Wednesday, 17 August 2016

I Will

To my family I leave all my passwords…

It was one aspect of my life or death - that I had not considered - that family would need to access different password accounts at a time I was unable to tell them or tell them where to look.

Without being morbid, there are any number of accounts from your banking to social media that are password protected.

Have a look at what you have created, that your family will want admission to 

  • where are your digital photos? on your flickr or Instagram account?
  • how have you recorded your family tree? is it stored on a program like 'Ancestry'?
  • is your pc/portable hard drive/cloud storage/memory stick passworded?
  • who knows the combination to your bicycle lock?
There's still time for a codicil, must work on a list today!

Wednesday, 10 August 2016

The end of Things

Finally Mobile Thing 23 - 'Digital storytelling'
And it involves a couple of Discoveries, that I discovered some time ago, so it is good to re-discover them again.
The first is ABC Open, we did quite a bit of work with ABC Open when we had a local producer, but since Larissa left the district, not a lot has happened. But here are a few of projects we did.
A post titled 'The island of No. 2577', 'Coming to a town near you' and 'Treasure hunt for the 21st century'.

The other discovery was the Slideshare site, set up to "share what you know and love through presentations, infographics, documents and more". For this I compiled a couple of slide-shows.

Scary to think that was 7 years ago. And even scarier is how long ago it was that I created my Animoto videos - one was 9 years ago.

Water music

Then of course there are the millions of 'stories' on YouTube, that cover the whole gambit of themes and stories (one of the best would of course be the one on 'Wimmera in photos')

Following the 'Thinking Points', is the question - when considering archiving local history stories digitally, what is more important? to select your storyteller based on the interesting, informative stories they have to tell, or to utilise people with backgrounds and experience in film and digital technologies?
Really it is discovering what is of greater importance to get the story across with an authentic, but maybe untutored voice, or professionally produced that people will actually watch/listen to. I've seen some hopelessly amateur 'cringe-worthy' videos that would have benefited from some assistance. And some 'commercial' videos that were so full of gimmicky art techniques that you missed the message. In the end it is whatever gets the story told accurately with pathos.
So end'th the 23 Mobile Things story.

Wednesday, 3 August 2016

The books of the Bush

'Tis August, so must be time for another post.
This one is definitely bibliophilic -
It is a list of what Cal Flyn from the Guardian bookshop considered to be 'The Top 10 books about the Australian Bush'.

Heading the list is the quinessential book of the bush - Henry Lawson's "Drovers wife and other stories". 
Often included in the collections of his short stories, like "While the billy boils", "The Drover's wife" is his best known, originally published in 'The Bulletin' on 23rd July 1892. 
The drover is away with the stock, leaving his wife and children alone in a 2-room slab hut. While out at the wood pile she sees a snake go under the house, and knows that to protect her children she must stay awake to kill it when it appears, so she sits all night with just the dog for company, compemplating her lot in life.
The ...and other stories often include classics like "The Bush Undertaker", "The loaded dog", and "In a dry season".

The other essential element is to have "Down on his luck" (painted by Frederick McCubbin) as the cover image for the book.
Both speak of a time of swagmen, selectors, and dirt-poor farmers.

The second book on the list is the novel "My brilliant career" by Miles Franklin, which now elicits as much memories of Judy Davis in the film version, as it does Stella 'Miles' Franklin's depiction of her free-spirited heroine's coming-of-age. It was perceived by many to be largely autobiographical, and set in the area of New South Wales around Goulburn and Canberra.

The third book is definitely non-fiction - "The Bush : travels into the heart of Australia" by Don Watson. It is a journey through Australia's landscape, history and culture looking at our mythology and romantic views of the Bush. 

Number 4 was a mystery to me "All the birds, singing" by  Evie Wyld. Its Western Australian bush aspects are told in retrospect by an Australian sheep farmer now on an un-named British island.

At Number 5 is the book we chose to represent Australia in the 3 Horshams reading challenge (Horsham in Australia, West Sussex and Pennsylvania) - "The Secret River" by Kate Grenville. The historical novel of the conflict between William Thornhill & the first settlers who wished to tame the bush, and its indigenous inhabitants.

And the sixth book follows on the Aboriginal theme, it's Bill Gammage's "The biggest estate on earth : how the Aborigines made Australia". It describes the 'fire-stick' method of land management, that changed the landscape to a fire-resistant plant dominance.

The 7th book is "Letters from Victorian pioneers" selected by Thomas Bride. This was one of the first non-fiction books I had to purchase, as it relates to the Western District. It is a series of papers on the early occupation of the colony to Charles LaTrobe when he was Governor of Victoria. Written mainly by squatters it provides first-hand accounts of their view of the Bush.

Back to novels, at 8 is "Carpentaria" by Alexis Wright. It spans the gulf between the Dreamtime, the present and looks at the future. Set in the coastal town of Desperance where the Phantoms seek sovereignty against traditional owership of the land.

At number 9 is a perennial favourite, "Tracks" by Robyn Davidson. The tale of her camel trek through the deserts of Central Australia. Published in 1980, it was then made into a film in 2013.

And rounding out the Top 10 is  "The songlines" by Bruce Chatwin. Bruce took off to Robyn Davidson territory - Central Australia to search for songlines - the ancient labyrinth of invisible pathways sung by mythical totems in the creation of the country.

There are links between these books, but they are also very different in how they see or describe the bush. Would they be your 10 of the best?

Thursday, 30 June 2016


How opportune that Thing 22 is eResources and vendor apps, just at a time when we’re reviewing database vendors.

Some electronic resources (eg. databases, eBooks, eMagazines, etc.) are accessible via apps provided by the vendors. This Thing is designed to think about the experience when using vendor apps to access content, knowing that the experience can be variable depending on the device you have, the connectivity in your area and the compatibility of the app. 
It refers to a number of applications, including – Zinio, Mango Languages, EBSCO Host, Axis 360, 3M Cloud Library and OverDrive, just to mention half a dozen.

The Thinking Points are:

  • What information do the vendors collect from your clients via the app? – That varies and is dependent of things like their authentication protocols, and whether you are merely searching or actually borrowing.

  • What use statistics do you get from vendor apps? – That definitely varies from vendor to vendor, some are just brief raw searches or visits, others show trends, turnovers, and allow some level of interaction to generate particular statistical queries.

  • Are clients who use the app easily able to move to other library resources? – Another variable, often the vendor’s app and site are separate, but products like eResource Central aim to bring them all together under one discovery layer, just hurry on the day it all happens.

  • How do you evaluate vendor apps before offering them to your clients? – By playing, but also trying to think of all the ways people want to access and look/listen to the resources.

  • Which vendor apps could your staff use (e.g. library management system)? – that would be BookMyne
  • In what ways does offering core services via apps change the way that the library reaches people? - it is the whole self-service 24/7, and it also changes the way in which people interact with staff.

Monday, 27 June 2016

'Read' by listening

Thing 21 is Voice interaction and recording, and it covers a few different aspects and opportunities to create content for library collections and exhibitions by recording voice (eg. oral histories, local stories and literacy activities). 
  • I saw/listened to a wonderful application of this technology, when Ballarat Library staff used an ipad to record reminiscences at the Heritage Festival, then made a video of short snippets - different memories of the trams.
    The last of the Ballarat trams, 1971
  • Using assistive translation software technology to communicate with library patrons who read/speak other languages, be it text-to-speech or speech-to-text.
  • And the big one audio-books, specifically eAudio, but taking it a step further - choosing a text-to-speech option on eBooks, or switching seamlessly between an eBook and an audio-book.
You know things are transiting when the 'Wall Street Journal' thinks "The digital revolution may have dealt a heavy blow to print, but it is boosting literacy in other unexpected ways by fueling the explosive growth of audio books".
As commuters around the country, and around the world, retreat into their own world on their phone, tablet or other device, it has led to a proliferation of audio entertainment, and a take up of eBooks and eAudios by non-traditional users.

Wednesday, 15 June 2016

As big as the sky

Have to acknowledge the Yarriambiack Shire who are chasing dollars for 'the world's biggest art gallery'.

On the back of the phenomenal success of the Brim Silo Art, which has had a huge benefit for the Brim township and the Shire, Yarriambiack is proposing a 'Silo Art Trail' - a 200km trail of landscape size silo art from Rupanyup in the south to Patchewollock in the north.
At the end of 2015, internationally renowned Brisbane-based artist Guido van Helten worked for 3 weeks, up to 10 hours a day, including Christmas Day and New Year's Day, in frequent 40-degree heat and strong winds, using spray paint and acrylic house paint, to breathe new life into Brim’s disused grain silos with a 30m by 30m artwork.
Guidio van Helten is a well-known and recognised muralist, check out some of Guido's other great work via his webpage, some of them in much colder climates.
The sheer scale of the work
The rest is now social media history, the story and photos from iphones and by professional photographers has swept around the world. The Brim Silo Art has brought a variety of visitors and tourists to Brim, and they are still coming, to gape in awe at the enormity of the scale of the project, and at Guido’s skill in rendering the figures.
Now, Yarriambiack Mayor Cr Ray Kingston wants to commission other renowned artists to paint giant murals on silos along the length of the municipality at Rup, Sheep Hills, Rosebery, Lascelles and Patche.

Discussions are taking place with the local communities, Graincorp, Juddy Roller (who helped bring Guido Van Helten to Brim), and government. They are targeting high profile street artists for the project, so it would be great to see, say an Adnate piece decorating a silo wall.
Adnate, Geelong B power station
As Dean Lawson, from the Weekly Advertiser' stated it is a master stroke for increasing growth and development via tourism in Yarriambiack, as visitors will want to tick off each location as they bag each 'peak', in the biggest regional art project in Australia's history.

Tuesday, 24 May 2016

Yeah, yeah, yeah

I've reached Thing 20 'Mobile music' which looks at music, streaming music sites, and the distribution of music to mobile devices generally.
I checked out a heap of online music delivery sites earlier, see Free MP3s post
I used to access LastFM till they asked for [payment (knowing the music wants to be free) it now requires you to download Spotify. I feel that the free version of Pandora is better and easier to navigate.
Looked at Freegal, which has been subscribed to by some of the city libraries.
Re streaming music - true, the way music is distributed has been revolutionised. More and more people subscribe to streaming services where you pay for access to a big catalogue of music instead of buying an album or downloading a single.

Totally different to actually going to a physical music store and flicking through CDs, cassettes or even vinyl records. Though with the renewed interest in vinyl LPs could there be a resurgence of the Brashs or Allans music shops?
Going even further back in time is the record selectors in cafes, milk-bars etc. where for a few coins you got to select your song from a Wurlitzer style machine - so American soda - a time when Top 40 charts meant record sales, not the number of downloads.
So music in libraries - demand still seems to show a preference for borrowing CDs, and often CDs of times gone by. 
Playing on demand and 'ownership' of the music may still be a factor rather than the here at the moment gone in a instant streaming services. Time will tell.

Saturday, 21 May 2016

Refuge for beauty

How to formidable is it to write/illustrate a beautiful picture book about a difficult or delicate subject - enter 'Teacup' written by Rebecca Young and painted by Matt Ottley.

Once there was a boy who had to leave home . . . and find another.
In his bag he carried a book, a bottle and a blanket. In his teacup he held some earth from where he used to play. 
This is one boy’s story of leaving his homeland, surviving a long journey by sea . . . and finding a safe, new place to call home.

'Teacup' is a gently crafted story about a young boy set adrift to find a new home. He leaves, alone in a small row boat with a book, a bottle, a blanket and a teacup full of dirt from where he used to live.
Some days the sea is calm, gently lapping against his hull. Other days the sea is rough and he is tossed about on the wild waves. All the while the small boy is on the look-out for safe land.
One day he finds a plant has sprouted in his tea cup. This plant grows into an apple tree providing shelter, shade and fruit. After his long journey he does find somewhere to start his new life… and he finds a friend.
This is a unique refugee story of a young boy. We are touched by his innocence, loss, courage, resilience and hope.

Matt Ottley is a highly talented picture book creator and musician. His tender oil painting illustrations provide a magical accompaniment to Rebecca Young’s gentle text. This book has the same style of whimsy as his 'Parachute'.

Rebecca’s aunty arrived here by boat, shortly before her dad was born. Throughout the highs and lows of her journey, and in her new home, she never let go of where she came from. Instead, she carried it, cared for it, shared it. When Rebecca and her brothers were young she gave them stories of her past, warm bowls of jook, and Cantonese swear words. She showed them that you can find old memories in new places, and old friends in new faces. 'Teacup' was a story that emerged from Rebecca's need to write for her.

What spoke to Matt most about the text for 'Teacup', when he first saw it, was quite simply that it was the most beautiful picture book story he'd ever read. It is such a huge story about the human spirit, about loss and grief, love and joy, about beauty and also high adventure. Yet it's told in such a spare, minimal way, like a piece of poetry, that there was room for him to interpret the words in so many ways, which is an artist's dream. He'd also wanted, for a long time, to do some paintings about the sea, about the drama of sea and sky, so 'Teacup' was a perfect project to do that with.

'Teacup' is one of two books that Matt has in the Notables list for the CBCA Book of the Year Awards for 2016. The other is 'Suri's wall'.

Thursday, 19 May 2016

Sky writing

Now that mobile devices allow you to work almost anywhere, how do you access the files you need? Thing 29 File sharing may be the answer.

Dropbox is a file-hosting service that provides cloud storage and file synchronisation, while also being very mobile friendly.
Skydrive (now OneDrive) is the Microsoft cloud storage service and a range of mobile apps. 
Google Drive  is a personal cloud storage service from Google that works with a suite of web and mobile apps
While Hojoki offers a single access point for a range of file sharing and cloud storage apps including Dropbox, Google Drive, Evernote, Skydrive, Box and Cloudapp.
I've used both Dropbox and Google Drive to send and share files, especially large PowerPoint files with colleagues across the state.
I've even got a company to send me a whole heap of photographs via Dropbox after the USB file was corrupted.
Whatever you choose to use or not use, everyone has to balance the ease and efficiencies against the security and costs.