Posts Tagged ‘Australia’

Together we are stronger – some highlights of ALIA 2014

September 21, 2014


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!)

Fun Things


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…


3D Printing

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 :

IMG_0820.JPGWinged 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


Interesting Things

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!

Inspiring things

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…


A Sydney reader – 10 classics to read before you visit

August 28, 2011

Thinking of Sydney? I’m off there soon and it got me wondering how my my view of that city has been shaped by its literature.  So here are 10 books selected from my own reading that will get you in the mood for a visit!

The fatal shore

The timeless land

No barrierStorm of time

The secret river

Seven little Australians

Playing Beatie Bow

  • Playing Beatie Bow / Ruth Park – children’s time travel adventure about love and family and growing up.  Read this before you visit The Rocks as most of the places in the book are still there…

Ride on stranger

  • Ride on stranger / Kylie Tennant – an early 20th century journey through a Sydney of con men and communists, radio and religion and the road to independence.  Sharp and funny.

The harp in the south

Women in black

I came to 5 of these from film or TV tie-ins – Seven little Australians, The timeless land trilogy and Playing Beattie Bow – with a very young Peter Phelps as Judah.  All my editions of these ones are tie-in editions with stills on the covers – adaptations do lead you back to the source material!

Oranges and Sunshine – Charity and Ghosts

June 17, 2011

Empty Cradles / Margaret HumphreysAround about 1994 I was browsing in New Edition bookshop in Fremantle and picked up a copy of Margaret Humphreys‘ book Empty Cradles.  I glanced at the beginning, began reading and was hooked.  I bought the book, took it home and read it straight through.  Now that compelling, horrifying, compasionate book has made it to the screen as the equally compelling, horrifying, compassionate film Oranges and Sunshine.

This is the story of the foundation of the Child Migrants Trust.  Of how, in 1986, Nottingham Social worker Margaret Humphreys’ work with adoptees led her to two women who’s lives had been devastated by forced child migration.  At first skeptical that Britain could’ve sent children across the world without parents or foster families, Margaret (Emily Watson), with the support of her husband Merv (Richard Dillane) works to find the women’s families.  To help them she visits Australia and makes the discovery that child migration affected more than just a handful of  children.  Her work snowballs as more and more “orphans” (as they were called, though many had parents living) come forward for assistance.  David Wenham and Hugo Weaving play Len and Jack, two of these damaged men, men who were promised the “Oranges and Sunshine” of the title, but for whom the reality was hardship and abuse.  Margaret and Merv’s lives are taken over  by the the quest to find the now grown children’s families before it is too late.Oranges and Sunshine

Directed by Jim Loach (son of Ken Loach) Oranges and Sunshine is a brilliant recreation of the mood of the book, the acting is understated, with Watson, Wenham and Weaving conveying worlds of emotion in the tiniest gesture.  My only quibble is that as a West Australian I had some trouble accepting Adelaide and South Australia as stand-ins for Perth and Western Australia (I had the same problem with Shine) but it’s not a criticism of this brilliant and moving film.

Margaret’s work for Child Migrants was recognised in Australia in 1993 when she was awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia, and in Britain this year (2011) when she received a CBE.  The West Australian Government apologised to Child Migrants for their treatment in 1998, the Australian Government in 2009, and the British Government in 2010.

Go and see Oranges and Sunshine – no Australian or Briton should miss it.

I’ll leave you with another moving tribute to Child Migrants, Charity and Ghosts by the Stillsons.

Sing Australia Tour of Victoria makes the Shepparton News!

November 8, 2010

I’ve been away at Sing Australia’s National Gathering in Melbourne (1300 attendees), followed by a Tour of Victoria (17 hardy souls 2 leaders, a driver and 3500km in a 24 seater minibus with luggage trailer!).  We managed to make the news in Shepparton! (We also were on the  Pride of the Murray when she became pride of Motown for the day – wait for the last few seconds of the clip). I had a good time but I was crook for most of the trip and wasn’t able to sing… ironic really!  Getting better now I’m home…

Shepparton News
05 Nov 2010


FACPA2010 – Fremantle Arts Centre Print Award 2010 Opening night

September 25, 2010
Fremantle Arts Centre Print Award 2010


Drawing is making marks that have meaning, drawing underpins our material culture,  drawing is for  perception,  drawing is for communication, drawing is for invention, drawing is for thinking…

– tomorrow is the launch of The Big Draw and on Radio National this morning, Fran Kelly interviewed Eileen Adams (Educational Leader of the Campaign for Drawing UK).  Down at the opening of FACPA2010 (the funky new name for the Fremantle Arts Centre Print Award 2010) I had the opportunity to see that what Eileen Adams said about drawing is just as true of printmaking.

It’s hard to get a good impression of a show on opening night – everything is new, there’s a big crowd and you have to peer around people who may be more interested in catching up with friends, there’s drink and food,  DJ Jens and Timothy Nelson and the Infidels were making music. This is just a first attempt to say what grabbed me and maybe I’ll  go back later for a more considered look.

This show is BIG in every way – many huge works, many works addressing big ideas, I like this, sometimes art shows can be a bit too intropective and theory driven but this is work that communicates and makes you think.

In spite of that, the winning work – Rebecca Beardmore’s Seeing between II – is more quiet, a work about perception?

There’s plenty of invention too – I loved Benjamin Forster’s Discourse 2010 with two receipt printers printing parallel dialogues from the works of Karl Marx and Adam Smith, meeting in a pile on the floor (and reminding me of Princess Melisande’s hair – how long before we are pushed out the gallery by an ever increasing pile of philosophy?)  Inventive also is Joel Galier’s Hwy Dreams 1 – a car tyre forms the block, printing:


on the gallery floor…

Susanna Castleden’s Perpetual Cruise Line at first seems to be a constellation chart but the resolves (I think) into a map – is it where the cruise lines go?  I think so…

Ben Rak’s After all it is never you who is unconscious uses dozens of paper bags… pixels in the grid of the bigger picture…

2010 Fremantle Arts Centre Print Award

FACPA2010 - opening night on flickr

There’s much much more that you’ll have to go and see for yourself, but I must mention a couple of concurrent exhibitions – previous winner Poppy Van Oord – Grainger’s 2002 winning work Watercolour paintings on the pavement in the upstairs Kathleen O’Connor Gallery is well worth revisiting and James Dodd’s sprawling Boab Inscriptions – across the upstairs gallery and a new gallery in the old Museum section – is a surprisingly effective response to the centuries of graffiti found on Boab trees in the Kimberley….  Don’t miss this work and more of the Print Award finalists in the newly opened galleries…

Hulbert Street Fiesta 2010 – the greenest street in Fremantle?

September 19, 2010

I think I’m pretty green, my friends think I’m pretty green, I:

Solar panels on my roof

Solar panels on my roof

  • Have a moderately passive solar house
  • Have solar panels on the roof  (and am in credit with the power company) and a solar desk light
  • When I have to buy new appliances I try to get more energy efficient ones
  • Turn off standby power at the wall and use timers and motion sensors on lights
  • Have a rain water tank for drinking and the vegies and manually reuse some grey water
  • Don’t possess a clothes dryer or airconditioning
  • Grow some of my own fruit and vegies (with varing success)
  • Have a worm farm and compost bin for food scraps
  • Catch the train to work and cycle or walk for short trips
  • Clean with microfibre and bicarb and vineagar
  • Buy much of my clothing from op-shops – and work on my reduce, reuse, recycling…
Hulbert Street Sustainbility Fiesta 2010 poster

Hulbert Street Sustainbility Fiesta 2010

…but I don’t have anything on the people of Hulbert St South Fremantle – today I went down and wandered through the third annual Hulbert Street Sustainability Fiesta.   Hulbert Street is a cul-de-sac for cars but you can enter at the top end by foot or bicycle and all the green goodness starts right there at The Painted Fish (sustainable accommodation in a seaside garden).   Tim and Shani started the popular eco accommodation in 2006 and their passion for sustainablity has flowed down through the street.  Each year green living and community spirit is celebrated by closing off the street, erecting booths and opening their homes and gardens to the rest of the world.  This was my first visit to the fiesta. (I’ve seen inside The Painted Fish before when visiting friends who were staying there and I often cycle down Hulbert St.)  So here are a few random observations from a first time Fiesta goer…

  • Entry by gold coin donation, please recycle the flyer, wrist stamp (suspect water based ink as it ran and I had to be careful not to transfer it to my white T-shirt!)
  • Music from a bee costumed bloke who incorporated whoever was passing into his song, and further down the street a buskers patch for community groups and locals
  • Vege growing – the Hulbert St mob grow vegies anywhere – in their own yards and guerilla gardens on the street.  Lots of stalls selling raised garden beds plus equipment and seedlings
  • Sustainable transport – cycles, electric bikes and modified cycles for sale in the stalls; billy carts, bicycles, scooters and the Freo motorised bathtub brigade (now solar powered) on the street
  • Sustainable power – Solar Shop had a booth, many houses had solar power and there were a few exercise bike set up to generate power with kids trying out how hard they had to pedal to power a small TV (and other appliances)
  • Food – home made, gluten free, fresh, raw – it was all there!  Thanks to the gluten-free lady for the free sample ginger and macadamia Wallaby bar, yum!
  • Lots of the houses were open – demo’s of sustainable living and artists studios but we were on our bikes and short of time so we didn’t visit.
  • Pre-loved everything – many books and clothes (I didn’t look closely as I was on the bike and hadn’t brought much money
  • Guerilla knitting at the Duoro Road exit!

There was much more to see – next year I’ll go on foot and take a bit more time – it’s definitely worth a visit!

Hulbert Street Sustainability Fiesta 2010 - a flickr set

Hulbert Street Sustainability Fiesta 2010 - a flickr set

Web 2.0 and Creative Commons – two events

September 3, 2010

Went to two presentations at work yesterday. 

ALIA Access 2010 logo

ALIA Access 2010


The first was a webcast from ALIA Access 2010 on Information literacy and Web 2.0 in libraries with presentations from  Louise Pieper at Gold Coast City Council and their online book club in the form of Book Coasters blog – we had some tech problems with the streaming but I gather it was an overt book club but also a covert Web 2.0, information literacy tool for staff and clients.  The next presentation was from Christopher Stephen at Read How You Want – a publisher who’s taken advantage of the long tail and publish-on-demand to re-publish books in tailored large print, e-pub, braille and audio formats for print handicapped customers and libraries.  Really neat niche operation that profit shares with the big publishers.  I was sorry to miss the third presentation on Online Learning and Web 2.0 from the session from Linda Barron at SLQ but I had to go to my next event for the day! 

Creative Commons Roadshow 2010

Creative Commons Roadshow 2010


The main show for the day was the Creative Commons Roadshow 2010, best described by them as: 

designed for those interested in finding out about CC for the first time, looking for an update on recent developments and the Australian Version 3.0 licences, or wanting to know how CC is being used by people in their local area 

Great presentations which I won’t recap here (the links in the description take you to the information), but I do want to capture some sites that were mentioned that caught my attention (listed here in no particular order, grabbed some of these on the iPhone as they were mentioned): 

There were a whole bunch more some of which I wrote down but I don’t have access to my notes right now, I’ll add them when I get a chance…
15/9/10 – Here are some more links (somewhat at random!):

Fable vs doco

January 21, 2009

Occasionally corny dialogue and outlandish co-incidences emphasise [the film’s] fable qualities.  Audiences expecting documentary-style realism do themselves a disservice.

The Weekend Australian January 17-18 Inquirer p. 17

Hmm, now which film could they be talking about? If you read my earlier post you might just think this is about Australia – but no, it’s Danny Boyle’s fabulous (in every sense of the word) film Slumdog MillionaireEvidently there’s some criticism in India of the negative/stereotypical portrayal of that country in this film.   Ah… prophets are always without honour in their own countries.  (And yes, I do know that Danny Boyle isn’t Indian, but in many ways Slumdog is an Indian film!)


January 12, 2009
Sun Pictures - Broome

Sun Pictures – Broome,
originally uploaded by Figgles1.

Last week I went with some family members to see Baz Luhrman’s epic Australia. The film’s been getting some pretty bad press here, but we thought we’d better go ‘cos we like Baz – Moulin Rouge is the only film I’ve seen three times in a cinema and I went from not being not too sure about it to loving it.  Aside from the usual tall poppy syndrome, it appears that Australia has failed to please those who want a quick hit – it’s a film you need to savour on its own terms.  My brother-in-law (who’s not famous for cultural analysis) came out of the cinema saying “do you think you’d see more things in it if you saw it again?”

Perhaps it’s worth looking at Baz Luhrmann as a quintessentially post-modern director:

postmodernists suggest that truth is no longer verifiable, and that new art forms are best created by freely mixing previous styles and themes.

If you look at Australia through this lens then it all makes sense – the use of pastiche (e.g. sweeping patriotic WWII pictures that I used to watch as a child as midday matinees on TV on summer days when it was too hot to go outside);  Jedda (the drover’s dog) – check the plot to the 1955 film Jedda and you’ll find a young Aboriginal child torn between cultures… ; the motif of Oz (Aus=Oz in Australian slang, there’s a thesis worth of history on this one!) the variations on Waltzing Matilda and other songs on the soundtrack on it goes…

Lots more quotes and references – I need to see the film again!  Should this be what a movie is about, a sort of giant puzzle?  Yes there is a lot to puzzle out but I think the film is bigger than that and should be seen and enjoyed and thought about.

Some other thoughts…

The other enjoyment is the scenery – filmed in the Kimberley and Bowen (Qld) between us we’d been to most locations.  You can’t visit the top end without bringing a part of the country back in your soul and anyone who has been there can’t fail to be moved by the grandeur recreated on screen (even if the King George River gorge was moved next door to the Bungle Bungles!)

Not historically accurate? Well, you may as well criticize Moulin Rouge for not accurately depicting the conditions of courtesans in Paris, we’re dealing with Baz, not Ken Loach!

Nicole Kidman?  I’d love to see her forehead move, these words kept coming to mind…

Faultily faultless, icily regular, splendidly null, Dead perfection; no more. — Tennyson.

(And this post isn’t the place to discuss how I know most of my Shakespeare and Tennyson from reading Agatha Christie and Dorothy Sayers!)

And finallly…

How about this juxtaposition of pre film ads (play them together for best effect)!

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