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.

Tuesday, 5 April 2016

Your circuits dead, there's something wrong...

The other night I watched the DVD "The Martian" starring Matt Damon, a sci-fi adventure film with touches of humour, and some great atmospheric shots.

During a U.S. manned mission to Mars, astronaut Mark Watney is presumed dead after an intense storm hits and he is left behind believed dead by his crew, as they abort the mission and return to Earth. But Watney has survived and finds himself stranded and alone on the hostile planet.
Trapped in the mission's habitat, with only insufficient meager supplies and some humble spuds, he (‘a biologist not a real scientist’) must draw upon his ingenuity, wit and spirit to subsist, and find a way to signal to Earth that he is alive.
Watney's own potato famine
Millions of miles away, NASA and a team of international scientists work tirelessly to bring "the Martian" home, while his crew-mates concurrently plot a daring, if not impossible, rescue mission.
As these stories of incredible bravery unfold, the world comes together to champion for Watney's safe return - to ‘Bring him home’.
The Mars long-range scenes were shot in the Jordanian desert at Wadi Rum. The habitat and surrounds were shot inside the Korda Studios in Budapest, Hungary.
The "cloak-and-dagger" meeting to propose the Rich Purnell Manoeuvre is dubbed Project Elrond after the Council of Elrond in the "Lord of the Rings" series. In the scene concerning Project Elrond, Teddy Sanders (the Head of NASA, played by Jeff Daniels) quips that he wants his Codename to be Glorfindel. When this name is questioned, the first character to explain the connection is Mitch Henderson, played by Sean Bean, who played Boromir in “The Fellowship of the Ring” and was present during said council.
Author Andy Weir originally wrote the novel as a serial on his blog, then a Kindle title, publishing and film deals.
With regards the music in the film , the soundtrack to the film is "Bring him home" from Les Miserables.The soundtrack also quotes the ping at the beginning of “Echoes” by Pink Floyd.
When Mark digs up the Radioisotope Thermometric Generator (RTG) to provide warmth to the interior of the Rover, he plays an appropriate selection from Commander Lewis's dreaded disco collection - "Hot Stuff" by Donna Summer. 
Other song titles also pull directly from the action “Rock the boat”, “Don’t leave me this way”, and “I will survive”. Bowie’s “Starman” was a must, but they could also have played his “Space Oddity”.
Moments in the film are reminiscent of the classic "2001: A Space Odyssey", the sling-shot manoeuvre has appeared in several movies, and the duct tape on the helmet visor => “MacGyver”.
Another great Ridley Scott venture into space, and wonderfully portrayed by Matt Damon with just the right amount of larrikin.

Friday, 1 April 2016

Time for Thing 18

Have I got time for Thing 18 Productivity apps?
It is about being efficient and effective and some tools on mobile devices can help organise tasks and schedule activities, provide reminders and help with motivation and time management. 

And while I utilise the phone's calendar and alarm, I still carry the old-fashioned paper diary for appointments, notes and various slips of paper, and not just for its Pooh cover.
The Discover task was to check out- Remember the Milk  is a task and time management app. It integrates with Evernote, Gmail, Google Calendar, Siri, and Twitter. You can even email tasks to your Remember the Milk account. You enter your task's properties (due date, priorities, tags, alerts), sync it with all your devices, and get reminded by email, text or Instant Message.
Doodle  is a scheduling tool, for coordinating times for meetings and appointments. It's 'MeetMe' coordinates your meetings with colleagues or friends, it shows them when you are available and how you want to be contacted.
Pomodoro technique is a productivity system that breaks work down into 25 minute chunks to improve concentration. To get the tomato timer you need to buy 8 for 60Euros.
Lift  (now called is a goal setting app, helping you to set goals, monitor progress and tap into support groups.
For me, I prefer my productivity less interferring, is that an oxymoron
unstructured organisation?

Wednesday, 2 March 2016

Crumbly craving

Cookbooks are a dime a baker's dozen, and heaps pass across my desk, but this one cried out to me to open it...cook it!

It is "Mug crumbles" cooking or microwaving in just mugs is one of the trendy fads at present, however this particular book looks particularly appetising, and the idea of a crumble on top - yum.
Whether you're after a late-night treat or a super- speedy dinner-party dessert that will still impress your guests, Mug Crumbles will have you sorted. 
With over thirty recipes for delicious crumbles that require minimal effort and time, all you need are five minutes to spare and a serious crumble craving! 
Prepare an easy fruit mixture and a quick crumble topping, put in the microwave for a few minutes, and zap! You have a heavenly crumble to indulge in.
From your classic apple crumble, rhubarb and strawberry, and pear and ginger, to flavour combinations that give your taste buds a kick, such as rum and raisin crumble or raspberry and matcha green tea these recipes will bring new life to your crumble repertoire.

The recipes are:
Apple Mug Crumbles

  • Cinnamon & apple mug crumble
  • Apple & caramel mug crumble
  • Pecan &​ apple mug crumble
  • Apple, dried fruit &​ nut mug crumble
  • Carambar &​ apple mug crumble
Fruit Mug Crumbles

  • Rhubarb, apple &​ almond mug crumble
  • Blackberry &​ apple mug crumble
  • Apricot, apple &​ pistachio mug crumble
  • Banana, apple &​ coconut mug crumble
  • Raspberry, apple &​ matcha tea mug crumble
Chocolate Mug Crumbles

  • Vanilla, apple & chocolate mug crumble
  • Choc-nut &​ apple mug crumble
  • Raspberry, apple & white chocolate mug crumble
  • Pear &​ chocolate mug crumble
  • Cherry, apple &​ chocolate mug crumble
  • Strawberry, apple &​ double-choc mug crumble
  • Pear with gingerbread &​ white chocolate mug crumble
  • Ganache mug crumble
Creamy Mug Crumbles

  • Pear & chestnut puree mug crumble
  • Fig, apple, yoghurt &​ hazelnut mug crumble
  • Blueberry & lemon curd mug crumble
  • Red berries, apple, lemon & cream cheese mug crumble
  • Banana, apple & peanut mug crumble
Biscuity Mug Crumbles
  • Pineapple, apple &​ caramelised biscuit mug crumble
  • Red berries, apple &​ shortbread mug crumble
  • Damson plum &​ apple with Breton butter biscuits mug crumble
  • Mirabelle plum, apple &​ shortbread mug crumble
  • Raspberry, apple &​ pink-wafer biscuit mug crumble
  • Peach & strawberry biscotti mug crumble
Savoury Mug Crumbles
  • Salmon with courgette &​ hazelnut mug crumble
  • Cherry tomatoes with three cheeses mug crumble
  • Courgette &​ feta with polenta mug crumble
  • Olive, tomato & Parmesan mug crumble. 
I'm going to trial the 'Raspberry, apple & white chocolate mug crumble' and the savoury the 'Cherry tomatoes with 3 cheeses mug crumble'.