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Presentation for Information Awareness Month 2010 "Archives Outside: a case study in blogging"
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Presentation for Information Awareness Month 2010 "Archives Outside: a case study in blogging"


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Presented at the "Reference & Access in the Digital Age” Seminar held on 12 May for Information Awareness Month 2010. The seminar was co-hosted by the NSW branch of the Australian Society of …

Presented at the "Reference & Access in the Digital Age” Seminar held on 12 May for Information Awareness Month 2010. The seminar was co-hosted by the NSW branch of the Australian Society of Archivists (ASA) and the ASA Reference Access and Public Program Special Interest Group (RAPPSIG)

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  • Archives Outside - A Meeting Place for People who Manage Archival Collections
  • Most themes can be used straight out of the box but with a little coding knowledge you can also modify templates to suit your needs. The Wordpress forums also provide plenty of assistance with this.
  • Transcript

    • 1. Archives Outside : A Case Study in Blogging Anthea Brown & Fiona Sullivan blog url:
    • 2. Information Awareness Month May 2010
      • Our presentation at the “Reference & Access in the Digital Age” Seminar held on 12 May
        • hosted by the  NSW Branch of the Australian Society of Archivists (ASA)  and the  ASA Reference Access and Public Program Special Interest Group (RAPPSIG)
        • the seminar focused on the impact of digitisation and other digital initiatives on archival reference and  access in the 21 st  century.
    • 3.  
    • 4. This presentation looks at:
      • the practical aspects of developing the blog
      • its promotion
      • developing online content, and
      • lessons learned during our first year
    • 5. History of State Records online
      • Website
      • Online since 1997 –
      • Consistently ranks in the Top 50 Government websites
      • Ranks in the Top 5 Government websites visited by over-55 year olds (2007 Hitwise Report)
    • 6. History of State Records online
      • Stepping into Web 2.0
      • June 2008 - Flickr account created to showcase our photographic collection to an infinitely wider audience than our website could ever attract -
        • Instant hit with regular comments from Flickr friends who love to identify unknown locations or dates of our images.
    • 7. History of State Records online
      • Followed our Flickr success with:
      • YouTube -
      • Slideshare -
      • Twitter -
      • Facebook -
    • 8. Why a blog?
      • Increasing State Records online presence
        • a natural addition to this growing trend of the use of Social Media
        • With the exception of Twitter, most of these Web 2.0 tools are directed to the public - to researchers and users of our collection but not necessarily to our peers. The Archives Outside blog fills that gap
    • 9.
    • 10.
      • 2. Obligation under the State Records Act, 1998
        • S.66 (1) (c) to advise on and foster the preservation of the archival resources of the State, whether public or private
      Why a blog?
    • 11. Why a blog?
        • The format of a blog, as a two-way dialogue, is an efficient form of outreach. Rather than a visitor simply reading something and moving on, on a blog a visitor can leave feedback and opinions to us and to other participants. Even guest post.
    • 12. How did we do it?
    • 13. How did we do it?
    • 14.
      • In-house setup using Wordpress as the blog platform
      How did we do it?
    • 15.
      • There are tons of free themes to choose from at
      • If you decide to do this in-house it’s wise to have a rough idea of the look you want so you don’t get swamped with options
      • Most themes can be used straight out of the box but with a little coding knowledge you can also modify templates to suit your needs
      • The Wordpress forums provide plenty of assistance
      Choose a theme
    • 16.  
    • 17. Choose a free theme
    • 18. Add content
      • Tip: create your content before you create your blog
    • 19. Add content
      • We added a variety of posts to entice potential subscribers
      • Tip: don’t overwhelm your readers with too many posts all at once
        • Our one main goal was, and still is, to post to at least once a week. Maybe twice.
    • 20.
    • 21. Play nice /
    • 22. How long did the set-up take?
      • We spent a month or so getting our content ready before we presented it to managers.
      • This worked well in terms of the blog being indexed by ‘internet search bots’ - from setting up the blog, adding content and presenting it to mangers and then to staff, it was starting to pop up in search results and gain an audience outside of State Records.
    • 23. How did we promote the new blog?
      • Staff were very enthusiastic and supportive about Archives Outside and before we knew it, it was being promoted by staff at various meetings and in publications
      • Use State Records website
      • Set up Twitter account to ‘auto tweet’ new posts
      • Add post links to Facebook
      • Contribute articles to the State Records e-newsletter Now&Then
        • we saw web traffic go from a trickle to gaining subscribers and regular visitors
    • 24. Promote Image by fredcavzza
    • 25. More reasons to blog
      • Another great bonus of this blog environment is that Wordpress has a ‘scheduling’ option. Which means we can go on leave but the blog will continue to publish our pre-drafted posts!
    • 26. Take advantage of blog widgets
      • Incorporate other social media initiatives on sidebar
        • Flickr photostream
        • YouTube content (there has been)
        • Twitter feed
        • bookmarks
        • Subscriber options (RSS feeds also include specifically tagged photos from our Flickr photostream)
        • Current polls
        • Popular posts…etc etc
    • 27.  
    • 28. Strategy Image supplied by -
    • 29. Strategy
      • Step 1 - Identifying the audience
        • Target groups
          • Peers – archivists, records managers, community groups managing archival collections.
          • Not family history oriented (much information already online)
      • Step 2 – What did we want to do?
        • Promote archival collections,
        • have a web 2.0 presence for State Records Regional Repositories,
        • discuss professional issues and
        • provide information about the care and management of archives for community groups and members of the public.
    • 30. Strategy
      • Step 3 – Planning?
        • We had a broad concept of what we wanted the blog to be, however, we didn’t have a detailed plan.
        • We knew we wanted to try and develop certain types of posts
        • We were committed to posting once a week.
      • Step 4 – When to start?
        • Decided not to wait for every “I” to be dotted and “t” to be crossed and just jump in and see what happened!
    • 31. Policy – did we or didn’t we?
      • State Records didn’t have a Social Media policy when we started so in a sense we were operating without one.
      • However, as an organisation we do have a policy and a culture that dictates how we interact with clients and to a large extent this is what we transferred to the blog.
      Image supplied by morgerg -
    • 32. Setting the tone
      • We decided to use our own names for posting and commenting which was a bit of a departure for us as an organisation. We felt we couldn’t expect other people to post or comment if we weren’t prepared to do so ourselves.
      • Be personal, friendly, responsive, engaging, jargon-free, helpful, useful, post regularly
      • Be collaborative & co-operative – strive for a Web 2.0 mental space
      Image supplied by morgerg -
    • 33. Set boundaries
      • We defined type of content and
      • decided what we would and wouldn’t do for people contacting us through the blog.
        • When appropriate we refer to other sections of the organisation.
      • Comments are moderated.
      Image supplied by morgerg -
    • 34. Call in the experts
      • We don’t consider ourselves to be the experts and there is a permanent call out for “guest posts”
      • Are you interested?
      Image supplied by morgerg -
    • 35. Developing content
      • Experimented with types of content
        • The “Can you date” photograph series is consistently the most popular
        • Conservation tips consistently used
        • Mix up the content - long/short posts
        • Be adventurous - e.g. “A Day in the Life of” series
        • Guest posts from community archives
        • Regional Repositories post regular articles.
        • Collaborative advice posts - handwriting, dating old photographs, digital cameras in the reading room
        • Least successful posts have been the polls.
    • 36. Developing content
    • 37. Collaborative Support Network – Thankyou! Image supplied by Luc Legay -
    • 38. Collaborative support network
      • A major key to the blogs success is the collaborative support network that has contributed to it through promotion, contribution and participation.
        • State Records NSW management
        • Staff
        • Regional Repository Members
        • Guest Posters
        • Commenters
        • Subscribers
    • 39. Lessons Learnt
      • Being ourselves online
      • Write for the web
      • Experiment
      • Go with the flow – a “hot” issue won’t wait for you
      • Having a team is great
      • Adapt levels of assistance
      • We’re still learning!
    • 40. Be prepared to work outside the box
    • 41. Thank you Image supplied by Luc Legay -