Thursday, April 16, 2009

Tagging's Not A Crime: Graffiti In The Library

My first memories of graffiti as an artistic display originate from the mainstreaming of hip hop culture through theatrical vehicles such as 1984's Beat Street and Breakin'. Graffiti, along with amazing break dancing moves and upbeat characters, seemed to brighten up the urban decay both films displayed as symptoms of a society unsympathetic to the needs of urban adolescents looking for a way out of their less than ideal situations. The graffiti painted on buildings, trains and just about everything else seemed to transcend the more rigid world of art I was taught to appreciate. My appreciation for graffiti and the nuances of the art form continued to grow with seminal documentaries such as PBS's Style Wars, a fascinating study of graffiti artists in New York. My love of graffiti was further fostered by the area I live in. In Atlanta we have some amazing graffiti on display, most notably in the Krog street tunnel located in Grant Park (pictured above).

In the last few years a number of books have appeared to document and celebrate graffiti culture, both in the United States and abroad. Any library wishing to serve the interests and needs of all patrons would be remiss in forgoing books dealing with graffiti art due to negative connotations ascribed to the form. Many people still view graffiti as a visual blight, a contention I would sometimes have to agree with given the lack of creativity displayed by some taggers. However, the continued outsider status of graffiti art allows it to stay fresh, interesting and viable.

Below I have listed graffiti books in the CFL collection and some websites I enjoy.

The Birth of Graffiti / Jon Naar
080 NAAR

Graffiti Paris / Photographs by Fabienne Grévy.
751.7 GREVY

Graphic Design: A New History / Stephen J. Eskilson

Piecebook: The Secret Drawings of Graffiti Writers / Sacha Jenkins
751.7 JENK

Postmodern Perspectives: Issues In Contemporary Art
709.04 POST

Art Crimes: The Writing On The Wall
The largest online collection of worldwide graffiti photos

Graffiti Maker
Create your own graffiti on your computer

An amazing British graffiti artist!!!

Collection of photos on Flickr tagged as "graffiti"

- Krog street tunnel photo courtesy of Glenn Lewis Images.

- Christopher Bishop

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Poetry in the Library

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Main Floor, Carlyle Fraser Library

Drop in to listen to faculty reading favorite and/or original poems. Individuals and Classes are welcome!

Class Periods:

4th: Mary Heald and a Kenyan guest

5th: Jen Dracos

6th: Eddie DuPriest and Nedra Roberts

7th: Lasley Gober

1st: Gavin Drummond and Roy Lovell

2nd: Frances Fondren and Jack Morgan

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Reimaging A Crime Scene: Or, How I Found Some Truth In A CSI Episode

On a recent episode of CSI a crime scene investigator was provided with video for analysis from a party where a murder had taken place. From a surveillance video of the party, the investigator was able to focus in on a man's face and identify him to create a larger image for other investigators. Usually, I try to overlook some of the more outlandish technology and gadgets presented on CSI as possibilities or composites of something else, but this one had me annoyed since resizing digital images, especially from video, can be such a pain with the loss of clarity as images are made larger. I made some remarks regarding the ridiculousness of the technology and tried to continue enjoying the episode.

A few days after I watched the show, a student happened to show me a panoramic picture of President Obama's inauguration speech wherein tiny details could be viewed by panning into selected portions of the image. The effect reminded me of Google Earth and its ability to allow for the viewing of street scenes. After looking at the image some more I thought of the CSI episode and the connection between the panoramic image of the President's inauguration and the video analysis on the show. My suspicion regarding the plausibility of the CSI image exposure was probably still valid but I definitely saw a connection between the two.

The equipment for producing panoramic images is made by a company called Gigapan who produces both a commercial and consumer version of their product. Simply put, the Gigapan device lets you "stitch" together multiple images from your digital camera. The panorama created is then viewable in closer detail since multiple smaller images have been used to create the whole picture. I'm fascinated by the possibilities tools such as Gigapan hold for the future of photography.

Below I have listed a few CFL books on the subject of forensics and digital photography.

Forensics Demystified
Barry A.J. Fisher, David R. Fisher and Jason Kolowski
363.25 FISHER

A Question of Murder: Compelling Cases From A Famed Forensic Pathologist
Cyril H. Wecht and Dawna Kaufmann
363.25 WECHT

World of Forensic Science
K. Lee Lerner and Brenda Wilmoth Lerner
Ref. 363.25 WORLD v.1

Murder at Golgotha: Revisiting The Most Famous Crime Scene In History
Ian Wilson
232.96 WILSON

Advanced Digital Photography: [Techniques & Tips For Creating Professional Quality Images] Tom Ang
775 ANG

- Christopher Bishop

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

The Newseum

This is possibly one of the coolest resources that I've come upon. The Newseum, "— a 250,000-square-foot museum of news — offers visitors an experience that blends five centuries of news history with up-to-the-second technology and hands-on exhibits."

In addition to its physical presence, the Newseum has a home in cyberspace at: This information-packed website includes virtual versions of its permanent physical exhibits including Pulitzer Prize-winning photographs; a 9/11 gallery; Berlin Wall gallery; and a Journalists Memorial.

The gallery that I found the most fascinating is the Today's Front Pages Gallery:
Front Pages From Across America and Around the World. Here's the description from the Newseum's website: "More than 700 newspapers transmit their front pages electronically
to the Newseum every day. Up to 80 are enlarged and printed for display
in this gallery — among them one from every state and the District of Columbia
as well as a sampling of international newspapers. Additional front pages
are displayed outside the Newseum on Pennsylvania Avenue."

One can access this gallery online at:
More than 700 newspapers from around the world electronically submit their front pages on a daily basis. 10 are chosen for a "Top Ten" each day, but visitors to the site can access the front pages via list or map. As a neat bonus, each front page is available as a PDF, allowing one to enlarge and read the stories. A link to each newspaper's website is provided, as well.

This is obviously not the best way of getting a complete "news fix" each day, but that isn't the point; rather, as the site states: "This daily exhibit is part of the Newseum's mission to promote better public understanding of news and journalism. A front page can reveal as much about a newspaper and its community as it does about the day's news. Some days, one story dominates these front pages. But often the stories on page one reflect communities with different interests."

Kimberley Barker

Friday, February 13, 2009

Bishop's Book Speak (Tony Horwitz's A Voyage Long and Strange reviewed), Installment 5

Click here for Mr. Bishop's podcast review of Tony Horwitz's A Voyage Long and Strange, an enthralling exploration and travelogue of discovery in America, including many of the seemingly forgotten who have been lost to the greater mythology of origin and place in America.

The following titles are also suggested:

Blue Latitudes: Boldly Going Where Captain Cook Has Gone Before
Tony Horwitz
910.45 HORW

Confederates In The Attic: Dispatches From The Unfinished Civil War
Tony Horwitz

Skeletons On The Zahara: A True Story of Survival
Dean King
916.48 KING

- Christopher Bishop

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Google Earth 5.0 Updates: Historical Imager, 3D Mars, Oceans and Narration

The newest version of Google Earth is out and includes some really cool tools for educators and those who like to play with all things geographic. My favorite addition is the historical imagery slider that allows users to view landscapes over time. For most areas the historical imager reveals about ten to twenty years of change with picture quality generally declining as older views are retrieved. A tool such as the historical imager could be used in tandem with Google Earth's overlay option to highlight resources such as the Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps, a collection of maps produced from 1884 to 1922 in various parts of the country, including Georgia, for property claims.

Another new feature is the Oceans view that allows users to see thousands of data points including undersea land forms, shipwrecks, ocean expeditions, National Geographic's ocean atlas and a ton of other great options. The inclusion of video and pictures to illustrate life in the ocean makes for a great learning tool. The information presently available is a good start, however, the input of community users and official institutions should lead to some amazing information.

The addition of 3D Mars is interesting but obviously lacks the detail found on Google Earth. I thought the most interesting view to be information and images of various lander and rover missions. Global maps and imagery are also available.

The final item added to Google Earth is the touring feature that allows users to record a narration while leading viewers through some portion of Google Earth. I love the possibilities of the touring feature for everything from class projects to describing your local neighborhood to others. The touring feature is also incredibly easy to use and very intuitive.

The updates to Google Earth, especially the historical imagery tool, remind me of a photo collection link recently sent to me by a friend. The collection includes older photos from the Battle of Stalingrad overlayed on more recent photos of the city. The resulting collages are fascinating and add a new dynamic to past and present. The other photo collections found on the site are equally interesting and focus on Russian subjects.

- Christopher Bishop

Monday, February 9, 2009

Gliffy, Or How I Learned To Love A Visual Organizer

I love to organize, design and map physical spaces! My need for organization recently led me to create a few maps of the CFL to assist library users in finding physical items housed in the library. Some might say creating maps for a two floor library amounts to overkill, but i noticed a need. Personally, I hate wandering around aimlessly while looking for something despite a nagging feeling I should ask for help. I often wish signs and maps were more abundant for those of us who want to look then ask.

In addition to serving a utilitarian purpose, my endeavour was a first step to creating a map similar to the one for the Lucy Scribner Library. The minimal front page of the LSL map soon discloses an interactive smorgasbord as users delve into the multifaceted finding aid, a resource for locating collections and
connections to additional material. This is truly the Rolls Royce of library finding aids. This is a map for the true library nerd.

All of the above leads me to a cool new tool I found after creating my library maps in Microsoft's Word program, an application called Gliffy that allows users to create floor plans, flow carts and network diagrams in a simple to use online format. Gliffy certainly isn't revolutionary if you are adept at using Word or Paint for simple maps, charts and diagrams, but it does offer some interesting and easy to use features that expand on tools available in Microsoft Office products. The image uploader, collaboration tools similar to Google Docs and limitless proportions are very helpful. I also like the ability to import various shapes, common images for networking diagrams and an interactive toolbar. The program is free and does not entail any software downloading or storage on your computer. If I would of found Gliffy earlier I probably would of saved myself some time and made a more interesting map. I'll redo the maps soon using Gliffy.

Copper Square Letter D letter E Mobile 013109 087 letter i G N

For those looking for inspiration, this link leads to a LibrayThing collection including books in the CFL chosen because of their connection to design. The selection process may seem haphazard and some of these may not be obtainable from online sources, however, one of the rationales, in my opinion, for a library should be the joy of browsing, of finding items that may be past their prime or hard to find.

The picture of Giles the librarian from Buffy The Vampire Slayer is completely arbitrary and has no real connection to this entry except to illustrate the connection between my status as a male librarian and Giles fan. Photo courtesy of 2010: A Book Odyssey.

The DESIGN logo was made using Spell With Flickr. A cool tool you should check out.

- Christopher Bishop

Friday, February 6, 2009

Video Making With Animoto

I recently attended a very informative Web 2.0 presentation by the IT administrator at The Woodward Academy in College Park, Georgia. The speaker geared the overview towards librarians with applications for anyone interested in using Web 2.0 tools as a platform for learning and collaboration among colleagues, students and friends. The tool I found most interesting and fun is Animoto, an extremely easy to use application for creating professional looking videos using images, music and text. Pictures can be unploaded from your computer, Animoto's collection, or an online site such as Flickr. After adding pictures the user is prompted to add music, either from their collection or your computer, and any text they need to illustrate the images. The whole process of creating the finished video literaly takes a few minutes from start to finish with an option for publishing the final product to Youtube or a personal site such as a blog. Videos can also be e-mailed to others.

The only drawbacks of the site include a limited selection of music and photos hosted by Animoto. There is also a yearly fee ($30) to create videos of more than 30 seconds and to download videos. The positives of the site certainly outweigh any minor drawbacks.

I created the video below (see next post) using images from the Library of Congress collection on Flickr entitled "1930s-40s In Color." The site is a wonderful collection of vintage photographs.

- Christopher Bishop


Animoto for Education

The Library of Congress' Photostream

Public Domain Collection (Government Sources)

Public Domain Music

Video Making With Animoto

Friday, January 30, 2009

Library Thing

I like to inform the Westminster community when we add new books to the collection. I used to spend a looooo-ooong time cutting and pasting reviews from Amazon into an e-mail, as well as typing the titles and authors. It was such a time-consuming process and the end result, while informative, wasn't very snazzy.

I first heard about Library Thing last year. I went ahead and made an account, but didn't play around with it that much. Then, about a week ago, I was inspired to play around with it again. The result? Well, read on.

I heart Library Thing :) Now all I have to do is type in the title of a book, click on the correct one, and a record is automatically created in my Library Thing "library". All one has to do is click on the record and one will be taken to a page with, among other entries, a review from Amazon. Library Thing will also post a picture of the book's cover. It is fast, easy to do, and the end result is really nice. Check it out: !

Kimberley Barker

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

A Few Notes of Interest Regarding Folk and Punk in Georgia

This Saturday, January 31st, the Atlanta music label Dust To Digital is hosting a concert in Athens, Georgia to celebrate the release of their new box set entitled Art of Field Recording: Volume II. The concert will host a number of gospel, blues and country artists from north Georgia who are featured on the box set including Sister Fleeta Mitchell, Mary Lomax and a plethora of other artists who are unknown to many. The box set and concert are the culmination of many years of field recordings and research. Many of the musicians are performers who played locally but never had a chance to make an official recording. This is a chance to hear and see a part of Georgia's musical heritage that is quickly being lost to both age and changing tastes.

My music listening tastes run the gamut so I thought a blog entry noting the Art of Field Recordings box set release concert would be a good place to talk about some other local music groups and resources falling outside of the mainstream. Westminster's own Black Lips have gone from being a local garage rock sensation to being hyped by the music press as the wildest thing to come out of Atlanta in recent memory. The Black Lips, along with local groups such as The Selminaires, Mastodon and Snowden, are certainly gaining in national attention as newer groups such as The Balkans step up to fill the local music breach left by bands who have moved beyond the Atlanta circuit. All of these groups, to some degree or another, are products of the Atlanta punk and indie scene that seems to of been overlooked in the past as groups from Athens, Georgia garnered a large amount of local press attention.

To gain a better perspective on the Atlanta independent scene from the mid 1980s to the near present I really like the Beyond Failure blog done by an Atlanta local active in bands and the scene since the early 1990s. The blog has a ton of rare flyers, photos, sound files and interviews from a time that meant a great deal to those of us who sought out an alternative to mainstream culture in the '90s.

Another favorite of mine for independent local music news and information is the now long running Stomp and Stammer. The monthly periodical features lots of insightful interviews featuring local and national acts, coupled with great writing concerning everything from movies to upcoming shows in the Atlanta area. A recent article featuring the history of soul and R & B music in Georgia was especially informative for those of us who had no idea such a scene existed here in the past. The Atlanta edition of Creative Loafing also features some great music writing and lots of information concerning upcoming shows and happenings in the area. I also like the Atlanta Music Blog for timely posts on a pretty diverse array of local musicians.

Atlanta's musical past and present are certainly extraordinary as new and challenging artists emerge to build on the framework laid by older local musicians, many of whom we are only beginning to learn about.

- Black Lips image courtesy of Paste Magazine
- Mary Lomax Image courtesy of Oren Rosenthal's blog

- Christopher Bishop