Thursday, July 08, 2021

Cope’s NSW Parliamentary Library, D’Ascenzo’s Tax Office, as well The Library of Congress is surprising lessons in digital government

Knowledge is knowing that a tomato is a fruit. Wisdom is knowing not to put it in a fruit salad. . .


As Dr Cope once wrote Parliament is a battleground for ideas. He also believes that the noise in the parliamentary pool of ideas tends to come from the shallow end of the pool ...

I feel fortunate that Destiny took me to exotic places with characters who were born to lead. Both Dr Cope and Michael D’Ascenzo pushed the boundaries of data fabrics and data lakes as they modernised key institutions in Australia. They all stand out as compassionate leaders who attracted loyalty and respect  even in their well deserved retirements.

Information and knowledge held by Revenue Authorities can be obtained by social media these days (ATO has been on Facebook for a decade as Michael D'Acenzo aka Dasha was rather forward thinking  back in 2011 ...)


Compassion is the intention to bring happiness to others. If you have ever had a leader that was compassionate, you will know what it feels like. The person, like Michael O'Neill of Wickenby fame,  has your back. The person has your interest in mind. And, as a result, you feel safe, trusted, loyal, and committed. When it comes to leadership, nothing beats compassion. It is a universal language that is understood by anyone, anywhere. If you want to bring more compassion into your leadership, make a habit of asking one simple question whenever you engage with anyone: How can I help this person have a better day?
As human beings, we are all driven by basic needs for meaning, happiness, human connectedness, and a desire to contribute positively to others. And leaders that truly understands these needs, and lead in a way that enables these intrinsic motivations, have the keys to enable strong loyalty, engagement and performance. As leaders, we must be humans before managers. The classic style managers like D'Ascenzo and Dr Cope managed to put Australia on the map as both are still considered as international leaders in the way they modernised their organisations. 

Russell Cope might not qualify as The noblest Roman of them all!", but he certainly will rank as one of the outstanding librarians that this country has produced, and undoubtedly the doyen of Parliamentary librarians of this generation . We often hear the throw-away line "You are a Gentleman and a Scholar" offered as a frivolous, but sincere expression of appreciation, to a person who would probably have difficulty in satisfying either criterion . In the case of Dr Cope, both meanings are entirely applicable : those of us who have had the pleasure and privilege to be associated with him, are thankful of the
opportunity of sharing a small part of the stage of Parliamentary librarianship which he has graced for nearly thirty years, and can attest to the undeniable fact that Russell Cope is both a scholar, and a gentleman.
NSW Parliamentary Library and Jubilee Room

Russell Cope joined the staff of the Parliamentary Library on 1 March 1949 some 4 months short of his 18th birthday ...  Heritage and National Living Treasure inside the Mother of Antipodean Parliaments

Dr Cope Of NSW Parliamentary Library Fame ... 


The Library of Congress is a surprising lesson in digital government

Washington Post Editorial Board – “One of the country’s oldest cultural institutions is now writing the book on how to adapt to a brave new world. Only a few years after being labeled a digital laggard, the Library of Congress is bringing its hundreds of millions of documents’ worth of history to citizens across the country in ever more innovative ways. The success story is one that other government agencies, from the federal level to the local, should consider. The Library of Congress wasn’t always behind the times. But as information accumulated faster and faster, the institution failed to keep up: Multiple GAO reports noted a failure to hire a permanent chief information officer or institute any coherent strategy to keep pace with 15,000 or so items added to the national collection every day. When Carla Hayden stepped into the role of librarian of Congress in 2016, she was on a mission to modernize, but she was on a rescue mission, too. The rescue mission seems already to have been accomplished, and the modernization is well underway…”

People used to visit libraries to stroll through the stacks. Now they sit and scroll. What's lost? Serendipity 

Australia’s oldest living Olympian, Frank Prihoda, celebrates his 100th birthday today. Meet Australia’s oldest living Olympian, who turns 100 today