VALA2018 Proceedings

 

The VALA2018 19th Biennial Conference and Exhibition will be held at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre, Melbourne, Australia from 13 - 15 February 2018. 

The following papers were be presented at VALA2018. See also the VALA2018 Program.

All session recordings are now available on VALAView, sponsored by our friends at SAGE Publishing. Catch up on anything you missed.

Peer-reviewed and lnvited Papers can be accessed individually for each session, or via a single link to Google Drive.

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McEnroe 150
 

The Science of Interpretation: Lessons Learned in the Science Museum, London

VALA2018 PLENARY SESSION 1
Tuesday 13 February 2018, 9:00 - 10:15

Natasha McEnroe

Science Museum, London

Please tag your comments, tweets, and blog posts about this session: #vala2018 #p1

Abstract

Museums are well placed to showcase the wonder and creativity of science and provide exceptional opportunities with which to engage our audiences. The role of science museums is to tell us about ourselves and the world around us, tackling questions both ethical and philosophical – with some jolly interactives for the kids along the way. But is it really as straightforward as that? Why do so many people feel science is ‘not for me’ and how do museums overcome that barrier?

The Science Museum Group, based in London’s South Kensington and three regional museums, is making a renewed commitment to the display and interpretation of its internationally renowned collections of science, technology, engineering and medicine. This is delivered through a series of extensive development projects; Information Age opened in 2014 and Mathematics, designed by the late Zaha Hadid, opened in 2016. Next to open is the extensive Medicine galleries project, opening in 2019. Spread over five galleries, costing £24m and showcasing the world-famous collection of Henry Wellcome, Medicine will be the largest medical gallery space in the world. Perhaps most ambitiously, the Science Museum Group is rethinking the way that the stored collections of all four museums are cared for and accessed, including a digitisation programme that will be unprecedented across the heritage sector in terms of scale and complexity.

Seeking new ways to use and interpret the collection is at the centre of all this activity, but museum development on such an ambitious scale carries with it associated risks. How do we future-proof galleries about technology? How can we fully plan the future usage of digital in a rapidly changing world? What might happen if our visitors and users lead on curating gallery and digital content? Perhaps most challenging of all – how do we engage creatively with non-family and non-specialist audiences? Ensuring that knowledge gained as each project completes is successfully applied to the next is an essential part of the programme. In this paper, Natasha McEnroe, Keeper of Medicine, shares the lessons learned by the Science Museum - and provide a sneak preview of the new Medicine Galleries.

 

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Mary Carroll
Mary Carroll
Philip Hider
Philip Hider
 

Prospects for a combined GLAM curriculum

VALA2018 CONCURRENT SESSION 1
Tuesday 13 February 2018, 10:50 - 11:20

Philip Hider and Mary Carroll

Charles Sturt University

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Abstract

The content of museum and art curatorial studies courses offered by Australian universities was mapped against the 32 domain-specific “foundation knowledge, skills and attributes” (KSAs) required by ALIA, ASA and RIMPA. Most of the KSAs were covered by at least one course, though only about half were touched on by a majority. Few curriculum elements could not be mapped onto a KSA. The mapping and the literature suggest a fair degree of subject alignment between LIS and museum studies, but also clear differences of emphasis. Contextual differences affecting interpretation and application need further investigation.

 

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Jenna Bain
Jenna Bain
 

Cultural collections and the machine: an idiosyncratic pairing challenging the library paradigm

VALA2018 CONCURRENT SESSION 1
Tuesday 13 February 2018, 11:25 - 11:55

Jenna Bain

State Library of NSW

Please tag your comments, tweets, and blog posts about this session: #vala2018 #s2

Abstract

In October 2016, the State Library of NSW launched Amplify, an innovative platform that for the first time delivered its digitised audio collections online. Audio files are paired with machine-generated transcripts that can vary in accuracy depending on the quality of the audio. Amplify allows users to correct the transcripts as they listen along. This use of machine-learning was a first for cultural institutions in Australia and has shone a spotlight on the exciting potential this technology promises in evolving library business. This paper details the development of Amplify, and explores the transformation that machine-learning can offer when applied in a library context.

 

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Cinderella Collections come to the digital humanities ball

VALA2018 CONCURRENT SESSION 1
Tuesday 13 February 2018, 12:00 - 12:30

Roxanne Missingham

Australian National University

Ingrid Mason

AARNet

Please tag your comments, tweets, and blog posts about this session: #vala2018 #s3

Abstract

When the Cinderella Collections reports were released, in 1996 and 1998, 256 university museums and collections in Australia were identified as needing investment to aid in transforming research and teaching. Digitisation then was a functional extension of access to physical collections; however, 20 years on, a new paradigm for digitisation is emerging. This new paradigm is driven by strategic pragmatism and scholarly coherence through collaboration in digital scholarship, redefining collections “as data”, and in the use of new technologies and methodologies.

 

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Peter Neish
Peter Neish
Jaye Weatherburn
Jaye Weatherburn


 

Demystifying digital preservation: taking action with a capability maturity model

VALA2018 CONCURRENT SESSION  2
Tuesday 13 February 2018, 10:50 - 11:20

Jaye Weatherburn and Peter Neish

University of Melbourne

Please tag your comments, tweets, and blog posts about this session: #vala2018 #s4

Abstract

The University of Melbourne is currently investing in several projects to improve long-term data curation and implement digital preservation activities. Digital preservation capability maturity models are one element being explored to benchmark current capabilities, and to plan for and implement incremental improvements to support digital preservation. We describe our experience building a tool based on the CESSDA-SAW Capability Development Model (CESSDA-CDM), and show how we simplified this model, with potential benefits for other organisations seeking to get started with digital preservation. We detail lessons learned and next steps to make the tool applicable to a wider range of organisations.

 

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Sarah Mason
Sarah Mason
 

Skills for IT specialists in digital preservation: a fourth lens for DigCurV?

VALA2018 CONCURRENT SESSION 2
Tuesday 13 February 2018, 11:25 - 11:55

Sarah Mason

Bodleian Libraries, University of Oxford

Please tag your comments, tweets, and blog posts about this session: #vala2018 #s5

Abstract

This paper investigates the current landscape of best practice curriculum frameworks for IT specialists working in digital preservation. The DigCurV curriculum framework was developed for digital preservation, but does not currently include a lens for IT specialists; the Skills Framework for the Information Age (SFIA) 6 framework for IT specialists does not encompass digital preservation tasks. Recommendations for improving the current skill frameworks include advocating the addition of digital preservation skills to SFIA version 7 and adding a technical specialist focus to the three DigCurV lenses.

 

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Digitising journals on Trove: a national approach to sharing content, engaging communities and collaboration in the digital world

VALA2018 CONCURRENT SESSION 2
Tuesday 13 February 2018, 12:00 - 12:30

Hilary Berthon and Julia Hickie

National Library of Australia

Please tag your comments, tweets, and blog posts about this session: #vala2018 #s6

Abstract

Trove’s success is underpinned by the availability of a significant quantity of digitised material achieved through partnerships between the National Library of Australia (NLA) and many other organisations. The National Library is using the lessons learned through earlier digitisation collaborations, as well as a history of content aggregation, and has now turned its attention to journals. Existing processes for digitisation project management and online discovery have been expanded, with new delivery and browse features introduced to facilitate new ways of navigating content. The result has been rapidly growing usage and the engagement of new communities.

 

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Margaret Goninon
Margaret Goninon
 

Talking, tapping, clicking and coding: developing diverse digital literacy programs in public libraries

VALA2018 CONCURRENT SESSION  3
Tuesday 13 February 2018, 10:50 - 11:20

Margaret Goninon

Wyndham City Libraries

Please tag your comments, tweets, and blog posts about this session: #vala2018 #s7

Abstract

Digital technology is continually developing, and libraries must consult their communities to co-design diverse digital literacy programs that meet their needs. Digital literacy covers not just beginners’ computer classes, but also a range of formats and topics that enable social engagement, creativity, lifelong learning, and exploration and enjoyment of technology across all ages. This paper discusses methods of consulting patrons, and describes different programs to meet digital literacy learning needs, from one-on-one sessions and beginners’ computer classes for adults, to code clubs for kids.

 

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It takes a village: creating communities of digital volunteers

VALA2018 CONCURRENT SESSION  3
Tuesday 13 February 2018, 11:25 - 11:55

Elise Edmonds

State Library of New South Wales

Please tag your comments, tweets, and blog posts about this session: #vala2018 #s8

Abstract

The State Library of New South Wales has been digitising its significant heritage collections. Several post digitisation projects are underway to make these collections searchable and re-usable. Crowdsourcing projects have been just one of the myriad approaches the Library has undertaken to improve access to these collections. Digital volunteers have transcribed large archival collections, with the resulting transcriptions able to be interrogated via search and API . Oral history recordings have been transcribed and maps geo-referenced. This paper will focus on some of the crowdsourcing platforms created by the State Library, and will discuss some of the lessons learnt when engaging with digital volunteer communities.

 

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vala invited paper
 

Descending upright among staring fish: improving the sustainability of the GLAM reef

VALA2018 CONCURRENT SESSION  4
Tuesday 13 February 2018, 14:45 - 15:15

Mike Jones

The University of Melbourne

Please tag your comments, tweets, and blog posts about this session: #vala2018 #s10

Abstract

Inspired by Vladimir Nabokov and Donna Haraway, this paper explores interconnected collections using the concept of the reef. It is a world of accumulations and accretions, where short-term dynamism and change are supported by a coralline scaffolding that develops and solidifies over much longer timeframes. As the residents live, play, and feed, humans come to explore, some skimming over the surface, some snorkelling for a better view, others diving down in search of an in-depth encounter.

While galleries, libraries, archives, and museums (GLAM) have engaged with visions of aggregation and relationality, our collections documentation and many of the systems we use remain comparatively linear, hierarchical, and discrete. Drawing on three years of research, into museums and their archives and libraries, this paper uses the metaphor of the reef to take a dive into the history of GLAM collection documentation. By highlighting the gap between current practice and contemporary understandings of the interconnected nature of collections, the author will argue that it is only through the implementation of more effective processes and sustainable systems that we can prevent fundamental collections knowledge regularly leaching away.

 

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