From the archive, 13 August 1966: A new chapter begins as libraries welcome technology

Posted on August 16, 2013. Filed under: 1 | Tags: , , , |

Oh the wonder! This from The Guardian newspaper archives :

A book to be published on Monday claims that library work involving records of stock can be automated, and some of it should be. “The Computer and the Library” by the University of Newcastle upon Tyne says computers would speed processing, reduce costs, and increase exposure of books to readers in some cases.

The authors are two research workers and a librarian at the university, who have been studying in their spare time the problems of computers in library work.

The most expensive and time-consuming task in operating a computer, they say, is preparing information to feed into it. Once this is done, the more it is used, the more efficient the system becomes. Once a main catalogue is in a form to read by the computer the maintenance of the catalogue file will probably not require much more cost or effort than do card catalogues at present.

Computer files can be rearranged in different order and copied quickly by using the computer as a printing machine. The most startling change the computer is likely to bring to the university librarian is the return of the printed book catalogue.

With a computer, one could print very quickly, for example, a list of all books printed in Spain before 1800, or all books on mathematics published in England since 1955, in answer to requests for bibliographies.

House of Commons library plans axed

Two plans to provide new library accommodation in the House of Commons have come under the Government’s economy axe.

A report from the Select Committee on the House of Commons (services) says that instead of two possible schemes which would have cost £150,000 and £70,000, it now recommends that the present Speaker’s library should be made part of the library suite of rooms.

The Speaker agreed to this and it was decided to add the Serjeant-at-Arms’ state reception room to the Speaker’s house. The Serjeant-at-Arms agreed, provided that reasonable access to the room was provided for him.

The committee is recommending that two doors, at a cost of £1,000 each, are provided to give access for the Serjeant-of-Arms to the present reception room.

The two schemes which were dropped proposed a three-storey building over the present members’ tea rooms and reading room, costing £150,000, or a mezzanine floor over the whole length of the corridor from the Speaker’s house to the lower waiting hall, providing about 2,500 square feet of floor space at a cost of £70,000.

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Back to the future

Posted on October 4, 2011. Filed under: Food for thought | Tags: , , , , |

These illustrations are by French artist Villemard in 1910 of how he imagined the future to be in the year 2000.  He’s pretty close . . .

More pictures here.


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Amazon unveils $200 Kindle Fire tablet

Posted on September 29, 2011. Filed under: Books | Tags: , , |

29 September 2011

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos has shown off the Kindle Fire, a $US199 ($201) tablet computer, challenging Apple’s iPad by extending its Kindle brand into the world of full-colour, multipurpose devices.

Read more in thisSMH article. There’s a video there explaining things.

It’s only available in the US just now and I couldn’t see anywhere in the article any date for selling elsewhere.

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Who’s in the Queue? A Demographic Analysis of Public Access Computer Users and Uses in U.S. Public Libraries

Posted on September 12, 2011. Filed under: Libraries and Librarians | Tags: , |

Over the past decade policy discussions about public access computing in libraries have focused on the role that public libraries play in bridging the digital divide. In these discussions, public access computing services are generally targeted at individuals who either cannot afford a computer and Internet access, or have never received formal computer instruction and lack the basic computing skills necessary for full digital citizenship.

Following this logic, public access computing could easily be seen as a temporary community service whose need would essentially fall away as more people gain access in their homes. However, this has not been the case. Despite the fact that computer and Internet penetration rates are climbing at dramatic rates, public access computer services in U.S. public libraries continue to be in high demand.

Until recently, there was no reliable data about who was making use of these services or what it is they do when they logged on. However, in 2009, researchers from the University of Washington’s Information School conducted a national survey called Opportunity for All that focused on public access computerusers in public libraries

The full report can be read here, but highlights from the survey include :

  • The demographic analysis in this brief dispels some myths about the beneficiaries of public access computer services in U.S. public libraries. Public access computer users largely resemble the general public in terms of age, education, and even in the overall level of home computer and Internet access.

  • The fact that many different people report that they are able to fulfill a wide variety of information needs is a clear indication that public libraries are providing much more than basic technology access

  • Substantive uses of public access computers mirror the needs people have at different stages of the life course. Young people identify education activities as their main use, people between the ages of 25 and 54 identifying employment activities as their top use, and people 55 and older reporting health and wellness research as the main public access computer use.

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ebooks : learning 2.0 update

Posted on August 25, 2011. Filed under: Books, Libraries and Librarians | Tags: , , , |

This has been copied holus bolus from the State Library’s Public Library Services blog – if you don’t already subscribe to it, consider doing so, it’s a great way to keep up to date with Library news for NSW and beyond.

This article fits nicely with the eReader training that permanent staff are undertaking this financial year.


So here’s the post :

Have you read an ebook? 

ALA TechSource blog recently highlighted A Fantastic Reading List on e-books and e-readers in libraries from Sue Polanka.  You might like to add ALA Techsource blog to your rss feeds or follow them on twitter.

Think about various ebook resources you could try out (if you have not yet read any ebooks) or which you could let you readers know about.  Some of these options would work well for reading groups.

  • Kindle reading is not just for kindles.  Did you know you could install Kindle reader software on most pcs, tablets and many phones?  You can then download free titles (basically out of copyright classics) to try out an ereader for yourself or you can buy titles if you wish.
  • Kobo also has smart phone based reading options, if you don’t have a dedicated ebook reader.  They have a wide range of classics you can try for free.  You can also choose to buy titles, but you don’t have to.
  • MegaReader is an app for iPhones which has ‘heads up’ reading option which means you can walk and read and still see where you are walking.  As well as being able to access classics this app provides access to free in print titles by authors who choose to make free electronic versions of their titles available.  These authors include Cory Doctorow and Eric Flint. So, for example you can enjoy reading For the win as an ebook.

Cory Doctorow

You might want to explore further with 10 Interesting and Innovative E-Books/Apps.   This is not an exhaustive list of ebook options, but will provide you with some ideas to explore, and some sites to promote to your readers.

It’s never too late to update your social networking / web 2.0 skills so check out the NSW Public Libraries Learning 2.0 course or the 2.1 update.  If you need help getting started (or restarted) please contact Ellen or Mylee in Public Library Services.

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20th century authors: making the connections

Posted on May 18, 2011. Filed under: Books | Tags: , , , |

Look at what I found doing a Google search for the International Man Booker Prize this evening.

This comes from the UK’s Open University and is a twentieth century author wheel showing the links between authors. I thought I’d explain it to you in person because it wasn’t immediately obvious to me how it worked. I was looking for a legend that told me what all those coloured lines meant and there isn’t one.

So, to get started Click here to get to this jumping off space pictured above.

Once there, click on the Click to launch button. Click on Start and then Next to get to this page.

Choose an author and explore the links he/she has with others.

Here is Iain Banks whose non-Sci-fi writing I enjoy. (When he’s writing Sci-fi he calls himself Iain M. Banks.)

If I click on one of the coloured circles I can see what it is that links Iain Banks with the authors at the other end of the coloured lines.

Here the orange dot is a link to other Sci-fi authors.

Iain Banks (with or without his M.) is tame compared with some. Just take a gander at old Kingsley Amis.

To find out about the author click on his/her name or to find out more about the connection, click on the coloured dot.

The only annoying thing about this wonderful gadget is that once you’ve clicked on a link you can’t page back. You’ll be taken out to the beginning again and it gets a bit wearing.

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Writers at work

Posted on May 13, 2011. Filed under: Books | Tags: , |

Key workers: writers at their typewriters – in pictures from The Guardian the other day shows some writers at their desks.

The photos are to mark the passing of the typewriter. Since Mark Twain became the first author to submit a typed manuscript with Life on the Mississippi in 1883, authors have been devoted to their machines.

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Next Generation eBooks

Posted on May 10, 2011. Filed under: Books | Tags: , , , |

Take a look at this :

The bit at 02:43 is just WOW!

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Put this on the Library’s wish list!

Posted on March 30, 2011. Filed under: Libraries and Librarians | Tags: , |

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Wireless technology

Posted on February 11, 2011. Filed under: 1, Fun Stuff | Tags: , |

Here’s Brendan making his contribution to the BM Library Staff Connection blog. He wrote to Vicki :

Since we’ve been discussing wireless at Blaxland, I thought this maybe an interesting piece of background information on the history of wireless in Australia.

After having dug to a depth of 10 feet last year British Scientists found traces of copper wire dating back 200 years and came to the conclusion that their ancestors already had a telephone network more than 150 years ago.

Not to be outdone by the Brits in the weeks that followed, an American archaeologist dug to a depth of 20 feet and shortly after a story published in the New York Times: “American archaeologists finding traces of 250-year-old copper wire have concluded that their ancestors already had an advanced high-tech communications network 50 years earlier than the British”.

One week later, the Sydney Morning Herald in Sydney reported the following: “After digging as deep as 30 feet in his backyard in Tugun Bruce a self-taught archaeologist reported that he found f@%* all. Bruce has therefore concluded that 250 years ago Australia had already gone wireless.”

Just makes you bloody proud to be a Australian eh!

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