National Digital Forum 2013 – Day 1 now on YouTube

Day one of talks from last year’s National Digital Forum at Te Papa are now available on YouTube.

If you are interested to find out about all things digital in NZ’s GLAM sector this is the place for you!

Topics include WW100, creating a digital marae, the Dunedin flat names project, developing NZ sign language archive, terminology control (one for all you cataloguers out there), using volunteers in digitisation projects, digital publishing and more.

Presentation vary in length from around 10 minutes to half an hour or more.

NDF 2013 – keynote talks now on YouTube

The four keynote papers from last year’s National Digital forum can now be found on YouTube. They are:

All are well worth a look and last around 50 minutes.

Top of the web – August 2013

Cover of Bones of the lostEach month, we explore what  Christchurch City Libraries’ webpages and blog posts and social media postings were popular – in order to learn more about what our customers are interested in.

Website pages

An interesting fact: 19 of our top 50 pages this month are for kids. Our kids pages are perennially popular.

August’s popular blog posts

Photos on Flickr

It was a busy month for our images in August, with 136,446 views. 13 and 20 August (Storylines pictures) both got more than 7600 page views.

We are at 1,510,618 page views. This is good news as we reached the million mark on 23 October 2012.

Top on Twitter

We have 2540 followers.

Facebook favourites

Sketch of the Canterbury Plains from the Bridle Path, Port Hills [ca. 1850]
Sketch of the Canterbury Plains from the Bridle Path, Port Hills ca. 1850
  • Christchurch city scenes Take a look at #chch days gone by. 1+ a day: sample our digital delights. ^DR
  • Crime writing superstar Kathy Reichs (professor and leading forensic anthropologist) is coming to Christchurch, courtesy of The Press Christchurch Writers Festival.  She’s the creator of the character Temperance Brennan and producer of Bones). Book now for her talk and read her books (but I bet a lot of you have already). ^Donna
  • RT @ww100nz: New Zealand received the news of the outbreak of #WW1 at 1 p.m. on 5 August 1914 (NZ time).

I’ll tumblr 4 ya

Tumblr2Tumblr. Think of it and no doubt you think of the associated phrase F*** Yeah. There are plenty of wibbly GIFs and fan stuff (Is Michael Fassbender a shark?) and a lot more besides. As a blogging platform, it is easy to set up, fast-growing, and has recently been purchased by Yahoo.

If you go to Explore Tumblr, you will get a feel for the type of stuff being posted: LOL, Food, Fashion, Art, Vintage are the current top five tags. You can follow Tumblrs, and tagging is critical as it is the main means of finding stuff.

Excellent background reading is found in two articles:

I love Kate’s description of  Tumblr as “the best baby Twitter and WordPress didn’t know they ever had.”

Central Hawke’s Bay District Libraries is the only Kiwi library doing it at an institutional level, but New Zealand librarians are colonising the space. I’ve been dabbling for a while, in order to figure out how and why a library might want to be in this social space. Here are some observations:

The potent image

There is a strong visual component to Tumblr. GIFs, video, images, photos, and even text itself are all well-handled in all the blog themes. If you have an art or photo collection that you want to promote, Tumblr should be a strong contender.

Even the monthly archive of your blog pulls together posts in a super-visual style:


Literature lovers unite

Publishers, booksellers, literary people, and readers hang out on Tumblr. They share literary news, photos, and snippets of interesting stuff. Often these people or groups will have a Twitter, Facebook, possibly a Flickr, and Tumblr is their publishing place of choice for longer format material.

Things to think about

It is easy to share …

You will find a lot of sites make it easy to post stuff to Tumblr. You can also reblog posts you like. This is super-easy – I especially love how you can get Flickr images up into Tumblr with a simple click. I’ve set my Tumblr up so it fires off a tweet when a new post goes up. It is all interconnected and simple.

– but who does the content belong to?

When you reblog a post, it looks like it is your content which can lead to confusion. Sometimes it is unclear where the post originally came from, or who owns the content. This can be problematic for libraries in terms of copyright and attribution.

An in-between place

Not as short as Facebook and Twitter, not as discursive as your WordPress/Blogspot blog or website – Tumblr can serve as a place where you both share your own content and repost stuff that is useful, interesting, and relevant.

Let’s get together

Tumblr would be a great space for us for the GLAM sector to share content collaboratively. It would be an environment in which to share our historical content and images (remember vintage is one of the top five tags – so there is an inbuilt audience). Some of us keen on making DigitalNZ sets had a go at promoting the gems we found via The DigitalNZ Fan Club.

Tasty Tumblrs

Smithsonian Libraries
A Tumblr of semi-random stuff from the stacks of the Smithsonian Institution Libraries
Millions millions
The official Tumblr feed for The Millions, the online magazine offering coverage on books, arts, and culture.
The Composites
Images created using a commercially available law enforcement composite sketch software and descriptions of literary characters.
Writers no one reads
Highlighting forgotten, neglected, abandoned, forsaken, unrecognized, unacknowledged, overshadowed, out-of-fashion, under-translated writers.
Day-by-day reflections on history and culture

Tumblr tags

Reading list

This article was also published in Library Life’s social media issue, August 2013.

Spread the word: Using social media to promote community programmes and events

Audience at Mark Sommerset reading at Central Library
Take photos of your events and share them around. Mark Sommerset drew a happy crowd at Central Library Tuam.

Christchurch City Libraries has been using social media since 2007 when we started our blog. Since then, we have added Flickr, Facebook, and Twitter. These tools help us share our stuff, inform people about events and resources, and allow us to have conversations with our customers.

Here are some things to consider about launching your community group on social media:

Practice and play

Play in the tools as yourself before you launch your organisation’s online presence. This gives you time to see how it works, to practice using it, and to become more familiar with getting the best out of the medium. Once you have launched on a social network, spend some time posting and browsing.

Plan and prepare

Think sustainability.

  • What tools best suit your organisation?
  • Who will be doing the writing and posting?
  • How much time do they have?
  • Can the tasks be shared?

Favourite tweets and like Facebook posts that you think work well. You can learn a lot from good examples:

  • What wording works?
  • Is there a call to action?
  • What makes you want to read more?

Be there

Kids' artwork
Keep your eyes peeled for interesting things. It is easy to take and share photos in the age of digital cameras and smartphones.

The most effectively communicated message is tailored to the medium – in Twitter you need to be pithy and punchy, in Facebook you have a bit more room to explain things. There are tools that allow you to share posts between platforms, but it is best to do a Facebook post in Facebook etc.

Being present also allows you to gauge what’s happening in the community, to answer queries, and to take part in discussions. You should be a listener as well as a broadcaster.


Be alert. If something is in the news, share what you have that is useful and relevant. Timeliness is one of the most powerful advantages of social media – it is no coincidence that Twitter is quoted often by the media.

If you are promoting an event, give people plenty of prior warning and follow up with more messages closer to the time. It is not a simple matter of mentioning the event once.

Photos and pictures are powerhouses

What’s the stuff that gets people revved up in social media? We’ve found that images have great traction. Whether they are heritage images, photos of events, or shots from around town – these are often the things that get retweeted, reposted, liked, and shared. If you are on Facebook, have a go at making an album of images. They make the most of your pictures, and are easily shareable.

We use Flickr to manage our images, and this works well in a social media context. You can plop images into blog posts. It also interacts well with Twitter and Tumblr.

If you have graphics, images, or posters you want people to share or print out, consider having a downloads section on your blog or website.

Example: New Zealand Post Book Awards

Participate as well as promote

St Asaph Street sign
What’s happening in your neck of the woods? Show you have an eye on local stuff.

Start conversations with your followers. If you have questions, ask them. Answer their questions. Comment on their posts.

Follow other local groups and organisations, and you will be setting up a useful network for your group. If you want an idea on which organisations to follow, see who your favourite groups are following – and then follow them too. Build up your network and you will start seeing interconnections, crossovers, and ways in which you could work together.

The reciprocal sharing of information and ideas is one of social media’s great strengths. It is a place to broadcast your message, but also to listen to what other have to say, and talk about it. Sharing is a two-way street and offers lots of opportunities. Promoting both your own activities, and those of other groups, is a way to maximise engagement with the community.

If you worry that social media is catering only to the online community, remember that people online talk to people offline too – so your message can be spread through word of mouth.


Facebook has a large audience, and allows you to connect with relevant groups and local organisations, Creating a page gives you a space to share events and other information:

Here are some local Facebook pages that illustrate how an active presence and community can work well. They take a different approach and yet are all effective:

Other tools:

  • Twitter is a microblogging platform with a fast sharing, active community.
  • Tumblr lets you create attractive, highly visual blog posts. It is popular with teens.
  • WordPress and Blogger are blogging platforms, and many groups use their blog as a website.
  • Flickr is a photo-based blogging platform.


Web and social media Sports New Zealand
Effective use of online channels is increasingly critical for sports organisations. Many in New Zealand have risen to the opportunity with great creativity and understanding.
Includes a nine-step guide to using social media for New Zealand sports organisations starting off in social media.

How-to Guides – Social Networking CommunityNet Aotearoa
Resources for setting up and running community organisations and projects.

Christchurch City Council courses for event organisers Learn how to plan, organise and promote your own community recreation programme or event. CCC regularly run two workshops throughout the year: Get Set Go! and Spread the Word! These workshops and guides have been designed in collaboration with Wellington City Council.