#ChrisMash QR-code messages

December 20, 2011
Wanted: Santa Claus

Wanted: Santa Claus (c) kevin dooley/Flickr

Before I ran the ChrisMash event I asked people to send me their Christmas messages, if they had one. Quite a few did. I was interested to see who would come up with what. Once they sent them to me I created a QR-code for them, added a few of the QR-codes to a snowflake background and then planted them around the event room for people to scan. I also added them to the video of my first presentation.

Here are all of those ChrisMash QR-code messages.

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Merry Christmas to you from all of us! 🙂


Do You Want To Be One Of Santa’s Little Reference Helpers? #ChrisMash

December 12, 2011
I Saw Him!

I Saw Him! (c) fauxrealphotos/Flickr

Whilst trying to find the answer to the question “Can reindeer fly?” I reminded myself about Wiki.answers.com. It’s a place to ask questions and find answers… any questions. They even had the answer to my reindeer question:

Answer: Generally, reindeer can’t fly. Reindeer are mammals, and the only mammals that can truly fly are bats. (There are some species of squirrels and possums which have membranes of skin between their forelegs and ankles which they use to glide, but they can only go down, so they are not really flying.)

Except – Santa’s reindeer are different. It is said that the reindeer that pull Santa’s sleigh on Christmas Eve can fly.
Whether it is only on that one night, once a year, or whether they are special reindeer which can fly all year ’round (not that they need to) is yet to be determined.

Pleased to see that they could answer my question I had a bit of a scout around and found so many unanswered Christmas questions on the site.

Things like:

Wouldn’t it be great if we (library and information bods) could answer as many of the unanswered questions on the site as possible before Christmas. It would be great to highlight the fact that the questions have been answered by Father Christmas’ Librarians. 🙂 I reckon this is a great opportunity just to show what great reference and information skills librarians and information professionals have.

So, why not give a few questions a go?

Go on! It’ll start to fill you with the spirit of Christmas. 🙂

#ChrisMash Day (The Event)

December 6, 2011

Well, the ChrisMash event is now over. 😦

Poor Mr Xmas Ornament

Poor Mr Xmas Ornament (c) Nojko / Flickr

…but I enjoyed it and I hope everyone else did too and got something out of it.

Christmas :)

Christmas 🙂 (c) Alice Rosen/Flickr

An archive of the #ChrisMash tweets can be found here.

On the day (Saturday 3rd December) we had 6 people giving presentations. Here’s a run-down of them.

Gary Green (QR-codes, fractals and photo montages)

This included QR code snowflakes (post on the walls) linking to ChrisMash messages; fractals that gave an impression of Christmas; & photo montages spelling out “Merry Christmas” made from #ChrisMash tweet avatar images.

Owen Stephens (The ghosts of Chrismash past, present and future)

Owen talked about how the use of data in libraries had developed over time, how data resources have been re-purposed and what the future of library mash-ups may involve… due to restrictions on data useage this may lead onto no more mashups and subsequently the Zombie apocalypse!

I love this slide Owen posted – an idea for a method of viewing library catalogues remotely using a TV camera.

Application of a telereference system to divisional library card catalogs

Application of a telereference system to divisional library card catalogs (c) annarbor/Flickr

Owen’s slides are available here.

Paul Stainthorp (The DevXS event)

The University of Lincolnshire recently ran a student hackathon event. The university invited students from across the country and the world to attend and in the end 170 people turned up took part. It involved talks, presentations and encouraged students “to team up and build cool things that contribute to university life.”

Paul’s presentation (in the style of a Christmas tree 🙂 can be found here.)

Gary Green (Yuletide Info Stuffings Dug Out Of A Christmas Stocking)

A presentation of fun Christmas related links. This included Christmas infographics; winter book sculptures; weather checkers/visualisations to see if it will snow at Christmas; and the NORAD Santa Claus tracker. The list of Christmas links can be found here.

Andrew Preater (Towards ethnographies of the next-gen catalogue user)

Andrew talked about outcomes of an investigation into user experience and understanding of the next-generation catalogue and next steps they are taking at Senate House Library. As part of the research the intention is to study and observe readers in their natural environment using the library catalogue ie as they work in the library and do their research.

More details can be found here.

Karen Blakeman (Never mind the quality, just admire the pretty pictures)

Karen talked about evaluating the data that is provided in data mashups – often data looks good, but how far can you trust it; how accurate and up-to-date is it; how can you evaluate it? For example, the Twitter #uksnow map is built from tweets indicated how bad snow is in a particular area. This data is based around users personal experience – for example 2 inches of snow may be regarded as severe by one person, but insignificant by someone else.

Karen’s slides can be found here.

Owen Smith (Random slides for Chrismash)

Owen talked about what he does in his role at the Open University and how he is inspired to create extra functionality for information and library based services; and just to keep us entertained he also showed us pictures of cats, diggers and reptiles as well.

Owen’s slides are here.

Originally my intention was to have a few presentations on the day, a bit of tinkering time to do some practical mashing and then a get together at the end.  However, we didn’t have time for any mashing in the end, because a lot of the presentations encouraged some really interesting discussions to take place, which I was really pleased about. Maybe the Brewdolph bitter on tap in the pub helped encourage those discussions.

Snowman cupcakes pops

Snowman cupcakes pops (c) Angelina Cupcake/Flickr

I hope those attending enjoyed the event – I know it wasn’t quite your usual Mashed Libraries event, but it seemed to work well. Not perfect, I’ll admit that, but I’d definitely like to run one again with a few tweaks.

And I’d like to say a big thanks to everyone who presented at the event, attended, or got involved in some way, because without that interaction it wouldn’t have been half as fun for me.

Is It #ChrisMash Yet?

December 3, 2011

Yes it is! 🙂

Today’s the day!

All of the ChrisMash elves should be making their way to the event soon.

NCS Santa

NCS Santa (c) Pasukaru76 / Flickr

Unfortunately, a couple of the original elves who wanted to attend can’t make now. 😦  But it does mean that there are a couple of spare spaces left. They can’t be booked in the normal way, but if anyone does want to fill those spaces you can either leave a comment on this blog or let me know via Twitter (@ggnewed).

Snow Play

Snow Play (c) Theirhistory/Flickr

I hope everyone has a safe journey to the event and thanks to everyone who put together a ChrisMash message too. You’ll be seeing them later.

Right, I’d better go and get things finalised before I get the train.

Santa's train

Santa's train (c) Sparktography/Flickr


#ChrisMash Present(ation)s

November 28, 2011
Yuletide disco cover

(c) Epiclectic / Flickr

ChrisMash won’t be holding a Christmas disco… and we won’t be showing re-runs of Christmas Top of The Pops… but I can give you a run down of the presentations.

  • Owen Stephens – A surprise presentation from the GodFather Christmas of Mashed Libraries.
  • Gary Green – Yuletide Info Stuffings Dug Out Of A Christmas Stocking.
  • Paul Stainthorp – The DevXS hacker event…. with added tinsel!
  • Gary Green –  Christmas Prezi’s.
  • Andrew Preater – User experience of the next generation catalogue… includes demonstration of invisible mince pie juggling!
  • Gary Green – Winter Wonderland QR-Codes.

There’s still space for more presentations if you want to get involved.

Just add your name and what you want to do as a comment to this blog post. Aim for your presentations to be between 5 & 10 minutes long. If you want to do a presentation bring a memory stick with it on and you can use my laptop (Gary). More details of the limited technology available on the day can be found here.



Show And Tell At #ChrisMash

November 11, 2011

So… I imagine you’re wondering what people are going to be talking about at ChrisMash?

How about:

  • Prezi’s under the Christmas tree.
  • Yuletide stuff-ings.
  • Mashing up your own images.
  • Decking the halls with QR-codes.
  • Folklore, fact, science, turkey, advocaatcy & more!
So far Owen Stephens, Phil Bradley & Gary Green (me) will be presenting, but if anyone else coming along wants to do a presentation or you’ve got something ChrisMashy to show everyone else please let me know. You’d be more than welcome to get involved. Just add your name and what you want to do as a comment to this blog post. Aim for your presentations to be between 5 & 10 minutes long.
... early i-pod for X-mas!

... early i-pod for X-mas! (c) x-ray delta one / Flickr

Send Us Your #ChrisMash Messages #MashLib

November 4, 2011
Scrooge McDuck

Scrooge McDuck (c) Mark Liddell/Flickr

When it gets towards Christmas, even the grumpiest of people start saying nice things towards others. Ebenezer Scrooge is a great example of this. He gave people a big turkey for nothing – that’s how nice and guilty he was feeling at the time.

Well… we don’t want you to feel guilty, but what would be great is if you could create some kind of online Christmas message from yourself and send us a link to it, using the form below.

Maybe this message could be:

  • An e-card or an image
  • An alternative to the Queen’s Christmas message
  • A video
  • Even a piece of writing someone else has written online that conveys what you want to say.

Don’t feel limited to these ideas though – whatever takes your fancy.

Create what you want!

But, remember that it does need to have a URL so we can link to it.

This idea is open to anyone who wants to send a message – it doesn’t have to be just those people attending #ChrisMash.

And in true Mashed Libraries style these contributions will form part of a data mashy thing.

If you could provide them by 1st December that would be great.

Christmas Gorilla?

#ChrisMash Is Coming #MashLib

November 2, 2011

“Yes! ChrisMash is coming!”

What is ChrisMash?

It will be a half-day Mashed Libraries event held in London.

What’s Mashed Libraries?

Mashed Library is about “bringing together interested people and doing interesting stuff with libraries and technology”.

ChrisMash will be slightly different to other Mashed Libraries events.

It will be as informal as other #MashLib events, but will be more of a tweetup/meetup, with a handful of fun/creative mashup presentations based around the idea of libraries, information and the yuletide festival.

There’ll also be a chance to socialise too, as it will be held in a pub.

The room we are holding it in can comfortably hold about 30 people.


It will be held at the Marlborough Arms Pub in London.


Saturday 3rd December, 2011 (3:00-6:30pm)


It’s a pub, so the only technology we’ll have is the technology people attending bring with them.

Please bring your laptop if you want to tinker… but if you just want to do a presentation, bring a memory stick with it on and you can use my laptop (Gary).

They have a large LCD screen we can connect laptops to for presentations.

The Marlborough Arms has good wi-fi, but a number of 3G dongles will be available as a backup.

After the mash is over? 

I’m sure a few of us will be hanging around for drinks after the event, so if you can’t make it in the afternoon, or just want to meetup later, why not pop in for a pint or two?

Where do I sign up?

Right here with Eventbrite. Booking is open now.


I’m not sure!

"Go away, stupid Christmas..." ~ Piórko

"Go away, stupid Christmas..." ~ Piórko (c) pyza*/Flickr