The Library aims to collaborate nationally and internationally to ensure that Australians have access to the information resources they need on a professional and personal level to undertake their research, study and lifelong learning and to understand and appreciate Australia’s history and culture. The Library’s services are designed so that they are accessible to all Australians.
The Library works in partnership with other collecting institutions to improve online services and to develop common standards, sharing expertise and knowledge. In addition, the Library represents the interests of the Australian library sector nationally and internationally.
In 2011–12, the Library will:
- continue to work collaboratively with National and State Libraries Australasia (NSLA) on a series of major projects known as Reimagining Libraries, which aim to transform services offered by the national, state and territory libraries to better meet the needs of Australians for access to library services in the digital age
- continue a major oral history project, funded by the Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs, to record the story of the Forgotten Australians and Former Child Migrants
- improve our national collection discovery service, Trove, and extend Trove to include journal articles and licensed e-resources
- improve the performance of Libraries Australia, a national resource-sharing service, by redeveloping the search interface
- participate in and contribute to the work of international library bodies, including the Committee of Principals, the Conference of Directors of National Libraries and the International Federation of Library Associations.
Continue to work collaboratively with NSLA on a series of major projects known as Reimagining Libraries, which aim to transform services offered by the national, state and territory libraries to better meet the needs of Australians for access to library services in the digital age.
The Library produced a second edition of Guidelines for Library Staff Assisting Donors to Prepare Their Personal Digital Archives for Transfer to NSLA Libraries. The revised version incorporates valuable feedback from member institutions, assisting libraries to liaise with donors about preparing and managing personal digital archives. The guidelines are a useful starting kit for conversations with potential donors—in 2012 it was the most-downloaded publication from the NSLA website.
In another project, an electronic accessioning costing tool for manuscripts was developed to assist NSLA libraries to cost and better understand each of the tasks which comprise the processing workflow. Staff record the time taken for each task (such as receipt, registration, rehousing and cataloguing) into the spreadsheet, which automatically calculates the cost of the activity according to staff level. Results are providing a more precise understanding of the complexities involved in accessioning and are creating opportunities for potential efficiencies.
The Library also commenced a project to reinvigorate the approach to collecting significant Australian websites for inclusion in PANDORA: Australia’s Web Archive. Over the next few years, the aim will be to implement more sophisticated and flexible software to support more efficient collecting and user-friendly delivery options for presenting search results. As well as continuing to select individual websites and conducting larger-scale collecting by type of publication, such as government websites, a new collaborative approach to selecting important websites on contemporary issues, such as the Australian mining boom, will be pursued and the results presented as curated collections. In March 2012, the Library held a successful workshop attended by representatives from NSLA libraries to discuss the implementation of the revised collecting strategy.
Scoping work commenced on options to allow Trove users to reach copy order services offered by NSLA libraries. This project builds on the Library’s successful redevelopment of its Copies Direct service (and exposure of the Copies Direct option in Trove) and the lightweight approach to e-resource authentication, which allows Australian libraries to add data to their ‘profile’ on Australian Libraries Gateway, affecting what can be viewed and accessed via Trove.
Continue a major oral history project, funded by the Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs, to record the story
of the Forgotten Australians and Former Child Migrants.
The interviewing stage of the project is drawing to a close, with 230 interviews commissioned and 172 interviews completed so far. Where interviewees have granted permission, 104 interviews have been made available in full online. The interviews document a diverse range of experiences of being in out-of-home care and of the complexities of the lifelong effect of those childhood experiences. Interviews were also commissioned with welfare professionals, employees in homes, politicians and advocates, providing context and insights into the policies and systems of care. Interviewees were selected to represent a range of demographic factors and experiences and interviews were conducted across Australia. The project has also resulted in the addition of significant archival collections, self-published autobiographies and ephemera.
Improve our national collection discovery service, Trove, and extend Trove to include journal articles and licensed e-resources.
Almost 300 million resources are now available through Trove. Many of these resources are high-quality journal articles included in licensed datasets. Trove users who are members of libraries subscribing to these datasets can access individual articles via Trove at their local libraries or by including their library membership details in their Trove profile.
The Library’s program for integrating its successful format-specific discovery services into Trove is now complete. Picture Australia, which provided an indispensable starting point for Australians seeking online images of their country and its culture, was decommissioned as a separate service in June 2012, as was Music Australia, which provided a ‘one-stop shop’ for users interested in Australian musicians and printed and recorded music. All Picture Australia and Music Australia content is now available through Trove. The consolidation of these and other format-specific services, such as the Register of Australian Archives and Manuscripts and Australia’s Research Online, allows the Library to concentrate its resources in a single service, ensuring that new service developments are available to all users, regardless of their field of interest.
In a major achievement, the Library developed an application programming interface that allows NSLA and other libraries, researchers and vendors to copy Trove records to include in their own services. A state library, for example, can request all Trove user annotations and comments on an item held in its collection and display them in its local discovery services. Trove newspaper articles or digitised pictures relating to a particular state, region or locality can be retrieved and displayed in local systems to contextualise collections held locally. Researchers can interrogate the vast body of newspaper text to determine trends in the use of particular words or groups of words indicating themes or concerns. Data can be ‘mashed’ with other sources, such as geospatial data. This development means that Trove now acts as a truly interactive web space, where users can find resources, learn how to access them directly and comment on, interact with and re-use them for their own ‘boutique’ developments.
Improve the performance of Libraries Australia, a national resource-sharing service, by redeveloping the search interface.
Following an intensive review of the Libraries Australia business environment—including a survey to which more than 360 member institutions responded about their local priorities and workflows—the Libraries Australia Search Redevelopment project commenced, with the specifications phase completed during the financial year. Search is central to the Libraries Australia service array and is used daily by over 1,000 libraries. During 2011–12, the current software supporting the service reached capacity and the redeveloped service, due to be delivered in 2013, will offer Libraries Australia members significant workflow and timeliness improvements. The redeveloped Search service will leverage existing Trove infrastructure, further consolidating the Library’s development effort and maximising returns on Trove investment.
Participate in and contribute to the work of international library bodies, including the Committee of Principals, the Conference of Directors of National Libraries and the International Federation of Library Associations.
The Director-General attended the annual congress of the International Federation of Library Associations (IFLA) and the annual Conference of Directors of National Libraries (CDNL), held in Puerto Rico in August 2011. The Director-General participated in meetings of the IFLA National Libraries Section and discussion groups within CDNL on issues of mutual interest to national libraries, including the collecting and management of digital collections.
In August 2011, the Assistant Director-General, Collections Management, participated in a meeting of the Committee of Principals, the international library body responsible for overseeing development of Resource Description and Access, the new descriptive cataloguing rules.
Issues and Developments
Trove use is almost two-thirds higher than last financial year, with just under 50,000 user visits per day; Trove traffic now accounts for almost 60 per cent of the Library’s total bandwidth. Use of mobile devices to access Trove has quadrupled. With seven per cent (and rapidly rising) of all searches now conducted on smartphones and other mobile devices, optimising Trove services for these devices is a high development priority. Trove users continue to embrace the many Web 2.0 and social media options that allow them to interact with Trove content. Users routinely correct more than 100,000 lines of text daily—two dedicated individuals have each corrected over one million lines of text—and new Trove lists are being created in their hundreds each month. Trove’s Twitter followers have quadrupled over the course of the year, with more than 2,100 individuals following Trove’s tweets, which connect current events with Trove collection items, especially historical newspaper articles. Recent tweets have encompassed subjects ranging from the deaths of Margaret Whitlam, Murray Rose and Jimmy Little, to the trials that formed the basis of the ABC’s popular Australia on Trial series, to stories of hardy women giving birth in uncongenial circumstances.
The coverage and quality of the Australian National Bibliographic Database (ANBD) were substantially improved during the year. Several state and university libraries added large batch loads of records or provided large files to refresh information on their library holdings. It was particularly pleasing to see a large number of records, generated partly as a result of the Reimagining Libraries Description and Cataloguing Project, start to flow through to the ANBD. Combined with inclusion of large datasets from publishers and international libraries, such as the Library of Congress, this significantly improved Australian libraries’ access to high-quality records to support their collection management and other workflows. Data quality was enhanced using duplicate detection software against a number of different match keys; almost 500,000 duplicate records were removed in a 12-month period.
The NSLA Consortium achieved the first stage of its core set vision. Eight high-quality e-resources are available to all registered patrons of NSLA libraries, both onsite and from the place of their choice, and good progress is being made on adding products to the core set. In a sign of the value that NSLA libraries place on the consortium, members agreed to substantially increase their contribution to the Library’s administration costs, ensuring the consortium’s long-term sustainability.
The Executive Committee of the Electronic Resources Australia (ERA) Consortium undertook a review of the consortium and sought feedback from Australian libraries on its findings and recommendations. The review was valuable in informing consideration of ER A’ s purpose, values and sustainability.
Table 3.8 shows deliverables and key performance indicators in relation to providing and supporting collaborative projects and services in 2011–12.
Agencies subscribing to key collaborative services [#]
Records/items contributed by subscribing agencies [#] (millions)
Key performance indicators
Collaborative services standards and timeframes [%]
Figure 3.5: Number of Agencies Subscribing to Key Collaborative Services
The target was exceeded due to an increase in the number of subscribers to ERA.
Figure 3.6: Number of Records and Items Contributed by Subscribing Agencies
The increase in the number of items that were contributed by subscribing agencies is the result of a significant increase in the number of newspaper articles contributed to Trove and to several large batch loads of records added to the ANBD.
Service standards and timeframes were exceeded, due largely to completion of a project to review and renew Libraries Australia help pages, with a resulting reduction in Libraries Australia enquiries.