EOM

Don’t you love acronyms? They are useful if you know what they mean and if you are communicating with others who know the same ones. They exist across the range of human subjects and are specific to their own topics. If you don’t know what an acronym stands for then they are as useful as if someone spoke to you in a foreign language.

EOM is commonly used in emails in the local government organisation where I worked for the last four years. And in that time I never knew what it meant. It’s significance seemed unimportant, so I was never prompted to ask.

End Of Message! Superfluous perhaps. It was commonly used in the subject line of an email when there is no content in the body of the email. For example, “Email subject: Leftover sandwiches in staff room. EOM”

On my last day I received a phone call from a local newspaper reporter asking me questions about why I was leaving. I told him that it was because I was going to care for my father who is failing quickly with Mesothelioma. I reminded him that he needed to go through the usual Council communication channels. Prompted by his enquiry I wrote a media release and sent it through to the Council media person. It had not occurred to me that this would be of any interest to the local community. It was published in the newspaper under the cute heading “Portland Library Manager turns the page“.

EOM

20131130-095255.jpg

Advertisements

Happy snaps

I have just studied the subject Creating and Preserving Digital Content through Charles Sturt University for the successful completion of the Master of Information Studies. And it has got me thinking….

All of those family photos held in a variety of forms in a variety of containers need some sorting. There are old printed photographs in photo albums and in boxes. There are digital photographs that reside in cameras, phones, devices, SD cards, CD’s, and computers. There are digital copies of photos sitting in random digital file folders on computers. And we keep producing more each day adding to the digital heap.

So now I know how to go about organising all of this stuff, I need the time to actually sit down and apply myself to the mammoth task of sorting it out.

Once I comprehend the enormity of the task I begin to ask myself – why? For what purpose? Who cares? How many photographs of wind-swept beach scenes are too many?

Then there is the question of the integrity of the captured image: if a filter is applied to an image from a Smartphone app then this should be noted in the metadata or description. But that adds another level of tedium to the task, and yet if it is not done then what does that say about the authenticity of the resulting image. Is it then art or photography? Or both?

The notion of transience emerges too when considering the purpose of such an exercise. With ease and speed of connected social media channels through smart devices, a photo shared across networks among friends and family is enjoyed for the moment, in the context of that moment, and then swept into the ever-moving stream of data creation. Sure it is still ‘there’ somewhere in the digital ether, waiting to be retrieved for future embarrassment; like a baby photo shown by smirking parents at their child’s 21st birthday party. Other than for nostalgic amusement, is there value in spending so much time and effort in sorting out the family photos for ‘the future’?

I can hear the archivists and historians stirring on their leather chairs, leaning forward, fingers cracking, ready to post a heart-felt reply. I welcome it because I need a good reason to justify this effort.

The term ‘digital dark age’ was used in Creating and Preserving Digital Content to illustrate a possible scenario where data is lost through poor preservation techniques. I get it. I wrote an essay about it, elaborately describing the scenes from the original movie version of The Time Machine, where the vacuous stares of the future Eloi people are the result of lost knowledge from crumbling pages in books left to decay.

I appreciate the words of former Prime Minister Harold Holt at the Stone Ceremony March in 1966:

We cannot understand the present or plan for the future without the knowledge of the past.

danielle_susan_margaret_alice_1984And yet significant family portraits containing four females spanning four generations might be worthy of preservation for sharing amongst immediate and future family members, but how many “selfie’s” must we have to delete before we gain a representative portrait of one individual.

My thoughts are a jumble between process, content, and value. The process is complex and needs to be worked out to establish some kind of system that works and fulfills preservation standards. The content contains so many variables and raises questions about authenticity. The value is difficult to judge because it is not easy to project into the minds of some future person and decide if this image is worth the effort of the time invested in preserving it.

This article about one family’s preservation project describes some of these issues with a heart-warming narrative and a positive outcome, but concluding that it is “never done.”

My aim is to begin. I have the relevant information about how to approach the task. I have a large external hard-drive. I will gather the photos in all forms. I will start sorting, naming, describing, storing, backing-up, and hopefully one day in the future I will have some kind of result that’s purpose will be apparent.

In the words of Francis Kilvert, as quoted from this article: Digital Curation and the Citizen Archivist by Richard Cox:

Why do I keep this voluminous journal? I can hardly tell. Partly because life appears to me such a curious and wonderful thing that it almost seems a pity that even such a humble and uneventful life as mine should pass altogether away without some record such as this.

Cox, R. J. (2009). Digital Curation and the Citizen Archivist. Digital Curation: Practice, Promises & Prospects. pp. 102-109. http://d-scholarship.pitt.edu/2692/

42 Aussie Librarian Bloggers in 2013

In 2011, I began an investigation into Australian Librarian bloggers: how many could I locate online; who were they; what sector did they work in; the topics they posted about; and the overall look and feel of their blog. I was interested in individuals and did not want to investigate the blogs of library organisations. So I narrowed the field to the personal blogs of Australian Librarians. While I did include librarians from tertiary academia, I narrowed the field by not including the blogs by teacher librarians situated in primary or secondary school libraries. I also added 14 Librarian bloggers from overseas just to provide a measure of comparison.

After a quick and dirty Google search I located Libraries Interact where there is a list of Australian Librarian bloggers. Of these, in 2011, many were already inactive after running out of steam following the 23 Things training. There were other lists and indexes I stumbled across and I soon listed 66 active Australian librarian bloggers. Although my list did include many of the active bloggers from the Libraries Interact list, it also included others not on that list. I looked for the names of the bloggers and their twitter links. I tried to ascertain the library sector that they worked in. I read about their favourite topics and attempted to evaluate the content by gauging them against a content rubric that I created for the task.

Some bloggers like to write book reviews; some like to talk about their experiences answering customer’s questions; others like to pass on information about technology; some vent; some show their creative talents in the kitchen or with crafts; holidays are popular topics; most were personal; and many were superficial. My five-smile rating 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂  was a rare gem indeed on my incomplete list.

I was searching for relevant, interesting, deep, and meaningful content. I wanted to hear opinion. And while there is much great content from our bloggers, one stood out – It’s Not About The Books by Hugh Rundle. Good on you Hugh! Hugh continues to boldly post thought-provoking and challenging articles that are written with excellence. He embeds relevant links thoughtfully. He sets the bar high and is a fine example for anyone wanting to lift their own efforts to a new level; myself included.

So I have once again reviewed the list on Libraries Interact. Of the 58 bloggers listed under personal blogs of Aussie Librarians only 27 are still active (46.5%). Of the 66 Aussie Librarians on my list that were active in 2011, 46 bloggers have posted content in the last year; and only 36 in the last 4 months. (69% still active). Of the 14 blogs from overseas all are still active.

Here is my list of Aussie Librarians who are active bloggers:

1 A Chivas Regal Moment @CatyJ
2 Alyson in Library Land @alysondalby
3 A work in progress @fionareadersrr
4 Ballarat Library Chick @gemmas1980
5 Better than cheesecake @susannenewton
6 Biblio Turismo @Biblioturismo
7 Blog Fest at Tiffany’s @LibrarianCat
8 Book boy @bookboy
9 Bronwyn’s Library Blog @pivotalbooks
10 Connecting Librarian @michelleamclean
11 Digital Collaboration @SusanMyburgh
12 explodedlibrary.info @explodedlibrary
13 Feral Library Tales @kalgrl
14 From Melbin @malbooth
15 Girl in Landscape @wateryone
16 Hecuba’s Story @polyxena
17 HeyJudeOnline @heyjudeonline
18 Hmmm @Kridwyn
19 Inn0vate @petahopkins
20 It’s not about the books @HughRundle
21 JayGee Library Log @jaygee35
22 Jenelle Net @jenelle
23 Langridgep @langridgep
24 Librarian Hoi @librarianhoi
25 Librarians Matter @libsmatter
26 Library Dreamings @VesnaC
27 Macaronic @jobeaz
28 Opinions from an OPL @newgradlib
29 Pixelated Mushroom @pixelmushroom
30 Ramblibrarian @boycetrus
31 Ramblings from yet another Librarian @katejf
32 Read Watch Play Participate @ellenforsyth
33 reeling and writhing @mulberry_road
34 Ruminations @flexnib
35 Shallowreader’s Blog @VaVeros
36 Shelterit @shelterit
37 snail @snailx
38 Stained Glass Waterfall @warrencheetham
39 Sues Bent @suesbent
40 The Land of the Surprising Pun @librarianidol
41 There she goes @stephmcg
42 Thoughts and Reflections @shewgirl

And the list of Library bloggers from overseas:

1 Annoyed Librarian @LibraryJournal
2 Circulating Ideas @circideas
3 David Lee King @davidleeking
4 Free Range Librarian @kgs
5 Librarian by Day @bobbinewman
6 Librarian in Black @TheLib
7 Librarian Net @jessamyn
8 Phil Bradley @Philbradley
9 Self-plagarism is style @daveyp
10 Stephen’s Lighthouse @sabram
11 Swiss Army Librarian @SwissArmyLib
12 Tame the Web @mstephens7
13 The Shifted Librarian @shifted
14 Virtual Dave @rdlankes

P.S. This list is not complete in an online world that is constantly changing, but if you are an Australian Librarian who writes a blog and your blog is not listed here and you would like it to be, then please leave a comment below.