Blog every day of June – Evolving spaces: Makerspaces

Today I attended this great seminar at the State Library of Victoria.  Here are my notes.

Jo Watson – State Library of Victoria

Spoke on her recent study tour.

Makerspaces are about sharing materials, learning new skills, community partnerships and more. Libraries have been involved in creative purposes for a long time, the difference is that it now has a name.

Aarhus Library has budget for innovation, opportunity to take risks, some worked, some didn’t. She attended the Maker Faire which brought diverse elements of the community together to explore.

It is more about the culture, not about the space.

Space to make: setting a context – Andrew Hiskens

Road map or treasure map, there is a lot of uncharted territory. There is no roadmap for the future, but we can have tools to help us find the way.

“Most things look better in circles”. Makerspaces exist in the overlap of learning, creativity, technology and culture and libraries are ideally placed to be the host.

Martin Westall on workplace creativity. Don’t articulate the task, don’t exemplify, don’t extrinsic ally motivate, don’t maintain focus, don’t reduce interruptions, don’t give feedback, don’t encourage self evaluation.  By keeping clear of the process, it frees from goals and control and encourages creativity. Seems counter intuitive, but helpful in explaining what this is all about.

Informal learning is never organised, but can be, with objectives that create an environment where people don’t necessarily intend or aim to learn. We want people to experience.

Best learning experiences are active, with others, achieving, involves a guide, challenging, has an audience, achieved early, includes a sense of others progress, some passion and a little eccentricity.

Gartner hype chart

Gartner hype chart

Gartner Hype chart. It’s helpful to frame your thinking on where these technologies are.

Disruptive innovation – Clayton Christensen. Insert disruptive technology graph with time and performance on the x and y axes.

Clay Shirky – Cognitive Surplus – we are returning to the 19th century and earlier where creation was done for yourself, not delivered by mass media.

Mastery is about hanging out, messing about, geeking out.

Disruptive technology

Disruptive technology

Value propositions for the public:

  • Access to technology they can’t yet afford – which is a traditional library role
  • Learning and growing informally
  • Individual and social experience
  • Mastery process
  • What it says about me and about us.

Value propositions for libraries:

  • Can learn and grow with your community,
  • Playing and experimenting with our role
  • Embracing change and being see to be doing so.

For stakeholders and funders:

  • Having a focus on the future
  • Future skills for community
  • It’s cool
  • Embracing change.

Something you begin to feel in your hands and learn in your mind.

Evolution of the Makerspace – Michelle Collins  and Andrew Pocock – Shared Leadership Program

What is it – a place for community to come together for informal, social learning characterised by hands-on experimentation, innovation, tinkering, play and a strong DIY ethos.

Where did it begin? Has been around for a long time. German hackers inspired US hackers to start the maker movement.  Have lots of different names and are run by community groups and other organisations.

“I think if anyone is positioned to help build workers for this new Information Age, it is the library.”  Corrinne Hill.

“People who say that it’s dumb to turn libraries into book-lined Internet cafes are right … Damn right libraries shouldn’t be book-lined Internet cafes. They should be book-lined, computer-filled information-dojos where communities come together to teach each other black-belt information literacy, where initiates work alongside novitiates to show them how to master the tools of the networked age from the bare metal up.” Cory Doctorow.

Fayetteville Fab Lab was the first public library to create such a space. Changing the role of users from consumers to creators. Three spaces, focused on fabrication, digital creation and little makers.

Adelaide City Library have introduced a Fab Lab. Includes an innovation lab, digital lab and media lab. Makerspaces can also be found at Library at the Dock and Mackay Makerspace in Queensland.

Chattanooga Library – Brian Resnick says it is the library of the future. (Library Journal article)

Useful resource, Library as Incubator project. Creative collaboration between artists and libraries and although US based, has contributions from all over the world. Eg. Spine poetry.

They have created a toolkit to help libraries to create a Makerspace. Will be available later in June through Libraries Victoria.

Makerspaces in Australian public libraries – Zaana Howard – Huddle Design

Presentation based on paper produced by one of her students last year, very different landscape now.

Question was what are the issues and challenges in creating Makerspaces in Australian public libraries. Only three case studies could be find and study conducted through interviews.

Putting community needs up front – future proofing libraries by involving users in creation and use of the space. By aligning needs, it makes the library a destination of choice.

Engaging the community in new ways. Although not a new concept, Makerspaces encourage the library as third place. It encourages the connection of people from the community in a more exciting way than has occurred traditionally. It enables new connections in new ways, eg. Retired engineers and students.

Access to shiny things which enables new learning opportunities for people.  Gives people the opportunity to tinker and learn informally. Benefit in educating the community before it becomes mainstream.

However, Makerspaces are not easy to set up. It is uncharted territory, new adventures, new things to learn. Can be difficult to change the culture of library stakeholders, staff and users. Staff training, rules of the space, legal implications are all big challenges.

Funding and budgets were achieved from a seed funding, partnerships, donations and using volunteers. Ensuring the right type of tech for your computer and the right balance of technology, particularly when it is changing so fast.

Copyright and other legalities, who owns what and other grey areas. There are many gaps in the law and more is untested.

Strategies included forging partnerships with educational institutions and local hacker spaces to make connections with the community. Value exchanges were very important.

Necessity of advocacy, being able to communicate the value proposition, to all levels, from funders to staff to the community.

Creating a blueprint for success – it’s not enough to just make something, but to share what they have learnt, their processes and procedures with all who are interested.

All participants were focused on the needs of their community, their libraries and the LIS industry.

To ensure success co- create services and spaces with your community. If they don’t need it, don’t make it.  Embrace opportunity for change, involve your staff, advocate for your users.  Tactics, create allies across the library, communicate well across the organisation and to the wider community and stakeholders. Re-purpose, something we are good at.  Mobilise people and get strategic – leverage support from upper management and the community.

Kathryn Hayter – SLQ – Key principles used to develop and manage a successful Makerspace

The Edge is a separate space next door to SLQ, which has both advantages and disadvantages. Have window bays for study and meetings. Have labs with 130 workshops a year, but are open access to other time. Have fabrication and a recording studio which is very popular. Have an auditorium which is a community space, but also programmable. Also have rooftop space for outdoor events.

It’s for, with and by our communities. Makerspaces are about the ‘by’.

390,000 visitors, 1700 programs with 40,000 attendees in 4 years. Began as youth space although not exclusive, but demographic is now older. Community is making the space on an ongoing basis and many past participants are now program facilitators. Audience is now 20 – 49 years. Visitors are mainly male, but program attendance is mainly female. Also run programs outside the space.

Run 40 programs a month and all book out quickly. Run across art, science, technology and enterprise. Programs include bio-tech fashion design, building and configuring computers and they have run these programs out in the community as well, using donated computers. They now have their own basic robotics kits which users can create program and race.

Have several 3D printer projects – they use corn starch for their print material. Programs include building your own 3D printrt, slime mold racing and build a DIY arcade game which begins with a kit and incorporates carpentry, programming and graphic design.

Edge team of 20, with different expertise, need passion resilience and diversity/ Their programs are based on what’s in it for the community,  who are we doing it for, welcome everyone, make it scalable, develop the audience, be responsive, expect change, be diverse and interdisciplinary. Set the space free.  It can be low tech or high tech. (Or no tech).

Set up was from library budget but now has to actively raise some of their own funding. Get sponsorship and partnerships, use collaborations and find grants.

Best feedback was from users whose lives have been changed.

Panel – Why is creativity coming in vogue? – big need for me to we – face to face. Wanting to find ‘my people’.  Also going back to me but using this to establish self identity.

Community consultation Is workshops and working with library staff to help design something that the community wants and that works for the library. Also get feedback from groups that are already in the community about local needs and with their partners and from direct interaction with current users. Find out community perceived barriers and deal with them.

Community partnerships, collaboration and creation – David Chanter – Connected Community HackerSpace

This HackerSpace is owned and run by the members of which there are 100.

HackerSpace is a space for like minded people to gather and learn from one another. Terminology was founded in Germany in 1981.

How they operate. Staffed by volunteers, including the committee, owned by their members. They empower every individual and aim to meet their needs. They are Incorporated in Victoria and have a governing committee as required by law. Simplicity is key, but they have some structure to control the chaos.  Financially they operate like. Gym, paying a monthly subscription. Have partnered with industry and get off cuts from them that they can reuse. Their operational expenditure is $25,000 per year. They need 40 members to sustain, but have 100.

Celebrating accomplishments within the community is key. Members are now customers but owners, they don’t pay to get, but pay to contribute. Have either donated or self built equipment.  Also perseverance is vital.  It’s greatest success is people.

Recommendations to libraries:

  • Read your community and have a feedback loop, ensuring that you’re adapting to community need as it changes.
  • Partner with everyone in sight – find those that want to use your real estate. Places to tinker and make a space are at a premium. Focus on a night for your efforts (not Tues).
  • Connect with other organisations in this space eg. Hackerspaces.

Not just a pretty space – Christ McKenzie and Felicity Gilbert – Yarra Plenty

Has learnt that technology is boring, users don’t care about the what, but want the why. What can the functionality achieve for them and what they want to achieve or will meet their need.

Use tapered off after the initial Makerspace launch. Why was it underused? Users didn’t know it was there, they didn’t know how to use the technology, and staff were unfamiliar and unable to demonstrate it.

Without context, technology is boring, so they moved to make meaning with it. Started with researching their community and also looked at the individual interest and experiences of library staff.

They have added extra resources, including a 3D scanner, Arduino starter kits, Lego Mindstorm kits, Spark Fun Inventors kits for Android, Creative Sketch and Touch tablet.

They recognised that the space needed to be open and inviting, but with closed spaces for focus. So they are getting appropriate furniture to provide this functionality and give direction as needed.

They are running programming events in the space, not all directly involved with the equipment there, to help cross promote.

Rorchestra program to run in library and in schools, for years 5 to 8. Kids create instruments from recycled material and record their sounds using their Makey boards.  The program will run regularly in the library, but also resulted in the creation of a kit which can be borrowed by local teachers.

It is the realisation of what technology can do, it’s what it can produce that excites.

Came to realise that it was more of a pop up space, rather than a full on space, but staff are enthusiastic and have come up with a strategy. The new furniture will help, but making it more program driven, add more equipment and hold new and different programming.

It’s definitely a great way to go, but doesn’t need to be over-thought and over planned. They create a real buzz and their space will morph into more stable space with opportunities and programming. They are enthused enough to put Makerspaces into other branches, but maybe with different foci, eg. Craft, writing and publishing and more.

Meeting future prominent trends – Debra Rosenfeldt – SLV

Victorian Public Libraries 2030 report was finalised in June 2013.  About predicting how public libraries can remain relevant for the next 15 or so years.  Has received much kudos from around the world.

Wanted to produce framework that could be used by any library, large or small. Involved over 80 stakeholders including library staff, including interviews, workshops on future scenarios, transitioning to the future and impact on public libraries analysis and finishing with a framework planning workshop.

It focuses around:

  • Creativity
  • Collaboration
  • Brain health
  • Dynamic learning
  • Community connection

Two scenarios were developed as a result, the community and creative scenario of life in Victoria in 2030.

Opportunities for public libraries, include becoming shared learning hubs, creativity hub, community’s brain gymnasium, community learning, meeting place for people to gather, share and learn.


Blog every day of June – Helping library students – Tue 3 June

I love helping out the next generation of library staff.  These are people who are currently undertaking library studies at either TAFE or University, who approach us as they are doing a case study on our library.

We have quite a bit of information already available on our website, but they are usually seeking the sort of information which is not readily available on our website, because it is of no interest to our library users.

So queries about departments, cataloguing practices and much more, end up coming to us directly. And we are happy to spend time answering those questions, in person, on the phone and via email – which is how these requests come in – often at the last minute (no different to kids with school assignment really, lol).

We also further support these students with placements so they can experience working in a public library first hand.  We do our best to show them the whole picture, from talking to manager and learning about the different aspects of library service behind the scenes, to working at the coal face in the branches.

As an Information Librarian, it is gratifying because you are helping them to find the information they seek, but its extra special when you are on the receiving end of sincere and heartfelt thanks – along the lines of “thank you so much for your time, I really appreciate it, you didn’t have to that, etc, etc.

This sort of response, which we receive in almost every instance, gives me confidence that the next generation of library staff will be just as amazing as those who have gone before.  Librarians are caring, sharing, helpful and enthusiastic and its nice to see that those who will follow will be just  the same.


Blog every day of June – Changing face of the reference collection – Mon 2nd June

As we head into the end of the financial year, I have been finalising the titles that we wish to get on standing order for our print reference collection for the next financial year.  I have been with this library service for many years, but even in the last 15, its amazing how much this aspect of the library service has changed.

Although the collection size has only grown overall, the print reference collection has shrunk dramatically.  In our biggest example, our largest library went from 18 x 2 metre bays (a total of 90 shelves) at the turn of the century, to a mere 24 shelves now.  And this will further reduce in coming years.

Is the age of the reference print book over?  Not entirely. There are still certain reference titles that all branches still want, like the Law Handbook, the Melways and the Vicroads Country Street Directory, amongst others.  Even though this content is all available freely online, some people are still more comfortable with it in book form and want to access it at a moments notice.

In our larger branches there are more resources, specifically chosen to meet the needs of their users but nonetheless, in much smaller numbers than they used to be.

I love the online world. I can look up anything at a moments notice, on any of the Internet-connected devices that I have ready access to. Its quick and easy and easy to use.  But there are still some things either better in print, or that people still prefer to use in print, so that’s what we will keep providing, at least for now.

I believe that books generally will still be around for many, many years to come.  Books that can only be referred to in the library and are kept for reference access only, I’m not so sure.

But it has me thinking about print reference collections in other libraries.  Do they still exist?  What do they look like?  Do they have a lifespan beyond this year, this decade?  What’s your experience of this specialist field and what do you think of its future?


Blog Every Day of June – Library website – Sun 1 June 2014

We are looking at moving our entire library website onto our discovery layer.  This is going to be a big job and will be a lot more work than what our current website takes, so why?


  • Our users don’t recognise and/or care that we have two distinct sites – the website and the catalogue (yes, we have social media presences as well, but they are outreach….)
  • Our website visits are not growing, but our catalogue visits are – very quickly!

Those users who are using the catalogue only – which is what the library is mainly about anyway, miss out on a lot of content that is available through the website. This includes background information, events, online resources, local history and much more.

In order to make this content available to all, we could:

  • Duplicate the website content on the catalogue
  • Alternatively, we could link to it from the catalogue
  • Make the catalogue the website

As it is going to take some work either way, we are seriously looking at how we can make the catalogue work as our central point of call, thereby saving staff a lot of time and effort.

Has anyone else done this or thought of doing this?  If you have decided against it, I would love to hear why. If you decided to do it, I would love to hear of the challenges you faced.

Digital Content Seminar – Wed 26th March 2014

I am convenor of the Public Libraries Victoria Network – ICT Special Interest Group and get to meet with other ICT and Web librarians in Victorian public libraries on a regular basis. I also get to organise and attend events like this one, which give Victorian public librarians a chance to showcase what they are doing and be inspired by what others are doing.

So here are my notes.

Brimbank Comic Club – Leanne Fox – Brimbank Libraries

Comic Club runs weekly at Deer Park and Sydenham Libraries. It is a group for teens, where they make comics in an hour long program.

They use a computer program called Comic Life. Using this they published their first comic using stock images. Comic went into school and public libraries for borrowing. Comic Lives Two will be published at Easter. First one became marketing tool for program.

Software comes from Plasq ( You can get a 30 day free trial. Currently Comic Life 3 is available, they hope to upgrade next financial year. They have the software available on all Pcs for all users.

To use – Choose template, add images, add speech bubbles.

Leanne was assigned to start a drawing or manga club. Leanne had no drawing skills, but new staff member Huss had digital art background and lots of ideas. Existing tools like Photoshop were too daunting, so found a tool that they all could learn and use – Comic Life.

Started off with a four week intensive program but kids didn’t attend all sessions. (Sidebar: Our work demographic is a challenge for incorporating new programs.)

Leanne uses her teacher, editing and storytelling skills and has learnt tech and drawing skills.

Why did they do it? – To achieve their goals of reaching the School years users, social connectedness, English literacy, developing a reading culture and digital literacy. The Club is aimed at 9-16 year olds.

Kids are sharing and mentoring each other, connecting with staff, having direction.

Main benefit is digital literacy. They find resources that they evaluate as to whether it is appropriate and useable – no copyright breach. The teens are sharing their ideas, they are creating.

Where are they going? Huss is no longer assisting, but kids are taking up the slack. They are drawing their own pictures and scanning them into the computer and painting them. One of the kids then taught others how to do this.

They want an online presence. Their comic is published online and can be found through the library website.

Creating your own book for beginners – Anthony Woodward – Geelong Libraries

Has been creating books for a few years, mainly comic book anthologies, but the concepts are the same for text.

There are self- publishing services like Lulu, but he wanted an entry level way of doing it yourself, which would give you a nice clean file.

ePub is the international standard for books, which works across devices.

He outlined two methods of producing ePub files, using software Calibre and Sigil. Need to familiarise yourself with Calibre first, then it is straight forward to use. With Sigil you need HTML and CSS skills as well.

Calibre can import from Word, auto-detect headings, has easy to follow steps, can save in multiple formats, but it inserts extra code in the final file and the code is not as clean.

Sigil has cleaner code, is easier to edit on the fly, has a more straightforward interface, better compatibility in future with code, but is not for beginners. Only produces in ePub, and you need basic CSS and HTML skills and the work needs to be done chapter by chapter.


  • Format your document in Word
  • Save as file type – filtered HTML
  • Add to Calibre, locate the HTML file you have saved
  • Once imported choose convert book, click ok Add metadata, cover image, table of contents etc. (Tricky to get the table of contents right, there are a few different ways to go about it.)
  • Save file in your chosen format – you have several options, including ePub.


  • Type into or paste your document in as plain text, a chapter at a time
  • Add styles to chapter headings and check the table of contents
  • Add metadata, cover image, tweak cc, etc.
  • Save ePub file.

You need to have basic HTML and CSS skills, eg, heading, paragraph etc. in Calibre. Sigil can be further refined with CSS, need to have some awareness.

Cover design is important. Find a free image and edit, or get someone to create one for you, or develop one using image editing software. There is also cover generating software. Need to be aware that most e-readers only display in black and white. KISS. Get ideas on paper first.

Great ideas can be found on Pinterest.

Libraries as publishers – will they go there? What terms would we offer? What staff skill sets are needed? Production Librarian, help create content. Start with helping local history content online and see how it goes.

Omeka adventures with a local history portal – Tom Edwards – Wyndham Libraries

Wyndham history project was a two year project, which included a book and a website, which the library took responsibility for.

For the website they looked at a range of platforms, including Content DM, Displace, Portfolio (Sirsi Dynix), Collection Space, Kete, Collective Access.

Make sure that whatever you choose plays nicely with Trove. Which mean your sites needs to support OAI PMH Trove does a weekly harvest of the Wyndham history site – they described their resources using Dublin Core. It harvests new content as well as updated content. (Sidebar: Use a repository explorer to ensure the data is ok.)

They chose Omeka ( as it supported OAI PMH, had an emphasis on user generated content, great map support, supports responsive designs, is open source and built on standards, has a good user community and is well supported with plugins.

User generated content aspect – eg. – is not yet live with Omeka currently, but is coming.

Great map support in Omeka –, allows you to explore an event both geographically and chronologically.

Responsive design means that the site adjusts to your device.

Cataloguing – prepared a policy based on Dublin Core requirements, including controlled vocabulary and local thesaurus. They then mapped the MARC fields to Dublin Core Elements using MARCEdit and CSV Import plugin on Omeka.

They had the option to start with Omeka 1.5 which has user contribution, but went with 2.0 because of responsive design. It’s in the pipeline to get user contribution in 2.0.

They have 441 published items including mostly photos but also oral histories, a neat line map, an interactive timeline and flexible searching options.

Moving forwards they will be working on the contribution plugin, a WW1 exhibit, more maps including surveyor maps and hand-made raw maps of estates, and more.

They can transfer content from Inmagic, but must be able to export in meaningful columns and import and match to Dublin Core.

The Open Source software is hosted by Vicnet and is also being harvested by Portfolio for discovery in their catalogue.

Digitising Oral Histories – Michelle McLean – Casey-Cardinia

My presentation is available with the others, at

Using iPads to tell a story – Tara Hossack – Ballarat

Video is an easy way for capturing local stories in a short way. They filmed at a heritage weekend in Ballarat 2012. Used an iPad and with ear bud microphone using iMovie – so all was done on the iPad.

The iPad was hand held to record. All videos were on YouTube three days later – 10 videos based on a theme. They spliced interviewee responses to make it thematic.

They are going ahead with online story times, using a bracket that will hold the iPad for filming. They are practising at present, just testing with lighting, location and sound and filming. They will scan pages for inclusion in the movie. They are excited about getting this going, but are awaiting publisher permission.

A number of staff have volunteered to be involved and most staff are running well with it, familiarised within 30 minutes.

Next project – comic reviews?

Near pod is an educational tool, using the quiz option, but can also do questions, polls etc. looking to use it with outreach and kids programs.

Daniel Wilksch – Public Records Office Victoria (PROV) – Coordinator Digital Projects

Rely on partnerships and getting things done simply, only have a few staff in digital content.

Archive for the State Library of Victoria, established in 1973, when split from SLV. Managing and providing access to public records.

Only 3 – 4% of government records are ever archived.

They have documented about 4500 agencies, 17,000 series (up to 20 mill items), over a million electronic records and preparing for digital influx.

Have primary sources including a letter in Ned Kelly’s own hand. Have evidence including Exhibit B from Eureka Stockade trial. PROV is where you find evidence of a story that you heard somewhere else. Facts – notebooks showing Ned Kelly students achievements and police record of the death of the constables at Kelly’s hands. They also have stories – pages from inquest into Kelly’s death and background into soldier settlements.

However, all that content is buried in the catalogue. The system was created in a paper world, but the challenge is to translate to the digital world when you don’t have the paper in front of you.

Digital curation is the selection, preservation, maintenance, collection and archiving of digital assets – Wikipedia.

Content curation is the ongoing finding and sharing of relevant digital and non-digital content about a specific topic for a specific audience – National Library of New Zealand.

Europeana (http:// is a digital nirvana, exposing content professionally but also engaging with audience and providers. Alternatives include Trove ( and Culture Victoria (

For online exhibitions, get into partnerships with places like Culture Victoria. You can get shallow engagement or deeper. Generally want the deeper and have to be aware of that when creating content.

Curating is not the catalogue. Do we focus on individual records or focus on data sets – highlights. The answer will determine your direction. How much is making the information available and how much about telling stories.

PROV is mostly open access, but how much mediation is necessary to take it on to the internet. eg. coronial enquiries photos. Also how do you manage copyright and licensing?

One approach is to have a few records or a well-known story; which then brand the organisation and address the frequently asked questions. PROV is best known for shipping records and wills and events of significance. eg. West gate disaster

Another approach is to have a mix of interesting things on a theme; you can combine records from different stories. Eg Water stories – Dams, pipes, sewers

Other approaches – follow the trail, linking names, dates, places across records, showcase a family. eg. Lucy: a private life revealed through public records. Alternatively, you can create a mini archive eg. Bigamy, theft and murder, or use a narrative – using one record to illuminate another, with as little text as possible. Then treat the resulting narrative as another record.

More themes- strange and familiar – help users make sense of the world., I’ll show you mine sharing records eg. Using Flickr, Trove etc. – having contemporary conversations, material that supports current concerns.

Make sure you have some way for people to comment, it adds to the story.

Working with the community – what are you trying to produce, where do you fit in the process?

Sustainable – depend on lifespan curation and catalogue together, persistent URLs, expect to migrate….. Separate discussion from content.

Peter McMahon – State Library of Victoria – Digital collection and asset management

Technology team collates and brings digital content to the users.

SLV has nearly 1 million digitised items in the collection, 75,000 new items digitised this year. A further 71,000 will be added to the collection otherwise and some will be digital.

It’s all about selection based on relevance and audience focus and understanding of user segments. Up until now it has focused on the needs of exhibitions.


  • Access through cataloguing and metadata – how do you find this info when it does not come with the item?
  • Engagement – how you present digital items so they provoke engagement, reinterpretation and repurposing. They want users to explore and reuse.

Future proofing is about preservation capacity and the difference of being born digital.


  • Criteria and process – reviewed selection criteria eg, historical relevance, condition, delivery time, audience breadth, type/format, capacity for re-use.
  • Discoverability – identify in demand categories, use methods to enhance metadata, investigate ways to enlist online users.
  • Visibility and engagement – Increased use of video – humanise/ emotive, clearer presentation of all activities, responsive design, compressing the content based on tablet size, but can be scaled up or down.
  • User benefits – core audience, improve online search, improve accessibility and visibility, move critical content to the surface. New audiences, make approachable, make digital content more widely known and easily found, encourage and enable exploration and sharing.

Online content to be in gallery format as much as possible and is to be tablet friendly, immersive and easy to explore.

They want to broaden out so that users can contribute their own content, upload content for point in time collecting, with an aim of being able to combine in future.

Investigating an upload module for Digital Objects Management System, this will enable organisations to upload content for safekeeping.

They are also looking at Mobile apps as a means of distributing digital content eg. Hoddles grid app. They demonstrate value, inspire curiousity and bring people back for more.

Future digital preservation – shift from collecting to preservation, format validation, identification and repair, access to format registries.


VALA2014 – Plenary 6 – Joe Murphy – Library as future

Idea of futures comes preloaded with the idea of what comes next.

Libraries have been getting ready and he sees libraries as having a secure future. The outside world has already changed the things we have done, we can only move on. Change is constant.

Do libraries have more future than past? Libraries will always have a reflection in the past, the touch points, like literacy and stories, that are continually unfolding. The only thing greater that our creativity is our curiosity. Our future relies on the fire that feeds our curiosity.

His hopes in his role at Innovative Interfaces is to help libraries to find their future. The future of libraries is the question of whether to engage in the story of our communities. There is a major trend of diffusion of information across libraries, we are sharing our expertise with all. Diffusion of expertise is happening at all levels. The discussion is ongoing and so important for the future.

Libraries are like canaries in coal mines, we are usually the first to react to changes and pressures in our communities. And it keeps coming back to change, that’s the only constant. We need to strategise on this as it is the only foreseeable reality. There is no map for the future.

The future library is the identifier and supporter of local moonshots. The long goals that create side benefits for communities. Libraries have always facilitated, but now we are expanding that role, by getting involved in entrepreneurialism and much more.

Single biggest trend to affect libraries in the next year will be the Internet of things. eg. Nest app to control your home thermostat and smoke alarm – just purchased by Google. Big purchases by big companies like Google are indicators of future trends.

New roles serve as bubbles of creativity. Four directions for libraries in 2014, not because of outside forces, but because we are amenable.

  • Libraries as change entities – both facilitating change and being the change – libraries as labs.
  • Being pivot engines, able to make quick changes, not with every fad but with every opportunity and pressure.
  • Partnerships as growth – with business, vendors, infrastructure – all different types of partnerships and across all different types of user engagement.
  • New platforms for libraries – not just being where the users are but where the data opportunities are eg. cars, TVs, wearables

Great opportunities to be a stakeholder here, in both these brand new platforms and through formerly passive platforms eg. XBox. Wearable technology is not a tangential fad, but a growing industry, eg. Google Glass. Our future here is whatever we make it.

Some future trends already showing where we are going: Chrome HDMI plug in makes our TV a community computer. Now accepting Bitcoin – being accepted by real estate, sporting facilities and more. It is becoming mainstream. It can be rooted in the physical world.

Mobile now – smart devices are quickly reaching its ultimate penetration rate. Mobile use has changed with messaging being the biggest thing in mobile last year, beating even gaming. Productivity was at number 2. Big addition to this is the ability to share photos.

Snap Chat has seen huge growth, but with businessmen as we as teens. Snapchat is photo bases, it’s all around the photo. When you open the app, it opens the camera, the caption and then the audience. It only lasts for 10 seconds. More trust in impermanence, the primary of privacy and photo as conversation.

Where does the shift for libraries have to happen. Stop excelling in past strengths. Google Helpouts – play a video to learn something and then add interactivity such as asking and having questions answered.

No need for change in content, so best to wait until the business models calm down a bit. It’s going to be important to retain print for PR – it’s a touch point, a connection to our past.

The most disruptive content technology is from old media – Aereo allows you to access tv content on any device, even if cable and you don’t have a subscription. (Only limited availability). Amazon Prime Air is really a PR campaign to show that they are an innovator who is playing in the big league. TV tag is about people curating experience, a trend seen most recently with Pinterest. Sharing is moving from Bump to things like Airdop (Apple) and Dropbox.

Able to identify and accept change should be our new job description. When looking at new tech, should be asking what opportunities does this bring? Don’t focus on what is our future, but on how we get there. If there is a choice of libraries or librarians, then the latter must survive.

Our most important ability is to wonder.

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.

VALA2014 – Concurrent Session 14 – Skilling time

I need more hands on training – reflections on creating self-directed learning by Con and Michael Wiebrands at Curtin University.

They have been running training programs for staff for years. They are self learner sand have been frustrated by those who don’t self direct their own learning.

Key concepts: open to learn, initiative when offered, accepting responsibility. Training is great for organisations as they increase organisational performance, better staff performance, shared knowledge and more.

With libraries changing so quickly it is more important than ever to have self directed learning. Training is not enough as staff need to know more about the tools. They need to learn about their environment. Training is supplementary to your own experience and reflection. If library staff are ill prepared we will struggle to support out users and our relevance is challenged.

todays learner

Todays learner –

Less common skills of today’s learner include vision, self regulation, adaptability, resilience, collaboration across networks. Do our library staff have these skills?

One of our goals is lifelong learning – are we reflecting that, are we teaching that? What is our role as managers in creating lifelong learners of our library staff?

Self directed learner is about direction for learning and the power to participate, not about spoon feeding them, that leaves people reliant.

Jane Hart axis – willing learners and unwilling learners across self-directed and directed learners. Have a wide range of skills in our staff, but don’t know what type of learners we have. Need to have programs for all these different types of learners.

They can’t present a framework for doing this because each library’s situation is different. Ultimately it relies on leadership. Have to start with knowing what staff know and what they need. Then staff need to get the training they need, according to their learning need.

Need to develop learning contracts for individual staff – start small. Provide time, space and tools to learn. Encourage sharing and reflection and regularly review and change goals as required. Need to be modelling by learning as well – to show how important it is.

VALA2014 – Concurrent Session 12 – Learning

Tom Joyce – Queensland University – Relying on customary practice when the law says no – justified, safe or simply no go

No certainty about copyright.

Copyright review is in the governments hands at present, but will have the government response in coming weeks.

Changes in technologies in the past 30 years has had profound changes on how we produce and use copyright materials. Copyright will continue to disappoint due to a number of reasons. Other IP very structured. No formality in copyright law. No certainty or clarity. It was utilitarian but has been twisted out of shape by the view of it being a natural property right for the creator. It has become one size fits all to protect the most valuable of entities eg. Commercial brands such as Disney etc.

We know that Copyright review is coming soon and that the recommendations include a flexible fair use exception. No more details known yet. We also don’t know where we are heading with our international obligations via trade treaties. One certainty is change.

Gap between law and norm is growing. You don’t have to choose, you can strictly adhere to the law but government recognises that there is a severe lag between them. The risks of actions as a result of a breach of copyright has been virtually non-existent.

There are ways to negotiate the gap. How? Look at the accepted norms, look at evolving thinking, look at past behaviour of copyright owners as an indication of future behaviour, non-commercial copyright owners more likely to rely on natural rights making their behaviour less predictable, try sector wide approaches. Fairness is the key.

The Australian Law Reform Commission is suggesting something approaching the US’s fair use as opposed to our restrictive fair dealing. Factors-purpose and character of use, nature of the copyrighted work, amount and substantiality in relation to the whole, the effect on the market. They are emphasising the need for a non-exhaustive and illustrative list for this.

Ultimately what it is about is that we can’t cause harm to the copyright owner.

We built it and they are coming – eResearch Flinders University – Amanda Nixon

EResearch is the use of ICT in research space including data management, high power computing, collaboration tools etc. They created a program to support research, greatly assisted by Australian National Data Service (ANDS). They are brokering – bringing people together for a suitable outcome for all involved.

Why does eResearch work? Come for the library, do good liaison, building on existing skills and institutional knowledge, acknowledge that we don’t know the answers but can find them – most importantly there was a need.

I read this thing… Bringing professional development into the social media age – Holley Adams and Hugh Rundle – Boroondara Libraries

Thought they had a problem with staff engagement with staff professional magazines. Turns out they didn’t. They had access to this content online but they did not see evidence that staff were using them for their own professional development. Some staff were following items on Twitter and blogs, some complained, some didn’t care. Questions raised what are the reading, where, their communities, how do we share, capture verbal discussion, recruit and engage. What they needed was a new model that would provide a self supporting professional staff who were sharing and developing professionally.

What should it look like? Blended learning has been shown to be the most successful model. Decided an extended Personal Learning Network would be the best way to make this happen. They were creating a Workplace Learning Network. Needed to be something that was open and allowed all staff to use comfortably and easily. Needed a web based platform, but familiar and easy to use. Looked at apps, twitter, blogs, intranet, flip books and more. The answer was not one perfect tool but an ecosystem of three tools that could work together or individually.

Their set-up consists of three tools – a Word Press blog, which is its formal home and RSS feeds to keep people notified. Initially traffic was good but then dropped off, so they add a RSS feed to their staff intranet and traffic is up again. Next was a hashtag for twitter #coblspd. Several staff sharing professional development already, so this was a natural choice.

At present a handful of staff are using it but it is growing. More staff would use the hashtag if only they could remember it. Last was a Yammer account, for Boroondara Library staff only, for those not comfortable with blogs or twitter.

Did staff survey of what staff were doing with professional development. Discovered staff were already doing a lot, mostly online. So really needed a way to be sharing this knowledge, hence this project. Will resurvey their staff soon to discover how it has changed.

Run by benevolent anarchy – Holley and Hugh doing most of the posting, Many staff have requested assistance with blog posting, moving to online reading and MOOCs. Lots of staff are reading the blog but they want to draw them out to participate more. Some are using twitter, but often forget the hashtag. Yammer not working at all.

Hugh has started sending out a round-up email with twitter highlights on a regular basis, Only been active for a few months, but have learnt a lot.

Advice – survey your staff, found out the baseline, how do they like to get their info. Look for the combination of tools that work for your workplace and workforce. Don’t be afraid to make changes. Always be collecting data (ABCD), can assess delivery methods and topics.

VALA2014 – Mia Ridge – Open University (UK) – Bringing maker culture to cultural organisations

Libraries have always been creative spaces – we are already makerspaces and have been for a long time. How does this relationship connect to the maker movement and how can we meet those needs.

She is interested in developing a deeper experience with our cultural heritage for people. She has a broad view of making – family trees, fixing, tailoring or creating something new are all making. It can be for relaxation, fun, for learning and more.

Maker culture is about an attitude, it’s about getting in and doing it. It enables you to feel an active connection with your surrounds and use the things in it in new ways. Everyone grew up making. Lego is a brilliant form of making, but can kids configure things in new ways as easily? Hacking is not necessarily about bad stuff. Both hacking and making are about community.

Makerspaces are about learning together. It has equipment and programs which is shared and it can be a teaching and learning space. Examples of making include: photography, music, baking – but not all experiences are creative (eg. Packet mix).

Forester – what is making? Augmented reality is a big thing especially in kids books, but it is a broadcast technology not a creative act.

People are recreating and re-experiencing the past through old knitting patterns on Trove. Crowd sourcing is a form of making. eg. Transcribing, tagging, labelling on projects like Troves newspapers and Old Weather. People engage with the content and explore beyond the bounds of the project.

3D printing – rapid prototyping gives the power of creation into everyone’s hands. Melbourne Museum have been printing artefacts to engage people in natural history. Metropolitan Museum of Art have related it it their mission. They are giving users the pieces to create something else as well as whole art works. Tying back to the creative practices that have always existed there.

Learning by copying is old school which is how it has always been. Learning through engagement. The tech is still not perfect, so takes a bit of creativity to get it right.

Sugru – getting the world repairing and making again. Moldable material to fix problems, like make a camera child proof, personalised molding to a users hand etc. Makey makey is a Kickstarter project uses projects like Arduino. Make anything a touch pad. eg banana piano, alpha spaghetti keyboard.

Visualisations are creativity, presenting data in visual form. Many tools available online to do this in a variety of ways. Great for mash-ups as well. Loads of programming activities for kids including Scratch.

There is a load of tacit knowledge in craft. All are accessible in making. You get to understand the tacit knowledge when you make it yourself.

Hard fun is the idea of setting yourself challenge and you might actually fail. Mia attended a think tank where they had to create something useful and usable in a workshop where they had no idea what they were going to make, but only had one week to do it.

All she has done has been about problem solving. Museums have lots of objects that lack descriptions. People are seeking fun experiences. She created a game narrative about the museum experience to engage people and make it fun. The value of making, fun and learning, thinking through learning and doper engagement with science and heritage. Four keys to fun – for game design – easy is novelty, hard is challenge, people is friendship and serious is meaning. Makerspace will have all but should be mostly hard fun.

Model of depending engagement is attending, then participating, deciding and producing. Kids need space for making and they don’t have the opportunities to make like they used to. They need spaces to be self motivated and to take small risks.

Makerspaces can also be intellectual. It can be a physical space, pop ups, creating spaces through events. They don’t have to be about software and it’s not just about the project but about conversations.

Opening up your data is another way of facilitating creation. But this can be difficult, you can’t place restrictions, because people like to help but it still has to be fun.

Why should you make? Most people have a hobby which is making. Think about how that connects you to the maker movement? Before making a space In your library: test your traps, know your welcome, be more than Clayton’s inclusiveness (make sure they have real input and feel welcome), see how others are using spaces, understand fiero (success), because it’s fun. It takes time to get spaces right and learn with your communities, to understand the potential of new tech. Curate online and see how other people are using your content online in social media of all types. Hold internal hack days and it can be about pen and paper. Try visualising your data. Hold an editathon eg. Improve Wikipedia entries.

Most importantly reflect, learn, share. Tell what worked and what didn’t. Keep calm and start making.