Taking a trip down memory lane

Today marks 10 years since I arrived home after my first overseas holiday. It was a seven-week trip to the US (with two day-trips to Canada thrown in) with my sister. We had a great time visiting the west coast, east coast, and Hawaii. My top three places that we visited were Yellowstone National Park, New York, and Hawaii – Yellowstone for its wildlife and the landscape, New York for just being New York, and Hawaii for its relaxed vibe and volcanoes. These are the places we visited:

  • San Francisco
  • Seattle (day-trip to Victoria, British Columbia)
  • Yellowstone National Park
  • New York
  • Washington, D.C.
  • Orlando
  • Las Vegas
  • San Diego
  • Los Angeles
  • Hawaii

In honour of the 10 year anniversary of going on the holiday, I posted a whole bunch of photos to Facebook. I added a new album for each place we visited on the date that we arrived there. I’ve also uploaded all the photos to Google Photos so that I’ve got them stored online somewhere. Here’s a selection of them from across the holiday:


At the time we weren’t geocachers, so we didn’t spend any time looking for caches. I bet there were hundreds of them near us, though. It was a great trip and I wouldn’t mind going back one day with the family. I have heard that there’s a Star Wars Land being built at Disney World …


A week in the life of a medical librarian: day 5

Well, we’ve made it to the end of the week. It was another mixed bag today:

  • One-and-a-half hours working on my presentation
  • One-and-a-half hours updating our e-book holdings
  • One hour on email
  • Two hours working on our offsite access URLs
  • Two hours troubleshooting access to our e-journals

So what did I spend my time on this week?


  • Nine hours on literature searches
  • Seven hours on the front desk
  • Seven hours troubleshooting access to our e-journals
  • Four-and-a-half hours checking the links for our offsite access authentication
  • Three-and-a-half hours on emails
  • Three-and-a-half hours planning and preparing my presentation for next month’s Health Libraries Australia Professional Development Day
  • Three hours of meetings
  • Two-and-a-half hours on e-book usage statistics
  • One-and-a-half hours updating our e-book holdings
  • One hour working on a submission for our hospital Quality and Innovation Awards
  • One hour providing EndNote training
  • Half an hour updating usage statistics for last month
  • Lunch with Schrödinger the hospital cat (including a selfie)

I’m not surprised that literature searches and troubleshooting online resources were at the top of the list. My job is to maintain the library’s e-journals and offsite access systems, so those tasks should take up a lot of my time. I did seem to be doing more of that this week than usual, though. We also had quite a few literature searches come through recently, so that’s why it was at the top of my list.

I found it an interesting exercise to track what I did each day, and I hope it gives you a bit of an insight into what medical librarians do.



A week in the life of a medical librarian: day 2

So, here’s the second day of my working week.

  • Three hours of meetings
  • One-and-a-half hours checking the links for our offsite access authentication
  • Half an hour on emails
  • One hour on a new literature search
  • Half an hour working on my presentation
  • Half an hour on e-book usage statistics

Schrodinger the hospital cat didn’t make an appearance today.



Lego on a rainy Sunday

It was a pretty wet day here today, and the weather meant that it was a good day to stay inside. We all pottered around doing different things – my project was to finish off my Lego R2-D2 that has been a work in progress for a while. I got him for Christmas in 2014, and once he was built he stayed on the shelf for a year or so. In January I decided that it would be nice for the boys and I to work on building him together, so I disassembled him. We got through the first couple of bags of pieces in fairly quick time, but then their interest in the “R2-redo” waned.


Starting point

Today was the day that R2 started to take shape again. With some help from Blake, I’m now up to the second-last bag, and will probably finish the build later this week. It was a nice relaxing couple of hours working on it.


Blake helping out


Nearly finished

A scattergories meme

I usually save the memes for a day when I’m struggling to think of what to write, but I’m going to use one for today’s post. The rule is that each answer must start with the last letter of your previous answer. Here’s my contribution:

Name – Andrew
Animal – Wolf
Girls name – Fiona
Colour – Aubergine
Movie – Empire Strikes Back
Something you wear – Kilt
Drink – Tequila
Food – Apricot
Item in the bathroom – Toothbrush
Place – Honduras
Reason to be late – Slept in

Well, that gives me a 100% posting rate for #blogjune so far. Don’t think it will last though.

Another year, another #blogjune

Well, June has rolled around again, which means it’s time for the annual #blogjune blogfest. There’s a list on Twitter if you want to keep up with all the posts. This will be the fifth year that I’ve participated, and I’ve managed to post every day in June for the last four years. However, I can’t see myself posting something every day this year. I’ve got a plan for a week where there will be daily posts, but otherwise I’ll be posting when I get the chance (and inclination).

As with last year, I won’t the only member of my family taking part in #blogjune. My wife will working on a modified version called #doodlejune, and our sons will be posting to their blog with their dinner reviews. Hopefully they’ll do a better job of posting every day than I will.

So what do the numbers say?

As usual, my final post for #blogjune is going to look at my blog stats for the past month to see if anyone’s actually read any of my posts. The data will come from a couple of sources – the stats plugin on the blog, my web host, and Google Analytics. Hopefully they’ll be pretty similar.

Firstly, the most-viewed post was So what does a health librarian need to know, followed by So what’s changed since #blogjune last year. These were posts from earlier in the month, so I guess it’s not surprising that they’re at the top. It seems that either Wednesday or Thursday was the most popular day for people to visit the blog (depending on which source you use). The various sources also differed on where these visitors were from – one had the top three countries for visitors being Australia, the US and New Zealand, while another listed them as the US, Australia and France, while the final one had Australia, Bangladesh and Germany as the top three.

Continuing the trend from the last couple of years, Firefox was the most popular browser, followed by Chrome, then Internet Explorer. The mobile browser (Android and iOS) percentage has continued to increase – about 6% this year compared to about 4% last year. Also following the trend from last year is a drop in the total number of views for the month compared to June last year.

So that’s it for another year of #blogjune. I’ll probably be back next year, hopefully with a bit more of a plan and focus for what I’m going to write about.

What I got out of #blogjune this year

For me the main theme that came out of this year’s #blogjune was the future of the Australian biblioblogosphere. There were some posts looking back to try and discover the “golden age” of library blogging (Hugh, Kate), and then others trying to figure out what the future may hold for library blogging in Australia (Kate, Stephanie). I don’t really have much to add to these; I agree that there did seem to be period where blogging was more prevalent than it is now, and I think that there is still a place for blogging in the professional discourse of the Australian LIS industry. It looks like the League of Librarians (or some sort of collaborative blogging venture) is ready to go!

Some of the discussion early this month regarding impostor syndrome also hit home for me. I think I was (perhaps still am?) guilty of thinking that because I have a blog I need to be posting about the “big issues” in the profession. I related to Sally’s post where she says:

Maybe I’m just not cut out to write certain types of posts. It’s mostly the strong opinion, kind-of-ranty posts that I struggle with. I don’t really understand why I feel driven to publish them at all, when I find them so difficult. Do I feel like it’s expected, in order to be taken seriously?

Sometimes I do try and tackle the big issues, but never usually in great depth or as a way of starting a conversation – I’m usually responding to someone else’s brilliantly written post on the subject. I toyed briefly with the idea of setting up a separate blog which I would use for “professional” content and leave this one for the personal stuff. But then I thought of a different approach, and it’s one that I’m going to try to stick to from now on. I’m going to try to comment on blogs more often, instead of writing a short post on the topic. Every now and then I might need to write a post if I have a lot to say, but mostly I’ll be keeping the discussion on the original post.

I have found it harder to come up with posts for #blogjune this year than in previous years, but I’ll get there. A lot of the posts were a result of having to write something instead of wanting to write something. Tomorrow’s post will be my usual wrap-up of the statistics for the blog during June. It will be interesting to see how this year compares to previous years.

A night at the drive-in

We’ve just got home after going to the drive-in to see Minions. It was a bit chillier than when we saw The Lego Movie last year, but we were prepared with our parkas, beanies and blankets. Compared to the last time we went, there were certainly less people sitting outside like we were – most of them stayed in their cars. The boys loved the movie (as we’d expected) and I thought it was OK but not great. We had planned to head to the Australian Museum today to take advantage of their “Free for all” weekend, but Tom has been sick the last couple of days, so we decided to take it easy at home instead. I like going to the drive-in – I didn’t go when I was  kid, and it’s nice to take the boys so they can experience it. It’s cheaper than going to the cinema too – it only costs us $25 for the four of us, and we take our own food. I’m sure this won’t be the last time we go there this year.

Getting back into text correcting on Trove

I’ve mentioned previously that I’ve done some text correcting of the digitised newspapers on Trove. It’s been a year since I’ve done any though, and I got back into it with a modest 49 lines today. I thought that my new focus will be on the articles which mention the original Children’s Hospital in Sydney, the Royal Alexandra Hospital for Children which was located at Camperdown. We’re celebrating 20 years this year since the hospital moved to Westmead, so I thought it would be timely to work on these articles. I’ve done the articles from the 1960’s (there were only two) and will move backwards until I get to the 1900’s. I’m hoping that these articles won’t be as repetitive as the one’s I was working on before (on Victoria Cross winners), and I can learn a bit about the history of the hospital, too.