Blog fodder – what do I put in?


Notes from my presentation at Podcamp Perth on October 27th 2007, which is here Blog Fodder : what do I put in ?

1. Look at your blog

  • What type of blog is it?
  • Tagline
  • “About” page

2. Look at your audience

  • What audience?
    • Sitemeter
    • Google analytics
    • Google webmaster tools
    • Statistics on your hosting service
  • What are they searching for when they get to you ?
    • Squeaky bras
    • Fear of beetroot
    • What time is the Australian Idol replay ?
    • Geek t-shirts Perth

    Where are they coming from? Domain? Location?

  • Who do you want in your audience?

3. Who are you?

  • What do you want to write about?
  • Would you read your own blog?
  • Is the voice of your blog human?
  • How much of yourself do you want to show ?
  • Your privacy. Others’ privacy.
  • Findability – forever
  • What other online conversations are you part of?

4. Some types of blog posts – from ilibrarian 18 Different kinds of blog posts

5. If you have bloggers’ block

  • Leave it
  • Get a Life
  • Really…leave it
  • Prewrite posts
  • Read other blogs
  • Tell a story
  • Make a list
  • Find a meme
  • Set a public challenge
  • Set a posting schedule
  • Go off topic…and bring it back
  • Write a post for the searchbots
  • Ask questions andsummarize (twitter and Facebook)
  • Invite a guest blogger
  • Work in another medium and embed it in your blog:
    • Take a photo
    • Draw a picture
    • Do a slidecast
    • Create an audio file
    • Make a video

SO … If you want stuff for your blog…Find your VOICE…Know the TYPES OF BLOG POSTS….Know how to deal with BLOGGERS BLOCK….PLAY

Podcamp for women, library workers…and kids too?


Podcamp Perth is on this weekend. It’s a free community unconference about New Media – podcasting, videocasting, Citizen Journalism, blogging, virtual worlds, social networking, mobile applications, web standards – yummy! You should come too.


125 people are on the registration page of the wiki. Fifty one are women – just under half. And….wait for it….eleven work in libraries – that’s almost ten percent.

The Co-Pilot and I both want to go on Saturday- I’ve prepared a presentation and he’d like to help out by videoing the sessions. We don’t have babysitting, so we’ll experiment with taking the kids. And the wii. Kate is bringing along a projector and some additional controllers. And Lloyd is bringing another console…so the adults don’t push the kids off. If anyone else has a spare large monitor, that would be cool.

We hope it will keep them occupied, otherwise one of us can take them on the train to the museum. They are rather immersed in all this stuff – I helped out at kindy today and Mr5 had to draw things you’d find around a pond. Frogs, rocks, fountain, game of hangman on a table…..wha’? ….then I remembered…that’s what I put next to the pond on the library plot of land in Second Life. Oh dear.



There are 16 sessions so far listed on the wiki. I like the way they are rated according to how complex they are – 101 for basic sessions up to “V” for Veteran sessions that are for experienced users.

Nick Hodge from Microsoft is flying over to present about how the company is using social media. Stilgherrian will be here to talk about how social media is being used in the lead up to the federal election. Duncan Riley is talking about branding and the new media. There are 3 sessions on podcasting with an education flavour, two about Second Life and even a feel good talk about doing what we love.

I’m offering a presentation called “Blog Fodder”- all about how to find things to write on your blog. It’s aimed at the 101 level – no need to even have a blog to get something out of it… (not mentioning any names….). I thought it would be good to add to the mix something n00b friendly.

Sunday is for “birds of a feather” sessions. I’ll be behind the ref desk at work, so I won’t be going to the twitter meetup or the Geeks in the Grass picnic in Kings Park.

The Co-Pilot? He’s being dragged off to yet another five year old’s birthday party. I don’t think they’ll be providing a wii to keep the adults entertained.

The tag for items about podcamp is: podcampperth07

Two clever libraries


Two quick links to clever libraries, gleaned via the fantastic State Library of Queensland unconference yesterday.

QUT Creative Industries subject guide now includes a tag cloud. Not only that, they have incorporated a link to this in Blackboard, the Uni’s Learning Management System. Took two weeks from conception to implementation and a great example of fine service created without overthinking it to death via committee beforehand.

Yarra Plenty Regional Library have incorporated into their catalogue subject headings from popular “catalogue and share your own book collection” site, LibraryThing.

Check them out. If you want to see what we talked about at the unconference , visit the unconference wiki and click on the Topic numbers on the left hand side menu. I think they are being updated over the next week.

What is Library 2.0 ?


Here is a slidecast from my presentation to the Library 2.0 Unconference held at the State Library of Queensland on Thursday 10th October. The audio is from my practice runthrough. It is at – What is Library 2.0 ?

Here are the points I made:

1. I don’t want to use the term “Library 2.0”, so instead I’m going to talk about the features of Web 2.0, the power it gives librarians, the power it gives users and some questions to ask when faced with a new web tool.

2. Features of Web 2.0

  • 24/7
  • Read/write web
  • Social
  • Hive mind
  • Mashups
  • Perpetual beta
  • Web as a platform

3. Web 2.0 changes the balance of power in our libraries

4. Librarians have the power to:

  • Get out of our buildings
  • Be in our users’ space
  • Use our buildings in different ways
  • Speak in our own voices
  • Risk
  • Collaborate
  • Control technolust
  • Match the tools to the users
  • Keep the baby (even if we throw out the bathwater)

5. Users have the power to:

  • Create the library
  • Bypass us
  • Laugh at us if we get defensive

6. Some questions to ask about new web tools:

  • How will this help my users?
  • Does it help my users to:
    • Collaborate?
    • Hear us speak with a human voice?
    • Create the library?
    • Get our resources more easily than other ones online?
  • What risk is associated with this and am I ready for it?
  • Could I implement this in beta without it being perfect?
  • Does this change the power balance between librarians and our users?
  • Does it help me to go where the users are?
  • What is the cost?
    • Time
    • Money
    • Skills
    • Lost opportunity
  • What is the consequence if I try this?
  • What is the consequence if I don’t try this?

Libjam has caught on…


…well at least in Minnesota.

I suggested in my post about the Library 2.0 on the loose conference that it would be a worthy diversion to try out a Libjam – where “every presenter has 3 minutes to tell everyone something great, special or different about what your library is doing” – a Webjam, but for libraries.

Now I see from a couple of hits on my sitemeter that the folk at MnPALS ( a library consortium of academic and college and other libraries ) will be trying out a Libjam as part of their Reference Users Group Fall meeting . If any attendees read this blog – or if anyone else has given the idea a test drive – I’d love to find out how it went.

Queensland again.


I’m lucky.

I fly to Queensland next month to talk to librarians there. My first stop is the Queensland University Libraries Office of Co-operation all day workshop – Social software and libraries. I attended the first half of a similar workshop in Brisbane last year – it just happened to be on the day after I flew in for a family holiday. I found it a very lively and stimulating event – and the surroundings of the Gardens Point campus of QUT just glorious – they are right next to the Botanic Gardens and opposite Southbank.

On Wednesday October 10th, in the morning I’ll be giving a 20 minute overview of “Second Life, Libraries, Universities and Murdoch University Library”. I’m then taking a 1 hour hands-on workshop in how to use a Second Life avatar in the afternoon, finishing up on a panel discussion with the title “2.0 be or not 2.0 be? “.

The next day, I get to play at the State Library of Queensland Library 2.0 Unconference. A couple of months ago, I was asked whether I would:

… willing to do a 20 minute presentation on the topic of Library 2.0 to get the Unconference participants inspired? This presentation will follow the facilitator’s introduction and give participants an overview of what Library 2.0 is about.

I worked on my presentations all weekend. Last week I wrote a 5000 word paper for the VALA conference in February, which is due in for peer review at the end of the week. I’m working with three other thali members this week to write a paper for VALA about and collaborative blogging.

The only other extra-curricular thing I’ve agreed to do is a presentation for WA TAFE librarians in November about Social Software. Nothing else on the horizon and I think I like it like that.

I’m off on a family holiday next week, then away in Queensland, with a mini-holiday tacked on the end of this. If it gets quiet here, it’s just because I’m throwing my words about elsewhere.

Library 2.0 on the Loose unconference


It was great. It was FREE. Lots of people turned up. They liked it. We chatted. We engaged. We all pitched in. Presenters were the best kind of professional – knew their stuff and talked about it without fuss and frill. Feedback was positive.

Despite my nervous nelliness the night before, there were not too many people to fit in the spaces, the biscuits did turn up, I didn’t freeze during the powerpoint karaoke, there were enough pizzas and they were yummy, participants “got” it, there was no mass-confusion and anarchical walkout.

Feedback forms suggested topics for other unconferences, and maybe doing them for specific sectors. Good idea – go for it. After a very slow start and a change of cast we threw this one together in four weeks.

I’m hoping to be part of the Unconference at the Queensland State Library in October, but don’t plan to organise another one soon. I’d like to see another one in Western Australia. I did get the idea that a Libjam would be great. Like Webjam, except every presenter has 3 minutes to tell everyone something great, special or different about what your library is doing.

Look for things tagged Unconfwalib07 if you want to know more. Presentations should be up on the wiki by the end of September.

Here’s a mosaic from the day:

1. Matthias gets the program organised, 2. Making it up as she goes. Con does Power Point Karaoke, 3. Crowd watching PowerPoint Karaoke, 4. Sue. Power Point Karaoke DJ, 5. Finding time to learn about emerging technologies, 6. Lunchtime conversation, 7. Yum. Lunch, 8. Julie and Kate do lunch, 9. Alison and Con, probably talking about pizza, 10. Pizza boxes classified….Full on top, empty below, 11. Julie grabbed my camera and took a photo of me, 12. Glen, Hoi and ? watch Second Life and think about gaming, 13. Sue talks about Twitter, 14. Conference unplanners in action, 15. Lucia and Jenny gave presentations, 16. The view out the window of the State Library, 17. Rossemary and Dan, 18. Pimping the bookcart, 19. A hipper crowd of shushers at the Brass Monkey after the Library Unconference, Perth Western Australia 1, 20. After dark the gadgets came out at the Brass Monkey..

Playful thinking – Unconference, PowerPoint Karaoke and Webjam.


After a couple of days off with the family, I’ll be rolling up my sleeves to pitch in with the other unorganizers for the Unconference – Library 2.0 on the Loose at the State Library of WA this Friday, 3 August. The presentations are looking really interesting, although of course the program is set on the morning. There is no closing date for registration, but if you can let us know by Wednesday, we will be able to feed you.

Revealing questionable sanity, Con and I have put ourselves down for a round of Power Point Karaoke at the unconference. Karen G Schneider, of Free Range Librarian fame, is making us each a set of Power Point slides on a topic unknown to us, but presumably relating to libraries – I hope. We get to see the topic of the talk, and each slide, for the first time as we show it to the audience and present about the topic.

I like this playful way of sharing ideas. That’s why I’m attending the webjam being held in Perth on Wednesday 15 August. For this, you actually know what you will present or demo, but you have just 3 minutes to do it. Gary Barber, the Man with no blog, describes it perfectly in Doing the Perth Webjam:

It’s been making a noise in Sydney, and Melbourne. Now it’s time for Perth to take it up a notch. Turn the amps up to eleven, it’s time for a WebJam. In association with the Australian Web Industry Association, Mr Super “Events” Man Myles Eftos has managed to talk Lachlan Hardy, Lisa Herrod and Tim Lucas into bringing WebJam to Perth.

Where: The Velvet Lounge (Rear of the Flying Scotsman), Mt Lawley
When: Wednesday, 15th August 2007 at 6pm
Cost: FREE (yeap that’s right)

What’s a WebJam. It’s where a heap (technical term) of presenters have three minutes to scream through a presentation or demo. The presentation can be anything, a demo, an idea, you’re latest project, anything. The presentations are then voted on and a winner receives the expected fame and fortune, err.. some prizes.

You don’t have to present, just come along to heckle, check out the talent, or just the general web geekiness. Need more info, go look at the videos of previous WebJams. So now go and register to attend.

Don’t forget that this is the same week as the WA Web Awards (WAWA), you do have your ticket for the WAWAs, I would hurry they have a habit of selling out. So thats two events in one week. That’s a WA Web Week.

Let’s take this WebJam, Perth and really show people what we can do.

Librarians2.0 on the loose: a free unoffical unconference for Western Australian libraryland


UPDATE: Group stuff up 🙁 … Of course we noticed after we’d sent it that we’d used the “brarian” word when we meant to include the whole of WA Libraryland and Library Lovers and the little old lady who wandered off the street, and anyone interested in libraries. We’ve altered the name of the event to “Library2.0 on the Loose“, and are suitably mortified.


We have a wiki and we have details and it’s all set to roll. Come and play. Here’s our announcement.


Feel passionate or curious about new library approaches, want to share it with a group of like minded librarians? Come to participate in discussion and presentations about new definitions of content, new definitions of library collections and new ways that we can get out of our buildings to serve our customers where they are.

DATE: Friday 3 August

TIME: 9:30am – 5pm

WHERE: State Library of Western Australia, Great Southern Room 4th Floor

AFTERWARD: 6pm – late , Annalakshmi on the Swan, 1st Floor – Western Pavilion, Barracks Square (Between Jetty No. 4 & No. 5), Perth

An unconference works on the principle that whoever turns up is the right person and whatever you discuss is the right thing. People prepare topics, but sessions are decided on the day. Everyone is expected to participate by either presenting, joining in the discussion or doing another job.


1. Go to the registration site.

2. Then, go to the “ What is happening on the day page of the wiki and edit it to suggest a topic for discussion, volunteer to give a presentation or do a job.

The event is FREE, but you MUST REGISTER. Tea. coffee, bikkies and a pizza lunch are all provided. You will need to pay for dinner. This unconference is supported by the State Library of Western Australia, Murdoch University Library, Curtin University Library and ALIA West, but is facilitated by an independent group of volunteers.

For more details, visit the UnconfWALib web page, or contact Kathryn Greenhill, or Hoi Ng on, or Sue Cook on or Con Wiebrands on

What do you do at an unconference ? Perth barcamp 2007


Here’s my answer to anyone who asks “so – what do you do at an unconference or barcamp ?”….

Getting there

Co-Pilot and I went to barcamp today. A very good day that was stimulating, harmonious, efficiently organised, had minimum officiousness and lots of good displays of geekery (these people know where to buy USB powered slippers to warm your feet). By the end I coveted a teeny-tiny Macbook, not a hulking big one.

There was freshly ground coffee, a whole lotta milk and fizzy drinks in cans. The entire event was free due to sponsership, including pizza or sandwiches for lunch, but we spent $10 for a barcamp t-shirt. We also picked up PerthNorg t-shirts.

Just as the first attendees began getting social, someone realised the wireless was available. Conversation stopped and we all dived for our laptops. Here’s a twenty second clip, BarCampPerth, setting up

Deciding what we talked about

About a week before barcamp, people posted topics they’d like discussed on the wiki. Other people offered to prepare a presentation. On the day, a whiteboard was divided into 16 sessions, and presenters wrote the session times in the slots. Next, people ticked the presentations they wanted to attend and we dispersed. Simple. About 5 spots were initially unfilled, but by the end of the day, this was the timetable:

Schedule: Room 1

Schedule: Room 2

What I saw

The first two presentations I attended were from women. In fact almost every timeslot had one presentation from a woman. I’m just saying….

Three presentations were from people who worked in libraries. I counted five librarian participants. (were there more?) I’m just saying…

I was so engaged in the conversation from the first two sessions that I didn’t take many notes

Sue Waters talked about mobile learning – via mobile devices and ensuring online material was suitable for them. She clarified that University sector aims at being centralised, with the lecture still the main mode of delivery, whereas the VET sector is now aiming at workplace based learning. At universities , lectures are automatically turned into podcasting via LMS (or as Trevor from ECU called them, CMS) like Blackboard. At TAFE, the lecturer uses whatever they have at hand, independently. In universities, the lecturer puts up the material on the CMS, at TAFE there are people who specially design online learning materials.

CW and Kate talked about “How to introduce Web2.0 to n00bs” They told us about projects they had been involved in using Web2.0 technologies, how these were received and gave us tips on how to cope with any problems. We had an interesting discussion about the time burden social networking can impose on teachers and on students – to set up, maintain and check material on a course blog, wiki, via SMS, traditional essay and other modalities fragments time. Do we go back to basics for administrative ease?

What use is Second Life in Education ?

I had created my presentation on a wiki, What’s the use of Second Life in Education, presuming that we’d be having rather rough and ragged conversations. Most other people had created rather polished slides and some people had obviously rehearsed and precisely timed their presentations.

Thanks to Nick Cowie who lent me his laptop that had an external wireless connection so I could live demo Second Life. Kate asked for a walkthrough session in the afternoon, so I winged it a bit, showing them ABC island and letting participants drive my av.

Some liveblogged sessions

I published the following sessions as separate posts

Yep, it’s fun

I enjoyed using twitter as a backchannel, especially to keep up with what was happening in the other room. Bit of a drawback when non-Perth twitter friends see my cryptic messages. You really need to be able to create separate channels of grouped friends on twitter.

I know that “whoever turns up is the right person”, but I was still surprised by the number of non-coders there who were interested in the same not-so-techie sessions as I was. I loved being able to twiddle with my laptop as people spoke.

Overall the mood was less frenetic than I expected. It was very friendly and relaxed, but also felt like people were extremely focussed and very engaged in each session. Some sessions felt more like a big discussion between all participants. In some sessions the audience were more quiet..but there was no mistaking it for boredom.

Well, I’m ready for the next one.

More information:

UPDATE 1 July 2007 : We didn’t all just turn up and do our bits without a whole lot of preparation beforehand from the mob organising it at AIWA – particularly Myles, Gary and Simone. Big thank yous and pats on the backs to them.