Sunday, November 30, 2008

Reflections on the Kete Community Meeting

Wow - home at last ... what a week. Exhilarating, stimulating, fulfilling, inspiring and most of all satisfying. Just spent the week in Auckland: 2 days of Kete Community Day meetings, then down to the lovely folk of Paeroa for a couple of days before 'filling up' at the second day only (alas) of the 2008 National Digital Forum.

Kete Community Day
This was a gentle and productive couple of days. We had 16 - 20 people in attendance, representing the big CPF funded projects plus Digital NZ and APN, both of which represent big partners in the Kete project, plus a team from Hamilton.

We all shared where were up to and it is absoutely clear that we must document or keep a register of what enhancements are underway. Too often people were thinking about what they'd like to see developed when Walter was already doing it.

Open source model
I fell in love with Open Source as a development model all over again too. I love the way that a bunch of people have funded so many enhancements over the last 12 months - all of which have been given back to the project. It is a very cost effective, and mutually beneficial way to develop cool stuff.

The spirit of this Kete Comunity is pretty cool... we have always said that we need a strong community to nurture the project and to focus not on what we have now - but what could be. The project needs many brains and skill sets.

Pronouncing Kete.
Many, many thanks to Maatakiri for teaching us how to pronounce KETE correctly. She has posted a good tutorial here.

I have also come away feeling that the governance issue will be addressed. We need a governance structure that will define and defend the Kete project, selecting which enhancements will become part of the main trunk to keep Kete focussed. We want to make sure that great ideas are not lost through lack of funding, and it may be that various models like collaboration and sponsoring are looked at. A working group will investigate options over the next six months in consultation with the Kete community. as the communication channel is the place where we will share what we know or are thinking. Participate in any way you like, whether initaiating conversations, joining discussion, working collaboratively or just asking questions.

Other Kete
I didn't know how many Kete there are now! It is really inspiring to see how other people have configured their installations, especially overseas Kete... I know there are Kete developments in the Gulf region, and ditto in China and America. Who are these people and what are their projects and what can we share? Kete Horowhenua is for a really small population (30,000) , so I'd love to hear how Orlando Memory is getting on with their population of 1 million people. And how are people finding moderation options? We have no moderation - but it can be turned on. Does that hinder contributions?

Themes Repository
Themes too, are an area that we talked about at the Kete Day, and I really hope that people will load theirs into the repository for others to be inspired by. Maybe you have an enthusiatic bod on the staff who likes designing skins - we'd love their help!

Promoting Kete in local community
I am so happy with the work that Smita and her team are doing in Hamilton getting their Kete ready for launch in mid Dcember. Smita is so enthusiastic and that brings me to another wiki we should develop: "101 Ways to promote Kete in your community" . This should sit alongside the "How Can classes use Kete?" conversation which has been developing on over the last few weeks.

Digital NZ
The Digital NZ launch this week is a big moment for the Kete Project. Kete Horowhenua has turned on OAI-PHM (hope thats right ..) and Digital NZ harvest metadata from Kete Horowhenua to sit alongside the collections of National Library, Te Papa, National Archives etc. This was exactly what we hoped would happen with Kete: getting the informal, community created content sitting alongside the formal content.

I can just about retire now ... my work here is almost done!

Paeroa Museum, Past Perfect and Kete.
After the Kete Community meeting I headed down to Paeroa Museum and spent the afternoon working with their team and helping identify ways to work more efficiently. I led a training day where I talked about Past Perfect. PP is a collection management system for local history organisations and museums. I love it - just love it. And NZ has a big body of Past Perfect clients. What I find interesting is that there is no sales representation down here for PP - it markets itself entirely through word of mouth.... speaks volumes about the quality of the product and the service that is delivered out of the States.

Anyway, it was a very hard group to work with. Included people who have never used it before, to beginner users to quite experienced users. Note to self for next time: run it in two groups. What happened was I couldn't keep everyone happy and probably made no one entirely happy! Crique forms were really positive but I was aware I was struggling at times. I have had a beautiful powerpoint to deliver, all orderly and indexed and sequential with lots of examples and demonstrations but the delivery did not happen quite as planned. Its a real dilemma as to whether to explore questions and issues as they arise, and dip into a different series of slides, or to plough through rigidly and hope people remember their questions....

Anyway, my point here - and I do have one - is that I spent a good chunk of time talking about various means which are available for these 13 different museums, archives and local history orgnisations to get their records online - at minimal cost to themselves. We talked about NZMuseums, Past Perfect's Virtual Exhibit, Past Perfect Online hosting service (excellent) and of course my personal favourite - Kete.

My vision is that someone in the Waikato - Hauraki region (Hamilton City Libraries as the lead agency maybe?) invites all of these gorgeous little local history organisations (and maybe art galleries etc) who are already running Past Perfect, to upload their records into a big regional Kete. It can be down - quite easily. Walter imported all the records from the Horowhenua and Foxton Historical Societies collection into Kete Horowhenua, which has now been harvested by Digital NZ ... and required no additional work by the organisations themselves.

Anyway .. those are my thoughts. Off to the Christmas parade shortly... my show-pony children have all managed to get themselves onto a float in the parade so I shall go and take photos and stick them on Kete!

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