Sunday, November 21, 2010

Biblio Tourismo

Last week the “mild ones” or Biblio tourismo, a tour by librarians on motorcycles visited the Parliamentary Library, among other libraries and sites in the ACT.  They enjoyed meeting Dr Andrew Leigh, Member for Fraser and Senator Gary Humphries as well as a number of Library staff. 

Biblio tourismo are a group of enthusiastic librarians who take an annual tour of libraries in eastern Australia -their blog can be found here

Arriving - at the front of Palriament House with Dr Andrew Leigh, Member for Fraser

Alan Flores, leader of the pack, offers advice to Dr Leigh

Refreshments in the Library with Senators Gary Humphries

Much to talk about!

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC) launched - discussion paper Towards an Australian Government Information Policy released

Today is a momentous day in access to public sector information for Australia. The Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC) was officially launched by the Hon Brendan O’Connor MP, Minister for Privacy and Freedom of Information (FOI). (media release is at

The new Office of the Australian Information Commissioner has been created to bring together three functions:

• freedom of information functions, in particular, oversight of the operation of the Freedom of Information Act 1982 and review of decisions made by agencies and ministers under that Act;
• privacy functions, conferred by the Privacy Act 1988 and other laws;

• government information policy functions, conferred on the Australian Information Commissioner under the Australian Information Commissioner Act 2010.

The new web site offers access to informative publications including speeches and fact sheets – a model of an easy to use website.

Very importantly, the OAIC today released Issues Paper 1 Towards an Australian Government Information Policy. The Australian Information Commissioner has invited written comment on ten draft principles on open public sector information by 1 March 2011. See 

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

The employment market

Attended an interesting session last week entitled "When the election is a forgotten memory...what will be happening in the employment market?". Thanks to Zenith Management Services for the invitation.

Some comments from the presentations and conversations:

• 54% of CIOs do not believe there are enough skills IT staff in the current marketplace, there are skills shortages overall and an increasing emphasis on candidates having a wide range of skills (Phil Holey-Interlogic)

• changing patterns of employment of engineers are counter cyclical to the economy, Engineers Australia have assessed a significant gap between engineers retiring and those qualifying and coming into the Industry (Andrew Marshall-PCA People)

• Canberra employment patterns are strong, with 70% of employment is in the private sector (Lindsey Morgan-People Intelligence)

• Library and information sector demand remains strong with an emphasis on skills in using technology (John Cooksey General Manager, Recruitment, Zenith Management Services).

Will be interesting to see any changing patterns in the coming year.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Parliamentary paper series to be online from 2011

The Joint Committee on Publications has produced the report of its inquiry into the development of a digital repository and electronic distribution of the Parliamentary Papers Series. The report was tabled on Thursday 24 June 2010.

Mr Hayes speech summarised the findings noting:

As a result of their overwhelming support for the development of an electronic Parliamentary Paper Series, the committee has made a number of recommendations in this report which will result in the parliamentary departments developing a digital format repository for the PPS to be based in the parliament... Further, the committee has recommended that the repository be implemented in time to coincide with the start of the 2011 PPS. I would like to stress at this point that there is no intention to stop the printed copy of the series.

See the full speech at;query=Id%3A%22chamber%2Fhansardr%2F2010-06-24%2F0060%22

An important and very exciting step forward! Congratulations to the Committee and the parliament in committing to take an approach that will significantly improve access by the community to the record of policy making of the parliament and government.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Parliament of Australia adopts Creative Commons

A welcome announcement

The Parliament of Australia is committed to open access to the resources it publishes to support a vibrant democracy. Recognising the important of ensuring access to its resources published on the website the parliament has approved publication under a Creative Commons 3.0 Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs license instead of copyright protection. Full implementation will occur when the new web site is released in late 2010. Until then a notice appears on the copyright page advising of this change.

The Parliament web site is the first in Australia to implement the 3.0 license. For more information about creative Commons licenses see

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Information Awareness Month (IAM) 2010

On 4 May Information Awareness Month (IAM) was launched for 2010 at the National Archives of Australia. The purpose of IAM is to increase public awareness of the breadth of the information industry through a series of events through the month of May. The theme for this year is Access across the generations.

IAM 2010 was launched by Senator Kate Lundy. You can find her speech here.

The program of events for the ACT is available here.

The launch included some great presentations from information users of all generations and ages including a terrific presentations from St Hilda's primary school in WA (see for information about the school) and two students from Dickson College who were remarkably thoughtful and articulate about their needs - giving us much food for thought.

Congratulations to all invited in creating this extremely thought provoking event and evetns across the month. Congratulations especially to the National Archives of Australia for their sponsorship and Iron Mountain for their sponsorship. Well done ACT and national committees for a month of stunningly good activities.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Senator TROOD—remarks about the National Library of Australia,

A very good speech from Senator Trood on 2 February 2010 -;query=Id:

The NLA is a place where resources of national significance are collected, preserved and made accessible to the public. It is a place with a wealth of knowledge that ensures that the nation’s experiences are shared. As the country’s largest and most important reference library, the NLA has the objective of ensuring that Australians have access to a national collection of library material to enhance learning, nowledge, creation, enjoyment and understanding of Australian life and society. It ensures that a representative record of Australian life is collected and preserved for the future. The NLA is not just our national library. It is internationally recognised and we can be absolutely confident that it has the esteem and respect of many of the great libraries of the world. Like all libraries, the NLA is a place of peaceful repose for those who want to read, study and think in surroundings so conducive to these activities.

But the NLA is not just a place to read books. One of its important and longstanding functions is to stage exhibitions that offer an insight into our national life and culture. Many and varied temporary exhibitions are on show at the National Library. For example, in 2008-09 the Nick Cave exhibition looked behind the music to the man himself through a collection of original lyrics, notebooks, artwork, photography and books as well as personal items from his home and office. These kinds of exhibitions will continue to be an important part of the NLA’s activities.

One can appreciate the potential here when one realises the nature of the NLA’s collecting activities. The extent of these additions just over the last year has been truly impressive. The collection includes pictures, manuscripts, maps, music and dance, oral history and folklore and national and international publications. They all contribute to a rich tapestry of knowledge and historical insight over which the library exercises its custody. Some of last year’s acquisitions included drawings of John McDouall Stuart’s famous expedition of 1861 to 1862, which crossed the Australian continent from south to north


But it would be misleading to suggest that, for all the distinguished work that the library is undertaking, it is not facing some enormous challenges. The NLA, like the National Film and Sound Archive and the National Archives of Australia, requires additional funding to ensure that the work that it does is preserved to share with future generations. The digital age has certainly arrived. As a result, digitisation has become an increasingly important medium for Australian government agencies, authors, researchers, film makers, musicians and creators. Australia’s ability to maintain a permanent and accessible record in this area is therefore linked to a national capacity to cope with this digital tidal wave of images and sounds.

The reality is that the national collecting institutions are not resourced to cope with this digital tidal wave. The NLA certainly has the commitment, skills and vision to embrace the digital world. But currently it lacks the resources to undertake the task effectively. There is little doubt that saving Australia’s digital cultural heritage will require significant funding. In this context, I was delighted to see that the 2009-10 Rudd government budget provided some funding for a business case to be set forth for comprehensive funding for digitisation into the future. I very sincerely hope that the government will see fit in the forthcoming budget to further fund this important national activity. Investing in Australia’s digital heritage is an investment for the future. I therefore trust that, despite the difficult budgetary situation, this will be a serious priority in relation to the NLA’s activities.

The library is also engaged in several other exciting projects. One of considerable importance to all Australians is the creation of a national treasures gallery. This will be a permanent space in which to display iconic, rare and interesting items from the NLA collections. I commend the library and its development committee for the entrepreneurial way it is supplementing its existing funds with an active private donations program for the gallery. Funding support for the national treasures gallery is an ongoing challenge.

Finally, I would like to mention the desire on the part of the NLA to persuade the government that the Prime Minister’s Literary Awards should have their institutional home within the NLA. The awards celebrate the contribution of Australian literature to the nation’s cultural and intellectual life. There is a
compelling and persuasive logic to the proposition that the annual ceremony of the nation’s premium literary awards should be hosted within the confines of the National Library. I know the library’s director general is passionate in her hope that the awards can come to the NLA. It will not only allow the recipients to be celebrated; it would provide a focus for the awards as an important part of the nation’s cultural life.

There is a great deal more one could celebrate about the NLA. But in closing I would like to recognise the dedicated staff of the library. Under increasing financial constraint, a constraint imposed now over many years, the NLA staff have maintained their good humour, commitment to serving a growing library community and superb level of professionalism. I especially wish to acknowledge the role of the director general, Ms Jan Fullerton, in providing the leadership that makes the NLA such a valuable national institution. Indeed, it is a national treasure.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Library Day in the Life

I have started this post late in the week as I took a day's leave on Monday and Tuesday was a public holiday in Australia.

A day in the life of a parliamentary library is interesting indeed. The Association of Parliamentary Libraries of Australasia web site notes:

Access to impartial, current, accurate and timely information is fundamental to democratic legislatures. In their legislative and their representative roles, parliamentarians need information as they monitor current issues, develop policy solutions and influence government decision-making.

Parliamentarians are increasingly time-poor and the parliamentary library assists them by providing:

· tailored and confidential answers to specific questions by Members;
· access to expert staff;
· research papers, or briefings, which include analysis of topical issues and Bills before Parliament;
· 24/7 electronic access to relevant information resources and collections including news and current affairs.

Parliamentary libraries may also offer research support to Parliamentary Committees; and information and knowledge management services to Parliament.

What does this mean for my day? On Wednesday it included training a new client and encouraging them to learn about the wide range of services available from the parliamentary library. Because the analytic services are very different it is great to discuss what can, and cannot be done. Parliament is an overwhelming place in terms of the pace and range of issues and the library can help clients pace themselves. Communicating the range of services in a way that isn’t overwhelming is quite a task and we assign every new client a contact officer for the first couple of years to be their usher through the information landscape. It’s a program that works well.

Another major issue for this week si projects that will make is easier and quicker for clients (and the public) to access information. Focus groups for the next Parliament of Australia website are underway and great ideas about. Thanks to an excellent project manager the wide diversity of views of special users groups and the public are being collected well.

Undoubtedly the highlight of my week will be talking to new library and information students at Charles Sturt University on Friday and Saturday. More later.....

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Government libraries essential for an effective public sector

The ALIA submission to Advisory Group on Reform of Australian Government Administration is now online. See

Government information helps to educate people, stimulate progress and solve complex economic, scientific and social problems. With many new technologies, however, government information has expanded so quickly that basic principles regarding its creation, use and dissemination are in danger of being neglected and even forgotten.

This submission highlights three major issues:
  • the importance of libraries and information centres in assisting high quality policy advice and service delivery,
  • the need for whole of government approaches to information for an efficient and effective public service and
  • the need to make government information widely available with web 2.0 technology to enable a high level of citizen participation in policy development a service delivery.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Library Day in the Life

Ready to start the year with a bang? Take part in Round 4 of the Library Day in the Life Project beginning January 25th 2010.

Whether you are a librarian or library worker of any kind, help us share and learn about the joys and challenges of working in a library. Join us by sharing details of your day for a week on your blog...

Any one who works in a library can participate. You may share your day (or week) on your blog, Twitter, Flickr and/or YouTube (or any other way you choose. If you have none of these don't worry, just create a new page in the wiki and post your day there.