30 June 2010

Warning! This post contains cupcakes

But you have to find them . . .

I gave a talk to staff of the Australian Museum about our Wallwisher feedback board today. On the way back I took the opportunity to take a few images with my new camera. I'm still learning about its use and all of its features. The morning wasn't too cold but it was really still and clear. The sky was a vivid blue and made a perfect background. I'm enjoying just being in Sydney with all it has to offer and my work at UTS Library.

29 June 2010

30 things meme

Thanks to @MissSophieMac, 30 things I’ve done this month besides #blogeverydayofjune:
  1. Saw the film Animal Kingdom.
  2. Visited Vivid a couple of times with friends.
  3. Bought and played with a new camera (Canon EOS 7D).
  4. Bought a new lens (Canon 50mm f1.4).
  5. Run to and from work.
  6. Rode my bike to and from work.
  7. Walked to the light rail and taken a tram to work.
  8. Eaten a lot of Max Brenner's plain (dark) chocolate.
  9. Visited my parents and spent some time with my late brother's widow, my niece & nephew.
  10. Spent a lot of time with old and close friends.
  11. Laughed a lot at work and at home.
  12. Eaten out in Newtown a few times.
  13. Settled my ex-partner who is now my best friend into my spare room.
  14. Cooked beef lasagne.
  15. Eaten a lot of Ken's cooking at home.
  16. Talked and thought a lot about my late brother Murray.
  17. Was given an orchid for my front balcony.
  18. Bought another orchid for my front balcony.
  19. Endured a leak in my spare bedroom (from the bloody neighbours!) that ruined all the carpet.
  20. Had all the carpet replaced in my spare bedroom.
  21. Started and nearly finished reading Will Davies' Beneath Hill 60 (Ken was in the film).
  22. Went to the 17th Biennale of Sydney at the MCA (but was disappointed).
  23. Visited the One Hundred exhibition at the State Library of NSW (and was impressed).
  24. Saw some films at the Sydney Film festival.
  25. Laughed out loud during all episodes of Modern Family.
  26. Progressed our ASRS tender (with a lot of help).
  27. Started the 10,000 step Challenge with some friends at work.
  28. Eaten Yum Cha for lunch with my friends Fides at work.
  29. Coached some swim sessions.
  30. Ridden my indoor trainer a lot at home (I hate cold & wet weather riding!).
Image taken outside the Lied Library, University of Nevada Las Vegas in 2009.

Future academic libraries: orientation spaces

And another thing! I knew there was something that I forgot to say in yesterday's non-post.

A couple of students I spoke with yesterday seemed quite obsessed by the elimination of noise in our new Library and what we intended to do about it. Initially, I just said it could be done via decent architecture and interior design of the spaces, including furnishings. I could not illustrate that point as there was no web access in the studio we were in, so later on I talked about the importance of the orientation space created by I.M. Pei's glass pyramid in the courtyard of the Louvre Museum. It links three buildings and after it was proven to be successful many museums around the world followed their example including the British Museum and the Australian War Memorial (AWM) as it was so effective in introducing visitors to the museum and in allowing for improved and more appropriate circulation.

I believe the orientation space provided via the main entry is also going to be extremely important for us in our new Library. That is what will primarily change visitor behaviour from that of the external learning commons and the services it provides. If designed well it should also assist in the provision of services to, and management of (non-UTS) community members who may be allowed access to the Library. When the AWM began the first phase of its massive redevelopment over the last 15 years, the first gallery to be upgraded and completely redesigned was the Second World War gallery. That gallery probably comprised about 1/3 of the space within the museum proper. It was deep-set in the museum after entry and you almost had to traverse part of the First World War galleries to find it. The AWM leadership was advised of the importance of also reworking the orientation gallery and embarked on an ambitious program to redesign both at the same time.

The orientation gallery was smaller and was finished first, but it provided a much more contemporary and enticing entry than the previous dark and cluttered space. A massive glass showcase was designed and built by a glass artists (now deceased) from Queanbeyan and the Director pushed the positioning of one of only two Gallipoli landing boats in that foyer as the main feature "statement". The showcase contained items from all parts of the collection giving people a taste of what followed in the main galleries: all without any textual interpretation. When it opened, people knew they were entering a special place designed to assist them to understand the Australian experience of war. There is something for everyone. Visitors are greeted and tours meet in that gallery. Since then many museums have followed suit and now the National Gallery of Australia is finishing off a completely redesigned entrance along the same lines

I saw much the same thing in all of the modern public and academic libraries (and galleries) that I visited in the US last year. Some did it better than others, but all had clearly devoted attention to their "orientation space". Some examples can be seen in the Flickr slideshow above (all images are my own).

28 June 2010

Why there's no real post today

I'm exhausted of ideas and I'm coming down with a head cold despite taking every natural immune system booster known in Western civilisation. Part of the reason I'm exhausted is because today I had to present most of our future library concepts to students in our UTS Designing Out Crime (DOC) Research Centre. I used a presentation of our key ideas around some illustrative images, but as it is a bit of a rehearsal for a short presentation that I'm to give later this year at the ILI conference in London, I don't think I should share it just yet.

By 2016 the UTS Library will be relocated to the building next the the big UTS tower on Broadway, one of the main avenues taking people into the city of Sydney. Having a more prominent location both within the University and within that area of Sydney will present its own challenges and we hope to get some decent ideas from the DOC students.

It isn't as if we are expecting a future series of
Underbelly to be written about the crime in the UTS Library. We are just hoping for some proposals primarily to do with regulating or discouraging behaviours like theft, vandalism, consumption of inappropriate food and beverages, noise, etc. We are also looking for their ideas to assist us in presenting the key library resources and services as exclusive for UTS members (i.e not accessible by the general community). I spent a couple of hours with them making my presentation and then answering some really stimulating questions that gave me much food for thought.

I think we are really fortunate to have such a program at UTS and I love that we are giving UTS students the chance to contribute to the planning of the new Library in such a practical way (even though it is still very early in the planning stage).

The image is UTS tower from my place.

27 June 2010

26 June 2010

The obligatory iPhone post

After some inspiration from Kim and some assistance and advice from Sophie, here is my iPhone home screen post. I guess it is really another meme post.

A few days ago I managed to install the ios4 operating system and Sophie told me how to put everything in folders. My folders seemed to pick up labels based on what application went in first, but Sophie has since told me that I can change their labels.

I'm very fortunate that my iPhone is provided by my employer. Before I was given this phone early in 2009, I had a Palm Treo. I liked the Treo but found the plan I was on very unreliable and once I had used the iPhone for about a day I realised that the Treo was really a very clumsy device. The early Palm PDAs worked really well and I never went to a meeting at work without them. Then they changed to a Windows mobile operating system and everything went pear-shaped. One of the attractions of the iPhone is that "you already know how to use it" (as Apple says about its iPad). It is a very intuitive device. And, as I work in a university, if there is something I cannot figure out, I just step out into the Library and ask a student.

So by now you've probably realised that I don't have that many applications on my home screen. There are a few things I never or hardly ever use, like some iTunes U sites I was looking at, Stocks, iTunes (but I use that on my laptop), Shazam, RunKeeper, Ping, Evernote, Contacts, ShapeWriter, Dropbox, YouTube & Safari (I really don't browse the internets much on my phone) and BlockChalk.

I do use most of the following things on a regular basis:

Phone & Messages - of course

Mail - to check both work email and Gmail. I find it very reliable. I've got "Fetch" switched off because it was really expensive on data when I was overseas. I found that it is just as easy to download email when I want to check it. The Maps app is also data hungry, especially when you are moving.

iPod - I LOVE my iPod. This is my fourth iPod and it is a bit problematic as they all have different libraries now. This one is nearly full, but I listen to the music whenever I can. I think I have about 3-4 sets of earphones that I use regularly while walking, o the light rail and in bed sometimes when reading. I think iPod has been directly responsible for me buying much more music over the last 5-6 years.

Rage - I use the Rage app almost every weekend to see what is on and to set up my music video recordings on ABC TV. It is brilliant app that allows you to browse all clips broadcast each night and it has a great little fave feature for both songs and artists that collects your list for you. I also use Unearthed (a Triple J app that allows you to download and fave new music).

I get app upgrades from and sometimes search the App Store.

I've used Bump occasionally, but wish I could remember to use it more to swap contact details as it seems an awful lot more sensible than swapping business cards these days.

I sometimes use the Facebook and IMDb apps when I feel I need to, but they're not top of the charts.

I look at Weather quite often (to help me decide whether to run, ride or catch the light rail to work), but it isn't reliable nor very informative, so if I really want to know what might happen I usually look up the Sydney BOM forecast on Safari.

The Westpac app is excellent and I do use it occasionally. So too is Google and I've used the voice search feature very accurately when trying to find a bike shop with grubby hands after running out of spare tubes after a flat on my pushy.

Probably my most used apps are TweetDeck and Echofon, both for Twitter. They now live in the Social folder along with Facebook. And no, that isn't Grindr there with them. Well it might be, but only because Stephen Fry talked about it on Top Gear one night. I only read the articles.

24 June 2010

My life according too . . .

Thanks to @bonitoclub for this idea.

Using only song names from one artist (anyone you like), answer these questions. Try not to repeat a song title.

My life according to The Cure

Are you a male or female: M

Describe yourself: I'm a Cult Hero

How do you feel: Boys Don't Cry

Describe where you currently live: A Forest (Tree Mix)

If you could go anywhere, where would you go? In Between Days (Shiver Mix)

Your favourite form of transportation: The Walk (Everything Mix)

Your hobby: Let's Go To Bed

Your best friend? Close to Me (Closer Mix)

You and your best friends are: The Love Cats

What’s the weather like: Going Nowhere

Favourite time of day: A Night Like This

If your life was a TV show, what would it be called: Sleep When I'm Dead

What is life to you: Hot Hot Hot!!! (Extended Mix)

Your relationship: Fascination Street (Extended Mix)

Your fear: Killing an Arab or Sinking

What is the best advice you have to give: Trust

Thought for the Day: To Wish Impossible Things

My soul’s present condition: A Reflection

My motto: Play for Today

Social media & real "friends"

One thing I've learnt from my brother's recent death is the power and importance of real friends and the support they provide when you really need them. Family are very important, but they're not enough. I have witnessed the love of my mother's friends, my sister's friends, my brother's friends, my sister-in-law's friends and benefited from that of my own. I doubt I would have survived as well in one piece without them.

Today I think we saw that the power of social media and plain old ordinary media friends is not enough. We now have a new PM and I'm glad we do. She seems like a real person and a decent one at that. She is not just a social media presence nor just the darling of our fickle media. Our previous PM started out with a big media and social media wave of support behind him, but it wasn't enough to sustain a real support base when push came to shove. I think he neglected to build a solid base of friends who would support him through thick and thin.

23 June 2010

A baboon in the bottom of the barrel

This post was inspired by Kathryn on Librarians Matter. I'm not telling a joke because I shared my best one ("pull my finger!") with @pinkfairiedust in my office this afternoon. She declined. So, instead of a joke I offer some poetry. I hate poetry. This is one of very few poems I can recite. It is by the Spike Milligna (the famous typing error) and is called Baboon.
There once was a baboon
Who one afternoon
Said: "I think I'll fly to the sun"

So with two great palms
Strapped to his arms
He started his take-off run

Mile after mile
He galloped with style
But never once left the ground

"You're travelling too slow"
Called a passing crow
"Try reaching the speed of sound"

So he put on a spurt
By gosh how it hurt!
The soles of his feet caught fire

There were great clouds of steam
As he raced through a stream
But he still didn't get any higher

Racing on through the night
Both his knees caught alight
And smoke billowed out from his rear

Quick to his aid
Came a fire brigade
That chased him for over a year

Many moons pass by
Did Baboon ever fly?
Did he ever make the Sun?

I've just heard today
That he's well on his way
He'll be passing through Neesden at One.

21 June 2010

@fionaweb's musical meme

Thanks to @fionaweb for this meme. It was a lot of fun.

Here are the destructions:

1. Open your library (iTunes, iPod, etc)

2. Put it on shuffle

3. Press play

4. For every question, type the song that’s playing

5. When you go to a new question, press the next button

6. Don’t lie and try to pretend you’re cool!

Opening Credits:
Take Me Out - Franz Ferdinand

Waking Up:
Our House - Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young

First Day At School:
Flux (Live at the Enmore, Sydney) - Bloc Party

Falling In Love:
Regret - New Order (geez, what is that saying for me!)

Fight Song:
The Submarine - Whitley

Breaking Up:
Procession - New Order (really?)

Road to Recovery - Midnight Juggernauts (but I don't do proms!)

Babylon - David Gray (this is not even supposed to be on my iPhone!!!)

Mental Breakdown:
Ruined in a Day - New Order (how appropriate)

Nothing in My Way - Keane (ditto)

I Feel Better - Hot Chip (I'm so pleased that this was delivered)

Getting Back Together:
Square One - Coldplay

Slippage - Goldfrapp (not that I'm allowed to have a wedding anyway)

Birth of Child:
Today Will Be Better, I Swear! - Stars

Final Battle:
Parachutes - Coldplay

Death Scene:
Liar - New Order (this can't be right)

Funeral Song:
Perfect Kiss - New Order (so Shuffle is random, right?)

Remembrance Song:
She's So High - Blur

End Credits:
This is the Life - Two Door Cinema Club

The image I took with my iPhone while listening to music on my way home tonight. It was a really beautiful scene and the camera does it no justice.

A cool fixie

I saw this bike as I came to work today. I had ridden at home and then walked to the light rail because it was a wet morning so whoever owns this is more hardcore than I am. As a fixie rider he/she is more hardcore anyway: there are no rear brakes, so one brakes and slows down by pressure on the pedals. There is no coasting on this bike, even around corners. The front brake just helps you feel better in emergencies.

There are some really good details on this bike. On a quick look it all seems to be mostly new components and probably a restored frame. I can't really tell what it is, perhaps an old Cervello (my brother would have been able to from this iPhone pic), but it was probably resprayed before being rebuilt as a fixie.

Maybe it was once a track bike. The narrow handlebars make it ideal for squeezing between a bus and a road train travelling in adjacent lanes. And they are set really low with the red head set spacers helping to keep it so low above the straight forks.
(I use extra spacers to lift my handlebars up.) It would be a very agile and responsive bike. I love all the red details including the red rims on the Velocity wheels and the great looking seat post. Maybe a red chain would have been too over-the-top? I don't much like the chain rings and cranks. I don't know what they are, but they are certainly not Campagnolo.

17 June 2010

Green Travel Planning

Today a work colleague sent me something that pointed to some research by our (UTS) Institute for Sustainable Futures on Green Travel Planning. They are looking for support and potential participants for projects they are developing: one on car-sharing in multi-residential developments and the other is a course on travel planning for professionals engaged in planning relevant new developments for 2011.

They say the initiative to plan travel for workplaces can result in substantial reductions in greenhouse gas emissions and reduced traffic congestion for workplaces like university campuses, industrial parks, hospitals, office precincts and multi-residential developments. That, however, doesn't mean we shouldn't at least try to do something along the same lines in smaller institutions like libraries. We should certainly incorporate a green travel plan as a design consideration for our Library of the Future which is in its very early planning stages. Maybe we could also make a realistic contribution now just by setting an example for others to follow.

Perhaps it is too late in an existing institution to incorporate much that involves substantial investment in facilities or even additional construction, but there might be other steps we can take that could make a realistic, if small scale contribution. We could for example:
  • raise awareness among our staff and encourage the use of alternative forms of transport that are more environmentally friendly (public transport, cycling and walking where feasible);
  • encourage and perhaps facilitate car sharing or pooling arrangements;
  • lobby for cycling or public transport subsidies instead of salary packaging for cars;
  • improve and encourage the use of end-of-trip cycling and running amenities like showers and lockers;
  • seek funds and/or equipment to improve video or online-conferencing facilities in our workplaces (vice long-distance air travel);
  • arrange bike maintenance classes for staff and provide basic shared repair facilities at work;
  • look more closely at flexible work arrangements that encourage working from home where appropriate or travel during non-peak periods;
  • highlight and profile those of our colleagues who make the effort to use more sustainable forms of transport as examples for others to follow;
  • run and celebrate regular voluntary Car Free days; and
  • try some schemes that offer incentives to car poolers, bikers, runners, walkers or public transport users.
The implementation of some sustainability initiatives in our library is now on our strategic plan for the coming year after it was suggested by staff at our planning days. Maybe working up our own Green Travel Plan is a good start. What are you doing in your workplace?

The image is one of my bikes in my office at work.

16 June 2010

My new orchid

Over the long weekend a close friend visited from Melbin. He bought me this orchid in memory of my late brother Muz. I think it is stunning.

15 June 2010


Hello academic library experts!

We are dealing with a couple of complaints from students (I suspect because the library is very busy at present) who say that our library staff are not doing enough to manage selfish, anti-social or even noisy behaviour by other students in areas of the library designated as quite or silent zones. We’ve also had to remove a computer mouse that was super-glued to a desk top recently and that will necessitate a lot of expensive repair work to the long desk top that was damaged in the removal process.

We do have our reshelvers and security staff talk to students if they notice anything inappropriate and we can also deploy our student rovers against such behaviour, but I suspect the more that we react, the more students will either counter-react or find another way around it. Last year I talked with many US academic librarians who told me that students mostly self-manage behaviour in their library “commons” and group study spaces. We seek to gently encourage the same thing here, but we don’t want to go as far as encouraging student vigilantes and we don’t want to be too “precious” about the space.

So, I would be interested in reading about any successful initiatives you may have tried recently to encourage more cooperative, tolerant and appropriate behaviour by students in THEIR library.

The image above is the University of Nevada Las Vegas Lied Library learning commons.

14 June 2010

Ghylene's two things meme (via @bonitoclub)

Thanks to Bonito Club for this meme.

Two names you go by:

1) Mal

2) Malcolm (but I hate it!)

Two things you are wearing right now:

1) Old Nike Free shoes

2) G-Star jeans

Two things you would want (or have) in a relationship:

1) Fun

2) Decent sex

Two things you like to do:

1) Excercise (swim, ride, run)

2) Visual arts

Two things you want very badly at the moment:

1) The leak to be fixed in my house & all damage repaired

2) The new camera I purchased online ages ago to finally arrive!

Two things you did last night:

1) Watched Animal Kingdom

2) Ate Turkish food for dinner

Two things you ate today:

1) Cheese & spinach roulade with salad
2) Muesli

Two people you last talked to:

1) Gary
(a close friend from Melbin)
2) My Mum

Two things you’re doing tomorrow:

1) Breakfast with Gary

2) Working

Two Favorite Holidays

1) Hawaii

2) Sweden

Two favourite beverages

1) Piccolo Latte (espresso)

2) Coffee

Two things about me you may not have known.

1) I hate hot spicy food
(like chilli)
2) I barrack for Hawthorn in the AFL

Two jobs I have had in my life:

1) Army officer

2) Intelligence analyst

Two movies I would watch over and over:

1) Magnolia
2) Big Wednesday

Two places I have lived:

1) Melbin
2) London

Two of my favourite foods:

1) Choklit

2) Even more choklit

Two places I’d rather be right now:

1) New York City ('cos I've never been)
2) Milan, Italy (ditto)

Oh. the image is a decent-looking fixie I saw after the Melbin Midsumma parade earlier this year. Go figure.

13 June 2010

Animal Kingdom

Sydney sometimes feels like that to me. A bit of a race or a competition. Survival of the fittest, or those with a parking fairy.

Today I spent wandering around the 17th Biennale of Sydney with three of my best friends. Frankly, most of the contemporary visual art that we saw (mostly at MCA) was pretty lame, especially the junk masquerading as "video art". Apart from Bill Viola's work at the MCA, it really is self-indulgent, second or third rate rubbish in my opinion. What we saw at MCA is from all over the place and not just Australian, so in saying that it is mostly rubbish I guess the problem stems from poor curatorial selection because it isn't indicative of the state of Australian contemporary art practice. I have better contemporary art hanging on my walls at home. The Biennale selections just don't rate for me, nor did they compare with the quality of work still on display at the State Library of NSW in their One Hundred exhibition. In that exhibition there is something for everyone from Banks' HMB Endeavour journal to a really beautiful illustrated letter from Brett Whiteley to his mother. I'm so glad that I didn't miss this great exhibition.

Later on we went to see the brilliant Australian film Animal Kingdom (see image & link to the film website). It deserves all of the rave reviews it is getting and Jackie Weaver deserves some big acting award for her portrayal of the convincingly disturbing crime matriarch, Janine "Smurf" Cody. She is seriously creepy. It is a big leap above the recent spate of TV crime dramas that are based on real events in both Melbourne and Sydney.
It is more relaxed in the way it portrays the story and it looks so much better. The acting is better, the direction and writing is superb and the film just works so well.

It is easily the best Australian film I can remember seeing for a long time. The violence in the film is both direct or inferred and you never quite know when it is going to happen, or not. There is a lot in its title and they manage to stay true to that right up to the final scene. I also liked the way they frankly portrayed the lives destroyed by crime and the fact that at some stage most criminals make a big mistake or come undone. They are not all brain surgeons or lucky for their entire lifetime. Don't miss it and see it in a cinema, not on DVD.

12 June 2010

@snailx's film meme

How many films do you see a year at the cinema?
Probably around 30 or so. (I've joined the Dendy now I live so close to Newtown, so intend to see more from now on.)

What’s your favourite film(s)?
Breakfast at Tiffany's, Jesus' Son, Magnolia, The Dreamers, Downfall, Without Limits, The Good Shepherd, Wings of Desire, Mou Gaan Dou 1 2 & 3, The Ignorant Fairies, The Spy Who Came in from the Cold, Lawrence of Arabia, Big Wednesday, Donnie Darko, Fargo, The Lord of the Rings film trilogy, Latter Days, Lords of Dogtown, An Englishman Abroad, and A Single Man.

Who is your favourite director?
Don't really have one, but I liked what Tom Ford did recently with
A Single Man and have a lot of respect for David Lean (Lawrence of Arabia & many others).

How do see most movies (eg tv, cinema, download, dvd)?
Cinema and DVD.

Do you think 3D movies will be a fad…again?

What film do you hate the most?
Avatar. Absolute rubbish.

Do you have a guilty pleasure?
Porn & the films of Ashton Kutcher.

Who is your favourite film reviewer?
I suppose I like the reviews of Margaret Pomeranz & David Stratton because they usually give you different perspectives. There is also Paul Byrnes in the SMH and I read his reviews most Saturdays.

How many times have you seen The Sound of Music?
Several & enough.

Name a film, or films, you’ve seen multiple times?
The Sound of Music, The Great Escape, Star Wars, Gallipoli, Field of Dreams, Magnolia, Lawrence of Arabia, On Golden Pond, Breakfast at Tiffany's, Big Wednesday, & probably several others, but I cannot remember them all.

Have you ever yelled comments at the screen in a cinema? (…did people laugh?)
Not since uni and I cannot remember.

11 June 2010

@snailx's traversal meme

What “City, Country” do you live in?
Sydney, Australia

What was the last country you visited other than your own (or that you want to if you haven’t been out of your country)?
The US.

What is your favourite kind of trip (i.e. camping, laying on the beach, cruise, etc.)?
Business class travel; decent serviced apartment; someone else is paying. (Not that it is happening!)

What is the farthest location south that you have gone?
Either Hobart or the South-West wilderness in Tasmania.

What is the farthest location north that you have gone?
Uppsala in Sweden. For the wedding of a friend from NZ!

What is your preferred mode of transportation when traveling long distances?
Jet aircraft, much as I hate the lack of leg-room and uncomfortable seats. At least it is quick. (I'm not really supposed to talk about my tardis.)

What kind of vehicle do you own (or would like to own)?
Alfa Romeo 147 2.0 T Spark. It has red leather seats: a long-held ambition.

What is your ideal destination?
Oahu, Hawaii or Stockholm, Sweden. I love them both for many reasons.

Who is your favourite travel companion?
Brad Pitt. If you ask him, he'll get all embarrassed and deny it.

What is the largest city you have visited?
London, UK.

What destination would you recommend to a friend?

If you could live anywhere, where would it be?

Oahu, Hawaii.

The questions for others to use:
What “City, Country” do you live in?
What was the last country you visited other than your own (or that you want to if you haven’t been out of your country)?
What is your favourite kind of trip (i.e. camping, laying on the beach, cruise, etc.)?
What is the farthest location south that you have gone?
What is the farthest location north that you have gone?
What is your preferred mode of transportation when traveling long distances?
What kind of vehicle do you own (or would like to own)?
What is your ideal destination?
Who is your favourite travel companion?
What is the largest city you have visited?
What destination would you recommend to a friend?
If you could live anywhere, where would it be?

The image is from 2009, somewhere over Colorado on my way to Denver.

10 June 2010

Creator-innovators in libraries

At the end of my previous post I said what I really admired about those libraries that are putting themselves out there: guts, initiative, energy and imagination.

I'm really impressed with what Sophie has done in a range of recent posts about Information Literacy and the future of libraries. She has sparked lively debate among her colleagues inside UTS and also in the broader library community. Sophie is a staff member I will fight to keep. [There are several others but this post is about our Soph.] Why? Well for a start because she has and uses all of the qualities I outlined in the first sentence. However, she goes a little further because of her artistic background. She is creative. Originally and artistically creative. And that means she has these special powers: the power of original thought; and the ability to express or share those thoughts. The truly artistic people among us (like Sophie) are not afraid of expressing their original ideas. And I think most of us in libraries are afraid. We sometimes lurk about waiting for others to say something original and then jump in with our criticisms. They are not always that constructive or helpful. It is easier to do that than come up with something original. I am not having a go at those joining the debate on Sophie's posts, that is something different again. That debate, however, would not have happened without her original post.

In one of those Team Management Index things I was described a couple of times as a "creator-innovator", but I don't think it was at all accurate. I'm easily bored which is consistent with the full description (from memory), but I'm just not that original and I'm probably more of an "explorer-promoter". Our "teams" in libraries need their share of true creator-innovators like Sophie because they inspire all of us and make our life at work more interesting and enjoyable. I can still hear her saying to me at VALA earlier this year: "Be a joiner-in Mal!". It made me laugh and I did join in.

The crappy image above is Sophie on stage at the Oxford Art Factory in Griffith Goat Boy. All I had was my iPhone.

Putting yourself out there

Have some fun. Put yourself out into the spaces we all talk about: YouTube, Flickr, Facebook, Tumblr, Twitter, blogs, etc. But beware: someone will eventually pull the cat's bum face on you.

We've all seen what I'm talking about and the video above from MoMA is just the latest one I've seen. MoMA appear to have many of these short entertaining clips exposing the sacred turf and processes behind museums and galleries. Good on them I say.

Then there's the UofW Librarians Do Gaga video being queried here in The Huffington Post. It also has drawn some scorn from several library bloggers and tweeters for "sending out the wrong message" and for trying to be "cool". Well to them I say "BAH, HUMBUG!" I don't think it has a deep and meaningful message - who cares if the words aren't completely in accord with what you believe to be the truth about academic libraries. Who knows anyway? The lyrics had to fit in with the bloody music. And I really don't think they are trying to be cool at all. They look obviously daggy and a range of folk of all ages from the library were included. They are just having fun and joining in on one of the world's most popular web sites. We should be praising them and following their example. It is a long leap forward from the library-babble and institutional voices that dominated our websites not so long ago. Initiatives like these personalise our web presence from the inside out. That is just as important as allowing our users to personalise them from without.

What UofW and MoMA are doing is not that far removed from the very popular NLA Thriller clip that has now had over 72,000 views. We should all be jealous that we didn't have the guts, initiative, energy and imagination to try it first.

09 June 2010

TV meme for #blogeverydayofjune

Do you snack while watching TV?
Yes, all the time.

What is your favourite TV show?
Probably The Killing on SBS right now.

What TV show makes you run to change channels?
A heap: Masterchef (all versions); Sunrise; any morning TV really; SYTYCD; AGT; any Idol show; Biggest Losers; & any other reality TV.

How do you view your TV guide: online, on-screen, newspaper, magazine, other?
I get a paper version in The Weekend Oz on Saturday and then mostly view online or on-screen (digital).

Have you ever been surveyed for your TV-viewing habits or do you know anyone who has been?

Do you watch TV news and/or current affairs regularly?

Do you watch any TV "soaps"? (Truth please, even if it is embarrassing.)
Is Glee a soap? OK, if not I 'fess up to sometimes watching Home & Away - just 'cos its on when I am cooking.

What other series shows do you try not to miss?
NCIS (all), CSI (all), Criminal Minds, Vampire shows (eg. True Blood & Vampire Diaries), A Modern Family, Top Gear, Sarah Connor Chronicles, Foyle's War, Le Tour de France (live), Robin Hood & Dr Who.

Any previous series or shows you really liked?
Edge of Darkness, X-Files, Buffy, Angel, Queer as Folk (UK & US), East West 101, Frasier, Seinfeld, The Eagle, Unit One, Spooks & Little Britain.

Do you have pay TV or are the digital channels enough?
No: digital channels are more than enough.

Do you only watch certain TV shows online?
No, hardly ever when in Australia.

Do you regularly use services like ABC catch-up or other online replays?
Yes, I have sometimes - mostly using the ABC or SBS online.

Do you ever pay any attention to the adverts?
Never. Well unless a friend of mine is in an ad. I did like that Victorian Tourism ad about Rabbit Pie Day.

Do you multi-task while watching TV & if so what else are you doing?
All the time. I read newspapers on the weekend, sort mail, wash-up, clean and use my laptop.

Is there a TV show that makes you laugh out loud?
Yes, currently Top Gear and A Modern Family. Laughing is good for you, therefore TV is good for you.

Have you ever said no to a social invitation to stay at home and watch TV? (Truth again please.) Mind telling us what the show was?
From memory it was probably during Edge of Darkness many years ago and maybe also the first time Brideshead Revisited was on broadcast. When QAF (US) was on we actually had a regular social gathering for dinner and then a viewing on Monday nights. (I am sooo boring!)

Do you record TV shows & if so why and how (VCR, DVD recorder, TIVO, laptop, etc.)?
I use Eye-TV on an old MacBook plugged into the aerial and the TV to record digital TV. Usually I record stuff I want to see when I'm not in or watching something else.

Least favourite TV personality/actor/character?
That Kochie guy on morning TV.

Most popular TV personalities/actors/character?
Probably Brian Kenny on QAF (US). I aspire to his moral standard.

Have you ever seen anything really memorable on TV (not news/events - made for TV drama, etc.)?
Edge of Darkness was ahead of its time and Bob Peck was intoxicating in it as the lead character. I also enjoy all of Ken Burns documentary series (Civil War, New York, Baseball, Lewis & Clark, etc.) as well as the fairly recent Band of Brothers.

Do you prefer TV series or stand-alone shows?
Whatever is good really. And by good I mean something that can capture my attention and make me stop playing on the internets.

Is there a specific show you find yourself recommending over and over?
The Killing on SBS.

So, here are your questions:
Do you snack while watching TV?
What is your favourite TV show?
What TV show makes you run to change channels?
How do you view your TV guide: online, on-screen, newspaper, magazine, other?
Have you ever been surveyed for your TV-viewing habits or do you know anyone who has been?
Do you watch TV news and/or current affairs regularly?
Do you watch any TV "soaps"? (Truth please, even if it is embarrassing.)
What other series shows do you try not to miss?
Any previous series or shows you really liked?
Do you have pay TV or are the digital channels enough?
Do you only watch certain TV shows online?
Do you regularly use services like ABC catch-up or other online replays?
Do you ever pay any attention to the adverts?
Do you multi-task while watching TV & if so what else are you doing?
Is there a TV show that makes you laugh out loud?
Have you ever said no to a social invitation to stay at home and watch TV? (Truth again please.) Mind telling us what the show was?
Do you record TV shows & if so why and how (VCR, DVD recorder, TIVO, laptop, etc.)?
Least favourite TV personality/actor/character?
Most popular TV personalities/actors/character?
Have you ever seen anything really memorable on TV (not news/events - made for TV drama, etc.)?
Do you prefer TV series or stand-alone shows?
Is there a specific show you find yourself recommending over and over?