Tag Archives: lianza2017

Round-up of LIANZA 2017 sessions #open17

Below is a summary-of-the-summary of some of the LIANZA 2017 sessions I attended (some others were too participatory to allow live-blogging, or I ran out of brain) with key points and highlighting of things I particularly want to remember for some reason; no value judgements to be implied by the lack thereof!


  • The dangerous myth about librarians – libraries are powerful and words have power so stop with the ‘save our libraries’ rhetoric. Stop relying on how ‘obvious’ our value is; stop being lazy about biculturalism; value ourselves, have courage, be visible.



  • Huakina te whare ki te ao – background and examples of Ngā Upoko Tukutuku (Māori subject headings)
  • What’s going on with ebook usage? – public library context, did lots of work extracting usage data and combining with patron data, plus surveying satisfaction
  • Games for learning – focusing on the learning around making games rather than playing them, and particularly using the presenter’s Gamefroot platform
  • Opening up licensing agreements – the kinds of terms we should be clarifying with database vendors, and how we convey this to users (particularly in Alma – we could be doing this a bit on the journal level now, though not on the article level)
  • The Future of the Commons – looking at Creative Commons (and the commons in general) from the point of view of the social systems supporting the commons, and in relation to the state and the market.
  • Enhancing library services with a journey mapping approach – a user experience methodology with a focus on the user’s emotions. Looking at what the user does and how they feel at each stage of carrying out a particular task/heading towards a particular goal.


The Anthropologist’s Tale: A Caution – Donna Lanclos #open17

Anthropologists get to do the work they do because someone lets them in. Listen, collect, collate, interpret, and tell stories. Stories are data – ways of representing and interpreting reality. She studies the ‘village’ of academia, investigating the logic behind the behaviours in academia – students, academics, others.

Example of bowdlerised version of Chaucer’s “Wife’s Tale” when she was in high school – she wanted the real story. Also as a folklorist, very aware of different versions of stories. There’s meaning not just in the story but in the fact that there are different versions. Who tells the tale informs how it’s told.

Early anthropology work was literally a tool of the Man. Finding out more about a people in order to colonise and control them. Eg “The Nuer” by Evans-Pritchard. Franz Boas ‘the father of anthropology’ when native American groups were the object of study because people believed they were ‘disappearing’ (a framing that ignores the agency of colonisation). In WWII armchair anthropology by Ruth Benedict informed post-war occupation strategy of US in Japan. Margaret Mead worked in Samoa and other people in the Pacific – many issues around whose stories she told and why. But her purposes shifted from institutional control to understanding. Wanted to make the unfamiliar familiar and relatable. Also to make the familiar unfamiliar – so people can look at things they’ve always done and wonder why.

Moving to libraries. Andrew Carnegie (as a retirement project from his life as a robber baron) founded lots of libraries all over US, UK, NZ, basically everywhere – to impose his ideas of what communities should have. There was an application process – communities wanted to be associated with the respectability and power. Libraries as colonising structures. And assumption that if you don’t put a library there, don’t establish a colonial government, there won’t be anything. It ignores what’s already there. There were people long before there were libraries.

Colonising impulse in libraries:

  • When she presents on student behaviour (googling, citing Wikipedia, not putting materials in IR) she talks about motivations, conflicting messages people get around these, the ways these things make sense to people where they are. And gets the question “So how do we get them to change their behaviour?” Wants the idea of what’s “best” to fall away. Listen to what people, understand why.
  • When she proposes open-ended investigations, eg day-in-the-life studies, geolocating emotions across various institutions and look at the pattern of their lives. No particular question or problem in mind, just wanted to know what it looked like. But often got asked, “How will that help me solve [very specific problem]?” Exploratory research isn’t about solving problems, it’s about gaining insight.

You don’t do anthropology to shift how they do library things; you do it so the library can shift its practices. How do we listen? How do we change? Study people not to control, but to connect. We don’t want to be the colonising library! We may think we’re powerless, but have so much more power than our users, so have a responsibility to be careful.

Approaches beyond ‘solutionism’:

  1. Syncretism: cobbling together, where you can see the component parts. In libraries, users already have a fully formed set of practices. They’ll make room for new ones if they’re useful. We should expect to be taught by them, as we teach them, what libraries mean for them.
  2. Decolonisation – listen to users, make space so the definition of what a library is emerges from the community. (cf Linda Tuhiwai-Smith’s “Decolonising Methodologies”)
  3. Community – not just responsible to users but to the whole community. (Public libraries are good at this.) Anthropological approaches can help if moving away from colonialism.

“Trying to predict the future is a really neat way of avoiding talking about the present.”

Open data? Perceptions of barriers to research data-sharing – Jo Simons #open17

Many aspects of open data – today focusing on research data, ie created by research projects at an institution.

Research workflow is very complex but to really simplify: researchers start a project, get lots of data, and summarise results in journals.  But it’s not the data – it’s a summary of the data with maybe a few key examples. The rest goes to places where only the researcher can access it.

Why do we care?

  • for the good of all
  • expensive to generate so want to maximise use eg validate, meta-analyses, used in different ways
  • much funded by government therefore taxpayer – so they should be able to access it

Used to work in a group which shared greenhouse space but had no idea what else was in there. Proposed sharing basic information about what was there and what to do in case of emergency – and was shocked when some said no. Supervisor said don’t let it stop you asking the question but that’ll happen, yeah.

Requesting data, odds of it being extant decrease 17% each year. (cite: Vines (2013) 10.1016/j.cub/2013.11.014)

This is where academic libraries come in – getting the data off the USB drives. So need to understand why they might not want to share. Did interviews to inform survey construction to get info from more people. 102 responses from researchers across 10 disciplines; 18 from librarians (about 20% response rate).

Do librarians and researchers agree on the major drivers that determine whether researchers choose to share their data?

Is data-sharing part of the research culture? Librarians: 7% said common/essential; researchers 26%

Factors influencing data-sharing

  • agreement in some areas eg ability to publish, inappropriate use, copyright and IP pretty high; then resources, interest to others, system structure and data access
  • differences: librarians thought institutional policy, system integration very important; funder policy, system usability somewhat important – all very low for researchers. What was important for researchers were: ethics (>40%); culture, research quality (10-15%); data preservation, publisher policy (5-10%)

Are there differences across major disciplines in what those drivers are?

5 disciplines with 10+ responses: business, medicine/health, phys/chem/earth; life sci/bio; soc sci/education. Ethics important for most but not a high-ranking factor for phys/chem/earth due to nature of their data. Whereas data preservation/archiving is more important for them (and med/health), somewhat important for life sci and soc sci, while business barely cared.

Take home

So consult with your community to find out what’s worrying them. Target those concerns in promotion and training. Eg we know system usability is important so definitely fix it – but don’t waste your communication opportunities talking about it when they’re worried about other things.

Learnt it on the grapevine – Pat Mock, Jenny Kirkwood #open17

Lots of e-resources that need certain amount of skills to use. But don’t have a trainer so implementing training isn’t manageable – fitting into schedules is hard. Training isn’t always motivating – especially hard for the trainer when trainees forget everything they’ve been told – only remember who the expert was “and it wasn’t them”.

Did research and found brain is designed to shed information. 50% of what you hear will be gone on within an hour. Unless you can convince your brain you’re going to need it again – this is the key to their new system, “grapevine training”.

Short 10-15min sessions where person A trains B -> C -> D … -> A. Different topic starting a chain every few weeks. Done for technical issues, work processes, etc.

Staff like the format – get engaged working one-on-one. Often work together longer than session intended and first staff member gets more out than put in. More confident demonstrating to public because they’ve already demo’d to each other.

Not perfect each time. One problem is that once a train sets off it’s hard to track how far it’s progressed – so create a document where staff tick when training is received and passed on.

Usually reference staff are responsible for training so they started kicking off the training but when they got a bit tired of this, other staff got asked to kick off chains. Staff are now using chains when they want to use a skill.

Takes the expert out of the equation so staff are now more empowered. Doing better with familiarity with resources by engaging staff.

Did they check this doesn’t end up like Chinese Whispers? Actually didn’t. Theoretically the last person gives it back to person A but in practice the chains broke first. But didn’t find that it got distorted. Sometimes you get something different but not wrong – they’d just gone off on a tangent.

May not work in big systems – online document to track helped but easier in smaller organisation.

For a short thing, can have one person teach two and spreads faster – pyramid style.

Who initiates? Still mostly the reference team. But very successful when others start. Requires one of the reference team to push it at the start.

Have considered trying it with school classes too – haven’t had a chance to try that yet.

What about capturing notes from people along the chain?

What happens when the chain breaks? You can prod people. But if people really don’t want to learn, so be it. Has worked better and for longer than anything else.

They set a time limit, not always met.

Is there a structured chain? In the start, yes, but really labour-intensive and would break when someone went on leave. More flexible when there’s an online form as staff can find someone available.

Finding our happy place at work – Cath Sheard #open17

Used to feel pressured, even bullied. Some used to go home and cry. Now happy, confident, prepared to take risks.

When took over as manager instituted regular one-on-one meetings with staff. 95% of time has an open door policy. So staff chat regularly, meaning when it’s time for a harder conversation it’s okay because they already know each other.

Cut back on number of events because staff were too stressed. So number of events has gone up – because the pressure is off and they’re enjoying it again.

Stopped being involved in things just because she could. Doesn’t need to check every poster, sign – don’t need to do quality control because trust staff. So she has more time and staff feel trusted. If she needs things changed staff knows there’s a real reason.

Did Myers-Briggs to ‘know yourself’.  Strengths and weaknesses; what makes you happy or frustrated? No use implementing a change that’ll make you cross!

Look for quick wins so you can see it’ll work and there’s benefits to making changes. Acknowledge the wins. Be prepared for multiple iterations.

The summer boutique library – Daille White #open17

The summer boutique library – closing the library but keeping the doors open
Daille White, Jane Brooker, and Lucy Lang – Victoria University of Wellington
Completely refurbishing library so closed for 3 months; wanted to create a small library as a temporary replacement to provide resources/services over summer trimester.
Lots of communication, especially over Facebook and face-to-face meetings which allayed fears and panic.
(‘Before’ photos of “dingy, cramped” library actually look pretty nice! ‘After’ photos have replaced brightly painted walls with timber and glass which is also very smart. Black shelving was the architect’s vision and not their own preference though….)
Various plans were made and changed. Ended up moving to a low-use student common room. Small area but looked clean and bright. Informal atmosphere. Open 9-5 Mon-Fri which was plenty – being staffed by core people strengthened relationships. Users had to consult for help and discovered librarians actually really nice. 🙂
Selected high-use material and course materials, and material requested, to put into temporary collection. Also promoted extended loan. No complaints about interloans as delivering service very quick – some even commented better than before. Some found items in the smaller collection that they didn’t know library had. Academics were particularly interested in new items display.
Always had been planned to change the service model, to be in the space with clients around them – more visible and approachable. Summer boutique library helped.

Engaging the student community through work placements – Jessica Henry #open17

Engaging the student community through work placements in the AUT university library makerspace
28,000 students – 89% have to complete work experience placements to finish qualifications. So opportunity to include students – get creative about what skills non-LIS students have that could be helpful.
  • Artist in Residence – to facilitate workshops and encourage creativity in makerspace
    Had been volunteering in public libraries running “The Afternoon Academy” for teenagers – was keen on offering “gentle mentorship” to students based on his own experience. Workshops involving staff and students – paper, clay (got clay from construction project on campus). Also making his own artwork as his residency. Enjoyed spending time with people from disparate disciplines. Library was a place he hadn’t spent much time in.
  • Cooperative Education – psychology student, had work experience in observation. Wanted opportunity to apply research skills in real world. Counted space use (3 campus libraries, main one has 5 floors) on the hour every hour. Also looked at instagram profile and social media use – breaking down what makes posts successful as social media takes lots of staff time so want to be more strategic. Enjoyed space and time to work on real-life projects

These things don’t happen quickly. Artist in Residence approved last Sept, was July before he was in place. Some wages got paid for by Student Services but not sure about future. Also took staff time for supervision and coordination. And requires space and materials.

“It’s hard to get people on board with an idea when you don’t have concrete examples of what it’s going to look like!”

But was received well – seen as shifting from the library ‘weighted down’ by collection to be engaging; and great way to gather meaningful data.

Q&A: Makerspace focused on bringing people and ideas together. Bookbinding and sewing through to robotics. Just launched in July but well-attended.

How will data change what you do next year? Will change when and how they post? Students like images they can identify with the uni  – pictures of the space more than pictures of staff or students. Won’t change all posts but helps. Re space will look at study spaces, plus spaces where students are more likely to interact with each other in order to enhance those.

The development of a digital atlas of Ngāi Tahu history – Takerei Norton #open17

Hope to launch Kā Huru Manu | Ngāi Tahu Atlas this November. Opportunity to tell their own stories instead of having their stories told by others. When gathering evidence for the Waitangi tribunal hearing, a principle was that if it fell through (as claims had so often before), they’d at least have their chance to tell their story to New Zealand.

Gathering evidence, was important to show how tupuna viewed the land early on before any written evidence. The names of places carry heritage and history – mnemonics for knowledge about the places and stories.

Started the mapping project in one area, then extended to whole Ngāi Tahu takiwā. Started with sticking dots on large topographical maps; later digitised. Probably 100,000 pages worth. Technology, Google Earth, streamlined it heaps and made it much easier. Get a name, locate it on the map, add the data/story behind the name.


1/10 of South Island are Crown-owned low-rent leases in the high country to Ngāi Tahu – and government wanted to freehold it. Tenure Review involved visiting farms, interviewing people, identifying sites of cultural significance. Manuhaea needed to be protected – famous mahinga kai site for gathering tuna and birds; later flooded as Lake Hāwea was raised. But when told this to the Crown, the Crown kept saying they needed more information. Went to Trevor Howse, developed relationship, and he provided a pile of papers full of evidence. Wrote a 30-page report and the Crown agreed to protect the site.

Get to the point where they want to identify what sites are key to be protected. Started mapping hui where people would bring info and map on topographic maps with colour-coded dots. Decided to visit each site – mapping hikoi for 2-3 years with guest speakers, archaeologists, parents and kids. Nearly finished mapping the high country and then decided to do one more small job: map the whole of the South Island. Because had always wanted to do it, just hadn’t had the resources; Tenure Review was a way in.


5000 placenames: mahinga kai, ponds, lagoons, streams, mountains, pā, travel routes, native reserves. Names that are pre-Ngāi Tahu, Ngāi Tahu, incorrect names put in by Pākehā, everything – and every name must be referenced. Mostly from 19th century manuscripts, maps, books, newspapers.

“The east coast was state highway one, and the rivers were highways into the interior”

Used old maps but some mistakes eg Beattie misread/parsed sources, so working to find other sources and correct them.

Nervous about putting out the full 5000 placenames in case used by council against them, so starting by putting out 1500.


Informant gets credit as well as collector. Another problem with Beattie: “an old Māori man told me this” but who? In one case Teki Pukurakau = ‘Jack Pukuraki’.

“This has been done by the ordinary Ngāi Tahu person.” – Trevor Howse  Done by Ngāi Tahu for Ngāi Tahu. If any institutions have information related, this project wants it!

Journey mapping approach – Maxine Ramsay #open17

Enhancing library services with a journey mapping approach
“Journey maps illustrate customers’ stories.” – Kerry Bodine. About user experience – not just the step by step process but also user’s emotions over time. We often make a lot of assumptions; journey mapping is a way to find out what’s really happening from the user’s perspective.
Journey-mapped all 500 students at an intermediate school, especially interested in:
  • taking shoes off at door
  • usage of OPAC
  • use of AccessIt’s OneSearch system for database search

Created a stylised journey map template to prompt where feedback was wanted. Explained to teachers how it’d work. Trialed with one class, then refined as had to explain to students it wasn’t a test. Hard for students in this age group to give their own opinion without knowing what librarians “want them to write”.

As you come into the foyer, thoughts include:

  • too full, smells bad, keen to find a good book, taking off shoes OK, taking off shoes a pain, untidy – note that negative feelings about taking off shoes seems much higher for year 7 than year 8

Exciting part was the actions as the result of the report

  • eg scrapped the ‘no shoes in the library’ rule.
  • Promoting IP address for catalogue as mural on the wall
  • Found students not confident searching catalogue so extended catalogue teaching so now goes into classrooms to teach it.
  • Students found it hard to navigate around lots of furniture so freed up some space
  • Trialed a self-issue desk but it didn’t work and wasn’t totally reliable so scrapped that but introduced extra student librarians to free up queues of student

Lessons learned:

  • Focus on one aspect of student experience / one user goal, not entire experience
  • Good to see what the pain points are
  • Students reacted really well to immediate changes


  • collaborate – who will you work with to trial the approach? consider working with people trialling it in other sectors
  • decide – which user goal / journey will you focus on, and which user group (or non-user group) will you target
  • map – what tools and resources do we need? develop simple templates, or set up video diaries – just think about how you’re going to collate at the other end; and think about resources for recruitment
  • analyse – how will you use the data/evidence; how will you present it (and recommendations) to others in the team;
  • act – what resources do you need to implement any changes. When you’re seen to act on feedback it reinforces that you’re user-centred, makes them more likely to participate later and gives them greater ownership of the library
  • evaluate – the information collected, the process, the impact of changes

(Or could use Matt Finch’s “Who/What/Where/When/How” process.)

Could also journey map the ideal experience and then identify the gaps.

The Future of the Commons – Paul Stacey #open17

A commons is “a community based social system, independent of the state and market, for the long-term stewardship of resources”.

Creative Commons publishes an annual State of the Commons report. Big growth year on year.

  • museums and libraries making heavy use of CC for their materials;
  • open access journals are also growing heavily;
  • open textbooks (OpenStax Physics etc books now being translated to other languages) and other open education resources
  • images eg 500px which focuses on high-quality photos from professionals
  • video eg on vimeo eg short film “Alike
  • open data eg GeoNet; “A Quiet Revolution

Has morphed from individuals using CC licences to organisations using them.

But have we underpaid attention to the social system around this? The rules around CC are different from the rules for copyright. Permissions are expressed upfront. Instead of just borrow/return, you can:

  • retain the copy
  • reuse
  • revise
  • remix
  • redistribute

Physical commons – rivalrous, excludable, depletable, replication cost

Digital commons – non-rivalrous, non-excludable, non-depletable, replication almost free

Processing speed, bandwidth, storage are doubling every year so there’s a different economics.’

Different way to participate – crowdsourcing eg through the Wiki Loves Monuments photo competition; #ColourOurCollections; Rijksstudio platform to remix Rijsmuseum content into eg a kimono; or a sleeping mask; or contact lenses – which get produced and sold in their store.

Initiatives like this increasingly involve and engage librarians.

Expanding physical commons collections eg toy libraries, tool libraries, tie-lending libraries, musical instruments. (However most not being done by libraries.)

Learning commons – but do we help students find CC-licensed content? do we help faculty not plagiarise…? Library in Gouda Netherlands has a chocolate factory.

Maker spaces and 3D printing. Vancouver has an inspiration lab – can borrow instruments, book a studio, edit.

Social and economic aspects of building a commons

Common question: Why would I give my work away for free when I could get rich? So wrote Made with Creative Commons to answer this – a book to show the world how CC is good for business. Interviewed businesses etc across sectors/around the world to show what they’re doing, how it works, etc.

Not your ‘business as usual’ – not in it to maximise profit or restrict access, monetise commodities, selling to the highest bidder. Tended to be driven by social good. Viewed customers differently from a typical business – wanted to establish a personal connection/relation/collaboration.

Success/sustainability = CC + social good + human connection + $$ — ie Have high-value CC-licensed resources; generate genuine human connection; and then you can have some way of making money on top.

Big picture

Historically three ways to manage resources: the market, the state, and the commons. The commons is perhaps the oldest; appropriated by the state (‘enclosure of the commons’); given/taken over by the market.

Some organisations (like Wikimedia) are pure commons. Some (like Arduino) are hybrid commons-market. Then Rijksmuseum is state-commons-market.

You need to understand which part of your operation is which and run it appropriately. The state part and the commons part operate differently, with different norms and rules.

Market: private goods, indirect processes, norms and rules of property; goals are sales, revenue, profit, shareholder return, growth

State: public goods, indirect processes around authority; norms and rules of policies, regulations, laws; goals of quality of life, social and economic wellbeing

Commons: common goods, direct processes, rules and norms of creative commons, goals of participation, distributional equity

Principles of adding value, transparency, attribution, give more than you take, develop trust, defend the Commons

Benefits: access, equity, efficiency, flexibility, participation, reach and impact, lower cost, personalisation – these can’t be done by the market. Don’t put forth a rational based on market rules (eg ROI) it won’t make sense. Amplify the story of the shift from scarcity to abundance.

If you want to point to economists talking like this, see Doughnut Economics by Kate Raworth

“Tragedy of the Commons” essay often used against the idea of the commons. But the essay was written by someone who’d never seen a commons. In the real world, people actual speak to each other and balance everyone’s needs against each others and the commons.