Sunday, January 31, 2010

HKLA 50th Anniversary Conference: Part 5

Hmm, I saved this as a Draft and forgot to publish it. Here's a belated part-5 from attending the Hong Kong Library Association 50th Anniversary Conference, Nov 2008.

[Continued from Part 4]

"Analysis of social tagging and book cataloging: a case study". Yi-Chen CHEN. Department of Library & Information Science, National Taiwan University.

Yi-Chen Chen - HKLA 50th Anniversary Conference

Her premise for the study: little research has been done to examine how social tagging has been applied to books.

So she looked at items tagged in

Research questions:
  • How can tags be organised to different function types?
  • What kind of tags are used?
  • How can it help the library?

Study involved a random sample of "most often tagged" Fiction & Non-fiction records in

Some findings
  • For Fiction titles, users tend to tag with "Bibliographic Information" (i.e. author, title, publisher)
  • For Non-Fiction titles, the tags tend to be "subjects"
When she did a comparison of the user-created tags and the Library of Congress Subject Headings (LCSH), she found:
  • 90% of tags were not reflected in LCSH (i.e. 90% of the tags were unique)
  • The overlap (between the user-tags and LCSH) was less than 12% overall
  • Tags tend to give more "genre" information, especially for Fiction works
  • In tagging, users tend to describe more character names from the books
  • Tags often had simpler and informal usage on person names, geographical names

My rambling thinking-aloud
I think when "social tagging" or "folksonomy" is mentioned, there will be some librarians who will inevitably pooh-pooh the former and start extolling the virtues of Authority Control exercised by librarians (i.e. LCSH).

That sort of argument -- of which is "better" -- is is irrelevant. It's like asking, "Is it better to search by author or by subject"?

The answer depends on what you prefer, and what you hope to find.

I noted that the areas of overlap between "social tags" and LCSH is only 12%, i.e. there tends to be different set of results retrieved, depending on whether you use tags or LCSH.

That suggests to me that it's really about different ways to find a book, according to users' preferences.

There are pros and cons: those who aren't familiar with LCSH can go by social tags. It is informal (i.e. not constrained by rules) and hence more easily remembered by those not familiar with LCSH. But there tends to be more misses in finding records, since the nature of social tagging there isn't any effective means of standardising the terms used (unlike LCSH).

I know some libraries are developing a sort of "hybrid systems" that marries -- or tries to bridge -- a structured and more consistent system like LCSHs, and a more user-oriented system like social tagging.

We'll see.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Sports@Public Libraries: in celebration of Singapore 2010

Received this email and media release, issued from my NLB Corp Comms colleague, on 25 Jan:
The National Library Board (NLB) spotlights the man in the street as it launches a vibrant calendar of sports related events and activities in celebration of the Singapore 2010 Youth Olympic Games.

Themed Sports@Public Libraries, the series of programmes aims to inspire the spirit of sportsmanship among the community and encourage it to embrace the Olympic values of excellence, friendship and respect.

I've posted the full media release below.

Here are some related posts over at the public library teens services blog, Y.O!:

My colleagues plan to release a series of related videos on YouTube.

More on this soon.

National Library Board Launches Sports@Public Libraries In Celebration of Singapore 2010

Singapore, 25 January 2010 – The National Library Board (NLB) spotlights the man in the street as it launches a vibrant calendar of sports related events and activities in celebration of the Singapore 2010 Youth Olympic Games.

Themed Sports@Public Libraries, the series of programmes aims to inspire the spirit of sportsmanship among the community and encourage it to embrace the Olympic values of excellence, friendship and respect.

Inspiring Youths Through Various Channels
One Asia-wide initiative was the ‘Youth Writers Awards Asia 2010’, a short story writing competition for youths in Asia, jointly organised by NLB and Reader's Digest Asia. Participants aged between 13 to 17 years had to submit short stories based on the theme, 'Dare to Dream: Stories of Imagination, Passion and Sporting Excellence'. The organisers received over 1,000 entries from various Asian countries, including those within the ASEAN region. Winners of the competition will be announced at the end of January 2010.

To further inspire creative self-expression among our youths, the ‘What I Would Like the World to Read’ initiative by NLB’s Public Libraries offers them the avenue to share their passion and knowledge on sports with their peers using multimedia such as videos and podcasts. This initiative not only promotes reading among the teens by highlighting the libraries’ collections but also engages the youths by encouraging them to contribute their recommendations via blogs.

In addition, the Public Libraries will work with secondary school students to design a card game through the nationwide competition, ‘Design a Card Game National Contest’. In collaboration with the Singapore Sports Council, another set of card game will be produced to feature 26 Team Singapore athletes and their sport.

A Slice of Sporting Action for Everyone

The action will not just be limited to youths. Children interested in expanding their knowledge on the sports competed at the Singapore 2010 Youth Olympic Games can do so through the Sport Fiction Map, where they can trace the country of origin of a particular sport and learn about interesting nuggets of information. Moreover, this resource guide offers a listing of the fiction titles available for further reading at the Public Libraries.

To promote understanding and bonding among the community on the spirit of sportsmanship, the ‘Stories Next Door’ competition, held till May 2010, allows the public to either nominate a champion who has demonstrated the Olympic values of excellence, friendship and respect through his or her daily activities or submit photographs which showcase those values.

As part of the Public Libraries’ outreach efforts to the underserved groups of the community, the Sports for People with Disabilities event will be held in June 2010. This initiative aims to highlight individuals who, though physically-challenged, manage to overcome their disabilities and continue to participate and excel in sporting events.

Said Dr N Varaprasad, Chief Executive of the NLB, “As Singapore gears up for the Singapore 2010 Youth Olympic Games in August, the NLB hopes to play its part in bringing sports to the masses through our network of Public Libraries. We hope that through our range of displays, programmes and publications, the public will gain greater awareness and appreciation of the Olympic values of excellence, friendship and respect and embody these ideals through their daily life.”

Showcasing Diversity Through Sports

The public can also enhance its knowledge on the featured competitive sports of the Singapore 2010 Youth Olympic Games through the displays at the network of Public Libraries. Each of the libraries would highlight useful information regarding a particular sport, complemented by resources and publications for those looking to extend their knowledge. Besides, they can look forward to workshops, talks and exhibitions which will commence from May 2010 under the Go Sports! series. Storytelling sessions for children based on sports values will also be conducted by the Public Libraries’ librarians throughout the month of June.

For more information on the series of activities organised by the NLB in celebration of Singapore 2010 Youth Olympic Games, the public can visit the Public Libraries website at

Sunday, January 24, 2010

An introduction to Creative Commons licensing for photographs

From, on an introduction to CC licensing for photographs:
"... But aren’t you afraid someone will steal your images?

Honestly, I don’t believe any licensing mechanism will keep people from stealing your images. If a photo is available to view on the internet, someone may use it regardless of whether you reserve all rights on the photo or not. Licensing your works under Creative Commons does not make it any easier or harder to infringe on your copyright.

What is the benefit of using Creative Commons?

As a photographer, I want my images to be seen by as wide an audience as possible. That, beyond all else, is my ultimate goal.

... When I started licensing my images with under Creative Commons, I saw a huge increase in the number of sites showing and linking back to my images. There are many tools and search engines available to find CC works and I want my photos to be available to them.

What about getting paid?

... Regardless of my licensing, I still have photos shown in galleries and still sell
prints and books containing my images. In actuality, I credit much of my success in photography to Creative Commons as it has increased my exposure and thus brought in new viewers and potential clients."


BTW, if you're located in Singapore and have adopted any one of the CC Singapore license, email me. I'll include you in the Creative Commons Singapore blog.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Al Jazeera Creative Commons Repository: Daily life in Iraq

Learned about the Al Jazeera CC Repository from this post:
Last year, Al Jazeera launched their Creative Commons Repository with 12 videos shot in Gaza under CC’s most open license, Attribution only. Since then, Al Jazeera’s collection has grown, and their most recent footage includes videos documenting everyday life and culture in Iraq.

I'm sure Al Jazeera has considered the use of its video by its rival money-making broadcaster, but think about it -- the rival broadcaster has to acknowledge Al Jazeera as the creator (as per the CC license), which means it's free advertisement:
The good news is that the video and all others in this repository are licensed CC BY, so someone can help translate this into English or other languages, for use by rival broadcasters or in documentaries.

... All Al Jazeera CC repository videos are available via CC BY, which means you can edit, adapt, translate, remix or otherwise use them as long as you credit Al Jazeera.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Kevin says "NLB’s ‘myLibrary’ Facebook App is damn shiok!"

"Shiok", a colloquial term frequently uttered by Singaporeans, can mean "Great!" or "Excellent".

Or possibly what Robin would say to Batman, "Holy 'Library 2.0', Batman!"

My friend, Kevin, created this video review/ blog post of NLB's Facebook app called myLibrary -


Kevin wrote:
What’s interesting about the app is that it integrates much of our typical library transactions right into Facebook.

At first we might wonder, “What’s the big deal about a Facebook app? Can’t we already access the same services by going to the library’s web site?”

True that, but more than just a matter of accessibility, it’s about being “within reach” to users, and extending their library use into the third place. Allowing users to recommend books to friends or posting what they’re reading directly onto their Facebook profiles is very much for the library’s win (i.e. word of mouth).

Thanks for the video, Kevin!

The myLibrary app is primarily targeted at NLB members, who are also FB users. Details of the FB app is at this FAQ page at
myLibrary offers the following suite of features and NLB services:

1. Account checking: users can perform library transactions and view information pertaining to their library accounts including overdue items, fines information and item reservation.

2. ASK! A Librarian service: users can send information-related enquiries to librarians who will respond within three working days. They can also view selected user enquiries and librarian responses.

3. New arrivals: users can view and search for the latest items available from NLB libraries.

4. Events: users can view and search for information on upcoming events and exhibitions held at NLB libraries.

5. Blogs: users can view the latest blog entries from NLB’s family of blogs including High Browse Online, Read and Reap and YO!

6. MyStuff: this is a virtual shelf to which users can save content (i.e. blog entries, event and item information, enquiries/responses) available in MyLibrary.

7. Recommendations: users can recommend items and information available in MyLibrary to friends. In the Recommendations tab, users can view their own recommendations as well as what others have recommended to them.

8. Post to profile: this Facebook feature has been enabled for users to post content available in MyLibrary on their profile page for others to view.

9. Invite: users can invite their friends to add MyLibrary to their Facebook accounts.

The myLibrary app is something I find useful, and I'm not just saying this because I work for NLB.

I login to Facebook more than I visit the library website (I bet this is true for many FB users who are NLB members). So by linking my Facebook account with my NLB account, I can see my loan record when I'm in Facebook (the link can be deactivated anytime).

Here's a list of what I've borrowed:
NLB myLibrary on Facebook | Home

In anticipation of questions concerning data privacy and security, the NLB FAQ says "...all account information and library transactions will take place within NLB computer systems that adhere to strict Singapore Government security and data protection guidelines."

My favourite feature is "Recommendations", combined with "Post to Profile". From my loan record displayed in Facebook, I can click on the "Post Profile" button and type in some comments:
NLB myLibrary on Facebook | Post to profile

Then it'll be posted to my FB profile, which my FB friends can view (depending on your FB privacy settings).
Facebook | Posted to profile

If my FB friends feel like it, they can leave comments at the profile posting itself. Just occurred to me that if Twitter is "microblogging", then the myLibrary Recommendations feature is like "micro-book review and book discussion" combined.

Would be even better if bookcover images could be displayed, and also not to truncate the book title. The NLB project team will try to introduce refinements.

If you've any feedback or suggestions for the myLibrary app team, there's a "Contact the Developer" link at the bottom of the app page. Or leave a comment here and I'll redirect them to the team.

They'd be keen to know if you think the app is shiok or not :)

Sunday, January 03, 2010

My 2010 "present" for the world: Crystal Tears and the Dream Nebula

The title of this post might sound overly dramatic. But I really mean it as such.

Each time I use a Creative Commons licensed material, I consider myself as having received a gift.

In return, by releasing my work under a CC license, it's my way of giving back.

Here's my 4th Creative Commons music project. This one was a year-long project with my band buddy, Adrian.

The individual tracks, or the entire album, can be downloaded from: | | More details at the band blog.

Album cover preview: "Crystal Tears and the Dream Nebulae"
*NOTE: Please credit Track 06 "Goodnight Not Goodbye v2.2." to:

Creative Commons License2010 Crystal Tears and the Dream Nebula by Starfish Stories : The Band is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Singapore License. As long as you ATTRIBUTE the music by stating this: "Starfish Stories :: The Band -"* in your audio, video, website, printed materials etc., you are FREE to USE, COPY, SHARE, MODIFY, or SELL (yes sell!) any of the songs from this album. In case we weren't quite clear on the above, try reading this! :)

Enjoy, world.