Tuesday, 6 September 2011

Things 22 and 23

I completed Things 22 and 23 a few weeks back but never posted.
I 'Smurfed Myself' but removed it from my Blog page as it keeps 'speaking', couldn't figure out how to turn off the sound.
I did the mosaic picture scribblar too.
Feels kind of sad to be finished but I really enjoyed the whole process, most of all the blogging aspect and interaction with other bloggers.

Looking forward to getting the Movie up and running once we have a proper meeting etc.

Friday, 12 August 2011

Things 20 and 21

Cloud Computing and Google Maps
I already wrote a piece on Cloud Computing here so I'm not going to replicate my musings as I've nothing new to add.

Of all the recent online applications available Google Maps and Skype are my favourites.  Funnily enough they are both ways of connecting person and place.  My sister in law from Australia visited recently.  Using Google Maps she honed in on her hometown of Mornington outside Melbourne.  She took me to her parents house, then we went down the street and saw where my sister and nieces are living and then treked down to the beach.  It was the closest thing I will get to visiting them for some time, but it was wonderful to see what it was like, and get a feel for the proximity of their lives to one another.

I highly recommend downloading the App to your smart phone if you're going abroad.  No matter where you are, the GPS locates you and can direct you to where you want to go, which makes it very difficult to get lost (though not impossible, lol!).

Here's where I'd like to be right now:

Kyoto, Japan

I became fascinated with Japanese history and culture in my teens.  Their literature challenged my imagination as I struggled to visualise these exotic lands and grasp their culture, so alien was it from my sheltered parochial teenage life.

I was in awe of the Geisha, their beauty, their sadness, their broken hearts and unfulfilled, cruel lives. I was terrified of the emperors and the Samurai, they seemed to have all the power and control but seemingly soft hearted and compassionate underneath.
Though it's thoroughly modern capital Tokyo, is thronged with businessmen and Harajuku girls shuttled on the Shinkansen bullett to neon light karaoke bars, nintendo arcades and hightech business conferences, much of Japans founding culture can still be witnessed in the tranquil settings of Kyoto. 
Traditionally clad girls immerse themselves in Ikenobo flower arranging, tourists visit the machiya townhouses, golden Pavilion, and shinto shrines maybe even taking in a perfromance from the maiko girls.  It really is a country of contrasting cultures and fortunes.
There is something serenely beautiful about Japanese art and music, despite their tumultuous past, they always act poised and composed, even their prostitutes are elegant ladylike dolls, who sit demurely playing traditional music.  A stark cry from their modern counterparts, preoccupied with tacky garish pop culture and a crassly consumerist society.  Yet beneath all that they still strive for perfection and brilliance in all that they setout to achieve.

Ahhh some day I will visit ...............I can but dream................ 

 Google Docs is an extension of the concept of wikis, in that instead of attaching and sending documents you can save a document online and let people read it there.  Less duplication and less error.

You don't need to worry about attaching different versions of the same document to different people or having to re-send once you make a change, they will access the latest version online.  Similar to cloud computing you're not clogging up your hard drive you're using web allocated space.

Thursday, 11 August 2011

Things 18 and 19

EBooks & iTunes
We recently exceeded 200 ebook titles in the library.  I have to admit I've never read an ebook and I don't own a Kindle, but when I was distance learning I used online electronic resources and journals extensively so I guess ebooks are an extension of that really.  I think from a students viewpoint it is such a handy tool.  To be able to login to the college website and read a book without ever leaving your home is the ultimate in convenience.
The one thing that disappoints me about academic ebooks is that they are basically scanned in documents.  To my mind I always thought that ebooks would be these amazing texts full of useful hyperlinks, instant translations, references etc.  In alot of fiction this is the case.  If you're reading about France for instance you can click on the word and it will give you a wikepedia type entry with details like population size, climate, national currency etc. I guess the amount of work to do this sort of text linking would be hugely time consuming for academic books and journals, and it's probably unnecessary.  In their favour like any other pdf academic ebooks do have search and find facilities which are very useful.

With the increasing popularity of iPads and other more affordable tablets, I really believe that ebooks will see huge growth.  The Kindle suffered from having such limited functionality, kind of expensive for just an ebookreader.  But with a tablet you have internet, music, photography, word processing and a host of other applications and you can just download an ereader app and hey presto it's a kindle with a thousand other apps.  And yet, I still don't want one,  I love my paperbacks.

ITunes is an interesting development, I can totally see the usefulness of having an academic ITunes library.  Why not? Instant hub for anything you might want, makes perfect sense.  I think it would be useful to be able to download to your iPod/smart phone etc and be able to listen to something in the car or on the luas/bus while commuting.

Completely off topic, but I think students are really lucky to have so much instant access to materials.
When I was an undergraduate in the 1990's I remember trolling through index cards and looking up library catalogue on old terminals, there was no internet, it was such a chore to 'find' information, never mind sifting through what was relevant or not?  I wonder did our research suffer greatly or do students now adays just spend less time doing the initial 'search'? 
I think it would be a great challenge for students to have to do an assignment without internet access.  But then what would be the point?  Technology is constantly changing and you can't reinvent the wheel.

Thursday, 4 August 2011

Julia Donaldson is new children's laureate

Apologies as this is a little outdated.  There was an interesting piece on Newsnight book review before they finished up for the Summer.
They ran a piece on  Julia Donaldson,(The  Gruffalo), the new Childrens Laureate in the UK.  Julia is a huge endorser of libraries and attributes them to her fame and success.  Here's a short excerpt from an interview with her in the Guardian:

In recent months she has flung herself into the campaign to save libraries, leading a protest meeting at the Scottish parliament, signing petitions, and turning up at readings in libraries in Scotland and England.
She is promising even more ardent efforts in her new role.
"I'd love to do a libraries tour from Land's End to John O'Groats," she said. "The children who would come to events in libraries would have been briefed beforehand that they would come to perform something to me, so the first 10 minutes of each session they might perform a class poem they had written or act out a favourite picture book.
"Maybe I'll be able to talk to the minister of culture and persuade the government to have some kind of overall plan because at the moment I feel all the library cuts and closures are very piecemeal, so I'll do what I can," she added.

The World and us libraries could do with a few more Julias on board.

The same show had a wonderful interview between Kirsty Wark and Philip Roth.  I was astounded at how likable Roth came across, so human and open, not at all how I'd perceived him from other interviews.  She interviewed him in his Conneticut home, I've trawled the internet and cannot find a link to it anywhere :(

Tuesday, 26 July 2011

No place like the Library!

This is fun, but it's also to the point, how many students even know the range of services we provide CDs, DVDs, ebooks?  Maybe we could make a back to basics fun library video, that hammers home what we actually offer?  Just a thought :)

Thing 16 & 17 Youtube and Vimeo

I’ve used Youtube a lot over the years, primarily for looking up old music videos, but also I find it great for crochet and cooking etc. I have a Youtube account and  I’ve uploaded private videos for family viewing.  The privacy settings are quite good, you can set it up so that noone can see a clip unless you invite them to see it and send them a link.  In that regard it’s REALLY useful.  For my brothers 30th last year, I made a mini film where I edited together birthday greetings from several family members into one message, it took a while but he was chuffed.

In the library over the last semester I’ve been creating little online tutorials for students and uploading them to youtube before embedding them into  the library website. The product I use to capture mouse  movements on the screen is jing.  I then open the unedited file in a package called Camtasia Suite, where I can edit out pauses, and add in captions and there is even a facility for a voiceover( which does not seem so daunting an experience now that I’’ve made my first Podcast).

Here's a tutorial on how to remew library books.

You can see all the current tutorials here: 

I downloaded Celtx and had a play around with it.  It seems like quite an elaborate programme, I can see its uses if you are delegating out tasks as everyone could input their own ‘section’.  At first I thought it looked like it would create more work, but actually when I had a play around with it, seems like a neat way of storing the data in a very organized way and again, for a project with several inputters, it could be really useful.

Now I just need to think of something to do for our Cregan Library video.  I'm thinking I go to the wiki area to discuss that?

Tuesday, 19 July 2011

Podcast - Film review of The Guard

So I've finally got back on track with the remaining 'Things'.
I listened to some of the library podcasts and choose to do a film review for my own podcast, simply because I went to the cinema last week, and the film was fresh in my head.
There are no words for the embarasement of listening back to your own voice.  I have not heard a self recording in years and I never realised I had such a pronounced lisp, cringe!
I downloaded Audacity but had problems saving the file, and somehow corrupted it in the process, after much messing about(and I'll admit it a little help from my hubby) I uploaded it to Podbean.
I'm sure with a little more patience I would have figured it out myself but patience is a virtue ............ and in my defense I am conscious of how far behind I've fallen so am panicking somewhat.  Silly I know!
In spite of the cringe factor, I actually enjoyed the process.
As regards practical application of podcasts in our library, we could feature some on our blog.  And it would be a welcome feature to the youtube clips we do for online tutorials but more on that in the next 'Thing'.

The Guard Film Review