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So, in June 2012 I achieved my MSc (yay!). As the dissertation was very much a project where I knew what I wanted to achieve and how I wanted to achieve it, I lost the habit of blogging (not to mention that content analysis is intensely time-consuming and the less distractions from it the better). Additionally, 2012 was an insanely busy year, one way or another. Reflection has been happening, but not of the kind that might be shared, being mostly very specific to my job.

So, after this long hiatus, I’ve decided to draw a line under this blog and leave it as it stands. I’ve enjoyed writing it, and it has been an excellent space in which to reflect on the process of study, but it has run its course. So thank you for reading, and goodnight!

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One of the best of the articles by authors about the reason that libraries need to be maintained has been written by Shoo Rayner.  The quote that particularly stood out for me (as a mother) was:

Wonder why literacy levels are falling? Literacy is not about school records or results. Literacy comes from reading lots of books. It takes a lot of practice to get good at reading.

I read a lot, and I want my daughter (currently two years old) to enjoy books as much as I do.  We go to the library every week.  We have messy piles of books on her shelves, and I have to limit the number of books we read at bedtime, otherwise we’d be there ’til midnight.  Recently, she’s started insisting on reading them to me first, before I read them.  Obviously she doesn’t know more than a couple of simple letters (her initial, O), but she loves trying to mimic what I do, saying her favourite lines and pointing to the pictures.  She’s also big on poems – AA Milne is a favourite, and she loves saying them along with me, recognising the pictures that go with her favourites.

I try to give her free choice at the library, even though she often picks books which are very simple.  Sometimes, she’s right – a basic animals book she chose the other week had several animals she didn’t recognise yet.  Sometimes she glances at it once and isn’t interested again.  But really, that’s OK.  That’s exactly what I do – sometimes I read easy stuff, no, actually, often I read easy stuff, just because it appeals to me.   Has it stopped me reading more intellectual stuff sometimes?  Not at all.

It’s hard as a parent not to encourage your child to stretch themselves, but one of the wonderful things about a public library is that it offers children a chance to explore their own interests and decide for themselves.  It’s one of the nice things about it as an adult, that you can experiment with something you might not spend money on.  I’ve discovered a few great authors, simply from trying something that didn’t look like my sort of thing.  For children, this is vital – my interests are quite different to those of my parents, and I expect the same will be true of my daughter.

When councils talk of closing public libraries, they are talking about cutting off access to this freedom of choice: for many families, investing in a genuine range of books is almost impossible, and keeping children interested in reading is vital for their future literacy.  Schools will teach them the competency of reading, but fluency will only come with practice.  It is vital for a civilised and properly literate society that the mechanics of reading are supported by a sufficient range of reading materials to ensure all citizens can at least engage meaningfully with written materials.

OK, so it’s a few days late (perhaps the first resolution should be “Make New Year Resolutions”!), but better late than never.

1)  I will lose some weight, but more importantly, do more exercise.  We’ve acquired a Wii over the holidays, and I really need to use it.  So far, so good.

2)  I will continue to make an effort towards my academic new year resolutions.  I have still found myself finishing coursework at the last minute, and need to improve – that will not do next year for the dissertation!

3)  I will remember to put my laundry in the basket, not leave it on the floor until it gets in my way.

 

Bookshelves
Real Home Library

Just seen this… ummm… concept linked to.  It starts off very nobly, and suggests:

“With a little attitude and some space, we can easily create a wonderful dream home library. Let’s try it out.”

Collect and classify your books

No doubt, as a true book lover, you already have the collection – some loved and dog-eared, some well-thumbed, some nice (read once, kept it), some pristine (on the “to read” list).  Although you will wish to leave some space for new acquisitions, in reality, there is not enough shelving to accommodate a bibliophile.  Classification should be pragmatic – cookery books near/in the kitchen, fiction by the bed, children’s books in the children’s rooms, reference by the coffee table, library books in the hall.

Decide the area

You love books: the area will be “any available shelving” throughout the house.

Fetch smart furniture

Or, frankly, any flat surface.  If you run out of room, do not be afraid to double-stack the fiction.  The loft is a useful archiving space if you are really squashed in.

Right reading lamps

Working light-bulbs are a must.  If your lighting isn’t that great, there’s always large print.  If it’s really dark, try audio-books.

Do the placing

It’s best to avoid arrangements where the double-stacked books are in danger of falling off.

Maintain hygiene

If you keep humorous reads in the toilet, it’s probably best not to reshelve them with your other books after without giving them a good wipe.

Supplement the home library with a public library card – this will ensure you can keep up your reading habit without risking bankruptcy.

Thanks to Gary for the link 🙂

Below is my twitter reporting of the Digital Information Conference 2010.  I’ve re-ordered it so the first posts are at the top, but otherwise it is just a copy of what I said.

(NB: I should also point out that it’s mainly for my future reference rather than because I really believe anyone else wants to read it!)

#digi10 just started, opening keynote aims to be stimulating. Predictions will not be advanced enough.
#digi10 influence publishers thru cancellations.
#digi10 trend of blurring of content and delivery likely to continue
#digi10 expectation of instant answers not just access. Hope to embed library in normal work flows
#digi10 end users are target or at least should be. Approaches to info changing.
#digi10 is speed of publishing or quality more important?
#digi10 pricing models will need to change. Mobile devices could introduce fee services
#digi10 need measures of usefulness not just usage.
#digi10 next talk on emerging technologies
#digi10 internet connects people together. Change inevitable
#digi10 should you be a portal or a signpost? Know your market.
#digi10 next talk on digital challenges in academic libraries
#digi10 rate of change means library must reconfigure dynamically
#digi10 don’t forget there are still some non-internet users
#digi10 global community of users expect 24/7 service and support.
#digi10 challenges for managing records and information on floppy disks
#digi10 should library become more active as a research centre? A libratory?
#digi10 great possibilities for analysis when special collections are carefully digitised
#digi10 providing more access points is opens library collections to non-traditional users
#digi10 high usage could undermine the long tail
#digi10 E-resources mean that many now don’t see value and skills of libraries and librarians
#digi10 forum session now. What should CILIP be doing?
#digi10 MP CILIP should be encouraging sharing of info and knowledge
#digi10 MF representation also important
#digi10 definition of library vs everything in google
#digi10 MF move from quality information to value for money info
#digi10 MH embrace shift from info store to info management and info lit skills. Also integrating with teaching. Role in procurement
#digi10 MP what have librarians ever done for us? Apart from…
#digi10 relationship between libraries and publishers especially in marketing
#digi10 MF feedback really valuable from vocal librarians
#digi10 MH how well do we really know our users?
#digi10 dealing with arts and non text resources
#digi10 MH capability of machines to understand these will improve findability
#digi10 MF dealing with museums and collections rather than publishers.
#digi10 american resources more advanced
#digi10 no easy solutions. Small collections hard to exploit in an iTunes style business model
#digi10 issues of rights to use digital versions.
#digi10 publishers perspective session. RSC growing business to stay visible
#digi10 evolution analogy. Innovations – semantic publishing: colour coding, disambiguation, but not used
#digi10 did understand what was being published. Can idea be done better – not with day glo articles
#digi10 new platform aims to be simpler, reduce clicks and PDF preferred
#digi10 60% of users come from elsewhere. Widgets small part of value
#digi10 mobile enabled sites but no iapps yet. Seems users want fewer interfaces
#digi10 acquired chemspider which is free and experimental system to see how community contributed and good enough content works
#digi10 targeted innovation – lead where you can, prepare where others are going
#digi10 next talk tyranny of choice
#digi10 licensing from one place more cost effective, but not realistic.
#digi10 monopoly not good but would simplify things
#digi10 challenge to remain competitive while feeding surplus into organisation aims
#digi10 complex training and negotiations behind the scenes to offer databases on range of platforms
#digi10 taking out complex features can improve discoverability
#digi10 balance between library and end user needs. There is a cost in providing things like counter stats
#digi10 parallel session a opens with comments on publishers association announcement
#digi10 lots of hype about ebook readers. Not necessarily positive.
#digi10 comments from ebook observatory. Use in libraries related to licensing more than content
#digi10 eink does give user a comfortable reading experience
#digi10 can foresee possible scenario of students collecting course reading at start of term
#digi10 not yet reality – formats vary, is quality of learning as good? Children love them.
#digi10 some ebook providers only allow use of book online
#digi10 content students want often not available online
#digi10 aggregators should ensure licences allow download to portable Reader
#digi10 users miss content if it doesn’t all fit on one page
#digi10 one user turned to pirated textbooks as they were much more usable
#digi10 lack of colour still an issue in some subjects. Also issues around viewing images and tables
#digi10 current ebooks are facsimile print books. Bookmarks useful, notes less useful as not reliable
#digi10 interactive exercises wanted but not available.
#digi10 interfaces clunky. New book types mean new relationships with authors
#digi10 moving in the right direction.
#digi10 is the library of the future a corridor? Chance meetings lead to ideas. Smart phones enable instant connection
#digi10 real work is not necessarily static.
#digi10 mobiles are small and always on.
#digi10 bandwidth going to rocket when 4G comes in
#digi10 location specific tech may link schedule and files
#digi10 what about printing?
#digi10 IT not aiming to be easy but to make money.
#digi10 vision of library of birmingham in Ariadne article
#digi10 publishers should avoid single platform approach
#digi10 multi-modal device – also immediate
#digi10 lock-in important in tying people to a make of phone
#digi10 who decides what the mobile strategy is?
#digi10 the time is now to address mobile issues. Rethink opportunities. Communications of the ACM oct 10
#digi10 this is beginning of a huge revolution
#digi10 summary of parallel sessions
#digi10 libraries are not yet ready for ebooks. Still some real problems.
#digi10 evidence needed for value in education. Formats not good at interactively.
#digi10 mobile devices taking over laptops for info on the move. No obvious single platform for devices.
#digi10 threats to business model for newspaper industry
#digi10 business model not keeping up with publisher tech developments
#digi10 will paywall model work? Advertising likely to provide lower margins
#digi10 changes brought about by aggregation.
#digi10 reuse of info. users have no rights but permissions.
#digi10 Digital economy act may not be implemented. Still hope for libraries
#digi10 closing keynote. How can info professionals make a difference
#digi10 life after CSR10?
#digi10 demands on public sector info. 5 year plans will be dead.
#digi10 impact will vary in different areas
#digi10 moral pressures – cut back office activities to keep child support?
#digi10 frontline services will need to streamline. E.g. Self service
#digi10 flexible working as default?
#digi10 routine activities may be delegated to para-professionals
#digi10 take an overview and target cuts.
#digi10 confidence in info to achieve this is very low. Not a strong reliance on evidence based decisions
#digi10 task needs information skills not technology. Care needed to make info assets reliable
#digi10 top managers see assets as money, people and buildings. Should look at information too
#digi10 info professionals need to influence and make case for thoughtful info management
#digi10 info sharing vital, while thinking about privacy. Culture changes needed
#digi10 retention of files important. Destruction policies equally so.
#digi10 info professionals often far removed from where they can be influential
#digi10 need to put your head above the parapet. Need to become politically aware

Had a very busy week last week, with a hectic Monday – Wednesday finishing the main chunk of periodical renewals, then two events – Digital Information 2010 on Thursday and Mashed Libraries Mash Spa on Friday.  I am planning several posts on these, but I’m starting off with a request for help (known as crowdsourcing an answer as far as I can tell).

So, what I’d like to achieve is an RSS feed (or something similar) which incorporates the content of an existing feed with an excerpt from the page each item links to.  I’ve managed to build a yahoo pipe which extracts the information I’m interested in, but where I’m stuck is how to re-integrate it with the original list.

The pipe is here:

http://pipes.yahoo.com/pipes/pipe.info?_id=afd0063df08bce727504ee14f130b413

@domicus helped out a bit (thank you!), but it’s still not quite cracked.

Any ideas?

I have noticed that, particularly in the area of e-resources, there are a huge number of (as my colleague described them) “shoehorned acronyms”.  Sometimes, these are actually useful and reflect their purpose (e.g. COUNTER – Counting Online Usage of NeTworked Electronic Resources).  Sometimes they are just baffling.

I was reading an article today about grey literature, which described various definitions of the word grey, and included the magical aspect (as in Gandalf the Grey).  Which made me think, how soon will it be before there is a standard or a working group called GandALF (Grey and Alternative Literature Formats)?

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