Thursday, June 29, 2006

The legend of Peter Brophy

Hi Michael,
Thought I'd post something to see how it's done. It was cool to meet you and put a face to the name yesterday - keep up the good work! I'm still giggling stupidly to myself about the whole Peter Brophy/ legend thing. All those loooong afternoons trying to prop my eyes open and feign interest . . . but he is a very animated guy and manage to did keep our attention more than most lecturers. Don't want to shatter your illusions or anything . . .

Friday, June 23, 2006

Hail to the Chiefs!

This morning, I was invited to present to the Greater Manchester Chief Librarians on Signpost, this blog, and the general e-Resources Project work I'm lucky enough to do for a living.

So, Chiefs, what do you think of the blog? Click on "Comments" at the bottom of this post, type your comment in the box, choose "Other" under "Choose an identity", put a name in the "Name" box and click "Login and publish". Use a pseudonym if you like, it doesn't have to be your full name.

I should probably outline some of the other directions I can see our e-Resources Project moving in:

  • more channels for e-access - instant messaging, chat etc.
  • other uses of PN infrastructure - online computer gaming in libraries
  • more and better reader development support online - library blogs, possibly reading group-specific blogs

Some of these are taboo, especially IM and chat, but they're fast becoming legitimate communication channels within some of the groups we have a hard time reaching. I'm sure there was a time when telephone enquiries, faxes and then emails were verboten, but we couldn't run our services without them now.

Rant over - here's my Signpost list with links to non-Talis OPACs. I've only got Bury on there so far, but I'll add some more before lunch. Thank you all for having me along this morning - I enjoyed it and I hope you all found it useful. My swollen head is returning to normal size now.

Update: I've added links to OPAC records for Bury (III), Manchester (DS), Tameside (Geac), Rochdale (Dynix) and Oldham (Bibliomondo). I've also used two ways of linking to Salford's Talis Prism to illustrate the Open URL protocol and I've linked to one of Manchester's community group records. And all in plenty of time for lunch.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Top 10 graphic novels

Hi, Michael :

Thanks for the invitation.

The graphics group sounds really good : I hope I can get to one in person soon.

Meanwhile, I thought I would post my favourites list :

Sandman : I have recently finished the whole series in sequence : amazing!
Also, the extra volume : Dream Hunters (an illustrated story rather than a graphic, with Yoshitako Amano's illustrations, is the most purely beautiful book I own)

V for Vendetta : I thought the film was a very good effort, but the book is better; dark, complex and scary.

Sin City : Not for the squeamish as Frank Miller takes old style hard boiled film noir and squeezes the pips out of it. Also the very best comic book/film adaptation I've ever seen.

Lucifer : Mike Carey's development on Neil Gaiman's retired lord of hell and lounge pianist has mind boggling cosmology and theology, adventure, sex, drugs and dinner jazz.
Has anyone read Mike's first print novel : "The Devil you Know"? It's worth a look.

Fray : Joss Whedon's fantastic future Slayer, dark, funny, great dialogue.

League of Extraordinary Gentlemen : A great idea : a superteam of Victorian adventure heroes battle dastardly perils and otherworldly menaces. References to sensational period fiction, both famous and very obscure, are thick as autumn leaves. Do not be put off by the dreadful film version.

Batman : Year One / The Dark Knight Returns. Both ends of the Caped Crusader's career, dark, rich and powerful. Frank Miller restores Batman to the shadows where he belongs.

Scarlet Traces : What happened after The War of the Worlds as the British Empire masters Martian technology.

Wolverine/Elektra : Redeemer. Greg Rucka's excellent one- off in which the two heroes change the life of a special teenager. Superb illustrations by Yoshitako Amano.

and, of course...

Watchmen : the War and Peace of Superhero books which covers the big questions of power and responsibility, love, hate, patriotism and political manipulation. Long, deep, complex and unforgettable. Is the projected film version still on, and if it is, after X3, should we be very frightened?

There you go :

What does anyone else think?

PS. :Did anyone see Bryan Talbot at Leigh Library last April? A great afternoon!


Friday, June 16, 2006

Graphic novels this Saturday

The next Graphic Novel group is at 3.30pm tomorrow (Saturday June 17th), at Bolton Central Library.

The books I've read this month are on Signpost. We'll be talking about Sandman and Buffy/Angel spin-offs tomorrow, plus the other random stuff that inevitable comes up. We've *got* to talk about X-Men 3 : the last stand... The words "crushing" and "disappointment" come to mind.

Add a comment, say whatever you want about the books mentioned above or any others you've read. I've got plans for some more interactive elements for the blog, so keep your eye on it or subscribe to the RSS feed.

I'm told there was talk at the last meeting of each member producing a list of graphic novels they own, which they're willing to share with the rest of the group. I've created a list at LibraryThing, which lets you build a catalogue of up to 200 items for free. I think I've put all of my graphic novels on the list, but I'll have to have another look at them when I get home tonight. Any thoughts? Do you want to borrow any?

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Hi Michael

You said it would be easy to sign up and use the blog and it is!! even for a technophobe like me!!Thanks for the info on hosting signpost I will send to Kieron.

Friday, June 09, 2006

Signpost focus group

Yesterday, we had a focus group on Signpost at the Wiend Centre in Wigan.

I thought it went quite well, and some genuinely useful and interesting ideas came up in discussion. It's not just about me though, so what did those of you who were there think?

Thanks, again, to everyone who attended and to our hosts at Wigan.

Post a comment (click on the "comments" link at the bottom of this blog entry) if you want, and make sure you check out the poll below.

Create polls and vote for free.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Mashing up the what?

In a concerted effort to make it look as if more than one person posts on this blog, I thought I'd add another posting. And after Michael's recent posts describing the new products available from our library software suppliers Talis, I thought that I'd add a link to their new competition "Mashing Up The Library". Appalling use of pseudo-hip-hoppery-yoof-speak aside, this is an interesting proposition... especially with £1,000 as a prize!

The point of the whole thing is to come up with innovative ways of enriching the data we already use as libraries (the stock we hold, resources we subscribe to) and developing them in a functional and exciting way. This could be linking to reviews from the OPAC or adding GIS information to locations to that not only can you see whether an item is in, you can find out where the library is that has it. (In fact, with an RFID system, you could find out where it was in the library!)

I just thought I'd say though if anyone came into Bolton Central and tried to mash up my library, I may just have to beat them with newspaper rods.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Library 2.0 a go-go

You wouldn't know it, but I've changed the library search boxes in the sidebar.

The good folk at Talis Information Ltd. have released a few APIs to allow people like me to harness the power of the Talis Platform, the company's vision for the future of automated library service provision.

Basically, using the API means that the search boxes point at a slightly more stable source. This is undoubtedly a good thing, but Talis' Silkworm Directory, the source of online catalogue searching goodness, needs to be kept updated whenever we move our catalogues.

The idea behind this, and many other activities being undertaken by Talis and assorted other parties, is that libraries are moving onto the next phase of their existence. Library 2.0 builds on Web 2.0 principles and pushes a socialising, collaborative, energising agenda on online (and offline) library service provision.

I'm not going to go into any depth about Library 2.0 here, because other people have more time and better words to do that. Start with the Wikipedia article (link above) and trawl Talis' white papers.

In summary, then: the search boxes for Bolton, Trafford and Wigan's library catalogues have been tweaked and should be more stable. Which is not to say they weren't stable before. And Library 2.0 is the future - I've seen it, I've tasted it.