Tag Archives: strategy

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

From Information to Meta Knowledge in China #theta2015

From Information to Meta Knowledge: Embracing the Digitally and Computable Open Knowledge Future (abstract)
Dr. Xiaolin Zhang, Director, National Science Library, Chinese Academy of Science

In China average distance of a user to a library is 1000km. Main body of students is graduate students. No broad variety of courses – taught what advisors know.
Chinese Academy of Sciences now taking lead in research and innovation, education etc – dividing institutes into four categories: centres for Excellence; for Innovation; for Big Science Facility; for Special [regional] Needs.

National Science Library coordinates institutional libraries. From beginning of digital library development taking an “e-first” approach to push resources to where researchers are. Federated searching, integrated browsing, ChinaCat, ILL, real-time digital reference. Most print subscriptions cancelled. Can’t subscribe to everything for everyone so organising consortia.

Subject librarians embedded in research institutes. Information analysts. Embedded info systems.

Challenge now:
Print-based communication is a mistake borne out of historical practicality. Knowledge is inherently multi-media. Only e-journals are real journals; only smart books are real books. Transition from subscription journals to open access journals.

Research more inter-disciplinary, collaborative, open. Means most researchers are ignorant of most of the stuff they’re working on! Great need for research informatics: have to quickly analyse unfamiliar field. Tech trends: the machine is the new reader.

What’s the place of the library? Embed in R&D processes: environmental scanning, idea and design testing, data management and analysis, etc. Analyse needs of researchers – not just those in lab (need help with search and retrieval) but also primary investigators (help with discovering, exploring, designing) and deans and directors (help with trend-detecting, road-mapping). Variation between kinds of institutes too. Have to work out who needs what.

So repurposing the library: informational productivity; R&D win by analytics; support open innovation. Huge focus on open accessUser-driven digital information systems – knowledge mapping services and research profiling services based on institutional repositories.

Building teams with domain knowledge – resources for data mining, networks of experts, embedded mechanisms. Hiring scientists more than library school graduates. (Library school recruits from undergrads so these students have no STEM background. Traininable over 5 years but need them to work in field now. Suggesting library school change structure to get needed experience in there.) Developing from a collection library to a creation library to a R&D knowledge service provider.

Digital Channel Strategy: onsite, offsite and online #ndf2012

Digital Channel Strategy: onsite, offsite and online
Karen Mason and David Reeves (@requironz), Auckland Museum
How does an encyclopaedic museum, that is also a war memorial and a classified heritage building located on a sacred site, develop serious street cred with a virtual community?
Auckland Museum is in a process of renewal. Within a broader, strategic context – which includes the future vision for Auckland City – planning has begun towards significant enhancements to public and back-of-house spaces, the roll-out of a new brand, new collections, research and audience engagement strategies and commercial initiatives. Lock-step with these developments is the upgrade of legacy IT systems and the formation of a digital roadmap spanning distributed channels: web, smart devices, social media, ecommerce, elearning, third-party content aggregators, in-gallery interactives and off-site programmes.
This presentation aims to bring to life the practical process of defining a growth path for the integrated use of discrete digital channels aligned to the needs and motivations of prioritised users. We’ll cover ICT platforms, searchable, useable and shareable content, online engagement with collections and public programmes; who our audiences are and what is meaningful to them. We’ll question which onsite programmes need an online iteration and which interactions work better online than physically. We’ll ask what does success look like and how is it measured. And what does all this means for resource allocation and planning processes?
While answers to these and other burning questions have yet to be fully revealed, our experiences are shared as a ‘work-in-progress’.

Project started as web redesign but early realised not just redesigning website; collided with org masterplan about recasting/refurbishing galleries. Took a step back to think of digital strategy fitting into broader strategy.

Digital channels include: website, blogs, apps, onsite interactive displays, audio tours, scholarly databases, facebook, flickr, youtube, twitter…

Are we all strategied out? Is this a strategy, roadmap, plan? But needed guiding principles to inform future use and prioritisation of time, skills, money.

Want to be audience-focused and collections-led. Want to connect audience and collections. Extend reach, enable audiences to go deeper. But collections becoming more complex, audiences more diverse and with higher expectations. Challenge to create connected experiences across this complex landscape and let audiences connect back to us and to each other.

Have website, blog, social media. Various databases which don’t talk to each other. Many in-gallery interactives and trails – lots of work which proud of, but want to stop creating content that’s locked into a single system: want to repurpose. Hard to know where it even is. – audience reaction indicates a familiar sight.

Looking at EDRMS and DAMS

Creating a content map to show content / channel / who’s responsible for it / how it joins up with other content / how it can link to/from third-party sites.

Using website as central layer; social media to start conversations but website to continue conversations; where relevant drive to other sites including external sites or back to website eg for online bookings/subscriptions.

Developed guiding principles:

  • Digital guardianship
  • sustainable delivery
  • universal access

Not just collections but context becoming increasingly important. Need to represent relationships across platforms. Build a platform not to replace systems but let them speak to each other. Collection data and context are an essential foundation – we don’t have all of this in electronic form yet.

Facebook (or similar) as front face of collections? [rights issues if taking this literally]

“Collection readiness” – getting collections ready for presentation in projects. Digitisation, capture content in workflows, capture data in open formats. Can be disruptive. Permissions, rights etc – more of an issue now that we’re less hesitant about letting things go. Enriched records for items on display (#1 priority.)

(Getting high quality images of “types” (butterfly specimens) [me: wouldn’t it be great to get 3d images of these?] but not connected to records system.)

COPE: Create Once, Publish Everywhere. Capture content without thinking of how outputted, need to make it channel-neutral. Then have templated ways to turn it into various forms.

Web-centric but want to make things available across a range of devices. Universal access principle to let people connect wherever they are, whatever device they use. Also supports pre-visit, during-visit, post-visit, and instead-of-visit.

Easy to be captured by the latest shiny – but don’t want to go down cul-de-sacs. Take a measured approach to new technologies. But confident in investing in bring-your-own-device.

The long game – vision to enrich collection with deep, rich content, deliver by open data standards, shared functional components, to let content be repurposed as diverse connected experiences across many devices to anyone anywhere.

The life cycle of online content #ndf2012

The life cycle of online content
Kate Chmiel (@cakehelmit), Museum Victoria
Content is king, declares the familiar refrain. We technologists in the cultural sector talk a lot about brilliant new applications, platforms and containers for web content, but not so much about the slippery business of creating, managing and retiring the content itself. At Museum Victoria we’re working on ways to steer our content and address three of our biggest challenges: what to do with old content, how to make great new content, and how to keep users – external and internal – happy. In this presentation, Kate will run through Museum Victoria’s online content plan, and whether it’s helping us nail the jelly to the tree.


Sean Connery may have been best Bond but not up to job now. Similarly with many old websites. But can take long discussion to turn off old sites.

Should be easy to update content but someone needs time to check content and update.

Generally content worthless unless supporting business objectives and/or fulfilling user needs. Need to make sure stuff is efficient, be sustainable, make content work harder – be reused over multiple platforms.

Often content doesn’t need to be made… But if you’re going to, need masterplan: a map defining what, when, who, how.

  • When it’s born, maintained, retired. Need to return to it regularly and decide if needs to be kept, deleted, updated, replaced. Create an expiry date for content – makes review less painful down the track.
  • Where it’s found – not just a “dumping ground of shame”. Navigation important but may become less so with new ways of exposing content. Tagging, taxonomy, metadata becoming important.
  • Who – content often gets orphaned; contractors move on, staff get busy with other things. Content needs to get attached to a person, or better a position. Who makes it, edits, links, publishes, updates, removes.
  • How it goes in and comes out. (The bit in the middle is outside her realm.) Need a flexible CMS – but needs to be simple for content providers.
  • What – what’s the content? Often needs new container – hard to create container without knowing what will go in it. Content provider working with a template doesn’t always know what’s happening elsewhere – that’s the job of a content strategist.

Keeping everyone happy is biggest part of the job in getting people to change the way they work. Start by asking questions and listening. Who will use it? What do you know about them? How will they get to it? Clarifies purpose for content. Often people make pages for themselves – what they would like if they were the user.

Convert people. Need to convince people why this is a priority. What are the advantages of doing this? What are the disadvantages of not doing it? People are committed; no-one’s twiddling their thumbs. Have to convince people this’ll save time in longterm. Convince them it has to be done at all. “I spent a lot of time doing this site in 2002 and now you want me to change it?”

Web users rarely initiate communication about problems, just go away. Make user testing a spectator sport. Pick a day a month – stream the video of the testing, have tea and coffe and invite people (developer, manager, everyone…) to watch and discuss. (Have done it once but not ingrained as a habit.)

Working with researchers, some people will never play, but don’t let them hold back others. Just do it – maybe professional rivalry will then come into play.

Content strategy – focus is on content rather than container. Create once, publish everywhere. Get out of pattern of thinking that website is done. Currenly most of the innovative work is happening outside of the website. Make sure our content is great so it’s always worth consuming.