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Parliamentary Library - new technologies for a high demand client group: The two-sided coin: the state of play with the Australian Parliamentary Library's use of wikis to guide staff and to inform clients. to guide staff …. Judy Hutchinson

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Parliamentary Library - new technologies for a high demand client group:

The two-sided coin: the state of play with the Australian Parliamentary Library's use of wikis to guide staff and to inform clients

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to guide staff … client group:

Judy Hutchinson

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Department of Parliamentary Services client group:

… was formed on 1 February 2004 following the amalgamation of three departments including the Department of the Parliamentary Library.

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Parliamentary Library client group:

The Library is structured into two branches:

  • Research Branch - provides a range of information and document delivery services, and analysis, interpretation and explanation through personal consultation and the preparation of research papers

  • Information Access Branch - builds and maintains the information resources required by clients and staff and provides publishing, media and general enquiry services

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Provision of news clips client group:

Information Access Branch builds electronic resources including through the work of the Database Services section the electronic newspaper clippings database in ParlInfo

In 2006-07, Database Services added 121,000 newspaper clippings to the database and indexed 113,000

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Parliamentary Library Thesaurus client group:

  • 43 head of hierarchy terms

    • Descending to 7 or 8 levels

    • 20,000 unique headings

      • Including the names of every Senator and Member of the Australian Parliament and terms of specific interest to the Parliament

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Parliamentary Library Thesaurus client group:

For example, “deliberative polling” sits under Party Politics thus:

Party politics



Voter behaviour

Voting intentions

Deliberative polling

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Senators’ and Members’ Services Portal client group:

Through their individual services portal Senators and Members can view several content blocks that are updated continuously as new items, including newspaper clips, are added to the ParlInfo database.

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Subject indexing team: 18 people client group:

  • Thesaurus Editor

  • 12 indexers

    • Half work Tuesday to Saturday, half work part-time.

  • 5 part-time contract indexers

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Daily stand-up meeting: aka herding cats or taming client group:Thesaurus tyrannosaurus

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Daily Missive (simple) client group:

Date: 9 November 2007

Topic: Interest rate movements and mortgages

For articles on the effects of interest rate rises on the ability of people to service their mortgage debts, for consistency let's all go down the same path with:

  • Interest rate movements + Mortgages to cover the fact that mortgages will cost more because of the rise

  • Add Household debt as well if the item is talking about people's ability to service that mortgage

  • Also use Debt servicing if there is a lot of discussion about defaulting on mortgages

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Daily client group:Missive (complex)

Date: 15 November 2007

Topic: ALP policy + Computers

ALP policy launch, 13 November, - for the education bit - use:

Educational equipment to cover the equipment in general. If your

article is particularly about the "computers in every classroom" then

also use Computers in education

This then fits in with the indexing terms decided on in October:

Title: ALP election tax package

Date: 22/10/2007

The ALP tax package announced on Friday needs as common terms:

ALP policy + Tax rates and margins + Income tax + ELF07.

If there is a lot about the tax rebate for educational equipment

(computers etc) then also use Tax offsets + Educational equipment.

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Related missive on Computers in education client group:

Date: 15 November 2007

Topic: Computers in education

  • Computers in education has moved so that it now sits under Education equipment in the Education hierarchy.

    Also, three new scope notes:

  • Computers in education scope note: Refers to the use of computers in schools, whether for local use or internet use. For education delivered primarily via the internet use ONLINE EDUCATION.

  • Online education scope note: Education delivered primarily via the internet.

  • Distance education scope note: Education delivered to remote (off-campus) locations via audio, video, or computer technologies.

    There are see also refs between Online education and Distance education and between Online education and Computers in education.

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Daily Missives – delivery and keeping track client group:

  • Email

    • Between 6 and 8 emails a day

  • Work Group Drive

    • Subject access

      • Indexing missives

        • Missives – current … hundreds of them

    • Searched using ISYS Query

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The system works but it’s clunky … client group:

  • We’re over email as a communication tool …

  • Our work group drive has gremlins (whole folders move to unexpected destinations, files and folders get deleted) …

  • The ISYS query system needs to be loaded to each individual pc and needs constant maintenance …

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For the future what would be useful for the team? client group:

A wiki?

  • partly … we’ve been testing a wiki for the Daily Missives

  • but we need more …

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… to move beyond email and a work group drive the team needs …

  • One place one page access to information of direct relevance to the section that is kept up-to-date by the section that is searchable and that provides links to related material (drill down as little or as far as is needed)

  • A place to find not only formal procedures but also:

    • nitty gritty information

    • records of operational decisions made and flow-on effects

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… so we’re testing a wysiwyg web page where we can add parts (not only wiki pages and libraries) for guidelines and procedures, rosters, diaries, notes to and by staff, anything and everything… and we’re hoping to keep control of this work space within the section …

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… to inform clients parts (

Greg Baker