We have lots of conversations in my extended family about the role of the public library these days, and I happened across an interesting post from an unlikely source - the Kickstarter blog. In a post titled, Libraries are Everywhere, the author asks the following questions of four founders or employees of very non-traditional, yet public, libraries:
Nice to hear from folks outside the traditional fold.
number of lawsuits in my life: 0. yes, friends, it's over. details to follow, someday, but for now, just a big thanks to all who helped.— Dale Askey (@daskey) February 4, 2015
Way back in 2011 I thought it'd be fun to note the books I had read the previous year. I kept the info in a text file and created a couple of infographics to go along with the post. I did the same in 2012, but never got around to 2013. I have been logging all my reads in Goodreads though, so it's time for a quick update. I wish they provided some graphics to go along with, but c'est la vie.
I do almost all of my reading on my Kindle Paperwhite now, with most books coming from Overdrive at Calgary Public Library, loaded through Calibre. Any remainders would be in paper. It'd still be interesting (to me) to do the breakdown by month and genre, as I had done originally, so maybe I'll update this post over the holidays.
Yesterday evening instead of attending the prologue of the 2014 Tour of Alberta as I had planned, I found myself at the Calgary stop of Richard Pietro's Open Government Tour. I totally made the right choice!
Over the past year I've found myself increasingly interested in both linked data and civic affairs, and this 3-hour event brought them together in a wonderful way, though it was much more about open data than linked data. I'm not going to attempt to recreate the discussion here, but as much for myself as for anyone else who's interested, I'm going to list the participants along with some of the sites and tools that were discussed.
Sameer Vasta – Data Catalyst, MaRS Discovery District, Toronto (via Skype)
DJ Kelly – Strategy Lead, Cultural Transformation, The City of Calgary
Bill Ptacek - CEO of Calgary Public Library
Grant Neufeld – Calgary Democracy, member Calgary eGovernment Strategy Advisory Comm.
Lori Stewart – Co-founder Hopper Dev, member Calgary eGovernment Strategy Advisory Comm.
Walter Simbirski – Open Data Strategist, The City of Calgary
Mark Gayler – Technology Strategist, Microsoft Canada
Paul Fairie – Political Science, University of Calgary
Sites of interest:
Inspired by Peter in PEI, I went ahead and transcribed the PDF of the official Westmount Charter School (in Calgary) 2014/15 Calendar into Google Calendar and iCal formats so you can actually import them into the calendar of your choice, rather than have to read a PDF.
Update - August 18, 2014: Just got an email from Westmount indicating they're launching their own official version on Google Calendar, so I've taken mine down to avoid confusion and will link to the official one when it's posted. Yay!
Amanda Wakaruk, Government Information Librarian at the University of Alberta, has written a comprehensive article outlining the BS (my words, not hers), libraries in Canada have been dealing with over the past several years when it comes to accessing Federal information. Her entire paper is available on the UofA Institutional Repository: What the Heck is Happening up North? Canadian Federal Government Information, Circa 2014.
Here's a paragraph to whet your appetite:
Parks Canada removed hundreds of lesson plans from its website, the Aboriginal Portal of Canada was closed with two weeks’ notice, access to tables of 1665-1871 Census statistics disappeared with the decommissioning of E-Stat, and we started to notice serious lapses in content on once trusted websites (e.g., ministerial speeches were no longer being added to departmental websites). To make matters worse, we were learning about restricted access to publications which used to be freely available online. For example, in order to access dozens of reports on the Health Canada website you now have to fill in and submit a form before the pdf document will be sent via email. Because this requires the use of an identifying email address, some suggested that it was in violation of Section 4 of the Privacy Act. Furthermore, when a library staff member attempted to order multiple titles using these forms, she was informed that they would not be provided until she explained how she intended to use them.
Maybe BS isn't strong enough?
Here's a jab from Rick Mercer on the subject:
Hat tip to Dani for the info about this paper!
From time to time I find myself wondering what module a given Drupal site uses to perform some nifty action or another. A while back I found a tool that helps with that spy work for WordPress called simply What WordPress Theme is that? And then I finally found Drupal X-Ray, which does the same thing for Drupal sites.
Oh, and if you're not sure which CMS (Content Management System) you're looking at, try http://whatcms.org/
Serveral weeks ago as a result of a post by Michael Stephens I was introduced to this awesome page of usage visualizations at the Traverse Area District Library (Traverse City, MI). I had a great email exchange with the developer, Bill Rockwood, about how he put it together, and he's since posted a page outlining how it was built. Eventually, as time permits, Bill and his team will put the code up on GitHub for the rest of the world to use :-) Definitely worth a peek. Are you aware of any similar projects?
In 2011 for the first time I started tracking the books I was reading, and in January of 2012 I posted about what and how I'd read during 2011. Here's my post for what and how I read in 2012.
In 2011 I tracked my reads in a basic text file in Evernote. That ended up being really short-sighted for metrics and such, so I started using Goodreads in 2012, and you can see my account there if you want to follow me or dive in more deeply to my reads. I'd hoped it would allow me to show more pretty graphs of my reads than it does, but in order to really match last year's categories I still have to do a little manual work.
I entered my 2011 reads in Goodreads as well so I could start to compare year over year, but things don't match up exactly because I didn't want to enter each separate volume of the two graphic novels I plowed through (Ex Machina and Y: The Last Man), but generally in 2012 I read more books, and more of them were ebooks. Didn't do the pages per month on a graph.
2013 is off to a pretty slow start as I was plowing through A Dance with Dragons. Best recommendation from 2012: the Wool Omnibus by Hugh Howey.
Back in November I posted about my desire for some way to reliably monitor and report available study seats within the library. I recently heard about Pinoccio, an Indiegogo project, and suspect it might do the trick! It's a very small Arduino board with an optional WiFi board. If one plugged a motion sensor, or used the included temperature sensor, it'd probably be able to report whether there was a body sitting at a given location. Small enough to work, WiFi and a long-life(?) battery. Ooh, even better, you don't need the WiFi bridge for each unit, only one for a given area, so that brings down the cost and complexity.
Pricing in bulk seems reasonable - they have a $999 package that would get you 20 monitors and a WiFi shield. Unfortunately we still have a couple hundred seats I'd like to be able to monitor, so realistically we probably still have to get the cost down. That's the primary reason I haven't given more thought to a more finished product like Twine... I think I'll drop the founders a note asking if they think this whole thing would work, and if so, go ahead and pick up a starter kit for testing.
Your full citation:
Nice to finally see our new library here at the U of Calgary hosting non-traditional events, just as this year's edition of Global Game Jam. If you're in the Calgary area, why not participate?