days gone by

Hmmm…was reminded somewhat of my public library days when reading about interesting patrons elsewhere. My own library regular visitors, some of whom you could smell a mile away. Others were occasionally strange but get them on their topic and they became engaging and interesting. Occasionally the library was used as a drop by drug gangs in the area, part of the ceiling in the lift always seemed to be left askew. Then there were the delights of noisy, and occasionally violent, students. Security guards were a regular feature, one during much of the year with up to three in peak periods. Even had the odd guard or two beaten up, just the sort of thing to make librarians feel relaxed. Despite the negatives, there were good times too: lovely patrons, inquisitive kids, interesting questions and lots of passionate folk.

back on deck

Normal service will resume shortly. I arrived home from NZ last Thursday and drove to Melbourne on Friday, driving back on Monday. Needless to say I remain somewhat exhausted and barely catching up. Life itself continues to keep me somewhat occupied. Codex had arrived and is now in my possession. When at my girlfriend’s place, we decided to keep her ILLed Codex (US 1983 edition) and mine (Italy 2006 edition) in separate rooms lest the meeting of the 2 books resulted in eddies in the space time continuum. I know not how many copies are in Australia but suspect it is few, though there are at least 3 copies held by Australian libraries. Of course, once one embarks on such a journey, it is hard to stop at one, or even two. I’m now exploring the idea of setting up a shelf of my own devoted to similar sorts of tomes, some based on the real, and some on the imaginary including:

among other things. Other things that I’d like to own copies of include the Voynich Manuscript and the Archimedes Palimpset. No doubt there will be more to add to the list.

there’s a desert in new zealand

  • Good news: my codex has arrived in Sydney
  • Bad news: I’m in NZ

Oh wait, that’s wrong, it’s a bummer that the book is in Sydney and I can’t pick it up til I return in a few days. However today I had the pleasure of driving from Rotorua to Palmerston North. The drive included the Desert Road which was simply divine…I love driving in NZ. I like these work trips where I get to visit such lovely places, it’s a bit like being on holiday but more tiring…hmmm admittedly even my holidays are rarely relaxing.

more of rotorua

Another day in NZ. I got to hear Roy Tennant speak. I am happy. For me, one of the crucial comments he made was with regard to the ubiquitous of net access in the US. You pay a set charge and access as much as you like. Compare that with the hotel I’m staying in which charges NZ$33 for the first 50Mb, then NZ10c/Mb after after that. I’m dreading my internet bill tomorrow. With unlimited net access, you’re more likely to play and try out new stuff. Roy covered some of his usual areas, like keeping catalogues away from the public and also looked at some of the stuff the OCLC made possible via worldcat. For a much better summary of his talk I recommend Deborah Fitchett, who has managed to blog several of the sessions including Roy’s.

live from rotorua

Just chilling out in the lovely Rotorua, in town for the annual LIANZA conference. Flew into Auckland Saturday arvo and drove down with the team on Sunday…a very lovely drive. The smell of sulphur is strong, stronger still near the convention centre. Seems to be about 500 folk here including vendors. Already the odd controversy with vendors being refused access to the papers…or at least those vendors that aren’t sponsors. First time I’ve come across this and I’d been really looking forward to attending some of the sessions, particularly Roy Tennant’s keynote. With that said, I managed to beg my way into one session and walked into another unchallenged, fingers crossed that this continues on Tuesday. I had planned to attend this conference as a delegate, paying my own way. However one of our sales reps gave up her spot so that I could attend given my keenness. It will be bloody disappointing if I can’t make any more papers as Tuesday is the best day.

That being said, I attended two sessions today, both of which were awesome. The first session was entitled “Library X.0 Beta by Brian Flaherty & Paul Sutherland. Both had far too many slides and plenty of humour; Brian began with a cynical approach to the hype of 2.0 and presented an intelligent session on skipping the excess and focus on what our communities might actually want. Paul spoke with his usual, laidback style and looked and some of the interesting things happening, with references to worldcat, librarything and a few other things, as well as emphasising the importance of NZ librarians taking responsibility.

The second session, “Web 2.0 – Library 2.0: Myths and Realities” sounded ho hum, probably because I’m not a kiwi and hadn’t heard of Paul Reynolds. This dude rocks and the kiwis love him. He takes laidback to a new level and really knows his stuff. Communicated 2.0 schtuff in a way that everyone got it. Talked about the bigger stuff, working toward outcomes and things he’d like to see. Also discussed projects his company was involved with such as The Fitch, which is a a sort of collaborative database system for librarians at various libraries (5 in the beta) to add stuff about reference interviews. Think of it as a sort of supercharged help desk for reference questions combined in a wiki sort of thang whereby as questions are asked by patrons, they’re added to the fitch, answers are added, etc and you start to get picture of what questions are asked when, combined with librarian selected websites and so on…it supports RSS, tag clouds and just looks pretty damn cool.

PS I had hoped to add a few photos to my flickr account covering this week but packed the wrong cable…looks like the port on my Olympus 770SW isn’t as standard as I thought it was, which means the generic cable I brought with me doesn’t fit.