Sunday, December 12, 2010

National Archives Augmented Reality Photo Contest

The National Archives is sponsoring an innovative photo contest that combines their historic photographs with current images. Details are available on the site. Selected photographs will be published in a postcard book. What I love about this contest is that it invites users to explore the Archival Research Catalog and create something new.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

YouTube Video: Internet Access in Ukrainian Library Helps Community Grow Better Tomatoes

A colleague told me about this clever video highlighting how residents of a Ukrainian village doubled their tomato production through using the Internet at their local library. The library received computers and training through a project administered by the U.S. Embassy in Ukraine. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation funded the video and IREX created it. I love the pace, anecdotes, and compelling story.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

My introduction to QR codes

I am currently reading through the 2010 Horizon Report: Museum Edition and thinking about the latest in using mobile technology to engage users.  This was the first time I ran across quick response (QR) codes which are barcodes that can be scanned by mobile devices to point to a URL or send a text message. I can see how they can be used to enhance a museum visitor's experience by offering details about an object directly to their phone. QR codes are also increasingly used in advertising and could be useful in promoting library programs by including QR codes on library cards, posters, materials. You can visit this site: to instantly create a code. Here is the one for this blog's URL:

Neat, huh? Here's a link to a QR code art flickr stream: I'm in the market for a new cell phone and am considering an android phone that can actually read these codes. Anyone have any direct experience with this?

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Exploring the Countryside

My first bid results are in:  we will be here for a while! Although I don't get to start learning a new language right away and travel the world, I think this works out best for us. I am excited about the office I will be working in after training and have already met a few of my future co-workers. They were kind enough to come to our swearing-in ceremony on Friday to introduce themselves.

My in-laws were in town for the event and it was so nice for P to have his grandparents to occupy him while we went apartment-hunting. We found a great high-rise apartment that is walking distance to shops, a movie theater, and the metro. I am so excited to move in - probably around Thanksgiving. Now we just have the minor issue of finding a new daycare for P - hopefully he can stay where he is currently for a few more weeks.

The weather has been gorgeous this weekend so we decided to explore the Shenandoah National Park, drive along the Skyline Drive, and visit the Luray Caverns. The views were breathtaking and the Caverns were unique - I especially enjoyed the Stalacpipe Organ and Dream Lake - a reflective pool of the abundant stalactite formations.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Wonderful, wonderful week...

It's been a very busy week and I am so glad to see that I have some followers eager for an update! Moving, new daycare, new jobs has made us all feel overwhelmed and at times a bit cranky. We made it although I haven't felt this busy in a very long time. This whole experience has been invigorating. There have been ups and downs. My husband had good and bad news. The German test was a wash - what a disappointment, but he scored higher on his written test this time around - here's hoping for a stellar OA score. I personally believe he's got all the right stuff for the job and he knows WAY more history, geography, and politics than I do but it is all in the timing.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Here we are in Virginia...

We made it! It's been nearly a week of packing, moving, driving, visiting, and adjusting to changes. There were a couple bumps in the road, but otherwise everything went well. Packers arrived Monday to pack our clothes, books, and toys for the unaccompanied air baggage. They also packed the rest of our belongings for long-term storage. They were courteous and professional. The movers came Tuesday with a tractor trailer to take away our 5500 pounds of household effects and furniture. Our neighbors weren't happy to have the road blocked, but the guys were fast. We were impressed by the service as this was our first experience using professionals to haul our stuff.

The only real bummer is that our unaccompanied air baggage hasn't arrived yet and we don't have an ETA for it. This would be fine if I hadn't packed all our work clothes and our son's entire wardrobe and many of his toys in that shipment. I assumed it would be delivered prior to the start of orientation on Monday. Lessons learned: don't make any assumptions about air shipments and be prepared for the first few days! I guess we have to get used to these things. Luckily there's an H&M nearby.

Our son visited his new daycare today at FSI and got really excited about starting school. He made friends with the security officer and with the assistant director. It's a lovely facility - spacious, clean, and everyone is very friendly.

Everything starts Monday - new jobs and new schools - we're all a bit nervous, but optimistic.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Update - 2.5 Weeks Until the FSS Orientation

Back in the States and getting ready for the big move to Virginia. I've got most of the pre-employment forms completed and signed, except for the few that require witnesses. On Saturday my husband's friends from work will be hosting a party for him as he prepares to transfer his job to DC. He will be so relieved to cut his commute time in half. He took the German language test again last week as well as the FSOT. We're encouraged by the good news from The B Files and will continue to patiently wait for his invitation.

I had a bad scare yesterday when I was informed that my check out date for Oakwood will be in November at the end of the initial three weeks of training. I frantically called my HR representative (who deserves an award for patiently fielding questions from me) and was reassured that IRO training will keep me in the Washington, DC area at least until January. I had it in my head that we would be there until the end of April, hence my need to get our son into the FSI daycare. Several emails later, I think the right people know about my extended training and we should be set. In the end, how long we will be in DC will depend on our first post and whether I will need language training.

For now we are trying to enjoy our last two weeks in Michigan. The weather is gorgeous and we have some favorite autumn activities like getting apple cider and pumpkin donuts, going on hayrides, and visiting the places we haven't had a chance to yet, like the Ypsilanti Firehouse Museum.