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Tag Archives: Media

Visiting Libraries….

A Web of interconnections

This past session, one of the subjects I completed included the study visits to various information agencies. Interestingly most people visiting the Melbourne organisations were from other States of Australia or regional areas and I was definitely amongst the minority from Melbourne on the visits.

The places visited include

I’m not going to venture into detail about each of the organisations but rather provide a focus on Melbourne Library Service.

In previous posts, I have mentioned some of their innovative programming such as the Gallery Space hosting exhibitions, the cafe poet, the public piano and various workshops including Zine making workshops. It’s incredibly exciting to learn about the community engagement offered by Melbourne Library Service and how it provides a glimpse to the changing nature of libraries as space and how they are utilised.

In line with the rise in the creative maker culture, Melbourne Library Service reflects this, not only in their programming of workshops but in their collection building too. For instance, the Zine creation workshops lead to Zines that become part of the library collection that a wider audience can borrow, just like books, ebooks, audio books and CD’s. In effect this is an example of ¬†great community engagement by a public library facilitating publishing and sharing.

Another interesting transition, exemplified in their plans for the library that is being built at Docklands due to open in 2014, is the incorporation of multimedia production facilities, a performance space and a Green room (for special effects). With these facilities, enabling multimedia production, they are planning to employ two multimedia technicians to facilitate the process and enable community to create films, audio recordings and even have performances or screenings.

Clearly, exciting times are ahead for public libraries as they transition to being the Hub of the community. The public library provides meeting spaces, resources and enables creative engagement. It provides connections to artists and community and facilitates the sharing of a local voice to a global audience.

Funnily, the study visits were meant to clarify the kind of information agency I would like to end up in. Currently, I’m in a small school library and for a few months I was convinced it was audiovisual archives and preservation that I wanted to focus on. After the visits, I came away liking all of them and have now broadened my choices rather than narrowed… Maybe next year I’ll narrow it down and the sky will provide a clear and narrowed focus ūüôā

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Open Access Journals

I came across the following article by David Rapp titled jSTOR Announces Free Access to 500k Public Domain Journal Articles in the Library Journal today and felt excited. However, if a work is in the public domain, it usually means that it is not covered by intellectual property rights for a number of reasons including the owner having forfeited the rights or the rights having expired. In that context the concept of ‘free’ seems to be cancelled out. The works being made available by jSTOR fall into the category ‘Early journal content’ and include works published before 1923 in the US and 1870 worldwide. Clearly, they fall in the category of copyright having expired.

You may recall the article ‘Free Culture’ Advocate may pay a high price¬† about Aaron Swartz, mentioned in my blogpost Who owns culture, the question who owns culture can be asked of jSTOR in consideration of their announcement of ‘free access’. In that light, I may stick with¬†DOAJ ~ Directory of Open Access Journals.

The following clip provides more related detail.

 

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Booktrack: soundtracks for books

Last week I was joking around with a friend about how great it would be to have soundtracks for books. The vision being that as you read the words come to life through sound. For example while reading a scary book, as you reach the point where the door creaks open, this is the sound you would hear. Well we were rather amused with the idea and then today I discover the following clip. How do thoughts work like this in our world. It never ceases to amaze….

 

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See Sally Research ~ Joyce Valenza

 

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Automate the library ~ cut some jobs?

I woke this morning to the following headline Students protest at library staff cuts in The Age. It appears that Melbourne University Library is moving towards more automated services and one of their spokespeople has been quoted as stating ”The proposed staffing restructure reflects the changes in library use that automation and digitisation have produced in research-intensive, comprehensive universities around the world,”. Furthermore, the article quotes “there had been a 45 per cent drop in ”across-counter loans” between 2008 and 2010, meaning ”staff need to shift from routine processing and lending activities to supporting students seeking help with research tasks and complex database access”. However, the staff are not being shifted to these areas of need, they are in fact being cut altogether.

With automation, as is the case in other industries, the people directly affected tend to be the lower skilled workers and in the case of Melbourne University libraries it is the library assistants and casuals that make up the count of about 30 positions to be cut. However, even if they employ 4.5 higher qualified staff, the question remains will this be enough to service the growing trend of library usage as indicated in other library service areas such as public libraries? Beyond this, why not transfer and retrain the library assistant positions to a similar classification as an Electronic Resources Assistant if this is the area of increased service need? The following job advert for an Electronic Resources Assistant gives an indication of what the job entails. Will the Melbourne University Library skimp in this area of service also?

While they point to a 45 % drop in across the counter loans, this may not be reflective as a statistic of library use overall. Many other library groups are reporting increased library use, as the following fact sheet from the ALA indicates and The Library Council of NSW¬† (2009) points out in The bookend scenarios: alternative futures for the Public Library Network in NSW, that there has been a “rapid growth in library usage in NSW over the past 5 years.”¬† Visiting the City Library for the past two weeks has corroborated this trend and the Sate Library of Victoria always seems a hive a activity at any time I visit.

We are definitely experiencing lean times economically and decisions such as the cuts to library services and staff are just another indicator of the mentality that cutting costs appears to be the solution. Well really?… Clearly this just leads to a loss or inadequate provision of essential services. Is this what we really want in the Information Age?

The following video is an interview with Marshall Breeding on Library Automation.

TWIL #43: Marshall Breeding (Library Automation) from Jaap van de Geer on Vimeo.

The article by Marshall Breeding Automation Marketplace 2011: The New Frontier from Library Journal provides further information specific to library automation.

 

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Information is unstoppable!

‘The end of the library’ is a catchcry that many studying information studies have had to endure in one form or another over the past five to ten years or so, maybe even longer. Some of the following headlines and related stories point to the continuance of this threat and are an indication that the threat to information provision and libraries is far from over. Clearly, as the articles indicate, this is not specific to Australia but something that is happening in other countries including the United States and the UK.

Libraries fear funding cuts

Libraries fire up over funding cuts

Maroondah Library services cut as funding goes

Councils united in fight against library funding cuts

Funding cuts closing book on all 62 branches in Queens Library

Cuts threaten survival of Michigan Libraries

Michigan Library Community suffers ‘a perfect storm of funding cuts’

Library closure threats spark campaigns across England

In times of economic downturn, it appears that information provision is an easy target. How easy is it for an individual to be complacent within the sphere of the web and accept without question that the internet will provide the information sources without bias and in a timely manner. The corporate imperatives and controls are easily overlooked (I only need to draw your attention to Google as a corporate entity and its expanding control of the cybersphere as an example). Our trust in the altruism of information provision is not wavered, not even for a moment when we are confronted with concepts of privacy invasion, and if it is, we are somewhat apathetic or more realistically paralysed in our attempts to protest. What can we do? Can we refuse to participate? Is this possible? And if it is, then what class in society do we then occupy as a citizen in the information Age that we now reside in?

Choosing to take on the study of Master of Information Studies has been something that I absolutely love and relish. My learning has been immense and it appears this journey is occurring at the right time in consideration of my passions and skills. Right now, my love of all things audiovisual, coupled with my desire and urgency to document all things audiovisual so that we can share this heritage from the past,¬† now and in the future has been ignited further with my studies. My passion for democratic access to information has been reinforced and my belief in freedom of expression has been reinforced with my belief in participatory culture that is evident in the world of Web 2.o. Beyond this, I believe in a free web, free of controls and surveillance and one that can encapsulate human rights as elaborated in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. These ideals, I have discovered are encapsulated in the ideals of Tim Berner’s Lee and his vision of the World Wide Web. See the following clips for some inspiration.

What is my point in this post, I ask myself (beyond passion!)… I suppose what I am trying to emphasise is that the world of information is not dying. It is part of our DNA (in fact our DNA is an example of information, Gleick (2011.) as it encodes and shapes who we as individuals and as a society are) We are information and the way we relate is information. No matter how we/they try to control, block or divert the information and the sources of information provision, information will find a way to flood and flow. It is not something we can control, divert or suppress…. Even with funding cuts!

Gleick, J, (May, 17 2011, 11am), Mornings with Margaret Throsby, ABC Classic fm accessed from http://www.abc.net.au/classic/throsby/stories/s3218973.htm

 

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Google+

Google has finally launched its social networking rival according to The Age with the article Google launches Facebook rival ‘Google+’ .¬† Judging by the activity in cyberspace, people have taken notice and interest. Funnily, when I saw the ‘Google+’ symbol appearing next to everything that comes up in a google search, at the bottom of youtube clips and elsewhere, I initially assumed it was just a ‘like’ tag that would link up to gmail or some other google service. The semantic web is becoming clearer by the moment as the demo highlights below with the ‘Sparks’ function. This is further elaborated in this Blogpost by Techcruch.

Here is the Demo

Some other articles of interest are Will the Google+ Project out Social Facebook by Laurrie Sullivan in Media Post News.

Somehow the launch has overshadowed the news that MySpace is about to be sold by Chris Crum in WebProNews.

However, I think Google may just have found its mojo to compete with the social networking sites afterall. They even make Sparks sound exciting as the following clip indicates.

However, I am still somewhat wary of the concept of the semantic web and still feel it has limitations. The following youtube clip sums up some of my sentiments on this particular issue.

 

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