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Monday, 9 July 2018

Librarians as researchers: capacity building @Deakin University Library

By Rickie Morey


Deakin University Library’s liaison librarian capacity building program began in 2014 as the Training and Development Program. The program is developed and coordinated by the Library’s Research Services team and Learning and Teaching team. Each round is structured to meet the specific professional development needs of Deakin’s liaison librarians and scaffolds their skills and knowledge development. At the beginning of 2018, the program evolved to become the Liaison Librarian Learning and Research Forum.

Each year features eight sessions run every month from April to November. Each session focuses on a specific learning or research related topic. All of the training topics were designed around an annual training needs analysis. The program is evaluated and reviewed annually to meet liaison librarians’ changing professional development needs.

This infographic shows the range of topics covered from April 2014 to June 2018:

If you would like to read more in-depth about this program, please follow up the papers written by the Manager of the Library’s Research Services team, Sabina Robertson:

The focus of the presentation we delivered for the LARK webinar was around the learning circles program conducted as part of the Liaison Librarian Training and Development program in 2016. In 2016, one of the priorities of the program was identified as developing liaison librarians’ knowledge and capacity in conducting original research. The learning objectives included the following: 
  • Understanding the principles and process of managing research ethics 
  • Designing research projects 
  • Collecting and reviewing data
  • Communicating research through internal reporting or external publishing. 
The learning circles model was selected to facilitate this particular learning experience. 


Characteristics of the model

Organic and open 
  • A group of people come together with a shared interest and a shared project/task to achieve.
Collaborative and participatory 
  • In a learning circle, group members take on the collective responsibility to complete the shared task/project. 
  • Based on their individual interests and skills, each group member takes on a distributed leadership role, which contributes to the collective completion of the task. 
  • Participants as leaders, leaders as participants.
Reflective and reciprocal
  • Group members work as equal partners to share, discuss and reflect on ideas based on mutual respect.
Also presented during the LARK webinar was a case study of Deakin liaison librarians using the learning circle model to conduct original research. This is a brief timeline of events of how the learning circle group I was involved with went about conducting their research. 

Timeline

April to July 2016
  • Learning circle groups were formed and our group immediately started brainstorming a topic of interest to all of us and outlining what we needed to do to draft a research proposal. 
  • Two of the liaison librarians in the group worked with creative arts academics and had an interest in designing a study that included a visual arts methodology. 
  • We decided to target academic staff so as to focus the study on one particular group. 
  • We formed the idea to collect data about what academics thought of liaison librarians. This was joined with the initial idea of a visual arts methodology and the proposal developed that we collect data from artefacts created by participants. 
  • After doing a literature review we established that this would be a unique way to collect data and would produce more original responses from academics, as opposed to what we could have collected using a method like surveys or face to face interviews. 
  • Ultimately we decided to invite academic staff to attend a focus group where they would create an artefact, then talk through their creation. That would be our research data.
During the first few months of the project, tasks were divided up among the team of six, which included drafting how to recruit participants, designing the focus group activities, completing the project ethics application, completing the research proposal, conducting a thorough literature review and proof-reading everything. 

We had the opportunity to consult with academic staff from the School of Education about how the design of the study was progressing and received valuable guidance from them about the direction the study and how to work with participants to gather the data we needed.

August to October 2016

We spent this time planning the focus groups, thinking about how the creative activity will be managed, and how to go about interpreting the data. We decided to analyse themes that emerged in the artefacts and participant discussion and to use NVivo to manage the analysis.

November 2016

In November we conducted two pilot focus groups with colleagues where much was learned, including asking participants to jot down some keywords before they start producing their artefact, to get the creative juices flowing; have some peaceful music playing; and have refreshments available for participants. Then over a two week period the focus groups were conducted with academic staff.

With the end of year upheaval, other commitments happening, and staff leave, our project was temporarily set aside until everyone was back at work during late January 2017.

January 2017

Towards the end of January our data analysis began. We had recorded the focus group responses with a digital audio-recorder. These files were exported to NVivo and we used the transcription function of NVivo to manually transcribe each focus group. We then interrogated the transcripts to identify themes and used NVivo’s features to map those themes. Themes were brought together from across the different focus groups, and organised into sections when drafting the report on the study. 

By July our report was completed and submitted to the Managers of the Client Services division at Deakin University Library. The group then took a well-earned break from the project!

November 2017

In November three team members showcased the project at the annual CRIG Seminar in Melbourne, which was quite special because it was the first chance we had to talk about the project with other library and information professionals outside Deakin.

One of our group members is a photographer when she isn’t a liaison librarian and was able to take magnificent photos of the artefacts. With these fascinating visual works, we also did some visual analysis of a selection of the artefacts. The main analysis was looking at the comments made by each participant when they were talking about their artefact, but the visual analysis was us interrogating an artefact for particular elements (for example, how the space of the A3 piece of paper was used by the participant, what materials they selected, what colours, and generally how they used the materials available to them to create a representation).

January to May 2018

I began drafting a journal article based on our report. Our photographer took more stylistic photographs of the artefacts to use for publishing. We spent a few months drafting our journal article and finally began our submission process in May. Now we are in the ‘watch-this-space’ phase while we await publication.

Lastly, in August I will be speaking about the outcomes of this study in a lightning talk at the Asia-Pacific Library and Information Conference on Tuesday 31st. Please come and say hello if you are attending the conference!

Rickie Morey, Research Librarian, Deakin University Library

Co-presented the webinar with Linlin Zhao, Research Librarian, Deakin University Library 


Saturday, 30 June 2018

Webinar - Professionals as researchers (full details)


With only a couple of days left till LARK’s webinar, it’s time to reveal the details of an action-packed hour. It is a perfect coincidence that ALIA decided to launch its LIS Practitioner Research Specialisation on Monday. Judy Brooker, Director of Learning at ALIA has kindly agreed to give us a sneak peak of this exciting development.

How to join?


Monday 2 July 2018, 4 - 5pm AEST

Follow this link from your computer, tablet or smartphone
https://global.gotomeeting.com/join/263136413

You can also dial in using your phone.
Australia: +61 2 9087 3604
Access Code: 263-136-413 


Webinar Program

Learning Circle Research at Deakin University Library
Ms Linlin Zhao, Ms Rickey Morey

For the last four years, Deakin University Library has run a structured professional development program for liaison librarians. This means meeting face-to-face once a month from April to November to focus on a topic designed to develop the skill sets of our liaisons. During 2016 this program revolved around ‘Learning Circles’, where liaisons spent the year learning how to do research. They chose a topic and progressed through each stage of completing their research project, with guidance from Deakin’s academics. One group is now submitting for publication. This talk will discuss the Learning Circle program, and how professional development continues to be supported for Deakin’s liaison librarians in 2018.

Research as an elephant: environments for growth
Dr Suzana Sukovic, Ms Jamaica Eisner

Research in professional contexts has some unique challenges and opportunities. In this presentation, we will consider research as a living organism in some frequently encountered organisational environments. Based on our experience of working in libraries and educational institutions, we will consider how to develop support systems for research in practice. We will also discuss how library and information professionals, especially LIS graduates, can translate and apply existing skills in their organisational contexts. 


Practitioner Research Specialisation
Ms Judy Brooker

Judy Brooker, Director of Learning, ALIA, will discuss the new ALIA PD Scheme LIS Practitioner Research Specialisation including the twelve competencies that can be used to support your ongoing professional learning. Find out how you can gain formal recognition and Certified Professional status by undertaking best practice in LIS Practitioner Research.


About presenters


Linlin Zhao
Linlin Zhao is a Research Librarian at Deakin University Library and a PhD candidate at Faculty of IT, Monash University. Her research investigates the theoretical principles and practical implications of developing digital-focused library research support programs through a design-based research approach. As a Research Librarian, Linlin provides the University’s research community with customised support in literature searching, scholarly communication, citation analysis and data management.





Rickie Morey

Rickie is a Research Librarian at Deakin University Library and has worked in academic libraries for 11 years. Rickie completed a Master in Information Studies (Applied Research) with CSU in 2015, deciding to return to complete a research masters to gain further experience doing library and information-related research, having previously completed the Grad Dip Info Mgt with RMIT University in 2006. Rickie was awarded the Zenith Postgraduate Information Studies Prize in 2015.


Suzana Sukovic
Suzana is Director, Research at HETI, and LARK's founder and chair. With extensive experience in the library and information industry, a PhD in LIS and over 20 years of research experience, she is committed to conducting and promoting research in practice.


Jamaica Eisner
Jamaica is Research Officer at HETI and LARK's Treasurer. Before coming to HETI, Jamaica volunteered at Tranby National Indigenous Adult Education and Training's library and spent many year working in a bookstore. Her interest in research has led her to the current professional and volunteer positions.



Thursday, 21 June 2018

Webinar - Professionals as researchers: developing research skills in library and information practice


Lark Webinar | 2 July 2018 | 4 - 5 pm (AEST)


Get ready for LARK's first webinar of the year and an opportunity for discussion professional learning and research. The webinar, Professionals as researchers: developing research skills in library and information practice will see a range of speakers from both libraries and beyond, discuss how to build and nurture research practice professionally. The webinar comes after the success and interest shown in last year's webinar, Research capacity building for professional practice

When: Monday 2 July 2018, 4 - 5pm AEST
How to join?

Follow this link from your computer, tablet or smartphone
https://global.gotomeeting.com/join/263136413

You can also dial in using your phone.
Australia: +61 2 9087 3604
Access Code: 263-136-413 

Presenters

Linlin Zhao and Rickie Morey, Research Librarians from Deakin University Library will discuss the Learning Circle Research program used to develop the skills sets of liaison librarians, which currently has one participating group submitting for publication. For more information, please see below. 

Dr Suzana Sukovic, mother of LARK and Research Director at HETI (Health Education and Training Institute), and Jamaica Eisner, LARK Treasurer and Research Officer at HETI, will discuss the professional development opportunities in a broader information sector that strive to encompass a range of research skills and experiences from curious to adept. See 'About LARK' for their bios.

Talks will be followed by discussions and opportunities to share experiences about building research capacity for professional practice.

Learning Circle Research at Deakin University Library

For the last four years, Deakin University Library has run a structured professional development program for liaison librarians. This means meeting face-to-face once a month from April to November to focus on a topic designed to develop the skill sets of our liaisons. During 2016 this program revolved around ‘Learning Circles’, where liaisons spent the year learning how to do research. They chose a topic and progressed through each stage of completing their research project, with guidance from Deakin’s academics. One group is now submitting for publication. This talk will discuss the Learning Circle program, and how professional development continues to be supported for Deakin’s liaison librarians in 2018.


Linlin Zhao

Linlin Zhao is a Research Librarian at Deakin University Library and a PhD candidate at Faculty of IT, Monash University. Her research investigates the theoretical principles and practical implications of developing digital-focused library research support programs through a design-based research approach. As a Research Librarian, Linlin provides the University’s research community with customised support in literature searching, scholarly communication, citation analysis and data management.



Rickie Morey

Rickie is a Research Librarian at Deakin University Library and has worked in academic libraries for 11 years. Rickie completed a Master in Information Studies (Applied Research) with CSU in 2015, deciding to return to complete a research masters to gain further experience doing library and information-related research, having previously completed the Grad Dip Info Mgt with RMIT University in 2006. Rickie was awarded the Zenith Postgraduate Information Studies Prize in 2015.




Friday, 25 May 2018

Australia’s ongoing cultural war: research, records and Indigenous heritage


By James Bosanquet




There is a growing recognition that the descriptions and handling of Indigenous culture widely used in Australian records systems and archives are inadequate, inappropriate and insensitive. This can include objects, but equally covers photographs, oral histories, interviews and other sources of identifying information. This has repercussions for researchers. The issue is being discussed at a professional body level, but requires action and, without a legislative framework, arguably institutions should be taking the lead.

As a child I have strong memory of seeing the artefacts displayed in the museum. Strange objects in tidy, backlit boxes. Labels like ‘stone age axes’, ‘totems’ and ‘ceremonial tools’. Not to mention skeletal remains. The appropriation of objects by institutions is mirrored in our present treatment of Aboriginal and Indigenous records. Removal of the existing Indigenous cultural significance of an object and placing it into a different cultural framework reflects Australia’s past mistreatment of Aborigines from genocide, the stolen generation, through to the high numbers of Aborigines in custody, deaths in custody and the health and education gap. Writing about the display of Indigenous objects in a new anthology of essays Indigenous  Archives: The Making and Unmaking of Aboriginal Art, Jessyca Hutchens writes ‘the archive represents not only historical displacement but ongoing violence towards immaterial aspects of the culture that the object remains linked to’ (Indigenous Archives, University of Western Australia Press, 2007, p.297).

By describing objects, we are contextualising and framing them in history. The process of description is core to archives and recordkeeping.  In Australia, description is an elaborate and matured process tied to organisational culture and function. It is also tied to the Records Continuum Model that uses a lifecycle for a record determining its long-term value.  The value of objects is signified by the description, such as ‘artwork’.   

The language of recordkeeping in Australia is formal and government or business orientated.  A researcher usually requires knowledge of the system to be able to access the archives. This is at the exclusion of cultural signifiers, the particular importance or harm that an object may carry. 

National Archives Australia (NAA), like other institutions, supply Reading Aids to assist researchers to understand the language. Researchers of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders (ATSI) history using the NAA’s site are taken to reading aids that categorise Aboriginal history within Australian government frameworks. Categories for Aboriginal records include Northern Territory Administration, Aboriginal Affairs, Nuclear Testing at Maralinga. Searches are listed by organisation and function. Researchers using the Reading Aids would access the relevant government department records in the archive, such as Department of External Affairs (CA7) to reach official Australian records about Aboriginal or ATSI populations from 1911-1916.  

Figure 1 – detail from NAA record search website, Reported discovery of prehistoric Aboriginal relics, Dr H Basedow


Figure 2 – detail from NAA Record Search website, Aboriginal dress and ornaments

This framing of records is standard for archival description almost all around the world.  In recent times, a failure to engage Indigenous communities has been highlighted in contrast to work that is occurring in Aotearoa/New Zealand Institutions.  An engagement with Maori stakeholders is a requirement. This has come from a national approach under a legislative framework ‘to uphold the principles of the treaty of Waitangi’ (p.14, Morse, Indigenous Human Rights, 2012).

Australia’s changing demographics should see the broadening need for community consultation and a willingness to engage with the cultural significance of information.  

The ASA (Australian Society of Archivists) recently partnered with ITIC (Information Technologies Indigenous Communities) in Melbourne 2017. I was fortunate to be present to hear Leisa Gibson give her paper at the ASA/ITIC Conference ‘Engaging expert knowledge outside academia: service-learning for archival education’. Leisa provided an analysis of the needs for community consultation. At the same Conference Cathy Bow, Dr Ruth Ringer and Elizabeth Shaffer (presenting on the experience of post-colonial Indian archives) the inherent flaws and violence perpetuated by archival systems. Systems and language that continue to subjugate communities.

Community engagement is something we can incorporate into practice. Without our own treaty in Australia, it is time for institutions and communities to take the lead to develop a national approach.  

James Bosanquet is the Information and Records Manager at the Health Education and Training Institute. He is an accredited professional with the Australian Society of Archivists and has a BA (Politics and Literature) from Macquarie University, a Grad Dip (Information and Knowledge Management) from UTS and a Masters of Information Services (Archives and Records) from Edith Cowan University. James has a passion for Information and Archives. 

Source of the portrait of a man above: Barani website 
'This unsigned portrait is entitled "One of the NSW Aborigines befriended by Governor Macquarie" and was for many years in the possession of Mrs Macquarie. Like too many paintings of Aboriginal people, this individual is unnamed (Mitchell Library, State Library of NSW – ML 696)'

Monday, 26 March 2018

Health Education in Practice Symposium & Workshop

The Health Education in Practice Symposium is an opportunity for library professionals and those involved in adult and professional education of the workforce to discuss research, collaborate, and translate findings across sectors. Join educators and researchers from NSW health, universities and the broader professional community who are all invited to discuss current trends in evaluation and research related to health education of the workforce.

The event is a rare opportunity for library and information professionals to collaborate and learn across sectors, focusing on practice-based and academic educational research. The inaugural issue of the Health education in practice: journal of research for professional learning will be launched.

Paper proposals are invited on the following themes:
  • Research in education of the health workforce
  • Evaluation of health educational programs
  • Topics related to evidence-based health education, including theoretical considerations
  • Issues related to conducting educational research and evaluation in practice.

There will be opportunities to prepare presented papers for a special issue of the Health education in practice: journal of research for professional learning. More information about abstract submission can be found on the website



We have a great line-up of speakers, including Ms Elizabeth Koff, Secretary, NSW Health who will launch our journal, and keynote speakers, both education leaders and Deputy Vice-Chancellors: Prof Pip Pattison (University of Sydney) and Prof Shirley Alexander (University of Technology, Sydney). HETI’s Chief Executive Adjunct Prof Annette Solman and Prof Tim Shaw are among our other prominent speakers.

Check the website for a full list of speakers, call for papers, and registration details.


7 May 2018 | 9am - 4.30pm
Have you thought of advancing your educational practice by gathering research data?

Join Dr Suzana Sukovic (LARK founder & chair) & Dr Peter William Stubbs for this introductory workshop designed for health educators and those involved in professional and adult education.

The workshop is an opportunity for educators to network, collaborate and discuss research ideas. Participants will learn about research concepts, design and methods and how to apply them into practice. Participants will have opportunities to work on their research projects in small groups, and discuss the potential barriers and solutions to research project implementation.

Check the website for a presenter information and registration.

Wednesday, 28 February 2018

LARK & New Graduates chat about research


Our first event this year is a Twitter chat with ALIA Students and New Graduates. What could be a more promising way to start this year's events than a chat with rising LIS stars? And, research in practice is always a hot topic.

Paul Jewell, Business Librarian from the Western Sydney University, had a great idea to join forces with New Graduates and host one of their regular chats on Twitter. Paul will facilitate this online event. 
In preparation for the meeting, here are the questions to guide our discussions:
  1. What do you see as the role of research in your practice, information service or sector?
  2. Do you read research literature on a regular basis? How do you do this? What stops you?
  3. Are there any initiatives or programs at your workplace that encourages reading, critical discussion and sharing of research?
  4. Have you or your colleagues ever undertaken any original LIS-based research? Please share brief details and links.
  5. What aspirations for research plans do you have in the future? What might support you to better engage with research?
If you are new to Twitter chats, you may like to check a handy guide prepared by the New Graduates.
We hope you can join us (@aliangac @pdjewel @suzanasukovic)
When? Tuesday 6 March 9 pm AEDT
Where? Twitter #auslibchat
Top image is taken from the NGAC blog.
Image credit: Keith C Rainsford, 1946: Argus Newspaper Collection of Photographs, State Library of Victoria (Accession no: H99.201/1669) via SLVIC.