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So I did a presentation at NDF on Digital Preservation.

It’s now available on Youtube. Probably like most folks I only managed to watch the first little bit. ūüôā

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I thought I’d share this post with you. Its from Dick Eastman, an extremely tech-savvy genealogist.¬†

He responds to an email from someone who is horrified that alot of the books in the FamilySearch Family History Library¬†are being digitised so¬†they can be put online, and the original hard copies aren’t being replaced on their shelves.¬†

This Library/Research Centre¬†is “Mecca” for someone in my field (along with The Fred J. Reynolds Historical Genealogy Department in Allen County Public Library.)

For those who don’t know, FamilySearch is the genealogical organisation owned and run by the Church of the Latter Day Saints. Although they have their own reasons to do with their faith for genealogical research, they offer their resources/services worldwide free, to anyone regardless of their beliefs.

In their Granite Mountain vaults, they have millions of microfilms that are being digitised so they can be put online on their free website, and their books and serials in the FamilySearch Family History Centre are also being microfilmed so they can be OCRed. They are said to be running the world’s biggest digitisation project.

Anyway, have a read of this post and see what you think, and how it may relate to us as librarians (or researchers) in the future:

http://bit.ly/OULrqU

As a researcher, I am excited about the possibility of being able to access such richness online. As a librarian, I have subdued mixed feelings about the “destruction of books”, even if it is for the “greater good”. I’m sure they have a preservation process for their most precious titles.

I thought the points discussed were thought provoking and not dissimilar to discussions we’ve all had – you might be interested in¬†his opinions¬†about the digital versus “real” books debates that we are hearing and participating in!

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Today I want to write a little about a couple of projects I’m participating in on Flickr.

The first one is a project to take a photo of yourself everyday for a year.  There are many variations of the 365 theme on Flickr.  Why anyone would bother to do such a project is a good point.  Some people join a project as a challenge to improve their photography.  Kathryn Greenhill initiated this particular group project.  In her invitation she writes,

“I got as far as 281 photos doing this in 2009 and was really confronted by the choices I had to make about how I presented myself. Did I always want to show myself as a healthy, cheery sort of person? How much of the ugly and everyday was I prepared to show?

I discovered that – contrary to my comfort level – photos with myself smiling really *did* look better. This freaked me out, as I always thought that forcing myself to smile looked worse than showing something “genuine”. This flowed on to my everyday life where I started smiling at other people more…

I’m interested in giving it another go for 2011 to see if I can make the whole 365 images and wanted to share the activity with anyone else who was interested in joining in. I’d like to see what other people I know do with the exercise.”

I joined because it seemed like a fun idea at the time and because I know I’m mostly behind the camera when it comes to our family photo snaps.¬† I’m interested in telling our family stories via scrapbooking and felt it was important to document me as well as my children and our activities.¬† It has turned out to be a glimpse into my life and by extension, my family life.

I find looking at photos of my forebears compelling because of the stories they tell, not just through their presence in the photograph but the places where they were taken, the clothes they wore, the activities they did.  Maybe there will be great grandchildren of mine who will wish to do the same.

I’m also enjoying the community aspect of this activity.¬† Looking at other people’s photos, their expressions, the things they include in the photos opens little windows into other people’s experiences.¬† How strange it is that I start to feel concerned about people I have never met when I don’t see a photograph from them for a while?

As Kathryn pointed out, it is confronting.¬† Many days I don’t feel photogenic or feel like taking a photo of me.¬† Some days it’s fun, some days it’s boring.¬† Some days don’t happen.

I’m not sure what I will do with the final 365.¬† It is possible I’ll make a physical book of the photo set, although there are a few videos up there too.

The other project I’m doing is a more personal one.¬† I’m taking photos of the books I borrow to read this year as a way to record my reading history in a visual way.¬† I started recording what I read over 12 months a few years ago via my personal blog.¬† It is an interesting reflective process and I have found that publicly recording it has influenced my choices in what I read – probably for the better in the sense I’ve extended my reading habits.

Food seems to feature a lot…

In other news!  This is our 300th Post on Diligent Room!!!

Birthday cupcakes for us!

cupcakes

Birthday Cupcakes for us!

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Let’s start with a definition from a “Tomorrow People” fan:

Fandom (from the noun fan and the affix -dom, as in kingdom, freedom, etc.) is a term used to refer to a subculture composed of fans characterized by a feeling of sympathy and camaraderie with others who share a common interest.1

Soon after local government reform in New Zealand created my current employer, two blogs were created with the aim of spending a year touring and reporting on each branch within the system. As one of the staff members running a legacy online profile I was privy to some of the discussions, and suffice to say we were collectively excited but not entirely sure how, if at all, to respond.

Perceptions are what its all about, particularly in the online world. Don’t acknowledge people this enthusiastic, and one risks the appearance of being aloof. What about the other path. Can one become overly involved?

I think so. Let’s get a definition from another source. The now defunct webcomic Genrezvous Point had a set of characters who were the “seven plagues of cinema”. Plague five was fandom:

arguably the most repulsive of the plagues, a swarm of leeches that attempts to latch on and seize control of their target, refusing to accept any deviation from their will and loudly decrying any attempt at disputing their collective ‘wisdom’ and influence on their target.2

As a member of a number of fandoms, I can affirm that the above holds at least a grain of truth. I’ve regularly watched fellow mulitplayer gamers rail vituperously at the creators of a game world inside that world.¬†Any amount and kind of protest, other than simply finding other pursuits, can be deemed appropriate by a dissatisfied fan simply because they will feel that they are pursuing a significant cause.

There’s also seems to be a relationship between this phenomenon and media interest. A number of stories have been published in our city’s paper of record about our service. The stories themselves are almost meaningless to those of us who have been in the profession for a significant time:

If they’re not about anything new (and therefore are not news in the truest sense), what holds these stories together? I believe they’re talking to the fandom in the sense that ¬†they are aimed at a growing common interest in the organisation, and in that they suggest a canonical set of beliefs around what kinds of places libraries should be.

If all our organisations and services have fans, what does that imply? I’m going for an “I don’t know” on this one. We should definitely welcome the opportunity to hear what people think about us when they’ve got the comfort that relative anonymity can bring, but we’ve got to be mindful that our fandom and our users are two blended but distinct groups. To live by the word of the former is to risk doing disservice to the latter.

1 http://expressions.populli.net/dictionary.html

2 http://www.statemaster.com/encyclopedia/Instant-Classic#The_Seven_Plagues_of_Cinema

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I’m going to cheat a bit today and take a bit from a paper I’m trying to write.

As part of the elearning strategy here at MPOW, we have been encouraged to form communities of practice to facilitate the implementation of the strategy.

Definition: Communities of practice are groups of people who share a concern or a passion for
something they do and learn how to do it better as they interact regularly.  Human learning is a social activity.

activity one

Activity at an information literacy CoP get together

Communities:

  • share knowledge and learn from and with each other
  • provide a common ground for people
  • are formed organically because people want to share
  • are self-governed
  • Learn from/with each other

At the beginning of 2010 we set up an Information Literacy Community of Practice.  Its purpose is to provide a forum and support for teachers of information literacy, both librarians and academics. Gatherings have included:

  • A ‚Äújournal club‚ÄĚ discussing articles about active learning
  • Using social media to connect with our users
  • Information literacy and Matauranga MaŐĄori
  • The best things in life are free – using free online tools in our teaching
  • A technology ‚Äúpetting zoo‚ÄĚ.
Engaging in conversations

Engaging in conversations

The community’s aims are to:

  • Create a repository of examples of information literacy-friendly assessments and teaching plans
  • Encourage a collaborative approach with lecturers to teaching the skills
  • Link in with the academic literacy and the various eLearning communities on campus
  • Upskill us all in web 2.0 technologies
  • Ensure that work done in one community will benefit the others and hopefully bring new people into the information literacy community.

The CoP has a dedicated space on the institution’s Teaching and Learning Ning where discussions can take place asynchronously and outside of face to face gatherings.

The participation in the CoP has waxed and waned depending on the topics and timing of meeting.¬† We’ve had some good attendance from outside of the library which in turn has helped us to reach out across unit barriers.¬† It has been a good experience for us on the whole.

One of our gatherings has been written up as an exemplar of the Living Curriculum (another current push at our institution.

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Library folks around the place are gearing up for another year of June blogging.¬† If you’re up for the challenge, the information is available on the LINT blog.

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Pleasant Communication


One of the good things I have found in my new position¬†is that there is an internal library blog, and that that blog is well used. It means I have another place to consider when I find something I want to blog about. I may of course simply repeat posts across venues, but then I will have to tailor each post to the audience, but that is a good thing. ūüôā

In a completely unrelated segue:  I recently discovered a new tool from Google which could end up being either a really useful tool or the bane of a website administrator’s life. It is called Google Sidewiki [http://www.google.com/sidewiki/] and it allows anyone to review a website, or simply make a comment on that website and attach that review to the website. If it can recognise you as the site owner it allows you to create a site message, which I have done.

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