Monday, March 30, 2009

Books In The City: Public Libraries Roadshow at Chevron House, Raffles Place (30 Mar - 1 Apr 09)

Books In The City: Public Libraries Roadshow

If you happen to work at or near Chevron House at 30 Raffles Place, do drop by the Public Library booth.

Books In The City: Public Libraries Roadshow Books In The City: Public Libraries Roadshow

You can borrow books on the spot, join as a NLB library member (or Digital Library members to access eResources), sign up for e-Reminder services, return your books there even.

Parents can pick up Children's books. Adults will find titles from subjects like Business and Finance, Travel, Fiction etc.
Books In The City: Public Libraries Roadshow Books In The City: Public Libraries Roadshow

Selected Audio Book titles are also available.

Books In The City: Public Libraries Roadshow

To keep things interesting, there are prizes to be won.
Books In The City: Public Libraries Roadshow

Books In The City: Public Libraries Roadshow

Books In The City: Public Libraries Roadshow

Books In The City: Public Libraries Roadshow

It's part of the public library's effort to promote reading and the use of public library resources to working adults at the Raffles Place area.

The 3-day roadshow is from 30 Mar to 1 Apr 09.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Hollywood firm acquires rights to Singapore comic book series


Just read this from Channelnewsasia (25 Mar 09):
The movie version of the comic series, "Freedom Formula: Ghost of the Wasteland", marks the first time a Singapore-produced story has been signed on for development with a major production studio.

US-based New Regency has bought the rights for development and the film – about futuristic slave racers competing in extreme high speed races for entertainment – will be distributed by Fox.

Co-producing the film will be the director of "X-Men" and "Superman Returns", Bryan Singer, in a tie-up with Los Angeles-based Radical Pictures.

Barry Levine, founder of Radical Pictures, said: "This was created for the Asian market. At the end of the day, if the character translates into a universal market, then we adapt it.

"If Edmund had given us something that was good but didn't translate properly, we wouldn't have done this. I think it has a shot to be a huge blockbuster. It is a film that appeals to everyone."

Speaking of Singapore-based comic strips, here's a recently launched online comic strip called "Two-Handed Tales" by RocketRayGun and Jonrob.

Here's another of my favourite Singapore-based comic strip/ illustrator blogger, Bounce Back To Life.

Who says Singapore no talent?


Sunday, March 22, 2009

Stephen Hawking’s bedtime stories

[Also cited at]

Spotted a New Scientist interview (18 Mar 09) with Stephen Hawking and his daughter, Lucy Hawking, about their writing of Children’s books (and more).

Here's a quote from Stephen Hawking:
It is extremely important to me to write for children. Children ask how things do what they do, and why. Too often they are told that these are stupid questions to ask, but this is said by grown-ups who don’t know the answers and don’t want to look silly by admitting they don’t know.

It is important that young people keep their sense of wonder and keep asking why. I’m a child myself, in the sense that I’m still looking.

Children are fascinated by black holes and ask me questions. I find they soon get the idea if it is explained in simple language. And yes, it is nice to think a few of them might grow up and read A Brief History from cover to cover.

In the interview, they also shared more about their father-daughter relationship, and how they decided to go into books for children (it was Lucy's idea).

Here's an interesting question to Lucy Hawking, and her response:
Have you ever heard your father's real voice rather than his computer-generated one?

LH: I was born in 1970 and Dad got his voice synthesiser in 1985, so I grew up with him and his speaking voice, although even I now think of his voice entirely in terms of his familiar computerised one. I saw a BBC documentary about him a couple of years ago, which featured him speaking in his actual voice. It was a shock to hear it again because I hadn't heard it for so long - it really took me back.

Their latest book, George's Cosmic Treasure Hunt, isn't in the NLB public libraries yet (you may wish to check the online catalogue at a later date).

Other earlier works by Lucy Hawking are available in the NLB libraries:

George's Secret Key to the Universe
Summary (from Follows the adventures of a young boy and his neighbour friend as they travel through a computer portal into outer space, where they explore such mysteries as black holes and the origins of the universe, while trying to evade an evil scientist.
  • NLB Call No. (book): J HAW (i.e. "J" = Children's Section)
  • NLB Call No. (AV item): J AV HAW (i.e. "J AV" = Children's Section, Audio-Visual item)

Run for your life
NLB Call No.: HAW (Adult Fiction section)

The accidental marathon
NLB Call No.: HAW (Adult Fiction section)

NLB Call No.: HAW (Adult Fiction section)

Wouldn't it be cool to have Lucy Hawking do a book talk/ storytelling session to kids at the Public Library?

It's a rhetorical question :)

More about Lucy Hawking's writings, at

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Defusing "traditional arguments against letting go of content"

This presentation by Michael Edson, Director of Web and New Media Strategy for the Smithsonian Institution, speaks for itself (thanks to Hazman for the alert).

Click on the word "Next" in the Flash presentation:


I was on a panel titled Online Communities and The Institution chaired by Nina Simon of Museum 2.0 with Shelley Bernstein, Chief of Technology at the Brooklyn Museum and Deanna Marcum, Associate Librarian of Congress for Library Services.

Nina wanted us to be provocative and I thought this might be the time and place to, as @ulotrichous (Eli Neiburger from Ann Arbor Public Library) said, defuse "traditional arguments against letting go of content." I was a little worried about the presentation. I thought that either I was being too harsh in caricaturing those who have reservations about online content, or that Webwise attendees were already past objections like "if we put content online nobody will come to our museum/library/archive."

Far from the case apparently.


More at Michael's post.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

"CC Zero”: Expanding the Public Domain

From CreativeCommons blog (11 Mar 09):
CC0 (read “CC Zero”) is a universal waiver that may be used by anyone wishing to permanently surrender the copyright and database rights they may have in a work, thereby placing it as nearly as possible into the public domain. CC0 is not a license, but a legal tool that improves on the “dedication” function of our existing, U.S.-centric public domain dedication and certification. CC0 is universal in form and may be used throughout the world for any kind of content without adaptation to account for laws in different jurisdictions. And like our licenses, CC0 has the benefit of being expressed in three ways – legal code, a human readable deed, and machine-readable code that allows works distributed under CC0 to be easily found. Read our FAQs to learn more.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

PDF slides: "How I understand & adopt Creative Commons"

My presentation for the Creative Crew Singapore March 2009 meeting:

Creative Commons License"How I understand & adopt Creative Commons" by Ivan Chew is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 Singapore License. Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at I'm always happy to hear from those who found this work useful. Feel free to email me at

You can download the PDF copy here.

[Update - 11 Mar 09, Post-session: Before my talk, I polled the participants, some 50+ of them. About 60% responded they felt they had a good understanding of Copyright. The inverse was true when asked how many understood Creative Commons. Less than one-third have heard about Creative Commons.]

Sunday, March 08, 2009

Creative Crew Singapore - March Meeting @ Central Public Library

It was a chance online discussion that led to me being introduced to the folks behind Creative Crew Singapore.

They (actually one guy in their core team, Linus) asked about the use of library premises for their meet-ups. It happened that one of my latest work task was to seek people/ groups who were interested in setting up "activity-based clubs/ communities" with the Public Library.

So several midnight online discussions with Linus and a face-to-face meeting with the Creative Crew SG core team later, we're running a trial session at Central Public Library on 10 Mar 09, 6.45pm.

Check out the details here.

Creative Crew Singapore meetup 10 Mar 2009

Admission is free. Anyone can walk in and attend the session.

BTW, if you noticed that I'm speaking on the same 10 Mar session, I assure you I didn't coerce those guys into letting me talk! They felt Creative Commons was a relevant topic and they'd like to know more.

Most apt to get more creative crews into the Creative Commons movement, don't you think?

The Creative Crew Singapore is quite well-established. I was impressed at how they organised themselves and the content covered in their meet-ups.

From their About page:
Creative Crew is the official Adobe User Group for Photoshop and After Effects. Based in Singapore, Creative Crew has the aim to share and spread techniques and tutorials for both Print and Video.

Oh, if you'd like to know more, or have ideas, about the "activity-club" thingy in public libraries, email me. Think keywords like: lifelong learning, social spaces, engaged society.

A small step towards Re-thinking about Libraries, if you will.

Thursday, March 05, 2009

If every book has a reader...

Fellow SG Liblogarian Aaron Tan muses about the Future Of Reading:
If every book has a reader, then why are bookstores and libraries not carrying every single book published, even if it's only sold or loaned out once every five years? It's the tyranny of physical space - the limitations of space have forced physical bookstores and libraries to restrict their offerings to mostly hits. With ebooks - and when (not if) we perfect the ebook reader - there's no reason to only stock the hits. For users, it means gaining access to an infinite bookstore or library.

By "every book has a reader", Aaron was quoting one of Ranganathan's Five Laws of Library Science*. Meaning, for every book that exists, there must be some one out there who would find it useful or interesting.

What got me thinking was what Aaron so eloquently put as "the tyranny of physical space"; how bookstores (and libraries) are unable to carry all that they might want to stock because of physical space constraints.

He suggests when there's a prefect eBook reader, then all digital books should be made available, i.e. "digitally stocked", by the bookstore. Or libraries.

I asked myself what would justify not stocking all titles. I came up with these inter-related reasons:
  • Sheer number of available titles
  • Cost of digital storage

For simplicity, let's say there are one billion (1,000,000,000,000) eBook titles.

Assuming the 80/20 rule, 80% of the eBooks are not likely to be accessed most times. This means eight-hundred-thousand-million (800,000,000,000) titles.
(Wait, did i get that right? My brain simply cannot process beyond one-million... anyway, I'm trying to say it's a freaking heck lot of unaccessed titles!)

Because of sheer numbers, some titles might never be accessed even if a reader wanted them. Because the user might fail to use the right keyword. Or did not go through all the search results page.

Of course my logic could be flawed.
  • I'm not sure if I've applied the 80/20 rule correctly. Maybe it could be 50% or 10% or 0.5% that do not "have its reader".
  • Some of those eBooks might not be hosted on somebody else's server (e.g. eBooks in the public domain). The bookstore merely has to link to them and does not incur digital storage costs for all eBook titles.
  • Even if it's a freaking-heck-of-alota-unaccessed-titles, the data storage cost for them might be easily offset by the sales of those titles that do get downloaded. The bookstore might want to incur that cost as bragging rights.

All this is academic and all so rambly. I don't think there's any reliable source of what constitutes "all the eBooks in the world" (at least I've not checked if there have been esimates on this).

So maybe Aaron is right.

There really is no reason for the infinite eBook library not to exist.

[* ASIDE: I remember being blown away by the profundity of those 5 laws. Ranganathan is a genius. If I were to run a library school programme, I'd make the 'Five Laws of Library Science' a compulsory module. An indoctrination course, if you will. To me, if you don't accept and appreciate the 5 Laws, then you should reconsider being a librarian, imho.

Also remembered this earlier post: Ranganathan on Melvil Dewey, 1964 tape recording transcribed]

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

My 2008 discography

Ahem. Shameless plug:

Here's a list of my songs published in 2008 (earliest to latest):
  1. Birthday Song - Library@Orchard (inspired by Jeremy)
  2. Weight of an Empty Page (inspired by prose from Regina)
  3. Surfing on Solar Winds
  4. Wanna Be With You
  5. Here And Now
  6. We Are (with Chris Ismael)
  7. Summer Days, Winter Nights (with Firdaus)
  8. If You Were A Dance
  9. Have I Told You Lately (Sweet Dreams)
  10. Walking On Air 2008 - with Friends from Songcraft
  11. Have I Told You Lately - II
  12. Friendship On The Runway (lyrics from Shamantha, used with permission)
  13. Jacobean Tragedy (Acoustic)
  14. One World (Paralypic Games edit)
  15. Music Video: ONE WORLD (2008) | earlier version
  16. A Quiet Afternoon (with Adrian Loo)
  17. Rainy Days (with Adrian Loo)
  18. Genetic (re)Mix (with Adrian Loo)
  19. Firefly (with Adrian Loo)
  20. Two Ladies (with Adrian Loo)
  21. Twilight (2008 )
  22. I Wonder (2008 )
  23. The Hill (2008 )
  24. Slipping Underneath The Water (a CCmixter remix, featuring Kaer Trouz and oldDog)
Plus this album published with my band buddy, Adrian Loo.
2009 One World One Moment

Creative Commons LicenseUnless otherwise stated, all works listed above by Ivan Chew are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Singapore License. AS LONG AS YOU ATTRIBUTE MY WORK TO ME (Ivan Chew,, you are FREE to COPY, SHARE, MODIFY, or SELL (yes, SELL!) content from this blog. And you do not need to pay me anything from what you do with the content(if you do, I'd be very grateful but that's not really required of the license). For permissions beyond the scope of this license, please contact me via or at

Sunday, March 01, 2009

Creative Commons License

[Updated: 1 Mar 09]

Creative Commons LicenseUnless otherwise stated, this work by Ivan Chew is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Singapore License.

AS LONG AS YOU ATTRIBUTE MY WORK TO ME (Ivan Chew,, you are FREE to COPY, SHARE, MODIFY, or SELL (yes, SELL!) content from this blog.

And you do not need to pay me anything from what you do with the content(if you do, I'd be very grateful but that's not really required of the license).

Do remember to ATTRIBUTE whatever you use here, to me.

Example of how you can attribute/ cite my work:
Source: Ivan Chew ( Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Singapore License.

For permissions beyond the scope of this license, feel free to contact me via or at