Lies, damn lies, and blogjune statistics

Well, I’ve made it to the end of #blogjune for the second year. I think I found it a bit easier to write posts this year compared to last year. I also think that being on Twitter more was also an advantage when it came to coming up with ideas for posts. I did have a few pre-planned topics that I was able to draw on when needed, but the majority of my posts were composed on the day they were written.

For my final #blogjune post, I thought I’d have a look at my blog stats for the month to see how the numbers stack up. This blog only began in January, just before the Information Online conference in Brisbane. As I expected, June was my biggest month in terms of views, hits and visitors. In fact, I had to upgrade my web hosting package a couple of days ago to make sure that I had enough bandwidth left for the month.

My visitors came from all around the world. Naturally, Australia was where most of them were from, followed by the US, New Zealand, Germany and Nigeria. The hits on the blog were highest on Monday, then dropped on Tuesday and Wednesday, then climbed on Thursday and Friday, before dropping back over the weekend. The most popular browser was Firefox/Mozilla (about 60%), followed by Chrome (17%), then Internet Explorer (9%).

So which pages did they look at? Well, according to two out of the three stat sources that I use, Hi ho, hi ho, … was the most viewed post for the month (the third source listed Now THAT’s what I call a geocaching trip.) As far as referrals go, most came from Twitter, so I’m glad I set up the blog to automatically post each entry to Twitter. It certainly brought people to the blog.

Will I do it again next year? At this stage I think I will. It can be a challenge coming up with a post each day, but I think it’s worth the effort. Thanks for reading.

One for the road

We’ve taken a few longish drives recently, and as a strategy for keeping the boys quiet we’ve downloaded some kids audio books to listen to in the car. The most recent ones were a couple of Famous Five stories, and Roald Dahl’s James and the Giant Peach. The boys have enjoyed listening to them, and my wife and I have enjoyed revisiting our childhoods.

For my bus trips to and from work, I have three podcasts that I regularly listen to. Two of them are geocaching-related: Podcacher and Geotalk. They’re both entertaining to listen to, and I find them useful for keeping up with the goings-on in geocaching. The other podcast is the ABC radio program Conversations with Richard Fidler. I don’t listen to every episode, but choose the ones that sound interesting. I haven’t come across a geocaching-related one yet, but I have listened to a library-related one. It was an interview with Oliver Everett, Librarian Emeritus of the Royal Library, Windsor Castle. If you’re looking for some library podcasts, check out this post on the ALIA Sydney blog for some suggestions. Happy listening!

Telling a story with Storify

I first became aware of Storify at the ALIA 2012 Biennial Conference last year, when the social media team on the organising committee were using it as one of their tools. I didn’t really pay much attention to it at the time, but filed it away as something that I should have a look at.

Well, this year I’ve started using it a bit more, particularly to create a record of an event that I’ve attended. Storify is a platform which lets you collate social media content from a variety of sources and put them together to tell a story. You can include tweets, photos from Instagram or Flickr, blog posts, and SlideShare presentations. If you like, you can add text as well to help the story flow. The stories that I’ve created so far are available here.

It’s an easy tool to use, and you can make some interesting stories by combining different content. I think it’s most useful if there’s an event that you’d like to summarise e.g. a conference. Give it a try and let me know what you think.

My next challenge – #commentjuly

Well, the end is in sight for #blogjune. I’ve enjoyed writing the posts, and seeing what other people have come up with for their posts. I’ve decided to take on a similar challenge for next month -#commentjuly. It’s the brainchild of @c_hocking and @ajwillemse91, and encourages participants to comment on a blog every day in July, and write a post for their own blog explaining why they were inspired to comment. I like the idea of becoming more involved in a conversation, and giving the writers of the blogs a sense that people are relating to and enjoying their posts. I tend to be more of a lurker than a participant, so I’m looking forward to giving something back to the blogging community.

I think one of the reasons that I’m not much of a commenter is my personality type. I’m an ISTJ on the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator scale, so I tend to be more of an introvert and less inclined to act spontaneously. I like to think things through, rather than acting on the spur of the moment. I think #commentjuly will give me the chance to read the blogs and take the time to compose a comment. Should be fun!

Feedly to the rescue

Like a lot of people, I’ve been looking for a replacement RSS reader since Google announced that they would be closing down Google Reader. It was one of those things where I kept saying “I’ll get to that later, I’ll get to that later …”. Well, now that there’s only a couple of days to go before Google Reader is gone forever, I’ve made my decision.

After reading @lol_rahh‘s #blogjune post on her experience with Feedly, and from what I’d read and been told about Feedly, it seemed like it was the way to go. When the announcement about Google Reader was first made, I deleted a lot of my RSS feeds. I’d been using Google Reader less and less this year, as I’d found that a lot of the people whose blogs which I was following posted their posts to Twitter, so Twitter was my de facto RSS reader. However there were a few blogs which didn’t have a Twitter presence so I needed a home for them.

This morning I used Feedly’s one-step import from Google Reader, and it worked perfectly. I’m still finding my way around, but so far everything’s going OK. My RSS feeds have a new home.

Travel meme

Thanks to the Bun-toting librarian for this travel-related meme:

How old were you when you first travelled?

I think it would have been when I was about 2½ or 3, and my parents took me to Port Macquarie. They didn’t have a car, so the trip involved a plane ride.

What is your favourite form of travelling: car, bus, train, or plane?

I’m a bit of an aviation/aircraft fan, so I’d have to say plane. However, with two young boys (aged 2 and 4½) I think car is the easiest because you can stop when you like. We haven’t taken the boys on a plane yet – I don’t know how well that would go.

Where did you go on your first road trip?

As a kid, we did a big driving holiday once every couple of years or so. There’s a map at my parents’ house which has a pin stuck in each of the places that we visited, and there’s not many parts of New South Wales that we didn’t get to. I think my first driving holiday as a driver would have been to Geelong for the Australian International Airshow in either 2001 or 2003.

Where did you go on your first bus ride?

My parents didn’t buy a car until I was about 10, so most of my local travel as a kid was by bus. It was probably to Parramatta or somewhere exciting like that.

Where did you go on your first train ride?

Probably from Parramatta into Sydney as a kid. My longest train trip in Australia was from Sydney to Melbourne (and back) for yet another Australian International Airshow in 2001 or 2003. Overseas, I took an overnight train from Washington D.C. to Orlando, Florida during a holiday to the US in 2006.

Where did you go on your first plane ride?

Port Macquarie, when I was about 3.

Motion sickness? Treatment of choice?

Not applicable, luckily.

Where would you like to go that you haven’t been?

New Zealand, Europe, and Antarctica.

Where would you like to go back to?

Yellowstone National Park, New York, and Hawaii.

 

Travelling alone or with someone?

Much nicer to share experience, so with someone.

Your ultimate travelling dream?

The time and money to spend a leisurely few months travelling around Australia.

 

My foray into ImpactStory

Inspired by @infoliterati‘s foray into Academia.edu, I decided to set forth and delve into ImpactStory. I first heard about this service at the Research Support Community Day in Brisbane, where Pat Loria discussed it in his presentation. ImpactStory is a website which measures research impact using various alternative metrics, such as the number of readers on Menedeley who have saved a copy of your article, how many people have blogged about your research, and the number of times that your SlideShare presentation has been tweeted about.

It’s easy to set up your profile – simply provide the url of your research “products” that you would like to track e.g. journal article, and ImpactStory collects the data. As an example, here’s my ImpactStory profile. You can embed your profile on a website if you wish. It’s also possible to measure the impact of other people’s research. For example, I added the details of some publications from one of Macquarie’s highly-cited authors and was able to see the measures of impact for those. This could make it a valuable tool for Liaison/Research Librarians to be able to provide a service to researchers to show them how their research is being discussed.

We mention ImpactStory on our Research Metrics LibGuide, so I think it’s important to understand how the site works so that I can advise researchers how to use it. All I need to do now is prepare some more research “products” to add to my profile.

A little bit of rain never hurt anybody

My wife and I had decided a couple of weeks ago that today was the day that we would wash our house, as part of our preparation for selling it. It was on the calendar, so it had to be done. We saw the weather forecast and knew that it would be raining, but figured that we’d probably be getting wet doing the cleaning, so a bit more water from the rain wouldn’t be a problem.

The weather in the morning was pretty good, as the rain held off while we had the high-pressure cleaner and hoses and brushes out. There was even a little bit of sun. It was a productive few hours, with Dad working on cleaning the back of the house with my wife and I out the front. I don’t think the house has ever looked cleaner – it’s almost a shame to be selling it.

After lunch we switched our attention to the garden. We had some rosemary and daisies that we wanted to put into pots, and mulch to spread on the garden beds to make them look neat. The rain started to come down a bit steadier in the afternoon. We got most of our jobs done, but there’s still a few little things to be done. It was nice to have a warm shower when we were done, before we went and collected the boys from Grandma.

The outside of the house and the garden are looking good, so now most of our remaining work needs to be done inside. This should be easier to do, as we can work on things at night once the boys are in bed. We’re working through our to-do list pretty steadily, so we can see the end approaching.

My Mapping with Google map

As part of the Mapping with Google course that I’ve been working on recently, we had to create a map. I decided to create a geocaching-related map, so mine shows the ten oldest active caches in Australia. There are two layers – one with the five oldest active geocaches listed on geocaching.com, and the other has the five oldest active caches listed on geocaching.com.au. It was pretty to easy to create, and you can import any .csv file that has location data in it. This could be latitude and longitude coordinates (as in my case), or addresses. Here’s the finished product:

I thought that ten caches didn’t look very exciting, so I made another map with 200 caches on it (100 in each layer, which is the maximum number of points you can have in a layer). I played around with the styling of the markers a bit, and the caches are grouped by difficulty. I’ll embed that map when I’ve finished tweaking it (and when I’ve got more than 5 minutes left in the day).

[Edited 23/6/13: map added]

All up I found the course pretty interesting and enjoyable. It was quite a bit shorter than the last MOOC I enrolled in, so it was easy to keep motivated and working on the modules. Another factor that kept me interested was that I could see practical uses for the skills and knowledge I was learning. I think that was what was lacking from the computer science MOOC that I enrolled in from Udacity.

I’m now on the lookout for library-related applications of my new skills. All I need to do is find some data …

How NOT to weed a library collection

Over the last week or so there’s been a lot of discussion around the mass weeding project being carried out at the Urbana Free Library, in Illinois. It’s even got its own Twitter hashtag – #bookgate. Apparently the library director prepared a list of all books in the collection which were published prior to 2003, and asked staff to remove them from the shelves. That was the sole criteria for deciding which books would stay on the shelf, and which ones would be weeded. The rationale for the weeding seemed sound – trying to reduce the number of items which needed to be processed as part of an upcoming RFID tagging project. However there has been quite an outcry over this way this process was carried out. I first read about it here, and it has been discussed here, here and here.

During the 10 years that I’ve worked at Macquarie, I’ve never been involved in a major weeding project. About five years ago, we moved some of our duplicate monographs and print journals into an offsite store, in order to try and increase our available shelf space. As far as I know, there wasn’t any weeding undertaken as part of the move.

The other major collection-related activity I was involved in was moving the collection from our old library to the new one. Because we were introducing the ASRS, we had developed a set of principles which set out which items would be stored in the ASRS, and which ones would be on the open shelves. We consulted with the academic staff when we were drafting the principles, and again when we had applied them to the collection before we moved. The academics had the opportunity to ask for items which we had designated for the ASRS to be placed on the open shelves, and vice versa. Most of the science departments didn’t provide much feedback and were happy with what we were planning to do. Some of the humanities staff provided quite a bit of feedback regarding the location of items.

All in all the process went very smoothly, and I think that was partly due to our communication and consultation with the academic staff. In the case of #bookgate, it appears to me that the library director had the best intentions in the world i.e. trying to ensure that the RFID tagging project went ahead as efficiently as possible, but the execution was a major fail. I can see this whole affair being used as a case study as part of collection development/management units in LIS schools.