark our interest, and comment on them. The emphasis is on the reading and commenting part rather than merely collecting. We've got a controlled list of tags to make searching by topic easy. For me, the best part of this project is that we are all working in the same context (i.e. we are aware of the current library landscape outside of our immediate work environment) and we are all engaging in PD which is not daunting and hopefully will become a part of our daily or weekly routine.

The page we've created is pretty much just for our group so I'm not going to provide and links or details. We did notice that there wasn't a visually exciting social curation site that offered exactly what we needed - a space for a private group to collaborate. The trend is social, so you have to share! Let's see if what we have suits our needs...

Friday, July 26, 2013

Lara's wondering where my TV is...

ANZ 23 Mobile Things had a fun one for us this week - it's augmented reality!

I think the technology is really awesome, and you will be blown away like I was if you watch this video, but I really can't imagine walking around a city pointing my iPhone at buildings to find out what's inside, or at restaurants to get reviews. Or wearing Google Glass. Yet. A big part of me wants to shout out - we're moving too fast! It's unnatural! I want to go live up a mountain and never look at a screen again! But another part of me says, that's actually pretty cool. 

So I haven't been in my apartment that long, and I've been buying one piece of furniture each time I get paid and I haven't got a TV yet. See, here's Lara wondering why the hell a TV wasn't one of the first things I bought.

I'd quite like to know what it would look like in the space though, and I'm also wondering whether I should get a smart TV or just a plain old digital. (Or if I even need one at all...). I got the Augment app free from the Apple app store (must be running IOS6), took the short in-app tutorial and then uploaded a tv into my living room. How does it look?

My library is also due for a bit of a makeover. With augmented reality I could choose furniture, move it around and see how it looks before purchasing anything. I also love the part in the video about the photocopier maintenance instruction. I could really use that when it comes time to replace the toner cartridge...

Monday, July 22, 2013

Beautiful cartoons

I came across a website with such gorgeous cartoons that I just had to share it here.

It's called Incidental Comics and lots of them are book themed.

This one about the death of books is especially poignant. Enjoy!

What does a librarian do, anyway?

I get the feeling that a lot of people who are not involved with libraries don't really know what librarians do. I mean they know that we work in a library obviously, and they would probably also guess that we spend a lot of time with computers, and help people who come into the library. But actual tasks that we do? To most, it's a mystery. I know, I know, I couldn't really say exactly what tasks an engineer or a public servant in a government department do in their day-to-day work either. But I want to make two points on this topic.

1. It wouldn't hurt to raise awareness amongst library patrons and the public in general of what a librarian does.

2. I often have doubts myself about what the role of a librarian involves, making the first point rather difficult to begin.

Have you ever heard someone say that when X happens, librarians will be freed-up to work on other projects? X being for example

  • automation a system (e.g. self check-out stations)
  • library technicians or paraprofessionals taking on roles like reference and info literacy
  • purchasing a turn-key, time-saving vendor product
  • outsourcing work

During the future of the profession workshop the same thing occurred to me when we were discussing shambrarians - people without library qualification being employed in the library, for example people with a background in marketing, communications, web development etc. People with IT degrees can manage data and information better than a librarian. People with web design talent can design website and library pages better than a librarian. Marketers can sell library services better than a librarian. Our job has changed so much and diversified to the extent that we have to wonder what we should be spending our time on...

Is there anything a librarian can do that is unique? Are we losing our footing? 

There's a conference coming up in November in Sydney called SWITCH and one of the speakers is Steve Coffman. Here's his topic, from the program. Look interesting, as do his articles.

Can Libraries Compete in a Digital Age?
Over the past few decades the digital library we all dreamed of has been built. Although we librarians helped to make it, it is not ours. Books are provided by Amazon, Apple and Google. Reference is by Google and the Web.Library 2.0 is by Goodreads, Facebook and many others. And the smart phone, Kindle and iPad are providing access to it all. So where does that leave libraries? Is it time we just hung it up and turned our buildings into community centres or ‘makerspaces’? Or are libraries still needed in the world of books, and if so, what roles can we play? 

There's quite a lot of insecurity in the industry at the moment, but I for one am not going to give up on this industry that I've so recently become a part of.  I suppose what we do is bring it all together in context, and organise everything in a way that make our services and our resources accessible to our library users. And we do it on a scale that is intimate and personal and does not try to be everything to everyone. Are we recognised for this sometimes difficult-to-grasp role?

From now on I'm going to covertly and naturally educate as many people as I can about what librarians do and how we value our profession and our library users. That probably means tomorrow, when someone walks in to a near-empty library (the students are on break) and says, wow it's quiet in here! I'll say Yes, the peace is giving me a chance to prepare information literacy session for the students! or Yes, I've just been creating a new web-tutorial for our bioscience databases! 

Wish me luck :)

Here's a nice infographic that has some future roles of a librarian, there at the end.

++ Click to Enlarge Image ++
Libraries of the Future Visualization |

Sunday, July 21, 2013

I'm changing my topic

I was over on the ANZ 23 Mobile Things blog, the social reading post, and I noticed that Jodie had written in the comment section:

Has anyone got a staff, shared RSS aggregation tool at their workplace where you all share the same blogs/news sources? I have regularly thought about setting this up but never seem to get around to it. Would be keen to hear if anyone has done it, and how it’s working. Does it encourage a culture of professional reading and engagement?
The way we share knowledge at work could be so much better. Our team of librarians is spread out over 5 states, and if we want to share something interesting that we've seen on the net, we send an email out to everyone about it. Email and picking up the phone are our options. Problem is, I want to share stuff all the time but I'm pretty sure no one wants to get 20 emails a day about things that I've read, no matter how interesting they are. And then there's the duplication issue - chances are that my colleagues have spent time searching for the same things I have and read them. Time could be saved by having a shared platform for reading. I considered Feedly, but what I really want to share is individual pages rather than subscribe to an RSS feed. So perhaps Delicious would be better?

The more I think about it, the more I like the idea. If we had just the one account, we could all add content as we wanted, tag it for future reference and ease of searching, comment on articles, interact with comments and with no fear about bothering each other with emails... Perhaps we would need an email once a week to highlight content, direct people to the Delicious site and encourage its use. So this is my new challenge topic.

Hey, just noticed that this is my 50th post!

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Introversion and libraries

You don't go long in library world without the word introvert coming up in conversation. I don't know of any statistics on what percentage of librarians are introverts, but I imagine it would be more than those of the general population. But the good thing is that introversion isn't seen as a negative among librarians, perhaps because it's the norm. We embrace our introversion and are not ashamed of it. And that's because being introverted is not a bad thing at all, a fact which I've been reminded of in reading 'Introvert Power' by Laurie Helgoe.

She reminds us that at least half of Americans are introverts. Wow, really? Yep, she's done her homework. But we are still living in an extrovert's world where it is weird not to want to go to parties or be out on a Friday and Saturday night. The focus of Helgoe's book is first of all re-defining introversion in positive terms and then showing how introversion can be a strength rather than a weakness.

Did you know that introverts...

Get energy from quiet reflection and expend energy in social interaction

Are excited by ideas rather than people

Often have very rich imaginations

Don't like being put on the spot

May act extroverted, but tire quickly in social situations

I was thinking about the Future of Libraries talk where we were asked 'What is a Library?' and someone said it's a sanctuary. I have to agree. Public libraries have always been a place where time slows down. They are a place to be solitary if you choose, to let your imagination free in a book, and to get away from noise. I'd say the 50% of the population who are introverts really appreciate these qualities of a library. Whatever libraries become, I hope they will always be a sanctuary.

"Quiet people have the loudest minds" (Stephen Hawking)

Friday, July 19, 2013

The Future of the Library

I went along to the 2013 ALIA WA NAC Future of the Profession discussion with 68 keen others today and I'll attempt to give my account of it here.  The session was based on a discussion paper - found here. The current President of ALIA kicked off introducing the topic and explaining ALIAs concern about the future, then she introduced Kathryn Greenhill who is associate lecturer at Curtin University (I took her first year technology unit a few years ago). She zoomed through an outline of 10 trends she thought would impact on the librarian profession in the near future. Here they are (you can get more detail on each from #aliafutures in Twitter) and Kathryn's slideshow is available over on her blog, Librarian's Matter.

1. Open access.
2. Linked open data
3. Big data
4. APIs
5. The internet of things
6. Copyright, piracy and developing countries
7. Bypass and justify funding
8. Selling more than books
9. Service not stuff
10. Platform for information

In a future post (or many posts...) I will try to come to a deeper understanding of each of these. But anyway, the discussion then moved on as questions and comments from the audience were encouraged.  Here are some of the things that were discussed - I've taken them from #aliafutures on Twitter plus my own memory:

  • Is there anything that librarians can do that is unique? People without librarian degrees are being hired as librarians. Librarians are having to re-skill and learn continuously. Our roles are massively diversifying. If we take on new roles, we have to be able to do them better than others. Many can manage info and data better than us.
  • What to teach in library studies? Very hard to know. Lecturers encouraged to spend more time in libraries.
  • In many environments, libraries are subsumed into the larger organisation, especially in corporate libraries. Good thing or bad things? Librarians are unique in that we work across many different industries.
  • The public image of libraries and librarians has not kept pace with our image of ourselves. Our patrons have inaccurate ideas of what we do. Are people still visiting public libraries? Why or why not? We need to focus on services, not filling our buildings with stuff.
  • The point was made that the futures report contained nothing new - many are already doing the things mentioned in it. Need for further future / more innovative thinking.
  • Julie asked - what is a library? Big difference between the sectors - public emphasise space over content (e.g. exhibition and museum space, sanctuary for disadvantaged), corporate emphasised digital content over space, academic needs both.
  • How can we get everyone involved in professional development. It's important now more than ever. All of us need to be life-long learners. But does it come down to an individual's own mindset?
  • How can libraries use big data? We collect a lot of patron data - how about using it. E.g. "People who borrowed this also liked these books". How about selling our data? Using it for marketing?
  • If the library boat sinks, what useful skills do we need to remain afloat in the post-library world? Project management, data analysis, instructional design suggested
  • Problems of ebooks briefly re-hashed.
  • The future of academic libraries was discussed. Already moving into research support. Information literacy really changing from face-to-face to online tutorials, plus the embedded librarian, in the online learning platform, in class at time of need and in student forums. People like to discover for themselves. Short and smart is better. Potential for sharing tutorials rather than each academic library wasting time making their own? Maybe even vendors' tutorials are sufficient? Digital literacy is important too. Students who don't have digital literacy are at a massive disadvantage.
  • Librarians should try to add value - rather than just finding information there may be a role in critical analysis.

I think I got all the main points....

This is not a topic that will be going away anytime soon. In fact I think it will be a continuous feature of our careers as librarians. Stay tuned!

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Great presentation

Goodreads and LibraryThing

I love Goodreads AND LibraryThing! But only certain features...
Renee Stokes's bookshelf: read

The Time Traveler's Wife The Kite Runner The Poisonwood Bible Life of Pi The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo The Blind Assassin

More of Renee Stokes's books »

Book recommendations, book reviews, quotes, book clubs, book trivia, book lists

I used to work at a library supplier and catalogue the new books for public libraries and when I saw a book that I wanted to read in the future I would covertly open up the Goodreads app on my phone, go to 'scan' and scan the barcode and then add it to my 'to read' folder. Then I'd put holds on them at the library, naughty me! Sadly I no longer work there...

With both social reading sites I really like that I can keep a record of the books that I've read and the dates I read them and it's nostalgic to look back over the list :) I don't like reading reviews of a book I'm about to read though because I want to read it with an open mind and some of the reviews are overly critical I find. So I read them after I've finished the book and often see the book in a different light, one that I hadn't previously considered. I don't use many of the other social features, but may do in the future. I've only been using the Goodreads app since the beginning of the year, so not many books in my collection yet.

I've got quite different reading habits to most people. I pretty much stick to fiction, written in the past 10 years, and often translated into English. My appetite is for the foreign novel - it's like travel for the mind while sitting on the sofa and I'll never tire of it as long as it's well written. If it's good enough to get translated then it usually has merit. At the moment I'm really into Japanese and Chinese writers, although I'm reading a Nigerian writer now. Why is there never a section for international fiction in the library :(

I've gotten off topic. I read the excellent Library Thing vs Goodreads by Amanda Nelson and she discovered that LibraryThing came out better than Goodreads on almost all criteria, concluding that LibraryThings was the more serious tool and Goodreads was the more social. LibraryThing doesn't have an iPhone app and I need to have access on-the-go without requiring the more serious features, so Goodreads is fine for me, but I still (sometimes) maintain my LibraryThing catalogue too. It's could take over my life, the amount of detail you can catalogue in and the other fun functions.

Oh one more thing. I've been trying to make the Goodreads widget thingy work on my blog. Firstly it was really difficult to locate the widget section on their site, and then it doesn't update. Will look into it. Feel free to add me as a friend on Goodreads, especially if you read international fiction.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

My challenge

My challenge is to identify a social tool, a web service or a new idea gleamed from my professional reading that I think will take off in FY14, and give a 3 minute presentation on it to my colleagues. I've been thinking of so many different things for this challenge (inspired by 23 mobile things and my tweet stream mostly!) such as infographics, MOOCs, Google hangouts, coding for beginners, etc. I want to feature something that is perhaps new to my colleagues and that could have a direct impact on our work.

I'm choosing Twitter for this challenge, but not for the usual reasons of networking with a fellow librarians and keeping up with emerging trends ... although these are of course huge reasons for signing up. I'm going to be focusing on the benefits of following the tweets of library vendors, aggregators, government departments and so on. Because our college is focussed so narrowly on one subject area we can easily follow organisations that are related to just this field, plus those who provide our resources. This kind of information usually arrives in our inboxes as email newsletters, but for those who want an alternative, well, there's this. Here are some tweets that I've picked out from my stream in the past couple of months. They feature

  • Upgrade alerts to products we use such as Mendeley and Discovery Search
  • Info about relevant new journals, ebooks and apps
  • Free training and PD opportunities
  • Links to relevant resources that could be useful additions to our Libguides 

Warning: Very long list of embedded tweets follows!

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Hm, July already?

Well I managed 24 posts in the month of #blogjune which is not so bad... in the last week though I really slumped. It wasn't a lack of time that caused the slump, rather the intensity of doing something every single day just overwhelmed me. Still, I got a lot out of it and will surely be in it again next year :)

I've had a good week. I created a tutorial video for a bioscience imagebase and human anatomy learning tool which was a bit scary as I did it live with five of my librarian colleagues listening in from the Eastern States. The 40 minute video is on our LibGuides but I'm not sure if I can bring myself watch it back even though I've had good feedback about it. It's always a bit weird to listen to yourself isn't it? 

At our college there are a few subjects that all first year students have to take. We often have students of these subjects in the library asking for help and the librarians prepare look at the assignment questions in advance and knowing where the resources to answer them are located. I've decided to go one step further and actually enrol in one of these subjects and do the assignments. It's an online subject, so I'm also curious to see what encouragement is provided to use the library, and whether the library's online resources are sufficient to answer the questions. I think the course should be pretty interesting too - it's called History of Healing and I've just listened to the first week's lectures and participated in the forum. The course continues for a full 13 weeks so I hope I can maintain the intensity.

An update on the other courses I'm doing at the moment...

Swimming in the Information Ocean - we're now in week 8 (or maybe 9) of this 10 week course and it's crux time. We're creating a wiki (my page is on Library Services on Mobile Devices) and I think I'm pretty much on track with everything. Just need to put in a couple of solid days next week and then the finish line will be in sight. 

ANZ 23 Mobile Things - I've faded out of this course a bit, although I'm still reading the blog regularly.  I enjoyed the Google Hangouts Thing and I'd like to try this out with my work colleagues at some stage. We use Skype at the moment so I'd like to compare the two to see if there are particular advantages to using one over the other. This week is calendars on the mobile, and I've heard that you can sync a work Outlook calendar with the iPhone calendar, so I'm going to try to work that out next week. Wondering whether I should also get my work emails on my mobile... hmm.

Looking forward - I'm excited about moving to full-time at my library at the end of this month and giving up my cataloging job (I will miss somethings about it...). And I'm looking forward to the Future of the Profession meeting on July 19th. And... I caught my cat being naughty and made a GIF out of it. My first one! fun :

MS4Kwy on Make A Gif, Animated Gifs

make animated gifs like this at MakeAGif

Saturday, June 29, 2013

29. Travel meme

Thanks to Buntotinglibrarian for the meme :) I just love travelling!

How old were you when you first travelled?

I went on my first big overseas trip when I was 22. After a yucky break-up with a boy I went off by myself to be a Camp Counsellor at an American Summer Camp (Atlanta, Georgia). Had the best time ever.
What is your favourite form of travelling: car, bus, train, or plane? I guess plane, because you can go to far away, exotic places. But plane travel is the most destructive to the environment, which I dislike. 
Where did you go on your first road trip? Can't remember so I'll give my top 3
1. Perth to Broome with my sister
2. From California to North Carolina in 8 days in a scummy old General Motors SUV
3. From Austria to Croatia with an Austrian
Top 3 bus rides?
1. From Tijuana down the Baja peninsular, Mexico
2. Washington DC to Los Angeles in a Greyhound (it's true, you meet all sorts of people in a Greyhound Bus)
3. Perth to Augusta to get to the Cape to Cape walk starting point
Top 3 train rides? 1. Vienna to Berlin 
2. York to London (did this one about 20 times...)
3. Tokyo to Kyoto by bullet train
Most interesting plane ride? About 10 years ago I got a really cheap ticket to London flying with an Arabian airline. There were lots of announcements and prayers in Arabic, the food was interesting and we stopped off in a fascinating airport that was all curvy and covered in tile mosaics and only had men wearing big white dresses in it. I loved it. 
Motion sickness? Treatment of choice?
I get seasick, so I try to avoid boats. 
Where would you like to go that you haven’t been?
I'd like to go to France and Argentina.
Where would you like to go back to?
To all the places I've lived - England, Austria, New Zealand and Japan to catch up with the friends I made there. 
Travelling alone or with someone?
Definitely with someone, unless I'm travelling to meet someone, which is more exciting!
Your ultimate travelling dream?
To be able to roam the earth freely without fear of harm, just travel to new places and explore! 

Thursday, June 27, 2013

27. Infographic test

I can't believe how easy it was to make this infographic with I love how I can create stuff using technology without knowing how to code! (That is one of my future learning goals though...).

Today at work I've been reading further into mobile library technology in preparation for my Information Overload PD course wiki, and also our upcoming FY2014 all-day planning session. But feeling tired now and it's hometime already, so just wanted to share this and once again berate myself for slacking off at the end of #blogjune.

I have been reading again and have now finished Ozeki's complete writings to date. More please, Ozeki san! It's ok though cos I have a couple of VDX orders to pick up from the State Library - one is fiction, Five star billionaire by Tash Aw and the other is not, Introvert power by Laurie A Helgoe.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

24. Time...

Wow, I just realised that I haven't written a blog post since last Wednesday, and I've been rather inactive on Twitter. But I have been very productive in other areas!

1. I finished another novel by Ruth Ozeki (My year of meat) - my new favourite author. Why has she only written three books...? Only one left to read and then I have to wait for her to write another one. Well, they are worth waiting for. In the meantime I'm going to read someone who I've been meaning to read for a while now and I've just been reminded about - David Mitchell. Loved Cloud Atlas the movie, but I'm not going to read the book again. Time to read some of his other works. Looking forward to it already.

2. Progress made on the interior design of my apartment. Original art hung on the walls, display boxes fixed for my kokeshi collection, and I even bought a bookshelf for my tiny collection of physical books. I really don't like having things half-finished, and that applies to everything in my life. I like to get things done!

 3. I'm keeping up with my online course (appropriately titled Swimming in the Information Ocean) and also the ANZ 23 Mobile Things and enjoying them both too. Looking forward to starting the next thing, a MOOC called New Librarianship Master Class, run by R. David Lankas, the creator of the Atlas of New Librarianship. When I catalogued this book when it first came out I was intrigued but also a bit lost as to how to go about reading it. Now I'll have some guidance and a whole bunch of librarians reading it along with me : )

4. I've negotiated to move from part-time to full-time at my library, and I'm giving up the cataloguing job. I'm really excited about that because finally I can put all my energies into one place. Having two part-time jobs was draining.

But having a little break from blogging and Twitter was energising and productive. I will do it more often ; )

Saturday, June 22, 2013

21. New Librarianship

I just watched the introduction video for the Master Class in New Librarianship MOOC and it surprised me and raised a lot of questions in me that I hope will be answered in the lectures and discussions.

The professor reminded us that the concept of  a library was created in a time when information was a very scarce commodity - now we have the opposite situation in that information is everywhere, and often freely available. So the function of librarys and librarians has to change. The course is going to outline how. I'm looking forward to it.

#update# Apparently the course is a pilot and only has spaces for 400, and over 1000 people registered their interest. I wasn't one of the first 400 so I won't be doing the course : ( oh well, plenty more to choose from!

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

20. What I miss...

Yesterday when I got home from work (another day in front of the computer), I cooked a delicious Thai chicken soup, ate it with my partner, did the dishes and then thought, what next... and realised that I had no motivation whatsoever to turn on my computer or pick up my phone. I felt exhausted at the idea of it. I hadn't missed a day of #blogjune until yesterday. But I've been finding it increasingly to be a chore. I don't feel bad about missing a day (well, just a little bit...) but I need a plan to be able to continue. Instead of blogging last night I started a new book. It was   A Tale for the Time Being, by Ruth Ozeki. I read half of it last night - couldn't put it down - and enjoyed it so much that I'm planning on doing the exact same thing tonight. So here's the plan. Instead of blogging in the evening, I'm going to blog during the day. It may be about library things or it may just be whatever pops in to my head, like this post which I am using as a pep-talk to myself. Judging by other recent #blogjune posts, I'm not the only one who is feeling challenged, so thank you for writing about it, people - I'm sure we are drawing inspiration from one another.

I also spent a bit of time yesterday watching the great collection of library-related videos that have been collected as part of the ANZ 23 Mobile Things course. Some of them were SO FUNNY. Watch them here - Library movies on YouTube. Click PLAY ALL and make it a movie marathon. I did.

The students at the college where I work are finishing their exams this week. For some of them it's the end of their degrees (I remember that feeling!) and for others it's just the beginning. Lots of them have exciting things lined up - travel, starting a new business venture or project... Did you ever notice that during periods of intensity like studying for exams (or #blogjune!) you develop this feeling of really strong motivation for doing other things in you life - the things that are missing during that intense period? What I've started to miss is reading fiction and traveling. One more easily remedied than the other!

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

19. Monday Meme

Thanks to buntotinglibrarian for the meme!
1.      When you looked at yourself in the mirror today, what was the first thing you thought? Wonder if I can get away without re-straightening my hair, which is naturally super curly / fluffy / unmanageable. 
2.      What shirt are you wearing? Fluffy green oversize angora jumper
3.      Do you label yourself? Yeah, I love the Librarian label
4.      What does your watch look like? Like this:

5.      What were you doing at midnight last night? REM dreaming
6.      Last furry thing you touched? These guys.

7.      Favourite age you have been so far? Now - finally got it all together at 36!
8.      What is your current desktop picture? Mount Fuji 
9.      If you had to choose between $1,000,000 or to be able to fly what would it be? Like everyone else, I'll take the money. If I could fly I'd end up being dissected in a science lab somewhere. I do fly in my dreams.
10.  The last song you listened to? Chill out music at the moment.
11.  What time of day were you born? No idea.
12.  Where did you live in 1987? Kalgoorlie, W.A. We moved there for 2 years because of Dad's mining job.
13.  What do you do when vending machines steal your money? Never happened.
14.  Would you move for the person you loved? Both my partner and I have moved countries for each other at various times. I also moved to Austria, England and New Zealand following my heart... So, yes.
15.  Name three things that you have on you at all times? Clothes, iPhone, um...
16.  What’s your favourite town/city? Perth. I love my city even though it's a total construction site at the moment. Looking forward to all the changes to come.
17.  What was the last thing you paid for with cash? Molasses.
18.  When was the last time you wrote a letter to someone on paper and mailed it? When I wrote to my 60 year old Japanese teacher in Japan. She doesn't use email.
19.  The last time you dressed fancy, what did you wear? Hm, dressing up for Halloween when teaching English in Japan. I don't really like dressing up though...

20.  Does anything hurt on your body right now? My back aches, as usual! My personal trainer cancelled my session today. Good intentions of training on my own have gone out the window, oops.

Monday, June 17, 2013

18. Japanese final class

My last Japanese class, and we are celebrating with tea! I'm not sure that I learnt much, but I made new friends and had fun :) now I need to decide whether to fork out for another semester and set of textbooks, or alternatively commit to studying regularly at home. 

Sunday, June 16, 2013

17. Mapping MOOC completed!

I loved doing this Google mapping MOOC. It was frustrating at times, but I learnt a lot. The final project was to create a custom map using many of the techniques learnt over the course. My result is below, also viewable here. It's pretty basic, but the important thing for me was learning the techniques, and this project helped me with that.

The third unit of the course was the most interesting for me. We learnt how to create a custom map and share it, how to add layers that you can turn on and off and how to customise the appearance of the pins. Perhaps the most interesting thing though was how to import data sets in CSV format and add them to a custom map. Our practice project was to find a data set of world heritage sites for our country and import the data so that a map with all those points would be automatically generated.
I had a look around to see if I could find any library-related data sets in CSV format to play with, but didn't have any luck with it. But now that I have the skills, I'm going to keep making custom maps and thinking of different ways to use them. I hope more open data geographical sets in CSV format become available in the future! Please comment if you have ideas of where to find them.

16. Owning Books

Following several other #blogjune peeps (sorry - will identify later!), I'm posting a photo of my book collection, which also happens to be my cookbook collection. Yep, I only own cookbooks (oh and some language learning books), and even this collection is moving towards obsolete. It's funny, because as a kid I had loads of books and my parents' house is still full of books (and soooo much other stuff - mum's a textile artist), but my apartment is totally minimal. Even this cookbook collection lives inside a cupboard.

I do read a lot. I work at a public library supplier and have access to pretty much every new book that ends up in a public library in my state. I may or may not have taken a book home, read it overnight, brought it back to work and catalogued it, then sent it on its way once or twice... Who could resist, right? The other thing about working there is that I can purchase books at cost price. But I don't - except as gifts for other people. 

I think for me, the attraction of reading books is reading them, not possessing them, and I usually only read a book once. I do like the way books can make a home look cosy and inviting as well as being a design feature, but somehow I haven't been interested in doing that with my home. I've got a lot of books on my Kindle, I read library books on Overdrive, and I visit the public library coming home with a stack once or twice a month, and I use the State Library's VDX service to order books I want to read, but I very rarely buy a book any more. If I had children, a bigger house, more money, no access to libraries, it might be a different story though! I'll always need books of some description in my life :)

So... why is my cookbook collection becoming obsolete? Well, there's an app for that. I've got most of my favourite recipes stored in Paprika now, and discover new ones on there too. A fabulous app which I'm also using for meal planning and grocery shopping. 

Which do you do more - buy books or borrow them?

Saturday, June 15, 2013

15. Not Twitter, but Sourdough

I was planning to write tonight about the new Twitter Analytics, like David Lee King did, but the most interesting part (analytics on followers) wasn't working for me! The automatically generated notice told me there was 'not enough data'. Does that mean I don't have enough followers? I'm offended...

So anyway, now I'm forced to write about what I did today which has no connection to libraries (maybe I can find something...) but it sure was fun - I went to a sourdough baking class with my chefy sister and 17 other ladies and one man. The instructor, Yoke Mardewi, was brilliant. We all ate soooo much and came away with the knowledge, equipment and supplies to make all sort of yummy baked-the-natural-way things like bread (gluton-free, too), muffins, crepes, waffles, pikelet thingys I forgot the name of, burger buns, profitteroles and scones.

The process for making sourdough is pretty interesting. Sourdough bread doesn't use any yeast. Instead it uses a process of natural fermentation that is much easier for the digestive system to deal with and tastes distinctively delicious, as well as staying fresh for longer than modern, commercial breads. Our teacher wrote a couple of recipe books that include loads of background info on sourdough traditions, alternative flours and all sorts of baked goods. I highly recommend her courses if you're in the Perth area and her books too, which, according to TROVE, are in 48 libraries across Australia. There, I knew I'd get the library topic in somehow :)

I guess today also marks the half-way point of #blogjune! I've really enjoyed reading everyone's blogs, and also writing my own, although that has been a real challenge. Somedays after spending the whole day at work looking at the computer, the thought of coming home to the computer is not at all appealing, but I usually find after cooking and eating dinner I'm kinda looking forward to it. What I have found though is that I'm blogging during the time that I would normally be reading a book... well, July will be back-to-books month!

Friday, June 14, 2013

14. Mapping kittens

I've been doing the Mapping with Google MOOC and really enjoying exploring what the new maps application can do. There's no firm release date for it yet, but you can request to play with the beta version here. One big change is the level of personalisation. For example, when you set it up, you can tell the program to remember your home and work address to make it quicker to find directions to and from a place. You can also tell it to remember your favourite restaurants / cafes / businesses by saving them or reviewing them, and the program will remind you about them if you're in the area again (although, that could be a bit annoying...)

How is it that Google knows exactly what your mean, even if you don't type in to the search exactly what you mean? I just completely mis-spelt the name of a Perth suburb in the search box, but it still found it for me. I put the name of the vet clinic I went to today, just Hanley's Vet, and it gave me the address perfectly. No need to worry about addresses any more, just use a name.

Another good thing is the real-time information. Like you can see the traffic speed on the different roads along your route, and if they are red (colour code for slow-moving) you can drag your route away from these areas. Like the old maps, you can see the distance and the time it will take with various forms of transport (now including flight!). Even hiking tracks and designated bike routes are given - yay! One thought - this is a desktop / laptop program... it's not for mobile devicces. But isn't maps most useful when you're on the go??

Today I had to take my two kittens to the vet to get sterilised and microchipped. I used Maps to find the quickest route of course, but on the way back I wanted to stop off and get some samosas from my favourite Nepalese restaurant but I wasn't sure if it was open at 5pm. The new Maps could've told me, but the current one can't. I ended up going to the UrbanSpoon app for that info and a menu (although found out later that the prices were from 2 years ago!). I wonder if I'll be able to see my cats' microchips blipping away on Maps one day... ; )

By the way, Hina and Mochi (that's Princess and Rice Cake in English) survived their operation and are recovering nicely!

Thursday, June 13, 2013

13. Libraries and gardens

In contrast to yesterday's post about the possibilities of new technologies, today I want to write about something completely different. Gardens! Autumn is the most beautiful time for gardens and I bet there are more than a few librarians out there who love them. Didn't Cicero famously say

If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need.

Quite. I grew up on a property with a really great garden. Now I live in a small apartment. But the great thing is, we've just started a community garden in the common area. We're growing herbs of all descriptions, lemons, limes, aloe, curry leaf - there's even a small bay tree. Everyone's taking turns at watering and looking after the garden. All we need now is some nice seats, a shady spot and a few good books....

I heard that the plans for the new City of Perth library will have a rooftop community garden. I hope it's like the garden out the front of the State Library which gives a lovely atmosphere to the cultural centre, not to mention free herbs for the dinner! My perfect library would have a garden. A big one. There's a nice wiki about library gardens here, with some really awesome photos and ideas for collaborations.

The photos on this blogpost are from my parents garden - at the house where I grew up, and where my dad still tends the garden daily.

 I'll be getting my hands dirty again this weekend... Happy gardening!

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

12. Google kisses and library advertising

Hehe I just did something fun. Do you use Google Chrome? Do you have someone you want to send a kiss to? Google and Burberry have teamed up to make a cute 3D message service. As explained on the official Google blog, they've come up with some cool kiss-detection technology using the camera in your laptop, tablet or phone or the touchpad technology in these devices (recommended to wipe first!). Technologies used in this ad - mapping, email, video, code, animation, camera... and many more I'm guessing. Using multiple technologies to multiply possibilities of what can be done.

So you create your kiss, then choose who you want to email it to, attaching a short message if you want. Then you send it off and watch the little 3D movie thing they've made to show it going on it's way. You can watch it on the map as it travels, and see everyone else's too. The Burberry part comes in when you can choose to apply one of their lipstick colours to the kiss.

Do you ever get freaked out by the speed that Internet technology is developing? I do. All the time. I just watched a video made by Google that contained personalised content for me, from real-time data that it got from my computer. Yep, a video. Wanna try? Here it is. Usually I hate ads and one of the main reasons that I don't own a TV is that I can't stand the constant advertising, but that I liked that one.

What a coincidence that I should come across this in the ANZ 23 mobile things video week! Are there some ideas for advertising libraries that can be gleaned here? I'm off to play with the video apps :)