HTML5, iPads – Hot or not?

March 8th, 2011

Puttin’ on the writs

December 16th, 2010

This year we had a bit of fun at the National Library of Australia’s Christmas party with our own little take on copyright law. Thanks to Dereta for all her hard choreography work. It was great fun.

Australian Women’s Weekly visual timeline

November 30th, 2010

In the past I’ve spoken about moving our collections Beyond the search box, the colorful library and that libraries should be the provider of digital information but not control how we interact with that information.

Recently the National Library of Australia released digitized versions of the Australian Women’s Weekly. The existing way of accessing this collection is via a search box or a calendar. That’s a pretty traditional method for accessing library information, but I want to relate to the material in a different way. Back in the physical world, how do we view magazines in a newsagents? Are magazines hidden away or are the covers displayed to catch our interest and therefore purchase them? Some magazines like National Geographic are easily recognised by their iconic yellow and striking cover images.

Likewise, the covers of the Women’s Weekly are an iconic historical record of Australian society. I can remember what the covers looked like from when I was growing up, but I can’t easily remember the dates of any of the issues. How can I access this information in a visual manner?

With a bit of screen scraping I can build an alternative entry path into the collection. By extracting the relevant details for the year, month & issue I can repurpose the data into a visual timeline.

Screen shot of Women's Weekly visual timeline

50 years worth of issues is a bit much to be loading all at once, so I’ve built this to dynamically load in another year of covers as you scroll to the bottom of the screen. I like this interactivity as it encourages exploration without being too resource intensive. Of course the covers link to the relevant issue within Trove where you can explore the content further.

I hope this proves to be an interesting way of interacting with the collection. Enjoy.

Update 24 Dec 2010: My timeline has been integrated into Trove.

Trove and the Australian Women’s Weekly

November 23rd, 2010

Yesterday the National Library of Australia launched fully searchable digitsed versions of the Australian Women’s Weekly. It’s a fantastic resource for searching, but I find the interface a little time consuming for just browsing through issues & looking at the stories, images and advertisements. Luckily there is a very simple alternative.

Step 1. When you are viewing an issue there is an option to download the issue as a PDF.

Screen shot showing the Australian Women's Weekly

Step 2: Once the PDF has downloaded drag it to iTunes so it is added to your books (of course you can edit the metadata to something more appropriate than the blank default version).

iTunes Books

Step 3: Sync your iPad with iTunes & now you have a copy of the issues in iBooks on your iPad (or iPhone). A much nicer browsing experience. You can swipe from left to right to change pages and pinch to zoom in and out using all those lovely interactions we’ve become so used to.

iPad

It feels like a bit of a hack, but if the option is there to do it, and if it’s so easy to do, why not.

Web Directions South 2010

November 1st, 2010

I recently gave a presentation at Web Directions South 2010. It was an amazing opportunity & really a highlight of my year.

John & Maxine run an incredible conference & I thought this year they managed to have some of the most amazing speakers. The presentations by Scott Thomas, Michal Migurski and James Bridle were a stand out for me (and I’ve been waiting for the podcasts to come online to hear Craig Mod’s presentation which I missed due to pre-talk nerves).

I’ll be writing soon in a bit more detail about the application I built that I based my presentation around. In the meantime you can access the audio recording of my presentation at the Web Directions site.