Clearinghouses and a Fourth Age of Sport Institutes

I have had the good fortune to be included on the Australasian Sport Information Network (AUSPIN) mailing list for a decade. The network is hosted by the Clearinghouse for Sport (previously the National Sport Information Centre) at the Australian Sport Commission.

The Clearinghouse was established in 2012 as:

a central access point for the Australian sport sector, to serve the needs of users of a specific body of knowledge, and provide information in an audience appropriate manner to support the transfer and development of knowledge.

I received an alert this week that saddened me. It signalled a change in the work of the Clearinghouse. The email header was Discontinuation of the Clearinghouse for Sport, Daily Sports News (DSN).

The email shared this news:

DSN will not continue in 2018. The Australian Sports Commission’s new strategic direction and re-prioritisation of its existing resources were key considerations in the decision to cease the service.
I’d like to thank all who have supported and promoted DSN over the past 10 years. We’re very sad to see it go, but I know many here will not miss those early morning starts.

A colleague replied:

Very disappointed to read this news. This service has played an important role in informing the Australian sport sector of results, news and issues. There is no such service in Australia that covers the breadth of sports and issues in a consolidated way. It was also an important way of informing the Australian sport sector of very worthwhile work of the NSIC/Clearinghouse in terms of ground breaking sport research in and outside AIS/ASC, Clearinghouse portfolios and the recording and availability of seminars and SMART Talks.

In particular, it has allowed me to keep up to date with developments in sport policy which helps my extensive voluntary work in creating and updating Clearinghouse for Sport portfolios in areas such as Australian Sport Policy, Sport in Rural and Regional Communities, Role Models in Sport, Funding for Sport, Country Profiles and new AIS Sport Alumni websites.

The Australian sport sector has been very well served by the NSIC since it was established in 1982 as the AIS Information Centre. It is still a world leading sport information service and one of the few advantages has in the world of high performance sport. Access to information and research has allowed Australia to punch above its weight in world sport since the 1980’s.

Well done to the NSIC staff in their commitment to delivering service to inboxes before 7am. The culture of the NSIC/Clearinghouse has always been about prompt service.

I understand that the Australian Sports Commission is considering how to structure its digital communications. Back in 2009, in a presentation titled A Fourth Age of Sport Institutes, I tried to articulate what such a communications structure might be.

My thinking about this fourth age was profoundly affected by the practices of the then National Sport Information Centre (NSIC). I had engaged with the NSIC from the mid 1990s and had the good fortune to meet them in person when I moved to work at the AIS in 2002.

I found their modesty, diligence, enthusiasm and energy to be a wonderful, infectious guide to my own work. From them I learned the power of invisible service.

I have always thought the NSIC Clearinghouse to be a jewel in the crown of the Australian Sports Commission’s service to national and global sport.

One of my regrets is that I left the AIS in 2007 and could only be an external advocate for the NSIC thereafter. I am hopeful there will be a role for the Clearinghouse staff in Australian sport’s digital future. They have been world-leading for a long time with a modesty that prevents them from saying this. Their world-leading activities are in their practice not in the rhetoric that goes with world-leading aspirations.

I revisited my 2009 presentation following the AUSPIN announcement. I thought these slides embody my concerns. (With my apologies for the red emphases.)

I do hope that the Clearinghouse’s custos role might enable them to be part of this opportunity:

Photo Credit

View towards Bruce, ACT from AIS grounds (1982) (ACT Archives, CC BY-NC 2.0)

IASI in Canberra 2014


This week, the Australian Institute of Sport is hosting the annual meetings of the International Association for Sports Information (IASI) and the Australasian Sport Information Network (AUSPIN).

There are two days of meetings.

Day 1 (10 November) includes:

  • A welcome from Simon Hollingsworth, Australian Sports Commission.
  • Welcome addresses by Gavin Reynolds and Hartmut Sandner
  • A discussion of high performance projects including: an Athlete Injury Prevention Database; an athlete welfare portal; and a review of Australian sports performance.
  • Discussions of digital sport initiatives including: a sport passport; an open sport data initiative; apps and the sport professional.
  • The IASI General Meeting
  • Discussions of participatory and capability development projects including: volunteer market segmentation; sporting schools; and the national participation survey.


Day 2 (11 November) includes:

  • An opportunity to share and evaluate data: a scientific documentation service for China; a database for high performance training centres and camps; video sharing.
  • An international sport system intelligence roundtable: a benchmark study of national sport information systems; a trusted network to share policy and system information.
  • Performance tracking and monitoring: examples of tracking and monitoring; data driven investment models.
  • An open session: clearinghouse activity; Tokyo 2020.

Photo Credit

AIS Swim Hall, Bruce ACT (ArchivesACT, CC BY-NC 2.0)

AIS (Marg O’Connell, CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

AUSPIN: September 2011 Workshop

The Australian Sport Information Network (AUSPIN) held its Annual Meeting and Workshop in Canberra on 21-22 September, 2011.

I missed the workshop but wanted to post this (belated) note about the Network provided by Gavin Reynolds (and included here with his permission).

“Thank you to all who attended and contributed to the AUSPIN Annual Meeting and Workshop in Canberra last week. Over the two days we gained consensus and progressed a number of key elements that form part of our ongoing work programme. These include:

  • Building a shared knowledge and evidence base: We agreed to work together to build and facilitate a knowledge and evidence base for the sport and active recreation sector using the Clearinghouse for Sport (Clearinghouse). The Clearinghouse will function as the sector’s leading information co-ordination and access point for this work. Please find a revised structure for the Clearinghouse knowledge management domains, categories, and portfolios attached. This structure will help underpin and organise our knowledge base as we move forward. We intend to implement this structure within the Clearinghouse in the coming weeks. Please contact Ralph Richards if you would like to suggest any further amendments or inclusions to the structure.
  • CASRO – and how AUSPIN can potentially support the work of CASRO using the Clearinghouse for Sport: We discussed in broad terms the role of the Committee of Australian Sport and Active Recreation Officials (CASRO), and how the Clearinghouse could be recruited to support CASRO’s programme of work. We agreed to approach and  liaise with the CASRO Secretariat to develop a CASRO secure site within the Clearinghouse – this will initially be a clone of the existing NESC secure site. After the test site is created, we propose to work with the CASRO Secretariat to develop the site further before hopefully releasing it to all CASRO members. The NSIC agreed to action this work immediately.
  • Coordinating the delivery of information services to clients:The AUSPIN Client Service Model (attached) was tabled for review by meeting attendees. The Model is an important element of our AUSPIN Operations Framework (also attached). The purpose of the Model is to inform and to better coordinate how we collectively deliver services to our respective client groups. The Model will also assist to identify existing information servicing gaps across the sector. The Model will be further refined to accommodate feedback received to date, including:
    • Establishing standard sports information product and service costs (inc. a standardised document delivery cost) across all AUSPIN Governments Group, service providers;
    • Ensuring the Model accommodates the needs of commercial clients (such as professional football clubs and fitness centres) when applied to service platforms such as the Clearinghouse; and,
    • Ensuring the Model can be applied to accommodate elite and emerging elite level athletes

Rebecca Lane, Lyndsay Perkin,  Anne Jackson, and Renae Clement will refine the Model further and report back to AUSPIN in the coming weeks.

  • Linking and improving the management, discoverability and visibility of our library holdings:  We agreed to establish and implement an AUSPIN Integrated Library Management System (ILMS) and Union Catalogue, to provide a national and federated view of our member’s library holdings. The NSIC agreed to look at its current ILMS vendor contract (due to end 30 June 2012) to see if this service could be expanded to include other AUSPIN members (approx. six sites), at no cost to these members.  Sean Chen, Rebecca Lane and Chris Hume will progress this work with interested members, with an aim to have a preferred solution identified and tested prior to April next year.

The issue of establishing a shared digital image management solution was also discussed.  The NSIC demonstrated Piction, its pilot platform for this purpose. You can access the platform here. Piction is presently used to support the QLD Whole-of-Government Image library. The NSIC put forward a proposal to join the QLD initiative or adopt a very similar model for AUSPIN.  We all agreed that we should explore the potential for collaborating and indeed joining-up with the QLD Whole-of-Government Image Library initiative. Beck Browne and Chris Hume will develop the proposal further in partnership with their QLD Government contacts, and will report back to AUSPIN members prior to January, 2012.

  • Establishing a standard for national and regional sport information services reporting:  We gained agreement on adopting a shared set of reporting metrics for AUSPIN sport and recreation libraries and information service providers. The agreed reporting templates and statistics are now housed in the Clearinghouse for Sport, within the AUSPIN members network area. Members can now update and edit their respective centre reports online.  Our reporting standards have been drawn from the Council of Australian University Librarians (CAUL) standards where appropriate. Meeting participants agreed that shared reporting metrics will improve visibility of our collective effort and the contribution we make to the sport and active recreation sector.
  • Creating and sharing opportunities for information services staff capability development:  All members agreed to be more proactive in this area and will be committed to sharing learning experiences and providing staff development opportunities through short-term placements and secondments within member organisations (when opportunities arise). The NSIC will also remain committed to providing information systems training for AUSPIN members so they possess the technical capability to administer their own regional networks, users and content through the Clearinghouse for Sport.
  • Business improvement and innovation: Renae Clementfacilitated a session during our Open Forum, to discuss new ideas and emerging solutions that had the potential to advance our business. The key outcomes from this session included:
    • Building an iphone app (application) for the Clearinghouse – WA DSR to lead and  progress
    • Creating online video training and self-help packages for different Clearinghouse client groups – WA DSR to lead and progress
    • Using go-to-meeting (a screen/monitor sharing tool) as a way to provide Clearinghouse induction training to clients and system administrators – NSIC to lead and progress
    • Identify suitable (and innovative) physical education and active recreation online resources for Clearinghouse clients
    • Liaising with Chris Halbert, from Human Kinetics Australia & New Zealand, to explore any potential areas where there may be mutual interests and benefits

Finally, a special thank you to Tony, Paul, David, Greg, Renae, Shirley, Chris, Marilyn and Andrew, for delivering great presentations over the two days. A reminder to all AUSPIN members, you can access the relevant documentation from our  meeting via the Clearinghouse for Sport.

On behalf of everyone here, thank you again for your support and contributions last week.”

Photo Credit

Statue 1