#PSinnnovate16: The Art of Change: Innovating in Australia’s National Collecting Institutions

By | September 7, 2019

– Good morning everyone. Thank you for your attendance here today. My name is Simon Kelly and on behalf of Collections and
Cultural Heritage branch of the Department of
Communications in the Arts, I’d like to welcome you all to this event and thank you for your attendance. I would also like to thank those here in the room this morning and those who are streaming this event from across the Australian Public Service. I’d like to acknowledge
the traditional owners of the land on which we
meet and pay my respect to their elders, past and present. I would also like to extend that respect to other Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people present today. We are very fortunate
to have representatives from some of our national
cultural institutions with us this morning
to talk about the ways of connecting our extraordinary
national collections with audiences through
the digital economy. Our speakers are from the Australian National Maritime Museum, National Museum of Australia, and National Library of Australia and I’ve no doubt they could
each easily fill an hour or so. We have Lynda Kelly from the Australian National Maritime Museum in Sydney talking to us about digital
access to the collections and how this works with
education and learning. Mr. Robert Burnsley from the
National Museum of Australia, who will talk to us about
Kasparov and Chesster the museum’s resident robots and Sarah Schindler from
National Library of Australia, who will talk about the
library’s tribe application. So without further ado, I’d
like to welcome Lynda Kelly. (audience applauds) – Hello and thank you for having me and I too would like to pay my respects to the traditional owners of this land and the elders, past and present. Again, thank you for having me. My job at the National Museum of, National (laughs) Maritime
Museum, is the head of learning, so what that covers is the two functions, the formal education component
and the public programs and family programs that we do, but it’s interesting
for me, having come from a state institution to
a national institution, to think about, well, what does being a national institution mean and particularly for us at the maritime, it’s really, well, what does
a national institution mean when you’re not actually
based in Canberra, so it’s kind of a good
thing ’cause sometimes we get a bit forgotten
about, so we can do stuff and sometimes it’s a bad thing ’cause we get a bit forgotten
about and we can’t do stuff, so it’s a very interesting time for us. We’ve also decided to
incorporate strategic planning to make more of a national focus because we see that that’s
a really good fit for us and we run quite a large
program called MAPS where we actually support
small maritime museums in regional communities in
doing education programs or exhibitions or any kind
of thing that they wanna do, conservation, collection
management, that kind of stuff, so we feel very strongly
about our national remit and that’s part of what
I’ll be talking about today. Just wait for the clicker. It’s clicked down. I was just gonna go back
to my original slide because that’s the view from our office, so just to kind of get you located. We’re right on Darling Harbour, beautiful view except
Barangaroo’s now been built, so it’s kind of, I don’t get
as good a view as I used to do. Anyway, I just want to talk
about audience for a minute because also a part of
my remit at the National is audience research and I’ve
been an audience researcher for a very long time,
for about 25 years now, longer than probably some of you have been born, but that’s okay. I just want to bring this
back to the audience and what we museums and
cultural institutions are facing today is a
very different audience than when I started out back in 1987 and it’s an audience now that
is very much switched on, engaged, really wants to be involved with a museum, with an organization. They’re very fickle. They’re very picky and it’s also very hard
to get their attention and people always ask me about, “Well, what’s the biggest
competitor to a museum “or a gallery or a cultural institution?” And I always say, “Well, it’s actually “people’s time and attention. “That’s what we’re competing with.” So, we’ve got visitors that
are all over the place. They’re doing all
different kinds of things and they’re also using lots
of different technologies now and I’ll get to that in a minute. Just want to talk about teachers. That’s a big audience, obviously. Teachers, in terms of deciding whether they actually come to a physical visit, but also now more virtually and I don’t know if the
others will comment on this, but we’re also getting more
and more teachers locally, close to the museum that are saying, “We actually want a virtual excursion, “more digital experience because “we don’t really want to come “because we can’t get out
of school, it’s too hard.” So, I also had done a lot of work with teachers over the years and I call them the ulti, they’re the ultimate
multi-platform visitor because teachers are on so
many different platforms and that’s just from a
series of focus groups I ran. That’s just a whole list of things that they told me when I said, “Well, what tech do you use? “What sites do you go to?” And it was all of this,
so what we’re doing at the maritime museum
is thinking a lot about, okay, what’s, how can we actually get our message out to teachers and one of the things that
I’ve been pushing with my team and pushing in our sector is this idea of third party providers and I don’t know if you’ve heard of the horizons report that comes out every year. Its museums edition makes
you on the board of that and it just has the key trends for education and third party providers. It was actually seen as, not a problem, but as a potential competitor, but I actually see them as
a potential collaborator because if someone like Google or Apple, Microsoft, whoever, are
already out there providing and they’ve already got
a ready-made audience, then why not work with them? Google in particular,
they’re just about to launch a big program that I can’t
really talk too much about, but just bear in mind that they will be getting into many schools across Australia and that they’ve got
their eye set on that, that particular education market, so something to watch out for. Then, we come to students. So, as students today, I call them, again, multi-tasking students. Probably 10 years ago, if you
had a student in your class or in your museum doing something, doing three different things, then you’d be saying, “Well, now actually, “you’ve got to be focused on this.” But nowadays, students are multi-taskers. We’re all multi-taskers, really. We’re multi-screeners
and we’re multi-taskers, so we’ve got students that are
coming to our physical sites or we’re going to them digitally and they’ve got a lot of
knowledge and understanding, but they’ve also got many things that they’re juggling at the time and this is one of my favorite things that we’ve got to think about
and I say to people is, well, and I used to say to my children that in five years time,
you’ll be doing jobs that haven’t been invented yet, so it’s about, well, what us,
as collection institutions and in our education programs, what we are equipping students for is not just knowledge-based anymore. It’s about skills-based and how to actually get on in this world. That brings to me what
we’re thinking about at the National Maritime
Museum is our kind of focus and we’re very much a
social history place, a navy place, a boat place,
but we’ve got a massive eclectic collection, so we
do cover a lot of areas. We’ve had a history focus in the past and now of course like everybody,
we move more towards STEM. It is an important thing, but it’s also something that we know that
we can get funding for, so we know that sponsors
and philanthropic trusts are very interested in STEM education, so we’re moving towards that. As I said, we’re taking an onsite focus. It’s important because not
only do we get revenue, but actually, having a lot of students, and other museums would
know this during the week when it’s a bit quiet, really
brings the place alive, so we’re thinking about our onsite visits are still important, but we’re focusing more on the national. I’ll talk about two projects that we’re doing in that area there. As we know, we’re going
from analogue to digital. People are expecting digital experiences, but that digital isn’t
the be-all and end-all. I actually write a blog
called Museums in the Digital and I’ll tweet that out because
I’ve written a lot about postage of visitors generally and what all of my research is showing and how people want to
engage digitally or not and it’s interesting the or not because that’s often overlooked and that’s very important too. As I said, going to third party platforms, so we’ve, yes, we can provide programs and we can provide really
good resource material, but then you hand that over and I’ll give you Apple as an example. We got an Apple distinguished educator. They run a program and he’s one of them and he comes in and I’m
giving him some money and say, “Here’s some resources. “Turn it into, put it out in store,” so he just does that because
he knows how to do it and it’s a very simple process for him. He tests it with his students. He puts it in the thing that we want it and bang, we’re there
and we can actually then have that as a supporting program to see our traveling exhibitions because we don’t need to travel resources. We just got it already in the Apple Store. We’re moving towards an indigenous focus. I mean, for us, it’s interesting. I was at the Australian Museum and indigenous was very
important there, as it should be, and it was a little less-so recognised at the maritime museum, but we’re certainly now building that up. We’ve got two indigenous curators now, looking to get some
indigenous education people in and it’s a cross-curriculum priority, of course, in the national curriculum, so it’s something that
we can really build on. The museum is working
with the national museum on the 250th anniversary of Cook arriving and when I did a lot of audience research with people about what
they think about Cook, it was like, boring, yawn, but actually, we’re interested
in the indigenous story, so I’m finding myself in
20s of audience research that Australians are becoming much more interested in this kind of topic. Another focus we got and this is really particular to
us because of our site, so we’ve got an idea of
being direct, course, being China ready and what
does that actually mean for a museum to be China ready? Well, it means many, many things and for us in the education field, it means that we got an opportunity now to provide programs for traveling Chinese, Korean, and Japanese students and we can make a bit of money out of it, so that’s a really cool thing, so that’s really our
priority, so now, refocusing. So, two quick projects I’ll talk about. One is called The Voyage. The Voyage is a game,
it’s an educational game. It was built Roar Films in Tasmania and it was funded by Screen Australia and a few other places, ourselves included and The Voyage is you
take on the persona of the surgeon general and your brief is to get
as many healthy convicts to Van Diemen’s Land as you can and it’s very important because you actually got paid based on the number of healthy convicts you brought and you also got land grants and it was a very big thing for you to do that successfully
and a lot of people that actually built the
colony were surgeon generals, so it’s a really great
game and since we launched, we’ve had over 25,000 players. We have a 55% return rate
and a 25 minute average play, so we know that those kids are playing and enjoying that game. We get a lot of feedback and we did a lot of research with Griffith University. There was a gaming expert there, did a lot of research in
the development of the game and we know that it works really well and people are loving it, so I urge you to get on and play the
game, it’s pretty cool. This is just a letter that was sent to our chairman, Mr. Dexter and it was from a year five student from a primary school
up in the North Shore and she was, the whole class were tasked with writing to
Mr. Dexter, our chairman, because his grandson goes there and that’s the connection there. Actually, our chairman
was saying to me though, he really dislikes the
game because his son now, his grandson now won’t go fishing with him because he’s too busy playing the game. (everyone laughs)
Sounds like. But this is the kind of thing
that they were talking about, that they really like the game, but there’s too many catch the rats and there’s not enough about what happened to the Aboriginal people and for me as a researcher
and as an educator, it’s like, wow, these kids are
really thinking about that, so we got a lot of resources
online for the game and we actually got Roar Film to make a couple of indigenous resources because even though the
game doesn’t cover that, we were still getting asked
about, well, what happens? So, we’ve got a two plus
two kind of different opinions about what happened there, so as I said, I’ll tweet
the link out to that as well and that’s just some figures
that I talked about before and the final one is the one
that we’re very excited about and that we just got
Catalyst funding for this, so thank you to all
those people in the room, anybody who was involved in Catalyst. So, we got $230,000 to
actually deliver this project over the next two years and what this was was it was a two year, pretty much, collaboration with CSIRO and
they came to us with an idea and when someone comes to us and says, “Wouldn’t it be cool if?” Our ears prick up and say, “Yes, okay. “Let’s work with you guys,
we like doing cool stuff.” So, they came to us. They’d been working
with the National Museum on the robot program and one
of them had this idea, said, “Well, actually, what if we actually “took the same technology,
put it on the Endeavor, “which is our flagship object, “and we can actually beam kids “into the Endeavor and have a lesson.” So, what I’ll do is I’ll just show this and then that will be the end of mine. This just explains quite
well what the program is. (soft music) It’s one of those sleek CSIRO videos. (laughs) Sorry. (jovial music) – Today was actually really, really fun. – Our class went in and we did a tour of the Endeavor replica. – It was live. There was tour guides that
were showing us around. We could see her and from our laptops, we could control what we were looking at. – She took us around, asked us questions. – And then she could
turn around the tablet and focus it on different things and so, we could zoom in a bit more. – The Panamoz system is,
it’s a system to enable people to do remote tours of the Endeavor, so what we use is panoramic cameras that enable the remote visitors
to look all around them while at the same time, the educator, who’s leading their experience, has an iPad that enables them to directly talk to the visitors and interact with the visitors. – Some of the cool
things about this project is the fact that not every person feels comfortable going below, but also the fact that some people live a long way away from Sydney. Not everybody lives in Sydney. – One of the strengths of the system is really the interactivity between the educator and the students. They can see the educator and the educator can see and hear them. They can look around. – I’ll just leave it
there because there’s, there’s a little bit more, but
you kinda get the gist of it. So, part of the Catalyst
grant is to actually deliver more programs across Australia, but also to look at, and it’s, it was an NBN program, so
we can deliver to high NBN, but what we’re also doing is looking at, okay, what if they don’t have high NBN? How can we work with that and
have the similar experience? So, that’s what the grant’s really about and that’s really all I want to say. Thank you. (audience applauds) – Thank you very much. Thanks, Lynda, that was
very exciting actually. I love to see that the
technology that’s being used at the museum being used, being refined and advanced with extra features. So, I would think that most Commonwealth cultural institutions, which are mainly located here in Canberra, apart from the Maritime museum in Sydney, probably all share the same aim, which is to get our
programs and our content and our exhibitions outside of the walls of our institutions and outside of the confines of the city of Canberra and especially into our rural, regional, and remote areas of Australia. Digital platforms, whether
they’re mature ones or emerging ones, often
allow this regional delivery of content to be more
efficient and more effective than a previous model,
a slightly old model, of our outreach, which often involved physically traveling our
exhibitions around the country. In the early days of digital,
we probably focus more on bringing audiences to our websites. That was the key aim, but more recently, social media platforms have led the way in developing channels
that are personalized and where users can curate
their own information feeds, where they can interact directly with a cultural institution, museum, library, and they can also interact and converse with
each other in real time. At the national museum, we wanna use our collections, our
content, and our programs to engage Australians in
defining their identity. Through web, social, and online channels and also through two-way
video communications, like video conferencing
and web conferencing, we wanna stimulate and
engage in conversation in a meaningful dialogue with people and in a way that explores and articulates our national identity. So, we wanna make visitors
active participants in shaping the Australian story by providing them with the ability to explore our collections, to challenge us, to change us, and also, to contribute to the museum. A pathway to achieve this is to experiment with emerging technology and emerging delivery platforms and to work with experienced
technology partners, like the CSIRO, to be nimble and to adapt based on our audience’s needs,
feedback, and evaluation. One good example of this experimentation and technology partnering
is the museum robot program, which we engaged in in 2012
together with this department and also with the CSIRO. This was an NBN demonstration project, along with several others in health and e-commerce and other areas and an aim of the program
was to demonstrate that high speed broadband is not just for faster movie downloads. Arnold Toynbee’s theory
of challenge and response in a historical context
may be somewhat applicable in digital innovation, as well as in the rise and fall of civilizations. Digital innovation is driven by challenges and also by opportunities,
but it is also sometimes simply through the
availability of funding. The full cost of developing the robots and the associated technology
was around $3,500,000. $2,500,000 came from the department and $1,000,000 from CSIRO. Later on, the running costs of the program were about $300,000 for two years, so you can see that the huge cost of ambitious digital innovation is often in the development
and the prototyping, not in the actual implementation and it takes funding and seed funding to get these programs off the ground. In addition to funding,
there were many other environmental opportunities that helped the business case of the robots. One of them was the developing roll out of high speed broadband that actually provides a
market for this sort of service and also, the concurrent implementation of the Australian curriculum. Finally, education
products that we developed and services could be created
once in a cultural institution and then delivered many times
across the entire country as students now study the same things in each year of schooling. Five months after I arrived
at the museum in 2012, this was still how the robots looked. A laptop on a few milk crates with a few wires coming all over the place
sitting on top of a trolley. However, it all came
together very well in the end with the technology working and a skin that was designed by
a local school student who won a national
competition for the design. Within a year, the project
had won an ANZIA award, the Australian New Zealand Internet Award, for internet innovation, which the national library’s Trove
program won the previous year and we also won an internet,
an AARNet internet award for technology innovation and
it’s always pleasing to see public sector innovation being recognized and rewarded in industry forums. The robot’s interface is similar in view and also in controls to
Google’s Street View, which you’re probably aware of. Street View is a static and
stored version of a street. It’s captured. The robots are streaming live panoramic video from our galleries. Panoramic camera comprises of six cameras and it can be manipulated independently by every user who’s on the tour, which may be 15 or 16 different users. They can all be looking at different things at the same time. Embedded in the video stream, are about 1,000 digital objects from the national museum’s collection that users can access by
clicking on active hotspots. These could be closeup
photos, maps, graphs, movies, text that’s not available to an actual visitor, a
physical visitor to the museum. With the robot, there’s
two types of connections, basically that you can use to approach. One is as an individual, you can sit at your computer with a
headset and a microphone and you can dial in to the tour and interact directly
with the museum guide. You can manipulate the camera yourself. The second model is a class
or a whole group experience where one computer dials in, but then an entire
audience can watch the tour as it’s moderated by someone who’s controlling the cameras at the computer. Here students from Kiama Public School visit their local library,
one of the first digital hubs, where there are banks of
computers and high speed internet, whereas here, students from Julian College with an r-net broadband connection experience the whole class model using an interactive whiteboard, which you’ll see in a video in a moment. In fact, we may as well go
to the video now, I think. (light music) I’ll just talk over the video as it plays. So, this is a compilation
video of a whole range of different tours that
we’ve done over time. You see the robot moves
independently through our galleries. Some of the technology
that was utilized by CSIRO is laser mapping an
area, so the robot knows wherever it is in the gallery at any time to about one or two centimeters accuracy, so we can send the robot anywhere within the museum and it will go. There’s some interactive polling. We can ask questions
of the remote audiences and they can click yes, no or answers to multiple choice questions. Here’s some images
coming up in a slideshow that has further information about the topic that we’re looking at. The flashing blue lights down the bottom indicate some of the
obstacle avoidance technology ’cause it’s no use running
over little children or falling down the stairs. That would be a pretty
expensive mistake to make. You need really good WiFi coverage within the museum because it’s a huge amount of data being transmitted. You can see here these students using the whole class approach, so they can actually manipulate
the cameras and the data with their own hands on screen on behalf of the rest of the audience. Looking to access data. Lot of schools have interactive whiteboards like this these days and they are a really
big advance in education. There’s a little removable camera so that if we go off
book and decide to show a closeup of something that’s
not in the scripted tour, we can do that by removing that camera. Back to the PowerPoint. Which slide I’m up to. Okay, one of the things that we’re doing at the moment is concentrating more on international connections, so we’re looking to use the robot rather than just doing many, many classes, individual classes around the country, we’re trying to value add and use the robot more strategically, so we’re linking classes across Asia in conjunction with the
Asia Education Foundation at the University of Melbourne and the Asia Connects Program from the University of New England, which partners schools right across Asia with Australian schools,
so you can see here, these two schools were in Delhi,
Delhi public school there. I think there are about 600 students in that hall at the time and now we’re going on a tour at precisely the same time
as a school in Adelaide where I think there were about
16 or 17 students (laughs). Slightly outnumbered, but that sort of simultaneous learning
environment is really powerful. The robot can also be used to address really large numbers of people in a really big auditorium,
so this is 500 teachers at a Melbourne school as
part of their staff meeting getting a bit of a tour of the museum to familiarize themselves
with the technology. One of the powerful features of the robot is that you can have multiple
and dispersed audiences. You can have 16 incoming visitors, which might be 16
computers all in one room like a computer lab or those banks of computers at the library or there may be 16 individual people situated anywhere around the
country or around the world. You can see here in this holiday program that we ran in the early days, we had three digital hubs participating, in turn with Kiama and Hawkesbury, so we had the maximum
number of 15 computers and the children from all of those sites were interacting at the same
time, asking us questions. Another powerful example of
this sort of dispersed audience is a program we did for
some disability audiences. This particular one, Henry
Evans is a mute quadriplegic. He’s a bit of an activist
and he has a mission to visit all the great
museums of the world digitally from his bed and
so, we did a tour for him and two of his friends and so,
we linked three continents. The content was coming out of Canberra. He was in California in his bedroom. There was someone in a care
facility in Manchester in the UK and someone in another care facility in Vilnius, in Lithuania. Each of these users communicated
with me in a different way, so you can see Henry here using his eyes to spell out questions, which his wife then relayed to me orally. The person in Vilnius was using his eyes to control a Google Chat and
was sending me his questions, which I was receiving on an iPad and the person in the UK was able to talk, so I was able to interact
with him directly. These sort of digital technologies break down barriers that we’re sometimes not even really aware of. One other very quick example
of this dispersed audience and what you can do with
these sort of technologies. We ran a series of programs
to do with the Melbourne Cup where we had content
coming from curators live at Te Papa Museum in Wellington where they have full lapse skeleton from the national museum
where we have full lapse heart and the Museum Victoria
or Melbourne Museum, where they have full lapse hide, so the curators were coming
in from those exhibits and presenting about those
exhibits to dispersed audiences, so we had audiences from Tasmania. Actually, this graph, this map doesn’t actually show all the number of audiences ’cause we did this tour
three or four times. We had audiences of school students and also people at
libraries in New Zealand, Queensland, South Australia,
Tasmania, and Victoria. You can see the library in Queensland up in the left corner there. Students in New Zealand there as well and this curator coming in
from the Melbourne Museum, able to present to all of
those dispersed audiences. It’s really powerful and really exciting when you start putting these sort of collaborative projects together. However, the… While I probably am a bit of a geek and I’m pretty deeply immersed
in digital technologies, I come from a theater background and so I think you can,
it’s become apparent to me that no matter how good the technology is, the success of these sort of programs actually relies on the human connection. You need a charismatic,
knowledgeable, trustworthy source. A human connection connecting with these audiences around the country and I think we should never forget that when we’re talking about
digital innovation. The human connection is paramount. Thank you. (audience applauds) – Morning. It’s my pleasure today
to speak to you about an online service developed by the National Library of Australia. It’s called Trove and for those who are not familiar with it previously, it is quite simply a
collection of collections. It is a portal to the wonderful material that’s held, not just
by the national library, but by hundreds of cultural institutions and government agencies around Australia, so museums as well as
libraries and galleries and universities and other
educational institutions. Its purpose, its reason for being is quite simply to connect
people with that material. Although there is an incredibly popular and growing body of
digital content within it, which is directly delivered through Trove, the focus isn’t on delivery. It’s on discovery, much like
the other agencies here today and it’s undoubtedly
successful in that respect. Tens of thousands of visitors, usually around 70,000 come to the site uniquely every single day. Most recently, it’s been listed as the fourth of the most used online services delivered
by the Commonwealth, so when you think about the big ones, you think about the Bureau of Meteorology, Centrelink, Human Services,
and then there’s Trove. That’s how popular it is, but Trove isn’t just about popularity and the convenience of online access. It’s about more than being able to do your research and find things on your smart phone
while you’re on the bus. It’s about taking these extraordinary Australian collections, particularly, items that are personal or
often ephemeral and unique, these cultural artifacts and
turning a spotlight on them. It’s about giving people glimpses into these pieces of
the past and the present that might otherwise be
completely overlooked. This morning, I’m gonna tell you briefly about the work undertaken
by the national library, which made Trove possible
and our collaboration with partners around Australia, which is what makes it powerful. It’s these two elements
which have born a tool which allows people around the country to discover these collections
and to be inspired, but before I go any further, I would like to tell you a story and it’s a story that
you might know part of if you watched The Project last night. It’s a story that begins in a garage of a man named Ivan Owen. A few years ago, Ivan
built an odd-looking, but functioning metal hand to wear actually as part of a costume
for a steampunk convention, so it didn’t have lofty beginnings. He decided to share his
wonderful creation online and this simple act set
off a chain of events which led to a
cross-continental partnership with a man with whom he developed a series of prototypes for
body-powered prosthetic hands made from easy to find materials. This was a passion project, which led to a mother contacting him to ask whether he could develop a smaller prosthetic hand for
her five-year-old son, Liam. Liam was born without
fingers on his right hand and it’s worth noting that the
most conservative estimates suggest that each year worldwide, there are 50,000 children who are born without fingers or hands and for every prosthetic device received, thousands of other children go without because there are few designed for them and they grow out of them so quickly and they’re enormously expensive to make and that was the problem which Owen and his partners set out to tackle and after extensive research,
he found inspiration in a prosthetic hand developed in 1845 by an Adelaide-based dental surgeon. The doctor built the
prosthetic out of whalebone and metal pulleys for a gentleman
named Corporal John Coles and that’s the story
that you might have known up until, at least for
the first part of it, but there’s something that you might not have thought about, which
is how did he find that hand? How did that hand become discoverable? It’s not something that you would expect to be able to find quite easily and the answer begins with the
fact that Coles’s ancestors donated the prosthetic hand to The Health Museum of South Australia. The Health Museum digitized the item and Trove harvested it in
partnership with the museum and that’s how Ivan Owen
found the crucial details he needed for his design, in Trove. It was from this design that Ivan and his partner drew inspiration. The Coles hand was the key to it and it led to the eventual development of the first 3-D printable hand, so he put up, open sourced his designs so that anyone anywhere in the world can download a design and print a hand for themselves or someone in need. A community has grown
up around this design, interested in passionate individuals who continue to refine
it and make it available. At last count, there were
more than 2,000 hands that have been gifted to young
people across 45 countries and I’d just like to quickly show you. This is an example of the hand. The 3-D elements were printed by our friends next door at Questacon because they have a 3-D printer and it was assembled by the Trove team in one of our lunch hours because we wanted to show that we could. (audience laughs) It has a place proud and center
actually, in our work area, but that’s how easy and accessible it is. This is the power of what an idea can have and what that inspiration can have. It’s the story of Coles’s hand and there is one small
addendum which is less known. At one point, when this creation was starting to really take
off and gain some coverage, someone completely
unconnected to the project tried to patent it and
those who are familiar with patent trolls know that this can end up working really quite badly and it did go to trial in the U.S. However, the fact that
the historical design on which it is based appears in Trove and it’s considered to be widely available as well as being in the public domain was enough to actually quash the claim really early in the process. It’s this openness and discoverability coupled with a distinctive
content in Trove which makes the service special. Trove is full of incredibly
diverse and unique materials, books and images, objects, maps, newspapers and web
archives, and much more. It’s drawn from collection
holders, big and small, across Australia and it includes large prestigious cultural institutions, such as those represented today, and niche organizations such as The Health Museum of South Australia and their incredibly unusual
19th century prosthetic hand. It also includes the
Gold Museum of Ballarat or recently, a fantastic collection of digitized fruit and vegetable boxes. It was collected by a visual
artist in New South Wales. They are in Trove and they are fabulous. Yes, all of these collections
are available online outside of Trove, but are
they otherwise discoverable? Because we know in Trove that they are. We consistently hear from our partners that Trove is one of their top, often the number one referral point for their online collections. One of the reasons for this is through exposure and search
engines and optimization, which has historically pushed up Trove search results above
a lot of other things, but beyond that, Trove is
a destination in of itself, a piece of infrastructure
which has become embedded within the Australian research landscape. It’s sized some half
1,000,000,000 resources now and its diversity mean that this is a choose your own adventure for Australians and this means that we
can’t and don’t want to predict what new things Trove
users will discover and make because the possibilities
are just limitless. The story of Coles’s prosthetic
hand is just one example. It is a great example of
technological innovation, but is by no means the only type of connection which Trove has inspired. The visual nature of
the collections in Trove serves to nourish
creativity and imagination. Indigenous singer-songwriter,
Steven Pilgrim, who is known as being a leading
exponent of broom music, found he was inspired by a poem
written by his late father. He wasn’t aware that
his father wrote poetry, much less that he had been published, but typing his father’s name into Trove meant that he discovered something he might not have ever
known, likely wouldn’t have. Pilgrim wrote the song, The Wanderer, based on his father’s poem and made it the title track of his first
solo album, released in 2013. It’s a piece of art from the Kimberleys, born from a creative connection which spans two generations
and more than 50 years. It’s also an example
of the power of making text-based resources and artifacts, such as newspapers and gazettes fully tech searchable in Trove, which is where Pilgrim found the poems. In recent years, researchers
have mined these paper texts in pursuit of topics as legally diverse as Australia’s legal
history, climate change, and evolutionary linguistics in Australia. These uses will multiply
as the corpus grows and more people develop
tools to use it in new ways. Just last week, I heard a fantastic story from a scientist at the CSIRO, who is researching native species appropriate for re-population in a predator-proof sanctuary
north of Canberra. It’s Mulligan’s Flat for
anyone local who knows it. Mulligan’s Flat. Doctor Sue McIntyre and
zoologist Mike Flenning confirmed through their research in Trove that at least one bilby was found 12 kilometers north of Goulburn. Who knew we had bilbies? So, while it’s not conclusive proof that there was a population,
it’s still useful evidence and it tells us something about the original biological environment. Old newspapers have become a source for creation of new knowledge and art. New possibilities arise with opportunities for research to interrogate
the wealth of data made available through digitized content, as well as the collections
which Trove brings together. This is the potential
which is realized by Trove. Access to collections which inspire and opportunities to
reimagine them in new ways and then to finish, I’d just
like to highlight something from a survey we
conducted a few years ago. We surveyed people who use Trove to gain a broad picture
of their satisfaction. There was one finding in
particular that inspires me. 90% of people agreed with the statement Trove has made me interested in learning and interested in discovering more. Access isn’t something
that can simply be measured in terms of making
something available online. What the libary and its
partners have created is a space for discovery, reflection, learning, creativity, connection. Trove is drawing in people and enabling them to do more with more. Thank you. (audience applauds) – First of all, wow. (everyone laughs) Thank you for all our speakers. It’s just amazing stuff
going on in your institutions and we’d like to just
take this opportunity, we can throw open to any questions. Is a microphone coming around? – [Voiceover] Yep. – [Voiceover] Hi, Isabelle from the copyright section here at the department. It was Sarah, is that correct? I just wanted to share with you that for my history major at university, I had to do a project
of maps from 1,000 AD through to the 18th century and Trove was the only way
that made that possible for me, so a personal thanks for that. (audience laughs) We also had some people doing the history of teapots in Australia, the history of the Queanbeyan prison, so a vast array of
material available on Trove that made it possible for
me to complete my degree. Secondly, I just wanted to ask a question. I know the NLA does get
a huge amount of material and I was told by somebody
at the NLA when I had a visit that only about 50% of
the material is accepted. I just wanted to ask how do
you choose what you digitize or do you digitize
everything that you can find? – How’s that? Great. When you talk about the
type of material accepted, do you mean accepted into the library or accepted into the digitization program? Okay, because long-standing
within the library, there’s been a very detailed process, which weighs up the
significance of material, the interest which is expressed in it. It does make a difference if
people come to us and say, “This material is of incredible “use for this particular purpose.” Whether or not there’s something similar otherwise available. There are preservation concerns as well, so sometimes there are things which, if we ever take them out of the freezer, we’re afraid they’re gonna die instantly. So, there is a complex range of factors, which they take into account. In terms of newspapers,
which is the question which we get asked a lot about because the newspapers are so popular, that’s a discussion which has always been undertaken in collaboration
with, or in consultation with the state libraries around Australia. The Australian newspapers
digitization program is a collaborative
effort and it’s actually the state libraries who select newspapers of significance and prioritize
them for that program. – [Voiceover] Thank you. – [Voiceover] Joanna Park from
the Ministry for the Arts. I just want to ask and
this is to you, Lynda, in regards to the Endeavor
wreck off Rhode Island, is there any idea of possibly having some underwater archeologists linking up as part of future ideas for the project? – Yeah, can you hear me? Yeah, absolutely. We’ve actually got an active program of working with RIMAP
which is the Rhode Island’s something something something. In the U.S, it’s interesting because shipwrecks can become, wreck
sites can be owned privately, so that’s a bit of a challenge for us, but yeah, we’ve done
two dives there, I think and getting ever closer, but certainly, with the technology that we’ve got on board the Endeavor replica, we could certainly do
programs with U.S. schools and that’s something that
we’ll probably do later, but again, we need to deliver the program to across Australian, to
schools across Australia first and then see what we can do
because as Robert said as well, these were high, very
high-end NBN projects which were built to show that the NBN as Robert says, can be more
than just downloading movies, so the NBN roll out is
kind of a bit patchy, so we just need to kind of
go where the audience is. Yes. – [Voiceover] We do have one
more question from the floor, but if anyone’s watching via streaming and wants to ask a question, [email protected] – [Voiceover] Thank you,
wonderful presentations. Really interesting. What I’d like to know is how do you deal with the people in your physical locations who sometimes think that museums should be stale, dusty, you know,
things that you watch? I ask this in, we had some people who came for a sporting event, some schoolchildren during the holidays and I came to a number of
the cultural institutions and were loving going through and all the new things that were there, but they had a number of older generations who told them that they
needed to keep down and you’re not allowed to play with that and don’t touch this and don’t do that, so from really enjoying
it and being really high and absolutely loving it, that kind of all deflated and left, so how do you bridge this? – Well, from my perspective, it’s all about exhibition design. You’ve gotta design exhibitions to work with a range of
different learning preferences and different personality types, people who want to engage,
people who want to handle things, people who want to stand back and observe, people who want to read exhibit
labels and those who don’t, so it really comes down to making sure your exhibit design caters to all of those different learning needs. Having worked at Questacon,
I know we had a limit of something like 27
words on an exhibit label, which is, you know, it takes some skill to bring certain scientific
concepts down to 27 words, so I suppose, you know, then you may supplement that information with apps that allow people to get extra information or travel to other sites
for more information. These are the sort of
things you have to address. – I also think there
still is a very strong perception out there amongst older people sometimes about what a museum is. I just did a research study last year and actually got people to do
mind maps of that word, museum and then that word, maritime and then putting them together. That was even worse, so (laughs) it’s kind of, there
still is this perception that museums are these kinds of places, but I think that’s changing a lot and even when people were writing things on their piece of paper and I was saying, “Well, actually, you’re just telling me “a different story about your
experience at the museum.” It was like, “Oh, we don’t
actually mean your museum. “We mean other museums,” so it’s kind of, it’s a very interesting
word that conjures up very strong feelings,
but I do believe that things are changing and
I think with technologies and being able to engage visitors more, particularly using social
platforms and that kind of stuff that I think that the
generation of the future, that won’t happen, but yes,
I’ve seen that before as well and it is deflating and
upsetting, but you know. It’s just the way it is sometimes. – Coming from a library,
which is, you know, traditionally were seen,
still by some people, as places where you will get shushed and there is an expectation that we will be doing the shushing. I think it’s really
about, as you were saying, trying to balance the old and the new. I think there is still a
certain validity around the idea that libraries as well as
museums can be places for contemplation and reflection
and it’s about creating different spaces which cater
to those different people and I think that you can
see that in a lot of places. You will have areas which are designed and catered to younger audiences and they can use the 27 word labels and can be quite noised and
can be quite interactive and other places where people can quietly engage with objects. A marriage of the old and the new. – There’s also a bit of a myth around digital technologies and young people, so I was interviewing 14-year-old boys a couple of years ago
in a dinosaur exhibition and we’d given them a task. “Come up with all the questions
you’ve got about dinosaurs,” and you can imagine what they were. How do dinosaurs have sex? (audience laughs)
Mostly and then when I was in
there interviewing them. I was like, “Well, how are you
going with your questions?” They’re going, “Aw, miss,
you know that’s fine. “We’re having a great time. “We’re seeing some really good objects.” It wasn’t an interactive
experience as such. It was a social experience for them, looking at cool objects and they said, “Oh, we’ll just Google
it when we get home.” That was, that’s kind of the generation that we’re dealing with now and just another anecdote. I’ve done many terrible things
as an audience researcher, but causing a divorce I didn’t
think would be in my remit, but I was interviewing a couple and we were talking about
digital interactions for a new experience that we were building and the mother was like, “No screen time. “I take the kids to a museum
to get away from that.” Whereas the father’s
like, “Oh no, absolutely. “We need a trail, we need this.” They were really loggerheads and it’s a very gendered conversation and again, as an audience researcher, I’ve seen many things, but this is quite a gendered
conversation about digital because I see that mums and females are wanting that hands-on real experience for want of a better term and males are often a bit
more wanting that digital, so it’s kind of a, it’s
a bit of a balancing act, but it always comes back to the audience and their needs and what,
how best to cater for those. – [Voiceover] I think we
actually got a question via Twitter from Auckland,
New Zealand, I believe. They would like to know
for the national museum, oh my gosh, he’s got a
couple questions now. How do you choose which overseas
schools connect virtually? Yeah, is there a strategy? – Well, you’re just grateful
if you can get them, so I suppose you use every available avenue to get those schools. In this instance, we approached
Te Papa museum in Wellington to see if they had some schools that they already use as audiences that we could make contact with. I think you just gotta have fingers going into a whole range of organizations that might be able to
refer you to those schools. Sometimes, we also
maintain a list of schools or communities that have
got in touch with us as a result of media
coverage or just on SPEC so we can follow them,
but in the Melbourne Cup New Zealand example, we
specifically wanted a school in the little town of Timaru
where Phillip was born and we had trouble
finding a school in Timaru even though we were referred to a couple and when we did the event, we didn’t have the school from Timaru and then the local newspaper
got very, very angry about this and it was a whole campaign
that we’d ignored Timaru. It had national coverage. (audience groans) It was a real thing, so you have to handle these sort of situations very carefully, particularly when there’s international sensibilities at risk. – [Voiceover] Probably got
time for one more question if we’ve got one, terrific. – [Voiceover] Hi, Penny from
the Ministry for the Arts. My question is that you
guys all spoke about some really fantastic ways that you’re bringing the museums alive digitally and enhancing broad access to it, both nationally and internationally. Going forward, how do you
see the lay of the land, in terms of the relationship
between the physical museums and the physical
collections and the digital? Do the two work complimentary? Or will one ultimately replace the other? – In my view, they will
forever be connected. The fascinating thing
about the Coles hand story is that we only learned about it because Ivan Owen got in contact with us because he wanted us to facilitate access to the original object for the study. These digital resources are based upon real items which you can learn a lot from in terms of their digital representation, but in some instances, there
is no replacement for it and they can’t be disconnected. – Yes, I agree with that. The object is paramount, the story that goes with the object. In the national museum’s
case, we don’t collect objects just as representative
examples of an object. They have to have a story
specifically associated with them. They need to be owned by someone, used by someone, and we need to be able to fill out the
story of that object, so the object is always going
to be paramount and important, but the way we display
and share that object will always be changing, I imagine and there’s some, well, the CSIRO is doing a lot of 3-D imaging
of objects at the moment. They’re trialing new technologies for extremely fine 3-D imaging, so it’s quite possible that
these objects that we have will be accessible through
the web in a 3-D format as is being done in a
number of institutions and being able to be
manipulated in a 3-D sort of way and perhaps also, viewed
through virtual reality goggles, so that objects aren’t,
you’re in the museum, you’ve got a museum plinth in front of you with nothing on it, but you
can call up objects virtually, but the object retains its
identity and importance, I think. – Yeah, I don’t think it’s
gonna be a survivor situation, like who’re you gonna vote off the island? It will be a complimentary theme, but at the same time, I mean, again, being a national museum,
it’s not based in Canberra and having a national remit and an international remit to some degree. Obviously, digital is gonna be important and, I mean, sometimes a
physical experience is horrible. I mean, go and see the Mona Lisa. You’re not having a
great experience there. You’re probably having a
better experience online than you would at that physical place, so I think it’s a very exciting time for educators and for museums because there’s so much
that we could be doing. It’s just a matter of now figuring out, well, what’s the best
platforms to do that on and it’s getting much cheaper and easier, so yeah, it’s gonna be interesting. – Well, thank you very much. I didn’t appreciate we had
an international audience, but (laughs) to our friends
in New Zealand, kia ora. So, thank you for your
presentations today. Clearly, we’re only scratching the surface and we could spend so much
longer discussing all of this. Really fantastic work being carried out in our national cultural institutions and the many benefits that flow from that. So, I thank you all for
your attendance here today and online and if we’re gonna steal a line from a great Australian,
do yourself a favor and visit a national cultural
institution this weekend or if you can’t get there
in person, do it online. You won’t be disappointed. Thank you very much. (audience applauds)

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