Is there a library-sized hole in the internet?



It was in Florence during the Renaissance that the West realised we could surpass the knowledge and wisdom of the ancients, ushering in a new idea of the future. Now, in the Age of the Net, the future is changing shape again. Progress looks less like a path upwards that we carefully tread and extend, and more like a constantly forking domain in which ideas are barely born before they’re being reworked and applied in unexpected ways.

Embracing the future requires libraries to face basic tensions between their traditional strengths and the new shape of invention, including the role of privacy, the need to anticipate users’ needs and the role of experts in the networked age.

Embracing  new ideas of the future requires libraries to face basic tensions between their traditional strengths and the new shape of invention, including the role of privacy, the need to anticipate users’ needs and the role of experts in the networked age.

Last year, an interview with Internet thought leader, David Weinberger, published in Research Information pointed to a “library-sized hole on the Internet“. In it, David warned of library knowledge being marginalised should they become invisible on the Web and suggested linked data as a possible way of averting this.

David Weinberger is senior researcher at Harvard’s Berkman Center for Internet &
Society, and has been instrumental in the development of ideas about the impact of the
web. He states:
Assuming that content remains locked up, then I think the right track is to make library information both public and interoperable where possible. Libraries can best achieve this
 Shortly after the article’s publication, David presented on these ideas at OCLC’s 2015 EMEA Regional Council Meeting in Florence.  This is 40 minute presentation is worth listening to.

Image:flickr photo shared by Bonito Club under a Creative Commons ( BY-NC ) license

Doodle to learn?



As a teenager I spent hours doodling in my exercise books – much to the chagrin of my teachers. Unlike the example from this report from Harvard Business Review on the scientific case for doodling while taking notes, my doodles were creative pieces that were more in keeping with hippy style swirls influenced by Hungarian cultural patterns. (sorry, no samples survive, though they were dubbed ‘creative’!)

Did that doodling help me learn?

Well certainly the doodles were not notes or summaries  of the kind we see popularised on Twitter and showing how drawing in class and meetings can help people pay attention–and remember information afterward.

Visual note-taking blends these two approaches. By using a combination of words and quick images, the note-taker listens, digests, and captures on paper the essence of what has been heard.

My creations were a way to occupy my creative mind while I listened to a teacher talk talk talk. Having said that, I am not implying that all the teaching was boring – rather that the doodling was in keeping with the recent trend to colouring books for adults that have become so incredibly popular.    According to this article on HuffPo (and many others!), as well as being great fun, colouring in is a fantastic way to ease the stress we face in our adult lives.

Begs the question if I was stressed by the constraints of my classroom as I did not doodle out of school.  The answer to me is pretty obvious – I was, as is also evidenced by the number of classes I skipped.  To give the nuns their due, they did not hassle me about classes skipped too much, as my escape was to go and practice piano for hours instead. If I think of our schools and my tertiary online teaching environments – we still have a tendency to ‘old school’ – we still expect students to attend classes!

Of course we now understand the importance of creativity in learning. But what do we do today to accommodate our learners?  Whether it’s school or tertiary settings, and whether we have flexible classrooms or not, perhaps its time to better discern what the modern stresses really are and to stop hiding behind ‘open plan, multipurpose spaces’ as being the obvious (and only?) solution.

What are you really doing to make learning more about engagement than compulsory completion?

Image:flickr photo shared by m01229 under a Creative Commons ( BY-SA ) license

 

The road to change



If you still have my blog loaded into your RSS reader, you may be surprised to see some posts appear again. 2015-2016 has become more than a challenge – more like a hurdle and then a steep and winding road to change.

From Just another Bag Lady to walking relatively confidently 12 months later, to:  a decision to sell up house (what a ghastly exhausting job that was!); a new position for 2016 as Project Manager – Online Subject Enhancement in the Faculty of Education at CSU; and to two planned moves in 2016 (one to an apartment in Sydney and another to a still-to-be -built new home in country Albury.  Phew!  That’s different!

Well, life is too short to be static and unchanging. You knew that didn’t you?  So after all these years of writing here (more than 10 years), it’s time to begin to record a little more of the professional curios that come my way.

I hope your 2016 is filled with professional and personal adventures as mine certainly is!

flickr photo shared by heyjudegallery under a Creative Commons ( BY-SA ) license

IFLA and School Libraries


I am happy to be gaining back some mobility – and as a result I have been able to attend and provide two presentations at the IFLA Information Literacy/School Libraries Section Satellite conference in Capetown, South Africa.

It has been an honour indeed to meet up with old friends, and meet new colleagues here in Capetown. It is humbling to learn of the challenges faced by my South African colleagues, and the passion they have for school library activism – a term I would now like to adopt!

I shared a number of documents, which can be accessed via dropbox here. I am including the two presentations below, as a summary of the theme and flavour of our conversations. Thank you Capetown!

Photo: Welcome to the Library cc licensed ( BY ) flickr photo shared by Enokson

Just another bag lady

I have been finding it particularly difficult to keep up with a lot of work and professional matters in 2015. The image of ‘just another bag lady’ came up at a physiotherapy session and the discussion about  how many bags it can take to keep things dry!  I am just another bag lady!  I’ve been putting my foot in plastic bags since about August last year!

I never thought I would learn to detest plastic bags so much, or tape, or the tangle that I could get myself into.  Big white plastic bags – and foot cast. Urgh! Since mid 2014 an old foot injury just kept getting worse, and after much orthopedic tape, moon boot weirdness, crutches and whatever else, I finally scored myself some surgery.

Long stobonesry short – Flexor Digitorum Longus (FDL) tendon transfer to posterior Tibial tendon (that’s a toe tendon transferred to my tibial tendon); a calcaneal osteotomy (cutting the heel bone and shifting it toward the inside of the foot); percutaneous Achilles tendon lengthening; and all tidied up with a nice screw, and titanium spacer. My new tendon is only 1/8th the strength of the posterior tibialis tendon it replaced (well it was totally ruptured, so wasn’t any good to me), so it takes 12 months to regain normal capacity.

Short story long – disrupted life (can’t walk for months yet).  Hence the particularly lackadaisical approach to this blog. It’s enough to keep up with work, and online commitments to students. It’s my goal to catch up eventually. In the meantime, everything ordinary is now a calculated challenge to get done.

Here’s a ghosty image of me hiding behind my  XRay  which I am holding up to the light in order to see my metal ‘additions’. Now my friends keep cracking jokes about metal detectors and airport security. Sigh.  But the good thing is I’m no longer tangled up with plastic bags.  Goodbye bag lady. Something positive at last:-).

Image: flickr photo shared by Pulpolux !!! under a Creative Commons ( BY-NC ) license

The academic challenge! Senior Lecturer!

One of the amazing things about working in academia is learning day by day just how different that is to working in schools. For one thing, the work is either wildly enjoyable or like a treadmill – depending on your capacity to cope with university administrative processes, and your own predilection to reading deeply, engaging in research, and pushing the boundaries in learning and teaching if you are a teaching professional.

It’s much more complex than working in a school – I know!  The hours are longer, the depth of knowledge engagement is wider, denser, and more exciting, and the pace is relentless, 52 weeks a year minus 4 weeks leave.  But I would never trade places with the golden opportunity to work with educators near and far.

I can’t help being deeply interested in knowing more, and working with the current and future leaders in our library and education sectors. I can’t help looking innovation straight in the eye.  I can’t help gasping in frustration at what I DON’T know, and being grateful for the wonderful professional colleagues with whom I work in the School of Information Studies at Charles Sturt University.

So it is with some amazement, and a tiny bit of pride, that I can say that I have been meeting the challenges thrown at me since coming to CSU in 2011.  What I’ve been able to do has been unexpected, and exciting.

So in all this I’ve been quite busy in 2014 (new degree, program reviews etc), and though I have been sharing information via Twitter and Facebook, the blogging has definitely taken back seat.

Never mind – in a tough academic procedural battle, I have been successful in getting promoted to Senior Lecturer.  Might seem easy – but it’s not. Things work very differently in academia compared to other organisations:-).  Takes reams of paperwork to back-track everything you have done, a panel discussion, and also requires external referee support.   Not every applicant is successful first time around. We were warned about this at a long seminar, and so I was not hopeful, being a CSU newbie (in academic terms).

Very special thanks to my external referees.  You know who you are – and your input was actually essential to my promotion bid.

Now – off I go to the next challenge…..intrepid explorer boots on!

Image: creative commons licensed (BY-NC) flickr photo by Lisa Norwood: http://flickr.com/photos/lisanorwood/5968756701

Following the leader!

This evening I am beavering away finishing off a paper for the ASCILITE 2014 conference in Otago, and as part of the process went hunting for some old information.  It was the search terms of “parramatta” and “judy o’connell” that brought up a blog post from Pearson’s Always Learning News Room.

Who can believe it? The second time this year I have seen my name on the same “screen” as Sir Ken Robinson :-)  I have seen, been in the same room with, and worked with all these gentlemen at one time or another, though I doubt that they all knew or noticed. Play hangman with me if you like, and see if you can work out who, what, when?

Never mind – just read Follow the Leader and be introduced to 1.Sir Ken Robinson 2.Alan November 3.Stephen Heppell   4.Judy O’Connell  5. Greg Whitby

Pity that the facts are a bit wrong about my role at CSU, and I certainly do way more than teacher librarianship – but I don’t mind – I’m just a digital navvy at heart. I earn the least amount of money too (of course).