Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Export Potential?

Recently on our trip overseas, we came across Elderflower cordial offered on a menu in a Dresden (Germany) restaurant. The picture to the right is of elderflowers in full bloom across Staces Road from the New Zealand School of Export. I know elder trees are widespread in New Zealand - maybe there is export potential here in harvesting and producing a marketable product?!

Photo taken 12 November, 2008 Graeme Siddle

Friday, November 7, 2008

Looking for Other Trade Blogs

This is a link to the blogs which are listed on the FITA site - most are very specific to trade leads and making links between products and buyers. However it is interesting to see what is happening and the kind of talk going on. The TraLIS blog with its emphasis on the information aspects of international trade seems to be unique. It would be good to be proved wrong.....


Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Kowhai and Repositories

Kowhai at Aokautere Park September 17,2008. Photo taken by Graeme Siddle.
In line with the natural theme which this blog has developed, I wanted to put up a picture of kowhai. This is a photo of flowers on a kowhai in the grounds of Aokautere Park flowering at the moment, but there is also a larger tree in the bush remnant across Staces Road from the School. I don't have a particular connection between kowhai and repositories except that I guess kowhai is a repository of plant dna particular to this place.
I discovered this blog this morning and repositories are a tool which the Director has raised with me. John Mark Ockerbloom says:

At the same time, though, you can't plan the development of a library without thinking about its repositories. Repositories really are essential infrastructure for libraries but not simply as a place to "capture and preserve the intellectual output of university communities" (as a 2002 SPARC white paper put it), or, more pessimistically, as "a place where you dump stuff and then nothing happens to it" (as a 2005 JISC workshop annex put it).

Repositories: what they are, and what we use them for John Mark Ockerbloom post June 26, 2008.

The issue of repositories raises the issue not only of what do we do with the intellectual output of the New Zealand School of Export, but also of what is happening to the particular intellectual output in New Zealand which is related to international trade. Is this just for the National Library of New Zealand to look after, or an institution such as ours?


Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Swedish Vice Minister for Trade opens IATTO Forum in Stockholm

Gunnar Wieslander, the Swedish Vice Minister for Trade who gave the opening address at the 34th IATTO Forum in Stockholm, recognised the importance of people and the knowledge they have and can use. He said 'One under-utilised resource in this context is Swedish entrepreneurs of foreign origin who have contacts and unique knowledge of the business culture, politics, religion and language in th countries where they previously lived. The Government is committing itself to making better use of the expertise of Swedes of foreign origin...'

His full paper can be accessed at and was delivered last week.


Monday, August 25, 2008

International Trade - 17th century style

"Noting that the unenlightened Europeans preferred to serve their exotic product from a pot, the Chinese saw the potential for yet another lucrative Western market, and began making pots for export from their own Yixing red stoneware, probably based on shapes copied from silver or delftware pots made in Europe.
When China's copies of European forms were seen by Bottger, he borrowed them back, realising that his material was even finer than Chinese stoneware... Thus the circle of fashion revolved in a curious cross-pollination of ideas and customs: a design from Europe was transported to China and then welcomed back to Europe again.'
from The Arcanum: the extraordinary true story by Janet Gleeson. pp.98-99

This history focuses on the development of Meissen porcelain in Saxony. As well referring to international trade there is information on the trade fairs that were held in Germany at this time.


Thursday, August 21, 2008

LIANZA meeting at the New Zealand School of Export

18 members of the Ikaroa Region ventured out to Aokautere Park on the evening of Tuesday 19 August, 2008 to visit and hear about the Library & Information Service (ELIS) run by the New Zealand School of Export.

The Director of the School Dr Rom Rudzki enthusiastically shared his story and the story of the School. This fitted the Library Week theme for 2008 What's Your Story Nou te Korero admirably. The Head of Marketing, Alison Vickers outlined the marketing efforts being made by the School to get exporters for the Diploma course and also delighted librarians with her prizes!

I finished the evening by talking about ELIS and the usefulness of my attendance at VALA 2008 (sponsored by Hydestor through the Ikaroa Region) - where I learned about the 23 things and came back with 50+ things to do!

As a result of the meeting and sharing between friends and colleagues, I now have a quick way to check all my website links using a Firefox add-on (Googled 'link evaluator firefox), and have added a Site Meter ( to this blog. Thanks to Barbara and Judi.

And thanks for organising it: Jane, Rom and Alison.


Thursday, August 14, 2008

Other Kinds of Information

The photo right, shows in the middle the small peak called Ahu-a-Turanga. This peak is located on the Ruahine Range between the Manawatu Gorge and the Saddle Road. For those who know, this is the burial place of Turanga and therefore became a place of religious and symbolic significance to the Rangitane people who lived on both sides of the range. A pathway between east and west crossed the range at this point, perhaps used by Maori trading food, and when travellers reached this peak they recited prayers for a safe journey.

Landscape, physical and geographical features are often carriers of information as much as books, CD-ROMs, and files.

Photo taken from Staces Road, Aokautere, 26 March 2008 by Graeme Siddle.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Keyword-rich searching

In his piece International Trade Article Visits published at Daniel Workman writes: 'Studies show that people using search engines quickly look for answers to specific questions and will leave if not found within a couple of seconds.'
This comment highlights the need for people using search engines to think carefully about their keywords before they search, and especially to think about other possible synonyms or variants of their keywords. If they are searching for "export organisations" in a specific country they may need to also search for "organizations". This can be done effectively by using a Boolean search, or by using the Advanced search features which search engines provide.
The fact that Daniel Workman highlights the need for writers to use 'keyword-rich' articles should make us think about 'keyword-rich searching'.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

A Maori Dimension

Last week July 21-25th was Maori Language Week in New Zealand. During that week searching and using Google in the Maori language or te reo was launched. Go to and try it out.

In the catalogue of the New Zealand School of Export I began using Maori subject headings from the thesaurus Nga Upoko Tukutuku hosted by the National Library of New Zealand. Some of the terms I will find useful are:

tauhokohoko - trade
hua - food produce sold for profit
putea - finance
tapoi - tourism

As the thesaurus is developing and evolving I am sure there will be more terms which can be used to make the ELIScat more useful to Maori. Are there any lists of trade terms in First Nations languages which others are using?


Saturday, July 19, 2008

Weightless economy

I was having a look at technorati today and came across this video clip on the weightless economy and New Zealand:

If you can't open this clip, copy it into your browser and it should open from there.
Here is a URL for weightless economy at the NZ Institute:

Tuesday, July 8, 2008


There has been quite a bit of discussion on another list which I am subscribed to about It is fascinating to be able to 'go into' this bookshop and browse... I thought I would have a look at their stock of books on exporting. The search 'export' brings up 18 matches today. There are one or two titles which are not to do with international trade but the majority belong to the 'how to start-up an export business' or 'how to build your exports'. There were/are two titles which could be regarded as academic covering export theory and practice.

Has anybody used it? Any comments?


Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Thesaurus of International Trade Terms

Autumn fungi at Aokautere Park. Well it's now winter, but that is a good time to be indoors cataloguing materials for our exporters. I have just purchased a copy of Thesaurus of International Trade Terms Rev. 4, 2004 and am finding it most useful. It is not vastly different from what I was doing previously but I am already adding to it. For example I have added the sectoral terms used by New Zealand Trade & Enterprise - Food & beverage sector.

Does anyone else out there use it? Do you have any comments which might be useful to share?


Saturday, May 24, 2008


Have you heard about this social networking software which has been developed in Germany? It may have applications for business and international trade. Have a look at the website - when it comes up it is in German but you can change that to English. There is a video too to show you how it can work.

Check out the article in DominionPost May 17, 2008 E8

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Libraries in the 21st century

In 2005 OCLC published a report to its members entitled Perceptions of Libraries and Information Resources. Many of the surveyed respondents were speaking of their public libraries. However there is much in the report that is important for specialised library services. On the final page the authors write:

"Libraries will continue to share an expanding infosphere with an increasing number of content producers, providers and consumers. Information consumers will continue to self-serve from a growing information smorgasbord. The challenge for libraries is to clearly define and market their relevant place in that infosphere - their services and collections both physical and virtual.

It is time to rejuvenate the "Library" brand."


Monday, April 28, 2008

Records & Archives Week May 1-7

Records & Archives Week celebrates the importance of records, archives and the recordkeeping professions. The theme for 2008 is 'Protect Your Records'. Everyone keeps records of some sort and those of us involved in some aspect of international trade are no exception to this, having photographs, contracts, marketing materials, supply chain flow-charts and so on. The thing they all have in common is that we would hate to lose them, because it would be very expensive and in the case of older material, it may mean a loss of our heritage.

The Records & Archives Week site has Advice on protecting your records. Have a look at it and do something this week!

Friday, April 25, 2008


During the VALA Conference as a result of listening to the presentation by Joann Ransom from Horowhenua District Libraries on the use of the 'kete' software, I was thinking about using photographs particularly for the history of international trade. Local History Week at the Palmerston North City Libraries also prompted me to think about the use of images for the history of any country's exporting and importing activities.
The National Library of New Zealand plays a lead role in the management and promotion of Matapihi, which is a digital collection of images from 14 collections around New Zealand. The images are varied: photographs, drawings, paintings and museum objects.
I did searches on 'exports' which retrieved 58 images, 'exporting' six images and 'imports' 47 images. Among the cartoons and photos was an image which really caught my eye of three labels from cans of exported meats:- West Coast Meat & Produce Export Co Ltd (Patea). New Zealand boiled beef, and New Zealand brawn; and, Mitchell & Richards Tinned Meats, Wanganui. Ox tongues. 1890-1920]. A search on the site for 'west coast meat' will retrieve the description and image quickly.
The images can be freely used for study or research purposes, but you need permission for use on a website or intranet, or in a published work. The Matapihi site tells you how to obtain permission.

Monday, March 24, 2008

NZSOE at VALA 2008 (3)

Kathryn Greenhill, Murdoch University, WA. Do we remove the walls? Second Life Librarianship.

  • This was one of the conference sessions which was most surprising and challenging for me. How could it relate to a Trade Library and Information Service?

  • Kathryn had created a whole world - 'a cultural archipelago with 40 islands' - a consistent fictional world

  • curating an Australian Libraries Island

  • Avatars, Islands, Buildings, Objects

  • Could we have exporter avatars? Lucy Commodity and James P.Roduct?

  • Could they go to a building to get information on exporting to Sweden where is a SL Embassy?

  • Could LIS set up a building? At what cost?

  • In following up Second Life, I found there is already the concept of businesses and organization in second life

  • Wikipedia article at:


Photo: Outside the New Zealand School of Export, Aokautere Park. Autumn morning 25 March 2008 / Graeme Siddle.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

NZSOE at VALA 2008 (2)

Peter Johann Lor, Sec-General of IFLA. International dimensions of Web 2.0 and Library 2.0

These are some of the points Peter Lor made which were particularly applicable to International Trade Librarianship:
  • Modern ICTs have brought a shift from economies of things, to the economies of information - the weightless economy concept cf. David Skilling of The New Zealand Institute
  • physical controls are eliminated in the weightless economy - logistics?
  • information is being commodified therefore knowledge is a strategic resource
  • new Enclosure Movement cf. Britain 1700s - we are now seeing the enclosure of intellectual property via digital locks (fences)
  • Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) are also locking up information and in some case forcing developing nations to adopt policies for information and intellectual property which are more appropriate for a developed nation.
  • FTAs have been responsible for affecting the affordability of school textbooks therefore access to information - a negative impact cf. Costa Rica.
  • Free Trade not necessarily fair trade.
  • Web 2.0 will speed up the process of disintermediation or deprofessionalisation
  • Lor introduced his paper by showing us a Library 2.0 Meme map attributed to Bonaria Biancu (Wikipedia 2007c). - I really liked this as a guide to Library 2.0.


Tuesday, March 18, 2008

For Easter

Two letters X and P I saw set down
in order, clean and white as bones
upon a neglected earthpage covered with fungus
like grey moss but the propelling letters shone through
and a thumb-nail nicked corner of the sky
while human heads leaned dark across the mountain.

from the poem 'A Painting by Colin McCahon'
written by Janet Frame published in The pocket mirror
published Pegasus, 1968 pp.105-6

Monday, March 17, 2008

NZSOE at VALA 2008

Schubert Foo: ‘Going Virtual for Enhanced Library Experience’
VALA 2008 Conference Wednesday 6 February 2008

One of the new terms that Shubert Foo used in his presentation was the notion of ‘information-object’ as ‘info-concierge’.

Foo says on p.2 of his written paper that when the information object is discovered it becomes an info-concierge ‘with the ability to connect the information seeker, to other content, both within and outside the library, or other information seekers. Each information object in the library thus serves as an info-concierge, connecting people to content, people to people, and content to another piece of content. ‘

The concept of concierge has an inherent notion of guarding in it, although the meaning he was keen to use was ‘the opening up’ or ‘letting through to’. Wikipedia (16 March 2008) says that: ‘a concierge is often expected to "achieve the impossible", dealing with any request a guest may have, no matter how strange, relying on an extensive list of personal contacts with various local merchants and service providers.’ I liked this information source concept and it certainly fits with what he writes:

‘An information object, as an info-concierge, connects through various means. These include:
(1) simple hyperlinks within an article [an information object]
(2) putting own content on different platforms [information objects that presents information in a different context] for discovery
(3) ‘push’ information to suggestion for exploration of other related categories of Resources’[1]

The ELIS Pathfinder on Country Information could be seen as an example:

· Hyperlinks point to other sites of country information Content to content
· If this was linked to one of the exporter blogs where the country information has been discussed then this would be Content to People linking
· If within the blog exporters had been commenting on the usefulness of the information in the Pathfinder then this would be People to People linking
· If those exporters then pushed or suggested another information source or website then would be People to content

His implication was of course that the librarian and information professional should be exploiting this ‘info-concierge’ role of information objects.
[1] Foo, Schubert, (2008) paper from VALA Conference, p.16


Wednesday, March 12, 2008

MarketLine database

Are there professionals working in International Trade Library and Information Services who use this product? What do you think of it? What do your clients think of it?

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

LIS for trade professionals

It is quite surprising that large organisations which are either promoting international trade or educating for international trade don't appear to provide a library and information service to their clients. I visited Melbourne in February 2008 and hoped that I might be able to visit the local office of Austrade. I was not able to as there is no office in Melbourne. The World Trade Centre in Melbourne didn't have a library and information service either. I hope that through this blog those of us who are involved in this specialist area will be able to share ideas, thoughts and tips on how they serve their clients in the area of international trade.