Friday, December 18, 2009

End of 2009 wrap up

2009 was a busy, fun year. I've been working on lots of online spaces, but have not managed to post about any of it here. This list is as much a diary entry for me, to remind me of what's been happening over the last 8 months or so:

  • 2009 CAVAL Visiting Scholar research project with Michael Stephens. Involved some online surveys, a five week research trip to Australia by Michael and focus groups with Townsville library staff. Highlight of the year, and a high point in my career so far.

  • PLA / QPLA conference blog - the joint conference of Public Libraries Australia and Queensland Public Libraries Association held in Townsville in October. This was my first real effort at managing a blog and creating a lot of content for a specific event/project over a defined time period. Very interesting and rewarding.

  • Running a Learning 2.0 program for CityLibraries Townsville - CityLibrariesLearning: discover*play*connect

  • Joining the Mo-brarians and having fun for Movember

  • Realising that some online tools like Twitter, Dropbox and Skype have become almost invaluable tools for my work.

On a non-work topic - here is my very short list of things that had me thinking and reflecting on them long after the initial experience - kind-of like a "best of" list, but not really....

Book - "The art of racing in the rain" by Garth Stein A very moving novel about a family, as seen through the eyes of a dog.

TV - "Breaking Bad" (series 1) Drama, comedy, black comedy and lots of moments that make you think "what would I do in that situation..."

Movie - "Up" by Disney/Pixar. I loved how the movie told such a rich story of a relationship/marriage.

Music - for a whole bunch of reasons....

Best wishes for 2010!

Monday, October 26, 2009

Here come the Mo-brarians

Mo-brarian [moh-brair-ee-uhn] -noun

  1. a male working in a library environment, who has hair growing on the upper lip, allowed to grow without shaving, and often trimmed in any of various shape

  2. a person of either gender, trained in library work and dedicated to changing the face of men’s health

This coming Movember (the formerly useless and boring month of November) Australia's library workers are uniting for a common cause: changing the face of men's health.

Movember is an annual, month-long celebration of the moustache, highlighting men’s health issues, specifically prostate cancer and depression in men. Mo-Bros, supported by their Mo-Sistas, start Movember clean shaven and then have the remainder of the month to grow and groom their moustache. During Movember, each Mo Bro effectively becomes a walking billboard for men’s health and, via their Mo, raises essential funds and awareness for Movember’s men’s health partners – The Prostate Cancer Foundation and Beyondblue – the national depression initiative.

The Mo-brarians, our Movember team, need your help and support. Donate to us online or visit your local library where you can get more information about movember and men’s health issues. If you would like to join the Mo-brarians, or simply follow our Movember journey, then check out our online headquarters at

Library workers of Australia have united and are now asking you to put your money (just slightly above) where your mouth is – join us, and help change the face of men's health.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Research survey for Australian library workers

- Posted on behalf of Michael Stephens -

Dear Australian library colleagues,

You may have seen the announcement earlier this year where I was appointed as the 2009 CAVAL Visiting Scholar. My research, "Measuring the Value and Effect of Learning 2.0 Programs in Libraries" will evaluate the impact of Learning 2.0 programs in Australia and the perceived levels of openness, transparency and trust by staff in organizations that have completed the course.

Now it’s time for me to ask for your help!

If you have completed a 23 Things / Learning 2.0 program, I'd like to invite you to participate in an online survey.

Please take 10 to 15 minutes to complete this online survey:

If you have any questions or concerns about the survey, please contact me (email is on front of survey).

If have been the person responsible for developing and/or implementing a 23 Things / Learning 2.0 program for your library (single library service or a consortia program), please email your contact details to Warren Cheetham at CityLibraries Townsville ( I have a special survey which Warren will send to you, just for people who have lead a learning 2.0 program.

Thank you for your participation in my research. I am looking forward to my trip to Australia in October!

Best wishes,

Michael Stephens ~

Assistant Professor, Dominican University GSLIS
Tame the Web: Libraries & Technology:

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Having a play with embedding videos, came across these clever library ads via Stephen Abram's blog

Monday, May 25, 2009

Next Gen OPAC

The National Library of Austalia has released the first prototype of its new Single Business Discovery Service for comment by key stakeholders.

From an email launching the prototype:

The prototype is available at and provides integrated access to over 42 million metadata and text resources from a range of the National Library's collaborative services and from elsewhere.

For this initial version there are a range of data sources including: the Australian National Bibliographic Database, Australian Newspapers, Picture Australia, the ARROW Discovery Service, and PANDORA. The new service will also provide the discovery interface for the People Australia initiative.

Additionally we have included some external sources of data such as OAIster, Open Library, the Hathi Trust, the Internet Archive and the Library of Congress tables of contents, publishers' descriptions and sample book chapters.

Prior to using this service it is worth noting that it is a work in progress and you’ll find the 'About' pages useful in determining what has been done to date and what we are still planning to do. We welcome your granular feedback in the form at the bottom of every page, and strategic discussion in the SBD Project topic at our Libraries Australia ning site. [Not on ning? Contact our Help Desk 1800 026 155.]

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Lotsa' learning

My recent online activities have been focussed around running a Learning 2.0 program - our learning blog can be found at:

Our Twitter account is:

My personal learning blog is:

...and that doesn't leave much time for regular blogging or tweeting at the moment! :-)

The program is going really well, staff are responding and seem to be having a great time.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

The Library vs. the Search Engine

I love this idea!

From the website:

The Set Up
We're pitting Mosman Library’s online reference collection against what you can find from the search box on the world wide web! Each day during Library & Information Week we’ll be posting a question that represents the range of queries that we get at Mosman Library.

You decide who gives the best answers and wins the challenge.

The Players

Our Reference Librarian Jane B will represent Mosman Library. She’ll use only Mosman Library’s electronic resources to answer the question.
Our Internet & IT Services Librarian Ken D will represent the search engine. He’ll use only freely-available web resources to formulate his answer.

Friday, April 24, 2009

PLA/QPLA Conference 2009

(from the April edition of aliaPUBNEWS email alert)

Public Libraries Australia and the Queensland Public Libraries Association (QPLA) are happy to announce they will be holding a joint conference of national significance.

The conference will be held in Townsville, Queensland from 11 to 14 October 2009 with the theme being Change and Challenge.

In the near future a conference web page will be set up that will provide you with more information such as the program, sponsorship opportunities and registration details.
(Update 22/5/09 website is now available:

In the meantime pencil this event into your diaries and please contact the undersigned if you have any questions.

Roger Henshaw [ / Tel: 0414 190 133]
Ron Store [ / Tel: 07 4773 8819 or 07 4778 2424]

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

CAVAL Visiting Scholar 2009 - Dr Michael Stephens

I am very excited and honoured to publicly announce a project I have been working on for the last six months or so, with Richard Sayers from CAVAL and Michael Stephens.

The formal media release:

Internationally recognised US Web 2.0 commentator, writer and library academic, Dr Michael Stephens, has been appointed the 2009 CAVAL Visiting Scholar.

In a world first for CAVAL and its project partners CityLibraries Townsville and Dominican University Graduate School of Library and Information Science, Dr Stephens’ research project will seek to measure the value and effect of Learning 2.0 programs in Australian libraries.

“The intent of this study is to understand the impact on library staff and institutional culture and makeup after a Learning 2.0 program“, Dr Stephens says.

“The critical questions for libraries looking forward are to what extent has Learning 2.0 impacted institutional culture and staff confidence, and to what degree has it improved the ability of library staff to use emerging technologies?”

Dr Stephens notes that “More than 500 libraries in 15 countries have implemented Learning 2.0 programs in 2 years but we know very little about their effectiveness. Nearly 10% of these Learning 2.0 programs are Australian, ranging from large State and University libraries through to public and special libraries and a small school library in New South Wales.”

First developed by the Public Library of Charlotte Mecklenburg County under a Creative Commons license in 2006, Learning 2.0 is an online learning program that encourages library staff to explore and learn about emerging Web 2.0 technologies. Web 2.0, also called the Read/Write Web or Social Computing, enables users of all ages and walks of life to create, change and publish their own Web content. Blogs and social networking sites such as MySpace and Facebook are common examples.

Working with a co-researcher from CityLibraries Townsville, Dr Stephens’ research aims to develop a world first model for what he terms “an exemplary Learning 2.0 program for Australian libraries.”

For Dr Stephens’ acclaimed Tame the Web blog, visit

For more information about the original Learning 2.0 program, visit


CAVAL is an Australian not-for-profit company established in 1978 to support leading libraries in Australia, New Zealand and Asia. CAVAL is owned jointly by 11 Australian universities and provides a range of specialised services to the library sector including storage and digital preservation, training and consulting.

Dominican University's Graduate School of Library and Information Science was founded in 1930 and has grown to become one of the United States’ largest Masters of Library and Information Science degree-granting programs. More than 600 students attend classes in River Forest, Greater Chicago, and St. Paul, Minnesota.

CityLibraries Townsville was formed by the merger of the Townsville City Council and Thuringowa City Council in March 2008. Three library branches, mobile services plus a virtual branch serve the whole of Townsville - from the inner city to Magnetic Island, from the suburbs to the rural communities. Each branch offers specialist services and facilities that provide for a diverse community

(end media release)

There will be more detailed information about the research project announced over the coming days and weeks, so keep and eye out here and on Michael’s blog, plus our Twitter streams.

Position Vacancy: Information Services Librarian

I don't often post about my actual job, but for this I'm sending the message far and wide!
I have a position vacant in my team at CityLibraries Townsville:

Information Services Librarian - permanent full-time.
Purpose of position is to provide excellent library customer service through:
  • the day-to-day management of the library management system (Spydus)
  • facilitation of a customer-focused, up-to-date library web presence, and
  • the facilitation of the reference and information services team.
More information and application guidelines available at:

Looking forward to seeing your application soon!

Friday, March 20, 2009

The ties that bind

Three things popped into my line of sight this morning, two via blogs and one by email.
Somehow they are all related to freedom (and restriction) of thought, artistry and activity.

What started me thinking was a short article by Cory Doctorow writing for Harvard Business publishing blogs.
The High Priests of IT — And the Heretics gives a very brief history of corporate IT departments, and how power/control (access to information and resources) has swung back and forth between IT departments and users, as resources moved from mainframe computers to desktop PCs. These paragraphs sum up where I see a lot of organisations currently are at:

The dirty secret of corporate IT is that its primary mission is to serve yesterday's technology needs, even if that means strangling tomorrow's technology solutions. The myth of corporate IT is that it alone possesses the wisdom to decide which technologies will allow the workers on the front line to work better, faster and smarter — albeit with the occasional lackluster requirements-gathering process, if you're lucky.

The fact is that the most dreadful violators of corporate policy — the ones getting that critical file to a supplier using Gmail because the corporate mail won't allow the attachment, the ones using IM to contact a vacationing colleague to find out how to handle a sticky situation, the incorrigible Twitterer who wants to sign up all his colleagues as followers through the work day — are also the most enthusiastic users of technology, the ones most apt to come up with the next out-of-left-field efficiency for the firm.

Because of that article, somehow these next two posts about copyright and Creative Commons resonated with me more strongly than usual - I usually only follow discussions about copyright and creative commons by skimming the surface, pausing now and then to dip in to an article to get a better understanding of a particular issue or development.

Sita Sings the Blues - story on story by Paul Reynolds tells the story of an animator who spent three years making a film, only to find she can’t distribute it because of music licensing issues. says:

It's a classic example of how today's copyright system suppresses art, effectively forcing artists to make creative choices based on licensing concerns rather than on their artistic vision.

To read more about the issue, visit How Copyright Restrictions Suppress Art: An Interview With Nina Paley About "Sita Sings The Blues"

The very next post in my blog aggregator was by Neil Infield (British Library)
Professor James Boyle and the fight for Creative Commons . In his short post (visit the site for links to some valuable links), Neil writes about a talk that Professor Boyle gave to staff at the British Library.

One of his most memorable points for me was the deafening silence from the US Copyright Office when asked how he could make his work copyright free. His point being, that the law has been extended to cover all creative works with no regard to the views of the authors who want to allow access.

I have no answers or insights to contribute to this discussion, but I am left with a lingering doubt, maybe even sadness that a vibrant, exciting section of our culture is being restricted. But then I am reminded of a quote (which I have not been able to find – it is attributed to a former IBM executive I think) along the lines of “networks are designed to find ways around roadblocks”. So perhaps the creative community will find a way…

Thursday, January 29, 2009

No Excuses

Mal Booth
Originally uploaded by Paul Hagon
I have no excuses left.

Through my blog aggregator and other online networks I have a tsunami of information, ideas, pictures, videos, commentary and opinion directly related to my field of work, as well as peripheral work that impacts on my job.

Most of the people posting this information freely share their ideas and opinions and offer all sorts of help when asked.

A lot of theses ideas are relatively cheap, easy and simple to investigate and implement. All that is required to do similar work is the right attitude and mindset.

I have no excuses left not to create the best possible digital library experience I can for the users in my community.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Information Online 2009 - Day 1

Some thoughts and notes on day 1 of Information Online 2009. This is the first time I've travelled with a PC to a conference (have a Dell mini) and I've found it handy to note-take during sessions. Topping up the battery at random Power-point's in public spaces during breaks has worked ok, but wireless internet is too expensive for live blogging/twittering.

Highlights so far - Neerav's efforts with this page to aggregate all of the user-created content for the conference, meeting people who I've 'met' online via twitter and blog commenting, and meeting old colleague and friends.

Official opening by Stephen Conroy, Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy. He stressed a few times that the government's approach to ISP level filtering would be evidence-based, and that any technology used for such filtering would be well tested and trialled. I couldn't detect much anger in the room, but there wasn't much love either.

Next speaker was Sherman Young, Senior lecturer, Dept of media, music and cultural studies at Macquarie university, talking about the role of the book in an online world. I liked the way he tried to distinguish a 'book culture' apart from a 'print culture', and if we can understand and debate the use and value of books in an online world without becoming emotionally attached to the 'printed object'.

I was inspired by the work Paul Hagon from NLA has done mashing things like Google Maps, heritage images from The Commons on Flickr and geolocation services. Very cool...
Check out Paul's work on his blog:

Liz Lawley gave an outline as to why games and gaming is so important and central to most people's lives, and how effective games are as teaching tools, and encouraged libraries to understand and use games more in library services.

Exhibition hall was good, not quite the buzz I remember from previous conferences, but that may just be me. Looking forward to day 2!