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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

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


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.

Saturday, 17 February 2018

LARK's new look & Treasurer

By Suzana Sukovic

LARK has been so quiet that you have been wondering if the bird went to an around the world trip for holidays. It did fly around, but LARK also took time to revamp its look and freshen its flock. 

LARK is delighted to introduce the new Treasurer, Jamaica Eisner. Jamaica is a wise new graduate who has recognised the importance of starting research early in her career so she joined our flock. If you want to find out more about Jamaica and see her hard at work, go to our About page.

Five years old and a big bird now, LARK can't go around in its baby plumage anymore. So, here is its new look. Anna Nadarajah, ALIA designer, designed two great versions of the logo and we'll use them both. ¿Porque no los dos? The fancy blog banner was designed by Zoran Malesevic. Jamaica and I did a bit of work on Blogger to revamp its appearance.

We'd love to know what you think about our new look by commenting on this post and Twitter #LARK.

Saturday, 18 November 2017

LARK's Treasurer & End Year event

By Suzana Sukovic

As many of you have already found out via other channels, ALIA LARK is organising the end of year event in Sydney. It will be a great opportunity to meet like-minded people and influence our direction for next year. You don't have to be an ALIA member to join us. Colleagues from allied professions are most welcome. I am sure that GLAM professionals, educators and many others will find out that we have a lot in common.

Please register on Eventbrite if you would like to come. I would also like to invite all of you who can't come to this meeting, but want to participate in organising future events (including remote organisation of online events) to get in touch with me (see details below).

LARK looks for a new TREASURER. After five years, Alycia Bailey has decided to pass the mantle. I wish to thank her for all her work and support over the years hoping to see her in LARK's meetings and events. This is the opportunity for another well-organised person to take a lead in this unique group.  

If you are interested, please check information about ALIA's office bearers (ALIA Group FAQ) and get in touch with me by email ( or via Twitter (@suzanasukovic).

Looking forward to hearing from and seeing current and potential LARKs soon.