Tuesday, October 20, 2009

2009 ALIA National Library & Information Technicians Conference

Congratulations to Terri and her marvellous team for running the 2009 ALIA National Library & Information Technicians Conference.

You can find information about the conference, including links to many great photos on facebook at http://conferences.alia.org.au/libtec2009/

Most papers are now available on the program page at http://conferences.alia.org.au/libtec2009/programs.php

It was a very stimulating and inspiring event. I came away with a vision of enthusiastic library staff across the nation focusing on developing their services to engage better with clients, willing to take on new challenges and to develop personal skills to deal with the exciting/turbulent environment.

I encourage everyone to put the next ALIA Technicians conference - Back to basics, Perth, September 2001, in their diaries.

Engagement and Participation: What the Public Want and How our Politicians Need to Respond

The Hansard Society (UK) has published the sixth Audit of Political Engagement recently (thank you Andy for providing a copy). The report is available online at http://hansardsociety.org.uk/blogs/parliament_and_government/archiv....

A very interesting article based ont he results of the study by Ruth Fox is also available online at http://pa.oxfordjournals.org/cgi/content/full/62/4/673 - I have used the title of the article as the title of this blog posting.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Haunted and Mysterious Australia - Tim the Yowie Man

Attended the booked out fireside event at Saint Luke's (http://www.firesidefestival.com.au/host/29.html) for a tour of the cemetary and Tim launched the new edition of his book. It included a spiritual burning of the book - ashes to ashes. Quite a different event! Only mildly traumatic for a librarian.

News from public sphere 2.0


News from public sphere 2.0

They have put all recommendations into an endorsement system, where all are encouraged to vote. This is for a final quality assurance of the outcomes, and possibly to assist with prioritisation of the issues, so please participate:

They will handover the briefing paper formally to the Australian Government 2.0 Taskforce in an public Q&A session where you are all invited to participate. Details of the event will be sent in the last Government 2.0 Public Sphere email in the coming day or two.

Again, many thanks for all your contributions to this Public Sphere topic!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Restrictions on the Parallel Importation of Books: Research Report

The Productivity Commission has just released its research report on Restrictions on the Parallel Importation of Books at http://www.pc.gov.au/projects/study/books/report

It offers very vauable insights into publishing and concludes:

Having considered industry feedback and undertaken further analysis, the Commission is recommending that the Parallel Import Restrictions provisions be repealed, and that:

– Three years notice should be given to facilitate industry adjustment.

– Current financial assistance for encouraging Australian writing and publishing should be reviewed immediately, and any changes implemented prior to the repeal of the PIRs. The new arrangements should be reviewed after five years.

– To assist in monitoring the impact of these changes, the ABS should undertake a revised version of its 2003-04 industry survey as soon as possible and update it prior to the five year review.

I encourage all to read the report.

Thursday, June 25, 2009


Monday's Public sphere2.0 was a terrific and inspiring. Congratulations the Senator Kate Lundy and Pia Waugh and the team for all the hard work and direction.

Monday also saw the offical launch of the Government 2.0 Taskforce whose terms of reference are to advise and assist the Government to:

* make government information more accessible and usable — to establish a pro-disclosure culture around non-sensitive public sector information;
* make government more consultative, participatory and transparent — to maximise the extent to which government utilises the views, knowledge and resources of the general community;
* build a culture of online innovation within Government — to ensure that government is receptive to the possibilities created by new collaborative technologies and uses them to advance its ambition to continually improve the way it operates;
* promote collaboration across agencies with respect to online and information initiatives — to ensure that efficiencies, innovations, knowledge and enthusiasm are shared on a platform of open standards; and
* identify and/or trial initiatives that may achieve or demonstrate how to accomplish the above objectives.

You can participate by going to http://gov2.net.au and adding your comments.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Government 2.0: Policy and Practice: participate next Monday 22 June 2009


"Welcome to the 2nd Public Sphere topic - Government 2.0: policy and practice for Australia. An initiative by Senator Kate Lundy.

Government 2.0 is a rising topic of debate across the world. Trends in technology, media and public opinion have made it both more possible and more necessary for governments to reconsider what and how information is made freely available to the public."

A Public Sphere event will be held on 22 June to gather views on how creating an even more participatory form of government in Australia will improve the effectiveness of public administration, enable communities to better help themselves, promote renewed engagement in the democratic process and enhance our capacity to respond to emerging complex social, geopolitical and environmental challenges.

Read more and register at the web site

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Putting the pieces together: NLA launches single business delivery service prototype

The National Library of Australia have launched a new Discovery service prototype.

The release http://www.nla.gov.au/news/story.php?id=227 says:

There’s a host of helpful background information on the National Library’s new discovery service.

Before you start to search, check the information under the “About” link on the top right of the home page.

You can send comments about the prototype to the Library’s development team through the “Feedback” box on the home page.

Go to the prototype at: http://sbdsproto.nla.gov.au/

Monday, May 25, 2009

Online Availability of Government Entities' Documents Tabled in the Australian Parliament

The Australian National Audit Office recently released the report “Online Availability of Government Entities' Documents Tabled in the Australian Parliament”, http://www.anao.gov.au/uploads/documents/2008-09_Audit_Report_37.pdf

The report begins:
Every year, documents are presented to the Senate, the House of Representatives, or to both Houses of the Parliament for their consideration.2 The tabling of documents is an important means of keeping the Parliament informed of the Government’s activities. It demonstrates the accountability of the Government to the Parliament and the community, and provides an important source of information to Senators and Members as well as placing information on the public record.

The objectives of the audit were to:
• determine the extent to which government entities complied with the requirement to publish and maintain documents online that were presented to the Parliament; • evaluate selected government entities’ policies and practices regarding online publishing; and
• assess AGIMO’s policy and guidance in support of online publishing.

The ANAO recommends that government entities that do not have a web presence, table multiple documents in the Parliament each year, and/or have been affected by a Machinery of Government change, implement arrangements to ensure the online availability of their tabled papers in accordance with Australian Government policy.
Recommendation No.3
The ANAO recommends that the Australian Government Information Management Office and the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, in consultation with other relevant government entities, review their guidance and clarify the requirements to publish and maintain documents presented to the Parliament.

ALIA will write to ANAO congratulating them on the report and to Australian Government Information Management Office and the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet to urge them to work on the recommendations as a high priority.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

2009-10 Research and Scholarship program offered by the Australian Prime Ministers Centre (APMC)

The Australian Prime Ministers Centre aims to provide a national focus for research and scholarship in the field of Australian prime ministerial history. Based at Old Parliament House in Canberra, the Centre combines a research centre with an exhibition showcasing over a century of political leadership. The Centre also works collaboratively with relevant cultural institutions to support and improve access to prime ministers’ personal and official records.

The Australian Prime Ministers Centre research and scholarship program offers research assistance to established scholars in the form of Fellowships, as well as Summer Scholarships for those in the early stages of their research careers. Fellows are encouraged to submit proposals for research projects that result in the production of an academic paper, bibliography or creative project, while Summer Scholars generally work on a project set by Old Parliament House. A number of scholarships and Fellowships are offered each year.

The closing deadline for applications for the 2009-10 Fellowship program is 31 July 2009. Applications for the Summer Scholarship program close on 2 October 2009. Application forms and more detailed information on the Research and Scholarship Program is available on the website at http://apmc.moadoph.gov.au/research_scholarship.html

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Libraries and users: theory and practice

The latest issue of AARL has a very interesting article by Michael Olsson “Rethinking our concept of users” He analyses a range of theories on user centred approaches to information research and summarises his research on “how academic researchers and theatre professionals (…) make sense of the culturally iconic author: William Shakespeare”. His analysis well supports his identification of Dervin’s argument that an information user should be seen in terms of their knowledge and expertise, rather than simply wanting to find information.

This article is well worth reading – it will be a while before it is available online through Informit and Ebsco – it’s in volume 40 number 1 pp 22-35.

Also a tip – if you read Michael’s summary of what looks to have been a very successful RAILS conference in the journal the link to the conference abstracts is http://www.communication.uts.edu.au/conferences/rails/abstracts.html (the reference in the journal doesn’t have the final l). I am looking forward to reading the full papers, particularly Matt Moore’s. It would be wonderful it the papers and PowerPoint presentations could all be online.

Monday, March 9, 2009

State Records New South Wales on Youtube

Alan Ventress has let me know that the State Records latest contribution to You Tube is a 10 minute video devoted to family history at State Records.

It can be viewed at


Their video on the history of the Sydney Harbour Bridge has had over 2000 hits

Well done State Records New South Wales!

Open Library Environment

Carmel McInerny of the National Library of Australia gave a very interesting talk on “The Open Library Environment (OLE) Project” and other open source initiatives at the National Library on Thursday 5 March. She described the change in the National Librarys (NLA) approach from tendering for the market to provide a solution to use of open source software.

She is the NLA representative on the OLE project which is a Mellon funding project to seek an open source library management system for large libraries (as opposed to small library solutions such as Koha or Evergreen). She quoted Eric Lease Morgan: “Library catalogues need to provide an increased number of services against content not just services against the index”. Referring to the implementation of an approach based on service oriented architecture and business profess mapping she noted that while OLE was at an early stage planning design documents, the benefits would be tremendous.

The advantages of collaboration mean that the models can be carefully thought out and designed. She also talked about using RefTracker and other tool kits (open source and off the shelf) to manage original material acquisitions, the NLA implementation of VU-find for catalogue access (with relevance ranking and facets), Internet Archive „flipbed‟ software for page turning and word searching for digitised printed materials and a project she is leading called GETWISE – gain efficiencies through workflow investigation and system exploration. It was a terrific presentation, providing much food for though for both digital solutions and workflow analysis (business process mapping).

A very interesting and informative presentaiton!

Monday, March 2, 2009

Read books online or via your mobile device in installments

Daylit is a terrific service that give readers access to around 1000 books either to read online chapter by chapter or to receive in installments.

Thank you Karna for alerting me to the service!

It has many titles across a wide range of genres and years - ranging through Tom Peters management books, science fiction (Wells, Norton, William Rice Burroughs), the classics (Austen, Shakespeare), books that are fun reads (Berlitz Hide This French Book for Lovers - 2 installments are free) and serious reading (such as Best of Technology Writing 2007)

The web site notes: "We created DailyLit because we spent hours each day on email but could not find the time to read a book. Now the books come to us by email. Problem solved...We got the idea for DailyLit after the New York Times serialized a few classic works in special supplements a few summers ago. We wound up reading books that we had always meant to simply by virtue of making them part of our daily routine of reading the newspaper. The only thing we do more consistently than read the paper is read email. Bingo! We put together a first version and began reading "War of the Worlds" and "Pride and Prejudice". We showed it to friends, added more books and features at their request, and presto, DailyLit was born."

It is easy to use:

"DailyLit sends books in installments via e-mail or RSS feed. We currently offer over 1000 classic and contemporary books available entirely for free or on a Pay-Per-Read basis (with sample installments available for free). You can read your installments wherever you receive e-mail/RSS feeds, including on your Blackberry and iPhone. Installments arrive in your Inbox according to the schedule you set (e.g. 7:00am every weekday). You can read each installment in under 5 minutes (most folks finish in 2-3 minutes), and, if you have more time to read, you can receive additional installments immediately on demand. Our titles include bestselling and award winning titles, from literary fiction and romance to language learning and science fiction. DailyLit features forums where you can discuss your favorite books and authors. We also have a gift service, where you can send books via DailyLit to friends, with installments starting on any date you choose (even that very day - perfect for last minute gifts), and each installment comes with a personalized message written by you."

Definitely worth a serious look..

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Charles Sturt University

Library and Information students: I was very fortunate to visit Charles Sturt University in Wagga Wagga to talk to the 2009 intake of LIS students. It is a bumper year with well over 120 students – all enthusiastic and energetic and interested in a wide range of library careers. All the students do the courses via distance education (online) and many were already working in libraries, most in public libraries. This years intake is around 5 years younger in average age than last year, with people with a wide range of experiences and expertise. I was very impressed by the students and the equally enthusiastic teaching staff.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Digital Economy Future Directions

A consultation paper on the Digital Economy Future Directions http://www.dbcde.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0006/94191/Consultation_Draft_-_DEFDP_-_17_Dec_2008_final.pdf has been issued by the Australian Government

Responses are due to DEFutureDirections@dbcde.gov.au by Wednesday 11 February 2009.

This is a very important paper covering issues such as:
* Open access to public information
* Privacy
* development of digital skills
* regulatory framework including copyright
* measurement
* internet filtering (referred to at various places in the document).

I encourage everyone to read the document and make a submission.
New publication: The 2009 annual Horizon Report of the New Media Consortium is now out. It seeks to identify and describe emerging technologies likely to have a large impact on teaching, learning, research, or creative expression within learning-focused organizations. The report is available at http://www.nmc.org/pdf/2009-Horizon-Report.pdf and identifies the following key trends
Increasing globalization continues to affect the way we work, collaborate, and communicate.
■ The notion of collective intelligence is redefining how we think about ambiguity and imprecision.
■ Experience with and affinity for games as learning tools is an increasingly universal characteristic among those entering higher education and the workforce.
■ Visualization tools are making information more meaningful and insights more intuitive.
■ As more than one billion phones are produced each year, mobile phones are benefiting from unprecedented innovation, driven by global competition.
IT also identified the following Critical Challenges:
■ There is a growing need for formal instruction in key new skills, including information literacy, visual literacy, and technological literacy.
■ Students are different, but a lot of educational material is not.
■ Significant shifts are taking place in the ways scholarship and research are conducted, and there is a need for innovation and leadership at all levels of the academy.
■ We are expected, especially in public education, to measure and prove through formal assessment that our students are learning.
■ Higher education is facing a growing expectation to make use of and to deliver services, content, and media to mobile devices.

You may find it interesting – many of the trends and issues are relevant to all libraries.

New wiki launched: This week the ALIA Interlending Advisory Committee (ILAC) wiki was launched - http://www.alia.org.au/shareit It aims to be an up-to-date resource on all aspects of interlending and resource sharing, assisting both new and experienced ILL staff in their daily work.