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Thursday 1 June 2023

Goodbye, old site

 After more than ten years, LARK is leaving this blog. It served us well and saw us grow. Thank you for visiting this site and reading our posts. All the content has been transferred to our new pages. You can find us at

Monday 15 May 2023

LARK Circles Launch & Reflective Practice Webinar


If you are interested in practitioner research and reflective practice, this webinar is for you. You will learn about LARK Circles, a new and exciting initiative to develop research communities of practice, and find out how to join a LARK Circle. Two guest speakers will discuss reflective practice, opening a conversational space for LARK Circles. Dr Michael Dunne will share his extensive knowledge about reflective practice at the workplace, and Alyce Greenwood will share her experience with reflective practice in libraries. 

Please register to receive a webinar link.

REGISTER by 28 May

Dr Michael Dunne has a Doctorate in work-integrated learning from the University of Sydney. His published articles on real-world understandings, experiences and use of reflective practice aim to help professionals, educators and students to make meaning from increasingly complex practice contexts and a growing diversity of evidence sources.

Michael uses his experience and expertise as a speech pathologist of 10 years to inform his research and current role supporting the regulation of the NSW Health workforce as the
Senior Policy Officer in state and national programs at the NSW Ministry of Health.

Alyce Greenwood is a librarian at Deakin University. Alyce is passionate about higher education and libraries and finds the learning environments of libraries to be fascinating. As a librarian Alyce helps support access to higher education, through showing leadership in equity of access to resources and empowering critical appraisal of information. Alyce derives great pleasure from her work. Alyce is a Fellow with Advance HE, and holds a Bachelor of Teaching (Secondary), a Bachelor of Arts, a Master Information Management, and a Graduate Certificate of Higher Education (Learning and Teaching). Alyce is currently undertaking the Master of Education (Leadership and Learning) at Deakin University with a supervised research project exploring the misinformation and disinformation on social media.

Tuesday 27 December 2022

At the end of LARK’s anniversary year: Three insights for the future

By Dr Suzana Sukovic

As we are winding down at the end of the year and wrapping up LARK’s tenth anniversary, it is time for some slow, seasonal reflection. 2022 was a great year for LARK and it is worth looking back at it. More importantly, LARK is part of a bigger picture with practice-based research in its centre, which certainly deserves some thought. In this post, I will cast a brief bird’s-eye view (excuse the pun) on a decade of LARK, and then focus on three major insights for the future.


‘It’s a miracle that baby LARK reached childhood by human measure and, probably, teenage years by measure of longevity of a grassroots group’, I wrote for LARK’s 5th birthday. This not-so-little bird has flown far and high since then, yet I am still a bit surprised that it’s still here, still thriving. Maybe its survival surprises me because, like the lark, the group flies in a bit of a disorderly configuration. Maybe I am surprised because the library and information profession and discipline have had some unexpected, at times disheartening, twists and turns in the last few years. In any case, we confirmed this year that LARK is here to stay, a strong and recognisable Australian voice for research in LIS practice (Note: ‘LIS’ stands for ‘library and information studies’, and is often used as a short-hand for the library and information field).

At the LARK 2022 symposium, I overviewed 10 years of LARK (see slides). Since its inception in late 2012, we have organised meetings and workshops in Sydney, Brisbane, Adelaide, and Perth; webinars; and three whole-day symposia in Sydney and online. Nearly all the events were organised and facilitated by a group of volunteers situated in Sydney, although we’ve recently had webinars run from other states. LARK also led the first Antipodean LIS reading group on Twitter in 2015/16 with three facilitators from across Australia. Our presenters and audience, however, have always been national and international.

LARK’s blog has visitors from around the world, the majority from the United States. The last time I counted, the blog had over 240 000 visits, and posts had around 1600 views on average. A closer look at the statistics suggests that a good proportion are genuine views.

In the ten years of its existence, LARK has raised awareness about practice-based research in LIS, and developed a community of practice. Capacity building, advocacy, promotion, and advice provided to professional organisations have all been a regular part of our work. As a grassroots group, we have been in a unique position to foster connections across sectors, profession and academia, as well as with colleagues in other countries.


So, what is ahead for LARK and Australian practice-based research? Reflecting on a decade-long experience of leading LARK, many conversations in this year’s events, and my personal experience of practice-based research in LIS and other fields, I chose three insights to frame my reflection:
  • Research as everyone’s business
  • Head-heart-hands as a paradigm, and
  • From grassroots to landscape.

Research as everyone’s business
Original research has a special attraction for some people. These are our colleagues who travel from afar to be at LARK’s events. Some tell us how LARK gives them a unique sense of a community as no one else shares their interests at places where they live and work. 

Many others, however, are just not interested. They don’t come even when it is most convenient — there is never enough time or energy. For a long time, I thought it might be because we are a small field, and practice-based research isn’t established enough. I admired health professionals and research cultures in their applied disciplines because they have an appreciation of research, and a sense of urgency to use solid evidence unparalleled in other fields. Possibly, uneven enthusiasm in LIS makes sense because of the nature of our work. After all, no one dies because the librarian isn’t interested in research.

However, as it happened, I landed a job in health education research, established a peer-reviewed journal, and worked with health practitioners on publishing their research findings. Repeatedly, I heard research stories and opinions so similar to those I knew from LIS and secondary education until it became apparent that some issues are part and parcel of practice-based research, whatever the field. Research requires a particular mindset — primarily curiosity — and an ability to deal with risk and uncertainty in all disciplines. Some excellent professionals like learning and being up-to-date, but have no desire to be researchers. Research just isn’t for everyone.

Health, however, is a much bigger and better funded field than ours. Evidence-based practice (EBP) and research are placed on a continuum with many degrees. Discussions about the finer points of EBP, evaluation, research, and translational research in health helped in teasing out some meanings and problems in professional practice in general. Caveats aside, an important point of difference between health and LIS emerged from my time in health education research. In health, it is every professional’s job to know about the current evidence. Research matters and it is everyone’s business.

Our profession is yet to develop the same foundational understanding. It isn’t that we don’t know that the original research has value, but the way we question it shows that it isn’t an integral part of our professional thinking. LIS professionals and academics, LARK included, need to continue conversations with professional associations and organisations to raise the research bar for our profession. Research will be done only by some, but it needs to be everyone’s business.

Head-heart-hands paradigm
Learning is powerful when students engage their heads, hearts, and hands. A student needs to understand something with their head, connect it with their heart and do something with their hands. This is an Ignatian pedagogical paradigm, followed by many independent schools in Australia. (See this article as an example of its application. The paradigm is used here as a pedagogical approach regardless of its origins in religion.)

The head-heart-hands approach sounds true for research in practice, which really is another form of learning. We use theoretical knowledge and research skills in our head to apply in our practice — our doing hands. Hands, in turn, inform and guide the head. In between, the heart mediates: an expert's intuition connects the thinking head and doing hands. This is where our passion to serve our clients resides as well. Practitioners often see research problems differently from academics because they work with head-heart-hands synergy. It is important to understand this point of difference between academic and practice-based research without turning it into a value statement, so that LIS research can benefit from practitioners’ unique research position.

This paradigm could be also applied to some broader changes for LIS in Australia, with parallels in other parts of the world. Many library roles are now performed by professionals from other fields. In recent years, most university LIS departments have ceased to exist, and former academics are becoming practitioners. These trends are positive when they expand the range of skills and experiences; other trends, such as the closures of university departments, are devastating for our field. Whatever their meaning, these trends have a potential to  strengthen the head-heart-hands paradigm. Former academics are becoming important research resources in organisations, and a new range of skills may become an important asset in our professional hands. What are possible alliances between people with different backgrounds and skills? Are we opening new conversations to connect the head, heart, and hands that will lead to new lines of research in practice? It is possible and advisable to harness these trends as an opportunity to improve our research and practice.

LARK already gathers academics and practitioners from different sectors, and we would welcome new people in the library and information practice. We speak languages of different professional groups and could help with the transition, possibly turning some negative trends to our advantage as a field.

From grassroots to landscape
As a grassroots group, LARK has done an important job developing a community of practice, and raising awareness about the importance of LIS research in practice. ALIA’s administrative help was valuable, and we appreciated the support of our employers and other libraries giving us digital and physical spaces for our events. All the work, however, was done by a small group of volunteers who devoted their time and energy to LARK on top of their full-time jobs and busy lives, with no special funding. At the end of our symposium in September, we discussed LARK’s future and agreed it was time for LARK and Australian LIS research in practice to obtain some reliable funding and develop stronger structural support. 

In 2015, when professors Helen Partridge and Lisa Given announced their LISRA project grant at the EBLIP8 conference, I wrote a post about inspiring insights from the conference. It was time to establish purposeful connections between grassroots groups and supporting structures — it was time to develop landscapes, I wrote. This year, Professor Given was the keynote speaker at LARK’s symposium (Prof Given’s slides and blog post can be accessed here). She spoke about LIS research in practice and insights from the LISRA project. At the end of the symposium when we talked about the future, the ambition we shared as LIS professionals and academics back in 2015 felt stronger than ever. We need grassroots groups, but we also need arboreal structures. We need full landscapes.

Finally, birds, body parts, and plants — there are lots of metaphors derived from the organic world in this post. I’d like to suggest that it isn’t accidental. We understand research in practice best when we see it as holistic, connected, and relational: when it is an organic part of our work and everyone’s business.

Very soon LARK will enter a new decade. We hope you will be part of it. In the meantime, stay safe, rest, and enjoy a well-deserved break.

Dr Suzana Sukovic is the Director of Research and Library Services, PLC Sydney. She is LARK's founder and convenor.
Twitter: @suzanasukovic

Tuesday 20 December 2022

Webinar 'Reflections on research in practice': follow-up

By Emilia Bell

The ‘Reflections on Research in Practice’ webinar, LARK’s final event for 2022, was held on 6 December. Many people were interested, but were unable to attend, so we are now pleased to share a RECORDING from the event. Many thanks to ALIA for posting it for LARK.

We were joined by three wonderful speakers:
  • Adrian Stagg (Manager, Open Educational Practice, University of Souther Queensland, Library Services)
  • Rebecca (Bec) Muir (Doctoral Candidate, Charles Sturt University)
  • Rowena McGregor (Liaison Librarian, University of Southern Queensland, Library Services)
The three presentations prompted reflection on the value of research as evidence
and advocacy and taking human-centred and reflexive approaches. 

Adrian’s presentation traversed the matters such as ‘ecologies of practice’ and ‘the methodology of friendship,’ while also bringing us a wonderful analogy with polar bears and icebergs that challenged us to “look for the things that mean the whole world to other people” in our own practice and research. This recognised human-centred approaches in both open education and research and the influence of our own experiences and values in practice. Adrian shared findings from his doctoral research that engaged with the influencers, barriers, and enablers in the ecology of open educational practice in Australian higher education, and the role this plays in advocacy. See Adrian Stagg's slides.

Rebecca (Bec) spoke on the value of research and advocating for practitioner research skills and training in libraries, prompting discussion on how conducting research changes how we see the world. Drawing on LISRA research (Partridge et al., 2022), Bec identified the many challenges for practitioners around self-educating on how to research and finding support in this. Asking how we might advocate for the value of developing these skills, Bec connected the practical question of “What do we need to know?” to the outcome of “What will changing this data achieve, and what would be the benefit?” See Bec Muir's slides.

Rowena talked through the role of reflective practice, and an initiative at the University of Southern Queensland Library that aimed to engage staff in a research project. Applying the What?, So what?, Now what? model, Rowena reflected on the experience of engaging library staff in the research project, the anticipated value of reflection to library staff, and how future projects might engage other stakeholders to provide support for this practice. Reflexivity was a key takeaway from this initiative, and this helped to explore the challenges of creating longer term engagement with reflective practice and bringing colleagues on board in research projects. See Rowena McGregor's slides.

These presentations prompted great discussion on topics broadly covering developing reflective cultures in libraries, the value of research skills, autonomy and values in library research, and initiatives to foster reflection and inviting colleagues to participate and engage in both research and reflection. 

Partridge, H., Given, L., Murphy, A., & Howlett, A. (2022, May 16-19). Documenting research experiences in the Australian library and information sector: A survey of pracitioners’ views. [Conference presentation]. Australian Library and Information Association National Conference (ALIA 2022): Diversity. Canberra, Australia.

Tuesday 29 November 2022

Webinar – Reflections on Research in Practice

LARK is preparing for the final event of its tenth anniversary year. We invite librarians, colleagues who work in information roles, educators, students, and anyone else interested in practice-based research to join a webinar event on the topic Reflections on Research in Practice (see link below).

We have three speakers who will start our conversation on research in practice. Adrian Stagg, Rebecca Muir, and Rowena McGregor will each speak on their varied approaches and experiences with practice-based research. After hearing from each speaker, and we’ll continue the conversation with questions and discussion.

Adrian Stagg
: The purpose of my practice-based research is a deeper, and more
contextualised understanding of ecologies of open practice in Australian higher education that places the practitioner lived experience as central to the research. This approach privileges local environmental influences and discrete practices over larger-scale aggregated data that can lose nuance. Open educational practice is a human-centred learning and teaching approach, and any attendant research thus becomes both an act of evidence-building, and a form of advocacy.

Rowena McGregor
: The project I will talk about today was driven by the desire to introduce and/or support library staff as reflective practitioners and to provide an opportunity for people who might not think of themselves as researchers to participate in a research process that might be enjoyable and deliver immediate benefits. The lesson I received was one of reflexivity.

Rebecca Muir‘Don’t complicate it; we’re just doing a survey’ can be a common to hear as a practitioner. So how do we, as practitioners who research, advocate for the value of developing our skillsets? Why should we be learning about research, and how can it help improve our data stories? How can research skills actually help us to advocate for our value in our community, whether public, special or academic? This brief presentation will explore the ‘why and wherefores’ of practitioner research, and advocating the benefits of our skills in our work as practitioners – beyond just ‘conducting research’. 

We hope you can join us.

When: Tuesday 6 December, 6:30pm (AEST)
Where: Zoom
Passcode: 481209

: Ms Emilia Bell and Dr Katherine Howard

Presenters' bios

Adrian Stagg, Manager (Open Educational Practice), University of Southern Queensland, Content Team – Library Services @Open Kuroko
Adrian Stagg's career has included both public and academic libraries, and positions as a Learning Technologist, and eLearning Designer.  Adrian holds a Master of Applied Science (Library and Information Management) and is a confirmed PhD candidate at the University of Tasmania. His research areas include the ecology of open educational practice and higher education policy as it relates to, and supports, open educational initiatives. He is an active member of the open education community through the Australasian OEP Special Interest Group (ASCILITE), OERu, Creative Commons, and facilitates the USQ Open Education Staff Scholarships Scheme.

Rebecca Muir, Doctoral Candidate, Charles Sturt University
Rebecca (“Bec”) Muir has over ten years’ experience in public and academic libraries. She currently works as the Manager, Libraries West and Footscray Nicholson with Victoria University and is a Doctoral Candidate with Charles Sturt University, Wagga Wagga. Bec’s current research focuses on growing practitioners as researchers, evidence-informed decision making and planning, invisible (hidden) disabilities and library services design and training, and scope-informed inclusivity. 
Bec has presented at numerous professional and academic conferences and forums. In her spare time, she enjoys attempting to (badly) knit.

Rowena McGregor, Liaison Librarian, University of Southern Queensland, Library Services
I am a first generation Australian of Ukrainian, Czech and a smattering of Scottish and English origins and I am very grateful to live and work on Meanjin Tulmur, the lands of the Yuggera people. I have been a Health Librarian for 5 years at UniSQ and worked previously at QUT and Bond university libraries. My interest in research and evidence-based practice was piqued when I was awarded a research scholarship as an undergraduate student. Most recently I have used research to co-develop and evaluate the Online Study Support program at UniSQ.

Thursday 24 November 2022

Part 2: Boundary spanners & shifters

By Doctors Suzana Sukovic and Kerith Duncanson

This blog post continues the previous post Observing, spanning and shifting boundaries in data work. Both are based on our study findings published as 
Sukovic, S., Eisner, J. and Duncanson, K., 2022. Observing, spanning and shifting boundaries: working with data in non-clinical practice. Global Knowledge, Memory and Communication, (ahead-of-print).

Most of us want to do our job well and resolve issues within the scope of our role. Some, however, have an ability to understand problems in a broader context or from a different perspective, and to regularly reach out to other professional groups or teams to resolve them. People who do it often become boundary spanners and connectors modeling new problem resolutions and, over time, new possibilities. When boundary spanning becomes inadequate for needs and opportunities, and when suitable conditions exist, boundary shifting starts to happen. At this stage, a broader circle of people is involved in negotiations and modeling new ways of working. 

How does boundary work happen?

As we described in the previous post, data is often the medium for working across boundaries, which is usually considered to be positive and constructive. However, while necessary for establishing new ways of working, boundary spanning is normally resisted. In our literature review, we considered a number of studies which discussed this tension. 

The concept of boundary objects was used by Star and Griesmer (1989) to explain how the tension is resolved in practice. According to Star and Griesmer, boundary objects, abstract or concrete, are used as a means of translation although their meaning is different in different social worlds. In our study, records describing drugs were examples of boundary objects used to establish connections between teams of pharmacists and IT specialists. In other instances, data extracts required for financial reports became highly political boundary objects as different units had different understandings of what they should be. It reflected a deeper difference in how these units saw business needs and their role. Attempts to establish new practices were framed by discussions and negotiations around data extracts. In this and other instances, boundary spanning and shifting often happens in the work on and around boundary objects. We also reiterated the importance of boundary clusters which, according to Rehm and Goel (2014), are artefacts that may not be boundary objects in their own right. They are used, however, to aid boundary work.

Boundary process emerged from our study as another key concept defining boundary work. In the Discussion section of our article, we explained boundary process this way:
An important aspect of the boundary process is that work with artefacts is combined with attempts to negotiate new communication channels and collaboration opportunities. The thrust of transformational work and realisation of Carlile’s ‘political capacity of a boundary object’ is in boundary processes. Boundary processes include different boundary objects, clusters and communication channels aiming to achieve immediate and long-term goals. Boundary shifting is a result of continuous work across boundaries. 

Who are boundary spanners and shifters?

Boundary spanners and shifters work in any way that is available to them by blurring and bridging boundaries. Their work concerns small teams as well as large and ambitious projects with far-reaching influence.

Whether early career professionals or top managers, boundary shifters tend to have some similar characteristics. They describe themselves as curious and problem-oriented. They tend to have knowledge and skills in more than one disciplinary domain, frequently holding degrees in two or more disciplines. ‘Speaking the language’ of other professional groups helps them to understand problems from a different perspective and communicate across boundaries. Boundary spanners and shifters look at issues and solutions outside organisational divisions. Typically, they don’t compartmentalise their work and rely on a range of experiences to initiate change. One of the participants explained, ‘I started working life as a clinician, then program manager, and now I’m managing an analytics performance team. So really, for me, it should be seamless’. 

In the article, we created three vignettes profiling boundary shifters. Below is one of the vignettes.

Participant 3/3 is a graphic designer, gamer and coder who studied programming at college. His role is to design reports from data provided by data analysts. When he started, graphic designers produced visualisations separately from data sources. Every change in data was replicated manually in reports. Participant 3/3, however, understood data work enough to interpret what the analysts were doing, but not enough to do it himself. When he began asking for data to automate data visualisation and reduce double-handling, he described being pushed into the ‘designer corner’.

The participant saw opportunities in collaboration and was supported by his supervisor, but convincing others was difficult. Accessing data was not in scope for his role. He had to demonstrate his ability to ‘data custodians’ to overcome trust issues around the perceived risk. Over time, by connecting with analyst, he produced examples of automated visualisations, which were successful. As a result, he introduced a new consultation process to model the type of practice he wanted to achieve. New reports and closer collaboration between analysts and designers served as a boundary object and boundary process that ignited discussions and further negotiation. When asked what he would tell a new person about the most important aspects of the role, he said, ‘It's really understanding the data and how to build something from that data that's visual’. It is a different area of work from traditional graphic design. 

In the course of their work, boundary shifters start shaping new roles, often hoping to make them formally recognised. The need for new roles is also acknowledged by some experienced managers. For example, the manager of a unit which connects the health system and a large data bank has an educational and work background in nursing and  IT. She identified the role of ‘translator’ between users (i.e. employees in other parts of the health organisation) and the digital systems as the main gap in her area of work. Establishing this and many other roles, however, requires broader organisational support.

The health sector generally agrees on the potential of advanced data use to improve health care. It is not controversial to suggest that this requires connection between clinical and non-clinical parts of a health organisation. However, capitalising on boundary spanning and shifting capabilities in practice is much more complex. It requires a better understanding of boundaries, particularly hierarchies, in the health sector. Further research in this area is needed, especially in relation to the ever-increasing volume of data being collected in health. Some improvements in practice can happen anyway by supporting constructive boundary processes. A good starting place is recognising boundary work and its champions.

Rehm, S.-V. and Goel, L. (2014), “The emergence of boundary clusters in inter-organizational innovation”, Information and Organization, Vol. 25 No. 1, pp. 27-51, doi: 10.1016/j.infoandorg.2014.12.001.

Star, S.L. and Griesemer, J.R. (1989), “Institutional ecology, “translations” and boundary objects: amateurs and professionals in berkeley’s museum of vertebrate zoology, 1907-39”, Social Studies of Science, Vol. 19 No. 3, pp. 387-420, doi: 10.1177/030631289019003001.

Dr Suzana Sukovic is the Director of Research and Library
Services at PLC Sydney. 

Dr Kerith Duncanson is the Rural Research Manager at HETI, NSW Health, and Senior Research Fellow at the University of Newcastle.

Co-author of our original articleJamaica Eisner, is Senior Content and Experience Designer at Deloitte Digital Australia.

Saturday 12 November 2022

Part 1: Observing, spanning and shifting boundaries in data work

 By Doctors Suzana Sukovic and Kerith Duncanson

This blog post is based on our study findings published as 

Sukovic, S., Eisner, J. and Duncanson, K., 2022. Observing, spanning and shifting boundaries: working with data in non-clinical practiceGlobal Knowledge, Memory and Communication, (ahead-of-print).

Health care depends on health professionals. It is of critical importance that they have all information they need for the optimal patient treatment. This is well understood, so researchers regularly study technologies and issues surrounding data use in clinical practice. A large health organisation also has an army of non-clinical staff who take care of anything from IT and finance to linen supply. Health services depend on them, yet factors such as their use of data have rarely been studied.

Our research started from an interest in addressing this gap. The study was designed and data gathered well before the COVID pandemic started. What happened during the pandemic put a spotlight on a vast variety of roles, which contribute to the provision of health care. It became abundantly clear that our health depends not only on a good doctor and nurse, but also on a chain of people who ensure that our masks, vaccines, ventilators and fresh news are available just as we need them. The effective and timely data flow underpins these and all other aspects of health services.

A key question in our study was, ‘How do people in non-clinical roles in a large public health organisation interact with data?’ We gathered a variety of research data, predominantly qualitative, to answer this question. When we interviewed educators, accountants, linen suppliers and data analysts, to name some, we didn’t expect that the most prominent topic of our conversations would concern organisational issues. As each participant discussed how they worked on two different projects or tasks, the issue of boundaries emerged as a prominent theme. 

We defined three types of data use in relation to organisational boundaries: observing, spanning and shifting boundaries. They are defined around the following boundary issues:

  • Professions and disciplines
  • Work roles
  • Work practices
  • Access to data
  • Complex organisations.

Our article explains in some detail how these issues define work around boundaries, which can provide the necessary structure as well as act as obstacles. Whatever their role, some patterns emerged in how participants worked around boundaries.

By observing boundaries people stay within limits of their professions, work roles and established practices. On a positive side, helpful structures and procedures aid work. Observing boundaries, however, is experienced predominantly as restrictive and divisive. Data work is afflicted by difficulties in establishing shared meanings; unhelpful division between professions and roles; rigid procedures and practices that stifle innovation and efficacy, and lack of communication and transparency. Hierarchical role divisions, ‘red tape’ and ‘ticking boxes’ block genuine engagement and exploration. Restricting access to data is typically part of the culture of control, which becomes particularly visible around big data management. One participant exclaimed, ‘‘Right now, I feel the data is being held hostage’. In terms of functioning as part of a complex organisation, it is often difficult to connect high-level decisions with the situation on the ground. 

Spanning boundaries involves work across organisational boundaries, which is described as more effective and positive than observing boundaries. Spanning boundaries is associated with cross-professional aptitude and practice, and an ability to ‘speak a language’ of another professional group. It is enabled by employees’ ability to participate in inter-professional collaboration, a sense of support for data work, and cross-divisional assistance from people in the positions of authority. Work with other parts of organisation involves open communication, and established practices to deal with any sensitivities around data use and sharing.

Shifting boundaries happens after a period of boundary spanning when work across boundaries is not the best response to the needs and opportunities. It requires suitable conditions, and a vision to see new possibilities and actively create spaces for new roles outside existing divisions. It opens new areas of professional interests, and involves a deep understanding of other professional groups and their information use. Different groups are engaged in changes, and considerable work is invested in developing shared meanings and processes. New IT and organisational solutions connect disparate systems to enhance data access. In the larger organisational context, some people and teams work as connectors. Purposefully developed opportunities to experiment and work together across the system aid shifting boundaries. 

The COVID pandemic was a unique opportunity to observe how boundaries can shift quickly, and often effectively, when stakes are high and intense effort is focused on addressing data issues. The post-pandemic period will provide valuable context to observe how shifted boundaries are reinstated in a flux of evolutionary and revolutionary changes.

In the next blog post, we will consider the role of boundary spanners who may eventually become boundary shifters working on all levels of organisational hierarchy. We will consider how they use boundary objects, and boundary process, which emerged as an important new concept in the study, to aid the change. 

Dr Suzana Sukovic is the Director of Research and Library Services at PLC Sydney. 

Dr Kerith Duncanson is the Rural Research Manager at HETI, NSW Health, and Senior Research Fellow at the University of Newcastle.

Co-author of our original article, Jamaica Eisner, is Senior Content and Experience Designer at Deloitte Digital Australia