Saturday 30 April 2011

Is your Library a Mac or a PC?

I was reading Suse Cairns' Museum Geek blog and she raised an interesting question about whether your museum is a mac or a pc? She asks: " do museums and galleries consider what type of technology they will use in-house based on their demographics? Would the audience at a more conservative museum feel more comfortable using a PC-style kiosk, and those in a contemporary space feel more at home using an iPad or Mac? Obviously these decisions are often driven by factors of cost, reliability, ease of development and implementation, how pretty the object is (after all, aesthetics is important in museums) and even whether the over-arching organisation (for instance, those galleries who work within the set up of a city council) uses particular products. But I wonder whether the type of visitor the museum has comes into consideration when choosing the most appropriate platform for digital/mobile interactions?"

I think that Suse's point is an interesting one. We talk a lot in libraries about how much we need to think about our users: but can we actually identify a library with a user group based on the technological choices they make? I think if we did right now, most libraries out there would be PCs: "26% more likely to prefer fitting in with others" but what I want to know is what does that mean,  and is it a bad thing? 

I'll open up about my own biases here: I'm writing this on my MacBook with my iPhone sitting beside me and I have just finished replying to a post on Facebook about how badly I want an iPad. However, sitting on the floor of my study is my PC laptop which is 5 years old but I still need to keep around because there are so many things (like my taxes) which I can't do on a Mac. 

My point is that being on the 'cutting edge' might be exciting but it is also very risky. Libraries see all kinds of people everyday and currently, exciting as it can be Mac people are just a segment of that so should we be targeting the many or the few? 

It is, as Suse says, "It is about identity, and how your audience experience and understand your institution. " So tell me, is your library a PC or a Mac? And what do you want it to be? 


Flying North for the Winter

I know that we're ALIA Sydney, however we do venture a little further afield from time to time and this for one week this May even we are admitting Brisbane is the place to be. 

On the 10th of May: QUT is hosting RAILS: The 7th Research Appications in Library and Information Studies seminar  that brings together educators, researchers and practitioners within the information professions to enable a culture of informed and innovative research practice.

Then from the 12-13th of May: University of Southern Queensland is playing host to the 3rd International M-Libraries Conference: which is about everything mobile in libraries. The three topic strands will focus on mobile services and their development, mobile users and evidence about their behaviour and requirements and emerging technical developments including new platforms, devices and applications and features more than 40 presentations and posters from 20 different countries from Australia, Europe, Asia, Africa and North America. 

We're excited about what the programs have to offer and since we will be venturing out there, we're going to report back let you know what we think. Katrina McAlpine will report back from RAILS and I will bring you the inside info on M-Libraries. So stay tuned. 


Monday 18 April 2011

Mobile strategy for museums and culture

In Sydney tomorrow evening and have a couple of hours to catch up on some cutting edge developments for museums and cultural institutions? Book in and pop over to this great talk at the Powerhouse Museum Book Here
Mobile strategy for museums and culture
Did you know the first wireless museum audio guide dates as far back as 1952 (at the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam)? Museums have had a long and productive history of innovation in interpretative technologies.
Now in the world of the mobile web, Apps, augmented reality - how are museums and the cultural sector pushing beyond the delivery of multimedia gallery tours? What new possibiltiies exist for new forms of learning experiences? And what of visitor-contributions - be it historical annotations and citizen science? Where do e-books and digital exhibition catalogues fit?
Should these be in-sourced or out-sourced? Or built through public-private partnerships? And are there new revenue models to fund these?

About the speaker
Nancy Proctor heads up mobile strategy and initiatives for the Smithsonian Institution. With a PhD in American art history and a background in filmmaking, curation and art criticism, Nancy Proctor published her first online exhibition in 1995. She co-founded in 1998 with Titus Bicknell to present virtual tours of innovative exhibitions alongside comprehensive global museum and gallery listings. TheGalleryChannel was later acquired by Antenna Audio, where Nancy headed up New Product Development from 2000-2008, introducing the company’s multimedia, sign language, downloadable, podcast and cellphone tours. She also led Antenna’s sales in France from 2006-2007, and worked with the Travel Channel’s product development team. From 2008-2010 she was Head of New Media at the Smithsonian American Art Museum. Nancy leads program development for the Museums Computer Network (MCN) and co-organizes the Tate Handheld conferences. She also manages, its wiki and podcast series, and is Digital Editor of Curator: The Museum Journal.

Arriving at the event
This FREE talk takes place in the Target Theatre on Level 2 of the Powerhouse Museum. Attendees will need to enter through the main Powerhouse entrance and present their event ticket to gain entry. Please arrive by 415pm to ensure that you can find the Theatre and be seated in time for a 430pm start.

Nancy Proctor's talk is made possible because of the generous support of Museum3 and RMIT's Transformations in Cultural Communication conference.

Thursday 14 April 2011

ALIA Sydney Presents: 20 x 20 Working Together

Tuesday 3rd of May 2011 6:30-8:00pm (arrive from 6pm)
Victoria Park Room, Level 5, Fisher Library, University of Sydney

Cost: $5 for ALIA Members / $7 for Non-ALIA Members (Pay at the Door) RSVP Essential

Following on from the sell-out success of our recent launch event exploring the world of Library Senior Management, ALIA Sydney is putting the spotlight on collaborative projects.  Each presenter on the night will have 20 slides and just 20 seconds per slide to tell us about their collaborative project. Trickier than it sounds, these speed presentations should make for an entertaining and informative evening.


  •  Ellen Forsyth from the State Library of NSW who was  recently included in the 2011 Movers and Shakers list will be coming along to present on her Twitter reading group
  • Tim Rayner from the Coalition of the Willing will be coming along to show us the potential for collaboration on a global scale.  
  • Jacqueline Harvey from Yalari which offers Indigenous children from regional, rural and remote communities and towns across Australia the opportunity for a first-class secondary education through scholarships to attend some of Australia’s leading boarding schools
  • Oriana Acevedo  from My Language a portal created by seven State and Territory Libraries as a way of enriching Australia’s linguistic and cultural cyberspace, to enable people to search and find information on the internet in over 60 languages. 
  • Louise Pritchard from Libraryhack, which is a mashup and apps competition run by the National, State and Territory libraries of Australia and New Zealand with great prizes designed to encourage the creative and innovative re-use of library data & digital content.
  • Kirsten Thorpe from ATSIDA,  a specialised trusted research data management facility for Australian Indigenous research data 
  • Helen Chan from the UTS Reading Club, a fun and supportive group targeting improving reading and communication skills  for UTS Students.

Unfortunately this event has now SOLD OUT however we have a wait list in case of cancellations closer to the event so please email us at  aliasydneygroup[at]