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 gospoken.com/a/mbp08 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?