Thursday, June 24, 2010

EBLIP online journal... sigh

Loving the online journal Evidence Based Library and Information Practice because: Interesting, Chock-full of interesting; Free. Makes me want an e-reader of some sort so I can more easily take it somewhere more comfortable for reading.

Really annoyed by the journal because: For *&^%$#@! - it is freely available online - why on earth is it being published with those -------! columns?  In fact, wouldn't those columns be even more of a nuisance on an e-reader?

I guess I'd understand if the journal was being issued principally as a print journal and the online version is merely for accessibility - is it?  This journal is so interesting I'd consider paying a fair amount for a print subscription just so I can read it somewhere comfortable, but I can't find any information pointing to that as an option.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Thinking happy

At first, I ignored the topic because it was a meme, but then of course it appeared again, and by then I was feeling a little frustrated that I've been so busy I've not kept on target for 30 posts in 30 days. 

Not that I shall let such a minor issue bother me... at least that is something I have learned over the years: a little cognitive control of my emotions, and thanks to neuroplasticity (and making sure my son saw a documentary about it on SBS) I needn't worry if the relevant parts of my brain (the full-text of that article in pdf) are damaged. 

And that is what makes me happy: my thoughts.  When I remember - I choose to be happy: I think through the current situation until I find a perspective that feels positive - and it is rarely difficult. After all, I'm fortunate that much of the time a good proportion of my needs are easily met.  If there are any not being met I can enjoy the process of planning, imagining, pondering how to meet them - or I can focus on the joys of one of the many that are already.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

More on citing board games: Scruples

How delightful: Having decided that a comment I was writing had developed beyond a simple example to append to my post about citing board games in APA style: as I entered a title for this new post it occurred to me that the theme of Scruples is what earned this blather its own space.

MyBlogLog shared another curiosity when I scanned its statistics for me today... Someone searched my blog for cite the board game scruples.

Unless the querant was pondering the ethics of citing board games, I'm guessing the curiosity was how to cite that particular game Scruples. I do have a copy of the game, and this is how I would cite the copy I have. As the game is revised and updated every five years (High Game Enterprises, 2008), you might have a different copy.

Depending whether my text refers to the game as a whole or a specific part of it, in-text citations might be:
(A Question of Scruples, 1986)
(A Question of Scruples, 1986, q178)
(A Question of Scruples, 1986, rules p.6)
(A Question of Scruples, 1986, base of box)

A Question of Scruples [Board game]. (1986). Sydney, N.S.W. : Milton Bradley

So, why would I not cite the publisher as corporate author? Because I am not sure that Milton Bradley are responsible for the design of the game. Although I would not rely* on the source regarding this particular information (Wikipedia and BoardGameGeek) to insert [Surname, I. (Designer)] in author place, it may be the game was designed by an individual who sold it to a game company who may have shared rights to publish it with companies in other countries.

*The claim of designership maybe false. Or overstated, perhaps the claimant merely created and sold the concept of the game.

It is sad for historians, and board game appreciators, that game publishers have not been in the habit of acknowledging the provenance of the games they publish.

Considering the claim (unverified, but uncontested) of a designer outside the publishing company, the claim on my box of copyright by MB "under Berne and Universal copyright conventions" and the absence of any information acknowledging designers or design teams (would that be too hard?), seems they may simply have bought the right to publish, and that the designer did not retain any right to acknowledgement for design.

I have seen a game in which the publisher did acknowledge the source of the concept, and the company personnel who then developed it into a game. I'd like to see more of that. Just like my uncle likes to read the credits rolling at the end of a film.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

HTML code for hanging indents for APA style reference list

<div style="padding-left: 4em; text-indent: -4em;">

<p>...first reference...</p>
<p>...second reference...</p>

Note: don't rely on your blogging tool to use paragraph codes automatically, Blogger doesn't.

I've written from time to time about how to cite electronic sources for APA style reference lists, yet it took me a while to discover a way to achieve online the appearance of hanging indents required in APA style for papers in print.

Students. BEFORE you freak - you might not need to use that code at all.

I think educators who are encouraging students to write online, if they require students to include proper APA style in-text citations and reference lists at all, possibly wouldn't be insisting on the hanging indents.  This could be because many such educators (who may be but a few online experiments ahead of their students) may not yet themselves have discovered html code that will work. Or more likely because the priority reasons that educators want their students writing online do not (and shouldn't necessarily) include in-depth familiarity with html code.

So, if you are really required to be writing academically in a blog or otherwise online, and are required to include references in APA style, you might like to check first whether your assessor wants the references hanging.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Graffiti illiteracy

Originally uploaded by Constance Wiebrands

As a post that began as a very simple idea has become mired in associated discoveries of others' interesting perspectives, I went looking for a quicker topic.

How quick can I make this yet still be rational and constructive?

(and will this attempt to post from Flickr succeed considering my supposedly 80G (35G peak) has been throttled?)

Constance described graffiti on a tree in Hyde Park as "mindless, stupid behaviour". Those are strong words, so I'm guessing that she felt angry because the graffiti interfered with her enjoyment of the natural beauty of the tree/park/day.

Quite aside from the opportunity the post presented for me to practice empathy, the photo and the blogger's emotional reaction to the graffiti got me thinking about:

Literacy: The ability to read and write - a term which has been modified to encompass a broad range of communication and thinking skills in multiple media. I not only can't read that tag (and I'm diverted by the fact that it is a tag and a photo of that tag gets tagged at Flickr), I have no understanding of its subcultural context - but I'm sure that it is an expression with meaning amongst graffitists and possibly a wider subculture.

Illiteracy: How it feels. In this case I am the illiterate one and the fact that right there is an expression I do not understand frustrates me. Also, because of the circumstance in which I am illiterate in such forms of expression, I have limited knowledge of the people who do understand it - and when one has limited knowledge, self-protection endeavours to make do, at the risk of prejudice.

Mindlessness, Minding, Mind: There a number of things one might mean by "mindless":
# lacking conscious thought, intelligence or reason;
# requiring little mental effort;
# unattentive
# Heedless, imprudent, rash, showing no regard for meaning or consequence
In relation to the practice of tagging (from a mere distant awareness that there is a range of expression in the form of graffiti beyond the smallest (but even in itself not meaningless) "I was here") - the only way I could label it as mindless would be if it had become habitual for the tagger and I just cannot imagine that to be the case. Disregard for the preference of others for natural beauty is not necessarily mindless. Rebellion against social mores or law is not necessarily mindless.

And I'm going to stop myself before I contemplate "notart" or begin to research graffiti and its cultures.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

About webbing: hyperlinking in blogs etcetera

At work this afternoon I overheard Haze chatting with a patron about the library course, and when it seemed they were chatting about web2.0 technologies I looked up. 

It was Di-Dee!  Naturally I had to pin her, to personally introduce some of my favourite web2.0 technologies.

But at this early stage in explorations, the most immediate item I hope Di-Dee took away was how to enhance her posts with hyperlinks.  If possible, I will insert a quick little video on creating hyperlinks in Blogger, for the students and colleagues newly lured into web2.0

Over a week later, after CaptureFox shut down Firefox dozens of times, and after I couldn't access any video I created with CamStudio, I've finally tried Jing to get the above, please tell me if it doesn't work for you.

Before I could make the video, I was distracted by pondering the thought that once one knows HOW to, there is still the questions of why: whether, when, where.

Immediately I began pondering that question I remembered a book I enjoyed recently. Say Everything: How Blogging Began, What It's Becoming, and Why It Matters - it took me ages to rediscover the title of that book as it was not in my reading history at CHRLC or UB, because I had borrowed it through BONUS from UTS or Massey (interesting aside, I will be wanting to look up Dewey again because these libraries chose slightly different numbers: 303.4833 .v. 302.231). Say Everything... was immensely readable. Maybe because the interesting societal perspective was balanced with personal, intimate stories of some of the people who are the history of blogging.

Just because hyperlinks = the web and blogging began as regular sharing of hyperlinks, doesn't mean that every blogging purpose is served by hyperlinks. There are plenty of writers about the value of hyperlinks to blogs whose goal is moneymaking and that's why I'm not linking to them. Others like Julie Schopick express their value to expertise sharing, and reputation building. One might see few to no hyperlinks in news blogs (as long as they are truly first with the news) or maybe opinion blogs (although we still expect to see links to online sources that trigger the development of opinion, and the quality of the opinion might be enhanced by quality hyperlinks) or even fiction writers' blogs.

One purpose that probably applies to most blogs is Conversation - and that *is* served by hyperlinks - at least ... oops, I have absorbed that as a fact, without this moment being able to explain just how... can someone help me out with that?  Good, yes thanks Julien Frisch:
"If their only function would be to be the glue between those who are writing, a system of reference and reverence, they would already fulfil an important function, one that I consider to be one of the main elements of blogging.

But in fact, the use of hyperlinks is not only a way to create connections to others. Hyperlinking allows completely new forms of writing about ... [fill in your sphere here]...

If hyperlinks become an active part of the language we speak when we write online, we can help to build bridges between those who are already inside the debate and those who want to join. ...

Links are used both as reverence mechanism between peers but also as cognitive bridges for those who would not understand the full extend of an article without this relational guidance by the author, without forcing the latter to (re)write what has already been written before." (Frisch, 2009, ¶8)
Do read Julien's whole article, his example is excellent and the comments interesting.

Darn it, this is turning into another long post I shouldn't be spending time on with all the shopping, booking and packing I still need to do... but having found such interesting articles I do want to share them....

Julien's inspiration: Venkatesh Rao's The Rhetoric of The Hyperlink is another must-read and I recommend it also to my writer friends. I will only quote one of his interesting comments, which happens to sum up the point of hyperlinking shared by for-money, for-giving-expertise, for-conversation and for-the-writing blogs: becoming reliable:
"Real hyperlink artists know that paradoxically, the more people are tempted to click away from your content, the more they want to keep coming back.  There is a set of tradeoffs involving compactness, temptation to click, foreshadowing to eliminate surprise (and retain the reader), and altruism in passing on the reader. But the medium is friendlier to generosity in yielding the stage." (Rao, 2009, ¶8) 
Actually that conversation probably gives me a partial answer to my question: when?  

I had sought to find ready-made advice on when and when not to hyperlink...unsuccessfully.

However I did find: Penny Coutas with the same question amongst others in her mind when puzzling over a style for hyperlinking in her online academic writing.  In fact, fellow CULLB602C students may find it useful to consider Penny's thoughts when preparing their own assignments online.

I am glad Penny mentioned her discovery that online academic journals do not optimise the use of hyperlinks but rather use print-based referencing styles.  I have found the same. Penny also has an answer (no) for morgan who once asked if I knew whether APA allow a different rule for online publications.

Personally I recommend when writing for academic purpose online, do both.  As Felix Salmon (2010) concluded in his opinion piece Why links belong in text "Someone writing online should no more put their links at the end of their essay than a university professor should first give the lecture and then run through the slides." When the medium is online, optimise for online reading.  If the purpose is academic and if there is either academic requirement or the possibility of print publication, then use print referencing style too. (If you're writing in html spaces rather than pdf or other web-accessible docs you might seek clarification on whether you need hanging indented paragraphs in the reference list.).

Felix wrote Why links belong in text in response to Nicholas Carr's complaints about how distracting hyperlinks can be. Felix dismisses nick's point about the big distraction - being drawn away from the original article: "In these days of tabbed browsing, there’s a difference between clicking and clicking away: most of us, I’m sure, control-click many times per day while reading something interesting, letting tabs accumulate in the background as we find interesting citations we want to read later." (Salmon, 2010, ¶6) That's certainly how I avoid losing my place.

However I would sometimes (particularly when there are 'too many' links) relate to nick's second point: "Other times, they're tiny distractions, little textual gnats buzzing around your head. Even if you don't click on a link, your eyes notice it, and your frontal cortex has to fire up a bunch of neurons to decide whether to click or not. You may not notice the little extra cognitive load placed on your brain, but it's there and it matters." (Carr, 2010, 2010, ¶3). I also relate completely to Felix's response that in certain situations (particularly when author's cite someone else) " I expect a link and there’s much more cognitive load placed on my brain — there’s much more buzzing in my frontal cortex — if there isn’t a link there than if there is." (Salmon, 2010, ¶1)

Pursuing the notion of "too many hyperlinks" for advice from a different perspective. I found that Torley (yes of Second Life video tutorial fame) advises to hyperlink sparingly, and shares his approach (2008, ¶7) "I'll hyperlink to shed light on inspirations + influences behind a post. I'll hyperlink to provide contact info, and "further details" too onerous, too rich to cram onto a single page."

To other bloggers: how do you decide what to hyperlink?

For me, the hyperlinks I create are for a reader like me, they offer links I think I'd find potentially useful:
  • explaining an idea better than I have
  • providing a reference or credit for material I quote (or further reading)
  • backtracing my stimuli
To avoid an excess of hyperlinks:
  • If you're using Zemanta don't link every word in your post for which Wikipedia has an article.
  • Remember that readers can select words or phrases we need clarified and right click for a google search. (for that fact I appreciate the reminder from Jack, one of Venkat's readers).

That last point is also advice to readers... for whom I have more:

To online readers who may be stressed by "too many" hyperlinks - adapt the rules for crossing a road safely: Before you click: Stop Look Listen Think.

Stop: Don't click, just hover and;
Look: read the URL "where it goes" displayed in browser footer
Listen: listen to the article you're already reading
Think: do you really need or want to explore that link?
Then if you still want to check it out, use Right-Click, Open in New Tab

I will also be looking into the Readability plugin that apparently helps readers by removing all the extraneous stuff around the article we want to read.  It has recently been updated with an optional feature so that (if I understand it correctly) hyperlinks are made less visible (can still be seen on hover) but listed completely as footnotes.

And just for the practice...


Carr, N. (2010, May 31). Experiments in delinkification [Web log post]. Rough Type. Retrieved from

Coutas, P. (2010, June 7). Wikipedia as style guide? [Web log post]. Exploring the Hype(r) of Languages Learning and Teaching. Retrieved from

Frisch, J. (2009, July 7). Creating a European public sphere: the hyperlink story [Web log post]. Julien Frisch. Retrieved from

Rao, V. (2009, July 1). The rhetoric of the hyperlink [Web log post]. Retrieved from

Salmon, F. (2010, June 2). Why links belong in text [Web log post]. Reuters. Retrieved from

Torley. (2008, April 21). Hyperlink sparingly [Web log post]. Musical dream journal. Retrieved from

Friday, June 11, 2010

Could Flickr's "Blog This" feature be improved?

Reflecting on signs of decay?
Originally uploaded by moonflowerdragon


Where to start?
  1. Save to draft. I appreciate that Flickr might need to keep it simple so it remains cross-platform. We can style our post up according to our own blogging platform's editing methods. BUT, the way it is at the moment, blogging a photo directly from Flickr means a Publish without any polish, and that means autofeeds like Twitterfeed let people see a post in a state that we would probably *not* prefer, like this one was before I began this post-publication editing. 
  2. ALL proper attribution data.  As well as the image's title and uploader (which is all I get now) I need the date the image was published at Flickr and the licence by which I may publish it.  The description might also contain important information - unfortunately it might also contain too much information, so I'd at least like the option to include the description.
  3. Show me what will be sent.  When we set up our blog for Flickr we can choose a layout template for our posts - but unless we're blogging from Flickr often, who remembers how they chose?  And who remembers how to find the page that enables us to change the template, not that that page shows what our current choice is.  So, while composing my post (that I want to be able to send as draft) I want to see all the proper attribution (and optional) data laid out according to the Flickr-template I've chosen. Unfortunately this is what I was shown while composing, but not what was sent:

So are there alternatives?

AddThis enables save to draft, but doesn't grab code accessing the image - Perhaps there are other browser add-ons, or platform plug-ins & if so please tell me about them.

ImageCodr endeavours to provide what Flickr should in terms of proper attribution for Creative Commons licenses but doesn't, although as Flickr has not updated CC licences to 3.0, even ImageCodr cannot fix that fault with Flickr.

Unfortunately, for some reason the generated code only includes the image title on hover, not with the photo. And I still don't have the upload date or any relevant information that might have been provided in the description.

Use Embed code available from All sizes screen

Unfortunately this is what we get from that embed code:
Reflecting on signs of decay?

Just the photo and link, no attribution data at all.

If I kwout (with an image map) from the photostream I can select to show Title, licence, and date, and you can deduce uploader from automated title. However, description is missing, it is small, and it doesn't quite meet Flickr's terms because it doesn't directly to the photo's own page:

Alternatively, if I kwout (with image map) from the photo's page: the date, uploader and licence data are not within range of the image for kwout to grab, although you can see amongst the miscellanea in the description there is other relevant attribution information:

- = + = -

And because it was fun... the stimulus for this contemplation of problems blogging from Flickr ... was a post I created at Tumblr solving a puzzle for The Clueless Librarian:
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Thursday, June 10, 2010

Add form (or link) for your readers to get your blog updates by email

Thanks to my sister getting her wiggle on and not only posting to her new blog (Caterpillar Contemplations), but also thinking of her likely readers who may want to get her updates by email...

I googled, and now know how to add a widget to a blog that enables readers to subscribe via email. It can be a link, or a form in your sidebar. And it is done via GoogleFeedburner.

But I'm not going to describe how because all the (very simple) instructions are at Blogger Tricks. I do suggest you read all the instructions - I read the first and then raced in to my sister to tell her it goes through Feedburner and we basically puzzled the rest of it through. Only when I came back here to tell you (fellow library students at UB) about it did I notice the rest of the instructions that would have saved us so much time!

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Blogger or Posterous or Tumblr for library students’ first blog?

Something somewhere commented on the simplicity of getting started blogging with Posterous.  Lately I’ve been watching fellow students start an exploration of web2.0 technologies in relation to libraries and information literacy – with a first blog at Blogger.

Blogger is very easy to get started with.  But I wonder if it is easy enough for people who are not already motivated … I mean for those who wouldn’t have been looking to blog at all if not for the subject in their course?

Via their default methods, Tumblr is even simpler than Posterous for getting started, although Posterous also have a simple online sign up page. Their default methods:

Naturally I had a go at setting up blogs at both. I did try to capture the process, but unfortunately CaptureFox didn't seem to like my setting preferences and shut down Firefox on me. I give up on that particular idea for now. In fact, considering I have so much to do to prepare for the family trip to US/Canada I must not let myself be diverted into trying out these services thoroughly.

Instead, I perused reviews:
  • Chris Foresman concludes in favour of Tumblr, citing its "myriad options for posting"; "design flair"; variety of themes; "separation of content types" and options for text editing. Chris acknowledged Posterous' "ease of posting via e-mail"; "clever auto-uploading and auto-formatting of attached media"; that some might prefer its "spartan design aesthetic".
  • Pascal-Emmanuel Gobry believes the chief difference (demonstrated in their default sign up methods) is that Tumblr's apparent focus on design gives it an edge over Posterous' engineering focus. 
  • Anna Frenkel's very thorough comparison was more thorough in detailing the advantages of each over the other, and I ended up with the impression that the choice will depend on the potential blogger's purpose and preferred way to post.
Perhaps for ?mature? students who are very comfortable with email and aren't interested in fussing with the appearance of their blog Posterous might be the way to go. For first time bloggers who don't feel attached to email or perhaps want more appearance options Tumblr could be preferred.

I will note that a (?second) step in the setup process for Posterous (I think) was an offer to look for my "friends" through other services and then suggested I set up my friends with a daily posting from my Posterous. I don't like either option. I particularly don't like them being offered in the setup stages.

Something I have not discovered is how each handles comments - which for social web students is an important element to explore. Can someone clarify for me whether either of them simply feature commenting without any special addons or plugins?

As the students I’m thinking of are library students I went looking to see whether any libraries or librarians use either service:

I have now subscribed to Julie Cornett's adventures as a Frontier Librarian via Posterous - after her post on Information Competency using Interactive Television caught my eye, I found interesting library stuff (and/or beautiful photos) in all her posts. And she has comments that don't appear to have required any plugins.

And to The Clueless Librarian who Tumbles. What can I say?

The Chicago Public Library uses Tumblr. But I couldn't find any libraries using Posterous.

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Donating Blood

‘Tis my day for donating blood: must drink plenty of water, and eat proper meals.

Also I don’t want to run late again so I may not get time to finish last night’s posts. Downside: Writing a post still taking a little too long; Upside: That is two more drafts of ideas in my stockpile so I don’t resort to memes just to keep posting.  Just as well I was two posts up for #30postsin30days (an alternative interpretation to #blogeverydayofjune).

Do you donate blood? 

If not, do you know whether you’re eligible?  The Red Cross Blood Bank’s website has a quiz to help you discover that.

Oh, and brilliant, they have Information for Travellers, so I was able to discover which diseases are present/prevalent in USA & Canada and how they would affect my blood donations when I return.

Sunday, June 06, 2010

Surfing serendipity: Austenology & Me, me

Thanks to flexnib's tweeted meme for Day 6 of #blogeverydayofjune I surfed the backtrail (< normblog < Harriet < cornflower < callmemadam < Bookish NYC ) to discover new input for my Fun First subscriptions:

A blog collecting, explaining and discussing "Jane Austen's life, times and works": Austenonly
and its sister site A Jane Austen Gazetteer from where I can "virtually visit the real places that Jane Austen and her family inhabited in reality".

Along the way I found someone else who had seen the "me" "me" in "meme", Harriet Devine:

Before answering this meme's questions I have my own to ask:
  1. How often do you even open a meme post by someone else?
  2. About how much of that post would you really READ rather than scan?

Jane Austen teapot cookieImage via Wikipedia
Do you snack while reading? 

Not since I reduced my carb intake. But before that quite often, unless it was a meal or there were no snacks available.

What is your favourite drink while reading?

Tea: Daintree if available; white; no sugar

Do you tend to mark your books while you read, or does the idea of writing in books horrify you?

I have not discovered a way to be certain to retain the material I want from a book, but marking a note *in* the book definitely does not seem the way to get the point *out* of it.

How do you keep your place? Bookmark? Dog-ears? Laying the book open flat?

Bookmark of some sort, if I can't get at the supply (which are in a magazine box on the non-fiction shelves which are in mum's room which has been converted from a sitting room).

Fiction, non-fiction or both?

Both, although I'm less likely to be spell-bound by non-fiction.

Do you tend to read to the end of a chapter or can you stop anywhere?

Wherever I am not in the grip of the author's words.

Are you the type of person to throw a book across the room or on the floor if the author irritates you?

Although I couldn't say for absolute certain not, but I don't think so: I might growl and close the book with a snap but place it down with exceptional restraint.

If you come across an unfamiliar word, do you stop and look it up right away?

If I absolutely cannot make sense of the point without doing so, or if it seems like it might be an interesting word. Though I do remember when I was a teen, reading Leslie Charteris' Saint books I kept notepaper and pen as bookmark and jotted down every unfamiliar word to look up when I got out of bed the next day. I am sure he made some words up.

What are you currently reading?

Davies, C. (2005). Finding and Knowing: Psychology, Information and Computers. London: Routledge.

Parker, R. S. (1977). Effective Decisions and Emotional Fulfillment. Chicago: Nelson-Hall.

White, H. S. (1992). Ethical Dilemmas in Libraries: A Collection of Case Studies. New York: G.K. Hall.

What is the last book you bought?

A pile of weeded books on librarianship

Do you have a favourite time/place to read?

When I'm awake.

Do you prefer series books or stand-alones?

Neither/both. I like the story to be told well, without waffle, whether it takes one book or more or less.

Is there a specific book or author you find yourself recommending over and over?

People I know are too different, they all relate to different things. But my catalogue can be sorted to show those I give highest rating, though they're not otherwise sorted by genre.

How do you organize your books (by genre, title, author’s last name, etc.)?

It depends on the space available. Non-fiction (and some fiction and games) by Dewey; Children's separate and then by size/shape/reading-age; General fiction alphabetical by title; My fiction roughly by author's last name but less favoured works are relegated floorwards regardless. And then there are the piles of recently obtained books as yet uncatalogued.

Barbara’s additional question: background noise or silence?

As my sons would report, it doesn't really matter once I'm reading.

Just in case anyone from CULLB602C wants to pick up the meme, here are those questions sans answers:
Do you snack while reading? 
What is your favourite drink while reading?
Do you tend to mark your books while you read, or does the idea of writing in books horrify you?
How do you keep your place? Bookmark? Dog-ears? Laying the book open flat?
Fiction, non-fiction or both?
Do you tend to read to the end of a chapter or can you stop anywhere?
Are you the type of person to throw a book across the room or on the floor if the author irritates you?
If you come across an unfamiliar word, do you stop and look it up right away?
What are you currently reading?
What is the last book you bought?
Do you have a favourite time/place to read?
Do you prefer series books or stand-alones?
Is there a specific book or author you find yourself recommending over and over?
How do you organize your books (by genre, title, author’s last name, etc.)?
Barbara’s additional question: background noise or silence?
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Saturday, June 05, 2010

About judging ideas & opinions

Scott Adams riffed on the notion that it is absurd to have an opinion on whether it was a good idea to create a certain movie (or other things for that matter).

I wonder whether opinions say more about the opinionator than the content of the expressed opinion? e.g., one who says "that's a bad idea" is revealing that they simply cannot imagine an expression / execution of the idea that they would enjoy. Which might lead their listener to wonder about the quality of the opinionator's imagination, or preferences.

Which reminds me about another opinion on opinion:

That, in many situations, while everyone is entitled to their own opinion (supported by Article 19 of the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights
Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.
)... "not all opinions are equal". While I'm sure she's not the only one to express that truth, 'tis Sandra Dodd of unschooling fame, whose expression of it I always remember... vaguely....

Old Gaol tower stairsImage by moonflowerdragon via Flickr
Of course, one of the reasons this comes up in relation to Sandra is in the matter of freedom of expression of opinion. If I recall correctly, and I hope someone will point out if I misrepresent it, Sandra expresses the opinion that place may limit freedom of expression. For example, in a Yahoogroup or mailing list, made or owned by an individual - the rules for expression in that place may be declared by the owner and maintained through eviction from the group if necessary. Similarly for private homes, or other privately-owned buildings. I have not investigated whether the law supports private-space-right-to-suppress-speech.

OOOh, but that reminds me of a recent post by Kathryn Greenhill, about the library's role (as a public institution) in the provision of information when there are many opinions on a topic: that of not censoring, no matter whether the available information is, in the librarian's opinion, bad in some way.

I think the following of Kathryn's comments sum her overall view, though I recommend the lively presentation in her whole article:
A library’s role is not to supress ideas – not matter how dangerous or loony I may believe those ideas to be, nor how wrong I think they are. ... A library’s role is to provide access to information and connect people to that information. We seek to provide a balanced and varied collection, but not to judge the information we are providing, nor the people who are seeking it. ... I am not arguing that ideas should be heard without rebuttal, argument, critical thought or judgment. I am arguing that they should be heard and that libraries exist as a vital institution to protect the right for that to happen...
I think an important point to remember is the breadth of material that comes under the label "information". "Information" is not only facts, but also theories with or without reasonable support, opinions of varying quality and fictional representations.

Something students in CULLB602C@UB will be exploring is the library's role in teaching Informacy, ie: educating its patrons in evaluating the sources of information they peruse.

Just a quick mention in relation to Zemanta: I chose (as somewhat related in area of interest) the above articles from those suggested by Zemanta. As I scrolled through the list of suggestions again after my second selection I was disturbed to note that an article was marked "Clicked" (ie selected) that I had *not* chosen. It is possible that I may have mis-moused or mis-clicked in making my selection; and I have no way to be sure - but as the "clicked" item I did not choose was a PROMOTED article, I intend to carefully double-check my selections in future.

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Friday, June 04, 2010

Zemanta, easier / better blogging?

Image representing Zemanta as depicted in Crun...Image via CrunchBase
I've noticed Zemanta at other sites once or twice before, particularly with related article recommendations at the bottom of posts, but being busy with other things didn't explore it. With this 30 posts in 30 days effort, and my personal ambition to not spend so long (hours/days/unending) creating a post... I wonder whether Zemanta will prove useful.  Students in CULLB602C@UB might like to take a look too.

It came back to my attention via Blogger Buzz, although I'm not sure how I landed there (and I do hate not remembering my backtrail). The following quote came from Zemanta's reblog feature that you can now see bottom right of this post. Options with reblog are to publish or copy code, I'd prefer a save as draft option. In the quote Rick is talking about how the add-on works:
Here's how it works: while you write your blog post in Blogger, Zemanta opens up a sidebar next to the Blogger post editor. After you've written a few sentences, Zemanta analyzes the words in your post and suggests images and video that are relevant to your post; with one click, it inserts them into your post. Rick Klau, Blogger Buzz: Zemanta helps you "blog smarter", Jun 2009
The whole article is worth a read.

It was very quick to get started, takes a little longer to optimise - at least optimising is what I was trying to do by adding my blog and rss feeds with preferences, only now I'm not receiving any content recommendations. Oh well, must go shopping for gear for the trip so will look again next time.
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Eggs Florentine and Bacon

Eggs Florentine and Bacon
Originally uploaded by moonflowerdragon

I'm testing the "extra bits you can add to your blog" via Flickr, some of which were standard a couple of years ago but seem to have changed since.

So, I'm not posting this for any particular reason except that I think I might look for some spinach to make this lovely breakfast again.

Sulking... come back later #blogeverydayofjune

Am grumbling... blogger templates... and my lack of sufficient expertise.

Amelia's beautiful Ink Stain blog theme from Deluxe Templates: ...

...motivated me to look for a template for my blog that would suit me better. I found one that looked perfect.

Unfortunately it wouldn't work for me. :-( Sigh

After uploading the new template file, I would have lost a bundle of widgets and so had the option to keep them. Unfortunately the choice was to keep them all, or none. And for some reason the old header and posts sections were considered widgets. I did keep all widgets but I cringed in wonder at what would result.

The posts in the main content didn't have my AddThis button or edit pencil or the date and each post's "Links to this post" appeared closer to the next post than the one it related to. But there was a second set of posts in the side bar where all those features were. The other widgets in the side bar were all mixed up - now they were easy to reorder but for some reason their spacing did not match the display template's spacing and I noticed that the template sourced a spacer gif from photobucket I think so I guess that blogger wasn't able to retrieve that gif for my blog.

I fiddled and fiddled for hours trying to sort it all out, but I clearly just do not know enough to fix it.

Now I must hie to bed, still so many things to organise for our trip.

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Blogging with Addthis (etc)

My first screencast. Remembering some of the ways I first began posting to a blog, I made this little video for the new bibliobloggers @UB.

For those who might be curious, I used CaptureFox thanks to instructions from youcanmakevideo

Reading critically

The effing.librarian provides an entertaining example of informacy at work as he criticises an article's absurd predictions of 100% of the world's population authoring (via Twitter!) & thus presumably wiping out illiteracy by 2013.  I note that the article he criticises is by a couple of professors, but after his analysis of their study I have to wonder at the quality of the journal.

Go see how he picks apart the premises and arguments - or just enjoy his ire - in:

The Analysis of Bullshit.

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Blogging challenge to CULLB602C@UB

30 posts in 30 days

You're all in the blogger water now... so let's do as Dory says in Finding Nemo and "just keep swimming"

Via Twitter I heard Kathryn Greenhill, famous in the Australian library blogosphere share the 30 posts in 30 days challenge.

Now while Kathryn's personal goal after years of blogging already is to keep up her think posts; Mine will be to not be too focussed on think posts: to stop gabbing, stop over-thinking, stop reading even more related stuff, and actually finish and publish a post even if it means it doesn't go out perfect.

SO how about it? Make your own rules or variations for yourselves - but your first one could be accepting the challenge.

Revisiting SomeThings with CULLB602C@UB

Although, technically, I guess I'm not really IN the cohort, because I was granted RPL (see my echo still clapping)... I'll be cheering on the 2010 batch of CULLB602C@UB students with their remarkable and daring new unit structure.  Kudos to Loretta Kelly for braving the waters and plotting an interesting course.

Course... of course - when I first began imagining a melding of web2.0 with LearningLibrarianship (even before it received a boost of inspiration from 23 Things) I knew it would be most effective beyond one unit.  Our course coordinators have made efforts here and there: this unit or that used a wiki or an eportfolio or the CMS discussion board or online documents. But I felt many students who didn't have a big picture of how libraries are developing an interactive online presence missed appreciating the opportunity they had in those tools, AND that there were so many tools of which they were unaware that could enhance their research, their informational input, and their sharing - throughout the course.

So I envisaged a unit that would be a first unit. But with such a huge learning curve - and a goal of it making sense and fitting together with a wide range of web2.0 tools and aspects of librarianship - it really needs to span the whole course (at least 2.5 years full time).  How can that be done?  TAFE courses are usually run in discrete, short-time-frame units.  How might it be possible for this kind of activity to span the whole course, not just as a side issue, but for engagement in the activity to contribute to assessment for other units?  Am I dreaming too wildly?


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