More Emojis!

Loyal readers,

I have written about emojis (or emoticons) before, and the implications they have for linguistics. Needless to say, as a language convention I find them quite fascinating.

So what’s new in the world of the emoji? There’s been a lot happening recently around the creation of new, more representative and inclusive emojis.

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By Sk5893 (Screenshot of phone) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

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Movie written by algorithm!

I stumbled across this fantastic piece of cinema a little while ago and just had to share it here. This short science fiction film entitled Sunspring was written entirely by artificial intelligence (AI).

Basically some really clever guys ‘fed’ this robot heaps of Sci-Fi scripts, the AI (known as Benjamin) analysed patterns within the text to produce an original screenplay by imitating structures and predicting common patterns. It. Is. Amazing.

It even did pretty well in a Sci-Fi London film contest. Before you watch the short film, I definitely recommend reading a bit more detail about its background to truly enjoy the experience (in this great article by ArsTechnica). At least, read the first section of the article which details how the actors managed to put it all together. It adds an extra hilarious and interesting level to watching the short film.

Interestingly, the article also discusses how the script is really a “mirror of our culture” since the AI only analyses existing content and produces the most common patterns into a new screenplay. The detail of how the creators built ‘Benjamin’, and whether he can be considered an ‘author’ are also well worth a read.

And so , without further ado, here is the film – enjoy! 🙂

The WayBack Machine as legal evidence

For those who haven’t heard of it, the WayBack Machine is an excellent service (offered by the Internet Archive) which lets you see exactly what a website looked like at a particular point in the past.

Have a play around, it’s free to use and offers around 487 billion saved webpages.

wayback machine

So what could this massive archive be used for? Historical analysis perhaps, cultural interpretations… Yes, but also – it’s been held as useful and accurate evidence in a US Court of Law.

So, for example, if a company states something misleading on their website (which you rely on to some detriment) and then they delete it and try to claim they never said such a thing – you can show the court an old version of the website which as been neatly stored away for you on the WayBack Machine! It’s also useful in areas of intellectual property and copyright law.

A great analysis of the case, and how it fits within the Australian context, has been written by Adrian Chang on the Allen’s IP blog.

As a law librarian, I love seeing archives and records being used in a legal context. As technology keeps advancing the law will rely more and more on resources like this I’m sure. The internet is so fluid and easily changeable, and inherently unreliable, as well as unfathomably vast, that having the ability to  look back into webpages like this is incredibly useful.

Student Engagement and Success across the United States and Australia

I am pleased to inform you that an article of mine has recently been published in the Global Postcards column of the International Information and Library Review!

Based on theories from Professor George D. Kuh’s keynote presentation at Monash University in 2015, the article discusses the similar challenges that the United States and Australia face in student engagement and success, as well as the differences between these two contexts. For example, the difference in numbers of students living on-campus, and the ensuing effect on student engagement, is quite substantial.
I consider the use of ‘High Impact Practices’ as a means to achieve student engagement and success, and how Monash Law Library has been utilising this concept in their teaching.

If your institution  has access to Taylor and Francis publications login and have read.

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Designing Book Covers

This blog post by the National Library of Australia provides a really interesting look into the process of designing book covers. With my interest in art this was a fun connection between two of my passions (the other being books of course!)

It’s so fascinating to compare the different images and read about the reasons behind those covers being rejected (or accepted), there is much more than first meets the eye! Although we should never choose a book by its cover, I must say I often fall for an interesting cover – to get me to the next step of reading the blurb and borrowing the book!

book cover

Image from the National Library of Australia’s blog post.

A recent article from the Wall Street Journal describes how many publishers are now pushing for bright and bold covers to attract shoppers – with yellow and neon being the new popular choices. While some are gaudy, they do catch the eye.

I personally love the Roald Dahl covers (and illustrations) done by Quentin Blake, and the covers of many of Terry Pratchett’s Discworld series (I believe the artist was Josh Kirby.)

Roald Dahl stamps

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What are some of your favourite book covers? Do you choose a book by its cover?

Anne Frank’s Diary and Copyright

Back in January, Anne Frank’s diary was put online, available for free. The copyright owners were considering legal action, and a mess ensued. Differences between national copyright laws in the EU further muddied the waters. Depending on which law is applied, the protection period of the work differs. There has been great disagreement over the date in which the work enters the public domain.

The problems centre around who the author of the diary is, and when it was actually published. Whilst clearly written by Anne Frank, her father compiled and edited the texts. Did these changes result in a new work?

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ALLA Conference 2016

The biennial Australian Law Librarians Association (ALLA) Conference ran over 3 days in late August, in my hometown of Melbourne.

It was exciting to be able to attend my first multiple day conference as a Law Librarian, and be able to get involved as well.

I ran a workshop on ‘Using Infographics for Engaging Visual Communication’ over 2 hours with about 13 participants. It was a great success (despite some technical difficulties) and I received a lot of positive feedback from the attendees. Many planned to use the two programs we worked with (Piktochart and Canva) for their upcoming projects.

The next day, my colleagues and I presented our conference poster on ‘Building statutory research skills for students’ which also gathered a positive response from the crowd. It was enjoyable to discuss all our hard work, successes and challenges with other professionals in the same field.

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Social media decline in youth

I have never been a huge fan of broadcasting my private life on social media, and sometimes seeing the way people do so can be quite depressing. In some ways, I was concerned as to where the next generation would end up, constantly living in the public sphere like this.

But I am glad to be reading that the youth of today have greatly opted out of using social media such as Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter and so on.

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Robots and the Library

Drones are amazing and have been tested in delivering fast foods and parcels. Google’s Project Wing (a drone delivery service) set to launch in 2017, and Amazon’s comparative service, seem to be effective and fast. Even Domino’s pizza has released an autonomous pizza delivery ground robot [and in Asia ‘Pepper’ the Pizza Hut robot for greeting and engaging customers].

But could this technology be used by libraries of the future?

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