Monday, 2 November 2009

Impressions of LIANZA Conference October 2009

I got back to Perth last week from the excellent LIANZA Library Conference in Christchurch, New Zealand. The conference was a great mix of outstanding keynotes, targeted papers, with some opportunities for interaction with colleagues in the embedded unconference and workshop settings. The conference started with the Powhiri which is the NZ equivalent to our Indigenous "welcome to country" and was all conducted in Maori (see pic). Luckily I was standing next to an ex-Aussie who explained what was going on and how the local tribe were welcoming the visitors to their patch. The theme of the conference was: He Tangata He Tangata He Tangata meaning It is people, it is people, it is people.

New Zealand is ahead of Australia in terms of digitisation projects which are capturing local history and knowledge, in development of open source softwares (eg ketes), and funding for public libraries. And, it goes without saying, way ahead in terms of recognition of indigenous knowledges and the need for librarians to have cultural awareness.

Some of the abstracts are on the LIANZA website, but not the full papers yet. I do hope the papers or at least Powerpoints will be added in due course, but as the conference papers are not peer reviewed before, this may not occur.

All the keynotes featured high calibre international and local experts, so I’ll just highlight a few:

The opening keynote, Generation Ngai Tahu was Sir Tipene O’Regan and Hana O’Regan, engaging father and daughter team talking with love and humour about sharing of indigenous knowledges across generations.

Libraries Building Communities: Communities Building Libraries Jessica Dorr of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation talked about the Foundation’s work in United States libraries starting back in 1997 and how this work raised so many related issues about local and indigenous communities and lack of services. The Foundation is now spreading this work internationally.

Penny Carnaby, the National Librarian of New Zealand is a very inspirational speaker. Her keynote, A new equity emerges: citizen-created content powering the knowledge
Economy brought home for me how New Zealand is a world leader in cultural digitisation projects.

Some of the conference sessions I attended were Our journey into the future: Using ePortfolios to capture our learning and development with Gillian Hallam of QUT. She was speaking about an ALTC project using Pebble Pad software to help new career librarians develop E-Portfolios. Librarians involved in the project found this very beneficial for career advancement and finding work in this difficult financial environment. Co-incidentally some Australian tertiary organisations are using New Zealand Open Source software, Mahara to develop E-Portfolios.

Talking to the World: Using Online Identities for Professional (and Personal)
Communication: Brenda Chawner of School of Information Management, Victoria University of Wellington talking about how librarians are using Web 2.0 and social software for professional development and to build learning networks, how her surveys show how this has changed over time.

Here, there and virtually everywhere. Library services for distance learners with Anne Ferrier-Watson, Information Services Librarian of Waikato University Library, Hamilton. This was of particular relevance to me as it dealt with my subject area of services for teacher education. The Waikato University School of Education has developed VERD (Virtual Education Reference Desk) which provides an online communication channel to meet the needs of distance and online learners. It is a Moodle based online resource which combines web technology and learner-focussed service to help distance students find the resources and information they need. This could be implemented in many learning environments and across other disciplines where the majority of students are distance students.

One session I did not attend, but which was very well received, dealt with the problem of engaging university students with library orientation and first year student sessions. Simon Hart and Charlotte Brown of University of Otago Library, Dunedin delivered this session called: “I had no idea that the Library has so much to offer!” The Cephalonia method of library induction: shaped by students, for students, and starring students! Their ideas are soundly based in constructivist pedagogy and I feel could be adapted to other settings.

Connecting your Library to DigitalNZ delivered by Andy Neale, Jo Eaton, Virginia Gow, of DigitalNZ, National Library of NZ, Wellington. The DigitalNZ search system brings together NZ digital content from a wide range of content providers. They use search widgets, gadgets, enhanced catalogues, and mashups to enhance and deliver the data. DigitalNZ content can be embedded in blogs and on websites etc. I'd like to explore this more and embed some DigitalNZ into this blog.

There was a LIANZA 2009 Conference blog which is continuing to post follow ups. All in all a great conference, smaller and more accessible and interactive than some of the larger library conferences. The next LIANZA will be held in Dunedin in December 2010.

1 comment:

Kim said...

I thoroughly enjoyed it and would love to go again. It was lovely to meet f2f :o)