Apr 05

Digital Content Seminar – Wed 26th March 2014

I am convenor of the Public Libraries Victoria Network – ICT Special Interest Group and get to meet with other ICT and Web librarians in Victorian public libraries on a regular basis. I also get to organise and attend events like this one, which give Victorian public librarians a chance to showcase what they are doing and be inspired by what others are doing.

So here are my notes.

Brimbank Comic Club – Leanne Fox – Brimbank Libraries

Comic Club runs weekly at Deer Park and Sydenham Libraries. It is a group for teens, where they make comics in an hour long program.

They use a computer program called Comic Life. Using this they published their first comic using stock images. Comic went into school and public libraries for borrowing. Comic Lives Two will be published at Easter. First one became marketing tool for program.

Software comes from Plasq (http://plasq.com/products/comiclife3/win). You can get a 30 day free trial. Currently Comic Life 3 is available, they hope to upgrade next financial year. They have the software available on all Pcs for all users.

To use – Choose template, add images, add speech bubbles.

Leanne was assigned to start a drawing or manga club. Leanne had no drawing skills, but new staff member Huss had digital art background and lots of ideas. Existing tools like Photoshop were too daunting, so found a tool that they all could learn and use – Comic Life.

Started off with a four week intensive program but kids didn’t attend all sessions. (Sidebar: Our work demographic is a challenge for incorporating new programs.)

Leanne uses her teacher, editing and storytelling skills and has learnt tech and drawing skills.

Why did they do it? – To achieve their goals of reaching the School years users, social connectedness, English literacy, developing a reading culture and digital literacy. The Club is aimed at 9-16 year olds.

Kids are sharing and mentoring each other, connecting with staff, having direction.

Main benefit is digital literacy. They find resources that they evaluate as to whether it is appropriate and useable – no copyright breach. The teens are sharing their ideas, they are creating.

Where are they going? Huss is no longer assisting, but kids are taking up the slack. They are drawing their own pictures and scanning them into the computer and painting them. One of the kids then taught others how to do this.

They want an online presence. Their comic is published online and can be found through the library website.

Creating your own book for beginners – Anthony Woodward – Geelong Libraries

Has been creating books for a few years, mainly comic book anthologies, but the concepts are the same for text.

There are self- publishing services like Lulu, but he wanted an entry level way of doing it yourself, which would give you a nice clean file.

ePub is the international standard for books, which works across devices.

He outlined two methods of producing ePub files, using software Calibre and Sigil. Need to familiarise yourself with Calibre first, then it is straight forward to use. With Sigil you need HTML and CSS skills as well.

Calibre can import from Word, auto-detect headings, has easy to follow steps, can save in multiple formats, but it inserts extra code in the final file and the code is not as clean.

Sigil has cleaner code, is easier to edit on the fly, has a more straightforward interface, better compatibility in future with code, but is not for beginners. Only produces in ePub, and you need basic CSS and HTML skills and the work needs to be done chapter by chapter.


  • Format your document in Word
  • Save as file type – filtered HTML
  • Add to Calibre, locate the HTML file you have saved
  • Once imported choose convert book, click ok Add metadata, cover image, table of contents etc. (Tricky to get the table of contents right, there are a few different ways to go about it.)
  • Save file in your chosen format – you have several options, including ePub.


  • Type into or paste your document in as plain text, a chapter at a time
  • Add styles to chapter headings and check the table of contents
  • Add metadata, cover image, tweak cc, etc.
  • Save ePub file.

You need to have basic HTML and CSS skills, eg, heading, paragraph etc. in Calibre. Sigil can be further refined with CSS, need to have some awareness.

Cover design is important. Find a free image and edit, or get someone to create one for you, or develop one using image editing software. There is also cover generating software. Need to be aware that most e-readers only display in black and white. KISS. Get ideas on paper first.

Great ideas can be found on Pinterest.

Libraries as publishers – will they go there? What terms would we offer? What staff skill sets are needed? Production Librarian, help create content. Start with helping local history content online and see how it goes.

Omeka adventures with a local history portal – Tom Edwards – Wyndham Libraries

Wyndham history project was a two year project, which included a book and a website, which the library took responsibility for.

For the website they looked at a range of platforms, including Content DM, Displace, Portfolio (Sirsi Dynix), Collection Space, Kete, Collective Access.

Make sure that whatever you choose plays nicely with Trove. Which mean your sites needs to support OAI PMH http://www.openarchives.org/pmh/. Trove does a weekly harvest of the Wyndham history site – they described their resources using Dublin Core. It harvests new content as well as updated content. (Sidebar: Use a repository explorer to ensure the data is ok.)

They chose Omeka (http://www.omeka.org/) as it supported OAI PMH, had an emphasis on user generated content, great map support, supports responsive designs, is open source and built on standards, has a good user community and is well supported with plugins.

User generated content aspect – eg. http://hurricanearchive.org – is not yet live with Omeka currently, but is coming.

Great map support in Omeka – http://neatline.org/neatline-in-action/, allows you to explore an event both geographically and chronologically.

Responsive design means that the site adjusts to your device.

Cataloguing – prepared a policy based on Dublin Core requirements, including controlled vocabulary and local thesaurus. They then mapped the MARC fields to Dublin Core Elements using MARCEdit and CSV Import plugin on Omeka.

They had the option to start with Omeka 1.5 which has user contribution, but went with 2.0 because of responsive design. It’s in the pipeline to get user contribution in 2.0.

They have 441 published items including mostly photos but also oral histories, a neat line map, an interactive timeline and flexible searching options.

Moving forwards they will be working on the contribution plugin, a WW1 exhibit, more maps including surveyor maps and hand-made raw maps of estates, and more.

They can transfer content from Inmagic, but must be able to export in meaningful columns and import and match to Dublin Core.

The Open Source software is hosted by Vicnet and is also being harvested by Portfolio for discovery in their catalogue.

Digitising Oral Histories – Michelle McLean – Casey-Cardinia

My presentation is available with the others, at http://www.slideshare.net/PLVNICT.

Using iPads to tell a story – Tara Hossack – Ballarat

Video is an easy way for capturing local stories in a short way. They filmed at a heritage weekend in Ballarat 2012. Used an iPad and with ear bud microphone using iMovie – so all was done on the iPad.

The iPad was hand held to record. All videos were on YouTube three days later – 10 videos based on a theme. They spliced interviewee responses to make it thematic.

They are going ahead with online story times, using a bracket that will hold the iPad for filming. They are practising at present, just testing with lighting, location and sound and filming. They will scan pages for inclusion in the movie. They are excited about getting this going, but are awaiting publisher permission.

A number of staff have volunteered to be involved and most staff are running well with it, familiarised within 30 minutes.

Next project – comic reviews?

Near pod is an educational tool, using the quiz option, but can also do questions, polls etc. looking to use it with outreach and kids programs.

Daniel Wilksch – Public Records Office Victoria (PROV) – Coordinator Digital Projects

Rely on partnerships and getting things done simply, only have a few staff in digital content.

Archive for the State Library of Victoria, established in 1973, when split from SLV. Managing and providing access to public records.

Only 3 – 4% of government records are ever archived.

They have documented about 4500 agencies, 17,000 series (up to 20 mill items), over a million electronic records and preparing for digital influx.

Have primary sources including a letter in Ned Kelly’s own hand. Have evidence including Exhibit B from Eureka Stockade trial. PROV is where you find evidence of a story that you heard somewhere else. Facts – notebooks showing Ned Kelly students achievements and police record of the death of the constables at Kelly’s hands. They also have stories – pages from inquest into Kelly’s death and background into soldier settlements.

However, all that content is buried in the catalogue. The system was created in a paper world, but the challenge is to translate to the digital world when you don’t have the paper in front of you.

Digital curation is the selection, preservation, maintenance, collection and archiving of digital assets – Wikipedia.

Content curation is the ongoing finding and sharing of relevant digital and non-digital content about a specific topic for a specific audience – National Library of New Zealand.

Europeana (http://http://www.europeana.eu/) is a digital nirvana, exposing content professionally but also engaging with audience and providers. Alternatives include Trove (http://trove.nla.gov.au/) and Culture Victoria (http://www.cv.vic.gov.au/).

For online exhibitions, get into partnerships with places like Culture Victoria. You can get shallow engagement or deeper. Generally want the deeper and have to be aware of that when creating content.

Curating is not the catalogue. Do we focus on individual records or focus on data sets – highlights. The answer will determine your direction. How much is making the information available and how much about telling stories.

PROV is mostly open access, but how much mediation is necessary to take it on to the internet. eg. coronial enquiries photos. Also how do you manage copyright and licensing?

One approach is to have a few records or a well-known story; which then brand the organisation and address the frequently asked questions. PROV is best known for shipping records and wills and events of significance. eg. West gate disaster

Another approach is to have a mix of interesting things on a theme; you can combine records from different stories. Eg Water stories – Dams, pipes, sewers

Other approaches – follow the trail, linking names, dates, places across records, showcase a family. eg. Lucy: a private life revealed through public records. Alternatively, you can create a mini archive eg. Bigamy, theft and murder, or use a narrative – using one record to illuminate another, with as little text as possible. Then treat the resulting narrative as another record.

More themes- strange and familiar – help users make sense of the world., I’ll show you mine sharing records eg. Using Flickr, Trove etc. – having contemporary conversations, material that supports current concerns.

Make sure you have some way for people to comment, it adds to the story.

Working with the community – what are you trying to produce, where do you fit in the process?

Sustainable – depend on lifespan curation and catalogue together, persistent URLs, expect to migrate….. Separate discussion from content.

Peter McMahon – State Library of Victoria – Digital collection and asset management

Technology team collates and brings digital content to the users.

SLV has nearly 1 million digitised items in the collection, 75,000 new items digitised this year. A further 71,000 will be added to the collection otherwise and some will be digital.

It’s all about selection based on relevance and audience focus and understanding of user segments. Up until now it has focused on the needs of exhibitions.


  • Access through cataloguing and metadata – how do you find this info when it does not come with the item?
  • Engagement – how you present digital items so they provoke engagement, reinterpretation and repurposing. They want users to explore and reuse.

Future proofing is about preservation capacity and the difference of being born digital.


  • Criteria and process – reviewed selection criteria eg, historical relevance, condition, delivery time, audience breadth, type/format, capacity for re-use.
  • Discoverability – identify in demand categories, use methods to enhance metadata, investigate ways to enlist online users.
  • Visibility and engagement – Increased use of video – humanise/ emotive, clearer presentation of all activities, responsive design, compressing the content based on tablet size, but can be scaled up or down.
  • User benefits – core audience, improve online search, improve accessibility and visibility, move critical content to the surface. New audiences, make approachable, make digital content more widely known and easily found, encourage and enable exploration and sharing.

Online content to be in gallery format as much as possible and is to be tablet friendly, immersive and easy to explore.

They want to broaden out so that users can contribute their own content, upload content for point in time collecting, with an aim of being able to combine in future.

Investigating an upload module for Digital Objects Management System, this will enable organisations to upload content for safekeeping.

They are also looking at Mobile apps as a means of distributing digital content eg. Hoddles grid app. They demonstrate value, inspire curiousity and bring people back for more.

Future digital preservation – shift from collecting to preservation, format validation, identification and repair, access to format registries.


Feb 10

VALA2014 – Plenary 6 – Joe Murphy – Library as future

Idea of futures comes preloaded with the idea of what comes next.

Libraries have been getting ready and he sees libraries as having a secure future. The outside world has already changed the things we have done, we can only move on. Change is constant.

Do libraries have more future than past? Libraries will always have a reflection in the past, the touch points, like literacy and stories, that are continually unfolding. The only thing greater that our creativity is our curiosity. Our future relies on the fire that feeds our curiosity.

His hopes in his role at Innovative Interfaces is to help libraries to find their future. The future of libraries is the question of whether to engage in the story of our communities. There is a major trend of diffusion of information across libraries, we are sharing our expertise with all. Diffusion of expertise is happening at all levels. The discussion is ongoing and so important for the future.

Libraries are like canaries in coal mines, we are usually the first to react to changes and pressures in our communities. And it keeps coming back to change, that’s the only constant. We need to strategise on this as it is the only foreseeable reality. There is no map for the future.

The future library is the identifier and supporter of local moonshots. The long goals that create side benefits for communities. Libraries have always facilitated, but now we are expanding that role, by getting involved in entrepreneurialism and much more.

Single biggest trend to affect libraries in the next year will be the Internet of things. eg. Nest app to control your home thermostat and smoke alarm – just purchased by Google. Big purchases by big companies like Google are indicators of future trends.

New roles serve as bubbles of creativity. Four directions for libraries in 2014, not because of outside forces, but because we are amenable.

  • Libraries as change entities – both facilitating change and being the change – libraries as labs.
  • Being pivot engines, able to make quick changes, not with every fad but with every opportunity and pressure.
  • Partnerships as growth – with business, vendors, infrastructure – all different types of partnerships and across all different types of user engagement.
  • New platforms for libraries – not just being where the users are but where the data opportunities are eg. cars, TVs, wearables

Great opportunities to be a stakeholder here, in both these brand new platforms and through formerly passive platforms eg. XBox. Wearable technology is not a tangential fad, but a growing industry, eg. Google Glass. Our future here is whatever we make it.

Some future trends already showing where we are going: Chrome HDMI plug in makes our TV a community computer. Now accepting Bitcoin – being accepted by real estate, sporting facilities and more. It is becoming mainstream. It can be rooted in the physical world.

Mobile now – smart devices are quickly reaching its ultimate penetration rate. Mobile use has changed with messaging being the biggest thing in mobile last year, beating even gaming. Productivity was at number 2. Big addition to this is the ability to share photos.

Snap Chat has seen huge growth, but with businessmen as we as teens. Snapchat is photo bases, it’s all around the photo. When you open the app, it opens the camera, the caption and then the audience. It only lasts for 10 seconds. More trust in impermanence, the primary of privacy and photo as conversation.

Where does the shift for libraries have to happen. Stop excelling in past strengths. Google Helpouts – play a video to learn something and then add interactivity such as asking and having questions answered.

No need for change in content, so best to wait until the business models calm down a bit. It’s going to be important to retain print for PR – it’s a touch point, a connection to our past.

The most disruptive content technology is from old media – Aereo allows you to access tv content on any device, even if cable and you don’t have a subscription. (Only limited availability). Amazon Prime Air is really a PR campaign to show that they are an innovator who is playing in the big league. TV tag is about people curating experience, a trend seen most recently with Pinterest. Sharing is moving from Bump to things like Airdop (Apple) and Dropbox.

Able to identify and accept change should be our new job description. When looking at new tech, should be asking what opportunities does this bring? Don’t focus on what is our future, but on how we get there. If there is a choice of libraries or librarians, then the latter must survive.

Our most important ability is to wonder.

Feb 10

VALA2014 – Concurrent Session 13 – Engaging Culture

Engaging exclusion: what’s next for Australia’s digital future – Brendan Fitzgerald – Infoxchange

Infoxchange is 25 years old and have staff of 80 in Melbourne, Brisbane and Wellington. Work with other organisations for IT needs. Technology for social justice. Through digital inclusion they work one on one clients. Objectives are to increase digital inclusion, raise digital proficiency, empower digital advocacy.

In one estate digital inclusion has generated 4 to 1 return on investment. Almost 4 in 5 people believe access to the Internet is a human right, yet in 1 in 5 Australians don’t have that access. Yet these are the people who have the need to engage with the government, who increasingly is only doing so online. If excluded it is harder to get a job, get education, access information and services, maintain health and well being, have your say and more.

Content is no longer king, community is now king, so is more important that ever to get people connected. Salvation Army study showed that people rated computer access more highly than regular meals – Essentials of Life survey: http://www.salvationarmy.org.au/en/Who-We-Are/Publications-reports-submissions/Reports–Submissions/Latest-Reports/National-Economic-and-Social-Impact-Survey-May-2013/Results/The-essentials-of-life/

Digital Inclusion has social outcomes. Core foundations for digital inclusion include affordable hardware and access. We need a national approach to digital inclusion, with a focus on digital literacy that is ambitious and holistic, works with community partnerships, aims to help 300,000 Australians improve their digital skills. Core elements – a digital platform for learning skills and more, digital mentors, community pop-ups, digital equality conversations and a National Year of Digital Inclusion.

Everything that is imagined can happen at least once – Saul Bellow.

It is imagined, but watch to see if it will happen.

Smita Biswas – Auckland – Grass roots digitisation: how to engage with your community

Project developed using Kete software which is freely available. Allows the community to upload multimedia content.

The city of Hamilton was able to engage with marginalised communities to enable them to write their stories on the Kete website. It also enabled users to upload history as it was being created. The project is ongoing.

Tauranga Library did a similar project on a shoestring budget and with no IT support besides hosting. Big success here was in war stories. Also captured videos, letters, videos, images, posters and more about the Rena shipping disaster in the Bay of Islands in 2011. Schools then used it as a primary source and the resulting assignments were uploaded as well. Couldn’t upload all the YouTube videos on the event, so used APIs to aggregate this and other media content. Same for Twitter and other RSS feeds. Have also recorded now and then On Historypin and linked it back. Also used Storify to tell the story over time and embedded it in Kete.

Were able to use free tools to create mobile content taken from Kete and accessed via a QR code.

Think about the scope of your digitisation project – make sure it fits your organisation’s objectives.

Engagement – take every chance to promote to community, get Council support, use local media, recruit volunteers, contact local groups. Marketing – google searchable, free hosting. Make sure it is easy to use, users must register although not moderated, can be customised, have specifications for file uploads. Challenged- slow uptake by Maori community who hold their stories close, reference in a digital age, staffing, library advocates, training, lack of ongoing support for software development.

Feb 09

VALA2014 – Concurrent Session 14 – Skilling time

I need more hands on training – reflections on creating self-directed learning by Con and Michael Wiebrands at Curtin University.

They have been running training programs for staff for years. They are self learner sand have been frustrated by those who don’t self direct their own learning.

Key concepts: open to learn, initiative when offered, accepting responsibility. Training is great for organisations as they increase organisational performance, better staff performance, shared knowledge and more.

With libraries changing so quickly it is more important than ever to have self directed learning. Training is not enough as staff need to know more about the tools. They need to learn about their environment. Training is supplementary to your own experience and reflection. If library staff are ill prepared we will struggle to support out users and our relevance is challenged.

todays learner

Todays learner – http://usergeneratededucation.wordpress.com/2013/05/22/the-other-21st-century-skills/

Less common skills of today’s learner include vision, self regulation, adaptability, resilience, collaboration across networks. Do our library staff have these skills?

One of our goals is lifelong learning – are we reflecting that, are we teaching that? What is our role as managers in creating lifelong learners of our library staff?

Self directed learner is about direction for learning and the power to participate, not about spoon feeding them, that leaves people reliant.

Jane Hart axis – willing learners and unwilling learners across self-directed and directed learners. Have a wide range of skills in our staff, but don’t know what type of learners we have. Need to have programs for all these different types of learners.

They can’t present a framework for doing this because each library’s situation is different. Ultimately it relies on leadership. Have to start with knowing what staff know and what they need. Then staff need to get the training they need, according to their learning need.

Need to develop learning contracts for individual staff – start small. Provide time, space and tools to learn. Encourage sharing and reflection and regularly review and change goals as required. Need to be modelling by learning as well – to show how important it is.

Feb 09

VALA2014 – Concurrent Session 12 – Learning

Tom Joyce – Queensland University – Relying on customary practice when the law says no – justified, safe or simply no go

No certainty about copyright.

Copyright review is in the governments hands at present, but will have the government response in coming weeks.

Changes in technologies in the past 30 years has had profound changes on how we produce and use copyright materials. Copyright will continue to disappoint due to a number of reasons. Other IP very structured. No formality in copyright law. No certainty or clarity. It was utilitarian but has been twisted out of shape by the view of it being a natural property right for the creator. It has become one size fits all to protect the most valuable of entities eg. Commercial brands such as Disney etc.

We know that Copyright review is coming soon and that the recommendations include a flexible fair use exception. No more details known yet. We also don’t know where we are heading with our international obligations via trade treaties. One certainty is change.

Gap between law and norm is growing. You don’t have to choose, you can strictly adhere to the law but government recognises that there is a severe lag between them. The risks of actions as a result of a breach of copyright has been virtually non-existent.

There are ways to negotiate the gap. How? Look at the accepted norms, look at evolving thinking, look at past behaviour of copyright owners as an indication of future behaviour, non-commercial copyright owners more likely to rely on natural rights making their behaviour less predictable, try sector wide approaches. Fairness is the key.

The Australian Law Reform Commission is suggesting something approaching the US’s fair use as opposed to our restrictive fair dealing. Factors-purpose and character of use, nature of the copyrighted work, amount and substantiality in relation to the whole, the effect on the market. They are emphasising the need for a non-exhaustive and illustrative list for this.

Ultimately what it is about is that we can’t cause harm to the copyright owner.

We built it and they are coming – eResearch Flinders University – Amanda Nixon

EResearch is the use of ICT in research space including data management, high power computing, collaboration tools etc. They created a program to support research, greatly assisted by Australian National Data Service (ANDS). They are brokering – bringing people together for a suitable outcome for all involved.

Why does eResearch work? Come for the library, do good liaison, building on existing skills and institutional knowledge, acknowledge that we don’t know the answers but can find them – most importantly there was a need.

I read this thing… Bringing professional development into the social media age – Holley Adams and Hugh Rundle – Boroondara Libraries

Thought they had a problem with staff engagement with staff professional magazines. Turns out they didn’t. They had access to this content online but they did not see evidence that staff were using them for their own professional development. Some staff were following items on Twitter and blogs, some complained, some didn’t care. Questions raised what are the reading, where, their communities, how do we share, capture verbal discussion, recruit and engage. What they needed was a new model that would provide a self supporting professional staff who were sharing and developing professionally.

What should it look like? Blended learning has been shown to be the most successful model. Decided an extended Personal Learning Network would be the best way to make this happen. They were creating a Workplace Learning Network. Needed to be something that was open and allowed all staff to use comfortably and easily. Needed a web based platform, but familiar and easy to use. Looked at apps, twitter, blogs, intranet, flip books and more. The answer was not one perfect tool but an ecosystem of three tools that could work together or individually.

Their set-up consists of three tools – a Word Press blog, which is its formal home and RSS feeds to keep people notified. Initially traffic was good but then dropped off, so they add a RSS feed to their staff intranet and traffic is up again. Next was a hashtag for twitter #coblspd. Several staff sharing professional development already, so this was a natural choice.

At present a handful of staff are using it but it is growing. More staff would use the hashtag if only they could remember it. Last was a Yammer account, for Boroondara Library staff only, for those not comfortable with blogs or twitter.

Did staff survey of what staff were doing with professional development. Discovered staff were already doing a lot, mostly online. So really needed a way to be sharing this knowledge, hence this project. Will resurvey their staff soon to discover how it has changed.

Run by benevolent anarchy – Holley and Hugh doing most of the posting, Many staff have requested assistance with blog posting, moving to online reading and MOOCs. Lots of staff are reading the blog but they want to draw them out to participate more. Some are using twitter, but often forget the hashtag. Yammer not working at all.

Hugh has started sending out a round-up email with twitter highlights on a regular basis, Only been active for a few months, but have learnt a lot.

Advice – survey your staff, found out the baseline, how do they like to get their info. Look for the combination of tools that work for your workplace and workforce. Don’t be afraid to make changes. Always be collecting data (ABCD), can assess delivery methods and topics.


Feb 09

VALA2014 – Mia Ridge – Open University (UK) – Bringing maker culture to cultural organisations

Libraries have always been creative spaces – we are already makerspaces and have been for a long time. How does this relationship connect to the maker movement and how can we meet those needs.

She is interested in developing a deeper experience with our cultural heritage for people. She has a broad view of making – family trees, fixing, tailoring or creating something new are all making. It can be for relaxation, fun, for learning and more.

Maker culture is about an attitude, it’s about getting in and doing it. It enables you to feel an active connection with your surrounds and use the things in it in new ways. Everyone grew up making. Lego is a brilliant form of making, but can kids configure things in new ways as easily? Hacking is not necessarily about bad stuff. Both hacking and making are about community.

Makerspaces are about learning together. It has equipment and programs which is shared and it can be a teaching and learning space. http://makeitatyourlibrary.org Examples of making include: photography, music, baking – but not all experiences are creative (eg. Packet mix).

Forester – what is making? Augmented reality is a big thing especially in kids books, but it is a broadcast technology not a creative act.

People are recreating and re-experiencing the past through old knitting patterns on Trove. Crowd sourcing is a form of making. eg. Transcribing, tagging, labelling on projects like Troves newspapers and Old Weather. People engage with the content and explore beyond the bounds of the project.

3D printing – rapid prototyping gives the power of creation into everyone’s hands. Melbourne Museum have been printing artefacts to engage people in natural history. Metropolitan Museum of Art have related it it their mission. They are giving users the pieces to create something else as well as whole art works. Tying back to the creative practices that have always existed there.

Learning by copying is old school which is how it has always been. Learning through engagement. The tech is still not perfect, so takes a bit of creativity to get it right.

Sugru – getting the world repairing and making again. Moldable material to fix problems, like make a camera child proof, personalised molding to a users hand etc. Makey makey is a Kickstarter project uses projects like Arduino. Make anything a touch pad. eg banana piano, alpha spaghetti keyboard.

Visualisations are creativity, presenting data in visual form. Many tools available online to do this in a variety of ways. Great for mash-ups as well. Loads of programming activities for kids including Scratch.

There is a load of tacit knowledge in craft. All are accessible in making. You get to understand the tacit knowledge when you make it yourself.

Hard fun is the idea of setting yourself challenge and you might actually fail. Mia attended a think tank where they had to create something useful and usable in a workshop where they had no idea what they were going to make, but only had one week to do it.

All she has done has been about problem solving. Museums have lots of objects that lack descriptions. People are seeking fun experiences. She created a game narrative about the museum experience to engage people and make it fun. The value of making, fun and learning, thinking through learning and doper engagement with science and heritage. Four keys to fun – for game design – easy is novelty, hard is challenge, people is friendship and serious is meaning. Makerspace will have all but should be mostly hard fun.

Model of depending engagement is attending, then participating, deciding and producing. Kids need space for making and they don’t have the opportunities to make like they used to. They need spaces to be self motivated and to take small risks.

Makerspaces can also be intellectual. It can be a physical space, pop ups, creating spaces through events. They don’t have to be about software and it’s not just about the project but about conversations.

Opening up your data is another way of facilitating creation. But this can be difficult, you can’t place restrictions, because people like to help but it still has to be fun.

Why should you make? Most people have a hobby which is making. Think about how that connects you to the maker movement? Before making a space In your library: test your traps, know your welcome, be more than Clayton’s inclusiveness (make sure they have real input and feel welcome), see how others are using spaces, understand fiero (success), because it’s fun. It takes time to get spaces right and learn with your communities, to understand the potential of new tech. Curate online and see how other people are using your content online in social media of all types. Hold internal hack days and it can be about pen and paper. Try visualising your data. Hold an editathon eg. Improve Wikipedia entries.

Most importantly reflect, learn, share. Tell what worked and what didn’t. Keep calm and start making.

Feb 07

VALA2014 – Matt Finch – The Book of the World: crossing boundaries in culture and outreach


Was impressed by librarians response after Christchurchs quake. Librarians were engagin in the community.

Library activities for children and young people don't have to cost the earth and as libraries become hubs for all kinds of exciting media activity and they needn't always be bookish either. (quote from a forthcoming book)

Zombie event they have run - teens get attacked, but they are not alone, it is not digital. They are in the middle of a story where the end has not been determined. Was a great collaboration between a range of services as well as the locals.

Libraries have always done this because we are the portal for people to step into all the stories that have been created.

Libraries are a one stop shop to the universe.  Try to track down the script Book of theworld - unpublished Dr Who script from 2007 episode 6.01 by Lawrence Miles in 2007. Mustread.

Books in the library can take your mind anywhere in time and space.

Librarians are guides because we know the terrain better than our users, which makes us Time Lords. Not preachers converting or teachers who are preparing you for a career. He loves librarians because we offer inspiration - thinks our profession is heroic.

The shelves were supposed to be loaded with books, but were loaded with doors.

Author Connor Thomas wrote an article - a very quiet battle: librarians, publishers and the Pirate Bay. Worrying implications.  Matt boggled. Interviewed and debated him about this.  Chris _ if you have one or two central spaces for books and ideas in a city all the energy flows through those spaces and it has a catalysing effect.

There is a tension between outreach and control for libraries (image of the hub).
Talked about Cory Doctorow and his closed visit to SLV. Could have done events in the suburbs and beamed it back - made it more Makerspace.

British Museum did Hitchcock events in the area he came from. Awesome.

Tension is between prestige and outreach. How can we make a difference to the individual who can not get into the library? 

Unfortunately we have the tension of governance restrictions - eg. IT blocks, publicity. Can have external partners want to join us, eg. News type report of zombie run - see video on YouTube. (in Parkes)

Regardless of where you are born to, you deserve the best possible access to information.

Likes maker spaces because he hates 3D printers. Maker spaces can open the door to discussion. Libraries can become centres of creation and in getting content out there.

It's the little barriers that can change our future in a negative way. Need to be building relationships with local politics and local media. 

Go back and trade the hub for the periphery, solve the little problems and go out. Go into the communities which are most in need.

Feb 06

VALA 2014 – Concurrent Session 9 – Get creative

Tania Barry - learn to play and play to learn using public libraries for creativity and collaboration

Libraries as innovators With six focus areas: collections, spaces, staff, programs, technology and governance. Strategic direction.

All strands are under the direction of reading, learning and meeting. 

Obtained funding to create a Digital Hub and a Makerspace.

Digital hub program coming out of the NBN rollout. Their hub includes three banquettes for small group training and collaborative work space; collaborative work tools and a program of training.

The four topics were broken into six month streams. Currently in business sphere.  All the programs were popular and included topics that were requested by users via a survey.

Funding for 2.5 years, but first six months was establishing equipment, so they ran a bridging program of training.

Employed a full time trainer but needed to have more staff available, as backup and fill ins. Seven staff now fill that role and no sessions have had to be cancelled. Have exceeded the requirements for number and type of training sessions. This was on top of the programs that they were already running.

Public libraries have a strong role in supporting learning in our communities. So Tania did some of her own research and discovered there is no out of the box Makerspace for libraries that she could implement. Even the definitions vary.

Mill Park reinvented a space already in the library, with a combined focus of electronicand digital media. Tech included 3d printer, digital cameras, tablets, video editing andmore. Even without a dedicated space, you can utilise creative directions and make things available.

Geocaching - a treasure hunt using smartphones and GPSs. Have programs at Eltham and Watsonia. Eltham had preset caches for the community to join in. Watsonia ran workshops andclasses first before setting up the caches. Both gave chance for participants to learn about their local communities.

It was all done through grant funding, through creating and embedding partnerships and through staff professional development. Funding constraints are not necessarily a barrierto developing these sorts of innovations.

Why - complimentary to existing programs and vision and objectives, opportunity to enhance Mill Park, change library perception and build new partnerships.

Outcomes: Have created new spaces, more staff training and development, increased workplace pride,new programs developed, new partnerships, increased attendance  and loans and creative use of technology.

New devices are now available for public use as well as programs. Showcasing public libraries as innovative and forward thinking and strong advocacy for local councils.

Benefits anecdotally - big increase in collaborative and inter-generational learning, problem solving, knowledge learning and informal learning.

Need to understand your audience, ensure you have staff buy-in, recognise that programs continue to evolve, have own branding! have complementary links and challenge perceptions - take some risks.

Feb 06

VALA 2014 Plenary 3 – Gene Tan – National Library of Singapore – Singapore Memory Project

Got us to share favourite memories of Australia with each other to demonstrate the importance of memory.

This is what the Singapore Memory Project is about.

It started with a discussion of old playgrounds in Singapore. The library’s Facebook page got 100,000 hits in 24 hours.

The project is building a library of Singapore experience. It includes traditional library materials, but also singular contributions from the long tail.

(sidebar: According to Gene, our Prime Ministers look like movie stars – Had Jodie Foster for our first female prime minister and now have Hugo Weaving.)

The project looks at different perspectives on events over time. It’s not a linear collection, but a compilation. It seeks to find the complexity of each person and their experiences. It’s messy, but that’s what they want.

“This is the first time that somebody has shown interest in my treasured memories.” (participant in the project)

Students conducted interviews of seniors. “If I didn’t do this programme, I would just pass people on the street, without knowing the layers of their life or the layers of their stories.” (student quote)

Hands – Mothers Day campaign, took hand impressions and lovely literary pieces about mothers.

As Singapore is still young, they have an amazing opportunity to save their memories.

Every Singaporean has their own permanent Memory account where they can record anything about their life. They are also recording blogs and other content created both inside and outside the country and asking people to pledge their relevant content to the project.

Started publishing graphic novels of some of the memories recorded in the project. Also have merchandise, short films and more.

Next stage is the Collective Me. “Every citizen her book.” Aim to open a public library that will be a collection of books of every citizen. Wanted to take it outside the library, so are creating No place like home – the Singapore Memory public Library in the park 2016. It will have miniatures, digital experiences and more and will be refreshed regularly.

Libraries can be more than digital, it can be emotional and tactile. How can we make that happen?

Singapore Memory Project – giving the past a present.

Feb 04

VALA 2014 – Plenary 2 – Johann Bollen – Indiana University

Social media as an agent of socio-economic change – Johann Bollen – Indiana University.

Our world is not just physical but also subsists on a virtual array. World internet usage in 2012 – 7 billion people in the world, 2.4 billion online and it is growing – 35% of the world is online. Lowest is Africa, highest is North America.

Also amazing is the amount of content available. Johann likens the Internet to a brain, with the connections being the neural network. It’s not about government controlled broadcast, but about social collaboration and contact. 1 in 7 people are on Facebook, early the same on YouTube, 500 million on Twitter.

Social media is many to many, where people can generate their own content, establish social relations and collaboratively develop these. We have a tremendous amount of many to many interactivity happening. If you allow the masses to communicate openly, you will end up with an idiocracy?

This is a pessimistic view. Much of the world is being actively monitored by smart phones and twitter. Just goes to show there is no Loch Ness Monster, ghosts or UFOs……

People have been using twitter to monitor the world. Check out Healthmap.org which monitors symptoms which could be a precursor to a health need.

Large groups collaborating online can be very beneficial. Haiti tweets helped to get emergency responses to where they were needed. Tweets followed the path of the Japanese earthquake.

“Wisdom of crowds” outlined why the many are smarter than the few. (Book). In who wants to be a millionaire, expert was right 65% but audience was right 91%. Vul and Pashler 2008, the guess within. Result was the average of the two guesses was more accurate than either of the two guesses. Galton’s fat ox estimate,found that with 800 guesses, the average of the estimates was within 1 % of the true value. Collective intelligence is widespread in the animal kingdom. Birds flock but there is no master. Ants always find the shortest route to food.

Need tools to study the very complex and one of those macroscopes is social media. We can examine this in more detail than ever before. Our macroscopes are network analysis, natural language processing and sentiment analysis.How do people feel about things that are happening. They have been able to analyse tweets using such tools, to judge the mood of the world at any given time or time period. As an application, they analysed tweets to make financial market predictions and correlated with the Dow. What they found is that the Dow had a correlation within three days. When people were anxious, the Dow went down a little three days later and when calm it went up three days later. Accurate about 85% of the time. These results have been confirmed by other studies.

Homiphily – is not contagion, but it is Birds of a feather flocking together. This was confirmed by research, they look for people of like moods on Twitter. Also did some research on twitter mentions and citations. Turned out there was a significant correlation. So get it out on Twitter! The total downloads and mentions are not as important as who mentions it. Media is the best source to get mentions resulting in successful citation.

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