Kay Poustie in Australia Day Honours’ List

Congratulations to Kay Poustie, previous chair of the Library Board of Western Australia, who received a Medal (OAM in the General Division) in today’s Australia Day Honours’ List.  The award was given for service to libraries, Zonta International and aged care.

Libraries Australia: a world of information

Can’t find that book on the State Library’s catalogue?  Try Libraries Australia.  It is a database of 40 million items in 800 Australian state, university, government, special and public libraries.  It lists books, journals, newspapers, photographs, maps, scores etc and their library location.  Libraries Australia is free and works like Google.  The excellent service is hosted by the National Library of Australia.

Australia Dancing

Are you mad about dancing?  The website Australia Dancing is a beautiful dance portal created by the National Library of Australia.  It has biographies of dancers and choreographers with links to websites, articles and photographs.  The history of many Australian dance companies are recorded with links to further resources.  There is also a database of performances and ballets eg Swan Lake, Ballet Rambert Australian tour, Corroboree etc.  As well there is a large listing of oral histories of dancers and choreographers. 

Askus: an email enquiry service

Askus is an email enquiry service provided by reference librarians and library technicians in Information Services, State Library of Western Australia.  Subject specialists in business, children’s literature, family history, music and Westraliana also assist with Askus.  Email your enquiry to askus@slwa.wa.gov.au  Alternatively you can fill out an online enquiry form.  Enquiries on all subjects are welcome.  Recent topics include: images of famous Western Australians, ceramic tiles, Coolgardie newspapers and pigeon racing.  You will receive a response within five business days.  The reply will direct you to appropriate books, journals, subscription databases eg Australian/New Zealand Reference Centre, websites, scores, sound recordings, images, oral histories and/or ephemera.

The Best Film Websites

Are you looking for a film review?  Below is a librarian’s compilation of some of the best film review websites:

The Internet Movie Database   is the best film website with over 425,000 film listings.  It provides film plots, full cast and credits, reviews, soundtrack listings, awards etc.  It also has a database of actors including biographical information and filmography.

The ABC’s At the Movies, starring Margaret Pomeranz and David Stratton, has its own website with the latest film reviews searchable by title, star-rating and year (2004-2007).

allmovie is a busy looking website but it has a database of 220,000 films.  The reviews are searchable by title or person’s name.    It has a film glossary, movie trailers, blog and a nice set of essays on topics ranging from action films to westerns.  It also lists new cinema releases.  There is a browser database that lists films by genre, decade or country of origin.

The Guardian newspaper has a very interactive film section that includes movie reviews by staff journalists and readers.  There are links to video interviews with actors.

The Metacritic website is a database of reviews on films, music, games, books and television.  It has film reviews from quality newspapers and magazines including Variety, New York Times, Washington Post, Salon.com etc.

Movie Review Query Engine website claims to be the largest online database of film reviews (over 600,000 articles) eg the film “Atonement” has 137 reviews.

RadioTimes is a comprehensive entertainment website that is part of the BBC.  It includes a film section with a database of 24,000 film reviews.  Only the Radio Times reviews are posted.

Bees upon the Deck: the first arrival of honey bees to Western Australia

There appears to be doubt over the first arrival of honey bees to Western Australia.  One of the first references to honey bees is in the diary of Captain John Molloy who sailed on the Warrior to Western Australia in 1829-30.  In his diary 1 December 1829 he wrote:

“Had the bees upon the deck.  Inspected them and cleared out the hive and found a great number dead”. 

Another record of honey bees being shipped to Western Australia from England was in Mary Bussell’s diary who arrived in 1834 on the boat James Pattison.  Unfortunately all the bees died before arriving in Perth.  Mary wrote to her mother claiming “the only live things” to have landed are “Foot’s dog and cat”. The first reference to a bee hive being established in the Swan River Colony is in The Inquirer, 11 November 1846.  

“…the persevering patriotism of Lt Helpman, RN after more than one unsuccessful and discouraging attempt, succeeded in establishing at Fremantle, a hive which swarmed on Friday last, and, a new hive being in readiness, the young swarm was carefully secured and will we trust, found their own colonies through Western Australian “saecula saeculorum”. 

It appears Lt Helpman transported these bees into the Swan River Colony on 12 June 1846 or 2 March 1846 from Sydney.  Helpman’s enthusiasm was motivated by Governor Hutt’s offer of a premium to the first person to successfully establish bees in the new colony.  Rob Manning, research scientist at the Department of Agriculture and Food argues that the first landing of bees in the colony was 15 September 1841 when Helpman collected his five pound prize. If you are interested in further information on the history of beekeeping in Western Australia visit the new display “Honey Come Back” in the Battye Library, third floor of the State Library of Western Australia.

MyLanguage, the multilingual online portal

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The aim of the national MyLanguage portal:  http://www.mylanguage.gov.au/  is to improve access to multilingual online information for Australians whose first language is not English.  It is also very useful for people learning another language.  The portal provides access to search engines, web directories and news in over 60 differenct languages, from Africaans to Vietnamese.  It also includes lessons in Internet searching in different languages.  The portal was developed a few years ago between state and territory libraries.

Visit the Doollee Website for Plays and Playwrights Post 1956

Visit Doollee:  http://www.doollee.com/index.htm a useful British website on plays and playwrights post 1956 (since John Osborne’s major work “Look Back in Anger”) created by Julian Oddy in his spare time.  The website has a database of playwrights which includes brief biographical information, a list of plays and literary agent.  At last count the database included 715 Australian playwrights.  The website lists 60,000 play titles in alphabetical order with author and genre, if known.  There is a database that searches for the number of cast members by gender in a play.  It has listings of literary agents, including agents of Australian playwrights.  There are links to major play publishers and theatres worldwide.  Whilst some of the databases are not well set out such as the “theatres and theatre companies”, it is an excellent resource not readily available elsewhere.

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Beekeeping Display at Claremont Showgrounds

234470pd.jpgBeekeeping Display at Claremont Showgrounds

A photograph (234470PD) from the JS Battye Library Pictorial Collection of a beekeeping display at the Claremont Showgrounds in 1950.  The stall at the front has a banner advertising beekeeping demonstrations and honey sampling.  Posters on the fence proudly proclaim the “suns energy is in honey bringing health and happiness to you”.  The image has been made available by the Historical Records Rescue Consortium Project which was supported by Lotterywest.

AskNow: a virtual reference desk

Are your search results from Google driving you mad? Then you need AskNow.  AskNow is a virtual reference desk for all subjects.    It is an online chat reference service hosted by the National Library of Australia.  AskNow aims to provide good quality information through almost virtual online communication.  The service is provided by reference librarians all around Australia, including librarians from the State Library of Western Australia.   It is ideal for people living in the bush but city people are always welcome.  Enquiries are received from all over the world.  In 2005, a State Library of Victoria librarian received the 100,000th enquiry. The service is free and operates Monday to Friday 9am to 7pm (AEST).

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