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!

New professional reading

Those of you who are doing study towards a library qualification, or just interested in Library and Infomation studies might be interested in these new books that have been ordered for the Library Network.



Digital,Tech, and Web

Library profession, professional development, and study

Planning and buildings


Social Media

National Digital Forum – Christchurch barcamp

On Friday 19 June, a bunch of GLAM sector types gathered at the Undercroft at the University of Canterbury for the local area NDF  barcamp. It’s a chance to discuss a variety of issues and topics related to digital stuff.  Joanna Szczepanski from the Canterbury Museum wrangled us for the day.

We had two guest presenters. One was Murray Quartly who demonstrated Focus 360.  His virtual tours of the Red Zone were fascinating.

Adrian Kingston, Digital Collections Senior Analyst, Te Papa spoke about “Born Digital collecting”. His presentation Digital roles in GLAMs is online for your perusal, and is well worth a read.

There’s a Google doc that brings together some of the Christchurch barcamp discussion.

Here are some tweets from the day:

National Digital Forum

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

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, particularly if your community group is using social media.

Think, practice, and play

Why does your group want to use social media? The best reason is to be where people are, and to be able to communicate with them. Once you’ve decided that, there are many social media tools you can use.

Play with them as yourself before you launch your organisation’s online presence. This gives you time to see how the platform 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.

Bike Maintenance Evening

Orange Chair @ Parklands. Bike Maintenance Evening with The Bike Shop’s Graeme Taylor at Parklands Library, 18 June 2015. Flickr: Orange-Chair-Bike-Maintenance-1060721.jpg

Plan and prepare

Once you’ve become more familiar with how social media and various platforms work, consider how you will use it. 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

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.

The World of David Walliams
David Walliams. WORD Christchurch Autumn Season. Charles Luney Auditorium, St Margarets College, Christchurch. Flickr 2015-05-14-IMG_7286


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, pictures, and video are powerhouses

What’s the stuff that gets people revved up in social media? Images and videos – historical and  contemporary – have great traction. Whether they are heritage images, photos of events, or shots from around town – these are often things that get retweeted, reposted, liked, and shared.

We use Flickr to manage our images, and this works well in a social media context. You can plop images easily into blog posts. It also interacts well with Twitter, Facebook,  and Tumblr. Build up your collection of images by keeping your eyes peeled for interesting things. It is easy to take and share photos in the age of digital cameras and smartphones.

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. Think about the size of the image you are using – a PDF A4 portrait poster might look good pinned up on a noticeboard, but on Facebook it’s not ideal.

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.

Taking photos during your event is not only a record of what happened, it is a great tool for you to use when promoting your next one.

Te Pao o Tahu kapa haka group in performance

Te Pao o Tahu kapa haka group in performance Matariki at the Christchurch Botanic Gardens, Sunday 21 June 2015. Flickr: 2015-06-21-IMG_7703

Participate as well as promote

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. Hashtags – which work on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Tumblr – are a way of hooking into a wider 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.

As at April 2015, over 2.5 million Kiwis active on Facebook every month. Find out more Key trends about Kiwis on Facebook.

Facebook photos

Facebook automatically resize and format your photos when you add them to Facebook. To help make sure your photos appear in the highest possible quality, try these tips from Facebook:

Resize your photo to one of the following supported sizes: Regular photos (width in pixels): 720px, 960px, 2048px. Cover photos should be 851px by 315px

Use Insights

Facebook Insights allows you to find out more about your users. What demographic are they in? When are they online? What posts do they find most engaging? Use the data to help you. For example, we found our users were mostly online between 6pm and 9pm. We can schedule posts for this time for maximum reach.

Create events

Facebook events are a great way of building a community. If you make an event page, you can invite people to the event, and you can also share information on it. See our Matariki event on Facebook.


Useful Facebook resources

Facebook pages

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 social media platforms and tools

  • Twitter is a microblogging platform with a fast sharing, active community.
  • Instagram is increasingly popular, and allows you to add filters to your images and pin them to a location.
  • Tumblr lets you create attractive, highly visual blog posts.
  • WordPress and Blogger are blogging platforms, and many groups use their blog as a website.
  • Flickr is a photo-based blogging platform.
  • Social media management tools like Hootsuite and TweetDeck allow you to monitor interactions and to schedule posts.

There are of course many more …


Conversation Prism by Brian Solis and JESS3 (http://www.theconversationprism.com/) [CC BY 2.5 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.5)], via Wikimedia Commons


Social Media Gameplan
A nine-step guide by Sport New Zealand for sports organisations starting off in social media.

Honoa te hapori me te hapu – ki te ipurangi – Getting your community and hapu online
A Department of Internal Affairs resource to help communities, hapū and iwi develop digital initiatives.

Social media
Useful information on social media in the New Zealand Government Web Toolkit.

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.

This post is an updated version of a 2013 post.

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.