Thursday 17 September 2009

Say it loud

Today I filled for a friend on Nine to Noon's 'New Technology' slot on National Radio.

The segment ended up being almost entirely ad libbed, but here are some notes I prepared, mostly as a reminder to self, some of which got covered and some of which didn't ...


The GLAMS sector is gearing up towards the annual National Digital Forum in November, so it's a good time to look at the work they're doing. I've picked topics to do loosely with access, innovation and using social media to reach out to communities and audiences.

NZETC releases e-publications

The New Zealand Electronic Text Centre at Victoria University is a free online archive of digitised New Zealand and Pacific books, manuscripts and journals. They have stuff like Jean Batten's autobiography, Katherine Mansfield's 'The Garden Party', and a big set of 19th century New Zealand novels.

In the last month they've released most of the texts in the archive as ePub eBooks, which means you can now download them to your Sony Reader or iPhone or iPod Touch. I think the interesting thing about this is that while the NZETC site is an amazing research tool, it doesn't feel to me like something you want to settle in front of and read a whole novel. It's really well done, and the search functionality is great, both on the site as well as for grabbing search engine's attention, but that's a little bit like reading a book using the index as your way in. Turning the digitised texts into e-publications restores some of that original bookiness.

Archives New Zealand on Ziln

Ziln describes itself as "New Zealand's internet television network". People who have video content can work with Ziln to create their own channels. Archives New Zealand have done this; you can watch things like the 1955 open rollerskating champion doing her thing, and a clip of 4 tuatara being sent to zoos in London, New York, Chicago and San Diego. It's a smart example of an organisation saying "why should we try to make people come to our website to see our stuff - if we have video, why not put it in a place where people are going to watch videos?"

Aotearoa People's Network Kaharoa

Based in Christchurch. I think this is one of the most important projects going on in terms of access. The APNK works to put computer equipment, like PCs and scanner and webcams, and broadband internet access and wifi into public libraries throughout the country. They've started with small and rural libraries, and I think they're up to somewhere between 130 and 160 libraries now. They don't just provide the equipment and the access, they also train staff in the libraries and provide ongoing support, so there's someone to call if the wireless goes down or the software is behaving funny.

These new facilities in libraries that couldn't previously support them are bringing new audiences into the buildings - like teenagers and migrant workers. People are going into libraries to skype home, and one of the funniest things people are seeing are all these new Facebook and Bebo accounts getting set up, full of photos of kids standing in front of bookshelves, because they're using the APNK equipment to take the photos and get to their accounts

GLAMS on Twitter

GLAMS organisations in New Zealand have taken to Twitter with a vengeance. They're talking to people about their shows, events and collections, and all sorts of random stuff. At the National Library we use Twitter to share strange, moving or funny items from our collections: yesterday I tweeted out a 1912 ad from a nursing journal we recently added to the Papers Past website, advertising cough lollies with ingredients including cocaine, formaldehyde and potash.

One of the nice things about the Twitter accounts is that they're often being run by people who don't normally get to talk to the public (web managers, collection managers, writers) but who are filled with enthusiasm and passion.

National Library
Te Papa
City Gallery Wellington
Christchurch Art Gallery
Te Ara
NZ on Screen


Blogs are another of the Web 2.0 technologies that the GLAMs have leapt on, and especially the libraries.

Christchurch City Libraries' blog is outstanding - they've even sent people to live-blog the Auckland Readers and Writers festival

It's not just the big libraries though. For example, Rodney Libraries blog everyday and it's just two people with piles of enthusiasm driving it.

Te Papa also has a really active blog, that covers all kinds of topics, from ferns to framing to the giant squid. It's interesting to see how these blogs create a sense of community, even with a huge audience like that of Te Papa. For instance, when the artist Julian Dashper died earlier this year, and one of the Te Papa curators wrote a post about him, people from all over the world left their comments and thoughts on the blog.

Tell the GLAMs what you want

Collecting organisations all over the country are busily digitising their collections so that they can make them easier for people to access. Digital New Zealand was a website where the public can suggest and vote for and comment on things that they'd like to see available online. There's all sorts of requests up there - from aerial photography to the Maori Land Courts Minute Books, and it's really interesting to see the discussion around why people want stuff.

One of the unexpected benefits is that people in organisations are watching the site, and when they see people asking for stuff that's already online, they're jumping in to help them find it.


Shelley said...

Loved listening to are so giddy excited that it's totally catching ;)

Courtney Johnston said...

That would be the adrenalin. My first live radio experience; terrifying at the time, a real blast in retrospect.

Fi said...

A friend of mine heard it and thought it was a regular slot!

Sarah Eades said...

i heard this, it sounded great. However i am determined that galleries should not be seen as behind the times!! Great to hear you though - Go Courtney!

Lisa said...

Looked this up on RadioNZ website after I read your blog - you described things so awesomely! They SHOULD get you back for a regular thing!