Monday, 22 December 2008

Visit to University of Peradeniya Library

The ASAA Conference in Kandy was a great success . There's a brief report about the conference in the 21st December 2008 edition of The Island which is the main independent English newspaper in Sri Lanka.

After the conference we visited the largest university in Sri Lanka which is 20 minutes drive from Kandy: University of Peradeniya

Their beautiful campus was established in 1954.

After speaking with the Vice Chancellor and Dean of the Faculty of Arts, I visited their Library which is the the oldest and the largest University Library in Sri Lanka. It was quite late in the day when we arrived, so I did not have a lot of time, but did have a meeting with the University Librarian, Harrison Perera, and took a photo of their atmospheric Periodicals Reading Room.

I'll hopefully find time to post more about some of the fabulous conference papers from this cross-disciplinary conference.

Friday, 19 December 2008

Media Participatory Activism Seminar in Perth

A small, but select group of students and academics attended this CREATEC seminar at ECU Mount Lawley yesterday: “Media Participatory Activism”, with the Keynote address delivered by Prof Geert Lovink.

Lovink is a Dutch/Australian media theorist and Research Professor of Interactive Media at the Hogeschool van Amsterdam (HvA) and an Associate Professor of New Media at the University of Amsterdam (UvA). His keynote topic was: “Publish Now: the Cultural Politics of Blogs and Web 2.0”

It was all stimulating, and too much to summarise in a blog post but some brief dots point might give an idea:

  • Blogging has moved on from being a separate entity and is now completely integrated into websites and embedded in social networking sites
  • Technorati reported on the phenomenal growth of blogging which has probably not yet peaked, but Technorati itself is undergoing changes and their annual report on blogging is no longer happening
  • Not enough is being done to map the Australian blogosphere
  • World internet statistics show use has reached saturation in North America, but growth in China or India has not nearly reached its peak
  • While the predominant language of the internet is still English, Mandarin is growing rapidly and will surpass English within the next few years
  • We are now at the end of the Web 2.0 economic cycle
  • The world economic crisis is putting enormous pressure on internet companies such as Yahoo and there is concern re the future of Flickr.
  • MySpace and Facebook are matched internationally by examples of other social networking sites, which have enormous take up in their countries/languages of origin such as: Studieverzeichnis (Germany) (Netherlands), SkyRock (France/Africa),
  • National webs are being created in an attempt to recreate the “nation state” online. One example of a national web is even Australia’s ABC website as it is closed to overseas access

You can follow up on Geert Lovink's work as he has written widely. His latest book is Zero comments : blogging and critical Internet culture, Routledge 2008

A great panel discussion followed consisted of: Mark Balnaves is Professor of New Media at Edith Cowan University, Associate Professor Matthew Allen is the foundation Head of the Department of Internet Studies, Curtin University of Technology, Perth, Australia and Tama Leaver teaches Communication Studies at the University of Western Australia, focusing on digital media and participatory culture.

Friday, 28 November 2008

Off to Serendip

All the security problems have been elsewhere in Asia this week.

Sauron's evil eye is focussed elsewhere (I hope), so this little hobbit is headed off to Sri Lanka to attend the ASAA conference in Kandy. There’s been so much drama surrounding DFAT Security warnings and so forth, that it looked like my paper (on literary blogs) would be read by someone else. But now it’s all happening.

ASAA, what's that? stands for Association for the Study of Australasia in Asia.

No more blog posts for 2 weeks, then, while I’m out in elephant country. I hope I see some.

Getting published --- full citation

Silly me! In my rush to announce the news, I forgot to give the citation details of our article in TEL

Full citation details are:

Gross, Julia & Leslie, Lyn (2008)
Twenty-three steps to learning Web 2.0 technologies in an academic library.
The Electronic Library 26 (6), 790-802.

Wednesday, 26 November 2008

Getting published

It's been a long time coming, but Lyn and I have finally had our article about the Learning 2.0 Program published in the latest issue of The Electronic Library, known as TEL. We sent the article off about a year ago as I reported in my blog post at the time. But then we needed to respond to reviewers’ comments before it finally went forward in April 2008.

The reviewing process can be challenging, but it did help sharpen up the research.

TEL rates highly in terms of being a high impact journal, if you are interested in that sort of thing. TEL is available in print form or via a subscription to Emerald Group Publishing Limited. It’s online also through a subscription to the Emerald Insight database. They publish a good selection of business and library journals, but the library journals are not indexed in LISA, just in Emerald.

Emerald have now introduced something called EarlyCite to alleviate the long wait to publication. This is an

“online, pre-publication service that enables customers to access journal articles prior to official publication. Papers will be made available at least three months and, in some cases, as much as one year before they appear in the hard copy and final online journal issue. A phenomenon of academic journal publishing is that articles can often be held in a queue, awaiting publication for many months until an issue becomes available.”

Having a journal article published stands as a permanent record of research which has been through a peer-review process. But in a technology area, to find very current information you would be better served accessing a really high quality blog.

Monday, 17 November 2008

Search ECU catalogue from your Google Toolbar

Do you already use the Google toolbar? If so, you can now add an ECU library catalogue search button to your Google toolbar. This brings the library catalogue search several clicks closer and means you don't need to go into the library website to find the catalogue and run your keyword search.

The Google Toolbar is an Internet browser toolbar available for Internet Explorer and Mozilla Firefox. It can be downloaded from here

To find out more about how to set up the catalogue search in your toolbar check out the ECU library blog

Another similar feature is the iGoogle catalogue gadget for searching the library catalogue which I wrote about a few months back.

Friday, 14 November 2008

EBooks qualify for Australia's richest literary prize

Keen to be trend setters in Australia’s leading literary award, the WA Department of Cultural and the Arts are heading down the digital path and allowing ebooks to qualify for the $110,000 prize:

“This ground-breaking award is for a book-length work of literary fiction written by an author resident in Australia or Asia, or a work primarily set in Australia or an Asian country. Works must have been either written in, or translated into, English and published in the preceding year.”

The short list for Australia's richest literary prize, the Australia-Asia Literary Award is:

* Michelle DE KRETSER The Lost Dog Publisher: Allen & Unwin
* Mohsin HAMID The Reluctant Fundamentalist Publisher: Penguin
* David MALOUF The Complete Stories Publisher: Random House
* Ceridwen DOVEY Blood Kin Publisher: Atlantic Books
* Janette TURNER HOSPITAL Orpheus Lost Publisher: HarperCollins

This year all are print books and it's hard to imagine reading a full work of fiction in digital format. Also some authors are nervous about their rights and royalties in the ebook world: The Perils of Being an Author in a Digital Age

Meanwhile we wait with bated breath for the big night when the winner is announced on 21st November 2008.

Wednesday, 12 November 2008

Finding the right voice in podcasting

We have agonised over voice delivery for our podcasts, when right under our noses was a fabulous voice resource we had not tapped into: that of our WAAPA (Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts) Broadcasting students.

For our recent podcast on What is Endnote we wrote the script, and then a WAAPA student did the voice recording in their recording studio. We then took the WAV file and put it through Garage Band on the Macintosh Laptop and added our music and finished it off.

Reading another person's script is a particular skill. My advice would be read it through yourself so the language flows naturally. Then eliminate as many library jargony phrases you can before you hand it over to a voice expert. We spent time going over the script with their Broadcasting lecturer before we got it right.

The only problem for us now is our library voices have developed stage fright!

Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts (WAAPA) is based at Edith Cowan University Mount Lawley Campus. They offer a number of performing arts streams including WAAPA Broadcasting

Monday, 10 November 2008

Web 2.0 and more political change

Another election results that brought unprecedented change recently is in the Maldives, where Asian's longest serving leader has just been toppled.

This one has crept under the radar with all the other political news and optimism this week.

The new leader is in the Maldives is Anni (Mohamed Nasheed) who received 54.21% of the total votes. After 30 years in power President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom received just 45.79%.

According to the BBC World website:
"Mr Nasheed - a former Amnesty International prisoner of conscience ... has been a constant critic of the regime of Mr Gayoom over the years and has spent long periods in jail for his political activities. To his supporters Mr Nasheed is a latter day Nelson Mandela, overcoming the hardships of prison to secure an inspirational election win against the odds"

I wrote about recently about all the Maldivian blog activity, and videos on YouTube that were now part of modern electioneering there: blogging in a closed society. Many of the local political activists were spreading online content, from non-government sources, thru their blogs: See a Partial Journey

Interesting, since the end of the election some of these blogs, having served their purpose, have ceased.

Monday, 27 October 2008

Growth in social networking sites over last year

Facebook is not growing as fast as other social network sites now. In the just released Nielsen report covering Sept 07 to Sept 08, Twitter is leading the pack with a 343% growth rate, 330%, and Ning 251%. Facebook comes in 6th at 110%, but overall it is still the largest site.

Nielsen's Blog "Connecting the Dots" has further analysis.

Sunday, 26 October 2008

Sunday high jinks in the bird bath

Now that the weather is warming up the New Holland Honeyeaters descend on our bird bath and chase the other species away. Often there are 5 or 6 at a time. Today, just two. I managed to capture this short clip by hiding behind the wheelie bin with my camera.

Wednesday, 22 October 2008

Blogging in a closed society

On 28th October there's to be the first ever democratic election in the Indian Ocean nation of the Maldives

The currect leader, President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom has been in power for 30 years and there's a chance he may loose control of the country. The election has gone to a second round, after Maumoon failed to win the first round outright.

In this country where freedom of speech is somewhat limited, by Australian standards, it's not surprising that blogs are where much unfettered political debate is occurring.

A friend pointed me in the direction of mvblogosphere where many Maldivian blogs are listed. The coming Maldives election are a popular topic right now.

"mvblogosphere is an attempt to track, map and analyze the exponentially growing Maldivian blogopsphere, in order to draw a larger portrait of the social, cultural, political and economic structures they represent. "

For background information on the country check out also: BBC Country profile: The Maldives

Australian journalist, Antony Loewenstein, has just published a book, The Blogging Revolution, in which he's reported on bloggers in countries where press freedom is limited, such as Iran.

LiteraryMinded has just interviewed Loewenstein on her blog post Join the Revolution! An interview with Antony Loewenstein on The Blogging Revolution. Here's a snippet:

"When visiting a country like Iran – a population of 70 million, the majority under 30 years old and millions of web users – it’s immediately clear that solely relying on state-run media isn’t an option"

Thursday, 16 October 2008

Death of religion at the ABC

One of my favourite programs on ABC Radio National is The Religion Report. It's always presented a very balanced, inclusive reporting that appeals to a wide audience, regardless of religious affiliation.

Not only that, but host Stephen Crittenden's introduction, telling listeners about this misguided decision, was axed from subsequent versions of the show on Wednesday. But you can hear what Stephen says and read about it on Crikey, what are they doing to Radio National

More dumbing-down of public broadcasting is planned with another quality program, the Media Report and others, going too.

Comparing your reading lists via Library Thing

One of the great aspects of Web 2.0 is that it opens possibilities to connect with others and share experiences and compare notes.

Library Thing can put you in touch with readers who are reading the same books. If you have input your own reading list into Library Thing you can compare reviews and see what others wiht similar tastes to you, are reading. For those of us in book groups this can lead to a good source of suggested titles, best seller lists, book reviews.

I have put some of My Library on LibraryThing

I discovered that the most popular book in My Library was Mark Haddon's The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time. There were 15,285 copies in other members' libraries and 391 had written reviews.

The least popular book in My Library was The Truth About my Fathers: a Memoir by Gaby Naher. There were only 3 copies of this in members' libraries. You'll find Australian titles are not as frequently input into Library Thing. But there are still many Aussies putting their collections online here.

Most popular Australian book from my library was The Book Thief by Sydney born Markus Zuzak , followed by Peter Carey's True History of the Kelly Gang. The latter was the winner of the 2001 Man Booker Prize so bound to be well read.

Facebook has some book reading list applications too: Visual Bookshelf and others.

Thursday, 9 October 2008

Bill Henson debate on Theatre Notes

It is no surprise to those who follow blogs, that here is where some of the most interesting and current public discussions are taking place.

A fine example is Alison Croggan's independent literary blog, Theatre Notes and its coverage of the Bill Henson debate. In essence the debate is about allegations of child pornography against one Australia's most important artists. Alison's blog has largely provided a more balanced set of views than the histeria being reported in the mainstream media and coming out of the mouths of senior politicans in the land.

In May 2008, when the Bill Henson controversy first broke, Alison Croggan was responsible for getting together the Open Letter from members of the Creative Stream of the Australia 2020 Summit in Support of Bill Henson. Cate Blanchett and many others supported the letter which went out to Australian media outlets.

I am interested in this debate as ECU teaches photography and we hold probably one of the most significant photography book collections in Australian libraries. Our collection includes books of Bill Henson's beautiful art photography. We often find ourselves needing to justify collection policy in response to books far more risque than his.

What also interests me, from the point of view of Web2.0 technologies, is how blog debates can unfold, be recorded and organised and easily retrieved later via the blog labels.

You can follow all the Bill Henson posts and comments on Theatre Notes via the Bill Henson subject label.

Now, Bill Henson is in the news again and Alison has posted today on her blog:

"How is it that an internationally acclaimed photographer, who has been making his art for 35 years without a whisper of complaint from any of his collaborators, has become the local equivalent of Gary Glitter? The mere mention of Henson in some quarters now means "paedophile" and "kiddie porn". And yet - even under the glare of this hostile publicity - the images he makes have been passed by authorities as suitable for general viewing"

To appreciate Bill Henson, I can recommend the Tony Wyzenbeek film The Art of Bill Henson, produced in 2003 for ABC TV, which can be purchased at ABC program sales.

Friday, 3 October 2008

Google Blog Search takes on Technorati

Google is relentless. It now has a Google Blog Search that rivals Technorati in tracking the latest happenings in the blogosphere. Their advanced search screen looks very similar to Technorati

Technorati is already tracking 130 million blogs and ranking them. Google Blog Search doesn't have a ranking system but they say that they aim to "include every blog that publishes a site feed (either RSS or Atom) ... not restricted to Blogger blogs, or blogs from any other service"

You can already integrate other Google products such as Google Groups, Analytics and Google Reader into your iGoogle start page. Now Google Blog Search offers extra tools to help you track a particular blog search: blog search feed, blog search gadget and the ability to set up an email alert to your blog search. These can be set up within iGoogle.

Read more about Google Blog Search vs. Technorati on the Mashable blog post.

If you don't want to get too locked into Google then you'd be advised to continue with Technorati, which still has a lot more blog related features and its own array of widgets for bloggers.

Tuesday, 30 September 2008

Ozlit blogs, my B list

I posted my A List of Ozlit blogs a few weeks back.

Now here’s my B-List. These are in no particular order, as they are all so different and serve different purposes. I've just picked out a few Australian literary/literature blogs that I feel are unique.

Alison Croggon’s blog of “independent theatre reviews and commentary”, Theatre Notes is a must for Melbourne based theatre goers. Sadly, for us here in the wild west of Perth, it just reminds us that we do miss out on a lot of good theatre . But it is a terrific blog. Alison is the Melbourne theatre reviewer for The Australian. She is another blogger who contributes to the Australian group litblog Sarsaparilla She also edits the literary webzine Masthead

London based Australian writer, Susan Johnson, has a website and a blog linked from her website. Susan’s blog includes postings of recent events and happenings, book tours, appearances at writer's festivals and so on. I’m amazed that professional writers, like Susan, can still find the time to blog. I read Susan’s novel The Broken Shore when it came out in 2004. She has a new novel out this year, Life in Seven Mistakes, which was reviewed by Readings.

Sophie Cunningham has a website and her blog which is linked to the website. Sophie Cunningham is a “writer of fiction, non-fiction and … screenplays.. background includes fifteen years in Australian publishing, ten years ... a senior publisher of innovative fiction and non-fiction” She is currently the editor of Meanjin Her blog and website include some travel writing and I am enjoying her travel writing about Sri Lanka.

LiteraryMinded Angela Meyer describes herself as “an Australian Gen Y writer of short fiction, essays, reviews and interviews seen in print in..." She contributes to many journals. Definitely a name to watch. Angela has just moved to Literary Minded at Crikey

Many of these Australian literary bloggers comment on one another blogs, and link to one another. Go and explore these blogs as a window into the dynamic Ozlit community.

I'll start on my C list now.

Monday, 29 September 2008

Booker podcasts

The Speakeasy blog from the Australian Writer's Marketplace alerted me to the downloadable audio available from the Man Booker Prize website. These are excerpts of the fiction titles that have been shortlisted and longlisted for the 2008 prize. The MP3 files can be downloaded to your computer or to your mobile. For mobiles outside of the UK enter into your mobile web browser.

Thursday, 25 September 2008

Print on demand for libraries

On Open Access News this week was an article about libraries getting into the print on demand business:

"The Shapiro Library at the University of Michigan has become the first university library to install an Espresso Book Machine, also known as “the ATM of books”, which prints public domain books in a matter of 5-7 minutes"

Just this week SMH reported that Angus & Robertson was the first Australian book chain to install the Espresso Book Machine (EBM).

Is there a role for libraries here, and one that would place libraries in competition with bookshops? Watch this space, as they say.

Friday, 19 September 2008

Should students cite Wikipedia as a source?

There’s no doubt university students are turning more and more to Wikipedia as a resource for their assignments. Should we be discouraging them? At our library we have had some interesting discussions and wonder what advice we should give on Wikipedia usage.

I cited Wikipedia in assignments I did in my recent postgraduate studies in Education and was NOT marked down. I felt that as long as I had a majority of peer reviewed journals as references, one Wikipedia citation to explain a particular term, was acceptable.

None other than the National Library of Australia cites Wikipedia as an authority in a recent NLA Newsletter when they write about social networking websites.

When Jimmy Wales spoke in Perth in 2007 he answered some of the Wikipedia critics. See my blog post on the Jimmy Wales seminar at the time.

Lisa Spiro in her blog Digital Scholarship in the Humanities reports on a study she did of Wikipedia citations appearing in journal articles indexed by the high quality databases, Project Muse and JSTOR. Wikipedia citations are increasing. She also found that some leading humanities scholars were citing Wikipedia. Read all about it, and all the related comments in her blog post Is Wikipedia Becoming a Respectable Academic Resource?

There’s further discussion on this topic in the Open Education News blog post

What do you think? How reputable is Wikipedia?

Monday, 8 September 2008

Going slow day at the New Norcia Library Lecture

New Norcia is an absolute gem of a town, nestled in farming country north east of Perth. It is the only monastic town in Australia, dominated by the still functioning Benedictine Monastery

Each spring for the last decade or more the New Norcia Librarian, Sue Johnson, has organised and hosted the annual New Norcia Library Lecture.

I put myself in “go-slow” mode for the day and headed up there with work colleagues.
The 90 minute drive up from Perth passes through the citrus growing town of Bindoon, which is always worth a stop for mandarins in September. Another highlight is the spring wildflowers along the route, particularly the blue leschenaultias.

This year’s library lecture featured a keynote speaker from the British Library, Giles Mandelbrote, Curator of British and Early Printed Collections. The BL’s Early Printed Collections focus on British printed materials from 1501-1800.

Formerly the British Library's early collections were grown through the acquisition of private or institutional libraries and collections, such as the Old Royal Library and private library of Sir Hans Sloane. These days the items are largely acquired by highly selective acquisition of around 700 individual titles per year

Giles Mandelbrote has what many in the audience considered a dream job, visiting auction houses, such as Sothebys, and purchasing antiquarian books from catalogues or acquiring them by donation. He spoke of one recent acquisition with a high “wow factor” which has already attracted interest from international researchers, as it is the earliest exemplar of a British book of mathematics, printed in 1537.

The supporting speakers were all excellent: Julianne Simpson, Librarian, Wellcome Library of medical history in London; Barbara Patison, Collections Manager State Library of Western Australia; Grant Stone, Manager, Scholarly Resources Murdoch University.

Friday, 5 September 2008

Teaching Australian Literature web site

Austlit has announced the new Teaching Australian Literature web site. The site has been set up with funding from an Australian Learning and Teaching Council project. AustLit database and three Australian unis are involved: University of Tasmania, University of Queensland and UniSA.

"This site will evolve over the coming weeks, months and years to become a key resource for teachers of Australian literature in Australia and internationally. It will present information on the current state of teaching and research in Australian literary culture and invite participation in a range of activities and forums."

Wednesday, 3 September 2008

LibJamming at the WA Library Unconference

The WA Library Unconference LibJam session at the beginning of the day on 22 August, really set the scene.

The idea of the LibJam was to tell the group, in no more than 3 minutes, some ways that your library or you personally are "getting hands dirty"

Those who took up the challenge were:

* Murdoch University Library - web presence project
* Edith Cowan University - our learning 2.0 curve
* What happened since my last unconference - Hoi
* Curtin University Library - the story of a library blog
* SLWA Blog & wiki proliferation - any & all from SLWA
* Health Dept. - A Wiki as a collaborative tool in the Health Library network
* Water Corporation - promoting the library with a Library Toolbar

Here’s the ECU part:

Edith Cowan University - our learning 2.0 curve

"Beginning last year we decided to implement 23 things program for staff. At end of that year a number of staff had started but not finished. This year we ran 2 workshops on these types of technologies. We are now implementing the ECU Library blog, a Facebook page, using a wiki for training planning, producing more podcasts, Camtasia to enhance info lit program, putting up Youtube videos on how to use aspects of library, using Delicious to gather links, law librarian is part of a Ning group, now have a Google gadget for ECU catalogue search, using Google groups for post grad students, some staff have individual blogs, publishing article and presenting at conferences and seminars".

Alison took these notes while we spoke, and the audio of my bit for ECU, was recorded on the day and is linked from the Librarians Matter blog

Monday, 1 September 2008

Ozlit Blogs of note, my A list

In my day job as an arts and humanities librarian I’ve been gathering links to Australian literary blogs, so we can recommend some of these blogs to students and link to them from our library website.

Of course there is a wide range of literary blogs: blogs about Australian literature and writers, book reviewing blogs, newspaper literary blogs, writer’s blogs, group blogs, and blogs devoted to particular authors, or types of literature: poetry, young adult literature etc.

I have come up with my A list of the most influential Australian literary blogs.

Matilda, maintained by the indefatigable Perry Middlemiss. Perry should be your first port of call for the latest news on all aspects of Australian literature. He also posts regularly, so your RSS feed reader will pop up a constant supply of posts. Perry gathers together online literature sources from a wide range of sites. I’m currently enjoying his series of “Tim Winton Watch” posts, tracking the worldwide reception of this Western Australian writer's latest novel, “Breath”. Matilda blog has a Technorati authority* rating of 68. (More about Technorati authority below)

Sarsaparilla is a group blog covering Australian literature media and culture. This blog is:
“devoted to discussing books, writing, film and television, theatre and the performing arts, music, publishing, the humanities, reading, cultural studies, and… other things, from a distinctively Australian perspective “. The quality of the content is high and some of the Sarsaparilla bloggers maintain their own individual blogs or websites. The idea of a group blog has huge benefits as the posting load can be spread around. The Sarsaparilla blog's Technorati authority* rating is 47.

Kerryn Goldsworthy has several blogs including Australian Literature Diary which has a Technorati authority* rating of 11.

Kerryn taught literature at Melbourne University, is a former editor of Australian Book Review and a former member of the Literature Board of the Australia Council. She works now as a freelance writer and has written about blogging and community in the latest issue of Heat, published by giramondo publishing. Heat is not freely available online, so you will need to subscribe, or ask your library for a Document Delivery copy.

One of Kerryn other blogs, Pavlov's Cat, is a chatty blog which attracts a large amount of reader interaction and comments. Pavlov's Cat is “a mixture of political, cultural and personal observations, opinions and facts … about literature, movies, current events, ideas and anything that seems interesting at the time”. And yes, there's more than a few funny cat pictures there too. Pavlov's Cat has a Technorati authority* rating of 69.

Genevieve Tucker keeps a blog on writing and books: reeling and writhing and she also blogs for Sarsaparilla. Reeling and writhing is well set out and interesting reading. I've only recently discovered this blog, but am returning often now. In December 2006, in The Australian, Genevieve had an interesting article on book blogs: Online, everyone's a critic.
Reeling and writhing has a Technorati authority* rating of 10. Check out Genevieve’s post here for a list of Australian literature blogs

Speakeasy is a blog for writing and publishing news, events and markets, published by the Australian Writer’s Marketplace for the
Australian and New Zealand writing industry. Australian Writer’s Marketplace also put out the subscription database "AWM online" which ECU Library makes available for staff and students to use. Speakeasy's Technorati authority* rating is 7.

So what is
Technorati authority all about, and who decides?

*Technorati is a site devoted to collecting and evaluating blogs and making them available for searching. They are tracking over 112.8 million blogs now.

Technorati assigns an “authority” number rating to blogs. But, you may wonder, how is this so called
“authority” worked out? The “authority” rating is based on the number of blogs linking to your website/blog in the last six months. The higher the number, the more Technorati Authority the blog has. This is a typical "wisdom of the crowd", Web 2.0 measure of authority.

It’s noteworthy that the more serious blog of Kerryn Goldsworthy, Australian Literature Diary, has a lower Technorati rating than the more popular Pavlov's Cat. I guess this is because more people comment on and link to Pavlov's Cat and the blog really does create an online community. But we have put a link to Australian Literature Diary on our library website, as we think it is the more useful in the academic setting. However, Kerryn has not been too active on this blog lately.

My own blog, the JayGee library log, has a Technorati authority rating of just 2 :( Not many people linking in, yet....

Most of these Australian blogs have been archived by the National Library of Australia's Pandora digital archive which is a wonderful resource, preserving our online culture. Good on you NLA.

My literature links gathered for this post are stored on Delicious under my tag “literature” . I’ll post my B list soon.

I'd be pleased to hear of more literary/literature blogs to add to this list. If you disagree with my list let me know. What is your favourite Aussie lit blog and why?

Wednesday, 27 August 2008

My first meme

Here's a meme to have some fun with. Thanks Con!

1) Copy this list into your blog or journal, including these instructions.
2) Bold all the items you’ve eaten.
3) Cross out any items that you would never consider eating.
4) Optional extra: Post a comment here at linking to your results.

1. Venison
2. Nettle tea
3. Huevos rancheros
4. Steak tartare
5. Crocodile
6. Black pudding
7. Cheese fondue
8. Carp
9. Borscht
10. Baba ghanoush
11. Calamari
12. Pho
13. PB&J sandwich
14. Aloo gobi
15. Hot dog from a street cart
16. Epoisses
17. Black truffle
18. Fruit wine made from something other than grapes
19. Steamed pork buns
20. Pistachio ice cream
21. Heirloom tomatoes
22. Fresh wild berries
23. Foie gras
24. Rice and beans
25. Brawn, or head cheese
26. Raw Scotch Bonnet pepper
27. Dulce de leche
28. Oysters
29. Baklava
30. Bagna cauda
31. Wasabi peas
32. Clam chowder in a sourdough bowl
33. Salted lassi
34. Sauerkraut
35. Root beer float
36. Cognac with a fat cigar
37. Clotted cream tea
38. Vodka jelly/Jell-O
39. Gumbo
40. Oxtail
41. Curried goat
42. Whole insects
43. Phaal
44. Goat’s milk
45. Malt whisky from a bottle worth £60/$120 or more
47. Chicken tikka masala
48. Eel
49. Krispy Kreme original glazed doughnut.
50. Sea urchin
51. Prickly pear
52. Umeboshi
53. Abalone
54. Paneer
55. McDonald’s Big Mac Meal.
56. Spaetzle
57. Dirty gin martini
58. Beer above 8% ABV
59. Poutine
60. Carob chips
61. S’mores
62. Sweetbreads
63. Kaolin
64. Currywurst
65. Durian
66. Frogs’ legs highly over-rated IMHO
67. Beignets, churros, elephant ears or funnel cake
68. Haggis
69. Fried plantain
70. Chitterlings, or andouillette.
71. Gazpacho
72. Caviar and blini
73. Louche absinthe
74. Gjetost, or brunost
75. Roadkill Squirrel
76. Baijiu
77. Hostess Fruit Pie
78. Snail
79. Lapsang souchong
80. Bellini
81. Tom yum
82. Eggs Benedict I was sick after...way too rich
83. Pocky
84. Tasting menu at a three-Michelin-star restaurant.
85. Kobe beef
86. Hare
87. Goulash my all time fave
88. Flowers
89. Horse yes in Holland. I've eaten camel too
90. Criollo chocolate
91. Spam
92. Soft shell crab
93. Rose harissa
94. Catfish
95. Mole poblano
96. Bagel and lox ...had the bagel, also over-rated
97. Lobster Thermidor
98. Polenta
99. Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee
100 Snake

Tuesday, 26 August 2008

Playing with toys at the Perth Library UnConference

Prior to the day, local support for the 2nd Library 2.0 Unconference in Perth on August 22 2008, was overwhelming. We had to stop registrations at 100.

Library 2.0 and beyond: getting our hands dirty was the theme and some session notes are now appearing on the wiki.

For me the highlight was the "inspect a gadget" session and the chance to have a go with the Wii gaming. Sue said she should be taking commissions for the Wii. The bright green XO laptop, pictured above, also attracted some attention. Just shows there's a kid in all of us.

Being on the "unorganising committee" meant that I did a fair bit of running around and did not attend many sessions. But just talking to people around the traps I heard that the Yahoo Pipes mashups session was good. Our library staff were also interested in exploring the Library Toolbar ideas that some speakers covered.

Lutie Sheridan and I gave a presentation on Facebook and libraries and the Powerpoints are on my Slide Share account and here too

Monday, 18 August 2008

Google gadget for ECU Library catalogue

I wrote in a previous post about the benefits of Google gadgets for making library catalogue searching available outside the library's website.

Now we have have an ECU Library catalogue gadget which can be loaded to your iGoogle page. The Google gadget is available from
You can also test out the gadget from this page.
Alternatively, you can add the ECU Library catalogue gadget from within your iGoogle page. Click on the 'Add stuff' link, and search for ECU Library. Then follow instructions to add the gadget to your iGoogle page.

Tuesday, 5 August 2008

National Library of Australia on Facebook

The National Library of Australia's "Libraries Australia" database is the key resource to track down library holdings across most Australian libraries.

And now they have a Facebook search application, so this database can now be searched within Facebook.

Natasha Simons from Libraries Australia Collaborative Services posted this message on the E-lists this week:

"If you are a Facebook user, why not check out the new Libraries Australia application? Simply log in to your Facebook account and then click on the following URL:

This will take you to the Libraries Australia Facebook page. From there you can access the Libraries Australia application, which provides access to Libraries Australia searches within your Facebook account.

Become a fan. Install it on your profile. Share it with your friends.

For more information, see the article ‘Libraries Australia Joins Facebook’ in the latest issue of the National Library’s Gateways magazine at

Monday, 4 August 2008 has had a makeover

The popular bookmark sharing Web2.0 site,, has had a makeover. The neat new design is certainly an improvement on the old, bland screens they had.

The three areas they have addressed in the new look are: access speed, more powerful searching and design. The bundled tags are now more clearly displayed in the right side bar. Like any makeover it may take a bit of getting used to.

Read all about it on the Delicious blog

My links are stored on Delicious

Monday, 28 July 2008 library applications

Since completing Learning 2.0 last year, a few of us in the Faculty of Arts and Education subject team have been experimenting with Have a look at our nascent collection of links and see what you think. We are FEA.ECU on

Kathryn Greenhill in her Librarians Matter blog post of 12th October 2007

gives a neat example of a application from QUT Library. Their Creative Industries library subject guide now includes a Tag Cloud . Link to it via the QUT guides on their website. Or go directly to

Handy hint from Lutie: If you have a few accounts you can link them under Networks. That way you don’t need to login to each account.

Subscribing to a tag is a great way to keep up with recent activity on a subject. I have subscribed to the tag"Facebook" to help me prepare for a talk I'm giving on Facebook at the Perth Unconference in August 08

Monday, 21 July 2008

"All Together Now: A 2.0 Learning Experience" online program starts 21st July

At our ECU Library many staff completed the Learning 2.0 (aka 23 Things) in 2007. This was run through our ECU Library Learning 2.0 Blog

And the content and style of our program was based on the the Public Library of Charlotte & Mecklenburg County Learning 2.0 program , created and designed by Helene Blowers in 2006.

But the problem for us now is how to update all that valuable information and make it fresh. Hence our in-house hands-on training which we planned offered last week through our ECU Library Wiki

Now a new 2008 online program based on the 23 Things is being offered by Web 2.0 guru and well known US library academic, Michael Stephens

The new program is “All Together Now: A 2.0 Learning Experience.”.

This starts today, July 21 and runs through til in early September 2008. It will be run by Michael through the School Library Journal (SLJ) blog, so check it out now

Monday, 7 July 2008

Library 2.0 Revisited at ECU in July

Following up on the staff survey outlined in my previous post, on what sort of library 2.0 training staff wanted, we are running two ECU Library 2.0 training days this July 2008.

We have planned the two half days through our wiki: "Library 2.0 Revisited". The two days will provide a chance for Library 2.0 newbies to get some exposure to the new technologies.

Most of the staff running the session completed the 23 things Training in 2007. That training was run through the ECU Learning 2.0 blog

Thursday, 3 July 2008

2nd WA Library 2.0 Unconference fully subscribed

Perth library staff are keen for professional development opportunites, it seems. Especially when the event is offered to a wide range of libraries, and it's free.

Registrations for the 2nd WA Library 2.0 Unconference opened on Tuesday July 1st, 2008. By mid-day July 2nd the Unconference was fully subscribed.

Unfortunately numbers had to be limited, as the State Library of WA venue holds just 75.

But, if you are attending, it's not too late to put your name down to help, or to run a session. Details of the event: "Library 2.0 and beyond: getting our hands dirty" on 22 August are on the UnconferenceWiki

Wednesday, 18 June 2008

Free Australian content on Slow TV channel

Along with the increasing amount of streaming video available on the ABC TV website, comes a free Australian channel known as SlowTV .

The site is provided by Australia's journal of politics, society and culture, The Monthly . SlowTV is described as a "free internet TV channel delivering interviews, debates, conversations and public lectures about Australia's key political, social and cultural issues."

The program guide has videos as grouped under 3 headings: "Culture" "Society" and "Politics".

To give you an idea of the range of quality material here, some of the recent programs include:

National Apology to the Stolen Generations by Prime Minister Kevin Rudd
Tim Winton in conversation with Martin Flanagan
Germaine's Legacy: After 'The Female Eunuch'. Adelaide Writers' Week

Friday, 13 June 2008

Using Flickr to build relationships and promote your library

Michael Stephens' second step in creating a hyperlinked library is to incorporate Flickr images, so your library photos can be linked in to many Web 2.0 applications. It helps to have a ready pool of available images. Flickr is an excellent way to promote your library, to your stakeholders and the wider world.

At ECU, our marketing section has a photo library, but good library photos are pretty scarce. Also we don't have license approval for putting the ECU marketing photos on Flickr. So we are looking to build our own collection of photos to promote the library. We need to be mindful of going through all the correct protocols and gaining written permission, when photographing of students or staff.

We have started our ECU Flickr photo site and hope to integrate this with other Web 2.0 applications as we go along.

Tuesday, 10 June 2008

Firefox impresses cat pictures

Friday, 6 June 2008

Australian unis on iTunes U

This report on ITWire gives some background on the involvement of six Australian universities in Apple’s iTunes U project, whereby academic course content is being provided free via iTunes.

The Aussie unis in this project are: Australian National University, Griffith University, Swinburne University of Technology, the University of Melbourne, the University of Western Australia and the University of New South Wales.

Other new participants include the Open University and University College London (UK), the University of Otago (New Zealand), and Trinity College Dublin (Ireland).

MIT and Yale started providing free recorded lectures and other content via Apple's iTunes U service a while back. To access the iTunes U channel go to the iTunes store and there it is.

It will be interesting to see how this develops and whether the quality of the content being made available, meets expectations.

Read more at the UNSW and Griffth uni websites

UNSW launches iTunes U channel

Griffith in tune

Thursday, 5 June 2008

What sort of Web 2.0 training do library staff want?

In 2007 ECU Library offered the Learning 2.0 training to all library staff who wished to take it up. We did this by setting up 23 Things on our ECU Library Learning 2.0 blog and putting a small pilot group through the program in April/May 07. Then in the 2nd half of the year we offered the Learning 2.0 to all staff. By the end of the year over 20 of the 80 staff had completed the 23 Things. Another 20 had started their own blog, but had not completed the program.

We wanted to know why staff did not complete and what other ways we could provide training. We have now surveyed all staff to see what type of training they would prefer and what are the key technologies they were comfortable with. We've had a excellent response to our survey, so staff are interesting in this sort of training. One of the key impediments is, of course, finding time in our busy work lives to complete the training program.

The method of learning most favoured was a hands-on session or workshop, followed closely by a presentation or training day.

The Web 2.0 technology staff were most comfortable with was blogging. Staff were least comforable with wikis.

We hope to publish full details of our research later in 2008, in The Electronic Library.

Monday, 2 June 2008

JSTOR on Facebook

JSTOR is the popular, nonprofit digital archive of scholarly publications. The database has some content going back to the 17th century but their development team are well up there with 21st century technologies and are active on Facebook.

They have a Facebook page which has already attracted over 6,000 “fans”. If you become a fan you will be kept up to date with new JSTOR developments and have access to the JSTOR team. The page includes news, and links to new applications, tutorials and such like.

The JSTOR development team have developed a JSTOR search application for Facebook. This means you can search the JSTOR archive from within Facebook, once you download the Facebook app.

JSTOR is a subscription archive and not freely available. If you wish to access your university library’s subscription to the JSTOR archive from within Facebook you need to be either a student or staff. If off-campus you will need to be "savvy" and know how to add your library’s a "proxy server" settings to the URL. Then you will need to login and authenticate.

There's been some discussion on how useful having a database search application within Facebook really is. Especially if the resource is a subscription database such as JSTOR. There will be some who will find the mucking around with the URL worth it. From the librarian's point of view it does put your library's resources out there, where your users are.

Michael, Tame the Web, Stephens has an interesting post on university library Facebook applications , including JSTOR.

Monday, 26 May 2008

Some Australian library catalogue widgets

Some Australian university libraries have written code for catalogue widgets and gadgets. The widgets and gadgets can be loaded to a blog or an iGoogle page. You can find them by doing a search within iGoogle, then go to Add Stuff, Search for gadgets, then search for "libraries". I did find some Australian library catalogue widgets including Deakin and UWA. The other top spot to look for widgets is the Widget Box . See my previous post What are widgets for more info or widgets and gadgets.

Wednesday, 7 May 2008

What are Web Widgets?

RobinGood has 5 really great short videos on What are Web Widgets? Well worth a look via YouTube, even if you just see the first one, you will get a good idea of what widgets and gadgets are all about and why libraries should be taking notice. University libraries can provide widgets and gadgets as a way of placing content in areas outside the main library website. The library catalogue widget is one obvious example.

Thursday, 1 May 2008

Unconferencing again in Perth in '08

You may have attended last year’s really successful Library 2.0 Unconference at the State Library of WA. This year the Unconference is again, organised by a band of enthusiastic volunteers. The events is FREE and the theme is Library 2.0 and beyond: getting our hands dirty. Don't miss it.

For full details see Kathryn Greenhill’s complete posting on Libraries Interact or check out the Unconference Wiki

DATE: Friday 22 August 2008
TIME: 9:30am - 5pm
VENUE: State Library of Western Australia
REGISTRATION: Opens 1 July 2008

You can subscribe to the RSS feed for changes to the Wiki and become involved by joining the Google Planning Group. Details of the 2007 Unconference are on the Wiki, so don’t get confused. The 2008 program will evolve in the usual Unconferencey way over the next wee while.

Wednesday, 30 April 2008

The Horizon Report 2008

This time last year when we started this whole Learning 2.0 Training program with staff at ECU Library, one of the first landmark reports we read was the Horizon Report of 2007. Now the 2008 Horizon Report has been released.

The yearly Horizon Report is one of the major reports outlining technology trends in higher education. The report is put together by the New Media Consortium and the EDUCAUSE Learning Initiative . Each year the report seeks to define a research agenda by selecting six practices and technologies for particular attention. The 2008 Horizon Report highlights the six areas of:

grassroots video, collaboration webs, mobile broadband, data mashups, collective intelligence, and social operating systems.

You can download the 2008 report, and all the Horizon reports going back five years, from the Horizon Project Wiki

Resources mentioned in the report are tagged “hz08” and can be accessed on at

Go to the Talis blog for a podcast interview with the New Media Consortium gurus about the 2008 Horizon Report.

Monday, 28 April 2008

Anzac Day 2008

There was a lot of activity around the Aussie blogs on Anzac Day

On the Matilda Australian literary blog
Perry Middlemiss posted a poem by C.J. Dennis: The March - Anzac Day, 1928. Perry has been active on the net in Australian literature for over ten years now.

On Club Troppo there was a wonderful photo of a kid draped in an Australian flag

Here on the West Coast the surf was up. Just a few weeks back in this same Indian Ocean they finally found the wreck of the HMAS Sydney, which went down in 1941 with the loss of 645 young lives. Read the story on the Australian War Memorial blog

I couldn’t help thinking how lucky those surfers were, enjoying Anzac Day 2008.

Monday, 21 April 2008

A group "sandbox" on iGoogle

Although iGoogle is not normally used for group work, it can be done. Some ECU academic staff have tried a novel way of using iGoogle as a group "sandbox". They use the sandbox to share work and try out new Web 2.0 applications. To do this you just need to set up a Gmail account and then establish an iGoogle page. For this to be effective you would need to keep the group small and ensure that no one changes the password!

Wednesday, 16 April 2008

Trying out iGoogle

After much prompting from my colleagues I decided to give iGoogle a go. I'm not sure I really am an iGoogle fan. You can put all you put all your RSS feeds together on your iGoogle page, but you can do that anyway on Firefox and the new IE. It is great to be able to use the fun widgets (Google calls them "gadgets"). My favourite gadget is the world webcam which flips over to a new live cityscape every 3o seconds, so you can empathise with those stuck the Tokyo traffic jams, or marvel at the city lights of Stuttgart. The only downside of the world webcams are the camera night shots of ... well nothing but the dark.

At the CAVAL workshop recently Richard Wallis was saying that he has two separate computers: one that has iGoogle on it and one that doesn't. The iGoogle gives him quite different and more relevant Google search results due to the cookies. If you use iGoogle for some time on the same machine this will happen.

Monday, 14 April 2008

Thursday, 10 April 2008

Video on Flickr

Flickr is moving into providing video content. Is it too little too late? YouTube already have the mass market here in partnership with Google. But will Flickr aim for the high quality end of the market?

Technology Review in Yahoo's photo-sharing site, Flickr, expands into video with new service, gives a potted history of the last few years of online video and Flickr's new venture.

Only Flickr's ''pro'' members will be allowed to upload video clips, but anyone will be able to watch them. So this should weed out the dross that appears in YouTube More about video on Flickr here.

This move makes sense as the influential Horizon Report 2008 lists grassroots video as being on the first adoption horizon of new media technolgies in the short term.

Thursday, 3 April 2008

Richard Wallis in Perth

A blog post could not do justice to Richard Wallis’s thought provoking presentation at the State Library of WA this week.

The questions from the audience added to the interest and left me with a slightly better understanding of the semantic web which we’ve all been hearing about for a few years now.

Wallis is from the UK library software company, Talis, where they are developing a Global Semantic Web Platform. He describes himself as a “technology evangelist” and indeed the next wave of innovation on the web will be technology driven. Web 2.0 by contrast is been driven by social forces.

Some are already calling this new wave Web 3, or the semantic web. It will dramatically alter the underlying foundation of the web, open up the connections between silos of information and expose them to greater exploitation and interrogation.

Richard Wallis’s presentation, “Web 2.0 - Where Next?”, can be found on his blog, Panlibus.

The Talis website also has lots more information and videos on semantic web developments. CAVAL Training sponsored the event.

Monday, 31 March 2008

What are widgets?

Widgets are small programs that run on your desktop, or within your website or blog. They constantly pull content from a third party, so that you don’t need to regularly visit that website. For libraries they are a great way of introducing library content, such as a catalogue search box, into our users’ web space.

Some examples of widgets on my blog are the Flickr badge of photos and LibraryThing random books from my library down the side bar.

New library search widgets are being written for social sites such as Facebook.

There’s a podcast of “widget fanatic” Niall Kennedy talking about how widgets are revolutionising the web on the Media Report ABC Radio National website

Monday, 17 March 2008

A glimpse of the mobile learning future?

Picture this, on day one at Orientation each university student is handed an Apple Iphone which contains all their course ware, contacts, and everything they need to progress through their studies.

Trevor Bennett, ECU Instructional Designer, and resident “podcast guru” alerted me to this report on the future of MLearning from Abilene Christian University (ACU), Texas

Follow the link to the YouTube videos, which give a glimpse of the mobile learning future when “every student, faculty, and staff member is connected"

The videos track their progress over 2 days.

I noted that no mention is made of accessing the online library on the iphone, but maybe these students leave that to week 3 when the panic of first assignments sets in… ;)

Monday, 10 March 2008

Michael Stephens on the Hyperlinked Library

Last week I attended Michael Stephens’ Perth session of Hyperlinked Library, brought by CAVAL. He is the well know “web tamer” and Assistant Professor in the Graduate School of Library and Information Science at the Dominican University in River Forest, Illinois.

Michael’s a dynamic presenter and packaged new and older ideas in a way that engaged the audience. I left with some practical tips and some inspiration to further implement Web 2.0 and really leverage the "library brand". Michael’s PowerPoint slides are on his "Tame the Web" blog

Michael’s key message was:

  • Evolve
  • Let go control
  • Be visible

Michael’s news on some US developments included:

  • Library brand is still “books” in our users’ eyes
  • Citizen journalism is growing. The public can easily pick up and distribute bad news about the library, eg photos of your awful library signs could appear on Flickr
  • Library jobs are being re-defined, requiring new Web 2.0 skills, so that some employers want to see your online presence.
  • Emerging technology groups being formed in libraries
  • We need a balance between innovation and ROI (return on investment)
  • Users are setting up RSS feeds of favourite reads from their public libraries, using catalogue RSS capabilities
  • Social networking is now a given and expected by users

5 things Michael says we should do now:

1. Be a trend spotter

2. Form an emerging technology group

3. Get library staff to do a Library 2.0 program

4. Start a “what’s new” blog

5. Explore “presence” and your library brand

Friday, 7 March 2008

Getting dumped on Facebook

The very public nature of social networking still bothers me . It's fine when things are going well, but when things fall apart...

Imagine this, being dumped via Facebook and all your "friends" get to read the wall posts and blog comments. In Samuel Pinney tells his story of How I was dumped on Facebook

How many of us think about this when we share our lives on social network sites

Tuesday, 4 March 2008

We have lift-off ... Facebook at ECU Library

Today we managed a successful "soft launch" of our new ECU Library Facebook page.

Thanks to Lutie Sheridan, who did most of the work and me, who kept asking her to change things around. We've decided to "suck it and see". This is all so new, we really don't know how and if these social network sites can be used to connect with out student users. How will they find us? What will they expect?

If you have any thoughts, advice, feedback on library Facebook pages, then please post me a message.

Monday, 3 March 2008

ECU Library blog goes live

Finally, after much effort behind the scenes, the new ECU Library blog will go live next week.

The blog's tag line is "Keeping you up-to-date with information about the library, resources and happenings..."

Friday, 25 January 2008

Report on Social Software in Learning

Did you know that 5% of all website visits are now visits to social software sites? Actually I thought it would be higher.

If you institution has a subscription to the Observatory on Borderless Higher Education then take a look at Scott Leslie and Bruce Landon’s report: Social Software for Learning: What is it, why use it?

This January 2008 report looks at the opportunities and a threats of the Web 2.0 social software and how institutions can and should respond to applications developed outside the academic institutions.

“The recent, and undeniably massive, growth in adoption of various social software applications represents both an opportunity and a threat to institutions and educators: opportunity because the qualities which help these applications thrive align well with socio-constructivist and other contemporary theories of learning which have resonated strongly with online educators and learners and sparked massive interest and growth in adoption; threat in part because they are often developed and adopted by learners outside the bounds of their formal relationships with institutions, and in part because they depend on network characteristics that can be in tension with the more ‘closed’ environments and online approaches found within most institutions. In many ways, social software represents a key manifestation of borderless education in that it has typically been developed on the general Internet, not within academic enclaves nor for specifically educational purposes, and often thrives best when the full dynamics of the entire network (e.g. linkability, searchability, network effects) are in play.

Initially, this report compares some of the qualities that cause social software to flourish with contemporary ideas about what enables successful learning in a networked world. Following an examination of uses of specific social software applications to support learning, it subsequently discusses how these key characteristics create both challenges for adopting institutions and considerations for adopters and implementers of social software that can help them harness them to best advantage in creating more authentic engagement for lifelong learners.”