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Sunday, 26 September 2021

Translational research: where is LIS bedside?

  By Suzana Sukovic

Last month I had a pleasure to participate in LISRA’s webinar, Sharing practitioner-research: a panel discussionIn my opening talk, I mentioned a need to engage with ‘translational research’ in LIS. In response to a question from the audience, I promised to share some resources, and here is my answer.

Translational research originates in health and is still predominantly used to advance health outcomes. It is often described as ‘bench to bedside research’. ‘Translational research’, ‘research translation’ and ‘knowledge translation’ are the terms often used interchangeably, but there is some difference in meaning (see explanation of terminology by Sydney Health Partners). 

So, what is it? 

'Translational research makes engagement with practitioners and the wider community its priority. It seeks to “translate” research in ways that enable that research to be applied. It also “closes the circle” by allowing practitioners to provide feedback to researchers based on their experience’, explains Pru Mitchell in her article From concept to classroom: what is translational research? 

Mitchell’s article is about translational research in education, one of the areas outside health in which this type of research is gaining prominence. A/Prof Elaine Wethington explains reasons why social sciences are later adopters, and outlines some benefits of translational research.  

So far, librarians have been described as supporters of translational research in health, and the support role was discussed in the literature. However, the library and information sector hasn’t applied translational research in its own practice in any substantial way. Once again, our field needs to decide how to move beyond research support to develop our discipline and practice.

Writing this post, I remembered another LARK blog post about lessons from health. This older post is about my conference presentation Towards a teaching library: connecting academia and the profession presented at EBLIP8 (see slides). Since then, I worked in education research in health, and now believe more than ever in the concept of a ‘teaching library’. Furthermore, I now think that the model of a ‘teaching library’ may be a way to introduce translational research into LIS. Some food for thought while we think what ‘bench to bedside’ means in our field.

For further exploration

ACER, Translational Research 

Choi P J, Tubbs R, Oskouian R J (March 19, 2018) The Current Trend of the Translational Research Paradigm. Cureus 10(3): e2340. DOI 10.7759/cureus.2340

CQUniversity Library, Knowledge Translation 

Lowitja Institute, Knowledge Translation 

USC Library, Research Knowledge Translation Defined

Dr Suzana Sukovic is Director of Research and Library Services, PLC Sydney

Translational research image source:

Saturday, 4 September 2021

Sharing practitioner-research: How can ALIA help?

Earlier this week, LISRA organised a panel discussion 'to consider the opportunities, issues and challenges for library and information professionals in sharing and disseminating Australia’s emerging body of LIS practice-based research'. Four panelists started with their statements to open discussions. One of them was Andrew Finegan from ALIA who summarised his opening statement for LARK. A full recording is available from the LISRA event page.

By Andrew Finegan

As a professional association, one of ALIA’s core activities is to support research and publications that inform its members and the library and information sector.
One way that ALIA does this is through the production of the Journal of the Australian Library and Information Association, or JALIA. Produced quarterly, JALIA presents research and research-in-practice articles which are subjected to a double-blind peer review process.
ALIA’s agreement with JALIA’s publisher allows authors to make their research publicly available through their institutional repository, with zero embargo – through what is commonly known as Green open access. As this content would otherwise only be immediately accessible through subscriptions, we encourage those who publish their work in JALIA to also take this opportunity.

Indeed, it should be noted that this does place the responsibility of access onto the author, with the expectation that the author does the work in preparing and uploading their research onto their institutional repository. University libraries make a valuable contribution to the research community by supporting academics through this process.
Of course, not everybody who has their research published in JALIA has access to an institutional repository, with many authors coming from school, public, state, territory and national libraries. This in itself can create a barrier to access, as there is no obvious place for them to upload their Green open access version.

Fortunately, ALIA manages its own repository, ALIA Library, where research content such as conference papers, reports and discussion papers are held. ALIA can work with these authors to make their JALIA-published research available as green open access.
However, we also need to think beyond the formal research journal as the only way to engage practitioners with research. The reality is that there are library professionals who, for whatever reasons, do not actively engage with research that is published in this format.
ALIA provides numerous opportunities to engage with different audiences with LIS research, through different channels:
This past year has also seen an increase in webinar discussions which have created new opportunities to engage large audiences online.
Of course, to engage effectively with different audiences, it is so important to understand how the tone and style of your communication needs to be adjusted to best connect with that audience - especially with practitioners who may not be actively engaged with an academic style.
As with any communications, you should first and foremost think about your audience. There is a very specific style that you’re expected to use to engage with an academic audience. However, for a non-academic audience, this can be much more fluid, and you need to be ready to adapt your tone for each context, and craft your message to be specifically relevant to their interests and sector. This is an art that is best be developed through active engagement, and so I’d certainly encourage LIS researchers to explore these different spaces.

Communications, ultimately, is a call to action, and researchers have the opportunity to connect with practitioners in their own language and in the spaces where they are engaged, to both inform and challenge them to continue to develop their professional practice, with a robust evidence base.

Andrew Finegan is ALIA Communications Manager

Tuesday, 27 April 2021

Information for Learning: symposium recording


The symposium Information for Learning was a long time in the making. As it turned out, it was worth waiting for this thought-provoking event. The symposium was organised and then postponed due to the COVID-19 lockdown in 2020, to be offered in a refreshed form online in 2021. In the meantime, the use of information for all types of learning has become more relevant than ever. The Organising Committee was pleased to present an exciting program, addressing some perennial and current issues. The event, however, exceeded our expectations. It was free of technical glitches, well-attended and our excellent presenters kept the audience engaged throughout the day. 

We know that many people were disappointed that they could not attend and asked us about a recording. We are pleased to offer now a recording of the presentations. Although we can't offer a recording of discussions during Q&A sessions, our Twitter feed gives a sense of unfolding conversations.

You will find a recording of all the presentations on the link below. Please see the symposium program for abstracts and presenters' biographical notes



Dr Tanya Notley - Young Australians’ socially-mediated news engagement: exploring the implications for civic engagement

Professor Emerita Margy MacMillan - News and the American college student: Translating research in news literacy into developing student agency


Dr Yazdan Mansourian - ‘I’m learning new things, and it brings up new things’: Information seeking for informal lifelong learning as a serious leisure

Ms Kate Rowe - Digital literacy in the community and the role of libraries


Dr Suzana Sukovic and Ms Jamaica Eisner - ‘Just the way my brain works’: exploring capabilities for data use in the health workplace

Dr Yulia Uliannikova and Mr Edward Luca -Developing a staff mentoring program for systematic reviews


Library clients as learners: What do libraries need to know?
Each speaker started with an opening statement followed by discussion
Mr Nathan Sentance (First Nations perspective)
Ms Oriana Acevedo (Multilinguistic and multicultural library users)
Dr Danny Liu (Learning analytics)

The Organising Committee thanks our presenters for their time and effort, and to the audience for contributing to a great day of learning and professional conversations. 

Sunday, 18 April 2021

LARK's Treasurer: expressions of interest


Do you want to engage with an active ALIA group? Do you want to keep in touch with research in practice? Can you manage some financial tasks? If your answer is 'yes', the role of LARK's Treasurer is for you.

The Treasurer is responsible for Group’s financial administration and serves as the point of contact for financial matters. 

The Treasurer is responsible for

·      providing individual event budget and the annual budget

·      banking cash received

·      forwarding cheques or credit card payments to be processed

·      approving Group’s expenditure and serving as one of the two signatories           necessary for Group expenditure.

This is not as daunting as it sounds. Most of our events are free and our finance is pretty simple. The LARK Chair will work with you and help is also available from the ALIA House finance team. 

Please get in touch if you have any questions and send us your expression of interest by email.

Contact: Suzana Sukovic 

Email: lark.kollektive(at) 

Twitter: @suzanasukovic

Image source:

Monday, 5 April 2021

Information for Learning: Meet our panelists

Library clients as learners - What do libraries need to know?

Mr Nathan Sentance (Australian Museum), Ms Oriana Ocevedo (State Library NSW) and Dr Danny Liu (The University of Sydney)

LARK is delighted to present a panel session with three experts who will present their perspective on library clients as learners. The panel will address which types of information libraries have, or need to have, to support different types of learning and knowledge in their diverse communities. This panel will start a conversation by introducing a First Nations perspective and a point of view from a librarian who supports culturally and linguistically diverse people. Also, what can we learn from data? What are the possible uses for, and blind spots of, learning analytics? What can the library and information profession learn from other fields?

What are you going to ask our panelists? See our symposium page to reserve your place. Registrations close on 6 April 12 pm AEST.

About the panelists

Oriana Acevedo works at the State Library of New South Wales (NSW). In her role as the Multicultural Consultant for Public Libraries, she provides advice and supports the development of multicultural library services within the State Library and NSW public libraries. She represents the State Library in government and non-government organisations for the advancement, participation and settlement of migrants and refugees in NSW. Oriana manages the Multicultural Cooperative that assists public libraries with the acquisition of materials in languages other than English (LOTE) and also manages the State Library’s bulk loans services that provides contemporary lending collections in 43 languages.

Danny Liu is currently an Associate Professor in the DVC (Education) Portfolio at the University of Sydney. Danny is a molecular biologist by training, programmer by night, researcher and academic developer by day, and educator at heart. He works at the confluence of educational technology, student engagement, learning analytics/educational data science, pedagogical research, organisational leadership, and professional development. His work in educational innovation has been recognised through a number of national and international awards.

Nathan Sentance is currently a project officer in at the Australian Museum working on cultural programs with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander focus. Nathan's main work focus is ensuring Indigenous perspectives and voices are part of the cultural and historical narrative that GLAM (Galleries, Libraries, Archives and Museums) institutions collect and convey as well as working on accessibility to information held in institutions to Aboriginal communities. Nathan was the recipient of the Loris Williams Memorial Scholarship 2015. He is also the current secretary of Australian Society of Archivists (ASA) Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Issues Special Interest Group (ATSI SIG).

Saturday, 3 April 2021

Information for Learning: Health

Health workers are lifelong learners. It has rarely been so apparent as during the COVID pandemic. Health systems are complex and need to work in unison to deliver critical care.  Librarians and information professionals are part of this system, providing essential support for learning in health. 

LARK is pleased to announce two presentations on much needed practice-based research related to the provision of learning support in health. What are the essential data skills and learning needs of non-clinical staff? How can information professionals contribute to and enhance systematic review in health? Do interdisciplinary connections enhance learning and practice in health? Answers to these questions are highly relevant to educators and information professionals in other sectors. 

Join the Information for Learning, online symposium, on 9 April to hear from our speakers and participate in thought-provoking conversations.

Suzana Sukovic

Jamaica Eisner

‘Just the way my brain works’: exploring capabilities for data use in the health workplace

Dr Suzana Sukovic (PLC Sydney) and Ms Jamaica Eisner (Deloitte Digital Australia)

Health organisations employ a considerable workforce in non-clinical roles, which are essential for the functioning of health systems. The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the critical importance of data-gathering, sharing and communication within health service, and across society. A substantial part of this work is performed by non-clinical staff. A research group at the Health Education and Training Institute (HETI), NSW Health, conducted a study aiming to understand issues of data-use in non-clinical work roles. The study used qualitative and quantitative data-gathering methods to explore the complexity of interactions with data in the workplace. In this presentation, we focus on findings related to data capabilities and support for learning about data. We discuss data and general capabilities, which are often combined with personal traits to enable effective data use in context. Participants discussed and self-assessed a range of skills, identifying their skill gaps and preferred modes of learning. The study findings point towards a need for a holistic approach to data-related workplace learning and information provision. Decisions about training and improvements of work with data need to consider organisational practices, cultures and a range of soft and transferable skills. Study findings have implications for formal education and are applicable in other workplace settings. 

Bio notes

Suzana Sukovic (PhD, MA, BAHons) is the Director of Research and Library Services at the Presbyterian Ladies’ College Sydney. Suzana has spent most of her career in education, including secondary, tertiary and workplace education, where she worked in a number of professional, teaching and research roles. Suzana has published papers on issues related to learning and knowledge creation, and on innovation and creativity in knowledge organisations. She also has a long-standing interest and expertise in conducting and promoting research in practice. Suzana combined insights from her academic and practice-based research and experience to publish the first book on transliteracy, Transliteracy in complex information environments. Her current professional interests relate to teenagers’ learning and information behaviours. Her research interests are in the areas of boundary crossing, transliteracy and capability development for lifelong learning. @suzanasukovic on Twitter.

Jamaica Eisner is a content strategist working as a consultant in the Deloitte Digital Sydney practice. She has experience working across government, health, higher education, telecommunications and financial services. Specialist skills include research (qualitative, user research, and socio-cultural), publication (print & digital), web design, and content and communication strategies (e.g. transformational).

Yulia Ulyannikova

Developing a staff mentoring program for systematic reviews

Dr Yulia Ulyannikova and Mr Edward Luca (The University of Sydney Library)

 Systematic review support is a key service to support researchers in medicine and health at the University of Sydney Library. To respond to growing demand in a range of subject areas, including business and education, the library team implemented a staff development mentoring program as part of the service design process. The program paired staff members from other disciplines, mentees, with experienced staff members from the medicine and health team, who acted as mentors, to facilitate workplace learning. The program was preceded by workshops with experienced librarians, who shared insights into their understanding of teaching the systematic review process with the aim of arriving at a shared understanding of the practice. The workshops resulted in the development of a ‘systematic review checklist’ of competencies, which was used as a training tool and rubric during the mentoring process. In our presentation we will share lessons learned from the program, and discuss how it contributed to our understanding of facilitating workplace learning. This presentation will have relevance for anyone interested in workplace learning and on-the-job training, regardless of the type of service.

Edward Luca

Bio notes

Yulia Ulyannikova has been supporting Medicine and Health disciplines at the University of Sydney Library for the past five years. Her special interests are systematic review support and service improvement with an emphasis on education and mentorship. She holds a Doctoral Degree in History from The University of Melbourne, a Master’s Degree in Information Management from RMIT, and a Graduate Diploma in Higher Education from the University of Sydney.

Edward Luca is a library practitioner and researcher. He is currently Manager of Academic Services (Medicine and Health) at the University of Sydney Library. Edward writes and speaks on topics including design thinking, academic librarianship and scholarly publishing. He is also undertaking his PhD in the discipline of Business Information Systems at the University of Sydney Business School. @edwardluca on Twitter.

Monday, 29 March 2021

Information for Learning: Community

Information is at the heart of our individual and collective learning experiences. As educators we look to research studies to enhance our understanding of information environments and help improve how we best support our students’ and citizens’ information skills.

The LARK Information for Learning Symposium (9 April online) is proud to host a number of speakers at the cutting edge of information studies and research to support LIS educators. The morning paper session provides us with an opportunity to hear from two researchers studying how information and digital habits and skills impact lifelong learning and literacies. Learning from these studies will assist libraries and librarians critically engaging with the information and digital literacy needs of our communities.

Please join us at #LARK2021 and welcome our first two paper sessions:

"I’m learning new things, and it brings up new things”: Information seeking for informal lifelong learning as a serious leisure
Dr Yazdan Mansourian (Charles Sturt University)

This paper presents selective findings of a research project about information behaviour in the context of serious leisure. Serious leisure includes a wide range of hobbies, amateurism and volunteer activities that people choose to do in their free time with a high level of passion and commitment during a long period (Stebbins, 1982). For example, gourmet cooking, food blogging, amateur photography, birdwatching, gardening, ultra-running, genealogy, liberal arts and lifelong learning are among serious leisure activities. Serious leisure is different from other kinds of leisure, such as casual and occasional leisure. It requires specific skills and knowledge and usually helps the participants form a new identity around their chosen activity. As a result, it entails a continuous pursuit of knowledge and involves various information actions including information seeking, searching, browsing, retrieving, saving, organising, sharing, evaluating, using and producing. At the same time, all these actions are embedded in an ongoing lifelong learning process.

This project has a qualitative approach using a semi-structured interview as its data collection tool and thematic analysis as its data analysis method. The results show serious leisure participants are involved in a long term learning journey with a high level of dedication and enthusiasm. However, they usually learn through informal settings such as joining clubs, exploring social media and attending informal gatherings. Moreover, most of them are passionate readers and friends of libraries. 

This paper concludes serious leisure participants are typically serious learners and have constant interaction with information resources. Their information behaviour is mainly purposeful. They seek information and look for new meanings for life and are enthusiastic about learning new skills in their chosen field.


Stebbins, R. A. (1982). Serious leisure: A conceptual statement. Pacific Sociological Review, 25, 251-272.

Bio note

Yazdan Mansourian is a lecturer in the School of Information Studies at Charles Sturt University in Australia. He received his PhD in Information Science from The University of Sheffield in November 2006. His thesis's title is Information Visibility on the Web and Conceptions of Success and Failure in Web Searching. Yazdan has a MA in LIS from the Ferdowsi University of Mashhad and a BSc in agricultural engineering from Guilan University. From January 2007 to June 2017 he was afaculty member at Kharazmi University. Yazdan joined CSU in August 2017, and his main research interest is human information behaviour in serious leisure. He explores the role of joy in engaging people with hobbies, amateurism and volunteer activities and how joyful experiences inspire the participants to seek, share and use information.

Digital literacy in the community and the role of libraries

Ms Kate Rowe (Doctoral student, Charles Sturt University)

After having an interest in lifelong learning and the role of libraries since I began working in libraries almost twenty years ago, in 2019 I undertook a research project with Charles Sturt University on how the community experiences digital literacy and the role of libraries in supporting the community’s digital literacy capabilities. 

Digital literacies are those capabilities that fit an individual for living, learning and working in a digital society. Digital literacy is the ability to access, manage, understand, integrate, communicate, evaluate and create information safely and appropriately through digital devices and networked technologies for participation in economic and social life. It includes competencies that are variously referred to as computer literacy, ICT literacy, information literacy, and media literacy (UNESCO, 2018 p. 6).

The aim of my research project was to meet with volunteer participants from both the community and public library staff, from different locations throughout Queensland, to gain an understanding of how the community experiences digital literacy in their everyday lives, the challenges or opportunities they saw in an ever changing digital world and how libraries were supporting the community to build their digital capabilities. Ten semi-structured interviews were conducted with six community participants and four public library staff from the capital city area of Brisbane and rural and regional Queensland. Interviews questions were guided by Jisc’s 6 elements of digital capability: ICT proficiency and productivity; Information, data and media literacies; Digital creation, problem solving and innovation; Digital communication, collaboration and participation; Digital learning and development; and Digital identity and wellbeing (Jisc, 2017). The Jisc Framework was selected as it specifically included the digital capability of digital learning and development, which is not included in other frameworks for digital competent citizens, such as the European Union’s Digital Competence Framework 2.0 DigComp 2.0 (EU, 2019).

Using a constructivist grounded theory approach to explore both the community and library staff participant’s thoughts, feelings and lived experience of digital literacy provided rich authentic data with thick descriptions in the voice of the participants on how they experience digital literacy. Findings from this research project were consistent with the findings of research conducted by the Australian Digital Inclusion Index (ADII, 2015), which found there were significant gaps between those who are digitally included and those who face obstacles including digital affordability, accessibility and ability. Digital inclusion is influenced by differences in income, age, education levels, employment and geography and this was consistent with the findings of this research project. The research also found that the role of libraries was vital for assisting the community to access and develop their digital skills, especially for those who were the least digitally included.

This research project was approved by CSU’s Ethics Committee (Ethics Approval No H19194).


ADII. (2015). Australian digital inclusion index: Discussion paper. Retrieved from

European Union. (2019) The Digital Competence Framework 2.0. Retrieved from

Jisc. (2017). Building digital capabilities: The six elements defined. Retrieved from 

UNESCO. (2018). Global framework of reference on digital literacy skills for indicator 4.4.2. Retrieved from

Bio note

Kate Rowe is a researcher practitioner who has worked as a librarian in academic, TAFE, public libraries and in schools for almost twenty years. Throughout her career Kate has had a passion for lifelong learning, information and digital literacy, digital inclusion and the digital divide. Kate is currently a PhD student at Charles Sturt University. She has a Master of Education (QUT) and a Master of Information Management (QUT).