Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Case Study No. 0621: Staff of the National Library of Australia

Staff from the National Library of Australia performing Thriller at the 2008 staff Christmas party
Tags: Thriller NLA
Added: 3 years ago
From: wwwnlagovau
Views: 202,801

National Library of Australia
2008 Staff Christmas Party

"A Library Thriller"
(a miscellany of "You know who's")

[scene opens with a stereotypical female librarian (bun in her hair, thick glasses, pink cardigan sweater, carrying a stack of books) looking around nervously, when zombies begin appearing to the sound of Michael Jackson's "Thriller"]
[the zombies surround her, then start dancing as a librarian dressed as a young Michael Jackson (red leather jacket, white glove, etc.) wheels a bookcart into the scene]
[she puts her books on the cart, then climbs on top as "Michael" wheels her around]
[he stops and joins the zombies in dancing, while the librarian gets off and cowers behind the cart]
[four more zombies appears (pushing their own bookcarts covered in cobwebs) and join "Michael" in a choreographed number]
[a few of the zombies pull out some long sheets of paper (with shelves drawn in magic marker and "West Stacks" and "East Stacks" written on them) to simulate the zombies chasing the librarian through the library]
[the zombies eventually corner the librarian, but she suddenly starts to mimic their moves and ends up dancing along with them]
["Michael" then walks up and steals some of her books off the cart, so she takes off her glasses, lets down her hair, pulls off her sweater, and begins using kung fu moves to fight the zombies]
[the remaining zombies place their fallen brethren on the book carts and wheel them away, leaving the librarian alone with "Michael"]
[they circle each other, then the librarian kicks him in the stomach - causing his wig to (accidentally?) fall off - and takes back the books before standing over him in triumph]


From nla.gov.au:

At the 2008 National Library Christmas party, staff from the National Library of Australia performed their own take on Michael Jackson's "Thriller". The performance was placed on YouTube and had great success. With the recent death of Michael Jackson I thought it would be interesting to show what has happened to the traffic of the performance over the past week. Here is a graph showing the traffic for the past month. It's gone from 20 or 30 views a day to a spike of well over 1000 views as people went to YoutTube searching for Michael Jackson video clips. The majority of these views came from people searching YouTube for "Thriller".

It's interesting to compare this to many of our own search services that saw no spike in people looking for Michael Jackson related material. The service that should be the most obvious place for people to search, Music Australia, received only 2 searches for Michael Jackson. Although this is primarily a service relating to Australian music and musicians, we generally see many search queries for overseas artists occurring.

Now this starts to paint a pretty bad picture: YouTube = lots, Library = little. YouTube truly is a global website, while the National Library of Australia focuses on Australian content.

So should we be reacting to international events like this and actively promoting whatever resources we have available on our website (however limited they may be) or can't we compete with the likes of Google and YouTube with their global reach and the surge of traffic they get when users are desperate for information? We can't compete with them on the "up to the minute" news, but we should be able to provide pathways to the resources we have. If we do provide them, will people come?

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