NDF 2015: Potted highlights

NDF, or the National Digital Forum holds an annual event for the GLAMs sector (Galleries, Libraries, Archives, and Museums) that focuses on things digital. While this might sound incredibly niche it’s actually very broad – you can hear industry experts and practitioners speak on everything from data-mining to digital inclusion to social media. It’s about how we store, organise, describe, and enhance our collections and about how we present, share, and communicate them to users.

The conference itself is only two days, but workshops beforehand and other gatherings (including an AGM and newbies breakfast) help pad out the schedule. There’s a lot in there. I’ll likely write more fully on a couple of stand out sessions for me, but in the meantime here’s a selection of highlights (if anything tickles your fancy, all sessions are now on the NDF YouTube channel – lightning sessions, at only 15 minutes long are a nice length to fit in if you’re super busy)

    • The fanciest coleslawMixing and mingling at morning tea (and lunch and afternoon tea) – Networking opportunities aplenty and a good chance to catch up with people who work in other parts of the country.
    • How crowdfunding is changing the world / Jackson Wood – Something of a shameless plug for PledgeMe but fascninating nonetheless, PledgeMe has raised $8million in 4 years of operation and their single biggest funding effort was for our own “Back the Bull” campaign that raised $206,000.
    • User contributed content / Clare Lanyon and Victoria Passau – Auckland War Memorial Museum’s Cenotaph database has always been an invaluable tool for those researching Kiwi soldiers but earlier this year they started allowing user contributed content. They also talked about their mobile digitisation units which have captured even more stories and images.
    • Social media: Do you have an exit plan? / Adrian Kingston – Kingston outlined the major issues that surfaced when he did an audit of the Te Papa social media accounts. He found multiple accounts on different platforms, abandoned accounts and a lack of accountability and transparency. Great suggestions for how to assess the usefulness of social media within an organisation and knowing when to “kill” accounts.
    • Our collective connections: How we built a collections-led social media game – Staff from Auckland War Memorial Museum described their #OneThread game – a clue by clue “spot the common thread” Twitter game that was undertaken collaboratively with a group of other GLAMs organisations. The audience tried to play the game as the session progressed and it was pretty tricky and VERY engaging.
    • Collaborative Community Repository / Fiona FieldsendDigitalNZ have been hard at work creating a new home for Kete content, one that aims to be more user-friendly and streamlined. Currently in prototype and we got to have a look at it. Pretty swish from the looks.
    • What it's like making a TV programme
      What it’s like making a TV programme

      How filmmakers use your stuff / José Barbosa – Our institutions are treasure troves of heritage imagery and historical documents but how do creative people use this material and what can we do to help? Barbosa went through the process of producing the documentary series about censorship in New Zealand, “The Naughty Bits” and offered insight into how they searched for, acquired and used the treasures they found. Representative snippet “Papers Past is pretty much The S**t”.

    • Sneak peek: Papers Past Future – National Library’s historical newspapers are getting a revamp. The new interface will create a standardised search across more of the National Library’s digitised publications including magazines (like Te Ao Hou) and journals, letters and diaries, and parliamentary papers. Expect a beta version to be out in the next couple of weeks.
Papers Past new interface
Papers Past’s new interface
  • The NDF Awards – The end of the conference was marked by presentation of the inaugural NDF Awards, where clever, innovative bunnies got some acknowledgment for their efforts. I would like to see Christchurch City Libraries as a serious contender for at least one of these next year. Gauntlet thrown!

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