Monday, June 22, 2009

Information Awareness Month May 2009.

Information Awareness Month commenced with a launch at the National Archives by Minister John Faulkner well attended by the diverse range of the Information Management professionals in the ACT. The Month is a collaboration between many organisations involved in Information Management including in the ACT: ALIA, AGLIN, RMAA, ACTKM, ASA and the National Archives. The theme for this year was “Diversity” and a wide range of presentations and events were held in the ACT over the month. The closing ACT IAM event was held at the National Portrait Gallery and included a presentation on information management in the new Defence Strategic Command headquarters.

The AGLIN/ALIA event for this month was a presentation at the National Library titled “Using SharePoint for Libraries”. Key speakers were Alison Jones from Meyer Vandenberg Lawyers and Kathy Stapleton from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

Alison Jones commenced the session and presented quite a detailed overview of how SharePoint is being used by her law library. Her starting point was an examination of how alerts, or “announcements” as they are called in SharePoint, can be used to facilitate targeted announcements from the library to her users. This is seen as an alternative option to a traditional “Library News” service. In addition, her Library also provides a legal news service created from a compilation of news sources. Quite notably this service can transition any Library away from push technology to pull technology and aids in streamlining information.

Templates are also deployed by Alison to create a wiki and to use as a survey tool. The wiki enables the creation of shared content between the librarian and the users.

Alison has also ambitiously deployed SharePoint as a library catalogue. In this section Alison openly shared her successes and challenges with SharePoint and offered very useful insights into the challenges that searching SharePoint presented.

Most notable in the presentation was Alison’s willingness to impart her experiences, document her journey and share her learnings. It proved a very informative session and her notes should certainly be read by any librarian thinking of starting down the SharePoint path.

Following Alison was a presentation by Kathy Stapleton and the use of Sharepoint in her library. Kathy has only recently worked with SharePoint and her detailed explanation of the advantages and limitations of the systems functionality was very useful. Kathy used screen shots to demonstrate how she has deployed SharePoint. Like Alison, Kathy has used the announcements facility. The survey instrument has been used as the vehicle for client forms. Kathy also pointed out the usefulness of the alerts functionality and a range of options for its use.

Sharepoint also links to TRIM, the electronic document management system and can be used for many other functions such as provision of statistics, use of widgets to make applications such as the search box transportable (see the ppt graphic provided by Jan Bordoni to demonstrate this, apologies for the lack of clarity) and can embed its forms into systems such as an LMS. Kathy is also using SharePoint to manage her electronic documents accessed from the library’s catalogue.

Lastly Kathy suggested these tips:

It is important to set up a style guide and user’s manual for consistency. It is important that this is done as you go and not retrospectively as there are different ways that functionalities can be deployed

Look carefully at the functionality and think about what you want to achieve.

- work out what data is required then how to do it

- set user permissions for appropriate access and control.

- while branding is possible, there is a limitation in the use of colours

In addition to the key speakers, Jan Bordoni briefly demonstrated the ability of bringing the Library to the user workspace. As users, teams or groups can have their own space in SharePoint, information specific to them can be selected and exposed. This enables great flexibility in being able to customise information for that user, team or group and to ensure that other “noise” is filtered out. In a very significant way it can transition the future library model to something very different as the library moves away from being the central focus via a single gateway to gaining even greater exposure on the user, team or group SharePoint space and also highlights the increasing importance that provision of value-added services will become to the success of any library.

AGLIN and ALIA Active would like to thank both Alison and Kathy for the very generous volunteering of their time and experiences. Anyone also doing interesting work with SharePoint is also encouraged to share their experiences on the AGLIN discussion list. In addition, anyone interested in becoming involved in an open Libraries’ Innovation Group should contact Jan Bordoni at or call 02 6263 3182. If you would like to be involved in the 2010 Information Awareness Month committee or activities please contact Kym Holden at or call 02 6121 9133.

For further details of Alison Jones’ presentation and the Jan Bordoni’s graphic, see the AGLIN wiki at

Jan Bordoni
Library Manager

1 comment:

  1. MAPILab provides a very good SharePoint usage reporting solution: MAPILab Statistics for SharePoint. Detailed reports on visitors, documents, lists, search, etc. You can try its free trial version, or look through the online demo: