Thursday 29 May 2008

Libraries of the Future

This just in from D-Lib Magazine A recently launched web site from the Joint Information Systems Committee (JISC) entitled Libraries of the Future. addresses that question and others concerning how the libraries of today may evolve to address the needs of future information users.

With the site, JISC wants to create discussion, including interactive Web 2.0 services, a blog, podcasts, an events calendar, various types of documents (such as slides from event presentations), and links to other related sites.

‘Libraries of the Future’ is all about debate and involvement, and JISC invites you to take in events and debates, to read and respond to publications, podcasts, sponsored supplements, and much more. The programme includes a space on Social Networking- using Ning

Tuesday 20 May 2008

Australians and New Zealanders Embrace Internet Video Revolution

This study , The Connected Consumer , from Cisco shows Australian and New Zealand broadband users are spending considerably more time using the Internet than watching television or movies. As well it reports we are downloading video in significant numbers.

It shows the switch from analogue to digital media is well on the way, especially here in New Zealand. It also brings into sharp focus the growing displacement of the TV in the corner with a multiplicity of devices.

This is more than interesting. It needs thinking about. You can guarantee people making commercial decisions between mainstream TV and online[including content and ad spend] have it propped up in front of their cornflakes.

However it should also be required reading for those currently making recommendations and decisions around how to regulate and invest in the New Zealand digital environment.

Digital Broadcasting: Review of Regulation
On that score 'tis worth noting, MCH [New Zealand Ministry for Culture and Heritage] is advising a swathe of submissions are available on their web site , in response to their Digital Broadcasting: Review of Regulation, which encompasses broadcasting and new media, and includes their ideas on content regulation.

The site also has a list of submitters linked to their individual submissions, a summary analysis of submissions and shorter overview summary document, notes from the consultation workshops and Maori stakeholder hui held in March 2008.

One of them, the Library and Information Advisory Commission [LIAC] , believes both the research and the discussion paper is limited by their failure to address and integrate the government’s digital frameworks under the NZ Digital Strategy and the NZ Digital Content Strategy into the issues and analysis. They strongly encourage the review to address this shortcoming.

They also ask for a greater appreciation of the bigger picture around connectivity, including a future involving fibre to the home and the highly strategic wireless spectrum.

As well, they argue for a greater focus and anlaysis on New Zealand's current digital content, in particular the importance of greater public access to public broadcast content through multiple platforms, before deciding to proceed with regulatory reforms.
[Declaration of interest - I am a member of LIAC] Their full submission is here.

The Cisco Detail
Back on the Cisco story, there is a wealth of detail worth studying. Specifically, it shows Australian and New Zealand broadband users are spending considerably more time using the Internet than watching television or movies.

The survey was carried by out last year by Illuminas amongst more than 1,000 Australian and New Zealand broadband users. It follows similar studies by Illuminas in the United States and Europe since mid-2006.

Les Williamson, vice president of Cisco Australia and New Zealand, said: “The network is rapidly becoming the platform not only for businesses that want to increase efficiency and productivity, but also for consumers who are changing the way they interact with each other and a whole range of their favourite content"

Williamson is also pretty clear as to the impact of this kind of study - i.e if broadband consumers are using the Internet to access video information in ever-increasing numbers, then it is up to Australian and New Zealand media and service providers to adapt to that change.

Twenty Two hours a week on the Internet!
Thus a key finding of the survey is that Internet activity has outstripped TV watching. Taken from a sample 864 Australians and 219 New Zealanders in November 2007, it also reports that in a typical week, each person spends an average of 47 hours engaging in media-related activities.

Most of the time is spent on the Internet (22 hours) and watching TV (14 hours). This puts Australians and New Zealanders at the same level of media consumption as respondents in the United States (47 hours) and the United Kingdom and ahead of the four continental European markets surveyed (France, Germany, Italy and Spain)

It also found found that 59 per cent of Australia and New Zealand Internet users watched or downloaded media content from the Internet in the previous 30 days. Short video clips or music videos are the most often watched or downloaded (38 per cent), followed by news programming (25 per cent).

Consumers in New Zealand are significantly more likely to have downloaded or watched short video clips than those in Australia (47 per cent vs. 36 per cent, respectively).

Internet is mainstream - digital is ordinary
All in all a superb little reminder to one and all that digital is now ordinary - multiple devices are the coming wave of the future and the TV in the corner is no longer the big guy.

The full study/report is in PDF here

Wednesday 14 May 2008

Christchurch comes to Auckland for the Writers Festival

Auckland Writers Festival is up and running as I write. I won't get there until Saturday. I'll even miss the launch party tomorrow. I'm spending the next two days in Christchurch and Greymouth running web 2.0 courses for staff with the West Coast and Canterbury libraries.

APN - Aotearoa Peoples Network
They are part of the first wave of the Aotearoa Peoples Network. We, Paul Sutherland and I, also have sessions in New Plymouth this coming Monday and Masterton the following Saturday. I am really looking forward to it. 

There is also a You Tube video. I'm embedding it at the end. I love this project and am so up for being part of it for a couple of days.

Christchurch Library comes to the Jaffa land
Meanwhile , still in library land the Christchurch City Library team is now in Auckland to cover the Writers Festival. I reckon they are going to be the media stars of the event.

The word from Andy James, the online editor is his team is already on the case, here. Their Festival section on their big site is here On view on the site is a copy of their special weekly website edition, dedicated this week to the Festival , here.

They are also planning for audio, including some from their interviews with the talent, including, Simon Montefiore, Thomas Kohnstamm, Junot Diaz, Karlo Mila, Mo Hayder, Sarah Hall, Tessa Duder, John Burnside, and more to come.

Andy is hoping his team will give the most comprehensive coverage of the Festival outside the Festival site itself.

Library Best Practice

Now I like that - ambition - reach - and a total commitment to the book. Sounds like best library practice to me. Would love to hear if others, both locally or offshore had managed anything as good!

And, nope, I didn't forget - here is that You Tube video. Have a look - it has teenagers saying nice things about libraries! Where will it end.

Saturday 10 May 2008

Read Write Web - Qantas Media Awards NZ

Richard MacManus and his Read Write Web blog is the winner of the blogging category of the New Zealand Qantas Media Awards. He beat out a strong set of journalist contestants from the main stream newspaper sites, and local NZ independant political bloggers, , and .

ReadWriteWeb is the lead blog in the ReadWriteWeb Network, a growing network of blogs about web technology - the other sites are last100 (a blog about Digital Lifestyle), AltSearchEngines (about search) and ReadWriteTalk (a podcasting show about the people behind the Web).

REad Write Web began publishing on April 20, 2003 and has over 200,000 RSS and email subscribers, is ranked 11th among Technorati’s Top 20 blogs in the world and 4th as of April on the Techmeme Leaderboard.

Though MacManus is still based in Wellington he now has an additional team of regular and semi regular correspondents with the skills and interest to cover the whole of the technology spectrum.

On a personal note.
I've met MacManus. Three years ago, he like me, was invited to participate in a group organised by the National Library NZ. They wanted to tap the minds of a what they called external influencers who they thought might help them figure out the framework and subsequent gestation of the New Zealand Digital Content Strategy.

Over the subsequent eighteen months or so the group met around eight times in all day meetings. Like every other group of this kind - especially those composed of "people in the real world' tasked to help policy makers carve out an understanding of complex issues - the dynamic of the group ebbed, waxed and reformed along the predictable lines of highly opinionated knowledgeable people trying to get their point of view across.

In other words a lot of ego, a lot of talking, and the signal to noise varied depending on the amount of sugar consumed over the day .

The exception was the quiet guy in the corner. This was Richard. He took a couple of meetings to get going, but then, in response to a direct question on his view on the importance of social networking and user generated content in our thinking, he quietly swept the board.

Web of standards
First, for sure social networking and user generated content needed to be taken into account in its own right. But more importantly we needed to look at the how the small loosely coupled applications sharing common data handling standards were transforming the web in front of our eyes.

That was three years ago - the rest as they say is history. Not only has informal user generated content become a key platform to the New Zealand content strategy, over in the mainstream internet, the web 2.0 framework of the participatory web is at the core of new thinking in digital innovation, research, education, government and knowledge management.

Web of Data
Also embedded into the next wave of innovation is the notion of a web of intelligent data looking for communites of interest to share and extend the semantic infrastructure that will define a truly user centred internet.

If you want a measure of his, and his colleaques, current thinking on this and other key trends, including sharing social behaviours, then have a look at "Whats Next on the Web" web technology and trends for 2008 and beyond.

Monday 5 May 2008

Lawrence Lessig bound for LIANZA in Auckland

LIANZA have just announced on their blog their last keynote for the upcoming annual conference in Auckland on 2nd, 5th November 2008. To my delight it's Lawrence [Larry] Lessig, the well known web commentator and web copyright evangelical. And, yes, even though he doesn't present on the topic any more, he retains a more than paternal eye on ongoing developments in the Creative Commons world. His own blog is here

Curiously I was watching him last weekend doing a TED session. He was great - I especially liked his forceful condemnation of the way 'us olds' think it is okay to criminalise our children by ignoring their defacto read/write/collaborate behavior.

I also think his definition of the same is a brilliant summary of 21st century digital literacy - and that it is high time we started celebrating the return of the creative amateur. I offer the link below as embed.

Creative Commons NZ
Even though the good Dr Lessig doesn't present on Creative Commons any more, I think it would be a great idea if LIANZA ran a parallel session on the Creative Commons in New Zealand.

I have two reasons for this. First, I don't think enough has been done to show people the way the CC licence world works, and that the public library network could be a key player in changing that.

Second, I strongly believe our key knowledge institutions, including libraries, archives museums and galleries, have a crucial role to play to make the Creative Commons framework an ordinary and necessary part of our digital life, including offering parts of their collections as creative commons material.

I keep being told this is much more complex that it looks. Sorry, I can't see it - it must be possible to start collaborating around this issue, beginning with the existing Mataphi members?

We might even manage to do something before the good Doctor arrives in Auckland. Think about it - wouldn't it be embarrassing if the current situation was still the same when he gets to his feet in November?

We have six months to fill the Creative Commons asset bank - are we up for it ?

Oh - and of course - nice one LIANZA! Story!

Friday 2 May 2008

Miss Pokeno , still crazy after all these years

Alannah Currie, once the third leg of the 80"s brit band The Thompson Twins is once again hitting the headlines over in the UK with a controversial exhibition of art works which use armchairs, stuffed foxes and swans to make a compelling creative and political/cultural point around the nature of comfort, storytelling, food and by extension , animal ethics.

To get there she retrained as an upholster, invented the notion of armchair destruction, and on the way created the series of works , England Bloody England, which go on show at the Ragged School London SE1, from the 8th May to the 8th June.

Recently interviewed by the UK Guardian she summed up her new direction in her usual pithy style " I wanted to make something useful. Chairs are incredible objects, as well as being the place where you sit and tell stories. I decided to use them to tell dark tales, but first I had to learn the craft, so I went to London Metropolitan University and spent two years learning from the old blokes. It was physically hard, my fingers bled, my back ached and I cried a lot"

The UK Indedendent also ran a piece, which again picked up the angle of 80's pop star becomes artist of note, here. The UK Times also found her interesting , here.

Curiously, though they show a welcome willingness to acknowledge her as an artist, none make the connection that for Currie her current work, though a change to her art footprint, is also a brilliant reminder of, and extension to, her 1990's New Zealand political campaigning on genetic modification - safe food - and the role of animal ethics in global food production.

Though a lifetime vegetarian this political awareness truly took off in New Zealand when she and her then partner Tom Bailey, and kids, gave up the urban London life and headed to New Zealand and set up life up on coast of north Auckland near Matakana.

From there they froze in an old bach [beach house] while building a brilliant colonial house overlooking 18 acres of native bush and prime New Zealand coast line. I used to visit them there. It was indeed a blessed corner of the earth. A few years of the good life later, albeit with the odd croissant, they shifted into Auckland.

After a tragic episode in her wider family her long held beliefs around food, vegetarianism and diet morphed into a critique of the growing trend towards genetic modification. She found she was not alone, and with others launched MADGE, Mothers and Daughters Against Genetic Modification.

To many peoples surprise, including I might honestly say my own, she was downright brilliant as a political campaigner and did a good deal to bring the issue of consumer lead political action for healthy food into the New Zealand mainstream spotlight, including, in November 2002, organising one of the biggest street demonstration that Auckland had seen in 20 years.

This poster also caused a bit of a stir at the time. Might still do. More importantly the MADGE campaigns caught a real public mood and left most of the political mainstream in New Zealand floundering for a response beyond the bah humbug, 'they dont know how lucky we are, kind of variety.

I've trawled the archives and there are a few stray story links still around. This one from the NZ Herald. Better still , though MADGE is long since defunct, its old web site is preserved on the Internet Archive, here.

The just in case you missed the link , here's the link to John Clark on You Tube - I have a funny feeling Ms Pokeno will love it!

And in case I didn't say - I think her work is stunning. ... her own web site is of course, Miss Pokeno -