Edinburgh Libraries
Creating and sharing content
Creating and sharing to build
better communities
Greenside Youth Club, by Wm. Ewing
Smith, 1958
Our Town Stories - map
Creating & sharing content @ Tales of One City / Graham Mainds, Edinburgh City Libraries
Creating & sharing content @ Tales of One City / Graham Mainds, Edinburgh City Libraries
Creating & sharing content @ Tales of One City / Graham Mainds, Edinburgh City Libraries
Creating & sharing content @ Tales of One City / Graham Mainds, Edinburgh City Libraries
Creating & sharing content @ Tales of One City / Graham Mainds, Edinburgh City Libraries
Creating & sharing content @ Tales of One City / Graham Mainds, Edinburgh City Libraries
Creating & sharing content @ Tales of One City / Graham Mainds, Edinburgh City Libraries
Creating & sharing content @ Tales of One City / Graham Mainds, Edinburgh City Libraries
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Creating & sharing content @ Tales of One City / Graham Mainds, Edinburgh City Libraries


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Graham Mainds describes how the use of social media has transformed Edinburgh City Libraries relationship with the citizens of Edinburgh. Presented at the 6th annual Metadata & Web 2.0 seminar organised by the Cataloguing and Indexing Group in Scotland, held at the National Library of Scotland, 21 June 2013

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  • Thanks very much for inviting me along today.
  • In late 2011 / early 2012 Edinburgh Libraries undertook a consultation exercise with the people of Edinburgh over the future of Library services. Over 10 000 people took part – one of the highest ever response rates for a public consultation by CEC I think we can take a couple things from this huge response: That people in Edinburgh feel a sense of ownership of, and pride in, their library service That they felt they would be listened to, that taking part in a consultation like this was a good use of their time As a result of the consultation feedback planned changes to weekend opening hours were amended, and priorities for investment were identified – so you could argue that this belief was justified I thought this was a good place to start this talk for this reason. In local govenrment we talk a lot about community engagement. We also use terms like partnership working and we also talk about social media. (lot) But what’s the point of community engagement, partnership working, social media….
  • Well a big part of it is about creating and sharing content and information what we in Edinburgh Libraries are trying to do with something like that consultation exercise is to encourage the community to interact with our services in order to improve them . Encouraging the creation and sharing of content and information to create a better library service yes, but also, ultimately, to create better communities What I want to do in the rest of this talk is tell you some stories about other ways we’ve done this. We’ll look at social media, we’ll talk a little about metadata, but we’ll go off in many other directions as well, and I hope you’ll find these interesting and useful.
  • Start with an example from our Heritage collections. Heritage is defined by Unesco as ‘our legacy from the past, what we live with today, and what we pass on to future generations” This is CC the online image library for Edinburgh Libraries and Museums and Galleries. Originally launched in 2008. New site launched this year. Our plan is not to digitise everything. Purpose of a site like this is to raise awareness of the collections through added value. See the Japanese artwork in the right hand corner. We have some amazing Japanese artwork within our collections, including a 44 ft long illustrated scroll from 18 th century. We don’t have a lot of experts on 18 th centrury Japanese art within our staff so we’ve worked in partnership with Museums and Universities to help understand our collections better and put them in context. Another way we’ve enlisted help of the community with regard to our heritage collections: When we started digitising and cataloguing our prints and photographs we realised many of the images had been mounted using sticky tape. In some cases the glue was starting to mark the image. Around 80% of our collection was affected - approx 80 000 items – many more than we could ever afford to have conserved by a professional. Fortunately the glue had not yet seeped through to the image on most of the items but we needed to take action quickly. So we approached Helen Creasey from the Scottish Conservation Studio for advice. Helen showed us a relatively low-tech method for removing the glue from the items. We then recruited 21 volunteers from the Edinburgh Decorative and Fine Arts Society and trained them how to do this. So far they’ve got through about 5000 prints, helping save our collection for future generations. Another example of people interacting with the service in order to improve it.
  • Here’s another - Crowdsouring. Sometimes we will come across images that we’d love to digitise but which present us with some challenges. These are a couple of images from a collection of photographs of 1950s Greenside. As you can see these are fantastic images, we were desperate to get them on to Capital Collections, but we had no idea who took them. So what we did is we put an appeal our on facebook, not only on our library pages but on other pages like the ‘Lost Edinburgh ‘ page which has ten of thousands of followers and through this we did in fact identify the photographer. Sadly William Ewing Smith, the gentleman who took these photos, had died but we did get in touch with his widow who kindly gave us permission to upload the images to Capital Collections. She also gave us some invaluable background information about them.
  • The picture on the left is from Capital Collections, Newhaven fishwives 1847, David Octavius Hill and Robert Adamson The image on the right is schoolchildren from Victoria Primary School in Newhaven. For a history project they recreated their favourite pictures of Newhaven fisherfolk from Capital Collections. When we heard about this we thought this is great and we actually ended up uploading the modern day pictures alongside the originals on Capital collections. But these sort of school projects got us to thinking, how can we repurpose our Heritage collections to appeal to particular audiences. And so, Whose Town was born
  • Whose Town is interactive resource for schools Children discover Edinburgh’s past by exploring the lives of fourteen real people who lived in Edinburgh at different points between 1850 and 1950. A personal archive is collected in a digital box, one for each person. All the content matches the outcomes of CFE, a wealth of support materials for teachers but above all it’s fun to use . If you’d like to know more I have leaflets and CDRoms you can take away As you can imagine, Whose Town has been a huge success. So we thought why should the kids have all the fun – can’t we do something like this for everyone else?
  • And so we came up with our town stories, where we repurposed material in order to tap into the huge interest in local and family history. As you can see the home page has links to capital collections and our electronic resources such as Ancestry.com which you can use for free in any public library But the main focus of the site is on material from our collections that we’ve taken and used to create new and innovative content . Let’s look at some examples
  • Everyone like maps don’t they? Here we’ve taken a map of Edinburgh from 1908 and laid it over a current plan of the city centre What you can do with our town stories is fade the maps in and out to see how a particular area of the city has changed over time. The pins on the map all relate to other content on the site including text and photographs.
  • Brings us to most popular feature of the site… Then and now” photographs placed a historic image from our collection on to a contemporary image Having a very talented and very patient photographer on the team obviously helps
  • Brought images and maps together in stories , putting our collection in a context of time and place This one is Greyfriars Bobby Developed a number of other stories UNESCO Edinburgh City of Literature - Literary History Museum of Fire – history of firefighting in Edinburgh Bessie Watson 9 year old suffragette – Evening News picked up on this More to come - lots of interest from schools as well as adult learners groups and other organisations and individuals (Dean Village reunion, audio, video) If you can think of any yourself we’ve love to hear from you Great example of working together with people to improve services – this is stuff we can’t do on our own
  • This is Emily. Emily is one of five Readers in Residence in Scottish Libraries funded by Scottish Book Trust and Creative Scotland. Talented writer, experienced social networker, local resident who has done a lot to increase the profile of Leith Library both online and in the community. Always useful in any organisation for someone from the outside to come in and say hey this is fanstastic people need to know about this – so as well as Emily learning about our services we have also learned from her about how to have an impact on social media for example. Been involved in loads in the time she’s been there. Projects include teddy bear sleepover, went on her holidays to New york and ended up getting a guest blogger from NYPL on leith library blog. We’ve got teenagers in Leith sharing podcast with teenagers in New York Picture above is a clue from a treasure hunt, where local children (and their mums and dads it has to be said) used Our Town Stories to solve a series of clues in order to win prizes. Part of the idea is that once Emily’s one year residence comes to an end this won’t just fizzle out, she’s helping put in place procedures so that this work will continue and of course through social media she’s got various community groups involved who are helping to shape the neighbourhood library service Since Emily’s been there membership has gone up in the library by 15% and we now get 90 babies at bookbug (maybe just something in the water...)
  • The lady in the red dress Luisa Plaja, author of ‘Diary of a Mall girl’ at Glitz Lit event Glitz Lit is our reading campaign for teenage girls. The project was initially launched in response to the revelation that 79% of young people from deprived areas in Scotland were not reaching expected literacy levels by Standard grade age.  There’s research to show that while a generation ago teenage girls would be naming books like 1984 as their all time favourite, this generation would be more likely to go for something like the very hungry caterpillar. Extremely worrying. The Glitz Lit campaign was devised in order to connect with teenage girls in Sighthill and Ratho libraries and to encourage reading for pleasure. Over the last year the project has continued to grow and they are now regularly interacting with around 60 teens a month.  It’s gone beyond the four walls of the library: Direct contact with authors – like Luisa - on twitter. Skype author interviews, getting the girls to produce their own content (e.g. book trailers) and interact with books and authors in a way that would have been unimaginable a few years ago. And the point is that using social media like this is normal to these girls. They’ve never known anything else. For them this isn’t new or radical or different, it’s how they live. But maybe the issue is that for older generations this stuff is new, it is different, it is radical, it’s not ‘how we’ve always done things’ – and that’s a problem we have to address and I think Glitz Lit is doing this, and doing it brilliantly.
  • These are a few of the successes we have had, I’d like to spend the next few moments talking about possible future developments This is Your Edinburgh, our online portal to community information across the whole of the city. It is the place to find information about activities, groups and societies in Edinburgh. It includes hyperlocal information alongside entries for National Organisations, E.g. Homelessness – CEC information, local orgs like Bethany Christian trust and national orgs like shelter scotland and useful web sites Develop this further - mobile version of the site to take advantage of the localized data and to make Your Edinburgh more accessible to people on the go. giving contributors ownership of their own information. Quick and easy for organisations to add new entries or to edit their existing ones whenever the need arises. (Another e.g. of Creating and sharing content – communities getting involved in our services in order to improve them)
  • Next, right back to basics, this is the library catalogue. It’s our most heavily used online resource, it’s our core service, and it’s years behind where it needs to be. Our users are used to sites like amazon ,they’re used to: ‘ you might also like’ suggestions Share buttons for posting a page like this straight to twitter or facebook Reviews submitted by their peers They might also expect to be able to reserve a set of books for their book group online, get email alerts when a new book by their favourite author is added to stock. How about linking author visits to their catalogue entry so when someone is searching for a book by a particular author they are automatically alerted to the fact that they can book online to see them at the library (LUISA) At the moment they can’t do any of this. This is something we are very conscious of, and it’s something we want to fix. The good news is that we are making some progress. You can see on the right of the page that users can create and share book lists on the catalogue, they can also give books star ratings, and users will soon have the ability to post reviews.
  • Leading on from this, the library catalogue is a key feature of the Edinburgh Library app There is enormous potential here. Libraries, like everyone else, really have to start thinking more seriously about how we deliver services on mobile devices and reverse the current process where we tend to start of thinking in terms of desktop and then adapting for mobile --- and move towards a position of mobile by default. There are implications here for most of the stuff we’ve looked at over the last few minutes, how about a Capital Collections App, a Whose town app, and what about augmented reality? That’s a whole other talk… We’re also interested in epublishing . The image on the right is by a local artist called Eilidh Muldoon. One of 12 master of fine art illustration students from Edinburgh College of Art who were asked to create a piece of work inspired by central library or the works within it. As well as hosting the physical exhibition we also put the images together and published them as an ebook available for loan through our ebook lending service. This is something with lots of potential e.g. local history: Our Town Stories material that might come in CEC as a whole also starting to think about APIs - looking at how we can open up access to our data and how people might want to use it. I think there’s a lot of potential here, that it’s very exciting, but it’s no different in principle to all the other stuff we’ve looked at in terms of it’s all about encouraging our users to interact with our services in order to improve them . Creating and sharing content
  • I thought this would be a nice slide to finish with – tweets we came across over a period of a few weeks talking about our services and what people think of them It’s all very well me standing here telling you how wonderful Edinburgh Libraries are, but I think it’s more helpful to let our users speak for themselves Not spoken too much or too explicity about specific social media platforms or how we market our services, but what these tweets show is that as well as helping us improve our services, people are also helping us market them through word of mouth Reading through some of these tweets takes us right back to what I said at the beginning when I talked about our public consultation: - about people in Edinburgh being proud of their library service about feeling a sense of ownership of it. I hope that over the course of the last few minutes I’ve gone some way towards demonstrating that this is something that we as a library service recognise, value and act upon. Thanks for listening.
  • Creating & sharing content @ Tales of One City / Graham Mainds, Edinburgh City Libraries

    1. 1. Edinburgh Libraries Creating and sharing content @talesofonecity
    2. 2. Creating and sharing to build better communities @talesofonecity
    3. 3. Greenside Youth Club, by Wm. Ewing Smith, 1958
    4. 4. video
    5. 5. #ourtownstories
    6. 6. Our Town Stories - map
    7. 7. www.ourtownstories.co.uk
    8. 8. @leithlibrary
    9. 9. @glitzlit