Friday, July 25, 2008


Another one of those tools which needs a truckload of extra time to mine the goodies, but even a short trip through it has thrown up some useful stuff. I was trying to work on the Next Reads Romance newsletter today (till the editor stopped working), and have found some sites via that should help out - being able to skim through other people's readers' advisory links gave me at least three review sites, one of which looks particularly good. It has some great mini essays on the appeal of various romance themes such as 'undercover agents', 'time travel', and 'dressing like a male', along with recommended titles for each theme. Should be useful for future Next Reads special features!
I've also found a good resource for graphic novels RA that looks like it's worth a read through.
I agree with catatonia that is not particularly inspiring looking, though. Fairly utilitarian. And maybe could do with some other search features, like being able to sort a tagged list by something other than date? Or maybe this is possible and I just haven't explored enough.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

ideas wiki

Kelly's making an ideas wiki to gather in the ideas people are coming up with as part of the training, great! I see the odd comment in people's blogs about something new they think we can make, provide or do for (or even better, with!) our customers, and that's a big part of what we should be getting from this training. We could start gathering some links together from libraries who are already doing some of this stuff, too, because there are some great examples out there.

I was reading Debra's graphic novel draft report yesterday and thinking that there's a world of stuff we could be doing to make the website more dynamic and involving - make some pages that are great springboards into communities of activity on the web. It's partly going to be a matter of breaking down the old model of our online resources as *just* a portal for our databases. I love the wiki model of combining different 'strands' - reader reviews, both from our staff/customers, and from sites that specialise in reviewing a type of material (such as graphic novels); relevant databases, and any help we can give people to make their use easier; web links, from the smallscale and local (local anime/manga clubs?) to the big, international and communal (Anime News Network, sites for fan art, manga publishers etc.); links to our stock showcasing new titles; links to online comics; rss feeds from publishers, reviewers etc.; galleries of art submitted by our customers - and all decorated with artwork from online artists... We can make something really pretty and vibrant, and, I think, with minimal upkeep from us. Though Kelly's right, and part of the set-up will have to involve doing some work to build or tap into the online community.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

flickr colours july 20

So dreamful
So dreamful,
originally uploaded
by convexstyle.
originally uploaded
by ifou331.
originally uploaded
by jolom.

Friday, July 18, 2008

flickr colours july 18th

Canna Leaf
Canna Leaf,
originally uploaded
by PondMonkee.
Baikal laike 36/ 07.12
Baikal laike 36/ 07.12,
originally uploaded
by vrd99.
originally uploaded
by mayotic.

originally uploaded
by dgeertsema.

The peace of the senses

The peace of the senses

Something about this just makes me happy. I wish there was some sun out there somewhere so I could sit in ovine contentment, too. (Ovine? Or is that egg-like?)

The peace of the senses,originally uploaded by My World Gallery.

Monday, July 14, 2008

following the scent

An interesting article in Blog Without A Library today - notes on a seminar on web design and 'scent' - some new ways to think about how people navigate through your website. I know we've got some harder-to-find sections of our website at the moment, like the content that's would up conglomerated in 'Help & FAQ', which will be good to straighten out at the next go-round of redesign.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

a couple more flickrs

originally uploaded
by htc0125.
originally uploaded

...and a link to return to, more research about libraries and Second Life: Margaret Ostrander's Second Life Research Journal.

flickr colours july 12-13

wild horses
wild horses,
originally uploaded
by yedman.

originally uploaded
by A.Kuzminski.
(F)Wivenhoe low tide
(F)Wivenhoe low tide,
originally uploaded
by nikonf4s.
The Book
The Book,
originally uploaded
by nrantala.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

flickr colours july 11th

blue & green
blue & green,
originally uploaded
by adals.

blue curve
blue curve,
originally uploaded
by adals.
St. Denis
St. Denis,
originally uploaded
by Susan Moss.

Thursday, July 10, 2008


Using wikis to create online communities was a good overview for me re libraries and wikis. I know the general concept, but apart from using Wikipedia as a fast place to check pop culture type 'facts' (Who DID win this series of America's Next Top Model'?) I don't use wikis much at the moment.

The St. Joseph subject guides are lovely; check out the Genealogy page. It includes links to e-resources, with info about whether you need a library card to use them, and a guide for using each of them; local, regional and national genealogy links; how to guides for searching for different common types of genealogy info. It's a neat way of pulling together all the online sources of information into an easy-to-use whole, and also being able to duplicate some of the common reference query answers in online form. I also liked an example I saw elsewhere where they had a video file of a reference answer on the wiki. I can really see some great uses for this kind of tool on our website; maybe an exciting way forward for supporting our research and reference staff! Or maybe I'm just a wiki geek.

Of course, if we did something like this, we'd make it look prettier and more colourful-like, to keep people like Catatonia happy, so it doesn't look so much like learnin' and stuff...

I'd also like to see some kind of ability for staff and customers to review our library material, maybe on a wiki of some kind. I've been requesting a lot more since Next Reads started, and I get to the end of a book and often want to finish with some feedback about what I thought of it, and at present we don't have any way outside of the reading programmes to feed back a review. I gather there's some sort of initiative going on with Outreach to create some kind of readers' advisory resource down the track - would be good to hear more about that.

Update: According to Paul, Outreach are indeed thinking about ways to get more of a two-way conversation going with our readers out there, and will be looking at ways to encourage and display online reviews in future, as we take on board new features such as Next Reads and readers' advisory training. Watch this space.

flickr colours july 10th

Copper River
Copper River,
originally uploaded
by natureluv.
originally uploaded
by Daniel-Pierce.
Macro of Morning Glory
Macro of Morning Glory,
originally uploaded
by Patio3900.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008


Working on thing #10, I tried to create a Flickr slideshow of the Manukau Learning 2.0 tagged photos in flickr, and though it worked on the site that provided the code, as soon as I add it to the blog it throws up a random selection of images that have nothing to do with my choices... so, it's a slideshow, it's just not MY slideshow.
I have to admit that the image manipulation is not so much my thing. I like it when I'm making stuff for the website, but trying to think of things to do to my new photo of Clint (see previous post) leaves me scratching my head. So help yourselves, if anyone else wants to use Clint's radiant orange image for your own... experimentation...
As someone who used to collect paint charts and theatre lighting gels, I do like all the sites out there that allow you to browse flickr images by colour. Flickr Color Pickr didn't work on my pc, and worked intermittantly on my staff pc - I found refreshing the page seemed to get it going again, when Web Marshal had a tizzy. I'm just trying Multicolor Search Lab which allows you to pick up to 10 colours, and displays increasingly colourful flickr matches as you add colour by colour. Some of the photos are just so sumptuous. (left) plastic-chunks005.jpg mmm so pretty.

As a third-party search tool for flickr, I like this: Compfight. It makes nice thumbnails and vets for 'interestingness'.

Friday, July 4, 2008


Posted a handful of photos of LCS to flickr, to the shared 'manukaulearn' account, and looking forward to see what others will upload!

librarything on our catalogue

As mentioned yesterday, here are a couple of screenshots of what it would look like if we had descriptive tags from LibraryThing added to each title on our library catalogue. Click on the images to see a larger version.

1) Do a search on the catalogue, as normal, and click on a title to open that record.
This is what you'd see; take a look at the orange tags appearing in the right-hand sidebar.

2) 'fables', you think, hmm, what else have we got by way of fables? So you click on the 'fables' tag, and a new window

3) Now, you can either click on any of the tags on the left to do more exploring by tag, or click on any of the titles on the right, to open that record and see what Manukau holds. And now that the tags are scoped, all of the titles appearing on the right should have at least one Manukau holding.

good stuff overload

Too much! One of the effects of this course is that I'm reading waaay more online than I ever did before, and coming across new ideas at a much faster rate. Coupled with the fact that I've got three months left before maternity leave, it's leaving me with an urgent sense of shrinking time to maybe start putting some of these ideas into practice.

This blog seems like a useful place to park ideas I want to come back to, whether or not it does actually provide an archive I'm going to check back on.

Today's contribution to the pool of too much:

An article about ways in which libraries are using Twitter, which is a website where people can post teeny tiny posts as frequently as they can stand to do it, giving updates on where they are and what they're doing. Or, as Twitter describes itself:

"Twitter is a service for friends, family, and co–workers to communicate and stay connected through the exchange of quick, frequent answers to one simple question: What are you doing?"

The article links to a site called TwitterLit, which describes it's mission in this way:

"It's a site that serves up literary teasers twice daily. At 5:00 AM and 5:00PM Eastern Time I post the first line of a book, without the author's name or book title, but with a link to Amazon so readers can see what book the line is from. Why? Because it's fun! The posts are also available for subscription via RSS, Twitter, and email."

It also has a widget for adding to your blog, so that the first lines display on your blog's sidebar... but sadly both the flash and javascript versions don't seem to work on our staff PCs. I've added the RSS of the UK version to Bloglines, but I'd like to see if I can get the widget working, if only on the Learn.nets or at home.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

some finds from rss

Just pulling in my rss lines to see what's biting, and found a couple of articles to think about later on... in my copious spare time...

'Make your own headlines' includes a comparison chart of various big rss reader sites, which compares features of Bloglines and others.

What I Learned Today has a write-up on a talk about combining rss and javascript to create dynamic subject pages on your library website - the article also contains a link to the presentation itself, along with tools, slides and handouts. I love the way library people love to share information. "Why not use some of the tools mentioned to create a dynamic page that pulls news, journal updates, and new books from RSS feeds?" Sounds pretty cool. I'm sure we could think of some use for those kind of tools.

We got some great news today - there's an eLGAR project looking at adding LibraryThing tags into the OPAC, which didn't go ahead earlier on account of the tags being unscoped (and the catalogue being scoped), which lead to the situation where anything interesting you clicked on was likely held by Auckland or North Shore, but not usually by Manukau. Well, they've recreated the trial on the test server, in a scoped version, so anything you see should be held by us. Yay! For those who don't get to see the trial, what this means is that when you do a search on the catalogue, a little cloud of 'tags' appear in the right-hand sidebar of the screen next to each title you look at - these tags might, for example, be things like 'mystery', 'cat-lovers', 'funny story', 'ceramics'... any way that regular people have chosen to describe a particular book, basically. The idea being that it's kind of like people off the street have catalogued your book's subjects, using language non-cataloguers might use. You can then click on any of those tags to see what else we've got that falls into that category. I'll put up a screenshot tomorrow so you can see what it might look like.

gathering moss

Rollyo is now unblocked, but I haven't really found anything particularly useful to do with it. I tried making a search box to search online images from a handful of online art galleries and art print sites, but a search on the roll turned up lots of rubbish as well as the kind of thing I was looking for. Also, because there seemed to be no way to actually return thumbnail images, it wasn't the world's most useful image search.
One of the existing searchrolls, for food and recipes, was quite nice. Looks like a text search works better than an image search. What might work a bit better is taking an existing searchroll and modifying it with additional sites as required. It really does look like there are a lot of rolls already included with some of the core sites I might have picked anyway - just did a test search for 'anime', for example. It's easy enough to see how it works, but I'm not 100% enjoying the search results page; for whatever reason, there is often a lot of repetition in results from the same site, there are irrelevant sponsored links from advertisers, and Rollyo adds in a search of the entire web to each searchroll (if you can delete this, I haven't found out how).

Kelly recommends a possible alternative called 'Ning' which I'll check out sometime.

Just thought that another way to use Rollyo might be to look up a subject of interest, and see what other folks consider the definitive sites - probably quite a good discovery tool.

being a kitchen

Every day I get emailed the 'Library Link of the Day' and Tuesday's article has some ideas I like:

'...libraries should be “more and more a place to do stuff, not just to find stuff. We need to stop being a grocery store and [start] being a kitchen.”
She added one “wild card,” suggesting that, as baby boomers age, a societal emphasis on wellness and health will increase: “I think there’s an under-optimized play on the library as a way to keep your brain alive. We’re a massive Alzheimer’s prevention program.”'

Later in the article, Stephen Abram, SirsiDynix’s VP of Innovation, suggests libraries keep a wiki recording ideas for programmes, so we don't have to keep making everything from scratch. I'd be interested to know what people think of the idea, especially after we hit week 5, wiki week?

Here's the article, 'At Session on the Future of Libraries, a Sense of Urgency' by Norman Oder, online at

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

librarythings and failing to roll

I joined LibraryThing a while back, while I was on maternity leave and for some reason sizzling with energy for Doing Stuff (painting, cooking, craft... cataloguing?!), so I've already got a lot of stuff in my library there. Makes it handy for browsing in 2nd-hand bookshops, if you can check whether or not you already have a title - at least, that would be the theory if I ever kept my cellphone charged for making with the checking.
Just added the 'widgets' to my sidebar; a random selection of 10 from my 'library', and a search box. I like seeing the 10 random titles pop up - it's like a drive-by friendly wave from a mixed bunch of folk (some you really like, some you barely remember).

The LibraryThing pic below is a link to my catalogue. Looks like all of this stuff seems to work okay on the

Rollyo is blocked on the, though, so it's off to Michael. Re Rollyo, I can't immediately think of anything in particular I'd use it for, but it possibly has some good uses for the website. We could again apply that librarianly talent for selection of trusted resources, and create 'mini-web' search engines for our public. For example, maybe we gather a handful of sites where teen books are reviewed, and make a search box for the Teen pages on our site. I guess in terms of functionality it might work a bit like the way on the Internet Movie Database you end up with a page full of movie trailers from different sites? Have to see how it works when it gets let past the WebMarshal sentinel.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

ah wordle

so purty... this is a sample using the poem 'Goblin Market' by Christina Rossetti:

library blogs

Found three more useful-looking library blogs last night via Technorati:

Tame the Web: "TTW deals with libraries, technology and people - and the fascinating intersection between all three. How do we use technology to further the library’s mission? How do we use technology to learn? What are innovative libraries and librarians doing to explore this realm?"
There's a link there to a paper that looks interesting, 'Virtual World Libraries: Challenges and Strategies' by Timothy Greig. There are also links to an earlier paper of his about digital libraries, which looks at what digital libraries can learn from online games such as World of Warcraft.

What I Learned Today: "Web 2.0 and programming tips from a library technology enthusiast, What I Learned Today… covers blogs, rss, wikis and more as they relate to libraries." Has many library-related links, and includes some tag-clouds generated by Wordle ("a toy for generating “word clouds” from text that you provide."). Note: Wordle doesn't seem to work on a work pc OR on the Learn.nets, boo.

LibraryTechNZ: "Experience and thoughts from some library tech folk." (This blog is run by staff at the National Library of New Zealand Te Puna Mātauranga o Aotearoa.)
All sorts of stuff, from links to studies on social networking behaviour, to papers on designing next-generation library catalogues.