DAY TWO 17 August 2006

August 17, 2006

There were some interesting showcase presentations over breakfast –
. Julian Bickersteth from Global Collection Services Pty Ltd told us about the Global Artifact Identification (GAId) repository that is Australian designed and developed specifically for the museum and gallery sector using UN Edifact code. Its unique code for objects doesn’t override the identification number from the home CMS, it just adds a number to assist in assets visibility and exposure. It is interoperable and talks to all CMS. An institution decides what is revealed to it via a user profile. The consumer doesn’t pay, but the provider does. It provides links to exhibitors, insurers, customs, freight forwarders and quarantine.
. Michael Carden from NAA ran us through their Xena software for digital preservation. See Xena

. Ann Lyons gave us a quick tour of the Vrroom virtual reading room, the NAA’s award winning education initiative.

. Gavan McCarthy is the Director of the Australian Science and Technology Heritage Centre and he told us about the Australian Dictionary of Biography Online and its relationship with Picture Australia that delivers portraits of the subjects to ADB.

. Martin Hallett and Eleanor Whitworth outined Victoria’s Cultural Network that links six major cultural institutions in Melbourne – the Australian Centre for Moving Images, Federation Square, the National Gallery of Victoria (both sites), The State Library of Victoria and the Victorian Arts Centre. It provides a framework for cultural collaboration in Victoria, facilitates integrated access to digital content and facilitates the development of digital cultural content in Victoria.

Welcome (by video)
Senator the Hon Rod Kemp
Chair, Cultural Ministers Council & Minister for the Arts and Sport
Spoke of the importance of sharing precious Australian memory online. ‘Keep, protect, preserve.’ It is particularly important for access in remote and regional areas. Consistent approaches for standards, copyright and benchmarks are needed. So, nationally coordinating a framework is going to be very important. Cooperation will be essential. Online access expectations (of us) will only continue to grow.

The Chair for the morning sessions: Dr Barbara Piscitelli, AM (a Director from CCA)
Barbara challenged us to think outside square and to focus on strategies to develop our framework. We were told to look at possibilities within these issues.

What issues are we facing?
Introduction to the Issues Map, Darren Peacock, University of South Australia
Darren talked about the tool developed by CCA during the development of the working papers for the Summit – the Digital Collections Issues Map. Five clusters of issues were arranged around digitisation, preservation, use, acquisition and access. They are defined in the papers. He hopes it will help in using a shared and easily understood language across all the domains.

ACQUISITION: Harvesting the ‘born digital’, Tony Leschen, State Library of South Australia
This is particularly in relation to online publishing. Figures from the .au 2004 domain harvest (NLA) give an idea of the ‘data deluge’ that we face. And some data from Australia does not use the .au domain. It harvested 6.69 terabytes in 185 million files or unique documents on 800,000 hosts. It took six weeks to do (figures from Paul Koerbin at NLA). So the three models available:
1. Pandora – an optimum ‘pull’ model, but it can’t be used to capture everything, just selected sites. Readily accessible via NLA website pandora.nla.gov.au/about.html It is a staff-expensive process, shared by partners (including the Memorial – hello Paul!). Policy is essential.
2. Deposit or the push model – eg.
DSpace, e-Deposit  & STORS  from Tasmania.
Publishers make the decision. Reduces processing burden, but there are some access issues.
3. Domain harvest model – ‘pull’. Can be outsourced. Access issues. See the Internet Archive  A range of technical issues.
Some legal issues still to be addressed including no legal deposit, copyright.
Relationships are needed as are standards.

DIGITISATION: Success on a shoestring, Greg Wallace, Greg Wallace DNC Services
Greg works with smaller organisations, regional and remote and also in metropolitan areas. He gave a passionate presentation from that perspective.
Not all institutions have networks or can perform even basic tasks such as back-ups.
Community collection organisations need to be valued by the communities they relate to.
Technical issues faced by these institutions are different to those faced by the larger institutions.
Greg addressed the issues surrounding the digitisation cluster from the perspective of smaller institutions.
Projects often become programs and this may be the beginning of new virtual collections.
Small institutions now face a ‘digital cliff’. External or shared digital repositories are necessary as well as access to expertise.

PRESERVATION: The issues involved in ensuring the permanence of digital collections, Ross Gibbs, National Archives of Australia
He encouraged us to read the paper on Digital Archiving in the 21st Century (from the Council of Australasian Archives and Records Authorities) that was in our packs.
Ensuring the permanence of records presents a new challenge. Australia leads the world in this space with Xena (above) and VERS  alone (& they are now coordinated). See also the Australasian Digital Recordkeeping Initiative  Still some issues to deal with including audiovisual material and scanned material. It isn’t the only way forward, but it is an essential part of it.

We need a vehicle to move the issues forward, perhaps an Australian Digital Collections Alliance facilitated by CCA?

ACCESS TO DIGITAL COLLECTIONS: discovering resources, Joy Suliman, Collections Australia Network (CAN – formerly AMOL)
Partners in CAN range from the largest to the smallest in the country. There are 95 online collections, 500,000 object records and 58,400 images.
She focussed on open access online to records. Issues include: privacy; accessibility (W3C standards and differing needs, connections); authentication and encryption; resource discovery; cataloguing; search tools (& linking); and cross collection searching.
CAN are now looking at an open search model and they’ve started with the Powerhouse Museum and NLA are also working towards this, via the CAN portal that links back to the original records from the CAN portal search results. Small and medium partners are very excited about this.
Joy also highlighted the picture trails that encourage exploration, browsing and discovery on Picture Australia –  Others examples highlighted included:
the Art Gallery of NSW  (note the conditions of entry), and
the State Library of Victoria’s Treasures website

USERS AND USE: Encouraging use by school students, Stuart Tait, The Le@rning Federation

The teacher and systems perspectives.
Education value statements are essential. Many partner institutions including major Australian and NZ institutions.
He ran though an example of studying the novel ‘McKenzie’s Books’ set in WW2. It used authentic digital resources. Teachers want: discoverability; flexibility of use; relevance; authenticity; knowledge; and permission for use. Stuart used a matrix to match the digital assets against both flexibility and relevance.
School education systems are heading to networks, tools, shared content and education portals.

USERS AND USE: Identifying the needs of users, Dr Angelina Russo, ARC Centre of Excellence in Creative Industries and Innovation, based at Queensland University of Technology

Angelina’s project is New Literacy, New Audiences which brings together an expert group of strategists and technologists from some of Australia’s major museums, libraries and screen centres. The project examines how the evolution in digital content creation and multiplatform distribution can create a new audience of active cultural participants.
She referred to Maxwell Anderson’s advice that users will find their way to folksonomies and other rich experiences online whether we provide it or not.
What type of content should we create? Cost implications, sustainability, access?
In identifying user needs, we need to enable audiences who want to both connect and engage with us.
Co-created media – institutions and community creative partnerships, eg. Amazon (& its unbiased comment and reviews), wikis, Flickr, MySpace, You Tube, podcasts, digital stories, etc. Specific examples cited included:
Red Studio at MoMA
Powerhouse museum collection 2.0 beta (includes ratings and much more – see my notes from their amazing lunchtime showcase later on); & Target (selling co-created media online)
In essence, community engagement in the digital creative process.

RIGHTS MANAGEMENT and digital collections, Dr Andrew Kenyon, Centre for Media and Communications Law, The University of Melbourne
Mentioned the recent research projects – Copyright in Cultural Institutions (advice is now online free at the CMCL website )
A lot is about records management (to keep track of licences), but it is also about relations, risk management and reform. The sector is essentially very risk averse in this field.
Some possibilities are already available under existing administrative purposes and preservation copying exceptions/provisions. In the 21st century, the status of collecting institutions and creators require different reform.
Risk aversion limits public accessibility of material in our sector. In other sectors they just run the risk all the time – music, video, etc.
There is a proposal to introduce new fair use or flexible dealing provisions for non-commercial purposes.
Education to understand the possibilities is necessary as well as a leadership position on the issue.

My comment: It seems to me and to others that I spoke to that there are a lot of valuable individual attempts at solving common problems already happening somewhere. We all seem too busy to stay aware of these valuable and worthy projects and in order to avoid duplication of effort, perhaps a better gateway or portal to them that uses RSS to keep subscribers aware of updates is advisable? Could CCA maintain this? Please?

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