Thursday, 11 February 2016

The 'e' of books n' things

Thing 16 eBooks and eBook apps is related to the previous Thing 15.
It covers some of the challenges faced by libraries providing ebooks 
There is the device dilemma - tablets versus readers for eBooks ; the difficulties of proprietary material ; why libraries don't have all the latest bestsellers in the eBook collection ; patrons with El-cheap-o devices that don't access app sources like Google Play or iTunes ; and well-meaning family who gift elderly parents with eReaders without explaining their use.
We still have a few DRM controlled eAudio titles, and it isn't that obvious they have restricted rights when you're browsing, luckily they are being fazed out.
In the Explore I checked out the LibraryBox 2.0 - a Kickstart Project it is a "combination of a router (a variety of hardware will work), USB drive, and software that, when combined, give you a small, low powered webserver. The webserver acts like a captive portal, and delivers files that are stored on the USB drive". The portable digital file distribution system is designed to share digital information in areas of limited or no connectivity (that can be us).

 In the Thinking Points it was how to display and promote ; the different devices, vendor selections, and file formats of eBooks.

It is vital that the eAudios & eBooks are viewed as part of the larger collection, so hurry on eRC (eResource Central) integration - providing our eContent in the general catalogue, so it can be searched alongside the traditional physical collection - you're looking for a copy of "Brave new world" and don't care if it is in large print, CD or ebook format, you just want it NOW.

Also thinking about the born digital local content and historic content converted to digital.

Friday, 18 December 2015

Classic book to tv animation

I missed the lead up to this one. The BBC has made a Bottersnikes & Gumbles tv series. I read all of S.A. Wakefield’s books, and have a paperback copy of the first – “Bottersnikes and Gumbles”.

Bottersnikes and Gumbles are fictitious creatures in a series of children's books by Australian author S.A. Wakefield and illustrator Desmond Digby (who died in April this year, Wakefield died in 2009). Four books were published between 1967 and 1989. The series is a classic of Australian children's literature.

Deep in the bush live some very strange creatures ...
Bottersnikes live in rubbish heaps along dusty roadsides in the lonely Australian bush. They have green wrinkly skin, cheese grater noses and long, pointed ears that go red when they are angry. Which is most of the time.

Giggling Gumbles live in the bush, too. They are cheerful little creatures who can be squashed into all sorts of shapes, but cannot pop back into their proper shape unless helped. This makes the friendly Gumbles useful to the lazy Bottersnikes, who have some very nasty plans ...
The Bottersnikes may have some tricks up their sleeves, but so do the resourceful Gumbles.
The battle has begun!

The Bottersnike King & Gumble Tink
The animated tv series is by the BBC (yes British not Australian) and the Seven Network and has it’s own webpage with videos, the character bios, and an ‘About’ page which includes a ‘making of’ clip.
The major difference in the animated series from the books is that while the stories recounted conflicts between the lazy, destructive Bottersnikes and good-natured, hardworking Gumbles. The two species were intended to represent opposing attitudes towards the environment; those who destroy the bush, and those who clean it up, this is missing from the new stories. Inspiration for the original stories came from the emerging environmental movement in the 1970s.
Chank the sneaky 2-I-C to the King
Read the complete adventures of the Bottersnikes & Gumbles, and watch the premiere on 7Two on 22nd December at 7:30am.

Tuesday, 15 December 2015

The highs & lows

A little ancedote from lunchtime today,  
I was out in 30+ degrees (today 36 max, Thursday 38, Friday 40 and Saturday 43 degrees) purchasing a rain gauge, and then buying lunch.

Four people made comment on the gauge
  • 2 liked the look
  • 2 asked where I had bought it (was the last in stock!)
  • 1 told me I was wasting my money it isn't going to rain
  • 1 that I was being over optimistic
So maybe I'm optimistic as it can record up to 250mm (that's nearly ten inches - should be enough)

Tuesday, 8 December 2015

Identifying Adobe

I've neglected the 23 Things for a while, so to rectify things, here is Thing 15 - Adobe ID. Your Adobe ID is for using Adobe products such as Adobe Digital Editions and Photoshop.
The Discover task was to get an Adobe ID or Bluefire Reader. We need Adobe Digital Editions for Bolinda's eBooks when you are downloading it to a computer or laptop. 

The Explorer tasks were to investigate
  • Project Gutenberg (where I had downloaded my classic eBooks - Sherlock Holmes, 1984, For the term of his natural life, and so on)
  • The website list of options for locating free ePUB books (which was huge, and included things like the original 1892 edition of Mother Goose
Mother Goose's 'There was a crooked man'
 The Thinking Points wanted you to ponder
  • if you provide information to guide your library clients in downloading eBooks and reader apps? We provide a link to Abobe Digital Editions, User Guides for both our eBooks and eAudios, and a Troubleshooting Guide for eBooks
  • the user experience downloading eBooks in comparison to other library experiences - where I feel we are more at the whim of the vendors of eproducts than other collections, and must provide it as they require
The Adobe Digital Editions' "Alice" with Arthur Rackham's illustrations

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.