Blogging under the radar

7 10 2010

There has been a lot of discussion online about bloggers in the political and media space, particularly if they are public servants or are considered ‘non-professionals’.

But what is also lurking (pardon the pun) is how social media enthusiasts share information and link to each other. There is an etiquette (or more precisely netiquette) involved that is about acknowledging your sources and validating your position. In a blog, an active link is considered a reference. It is not like an academic assertion that needs to be referenced in order to sustain an argument. It is much simpler than that – it is simply an expression of respect.

By taking the time to link to the information and people that you are discussing, you create a picture for your reader that has value and credibility. What is more, the author appreciates it! I am certainly appreciative of the efforts that other bloggers and tweeps take when referencing my posts or creative works. I am less impressed when people cut and paste from my blog into their own posts (even if it is a list of links) without acknowledgment.

I guess this is because I actually want people to read my blog and to follow the thread of the discussion. After all, even though my blog is a hobby, it still takes time and I invest a lot of effort in ensuring that other websites, blogs and tweeps are referenced. This is primarily because I greatly value the opinions and work of people who are active in the space of social media, semantic web and information management. Whether they write as themselves or under a pseudonym doesn’t really matter to me, what I am interested in is the ideas, opinions and the flow-on conversations that are generated.

Personally speaking, I make no attempts to fly under the radar and put a disclaimer on my blog to clearly state that the opinions expressed are exclusively my own. Fortunately for me, my employer and research institution endorse me to participate in this arena, in my capacity as a media researcher and creative practicioner, which takes a great deal of pressure off.

What I hope for, along with respect for each other in the blogosphere, is that there will be increased acceptance of an author’s right to choose how they write and as who. I also hope that there will be an acknowledgment that diversity of opinion is healthy, whether you are a professional journalist, public servant, media critic or just have a point of view.

For more information see #groggate and Craig Thomler’s blog post When traditional media exposes public service bloggers

09-10-2010 or 10-09-2010 or 2010-09-10

10 09 2010

I get so confused sometimes about the dates on  documents because of the different date formats – mainly because in Australia we tend to use DD/MM/YY, whereas in the US the standard is MM/DD/YY. Some years ago I came across the use of the  Internet Date Format ISO 8601 and thought it would useful to start to use this format as the standard for the date. There is some good information about this issue on the International Date Format Campaign website.

My mission now is to get all of my social media and web content updated to reflect this format – no small task. 😉

THATCamp CBR – Open linked data session

1 09 2010

The main focus on this session was the access and use of PSI (Public Sector Information). Asa LeTourneau, from the Public Record Office Victoria (PROV) led this discussion.

This discussion focused on a range of issues including, developing APIs, data scaping from websites, and making data available and different institutions that have made their data available in different formats.

In many ways, this discussion ended up being more about the ‘who’ and the ‘what’ and I was hoping for more about the ‘how’ and the ‘why’ on a technical level. That said, I did learn that it is important to write good XML and to have strong URIs 🙂

The session proposal on the THATCamp blog read:

Web2.0 has taken hold at PROV and we are now trying to figure out ways to take our existing data and publish it in a usable form on a regular and automatic basis. The specific tasks we have in mind are:

  • how to extract data into xml format
  • design a tool that can harvest xml on a regular basis automatically
  • identify what is an archival standard xml and why and what are its elements
  • how to match our xml elements to the archival standard xml elements and describe why the matching has occurred
  • design a tool that can publish xml on a regular basis automatically
  • Currently users access the collection here. One day, with your help, they may be able to access it

Here are a number of examples of institutions offering data and some of the methods and tools being used:

  • one of the main methods of acquiring open data is by the use of a screen scraper and then put data into xml schema
  • PROV are scraping own website
  • Access the PROV collection
  • People Australia have an API – Basil D (People Australia) is interested in people who want to use apis
  • Powerhouse made available data in csv format
  • Gov 2.0 innovation plan
  • Open Calais?
  • Machine tagging and crowdsourcing as a community activity
  • LORE – anna gerber uq
  • Design and art australia online – users make corrections to data
  • gate systems
  • Xpath
  • OpenSearch, please consider JSON output – it makes web UIs easier/faster
  • metadata conference – analysis of comments from dutch archives – sigfried??
  • open annotation project
  • Koori records unit – wiki – prov
  • community project in western district – wanting to develop sensitive system where rights of access is respected – who can see what because of cultural appropriateness
  • Who am I project – ARC linkage project

There was a general comment that Australian government archives ahead of the game because of the ‘series system’ developed in the 1960s. This is a great opportunity for access and visualisation of open data on a global scale. There was also comments that there had been some very good work in this area in New Zealand.

THATCamp CBR – Digital/Augmented space session

1 09 2010

In this session, the focus was on how we can traverse physical space with digital tools, map our location and connect with others. There was a particular focus on who has been in the same location and what this could mean for sharing an experience of a space or idea of place. The discussion was led by Dr Chris Chesher, who initiated the discussion by sharing his interest in robots and augmented space.

This topic is close to my heart as it is related to my creative practice as well as my PhD research.

This discussion covered a lot of ground in terms of covering tools, conceptual issues, future possibilities and challenges. For this reason, the majority of this blog post is a list of dot points which are split into three sections – concepts/issues, tools and references. The best aspect of this session was that there was a lot of blue sky thinking about what was imagined, what was possible and what is already emerging. Thanks to @ellenforsyth for providing the initial list of discussion points.


There were so many ideas, concepts and issues that emerged from this discussion, that I thought it prudent to try and only list some of the main themes:

  • how robots inhabit space – robots moved from science fiction to reality
  • gps – networked connections which inform about the space
  • spaces which have embedded information systems
  • what are the regulatory questions?
  • using mobile devices to record knowledge, stories in situ and feed it back for others
  • problems have changed – the technology gets smaller – perhaps the tablets are the solution – better image size – can make available in museum (Puke Ariki doing this now or soon)
  • two sides – using location based information to access received wisdom (museums, libraries, archives) but the other side of the community generated knowledge – accumulation of wisdom about specific locations – mention of 4square as a way of getting local recommendations
  • looking at memory – it may be the experience of the place, not the place itself – the personal stories, example of visiting the site of the former World Trade centre and the stories around
  • issue of following people on twitter who may over tweet their location – are we interested?
  • question about how to represent “my space” in a physical and an online way – how can an indiviual represent their physical space
  • second life mapping? dashboard with all spaces represented – could have a physical representation at some point, virtualising
  • artists working with gps locating combining in physical space – eg. Nigel Helyer
  • need for a truly topological architecture which can change, be exploratory, but can leave a trace others can interact with
  • AR – example which uses face recognition technology – as a navigation and access tool – using separate feeds for interaction,
  • is there an intiutive, pure way of leaving the trace in the environment?
  • the audio moving as you move through physical space – wanting diversity
  • who funds the staged experiences? collaborations? scalable? interlinking? example of staged experience cycling through inner west Sydney looking at galleries – other wise would not explore
  • push space – potential for marketing, but also possible for heritage and art discovery
  • example of Blutooth enabled signs in Adelaide for a band – song sample played
  • rfid – can slide tags in everywhere – no way of judging/evaluating them – perhap a solution is to be able to put filters on?
  • is there a market for the cultural sector to be a collective filter for people to opt to – as a collaboration rather than organisation by organisation?
  • idea that aggregators with crop up in the future – subscription option – also location filtering?
  • there could be a place for local aggregated information for discovery
    multiple view points helpful for many areas/locations
  • are the technologies providing the connections or enabling the connections
    broadening connections and also ultra local possibilities
  • different platforms with different norms about who you will have relationships with – differences with facebook, twitter, delicious…
  • need to keep in mind W3C standards and full accessibility – plus multilingual options? also social inclusion is very important – eg. iPhone ad showing people using their phone to sign
  • example of developing countries doing really interesting things with mobile phones, mobile phones as leap frogging technologies
  • example of using mobile phone technologies in refugee camps, and in transitioning to settlement
  • mobile phone as private space – this feeds into the notion of augmented space and personal/public have become blurred with the use of technology
  • banking transfer system in one African country based on mobile phone
  • are we already augmenting reality – by sharing things in different ways?
  • phones in West Bank provide a way around the changing boundaries – as can reroute people about the changes, adn map for boarder crossing pathways with real time updates
  • parking police mobile app – you know where they have been…
  • rfid tracking of cattle and sheep – genetics and feeding
  • stories from the US passing laws the prevent employees being micro chipped


  • readcloud – for ipad – people in a book club can comment, add images, where they are, twitter feeds, within the application of the book club, bringing together online and physical
  • soundcloud – similar with comments on the audio track, or kindle ap with high light within text to share possible sections of reading
  • Parramatta Library/Heritage centre will loan devices for accessing the walking tours
  • Museum which created a story ending at at secret room at the museum, online sources from Nina Simon blog
  • Tools for geocaching audio –, graphito (iphone app)
  • What about qr codes, qr queries? has their time passed? Issues of adding qr codes to buildings – who owns the plaque, can the code fit? Not all phones can read qr codes
  • new forms of fiction – King Park app finding your way to particular points – you are part of the story – also a version for Sydney Park
  • judas goat – feral goat tracking device – way of doing feral goat reduction
  • mesh technology could tie in with local applications as well
  • in France – Free – two boxes – networked foneros (?) works feeding “extra” bandwidth into shared area – sharing your own bandwidth
  • 4square – using gps to recognise where you might be, and can share information with friends or tweet or post tips for anyone to read – game mechanic “mayor” of place
  • Parramatta Heritage i-phone app for Governor Macquarie heritage walking tour, walking the past in Parramatta through the built up environment
  • mesh mobile phones – mobile phones reaching the tower through other mobile phones – for emergency phone towers


  • Cyberspace first steps (text title) this book was refered to, circa 1999, but I have not yet found it in a collection)

THATCamp CBR Report

1 09 2010

Last weekend I participated in a very interesting event titled THATcamp Canberra, which was organised by Tim Sherratt (@wragge), Cath Styles (@cathstyles) and Mitchell Whitelaw (@mtchl) and hosted by University of Canberra.

To explain, THATCamp Canberra was a user-generated ‘unconference’ on digital humanities. It was inspired by the original THATCamp, organised by the Center for History and New Media at George Mason University, and is one of a growing number of regional THATCamps springing up around the world. (‘THAT’ = ‘The Humanities And Technology’.)

The unconference model works on the idea that the participants generate the sessions, based on individual interests and research. In the lead up to THATCamp, participants blogged suggestions and then when we met on Saturday morning, the program was decided as a group, facilitated by Tim.

The sessions covered a broad range of topics including data visualisation to digital mapping to semantic web to augmented/digital space. Here is link to the THATCamp CBRprogram from Cath Styles Flickr page.

The sessions I attended were:

I missed the data visualisation session, but thanks to Michael Honey, this list of data viz links is a great resource of information about projects and tools focused on the visualisation of data.

As a general comment, the content of the sessions I attended was very rich, which was achieved by sharing experiences and tools in the spirit of collaboration. I have referred to some of the tools and projects in my reports on the workshops I attended. I went to THATcamp hoping to gain some practical skills and I found this, plus much more. I think the unconference model is a great way to focus on what participants want to explore, which was a big contributor to the success of the event.

Here are some other posts and reports on THATCamp Canberra: