Saturday, September 29, 2007

Investigating flickr

#flickr 5 - Signing up to flickr was not difficult though it was a nuisance having to open yet another email account - more passwords!

Eight of the images from the Ballarat trip were added to flickr and placed in a folder named, not surprisingly, Ballarat. The images display well in the four sizes provided. Editing information about the images was also not difficult once I became used to the site and its arrangement. The images looked good in the slideshow.

Emailing the images also worked without a problem, including forwarding the email to another address.

#flickr 6 - I spent some time looking at (playing with) some of the flickr mashups and tools including playing with the colours in Colr Pickr.

Mappr would not open on any of the computers I tried and Montagr is a complete mystery with no apparent instructions on how to use it.

However I did use Mosaic Maker - - to combine the group of Ballarat images into one image. Up to 36 images can be combined in the one block.

Experimented using different options for arranging images in mosaics and then combined the mosaics into one image. With proper planning it would be possible to create an interesting montage of images using this tool.

Trading Card - - was also used to place an image in a card. It took some experimentation to get the section of the image to be included in the card correct - the first few attempts resulted in headless children which was unfortunate however I eventually realised that leaving a wide border around the image to appear in the card should allow the central image to survive when cropped.

All in all this was an interesting exercise. Flickr is a useful resource for sharing images on the web people with lots of spare time on their hands are developing tools for imaginative display and utilisation of the images.

I also joined Picture Australia People Places and Events Group and posted an image.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Progress so far

The previous two posts in the blog allowed me to experiment with blog features including adding images, editing html and generally working with layouts for displaying information. Posting information on the blog is not difficult and there are interesting ways of displaying the text, especially when images are used. Although the images can be dragged and dropped into position I found it easier to use the edit html tab and then cut and paste the text to position it. I also edited some of the code - for example when urls did not always appear as hyperlinks in the Investigating flickr section.

Blogs are useful tools for sharing information, especially ongoing information, with others who may be interested. They could be a useful addition to a website for quickly providing latest information on an event or the report of an activity that you may not want to include in the formal website. The ability to comment on postings allows for interactivity in the sharing and acquiring of information.

Next step flickr....

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Ballarat Adventure - Day Two

Another day of exploring Ballarat and its collecting institutions. Our point of departure was the Sovereign Hill Lodge where some of the group had stayed overnight.

Into our bus and off to the first stop, Ballarat University Archives where Clare showed us the collection and spoke of their future plans. A large section of the collection is the archive of the Ballarat School of Mines, established in 1870. The Geoffrey Blainey Mining Collection is also housed as part of the collection. Material relating to other former institutions, including Ballarat Teachers' College and Ballarat CAE is also held in the archive.

A short walk to the State Library's new storage facility where the newspaper collection is stored as well as runs of most journals prior to 1976, some manuscripts, maps and objects are stored. Figures of 13 km of newspaper storage and 6 km of manuscripts storage were mentioned. There is also a large object storeroom.

It is an incredible experience walking past racks and racks of newspapers from Australia and overseas. The major collection is Victorian metropolitan and suburban and country newspapers but there is also a large collection of interstate newspapers and an extensive overseas newspaper collection, especially older newspapers. Being particularly interested in The Argus it was moving to see all those years and physical volumes of reporting collected in one space. When exploring this facility members of the group disappeared to investigate the newspapers held relating to their local area.

Tim explained that items from this collection have to be ordered via the State Library and at present can only be viewed in the library.

Lunch and then to the Gold Museum where Roger provided a quick tour of the museum before taking us on a tour behind the scenes. Most group members remarked that they would need to return on another occasion and explore the museum displays properly when they had more time.

Roger showed us the different storage areas for collection items and also spoke of the museum's reliance on and work with volunteers. The museum also houses the collection of the Ballarat Historical Society.

On the 1st January part of the storage area was flooded and Roger described the experience of salvaging items and the extent of the water damage. The irony of water intrusion on a collection in the middle of a drought was not missed.

A quick stop at the gift shop at the museum - a major source of museum funds - and then back to Ballarat Station for the trip home to Melbourne.

During the two days fourteen librarians (some could only attend one day) from Melbourne and regional library services were involved in this tour of Ballarat collecting institutions. It was a great opportunity to have an introduction to the range of institutions collectively recording the history of Ballarat and the surrounding area. We also had the opportunity to view other important collections relating to the history of Victoria held by these organisations.

The other important outcome was the networking that occurred during the two days of shared experiences. As one person remarked at the dinner on Thursday - It is good to be able to talk about issues with people who understand. During the many discussions that took place during the two days it was obvious that we all face the same challenges in ensuring that the local history and genealogy collections in our areas are accessible to the public.

History collections in Ballarat are scattered throughout organisations but such dispersal of collections occurs in most localities - the important task is to ensure that researchers can easily locate and have access to the material they need.

At the end of the two days it was unanimous that we should start planning our next local studies adventure.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Ballarat Adventure - Day One

The train left Spencer Street (yes, I know it has been renamed Southern Cross) Station at 9.08 for Ballarat where a group of local studies librarians from various parts of Victoria were to meet for two days of exploring organisations with local history related collections in that city.

Five of us travelled together in the first carriage on the train and the first topic of discussion was "Have you created your blog, yet?" Blogs and Library 2.0 crept into discussions a number of times during the two days.

At Ballarat Station we were met by Edith who drove us to the public library at Ballarat where we met other members of the group who had arrived on other trains or had driven to Ballarat. The streetscape of Ballarat is impressive including a number of the buildings dating back to the second half of the nineteenth century.

At the library Edith showed us the Australiana Collection with its extensive collection collection of books on Australian history as well as the library's local history for the Ballarat region, including correspondence and documents, notes used by Weston Bate when writing his book on the history of Ballarat, scrapbooks of articles, as well as a collection of military history, the Richmond Collection of photographs and the MV Anderson collection of art books.

Betty and Joan from the Genealogical Society then spoke about their extensive collection of items stored in the Australiana room as well as the projects undertaken by the society.

After lunch we visited the Old Ballarat Cemetery where Neva was our guide introducing us to some of the stories relating to the grave sites that help recall Ballarat's history.

The Ballarat Fine Art Gallery was our next stop where we saw some of the items from the collection of print material held by the gallery as well as the extensive new storage area for paintings and other collection items.

The final visit for the day was to the Ballaarat Mechanics' Institute, established in 1859, where Frank provided a guided tour of the library and the magnificent building which is currently being renovated.

Dinner at the North Britain Hotel provided further opportunity for discussing what we had seen during the day, the variety of projects being undertaken in regard to local history and genealogy in Victorian public libraries and generally networking in a friendly, relaxed environment. Libraries 2.0 was mentioned once or twice during the evening as well.

Day One had demonstrated that collections of material relating to Ballarat's history are distributed in many collecting institutions in the city and the exploration of such collections continued on the second day.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Still crawling

The past few days have been spent checking out the features under the tabs and exploring the options. More thinking than action so far though I have changed the time setting to EST.

My special interest is using technology to preserve and promote local history. At the Museums Australia Conference in Canberra in May a number of the papers in the technology section discussed the use of Web 2.0 tools to engage with the public when constructing websites. These online exercises will be a great chance to explore blogs, wikis and podcasts etc, not only how to use them as librarians assisting the public but to consider how they can be used to improve the experience of people visiting the websites of our organisations. At the end of these exercises we should also be better able to communicate with our children who have no problems using technology.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

First step

Well, I have created a blog - more user names and passwords to remember! Still I guess that having a blog space really brings me into the twenty first century.

I look forward to learning about, learning to use and experimenting with these new web features - well most of them are new to me anyway.