On the 30th April we held our first public engagement forum, Meet the Data Owners, in collaboration with Code for Australia here at the Library. This meet-up was an opportunity for our community to talk with us about our datasets, API and to hear our curators talk about the deeper stories that lie within our collections.
We chatted with Alvaro Maz, Co-founder & Director at Code for Australia about our event.
You have run several events at Code for Australia with the community, why is it important to run face-to-face meet-ups for them?
Our role at Code for Australia is to help move government towards a platform that allows citizens, public servants and industry to come together and work on redesigning public services. Engaging with the community not only allows organisations to have live feedback from experienced and skilled people, but also strengthen the relationship between government and citizens, and hopefully reanimate citizenship in the 21st century.
We learnt that people really want to have someone in the Library that they can talk to about the data and the collections and that being responsive is key to helping the community successfully use our API and data sets. What are some of the other values do you think the DX Lab can adopt to enable better interaction and foster collaboration?
One thing we’ve learned is engaging is key to enable a culture of learning, testing and growing. Having someone in the Library to respond to the community is key for information coming back to the Library. Other ideas the Library may consider is encouraging people to actively give feedback, but more importantly be involved in testing new ideas they come up with, or from the Library through the Lab.
There is too much talent and ideas waiting to be brought to life, and the Lab is an excellent opportunity for these to be tested and for government and citizens to learn together.
What are some of the key takeaways that Code for Australia have worked on from being engaged in meetups?
The one word that comes to mind is collaboration. Regardless of what the meetup topics of discussion are, meetups have become an excellent way to connect with other talented, often complimentary people that are happy to roll up their sleeves for a night or two, and give new ideas a go. An example of this is how we were able to build Reroute.it, an application that allows people to get the environmental, financial and time costs associated when traveling.
How do you see the future of government data sets, such as those in cultural heritage, being used and explored for innovative use?
Even my craziest ideas will probably not match what people will come up with. This was definitely the case with the app one of our fellows produced at the Department of Education in NSW, a one-stop shop school finder. One thing that I’m sure of is, anything that gets produced using government datasets will allow us to reimagine public service and reanimate the way we interact with the community and our government.
Having an ongoing conversation with the community will allow The Library to not only get ideas on how to do these things, but work towards making an example of what a 21st century government may look like.
Photography by Bruce York
The DX Lab will continue to run meet-ups, so stay tuned for the next one.