Pied piper of Ballarat 1956 (Opa Meerbach) +Trove newspapers plugin

1956 Argus newspaper image
In The Argus, May 22, 1956 (via Trove): Anthony Meerbach on the flute, with children

Today I (re?)learned Opa Meerbach had been called the “Pied Piper of Ballarat” (in 1956).

Pied Piper has a way with kids

Pied Piper has a

way with kids

Mr. ANTHONY MEERBACH - "The Pied Piper of Sebastopol" brings the children running

WHEN the "Pied Piper of Ballarat" starts to play his flute, children

race from their homes to be enchanted by his playing.    

To them Mr. An thony Meerbach, a music teacher, who

arrived in Ballarat from Holland 10 months ago, is a real virtuoso.

There's a little bit of   Holland at the end of Drummond st., in Sebas topol.  

From three houses come a total of 28 chil dren, and from Mr. Meerbach's house come his eight.

There are the Meer bach's eight, then next door the Damen's nine children. On the other side of the Meerbach's       live the deKroon's, with nine, and across Drum mond st., the Coppens top the list with 10 healthy children.

Mr. Meerbach, who has earned the title of the Pied Piper of Bal larat, is a part-time music teacher at the East Ballarat High, and other schools in Ballarat.

The students learn   musical appreciation, singing and music from   Mr. Meerbach, who plays eight instruments with   equal facility.

They include wood- wind instruments, piano, percussion instruments and "the old squeeze box," as Mr. Meerbach described his piano ac cordion.  

Source: Trove

It is an amusing little window into the past – amusing, but also somewhat sad: I never met Opa, I can never know what it was like to grow up in that neighbourhood at that time.

Slightly more entertaining for me if not my family is the little electronic adventure at the end of which I dug up the article:

  1. After a morning of reading a somewhat disappointing account of library 2.0 endeavours I finally sat at the computer, determined to move forward in my study.
  2. Coincidentally ellenforsyth’s rebelmouse page was the tab topmost from yesterday’s browsing.
  3. Her tweet of 18 hours ago caught my eye – linking to David Armano’s urging to focus on mobility as lifestyle rather than mobile as device
  1. In the process of saving to delicious via Diigo and synchronously tweeting it, Twitter suggested I follow Diigo’s twitter stream (I did).
  2. Twitter then suggested Trove’s in which I found a retweet of Bradley Headland’s about Paul Hagon’s Trove newspapers plugin for WordPress:
  1. Although I don’t normally search the newspapers, if I did want to share something, Paul Hagon’s rationale for attribution – and use of the text – made me curious.
  2. Upon finding the above article, had the opportunity to correct the OCR, before giving the plugin a try.

Not bad – a little irritating that some paragraphs reunite lines while others do not – I wonder how that happens?

Tired of “2.0”

Joyful learning

Endless blathering over definitions of “web2.0” make my eyes glaze, and turn my mind towards the nearest off-web activity. Thus I was inclined to not even try to post about this suggested thinking point in the modules.  My learning philosophy prioritises joyful activity. I disdain a notion that one should do things one finds unpleasant just because someone else thinks you will learn something from it. On the other hand I believe that, in some circumstances, reframing an activity until it appears more pleasant might be constructive.  Is this one of those?

While “summarise in your own words what you think Web 2.0 is” eludes my inner-Pollyanna; I had a little fun looking back through my posts over the years at moonflowerdragon to see whether there has been any change in my views since doing the original “23 Things” program. Unfortunately, back then the focus was on the term “Library 2.0” and I appeared to be just as disinclined to enter a pointless discussion:


Another piece of fun for me was trying to remember how to embed just a section of a Youtube video, to extract the point I think most salient in Christopher Barnatt’s explanation:

(though I’d extend the analogy from being “as difficult as nailing jelly to a wall” to “as useful”)

What’s the point?

Is there a point to discussing definitions of web2.0?

Linda Berube (2011) felt that her book “Do you web 2.0?: Public libraries and social networking” could not respect itself if it did not attempt to reconcile the different definitions of web2.0 and library2.0 (p. 4).  I believe I’d have found the book more useful if she had forgone the web2.0 jargon and given a lot shorter shrift to definitions and discussion over the relative ‘level’ of “2.0”ness various library webprojects achieved. It would have been 3/4 smaller unless that space was turned over to more indepth discussion over the suitability of projects which use social media to public library goals and considered their improvability and reproducibility.

Do the changes in the definition at Wikipedia (2012) over time–Berube (2011, p. 22) observed two different versions between 2008 & 2010 which are different to the one there today)–indicate improvement, development, collaboration or just the views of different people at different times?

In the end, I place no value on definitions or whether an endeavour qualifies as “web2.0”, whether it “harnesses collective intelligence” (O’Reilly, 2005, p.1), uses the collaborative, connective (Barnatt, 2008, t=0:41), “sharing” features of “social” web-based tools or any other criteria. What I care about is whether the community needs intended to be met by libraries are in fact superbly met by library activities.  Even if the term “web2.0” arises in a shared project, I would prefer to refocus discussion on the real goals, not jargon.

Image Note:
Cover of Pollyanna (edition undated) from Books Should Be Free (free public domain ebooks and audiobooks). If the image itself is not in the public domain, please contact me.


Barnatt, C. (2008). Explaining Web 2.0. Explaining Computers. Retrieved from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7BAXvFdMBWw
Berube, L. (2011). Do you Web 2.0?: public libraries and social networking. Chandos internet series. Oxford: Chandos.
O’Reilly, T. (2005, September 30). What Is Web 2.0. Retrieved July 21, 2012, from http://oreilly.com/pub/a/web2/archive/what-is-web-20.html
Web 2.0. (2012, July 20). Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. Retrieved from http://en.wikipedia.org