Saturday, 30 August 2008

Social Media Statistics

While more and more Galleries, Libraries, Archives, and Museums (GLAM - you have to love that acronym) are using social media, it is apparently still difficult for many organisations to justify the time and effort spent on social media strategies to their funding bodies. It is therefore interesting to see a post late last week on titled How to Find Statistics on Social Media. This article refers to a popular Universal McCann’s Social Media Research Wave 3 research report, which "looked at 17,000 Internet users in 29 countries. According to this study, social media can have a dramatic impact on your brand’s reputation. '34% post opinions about products and brands on their blog and 36% think more positively about companies that have blogs.'" There are some interesting pickings in this report for the above mentioned GLAM organisations.

Also of interest in this article, was the global figures outlining the take up of social media. See following for details. What is interesting in these figures is that the take up seems to be occurring much faster outside of North America.

Even more interesting, and potentially very useful, is the Rapleaf study into Gender and Age Data of Social Network Users. By matching your client demographics against the social media use outlined in this Rapleaf study, you should be able to identify which social media platform best meets your needs. You may also be able to use this study to help support a case to funding bodies exaplaining why it is important to get involved with social media communication channels. If your key demographics are getting connected do you want to be left behind?

Thursday, 28 August 2008

Web 2.0's Most Ridiculous Sites

Hilarious! If you have not already seen the posting on MSN tech & gadgets titled "Web 2.0's Most Ridiculous Sites" then you have to check it out. There are enough gems in this motherload of treasures to keep Bibliothekia blogging for some time. For every good idea there are...., well, you check this list and make up your own mind. Enjoy.

Wednesday, 27 August 2008

Ohh those Turks (and Greeks)

If the last week on Bibliothekia has been about Google, the last month's bedside reading has been about Turkey. Hence the change of pace with this post. But back to Turkey, and in particular Brendan Shanahan's very funny, sometimes sad, often poignant, and always insightful rollicking ride through Istanbul and Turkey titled In Turkey I am beautiful. If you have not already heard it, track down Eartha Kitt singing "Uska Dara – a Turkish Tale" it fits alongside Brendan's book perfectly.

Brendan Shanahan is a promising young Australian author who has written a book titled "The secret history of the Gold Coast" (mental note: must read this) and a biography on Rose Porteous. Apparently, the Rose Porteous biography sailed too close to the wind so it was unfortunately pulped. This may be a loss to Australia's literary heritage.

It is funny how reading pans out. I stumbled across "In Turkey I am beautiful" in a book store, and it has distracted me from Judith Herrin's excellent, informative, and insightful Byzantium: The Surprising Life of a Medieval Empire. We often think of Byzantium as... well, Byzantium. For those of you who work in large, slow moving, process driven bureaucracies you will know what I mean. Yet, to survive for over a 1,000 years Byzantium must have had some energy and resourcefulness. Judith Herrin brings this to life, and makes it enjoyable by avoiding a strict linear narrative and focusing more on themes.

In this case moving away from the linear narrative was probably a very good idea. If you have ever ploughed through John Julius Norwich's great, wonderful, and magisterial work on Byzantium, you will know how confusing it can get. You often end up with a series of Greek Emperors (often with very similar names) all behaving badly in much the same way as to be indistinguishable from each other. For example, a common way of getting rid of an Emperor who stood between you and the throne was to cut off his nose (its hard to get your face on the coinage if you don't have a profile because your nose has been cut off) and gouge out his eyes (its hard to sign the official paper work if you can't see it). Lovely! And while we are on the topic of linear narratives, it is interesting to see that the succeeding Ottoman Emperor's kept up some of the good and bad habits of the preceding Greek Empire.

Monday, 25 August 2008

Reality Bytes vloggers

For a fascinating insight into the world of vloggers and how one Australian used YouTube video blogs to raise global awareness of his incarceration by US immigration, check out the ABC's Australian Story Reality Bytes. Following is the ABC summary.

Daniel Meadows lives his life on the internet. Through his video diaries on YouTube, the shy young recluse has found friendship and fame. When love beckoned in the real world, Daniel Meadows left the security of his parent's home to follow his heart across the globe. But his American dream became a border security nightmare, sparking a frenzy of outraged vlogging and blogging around the world.

And if you want an American perspective check out Australian at the Gates.

Google as an advertising aggregator / Seven Driving Forces Shaping Media

To finish off the Google posts of the last week lets finish with Ross Dawson. Ross has many, many great, interesting, and sometimes controversial things to say but suggesting "Google is an advertising aggregator" is not one of them. To quote Ross "It's important to understand that Google is not just a search engine, and that it is in fact, more than anything else, an aggregator of advertising. What it does is it goes to advertisers and says, 'We can present information about you, not just on our own search engine, but also on many, many other websites'. Google's adsense program is that advertisers can access many small websites as well as the front page of Google. So through that, Google has become the major centre for advertising on the internet, and using search as a mechanism to build that advertising. And you thought it was about searching.

Staying with Ross, his Seven Driving Forces Shaping Media framework has interesting things to say about the direction of the web and its impact on the media. There are lessons here for libraries. After all, more and more of our services are delivered online, so it is a landscape we need to understand if we are to prosper. Ignore them and we libraries may indeed disappear by 2019.

The Seven Driving Forces are:

1. Increasing media consumption
Implications: Average total media consumption will exceed waking hours. Most media will be consumed with partial attention. Advertising impact will decrease.
2. Fragmentation
Implications: Current mass media markets are ephemeral. Revenues per channel will decrease. In all except a handful of cases, production costs will need to scaled down.
3. Participation
Implications: An infinite supply of content. Increased fragmentation of attention. Pro-Am (professional-amateur) content models will emerge.
4. Personalisation
Implications: Users’ expectations for control over their media will increase. Abuse of personalised advertising will create a backlash. Some will opt-out, and others will opt-in if sufficient value is created.
5. New revenue models
Implications: Advertising aggregation will be central to the media landscape. Media companies will segment and unbundle ad sales and content creation.
6. Generational change
Implications: Media channels will be increasingly age-segmented. Advertisers will accelerate their shift to new media outlets. Sharemarket valuations will reflect age profiles of audiences.
7. Increasing bandwidth
Implications: Video on demand anywhere, anytime. Personal clouds will allow music and video collections to be accessed anywhere without local storage. The rationale for allocated media spectrum and infrastructure will fade.

Saturday, 23 August 2008

Angelina Jolie and the Oral History of the Internet

What!... I hear you say, Angelina Jolie and the Oral History of the Internet?!? What has Angela Jolie got to do with the Web other than the amount of Internet traffic she generates? Well, US magazines are expensive in Australia so Bibliothekia waits for the surface mail edition of Vanity Fair rather than pay the ridicules amount of money you have to fork out for the air freight edition. This means I have only now had a chance to read the excellent article in the July 2008 edition of Vanity Fair (the one with Ms Jolie on the cover) about the history of the Internet. In this very engaging, and very readable article it seems like everyone is interviewed. For example:

Paul Baran: instrumental in conceiving pack switching,
Leonard Klienrock: first director of ARPA's computer science division,
Bob Kahn & Vint Cleft: who helped devise TCP IP network protocols,
Robert Metcalfe: instrumental in developing Ethernet,
Jeff Bezos: who brought us,
Robert Cailliau: who with Tim Berners-Lee was instrumental in developing hypertext structures,
Lou Montulli: creator of the early Internet browser Lynx,
Thomas Reardon: Microsoft programme Manager for Internet Explorer,

The section on the browser war between Microsoft and Netspace is facinating

Chris DeWolfe & Tom Anderson: founders of MySpace,
Craig Newmark: creator of Craigslist,
Larry Page: who with Sergey Brin created of Google,
Jimmy Wales: from Wikipedia, and
Mark Zuckerberg: from Facebook,

... to name but a few. The section dealing with the impact of September 11 on the internet is also of interest. With writers such as Christopher Hitchens, Dominick Dunne, and James Wolcott to name but a few, Vanity Fair is one of the magazines that reminds us how smart, intelligent, and engaging America can be once you get beyond the Hollywood and Washington DC stereotypes. And if you really want to scare yourself witless read Janine Di Giovanni's excellent but disturbing article on the the resurgent Taliban in Pakistan. The photos in this article, like the child amputee who was a victim of a suicide bomber (see following), are heart wrenching.

A young boy, wounded in a suicide attack near the border of the Tribal Areas, lies in a Peshawar hospital, recovering from the amputation of his left arm.

Thursday, 21 August 2008

Is the Internet making us Stupid?

At the beginning of the week, I said the word of the week was Mobilisation, but it looks like 'Google' is turning out to be the word of the week. In my previous post, I talked about Melbourne becoming the second UNESCO City of Literature, and the potential for the State Library's Centre of the Book, Writing, and Ideas to consider the changes brought on by the take up of eBooks and electronic text. Thinking about this further, I am reminded of the article by Nicholas Carr in the July/August 2008 edition of the Atlantic Magazine titled "Is Google Making us Stupid". In this article, Nicholas focuses on Google, but he is really talking about the Internet in general. In relying less and less on linear narratives, and more and more on bits of linked information, Nicholas wonders if the way he concentrates and thinks is also changing. I quote: "Immersing myself in a book or lengthy article used to be easy. My mind would get caught up in the narrative.... That's rarely the case any more. Now my concentration often starts to drift...I get fidgety, lose the thread". He goes on to say: My mind now expects to take information the way the Net distributes it: in a swiftly moving stream of particles. Nicholas is not alone. He documents the changes in reading and thinking, he considers the impact on intellectual discourse, and as a result, our brains. If the Internet is changing brains, will it affect our ideas? Some would say it already has. Is this a good thing, a bad thing, or it just is? It looks like the new Victorian Centre of the Book, Writing and Ideas has a lot to ponder. Will they ponder the past, present, and future as a linear narrative, or as a series of inter-connected ideas? Now there's something to think about.

Centre for Books, Writing and Ideas

Like many people in town, Bibliothekia is very pleased Melbourne has been named the second City of Literature as part of UNESCO’s Creative Cities Network. As a result, it is exciting that the State Library of Victoria is going to establish a new Centre for Books, Writing and Ideas. Hopefully it won't be long before there is more about this centre on the State Library's web site. In the meantime, there is a good article in The Age newspaper, and a press release from the State Library.

Bibliothekia also hopes this new Centre for Books, Writing and Ideas will have time to do some serious thinking about the emergence of eBooks and what this means for literature as well as literacy. Maybe the Victorian Centre should consider doing some collaborative work with the UK / USA based Institute for the Future of the Book. This Institute is a "small think-and-do tank [funded by the MacArthur Foundation] investigating the evolution of intellectual discourse as it shifts from printed pages to networked screens".

For example, one of the things the Institute for the Future of the Book looks at is visualisations. Here the Institute considers the question "of what digital technology can bring to the presentation of text. Are there new ways of perceiving text, or re-imagining text, that can only happen in the networks? Could visualization change not only how we 'read' but how we write?". Here visualisations comes under the broader interest of Gamer Theory. Bibliothekia was particularly taken by the textarc. Here you will find (and I quote) a visual representation of a text—the entire text (twice!) on a single page. A combination of an index, concordance, and summary; it uses the viewer’s eye to help uncover meaning. Presented here are the full interactive Java application and a PDF download of a “raw draft” of the Gamer Theory TextArc. In the PDF, the strand clusters beneath words point to points in the arc where those words occur. In the Web version, simply clicking a word reveals its distribution along the arc.

It is fascinating and kind of beautiful, as well challenging and unsettling, to see linear text reconfigured in this way. Go to textarc and check it out for yourself.

Wednesday, 20 August 2008

Who owns What

Continuing on from my previous blog post, I got thinking about who owns who in the wild lands of Web 2.0 / Social Media. Does Google own everything? Well not quite, but the people at Google have been busy little beavers buying up whole swags of other players. The more notable acquisitions have of course included Google's purchase of YouTube in 2006 and Feedburner in 2007. This year, Google's purchase of the Russian context advertising service Begun for USD $140 million appears to have attracted the most amount of interest and comment.

In doing some research into this post, I came across Amy L. Webb's Following is a copy of the annual table Amy puts out which tracks the purchases of the major players. myDigiMedia also offers a widget and an RSS feed on new media acquisitions.

Google takes over the world

Have you ever stopped to consider how many blogs Google has running at any given moment? No. Well have a look at the number of Google blogs listed on down the lower right hand side of the Official Google Australia Blog, or down the lower left hand side of Googles controversial and much neglected Librarian Central blog. With blogs such as:

Google Testing Blog,
Google Research Blog,
Google Public Policy Blog,
Google Online Security Blog,
Google Mashup Editor Blog
Google Web Toolkit Blog, and of course the
The Official Google Blog, name but a few. You really get the impression that Google is taking over the Web-a-sphere. Why there is even the Official Google Channel on YouTube. I almost feel sorry for Microsoft.

Is this a good thing? Maybe, maybe not, but Bibliothekia is always wary of monopolise. While we may cry out that Google has treated libraries poorly (See How Google Used Librarians…and Got Away With It), we have also benefited from all the services we get from Google (See Bibliothekia's post Is Google using libraries and does it matter).

One very interesting commentator on the "Googlization of Everything" is Siva Vaidhyanathan. Check out his aptly named blog The Googlization of Everything: How one company is disrupting culture, commerce, and community...and why we should worry. Siva has written some very good and interesting books: Copyrights and Copywrongs: The Rise of Intellectual Property and How it Threatens Creativity (New York University Press, 2001) and The Anarchist in the Library: How the Clash between Freedom and Control is Hacking the Real World and Crashing the System (Basic Books, 2004). Siva is a voice all librarians should listen to even, if you don't always agree with what he says.

Monday, 18 August 2008

Bloggers rejoice:

Bloggers rejoice! If you have not already come across check them out. The tag line is take your blog to the next level and they ain't wrong. Now that everyone is blogging don't you want your library, corporate, or community blog to stand out from the crowd? Of course you do. With Forums, Themes a.k.a skins or templates - Bibliothekia knows at least one Melbourne Public Librarian who may be interested in the 'Gourmet Menu Blogger Theme' and a few more who might go for the (and I quote) 'Girly Web 2.0 Blogger' Theme; a Newsletter; and some very good Blogging Resources, why there is enough to keep you informed, inspired, and entertained for some time. So what are you waiting for? Get cracking and make your blog the envy of the world - or at the very least your immediate neighbourhood.

As aside, Bibliothekia was mildly surprised, and a little bit disturbed, that one of the ads on was for ghost bloggers. Who would believe - pay USD $99 a month and they guarantee three unique posts a month, or for USD $199 a month you get a new blog posting each day. Excuse me!... "Only in America!" (said in the voice of Al Pacino playing Roy Cohn in Angels in America). Rest assured, there are no ghost bloggers on Bibliothekia.

Sunday, 17 August 2008

Web trends for 2008 and beyond

You have to hand it to the guys at ReadWriteWeb, they always seem to have something very interesting and insightful to say. So when I stumbled across a Powerpoint presentation from Richard MacManus (Editor of ReadWriteWeb) on Slideshare titled What's Next On the Web, I sat up and took notice. I am not sure why I missed this in May but it is still relevant today. If you have not already seen this presentation check out:

Richard takes looks forward and considers a more intelligent, semantic, tagged, portable, social, and open Web, with more apps and even richer forms of data. For a librarian this should be akin to being a kid in a toy store. Think of the possibilities and opportunities! Mind you, I am sure there are also a few more risks. Maybe this could be another discussion topic on

Saturday, 16 August 2008


In the world of the library in the palm of your hand, where will we buy our eBooks so we can read them on our phones? Well, probably not with eBookee. In looking at this site I can't work out what it actually offers that you can't get from Amazon. In fact, if you want to buy a book on eBookee, it takes you to Amazon. If this was Eurovision it would be "zéro pointes" for eBookee.

Mobilise your blog

And the word of the week is.....Mobilisation, or if you are in America, Mobilization.

As you can see from the image on the left, Bibliothekia has just mobilised this blog using Mofuse. Now, on their web site, Mofuse says it takes about 5 seconds to mobilise your blog. Well, they're not kidding! Setting up was ridiculously easy. There is alas one fly in the ointment, but more of that latter.

There is a lot that is impressive about Mofuse. For example, during the 5 seconds it took to set up, I thought: "mmm, I get Google Analytics stats for Bibliothekia, how am I going to get statistics for the mobile phone use of this blog" when WHAMOO, guess what popped up? YES - my Mofuse dashboard comes with statistics, (see following for details). Ok, Ok there is nothing there yet, but give me a chance I only just set this up. It is good to see the stats come with a break down on pageview, unique visitors, mobile pageviews, and unique mobile.

The Mofuse dashboard also offers the ability to customise my MoFuse domain, edit the colours, offer a Mofuse badge, QR Code, SMS widget,... why the lists goes on. Can you tell I am seriously impressed! With ebook reader apps for iphones, and services such as Mofuse, libraries have some very interesting and exciting ways to connect with clients. Think about it, a world of libraries in the palm of your hand.

Now as I mentioned above, there is one little fly in the ointment. It looks as though MoFuse only works for US mobile phone numbers. Don't get me started about the state of telecommunications in Australia, but services such as Mofuse show what is possible in other parts of the world TODAY. However, you can still get Bibliothekia on your Australian mobile phone if you have QR software loaded on your phone. The QR code for this blog is:

If you don't have QR software already loaded on your phone you can pick it up from

Meanwhile back in Australia, the Powerhouse Museum in Sydney, has started playing around with QR codes in their campaign for Sydney Design 08.

Friday, 15 August 2008

Lexis Nexis goes to school

Ok, so I used a cute title to grab your attention. Far from going to school, LexisNexis could probably buy every school (well at least the ones Thomson has not already bought). Anyway, in the USA LexisNexis is apparently moving into the school and public library market with a product called Library Express. What do they know that we don't? Do they think there is lots of money slushing around in public libraries and schools? In a previous life Bibliothekia was a vendor who, in the mid 1990s, introduced full text databases into the Australian and New Zealand school and public library market. Let me confirm: public libraries and schools are not awash with money and they need to make every cent count. It will be interesting to see how this new entrant will fare, and what impact this will have on the vendors already in this space. See the news story in the Library Journal for details.

This Library Journal article also mentions the LexisNexis Statistical DataSets product and I quote: Statistical DataSets makes “1.5 billion data points accessible with a single interface.” The product is aimed at undergraduates and business schools. It enables the easy manipulation of combined data sets with both numerical as well as visual access methods, giving interactive access to data trends down to the county or block level with supported data in “population, crime, employment, construction, voting patterns, cancer incidence, and other statistics. Watch this space.

A business view of Web 2 / social networking

Bibliothekia is of course focused on, and interested in, how technology impacts on 21st century libraries; but it is always interesting to see how business sees Web 2.0 / social networking. After all, it is the business side of the internet, and the monetization of the internet, which drives a lot (but not all) of the technology and the applications libraries end up using. This is not to suggest that libraries don't do development. One of the exciting things about the whole open source movement is that libraries may be able to do much more development.

Anyway, thinking about how business sees Web 2.0, I was interested in the following image. This appeared on a Web 2.0 boot camp (sounds scary) web site for executives in the USA. The focus is of course building market share and profitability (two very different things). Here is a quote from the site: Use Web 2.0 techniques to surpass your competitors in establishing market leadership will be essential for success while reaching out to the 1.1 billion potential customers online. I have my own views on the sense of implying that a billion people is one homogeneous audience, see my previous post (Web 2.0 makeover for library portals), but that's another story. Mind you, the following image does acknowledge the long tail. What is particularly strange about this image (impressive though it is) is the fact that users are not in the Internet cloud. Am I missing something here? Isn't the whole point of Web 2.0 to allow participation, sharing, and leveraging functionality from within the cloud? In this image, the Web 2.0 enterprise stands between the users and the Internet. This would make sense if the enterprise was a telco / ISP. Anyway, lets hope today's business leaders get Web 2.0 and fund developments that libraries can use.

Tuesday, 12 August 2008

A Web 2.0 Makeover for library portals

Library web sites have been around as long as... well, web browsers; and as the internet has changed so have library sites. We have moved from static pages with hours of opening and something about our services, to integrating our catalogues, to establishing portals with goodies such as federated search engines, blogs and wikis. So what will happen to the library web site as a result of the continued rise of Web 2.0 and social networking? Well, there is an interesting article on Web 2.0 Journal about Web 2.0 Makeovers for Online Stores on how the change in computer screen sizes and social networking is making online retailers rethink the way they present information and products to potential buyers.

Libraries may not 'sell' their services, but like online retailers, we are interested in our client's experience. But how do we get this right when they interact with us online? Like retailers, we are also interested in client loyalty. So what can we learn from the changes in online shopping brought on by Web 2.0 and social networking?

Ease of use remains important, but so does the need to allow clients to interact with us rather than just use us. More and more libraries recognise this by integrating blogs, wikis, through out their portals; and by linking their library to social networking sites such as MySpace and Facebook. These libraries allow clients to post reviews on books they like or dislike. Some school libraries are playing around with integrating inhouse online reader clubs into their sites. Some museums and cultural organisations are allowing people to comment on, and make recommendations about, digital image metadata. All these ideas are based on the premise of building online loyalty by:

A. Blurring the boundary between the library and the client,
B. Encouraging the client to be a participant and not just a passive user,
C. Give the client a space and opportunity to add their ‘content’,
D. Try and build an online "Community" around the library, and
E. This in turn helps build loyalty as the client becomes an active stakeholder and therefore interested in the library's future.

According to the Web 2.0 Journal article, many retailers are focusing on building micro-sites and leveraging Web 2.0 functions to go after new markets and or new demographics. This opens up some interesting options for libraries. Rather than one web site to rule them all (apologies to Tolkien) we can offer sites with a very different look and feel for specific client groups. Even better, we can look at adopting the BBC approach, and allow each client to customise their libraries portal so it focuses on the things they are interested in. See following for details.

Who knows, as we move into Web 3.0 / semantic web type features, the library portal of the future will probably even watch and learn what the client does and make individual recommendations. Amazon, and a number of library catalogue systems kind of do this already with their recommendation service “Readers who bought this book where also interested in…”. With services like InSuggest embedded in a library portal, the future may not be that far off. Libraries may even teach online retailers a thing or two.

Monday, 11 August 2008

Visualising the changing world of Web 2.0

Librarians are like the Australian native bower bird, if its colourful and sparkles they are in. In a previous life I was a library vendor, so I can confirm that that the give away pens that left the booth faster than the speed of light were the ones covered in glitter; and if they glowed in the dark even better. So, you can understand why I was captivated by Ross Dawson’s blog posting titled: Four great visual representations of the social media and Web 2.0 landscape. Here is enough colourful representation of the Web 2.0 landscape to keep most librarians happy for at least 5 minutes. :-)

But seriously, Ross Dawson has some very good things to say about how these visualisation tools can help use make sense of the fast changing Web 2.0 landscape. And if you have trouble understanding something, it is so much harder to make it work to your advantage.

So, do yourselves a favour and check out: Four great visual representations of the social media and Web 2.0 landscape.

My favourite is the following Conversation Prism (August 2008) by Brian Solis and Jesse Thomas. According to Brian Solis, its purpose is to "create a new graphic that helps chart online conversations between the people that populate communities as well as the networks that connect the Social Web. The Conversation Prism is free to use and share. It's [their] contribution to a new era of media education and literacy." How good is that!

Sunday, 10 August 2008

Cloud Trip and Cloud Computing

Many of the products and services featured in the Learning 2.0 and Learning 2.1 programmes involve cloud computing, and as libraries introduce more Web 2.0 services, they invariably depend more on cloud computing. For example, think of tag clouds that are used to support reference services. Cloud computing is a term used to express the process of using web-based applications to accomplish tasks that were traditionally done with desktop applications. So it is interesting to see the development of Cloud Trip is a free to use directory of cloud computing web sites. Sites are listed under a range of categories such as Blogging, Business, Productivity, and Social, all of which is very useful.

Speaking of cloud computing, last month Bibliothekia noted the effort Microsoft is putting into software as a service from the cloud, and the observation that Cloud Computing Could Be a $1BN Business for Dell "In a Couple of Years" so it comes as no surprise that online resources such as Cloud Computing Journal are now dedicated to the topic, or that there is a major Cloud Computing Expo in the States. Is your library getting into cloud computing?

Australian Olympic games web browsing habits

Poor Telstra, according to Hitwise, it looks like Australian's and New Zealanders are "leading the charge to the official Olympics website in the lead-in to the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games. Hitwise goes on to say that "with official broadcasters and print media partners ramping up the marketing and promotional efforts of their special Olympic microsites, the competition will be as hot as the 100m Men's final". So does this mean those Telstra ads, like the one with people watching the Olympics in a hairdressing salon via a mobile phone, was a waste of advertising spend? Who knows, but why would you pay Telstra's mobile phone web data costs to watch the Olympics on a small screen? Here's a word of advice to all those hair dressers out there. Ditch watching the Olympics on a client's phone, drag a TV into the salon for two weeks, and turn it on to Channel Seven and / or SBS. Its cheaper and the screen is bigger.

Friday, 8 August 2008

More on library blogs

Following on from my previous post, here are some of my favourite library / Web 2.0 blogs that, as it turns out, are written by women. Those with sharp eyes will also notice that many of these blogs were also featured in the 2007 list of top library blogs put out by EODb.

* Karen Schneider’s blog on librarianship, writing, and everything else, since 2003. As well as libraries, you will notice Karen loves her new hybrid car. See also Karen's recent article on open source which was published in the School Library Journal. This is a great introduction article about open source in Libraryland.

* Librarianinblack: Sarah Houghton-Jan's great blog on library technology.

* What I learned today: a great blog by Nicole Engard. I particularly like the way Karen takes the view that learning never stops.

* Helen Blower's own blog. Helen must be in line to win some sort of prize for getting librarians fired up about Web 2.0.

* and lets not forget all those women who have tirelessly contributed to great blogs such as and

Thursday, 7 August 2008

Is there enough Girrrl Power in Library IT?

A few weeks ago, Kat from Deakin University, asked me if I knew of any libraries with programmes or strategies that specifically targeted getting women with IT degrees into a career in Libraryland. I had to say I knew of no such programmes. Move forward a few weeks, and I asked some colleagues at the ALIA National Advisory Congress Regional Meeting if they knew of any such programmes - the answer was no. Then, at the first meeting of the VALA 2010 Conference Committee, we realised that we had got together a list of all these American guys as potential key note speakers. Now, there is anything wrong with American guys (some of my best friends are Americans); and all the speakers on the wish list are very good... BUT WHERE ARE THE WOMEN? I mean to say, we work in a feminised profession (and there is nothing wrong with that either) but are there enough women working in the IT / networks / systems end of Libraryland, and if not, why not?

It was therefore refreshing to catch up with Ms Vita Lingus during the Melbourne International Film Festival. For those who don't know Vita, she is (and I quote from her blog) "a well-known Goddess who lives on the only Mountain in Darebin. Her column is an inspired look at her world and her attitudes to love, spiritual matters world politics and the less examined issues of life in the 21 century." Vita is also known as Grandma Blogger (not that she is old, though she is wise), because she has been blogging since at least 2002. In the Bloggersphere, this is like saying you were blogging before the last ice age! One of Vita's interests is the role of women and technology. See the tricky way I am bringing the threads together. Well check out Vita's blog at, and the 2007 Sydney Morning Herald article Women bloggers blossom.

As an aside, one of the probably unanticipated impacts of Helen Blower's Learning 23 things programme is that it has got a lot more librarians (and therefore women) blogging and interested in Web 2.0 technology, and this has to be a good thing.

So, here's a suggestion for all the female readers of this blog. Go to the online community for women who blog at, join up, discuss, blog, whatever, but just do it! And if there are any female IT gurus from outside Libraryland who have stumbled across this post, don't forget to consider a career in libraries. There are a lot of libraries out there who have lots of technology you can play... I mean work with. :-)

Build A Custom Search Engine Using Your Social Bookmarks

The folks at ReadWriteWeb often have interesting and informative things to say, and this is no exception. I have held off commenting about their posting on tagging and custom search engines because I got distracted by eGovernment, legal issues for bloggers, and Kevin Kelly's great presentation. See the preceding posts for details. Anyway, back to the ReadWriteWeb article; they make the observation that "many people bookmark, but then turn to Google search when they actually want to find something".

So what does this mean for all those libraries busy building tag clouds to support their library portal's online reference services? Well, ReadWriteWeb suggests that you could build a custom search engine to point across your tags (and other sites of interest), and then offer a sort of targeted best-of-the-best customised search engine to clients. What's even better, is that this is very easy to do. See up on the right hand side of this blog, why yes, it is a customised Google search engine. So if Bibliothekia can do it so can you. See my post of 13 July 2008, Search your own blog. But if you get confused, the ReadWriteWeb article also provides some simple instructions.

While your reading the ReadWriteWeb article, don't forget to check out the bit about Posterous, which is (and a I quote) a lightweight blogging service that lets you blog without even setting up an account. What will they think of next?

Wednesday, 6 August 2008

Democracy / Dialogue / Debate

Last weekend there was a very good news item on ABC News Radio (which we love) from Alex Bakst on the Deutsche Welle Insight programme. It was about how the European Union is using blogging and other online social media to engage with its citizens. This includes what the European Union has done to revamp its web site, as well as utilising the new EU Tube YouTube channel. The programme touches on issues of censorship, citizen participation, blogging demographics, and the difference between the way the American and European governments are currently using social networking technology.

Click here to access the 15 minute podcast on Deutsche Welle, and go to Debate Europe to check out the European Union's multi-channel approach to eGovernment and eDemocracy.

50 Awesome Search Engines Every Librarian Should Know About has put out quite a good list of 50 Awesome Search Engines Every Librarian Should Know About. The list is divided into the following sections:

* Meta Search and Multi Search Engines
* Multimedia and Interactive
* Google Search Engines
* Custom Searches
* Reference Searches
* Library Search Engines

While many of the search engines are well known, and some have been covered in Learning 2.0 and 2.1, this is still a good list. And while you are checking out the blog, check out the other entry: 50 Firefox 3 Add-ons That Will Change the Way You Surf the Web.

Legal Issues for Bloggers

In perusing the Internet, Bibliothekia came across the Legal Resources for Bloggers put out by the Art Law Centre of Australia.

The main legal issues covered by this document are:
• Copyright
• Moral Rights
• Trademarks
• Defamation
• Right of Publicity

While a lot of the information in this Art Law Centre document involves common sense, it is still worth a look. Hopefully you will never get caught up in a legal dispute involving your blog. For information on the law for bloggers overseas see, “US Law and legal issues for bloggers which is put out by the US Electronic Frontiers Foundation.

Monday, 4 August 2008

Predicting the next 5,000 days of the web

Thanks Anne for bringing to my attention to this great presentation by Kevin Kelly on TED. "Filmed at the 2007 EG conference, Kevin Kelly shares a fun stat: The World Wide Web, as we know it, is only 5,000 days old. Now, Kelly asks, how can we predict what's coming in the next 5,000 days? "

Do yourselves a big favour, and click here to view Kelly's presentation.

About Kevin Kelly
Kevin Kelly has been publisher of the Whole Earth Review, exec editor at WIRED, founder of visionary non-profits, and writer on biology and business and "cool tools." For a full biography click here.

Internet Today

Fun fact: Every half second, information equal to the information stored in the Library of Congress moves around the Internet.

Cloud Computing: Do Google's Servers Dream At Night?

As reported in the online magazine Cloud Computing: Do Google's Servers Dream At Night? "That's a question raised by a fascinating short story just published by George Dyson, the author of "Darwin Among the Machines" and a well-known futurist. The story just appeared online in Edge, having not found a publisher in a fiction venue because it's too technical, and technical publications (including Wired) won't run it because it's fiction." To read the full story go to dysong08.

Let's hope the Google servers have not been getting any ideas watching HAL 9000 on late night re-runs of Stanley Kubrick's 2001 A Space Odyssey.

Sunday, 3 August 2008

Ad Perpetuam Memoriam: Sir Roger Casement CMG

Murdered on this day in London (3 August 1916), Sir Roger Casement CMG, Irish Patriot and humanitarian.

Saturday, 2 August 2008

Thing #46: My Web 2, Tangler Online Discussion Forums

Tangler, was one of the services listed in the BRW 2008 Top 100 Australian Web 2.0 Application". Tangler allows libraries to create online discussion forums. I have set up a Tangler forum for discussions about Library 2.0.

For details refer to Go to the topic tab to see the threads.

If Library / Web 2.0 is about engagement and participation with clients, then online discussion forums should have a place and play a roll. I can see public libraries setting up online discussion forms for local community groups, and school libraries setting up discussion forums to support study groups. Within the academic sphere, online discussion forums have been used for some time. Bibliothekia is going to play around to see if and how it is possible to embedded Tangler into Blogger. Even with the corporate and government sphere there could be a role for targeted online discussion groups wrapped around specific online library content. For technical help and news on developments there is also the Tangler Blog and the Tangler Wiki.

Post your comments on this blog or even better post them on the Library 2.0 discussion forum I set up at As of 3 August there are 2 discussion topics in this forum. (A) What is the roll of online discussion forums for Library 2.0 services?, and (B) Ten Social Networking Tips for Libraries.

Learning 2.1: Part B, My Web 2.0

Redbubble and online art

Given the largest Art Fair in Australia is being held this weekend, it is probably appropriate that Bibliothekia checks out Redbubble. Redbubble was in third place in the BRW 2008 "Top 100 Australian Web 2.0 Applications" list. Redbubble is an "Art gallery and creative community where artists can upload art and sell it in many formats. Over 100,000 items sold in 71 countries in the first financial year... and it has raised $3.7 million in funding. From a Web 2.0 perspective, RedBubble not only allows people to sell their art, it also allows them to interact within online art communities and groups. The interface is clear, and the site appears to be very easy to use. Not that Bibliothekia bought anything from Red Bubble, if I was not allowed to buy the Stephen Benwell at the Art Fair, there was no way I was going to buy art online. Peace at home is after all much more important. :-)

eGovernment: The Power of Information Task Force [UK]

The Power of Information Task Force is a very interesting development within an eGovernment framework, not only for what it is setting out to achieve, but the way it wants to use Web 2.0 technology (such as a blog) to ensure accountability and transparency. The Task Force was established by the UK Government in March 2008. The following terms of reference are taken from the Task Force blog:

* To advise and assist the government on delivering benefit to the public from new developments in digital media and the use of citizen- and state-generated information in the UK, including those identified in the Power of Information Review.

* The Taskforce will report to the UK Minister for Transformational Government at the Cabinet Office but work with public sector bodies where it sees benefit to the citizen or workforce. The Taskforce will operate in an open and transparent manner using modern media.

What is particularly interesting are the following sub-questions:

* How can government further catalyse more beneficial creation and sharing of knowledge, and mutual support, between citizens?

* What more can and should be done to improve the way government and its agencies publish and share non personal information?

* Are there any further notable information opportunities or shortfalls in sectors outside government that those sectors could work to rectify?"

While the Australian Government recently held a 2020 Summit to engage with citizens; and while this summit used online technology to capture as well as report submissions; the summit itself was more about exploring topics and advising on priorities. This UK Power of Information Task Force appears to be more about ensuring an ongoing and all-of-government approach of working within a Web 2.0 environment especially when engaging with citizens.