Wednesday, 5 August 2009

Notes from Sydney, Australia - GLAM Wiki, MCI - Christchurch City Libraries - and Smithsonian


I'm in Sydney, en route to Canberra for the two day meet up of the GLAM - Wiki session tomorrow and Friday. Apparently there are 170 attending, including a whole raft of the great and good from all the major galleries, libraries and museums in Australasia. They are gong to be talking to a bunch of people from the WikiMedia Foundation. I am really looking forward to it. More, here.

Australia Government 2.0
And yes - for sure, you can guarantee that the recent scatoosh between Wikimedia and the NPG, London will be on the agenda.

However, also on offer is an opportunity to talk about the Australian governments Governenment. 2. 0 agenda with Senator Kate Lundy and some people from the Gov 2.0 Task Force, including Seb Chan from the Powerhouse Museum, who, as well as showing his internal colleagues the way of the future, has also put down some great challenges to the global heritage community to start thinking on how to open up collection data, and other key IP from the back shelf of the Museum, Gallery, and Library.

The Sydney Thing
The great thing about Sydney for me, being Auckland based, it feels like the equivalent of a quick trip from Edinburgh to London. You get of the plane - stroll through customs as if they liked you, and then onto the train down to Circular Quay

Within half an hour you have said giday to the Opera House, nodded to the Harbour Bridge, and wondered why the sodding blue blazes you were stupid enough to come to Sydney without sun glasses!

Telecom XT
Oh, and by the by - you've also discovered that Telecom XT new network roams just fine here. Totally Sorted, without doing a thing. So tahnsk for that!

MCI - Museum of Contemporary Art
Then you decide to do the culture thing - and head into the MCI - The Museum of Contemporary Art - which sits just to the left of the ferries, almost under the Harbour Bridge, having navigated yourself past a very tall guy dressed as Captain Cook who seems to be some kind of city tourist guide/ambassador. Excuse me!

Ricky Maynard
Five minutes later you are staring at some of the most challenging images you can find on indigenous memory in the Bass Strait - another on Aboriginal young men in prison cells, and a bunch of other equally compelling shots of Aboriginal people hanging out down in the St Kilda area of Melbourne.

There are some examples of these works, here. Also on offer as a nice piece of contextual explanation of the work of Ricky Maynard.

As for me - I'm still rocking back on my heels thinking, well this ain't Edinburgh matie - there is, as always, a whole new story to be told, if you just take a step back and pin your ears and open your eyes then your heart. Then you need to take a walk outside to sit an have a think about it all
And then you remember just why you started this blog.

Custom House Public Library

I'm writing this in a fabulous reading room on the third floor of the Custom House public library. It is part of the renovation of this old 19th century building. It is a total stunner of a space. Lots of people doing what they do in a decent library - carving out learning paths and making their own meaning. And, yes they have free wifi.

Christchurch City Library - 150 years of trust
On the free wifi score, I can't help but give the big ups to Christchurch City Libraries, who as part of their 150 year anniversary has just announced that they have extended their free wifi internet access, to all of their community libraries.

“This gift to the city of free internet access is our way of thanking the public for supporting Christchurch City Libraries since 1859” says Carolyn Robertson, Libraries and Information Unit Manager, Christchurch City Council - i.e. what used to be called the City Librarian!

In strategy terms, the offer aligns Christchurch City Libraries with the New Zealand Digital Strategy, the Aotearoa Peoples Network and the Public Libraries of New Zealand strategic vision - that ' local communities and individuals have access to the digital world and the skills to participate in an informed way, free from unnecessary restrictions or charges'

Nice one - nice present - and of course - 'tis to hoped that the city fathers of the other metropolitan libraries in NZ, especially the emerging Auckland super city gets the message - that free internet access - including wifi - is a core part of the public library offer, not an add on - and definitely not a profit centre

The Smithsonian Online - web/new media strategy
Speaking of strategies, cant help but point out the stunning bit of work that's sitting over here, from the Smithsonian Institute.

Called, rather dryly, he Smithsonian's Web and New Media Strategy , it is no less a call to arms to the entire global museum community to change how they think about their collections - their exhibitions, and crucially their learning strategies to accommodate a 21st century take which emphasises that the whole insisitution - lock , stock and smoking tutu - is a collaboration space, both physical and virtual, between the institution and the community that walks through their doors.

Lets hope everyone coming to Canberra for the GLAM wiki meet up has read it . It's here! There is also a Wiki - blogs - and transcripts to all the stakeholder sessions. Warning - all this just might change your thinking. That address, again, here.

Captain Cook
And I'm still wondering - has that guy dressed as Captain Cook outside the MCI seen the Ricky Maynard show?


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