Review: The secret maker of the world – stories by Abbas El-Zein

Latest Review

The secret maker of the world – stories by Abbas El-Zein

cover imageUQP, 2014. ISBN 9780702250071.
(Age: Yr 11-Yr 12, Adult) Recommended. I resisted this collection of adult short stories at first and then I read several stories in rapid succession. I found the stories elegant but did not feel engaged. The stories while diverse featured a similar theme a man who unknowingly awaits his fate and whose self absorption has stood in his way of perceiving the truths around him. I found the stories to be packed with beautiful lines but at times wished the writer had ‘killed his darlings’ more often.
However the memory of the stories linger and play with my mind and two in particular have subsequently gripped my imagination. Red carpet is the story of a corrupt politician, as he waits in his office for his aide, mulling over his rise and rise, and preparing for the speech that will define his success. He is unaware that in the ten minute walk to deliver his speech his life will unravel. The killer blow lays in the last line.
Birds eye tells the story of the wise scholar who is oblivious to the undercurrents around him and who procrastinates and makes increasingly foolish choices as the medieval city Merv is about to be conquered and sacked. In a preface it is explained that this story is based on historical events and figures.
There is a vivid imagination and the stories leap across time, cultures and continents. I feel it will enhance any collections of short stories gathered for Years 11 and 12.

Importing Authority files into Oliver

In Management>Import, select the MARC Radio button.

From then on, see the attached screenshot for the settings

Selecting “MARC-21 Authority’ in the ‘MARC format’ field is crucial.

It is important to select ‘Load subjects’ otherwise the subject authorities won’t be loaded (which is really the point of having a subject authority).

As for the ‘Existing Records’ options. For authorities we want to replace what was there with the new SCIS authorities, so we select “Replace existing resources”.

The last time we loaded the reference only file (RSAF-marc.dat) it took 2.5 hours to process we therefore recommend that this is an overnight housekeeping task

2014 the year of…

Each year the United Nations (UN) allocates an entire calendar year to focus on particular topics or themes. Many countries actively participate in promoting these years.

Here is a list of some of the titles on Crystals from the SCIS catalogue.  Useful call numbers are 548 Crystallography and 549 Mineralogy. Find out more about Crystals through these sources

A search on the SCIS database for Family Farming Australia returns the following titles Family Farming Australia

You can find resources  for International Year of Family Farming from Global Dimension here

In 2014, Red Cross will celebrate 100 years of people helping people in Australia with  Centenary 2014: (SCIS no. 995944 )

In 2014 we also welcome in the Chinese Zodiac Year of the Horse.

The European Brain Council has pledged to make 2014 the European Year of the Brain.

Scotland  declared 2013 the Year of Natural Scotland (SCIS no. 1592797) but this year is Homecoming Scotland 2014

Celebrate the Australian Year 2014.  Vivian Harris has compiled a monthly guide to celebrations and birthdays for 2014

Radiant Orchid is the Pantone Colour of the year

 "pantone radiant orchid" by homestilo   Creative Commons Attribution License
“pantone radiant orchid” by homestilo
Creative Commons Attribution License

Reconciliation week

Here is a post from Linda Hathaway to OZTL on Reconciliation week


It’s National Reconciliation Week – a time for all Australians to learn about our shared histories, cultures and achievements and to contribute to building a reconciled Australia. It is held between two significant milestones in Australia’s history, May 27 (1967 Referendum) and June 3 (Mabo Day). Reconciliation involves building positive, respectful relationships between the broader Australian community and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples for the benefit of all Australians.


Information and key dates in Reconciliation:…Reconciliation.pdf


Latest news:


*         Noel Pearson’s argument in favour of constitutional change, recognition of indigenous peoples and the removal of racial discrimination from the Constitution.


*         Maiden speech of Senator Nova Peris – first Aboriginal woman in the Australian Parliament.


*         Reconciliation messages – including Australian of the Year Adam Goodes, Meshel Laurie, Troy Cassar-Daley & Fred Chaney.


Resources and fact sheets:


Video -Reconciliation is for all of us  (2:5 min.):


Sing Loud! song competition

Learn and perform one of the 3 reconciliation songs in the playlist below – or perform your own original reconciliation song. Upload your performance to the Sing!Loud website. $1000 prize each for the best original song and best cover song – judged by Delta Goodrem and Gurrumul. Competition closes 8 June.

Details and videos of songs already submitted:

Delta, Gurrumul & the Sydney Symphony Orchestra perform Bayini on The Voice 2013….beautiful:


Recognise (part of Reconciliation Australia) The people’s movement to recognise Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander peoples in our Constitution – “We want to see fairness and respect at the heart of our Constitution, and to remove discrimination from it. Our goal is a more united nation. This is a chance for Australia to acknowledge the first chapter of our national story, and to forge our future together – after so many chapters apart.”

School Learning Guide (Years 10-12) – Recognising Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in the Constitution:


Share our pride (part of Reconciliation Aust.) Information about the First Australians; Culture; Shared history; Beyond the myths; Respectful relationships; Famous indigenous Australians; Books; Films.


NAIDOC Week 6 – 13 July: Serving country – centenary and beyond The theme honours all ATSI men and women who have fought in defence of country – from the warriors in the Frontier Wars to those who have served in Australia’s military engagements around the world.

Christopher Pyne on Educational funding for Universities

and other news of the day


Christopher Pyne’s education gaffe draws fire from Opposition, Greens

The Federal Opposition and Greens have leapt on a mistake by the Education Minister as proof the Government does not understand its own budget and it does not deserve support.



Education Minister Christopher Pyne gets in a muddle over student loans

Education Minister Christopher Pyne has confused the debate about proposed increases to university fees by appearing to contradict the government’s own website over who will be affected by the budget changes.



Competition to force down uni fees: Christopher Pyne (pay pass article attached)

EDUCATION Minister Christopher Pyne has rejected claims the government’s proposed deregulation of university funding will drive up course costs for students.



Christopher Pyne’s pledge sparks fears public schools will be ignored

Schools in Sydney’s west and regional NSW lose the most from the decision not to fund the last two years of the Gonski agreement.



First iPads, next Google Glass for schools

Since the Apple iPad was released in 2010, the ACT Education and Training Directorate has spent $2.5 million on the tablet computers.



Higher education changes: another hit for Australian women?

In a recent radio interview, federal Education Minister Christopher Pyne refused to contemplate a hypothetical situation that involved young women doing all the heavy lifting under his government’s plans to transform higher education in Australia into a demand-driven market.


A strong case for more direct instruction in class (pay pass article attached)

AS well as being an effective Aboriginal leader, Noel Pearson has a strong academic record, with degrees in law and history (honours) from Sydney University.



Coalition Government and headspace launch SAFEMinds in schools

Victorian school students will receive more mental health support thanks to SAFEMinds, a $750,000 program launched today by Minister for Education Martin Dixon in partnership with headspace National Youth Mental Health Foundation.



Rise in home schooling spurs parliamentary inquiry

Up to three times as many children are home schooled in NSW than the state government knows about, prompting the state’s first parliamentary inquiry into why parents abandon the education system.


Growth in home schooling must be fairly accommodated

New figures from the NSW Board of Studies show a 40 per cent increase in home schooling in the past four years. In 2012-13, 3194 students were home schooled. And this number may be conservative.  The Home Education Association estimates as many as 6000 more students are home schooled but not registered with the board.


Stay Smart Online

Internet bullying and online security will be in the spotlight at Territory schools during Stay Smart Online Week.



Literacy, numeracy and the big transition

The Productivity Commission’s working paper on literacy and numeracy is another reminder of the risks inherent in the Abbott government’s plans to outsource part of its fiscal consolidation to the states.

National Science week from Lindy Hathaway

National Science Week is on 10 – 18 August – an annual celebration of science in Australia.

Maybe it’s time to enter the national Sci-ku poetry competition with a short 3 line Haiku-style poem about science – this year with a statistics or mathematics theme: We are having a Sci-ku writing competition for Science Week and Book Week at our college – after all Book Week has the universe theme! We are going to be flexible with syllables (usually 5,7,5).

Sci-ku examples:


African clawed frogs

have flown on the space shuttle.

That’s one giant leap.

(Greg Early)


Some know the time by

looking at the sun. I can’t

make out the numbers

(A. Shalizi)


Good sites for science news:

Science Daily: Extensive science news

Scirus: Use this science-specific search engine for science news, information, journal articles etc

CSIRO: Includes news, blogs, CSIROpedia ABC Science: News, TV and radio programs Royal Institution of Australia: A national science hub bringing science to the people Science Direct: Full text database of journal articles and book chapters Science, physics, technology: Science news and blogs:

LiveScience: Science articles and news Australian Popular Science: How stuff works:


eBizMBA: This site has rankings for many subject areas, based on Alexa Global Traffic Rank + other ranking tools. Intriguing! Find the most popular music sites, gadget sites, health sites, reference sites, most popular blogs etc

15 most popular science websites for Aug. 2013:


Since it’s also the International Year of Statistics, here are some interesting sites with info about world stats that would be useful for social science classes.  And without statistics, we would have to search the internet one page at a time!


Gapminder: for a fact-based world view

Stats, graphs, videos. Gapminder World shows the world’s most important trends.

Search for many indicators on the Data page eg. poverty, marriage, democracy, drought, working hours etc  Then visualise them in Gapminder World:



Real time world stats – population, economics, environment, society and media, food, energy etc.  Great site!



Compares national statistics in graphical formats, using data from sources such as CIA World Factbook, UN, WHO, UNESCO, OECD etc Some of the data may be a bit dated but could be used as a starting point for more research.


IDB: International Database World Statistics Choose countries and various demographic reports. Compare figures from past years and into the future.


World stats in many categories: A great list of sites.


State of the climate in 2012

The US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration released their report on 6 August – an annual “checking on the pulse of the planet”.

The full report:


Happy Science Week!

Lindy Hathaway

Dickson College, ACT


Here are some links from ** – about some apps she has created.

See –



iBuild app –

Creative Book Builder  –

Blippit! – – good for younger students to create apps Touch App Creator – Android –

Touch App Creator – Apple –



See also –




Karen Robertson has lots of useful info for those interested in creating book apps – – Epic Citadel game creation in a variety of platforms.


Happy apping!



Duck Duck go

Here is a new search engine featured on OZTL


In my early investigations, as I prepare a unit on Digital Tattoos (a term I picked up during my recent Personal Learning Network online course – GO State Library of Victoria!), I have looked at the search engine DuckDuckGo. I have learnt about search leakage, search bubbles (and filtering) and search tracking. This search engine does none of those things and you’ll notice its URL begins with an HTTPS (emphasis on the ‘S’).


It looks and feels clean, it seems to provide useful hits and when I emailed a suggestion to them a couple of weeks ago I received an Actual Response that sounded like it came from a human being. (My gentle complaint to them was that their logos – a la Google – do not offer one female example. I feel it is incumbent on me now to offer them some stunning options around which they can create some balance. Especially now.) I’m making an effort to use it more so I can confidently demonstrate it to my students and show them the straightforward tutorials offered when you click on the word “anonymously”.


I commend this search engine to you!


Joanna Durst

Regarding Duck Duck Go –

A fabulous search engine, which is very secure, Duck Duck Go has another fantastic feature – the Bang!

Placing an exclamation mark (known as the bang) and the initial letter of major websites takes you directly there and provides a secure search – e.g.

!g dogs will instantly bring up a search on Google for dogs. !yt is for YouTube, !a is for Amazon etc…

Another great reason to use Duck Duck Go!




Kay Cantwell

Book-trailers and copyright

From Barbara Braxton

I have permission from the NCU to forward the email below to the list to explain the copyright relating to students making book trailers using JUST the content of the book itself.  As you can see there are differences in how they may be published depending on their purpose.

Please note the rider that anything additional that is added such as music, external images and so forth must be copyright compliant it its own right.

In relation to book trailers which

*         identify the key theme or message of a published story, either a word, a phrase or a sentence,

*         use pictures from the Internet (with the appropriate attribution) to accompany the text (but not the pictures from the book itself),

*         use something like iMovie to make a trailer

*         are uploaded to a website, usually not password-protected,


These do NOT fall under the provisions of copyright.  Even if it did then they would fall under the provisions of fair dealing for criticism or review.




So a textual/graphic interpretation of what the author is saying is OK.




Jessica has suggested that you note her email details  <>  so if you have any questions or concerns regarding your specific book trailer you can contact her directly because the Smartcopying site generally doesn’t yet any information regarding book trailers on the site.  I’ve suggested that this could be the topic of an information sheet in the future.




And don’t forget the next Copyright 4 Educators course coming in July –August.  It’s free, it last seven weeks, it’s excellent and I have more information if you’re interested.


Together, we learn from each other


500 Hats




From: Smith, Jessica []

Sent: Monday, May 27, 2013 12:11 PM


Subject: RE: Advice – book trailers




I understand you aren’t specifically looking for an exception, but the pitfalls and issues re displaying in public will largely depend on whether we can fit this into an educational exception that will allow the students/teachers to create the trailers in the first place without having to seek permission from the rights holder.  So it’s necessary to assess your enquiry from this angle.

Regarding making and/or using the trailers/videos within the school:


–          If the trailers amounts to a review of the books (eg students describing the book, why they like it/don’t like it and why others should read it), then limited use of the book in the course of that review (and only as necessary for the review) is permissible, under an exception in the Copyright Act permitting ‘fair dealing for criticism or review’.  Note this wouldn’t permit excessive / unnecessary use of the book – for example reading the entire work aloud for the video would go beyond what could be considered ‘fair’.

–          If the trailers won’t be a review but are more a marketing exercise (eg the task is to produce an ‘advertisement’ for the book, not a review), then limited use of the book in the course of those videos may still be permissible, under another copyright exception permitting ‘fair dealing for research or study’.  This exception will only apply if the videos are made by the students (not teachers) and again the amounts used should be reasonably limited and not go beyond what’s genuinely needed for the purpose.

Regarding sharing such trailers/videos outside the school (eg on YouTube, an open competition or the school’s website):

–          If the trailers are book reviews (as discussed above), you may share them in public

–          If the trailers are not book reviews (eg are adverts, made as part of the students’ research or study as discussed above), then you can’t share them in public

Hopefully you can see why this is the case – if the trailers are genuine book reviews, posting them on YouTube doesn’t change that fact.  However if the videos were made for research or study, copying them to YouTube is likely a new activity going beyond the personal research or study context that permits the original usage.


Note in the advice above that I’m only considering the students’ use of the book itself.  If the students are adding soundtracks, images and other content into their trailers, then of course all of that content should be material they are permitted to re-use (eg original content, or creative commons content, or public domain content).  Let me know if you wish to discuss this issue further.