Blingin' through tha synaptic corridors.

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:: Friday, August 17 2007 ::

Another 2 weeks since I last posted to this blog. In that time, I've had several posts in mind; I've even written up a few in a separate file so that at least the words are captured. While there may well be other reasons at my lack of posting, I suspect one of the reasons is the hoops I jump through in order to post. Handcoding is fun but it gets in the way when all I want to do is produce words and how to express them. To that end, I've started an experiment using preconfigured software, wordpress, and have started a new blog. It's only been running a day or so and I'm already happily impressed. Will it mean I'll post more often once the initial shine wears off ? Dunno. I hope so. My eventual aim is to move over to server space of my own somewhere, with my own wordpress install, not to mention getting my domain, http://snail.ws, properly hosted rather than being a basic redirect (currently looked after by a good mate). I'll definitely be posting for a while via the new site but hope to keep posting here in the interim, though it will continue to be erratic.

Posted at 3.00pm, August 17 2007 | permalink

:: Friday, August 03 2007 ::
Friday at last. As much I like my job, one of the downsides is that it's very piecemeal: tech support, managing customer access, ebooks, and so forth. It's never been the sort of position where I can drop everything and devote time to a project. Projects have to be squeezed around everything else, even when I allocate time to projects, that can be lost if something major happens and customer connectivity is at risk. It's with some disappointment that I've accepted this week that I don't have the time to devote to a major project so we've had to outsource some of the technical development. I would have loved to do it myself but not been able to squeeze in with any sort of hope of completion. Plus the skillset required is stuff I'm very, very rusty in. The project will get done and I will continue to have some input but I can't find the time to give it the attention it needs. At the same time, there's lots happening in my main position, new developments I'm looking forward to playing with and developing customer solutions. I used to think this job was fairly straightforward and it is but the broad fields it covers make it hard to cover everything. There's other, smaller projects on the backburner and I still have doubts of achieving those. Would love to just stop everything and work on the project stuff for a few days. Oh well, the job is still fun and there's still a chunk of positives.

Posted at 5.30pm, August 03 2007 | permalink

:: Thursday, July 26 2007 ::

Jumping from feed to article to article to blog to other places, I came across a lifehacker post on DailyLit. It's possible, by email or RSS, to receive a daily, bite size installment, of numerous books in the public domain. The number of installments vary according to the size of the book, eg Frank Lloyd Wright's Art and Craft of the Machine has 10 installments, while Miguel de Cervantes' Don Quixote has 448 installments. Having just received the first installment of the Wright book in my reader, I can tell you that it has about 70 odd lines of text. I adjusted the feed settings so that it polls the server daily as I received part 2, 20 minutes after I received part 1. Other interesting titles include: Frankenstein, The Prince, Gulliver's Travels, and you can even find Utopia.

Posted at 12.15pm, July 26 2007 | permalink

:: Tuesday, July 24 2007 ::

Got net. But don't want to live blog, taking notes and listening to Helene. Will post summary later. All good so far. Update: I'm glad I decided against live blogging as I was unable to upload that first sentence. Unfortunately my blog requires ftp access for updating and the State Library of NSW wireless connection doesn't seem to allow it. My web access was fine.

The talk was very good and as folk have noted from the other talks, there were only a couple of folk in the room who were up on this stuff. A couple of us had flickr accounts and blogs but that was it. It means we know where we have to start in order to encourage folk to take all this stuff on board. There's pockets of folk getting into this and for now we need some way of connecting those who know and implement strategies for those that don't.

Posted at 5.30pm, July 24 2007 | permalink


Helene Blowers is touring Oz at the moment, having spoken in Victoria yesterday and doing a talk this afternoon in NSW. My boss has given me permission to attend and will hopefully be able to live blog the presentation. Yesterday's presentation went well though one chap has ranted at why everyone treats this as new stuff. Nothing new about the rant and it echoes comments made elsewhere. As Michelle McLean points out in the comments, this is still very new to most folk in Oz. Yes, there's concepts that have been around for a long, long time, but it's going to take a while to filter down to the grassroots level. It wasn't that long ago, about 2 years or so, that I could count the number of Ozlib bloggers in single figures, barely a handful. Now it's thriving and that's great but the numbers are still small.

I say that as an old fart; I'm a Gen Xer, turning 40 next year. I was doing BBS and Usenet in the 80s, plus the odd MUD here and there and now I'm into some of the new things, though you'll never see me twitter. I used to travel round NSW teaching librarians how to use the net, just the basic stuff. Teach them how to use google and a few commercial databases, because those are the building blocks people need to start with and for some that's enough. For some, they don't need to engage in some of the new stuff because what they're doing works well with their community. For others, the new stuff means new ways of doing things and new audiences to connect with.

For me though, the best example of Library 2.0, the best example of libraries going to where their users are, is the humble bookmobile. Taking books to people who can't get to their library, meeting them in their space. The bookmobile predates myspace by a few decades and is still going strong. It's a useful, practical technology that for me embodies a chunk of what Library 2.0 is about.

Posted at 11.10am, July 24 2007 | permalink

:: Wednesday, July 18 2007 ::

Presentation went well though my time was cut in half. Thanks to those who supplied suggestions and proving that I have no anonymity whatsoever :) All suggestions were used particularly with regard to the reduction of ready reference. One chap commented that he seems to be getting a lot less of the quick and easy questions at the desk, those things best served by ready reference materials such as dictionaries, almanacs, current events and so on. However they are seeing better quality questions being asked that require a detailed response. This has been echoed elsewhere and suggests that folk are using the net for all the basic stuff and turning to librarians, or others, when they can't find what they're after. I like this myself, particularly as it demonstrates some folk are willing to do some work themselves. I recall in my public library days folk who would just come to the desk and expect the librarian to do everything, even the assignment. Well that might be a slight exaggeration but it's not far off either. Then there are others you never see at the desk, because they've developed good research skills of their own. The new breed of folk, raised on google, are at least able to make an opening stab themselves from the comfort of their home for some, the computer lab at the local library for others.

Posted at 6.45pm, July 18 2007 | permalink