Archive for November, 2010

The National Broadband Network

The Communications Policy & Research Forum 2010 was held the other week which saw a number of papers presented on the future of media and communications industry. My main interest was hearing the discussions surrounding the impact of social media on information exchange in government departments and between journalists. But it a the paper on the NBN by Paul Brooks called Possibilities and pitfalls of universal competitive broadband which is the main subject of this post.

According to Brooks’ the Federal Government’s NBN project , launched in April 2009, is expected to deliver optic cable to 93% of Australia and wireless and satellite to the remaining 7% by 2017. This network, expected to cost 43 billion dollars, is a wholesale only endeavour and as such is providing the infrastructure between the provider and the user but not the services.

Some of the benefits of the NBN are clear, current ADSL service slows down after 1km while fibre maintains full speed for up to 40 km and this means less transmitters and infrastructure cost. The up-stream speeds for ADSL are 1-2 megabits per second Mbps) while fibre optic cable can handle 100 to 1000 Mbps and can be upgraded to take even more data.

Fibre optic is also 1:1 symmetric which enables up-load and down-load speeds to be equal, this allows users to trust their services are capable of handling commercial business transactions, like hosting video conference without falling over.

The other point Brooks was clear to point out was that the NBN was limited to the infrastructure which supported end users and commercial service providers. The intent of the NBN is to sell access to the service, probably in the first instance to large wholesale companies who will then on-sell the services to thousands of new providers opening up a new realm of opportunities for business, and government agencies.

Aside from laying the cable the NBN will also install a box in every home, and these currently have four Ethernet and two PSTN ports. This will allow users to choose more than one provider, the example Brooks used was a person with an account with one provider could simultaneously test the services from another to compare services. While people will be able to hook up multiple devices such as a TV feed, a computer, and telephone Brooks also pointed out that people are currently using one device, the router, to service a number of devices around the home. The only problem with this current arrangement is that routers will need to be updated to take advantage of the four ports as currently they only have one connection out to the rest the world.

Personally I’m looking forward to the rollout of the NBN and the multitude of new options it will bring, especially for government funded bodies. Hospital & Community services; ABC and SBS feeds of interactive content; digital radio; video coferencing and educational content accessed by every house in Australia. Given its going to be up to us to populate this space it’s certainly an exciting time to be thinking about how we might integrate these new services and change the way we currently work.


CAN GLAM Sector News 18 Nov 23 Nov 2010

News from our @Can001 twitter feed

Where do good ideas come from? 1-6 • Ideas don’t come from watching television • Ideas sometimes come from listening to a lecture • Ideas often come while reading a book • Good ideas come from bad ideas, but only if there are enough of them • Ideas hate conference rooms, particularly conference rooms where there is a history of criticism, personal attacks or boredom • Ideas occur when dissimilar universes collide – I thought Seth Godin’s list of was a good way to start this weeks CAN news update there are more at

Geocommons – this is an amazing development and probably my pick of the week as far as occupying my time. This is an online repository of all kinds of database which you can add in layers to make up your own geo-coded maps. I made up a quick one on Museum Attendance Europe 2008 at and I am working on one for Locations of GLAM sector in Australia which will be great if I can get it to work.

Turing Papers a few weeks back I posted a link to Christie’s auction of these papers and on Tuesday Google announced it was contributing $100,000 to help Bletchley Park acquire them.

The British Library announces its adopt a book program

The Portable Film Festival, an online film festival

Herbarium Information Systems Committee meeting in Christchurch NZ. Agenda and evolving meeting notes

Australian Government funding for schools —the first comprehensive government appraisal of school funding since the early 1970s. In 2009, the Australian Government restructured its funding for schools, particularly for government schools, as a result of a new federal financial relations framework established by the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) through the Intergovernmental Agreement on Federal Financial Relations.

Sad News – fire destroys the Western Australian Town of Claremont library and council offices in Perth

Congratulations to Perth Zoo Category 1 Major Tourist Attraction Gold Medal, Western Australian Museum Geraldton & Silver medal WA Tourism. Category 2 Tourist Attractions Western Australian Museum – Geraldton

iPhone Photography Accessories – mainly tripods etc.

Crash Course in Social Media for Community Engagement: 50 Tools and Methodologies slide show

Evolving Face of Community Care NSW Conference Sydney 2 May 2011

Position Vacant – HEAD OF CREATIVE LEARNING – Museum of Contemporary Art MCA – Sydney

Position Vacant – Director- Human Resources – Department of Culture & the Arts – Perth×7tglh

Job – Curator Role at RMITs Design Hub Melbourne –


Institute of Museum and Library Services selects 5 US libraries and 5 US museums for the 2010 National Medal see what they are up to at

Australian National Data Service cranking up –

The History of Social Media:

Join designer Orla Kiely as she discusses the inspirations behind her vibrant pattern designs. Fri 3 Dec, 7-8.45pm.

Interested in TV drama and doco funding? See Screen Australia’s new draft blueprint for funding

EXHIBITION: Annie Leibovitz – A Photographer’s Life, starts today @ MCA

Calling contemporary musicians who want to get a little experimental – Soundclash grants close 6 December

H.P. Lovecraft meets TINTIN?

The Nature of Connectedness on the Web

Art-youth-culture report and Arts Council response

A competition for urban photographers: HHT is running a competition with a Nikon D3100 up for grabs:

AUSTRALIAN ANTIQUARIAN BOOK FAIR was on 23 24 25 Nov Melbourne

University of technology Sydney – Design ’10 Exhibition showcases the…

Scientist Fenner dies aged 95


CAN GLAM Sector News 3 Nov 17 Nov 2010


More news from our @Can001 twitter feed

Australian Major Performing Arts report Securing the Future 2002 –2009 download released

Position Vacant – Te Papa Museum – NZ – Technology Solutions Engineer –

Position Vacant – Te Papa NZ – Manager Exhibition Maintenance and Installation

Provenance Journal Article – The Demise of Bicycle George: A Life of Crime by Kirstie Close

Provenance Journal Article – Patient casebooks from 19thC Asylums inc Kew Hospital for the Insane – by Catharine Coleborne

This is really amazing Every bus stop, train station, ferry port and taxi rank in Britain mapped and tagged

Historian Simon Schama’s vision for history in schools posted –

Interesting use of splash page on Westbury library web site 5 top trends in web design

National Museums Scotland website – HTML5 structured semantically for meaning of content blog

List of winners from the 2010 SCREEN MUSIC AWARDS

Books – released this week include, A History of the Internet and the Digital Future, Ryan, Johnny, 2010 – No Shelf Required: E-Books in Libraries, ed. by Sue Polanka – Studio Secrets: Millinery, Ramousse, Estelle & Fabienne Gambrelle. 2010 – The Simon & Kirby Superheroes, Simon, Joe & Kirby Jack, 2010

Australian Centre for the Moving Image – Posted 11 November – 1 week til Disney ‘Dreams Come True’ exhibition opens.

Apple adds special education section to App Store:

Two examples of Museum Village interpretation plans

National Photographic Portrait Prize deadline was the 12 November

Some discussion this week on archiving tweets. Can uses twapper keeper

Smithsonian Museums – November 12 – Responds to Deficit Commission’s Recommendation on imposing admission fees to recoup money – these would be the first in the Smithsonian’s 164 year history. There comments on the recommendations can be found at

Regan Forrest submitted her write-up Interpretation Australia National Symposium

Melbourne Museum – 480,879 visitors to the Titanic Exhibition

National Film and Sound Archive – The only known moving images of the 1915 campaign at Gallipoli

Australian Taxation Office (ATO) – phone service available for non-profit sector

National Library of Australia – posted oral history interviews with forgotten Australians and Former Child Migrants.

Winners of the Powerhouse Museum Amped hack day challenge Andrea Lau & Jack Zhao interviewed

Interesting release of source code for Cooper Hewitt Museum of Design web site to public

Government 2.0 – Presenters slides from the recent conference posted at

Who owns Antarctica graphic

Google releases Hotpot – places recommendation engine that allows reviews through Google profiles

Had a re-visit to UNESCO’s The Australian Memory of the World Register this week and immediately thought a few more items that might warrant submission.

Good idea from the U.S. – a Plain Writing Act of 2010

Position Vacant – Education & Public Programs Officer Hawkesbury Regional Gallery and Museum –

Position Vacant – Director National Motor Museum – ADELAIDE HILLS –

Position Vacant – Studio co-ordinator Australian Museum –

Liz Pidgeon – Rising from the Ashes. DVD about Black Saturday fires about to be processed for local history collections at YPRL

MCA Sydney – Director Liz Ann has just been elected to the #CIMAM Board, the International Council of Museums.

The Desktop Guide for Covering Science booklet was released this week. Is is “aimed both at the reporters on science, health and environment rounds, and also at general reporters who’d like to get the science right.” You can look at the booklet and read it online but need to register to download, that being said there are also lots of helpful tips you can access from this page. Advice from former New York Times and Washington Post science reporter Boyce Rensberger:
• Science demands evidence, and some forms of evidence are worth more than others are. A scientist’s authority should command attention but, in the absence of evidence, not belief.
• There is no one scientific method, but all good science includes elaborate procedures to discover and avoid biases that might mislead.
• Uncertainty is a sign of honest science and reveals a need for further research before reaching a conclusion. Cutting edge science is highly uncertain and often flat-out wrong.
• The pace of science, despite the hype, is usually slow, not fast. Breakthroughs are never the result of one experiment.
• Balanced coverage of science does not mean giving equal weight to both sides of an argument. It means apportioning weight according to the balance of evidence.
• Virtually all new technologies pose risks along with benefits. Thus “safe” and effective,” whether applied to drugs or new devices or processes, are always relative terms. It is irrational to ask whether something is safe or not. Nothing is 100 percent safe. Policy decisions involving science must balance risks and benefits.
• Journalists and scientists espouse similar goals. Both seek truth and want to make it known. Both devote considerable energy to guard against being misled. Both observe a discipline of verifying information. Both insist that society allow them freedom to pursue investigations wherever they lead. Neither requires licensure or approval of an outside authority to practice its craft.
• News organisations usually invest too much importance in a scientific development and not nearly enough in the broader trends.


CAN GLAM Sector News 28 Oct–3 Nov 2010


The Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC) was established on 1 November 2010 by the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner Act 2010 and they have published a paper ‘Towards an Australian Government Information Policy – Issues Paper which is worth a read.

Regional Australians have new opportunities to participate in hands-on arts and cultural activities that explore community issues through their local festival. Minister for the Arts announces Festival Australia funding for 37 new community festivals. Find out more . Arts Minister Simon Crean said local Festivals are opportunities for communities to come together to have fun, and also to share and participate in cultural and artistic experiences. Today I am announcing $540,000 from the Festivals Australia program for 37 new and diverse festivals projects that range from career development for young Indigenous hip hop performers, workshops for singers and songwriters, MP3 guides to community art spaces, and shopping trolley art works that raise awareness of homelessness.

UNESCO-Aschberg is offering bursaries for young Artists with the deadlines ending Nov: Residencies in different arts disciplines available in countries around the world for artists aged 25-35. Residencies offered in Asia and Europe include:
• Visual Arts at Changdong National Art Studio, Korea
• Visual Arts & Creative Writing at Sanskriti Pratishthan, India
• Visual Arts & Design at Camac, France
• Visual Arts & Writing at Civitella Ranieri Centre, Italy
• Visual/ video arts, photography, architecture, animation at UNIDEE, Italy

The Australian Aviation Museum is featured in a new iphone app on Sydney Kids Activities by Nasda Studios

Museums Victoria has two positions advertised MV/6589 – Coordinator, Live Exhibits Grade 3; Value Range 2, This Vacancy is Full Time and Ongoing. Applications close: Wednesday 17 November 2010 ; MV/8027 – Senior Event Operations Coordinator Grade 3; Value Range 1 This Vacancy is Full Time and Ongoing Applications close: Monday 15 November 2010.

An interesting book – Electronic Business Revolution: Opportunities and Challenges in the 21st Century – by Peter Cunningham et al.

An interesting account of how Mosman Council has been using Social media can be found at

The CeBIT’s Gov 2.0 conference was also held and you can follow the tweets on this by using the #gov20cebit.

Sound Summit is looking for Festival Co-Directors on 2011 and 2012 festivals Monday 15th November 2010.

Some great coverage of Phar Lap’s Melbourne Cup win in 1930

World Wildlife Foundation posts 7 photos on Facebook in the album “20% of vertebrates (back-boned species) face extinction risk”

The State Library is hosting a free exhibition of original artwork by the revered poet, Kahlil Gibran, from 4 Dec 2010.

The South Australian Zoo saw the arrival of their long awaited Sea-lion pup. The first pictures

EveryBlock partner API goes online to provide access to the latest neighbourhood news 24/7 – across 16 cities Atlanta, Boston, Charlotte, Chicago, Dallas, Detroit, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, Philadelphia, Portland, San Francisco ,San Jose, Seattle, Washington,

Senator Kate Lundy was named one of the Top 10 People Who Are Changing the World of Internet and Politics & topped the top 10, winning the International eDemocracy Award at the World e.Gov Forum in Paris. Craig Thomler online director at the Department of Health and Ageing & runs a blog called eGov AU, and was also named. Charlotte Harper’s article

Archiving the Web: Papers from the International Web Archiving Workshop (Vienna 2010) has put some papers online although 1 link appears faulty the others include: Archiving web video – , Terminology Evolution Module for Web Archives , Archiving Data Objects using Web Feeds

The Powerhouse Museum have just completed WaterWorx their first in-gallery iPad interactive

To support the development of inclusive practices and opportunities for all people with a disability living in NSW, Accessible Arts has developed a Rural and Regional Engagement Strategy 2010-12

Australia Council appoints Anzarts for Australian Performing Arts Market scoping study

Release of the draft for the proposed new National Arts curriculum
Australia’s average online connection speed is 2.8 megabits per second (Mbps) ranking it 48th in the world according to the Akamai Report:
A fantastic interactive graphic illustrating the scale of the universe by Cary Huang & Michael Huang

South Australian Library & Information Network (SALIN) Committee wrote to tell us about the library infested with Zombies see Attack of the Zombrarians they even have their own calendar

Simon Collins wins the inaugural Hurstville Library St George Art Award.
An article on the end of textbooks as we know them

One less login – you can now sign up for Flickr using your Google Account!

The Smithsonian’s open source web development tools Omeka beta launches

A nice BBC story on Ludwig Koch, the man pioneered nature sound recording:

Paper from Victorian Competition and Efficiency Commission inquiry on Victorian tourism industry scopes public submissions


Australia’s 1st Petrol-Driven Lawn Mower – City of Canada Bay Museum

Mowhall Mower Canada Bay Museum

The story behind Lawrence Hall’s ‘Mowhall’ mower and Mervyn Richardson’s ‘Victa’

Lawrence Hall was a self-taught inventor who went on to become a Marine Engineer. In 1948, tired pushing a lawnmower around his mother’s lawn and around the grounds of the Cabarita Speedboat Club he set about finding an easier way to get the job done.

Using his engineering knowledge he set about building a motorised lawnmower. Using a disc from a plough, tin cans and steel pipe scraps he constructed a prototype powered by another of Hall’s inventions, a three-horsepower marine engine. In 1993 the Sydney Morning Herald interviewed his son Walter who claimed that “It was a heavy old monster and I nearly cut my foot off with it.”

But Walter also claims that this prototype of Hall’s ‘Mowhall’ mower, was used before Mervyn Victor Richardson’s ‘Victa’ mower was ever built. Richardson, who went on to be credited by most people for inventing Australia’s first petrol-engine rotary mower, started work on his ‘Victa’ mower in a garage in Concord in 1952.

Eventually the ‘Victa’ mower made Richardson a multi-millionaire but while many agree he deserved credit for his insight into the mower’s potential others, like Walter, also felt he copied the basic form and method of propulsion from Lawrence Hall’s “Mowhall” mower. The Hall family’s claim is backed up by John Longhurst who was a teenager apprenticed to Hall as a fitter and machinist around this time.

According to Longhurst, Merve Richardson, then an associate of Hall’s, visited the workshop one day when Hall was fitting his mower with a ’snorkel’ to prevent the engine being clogged with dust. After Merve commented on what a wonderful idea it was Hall proceeded to demonstrate how the mower could cut even the longest grass.

Eventually Richardson came up with the ‘Victa’ mower which was much lighter and more compact in design and which would go on to make millions. Hall’s ‘Mowhall’ mower while far less successful is arguably no less important to this great Australian story of invention. It is certainly rarer and this “Mowhall” mower has been on display in the Concord Heritage Society Museum since the 1980s, accompanied by a sign declaring it to be “the machine from which all modern mowers were copies”.

Concord Heritage Society Museum
Opening hours: Wednesdays and Saturdays, 10:00 am to 4:00 pm
1 Bent Street, Concord
Group visits by arrangement.
Admission FREE (donations welcome)

Post from Lois Michel, Concord Historical Society


Arts & Culture in Australia: Statistical Overview (Part 1)

Keyboard, photograph by Geoff Barker, 2010

On the 19 October the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) published its 8th Australian Bureau of Statistics report on Arts and Culture in Australia. Drawn from a range of sources, including the CAN-Partners list of Museums and Galleries. It is an attempt to provide a unified body of information relating to the those industries defined as being in the ‘Heritage’ or ‘Arts’ sector.

This post is my attempt to compile a bit of an overview of this rather lengthy report and hopefully encourage others to plumb its depths to drag out some of the interesting stats to be found in it. The main area that attracted my attention was Part B Profiles of the Cultural Sectors – 8.0 Museums, 10.0 Libraries and Archives, 12.0 Performing Arts, 13.0 Music & 14.0 Visual Arts and Crafts.

The first thing I noted from the table on page 11 – AVERAGE TIME SPENT ON SELECTED CULTURE AND LEISURE ACTIVITIES – was that in 2006 the GLAM sectors main competitor for leisure activity was still the TV with Australians over 15 spending just under 3 hours each day watching or listening to TV. The most popular cultural venue was the cinema and this perhaps accounts for the table noting that Australians spent triple the length of time visiting entertainment and cultural venues than they did attending Sports Events, although presumably many, like myself, tend to vegetate at home and watch the event on TV. Also I wasn’t sure if this included Australians visiting overseas events.

But even so it is an interesting statistic given the general perception that Australians would prefer to attend a sporting event rather than a cultural one. The reason for this is perhaps the definition of cultural venues which include 36% visiting zoological parks and aquariums 34% percent visiting local, state and national libraries, 34% visiting botanic gardens, and 25% visiting a popular music concert. Art galleries and Museums were next in line in terms of attendance.

It should also be noted that across the board women were more likely to attend a cultural venue with the visit to the library showing the largest discrepancy. In 2006, the ABS Adult Literacy and Life Skills Survey found that reading was a favourite activity for 61% of people aged over 15 years. The activity was a favourite for 73% of females surveyed – compared with this sad indicator my genders general bookish interests – 50% of males.

Strangely in the period leading up to middle age (i.e. 44), people were more likely to visit museums and after this Art Galleries assumed the ascendance. I was surprised because of it is often the museum that is associated with the older market and the Art Gallery with the younger one … Hmmmmm? Also noted that Museums tended to get more one-off visits while galleries, libraries get more repeat visits.

The second table discussed is the 2009 OVERSEAS CULTURAL AND HERITAGE VISITORS. Arranged by activity we find 57% attending Museums and Art Galleries but the greatest number 62% visit historical/heritage buildings, sites or monuments. I’m thinking the Sydney Opera House and other major heritage building may have been responsible for quite a few of these however.

Australians took around 66 million overnight visits and 9.3 million of these visited: the theatre, a concert, performing arts, museum, art gallery, Art, craft workshops, festivals, fair, cultural event, Aboriginal displays site or community, or a historical/heritage building, site or monument.

When it comes to government funding the main part of Federal revenue, $1,391,100,000 goes to Radio and TV services while State and Territory Government spends the most on Performing Arts venues $241,200,000. By comparison table 4.1 with 2008-2009 figures shows

Heritage Expenditure by Australian Government in millions followed by %
Archives 105.4
Libraries 60.0
Environmental heritage 207.0
Other museums and cultural heritage 266.0
Art museums 91.5
Total heritage 729.8

Heritage Expenditure by State and territory Government in millions
Archives 65.9
Libraries 337.4
Environmental heritage 1,397.0
Other museums and cultural heritage 338.3
Art museums 175.2
Total heritage 2 313.8

Arts Expenditure by Australian Government in millions
Other arts 136.3
Multimedia 6.2
Film and video production and distribution 115.5
Radio and television services 1,391.1
Design 0.2
Visual arts and crafts 33.4
Music composition and publishing 0.7
Performing arts venues __
Other performing arts 7.0
Music theatre and opera 24.0
Dance 21.6
Drama 28.3
Music performance 59.3
Literature and print media 31.2
Total arts 1 854.7

Arts Expenditure by State and Territory Government in millions
Other arts 124.2
Multimedia 5.9
Film and video production and distribution 122.7
Radio and television services 1.7
Design 4.9
Visual arts and crafts 41.1
Music composition and publishing 0.5
Performing arts venues 241.2
Other performing arts 34.6
Music theatre and opera 16.9
Dance 18.2
Drama 30.1
Total state and territory government 3 033.7

Totals for Heritage and Arts expenditure were as follows: Australian Government 2,584.500,00 and State and Territory Government 3,033,700,000.

There are % figures on this but I have not included them as I wasn’t sure how they were worked out but if any one else can work out how they are arrived at please let me know.

I’ll leave it here for now and try to get out Part 2 on the report next week. All the best Geoff.