Last week I had the pleasure of listening to three different perspectives of the ALIA #National16 Conference, held in Adelaide earlier this year. The speakers, David Faraker, Kate Ross and Rose Holley all agreed that they found presentations from people outside (or to the side of) the library industry the most inspirational and thought provoking.

Some of these presentations were from people talking about library services in prisons and ideas box and library carpentry and change makers and…well, you get the idea.

ALIA #National16 Wrap Up
From the left: Kate Ross, David Faraker and Rose Holley

Kate went to a session that promoted thought, for her, about the value of published vs unpublished works for legal deposit. If a work is only published on the web does that mean it isn’t published and therefore doesn’t need to be collected for legal deposit? In today’s digital age, where do librarians draw the line for Australian works?

David encountered a software called OpenRefine that he took back to work with him. It is a tool for working with messy data: cleaning it and/or transforming it. Excel spreadsheets can get really unwieldy very quickly and, as David said, this tool allows you to easily find misspellings or flip surname, first name formats the other way around. David mentioned he is working on a project with spreadsheets containing large amounts of content, so he thought OpenRefine could make his teams’ job easier.

ALIA #National16 Conference Wrap Up
Barr Smith Library Appeal of the University of Adelaide Library

Rose was on the look out for ways to express the value of the special collections she manages at UNSW to clients, staff and stakeholders. She thought of ways to use the, now affordable, virtual reality tool Google Cardboard to entice people into visiting UNSW special collections. She also saw other libraries use infographics to express the value of their collections, library and programs and thought of ways she could do the same.

As one of the organiser of this event, I realised it really helps when you work in an industry where everyone is willing to give, as the administration behind this event ran smoothly. I learned from the last event I hosted at cut down the number of people on the panel. I also noticed people appreciated having wine and nibbles and many went on the library tour after the panel. Maybe students would appreciate more library tours in future? As they are a great chance to network and see what libraries around Canberra are doing.

Further Reading:

ALIA National Conference Program – click a session to find the papers/slides
Rose Holley’s Blog – about ALIA National Conference

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