Monday, September 29, 2008

I loathe the jiggling at the start of the Voyage

I never did get the RSS feed 23 Things lesson. I tried as a duty to understand the process, but in the very disinterested manner of the school child who knows the lesson on algebra or the Battle of Salamis* is not for her. Tom helped me create a few links and I have looked at them rarely. This is mainly because I have my own methods of information retrieval that are immediate, relevant and referenced according to my requirements. I am glad Dana told me about the Annoyed Librarian which I have as an alert but irritated with myself that I did not limit it to the one feed for AL. There are an amazing number of items with “annoyed” and “librarian” in a multitude of articles. I keep it going as is, as I have come across some brilliantly written articles, often from the real Annoyed Librarian: I found out there is a blog for Librarians who swear profoundly(say F***) or something like that. I have lost the link but it was sharp and amusing and irreverent which I like when it is funny.

Google Blogs Alert for: Annoyed Librarian - 30 September 2008

Nursing Week Day 1- An unpleasant experience
By Esther(Esther)
I was annoyed. I dropped by the hospital library because I was looking for a book for my brother. I heard that it was there and so, I wanted to have a look at it because I thought at least, I would have an idea of it when I looked for ...
TYPE [89] -
busy busy!

By Julia Reina
I am hella excited, especially since Jay has an appointment to speak with a librarian Friday afternoon about an institution he has been interested in for quite some time (ie: if he impresses them on this visit and they're hiring next ...
" dead end in sight..." -

Angels and Demons
By Bala - Keep it cool(Bala - Keep it cool)
To Stan Planton, head librarian, Ohio University-Chillicothe, for being my numbersource of information on countless topics. To Sylvia Cavazzini, for her gracious tour through the secret Passetto. And to the best parents a kid could hope ...
The Da Vinci Code -

Comparison of Free Patent Databases
By Michael White(Michael White)
I get a little annoyed when I see claims such as this, especially when the database provider doesn't state the contents and dates of coverage. Having a great search engine doesn't mean much if the underlying data is incomplete. ...

Well I have looked and looked at the instructions for Voyage RSS Feed and tried several times to work on the program to get experiential knowledge. I pressed the pink and I pressed the blue. The items for the hour or minute were boring to me. I had to peer through the bounces to try to identify an item I found interesting enough to take to the next step.

One quick click on one of my frequently used links, and I can find the up to minute news item on the NY Times site.

Bailout bill slapped aside; record stock plunge :

Filed at 8:20 p.m. ET – that is NY Time and it was 10:20 am here.

The bonus with my “feed” is I do not have to watch bobbling items of no interest flicking like a 1960s era TV screen.

I have no use for Voyage RSS: I cannot work it out. I tried and failed to connect.

* I however loved Greek ancient history –
The Persian Wars (492 - 449 B.C.) were fought on land and sea. The Battle of Salamis was a decisive naval battle of these Persian Wars that followed the Battle of Thermopylae -- the one where the 300 Spartans and allies made a brave, but hopeless stand against the far superior forces of the Persians. After Thermopylae, the Persian forces destroyed Athens. But by the time the Persians arrived, Athens had been evacuated and the Greek military leaders were preparing to meet the Persians at Salamis.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Picture this.

This is one of the 1.5 MILLION images on Picture Australia.( Click the link for a better view) It depicts Mrs Swinburne, in garden party regalia, hostess of a garden party at Shenton, the Swinburne family home in Hawthorn, 1945. The garden party for staff was an annual event.. The faded photo is in an album of photographs donated to Swinburne by one of the family. Like most photographs this, and the others in the album, offer viewers a wealth of information – fashion, hospitality, Swinburne family commitment to staff, formality and manners,language, collection habits…

These pictures would never have been seen again, but now can be through Picture Australia.

Web 2.0 is changing, no, has changed, the stately world of library and museum collections

I went to Canberra early this week and attended a meeting of participants in Picture Australia:

I just cannot work out whether I am enthralled by anything to do with giving the public a chance to look at wonderful things or I am enthralled that this is done so brilliantly, eloquently and idiosyncratically through the internet and Picture Australia.

I listened to presentations from new participants to P A, developers of new search engines talking in technical language I do not really understand but know what they are talking about and talks by eminent scholars in the field of communication between communities and the use of web 2.0 technology that is revolutionising this.

When I think about the swirling items of information I gleaned in that one day in Canberra, I find that I am definitely shouting hurrah to the people in museums and libraries who are working with the web 2.0 phenomena to make their collections available to searchers, even flickr and google searchers. There is now a new world out there where even the littlest (regional) library, when a participant in Picture Australia, is getting “web hits” from anywhere and everywhere because its staff have:
*gone to the public to suggest that their stories and photographs are important and had the public respond in droves with marvellous and perfectly valid material;
*added terms to their cataloguing of items, formerly languishing in archives, and in transferring their data to Picture Australia, brought a new admiring audience – the general public and researchers;
*been able to get grants from their own management, regional government and other such bodies to further enhance the accessibility of their collections because they are getting such rich feedback from their own and external communities (and the Councillors like their photographs on line, on flickr, on the www).

Research in earnest is now taking place within the institutions and in the academic world about connecting or being connected to popular sites like flickr to beef up the numbers of visits to their sites. Serious (re)searchers can always find most of what they want, whether they use popular sites or esoteric and little known search engines. But the public at large favour ease and easy, so they use google, wikipedia, flickr and others as well as a specific library or museum catalogue on line if they know the item is most probably in that institution.

I am quite amused by my own views post 23 things, my presumption of what a conference such as Picture Australia would have said even a short time ago, say 3-4 years, about all this acceptance of new audiences via the popular. I even sensed a small amount of reluctance to “give in” and a wish to remain pure.

One of the most interesting issues I have pondered on since my day in Australia’s capital is that Delta Goodrem’s dress is a very popular site for the Powerhouse Museum* and so is the Tyrrell collection**


“The Delta Goodrem dress was collected by the Museum as an example of contemporary fashion and in particular the influence of 'celebrity' on style, and thus it is entirely appropriate that this object be discovered by users searching in Google or linked from Goodrem fan sites. It also has a relatively complete object record with three available zoomable images (including one of Delta Goodrem wearing the dress), a full statement of significance, object description, production notes and history notes (totalling 865 words) written by curator Glynis Jones. The object has never been on public display. However, this is not the whole story.” Read more*

“Powerhouse Museum joins the Commons on Flickr - the what, why and how
What Flickr offers the Powerhouse is an immediate large and broader audience for this content. And with this exposure we hope that we will have a strong driver to increase the cataloguing and digitisation of the remaining Tyrrell glass plate negatives as well as many more the previously hidden photographic collections of the Powerhouse. **

All is well with our world when a pop star’s dress and the Tyrrell collection are written about in learned articles about collecting, accessing, search engines, museums and the public view of them, as well as discussed at meetings of librarians and museum curators.

*Chan, S., Tagging and Searching – Serendipity and museum collection databases. In J. Trant and D. Bearman (eds). Museums and the Web 2007: Proceedings. Toronto: Archives & Museum Informatics, published March 31, 2007 at

**About this entry:
Seb Chan
08.04.08 / 6am

Monday, July 7, 2008

Kartoo: That was a bit scary

I thought I would give kartoo a bit of a challenge. I wondered if a photo on my flickr account of two sheep dogs in Dunkeld Victoria would be picked up. I put in Slim and Dusty + sheepdogs + flickr + Victoria and got waaay more than I bargained for. Parents should beware if their children find this search engine.

Here are some of the sites that came up:

• G'day,to all Country Music singers and songwriters. I have two programs that go to air at EMFM 104.7 the only local Community Radio in Echuca

• Nanotechnology world


• A blog with many items including this :Writers, though - we’ve got the weekend song tomorrow with the latest volley in the fusilade of tunes I routinely fire off to scare of the crows, and I’ll close with Mark Twain, who called music: “that magician of magicians; who lifts his wand and says his mysterious word and all things pass away and the phantoms of your mind walk before you clothed in flesh.”

• And this – one of my favourites - Rodrigo Y Gabriela on YouTube

• A Greek site about something Greek with a You Tube entry for several men speaking Greek

• The Crusade of Varna

But I also was given a site which was for **** for **** for ****absolutely unmentionable/printable words. Oh dear me.

How could Kartoo have brought this up for Slim and Dusty and sheep dogs and Victoria and Flickr? I dared not look at the site. And why throw up the others? I can see the point of the Country & W site but - nanotechnology? A Spanish guitar duo? The crusade of Varna?*

I tried again with Sara Jervis + Slim etc and voila – up it came.

But that was scary and I became afraid to open sites as they may be obscene or tracked by the CIA.

I think I shall stick with google

*The Crusade of Varna was a string of events in 1443–44 between the Kingdom of Hungary, the Serbian Despotate, and the Ottoman Empire. It culminated in a devastating Hungarian loss at the Battle of Varna on November 10, 1444.

Triple test on catalogue: VuFind and the others

National Library of Australia
I looked up George Swinburne and came upon several items that are very interesting for an insight into George Swinburne’s opinions outside of the Technical College:
• The League of Nations - the hope of the world – address delivered in Adelaide, South Australia, on April 27th, 1926
• Time limit v. monetary compensation – speech September 7, 1905;
• Small arms factory, Lithgow : report [to the Minister of Defence] / by Mr. G. Swinburne Inter-state Commissioner : re-dispute between the management and the Amalgamated Society of Engineers, 1914;
• Murray River Waters and Mallee Frontage Setlement (sic): parliamentary trip of inspection by steam boat from Echuca to Mildura and the Darling Junction, October 17th to 22nd, 1907; trip authorized by Thomas Bent, Premier of Victoria and carried out by George Swinburne

Buzziwig / by Mrs. George Swinburne also came up. It is a children’s book published in 1931 as part of RNB children's literature series

State Library of Victoria
I looked up the State Library of Victoria catalogue and found some entries but the few papers in the collection were listed in the separate manuscripts catalogue. (2 searches)

Swinburne University of Technology
I looked up Swinburne’s catalogue and found the main entries – the Sugden biography, artwork – reference to the G S bust in the Image Bank and a paper, The Boy : His Relation to Industry, a pamphlet written by G S in about 1927. I also found loads of books with Swinburne College of Technology/Institute of Technology as publisher, but nothing to do with George.
Three different types of entries – book; artwork; archival document; one search. Tick

My opinion - VuFind is excellent

Would I have found the same items in the one search in the National Library of Australia catalogue pre VuFind?

Thursday, July 3, 2008

I am elated: new knowledge – Semantic web; mentor – Tom; helper – Dragan

Human thinks and works collaboratively and uses technology: concept for Semantic web

I listened to Tom then paused to search the example about the Seoul Olympics and the weather in Melbourne on the opening day.

I entered into Google - Seoul + Olympics + weather + Melbourne

I found out that the Seoul Olympics were in September 1988, opening day 17 September 1988. As the table of Olympics gave only dates, I guessed 1988. So the first reference was only to the Olympics, and I am glad for a future trivia night I know the year of the Seoul Olympics and the opening date.

I then entered weather + Melbourne + 17 September 1988 and found no useful reference.

Then I thought I would go to the newspaper records in the Library and hunt up the Age for 17 September 1988 and look at the weather report.

Dragan helped me load the “Age” newspaper tape in the old technology into the new technology reader and I printed the weather page from the PC. *

As I did this, I thought how familiar Semantic Web seems in relation to what I know about Artificial Intelligence. This is more than what I gleaned from the movie A I. Our previous Vice-Chancellor was a brilliant researcher in this field and as I worked in chancellery I got to know some of the research he was working on.

I note in the Andrew Walmsley, reference , he mentions Artificial Intelligence.

I never, ever say that anything to do with the developments envisaged for the new web world is futuristic gobble. Not any more.

But I see the issues with Semantic web are to do with humans anticipating how to write data to connect. One day there will be a website devoted to the weather in the world at the time of the Olympics. There will be a website about writers who write in the spring and who focus only on children’s books. Every time a brilliant internet site is created, it will have taken a brilliant person to work out how to create connections – weather and Olympics, children’s authors and spring. The creators of these websites will know to make sure that the weather in USSR is divided up in the different states - Georgia, Kazakhstan, etc. as the person looking up the weather in Kazakhstan pre perestroika may not look up USSR and there may be no records for the season Enid Blyton wrote “The Magic Faraway Tree.

* It was Cloudy with showers developing during the day. Wind tending cooler southerly and freshening. Max:16

To be in there and because I am essentially curious, I entered Linkedin.

As usual it was very simple. The tricky part is to remember your password. From experience I now print out the register details and write the password on the sheet. Trickier still is where to put the details, but I am a librarian.

The first of the new 5 is irrelevant to me. I do not want a job, consultancy, to meet people, to talk about myself, to describe my job. For others this may be just the link they have been waiting for.

My experience with the first 23 things has taught me to go into these projects to see what is there. I have and I am glad I am still curious. That knowledge is the key.

I can do it.

I did it

I do not need it

I exercised new-found expertise/confidence with the internet world

I may or may not brag to my family and friends by dropping a reference to Linkedin when people talk about networking

To quote Henry Jenkins*, guru from MIT on digital technology:

“…the design philosophy underpinning games in education was less about serious games than serious gaming: the content was less important than the way programs allowed students to explore and experiment.” **(my emphasis)

*Peter de Flores Professor of Humanities and co-director of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Comparative Media Studies program

**From an article in the Australian Higher Ed section 2 July 2008

Monday, April 28, 2008

I love the Internet (2)* - because of serendipity

There have been posts along the way of 23 Things that have referred to learning through browsing. As my research penchant has infiltrated my professional and personal life for … my lifetime, I have come across items which thrill me, satisfy my curiosity, lead me to ponder indefinitely and cause me to say YES, I am correct, the latter as I try simultaneously to be humble.

My google alert has given me this blog which has given me the above and in spades:

[I am not sure why the link does not work - shall try to correct later]

. There is so much intellectual quality and variety that I am overwhelmed. I want to share some of the gems with all my fellow travellers and will eventually convert the elements to T Card (transaction card) summaries. (My long conversations with my friends usually have agenda items, listed on the metaphorical t cards.)

Here are a couple of snippets:

George Steiner recently argued that progress in the “hard” sciences and technology (technosciences, Hottois would say, since he claims they are now inseparable) opens new paths into the future, while progress in the humanities and social sciences leads to deeper understanding of the past, which is to say of ourselves. Part of that work of understanding must be understanding technology, not just past technologies, but today’s and our imaginations for tomorrow’s as well. Only when we understand can we decide whether or not some change is progress or regress] Yet our understanding of what happens today will certainly change as the consequences of today’s actions gradually unfold. Like the inventors of DDT, the inventors of information technologies have almost no grasp of what they are actually doing and what these technologies will mean to future generations. Our understanding can never be “once and for all” because the future will reveal what we could not imagine, much less know, today.

For Hottois, Virilio and Ellul the development and use of technologies of any sort must be accompanied by critical examination from as many perspectives as life provides. Without that critical activity, we shall be submitting ourselves blindly to a truly archaic servitude; technology as a “god”is far more cruel and inhuman than the divinities, priests, kings and tyrants of the past precisely because of the power and efficacy of our technologies. It is not by accident that this activity—critical inquiry in pursuit of understanding—happens to be—or at least formerly was—the raison d’ĂȘtre for the existence of the academic library. And I argue and urge that librarianship be firmly rooted in that activity and not simply a chase to learn how to use the latest or the most popular technologies on the market As Andrew Abbott put it, ” the future of serious library scholarship lies in a critically constructive and intense engagement with technology, not a running from it or a welcoming embrace.” Librarianship always involves an interpretation, a symbolic accompaniment of technologies, not simply their use.
“Technology waits for no one” Ms. Mercado claims, but technology is not going anywhere. WE are going somewhere, even if we do not know where, and we make technologies to aide us in doing what it is that we want to do. It is that “we” that we must not forget, for it is that same “we” that brings us both GoogleBooks and the Gulag. Among librarians, discussions of the Internet, the Semantic Web, Library2.0 and so on are all too often evidence that we are not engaged in the lucid, critical examination of our ideas and their incarnation in technologies and techniques, but rather irrationally and archaically enslaved to the magic and miracles hawked in the marketplace.

At your leisure I recommend a viewing - it takes time.

• See: