sallysetsforth

#ICAD2015 week 4 round up

July 19, 2015

June flew by, as it always does. I managed 20 blog posts, and a similar number of index cards. I'm pretty happy with that, considering everything else that was going on at the same time.

At the very end of June I came down with a nasty virus and chest infection, and everything ground to a halt. I still have a very sore throat and I'm not sleeping well, but I'm starting to find my feet again.

Yesterday I finally finished my 28th index card, so I can post a new weekly #ICAD2015 (Index-Card-A-Day) round up. Collage below:

Index-Card-A-Day (#ICAD) 2015 Week 4 round up

The card in the centre has its very own blog post, thanks to being featured in Flickr Explore. The most recent cards have been mostly doodles - just trying to get back into the swing of things. I'm quite fond of all of these cards for different reasons, including a couple of childhood flashbacks with paper dolls and a spirograph :)

All of my index cards are also posted individually on Flickr.

 

The unusual experience of having a photo featured on Flickr Explore (29 June)

June 29, 2015

So an odd thing happened yesterday. One of my index cards was featured in Flickr Explore, and it was a very interesting experience ...

I first realised something unusual was going on when I started getting phone notifications for 'likes' (favourites on Flickr) at a much faster rate than usual, and from people that I didn't know. There were just 3 or 4 to start with, and my first thought was perhaps I was getting spammed. I actually had a quick look at Explore on my phone, but couldn't see my photo on the first page, so ruled that out to start with.

But the likes just kept on coming! And new followers too. So I booted up my PC, and had another look at Flickr Explore, and sure enough - there it was. Very exciting :)

Index-Card-A-Day (#ICAD) 2015 no. 22

Within a single day, my index card "Roses" had racked up 6400 views and 93 favourites, and I had 9 new followers. Far and away the biggest reaction I've ever had to a photo in such a short amount of time.

I checked out my Flickr stats (I believe these are only available to continuing Pro users nowadays), which showed that while I normally get 200-400 overall views per day, yesterday's views had passed 7700! 5500 of them were for "Roses", so views were well up for my other photos too.

The day after ...

So. That was pretty cool.

It was also great to see that this kind of activity and interaction still exists on Flickr. It feels a bit quiet there sometimes, what with the rise and rise of Instagram. So it's kind of awesome that active users are still engaging with Flickr to discover new content :)


P.S. Before yesterday, my highest number of views for a single photo was one that I took at the Victorian Parliamentary Library, with over 13,000 views (but only 2 favourites). My most popular photo in terms of favourites was of felt Christmas ornaments that I made in 2009, which took over 5 years to amass 9500 views and 49 likes.

 

Special collections at the William Angliss Institute (28 June)

June 28, 2015

One of my first library jobs after completing my Grad Dip was at the William Angliss Institute. For those who don't know it, the William Angliss Institute in Melbourne is a training institution that specialises in food and hospitality courses. They specialise in vocational education programs, but also conduct a range of short courses for enthusiastic amateurs :)

There were two main perks to working at the William Angliss Institute Learning Resource Centre (Library). One was ready access to the Bakeshop, which is open to the public during term and serves food made by students at very good prices (I especially loved the work of the patisserie students!). The other perk was access to the amazing library collection.

I love cookbooks. At last count, according to LibraryThing, I have 218 cookbooks and books about food or drink, not including the shelves full of food magazines. So it's no exaggeration to say that I was in cookbook heaven at William Angliss.

But there was another part of the William Angliss Institute collection that was even more special, and that was the menu collection. This amazing collection of ephemera is truly one of a kind. The menus are mostly Australian, and are a valuable study resource for students who are learning how to design their own menus. They also provide a unique understanding of how food trends and menu design have changed over the last 100 years.

When I was at William Angliss, the menus were housed in filing cabinets and there were real issues emerging around preservation. A digitisation program was just beginning while I was there, and I was very glad to discover recently that not only have the menus been digitised, but many of them have also been made available online for anyone to view (Note: as far as I can tell, the digitised files are images only and therefore not accessible to those using screen readers).

P1010106

The online menu collection includes restaurant menus, hotel menus, transport menus, festival menus, military menus and more. I really love the transport menus, which includes over 20 Qantas menus and more than 50 P&O Cruises menus. I think this October 1963 cruise menu is my favourite :)

The other William Angliss Institute special collections are described HERE. Some are physical collections, such as the Fuller collection of books on wine, distilling and brewing. But there are some other digital collections too, including the Zimmerman Book, which is a sort of historic scrapbook of menus and articles. Every scanned image in the Zimmerman Book can be clicked on and enlarged individually. The William Angliss Institute also has a collection of oral histories on their website. Their annual special collections brochures are also available online, and provide information about what's happening in the William Angliss special collections each year, including new additions of rare books to the Culinary Research Collection, and some gorgeous photos of ephemera.

archiveroom_2

If you're interested in the history of food, and dining out in particular, you will love checking out these collections. Many thanks to the William Angliss Institute for making some of these treasures available online for us to enjoy.

Photo credits to William Angliss Special Collections.

 

Prevaricated Frequencies (26 June)

June 26, 2015

I popped into the city to run some errands yesterday, and as I'd heard of a new art installation called Prevaricated Frequencies by Victoria University's Skunk Control in the Flinders St station / DeGraves St subway art space, I decided to make a detour and check it out.

Although the sign had a start date of 24 June and a few pieces were already set up, they were still in the process of constructing some of the displays. Skunk Control's Facebook page says the installation begins on 30 June, so it should all be up and running by then.

The installations are dynamic and dramatic, inviting you to spend a few minutes at each work to watch the lights and colours continuously change.

I've uploaded a few photos of a single work to demonstrate how the lights shift:

Prevaricated Frequencies by Skunk Control 1

Prevaricated Frequencies by Skunk Control 2

Prevaricated Frequencies by Skunk Control 3

I also took some short video, but rather than upload a blink-and-you'll-miss-it seven second video I decided to turn it into an animated gif so that it can be watched for as long as you like :) It's a little jumpy, but not too bad I think ...

Testing gifs & Flickr

The above images are from one work only. There were several other amazing pieces on display yesterday, and I imagine that all twelve windows will be set up by 30 June, so do go along and see it if you get a chance. The installation will run until 5 September 2015.

P.S. While writing this post, I did a quick Google search on the Flinders St subway to see if it had another name that I should be referring to it by. I found a great little blog post on 'Beside the Yarra' about the history of the subway - Campbell Arcade -  which was a fascinating read. I highly recommended checking out this blog if you're interested in the history of Melbourne's buildings.

P.P.S. I created the gif using a wonderful little program called Instagiffer, which will be the subject of a future blog post :)

 

#ICAD2015 week 3 round up (26 June)

June 26, 2015

I mentioned my battle with watercolours last week, and in this week's #ICAD2015 (Index-Card-A-Day) round up you can see some of the results:

Index-Card-A-Day (#ICAD) 2015 Week 3 round up

I've been trying to master the swirly abstract watercolour background effect. Nope. That isn't going to happen apparently. But I keep trying, and sometimes the effect is quite pleasing. Unfortunately the two cards with eye motifs (one in black fineliner, the other using masking fluid) required me to do the watercolour background last. No second chances! So of course those two came out pretty messy. Oh well. Of course index cards are not the best medium for either watercolour or masking fluid, so that didn't really help matters.

I tend to like the doodled designs using fineliner the best, but I also need to break out of my comfort zone and try new things. So although the results aren't always perfect, at least I'm having a go :)

I'm posting all of my index cards individually on Flickr.

 

200th post :) (25 June)

June 25, 2015

If my enumeration is correct - and I think it is - this is my 200th blog post!

So I made an index card to celebrate the occasion :)

Index-Card-A-Day (#ICAD) 2015 no. 19

Short and sweet tonight.

 

Stitching Snoopy (24 June)

June 24, 2015

I loved Snoopy and Peanuts when I was young. In fact, I still love them. So when I saw a sweet cross stitch pattern of Snoopy and his doghouse on eBay, I snapped it up.

I completed the stitching in January this year, and found a neat little blue photo frame that suited it just right - it matches his collar :)

Snoopy's Doghouse Cross Stitch - Framed

The pattern had called for 14 count Aida fabric, but I decided to use 16 count instead. This reduced the design down to just the right size for a standard photo frame. The stitches were smaller too, of course, which I think worked well for this design. And it probably used slightly less thread, which was lucky because I used almost an entire skein of red embroidery thread as it was! I was starting to get worried that I would run out, and there is always a risk of dye lots not matching. So phew :)

This was all that was left of a whole 8 metre skein of thread (stitched in 2 strands) -

Leftover red

It was a fun little project. I really enjoyed watching Snoopy take shape, especially when adding the backstitch for the comic strip drawing lines.

 

More on library blogging, and why I want to write about cool stuff (23 June)

June 23, 2015

Yesterday I wrote about changing direction and being myself. Basically, I realised that it was time to stop trying so hard to write big issue opinion posts that I don't enjoy writing (and that other people are better at than me). Instead, I'm going to focus on writing blog posts that I enjoy, both as a writer and a reader. I want to write about cool stuff.

[Note: my definition of cool stuff is quite possibly not your definition of cool stuff :) ]

Blogs that I love / have loved

As I mentioned in one of my earlier posts, I love to hear about cool stuff that's happening in libraries. Some of my favourite blog posts to read include success stories about innovative library services, descriptions of new tools and technologies that could translate to libraries, examples of great teaching experiences, and posts that inspire me to look beyond the traditional library sphere for ideas.

Some of my favourite blogs over the years that regularly provided this kind of content have been Connecting Librarian, Read Watch Play Participate, Libraries Interact, Librarians Matter, Innovate and Miss Sophie Mac (no longer updated). To name a few. Some of these are still going strong, while others are a bit quieter these days.

Then there was 23 Mobile Things / ANZ 23 Mobile Things, 23 Professional Development Things, and 23 Research Things. And does anyone remember #Octshowntell in 2010? That was so much fun!

Blog posts that *I* want to write (and read)

Even before #blogjune rolled around this year, I was thinking about how much I missed that kind of content, and I wondered if I could help to fill the gap by writing regular posts about social media / new technologies for librarians. I'm currently working vendor-side, so my opportunities for using these tools in libraries are limited, as I can't put them into practice right now. But I'm still a librarian, and I *can* talk about how librarians, as individuals and professionals, can use these tools.

I also want to talk about libraries and archives that have amazing collections to share, engaging teaching methodologies and gamification of learning, examples of libraries that are doing cool out-there stuff and engaging with their communities, and how we can improve the accessibility of services and information.

I've previously written about Twitter, Tumblr, Storybird, QR code treasure hunts, Blabberize, assistive technologies, Wordle, the Library Minute, Animoto, RNIB and Vision Australia on YouTube, Do Ink, retro library posters, Dropbox and Dragon Dictation. But I have so many more ideas and *cool stuff* that I want to share!

Of course, an investment of time and effort will be required on my part to keep my eyes open for new content ideas - this necessitates reading much more widely than just library content. And making time to play, experiment, create, and imagine. So that is my resolution for future bloggy me.

Collaborative blogging - yes please!

So, back to the topic of collaborative blogging. I'd love to write more blog posts about cool stuff for libraries / librarians. I'm happy to post them on my blog. But as I've said before, this is not a library blog. So how will my target audience find my content? And even if my posts do get a bit of traction and folk are interested in this kind of content ... what happens the next time they visit my blog and find a recipe, or a post about my garden or crafting? Will they come back? Will they find it worthwhile picking their way through my personal blog content to find relevant posts, even if I do use categories and tagging to organise them? I'm not sure.

The idea of a space where a whole bunch of people who usually only occasionally blog about library stuff could post their thoughts and ideas on professional topics (and cool stuff!) is extremely appealing to me. I could still post anything and everything on my own blog, but my library-related posts would have more visibility in an appropriate space where library folk gather, engage and discuss. Wouldn't that be awesome?


P.S. This is going to be my last blog post about blogging (I think). Time to write about cool stuff. And personal stuff :)

 

Changing direction and being myself (22 June)

June 22, 2015

So I did that thing again ...

That thing where I start writing a blog post, or maybe drag out a half-finished draft. I start writing. I fact check. I realise I don't know as much about a topic as I thought. I research. I read. Hours pass. I have now completely lost confidence in my ability to write knowledgeably about said topic. I go to bed. No blog post.

I promised myself I would stop doing this. I've steeled myself against perfectionism time and time again. I told myself I would be brave and just hit publish! But here I am, still doing that thing.

Maybe I'm just not cut out to write certain types of posts. It's mostly the strong opinion, kind-of-ranty posts that I struggle with. I don't really understand why I feel driven to publish them at all, when I find them so difficult. Do I feel like it's expected, in order to be taken seriously? I'm not even sure I enjoy reading those kinds of posts! Just because I have a strong opinion on something doesn't mean I have to write about it ... or does it? Hmm, something for me to think about a little more.


*****

Well, that was interesting. I started writing the above words last night in bed, when I was frustrated with myself for getting 'stuck'. It started as an attempt to whip myself into action and hit the publish button on a few blog posts I've been working on where I get all opinionated and ranty about library-related stuff. But I ended up heading down another path. A path where I realised that maybe I should write about what *I* want to write about instead of forcing myself into a square hole. Private thoughts don't need to be made public just because I have a platform. And I realised that what I really want to write about is what I most enjoy reading about. Which isn't a series of rants.

Isn't it funny what happens sometimes when you start to scribble your thoughts down ...

I've continued thinking about it today. And while doing so, I've noticed a few tweets and comments that seem to imply that library blogs must be brave and controversial in order to be successful and/or worthy. Is that where I get the idea that I have to write deep and meaningful blog posts about library-related issues?

Because in thinking about what I really want to write about, I am reminded of my favourite blogs of years gone by. Blogs where library folk shared ideas, not just opinions. Blogs that introduced and described new tools and technologies, and how they could be used to deliver library services. Blogs that talked about teaching methodologies and learning outcomes. Blogs that inspired me, that sparked ideas, that told stories of innovative and successful library programs, that provided information that I could put to practical use.

So I have one more blog post about blogging that I want to share with you. It's going to be about blogs that I have loved, posts that *I* want to write (and read), and some thoughts about how I think it could work with collaborative blogging. I'll try to post it tomorrow :)

 

#ICAD2015 week 2 round up (20 June)

June 20, 2015

Well, it took me a little longer than two weeks to create two weeks' worth of index cards for #ICAD2015 (Index-Card-A-Day), but I'm catching up :)

Index-Card-A-Day (#ICAD) 2015 Week 2 round up

I nearly didn't post the first index card I made - the one that says "Be brave" on it. I wasn't at all happy with how it turned out (apparently I can't write in a straight line, even on lined paper!). And then I tried to 'fix' it by adding some arrows, but they came out all wonky. Anyway, after nearly binning it, I gave myself a stern talking to about *being brave* just like the card said, and I posted it. The world didn't end.

I've continued to play with watercolour paints since the first week, although the more appropriate description might be that I've continued to torture myself with watercolour paints. They really are so unpredictable and I have no idea what I'm doing. There have been some unexpected pieces that I quite like, but whenever I try to plan something out properly it never seems to turn out the way I want. You'll see some of those pieces next week!

In the meantime, all of my index cards continue to be posted individually on Flickr.

 
Sally Cummings

Librarian. Crafter. Geek.
And much, much more :)

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