Tuesday 29 December 2015

Using Open Live Writer

If you have ever lost a blog post in the draft stage Open Live Writer may solve that problem for you. A quick look at my Blogger account revealed I had 3 posts in Draft. The problem with the Draft format in Blogger is that it is easy to make a mistake when editing, deleting or moving text around. If an accidental highlight leads to a deletion or an unwanted alteration is made, one must be very quick to Undo before Blogger’s automatic Save cuts in and all that text disappears.
I use Blogsy, an excellent app for posting from the ipad but my preference is to use the laptop whenever possible. Sometimes I have written posts in Evernote then copied into Blogger. This method means that all formatting needs to be done in Blogger. The beauty of Open Live Writer is all the formatting can be done and previewed before posting.

Why would you use Open Live Writer?

  • draft posts can be viewed within the application
  • draft posts are saved to one’s own computer
  • finished posts can be sent straight to your blog
  • the interface is similar to most word processing programs
  • no unnecessary behind the scenes code that slows down the display of your posts
  • the menu bar has more sophisticated tools than that in Blogger
  • image/picture manipulation has its own toolbar with crop, format, exact dimensions and more
  • unlike word processors, OLW is designed for blog posting, once set up the process is easy
  • it is free and open source

Getting started

Download from Open Live Writer and follow the installation instructions.


It is then necessary to log in to your blog account. I was already logged into my Google account and received an error message in the browser but when I returned to the OLW installation screen the next step had appeared.


By downloading the theme your blog uses it ensures that you view the post as it will appear online.


Now you are ready to write and post. Remember to Save regularly as there do not appear to be preferences that can be set to automatic save. Your local saved drafts can be found under File > Open Local Drafts.
To add another service or another blog choose menu option Blog Account > Blog options >Add

Images in this post were dragged on to the editing window. The width of each picture is set to 390px to give a uniform look to the post. This enables much better image control than the small, medium, large options provided in the Blogger interface. When editing and previewing are finished, one can choose to Publish direct or Post to Drafts. Warning: the spell check tool in OLW is not yet working! This post was written, previewed in OLW then posted directly from OLW to Library Currants. 

Thanks to Shelley at Twigs of Yore for informing me of this tool.

Tuesday 15 December 2015

Flickr the family photos to Trove

Here's another method to make those old family photos available to your siblings and cousins.

Sign up for Flickr to get 1 terabyte of free storage for your photos. Photos can be made public, viewable by anyone, or private so they are only seen by you or those to whom you send a guest pass. Usage permissions are set using Creative Commons licencing.  Upload can be automatic from mobile devices and computers or one can use the simple drag and drop interface if family photos are already organised into folders.

Once photos are added on the Choose Photos/Drag and drop screen, one can:
  • edit titles
  • add descriptions and tags 
  • set viewing permissions
  • add to an album or create an album.

Edit information on this screen before upload
Once this initial information is added to your satisfaction, photos are then uploaded and will appear in your photostream and in the album you created. Albums can contain both public and private pictures. I recommend making your uploads private until you are ready to share them. I do not advise adding to a group from this screen.

To add further details to the photos, choose Albums then Edit in Organizr. Choose an individual photo to add the date the original photo was taken. Exact dates, single years or approximate years can be added through the date tab shown on the Organizr screenshot below.

Editing options in the Organizr screen

Adding your pictures to the Trove group

Once you have added and edited all the relevant information head over to join Trove: Australia in pictures group on Flickr.
All images included in this group are also made searchable in Trove, a service hosted by the National Library of Australia but built on the collections of thousands of organisations and individuals!
Trove provides the instructions for adding your pictures. All pictures added to the group must be made public. It is worth noting the need for accurate tags and descriptions as these are used in the Trove search. To make the best use of this service, revisit titles, descriptions and tags before adding them to the group as any subsequent edits in Flickr after Trove has harvested your photos and data will only be visible in Flickr not Trove.

Here are some early photos I have added, seen here on a search result screen in Trove.
Photos searchable through Trove
I've added these records to my family lists in Trove. Here's the O'Dea list with the photos now visible.
Thanks to Flickr and Trove, my cousins now have another avenue to find their relatives.

This post first appeared on http://librarycurrants.blogspot.com/2015/12/flickr-family-photos-to-trove.html

Sunday 29 November 2015

Tidying up Evernote tags

 If you have been using Evernote for any period of time it is possible that you have "ghost tags" in your database. These are tags that are not used by any of your notes. They may have been created for notes that you have now deleted or they may have come from a shared notebook which you no longer access.

Here's a quick method to clean up your tags. Open the desktop version of Evernote on your PC or Mac and scroll to the bottom of the side bar to select tags to view. All the tags you have used will be displayed along with the number of times that tag has been used.

Use CTRL or CMD to select all the tags with (0) next to them. These are the unused tags.

Simply right click and select Delete. Goodbye ghost tags.

This post first appeared on http://librarycurrants.blogspot.com/2015/11/tidying-up-evernote-tags.html

Tuesday 10 November 2015

Trove Tuesday - a new life for lists

Evernote to the rescue

In the course of my family research I have compiled a number of surname lists in Trove and while these are very useful for revisiting events, there is no way in Trove to search within each list to locate either a person, date or event.

As I have created lists within Trove, I have corrected the OCR then copied the corrected text from the newspaper article into the Note field for each item on my list. This means I have the full text without needing to search for it again when I want to build a family timeline or write a blog post. At this stage there is no method of exporting lists from Trove so that they can be modified and searched.

Enter my good friend Evernote. Why did this not occur to me earlier? I've used the web clipper in many other contexts but never thought to use it for lists. Individual items in Trove can be saved in a variety of formats but for lists the only current option is pdf.
Using the web clipper I've chosen Simplified article and saved. Now my entire list is searchable and able to be edited in Evernote. If I update the list in Trove, I can simply repeat the process and delete the earlier note.

So when I search in Evernote for "bridget galvin"  her name is highlighted within the Galvin list. The link back to the list in Trove is active as are all the individual links embedded in the list. All the source citations are embedded too.

Similarly, I can search using a particular year, e.g 1907, if I want to locate all the events that were published in that year. Some lists I have on Trove are private. Now they are in Evernote, there is no need for me to log in to Trove again to retrieve information from those private lists.
Trove and Evernote, a great combination.

This post first appeared on https://librarycurrants.blogspot.com

Wednesday 4 November 2015

Smart or not so smart matches on MyHeritage

The instant discovery technology embedded in the MyHeritage site affords a quick method for folks to add to their family tree without doing any research. The blog post with accompanying video explains how it works.
Instant Discoveries™ allow new users to progress from small tree seedlings, with only a handful of individuals, to large blooming trees with many branches, in just minutes.
Since its implementation I have been offered quite a few suggestions via instant discovery but have chosen not to add them as none have been related to my direct line of ancestors but rather to distant family members.

The Smart matches in MyHeritage also offer another way of discovering family members and since the implementation of Instant discoveries my Smart matches have risen exponentially.
Herein lies the problem - when I investigate the Smart matches offered, too many times I find that they are matches back to my own data that someone has added to their tree via an Instant discovery

Here's a great aunt appearing on my tree with citations for death and burial.

Now I find I'm offered a Smart match on another tree, same person indeed but no sources.
When I further investigate that profile on the other tree, I find the only source citation is a link back to my tree as the information has been added via an Instant Discovery but stripped of the event citations in the process.
I had confirmed several of these so called Smart matches before I discovered what was going on. 
So MyHeritage, do let me know why I should waste my time confirming what I have already input and perhaps explain why the event citations are not added in the Instant Discovery process. 

I have no problem with people finding and using my carefully researched data, but I don't wish to reconfirm it via smart matches every time it is used. Why not give them the source citations too so they can check it for themselves? Surely this would be a more responsible manner to promote verified data.

What do other MyHeritage users have to say on this topic?

This post first appeared on http://librarycurrants.blogspot.com/2015/11/smart-or-not-so-smart-matches-on.html

Tuesday 13 October 2015

In Thirroul - Trove Tuesday

This week we have had the delight of the birth of a new grandchild and attendant baby sitting duties for his elder brother in Thirroul, NSW. This beachside spot nestles below the escarpment at the very base of the Bulli Pass. The history of the surrounding coal mines, accidents therein, and strikes for better conditions are all well detailed in the newspaper collections in Trove but I came across this evocative description attributed to C.G.B. and published here in 1892.

1892 'Thirroul.', The Sydney Mail and New South Wales Advertiser (NSW : 1871 - 1912), 19 March, p. 639, viewed 12 October, 2015, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article16218472
Tomorrow we return home and leave the new baby 'peaceful, through dreaming time with face serene'.

Tuesday 6 October 2015

In Time and Place - Trove Tuesday

This week Alex DawShauna Hicks and Fran Kitto have published their reviews of the successful History Queensland "In Time and Place" conference held in Brisbane. Looks as if I missed some excellent sessions but it was not the time and place for me to be there as we travelled southwards for grandparent duties while we await the birth of another grandchild. Luckily we have arrived in time and are now in place as resident babysitters.

With an emphasis at the above mentioned conference on Queensland local history, this article tweeted by @TroveAustralia last week caught my eye. In 1921 this article detailed the movement by the Historical Society of Queensland lobbying to have local history studies included in the school curriculum.
1921 'LOCAL HISTORY.', The Brisbane Courier (Qld. : 1864 - 1933), 10 November, p. 6, viewed 6 October, 2015, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article20502592

Thanks are due to the many historical societies across Australia who work towards preserving and sharing their local histories.

Thursday 1 October 2015

Keeping the brain active

A retirement activity

This article shown in the newspaper clipping was written by Jim Fagan and appeared in the September 2015 Sunshine Coast Seniors paper.

Noosa Library has been holding computer classes well before the start of Tech Help sessions which are mentioned here, and there are other volunteers who offer one-to-one sessions to help with technology.

On the first and third Tuesdays of the month a drop in, no bookings required, group session provides the opportunity for Noosaville library patrons to have their questions answered, problems solved or simply to learn a little more about their device in a friendly atmosphere.

Tech Help started out as an initiative of the Friends of Noosaville Library group, several of whom have been and are involved. This varies as we retirees can be involved in a wide range of activities or just taking those holidays and making family visits.

The wide range of questions, devices and operating systems keeps my brain active in retirement and provides the excuse for having the latest "tech toys." Phones, laptops, tablets, ereaders, USB devices, SD cards, scanners and so on it goes. It is definitely bring and learn on your own device.

Numbers of attendees have ranged from 3 to 13, some folks are repeat visitors and some only come once or twice depending on their need. A smile, a friendly word and a group situation can help those who are anxious dealing with the unknown.

This post first appeared on https://librarycurrants.blogspot.com

Thursday 24 September 2015

Update or be outdated

Screenshot of updates in App store - text added in WordSwag

Updateitis or appaddiction 

I think I have both. Each day lately new updates arrive.
 - Windows 10 with dribbles of fixes
 - iOS 9 merely days ago is already iOS 9.0.1
 - Android 5.1.1

Ouch, I obviously have too many apps across a variety of platforms. Yesterday my ipad indicated there were 43 apps to update.
Google pushed all new versions of its 11 apps to the Android phone and now on opening the Play store there are 5 more waiting to be updated.

App and program developers keep us moving on too. Evernote has a new web interface, so does Ancestry. Dropbox has added some features, Facebook is forever changing its layout and settings. September has been an unusually busy month for updates.

Okay, so what is outdated? I've had a trawl through the apps on my devices and deleted those rarely used. Sometimes it is easier to just use the web interface rather than a specific app.
  • For Facebook I always prefer the web version so goodbye to all those apps. 
  • Diigo is great for bookmarking, but a separate app, no thanks, I've got the bookmarklet installed. 
  • Pinterest annoys me with its insistence on updating the app every three weeks. Give us a break please, I'll only be using you on the laptop from now on.

How many document scanners does one really need? Scanner Pro, Text scanner, Scanner+ CamScanner and Evernote Scannable. What about note apps? Evernote will stay but 2Do, Metamoji - - can't even remember its original name, and some others have gone. How many calendar apps have you tried, yes, I deleted 3! Whew, feeling better already. Then there's the range of web browsers, the photo editing apps and the image makers like the one below. How's your updating progressing?

Just couldn't get rid of this old favourite  - Wordfoto.

Screenshot of ipad keyboard, words added in Wordfoto
This post first appeared on http://librarycurrants.blogspot.com/2015/09/update-or-be-outdated.html

Tuesday 8 September 2015

Lights on or off?

Lights on vehicles

This week while exploring some newspapers in Trove I came across an article which puzzled me. Why would vehicles be able to travel at night with no lights as indicated in this snippet from the Kapunda Herald? This was 1913, so think horse and buggy. I could not imagine why a vehicle would need to be exempt and indeed why on particular nights. On looking more closely I could see these exemptions were approximately one month apart and lasted for five nights.

A quick search for the "Lights on Vehicles Act"  explained it all. These were the nights leading up to and including full moon each month. The Act had been brought into force in 1872 in South Australia and reluctantly applied across country towns in the ensuing years.

The 1877 article below explains an ingenious monetary reward method for getting the law enforced. The newspapers report many court proceedings for infringement of this Act.

Love thy neighbour, but if you need money and he doesn't have a light here's a quick earner!
Act 33 of 1876 extends the provisions of Act 16 of 1872 by making them apply to all main roads in the colony, and streets and cross roads within 50 miles of the city of Adelaide, and 10 miles of any corporate town. It was enacted that all vehicles while travelling on the roads or streets indicated, between half an hour after sun down and half an hour before sunrise (four nights immediately preceding the night of the full moon, and full moon night alone excepted, shall be provided with at least one proper lamp, which shall be kept burning. 
It is also enacted that any vehicle left or placed upon any such street or road after sunset and before sunrise shall be provided with a light on the side nearest the road. The penalty for a breach of the Act is a fine not exceeding 40s. half of which shall be paid to the person laying the information, and half to the Corporation or District Council within whose limits the offence may have been committed.
1877 'LIGHTS ON VEHICLES ACT.', Southern Argus (Port Elliot, SA : 1866 - 1954), 27 September, p. 4, viewed 8 September, 2015, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article96887808 

This post first appeared on https://librarycurrants.blogspot.com

Wednesday 26 August 2015

The road rises up

As National Family History Month in Australia comes to an end for 2015, here's a wrap up of events held at Noosaville Library.

The program kicked off with a session to guide participants through the process of researching a WWI soldier or nurse, including finding military records, cemetery and battle information.

Particular reference was made to the local Adopt a Digger program which focuses on researching WW1 Diggers and Nurses from the local Sunshine Coast region of Queensland. Attendees benefited from the in depth knowledge of Jane the local heritage librarian and Bob, family history volunteer guru.

The second session was designed to introduce the audience to a wide range family history sites available on the Internet with emphasis on free sites, the major pay sites, portal and gateway sites, archives, libraries, newspapers and so much more. During this 3 hour session various search strategies were demonstrated. Needless to say such depth of material can only be a taster of available online records but for many participants this was their first exposure to a wide range of search techniques and resources previously unknown.

Week 3 brought out the genealogy equivalent of brick walls, not always solid and can often be knocked down with the right tools and approach. Bob detailed the "nitty gritty" of

  • gathering information
  • understanding the data
  • using the laws of probability and averages
  • examining the people found
  • searching many sources with a range of strategies. 
He then illustrated in three case studies how he systematically searched for clues, families, connections, and approached problems from diverse directions to obtain results.

Today's session on Irish Family History is embedded below with links to a range of sites that Bob and I have both found to be useful. Seven of my great grandparents came to Australia from Ireland, possibly even the eighth, as yet unconfirmed. Many of my husband's ancestors are also Irish.

So at the end of NFHM2015:
May the road rise up to meet you,
May the records suddenly appear,
May the lost ancestor find you,
and appreciate your care. - Carmel Galvin, 2015

 This post first appeared on http://librarycurrants.blogspot.com 26th August 2015

Tuesday 18 August 2015

Power searching videos

Learn from an expert

The ability to search the internet effectively is a skill everyone needs. There are many online courses and sites to help but why not learn from the experts at Google? If you missed the Power Searching courses presented by Dan Russell, he has now posted all the videos used in the lessons online. Each video is only a few minutes long but by viewing them sequentially one can gain a better understanding of how search works and how to become a more effective searcher.
Learning how to search Google effectively eliminates many frustrations for those not finding their desired results.

Dan has listed all the videos here: 

Alternatively you can search for PSWG3 which will find the YouTube channel but I do recommend that you watch them in lesson number sequence to get the best result for your efforts.

Here's the first video to get you started.

One of my favourite search techniques is to use the site operator to search within a site. Dan teaches this technique in Lesson 3 1. Happy viewing and learning!

This post first appeared on http://librarycurrants.blogspot.com/2015/08/power-searching-videos.html

Sunday 14 June 2015

A June jaunt

Ireland to Australia A rainy winter morning was not enough to prevent an early start to Brisbane to attend Ireland to Australia: Searching for Ancestors seminar hosted by the Queensland Family History Society. After a trouble free drive of one and a half hours we arrived at Gaythorne in time to collect handouts and enjoy a morning concentrating on our Irish forebears.

First up was Mary King, the convenor of the QFHS Irish interest group. Her presentation Learning to think Irish in a new way focussed on a wide range of available resources. Her formidable knowledge of extant resources was accompanied by a handout of the slides, nine to a page which I shall peruse with magnifying glass in hand. She certainly managed to convince me to keep looking for a variety of alternatives.

A timely morning tea gave us a chance to enjoy a quick cuppa before Dr. Richard Reid's talks. 
His first presentation The great tide of emigration: 19th century Irish emigration to Australia focussed on the journey with illustrations of the parting of the ways and reflections on the journey actually undertaken by ancestors. His book Farewell my children provides more details on this story. The complete statistics used in his research are available online in the manuscript through ANU digital publications.
The second talk There is no person starving here: Australia and the Great Famine in Ireland, 1845-1850 focussed on the conditions during the famine.

Richard's excellent presentations used a variety of illustrations from the National Library of Ireland Lawrence collection which can be filtered by county, town, subject and photographer. Another excellent source for information and images mentioned is the Illustrated London News which is available free through eresources with a National Library of Australia reader's card. It is easy to forget about the rich variety of resources freely available via the NLA and our State Libraries.
Reference to the poorhouses, the tumbling of cottier's accommodation and the conditions of the time were well documented and illustrated with references from the "Freeman's Journal" which is also available through the British Newspaper collection of the NLA's eresources.

The value of attending seminars and other educational opportunities can never be underestimated. Thanks to both speakers I have some new leads to follow and at Richard's exhortation will read another account of Irish history. The recommended title was The sharing of the green: a modern Irish history for Australians by Oliver MacDonagh.

To wrap up our June jaunt, my friend and I had lunch at the lovely Eden Gardens at Carseldine before the afternoon drive home.

This post first appeared on http://librarycurrants.blogspot.com/2015/06/a-june-jaunt.html

Tuesday 21 April 2015

Android phones 103

Notes, Calendars, Maps and favourite apps

Noosaville Library Wednesdays 10 am - 12 noon
April 8th, 15th, 22nd

Week 1
Week 2

Cooroy Library Wednesdays 10 am -12 noon
May 6th, 13th, 20th

This week sees the last in the series of three classes listed above. If you would like more help, Tech Help sessions at Noosaville Library are held on the 1st and 3rd Tuesdays of the month 2-3 pm. There is no need to book and assistance is provided for phones, tablets, ereaders and laptops. Bring your own device.

Wednesday 15 April 2015

Android phones 102

Noosaville Library 
Wednesdays 10 am - 12 noon
April 8th, 15th, 22nd.

Week 1 here

Cooroy Library 
Wednesdays 10 am -12 noon
May 6th, 13th, 20th.

Help videos

One of the quickest ways to get to know your phone is to watch a video as you can pause while you find the features mentioned. Droid Life has a great video channel. Find your phone in their 25 tips series. Here are some of the popular models.
Samsung Galaxy S4
HTC One M8

Photo editing apps

Photoshop Express



Transfer to computer

This post first appeared on https://librarycurrants.blogspot.com

Sunday 12 April 2015

Storehouse for photo stories

Recently I've been experimenting with some new ipad apps suitable for visual storytelling. This one is Storehouse. After downloading the free app, sign up via email, Facebook or Twitter.

Photos and video clips are added through a simple interface and can be rearranged with drag and drop. They can be sourced from the ipad or iphone photo library, Dropbox, Flickr, Instagram or Creative Cloud accounts. It is simple to move, scale and crop pictures with your fingers and create interesting patterns with layout. Text adds detail to a photo story. It can be converted to headings or quotes where emphasis is sought.

If you have multiple photos from an event or from your travels, this app provides a quick and easy way to share a collection through Twitter, Facebook, Instagram or email. Once the story is published it can be embedded on a blog or website. Click or tap on any one photo to see it in full, then scroll left or right. Return to the story by with another click or tap on any photo in that section.

I love to revisit my photo collection from the Chelsea Flower show, so here are some favourites via Storehouse. Enjoy!

UPDATE - September 2016 I obviously missed the announcement that Storehouse was closing in July 2016 and so failed to save my story! Another service that had a great idea but could not make it commercially viable.

This post first appeared on http://librarycurrants.blogspot.com/2015/04/storehouse-for-photos-and-stories.html

Tuesday 7 April 2015

Android phones 101

Made with http://www.classtools.net/SMS/

Getting the best from your phone

The slides and links are intended to provide a guide for those participating in the Android phone classes provided for Noosa Library Service at:

Noosaville Library 
Wednesdays 10 am - 12 noon
April 8th, 15th, 22nd.

Cooroy Library 
Wednesdays 10 am -12 noon
May 6th, 13th, 20th.

The lessons are intended to cover basic operations and provide a venue for individual help. 
It is advisable that you get a free Google account if you have do not have one. This will allow you to download apps from the Play Store as well as provide access to a wide range of other free Google services.


Use the arrow key to advance the slides to review content. Click/tap the Expand icon to have them fill your screen.

Online lessons

How to Geek- Basic Android guide

Manuals and guides

I recommend that you locate the appropriate guide for your phone to help you along the way.

Android Quick Start guide available from Google Play books
Telstra mobile support Choose your phone and be guided through excellent help pages
Example of the Telstra help pages
Optus also provide excellent help pages for a wide variety of phones.

Support manuals and guides for other phones and providers are listed here.

This post first appeared on http://librarycurrants.blogspot.com/2015/04/android-phones-101.html

Saturday 4 April 2015

Congress on Slate

Here's an elegant new way to share your stories from your ipad. Just add text, photos and links to the app Adobe Slate.  Professionally designed layout features add another dimension to your content. This easy to use tool may appeal to family historians who would like to present their information in a visually attractive manner. Your story can include headings, text, quotes, images and buttons to link to websites.

Slate pages can be public or private, can be embedded on your blog or website as below, or shared via email and various other social platforms. There are 11 different themes to choose from so with a simple click the page or post can be modified to your preferred style. I've used the 'Tereza' theme. I've added only small snippets of text but longer blocks of text can be written.

If you have an ipad why not try it? Photos can be added from your own collections whether stored on your device or in Dropbox. There is a Creative Commons search if you do not have suitable visuals and the sources are credited at the end of your page. This is a free app, you will need to use your free Adobe ID as the pages are stored on Adobe's servers.

Here's an overview of last weekend's Congress made in Slate on my ipad. Click or tap on the picture below then scroll to view. The back button will return you to this post.

Congress 2015

This post first appeared on http://librarycurrants.blogspot.com/2015/04/congress-on-slate.html

Thursday 2 April 2015

Sharing the goods

Canberra - City Walk

At the AFFHO Congress 2015 held recently in Canberra a lot of information was shared in sessions and through social media. Subsequently I have added a wide range of people and organisations to my social networks. Here's a few I've recently followed on Twitter. To see more view my profile @crgalvin To get an excellent overview of Australian libraries, museums and archives on Twitter view the range followed by the National Library of Australia and those followed by Trove .


I love a new book to read and the titles shared below are just a few mentioned during sessions I attended. As I read the rest of the Congress papers supplied on a nifty USB, no doubt there will be plenty more titles to read and recommend.

The labour of loss by Joy Damousi
Broken Nation: Australians in the great war by Joan Beaumount
The invisible history of the human race by Christine  Keneally
Help! Historical and genealogical truth by Carol Baxter
In darkest England and the way out by William Booth
Farewell my children by Richard E. Reid
Single and Free: Female migration to Australia 1833 - 1837 by Elizabeth Rushen
Fair Game Australia's first immigrant women by Elizabeth Rushen and Perry McIntyre
Forensic genealogy by Colleen Fitzpatrick

This post first appeared on http://librarycurrants.blogspot.com/2015/04/sharing-goods.html

Wednesday 25 March 2015

Congress doggerel

For those headed to Canberra for Congress 2015, a little light relief, just 1 minute 25s of your time.

Made with Adobe Voice on iPad

Sunday 22 March 2015

Planning for research at the National Library of Australia

Visiting the library

This week I have the opportunity to visit Canberra for Congress 2015. Not only will I be able to listen to and learn from a great range of speakers, but I will also be in the vicinity of the National Library of Australia and will be able to use the physical resources housed there.
The extensive online eresources provided by the National Library can be accessed by all Australians by applying for a free library cardTrove which "brings together content from libraries, museums, archives and other research organisations" is also provided by the National Library of Australia and is free for anyone to use online.

Finding resources

To prepare for my visit I have searched the online catalogue for materials pertinent to my areas of interest. Resources can be booked in advance and are brought to the reading room for library patrons where they are retained for up to seven days. A maximum of 15 resources can be booked. A current library card is needed to log in and book resources.

My current research is focused on my great-grandparents all of whom were resident in South Australia in the period 1850-1930. My intention is to garner background material about the towns, communities and farmlands where they lived rather than individual facts about particular lives. If I locate information about any one individual or family that will be an added bonus.

I have located 12 likely titles ranging from local histories, commemorative brochures from various centenary celebrations, family histories and a district council compiled report. An unrelated lucky 13th resource I've requested access to, is a newspaper not online that I think has a photo of me in much younger years. The items requested are kept in a list that can be viewed when logged into the NLA's catalogue.

Taking notes

I have clipped the bibliographic details of each requested resource into a separate note on Evernote and then added some keywords underneath to remind myself of the sort of information I am seeking from that particular item. The permanent link is retained in the information about each note. This will keep my mind focused as I try to make the best use of limited time with such a richness of resources. The keywords are not intended to be restrictive and indeed it is possible that I may find none of them in this resource, but they do serve to make me consider the possibilities before viewing the book or item.

Here's a sample from one of my notes. Now when I have the book in hand I'm ready to take notes on my ipad without having to waste any preparatory time. Where permitted digital copies of relevant pages or sections of text can be added to Evernote and then merged to that title's note.

Advantages of this method of note taking:

  • all notes are referenced with source details
  • digital images of text pages from any one source are together
  • tags relating to places and people are added as notes are taken
  • the text and tags of all notes are searchable

What methods do you use to prepare for research when time is limited?

This post first appeared on http://librarycurrants.blogspot.com/2015/03/planning-for-research-at-national.html

Wednesday 18 March 2015

Checking out the app stores

Canberra bound

My pre-planning routine for any travel includes a check of the App stores to see what is available for my mobile devices for the intended destination. I already have Trip-it which provides me with access to my itineraries, accommodation bookings and any other bookings I may have made or added to the event calendar in Trip-it.

So to the destination, in this case Canberra. It is many years since I lived there. What's new and what's about in mobile apps?

First to the App store on my iPad. A featured collection in the Travel category this week in the Australian store is Explore Australia with links to apps for capital cities and states. Canberra reveals only 7 apps in this category.

If I search using the word Canberra, I am presented with more than 30 apps to explore.

Here I choose the free Canberra Map and walksThe Canberra Region visitors guide and the Canberra Travel companion.

Now to Google Play store for my Android phone. Choose Apps, search Canberra

Mobile Canberra looks good
Welcome to Mobile Canberra, an initiative by the ACT Government and the NICTA eGOV Cluster! Mobile Canberra is a powerful platform for showing points of interest and services around Canberra. The app provides access to geolocational Government datasets and services. Current services include bus stops, public toilets, playgrounds, libraries, TAFE campuses, schools, public art, and public furniture.
The Canberra Guide is another useful app.
I won't be using buses or taxis this time, but if I were there are a good range of apps here.

Using the web to locate apps

Sometimes I prefer to find apps via my computer browser, rather than on one of my devices.
Very quick and easy - search Canberra, select More from search results,choose Apps.

The results claim to list more than 48000 so I certainly won't be going past the first few pages of those, but I do like this search because at a glance one can see all the ratings users have given, whether the app is free or not and for which platform the app is made. Further into the results are reviews and articles about the apps.

Now for some wardrobe planning. I suspect my usual daily dress of shorts and tshirts will not be adequate warmth for Canberra at the end of March!

If you are planning to be at AFFHO Congress 2015, news from Pauleen assures us that an app is on the way. 
Update: Get the Android app for Congress here https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=rcd.congress2015

This post first appeared on http://librarycurrants.blogspot.com/2015/03/checking-out-app-stores.html

Saturday 14 March 2015

Evernote for conferences

Advance preparation for conferences

A simple method to avoid carrying excess paperwork when attending a conference and trying to keep track of sessions, is to centralise any conference administration, notes and papers into Evernote. To this end I download the conference program, save it to Evernote then mark and annotate the sessions I want to attend.

To keep my memories and notes of the event all in one place, I set up some basic templates that I can use again and again. There are templates for individual sessions and for days of the conference as well as a general overall note to help me focus on information I may wish to collect and remember.  Each template is tagged with a tag individual to the conference to be attended.

The general and the individual day templates are in the form of lists and remind me to add photos, contacts and a variety of other materials at the end of each day. This way I can keep track of the who, what, where and when  - particularly with photos or tips and tricks garnered along the way.

The individual session template has the room, location and time, title of session along with the speaker's abstract. I then type my notes from that session directly into Evernote on my ipad while listening to and watching the speaker and their presentation. My handwriting is poor and I find keeping notes on a tablet quick and easy. Any handout given can be scanned to the notebook, I then incorporate it into my session notes so that the material is kept together.

The notebook also contains a guide to using maps to determine travel times to various venues.
An Index is provided for the notebook and individual note links can be added to this as the templates are duplicated and renamed for the days and individual sessions. Using this method one can leave a conference with notes organised and centralised for later review.

My shared notebook for AFFHO Congress 2015  to be held in Canberra at the end of this month, can be viewed and/or saved to your Evernote.
Notes are all tagged AFFHO as are my travel, accomodation and transport details all saved into my version of the notebook. AFFHO is also the tag to use if you are tweeting during Congress.
This notebook can be adapted for any conference that you may attend. I hope you find it useful. What else would you add to a Conference Notebook?

This post first appeared on http://librarycurrants.blogspot.com/2015/03/evernote-for-conferences.html

Monday 9 March 2015

Let them learn!

Ah the angst! You present, you want people to learn what you have to offer but are you really ready to let them learn in the way that best suits them?

You are thrilled to be acknowledged as an expert in your area but worried that someone may steal your ideas. When you present whether to a conference, a meeting or in any circumstance, you are sharing the ideas and the knowledge you have so that others may benefit by learning from you.

Why are you afraid if someone takes photos of your slides? It's the detail and the expertise you have to offer they will benefit from, not your pretty pictures. Oh no! there's no inspiring images, it is all text and screen dumps - ah, that was how the teacher did it back in school all those years ago. Text heavy presentations invite photography. How else will the learner get to note down all those points you've decided are so important they must be listed? Remember the scramble to copy everything from the blackboard (whiteboard) before the end of class back in school or university days.

Have you provided a place where the audience can retrieve the links you've provided? How will  they remember the long name of that fabulous site or organisation you just mentioned,  - snap, a quick photo will do it. Is it really a surprise that the person who has paid to attend your presentation needs more than the memory of your words to take away, to revisit and learn? If they are busy trying to copy everything from your slides, are they getting the best from your talk?

How do you learn best? Are you a visual learner? Does audio suit you better? Have you supplied the attendee with online notes/slides so they can concentrate on your message? Have you given them notes at the beginning of the presentation? Will the presentation that they have paid for, be accessible?

If not - expect participants to take photos, expect folks to use every means at their disposal to capture the information being presented. Why not share? It is sure to generate more interest and if your presentation was sooo.... good, of course you'll do it again and again, and by the next time you'll have new up-to-date information to add - the slides will be outdated or at least outmoded.

Get your Creative Commons licence here Explain it to your audience too so they understand their rights and responsibilities.

Display a QR code that leads to your slides right at the beginning of your presentation and allow time for participants to scan it. Now they will have your slides on their phone or tablet and need not interrupt you or their neighbours by trying to get a shot of every slide.

One day:
  • you will be too old or infirm to present
  • the information you have to share will be outdated - let people make good use of it now.
Check up on what you agreed to do. The audience are clients, are you not bound to provide them with best learning experience possible?

I've written this post in response to so many negative things written about participants by some presenters after RootsTech, a large genealogy conference in the USA.  No, I did not attend - out of my budget range, but I learn so much from the caring souls who share their content online. It seems many conference participants were using their phones to photograph slides - it may be that some presenters had not given their audience a variety of other options to access the content. My genimate Jill has also addressed this issue which has prompted me to revisit this post.

I respect copyright and acknowledge sources but thank the YouTubers, the slidesharers, the Facebookers, the edTechers (yes often teachers) bloggers, webinaries, screencasters, geniesharers and too many more to mention. I've learnt and continue to learn from your visuals, audio and text.

All content, your presentations and mine are built on previous knowledge. Where did we get that from? We read, we learnt, we watched, we absorbed, we processed, we were inspired and sometimes we came up with an original idea. Our knowledge is built on the foundations provided by others. We adapt, add to and remix just as suggested in the creative commons licences. Help others learn with your visuals and text.

Slideshare, Dropbox, Box, Google docs and slides, YouTube, blogs and more. There are dozens of ways you can share your content online. Excellent examples of sharing using both paid and freemium models are Thomas MacEntee, Richard Byrne and Lisa Louise Cooke to name but a few. What are you waiting for? Times have changed!

Creative Commons License
Library Currants by Carmel Galvin is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

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