A calendar page for January

Calendar pages for January, Hours of Joanna of Castile, Bruges, between 1496 and 1506, Additional 18852, ff. 1v-2

Another year and another set of calendars!

I have always enjoyed choosing the ‘right’ calendars to see me through another year, and now I also enjoy  making my calendars from previous year’s holiday pics using iPhoto.

Calendars are part of our cultural and artistic history, and well worth exploration. Calendars with illuminations and other miniatures are often found in manuscripts from the medieval era, and particularly in Books of Hours or other texts intended for individual owners. The Book of Hours often begins with a calendar, with the entry for each month spread across two folios.  The listings of saints days and feast days are surrounded by intricate miniatures depicting a variety of labours for each month.

The most significant feasts or celebrations are often written in gold or red ink (hence the phrase ‘red letter days’). Along with listing these important dates, many medieval calendars (particularly later ones) include a miniature of the relevant sign of the zodiac, as well as a scene of the ‘labour of the month.’

In an ongoing series on the Medieval and Earlier Manuscripts blog, you will have the opportunity to take a closer look at images from medieval calendars. This year, the featured calendar comes from the ‘Golf Book’, a mid-sixteenth-century Book of Hours (Additional MS 24098; soon to be featured on Digitised Manuscripts). The calendar pages in the Golf Book are spread across two pages, with the first page for each month somewhat unusually reserved for a full-page miniature.  In the foreground of the opening January scene (above) is a man splitting wood for a fire, assisted by a woman close by.  Behind them a man and his wife, who is nursing an infant, can be seen in their home, warming themselves by the fire.

Calendar page for January, from the Golf Book (Book of Hours, Use of Rome), workshop of Simon Bening, Netherlands (Bruges), c. 1540, Additional MS 24098, f. 18v

For me, there is a direct  link between calendars, libraries, and medieval manuscripts such as the Book of Hours! My very first library clerical job was as part of  the small library team in the Rare Book and Special Collections Library at the University of Sydney. My desk seemed to be buried amongst rare treasures. A wonderful acquisition that was much treasured was just meters away, along  with items as diverse as Norman Lindsay manuscripts and old scholarly dissertations.

But I’ve never forgotten the beauty of the  Book of Hours. Use of Paris. Paris. Circa 1460-1465.

This richly decorated manuscript of personal prayers, psalms and recitations with accompanying illustrations taken from the Christmas story with a total of some seventeen miniatures seems now to mark the beginning of a long life associated with books, libraries, and the preservation of culture, knowledge and ideas.

We mark time with calendars. We prepare with calendars.  I hope our calendars in 2013 are filled with the beauty and promise that befits who we are and what we should strive to be.

Happy New Year!

Tsunami – in the classroom?

I wonder how many classrooms in Australia will spend time this week talking about, reviewing and learning about the impact of earthquakes and tsunami  on countries and people?

This weekend saw the earthquake in Chile and the tsunami it created affecting many parts of the world.  The Chilean president declared a state of catastrophe after a deadly quake of magnitude 8.8. Subsequently warnings of tidal waves were issued in 53 other countries.

In the Guardian’s Report Chile Earthquake: Pacific nations brace for Tsunami we have a good lead article to set the scene for discussion.

The Tsunami raced across the Pacific and threatened Hawaii as it rushed toward the U.S. West Coast and hundreds of islands from the bottom of the planet to the top. Sirens blared in Hawaii to alert residents to the potential waves. As the waves expected arrival drew near, roads into tourist-heavy Waikiki were closed off.  Police patrolled main roads, telling tourists to get off the streets.

It’s not new – social media has a well established co-reporting global events!

But do your teachers know this?  Do they know powerful social media is in providing information and synchronous coverage of event?

Did they pick up the links they need via Twitter? of Facebook? or other social networking site?

Perhaps they already have the Associated News App on their iPhone (find it in the App store)  and were aware of events that way? or via another mobile App?  or heard it on the news?

Did they send out a message (text? IM?) to their geography students to alert them to the CBS News Stream via Ustream so they could experience live some of these events – even if only for a few minutes?

Not only were the media doing live reports online, as well as on TV, but people in the streets were contributing picture and live phone feeds and images to contribute to the pooling of information.

Twitter was buzzing.

Don’t forget to check out Diigo and Delicious during the week to find more links from other  ‘connected’ teachers.  

From a student’s point of view – social media tools allow them to experience these  incidents live and hear the authentic experiences of people observing the event.

By Monday there will be plenty of online media sites that will have stories, videos, etc to use for class review. But none of that is as good as experiencing a live report! How many teachers will be ready to immerse their students in learning with the very tools that students love to use?

Here’s someone ready to incorporate this type of learning into their uni classes - Magnitude vs Intensity in Chile. Learning can be amazing.

Larry Ferlazzo provides The Best Sites to Learn about the Earthquake in Chile (& possible Tsunami).

Go on teachers – give it a try!!  Here’s a great map of Estimated Tsunami arrival times to get you talking.

The picture below shows the live CBS News UStream.

2010 – A roadmap for the future

Futurist Richard Watson has updated his annual trends and technology timeline for 2010.  What an interesting conversation starter at a meeting looking at technology!

2010-trendsmapfinal1.png

The map has 16 lines representing everything from society & culture to news & media. There are also 5 time zones representing 2010-2050, so everything that falls outside the central zone (zone 1) is obviously a prediction.

The map is published under a Creative Commons Share-A-Like Licence.

Be sure to look at the full A3 sized image to get the full impact! PDF version available here.

(via 2010 Trends – A Roadmap for the Future)

British Library sound archive

The Guardian reports that the British Library revealed it has made its vast archive of world and traditional music available to everyone, free of charge, online.

That amounts to roughly 28,000 recordings and, although no one has yet sat down and formally timed it, about 2,000 hours of singing, speaking, yelling, chanting, blowing, banging, tinkling and many other verbs associated with what is a uniquely rich sound archive.

The recordings go back more than 100 years, with the earliest recordings being the wax cylinders on which British anthropologist Alfred Cort Haddon recorded Aboriginal singing on his trip to the Torres Strait islands off Australia in 1898.

What an extraordinary record and resource for current and future generations. Amazingly, much of the British archive was obtained by the library in 2000-01 in a lottery-funded project!!

Flickr project to host Library of Congress photos

Here’s a really interesting opportunity for some visual literacy and historical analysis work with your history students!

Hot update: PhotosNormandi thanks to a quick comment to this post from Patrick Peccatte. This is another stunning collection for history students.

The Library of Congress and photosharing site Flickr today announced a partnership that will put photos from the LoC’s collection online. These are public-domain, copyright-free photos from the Farm Security Administration/Office of War Information and The George Grantham Bain Collection, for which no known copyright exists. The collections will be housed on the LoC’s Flickr page.

Interesting project – and they are relying on ‘us’ to provide tags for the images!

So Flickr has launched a new tagging initiative called The Commons – “your opportunity to contribute to describing the world’s public photo collections.”

The Commons – our chance to tag or comment on images!

The photos, which are already available on the Library’s photo and prints page (along with over 1 million others), may not be on Flickr permanently. The length of the pilot program will be determined by the amount of interest and activity shown by Flickr users, according to the LoC.

Read more at ReadWrite Web, WebWare, Alan Poon’s Blog.

Photo: Mrs Loew (LOC)
  • Real Wired Child

    A while ago I had the opportunity to speak to the P&F at our largest high school. The topic was Myspace or Yours: Possibilities and Pitfalls.

    Parents wanted to spend time talking about online safety, games, and hacking! Yes, it is true that for some of our students it is hard to provide them with the online and computer challenges that they crave.

    I took with me a copy of Real Wired Child by Dr Michael Carr-Gregg. This is a wonderful guide for parents (unfamiliar with the online world) who want to know what their children are doing online, and what they can do to ensure their children’s wellbeing when they venture into cyberspace. Real Wired Child gives practical advice to parents on how they might manage their children’s online communications, social networking, web surfing, downloading and gaming. The truth is that we need to start teaching our students from a young age exactly how to learn, collaborate and share using blogs, wikis and more as part of everyday learning. I love the work of  Al Upton  and his young ‘mini-legends’ – proving that students are never to young to work in a global online world.

    Michael Carr-Gregg urges parents to venture into the online world inhabited by their children and get in touch with their day-to-day lives. He explains what kids get up to, provides guidelines for family internet safety and advises how to minimise the risks without limiting your children’s freedom to learn, explore and communicate online. At $19.95 I consider this a bargain. Better still, buy some copies for the library, so parents can borrow a copy. More information available from Penguin.

    I prepared a presentation for the evening, to stimulate discussion and thinking about the issues. Thanks to my (online) colleagues Graham Wegner and Sue Waters, whose earlier work provided a basis for this presentation.

    CNN enters Second Life

    Just as CNN asks its real-life audience to submit I-Reports — user-generated content submitted from cell phones, computers, cameras and other equipment for broadcast and online reports — the network is encouraging residents of Second Life to share their own “SL I-Reports” about events occurring within the virtual world.

    CNN citizen journalism everywhere you turn! It is interesting to speculate how many teachers are abreast of citizen journalism trends, and the impact of these types of initiatives.

    Read the report or watch this introductory video from CNN.

  • Transformation Lab – Library 2.0 prototype!

    This is old now (in a Web 2.0 world 6 months is old!) but this video about the The Transformation Lab, funded by The Danish National Library Authority and Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (and The Main Library in Aarhus), is well worth watching to provoke discussion about future ideas and options for libraries.

    Comments added to the YouTube video:

    “There will be books in the physical library of the future – but I think they will be connected to digital material. In this way they can be enriched with relevant digital information that will be exposed, when the book gets near a mobile phone, interactive table or an info coloumn as in the video”.

    “In another project at the Main Library in Aarhus – The Children’s Interactive Library – they made som prototypes showing how books can be tagged with digital information using RFID-chips”.

    “One of the prototypes was a Bib Phone – A “phone” that allows you to talk to books and hear what other people have told them! This is a new, funny and different way of reviewing, commenting or even hiding secret messages in books. The messages are inherited in the particular book allowing the next person access to hear it”.

    “Actually there were books in the labs. One of the ideas was to bring various types of media in closer contact with each other – combining words, images and sound – increases the user’s qualitative experience of the media. The Literature Lab presented successive literary topics. In connection with each topic – such as poetry — all types of media related to the topic were brought together and combined to increase the user’s qualitative experience and sense of coherence in the library”.