Jul 292013

Here is a record of the tweets, and a couple of pics, from tonight’s “Digitisation is the death of history” debate from Curtin University tonight. If the embedded widget looks a bit funny, you can see the whole thing at Storify.

The “ayes” had it this evening, with the affirmative team being declared the winners. The event was well attended and there was – as described by one of my work colleagues – “a lot of inter-silo discussion happening”. The speakers were all excellent. They knew their material inside out, were well-prepared, entertaining and pitched at exactly the right tone and level of discussion.

There is already talk of a re-match next year. The topic? Unknown as yet … although it would be kind of interesting to debate about whether “Convergence in the GLAM sector is a myth” .. Hmmmmmm.


Jul 292013

Tonight my department at Curtin University, Information Studies, is teaming up with the History Council of Western Australia to present a debate on the topic “Digitsation is the death of history”. Registrations are through Eventbrite: http://www.eventbrite.com.au/event/7267153251

Speakers for the affirmative are:

  • Lise Summers who is a lecturer in our department, the president of the History Council and she works at the State Records Office.
  • Meg Travers who is a research student of 20th century electronic music at the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts, and also works at the State Records Office of WA.

Speakers for the negative are:

  • Andrew Bowman is an independent researcher who has been involved in a number of digitisation projects, including a very successful one for the Carnamah Historical Society.
  • David Fricker who is Director-General of the National Archives of Australia

The event will be adjudicated by Bobbie Oliver who lectures in history at Curtin University.

The event is also an icebreaker for the start of semester for our students, with a wine and  cheese for all attendees at 6pm before the debate which runs from 6:30pm until 8pm. There has been so much interest that we have had to change the venue to accommodate the numbers. We have also had several requests to livestream or record the event. In the interests of encouraging the speakers to be candid and robust in what they say, we decided not to do this. The irony, given the title of the debate, is not lost on us. The speakers have given permission for people to blog and tweet about the event, so watch for the hashtag #digideath13 . I am general bossy boots and MCing, but if I have time to tweet, I will be doing so from @infoventurer tonight.

Jul 192013

Today I took part in the Australian Library and Information Association’s National Advisory Congress . The theme was The Future of the Profession .

There is a very nice downloadable paper that sets out three future scenarios for public, academic, school and special libraries plus collecting institutions. An short annotated bibliography accompanies the paper. You can download both from the ALIA Futures Wiki .

UPDATE: 7:55pm 19 July: Renee Stokes has a nice summary of the discussion at the forum on her blog, The World is Quiet Here .

UPDATE: 9:09pm 19 July: Hoi Ng muses about Embracing Shambrarians at her blog Water Water Everywhere.

I spoke for 15 minutes at the start. My idea was to spark ideas rather than explain concepts . I wanted to highlight  some areas where I think librarians should be listening and learning. I think that we connect people and information and that there have been great changes in the way that connection occurs and the form that information takes. I wanted to just suggest that we maybe need to pay more attention to these changes and work out how they relate to what we do.

Here is my slideset from today:

Jun 062013

So, yesterday I wrote how I was taking 48 hours to work with a team to prototype a solution for the public sector, as part  of Global Gov Jam 13.

Our team – Kim. Gaby, Vlad, Khoa, Catherine and I – worked on a project described as ” Make Perth’s transport and housing accessible to everyone. Make Movement Easier”.

We rapidly prototyped over 10 ideas in 10 minutes by drawing them only. We then took just one of those ideas and rapidly prototyped 10 ways to make that happen. We spent the rest of the morning working up three ideas, before going out to a shopping centre to road test them with real people and returning to the venue and killing off two of our darlings. For the next 24 hours we focused on a single solution.


We decided pretty early on that we wanted to focus on the train system and, given that it would take a lot of resources to cope with the uneven demand during the day that causes crowded and delayed trains at rush hour, we wanted to decrease the pain of the commute for regular commuters. We wanted to encourage more people with regular journeys to take the train to free up demands on the road system.

We killed off an idea to provide regular commuters with free wifi, special movie/music content exclusively to use on the train, pre-ordering of coffee to be delivered at the exit station and “frequent flyer” kinds of bonuses with partners at their destinations. I wasn’t so sad to see that one go. I found the other dead idea – which would have involved specially built big-arsed carriages that not many people could use and re-engineering the train energy supply – much more fun and attractive. We had “bicycle only” carriages where someone could see via an app before they got to the station whether there was space for their bike, then slot the bike into a special stand that allowed them to CONTINUE PEDALLING AND HELP TO POWER THE TRAIN. The app would connect to the “passport” function on their iPhone and let them on and off the train without doing more. It would tell them h.m. KJ they had burnt and how much power they had generated. It would have a leader board with other commuters so that they could regularly “race” other people and get rewards (free transport, coffee vouchers) each time they generated a certain amount of power. The power would also be used to generate hot water for extra showers installed at extra bike parking spaces at stations.


The idea we ended up going with was the Pop Up Hub . It is a reconfigurable community space that makes the railway platform a destination in itself, and gives a much more enjoyable experience to people who had to use the train anyhow. It starts with a basic structure that provides free wifi, work tables, a meeting space, coffee and recharge stations for electronic devices. Depending on the station location, demographic and time of year, other “hubs” can be connected to the core hub – for example a retail hub or a school holiday activity hub or a business hub. The sattelite hubs do not need electricity, plumbing etc independently because that is already supplied in the basic core hub. We recognised that actually local government support would be key to making the project successful so pitched it toward them as a place where flexible, one-off projects could be trialled without huge amounts of procedure and red-tape, and where local government could connect with their community.


We used personas to look at some of the activities that could take place there. We decided to set our hub at the Stirling train station. Jane,70, had set up her iPad cover store in the retail hub. She usually sold on Etsy only but for one month would have a place where people could see what she offered. When not selling she could maintain her site using the free wifi. She taught a craft class in the nearby school-holiday hub as an in-kind contribution. Julie, a mum was there to have coffee with a friend who had taken the train from Kelmscott while one of the kids attended a school holiday activity run by Ahmet, a library officer, and the other played Minecraft using the free wifi. Julie also signed her son up to the local soccer club that was having a registration day at the hub. Ahmet later helped Wayne, a digital consultant, to do some business research on his laptop while he waited for Joe, a mobile app developer from Joondalup , to come for a business meeting at the hub so they could avoid having to meet in the city.


Other projects from other groups  are outlined on the Perth GovJam13 project page. We all worked like crazy to prototype and make movies for upload to the site by the 3pm deadline (It helped having an architect to draw the concept up). We didn’t have time to check the audio at all on our movie, just uploaded it JUST after the deadline. We then had 2 minutes to pitch to the group and two industry experts. The experts had 3 minutes to ask us leading questions. The other projects were:

  • Jumping Jack Dragon a game to let kids know how government works
  • Bang! an app to track and manage one’s household resource consumption and eco-footprint
  • Cardboard iPads an app to federate local government information into a single spot
  • My Life a plan for a single ID number for each person across all level of government with all information connected to this in one spot
  • In Cahoots an exchange and incubator for community projects


Our project was voted the project that participants would most like to see happen, while the Cardboard iPads project was voted as the project that would be most do-able.

You can see more about the Pop Up Hub at the project page. Or, you can watch the (umm…sometimes a little hard to hear but you get the idea)  3 minute movie:


Jun 052013

I am spending today and tomorrow at Perth GovJam .  This is a part of the Global GovJam taking place across the in over 20 countries around the world. We have “48 hours to rock the public sector” … About 60 of us are rapid prototyping solutions for the government sector, doing not talking, accepting uncertainty and failure as part of the process.

I am also on Tweeting duty from the official  account for the Perth event, @perthgovjam . I only used the hashtag #pggovjam last night, but if you want to see what is happening globally, look to #ggovjam .


photo (1)

Last night we worked on sharing what “gov” means to us, thought about the theme, suggested some ideas and worked out what we would like our solutions to feel like. This involved a lot of postit notes, Sharpies, movement, laughter, yelling, drawing, thinking, categorising and moving.

We are formed into groups who are roughly working on ideas … all subject to change during the rest of the two days.

The Theme was revealed as “HC SVNT DRACONES” … I’ll leave it to you to work out what it involves.

I have brought in some of my kids’ toy cars and a large set of Wedgits so I can move them around as I think about the group that I have chosen, working on the idea: ” Make Perth’s transport and housing accessible to everyone. Make Movement Easier”. Many solutions involved crowd-sourcing and better organising government information … I stayed WAAAAY away from those projects as I want to work on something outside my expertise and interests .. and I didn’t want to be the voice saying “well, actually this project tried that and this is what happened, and have you considered x, y, z “… because I am not sure how useful it would be :)



(I *may* even go back and rotate the images in this post if I get time)


Mar 162013

Finally, after The-Crash-We-Shall-Speak-About-No-More, Molly and I have sewn together the questions from New Librarians’ Symposium with the answers from Information Online.

Thanks to everyone who joined in. We would have liked to include everyone’s efforts, but we wanted to get something around 10 minutes.

We have released this under a Creative Commons license and have already had someone ask whether it would be OK to share this on a listserv to spark conversation. Yes!. Please do share and discuss and feel free to continue the conversation in the comments, on Twitter or whereever else you would like to.

Here it is, Seen and Heard: librarian questions asked and answered .



Feb 062013

My co-facilitator of the two “Being Seen and Heard” workshops in Brisbane next week, Molly Tebo, explains how you can join in from home.

When your PLN is buzzing about a conference not being there sucks. You know you’ll be able to follow much of it through Twitter, but it’s not the same as being there in person and getting to meet people and be inspired.

We know it’s not a good time for budgets. Your library might like to send you but won’t pony up and your personal funds won’t stretch that far.

Lucky for you, we want to give you a chance to be a part of our workshops spanning the two conferences. To be seen and heard by other participants. We are making a video and you can be a part without needing to be physically present in Brisbane.

If you are a new librarian, have a think about some questions you might want answered by people who have been in the profession longer than you. It could be anything from “If you were my manager, how could I impress you?” to “What extra skills do you look for when hiring?”. We’re sure you have some burning questions to ask.

You can tweet these questions to us using the hashtag #seenandheard or for bonus points, have a go at filming yourself asking the question (a smartphone will do fine) and tweet us a YouTube link. Keep an eye on the tweets from the account @seenandheardlib. At the end of this post is a widget with all the tweets from the account as they happen.

If you’ve been in the profession a while and would prefer to answer the questions, hang out until Feb 11 and keep an eye on @seenandheardlib for a link to the question video. When we release the video, pick a question and answer it. Once again, you can tweet us an answer using the hashtag #seenandheard or video yourself and send it through.

Don’t forget to keep an eye out for the #seenandheard hashtag during our sessions on the 10th and 12th of February to get some ideas of what others are asking and for the final video that we’ll be releasing on YouTube later in the week. We’ll also be capturing tweets via storify and posting them to this blog after the sessions.

You can watch the work in progress by checking out our page for the workshops. Movies will be added as they are created.

We hope you can join us virtually and if you ask or answer a question you may find yourself in the video! See you online.




Jan 232013

Being Seen and Heard: A webcam workshop across two conferences. Co-facillitator, Molly Tebo. 10 February 2013 and 12 February 2013.

This workshop has its own page that will in the next few weeks contain:

  • information about how to join in from home via Twitter or other social media
  • information for participants about how to get movies they make to us during the workshop
  • little movies that are created from NLS6 for response at Information Online as we deal with them
  • other useful information for participants
  • the final stitched-together movie

We even made a little movie describing our little movie sessions, Greenhill and Tebo Being Seen and Heard .

  • New Librarians will explore their professional voice and ask questions. Information Online delegates will learn how to talk to their webcam and provide answers. By the end we will have a movie.The New Librarians’ workshop will focus on being seen within the profession and creating a “professional voice”. What does a new graduate need to do to establish a professional reputation and be known within a network of potential employers, and one day, co-workers or employees? Can one “lead from any position” and establish a leadership role early in one’s career? What are  employers looking for and what is the best advice received by established librarians? These questions will be considered using discussion and facilitated activities. By the end of the conference, participants will have created a movie containing questions that will then be answered by participants in the Information Online Workshop.
  • The Information Online workshop will focus on communicating using moviemaking, particularly when you need to talk to camera. The focus will be on using common workplace equipment like webcams and mobile phones to create visually pleasing, audible and effective communication. Topics covered will include- why do it?, to script or not to script? Overcoming your inner-dork when you talk to camera, getting participant permission, setting up your gear, lighting, creating the best audio, editing, processing and hosting the final product. Bring your own webcam-enabled laptop or smart mobile device plus earbuds or headset.  If you have a play beforehand so you know how to record movies, then that would be useful, although not essential. By the end of the conference participants will have created a movie containing answers to questions that were posed in the New Librarians workshop.



Jan 202013

I am running the workshop below as part of the Sixth New Librarians’ Symposium. If you are a participant, please read the separate page that outlines what you have to do before the workshop and a link to a survey to complete before the workshop.

Get your hands dirty and build your own WordPress website. 9 February 2013

  • DATE: Saturday 9 February
  • TIME: 9am to 5pm
  • VENUE: Queensland University of Technology, Gardens Point Campus
  • REGISTRATION: Sixth New Librarians’ Symposium
    • One of the best ways to show a potential employer that you understand about online identity management and that you can technically create a web presence is to build your own professional ‘home’ site. To achieve this is simple – buy web hosting and install WordPress. Participants have homework to do before the workshop – buy hosting at bluehost.com and choose a domain name. The setup will cost around $110 up front. Instructions will be provided, but it is essential to complete this a couple of days before the workshop.
    • By the end of this workshop you will have built an attractive, elegant and well-organised home site. You will understand more about the settings you need to adjust when installing WordPress, how to make the site look good using themes, how to make it do more by using plugins and how to add bling with widgets.
Dec 292012

I just created the Happy365 group on Flickr .


Very simple idea – from 1 January 2013 post an image each day showing something that has made me happy. I would like to know what makes other people happy too, so I have invited a number of Flickr contacts and am very happy for anyone else to join in. I loved watching everyone add their daily images when a bunch of us did the Daily Image 2011 challenge. Feel free to add yourself to the group.

I tend to like a daily nudge when I am doing this kind of thing, so I have created a Twitter account that spits out a link to each image as it is posted in the group. If you follow it, then you will see lots of inspiring (I hope!) or maybe puzzling images showing what makes other people happy. It is at: @Happy365Flickr .