Workshop 3 – The components of the Framework (action planning)

August 17, 2006

Workshop discussion of the major components of an Australian Framework for Digital Heritage Collections
Facilitator: Dr Michael Henry, The Strategy Shop

Our table’s theme (just one of the nine we could select from):
Audiences, users, consumers, engagement, interactivity
1. What should be the common goal(s) in this area?
. Seamless access
. Innovation (exceeding needs), anticipate future needs
. Exposure to users
. Knowing understanding user needs (co-creation)
. Free, open, flexible (in relation to commercial access/use) access to our national cultural heritage
. Equity of access (broadband issue)
. Preparing content for use, not just collection management
. Increasing use of the collection items
. Audience as advocates (prioritising digitisation projects)
. Enabling user interpretation

2. What are the strategies to achieve that goal (how tos)?
. Use folksonomies (i.e. user input) instead of relying only on our own taxonomies/thesaurus
. User education
. Cross domain market research and evaluation of content already there
. Staying aware of the digital environment
. Collaboration on solutions
. Look for or develop a more creative licensing solution
. Become less risk averse re ownership/rights/permissions
. Provide appropriate safeguards for culturally sensitive information
. Audience research to understand future needs
. Clarification of message via peak bodies task force
. Tools and platforms that allow user creation/submission of content

3. What should be the roles of the various players?

Peak bodies: leadership, establishing guidelines, advocacy, establish a peak portal across entire sector, research into audiences & priorities for digitisation; support for initiatives/strategies

Collecting organisations: cultural mindshift to cope with interactivity; commit to involvement; will to collaborate; act as enablers

CCA: lobbying/advocacy; maintain a common innovations website with RSS; portal site for information; build our business case for ongoing funding (representing all domains and large/small institutions); form a digital alliance; coordinate the task force

Federal government: provide funding; liberalising Copyright restrictions (eg. Geoscience Australia website licensing); arrange legal deposit for new media; legislation and policy

Some recurrent themes that came out:
knowledge sharing, collaboration across domains, advisory documents, standardising standards, sustainable as distinct from project funding (via a business case & research), establishing an ARC-like body that funds digitisation, working group under CCA to map data standards, national register of cultural institutions online, national repository for digital data/objects, federated search standard developed, ensure the sustainability of discovery, identify & articulate shared goals for a digital alliance, map current projects for potential collaboration, identify competencies through the sectors.

What, why & when – to report to Ministers?
(Refer to the background already in the Digital Content Industry Action Agenda)
Vision: To connect all Australians to their collections and these are worth $6bn+
CCA to work on coordinated standards and protocols across the four domains
. Regionally, nationally and internationally to improve research
. Facilitates easy engagement with our history and culture
. Sustainable systems
. High visibility
. Many benefits – social, community and economic
CCA to Report of the summit to the Ministers within 14 days
Develop a detailed national digitisation strategy (CCA) that builds on overseas models (within 60 days) – that meets political agendas within the next three months

Comments about the action plan being shaped in the afternoon:
Is the above too much of a national institution agenda?
Are smaller institutions represented adequately on CCA?
Others should be involved.
Creativity needs to be more at the fore.
The key for regionals is easy, authoritative access.
Some thought we may still lack a clear and deep shared and agreed vision for the future.

Also consider forming:
. An Australian Digital Collection Alliance
. A Working Group or Task Force that is representative of all domains & peak bodies (they could clarify our requirements)
. A National Register of Digitisation initiatives
. A National Repository for digital material

Conclusions – Final comments, summing up and ‘next steps’
Summit close: Sue Nattrass, Chair, Collections Council of Australia

We have a wealth of material and some practical timelines to work towards and sharpen our strategies. These should be taken to other sectors as well for support, eg. education for help to sell ideas to government and support our case). All domains sit on the Board of CCA (even small organisations are represented and have champions on the Board).
CCA can probably meet the suggested time frames. As well as the Federal Ministers, CCA probably need to report to the upcoming Cultural Ministers Council meeting. They’ll also want buy-in.
The strategy document needs to be pushed on as well. It may not be finalised, but it is needed.
CCA will report back to us quickly on any outcomes of negotiations.
Sue was moved by the sense of support at the Summit and the feeling of unity. The moment must be grabbed and the timing is right.
Thanks to many involved in the conference: sponsors The State Library, Art Gallery and the National Trust from South Australia; & CCA’s volunteers. Thanks also to David Dawson for his participation in the and all speakers, it was very mind expanding. And thanks to the many delegates for their participation and our strategy facilitator Michael Henry. CCA is a total staff of only three and they’ve worked enormously hard to get this arranged and facilitated – Veronica Bullock, Evalee Smith and Margaret Birtley.

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