Making Games for Libraries Workshop

A few weeks ago I attended a workshop focused on making games for libraries run by Andy Walsh. The idea behind the workshop is to produce games used for information literacy instruction. As I am running a session at PI and Mash in August to introduce people to the Pocket Code programming environment and give them ideas for producing a library game, I thought it would be a good opportunity to get a bit more focused.

The workshop gave us a brief introduction to different types of games that we could make; the tools you can use and game design, concepts, mechanics, goals/aims and rules; and how to progress through the design stages logically. Andy provided a range of materials eg blank cards; dice; spinners; pens; blank boards, etc and we were split into small groups to actually prototype a game. I thought this was a tall order for a 4 hours session, but all of the groups managed it. It seemed as if you kept the end focus in sight it was a lot easier than I expected. As an aside, this is something I’ll be keeping in mind when I’m creating my little computer games, as they tend to go off in random directions.

My group created a prototype for a classification based card game. The end goal being something that would improve people’s understanding of classification. It was called “Dewey or Die” and was based around the idea of collecting a set or run of similar Dewey classification playing cards.

This video explains the rules.

Here are the prototype set of lovingly created hand-drawn cards (possibly a collectors edition in future).

Prototype cards for Dewey or Die classification game

Prototype cards for Dewey or Die classification game

There were 5 games prototyped during the workshop and it was interesting to see the areas the other teams focused on and how they put their games together. They can all be found on Andy’s Making Games in Libraries blog.

I found the workshop enjoyable and fun and the ideas behind it are something I’ll be using in future.

Library A to Z crowd funding closes at £4,543 (225% funded)

The Library A to Z crowdfunding closed today after 4 weeks and I’m really pleased to say that, thanks to the generosity of 155 backers, it has exceeded the initial goal of £2,000. The final amount was a fantastic £4,543, which means that the following has been funded:

  • £2,000 covers the costs of the illustrator, Kickstarter and card processing costs, legal deposit copies of the book, and the initial rewards including postage and packing.
  • £2,500 enables the production of a series of posters using the illustrations and makes them available for anyone to download under creative commons licence, edit if wanted, and to print for use in library advocacy.
  • £3,000 enables a pack containing books, posters and other materials to be made up and sent out to at least five different press / media organisations pushing the positive message about libraries. Backers will prioritise who we send them to (and will happily send these out internationally as well as within the UK depending on the geographical spread of our backers).
  • At £4,500 each person with a pledge of £20 over above will be sent an assortment of 5 greeting cards with images from the Library A to Z. It would be great if backers could send at least one of these to a local politician (your local councillor perhaps?) to ask about support for libraries in your area.
It seems such a long time ago that the initial A to Z list was crowd sourced at Library Camp East and it is fantastic that it has turned into something that so many people have thought was a great enough idea to support. Thank you to everyone who has pledged or shared the idea wide enough for this to be funded, including The Library Campaign, whose £1,500 pledge gave the crowdfunding a huge boost.
Huge thanks to Andy who came up with the idea of crowd funding this, found an illustrator and set up the Kickstarter.
Now we move on to putting the book together, and as we do this over the next few months I’ll keep you updated on our progress.
Library A to Z illustration by Josh Filhol

Library A to Z (Josh Filhol)

#LibraryAtoZ is 190% funded with one week to go

#LibraryAtoZ is 190% funded with one week to go

Fundraising for the Library A to Z is not yet closed, but with one week to go, it is already 190% funded! On Monday we’d already reached around £2250 with 120+ backers, but The Library Campaign showed their support for the project by becoming the main sponsor and pledged £1,500, which took the total up to almost £3,800! We had hoped that a library focused organisation would pledge, but wasn’t certain that it would happen, so this came as a fantastic surprise and is gratefully appreciated, as is the £2250 that all of the other individual backers have also pledged. This funding means that the full colour book, posters and posters will be produced, along with press packs featuring this material. We still have a week to go and further stretch goals dependent upon the money we raise. I said it would be great earlier in the week if the crowd funding reached £2500, but now I’m really wondering if we can reach £4500, and if we did how much more we could do with this project. A huge thank you to everyone who has generously pledged and promoted this project.

SEQuRAmA Search Project

I stumbled across this web-search aggregation project called SEQuRAmA being put together by Will Gilreath. In his own words the project “has the goal of more efficient search–search using other search engines but at a single point–a locus or nexus. The operation is query many a search engine, accumulate and aggregate the results.”

Even though I’m not sure Will is planning on releasing this, it’s still an interesting read, finding out how he’s approaching things and what his aims are.

I particularly liked this quote on his blog: “Seek and you shall accumulate, aggregate, and then find.” :-)

Here’s his introduction post and here’s a follow-up post.

Readers Take an Active Role in Interactive Fiction

Readers Take an Active Role in Interactive Fiction

I wrote this post about interactive fiction for the Read, Watch, Play blog.

Reading fiction is generally seen as a passive activity, with the reader following a single path of the story that has been set out by the writer. However there are opportunities for readers to take a more active role in the development of a writer’s story. This is especially true in the case of interactive fiction.

In works of interactive fiction (IF) the writer presents a story, but gives the reader the option to deviate from the thread of the narrative, or direct it in a particular path at various points along the way….

Read, Watch, Play is an online reading group that focuses on a new theme every month and includes films, TV, games and music as well as books as part of the discussion.

The full post can be read here.

An exciting announcement for the #LibraryAtoZ

Last year I blogged on the Voices for the Library site about the Library A to Z, which was a crowdsourced A to Z list of positive activities and services libraries provide – those that go beyond the idea that libraries are solely about books. We encouraged people to make use of and build on the A to Z to promote their library service and a few did, especially around National Libraries Day in February.
Recently I shared the idea with Andy Walsh from Huddersfield University and we talked about developing the idea into a book that could be used as a powerful advocacy tool for libraries – something that could be sent to politicians, local councillors and those with some control over the future of libraries. Andy suggested the idea of a Kickstarter/crowd funded project to raise money for the funding of the production of the book.
I’m really pleased and excited to say that the crowd-funding project is now live and will run for 30 days. In that time we need to raise £2,000 to turn this idea into reality and actually produce the book. This money will allow us to cover the costs of the illustrator, legal deposit copies of the book, and the initial rewards including postage and packing. Andy has arranged for a great illustrator (Josh Filhol) to be involved, and the aim is to produce a book contain a visual alphabet of the Library A to Z along with content that backs it up and highlights the importance of libraries. You can see Josh at work in the project video below.

There are a range of rewards for people and organisations who back the project, all increasing depending upon how much money you give to the campaign.

It would be fantastic if we could get this funded and turned into reality and we ask that if you can contribute please do (as the video says, it doesn’t matter how little you give). Please also share this in as many places as you can – all around the social networks, in libraries, anywhere! If we don’t make the target of £2,000 the project won’t happen.

We are also still looking for more words for the A to Z. So please take a look at the original list and if you have anything to add leave a comment.

For more details about the project and how the Kickstarter funding process works take a look at the Library A to Z Kickstarter page.

All the resources that are produced as part of this Kickstarter project including the images will be released under a creative commons licence, meaning that everyone is free to use the results of the project.

Discover Organize Share – A new blog

I’ve created a new information based blog at http://www.discoverorganizeshare.blogspot.co.uk/ . The new blog will focus on search tools, content creation, curation, aggregation and discovery ie more online information and less library focus.

To tie in with this I’ve also set up another Twitter account @a_p_8 , which will focus on similar areas as the blog.

I’m avoiding the angle of content creation, curation, aggregation as a money making marketing tool and focusing on it as an information tool. I say this because so many of the articles I’m finding are purely focused on information = money, but if they still have an interesting information angle I’ll share them.

I’ve also set up a Google Play account (AP8), as I’ve created a few low key information based Android apps, which are on there. They are:

Library Jobs U.K. (an aggregated feed of UK based library jobs from a range of sources)

Surrey MIX (an aggregated feed of news, events, photos, videos from Surrey, UK)

Hot Poppi (a search experiment using Yahoo Pipes and social bookmarking services)

I’ll still share techy ideas on this blog, but I’ll also cross-post them on Discover, Organize, Share too.

 

Bob Godfrey Cataloguing Project at U.C.A.

Bob Godfrey Cataloguing Project at U.C.A.

I was a fan of cartoons Roobarb and Henry’s Cat when I was growing up, so it was nice to see that the U.C.A. blog is now featuring the cataloguing project of Bob Godfrey’s archive collection.

Spend Love Index: Idea for National Hack the Government event #NHTG14

This weekend Rewired State are running a National Hack the Government event around the UK. I won’t be attending, but I thought I’d submit an idea that those attending might want to work on.

I called it the Spend Quality Index, and the idea is to see if a council’s spend on a service is proportional to the social media love it receives in response to that service?

Steps involved could be:

  1. Take the budget figures for a specific council service (eg Fakeshire Council Library Service).
  2. Collect all mentions of Fakeshire’s Library Service across various social media channels, extracting the user sentiment ie happy; unhappy; angry.
  3. Do the same for all Library Services across England.
  4. Produce a sliding scale of happiness/satisfaction with the services based on funding & sentiment.

Budget figures could be taken from CIPFA annual library stats and sentiment analysis APIs could be used.

Disclaimers

I know this isn’t a scientific approach and I don’t expect the results to be taken seriously – it’s about looking at things in a different way.

I chose libraries because that’s the sector I work in, and it isn’t me pointing fingers at library services who have made cuts.

A #LibraryAtoZ #lovelibraries #NLD14 gif

A #LibraryAtoZ #lovelibraries #NLD14 gif

I also wanted to make something a bit more creative for the #LibraryAtoZ, so I made an “I love…” gif taking some of the words that didn’t focus specifically on library services offered, more on people’s reasons for using them. It wasn’t supposed to be something personal to me, but now looking at all the words/phrases as they flit past I can honestly say that at some point along the way this is what libraries have meant to me.

Made with “www.Ilovegenerator.com” and “IMGflip animated gif maker”.