30 posts in 30 days for June

And here it is the last day of the 30 posts for 30 days challenge for Australian Library blogs.

What we learnt:

1. There are a great number of interesting and thoughtful library bloggers out there (we must get around to adding some to the blogroll)
2. It is nice to feel part of a wider library community
3. Most bloggers, blogged the personal as well as the professional, this blog tends only to the professional, which made/makes it harder and maybe less interesting for readers?
4. We have a very good number of readers, but very few commentators, esp. from within the NLA (are people afraid to comment? or are the posts not discussionable?)
5. It is very hard to come up with something to say about libraries + technology + new on a daily basis
6. There is another Morrissey fan out there

On moving

Having just made a move of my own, I’ve been thinking a little about the logistics of moving a large collection of objects from one place to another.

Have you ever had to move a library? Or even just a part of your collection? Whether or not you’ve done either, or have a move on the horizon, there are a number of things that you’ll need to consider. The key, I think, is all in the planning.

Is the new space large enough to contain all of your material or furniture? Are there outdated materials that could be weeded from the collection? How will you move everything? Will you require professional assistance? How will you keep your clients up to date with what’s happening and make sure that the transition from one space to another goes as smoothly as possible?

And, more importantly, how will you celebrate your successful move with your clients, old and new?

The answers to these questions, as well as a few you may not yet have thought to ask, can be found in Catherine Dimenstein’s article “Executing a library move – a planned approach to moving your library,” which originally appeared in the January 2004 issue of Information Outlook.

Social Networks, there are benefits that outweigh risks

An article by 4 German scholars in the Journal of Information Technology asks and answers the question Online social networks: why we disclose.

The article (I warn you it’s a bit turgid and talks more of methodology than results) finds unsurprisingly, that people share personal information because they receive social benefits from it after an examination of benefit to risk ratios.

Inspired by rising privacy concerns, our study empirically identifies factors involved in self-disclosure on OSNs. We find that among the myriad benefits of OSN platforms, Convenience, Relationship Building and Enjoyment are significantly linked to information disclosure. We contribute to the ongoing research by showing that, although risk hinders self-disclosure, it is often offset by benefits and mitigated by trust and control beliefs. Our findings demonstrate that OSN members engage in a process of privacy calculus when deciding to disclose information.


It is 25 years since the death of Philip Larkin, poet and librarian. They are celebrating over in Hull, where Larkin was University Librarian for 30 years. See this recent Observer/Guardian article for further Larkinalia.

New eyes each year
Find old books here,
And new books,too,
Old eyes renew;
So youth and age
Like ink and page
In this house join,
Minting new coin. – Library ode by Philip Larkin

nearly over

We are nearly at the end of the 30 days of blog posting challenge and we are flagging. We missed the last days because some of us were moving house and some of us were frightened off the Interwebs by this image captured from Google Maps Street View in Scotland.Google street view horseboy

We could point out however that the challenge was 30 posts in 30 days and we have actually done that, because, ta da, some days we posted more than once, yes, we did!

We are also saying nothing more about football, Ever.

Goodbye and thanks

And so we have a new Prime Minister, let us not forget so quickly that as Prime Minister Kevin Rudd publicly supported libraries on a number of occasions as well as child literacy.

In his parting speech he talked of the building programme which has created hundreds of new or refurbished school libraries across Australia.

I’m proud of the fact that new libraries are springing up right across the country, often in schools which have never had a library before in their lives

The programme may have been managed by our new Prime Minister Julia Gillard, but it was Rudd’s policy. A policy that rested on the value that he gained as a bright and committed child from his school library.

Seselja, Loui, 1948-
Prime Minister Kevin Rudd leaving the National Library of Australia after attending the book launch of Andrew Fisher’s biography by David Day, 29 October 2008

The incalculable cultural significance of The Library

New article over at Meanland http://meanland.com.au/blog/post/the-incalculable-cultural-significance-of-the-library/ entitled: The incalculable cultural significance of The Library, not a title one could possibly disagree with.

Some quotes:

Libraries are not just warehouses that hold books. Libraries are hubs of learning and research, of interactivity and community – and this is what we have an obligation to preserve. How many free, comfortable places can one still go to to study? How many communal spaces are there in which learning, exploration and reading are fostered

Libraries, moreover, have librarians – amazing people who help you find books, source information, make the photocopier work. Librarians are living libraries, experts in helping find information that’s hard to unearth or has been lost

The article talks of the traditional physical use of libraries and the, what may seem conflicting, need to serve the offsite reader with digitised content (using natch an NLA example). I think most librarians agree that we need to continue to retain the Library as Place, as well as recognise that the majority of our users will now be online. It should be understood however that one has not replaced the other, the traditional user has not generally gone online only, the online user is in fact part of a vast and growing new usership.

Librarian’s roles may change and expand, so that we may serve both onsite and offsite readers. But, the actual physical public library will continue to serve a purpose that cannot be fulfilled with any amount of digitised or born digital content – as (mentioned in the quote somewhat) it is the single remaining indoor place where it is possible for the public to congregate without needing to purchase or pray. As such, it should be the hub of every community as well as the local resource centre.

There will also, obviously, be the need to continue to have a building to house the digitised contents. For files and servers don’t actually repose in the clouds (well some do but they are owned by Google).

Charitable about music

Thinking of legally downloading music? I know some people out there are. A new British site fairsharemusic is offering the opportunity to get the music you want and donate to charity at the same time. The donation will actually work out at 4% of what you are paying, but if the volume of sales is large then it could be large sums in total.
Oh and yes it does have all the music anyone might need

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Further on computer security

The Report of the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Communications’ Inquiry into Cyber Crime entitled Hackers, Fraudsters and Botnets was released last night. It is a very long report with many recommendations. the main ones being that an Office of Online Security be established by the government as well a 24 hour public help centre.

There was a clear message to the Committee that home users are most vulnerable to cyber crime, often unwittingly exposing themselves and others to e-security risks through a lack of online protections. While prevention through education is important, on its own education is insufficient to combat sophisticated cyber crime techniques. The Committee believes that it is time to shift our thinking toward a model where consumers, industry and government accept greater shared responsibility for personal Internet security.

This report is not dealing with the current fad of blaming all social ills on social networking sites, but to do with the most prominent of actual cyber crime, online fraud, theft or destruction of information via spyware and malware and the controlling of your computer (as a botnet) by others. This is a really major problem and one which is being addressed here. Some of the recommendations are excellent and would give home users better knowledge and tools to protect their computers. These include ISP’s having to inform you if they suspect your computer has been compromised, and the power to deal with websites that are corrupted or hosting spyware or malware. However some recommendations seem impracticable:

a requirement that [ISP] acceptable use policies include contractual obligations that require a subscriber to:
 install anti-virus software and firewalls before the Internet connection is activated;

Read the report, and then go check your anti-virus.

Think you know website

Interesting online safety website supported by the Australian Federal Police and Microsoft called ThinkUKnow. The site is aimed at parents and teachers to educate them about new technologies, social media and other online activities that their children may be using.
Based on a British model the website is useful and informative and in contrast to many other safety sites does not seek to overly panic parents. The website understands that there are benefits and enjoyment to be had by communicating and sharing and not just risks. It is probably a site that librarians could also use to educate adult users and any concerned parents that they may come across.

More tech gadgets to play with

Toshiba have a few interesting developments in the works. Amongst them, the Libretto W100 – a concept product with dual 7 inch multitouch screens. It has the same functionality as a traditional laptop, but without the traditional keyboard – you can use a virtual one instead.

They also have a 3D laptop with a larger 15.6 inch display, perfect for gaming.

Take a closer look at these innovations in the video.

Schizophrenia Library online

Launched today in what is billed as a world first, the Schizophrenia Research Institute now has its very own online library. The library is comprised of a database which covers of a range of research on the topic, which have been “grouped into nine different categories, including treatment, signs and symptoms, risk factors, diagnosis, course and outcome, physical factors, comorbid conditions, population perspective and families“. Professionals assess and grade each work based on the quality of evidence.

You can search the library in a very user-friendly interface by drilling down through the nine categories, or search via keyword. Results for each topic include factsheets for general public, as well as more detailed research. Visit the library online for more information.

Uniforms in Libraries?

Do you want to wear a uniform? I am not talking of cosplay here, but an actual library uniform.

Elsewhere in the world many local councils are forcing their staff into standard council uniforms, that is the uniforms worn by all types of council workers that have a public interface role.

In Australia, there has been some pressure for branding and uniforming of library staff too. However, as elsewhere in the world, the introduction of uniforms in, for example, the State Library of Queensland did not go down well with everyone.

In the Netherlands some uniforms were less contentious, probably because they were not your standard polyester.

The argument for councils is that uniforms align library staff with the rest of the council workforce and in a library setting allows library staff to be more visible and thus more accessible to readers. There is some justification in the latter argument. But, it has been standard practice almost universally that Library staff wear name badges which go a long way to making staff visible. So do uniforms have a useful role or are they a waste of money that could be spent on collections or additional staff?

Librarians have generally been opposed to uniforms as it is felt that it de-professionalises them. It is generally considered that only manual or non-professional staff wear uniforms, and it is certainly the case that other professonal staff employed by councils such as teachers are not required to wear uniforms. There is also the issue of which level of staff are required to wear uniforms, in some larger libraries, the library front door or support staff or other para-professionals are required to wear uniforms, but senior librarians are not. Would this cause an unnecessary division between staff?

So would you feel comfortable wearing a uniform? Would it save you worrying about what to wear? There are a number of libraries that do require uniforms in Qld. and W.A., if you are a librarian in a uniform let us know whether you think it is a good thing.

That noise! What is that noise?

You either love it or hate it: the sound that is made by the traditional South African horn the vuvuzela. According to the Dolmetsch music dicitonary, the vuvuzela is

the ear-splitting plastic trumpet that produces a sound like a swarm of angry bees, a combination of buzz and drone – made popular by football fans at the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.

It seems that the Internet has gone vuvuzela crazy, in one form or another – there are games (stop that noise by kicking a soccer ball at the horns so you can play in peace), virtual vuvuzelas (available as applications for your iPhone and Facebook), as well as a website that vuvuzela-ifies any other website you might like to visit (just in case you can’t get enough of that sound and need it for browsing at all times).

But if you’re sick of it already, you’ll be happy to know that there is some relief to be had! Broadcasters are responding to calls from annoyed TV viewers by employing software to filter out the noise. If your broadcaster is slow on the uptake, you can get your own filtering software for streaming TV. Or, better yet, go hang out in the library.