Feeds:
Posts
Comments

 Sci-Fi and Squeam is an Australian podcast that “brings the Queer geek listener and friends all the things happening in the geeksverse, from topics in Horror and Sci-Fi, comics and video games and fan culture, to interviews and reviews“.  A couple of weeks ago they included an interview with Dr Matt Finch about his work with libraries around immersive play.

Matt is one of the keynote speakers at VALA14 this week. Here are some of my favourite quotes from the interview…

The idea is to do something beyond interaction with the screen, where you’re actually physically in this location, and you get to determine the outcome of the story in the way that the writer or the designer maybe didn’t predict. Taking down the boundary between the audience and the storyteller and making them work together to find a satisfying conclusion.

…Every neighbourhood has this magic building and its sole job is to give you access to all human knowledge and culture – it doesn’t matter if you’re rich or you’re poor or you’re young or you’re old or where you’re from, that’s what it’s there for. For you to step into whatever world the human race has thought of or described or dreamt of.

…actually the point is that you have these publically funded people who are guides to everything the human race has ever thought of or dreamt up.

Listen to Dr Matt’s dulcet tones (interview starts around 26:50] or read the transcript after the jump.

Continue Reading »


So my activity in this space has not proven to be very diligent in recent times. In 2014 I intend to change this.

One of the things I am looking to do is to prepare to apply for admission into a Master of Arts with Thesis. As part of this process I need to to do some reading and research. My intention is to reflect on that reading and research here as I go. This will act as a form of note taking but also might allow you gentle readers to give me pointers if you see something that might be of interest.

So the general form of the project at hand.

In my day job I am currently writing a Digital Preservation document and at the same time dealing with a platform (the NZETC a legacy Digital Humanities resource from before Digital Humanities was trendy) which is coming to the end of it’s viable life in it’s current form. By the end of the year the intention is to have transformed the NZETC into a newer and more robust platform.

This has raised my interest in the planning around resources like the NZETC. My rough idea for the MA is to do research into what planning has gone into the end life and life cycle of Digital Humanities projects/resources/platforms. My initial idea is that I will need to identify a number of such projects, contact the administrators and survey them around their plans.

I need to read even more around digital preservation, life cycle management, web site management, digital humanities research.

As the year goes and the research firms up in form I will post updates and also what I have been reading.


This was originally published in a slightly different format on my personal blog.

There’s been another development  in the discussion about socially conscious library futures.

It started with Matt’s discussion post about e-books in libraries with Connor Tomas O’Brien. Connor’s comments in A very quiet battle: librarians, publishers, and the Pirate BayThe public library, in other words, is nowhere near obsolete. In some cases, it’s more important than ever” prompted Matt to ask him “What do you think a public library should be doing in 2013?” Connor offers the Wheeler Centre in Melbourne as an example. It looks like an amazing space with lots of exciting events. Great for people who live in the city. Which was the theme of Matt’s next comments about rural libraries and the concerns he has around equity of service for people who choose to live there.

I storifyed the resulting Twitter discussion. I left out a few tweets that were related to the original question about ebooks as they broke the flow of the main discussion. I refrained from adding too much editorial comment as I believed that the tweets would speak for themselves.  Matt thought up a way that author visits could expand into Melbourne suburbs while still delivering foot traffic into the Centre.

Connor has responded.

His response made me furious. It’s the same attitude that I saw in the ALIA Futures discussion paper (1 May 2013) – omission of any comments regarding their indigenous population; convergence to large urban centres – plus it’s got some weird arguments in it.  (Read Smarter than you think by Clive Thompson and in the first 50 pages it tells us that more people are writing than ever before. We’re blogging, tweeting, writing fan fiction, writing emails, commenting on Facebook status updates, RANTING  etc etc.  Not “When you’re writing in a regional area, that culture can be lacking, making it infinitely more likely that prospective writers will never open their word processor in the first place.“)  It seems to me that Connor’s piece is written with a narrow definition of who is a ‘writer’. It makes me think that he works towards the funders, not towards the community. The ALIA document at least had an excuse – their paper was “intended to engage, excite, and provoke.” I have no idea what Connor is trying to build – except maybe arguments to keep the status quo.

And all this on a day when I was pointed toward Sometimes The ‘Tough Teen’ Is Quietly Writing Stories by Matt de la Peña which has one of the best arguments for taking authors and events to under-served areas whether it be schools, suburbs, or regions. This is who I want to be working for, and with for my library future.


Dr Matt Finch tweeted a link to his interview with Connor Tomas O’Brien and Chris Cormack, Popcorn? Connor Tomas O’Brien and Chris Cormack on the battle for libraries’ future He originally promoted it as a discussion about e-books in libraries. Since I was intrigued by Eli Neiburger’s statement at #LIANZA13 – “ebooks are bullshit! This is the truth. They are a transitory format, they will only be here for a little while.”  I was pretty interested to read the interview. (Eli made this statement in the context of advances in technology that disrupt what libraries think of as part of their traditional business. He suggested a way for libraries to think about their future was “Don’t transition…diversify.”) Then it moved into the question of “What do you think a public library should be doing in 2013?” Suddenly I’m watching Matt write eloquently about the plight of rural communities, and the concerns he has around equity of service for people who choose to live there. (There’s been a further discussion on Twitter and if anyone Storifys it, I’ll link it.)

In the #LIANZA13 Library future workshop (based on the #ALIAFutures workshops) we discussed the likelihood of people moving to urban centres. In New Zealand that may translate to suburban sprawl instead. (Imagine that – one big city from Whangarei to Hamilton!) We floated the idea that librarians may not work in a library but may rove the country running programmes that engage communities in their local-ness – what makes them unique? What is their heritage? etc.) Matt’s concerns for rural Australia are also applicable to rural New Zealand – what are we going to do about that NZ librarians/libraries?

Matt has also been asking questions about 3-D printers in libraries. “My 3D printer worry is simply this: libraries are spending a lot of time talking about this one gadget, which I don’t see communities crying out for.” He’s been given one answer by Baruk from Auckland Libraries. Baruk has been working on the Auckland Libraries Maker Space over the last few months. His final line “Thinking of 3D printers just as ‘tech’ is like thinking of a wheel as ‘a round thing’” really matches with what Nat Torkington was talking about in his #LIANZA13 keynote ‘When you see people who are doing things with tech, or their services “you don’t become like them by buying the artifacts. [there is] an ocean of possible artifacts and toys.“ What we don’t see is the pedagogy behind it which is how to understand how and why it’s being used.(My emphasis.) It’s not the tech that’s important, it’s what your library believes its role is in providing that tech to its community.

I guess it’s also a good reminder to be aware of what the stories are that are being told about your library. Bill McNaught, National Librarian of the National Library, in his #LIANZA13 keynote said that he was was concerned about ‘The news stories that go out about lending new artifacts tell the wrong story. Anything that undermines the fact that we are in the knowledge business is really unhelpful.’

So, to that end, THIS is what Auckland is getting from a 3-D printer as part of a MakerSpace in its largest library. (Some of @feddabonn’s tweets from launch weekend)

And finally this one to sum up.


Together, Sally Pewhairangi and Megan Ingle are Heroes Mingle! If that looks a little superhero-ish, well, that’s because I think they are. They are doing some excellent work collaborating with each other to facilitate their own professional development.

“Heroes Mingle is our collaborative name. It tells a story about two librarians who do more than dream big. Two librarians who want more from the profession than just turning up to work to do a good job. Two librarians who, just like many other heroic characters aren’t going to wait for someone else to solve our problems; who have the guts to say yes, take a leap of faith; and make something happen.”

Recently they gave a presentation ‘Creating the professional development opportunities you want’ at the Worldwide Virtual Library Conference 2.013. They’re also writing about it. Part one is by Sally, Part two is by Megan.

I watched them do this work from the sides (on Twitter) and was impressed at the momentum they created (facilitated?) in the people who were participating. It’s heartening to remember that there are people doing good work for the future of librarians in New Zealand.

Ngā mihi nui ki a kōrua.


This is my reflection on Day 4 of LIANZA 13. It includes some of the specifics of the day and was originally published on my personal blog.

The last day of a conference is always interesting – how may people have gone home? How many people are still to wake up after the conference dinner fun the night before? How many people are here and mainlining coffee?

The first keynote was Professor Linda Tuhiwai Smith from Waikato University. There was so much in her presentation that resonated with what I’m interested in.

  • Maori staff (often) come into organisations with their iwi and hapu identities.  For those staff, it’s a responsibility to serve the bigger community – to serve the language, serve the culture. Therefore they are often looked to as exponents of the Maori language and tikanga. This can be part of a hidden workload – service to the organisation in powhiri, karakia, waiata, poroporoake, tangihanga etc.
  • Many of our institutions try to absorb Maori into existing structures. The challenge for institutions is to engage with difference on the inside (of people), to recognise and reward (not punish) for the hidden workload.
  • For institutions that want to build Maori capacity – build a long term agenda and commitment to build transformation within. Requires leadership. There is implicit knowledge that’s at work in those environments so share the values of the organisation and the people in it. Build structures for discussion – talk about the issue, then address it if reasonable. Institutional culture change can occur within a very small unit of staff. Institutions must see this as a learning journey. Figure it out together. Needs leadership which doesn’t go into panic mode when there’s a minor crisis.
  • Don’t put the pressure on one Maori to carry the whole Maori world and the Pakeha world at the same time. Individuals are individuals.
  • The more that Maori shape our future, the more we can determine it. Our aspirations are to engage in positive ways.

This is one of her aims for her life.

  • Live a life that builds something so that other people don’t have to fight society – try and make society better.

I like it. I think Libraries can be great contributors to that idea.

Professor Smith also showed me some of the things to do/watch out for as I go into discussions with LIANZA and Te Ropu Whakahau about focusing the kaupapa of LIANZA so we can be in the future with a uniquely NZ point of view. I appreciate (and am pleased by) the attitudes of people who I have already talked to, and their willingness to engage with the question.

Also speaking on Day 4 was Nat Torkington. He’s one of my favourite speakers – always entertaining, very smart and sharp on learning and information ideas. (Plus he’s not afraid to be a bit sweary.)

  • When you see people who are doing things with tech, or their services “you don’t become like them by buying the artifacts. [there is] an ocean of possible artifacts and toys.“ What we don’t see is the pedagogy behind it which is how to understand how and why it’s being used. Laptops aren’t the answer. “The transformative power if that stuff is sweet fuck all, unless you change the thinking and attitudes of the teachers and students. Otherwise you only have a classroom with Macs in it.
  • To see something that you don’t understand and see it as a threat, that’s deadly.
  • Teaching as inquiry – Hypothesis > Evidence> Research > Action > Evidence > Reflection > Hypothesis (repeat). This is a good model for a way to embrace learning for (and about) the future. (One school used an open Google doc for staff which included – this is the thing I’m doing, this is what I’ve learned. Public sharing of the individual learning which validates learning and experimentation. Staff only had to pick one thing to work on at a time.)
  • Don’t make the mistake of doing the futuring TO something, do it WITH someone.

I haven’t been to a full LIANZA conference for a few years (small library, small staff) and this conference has convinced me more than ever of the importance of attending the full event. There are themes outside of the official conference theme which rise during the four days. There are so many people to continue building relationships with that it can’t all be done in a day or two days.

I’m finishing this reflection with something that Nat said. On the day I was so entertained by his presentation that I missed the care for learning, libraries, and librarians that permeated his words. I think this is simultaneously a challenge, and a hope for the future.

You can make your own damn future.

Open document with the notes from LIANZA13 Day 4. Please add your own notes!


This is my reflection on Day 3 of LIANZA 13. It includes some of the specifics of the day and was originally published in two slightly different formats on my personal blog.

Phew! What a day. I’ve made these notes in the 20 minutes before the Conference Dinner.

  • Presenters are really building on each other’s words, deliberately picking up the themes (which I’ve already written about) and reinforcing them with their own take on it. Weaving together the things they’ve heard (especially the keynotes), making new meaning from it. The human/people element really came to the fore today. Generosity, reciprocity, be nice to each other.
  • Lots of change management projects taking the same process of dialogue and discussion with the teams to discover many of the same things. Still vital as it’s the people in the organisation who are in the change – helps to feel empowered to make the changes.
  • “Don’t give up. Don’t ever give up. There’s a reason the change is happening.” Good final presentation words from Will & Christine from VicUni.
  • Take control of your own learning. Embrace your failures – may not have worked for you but it might work for me!
  • Expanding on the idea of LIANZA approaching the future from a uniquely NZ context – using Te Ao Maori as a basis for tikanga, kaupapa, and kawa for the association. Had a quick chat with someone who might be able to help – great opportunity for Te Ropu Whakahau and LIANZA to collaborate. I also have an idea about how to bring a Maori worldview into your organisation by approaching other people in the organisation who are curious about Maori concepts – don’t worry if you can’t reach your managers. Build a movement around yourself and the people who are interested as a start.
  • Really noticed the manaakitanga of the Claudelands events team. Quick change of the rooms – efficient, sound like they’re having a laugh while they’re doing it. Invisible and efficient wait staff, visible reception team. Thanks crews!

Open document with the notes from LIANZA13 Day 3. Please add your own notes!