Read your way into the local profession – subscribe to the Aoraki LIANZA blog

It’s well worth Ōtautahi librarians subscribing to the Aoraki LIANZA blog.  Check out some recent posts:

LIANZA event An evening with Ilona Kish

Ilona took the stage to speak of her current projects as the Director of Public Libraries 2020. She spoke of her key areas of focus:

Building positive perceptions and increasing the visibility libraries for policy makers. Sadly many policy makers haven’t set foot in a library for 10-20 years.

Help librarians connect internationally – to build on the sensibility that it’s really important to talk to people outside of your back yard, leverage your resources, find and connect with others. Keep a sense of what’s going on in your bigger picture.

Some of the challenges Ilona’s considering are:

What will happen to Public Libraries 2020 after Gates Foundation funding ends, they’re spending $150 million over 5 years there is only one of those 5 years remaining.

Hope to capture all the learnings of the last 4 years and make sure they’re picked up by the next generation.

Ilona Kish

Read more of Remy’s post

More interesting recent posts:


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.

How to create good content

I’ve been reading about content strategy and creating good web content. This is a catch-all post to highlight some of the points made by the authors.

The little tome The elements of content strategy by Erin Kissane is essential reading. Here are some points I will be keeping in mind.

Good content is:

  • Appropriate
  • Useful
  • User-centred
  • Clear
  • Consistent
  • Concise
  • Supported.

Amen to all that. What can an editor do to support all that? Always have in mind that “the reader’s interest and attention is the central, precious thing” (Kissane, p. 18).

As content strategist Sara Wachter-Boettcher “We need content that can go anywhere, its meaning and message intact”.

In her book Content Strategy at work, Margot Bloomstein has some good suggestions on what questions to ask about your content (p. 59):

  • What do you have?
  • Is it still good?
  • Do you even need it?
  • Do people even like it?
  • Are you making enough?

Good things for content to be (p. 59):

  • Current
  • Relevant
  • Appropriate

Bad content is ROT:

  • Redundant
  • Outdated
  • Trivial

A very useful tool is this checklist Creating Valuable Content by Ahava Leibtag. Here it is in PDF form. It’s the kind of useful that makes you print it out and stick in on the wall. The basic questions on the checklist:

  • Can the user find the content?
  • Can the user read the content?
  • Can the user understand the content?
  • Will the user want to take action?
  • Will the user share the content?

Content Strategy for the web by Kristina Halovorson and Melissa Rach suggest (p. 6):

  • Do less not more – less content is easier to manage, is more user-friendly and (ahem) costs less.
  • Figure out what you have and where it is coming from.
  • Learn how to listen – to users and colleagues.
  • Put someone – or a team – in charge. There needs to be an overseeing eye.

Don’t forget that every piece of content has a job to do (p. 111). Some content purposes:

  • To persuade
  • To inform
  • To validate
  • To instruct
  • To entertain

Tools for your editorial toolbox (p. 145 – 155):

  • Editorial calendar
  • Content requirements checklist
  • Curation/aggregation checklist
  • Migration checklist
  • Content inventory
  • Content maintenance checklist
  • Content maintenance log
  • Style guide

I love the rallying call – not “Content first” (p. 175):

Content always.

Reading list

Content-focused reading:
Cover of Content strategy for the web.

Find more related posts and recommended reading in our Writing for the web toolkit.

The post in which I gush over Reading Matters 2013

It’s 4 days after the end of Reading Matters 2013 and I still can’t stop thinking about it. It was unbelievably awesome and  the best conference I’ve been to by far. I’ve never had so much fun at a conference or come away so excited and motivated. The Centre for Youth Literature team put together a great programme, with a lineup of some of the best young adult authors from Australia and overseas. You could tell how much time, effort and passion that the team put into making the conference so engaging, thought provoking, and entertaining. I already thought they were pretty damn awesome beforehand but I’ll be singing their praises to anyone who wants to listen.

At every other book conference I’ve been to I’ve bunked a couple of the sessions, but the Reading Matters sessions were so good that I didn’t want to miss a minute of them. The authors, volunteers and the Centre for Youth Literature team kept the energy up the whole time and I was constantly buzzing with excitement. They all must have been pretty worn out by the last session, but it never showed. They were all incredibly interesting sessions and we all learnt a lot more about the authors than we had bargained for. I had no idea that some of them had such dirty mouths, but they had us almost falling off our seats with laughter.

I love Australian young adult literature and some of my favourite authors were there, including Vikki Wakefield (All I Ever Wanted, Friday Brown), Gabrielle Williams (Beatle Meets Destiny, The Reluctant Hallelujah), Morris Gleitzman (the Once quartet), and Myke Bartlett (Fire in the Sea).  I also enjoyed meeting and listening to the international authors, especially Raina Telgemeier (Smile, Drama), Keith Gray (Ostrich Boys) and Libba Bray (Beauty Queens, The Diviners).  I have to admit I hadn’t read anything by the international authors prior to the conference but I certainly will be now. They were all really wonderful people who wrote some lovely dedications in my books.  I’ll be writing some more posts throughout the week about some of the sessions.

I also got the chance to meet some of my awesome fellow bloggers/Tweeters in person. I was so glad I got to meet Danielle ( and @danielle_binks ) and Jess ( and @TalesCompendium)  whose blogs and Tweets I follow, and I could have chatted to them for ages. Danielle is a super speedy Tweeter so she kept up with everything the authors were saying. I, on the other hand, was very slow and decided to just retweet Danielle’s. Between all the tweeters there and those who couldn’t be, we even managed to get the official hashtag, #yamatters, trending WORLDWIDE!

To all the authors and the organisers, especially Adele, Nicole, Anna and Jordi from the Centre for Youth Literature, thanks for making Reading Matters an event that I’ll never forget. The next Reading Matters conference is in Melbourne in 2015 so make sure you get there (I know I’ll be there come hell or high water!).

You can read my Reading Matters Highlights posts over on my blog –

If you want to catch up on all the #yamatters tweets, check out the hashtag on Twitter.

‘bizarro breaking bad librarians’

Jason Scott photo by Webstock on FlickrJason Scott is mad and he wants you to know it. In fact he’s bloody furious – people’s stuff is being deleted, the world’s nascent digital history is being destroyed, entire artforms are being erased and forgotten. But he and his “bizarro breaking bad librarian” friends “are going to rescue your shit” and if you’re really lucky it may even find its way into a museum.

Jason, @textfiles, is an archivist and historian with a particular interest in digital formats. He started out on BBS systems and has filmed a documentary about them. From there he started collecting textfiles and ascii art and this has developed into a network of archives. Some of the ascii art started out as teletype art and even typewriter art before being transferred to ascii.

Out of the Yahoo announcement that it would close down Geocities in 2009, the “human race coming online for the first time”, was born the Archive Team (not to be confused with and his principles of RAGE (“I find hostility’s really worked out for me”), PARANOIA (trust no one with your data – companies are constantly being taken over and destroyed and with them goes your data) & KLEPTOMANIA (backup everything and download entire sites to protect them for posterity). With software such as the Archive Team Warrior, a virtual archiving appliance, they encourage site owners to capture their own sites to help with the ArchiveTeam archiving efforts. But they can only grab public information and encourage everyone to make secure back-ups of all their private data. After hearing of the loss of the sole copies of recollections of deceased family members and entire family histories when Geocities was deleted we should all make this a priority. Recent projects include saving as much of MobileMe that they could get to – they have rescued 420 Terabytes of data over the past two years.

Jason also has a very famous cat Sockamillion @sockington.