Tag Archives: digital library

Digital Strategy and Skills Development – A Balancing Act #anzreg2018

Digital Strategy and Skills Development – A Balancing Act
Masud Khokhar

“A short history of an ambitious team who curbed their enthusiasm for the larger good” / “of an ambitious team who told their evil overlord to shh and calm down”

Team works to enhance reach/impact/potential of digital and research – partnering with researchers which can lead to moments of optimism.

Key drivers – rapid tech changes, impact of machine learning, growth of digital scholarships, need for evidence-driven decision making, lack of general purpose digital skills and way of thinking among non-tech staff. At Lancaster added ‘digitally innovative’ to its strategy; have a digital vision for university (digital research / digital teaching and learning / digital engagement).

So library needed to be digitally innovative, digitally fluent; diversity of thinking as core principle – formed innovation group to actively seek partnerships, build confidence, develop leadership, inspire creativity. Wanted to get insight into customer behaviour to develop data-driven services.

Most ideas actually turned out to be non-digital in nature – some required digital work, more required cultural change!


  • A Primo learning wizard for first-time users (but most people don’t log in so issues with them seeing it again and again).
  • Research data shared service – repository, preservation, reporting – collaboration with 15 institutions. Looking at a framework agreement/interoperability standard so variety of vendors can be on board – no matter what repository you use, it talks to a messaging layer which connects to aggregators, preservation services, reporting and analytics, institutional or external services.
  • Data Management Administration Online (sister to DMPonline) – about to be launched as a service – gives a birds eye view of all RDM/open science services at your institution. Can set KPIs, benchmark against similar institutions – has multiple views (DVC / librarian / data manager / IT manager etc). API driven including Tableau connector. Based on Jisc Research Data shared services and on messaging layer.
  • Mint – doi minting tool (open source to work with PURE)
  • Library digitisation service / copyright compliance for content in Moodle. Reports on downloads and usage
  • Leganto implementation (migrated from Talis). Developed some Moodle integration: https://moodle.org/plugins/mod_leganto
  • Noise reporting – part of indoor mapping system – users can select where they are and give comments on noisiness – system provides heatmaps and helps detect common patterns. Can extend this for fault reporting, safety reporting.
  • Labs environment for quick-and-dirty eg library opening hours; research connections (extracting data from PURE, Scopus, SciVal, and twitter APIs; preservation of research data – extracting from Pure into Archivematica (not in prod but possible); research data metadata (rdf based on Pure data); research outputs announcements (generated from Pure metadata for Twitter announcements; again not in prod but possible).

But when focused on learning machine learning etc and all the exciting stuff, it’s at the expense of real needs. So for snazzy stuff did learn and adopt Amazon infrastructure and a local caching infrastructure for Alma data, some IoT infrastructure (beacon based, sensor based eg noise and temperature, thermal imaging for people counting), natural language touch points eg messenger/Slack bots.

Have decided that every process will be reviewed with digital as part of it. Introducing more Excel skills with training; Alma analytics training; analytical thinking in general. Trying to embed digital team in all library processes

Looking at the Rapid Improvement Exercises model

How will you commemorate the First World War centenary? #ndf2012

How will you commemorate the First World War centenary?
Virginia Gow @vexus_nexus and Douglas Campbell, WW100 and Auckland Museum

What is your organisation doing to commemorate the centenary of the First World War?
The First World War (1914–1918) was one of the most significant events of the twentieth century and had a seismic impact on New Zealand society. Ten percent of our then population of one million served overseas, of which more than 18,000 died and over 40,000 were wounded. Nearly every New Zealand family was affected.
In this session, join Virginia Gow and Douglas Campbell to get some pointers on preparing your organisation for WW100 – New Zealand’s First World War centenary commemorations. We’ll cover some of the activities already underway in the digital GLAM sphere, how you might contribute to national initiatives such as the Cenotaph redevelopment, and hold an open discussion on how we can support each other to be ready for WW100.

Virginia: Centenary of WWI coming up in 2014. Why are we commemorating it? Is there anything left to digitise?

Nearly half of NZ’s young men went to war. Events touched every family, community, school, workplace. Aim to tell stories, not sanitised. Create a comprehensive website of the WWI history http://www.firstworldwar.govt.nz. Aims: Public engagement, preservation of our heritage, creation of new interpretations of our history, international connections.

Funding opportunities available – applications close Nov 2012, May 2013. Have created symbol and official name for even (available on website). Programme office no mandate or intention to organise everything. Providing support for things but mostly facilitating activities elsewhere.

What does the centenary mean for us as GLAM institutions?

Of note: photographs taken by NZers before 1944 are probably out of copyright.

Could be good to get together, figure out what we’ve got and what’s out there, then pulling it together in meaningful ways. What story will we tell the future about this centenary? (eg people using Twibbons as people in the first Anzac Day commemoration wore hats?) An opportunity for the GLAM sector to shine especially if we work together / collaborate.

Private mailing list available to discuss plans – contact the programme office for info.

Douglas: working on Cenotaph redevelopment. Cenotaph is a biographical database for NZers who served in war. Records for most of 100,000 NZers who fought overseas and have died. Records may have details and photos, or may only have name rank and serial number.

Will keep a page per soldier but jazz it up a bit and add other entry points – maps, battalions, battles. Could have much more content available out in the GLAM sector. GLAM could contribute; links could go both ways. Users could contribute info/photos about family. Crowdsource research, digitisation, transcriptions, stories both typed and audiovisual, corrections (eg bad machine data matching, mistakes in official records, soldiers giving wrong date of birth). Provide data (vocabularies, authoritative data, international data, linked data) back to institutions. Make databases available to academic research. Will be complicated so hope to partner with DigitalNZ.

Curly questions:

  • scope (which people, which wars?)
  • centralisation – should it all be on Cenotaph or should it link out?
  • ownership
  • provenance – how do we make sure we know which data is curated, which crowdsourced, etc?

Note service numbers aren’t unique but can use Cenotaph number which should (hopefully!) be permanent.

Q: Data going to institutions and academics but back to users who contributed it. Will we see an Open API?
A: Hope so but will be curly as integrate data from various sources.

Q: How do we turn commemoration into something inclusive of all NZers including those whose ancestors fought on other side?
A: We’re just one project among many all around the world. There are other ways into the centenary than Cenotaph eg life a hundred years ago.

Q: Is there an index to conscientious objectors?
–Apparently there’s one in the Gazettes.

Q: Can you commit to the Cenotaph ID being permanent?
A: Yes, so commits.

Ways of seeing: collections, stories, language and place #ndf2012

Ways of seeing: collections, stories, language and place
Eleanor Whitworth, Arts Victoria
Culture Victoria has worked closely with indigenous communities to share indigenous cultural material and stories. The indigenous culture theme is one of the most visited sections on the Culture Victoria website. When we implemented the ‘browse our content by location’ search function, we thought carefully about the implications for representing indigenous content.
Language is not a sole determiner of personal heritage, but it is a significant one. Unlike New Zealand, where Māori is an official language, Australia currently has around 150 indigenous languages; none are official, and most are under threat. As Aboriginal communities identify connection to country and culture via language group, mapping our indigenous material to a single point that referenced a Western place name would have been grossly insufficient.
This presentation will cover our partnership with the Koorie Heritage Trust to map our content to the widely recognised 38 language regions in Victoria, including the decisions we made on representing borders and dealing with multiple spellings. The presentation will also provide examples of the power of cultural collections to foster connection and collaboration between museums and traditional owners; support intangible heritage; and link objects with stories and place.

Starts asking “Where are you from?” and plays clip YouTube clip Jimmy Little Yorta Yorta man

Eleanor would answer with a point; Jimmy with an area. She’d see the country as divided into large chunks and needs a point to give specificity; he’d see it as collection of language areas: http://www.abc.net.au/indigenous/map/

Culture Victoria has collections and stories. Group stories under broad themes; link stories; search stories by location.

Collaboration with Koorie Heritage Trust. Each artwork accompanied by story, noting storyteller and language group. Language groups are strong identifiers for place so logical to extend browse-by-location function to include language groups. Used Gazetteer of Australian Placenames to help mapping – pragmatic but not always optimal as pinpoints area by geographic centre. Language groups aren’t point, they’re areas.

Problem #1: borders. This project is a “Victoria” project but this isn’t how indigenous people would see the area. Decided to include 38 groups that broadly overlap state of Victoria.

Problem #2: borders. How to determine areas of language groups? They change! Looked at three maps – interesting that over time they seem to become less detailed. Decided not to show visible borders – seemed best way to acknowledge fluidity. But still needed to determine for purposes of database/searching. Used maps, created polygons to overlay on map. Sometimes had to go by eye. Sent lat/long data to someone to create the polygon on the map. Some regions overlap a little, or a lot. Checked, refined.

Also had to consider spelling variants – phonetic interpretations. Some identify with one or another so system had to cope with all.

At the moment can only search by location but hope to add search by language group.

Did this exercise because had something to attach to the mapping: the stories.

Look at the stories on the website (eg the possum skin cloaks – which skins were from New Zealand as illegal to kill possums in Australia whereas encouraged here…)

Q: Can you tell us about the consultation you did?
A: Koorie Heritage Trust is made up largely of Aboriginal people – close relationship with communities. Lots of discussion about shapes as very sensitive, but mostly driven by community.

Q: Very Western structured presentation on website cf traditional storytelling cycle.
A: Some limits due to funding. But it’s the content that’s the cycle – the story circles around. This conference has raised questions of how you present data, present linking systems, in an interface that’s fluid and flexible – emerging technologies. Definitely aim to increase interactivity.

[ETA 11/7/2014: Slides and notes are blogged at Culture Victoria.]

A new equity emerges

citizen-created content powering the knowledge economy
Penny Carnaby
abstract (pdf)

Just when we thought we had the web2 environment sussed, it’s about to get more exciting for librarians world-wide. A new equity is emerging which puts individual citizens in the driving seat for the first time.

Every day someone is deleting something on the web. We’re all part of the delete generation. Hana and Sir Tipene O’Regan talked about the loss of indigenous languages.

As librarians we need to take responsibility for preserving information.

Building blocks
Roll-out of broadband
National Digital Heritage Archive
Aotearoa People’s Network Kaharoa
Digital New Zealand
data and information reuse
NLNZ New Generation Strategy

New government has endorsed the digital content strategy. Talks about life of asset from creation to access to sharing to managing and preserving.

Information on two axes from private public and from formal informal.

National Digital Heritage Archive. If we’re taking citizen-created content as seriously as formally created content, how do we go about preserving it? What do we curate – porn, hate sites too?

DigitalNZ has put over 1million NZ digital assets online in one year.

Aotearoa People’s Network Kaharoa – cornerstone of allowing citizen-created content. Allows local kete to emerge all over, through libraries and marae. Extraordinary emergence of citizen-created information collections.

Idea of creating a virtual learning environment in every school, founded on govt-supplied broadband. Ministry of Education looking at how APNK works and thinking about how that could work if it was in every New Zealand school. (Me: Whee!)

International colleagues see New Zealand as an “incubator country”.

Announcement: Will be digitising the Appendices to the Journals of the House of Representatives. (Me: Whee again! This has been much-requested and will be a very valuable asset.)

As of February this year, with digital heritage archive, “we refuse to be part of the delete generation”.

New equity emerging. Kiwis from all walks of life creating solutions to harness and preserve. Each of us has contributed to New Zealand emerging as a digital democracy.

3M Award for "Innovation in Libraries" Finalists Presentation

(Presentations available online)

Auckland City Libraries with the Active Movement programme – biggest problem now is where to park the buggies because it’s so popular. Including video of snippets of the sessions including bubble-blowing. 🙂 SPARC will sponsor this in 50 libraries across greater Auckland area, starting today.

Aotearoa People’s Network Kaharoa (on whose wireless network those of us with laptops are connected!) “Kaharoa” is the largest of the nets traditionally used for fishing. Many stories of word-of-mouth bringing in huge numbers of new users to libraries.

Top of the South – “the prow” referring to the canoe that Maui fished up and which became the South Island of New Zealand. Local providers used. Community continually adding content, comments. Many plans for website to add functionality (RSS, GIS) and content.

Non-English blog roundup #9

On a meta note, Google Reader now incorporates automatic language recognition and translation. For some reason this doesn’t come across to the Reader widget in iGoogle, so what language I see depends on where I am — this is actually a bonus because, while I read far faster in English, Google Translate can produce… unusual results.

Bibliothèques 2.0 (French) reports that the library in Toulouse has latched onto the city’s SMS contract to SMS users for

  • the first overdue notice, and
  • notice that a reserved book is available.

They also send a pre-overdue notice by email, and additional overdue notices by email then by post. They acknowledge that SMS, at 10 euro-cents apiece, is more expensive than mail. But I think (and evidently so do they) that it’s worth it to get a book back earlier and save the need of sending a post message later. We introduced SMS messages for overdue hourly-loans at our own library, and the number of times you see a student sprinting inside with the book – they didn’t mean to have it overdue, they’re just busy and preoccupied – makes it all worth while.

La Feuille highlights a quote from Marin Dacos’ post about ebook readers (French): “Readers of today display all the shortcomings of physical books and almost none of the qualities of digital text.” [This is an example of where Google Translate fails utterly, with “The reading of today are the shortcomings of the book and almost none of the qualities of the text.” Reading is just stupid, are is odd, and why oh why does it simply miss out a word (numériques) that it can’t cope with? Though I’ll give it ‘shortcomings’, which I stole for my own translation.]

Álvaro Cabezas reports on the integration of Google Scholar results into Google proper (Spanish). If you don’t have access via a library subscription you can click on the “All 3/whatever versions” to increase your chances of finding an open access copy or preprint.

Also from Álvaro is a great post on The user as generator, and the library as redisseminator of content (Spanish again). [Another failure of Google Translate, which renders “como redifusora de contenidos” as “of content as redisseminators”. I see what it’s trying to do – Romance languages often write an X of Y where English would have a Y X – but it’s being incompetent about it; there’s no earthly reason why a machine couldn’t get the correct “as content redisseminator”.] He points out that creating and maintaining a website full of quality content takes time and money – but also that web 2.0, with its remixing ideology, provides the opportunity to reuse existing information, and the opportunity to empower users to do some of the work for us. Risks, yes – but weighed against the risk of being “relegated to the archaic image which society, in general, holds of libraries”….

And via multiple blogs, the new Europeana went down due to popular demand shortly after launching. “Europe’s digital library, museum and archive” hopes to re-open mid-December, at which time it will “be bringing you digitised books, films, paintings, newspapers, sounds and archives from Europe’s greatest collections.” More about the project is available in the meantime at the project development site (English; Europeana itself will be in multiple languages).