Director’s brief – Digital Repository proposal

I decided this final assignment was the perfect opportunity to work on something for my manager that was in our business plan for the year. I have slightly anonymised my report as I’d hate our councilors and community board to find it online and think it was a ‘done deal’! I loved the fact that the MOOC gave me the chance to think about this and get the report done.

INFORMATION REPORT : Digital Repository Project for Library/Museum

The Library Manager has been investigating the need for a digital repository for recording local history and activities. Although librarians are often, by nature, interested in new technologies and digital services in particular, it is important any addition to current services is driven by the needs of our customers and the future direction of library services.

At the annual LIANZA library conference, held in Hamilton in October 2013, curation, co-creation and collaboration were key words. Related to this, many speakers talked about the need to move from seeing technology as a driver, to serving people as a driver, with technology simply one tool amongst many.

Eli Neiburger, Associate Director for IT & Production of Ann Arbor Library, advocates for libraries being repositories for anything digital, including people’s photo collections, and suggests that digitisation on demand is the most cost effective method for large projects.

Lorcan Dempsey, Vice President and Research & Chief Strategist at OCLC in the USA, contends that if librarians are to be seen as experts in the Google age, our expertise must be visible, not hidden as it has been in the past. As with Neiburger, Dempsey suggests one way of doing this is to curate new work, and co-create new work, and make those works widely available so what we know is shared across multiple platforms.

In general discussions around digital repositories those attending acknowledged that use must be driven by library staff, not by patrons, and that it is something that can be picked away at over time.

In the 12 years since the current library facilities were formed by combining Council Service Centers and Libraries, we have seen constant incremental change in our products and services. Changes include the addition of audio and eBooks, a decrease in the use of PC games and DVDs, APNK computers for public use, the addition of a 24/7 wifi service, an online catalogue where people can request purchase of a new books and pace their own reserves and growth in the use of social media.

Increasingly, people expect companies and organisations to be where they are, they do not expect to seek companies and organisations out for themselves. With this in mind, we connect with our users through a blog, FaceBook and Twitter, and the online catalogue allows for social media interaction in a number of ways.

Despite the changes in products and services provided libraries have always been, and will continue to be, places where new works are created. Authors have always used libraries as a source of both information and inspiration. The change is that, in the 21st century, books can be published in a variety of formats and by various means, including solely in digital format or by independent publishers; with stories the range of formats and options is even wider. There are increasing opportunities for libraries and users to co-create new works, including collating community stories such as the significant storm event of 2013 and local history information.

There is also a role for libraries and museums in collecting and storing current digital materials. Today many photos are taken digitally, shared on social media sites such as Instagram and FaceBook, and deleted from the device they were taken on. Although it is tempting to imagine social media sites will store people’s images permanently, and for free, the reality is such sites are increasingly monetarised and often of enjoy only relatively fleeting success. Few photographs are printed and stored in albums in people’s homes, so that in 100 years’ time there is the potential for photographic records to be sketchy at best.

Given the future direction libraries are taking worldwide, where libraries are positioning themselves not simply as information providers, but as information specialists who curate, collaborate and co-create, I believe our organisation should invest in open source digital repository software and staff time for its implementation and development.

I have considered three of the main opens source digital repository software products: Kete, DSpace and Fedora. I have only looked at open source because for an open online digital repository that the public can use it makes sense to avoid proprietary products and also, in general, means a more cost effective and community minded solution.


Kete is an open source digital library and archiving software developed in New Zealand by Katipo Communications and the Horowhenua Library Trust.

Kete enables communities to collaboratively build their own digital libraries, archives and repositories. The community builds the repository by writing topics, uploading images, audio, video and documents and then linking and discussing them.

Community contributed content can be anything from  MS Office documents, PDFs, images, video & audio files, web links, HTML pages and text files. If it can be uploaded or downloaded, it can be categorised and discussed by your community using Kete.

Kete lets your community add comments and feedback to items and categories. Kete builds community contribution, collaboration and social networking.

At the Digital UnConference, also held in Hamilton in late October, there was considerable discussion about Kete, which is currently undergoing phase one of three planned phases of upgrade work, although so far there is only funding for this first stage. Most agree Kete is a good tool and probably the easiest digital repository to set up.

DSpace –

DSpace calls itself the software of choice for academic, non-profit, and commercial organizations building open digital repositories. It is free and easy to install out of the box and completely customizable to fit the needs of any organization.

DSpace preserves and enables easy and open access to all types of digital content including text, images, moving images, mpegs and data sets. With an ever-growing community of developers, DSpace is committed to continuously expanding and improving the software, and each DSpace installation benefits from the next.

Fedora commons repository (Fedora) –

Fedora allows users to do more with their digital collections, enabling long-term preservation of digital assets, and is built on flexible, extensible, modular architecture. Fedora allows users to keep control of their data with open source software.

The Fedora Repository Project and the Fedora Commons community forum are under the stewardship of the DuraSpace not-for-profit organization. Fedora (Flexible Extensible Digital Object Repository Architecture) was originally developed by researchers at Cornell University as an architecture for storing, managing, and accessing digital content in the form of digital objects inspired by the Kahn and Wilensky Framework. Fedora defines a set of abstractions for expressing digital objects, asserting relationships among digital objects, and linking behaviours (i.e. services) to digital objects.

The Fedora Repository Project (i.e., Fedora) implements the Fedora abstractions in a robust open source software system. Fedora helps ensure that digital content is durable by providing features that support digital preservation.


The three software products considered would all meet the organisation’s needs. The Library Manager considers, in light of our Council’s buy local policy, Kete is the logical option. As a New Zealand made product, currently in redevelopment it makes sense for any budgeted funds to be spent within New Zealand.

The Library Manager believes Kete will require the least amount of IT department time and gives librarians the opportunity to develop their skills through working with others in the New Zealand Kete community. In particular, staff at Tauranga Libraries have offered to provide advice based on their experience of documenting the Rena disaster using Kete.

The Library Manager believes there is considerable overlap with work being undertaken at the Museum, within the same Council unit, and there is therefor an opportunity to collaborate. In particular, WWI commemorations mean the Museum could lead development of the initial Kete basket as war memories may be a relatively easy subject for gaining community interest.


That the library:

  • Invest in Kete open source digital repository software
  • Allocate $5,000 in the 2014/15 financial year to support phase two of Kete redevelopment
  • Budget staff time for implementation and development
  • Develop a 5 year plan for growth of Kete and include this in the unit’s business plan.

Virtual symposium

I made eight videos tonight and deleted all  of them ;-)  I have spoken at conference quite a few times now and there’s a finality to it that I’m okay with. Yes, I stumble over a word sometimes, or pause too long and so on, but too bad. It’s like I tell people who are afraid to speak in public that everyone wants you succeed, they’re not wanting you to fail so just go for it. But being able to check and edit? Ugh…hopeless.

So I reverted to what I love – combining art and words to express myself. I know I should push myself to try something new, but I’m not. Not right now, anyway. So, here are my final thoughts, in visual form.

mooc final assignment


Mistakes happen

I’ve just read Making mistakes in our daily work: A TTW Conversation between Warren Cheetham and Justin Hoenke here. I really like this conversation. I appreciate the level of transparency in how they work at Chattanooga Public Library and also the message that making mistakes is not just okay – it’s normal and a good opportunity to learn new stuff.

I’ve worked for the same Council for 20 years and part of our value statement is around the fact that we’re going to make mistakes as we strive to be industry leaders in customer service so admit them, learn from them, and move on.

As a combined council/library facility we receipt annual dog registrations. There’s a lot of emotion in pet ownership so people can get pretty grumpy with us; we’re forcing them to pay money they might not really be able to afford. Dog registrations can be quite complicated too. Each year one or two go wrong, and each year I’m one of the ones who messes up. As manager I put my hand up straight away and say “oh god, sorry, that one was me” if I’m the one who receipted it. Why? It’s the truth, and it reinforces the message that instant admission and a quick fix is the best way to move on. The photo, below, is a recent visitor to the library who needed a cuddle!

Same with programmes – as we try new things out some work, some don’t. It’s better to try and fail, than not have tried, otherwise we’d still be using card catalogues. I also think I need to learn to let go of ideas quicker if they’re not working out.

I tell my staff; if you make a mistake tell me and we’ll fix it. If no one died, everything else is fixable. I used to say “if there’s no blood on the carpet and no one died….” but, hey, the carpet’s over 10 years old now ;-) Our workplace is happy and low-stress and, as a result, I have a high performing team who I love working with. Mistakes happen but so does innovation and progress.


Kindness in the workplace

I’ve just been reading Gill Corkindale’s article ‘The importance of kindness at work’. I can’t begin to tell you how much I think it matters. Let me tell you a story. I’ll try to keep it short, but I know there’s no really short version of this. Sorry!

When my Mum was 74 she suffered a series of critical health issues and could no longer live on her own. My husband Tony and I moved in with her and, for the next 14 years, were her full time caregivers. Weekdays Waimarie came in for an hour first thing to get her up, showered & dressed, fed and medicated. The local rest home delivered a mid day meal and Carolyn came in for about 30 minutes to heat the meal, deal with meds and help her get to bed for her afternoon nap. Two days a weekend the local rest home manager picked her up about 10am and she spent the day wiht them, and I picked her up after I left work. Weekends and nights were up to us.

Some of the time it was easy, sometimes it was hard, and sometimes it was heart wrenching. The staff at the Emergency Dept knew us by name, and I could ring them for advice when needed. Some nights we slept right through, although like all good ‘mothers’, I woke every time she got up to the loo. Some nights I got uo to her 4 or 5 times a night. Sometimes Mum could put away the washing (badly due to being legally blind), feed the dog and set the table. Other times I had to cut up her food for her, undress her and get her into her nightie and lift her legs into her hospital bed.

When Mum died in December last year she had been in the rest home for 5 months due to a stroke – she decided it was no longer possible to live at home and that was that, the rest home it was. I wrote on her coffin, in purple vivid marker, that “the journey was worth every second. Love from your baby daughter”. What did I mean? Few daughters these days get to spend so much quality time with their mother and I really valued it. Mum’s mind had stayed very sharp as her body failed, even though her short term memory was poor, so I read poetry to her, searched the internet for more info on things that had piqued her interest, and talked with her for hours. On Sundays I often napped on her bed in the sun while she read large print, while she still could, or dozed off with the dog on her knee. I miss that time with Mum.

My point, in MOOC terms? This: those years were only possible because of a few things:

  • The unfailing kindness of my ambulance officer husband who was not just her son-in-law but also her companion while I worked, painted, etc. The two watched tv and chatted every evening.
  • My sister, who did a 12 hour round trip one weekend almost every month for those 14 years; she spent time with Mum, let me sleep, cooked spare meals and froze them, did the housework I never got to.
  • Our caregivers, rest home staff and medical staff who always went above and beyond
  • and…my staff and colleagues who listened to me when needed, understood the pressure I was under some of the time, held things together when I took urgent leave from time to time, and genuinely cared for me and my family.

Fourteen years on I have a fantastic career, am aiming for my bosses job, am involved in librarianship at a national level etc. If my co-workers hadn’t cared and supported me? Who knows, but I know my life, and Mum’s life, would not have been as rich. Never underestimate what your kindness can mean to other people.

Mum with her grandson Rowan - I have no idea what they were talking about, but this photo is so them!

Mum with her grandson Rowan – I have no idea what they were talking about, but this photo is so hem!
mum hands

Holding Mum’s hand, in hospital, when there was nothing else I *could* do.

Study time

Today’s Monday, so my Sunday as I work Tuesday to Saturday. I have spent the day catching up on paperwork, working on my National Certificate in Museum Studies, and organising the local night patrol roster as we’re having problems with the teens around town.

Tonight I’m catching up on the #hyperlibMOOC study, wearing Tony’s best Skullcandy headphones so I can’t hear the tv but can be in the lounge with him, with the dog settled on the mohair rug at the other end of the sofa.

The thing that has struck me tonight, going back to Peter Morville’s slideshow, is a comment about the importance of willpower in setting new habits. I can’t thinking that willpower plays a big part in success with self-directed study such as this MOOC. I could be watching tv, which I don’t really like, or painting, which I love, but I have chosen to study. Willpower. Active choosing, active participation.


Assignment: Developing my Online Professional Learning Network

Goals Statement 

I have been Deputy to the District Librarian in an informal capacity for a number of years, and more formally for the last 2 or 3 years. The District Librarian intends retiring at the end of 2014 and my overarching goal is to succeed in becoming the next District Librarian. All of my OPLN goals lead back to that one primary focus. 

Goal: to learn more about the management of Museums and Art Galleries, as the District Librarian’s position is a GLAM role. Although I am currently the Museum manager, along with my two libraries, I have no formal training in that area.

Goal: to be able to meet and greet, and introduce myself, in Maori as a minimum standard. I serve a predominantly Maori community and it makes me uncomfortable that I can’t speak Te Reo.  

Goal: to increase the presence of the libraries and museum on social media, while ensuring we develop an authentic voice. 

Goal: to grow my professional network so that I have strong, forward-thinking library and museum people in my social media circle who I can learn from and bounce ideas off.  

Defined Scope 

I am a public librarian and museum manager in South Taranaki, on the west coast of the North Island in New Zealand. As stated, my goal is to become District Librarian at the end of 2014. I have no desire to move outside of the South Taranaki Libraries; I love working for our Council and have a strong belief in our shared goals and vision. Staying here in Patea makes sense for personal reasons; my husband is retired and this is where we want to be.  

I am, however, keen to become more involved in wider librarianship over time, perhaps with a national committee role under the LIANZA (Library and Information Association New Zealand Aotearoa) umbrella. I am currently Co-chair of PubSIG (a special interest group for public librarians) and am on the Emerging Leader’s Working Group, also under LIANZA.  

Resource Network 

GLAM management:  

Complete the Art and Inquiry: Museum Teaching Strategies For Your Classroom MOOC through Coursera. I selected this course as it will give me more confidence when assisting staff to plan public events and school visits. I am comfortable managing staff who have skills I don’t, but like to have a basic framework of understanding and shared technical language.  

Follow the Eketahuna Mellemskov Museum Facebook page. This is a small, volunteer-run Museum, yet they manage to produce interesting and varied exhibitions on a very limited budget. It is run by Bridget Wellwood, the ex-Director of the Museum I now manage. 

Follow New Zealand Museum on Twitter, which they describe as “a site for you to explore New Zealand’s museums, art galleries and their collections”. I have chosen this because our Museum is a member of the organisation, they cover a wide range of New Zealand museums and galleries, and regularly offer training opportunities. 

Te Reo Maori: 

Complete the Poupou huia Te Reo Certificate in Te Reo Māori course run by Te Wananga o Raukawa, starting in January 2014. I chose this course because it is free, offers a mix of audio and online activities, and is suitable for a beginner. I have tried to learn Te Reo before, found it too difficult and withdrawn from the course, so want to start at beginner level. 

I have not selected any other resources for Te Reo Maori for the next six months as this one course will be quite a challenge for me. 

Social media development: 

Regularly search the online journals through Massey University Alumni access for social media articles. There are no specifically social media focused journals available offsite to Alumni, but many of the journals contain relevant articles. 

Subscribe to the Social Media New Zealand website and use their free resources. I chose this site because it has a New Zealand focus and I believe we often do things a bit differently to other countries and to have an authentic voice I feel we need to bear that in mind.

Professional Network: 

Subscribe to the PubSIG listserv and Facebook page. PubSIG sits under the LIANZA umbrella and exists to promote and support public librarianship in Aotearoa / NZ. Members share news and information and, as Co-Chair, I am trying to ensure it becomes a vibrant network of engaged librarians. 

Follow a range of librarians on Twitter, using a list called Librarians who rock, many of whom I met through the ANZ23mobilethings course. I have chosen these librarians because they are spirited, forward-looking, intelligent, kind/generous and opinionated; all qualities I admire.

Network Maintenance Plan 

I will review my OPLN every six months as part of my work’s performance appraisal process. I want to be an active participant in whatever forums I am involved with, so if I find I am only lurking I will stop using it. This is because if the learning isn’t active I don’t get the full benefit from it. 

I have tried to include at least some resources where I can interact with people, rather than just read. I have looked for sites that will work on my laptop, as I normally study or network in the evenings, sitting on the sofa while my husband watches television or reads.   

Once I am comfortable that I have achieved what I set out to do in the above goals, I will develop a new OPLN, again as part of my six monthly appraisal process. 

online learning or education concepts

Thinking about the next assignment

The timing of the next assignment, about our learning networks, is good for me. Every six months we do professional development appraisals at work. I have 9 to do with my staff, at last count anyway, and then my boss and I will sit down to do mine. One of the things we look at is what training we want to undertake in the next 6 or so months. It can be formal or informal, and not necessarily totally job focused – we’re happy to take quite a wide view. So tonight I am thinking about my goals, and what I need in order to edge ever closer.



Looking further down the road

I’ve just been reading ‘Embracing the long game’ where Greenwalt talks about how long many so-called new technologies have been around. Really, there are very few overnight successes.  As librarians we’ve been around a fair while too.

When I introduce something new I want it to work, and I want it to work now. But really, I should be taking a longer view, If whatever it is isn’t *too* much work, or too costly, I need to step back and give it time to bed in, for the audience to grow.

In my museum role I’m talking with staff about gathering stories and photos from the public and sharing them digitally. I need to remember it might be an overnight success, but overnight success could take a while to come ;-)


A sideways leap in logic

Tonight I’ve been reading the Cognitive Surplus article with Clay Shirky and Daniel Pink, and my brain hijacked my thought train. Hear me out…they said: (highlighting mine)

Pink: Yes, often these outside motivators can give us less of what we want and more of what we don’t want. Think about that study of Israeli day care centers, which we both write about. When day care centers fined parents for being late to pick up their kids, the result was that more parents ended up coming late. People no longer felt a social obligation to behave well.

Shirky: If you assume bad faith from the average participant, you’ll probably get it. In social media, the design principle that has worked remarkably well is to treat good faith as the normal case and to regard defections from that as essentially a special case to be solved.

Last week at conference we got onto the subject of New Zealand libraries often asking people for an alternate address when they sign up for a library card. Apparently most countries don’t do this. Dr Brenda Chawner, from Victoria University, commented that it sets up the user/library relationship as adversarial from day one. In effect, we’re saying “I half expect you to move away with some of our books and I’m going to track you down via family and friends”. So are we getting what we asked for in essence?

Secondly, we have been charging overdue fees for the last two or three years, after many years of being fine free. Does this make people less likely to bring their books back on time, because we are no longer asking them to be good book-borrowing citizens? Again, are we getting what we asked for?

I know this is not why I was reading the article, but it’s great food for thought and perfect fuel for in the two reports that I need to get finished in the next few days.



The dinosaur went away again

Yesterday I had a dinosaur day, grumping about mess, noise, maker spaces, the state of my home office, the weather, the …. well, you get the idea.

This morning I caught up on all the paperwork that accumulated while I was at conference then had a few days off. This afternoon I headed to my non-home library to meet with Pam, our District Children’s Librarian, and two staff to redo the kid’s area.

My staff were delighted that Pam and I said yes to all the cool things they wanted to try out. One of the things they want to try is, instead of shelving the junior fiction alphabetically, they’re grouping them by interest – fairies, animals, ponies & horses, fantasy, classics etc. We also asked my boss for $1,000 worth of very colourful new display furniture and got a resounding yes. We’re getting three bins so we’re thinking lime green, light bright blue, and orange – all with deep purple dividers. How awesome is that!

I love the enthusiasm my staff have for their role and for shaking things up so our customers get the best possible service I love their willingness to try new things and the warm way they interact with our customers.

Yesterday’s dinosaur? What dinosaur….I think it may have turned over a new leaf!