Why minstrone? Because my summary will be a soupy mixture of thoughts.
National Digital Forum Minestrone
November 28, 2009 by Penny
I felt the conference was worth while, very well attended (over 330), with a mixture of quality and level in terms of the sessions. It seemed to lack a bit of the punch it had last year – I think people are feeling a bit flat. The venue, Te Papa, was very appropriate even though the Soundings Theatre was bulging at the seams for the keynote speakers. I think the conference team did a great job though. It’s a hard job to bring such an event together.
The projects that are coming out of the myriad institutions around the country are impressive for what they are doing with so very little funding and available staff. There is a real ground swell of digital New Zealand culture and I hope that it continues. National Library (in the form of Penny Carnaby) reiterated a number of time the support that WN has for these projects and their commitment to making their own collections accessible online.
A few things came across as a common theme:
1. The need for the many different digital projects to be “connected” in some way so users can easily move from one project to another. Unless you know where to look it’s actually very hard to find some of this stuff. The Digital NZ’s API might be an answer to this issue.
2. The need for some sort of common iconography similar to that of Creative Commons for use in the cultural sector’s digital collections. Currently it is very difficult for a user to know what they are allowed and not allowed to do with the digital collection item. The rights can vary. A simple suite of symbols could assist with this. Also, the development of a rights registry would be helpful not only for users but for the GLAM sector, and even for the likes of the Great NZ eBook Project.
3. Technology and it’s tools need to reflect a personality. It’s not enough to stick up a video on your site or have a PR Twitter identity. There needs to be authentic conversations between the institution and their audience. Transparency and authentic interaction with your audience can result in greater patron loyalty and even enhance your collections.
My thanks to my Library Director, Peter Hughes for enabling me to go to NDF. I do think it’s worthwhile that our institution has a presence in the forum. I’ve come away with some ideas for my teaching methods and ways that our web presence could be enhanced. I managed to connect with a few people from my library school past, some fellow Twitterers and really enjoyed the opportunity for professional development.
And they had REAL coffee, and FREE ice cream.