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IFLA World Library and Information Congress

NFSA in South Africa

IFLA World Library and Information Congress in South Africa
 Sonia Gherdevich

Sonia Gherdevich, NFSA's Senior Manager, Collection Stewardship, will be reporting from the IFLA World Library and Information Congress in South Africa, from 15-21 August 2015.

Sonia will be providing regular updates during the conference, so make sure you check out this blog throughout the week.

Day 7: Farewell Cape Town

The Congress concluded all formal business this morning with the Governing Board Meeting. It’s been a mighty Congress with 3,190 delegates from 112 countries. Australia was represented by 46 delegates including, Anne-Marie Schwirtlich, the Director-General of National Library of Australia.

I attended c.50 presentations covering web archiving, copyright, digital content, digital preservation, standards and disaster recovery have gained a deeper insight of the diverse challenges that face collecting institutions whether they are from developed or developing countries. I met my colleagues on the AVMS Standing Committee and delivered a presentation alongside international peer experts in the field of audiovisual collection management.

The Congress also placed African librarians centre stage and the work that public libraries, in particular, undertake in their communities is to be admired. There is a true sentiment that libraries in Africa make a real difference to people’s lives and provide services beyond being a building with books. In conversation, I sensed their immediate needs centre on digital infrastructure, preservation and conversation, training and education.

The experience in Cape Town has been most fulfilling and as I pack my suit case and bid farewell to the Mother City, my appreciation and thanks to the NFSA for this awesome opportunity to be part of something I was able to contribute to and be learn from.

Day 6: It’s our turn!

The day had finally arrived and Session 197, Managing born-digital audio-visual or multimedia collections across the life cycle, presented the following program:

  • Personal Digital Archiving: Issues for Libraries and a Summary of the PDA Conference. Howard Besser (Moving Image Archiving & Preservation Program, New York University, United States)
  • Merrily We Stream Along!, Nancy Friedland (Columbia University, United States)
  • Digital Collection Stewardship, Sonia Gherdevich (National Film and Sound Archive of Australia, Australia) – yep, that’s me!
  • End-to-End Management of Audiovisual and Multimedia Content and Services – the NLB Experience, Siang Hock Kia, Peter Pak, Jasper Phang (Technology and Innovation, National Library Board, Singapore) and Adrian Chan (Sound and Moving Image
  • When Library and Archival Science Methods Converge and Diverge: The King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST)’s Multi-Disciplinary Approach to the Management of its Audiovisual Heritage, Lekoko Kenosi (Qatar Foundation, Qatar), Chris Graves (King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST), Saudi Arabia) and Duaa Bukhari (Taibah University, Saudi Arabia)
  • Born-Digital Media for Long Term Preservation and Access: Selection or Deselection of Media Independent Music Productions, Trond Valberg (National Library of Norway, Norway).

The experienced and diverse panel of speakers provide a wide range of perspectives on managing born digital audiovisual collections. Whilst the speakers showcased the triumphs and ongoing challenges their organisations face, a lot of practical information was also shared on the risks and choices made regarding systems, workflows and solutions they have in place to manage their audiovisual collections. Collectively, topics covering collection development, preservation, and access services were addressed – all very familiar to the NFSA.

I sensed the audience appreciated my presentation especially as I used Priscilla, Queen of the Desert (Stephan Elliott, Australia 1994) as my prime example and they laughed out loud whist the trailer was screening. Following the presentation, I was asked several questions about the diversity of the collection, the digital workflow and training opportunities. I made a lot of new contacts and handed out many of my business cards as delegates were keen to keep in touch and email any future questions they may have. After the session, I talked further with the Singapore crew as their experience with voice to text systems could be of future interest to the NFSA. The session attracted c.250 delegates which was terrific so overall I would say it was a success.

20 August 2015. After lunch, I attended a session on disaster recovery: Developing a stronger network for preservation and conservation in Africa to enable effective responses to natural disasters and man-made conflicts, offered four presentations, these being:

  • Digitation to Avoid Intellectual Content Loss from Natural Disasters, Jeanne Drewes, Alan Haley, Sandra Bostian and Eve Ferguson (Library of Congress, United States)
  • Towards Developing an Accredited Disaster Management Training Course for LIS Professionals in South Africa, Constance Bitso (University of Cape Town, South Africa)
  • La Technologie au Service du Patrimoine Culturel Immatériel de l’Afrique Dans un Contexte de Conflit Armé: Cas de la Région de l’Extrême Nord du Cameroun, Marie Sophie Dibounje Madiba (International Centre for Research and Documentation on African Traditions and Languages (CERDOTOLA), Cameroon)
  • Lessons in Disaster Recovery from Hurricane Ivan: The Case of the University of the West Indies (UWI) Mona Library, Dunstan Newman and Sasekea Harries (University of the West Indies, Jamaica)

Hearing about the hardships these libraries faced is a testament to professional endurance and resilience. Notwithstanding having to deal with wars, fires, floods and regular hurricanes, these librarians used the principles of disaster recovery and dealt with salvaging and treating damaged collections with the rudimentary equipment they had on hand. The LoC offers assistance through the World Digital Library under the auspices of UNESCO. They provide equipment and training to libraries in developing countries to get their rare materials digitised and by uploading the digitised copies to the WDL provides surety that a copy continued to be available in the event of a disaster. Training in disaster recovery is high on the list of priorities and it is South Africa’s intention to develop a professional course of study. Training in paper conservation is also need. It may be opportune for the NFSA to look into this acknowledging the work already undertaken with disaster recovery in our own geographic region.

The IFLA General Assembly Closing Session bought conference proceedings to an end. There were award presentations along with formal introductions of the new members of the Governing Board and incoming President, Donna Scheeder. The Cape Town Declaration 2015 was also presented. It affirms Africa’s commitment to the modernisation and increased resourcing for its libraries so they are able to meet future challenges. A vote of thanks to the WLIC 2015 National Committee and Volunteers received a deafening round of applause as the baton was passed across to the WLIC 2016 organising committee for Columbus, Ohio, USA.

Day 5: A matter of standards

19 August 2015. In managing the national audiovisual collection, standards play a significant role across a range of archiving activities. So, I was looking forward to this morning’s mega session on the Impact of standards on the international library community. The session included a selection of presentation, namely:

  • Overview of the Use and Impact of IFLA Standards, Patrice Landry (Swiss National Library, Switzerland)
  • The ISBD Survey (2014): a Report, Agnese Galeffi (Vatican Library, Holy See (Vatican City State))
  • IFLA’s Conceptual Models: Impact and Evolution, Christine Oliver (University of Ottawa, Canada)
  • Interaction Between IFLA Standards and Other Library Standards: ISBD, RDA, UNIMARC and ISSN: a Long-Lasting Relationship, Gaëlle Béquet (ISSN International Centre / CIEPS, France), Louise Howlett (British Library, United Kingdom) and Mirna Willer (University of Zadar, Croatia)
  • A Comparison of the Conditions of Iran Public Libraries with the IFLA Standards, Mohammad-Karim Saberi (Iran, Islamic Republic of) and Fatemeh Pazooki (Iran, Islamic Republic)
  • What’s Driving Discovery Systems?: The Case for Standards, Heather Lea Moulaison (iSchool at the University of Missouri, United States), Angela Kroeger(University of Nebraska at Omaha, United States) and Edward M. Corrado (University of Alabama, United States)
  • Our Standards vs Their Standards: Development and Re-Use of Non-Library Standards in the Cultural Heritage Domain, Lars Svensson (Deutsche Nationalbibliothek Frankfurt am Main, Germany)
  • News Metadata: Library and News Publishers Perspectives, Frederick Zarndt (Global Connexions / Digital Divide Data, United States).

Conversion began with IFLAs role in establishing and or endorsing standards relating to bibliographic control. Whilst IFLA may not be a standards organisation such as the ISO, library cataloguing practices and the standards their based upon require continuous review, realignment and updating. A recent survey showed that once IFLA made their suite of standards open access, 78,000 downloads have been document. Both new and older standards continue to still be in use which raises some concerns, example being IFLAs digitisation guidelines (2002) continues to be popular and of note Australia ranks in the top ten of countries in downloading standards. Discussions on the use, alignment and future of UNIMARC, ISBD, RDA and ISSN gave rise to the emergence of multiple standards and the trend that libraries will adopt what suits them and the collections they manage.

Whilst library collections are managed through a wealth of bibliographic standards, a strong message was sent that they also need to be aware and pay close attention to the standards being used by their sister-organisations in the GLAM sector. For a future that renders cultural collection highly accessible, this approach and change in attitude will heighten the opportunities for data interoperability and interpretability that could lead to a convergence to collection access models. The conceptual model and family of FRBR standards (FRBR, FRAD, FRSAD) has had a positive impact on libraries in managing their metadata. IFLA has been working closely with ICOM and have developed the FRBRoo which is object oriented rather than entity relationship based. This development is representative of what can be achieved across the GLAM sector when collection needs takes prescience over minor inconsistencies when it comes to cataloguing practices.

The Audiovisual and Multimedia Section: Standing Committee Business Meeting 2 continued to work through the agenda. A program team was established for the IFLA WLIC 2016 to take place in Columbus, Ohio. Next year the AVMS will be partnering with Information Technology Section to develop a session and workshop. Approved projects and initiatives included the continuation of the Legal Deposit for AV materials survey, the revision of the AVMS Guidelines for Audiovisual and Multimedia Materials in Libraries and other Institutions which I volunteered to coordinate, revamping the AVMS webpage and the development of an AVMS Communications Strategy. The meeting closed with the Chair noting the success of the AVMS workshop with congratulations to Howard Besser. Participants were mostly from Africa and Kuwait and their feedback was most positive.

In the afternoon, I attended a session on library services to multicultural populations, Unlocking Economic, Social and Cultural Treasures through Electronic/Digital Inclusion and Integration Library Services to Multicultural Populations. Four speakers provided presentations on the current services and projects. These were:

  • Guangzhou Library’s “Return of the Historic Images” Collaborative Project, Xiaohong Luo (China), Tian Zhan and Jiangshun Zhang (Guangzhou Library, China)
  • “Reading Diploma” – One Way of Supporting a Native Language: Library Work in Person and by Digital means in Espoo City Library, Katia (Ekaterina) Shklyar (Sello Library, Finland)
  • Moldovan Public Libraries Emerge to Address the Needs of a Multicultural Population, Gina Grotelueschen (Novateca Program, IREX, Moldova, Republic of)
  • Extending the Mission of Archives, Libraries and Museums Beyond the Storage of Knowledge: the Case of Matsieng Royal Archives, Museum and Information Centre, Celina K.M. Qobo (The National University of Lesotho, Lesotho).

Each of these presentations underscored the role the public library plays in cultural heritage and creating a community space for multicultural education, recreation and entertainment. In 2014, the Guangzhou Library, the New Zealand Consulate General in Guangzhou, and the Presbyterian Archives Research Centre (PARC) New Zealand began collaborating on a project based on a collection of images taken by Presbyterian missionaries from New Zealand in China’s Guangdong Province from the late Qing Dynasty to the early 1950s after the founding of the PRC. This project gives light to a shared history. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has provided funds to distribute computers and bring digital literacy to the extensive network of 1380 Moldovan public libraries. The initiative is known as Novateca and will be implemented over the next 5 years. The Reading Diploma program assists children from Russian immigrant families to ensure they have access to Russian language literature in all Finnish libraries. The Matsieng Royal Archives and Museum has extended its mission beyond the storage of knowledge by the centre being used as a community space where Matsieng community members come together to learn new skills. Whether big or small, programs such as these have an impact and demonstrate the value of libraries to key stakeholders and decision makers.

The last activity on today’s list was to attend the IFLA General Assembly. It was standing room only as members approved reports and financial statements and voted on a range of motions and resolutions. Congratulations to all on their appointments including Australia’s own Christine McKenzie (CEO of Yarra Plenty Regional Library Melbourne) as a Governing Board Member (2015-2017).

Tomorrow it’s my turn to present and I am both excited and nervous – fingers crossed all will go well…

Day 4: Digital worlds

18 August 2015. Today’ stream of presentation centred on access to digital content.

The first session, The Ethics of Access: Exploring Copyright, Licensing and Privacy in the Digital Environment, included speakers from the legal profession and included:

  • An overview of WIPO’s work in the area of libraries: Opportunities and challenges in an international environment, Winston Tabb (John Hopkins University, United States) and Anne Leer (Deputy Director General, World Intellectual Property Organization Switzerland, Switzerland)
  • Marrakesh– Status of the Treaty; impact on national laws and obligations of libraries, Tobias Schonwetter (Intellectual Property Unit, Department of Commercial Law, University of Cape Town, South Africa), Colleen Cook (Trenholme Dean of Libraries, McGill University, Canada)and Peter Jaszi (Glushko-Samuelson Intellectual Property Clinic, American University Washington College of Law, United States)
  • Privacy and Libraries, Martyn Wade (FAIFE and the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals, United Kingdom) and Louise Cooke (Loughborough University, United Kingdom)
  • Right to be forgotten, Christina de Castell (IFLA Headquarters, Netherlands)

The World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) agency was established in 1967 and leads the development of an international intellectual property system that enables innovation and creativity for the benefit of all, recognising that there is a great diversity in copyright laws across the board.

They have worked closely with IFLA on a number of initiatives and most recently the Marrakesh Treaty, which facilitates access to published works for the print impaired. Even though support for the preservation of digital works has wide support, gaining support for access is not as easy with policy makers. Born digital does not mean born accessible and copyright laws apply. The ratification of the Marrakesh Treaty provides a prescient for laws to reflect the needs of users and focuses on copyright exemptions to enable access. Canada is the example to follow when it comes to copyright laws that align with the principle of the Marrakesh Treaty. For developed countries the challenges of changing existing legislation is real. For developing countries the opportunity to create new copyright laws that reflects the right to access is real. The question of privacy and right to be forgotten is complex. To celebrate George Orwell’ 110th birthday this year, surveillance cameras in Holland were decorated with party hats. Monitoring internet activity and personal habits such as reading is becoming a challenge as libraries increasingly providing access to eBooks which come with their own monitoring systems to ensure the terms of licencing agreements are observed.

The second session, The Legal Landscape of Digital Content included presentations covering:

  • Public Lending Right – Does it apply in the e-book world?, Eve Woodbury (Australia), Paul Whitney (TBC, Canada) and Margaret Allen (State Library of Western Australia, Australia)
  • E-Bookissues – Purchasing Embargoes: publishers barring e-book sales to libraries; societal and public policy impact to Libraries; Societal and Public Policy Impact, Christina de Castell (IFLA Headquarters, Netherlands)
  • E-Bookissues – African experience with e-books, Sarah Kaddu (National Library of Uganda, Uganda)
  • E-Bookissues – New business models for e-books; the issues of concern for libraries, Kirston Hoets (Overdrive, South Africa)

For the library world their digital environment is honed on the benefits and challenges of providing eBook services to their library users. Only 33 countries, including Australia, have a Public Lending Right scheme in place. Compensation is based on number of loans or number of copies of titles held in the libraries. These programs cover eBooks , yet libraries are not supplemented to deal with publishers restrictive terms and expensive costs of providing access and eBook services to their communities. eBooks are soon becoming the only option to get high demand publications in libraries and people want access on their smart phones. This is also true for the survey results of eBook usage in Africa. Libraries may not have many titles in their digital library but the expectation to have access, any place, any time, in any format seems to have become universal. The session concluded with an overview of Overdrive, one of the world’s largest eBook provider with 2.6 million titles in their catalogue in 52 languages from 5,000 publishers. They are also gaining ground in providing access to videos also so one for the NFSA to keep a watchful eye on.

To finish up the day, delegates were treated to a Cultural Evening with traditional African food served and entertainment that got the Librarians up and disco dancing til all hours.

Day 3: Capturing the web


IFLA World Library and Information Congress
IFLA World Library and Information Congress


17 August. I began the day by attending a mega session, Ten Years of Development to Collect, Preserve and Access Web-Sites: Ready to Go for Everyone!? There were nine presentations and of the five concurrent sessions it seemed this stream would provide some real insights to the challenges and triumphs of archiving websites that could assist the NFSA in its own approach to networked media acquisitions.

Along with an introduction on web archiving by Alenka Kavcic-Colic (Slovenia), session speakers included:

  • Growing a Web Archiving Program: A Case Study for Evolving an Organization-Management Plan -Todd Suomela (University of Alberta, Canada)
  • Lessons Learned from Twelve Years’ Operation of the Web Archiving Project (WARP), Kosuke Murakami (Digital Library Division, Kansai-kan of the National Diet Library, Japan)
  • Taming the World “Wild” Web with Metadata for Everyone, Joan S. Weeks (Library of Congress, United States)
  • Archivo de la Web Chilena: Primeros Pasos [Web Archiving in Chile: Early Steps], Roberto Aguirre Bello (Biblioteca Nacional de Chile, Chile)
  • First Crawling of the Slovenian National Web Domain *.si: Pitfalls, Obstacles and Challenges, Matjaz Kragelj and Mitja Kovacic (National and University Library, Slovenia)
  • A Decade of Web Archiving in National and University Library in Zagreb, Karolina Holub and Ingeborg Rudomino (Croatian Web Archive, National and University Library in Zagreb, Croatia)
  • World Sustainable Development Web Archive: Preserving and Disseminating Knowledge for Sustainable Growth, Steve Witt and Lynne M. Rudasill (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, United States)
  • No Borders: New Approaches to Web Archive Collecting and Access, Vinay Goel ( Senior DataEngineer, The Internet Archive)

Since 1996 – Australia’s own PANDORA (NLA) is acknowledged as being the first library web archiving initiative – libraries around the world have built systems to archive websites and across the board have faced the challenges on deciding what to collect and of archiving online publications that are ethereal in nature.

Capturing websites that have dynamic content seems a little like trying to pin jelly to a wall especially with websites that use social media feeds. eLegal Deposit, technology, link rot and preservation are common and ongoing challenges. It appears that most of the libraries use a standard set of tech tools such as Heritrix and Wget.


67 Blankets for Nelson Mandela Day Project
67 Blankets for Nelson Mandela Day Project


Whilst The Internet Archive are leaders in web archiving, they also are faced with challenges of capturing spontaneous events, metadata consistency and tempering the depth of crawl measure. For a look into website history, check out their site for the WayBack Machine. On a truly practical note, ensuring metadata is included in the documents that are created and on the web ensures a heighten level of accessibility – it’s as simple as opening the document properties and filling in the fields.

The Exhibition and in particular the Poster Session was terrific. Over 70 library related vendors were on display, drawing most interest was the impressive selection of book scanning equipment and systems. The Poster Session has 132 contributions from all over the world and were focussed on showcasing new access initiatives and community based partnerships and projects. Part of the Exhibition space is a South African Hub. The 67 Blankets for Nelson Mandela Day Project has taken hold of the Librarians knitting their contribution whilst at the Congress.

Following the Poster Session ad Exhibition Tour, I attended the session on The UNESCO PERSIST Project – The Content Task Force: Guidelines for the Selection of Digital Content for Long Term Preservation.
Getachew Engida (Deputy Director-General of UNESCO, France) provided an overview of the UNESCO/UBC Vancouver Declaration and the work of the 3 tasks forces under the aegis of UNESCO, IFLA and ICA. Ingrid Parent (Chair of the UNESCO PERSIST Content Task Force) spoke of the origins of the project and the current state of work. Diane Beattie (Library and Archives Canada) and Susanne Nickel (CIDOC Digital Preservation Working Group) spoke on the potential impact for Libraries, Archives and Museums. The Guidelines are currently in draft form, and the Task Force welcome ongoing feedback.



Day 2: Opening night

16 August. The Convention Centre was buzzing this morning with hundreds of participants arriving from all over the world. In the foyer African drums summoned all to the Opening Ceremony, and once we took our seats and the IFLA President Sinikka Sipila declared the Congress open, delegates were treated to a spectacular show of African storytelling, music and singing.


IFLA World Library and Information Congress
IFLA World Library and Information Congress


Speeches from the City of Cape Town Alderman, Belinda Walker, the Minister for the Arts, the Honourable Mr Nathi Mthethwa and his Deputy the Honourable Rejoice Thizwilondi Mabudafhasi were warm messages of welcome and thanks to the work of the world’s librarians. They underscored South Africa’s commitment to libraries as cultural hubs that strengthen communities and democracy, eradicate illiteracy and poverty.

This morning’s key note speaker was Dr Rod Adam, Director Designate of the Square Kilometre Array (SKA) Project. SKA is an international effort to build the world’s biggest radio telescope that will be co-hosted in South Africa’s Karoo region and Western Australia’s Murchinson Shire. Adam noted that SKA is as much as a supercomputer as it is a telescope and informed that the new technologies likely to be developed throughout the project will no doubt have an impact on information specialists.

The afternoon session included five speakers on the topic of 21st Century Modern Visionary Library Design:

  • Transforming Mid 20th-Century Libraries to Meet21st-Century Needs. Traci Engel Lesneski (Meyer, Scherer & Rockcastle Ltd., Principal, United States
  • Future Library Space: Renovations to Meet Client Needs. Judy C. Henning(University of South Africa, South Africa)
  • Audio-Spatial Co-design of Library Spaces. Implications from Case: Vantaa. J.Tuomas Harviainen (University of Tampere, Tampere and Vantaa City Library, Finland) Harri Pikka (Vantaa City Library, Finland)
  • Library Design for the Rest of the World: How Beyond Access is Helping Librarians Rethink Space in Developing Countries. Ari Katz (Thailand)
  • Every Reader a Library, Every Library its Reader: Designing Responsive Libraries for our Communities. Lynn Koh (Library Service Development, Public Libraries, National Library Board Singapore, Singapore); Lynette Kang (Library Service Development,Public Libraries, National Library Board Singapore, Singapore); Felicia Chan (Library Service Development,Public Libraries, National Library Board Singapore, Singapore)

These presentations were cases studies that spanned from the most modern architecturally designed to libraries that are essentially tin sheds. Modern design principles emphasise human well-being that incorporate light, food and comfort. They strive to achieve buildings that provide an uplifting experience based on adaptability, transparency, nexus, user centric and cultural hubs.

Interactive environments and service visibility along with client context and location are also important factors. Practical advice was also offered to create changes in the library space by making it easy, making it about learning; making it friendly and making it adaptable.

To round off the day, the exhibition opening party provided a chance to mix with the vendors and delegates alike. I’ll probably need to go back for a second look through when it’s a little less crowded.

Day 1: Business time

Sonia Gherdevich at the IFLA World Library and Information Congress in South Africa
Sonia Gherdevich at the IFLA World Library and Information Congress in South Africa


15 August. I finally got to meet in person all the standing committee members and officials of the Audiovisual and Multimedia Section. These are the folk that I have been corresponding with over the past year via email so it was great to put faces to names.

As this was my first meeting as a committee member, I was inducted to the ways of IFLA and the formal proceedings that govern these meetings. After approving minutes, financial statements, etc., elections were held for the positions of Chair, Secretary and Information Officer. Congratulations to Michael Miller (USA) for his reappointment as Chair, to Margret Plank (Germany) as Secretary, and Mikael Johannson as Information Officer.

The Committee also confirmed final arrangements for the Workshop on AV Collections for Non-Specialist Librarians that it is staging at the Cape Town Film Studios on Tuesday 18th August. The workshop has attracted 21 registrations, and Howard Besser will be teaching on the day.

The Committee reconvenes on Wednesday to discuss future projects and initiatives so I’ll report back on that front. For more info on the Committee Membership and the work of the section, check out the AVMS website.


Countdown: Getting ready

13 August. Hi NFSA followers. I’m Sonia Gherdevich and I’m getting ready for the IFLA World Library and Information Congress 2015 to be held in Cape Town, South Africa, from 15 – 21 August.
This year’s theme – Dynamic Libraries: Access, Development and Transformation – links up really well with NFSA’s recently announced strategic directions. I’ll be presenting a paper on Digital Collection Stewardship and checking out as many of the 225 sessions as I possibly can.

Big thanks to the NFSA for its great support. I’ll be posting daily reports so follow me through the seven action-packed conference days. Link in to the congress at #wlic2015 for Tweets, and wlic2015 in other social media. And, of course, check this blog for my updates!