Wednesday, December 9, 2009
The only problem was, that nothing could be found!
Tuesday, December 8, 2009
It was reported recently in the Dominion Post newspaper of 30 November 2009 on p.C6 that New Zealand businesses are more likely to have websites and ‘engage in e-commerce that their Australian counterparts.’ Statistics New Zealand has compared the technology industries of the two countries in a study entitled: Information and Communication Technology in New Zealand and Australia which can be found at:
54% of small businesses in New Zealand have a web presence compared with 48% in Australia, and overall 60% of businesses in New Zealand have a web presence as opposed to 53% in Australia.
What does this mean for the information professional in international trade? It is very frustrating being unable to find exporting companies on the web and it is obvious that 40% of businesses in New Zealand don’t have a web presence. It means that we cannot use the web as the only source of business and product intelligence. We will still need to rely on other means such as yellow pages, trade and business directories, and personal networking.
Tuesday, November 24, 2009
If I have any gripe about the book, it is that the index doesn't cover everything in the book e.g. ACHOs and AFFLOs. That aside I can thoroughly recommend it.
By the way, Rachel McAlpine is a dramatist, poet and novelist besides writing books on writing.
Thursday, November 5, 2009
A search on exports retrieves four results, but a search on trade is more productive and produces 13 hits.
This is a good way to ensure that you or your international trade colleagues have picked up all the relevant and available information.
Thursday, October 22, 2009
Intermarche also has 500 stores in Belgium, Spain, Portugal, Poland and Romania. This is where the opening of important markets comes in. I wondered what the size of New Zealand’s current export trade to those five countries is currently, and so set myself a reference question to find out. Here are my results:
In the June year 2007-2008 New Zealand exported to:
Belgium Goods worth NZ$587,414,000 of which sheep meat (HS code 0204) was 28.04%
Spain Goods worth NZ$299,865,000 of which sheep meat was 9.2%
Portugal Goods worth NZ$ 42,201,618 of which sheep meat was 44.9%
Poland Goods worth NZ$ 20,245,916 of which sheep meat was 1.02%
Romania Goods worth NZ$ 4,756,880 . No sheep meat has been exported to Romania in the period 2000-2009.
So certainly it seems that with the exception of Portugal where exports of sheep meat made up over 40% of New Zealand’s trade, then the Silver Fern Farms initiative could indeed open up markets for our products in the other countries and especially Romania.
Photo: from Flickr Creative Commons-licensed content for noncommercial use requiring attribution http://www.flickr.com/photos/mollivan_jon/67858560/
Statistics New Zealand (2008) Global New Zealand international trade, investment and travel profile. pp.41 and 47
Figures for Portugal, Poland and Romania from Statistics New Zealand. Infoshare. Retrieved 21 October 2009.
Thursday, October 15, 2009
Tuesday, October 13, 2009
Richard Stallman, founder of the Free Software Foundation and free software activist, spoke in Levin, on 7th October 2009. He is also a keynote speaker at the LIANZA Conference being held in Christchurch this week.
He spoke for almost two hours and in spite of the seats in the Salvation Army Complex becoming harder and harder, he kept audience attention throughout. He is also an outspoken advocate for copyright reform and his Levin lecture was directed towards copyright and its impacts.
He states his Four Software Freedoms as follows:
• The freedom to run the program, for any purpose (freedom 0).
• The freedom to study how the program works, and change it to make it do what you wish (freedom 1). Access to the source code is a precondition for this.
• The freedom to redistribute copies so you can help your neighbour (freedom 2).
• The freedom to improve the program, and release your improvements (and modified versions in general) to the public, so that the whole community benefits (freedom 3). Access to the source code is a precondition for this
but in this talk they were expressed as
Freedom 0: being able to use a work – to read it
Freedom 1: to study the work and change it
Freedom 2: to being to lend or give away a copy to friends
Freedom 3: to change the work and give away/lend the changed work
Because we use a wide variety of media in trade libraries and information services, the idea of DRM or ‘Digital Restrictions Management’ also expressed as ‘digital handcuffs is very relevant. DRM takes away our freedoms and in our context may prevent us from making copies from e-books, watching some DVDs except on certain types of technology and from giving away material to other people within international trade.
Although he was obviously preaching the movement’s message, he did put forward some ideas as to how copyright laws could be changed – by changing the period from 50 years to 10 years, and distinguishing different kinds of works based on their contribution to society. In particular ‘works that tell what people think’ category would allow non-commercial sharing of exact copies – this would cover our situation in trade libraries.
I came away thinking about the way we use the © symbol to protect works which we produce in our companies – should we encouraging usage and development with statements like: Please feel free to use this material with an acknowledgement to...
Some of his pithier statements:
Analog holes = eyes
Amazon’s Kindle = the Swindle
Home cooks are kitchen pirates and break all the copyright laws
To attack sharing is to attack society
Sunday, October 11, 2009
Presdient Obama said: "we must also learn the skills necessary to acquire, collate, and evaluate information for any situation. This new type of literacy also requires competency with communication technologies, including computers and mobile devices that can help in our day-to-day decisionmaking."
Friday, October 2, 2009
Is a Trade Library and Information professional a content curator?
On his blog David Lee King asks the question What’s a Content Curator? http://www.davidleeking.com/ and in answer he quotes at length from Rohit Bhargava’s job description. Here is a piece from it:
‘Someone whose job it is not to create more content, but to make sense of all the content that others are creating. To find the best and most relevant content and bring it forward. The people who choose to take on this role will be known as Content Curators. The future of the social web will be driven by these Content Curators, who take it upon themselves to collect and share the best content online…’
This was originally published on his Influential Marketing Blog http://preview.tinyurl.com/y9wvhv7
I think the information literacy skills involved in such a role are those that an information professional has, and which we use all the time. The challenge for us within the sphere of international trade is to identify which online and social media sources: websites, trade blogs, Facebook, might be useful. Of course once we have done that we need to work out how to organise the information, make it available and then store it for future use.
Trade Content Curators (TraCCs) having the skills of an information professional will of course have a client or potential user in mind i.e. their export section, the company chief executive. This activity would always be done within that context and David Lee King admits that ‘special librarians in corporations’ may be doing that already.
I have posted a reply to David on his blog and expressed the thought that the use of the word ‘curator’ conjured up thoughts of museums and art galleries and the idea of custodianship and preservation. By chance yesterday I heard a curator from Whanganui’s Sarjeant Gallery speaking on the radio about curating, in which he used the expression ‘making sense of’. I could go along with that!
Do any readers of this blog feel that they are already TraCCs and are making use of online and social media information in this way? It would be great to hear from you.
There is also a post by Anne Gentle on 'How do you curate content?' http://justwriteclick.com/2009/08/06/how-do-you-curate-content/ which uses this image from Flickr- it is by L.Marie from Flickr.com available under Creative Commons licence. I thought it was a great image for this topic although this particular post takes a slightly different angle.
Wednesday, September 23, 2009
Photo from Better By Design website.
Well it may be stretching things a bit to call this an international trade library! However it does hold and make available resources which a TraLIS should know about. Better By Design is a New Zealand organisation set up to assist the design needs of businesses including exporting companies. Brett Hewlett (pictured) from Comvita a company which focuses on bee-derived health products and which exports to China, Hong Kong and Australia, is featured in one of the videos which can be watched at: http://www.betterbydesign.org.nz/news-and-resources/media-library
Thursday, September 17, 2009
Sir Jack Harris Bt died on August 29, 2009 aged 103. Sir Jack made a huge impact as a pioneering manufacturer and civic leader in New Zealand, and was chief executive of importing/exporting company Bing Harris and Co.
In 2007 he wrote Memoirs of a century, in which he remembered events and people across his life. There is no pretence that this is a scholarly work and Sir Jack is the source of all that is included. It is indexed and this does help the reader to refind references to companies and places.
Bing Harris and Co. was established in Dunedin in the mid-1850s and Wolf Harris, Sir Jack’s grandfather began by importing goods from Melbourne. The discovery of gold in Central Otago meant that Dunedin developed quickly and that there was a market that needed the goods, largely clothing, that Bing Harris offered.
Before WW II it became clear to Sir Jack that the company should become a manufacturer of clothing and this proved to be a profitable move in the wartime period. After the war New Zealand economic policy focused on self-sufficiency – everything should be produced in NZ. To do this raw materials had to be imported. Of course the United Kingdom continued to be an important source, but it is suggested that Bing Harris were one of the first postwar importers from Japan, with contacts also being made in North America, India and Hong Kong.
Bing Harris had factories in Wanganui, New Plymouth, Christchurch, Auckland, Levin and Palmerston North. It also diversified into motor accessories .
Shortly after the war Sir Jack went to Japan to establish business contacts and his deputy George Milne followed. Arising out of that visit the trade in forest logs was opened up and Bing Harris obtained the agency for the logs from the Nissho company.
There is much anecdotal writing included which is to be expected in a volume of memoirs: comments on political figures both here and in the UK, the Harris’s house Te Rama at Waikanae and a piece written by Sir Jack’s wife, Patricia.
For the trade historian, Memoirs is a taster, and a full biography of Sir Jack, or a company history of Bing Harris will I am sure fill in many gaps.
Sir Jack Harris Bt: memoirs of a century. Steele Roberts, 2007. ISBN 978-1-877448-04-1
Monday, September 7, 2009
Last month I was on holiday and visited Dunedin in the South Island of New Zealand. We visited the new Chinese Garden which was opened in 2008 located near the Early Settlers' Museum and Railway Station. As can be seen from the photo it looks new, the rocks and structures have not developed any coverings such as moss or lichens and the plantings are all young. This photo shows new growth on the willows.
There is a wall near the entrance listing supporters and benefactors - one of these has been the Sew Hoy Family - well-known in Dunedin's business circles. The Sew Hoys were a long established Dunedin Chinese family, and Hugh Sew Hoy formed a company Sew Hoy and Sons in 1958 for the manuafacture of clothing. Between then and its closure in 1989 the company esstablished five factories in the Otago region and one in Christchurch. The company employed up to 600 staff and won an export award in 1971 and formed substantial overseas holdings chiefly in clothing.
Because the company relied heavily on New Zealand's protective tariffs, when these were reduced from 1988 this impacted badly on the company and Sew Hoy and Sons in New Zealand was placed in receivership in December 1989.
For 30 years the Sew Hoy company had been a major employer in Otago. Hugh Sew Hoy did not want to shift the company's Head Office and manufacturing elsewhere. He also had great pride in the accomplishments of his grandafather Choie Sew Hoy.
http://www.dnzb.govt.nz/dnzb/default.asp?Find_Quick.asp?PersonEssay=5S10 retrieved August 18th 2009.
Unlike the Sew Hoy story, there is a great deal of unwritten trade history in New Zealand and maybe in other countries as well. Is it the role of the trade library and information professional to collect and preserve it? What are we doing about this in our own companies and organisations?
Wednesday, August 19, 2009
Thursday, August 13, 2009
This is the cover of Joe Bennett's recent book "Where underpants come from" in which he traces a pair of underpants from the retailer back to the manufacturer and to the sources of the materials used. In this case from a New Zealand retailer to a Chinese manufacturer and to sources in Thailand and Xinjiang, China's western-most province. It was a fascinating read - does anyone know of any other similar books? It would be good to know about them for trade and business libraries and information services.
As a side benefit this book described the situation of the Uighur people, the indigenous majority of Xinjiang. As it happened I had just finished Joe Bennett's book before the July 5 riots in Urumqi.
Thursday, August 6, 2009
1. I was checking all my links yesterday on the New Zealand School of Export website and discovered that the freely available Trade and Banking statistics that I had had for Russia no longer were available. In fact the Russian government doesn’t appear to provide any free statistical service. There are statistics available in other compilations and I will be using those.
2. Statistics New Zealand has just given its website a makeover and as a result has caused mayhem among New Zealand libraries with links to Statistics New Zealand pages. Even the Library at Statistics New Zealand has over 900 links to fix! Our website had only one – a measure perhaps of the fact that we haven’t come to terms with all the information that is offered there.
3. Today I had an information enquiry about exports from the Manawatu-Wanganui region. Locally we don’t have a port from which goods are exported so that has proved difficult. A report from BERL economics entitled: Economic Profile and Projections for the wider Manawatu Region:
has digested a lot of statistics and provides some help. Statistics New Zealand may have some way of tracking these figures but neither Table Builder or Infoshare on the revamped website have helped.
All in a day for the information trade professional I guess!
Monday, August 3, 2009
A young information trade professional! But it did get your attention... LIBRARY WEEK 2009 runs from 10th to the 16th August in New Zealand.
The theme this year is ESCAPE, EXPLORE, DISCOVER Ki te whai ao, ki te ao marama. ESCAPE from your office - EXPLORE this blog and some of the international trade libraries and information services that have been featured. and DISCOVER all the information that is available through these services for the trade professional.
If you are interested in Library Week and what happens go to:
www.libraryweek.org.nz But here are some ideas youcould try in your organisation:
1. Run a quiz based on your catalogue (with prizes of course - fair trade products for example)
2. Suggest some useful YouTube links for your colleagues
3. Get your colleagues to nominate their best international trade book giving 5 reasons. Make these into a short bibliography for everyone in the export section.
Enjoy Library Week 2009!
Friday, July 31, 2009
ELIS is the Export Library & Information Service of the New Zealand School of Export. This service supports the teaching, exporters’ study and research of the School. Although it has a physical location ELIS is freely available through the web http://www.export.ac.nz/library.html and also through the Catalogue http://ets.kohalibrary.com/
Resources can be borrowed by enrolled exporters, but because there is an emphasis on digital materials many are made accessible through the Catalogue.
The New Zealand School of Export is housed in a building at Aokautere Park which in a former life was used by the Water and Soil Division of the New Zealand Ministry of Works. As a result of the Water and Soil Conservation Act 1967, soil conservation work moved from the Department of Agriculture to the newly created Ministry of Works Water and Soil Division.
Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand says: ‘The Soil Conservation Centre was set up at Aokautere near Palmerston North, and investigated the impact of soil erosion on pasture productivity in the East Coast, and on Taranaki hill country. Research included testing poplar and willow species for controlling gully and slip erosion, and using remote sensing – such as satellite imaging and aerial photography – to assess the effects of erosion on the landscape.’ (Source: http://www.TeAra.govt.nz/TheSettledLandscape/ChangingTheLandscape/SoilErosionAndConservation/en )
In 1986 the Ministry of Works was disbanded and the work which had been done here was continued by a Crown Research Institute in Palmerston North.
The room used by ELIS was a laboratory and there is still evidence of its scientific use in the continuing presence of a workable extractor fan.
Thursday, July 23, 2009
Thursday, July 16, 2009
Photo: Simon Upton. Image from: http://4.bp.blogspot.com
In his column "Upton at Large" published in The Dominion Post and possibly in other New Zealand media, former New Zealand politician and former chair of the OECD's Round Table on Sustainable Development, Simon Upton wrote:
'Trade happens. It can significantly enlarge human welfare. It can also be a conduit for new and intensified environmental pressures.' July 14, 2009 The Dominion Post p.B5
He suggests that the ECA or environmental cooperation agreement which accompanied New Zealand's Free Trade Agreement with China, could provide New Zealand with a valuable platform for exporting expertise and environmental technologies.
I find Simon Upton's columns worth reading - they are well-written and I think 'wise'.
Thursday, July 9, 2009
Photo: Sushrutha Metikurke Hole in fence, Wellington
I've been looking at Valeria Maltoni's 'e-book' called "Why Blog + 25 tips to make it work" which I downloaded from http://www.conversationagent.com/ Thanks Conversation Agent - I've found it pretty useful - it makes some simple but obvious suggestions which I have already put in to operation. It also highlights some gaps in my understanding...
Friday, July 3, 2009
Central to its success is a person with qualifications and experience in librarianship or information and knowledge management. A trade library and information service staffed by a suitably qualified and expereinced person is able to match a person's information need with appropriate resources in the format that delivers the best result. This may be a book, image or academic peer-reveiwed journal in electronic format.
A TraLIS ideally would include an information portal which presents gateways to evaluated sources of trade information, but a website or information portal alone is not a TraLIS.
It would also include a catalogue which recorded available resources particularly but not exclusively in digital formats. The catalogue software used would make it possible for the TraLIS manager to fully exploit information sources with subject headings, tags and analytical entries. www.ets.kohalibrary.com/ - the New Zealand School of Export Library catalogue using Koha software is an example of how this can be done.
A Trade Library Information Service would also be embedded within an organisation which includes experts such as practitioners in all aspects of international trade, or teaching staff and adjunct faculty. They are living information sources which the enquirer can tap into through links made by the TraLIS manager.
Can you add or expand, critique this explanation?
Thursday, July 2, 2009
Tuesday, June 30, 2009
Friday, June 26, 2009
The WTO site is a fund of information as can be seen by clicking on the Trade Topics link. The WTO also has a library and the catalogue can be searched by anyone, but it is intended primarily for WTO Staff and Delegates. Here is the OPAC link:
It specializes in economics, statistical and legal materials related to international trade. The Library holds some 40,000 monographs, more than 1,000 periodicals, and over 800 current yearbooks. In addition, it is home to the GATT Archives. A search on 'New Zealand' retrieves 37 items.
Tuesday, June 23, 2009
This site is built as a fun experiment by Michael Kordahi.'
Michael says: 'The system has many flaws that I know about already, the primary one of interest is the lack of localisation. So, all searches are going through the US as US searches. The other deficiency worth noting is that there is much missing from the actual experience of using these search engines eg, image thumbnails, suggestions, refine queries etc.
Ohh, and this site is very very beta, expect it to break!'
I did two test searches using the following:
1. New Zealand's top exports
2. New Zealand's top ten export destinations
For Search 1 Google produced the best result which was a Statistics New Zealand page. For Search 2 Bing produced a result which was helpful although not exactly what I wanted - it gave the top seven destinations one of which was North America which is too general when an enquirer might want to know whether Canada figures in the top ten.
In both searches the results were the wrong way round e.g. US exports to New Zealand. This may be explained by Michael's comments above. There were also Australian results like this some of which came at the top of the list. Other results were very specific and focussed on one products e.g. wine or electronics. And there were results which focussed on one export destination e.g. Thailand.
See also post on Bing below. The URL for Blind Search is: http://blindsearch.fejus.com/ I'd be interested in what others might have found.
Monday, June 22, 2009
It's amazing where one picks up information related to aspects of international trade. I regularly read a magazine from the Columban Fathers which often has items which I have not seen in other media. Last year they ran a series on the Millennium Development Goals which didn't seem to get much publicity in the mainstream press. The June issue of The Far East included a reprinted article by Ruth Dearnley entitled "A glass and a half" in which it was announced that Cadbury's Dairy milk chocolate would become Fairtrade certified later this year.
Under the Fairtrade scheme, Cadbury will pay a guaranteed minimum price for cocoa even if the open-market proce falls below it.
Photo: www.unicef.org.uk depicts cocoa beans drying in Ghana. Cadbury's will triple the amount of Fairtrade cocoa imported from Ghana to about 15,000 tonnes a year.
Wednesday, June 10, 2009
Friday, June 5, 2009
The remainder of the article outlined Turners and Growers' challenge to kiwifruit company Zespri to allow them to become an 'international, branded, year-round supplier and marketer of kiwifruit,' with accusations of monopolistic and protectionist actions.
Useful websites: www.turnersandgrowers.com
Wednesday, June 3, 2009
Thursday, January 29, 2009
He keynoted the opening general session at the ALA Annual Conference in Chicago, June 23–29, 2005, while a U.S. senator from Illinois. This article, published in the August 2005 issue of American Libraries, is an adaptation of that speech, which was entitled Bound to the Word.
He said that librarians must be thanked for their role as champions of privacy, literacy, independent thinking, and most of all reading.