I had been looking forward to this symposium as a chance to make a few contacts and see who’s who and what’s what in the digital library world in the Darwin and NT region generally. I have only been here 3 months so this was a good time to meet others. And I found exactly what I was looking for.
On Friday a presenter from the Northern Territory Library gave a presentation that covered things like open source digital repository software and questions of standards of digital capture, long-term requirements of metadata, and ways to make collections accessible to remote communities. The most important part was meeting him afterwards and being invited to meet with NTL staff involved in digitization and questions of standards for cultural materials. Good to have others close to meet with and who share a common interest in preservation and sharing of cultural materials. Then on Saturday met another presenter who is responsible for the DSpace repository at the NTL. His special interest is in war memorabilia, a major cultural niche in Darwin — especially with the 70th anniversary of its being bombed coming up in February next year. He was discussing the question of why create databases and answering along lines of preservation of unique collections. Looked forward to meeting him, too, and I did briefly but had to leave too soon when I a bit of temporary bad health hit. Anyway, I have some idea now of what is happening in the Darwin area and where to focus some of my attention when looking at standards and strategies applicable to preservation and access to northern Australia’s research and cultural resources.
But no-one has heard of Topic Maps. Will have to find out why and see what can be done in that area. Admittedly they will be work but the potential results — especially for the rich cultural and research collections here.
The symposium also reminded me of how “niched” digital collections have become, too. Much of the discussion related to library services not directly related to digital repository collections. There was once a time I would have been committed to such discussions, but meetings like this bring home to me how the strategies, the planning, the guidelines and standards and circles of professional contacts are often in a different space of their own.
Maybe this is just a reminder to me to be sure as soon as we get the repository here into routine workflow status with regular research publications and cultural content, that the next major step is to focus on integrating search and access requirements of digital and non-digital collections.
Maybe next symposium we can add a contribution from what has been achieved with CDU’s digital resources within the context of the wider community, too.