VALA2014 – Concurrent Session 13 – Engaging Culture

Engaging exclusion: what’s next for Australia’s digital future – Brendan Fitzgerald – Infoxchange

Infoxchange is 25 years old and have staff of 80 in Melbourne, Brisbane and Wellington. Work with other organisations for IT needs. Technology for social justice. Through digital inclusion they work one on one clients. Objectives are to increase digital inclusion, raise digital proficiency, empower digital advocacy.

In one estate digital inclusion has generated 4 to 1 return on investment. Almost 4 in 5 people believe access to the Internet is a human right, yet in 1 in 5 Australians don’t have that access. Yet these are the people who have the need to engage with the government, who increasingly is only doing so online. If excluded it is harder to get a job, get education, access information and services, maintain health and well being, have your say and more.

Content is no longer king, community is now king, so is more important that ever to get people connected. Salvation Army study showed that people rated computer access more highly than regular meals – Essentials of Life survey:–Submissions/Latest-Reports/National-Economic-and-Social-Impact-Survey-May-2013/Results/The-essentials-of-life/

Digital Inclusion has social outcomes. Core foundations for digital inclusion include affordable hardware and access. We need a national approach to digital inclusion, with a focus on digital literacy that is ambitious and holistic, works with community partnerships, aims to help 300,000 Australians improve their digital skills. Core elements – a digital platform for learning skills and more, digital mentors, community pop-ups, digital equality conversations and a National Year of Digital Inclusion.

Everything that is imagined can happen at least once – Saul Bellow.

It is imagined, but watch to see if it will happen.

Smita Biswas – Auckland – Grass roots digitisation: how to engage with your community

Project developed using Kete software which is freely available. Allows the community to upload multimedia content.

The city of Hamilton was able to engage with marginalised communities to enable them to write their stories on the Kete website. It also enabled users to upload history as it was being created. The project is ongoing.

Tauranga Library did a similar project on a shoestring budget and with no IT support besides hosting. Big success here was in war stories. Also captured videos, letters, videos, images, posters and more about the Rena shipping disaster in the Bay of Islands in 2011. Schools then used it as a primary source and the resulting assignments were uploaded as well. Couldn’t upload all the YouTube videos on the event, so used APIs to aggregate this and other media content. Same for Twitter and other RSS feeds. Have also recorded now and then On Historypin and linked it back. Also used Storify to tell the story over time and embedded it in Kete.

Were able to use free tools to create mobile content taken from Kete and accessed via a QR code.

Think about the scope of your digitisation project – make sure it fits your organisation’s objectives.

Engagement – take every chance to promote to community, get Council support, use local media, recruit volunteers, contact local groups. Marketing – google searchable, free hosting. Make sure it is easy to use, users must register although not moderated, can be customised, have specifications for file uploads. Challenged- slow uptake by Maori community who hold their stories close, reference in a digital age, staffing, library advocates, training, lack of ongoing support for software development.