It’s always easy to have good intentions about blogging every day of a conference. But once the programme starts you find yourself sucked into a vortex of keynotes, daytime sessions, breakfast sessions, the conference dinner, catching up with old friends and colleagues, meeting new friends, chatting to exhibitors, scrounging stationary from said exhibitors, eating, drinking etc etc. Then all you have the energy to do when you return to your hotel room is empty that day’s goodies from your show bag, play with some of the ideas from the sessions, and then get some rest before the next days whirl begins.
So here I am, on the
third fourth day after the ALIA2014 conference finished, and all I’ve written up is the pre conference, self guided, walking tour of Melbourne CBD libraries.
Even since the conference finished things have been pretty full on, with a library coach tour and then two days of private sightseeing and activities.
Hence this post is a random collection impressions of what stuck out for me – more considered rumination may illuminate other things of significance (especially once the papers are up on the conference website!)
We had a puzzle to solve in the downstairs exhibition hall – a giant, pixilated Lego mural – to be filled square by square starting something like this…
I finally got to see a live demo of 3D printing in the exciting breakfast session Print your own workshop : intro to 3D design, printing and application run by my West Australian compatriot @edwardshaddow
We saw the delights that can be made by the experienced :
Winged Victory of Samothrace aka Nike
We saw an expandable bracelet being printed out:
We looked at TinkerCAD, browser based software for designing objects, and heard we may need Netfabb to analyse and fix the results!
We asked ourselves if we needed a 3D printer in our libarary and the answer was
yes!, no!, maybe, probably not…
I couldn’t use TinkerCAD on the iPad, and I hate missing out on the fun, so that night I downloaded the 123D Design app from the same publisher and made a basic TARDIS shape.
I was thrilled that a LibraryBox was set up to provide handouts and downloads – like a 3D Printer, I’d heard of Librarybox but never seen one in action.
I want all of this! (But as my mother would say “I want never gets!”).
Getting users back to the library via Wikipedia
Wikipedia is ubiquitous, and, like any encyclopaedia, it can be a good starting source, with the added disadvantage that it can be prone to vandalism. We learned how to lead Wikipedia users (especially undergraduate students) from Wikipedia to broader world of published resources?
US librarian John Mark Ockerbloom has created a simple bit of code that adds a Library Resources Box to Wikipedia articles. The box directs a search to any one of a number of libraries catalogues using VIAF or LC headings.
In their session Digital doorway: Gaining library users through Wikipedia, Andrew Spencer and Brendan Krige gave a live demonstration of adding this box to the article on Douglas Mawson:
I got so fired up by the simplicity of this that I spent way too much time that evening adding boxes to Wikipedia entries for J S Battye, Elizabeth Jolley, Tim Winton, Randolph Stow and Albert Facey. And I fiddled with the Douglas Mawson box to add links to books by him, online and in libraries…
A caveat – the box doesn’t show in the mobile version of Wikipedia – you need to be in the full site to see it.
Yes, copyright and fun in the same sentence! Trish Hepworth from the Australian Libraries Copyright Committee gave a packed out room the wildly entertaining romp Everything you ever needed to know about copyright – in 15 minutes which was followed by a passionate panel session Copyright and libraries: Practical challenges and innovative solutions.
Librarians are passionate about copyright reform and intellectual freedom so the crowd left the session ready to storm the copyright barricades bearing the banner of Fair Use!
(Backstory of this image here)
And of course the Melbourne Laneway themed conference dinner
Using the Guidebook app to arrange your conference schedule. Once we’d got the hang of the venue the app made it a cinch to work out where you had to be next (and if you switched streams you got plenty of exercise as there was a goodly walk between the meeting rooms!)
Why did I not already know about the Australian Government Web Archive? Fortunately Allison Dellit enlightened us. It is still in its early stages, but goodness, it promises to be a treasure! Although the name needs to change – AGWA is already used by the Art Gallery of Western Australia.
I learned to look at the ANBD (Australian National Bibliographic Database) in a different way – thanks to Monika Szunejko’s paper Building Our Australian Cloud. We librarians have been doing cloud computing before the term was invented!
Things you should avoid
Populating PowerPoint slides with detailed screenshots of Exel spreadsheets and then looking at them in surprise and saying something like “oh, sorry, you can’t really read this”. Your presentation is supposed to attract our attention and make us want to read the detail later…
Ploughing on with your presentation when the session chair has rung the time bell (twice!)
Fortunately these were the exceptions!
As told by my tweets…
Keynote by Roly Keating (BL CEO) – The British Library in a globalised world
Marie Ostergaard (Aarhus Public Libraries) – Dokk1 : a performative library space? – lots about design thinking!
Keynote by Susan Benton (President and CEO Urban Libraries Council) – The essential collaboration.
Keynote by Dr Marianne Broadbent (Managing Partner NCS Global) – Building professional and personal leadership capabilities.
Majella Pugh (UQ) – Yes we can! Communicating library value to a parent body.
Cheryl Hamill, accepting the award of Fellow of ALIA.
What was it?
We didn’t quite finish our Lego mural, but it’s guardians put in all the coloured base plates to give us this result…
And finally, thanks to the ALIA Committee for the work putting the conference together, to the staff at the Pullman for the food and service, and to the exhibitors for all the fun freebies and giveaways…