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 :)

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

11. PD - why I say yes

I read Octopus Librarian's excellent post on work / life balance and thought about all the things I've said 'yes' to and why, since graduating six months ago. That made me remember all the other times I've started something new, and how useful it was to say yes.

Like when I went to teach English in Austria with no German language skills whatsoever. My Austrian colleagues obviously felt sorry for me because they invited my to everything going - I joined a rock-climbing class, took up indoor hockey, went to art shows and cafes in Vienna, learnt to ice-skate on a frozen lake, and babysat Austrian children.

Me in the middle, on a frozen lake. Hungary in the distance.
I said yes to all the invitations, stumbled along with the language, and my confidence grew - this despite the fact that I'm a total introvert. But before long I felt confident enough to say no to the activities that I tried and didn't like (out of all of the above, the only one I didn't like were the Viennese cafes - too smoky!), or when I felt like I was too busy. I even said it in German. My point is that participation really accelerates learning and confidence.

Since I started working as a librarian, my favourite thing to say yes to is PD. I'm full of energy as new grads are - I'm like a sponge, just want to absorb all the information. Overload? Bah! I'm not sure if I'll still feel this way 10 years into my library career (but who knows?), so I'm making the most of it. In the past 6 months I've signed up for

  • A 10 week TAFE / ALIA course
  • ANZ 23 Mobile Things course
  • A 1st year unit at the college where I work called History of Healing
  • Copyright training
  • 2 MOOCs
  • RDA intensive training weekend
  • A whole bunch of database webinars
  • A TAFE course to become a Justice of the Peace (why not?)
  • The ALIA PD program with Health Specialisation
Some of these I can do in work time, others I do in my own time. None of them cost me (personally) any money. And I'm really enjoying them all, and learning heaps! None of them stress me out (well... wait for assignment time, um..) and so far, nothing is infringing on my life outside of work. I'm more wary of signing up for things that are on-going (i.e. no end in sight... committees, minute taking, etc.) or things where I won't learn anything new (e.g. volunteer cataloguing). These are the criteria I use to make a yes or no decision regarding whether to take on something new. 

Monday, June 10, 2013

10. Thank goodness, a meme

Finished my Japanese speaking exam and passed YAY! No energy left for #blogjune other than a fun scattegories meme, provided by buntotinglibrarian. And because I've just finished my class and it's on my mind, this post is slightly Japanese-themed.
A prized souvenir - the interestingly-shaped, ridiculously over-wrapped, caramel-flavoured Tokyo Banana cake
1. What is your name? Renee
2. A four-letter word: Rope, for the rock-climber in me
3. A vehicle: Racing car
4. A city/town: Roleystone, the town (suburb, really) where I grew up
5. A boy’s name (other than your own): Ryo - a Japanese name that I've never succeeded in pronouncing, despite having taught quite a few of them
6. A girl’s name (other than your own): Risa - a Japanese version of Lisa, quite a popular girls name there now
7. Alcoholic drink: Rice wine, otherwise known as sake
8. An occupation: Registered nurse, my partner's job
9. Something you wear: Ring, although not being married (legally) I don't have one
10. A celebrity: Rhiannon, she's ok
11. A food: Rice - I can't believe I ate white rice for 2 meals everyday for almost 3 years...
12. Something found in a bathroom: Razor - couldn't think of anything else
13. Reason for being late (home): Roped into working overtime
14. Something you shout: RAT!
15. An animal: RAT!
16. A body part: Rectus abdominis muscles which my trainer and I are trying to turn into a six-pack

Sunday, June 9, 2013

9. What's in your Japanese bag?

To be honest, I haven't thought about libraries one bit today. I've been thinking about the speaking exam I have to do in my Japanese class tomorrow night, and procrastinating. While the Eastern States enjoy a public holiday, I have a day at work plus a night exam to look forward to arghhh!

I still haven't started preparing for it... apart from packing my bag ready for class. So today I'm doing the bag meme, and thanks to Flexnib for the idea. I thought at first I wouldn't take on this meme because the contents of my ordinary bag are so few and so boring that anyone reading would fall asleep. I actually don't even usually take a bag to work at all, apart from my lunch bag! I know, wierd. But anyway, here are the contents of my Japanese bag...

First, the bag. Bought in Japan, the brand is Gregory, and I mention that because this bag looks as good as it did the day I bought it, about 5 years ago. It's so damn tough! This bag was lugged from classroom to classroom for years, stuffed beyond capacity with English textbooks, flashcards, games and other assorted junk, and generally treated without respect. The strap is basically a seatbelt (and you know how tough they have to be) and the rest is made out of some sort of army canvas, but still manages to look like just a regular bag, which it's not. It's ongoing pristine condition leads me to believe it's magic. 

My Japanese textbooks. I've been learning Japanese for around five years, three of those while actually living in Japan, and I'm still somehow on the  level 1 textbook. I'm not bad at speaking (helped along by my Japanese partner) but my writing is atrocious. Can't. remember. the. kanji.

Cute pencil case, from Japan.

Fun pens, pencils and eraser, from Japan. I've got sooo much Japanese stationary loot.

My notebook for class notes.

The practice notes for tomorrow's speaking exam, which I really am going to start working on right after posting this. Have to memorise it!

Since the month of June started, this little gem is in my bag. Before class I'm grabbing a snack with a food voucher from here - love City of Perth food and arts events :)

So there it is. Sorry about the lack of library content today. Here's a quick library question for readers - do you speak / learn any other languages? Have you ever used them at work with clients? Now I'm off to do some serious study. 頑張る!(I'm going to try really hard!)

Saturday, June 8, 2013

8. A bit more history

As I was rushing through the city today to meet a friend and do some shopping in the mid-year sales, I remembered that I wrote on yesterday's blog post that I'd take some photos and post to History Pin. I whipped out my iPhone as I got to the cultural heart of the city, took a pretty average picture of the old facade of the W.A. Museum (which happens to have the word LIBRARY carved into it) and rushed on. Although it's just the one photo, it has been uploaded to History Pin, and they informed me that I'll be able to see it there in about 6 hours. Mission completed!

Actually, I love this building. The site and also the building have gone through a huge number of changes, even since I toured through it with my school classmates around 30 years ago (unfortunately, nothing has been pinned to History Pin as far as I can see...). Some things I didn't know, or had just a hazy awareness of:
  • In 1850 it was a JAIL and housed convicts
  • In 1891 it became a geological museum, and housed geological specimens
  • In 1899, on the back of the gold rush, the old building was knocked down and up went the Jubilee Building, and housed the state's Library, Art Gallery and Museum.
  • Various bits and pieces of the museum and other cultural building were demolished (the Francis Street Building was destroyed because of the danger of asbestos) and new work generally came on the back of mineral booms.
  • The Museum Grounds are where the Francis Street Building used to be, and now they are the awesome venue of the Perth International Arts Festival's Festival Gardens.
And the biggest thing that I didn't know is that in May 2012 an announcement was made to the effect that a new museum will be built on the site of the old Francis Street Building, with a completion date of 2020! I must have had my head buried in the sand, but now that I'm a resident of the City I'm taking an interest.

I've been inside a few times since I came back from my 10 years overseas sojourn. I really love the sense of history in the main hall, which used to be the library. You can still see the old wooden bookshelves lining the walls. And I love the enormous modern glass wall they've constructed to connect the two old buildings - the wall is constantly changing as they stick up new exhibition posters. There have been some great exhibitions lately too.

Speaking of new buildings, Perth is getting a new city library, due for completion in 2014! It's going to cost more that $33 million to build, and the design looks pretty interesting. See what it will look like here! It's all happening in this booming state - the changes in the City of Perth are staggering. Almost every time I go for a walk around the city there's new construction going on or new shops opening up. Certainly it seems to be a good time for new projects like the Library and the Museum too. 

Friday, June 7, 2013

7. I give my permission for you to...

I haven't had much time this week to engage with the 23 mobile things topic of photos + apps + maps. This weekend I plan to do a walk around town and take some pics. For now though, seeing as copyright is in my head following on from yesterday's post, I thought I'd have a look at the copyright issues around adding photos to Historypin and WhatWasThere. Here's the discussion question posed on the ANZ 23 mobile things blog:

What happens with the photographs you are uploading to these sites? Do you still own the content? Are there any issues with copyright?

The answers to these questions are available in the terms of service (TOS). These aren't found in the apps themselves, but are easily found on their websites. They are rather long, complex documents although I think some effort (especially in the case of Historypin) has been made to avoid legalese and use common language.

Map symbol-pin
public domain image
It's clear from the TOS that you continue to own any images that you take and upload in regards to both of these apps. But through the act of uploading it (publishing it) you enter into a licensing agreement with the companies that own the apps which basically says that you give them permission to use, modify, reproduce (and so on) your image in a variety of ways. Historypin actually lets you choose the type of license you want to have for your content, which is great! WhatWasThere on the other hand, doesn't. Also Historypin is a non-profit organisation whereas WhatWasThere is not. Just remember, licenses and contracts override copyright law, which is why it's so important to know what you're signing up for when you contribute content to sites like these.

In regards to copyright, the most dangerous thing you can do is upload an image that you didn't take, and for which you don't hold copyright. By uploading it to the site, you are claiming it as your work, so you'd better make sure that's really what it is!

Also, better not modify an image in any way - don't use a photo editor to paint the town hall red and then post it to the site! Not having read the TOS is not a good defence if you've breached copyright...

One annoying thing they tend to say in the TOS is they can change it at anytime, so check back regularly. They really hold all the cards, don't they?

Thursday, June 6, 2013

6. Copyright copywrong

Today I attended a copyright information session for work during which I learnt some very interesting things. A surprising one is that the library I work at does not meet the legal definition of a library because its resources are not available to the general public and we do not offer an interlibrary loan service!

Creative commons license attribution
The session slides are up on Slideshare here. Another thing I learnt is that there are large sections of copyright law that are considered 'grey areas', and that many of these grey areas are to do with digital content. For example, is it ever a breach of copyright to publish hyperlinks? No one has ever been prosecuted for it, but it remains a grey area.

The points the presenter made about publishing on social media were also interesting. Contracts and licences override copyright. Whenever you sign up to a social media site such as Facebook, Twitter, Blogger or Instagram for example, you are agreeing with their terms of service which are not always favourable to the individual. I decided to have a careful look at Blogger's Terms of Service, which come under the broader Google Terms of Service. Of particular interest is what social media sites say they will do with content uploaded by users. Have a look for yourself, but they basically say that you're giving Google a licence to use your content for a wide range of activities that they define in the TOS, but which seems to be limited to operating, promoting and improving Google services.

That's what I've agreed to by starting this blog...

It was clear from today's presentation that copyright law isn't keeping up to date with what we are able to do with digital technology, both as individuals and organisations. The Australian Digital Alliance are pushing to right this copyright imbalance that is being discussed as part of the present copyright inquiry in Australia. They have produced a nice interactive micro-site full of copyright wrongs - check it out here.

A fun fact from the microsite to finish with - did you know that it is an infringement of copyright law to include a YouTube video in a presentation to colleagues at work or at a conference? You can show them the clip on the YouTube site however, if I understand correctly. This copyright law is a very tricky business!

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

5. Travels with libraries

Thanks to @c_hocking, @edublogs and #anz23mthings for putting me on to a great list of blog tips from Problogger. My blog surpassed 1000 views today (even without doing many of the things listed...)! But time to step it up. One thing I'm going to try to do more of from the list is tell more stories. According to Problogger they are a good way to connect with your audience and create lasting memories. Stories were the theme of this year's library and information week too, so let me tell a story about libraries and me.

In 2000 a friend and I volunteered at a summer camp in Atlanta, Georgia and when it finished, still in need of adventure, we travelled up the east coast of America, through the Appalachian mountains, along the beautiful Blue Ridge parkway, all the way up to Washington DC on mountain bikes with $1000 between us to last 3 months. 

We camped in the forest, we drank stream water, we met bears and bobcats, and when we reached settlements, we went to the libraries. We didn't go there for books. We went there to access the computers, to let friends and family know via email that we hadn't been eaten by bears (we had no mobiles), to catch up on world news, to relax in a safe and warm environment and to find our what the local attractions were by chatting with the librarians and looking at the local collection. We must have visited about 20 libraries and it was always like coming home.

In Washington DC we cycled up to the Library of Congress and took photos in front of it, we visited museums and art galleries and had a blast without blowing our budget (which was spent almost entirely on food!). I only wish I had some of the photos in digital form to show! I can't imagine a world without these community cultural institutions... libraries, museums and art galleries. That was a once in a lifetime trip - because I don't think that I can travel on so little money ever again! 

Have you visited memorable libraries on your travels?

image via Wikimedia Commons

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

4. Study week

For all the students at the college where I work, it's not long until exams start! Good luck! While the students are studying hard I will be making sure we have all the required readings in the library for the new semester, and continuing my professional development with lots of reading and participating in online courses (oh and reading the 60+ #blogjune posts!) Here's a few articles that caught my eye this week that I'll probably have another look at later -

Ebook statistics infographic (on Edutech, Dec, 2012) - price, access and portability quoted as top reasons why students bought electronic textbooks. They also love the search and highlight functions! But they seem unsure about whether etextbooks are saving them time.

Why programming is the core skill of the 21st century - I've been thinking for a while now that it would beneficial to learn how to code, and lots of great reasons in this article as to why I should stop procrastinating and start learning! I've signed up at Codeacademy...

A 117 page presentation on internet trends: Some fascinating mobile stats from page 30 on. 

KPCB Internet Trends 2013 from Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers

Mobile design tips (from Mashable) - some things to keep in mind when designing sites for the mobile interface. Mostly applies to apps rather than webpages designed for the mobile however. I've realised I'm quite interested in the design of things, preferring a more minimalistic style. Inherited from my graphic designer mum and engineer dad perhaps?

How should academic libraries communicate their own value? (a Guardian article from Aug 2012) - so many misunderstandings of what librarians do, the role academic libraries play in the university, and their potential if fully utilised by staff and students! Ideas to turn it around.

Conference recordings from 'Beyond the PDF' - academic publishing - link here as a reminder to watch later!

Anythink library design - I'm going to just keep these design ideas in mind for the future... it's all about moving away from the idea of libraries as stern and silent places with shhh! librarians and fines, and more about hospitality, intuitive classification of materials, and librarians as guides rather than keepers of knowledge.

Monday, June 3, 2013

3. Mobile mind mapping

This week in my swimming (in the information ocean) course, we're getting started on individual topics with a bit of mind mapping. I have to admit, this technique never really worked for me... I always work by jotting down notes either on lined paper, or much more commonly on word processing software, then reading over them again and again, adding bits and pieces here and there as I think of them. One of the most inconvenient things about mind maps for me is running out of space and not having room to expand my thoughts. But one of the things I want to try again, since I have the opportunity, is seeing if I can think less linearly, and create a wider range of ideas, by following the easy steps available from

It also occurred to me that I could see what apps are available for mind mapping on mobile devices, since I'm also right into the 23 mobile things course at the moment. I've downloaded an iPhone app called Simple Mind and I'm going to attempt to mind map the topic Emerging and evolving technology (in libraries) – mobile platforms. I doubt I'll be able to do some of the things in the recommendations section above (use drawings copiously?) but we'll see. I'll publish my creation in a later post!

Sunday, June 2, 2013

2. Design a LibGuide

In the forum of an online course in information literacy that I'm doing at the moment, one of the participants posed this question:
I have recently become aware of Libguides and can see their potential as a tool to promote services and to promote information literacy skills. Can anyone provide feedback of their experience of Libguides in promoting information literacy skills?
LibGuides are a product of Springshare and seem to be mainly used by academic libraries, and according to the Springshare website are used by 3600 libraries in 37 countries for the purposes of knowledge sharing and content management. We use them in our library as our main information gateway to the library and its services. You can put all kinds of content on there - text, links, images, videos, feeds, forms, widgets etc.

To use LibGuides to promote information literacy skills, you first have to promote LibGuides! To do that, you need to decide on exactly what you want to use them for, and how you want to present the information. You can look at lots of examples of LibGuides as they are freely available on the web - just Google a university and 'LibGuides'. There are some nice examples on, and all of these guides can be used as a template for your own if you choose (with proper attribution).

Another page which is good to have a look at is the Springshare LibGuides help page which explains pretty much everything you will ever need to know about how to create content using the LibGuides platform.

Springshare offer loads of support for their LibGuides product, including regular webinars. I think the thing you have to be most careful with LibGuides is design. Because it's so customisable it takes careful planning and consideration to decide exactly what to put on there, and if there are more than a couple of people working on the guides it can get disorderly. Basically, it has to be easy for users to navigate, and constructed in a logical way, and the content has to be useful to your user. There is actually a whole set of LibGuides pages on how to create good LibGuides called Working Inside the Box, available on the Best of Libguides pages. The Powerpoint slideshow they have created is so worth watching. Happy creating!

Saturday, June 1, 2013

1. Blog June, and all about blogging

Thanks to @Flexnib for organising #blogjune and for this meme! Blogging everyday is going to be hard, especially as I've been trying to use this blog for serious reflection which does take time! There will be some shorter posts this month, but that's ok too. I know posting quality content regularly is a good way to get followers, and I want more followers to make more connections with people who inspire me. Read on!

How long have you been blogging? 
I've been blogging regularly since 2005, but that's my personal blog. This blog, which I regard as my 'professional' blog, started just last month!
Why did you start blogging? 
I was inspired to start this blog by the 23 mobile things course. I wanted to record and respond to what I was learning there, but this blog has already expanded to other library-related topics, which I'm happy about :) I also hope to connect with other library professionals through this blog.
How many times a week do you post an entry? 
So far, every few days, but for #blogjune.... EVERYDAY! C'mon!
How many different blogs do you read on a regular basis?
Quite a few... I have a blogroll that I check regularly (library blogs) and there are also a few non-library blogs that I like reading. They have to have a theme though. If the theme is just 'me' I get bored quickly. 
Do you comment on other people’s blogs? Do you keep track of how many visitors you have? 
I sometimes comment on other people's blogs. That's something I want to do more of in #commentjuly. I do keep track of how many visitors I have, why not? It motivates me to write.
Did you ever regret a post that you wrote? 
No. But I have regretted tweets.
Do you think your readers have a true sense of who you are based on your blog?
Not really, because I don't use my blog to write about myself. I use it to reflect on library things, but I guess one side of my personality comes through. 
Do you blog under your real name? Yep.
Are there topics that you would never blog about? 
There's only one topic I blog about - anything relating (in any way) to LIBRARIES :)
What is the theme/topic of your blog? 
Library world!
Do you have more than one blog? If so, why? 
Yes, I have a personal blog where I store and describe all of my best photos (I used up so much space that I had to pay for extra, grrr) and record important / fun / memorable days in my life. I have a professional blog for reflection on happenings in the library world. I like to keep the two separate. 
What have you found to be the benefits of blogging? 
Having a record of my thoughts that I can go back to and a place to curate content that I've found useful. More recently, it's been a rewarding way to connect with people in the library world. Also, just seeing something that I created up on the internet is pretty cool! 
So, why do you continue to blog? 
What can I say, I'm addicted.