Tag Archives: images

Going back to gallery land #ndf2012

Going back to gallery land
Courtney Johnston, Hutt City Council @auchmill
This talk has been prompted by a shift: from private to public sector, from things on the web to things on walls, from Cuba Street to Lower Hutt. It will range over a group of freewheeling ideas, including the sensitised museum, the stack as metaphor, and the potential of emotional interfaces. There will also be 90 seconds on the topic ‘How to be a great client’.

Refers to article by Alexis Madrigal on “giving a shit”.

Advice for being a good client:

  • build a good relationship – trust
  • be customer-focused
  • don’t think of them as vendor but as customer
  • hard decisions are around money

Director of the Dowse Art Museum – big enough to do stuff but small enough to fly under radar. Leap from running web company to becoming director of art museum. Budget management and HR and strategy all obvious. But also experience of customer-focus, experimentation….

Lots of thinking in metaphors for transition. They’re a bridge between familiar and unfamiliar. A way of making a new kind of sense. Thought of “the stack” – visualises racks of VCRs. Old boss used to say when starting a new project should go through the whole stack. Never used to take diagrams seriously because didn’t help her think but now started drawing own – using stack metaphor.

“We should do X because it will better allow us to fulfill Y aspect of our mission by Z” (Nina Simon at NDF2009)

Realised her “stack” isn’t a straight line but a circle – realising that fans and mission aren’t two ends of a line, they’re the same thing.

Can’t afford to have visitors feel stupid or wrong, online or in physical space. No 404 or 403 pages in our buildings, and customer service people need to be our Fail Whales. Don’t hide the thing people come to place for – in art gallery the art.

Emotional response to books, art, museum spaces. Sport as “spectacle” – event designed to evoke reaction from viewers/participants. Memorable, moving. Have we become timid? Our visitors are hungry for experience. What if we had more emotion, personality, connection in our museums and galleries.


Museum of emotions – up to beginning of previous century men would have intimate relationships with each other, now seems lacking. Our language has become impoverished, fewer words for feelings. “Chivalry” reduced from whole code to “holds doors open for women”. Museum of emotions is a place you go to to experience emotions that have fallen into disuse, emotions you haven’t experienced yet. Not a place to learn about them but to experience them. Not a programme designed to evoke them, but one where exhibits radiate the emotion at you.

Emophoto – Makes DigitalNZ sets for various reasons – pulling things together and annotating; exploring ideas/thesis; to accompany blogposts; for amusement as public/private gifts to people. Currently can’t search for sets or see sets other than those on homepage – have to follow setmakers on Twitter. Created Tumblr site to aggregate some but dependent on time. Meaning accruing to images as collected in different sets. Wants to make sets collaboratively. Frustrated that can’t search sets by emotion. Let people classify images by an “emotion picker” (like a colour picker) – quality vs intensity. Both what emotion do you see in the photo, and what emotion you feel – these are different things.

[Shares descriptions of images that have moved her emotionally.]

Metadata as a way of turning looking into thinking. (@petrajane)

Hard to tweet as a director! Personal and professional smash up against each other. Risk of putting foot wrong and standing on landmine – but doesn’t want to stop because openness is powerful and scalable way of staying connected to fans.

The tales we can tell #ndf2012

The tales we can tell
Tim Sherratt and Chris McDowall
The growing proliferation of digital sources provides opportunities to view the past in different ways. We can analyse textual content of documents, extract and compare information from images, and build all manner of impressive graphs and visualisations to discern new patterns and insights. But this data has its origins in human activity. Behind each data point is a multitude of stories, as different as they are the same. By abstracting these experiences, the world of big data can become detached and alienating. How do we take advantage of quantitative techniques for contextualisation while holding on to the differences, the anomalies, the contradictions that continue to nourish and intrigue us?
Using examples drawn from a variety of collections and projects, Tim and Chris will investigate ways of bringing the two perspectives together. How can we construct interfaces that enable us to move freely across gulfs of scale and meaning? How can we present online narratives that embed multiple contexts? How can we use machine- readable data to frame and enrich our human-sized stories?

Tim: What happens when we bring stories and data together?

The excitement of linked open data is about making meaning. Explore, wonder, linger, sometimes stumble. The frustration of linked open data is that we talk as if it was all just engineering – a big industrial plumbing project. Can instead be a craft, created with love – or in anger. Linked open data will be a success not when we’ve linked everything to DBpedia, but when we’ve created thriving communities.

Western tradition equates knowledge with accumulation. Linked data promises Lots More Stuff. It’d be a tragedy if all we ended up with was a bigger database or better search engine. Want enriched stories, embedded meaning.

Did a presentation once adding triples – but presentation and triples were still separate. Want to create something not with a platform (“sneaky server-side stuff”), something anyone could do. Plain text, no markup. Hacked together javascript to work with text in document, get data from elsewhere, and: Live demo. Script inspects text onscreen and displays visible entities to the right. (The audience is audibly wowed.) Right now most data comes from within document, but sometimes only includes an identifier and pulls info from other sources. Rough demo and long to do list – but gives ideas on how to create data-rich stories.

Just used HTML, RDFA, and some javascript libraries. Wanted it to be accessible. “Access” not just the power to consume but also the power to create. Doesn’t want to live in a world where data is something other people collect for us. Wants “slow data”. Not the giant global graph, but data artisans hand-crafting stories into a messy tapestry.

Chris: Showing DigitalNZ listing thumbnails which link to institutional landing pages. Thinks it’s great if you know what you’re looking for. Tells of being in museum – not looking for a specific thing but just exploring. When online, don’t want to look at a postage stamp.

On a screen there’s so little real estate. Most compelling part of an image is typically the face. So took images (all 21,000 of them) and passed through OpenCV to extract 16,500 faces. Started experimenting with tile placement algorithms.

Composited images into a single image (in five clusters eg the area of soldiers’ faces) displayed with a maptiler interface: can zoom out to full mosaic or zoom into individual image. Wants online but first needs to add a metadata overlay and a clickthrough to source.

Has questions: Is this useful? Would this scale? Does this automatic cropping respect the images?

Links of interest 23/12/09

Christmas tree made from books
“star topper” by LMU Library
used on a Creative Commons
BY-NC-SA license
(Photos of tree construction.)

M-libraries (libraries on mobile devices
Library on the Go (pdf) “explores student use of the mobile Web in general and expectations for an academic library’s mobile Web site in particular through focus groups with students at Kent State University. Participants expressed more interest in using their mobile Web device to interact with library resources and services than anticipated. Results showed an interest in using research databases, the library catalog, and reference services on the mobile Web as well as contacting and being contacted by the library using text messaging.”

library/mobile: Tips on Designing and Developing Mobile Web Sites shares “Oregon State University (OSU) Libraries’ experience creating a mobile Web presence and will provide key design and development strategies for building mobile Web sites”.

Infomaki: An Open Source, Lightweight Usability Testing Tool describes a tool developed by New York Public Library to spread the usability testing load among visitors to their website – visitors are asked if they want to answer a single question; if not, they’re not bothered again; if they do answer it they’re given the option to answer another one. Because it’s not asking much of an investment in time a lot of people will do it, and then because it’s so easy a lot will answer more than one: “In just over seven months of use, it has fielded over 100,000 responses from over 10,000 respondents.”

University of Michigan has made available two reports about the usability of their LibGuides.

Search interfaces
Google Labs is trialling Image Swirl which adds an “images related to this one” functionality to their image search in a lovely visual way.

Happy Holidays!

Links of Interest 20/10/2009

A map of LIANZA09 participants – purple for attendees, pink/orange for invited speakers, yellow for vendors.

Widgets and other neat free stuff
Gale Widgets aren’t new but are nicer than ever. If I understand correctly, the PowerSearch widget searches across all Gale databases subscribed to by one’s institution. To create a widget use our location ID “canterbury” – the javascript code provided can then be pasted into LibGuides. (New box -> Rich text -> Add text -> plain text editor -> paste)

SpringShare gives instructions for adding WolframAlpha’s improved search widget to LibGuides.

Elsevier provides all their journal covers free. (“These cover images may be used in systems in which Elsevier material is offered to end users. Unauthorized use and/or modification of these images is strictly prohibited.”) Perhaps could be used in a future generation of our catalogue to complement book cover images? If you just want a single image to promote a journal on LibGuides, replace the number in this link with your journal’s issn: http://www1.elsevier.com/inca/covers/store/issn/00016918.gif

Plates from Buller’s Birds (digitised on a Creative Commons license).

Text message reference
Penny Dugmore writes about Unitec’s launch of a text reference service, and Elyssa Kroski’s Library Journal column on Text Message Reference: Is It Effective?. Oh, and just in: a summary about a recent presentation on text reference, with stats on libraries offering it and more links.

Library humour
A library-themed filk of Gilbert and Sullivan’s I’ve got a little list.

Range guide humour (alas, it’s harder to get this effect with LC…)

Links of interest 12/8/09

Louisville Free Public Library, Kentucky, suffered a flash flood; a librarian there has been posting updates and photos via Twitter. There’s an interview with the library director plus photos and the Library Society of the World (a grassroots organisation based on social networking, the absence of policies, and a stringent Cod of Ethics) is fundraising US$5000 to help out – latest I heard today they’d reached $2700.

Web and search
Curtin Library have created an optimised website for mobile phones.

You can now search for Creative Commons material across various sites in a single place, to find free photos, music, and videos.

If you’ve got an image on your computer and you’re not sure where it’s from (or if you’ve uploaded an image and want to see if anyone else has stolen it), Tineye may be able to find it. Like any search engine it only indexes a portion of the web but it’s indexing more all the time.

Subject guides
Some libraries are discussing ways to use LibGuides material in other parts of their library websites.

A new edition of the Internet Resources Newsletter is out, as usual listing a whole lot of new websites in a broad variety of subject areas – many could be useful for subject guides.

Food for thought
A bunch of librarians have been writing A Day in the Life of a Librarian blog posts – interesting to see what goes on in different libraries and different positions.

Seth Godin charts media according to bandwidth/value of information vs synchronicity/speed of communication – an interesting way of thinking about the way we communicate with our users.

Non-English blog roundup #8

Jeroen van Beijnen (Dutch) links to Idée Labs (English), which is playing with image recognition and visual search software. One of their neat tools is Multicolr, which searches among 10 million Flickr images for those with the colour(s) you select.
[Now, if you combined this functionality with book cover images in the catalogue… I do have to admit that my scheme to take over the world and add cover colour as a MARC field to improve searchability has a subtle yet important flaw: people aren’t necessarily any more accurate in their memory of what a book looks like than in what it’s called, who it’s by, or what the course code is that it’s a textbook for.]

Bibliobsession talks about an idea for an express computer station where readers can scan in a book’s barcode and find reviews of its contents (French): “It’s never been as easy to get hold of a book. On the other hand, it’s never been as difficult to make choices among the abundance of titles. Note that this doesn’t mean that libraries no longer have the function of providing access, but simply that this can no longer be our main raison d’etre.”

Non-English blog roundup #2

Deakialli DokuMental (Spanish) writes about navigation and filtering with tags – also discusses facets. “What is the problem? That description and navigation are different concepts.” This post made me think about searching using social bookmarking sites. I use Diigo which only has an AND search – as far as I can tell (and I hunted a bit) there’s no way to do even an NOT or OR search. Del.icio.us has a few advanced search options, but still no truncation search. As far as I know, there’s no reason this couldn’t be done, and it would make a search for “blog OR blogs OR blogging” much easier.

Documentalistes (Catalan) briefly evaluates Google Image Ripper, a site where you can type in your image search and it brings up the full-size images instead of the thumbnails. I note that it doesn’t solve the duplication problem: it would be Really Cool if a search for “madame de lafayette” didn’t include both images #1 and #5 which are identical. (Literally: Answers.com took it straight off Wikimedia. Some kind of pixel-by-pixel matching algorithm? Yes, yes, strain on the server and would slow down the results. Still.)

DosPuntoCero (Spanish) talks about some surveys described in the book “Libraries and the Mega-Internet Sites” (ISBN: 1-57440-096-7) The blog has pretty bar graphs for

  • librarians’ attitude to Wikipedia (untrustworthy, use with care, as good as print encyclopaedias)
  • whether libraries have a YouTube account (yes, no, planned for the next year)
  • whether libraries have published photos on Flickr (yes, no)

The bars are blue for public libraries, red for university libraries, green for special libraries. My executive summary: public libraries are more liberal towards all these things than university libraries; special libraries are between the two on Wikipedia and Flickr but way down there on YouTube.

Biblog (Danish) links to Intute, “a free online service providing you with access to the very best Web resources for education and research. The service is created by a network of UK universities and partners.” (quote from Intute’s page) I definitely need to explore this more. My colleague reminded me that Intute also created The Internet Detective which teaches students how to work out whether internet pages are trustworthy or not.

And just for fun, betabib (Swedish) links to an (English) interview with a helpdesk operative on the Death Star. If I weren’t hungry for my lunch I’d work out how to be web2.0pian and embed it here, but my cheese and pineapple sandwiches are calling to me.