All posts filed under: Work

Developing the National Library’s first ever Online Identity Guidelines

The National Library of Australia has a lot of websites and online platforms. I knew this because as part of the Web Publishing team, I looked at and worked on them every day. As it turns out however, we had many, many more that I never even knew existed. In May 2013 I began the mammoth task of auditing all of the Library’s online websites, platforms and other presences which ranged from the corporate website to Trove to 15-year-old exhibition microsites, to blogs, to our corporate social media accounts and so on. The purpose of the audit was to identify the similarities, gaps and issues contributing to the continuity, and in some cases, complete lack thereof, of user experience across NLA branded platforms. This analysis was the first major research activity conducted around the Library’s online platforms. By pinning up the physical results of the audit on the walls of our IT division, I was able to create a very visual representation of the results which gave other staff the opportunity to better understand just …

The Content Collective

Content is everyones business. In order to facilitate discussion about content in my workplace, I have started an informal group called The Content Collective so that interested parties across the Library have a platform to address issues, ideas and strategies related to digital content.  It is an opportunity for staff to better understand decisions that affect our digital platforms, as well as the chance to make contributions to an overall content strategy for the Library. The Content Collective is currently communicated through a Yammer group in our corporate network, and I am also trialling some casual face-to-face meetings too. Below is the introductory information that I have made available to staff, including some incredibly sexy hand-drawn diagrams. My plan for the Collective is to look at different issues related to content in an iterative way, rather than scaring people off with the idea of a strategy too soon. First steps, introduce them to the idea/s and then work together to brainstorm solutions for certain tasks and issues that will ultimately tie together to inform our …

The GrandMasterPlan

It has been a couple of weeks since I returned from America (I can’t believe it’s been and gone already, wah!) and I am now starting to slowly get my head around all of the things I learnt and have taken away from the people I met and conversations I had. It’s so easy especially to walk out of a great conference feeling inspired and equipped to change the world and make groundbreaking progress in your own organisation, and it is even easier to get deflated quickly and spectacularly when those ideas don’t stick or immediately pan out. I’m not going to let that happen to me. I did learn a lot of really great things. I saw examples of some really great, inspiring and interesting work. But coincidentally probably one of the most important things I have learnt is that not everything works for everyone. Some of the really clever examples and ideas I learnt about were only clever and great because they matched the client and their needs. Some of the snazzy design …

American pictorial

Here are some of my favourite photos from my USA trip :) Seattle Pike Street Market Fremont, Seattle Fremont Street Markets Space Needle, Seattle View from top of the Needle EMP Museum This thing was three storeys high! Worn to be Wild, leather jacket exhibition The mirror man who scared me! The Gum Wall Sea Shepherd Gallery Seattle Public Library Bryant Park, New York City Grand Central Terminal View from The High Line New York Public Library View from my hotel rooftop terrace View of the city from the East River Ferry Greenpoint, Brooklyn Brooklyn Flea Markets Prospect Park, Brooklyn Brooklyn Public Library Brooklyn Museum This was the most incredible exhibition. These beautiful handmade sculptures by El Enatsui were all made in Nigeria out of recycled materials like cans, tins and old copper wire. They were gigantic and graceful. Brooklyn Bridge Central Park Top of Times Square Working on the roof terrace Museum of Natural History The top one is a koala! Mineral exhibition (aka heaven)

Thank you.

I’m sitting in LAX right now waiting for my flight to Sydney, about 12hrs into my 35hr trip home. In my last post I was naively hopeful that I might still be able to make some of the appointments I had in Washington despite being sick but it wasn’t to be. I had to cancel all of them. I spent the three full days I had in DC bedridden, only leaving the hotel once to go to the pharmacy for more medication. Such a shame and such horrid timing but these things really can’t be helped. I’m really disappointed mostly that I didn’t get to see the people I had meetings lined up with rather than visiting the actual institutions, they are a really impressive mixed bag of talent and knowledge and enthusiasm and I know it would have been a great learning experience for me. I’m confident that I will still be able to arrange some kind of meeting with most of them through video chat on my return to Australia so all is …

New York v2

How things can change in just a few hours! In my last post I mentioned that I had been feeling unwell but that I was hoping some cold and flu tablets would stop it from getting worse but alas, it got worse. I woke up in the middle of the night last night to find that one whole side of my face had swelled up dramatically, so much so that my eye was nearly swollen shut. After some frantic Googling of symptoms and local emergency doctors I decided I wasn’t dying and to wait until a more godly hour to go to the local medical centre. I went to see the doctor thinking I must have had a sinus infection but it turns out that I have actually caught shingles. On my face. Yep. Gross. The shingles themselves aren’t actually that bad but to make things grosser, the virus has gotten into my eye, hence the swelling and agonising pain behind my eyeball. What fun! I got a script for antibiotics and some eye drops …

New York, New York

I have to preface this post with a warning that it might end up being rather long. I’ve been in New York for four days thereabouts so I’ve got a lot to cover! After a glorious weekend being a tourist and then meeting with the New York Public Library yesterday I intended on posting last night but unfortunately I’ve actually become rather unwell. Suffering from virusy flu like symptoms and just generally feeling rundown, so I decided to sleep rather than work last night. I stocked up at the pharmacy this morning, hopefully I will be able to ward off any further germies so that I can see out the last few days of my trip in relative good health. I am sitting in Central Park as I type this so it’s not all bad right? A brief summary of my wonderful weekend includes meeting with one of my oldest friends for breakfast, taking advantage of the coincidental half a day that our paths crossed in our travels, exploring Grand Central Station and surrounds and …

An Event Apart Web Design Conference, day Three

Today was the workshop component of the #aeasea conference, as well as the final day. I really enjoyed the whole experience. Even though it was a “web design” conference and I’m not a designer I found most of the content really accessible. There were a few bits and pieces that were a bit too technical for my understanding but I found it really beneficial to get an insider designer perspective and to consider the elements of design and what makes a great website from a different angle. I think the greatest thing I gained from this conference was real world perspective. Despite knowing there is still a lot of work to do on the Library website, hearing about other people’s experiences and seeing examples of other organisations made me realise that we’re actually doing pretty well and we’re definitely on the right track. I know that our content and our taxonomy especially needs a lot of attention and a heck of a lot of revision, but I can’t sell short the progress we have already …

An Event Apart Conference, Seattle, Day Two

The second day of the #aeasea conference was as good as the first! I was particularly looking forward to seeing Karen McGrane speak as I just finished reading her book, Content Strategy for Mobile, and I like her brain a lot! There was a great mix of speakers today on some great topics including mobile, user research and personality through design. Also I won a cool prize today! It’s this really cute little stencil set to help create mobile wireframes! Lucky! See photo below :) As with my last post I will jot down some of the highlights that really stood out for me from all the speakers from today. Karen McGrane Disruptive Innovation – smart phones are not just an expensive and inaccessible ‘fancy phone’ or a passing trend as they were first seen, but instead a cheap computer that provided access to technology for people who previously didn’t have access. The Mobile Only User is now a reality and they are not second-class citizens who deserve a “lesser” Internet experience just because they …

An Event Apart Web Design conference, Seattle, Day One

Day One of the #aeasea conference did not disappoint in any aspect. It started off with registration and receiving the best conference pack I’ve ever gotten at any conference or presentation ever (see photos!). Better still was the fact that there was decent coffee that didn’t taste like butt. Always a bonus. The food throughout the day was good (like, actually good). That never happens at conferences. I met the lead UI designer for Hallmark and she interestingly faces some of the same challenges and successes as what we do at the Library when it comes to our online presence so it was really interesting to hear her point of view on issues that we are trying to find the solutions for. I don’t want to just write here a blow-by-blow of every talk and everything that was said throughout the day. Not only would it take forever but it wouldn’t reflect what I gained from each presenter and wouldn’t help me to reflect on these ideas later down the track so instead I’m just …

Hello Seattle!

I’ve arrived! The trip was long and a little tedious but after the Canberra:Sydney:LA:Seattle round trip of about 30 hours I arrived in one piece. By the time I got to LA I was already exhausted. During my flight to Seattle I was falling in out of sleep (I really struggle to sleep anywhere that’s not a bed! Especially sitting up) but in the last twenty minutes or so of the flight I was reinvigorated as we flew over all these incredible frozen lakes and snow-capped mountains. I wasn’t expecting to see that and they were so beautiful to look at. Pretty much anywhere you’re standing in Seattle you can see in the far distance these beautiful snowy peaks. The city is surrounded by them! They’re so clean looking and pretty. I think that’s part of what gives Seattle it’s cosy charm. It almost feels just like a large fishing village or mountain town. I like it a lot. I spent the day roaming around the city. I’ve never been to Seattle before so I …

Forte

I’m very excited to present the project that I have been managing for the last several months at the Library – Forte, our brand new iPad app that provides access to our collection of digitised sheet music. It’s been a real learning experience for me to be involved with this project. This was a first for the Library, and for any other cultural institution in Australia, and it all sprouted from the enthusiasm of fantastic developer Jake MacMullin. For more information about the turn of events that brought us Forte, check out the blog of my colleague Paul Hagon. In the meantime, here is our great promo video! This was filmed and edited by The Clever Kids, another great little company that we had the pleasure of working with on this project. It’s been a fun one!

Content strategy food for thought

I’ve been doing a lot of research and reading today about content strategy, especially CS for government and while I’m not going to spend time unpacking these ideas right now, I just wanted to leave them here to revisit later, as they have provided me with a lot to think about and a clearer vision for the way forward. Government websites have to start talking human. Most government content is for non-specialists. It’s when jargon [internal language] strays outside into public-facing websites that i becomes totally meaningless. Janus Boye The problem with most government content is a lack of understanding of who they are addressing. Without this clarity and direction, content tends to be organisation-centric [and therefore inaccessible to the public]. Diana Railton Government officials are there to serve and government websites should be exemplary examples of self-service. Gerry McGovern Just in case publishing This risk-averse strategy puts content online not so people could use it, but because of a perceived need that it has to be there. Gerry McGovern.

Travelling Fellowship

Through my work, the National Library of Australia, I was lucky enough to win the 2013 Kenneth Binns Travelling Fellowship (thank you!). I have been awarded a grant to undertake an overseas trip that will enhance my current and future projects in Web Publishing here at the Library, as well as to help develop my own personal growth as a professional and as a human. I will be traveling to the USA in April 2013, three different cities, to attend a conference, visit a range of incredible cultural institutions and meet with a range of practitioners and experts in a variety of fields. From this trip I hope to be learn from and by inspired by industry world leaders in the areas of web publishing, social media, mobile content, content strategy. and ePublishing. I will be documenting my travels through this blog as much as I can, check out my posts tagged with Travelling Fellowship. Below is my initial itinerary, including what institutions I am visiting, who I will be meeting with and what I hope to gain by …

Content strategy

I respect content. I like content. I love good content. I want to develop a content strategy for the National Library – we need it. But the trouble, as with any gigantic, enormous, mind-boggling, daunting and complex project, is figuring out exactly where to start. I am meeting up with some great content strategists, practitioners and thinkers on my trip to the USA which I am incredibly excited for. I intend on coming back to Australia inspired and equipped with an arsenal of ideas and ready to scale all the content mountains in the world! Yeah! But until such time, I still have almost no idea at all about how to begin such a task and have been trying to prepare myself for meeting these wonderbrains by doing as much research as possible. If you dare you can read more about and follow my research, learnings, thoughts, ramblings, planning, actions, resolutions, triumphs and failures around content strategy. Awesomely, there is an absolute wealth of resources and information out there on content strategy – from big …