Thursday, 15 October 2015

Vintage now & thens

I've seen copies of these on a number of sites, but this is from WebUrbanist, 10 Vintage London Paintings Superimposed on Street View Images

Blending fiction and reality, art and history, this series of super-impositions takes the ‘then-and-now’ imagery all the back to the 18th Century to the streets and rivers of England’s capital city. Most of the added classics (spliced with Google Street View shots) are largely unedited, a few are strategically cropped but many show a naturally stark contrast in colours, tones, lighting, and of course: street life.

These hybrids show historical structures in their built environments like ‘St. Martin in the Fields’ painting by William Logsdail in 1888, of a little Victorian girl selling flowers in Trafalgar Square in London. There has been a church on the site for at least 800 years.

And another Logsdail ‘9th of November, 1888’ by William Logsdail of the Lord Mayor’s parade passing through Bank Junction in London. To the left is the Old Bank of England (the building was demolished 50 years after the painting was done). The 9th was also more famous for the crime on the very day of this parade – Mary Kelly’s murder, the last Jack The Ripper’s victims, took place less than a mile away in Whitechapel.

'Blackman Street London' by John Atkinson Grimshaw in 1885. The church is St. George The Martyr, this is the Church next to the notorious Marshalsea prison where Dickens' Little Dorrit is born. The Brough Street Market in Southwark is south of the River Thames and one of the oldest fruit and vegetable markets. It was an area also famous for its inns, like The George, which still survives. Today, Blackman Street is called Borough High Street and offers a view of the Shard – the biggest spire you'll see looking north-east.

'The River Thames with St. Paul's Cathedral on Lord Mayor's Day' by Canaletto.The Millenium Bridge cuts across this patch of the river now. You still get a great view of St. Pauls dome from the south side of the river but in 1746 - only 40 years since they had finished building it - it must have totally dominated London's skyline. St Paul’s was the city's tallest building for over 300 years. Giovanni Antonio Canal (known as Canaletto) was a Venetian painter remembered for his renditions of building landscapes in Venice & England.

'The Strand Looking East from Exeter Exchange' by Caleb Robert Stanley.The Strand has changed massively since this painting of St Mary Le Strand. It was half demolished and widened in 1900 removing all the alleyways and narrow residential roads. The church is a replacement for another one demolished to make way for Somerset House. In 1822 all the roads on the right would have still led right down into the Thames before the embankment was constructed. Most of those buildings are gone, but some of the roads remain and retain their slope down towards the old Thames riverbank. 

These images are a logical extension of the ‘now & then’ photo concept, and I believe have been improved by imposing the old masters over them.

Friday, 25 September 2015

Lighthouses and libraries

Scanning the scholarly Library Journal - as you should - and was struck by the article "The history of lighthouses" by Alex Byrne in the special 50:50 by 2020 issue.
Alex uses the analogy that libraries like lighthouses have an equally long and important history, and reveals the similarities.
As lighthouses shifted from manned to automated (Maatsuyker Island was the last in 1995), so too libraries have moved from print to electronic.
Alex finishes with "Libraries & librarians will continue to respond to their communities, subtly, continually and sometimes dramatically re-imagining their services. (true enough) We continue to be beacons of knowledge, but, unlike lighthouses, we will not become silent outposts of technology blinking hopefully out to sea."

I take some umbrage on behalf of the silent outposts - they will come into their own when an EMP burst takes out all the satellite guidance GPSs and we welcome trusty old clockwork.
Maybe like lighthouses libraries are solidly built to withstand all that can be thrown at it, and to see us through the passage of time.
Alex included a fact I didn't know - lighthouses are covered in the Australian Constitution 'the Commonwealth has the power to make laws for the peace, order and good government with respect to lighthouses', transferring them from the states.
I've included a number photos of the classic-style Sydney lighthouses (Alex is the NSW State Librarian).

Tuesday, 15 September 2015

Colouring with personality

Drew Daywalt and Oliver Jeffers teamed up in ‘The day the crayons quit’ to create a colourful solution to a crayon-based crisis in a playful, imaginative story that had both children and adults laughing and playing with their crayons in a whole new way. 
Poor Duncan just wants to colour in. But when he opens his box of crayons, he only finds letters, all saying the same thing: We quit! Beige is tired of playing second fiddle to Brown, Blue needs a break from colouring in all that water, while Pink just wants to be used. Green has no complaints, but Orange and Yellow are no longer speaking to each other. The battle lines have been drawn. What is Duncan to do?

Time passes and we ask ourselves, could these guys repeat the trick and provide us with a witty sequel?

Along came ‘The day the crayons came home’. This time the crayons are back and they're crosser than ever! One day Duncan receives a set of postcards from his crayons who have been lost, forgotten, broken - even melted in a clothes dryer and stuck to a pair of underpants! There are recurring postcards from Pea Green (aka Esteban), who dreams of traveling, and clueless directionally challenged Neon Red crayon who is trying to get home. 
So in the end, both books have a hilarious text and joyful illustrations that combine to show that crayons have feelings too.

Tuesday, 8 September 2015

Curating online

 This 14th Thing is looking at 'online curation', using tools like Pinterest and Tumblr. How institutions and  the public can use various websites and tools to curate collections around their chosen topics and, using mobile apps, do this anytime and anywhere.
Pinterest allows users to create virtual pinboards of images and videos according to their interests. The library's Pinterest board features local images with a history emphasis.

Tumblr allows users to post multimedia and other content to a short-form blog, littered with hashtags.Tumblr's visual appeal has made it ideal for photoblogs that often include copyrighted works from others that are re-published without payment Tumblr users can post unoriginal content by 'reblogging', a feature on Tumblr that allows users to re-post content taken from another blog onto their own blog. 
The dashboard allows the user to upload text posts, images, video, quotes, or links to their blog with a click of a button displayed at the top of the dashboard. 

One of the Tumblr 'Discover' tasks was This is What a Librarian Looks Like that has the tagline “challenging the librarian stereotype one post at a time” which appears to cover the whole gambit of expression.

Must admit that it frustrates me that with some Tumblr images, you can't track back to where some photos originate from.

Which is why I feel that Pinterest has it over Tumblr when comes to organisation and descriptive curation.

Sunday, 23 August 2015

Sketching Australia

A new book was added to the collection just in time for the S.T. Gill exhibition at the State Library of Victoria.

The book is "S.T. Gill & his audiences" by Sasha Grishin, has been jointly published by the National Library and State Library.

The cover of the book is a depiction of Gill's 'Doing the Block'

The Block, on fashionable Collins Street, was a stylish shopping strip in the 1880s. It was also a famous spot for promenading and people-watching, an activity known as 'doing the Block'. He completed this lively painting three months before his death at the age of 62, when he died a pauper on the steps of the Post Office.

Samuel Thomas Gill, or STG as he was universally known, was Australia's most significant and popular artist of the mid-nineteenth century. For his contemporaries he epitomised 'Marvellous Melbourne' basking in the glow of the gold rushes. He worked in South Australia, Victoria and New South Wales and left some of the most memorable images of urban and rural life in colonial Australia. A passionate defender of Indigenous Australians and of the environment, Gill in his art celebrated the emerging quintessential Australian character. This is the first major comprehensive book to be devoted to Gill and presents a radical reassessment of one of the most important figures in Australian colonial art and reproduces, in some instances for the first time, some of the most startling images from nineteenth-century Australian art.

The exhibition "Australian sketchbook : colonial life and the art of S.T. Gill" is in the Keith Murdoch Gallery until 25th October. If you can't make it to Melbourne there is also an online version. But it doesn't quite measure up to standing in front of the originals. I had a quite moment in front of his 'The Duff children' 151 years after the event.

And while I was familiar with Gill's goldfield watercolours, I was unaware of the origin of his  'Country NW of tableland' (in fact I normally call it 'Doctor Hunger & Captain Thirst' after the cover of the book which had it as the cover).
Gill made this watercolour drawing in 1846 while on the privately funded Horrocks Expedition (of Horrock's Pass fame) to the South Australian interior. In this sweeping panorama, Gill adopted a well-known strategy from Romanticism by showing two figures, seen from behind, contemplating the vastness of nature and thus drawing the viewer into the scene depicted. The taller figure with the gun is Horrocks, the other with a sketchpad is Gill – one claiming and naming the country in front of him, the other recording it.
 A rare opportunity to see more than 200 of Gill's paintings, drawings, watercolours and prints at the exhibition or in the book.

Sunday, 26 July 2015

Online ID

Online Identity, Thing 13
My first response was to do what just about everyone has done online at least once - key in your name and see what comes up.
I did, and my anonymity level soared. The real me didn't feature in the first page of results, even the LinkedIn one was someone else.
I did like that the 'I am Pegasus' film-clip got a guernsey.

Online Identity is a current topic of conservation with regards to the whole cyber safety discussions, so yes, it is important to know how to manage your online identities (professional and personal), and also to be able to advise our clients and communities on how to protect their own privacy online (the Tech Savvy program has a session 'Introduction to Cyber Safety') and working through the eSmart modules will deal with both staff and public safety.
It is good that Facebook's settings, including the privacy settings are more transparent now days.

The whole idea of what different organisations know and collect about you was re-enforced the other night as I watched the film version of 1984, so I'll borrow John Pilger's image from 'The war you don't see' to mask my online identity, while I manage privacy versus access.

Wednesday, 15 July 2015

Pics of the Day

Reminiscing with Twisted Sifter, as they post their best 50 'Pictures of the Day' for 2015.

'Water walkway in Croatia'
One day I'd love to visit the Plitvice Lakes National Park in Croatia - more than once, to see it in different seasons, (and without the crowds of people!).

From the everyday to the extraordinary, the 50 photos of the day cover the gambit from macro - the galaxy inside a flower, to the world encompassing - astronaut's salute to Mr Spock/Leonard Nimoy.

Then there's opportune - a pirate kite, and the what is that, oh - the Yunnan rice paddy terraces.

Tuesday, 9 June 2015

Games in the library

Gamification is the use of game thinking and technology in a non-game context in order to engage users and solve problems.
The Explore for Thing 12 - Mobile devices have many recreational and lifestyle uses –Culinary inspiration, Interior design, Gardening and landscaping, and sporting events- have to agree Recipes (and cooking shows) are the big thing.
It is a bit of a balancing act between the educational and the purely time-wasters. Need an game app which enjoyably expands your mind. I kid myself that apps like 'Words with friends', 'Flow Free', 'Doodle Find', 'Whirly Words', and 'Mind Puzzle' all fit that bill (but not '4 Pictures 1 Word' at present, it is doing my head in) and are keeping the brain active.

It has already been shown that tablet devices can aid therapy patients.

So what is the best gamification of the Dewey Decimal Classification System?

I did find the "Shelved" app, it says - 'Are you a librarian at heart? Do you have what it takes to work in a library? This game is your test! The point of the game is simple: put the books in order--but any librarian will tell you that's not as simple as it sounds.'
I haven't spent my $1.29 to find out if I have the makings of a librarian.

Related apps included "Escape3D: Library" by, "Know the lingo : the app to help you navigate your library" and a whole load of word game.

Friday, 29 May 2015

Really - Thing 11

Thing 11 is Augmented reality. AR is the use of technology to overlay digital information on an image of something being viewed through a device.

I first encountered an AR app in 2012, with the National Trust's ' 'Lost! 100 lost buildings of Melbourne' the Trust's iPhone app. The interactive 3D app enables users to "ghost" - visually overlay buildings from the past onto the present, by augmenting the iPhone's existing camera function. A history, photos and stories of these often long-demolished buildings is also available. 

On the left is the Fire Brigade Tower at the rear of 447 Little Bourke Street, built in 1882, it was the 6-storey lookout tower of Melbourne's first fire station. 

Playing underwater with the AR screen at The Dock library in Melbourne

Then recently on a visit to the new gee-whiz Library at the Dock in Melbourne's Docklands we got to see and play with their interactive screens, including the underwater themed one in the kids section (though the little girl in the green gumboots was the best prepared), and the time-lapse of the development of Docklands (what they are calling the greening of the precinct, as it changes from industrial to shopping and residential).

And finally I came across this YouTube video at Weburbanist on augmented sandbox real-time 3D topographical landscaping.

Library related applications of AR, include a LibraryThing “overlay” for the mobile phone app Layar. It draws on LibraryThing Local to show you the closest bookshops and libraries. Then how about "Virtual bay-ends" using the Aurasma platform -Pointing a mobile device at a particular image overlays directional arrows to where that type of resource is located – giving users an initial idea of where to find what they are looking for.
Maybe similar to this?
 Among the Thinking Points, I liked the idea of utilising AR technology to "overlay local history film and audio clips into your local environment using an AR app".