I attended all of the New Librarians Symposium (NLS8), including the workshops on Friday before the conference proper. But before I start reflecting I just wanted to say thank you Amy Walduck. If you didn’t suggest a topic for me to present on, I wouldn’t have even heard of NLS8.

I went to Dr Tim Sherratt’s workshop: Random acts of meaning: Digital skills for a post-truth world (I must be a permanent fixture in your workshops by now Tim) and Carmi Cronje and Fiona Jones workshop: Introduction to the Library Carpentry toolbox.

Friday morning, before I went to any workshops I spent an hour freezing my toes off with around 60 other brave librarians. As most will remember the 23rd June was a very very foggy morning, but we still got our ALIA 80th Birthday shot. And boy, do you all look great!

I’ve been to a couple of Tim’s workshop’s and he usually rattles off a bunch of links and websites that I always have fun playing with later. He did something a little different for nls8, and we did the playing in the workshop with Tim guiding us. This way, we got immediate feedback from Tim, but there was less content than I am used to. He put us in four groups to complete four exercises:

  1. To unsettle institutions by remixing their webpages using X-Ray Goggles
  2. To take responsibility by creating a Twitter archive using Twarc
  3. To mobilise meanings by unleashing a Twitter bot on the world
  4. To challenge assumptions by using Hypothes.is to enrich understandings

The group I was in chose to remix the Australian Christian Lobby webpage from this:

Screenshot of the Australian Christian Lobby website on Marriage

to this:


We created an archive of #auslibchat, made a twitterbot called @RainbowCat and used Hypothes.is to edit the Australian Christian Lobby webpage with links to information for marriage equality from the Australian marriage equality website.

I enjoyed the theme of #loveislove, rainbows and cats my group seemed to apply to all our hacking. Overall this workshop was a great way to learn and remember to be socially conscious of our digital heritage.

Lesson plan: Random Acts of Meaning

A colleague of mine had seen OpenRefine demonstrated at the ALIA Online Conference and I was keen to see it in action too. Fiona and Carmi started their presentation with some background knowledge of their library and their roles at Macquarie Uni. At first, I was really frustrated with this, I just wanted to get into the good stuff! But then it struck me that for some in the room, this would be a really invaluable insight into a library I already knew and loved (when my mum studied at Macquarie Uni, I lived in their library). So I settled back and enjoyed the trip down memory lane.

When we got to OpenRefine I made note of all the little things that were different from an Excel spreadsheet (ways of sorting by facets being one) and tried to get a handle on the GREL functions. In the work I want to be doing in my career, OpenRefine will be amazing. And I had no issue telling Carmi throughout the workshop that she was my new god.

On a side note, I didn’t know that LibraryCarpentry was its own community. I’m looking forward to exploring this further.

Resources: Visualising Scientific Landscapes  I  OpenRefine on the Web  I  JSON Pretty Print


Stay tuned for my posts on the rest of NLS8!
DFTBA (Don’t Forget to be Awesome)