Posts Tagged ‘blogjune’

BlogJune is an annual event whereby bloggers attempt to blog every day for the month of June.  If you’d like to attempt the challenge, all you need is a blog and to sign up here.  There are no requirements around blog topics, the only thing you have to do is to blog every day.

Please join us! 

I will be taking part on my personal blog, but some posts will end up on here.


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This probably isn’t worth a whole post, however perhaps this could be my one filler-post that I don’t think about a helluvalot prior to writing.

Thank you to Sean for sharing this link on Twitter. Hooo it’s a gem people!

A brilliant ‘resource’ found on the internets that helps the Mills and Boon writers come up with titles for their writers, the “Random Romance Novel Title Generator” speaks (and pays) for itself.

Click “Get me a title!” and one is delivered instantly.

I wonder what way it works for the Mills and Boon and romance publishers.  Does the title come first then the book?  I think that’d work quite well.  Quite like some story starter cards that NZ post produced last year for the Children’s book awards, print versions of these basically.

Anyway.  Behold, the Random Romance Novel Title Generator!

Screenshot of Random Romance Novel Title Generator

Other than the shoddy html look, it’s a real gem.  Just goes to show, sometimes the content is more important than the design.  Sometimes.

Some awesome one’s generated so far by the Diligent Room writing team:

The Highland Pirate’s Anarcho-Syndicalist Feminist

The Scottish Vampire’s Insatiable Nurse

The Pacific Islander Outlaw’s Besotted Fishmongeress

The Peorian Cowboy’s Feminist Dragon Lady

The Samoan Merchant’s Bodacious Secretary

As a side note, Sean and I saw that Māori were not represented in this database, (Samoan and other Pacific Islanders are). This is what he wrote to the developer, Patrick Bahls:

Hi there,

I’ve been sharing this tool with my New Zealand library colleagues, and we have a request:

Please can the ethnicity database be updated to include our indigenous people, Māori, if it does not already do so.  We would like to see titles such as “The Maori Billionaire’s Reluctant Bride” in the interests of international harmony.

Kind regards,

Sean Murgatroyd

Try it now (Random Romance Novel Title Generator) and post your favourite!


Add on 21 Jun: Sean got his answer, and Moata struck gold with the race to come across the first Maori in a romance novel title:

Māori romance title


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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.



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Anyone who knows me, knows one of my perennial soapboxes is that librarians need to stay current with changing technology trends, which probably most of the people who read or post to this blog do. However, there are a whole bunch of librarians who once employed do not receive any further technology training or professional development in an organised, methodical fashion. (You can tell I’m not  manager eh?) The people I’m especially thinking of are those who might have been in the same job for 10 or more years.

Some librarians might argue that they don’t need technology training. But just have  think about it: if you use Microsoft Office applications, they have changed quite dramatically from 2003 to 2007 versions. What about the features of some web browsers. They’re constantly coming out with new versions, and that’s just the tip of the ice berg. What about physical technology like printers, and scanners? And I’m not just talking about learning about technology in order to help our patrons, but to advance ourselves professionally.

Granted there will be different requirements for different library roles.But i do not think we can assume that people will just ‘pick it up’. There are a lot of librarians out there who struggle with (relatively) simple things like commenting on blog posts. I’m not saying we should judge these librarians at all, but help them.

To this end, I’ve been reading a book called, “Technology Training in Libraries”, by Sarah Houghton-Jan (2010). New York: Neal-Schuman.

It is a very good book, clear and straightforward, talking about how to devise and plan technology training for library staff.

She lists essential technology skills, from basic office equipment to standard computer applications, then moves on to Web 2.0 stuff, then areas of future growth, one of which I’d never heard of, ‘surface computing‘.

Things that struck me as i read it were:

There are tech mules: people in your workplace who shoulder the burden of being the go-to person if a problem arises usually when it is not their proper job. Technology training will help level the playing field.

Keep things task-based rather than descriptive, eg: can you archive old emails, not do you know the email system?

Technology skills also come in different levels and not everyone needs the same levels but there should be a clearly articulated minimum level of competence and understanding.

Similar to this is a technology pyramid where necessary skills are at the bottom and at the higher level, skills that are less so.

And finally terminology. We don’t necessarily need to know everything, but it helps if we can at least recognise what the terms are.

In fact, I’m thinking of writing a pop quiz, a Q and A of useful techie terminology. That would be fun and educational too! Librarians love a quiz.

Anyway, does your workplace have a clearly articulated technology training plan for library staff?


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I blame the date, work, life, in fact the universe for the fact that on Day13, when I am due to put forward another missive of editorial importance, I have nothing.

Well actually that isn’t strictly true; I do indeed have something I just haven’t started it yet. So you will have to wait for later in the week for my next badly argued post around the NZPL.

For those of you who have commented – I am holding off responding as I intend to do a roundup type post at the end and refer back to comments.

Meanwhile I think there is enough to read out there on copyright… Or is that copywrong?

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Why helloo there!

I am going to review a pretty little book I picked up the other day called, “What’s the Time, Mr Wolf?”.  Why?  Because I can!  And because I love little children’s books, they make me smile and get all excited.

Lets start with a reference.  OR ‘Lets start at the very begiiiiinniing’ <– Julie Andrews reference 😀

Ross, M. & Petrlik, A. (2010). What’s the Time, Mr Wolf?  London, UK: Ladybird.Mr Wolfie

[interactive picture book]

Interactive picture books “invite direct physical interaction with the story by allowing readers to lift, turn and manipulate components on or in the pages”  (Open Polytechnic, module 1, pp. 22). They also come under the cloud of “novelty” with some now including sound.  Interactive picture books are usually aimed at a younger-than-preschool audience, i.e. the under 2’s.

A fantastic example of an interactive picture book with lift-up flaps is a well-known title  by Eric Hill called “Where’s Spot?”  Anyone remember this?  Well you should!  If you don’t, go out and buy it and refresh your memory.  Hours of entertainment there for some.

In What’s the Time, Mr Wolf? the author brings a classic fairytale (fairytale?? – actually a schoolyard game, I had to jog my memory) to an even younger audience with the use of flaps to lift up throughout the story to give us the wolf’s answer of what time it is.

For some reason, I think this story is a little different than I remember it being.. Did it not involve some other animals/characters?  Anyhoo, this version, written by Mandy Ross, is pretty cool.  Throughout the story on the left page we have the characters asking ‘What’s the time, Mr Wolf?’ and on the right-hand page we have a flap to lift, and behold the Wolf is there saying what time it is ‘One o’clock!’

The story is also told in rhyme, an instant winner with babies.

The first page opens with,

One little wolf
made a wish one day,
“I wish I had a friend
to come and play.”

and is illustrated with one young playful looking wolf situated inside a home with a big green couch (with a touch-and-feel red and white checkered cushion) to the left of him.  He is looking toward the opposite page where there is a curtain with a picture behind it; the curtains (flaps) inviting the child to open them up.  Little wolfie on the left-hand side asks in a speech bubble,

What’s the time, Mr Wolf?

Upon opening the curtains, big wolfie stands outside the window holding a clock displaying one-o’clock.  On the right-hand curtain flap it says,


At the bottom right of this page there’s a wee circle with instructions from wolfie to “Count one”.

Throughout the story we are taken through the house, through various rooms and the story continues, literally through time 🙂

I think we all know how the story ends… don’t we?  This one’s pretty cool because the touch-and-feel aspects of the objects are kept to those in the house on the left-hand side of the page and the lift-the-flaps are kept to the right-hand-side page.  Everything in it’s place. Very orderly.  On the last page we get a whole-page-sized-flap to turn to find out that,

It’s dinner time!


If I’m going to say anything bad about this book, it’s that it has one too many stimuli to it’s storytelling repertoire, which is unnecessary to it’s intended audience.


The Open Polytechnic of New Zealand, (2011)Children and young people – developmental stages, literacy and literature.
In 72276 Literature and Information Resources for Children and Young People. Lower Hutt, New Zealand: Author.

Ross, M. & Petrlik, A. (2010). What’s the Time, Mr Wolf?  London, UK: Ladybird.

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I take some time to form opinions approaching final, so I was hesitant to comment when the Copyright (Infringing File Sharing) Act 2011  was brought in under urgency in April.

I’ve had some interesting discussions about the act since that time, and read some mighty interesting things coming from other library industry professionals and groups. Myself, I’m not so sure we can predict the possible consequences as yet, mainly because we have yet to see the organisational structures surrounding this law in place and functioning, or even a clear proposal as to what those organisational structures might be.

We see lawlessness around us constantly in society. We constantly drive up to 9kph over the speed limit, which is so enshrined that the police are obliged to announce special weekends when they’ll apply punitive measures if we’re more than 5kph over. Very much any law that is on the books is only as good as the systems of enforcement that support it.

Is there a moral issue here? Should I mention the now-hackneyed Melissa Lee story? I found Ms. Lee, a list member (who by the way must have photoshopped her twitter background picture – she normally looks like a human being), to be repugnantly ignorant when she described a motorway extension as a way of channelling social undesirables through Mount Albert, so I don’t feel a need to hold her up as a special example of the ability of “citizens of good standing” to construct ways in which lawbreaking doesn’t count when they do it.

Frankly, it doesn’t matter to me. Breaches are happening all the time. I think we can agree to that even if I’m reluctant to identify a specific breach happening in a specific location, let alone any one library in New Zealand.

Sections 122J-O and 122T are where the meat is for me, in that they describe (a) what happens in a Tribunal situation, and (b) what the obligations of the IPAP (definitions) are.

From my non-lawyerly reading Section 122N, which deals with what pass for “evidence” here, allows the rights owners to make assertions of infringement. These assertions are presumed to “constitute an infringement”.

This is where I flounder. Isn’t the standard to ask the plaintiff and/or prosecutor to provide some evidence?

The “infringing party” is then required to submit evidence that they were not involved in said acts, when the they, like The Honorable Ms. Lee, may not have even known an “infringing act” was occuring.

The good news for them? IPAPs are required in section 122T to keep information on IPs assigned to rights holders for 40 days.

The bad news for us? That means we’re going to do the work to have these processes documented and potentially alter our digital environments so that’s possible in the first place.

Section 122U, “Fees Payable by Rights Owners to IPAPs”  is just plain weird to me:

(1) An IPAP may charge a rights owner for performing the functions required of IPAP under sections 122A to 122T

Sooo… we can just send a bill to AOL/Time Warner?

Here’s what I really think we should do: Let’s see what happens with this patchwork law, but more importantly strive to position ourselves at the forefront of friendly sharing. Isn’t that what we are all about?

Besides which, there are other models besides copyright we could be telling our users about.

In my latest solo musical project, I am sharing everything I do with a Creative Commons Attribution-Sharealike 3.0 Unported licence. I enjoy content I own, have hired, or that has been released for free. I pay for some of that free content simply because I choose to support those creators.

I don’t think I’m unique in this, but I do think I’m living out some of the ethic I see in our profession in doing so. I think we can collectively live out that ethic by teaching and encouraging our users in recognising themselves as legal, celebratory sharers who have a relationship with libraries, because libraries can connect them with a lifetime of top-quality content.

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