Thursday November 15, 2012

Meet our Digital Archive

Subdivision plans, council minutes plus annual reports from the Mosman baseball club. These are just a few of the rarely seen and valuable resources available in the recently launched Local Studies Digital Archive.

Providing 24/7 access, the library is not only unlocking cabinets and display cases, but the stories housed within them. Curious to find out what happened at a council meeting in October 1922….and it’s 3.00am. No problems, jump onto your PC, navigate to the Local Studies Digital Archive, and download the minutes in seconds.

As we are frequently adding resources, be it images, video, documents, mp3s, etc. the archive will remain fresh and dynamic. Let it open up a bit of Mosman’s past for you.

— Posted by Ken Donnellan in ,  |  Permalink  |  Comment

Thursday July 7, 2011

Browsing back in time

The Iraq War: Wikipedia Historiography

The Iraq War: Wikipedia Historiography – from a twelve-volume set of all changes to the Wikipedia article on the Iraq War.

Like an underground resistance, the internet is almost impossible to destroy. The distributed nature of its infrastructure ensures that the whole keeps operating when individual servers and local networks drop off the grid.

But websites come and go.

The author might not have paid their hosting bill, they may even have expired. Or the business has gone broke. The webserver is down for maintenance. An organisational reshuffle has seen information incorporated into other content.

That page you accessed last week or last month is no longer there.

What do you do?

A simple first stop might be Google. Search for the page and click on the ‘Cached’ link to retrieve what Google indexed when it last visited.

Search for mosman electronic resources and click ‘Cached’ on the top result. Today I get a version of the page from 4 July 2011. Google’s cache is quite shallow (up to 3 months apparently).

More robut is the Internet Archive’s Wayback Machine.

Enter the URL http://www.mosman.nsw.gov.au/library/information/databases into the Wayback Machine, click ‘Show all’ and you can view 25 versions of the page going back to August 31, 2007.

Here’s the Mosman Council website in 1999.

PANDORA is Australia’s Web Archive, established by the National Library of Australia in 1996. It can also take you back in time like the Wayback Machine. Naturally it’s focused on sites of Australian significance. But it doesn’t have Mosman Library.

Note that some bookmarking services, like Diigo, have a ‘read later’ feature that can provide accessibility insurance over the course of your project. And Wikipedia allows you to view all changes to an article over time if you click on the tab ‘View history’.

But if that ‘lost content’ still eludes you, more traditional research techniques may be in your future.

— Posted by Bernard D, Internet Coordinator in  |  Permalink  |  Comment

Wednesday June 29, 2011

Help- My assignment is due tomorrow!

I’m sorry to tell you, but there are only so many books out there, and if you’ve left it too late, you will probably find that all the books in the library have been taken. But don’t worry- Mosman Library is still here to help you find what you need!

A good starting point is to make use of the online resources on the Mosman Library website- you can access many of these from home using your Library card.

Encyclopedia Britannica online will give you a good overview of most topics. The online format is highly interactive and you have the option of searching in “Junior” or “Student” mode, which breaks down the information into a form suitable for children. Each article also contains links to expand your research, and pictures and multimedia to use for your projects.

Other electronic resources available from home are an Australian History database, and Electric Library which gives you access to a large selection of newspaper archives (including the Mosman Daily), photographs, sound and video recordings.

The key to making the most of the web for research is to make sure you choose information from a reliable source. Most Government Departments have an education section, with information developed for students, often with interactive games and factsheets, and lots of links to resources designed specifically for syllabus topics.

For example, If studying Antarctica, try the Australian Antarctic Division, for Environment and global warming issues, try the Department of Climate Change.

Also try websites for museums, historic sites and other cultural institutions as many of these are excellent organisations with very informative websites suitable for children. Here are just a few, but there are many, many more!

The NSW Board of Studies also has a range of partner websites that address subjects studied by students, such as Multiculturalism, World Wars I and II, Anzac Day, Vietnam War and more.

There is a librarian on duty in the Children’s Library every day after school, so always ask for help if you need it- that’s what we’re here for!

Good luck!

— Posted by Kate Stewart, Children's Librarian in ,  |  Permalink  |  Comment [33]

Thursday June 23, 2011

Where do old websites go to die?

Uploaded photos to Facebook or Flickr? Shared stories by email with friends and family? Made artworks or saved documents on your PC? Got a great snap of your kids on your phone?

If this personal digital archive disappeared tomorrow—how would you feel? What about about future generations of your family?

Although the web is relatively young, our use of it is growing exponentially. This is apparently what happens every 60 seconds on the internet:

  • 6,600+ pictures are uploaded to Flickr
  • 600 videos are uploaded to YouTube, amounting to 25+ hours of content
  • 695,000 status updates, 79,364 wall posts and 510,040 comments are published on Facebook
  • 168,000,000+ emails are sent
  • 98,000 tweets are generated on Twitter
  • 20,000 new posts are published on Tumblr

Even if you think just a millionth of that stream is worth keeping, it’s still a lot of data. And how do you know which bits are the good bits? Jason Scott

Last night I went to the ‘Recordkeeping Roundtable’ event Where do old websites go to die? with Jason Scott, founder of Archive Team, ‘a loose collectives of rogue archivists, programmers, writers and loudmouths dedicated to saving our digital heritage.’

Jason is an entertaining speaker (in Australia he might be called a sh*t stirrer) with an inexhaustible line in analogies.

If you came back to your parking spot and your car was gone, he said, you wouldn’t shrug your shoulders and say “oh well.” But that’s what happens when we upload our stuff to the web and the companies that host it disappear. There should, he said, be a law against it.

Right now Jason and his volunteer force of web preservationists are busy saving GeoCities for posterity — ‘working hard to save your junk’ is how he describes it.

GeoCities was a popular web hosting service, founded in 1994 and purchased by Yahoo in 1999. It allowed people to publish for free and was once the 3rd most-browsed site on the World Wide Web.

“Organisations also like to think they’re immortal.”

Does the cloud make archiving irrelevant?

Jason said ‘cloud people’ are just “hiding the bunny”. It’s a magic trick. Behind the curtain, the same old issues are playing out. He pointed to Amazon’s recent drop-out and DropBox’s 4 hour password snafu.

Over at the Internet Archive – the gold standard for ‘Internet Library’ – three hard drives die every day, but failure is factored into their archiving process. Nothing is lost.

Jason is not only archiving our digital history. He’s collecting the lore that surrounds technologies and communities, with films like BBS: The Documentary and GET LAMP: a documentary about adventures in text.

As the Archive Team say, “HISTORY IS OUR FUTURE—And we’ve been trashing our history”.

Incidentally, the Internet Archive is a fantastic resource for books, films and music. Mary Lou Byrne, Local Studies Librarian, today sourced public domain music from the Archive for a Mosman Faces trailer (coming soon).

And if you’d like to hear a good story on digital archaeology, check this BBC radio doco on technology and the art of archiving the work of writers and poets.

— Posted by Bernard D, Internet Coordinator in ,  |  Permalink  |  Comment

Wednesday February 2, 2011

Uncover a treasure trove of information

Trove, a product of the National Library of Australia, is a search engine covering Australian content, including images, newspapers, maps, diaries and letters.

One of the most popular resources accessed on Trove are newspapers. Currently, 85 newspaper titles have been scanned, all of differing time frames. Here you can correct text, tag, add comments, and save paper as a PDF. There are also send options to social networking sites like Twitter, Facebook and Delicious.

Trove is attempting to achieve a seamless service, with content which is immediately available. More user friendly screens, deep linking from catalogues, plus digitisation and print on demand are a few of the ways this is being achieved.

Currently, Trove is working with state, public and university libraries, plus vendors of e-resources, for the inclusion of metadata for journal articles and e-resources.

Trove is a work in progress, and is continually on the lookout for methods of improving it’s search results and interface for users. If you have any ideas in which you think Trove can be improved, don’t hesitate to contact them.

— Posted by Ken Donnellan, Internet & Information Technology Librarian in  |  Permalink  |  Comment

Friday May 7, 2010

Find and get with Trove

Twice as much colour

Rose Holley from the National Library of Australia spoke about Trove at the State Library’s reference seminar this week. Trove is a ‘discovery service’ that lets you search the combined collections of Australia’s libraries, museums and galleries. The search picks up more than just books – you’ll find also paintings, photographs, maps, newspapers, archived websites, diaries and letters, as well as music, sound and video.

Read more...

— Posted by Mosman Library in ,  |  Permalink  |  Comment

Friday February 26, 2010

Search the local paper from your PC

The Mosman Daily has been publishing on the web for a year or two now. If you want to find or share a story, Google Search can be a quick and effective tool. Especially if you use the “site:” query. For example, site:mosman-daily.whereilive.com.au coffee will return results for the keyword ‘coffee’ from The Mosman Daily domain only.

But not everything that appears in the printed edition is published on the web. The letters page, for example. But there is a way to search these online.

Electric Library is a database that offers more than 2,000 full-text sources, including magazines, newspapers, books, television/radio transcripts, maps, pictures, and audio/video clips. You can access Electric Library from home or work using your Mosman Library card. (Remember that your Mosman Library card starts with a capital X!)

Electric Library gives you access to Australian newspapers in full text including The Mosman Daily, Manly Daily and other Cumberland newspapers. Mosman’s local paper is available on Electric Library the day after it is published (usually Friday) and is indexed back to July 2001.

You can also search the Australia/NZ Reference Centre with your Library card. ANZ Reference Centre is a general database of Australian and international content with articles in health, current affairs, science, social science, business and literature.

Tim, our Lending & Information Services Officer, built this search box for direct access:

Search The Mosman Daily on ANZRC

Need to go back further? Mosman Library holds copies of The Mosman Daily from 1920 and each issue has been indexed so that articles can be located.

Mosman Library offers its members access to many other free online databases. See what’s available.

— Posted by Mosman Library in  |  Permalink  |  Comment

Friday February 19, 2010

Mosman to 2030: a valuable information resource

For information on Mosman’s demographics (current composition and future trends) visit Mosman Council’s website and check out the Community Profile, the Atlas and Forecast.

This is an excellent resource for students, researchers, community groups, Council, the business community, and the community in general as it provides information on current population and future trends and answers questions such as How many people live here? Who are we? What do we do? How do we live?

The Forecast section, which predicts changes in Mosman’s demographics up to 2031 in table, graph and map format, has recently been upgraded and enhanced with some useful new features:

  • A ‘Data mapping’ tab which allows for the creation of thematic maps, including number, percentage and change in number, for any of the datasets, for any year of the forecast period
  • A new home page giving an instant snapshot along with detailed contextual ‘role and function’ text
  • Thumbnail maps on each page showing the location of each selected area to provide additional spatial context
  • Information for ‘males’, ‘females’ and ‘persons’ available instantly for each dataset
  • More extensive summary and key results information
  • Summary of the major components of population change represented on one page for easier analysis.

The information in the Forecasts is underpinned by:

  • The Community Profile which includes results from the 2006, 2001, 1996, and 1991 Censuses of Population and Housing, presented in table and graph format with commentary. It enables detailed analysis of the changes to the Mosman community over a 20 year period.
  • The Atlas which presents the above information as interactive maps. Based on data from the 2001 and 2006 Censuses, each map is prepared using Census Collector Districts providing the finest level of detail to help identify spatial patterns and trends in the area.

— Posted by Jill Cuthbert, Manager Library Resources in ,  |  Permalink  |  Comment

Monday January 4, 2010

Plain language guides to the law

Mosman Library is part of a statewide initiative of the Law and Justice Foundation of NSW and the State Library of NSW that provides free access to legal information for the community. In our reference section you have access to a regularly updated collection of plain language books about the law.

Now some of the most well used and useful Tool Kit titles have been put on the Find Legal Answers website in full text:

  • Defend yourself: facing a charge in court
    A practical guide to defending a criminal charge in court which covers arrest and questioning, bail, dealing with lawyers, court procedure, how to plead, hearings and trials, preparation, evidence, proof, examination in court, sentencing, and appeals.
  • Guilty your honour: representing yourself in NSW when charged with drink driving
    A practical guide to defending a drink driving charge. Examines the offence and penalties, whether to plead guilty, whether to get a lawyer, how to prepare for court, and what happens on the day of court.
  • Guide to wills and estates
    A practical guide to the creation of wills, changing, revoking, or challenging a will, rights of creditors and beneficiaries to a will, probate and intestacy, and legal fees.

Having these books online is a great step, as it allows you easy access to some fantastic legal resources.

— Posted by Mosman Library in ,  |  Permalink  |  Comment

Tuesday November 24, 2009

Discovery & serendipitous search

Children playing in the sand at the Mick Simmons’ Radio Club picnic, Balmoral Beach – Sam Hood (State Library of NSW)

Search the National Library of Australia’s new online catalogue and you’ll find not only books but photos, newspaper articles, journal articles and conference papers, music scores, biographies, pictures and archived web pages. It’s a holistic view of materials located in libraries, museums and archives all around Australia.

The NLA has called this new service Trove “as in ‘treasure-trove’, being a collection of valuable or delightful things. Trove is derived from the French verb trouver, meaning to find or discover. Thus, the name encapsulates the concepts of a collection, of treasured and valuable collection items and of the process of discovery” (Gateways, October 2009).

Trove provides a single point of access to places like the Australian National Bibliographic Database, the Register of Australian Archives and Manuscripts, Music Australia, Picture Australia, Australian Research Online, Australian Newspapers 1803-1954 and PANDORA (the national web archive).

Try a search on Mosman, Balmoral Beach or Clifton Gardens.

— Posted by Tim G in ,  |  Permalink  |  Comment

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