Tag Archives: libraries

  • A chat with children’s author Eva-Marie Welsh

    Wet Tropics of North Queensland

    Eva-Marie Welsh, is the writer and illustrator of seven children’s books: Bobby the Tree Kangaroo, Cassy’s Tale, Lyssie the Butterfly, Nipper the Crocodile, Paddles the Platypus, Shelly the Sea Turtle and Where is Croaky? Originally from Germany, she now lives at Mission Beach in the wet tropics of far North Queensland. Her books are written to entertain children, but also to inform people about the environment to help work towards its preservation.

    Bob Irwin and Eva

    [Conor] When did you first start drawing, and when did you first start publishing your work?

    [Eva] My first attempt at painting was for an earlier book about Western Australia published in 2003, but the paintings didn’t work out. I started drawing again at the beginning of 2009, and then published Cassy’s Tale (2009) and Where is Croaky? (2010).

    [Conor] Your website mentions you moved from Hamburg, Germany to Australia at age twenty-four. Did you travel or live anywhere else in Australia before settling in Queensland?

    [Eva] I lived in Western Australia. First in Kununurra, Karratha, Geraldton, Perth and then Mandurah. Prior to Mission Beach, I lived in Bundaberg, Queensland.

    [Conor] The environment in and around Hamburg, Germany is so different to the tropics of North Queensland. Do you think this could have contributed to the reason why you chose this particular landscape for the main backdrop for these books?

    [Eva] Yes, I believe the fascination with the wet tropics in North Queensland has a lot to do with that I grew up in a totally different environment. Pictures of the Tropics as a young person made me feel, that it’s hard to believe, that the world could be so different somewhere else and I wanted to experience this.

    [Conor] You mention that your intention behind your first book Cassy’s Tale was to educate people about the tropical bird the Cassowary. Is there a similar intent behind ‘Where is Croaky?’

    [Eva] Yes, in a way Where is Croaky? is also meant to educate children about where frogs could hide and be found as well as the beautiful colour frogs can have. My goal also was to paint the frogs in all kinds of different funny positions to make children laugh. The positive response I got about my books then encouraged me to publish more books. Now I am currently working on a book about the Kookaburra, which will be published before Christmas.

    [Conor] I read that you donated a percentage of your book royalties from Cassy’s Tale to cassowary conservation groups, did you do this with ‘Where is Croaky?’

    [Eva] Yes, I did also donate money from my frog book. We had World Cassowary Day on 26 September 2015 at Mission Beach, which I also support.

    [Conor] What are the different types of frogs painted in Where is Crocky?

    [Eva] I painted the Orange-thighed Tree frog and the White–lipped Tree frog.

    Interviewed by Conor Hutchison September, 2015.

  • Catablog: Libraries Australia - Collaboration and Contribution in the Library Community

    Catalogue

    Libraries Australia is an amazingly wide-reaching service provided by the National Library of Australia, which supports collaboration and resource sharing among Australian libraries. It’s used for a lot of different purposes, but it all centres around the Australian Bibliographic Database (ANBD), which includes records for over 25 million titles, including newspapers and journals, films, recorded and sheet music and many other media, as well as good old-fashioned books. Over 100 institutions contribute to the database, recording the rich and extremely varied content of Australia’s libraries in one place. Check out this excellent infographic for more information.

    For Australian cataloguers, the ANDB is a blessing. It saves time and energy by allowing us to copy catalogue, importing existing bibliographic records into library catalogues instead of having to create each one from scratch (known as original cataloguing). In exchange, cataloguers contribute original records for titles that aren’t on the database yet. As a supplier, creating and maintaining high-quality records in Libraries Australia can be a great way to “give back” to libraries, and be a contributing part of the library community.

    Libraries Australia also benefits the broader community through Trove – and if you haven’t visited Trove yet, why not? It’s a discovery service covering a huge range of databases and information resources from Australia and around the world. Most of the resources accessible through Trove are online – digitised newspapers, photographs, archived websites and so many other fascinating archival materials. But since one of the databases Trove covers is the ANBD, is also gives public access to information about physical library holdings across the country. So if, like many booklovers, you’re a member of several libraries, but can’t be bothered searching each different catalogue looking for the item you want, you can use Trove to access holdings information for lots of different library services at once. Not all libraries add their holdings to the database, but enough do that you can at least get a picture of whether the resource you want is widely available. For students, it can be a great way of finding papers and theses held by other universities, even if your own library doesn’t have them.

    There are libraries in all manner of sectors and institutions, from public libraries to specialised business, health and government information services. They’re so different in their needs and demographics that they rarely cross paths – but Libraries Australia and the ANBD are a uniting factor, serving all of them and their users, giving access to obscure academic resources for public library patrons, historical material at State and National Libraries for school children, and much more. So here’s to collaboration!

  • Catablog: 5 of My Favourite Things About Cataloguing at Digitales

    Joining us today for the first time as Digitales’ official Catablogger is our Cataloguing Team Lead, Jennifer. Each month, she’ll share calaloguing tips and experiences with you on the blog.

    Today she shares a little about her team and 5 of her favourite things about cataloguing at Digitales:

    A Little About Cataloguing at Digitales

    We have eight cataloguers on staff, all with library qualifications, which in my experience is rare for a library supplier. We also have a trainee who's learning the ropes in between his other duties. I’ve worked at libraries in the past, and found that life on the supplier side opens up a whole new working environment and a unique set of challenges.

    Cataloguing

    Here are 5 of my favourite things about cataloguing at Digitales:

    1. Diversity

    Together we have experience in all sectors of the library industry, from public and state libraries to corporate and special libraries. We have a range of education levels, ages and life experiences, which means we bring a range of perspectives to our cataloguing practice. The team includes native speakers of Chinese, Korean and Japanese, along with speakers and students of Russian, Hebrew and a smattering of other languages. This is invaluable when we catalogue world music and cinema!

    2. Variety

    Cataloguing for a number of libraries makes Digitales a much more dynamic working environment than most technical services departments. Life is never boring. Most of us work remotely in more than one Library Management System, as well as manipulating raw MARC files. It means being flexible and really getting to understanding the impact of each element of a MARC record.

    3. Pop Culture Mayhem

    My background is in Special Libraries, primarily in engineering and finance. So for me, cataloguing popular entertainment is a breath of fresh air. It comes with its own special moments, too. Horror films are especially, shall we say, interesting... And we get to use the best subject headings – one of my all-time favourites is “Varmint hunting,” which I used for this Discovery Channel reality show.

    4. Cataloguing as a Customer Service

    As a cataloguer, it’s easy to get obsessive about detail. My cataloguing teacher at Box Hill Institute called this “getting excited about full stops” and it can be a good thing, but sometimes it obscures the real purpose of cataloguing: making library resources more discoverable. Working with a supplier, we really get to see cataloguing as a customer service. It's not just about what's technically correct, it's about what's right for each library and its patrons.

    5. Sharing the Love of Music, Film and Television

    The team shares a passion for all areas of music and cinema, from Classical to K-Pop, from American indie films to classic science fiction to Japanese anime, and much more. I’ve discovered new movies, TV shows and bands since I started here that I would otherwise never have known about. And being able to discuss them with my colleagues is like going to the AV equivalent of a book club every day.

     

    I look forward to sharing more cataloguing information and experiences with you. If there's something in particular you'd like to hear about, please let me know in the comments.

  • Fluency Vs. Disfluency - is there a use for near-unreadable fonts?

    fluencyvsdisluency

    When is a terrible, near-unreadable font a good thing? According to professor of marketing and psychology at NYU, Adam Alter, a hard-to-read font can be an indicator to the brain to slow down and results in better information retention. Alter’s talk at the Wheeler Centre last week detailed studies comparing results for test questions when presented in a fluent vs. disfluent way.

    Riddle Me This

    Alter uses the example of two groups of people who were each asked to answer the same riddle. For half of them the question was printed in easy-to-read font:

    If a bat and ball cost $1.10 in total, and the bat costs $1 more than the ball, how much does the ball cost?

    For the other half, it was printed in hard-to-read font:

    If a bat and ball cost $1.10 in total, and the bat costs $1 more than the ball, how much does the ball cost?

    Most people concluded that the bat cost $1 and the ball 10 cents. However, the bat only costs 90 cents more than the ball. So the correct answer is the ball costs 5 cents and the bat $1.05.
    Of those reading the easy-to-read font only 63% responded correctly.
    Of those reading a hard-to-read font, 82% answered correctly.

    In another test:

    How many animals of each type did Moses take aboard his ark?

    How many animals of each type did Moses take aboard his ark?

    When faced with the fluent text, 88% gave the incorrect answer of 2.
    Of the disfluent font readers 53% were correct – Moses didn’t have an ark, Noah did.

    Keeping it simple is so engrained in our minds, especially when it comes to text, but could this counter-intuitive idea have a role to play when conveying information?  What's your take?

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