Thursday, October 22, 2009

Deals Open Important Markets - How Important?

A column by Jon Morgan in the Dominion Post October 21, 2009 reports that the farmer-owned meat cooperative Silver Fern Farms has negotiated a deal with French grocery cooperative Intermarche. Silver Fern Farms will supply chilled lamb under their own brand to Intermarche which has 1500 stores in France.

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


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

RSS Feed Search Engine

I have just discovered this search engine and wonder if anyone else has used it or is using it.   The AboutUs information says that more than 75 million blog posts and news articles have been indexed and are searchable.   Has anyone tested out the "Deep Search" which RSSMicro uses?

This links back  to the post on Trade Content Curators (TRACCs) as well.  Your comments?  (BTW there is no need to have a Google account before you post to TraLIS anymore)

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Richard Stallman and Copyright

Richard Stallman speaking in Belgium.  I chose this picture because he was wearing a similar red t-shirt in Levin - no evidence of the Pepsi though!
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

Presidential Proclamation National Information Literacy Awareness Month October 2009

The White House - Press Office - Presidential Proclamation National Information Literacy Awareness Month

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

Are we TraCCs?

Is a Trade Library and Information professional a content curator?
On his blog David Lee King asks the question What’s a Content Curator? 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
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?' which uses this image from Flickr- it is by L.Marie from available under Creative Commons licence. I thought it was a great image for this topic although this particular post takes a slightly different angle.