Friday, 4 December 2009

Enhancing the Student Experience Through Effective Collaboration: A Case Study

Interesting article

Rejecta Mathematica

At a session about bibliometrics at the IL seminar I attended recently in Melbourne, a journal called Rejecta Mathematica was mentioned in which articles may only be published if they have been rejected by a peer reviewed journal. The journal cites the following aims:
  • "mapping the blind alleys of science": papers containing negative results can warn others against futile directions;
  • "reinventing the wheel": papers accidentally rederiving a known result may contain new insight or ideas;
  • "squaring the circle": papers discovered to contain a serious technical flaw may nevertheless contain information or ideas of interest;
  • "applications of cold fusion": papers based on a controversial premise may contain ideas applicable in more traditional settings;
  • "misunderstood genius": other papers may simply have no natural home among existing journals.

Friday, 27 November 2009


Found an interesting article about procuring ebooks.

Thursday, 15 October 2009

Communicating knowledge: how and why UK researchers publish and disseminate their findings

Hot off the press, ie Sept. 2009, this report is a joint publication between RIN and JISC. I cannot boast a thorough reading of it yet but, at first glance, it appears to have some interesting data about what motivates UK researchers in diverse disciplines to publish or to present at conferences; what influences their choice of publications; how they collaborate, when and with whom; and what or whom they cite. There's also a "response" to the Research Assessment Exercise (RAE).

You might beat many of us to a close examination of this report, in which case we'd love to hear your comments.

Thursday, 1 October 2009

Festival of Dangerous Ideas

The Festival of Dangerous Ideas is on this weekend at the Sydney Opera House. Amongst many other varied topics, Susan Greenfield will be discussing the implications of Online Networking on developing brains. Hopefully there will be some information about discussions available online after the event, as some of the topics sound very interesting and certainly controversial. As the festival overview reads: The Festival will almost certainly cause moments of outrage, but will hopefully push the boundaries enough to stimulate, provoke and engage people in wider discussion.

Monday, 3 August 2009


ALA's ACRL has put out some information about advocacy. Specifically in bringing issues of concern to academic libraries to the people who make the decisions.

Obviously is US focused but there is some interesting information and ideas about intellectual property and copyright; public access to federally-funded research; network neutrality; government information; and intellectual freedom....

Tuesday, 21 July 2009

Information literacy in the age of Youtube

This is an interesting little slide show that looks at image literacy, particularly the need to evaluate images as information. Also that visual culture is in its infancy compared to book culture.

Friday, 17 July 2009

Memex (sounds futuristic)

I just stumbled across this rather interesting little ICT history lesson while doing some reading on ebooks...

"In 1945, Vannevar Bush's concept of Memex (or memory extender) was described as a computer device linked to a library archive able to display books (and multimedia) and enabled users to link to other works or ideas as they went through materials.

His ideas greatly influenced generations of technologists in the development of both hypertext for linking terms and ideas, as well as developing tools to augment or enhance human intelligence and memory. For its time, memex was a revolutionary concept for using technology to enhance human performance and experience using computer devices."

Here is the full article:
The Ebook Reader Is Not the Future of Ebooks

Monday, 6 July 2009

Best library practice wiki

Having trouble keeping up with all the library blogs you subscribe to?

Library Success: A Best Practices Wiki may be the answer because it aims to bring together all the best ideas on managing libraries in one place. Lots of information!

Another potentially interesting thing I came across are Instant Instruction Feedback Forms. I haven't had a tinker with them yet but I thought they may turn out to be an alternative to Survey Monkey as an online feedback tool.

According to the site blurb they are ' web-based surveys that are designed to offer librarians a simple way to evaluate their information literacy/bibliographic instruction sessions. The best thing about them is that they're open source, which means that everytime someone downloads them Bill Gates gets a chill through his bones.'

Library champions

Here's Xiaoguang Yang, director of Beihang university library, Beijing, on advocacy as quoted in the latest Australian Library News...

'Two strategies key to successful lobbying for academic library funding are: communicating
clearly with the library’s funding body, and deploying library champions. Our practice is to make the key professor of each discipline responsible for helping spread the good word, university-wide, about the library.’

While liaison librarians don't communicate directly with the library's funding body, almost everything we do in the liaison role has an impact on how the library is perceived and hence the support we receive from the schools and wider university community. The subscription cancellation project is an example directly related to funding that hopefully will have a' trickle up' effect in that the message will travel upwards to those who make funding decisions not just from the library but also from schools.

Our school based library champions could be our LOs, but this is not always the case. While I'm not really a fan of military style verbs like 'deploy' the term 'library champion' is kind of catchy and fits in with the terminology currently in use in schools eg Criterion referenced assessment champions

Thanks to Karmen for helping us keep up to date with what's happening in libraries across Australia with Australian Library News

Wednesday, 24 June 2009

Kathryn Greenhill - Why learning about Emerging Technologies is part of every librarian's Job

In the context of librarians and Web 2.0, Kathryn Greenhill's name has popped up a number of times recently. My interest piqued, I decided to look into her work.

This particular presentation is very straightforward and concise, presenting solutions to the challenges the library and information profession faces in the digital age. Without being simplistic, Greenhill presents practical suggestions to issues such as finding time to investigate Web 2.0 technologies and why this is an imperative facet of our professional development obligations.

Entertaining, informative, and well worth setting aside 1/2 an hour to watch.

Tuesday, 16 June 2009

Future of Bibliographic Control

Research Information Network ( has just published a report about current UK cataloguing practices Creating catalogues: bibliographic records in a networked world. They point to a need to partner more effectively with other organisations in the 'supply chain' to make the bibliographic data in library catalogues more relevant to users in the age of Google. One interesting proposition was a union catalogue for all UK higher education institutions with enormous cost saving benefits and streamlined access for users.

Last year the Library of Congress published their own take on the subject of bibliographic control. I haven't read it but here is the link-
On the Record: Report of the Library of Congress Working Group on the Future of Bibliographic Control

Scopus expand coverage of Arts and Humanities

Scopus claim to have expanded their coverage of Arts and Humanities by up to a whopping 50%! Which has to be good news for academic libraries - especially since there is no extra charge for current subscribers. Perhaps they got wind of our cancellation project and thought they'd better pull out all the stops?!

Thursday, 11 June 2009

For your amusement 8 bookstore cats



Most twits won't tweet twice: study

Web 2.0 update!

It seems that Twitter usage still lags far behind that of other social networking sites (I think we know which ones they're referring to). According to this Harvard Business School report "...just 10 per cent of twitterers account for more than 90 per cent of tweets".

For more information, see:

Wednesday, 3 June 2009

Where email is heading

Have you heard about Google Wave? The new "real-time communication platform"


If you think about it, email as we know it is based on the old model of postal communication in a real sense - you send something, someone replies - Google Wave will allow you to see what someone is writing in real time, it will be more like having a conversation than "mailing" something - impressive range of functionality including working on shared documents, dragging applications in, viewing versions.

Monday, 1 June 2009

Melbourne library's cater to their users in style

On my recent trip to Melbourne I indulged my professional curiosity (admittedly in a very slack way) and checked out the libraries I stumbled across....

City Library in inner city Melbourne was a veritable rabbit warren filled with hovering computer hopefuls, the smell of stale sweat (I will never complain about our refrigerated air on level 2 again), and not one but two Wii stations. The decor was also very Melbourne cool and the place was packed!

Mornington Library was reminiscent of Kingston library but had a cafe with tables (spaced well apart for prams) encircling the little children's area. I know this is probably not on every ones radar and doesn't have much direct relevance to academic libraries, but for me it was like finding the Shangri-la of child/parent friendly library spaces and quite a nice example of looking after all sorts of users.

Just a site I stumbled upon about eBooks (classics)

You all probably have seen this before but thought a link might be useful someday.

Robyn J.

Thursday, 28 May 2009

Innovation at the National Library of Australia

This is partly to draw your attention to a new resource discovery interface prototype that the NLA have developed and made public (, have a look.

I wouldn't normally blog here about an individual development like this, it looks like a very promising development for libraries or museums who have a lot of resources of different types to display and promote online, but it may not change the world.
It is however, just another example of the great work that the National Library have been doing.
They have been the only national library using VuFind (a great open source resource discovery interface product), when only a few, generally small academic libraries in the US are using it.
They have developed a handful of experimental interfaces for their resources and made them available to everyone to look at and experiment with.
They have also been actively involved in the OLE project (, along with a select group of large North American Academic libraries. This is a very interesting project for anyone interested in library management systems or open source software.
They have also started an amazing newspaper digitisation project, which uses 'the wisdom of the crowd' to help create an archive of fully searchable newspapers (I blogged about this here earlier). I'm sure there is more.

I think we should recognise the excellent leadership that the NLA is showing internationally. A good example of Australians "Punching above our weight".

If you are interested in this, have a look at Warwick Cathro's presentation from the Horizon Libraries meeting held at UTAS earlier this year(

Thursday, 21 May 2009

More on Wolfram Alpha

I've actually been surprised at the lack of blogger opinion that this development has received. For me, once I had used Wolfram Alpha in one of the areas that it works well for I found going back to Google a bit quaint, like going back to your old iPod, the fond memory of an old interface...If I was Nick Hornby I would probably write at length here about ex-Girlfriends, but you get the idea.
Wolfram Alpha is amazing, if you start thinking about the kinds of computing that is going on behind the scenes, it is clearly a real step forward in information retrieval. At launch it is quite limited in terms of the quantity of information that it knows (it does KNOW in a way that Google doesn't), and the sophistication of its recognition of what you want to know, but if the team behind it are smart (hard to imagine they aren't) the queries going in now are informing the development path for this product and when advances are made it will be hard to imagine life without it. I guess what I am saying is that I believe the hype.
Of course the two products are not direct competitors for most of the services that Google Search offers, indexing static content is still extremely important, but I think Wolfram Alpha will carve out a growing niche and deprive google of searches in the same way that Google deprives libraries of basic reference queries (what is the capital of..., how many..., how big is... etc).
William Gibson reportedly said: "The future is here, it's just not widely distributed yet"

Friday, 15 May 2009

Wolfram Alpha hype

This should be live by the time you are reading this, I think.

If it does what it says it is going to do, things will change.

If you're reading this before the launch have a look at the screecast:

Thursday, 14 May 2009

New-fangled technology? Forget blogs, apparently poetry is the way to get connected!

Blogs just aren't the way!
It's Poetry that's here to stay
So let's get rhyming!
(I need to work on my timing...)

Ironically, according to the following blog, we should be dispensing with blogs and connecting with each other via poetry.

Acknowledgement to Felix who pointed me in the direction of this website.

Wednesday, 13 May 2009

JISC Report on web 2.0 and Higher education

A new report from JISC in the UK on 'higher education in a web 2.0 world' was released yesterday. A must read for anyone interested in technology and education (us!). From the conclusion:

Web 2.0, the Social Web, has had a profound effect on behaviours, particularly those of young people whose medium and metier it is. They inhabit it with ease and it has led them to a strong sense of communities of interest linked in their own web spaces, and to a disposition to share and participate. It has also led them to impatience – a preference for quick answers – and to a casual approach to evaluating information and attributing it and also to copyright and legal constraints.

The world they encounter in higher education has been constructed on a wholly different set of norms. Characterised broadly, it is hierarchical, substantially introvert, guarded, careful, precise and measured. The two worlds are currently co-existing, with present-day students effectively occupying a position on the cusp of change. They aren’t demanding different approaches; rather they are making such adaptations as are necessary for the time it takes to gain their qualifications. Effectively, they are managing a disjuncture, and the situation is feeding the natural inertia of any established system. It is, however, unlikely to be sustainable in the long term. The next generation is unlikely to be so accommodating and some rapprochement will be necessary if higher education is to continue to provide a learning experience that is recognised as stimulating, challenging and relevant.

Monday, 11 May 2009

Library raves - are you ready?

An article in the American Library Association's e-newsletter piqued my interest for obvious reasons...'Academic Libraries become all the rave"

Apparently students in several US universities have used social networking technologies to organise impromptu gatherings (i.e. dance parties) and the library has been the venue of choice. Some of the quotes in this article are hilarious. I especially like the revolutionary zeal of a mass of students shouting 'take the library!'. Such passion.

It's interesting that the library was chosen over other locations on campus. I wonder if it was because for students 'the library' speaks of all things establishment and so holding a rave there is fun because it is a rebellious and empowering act in a 'stuffy' location? Or because the library really is the heart and soul of the institution?

Thursday, 7 May 2009

There's a humourous little news story on the ABC website about an Irish uni student who posted a fake quote to Wikipedia, attributed to a French composer. This quote was picked up by a multitude of newspapers, websites and blogs etc. There are comments about the incident and, more interestingly, the reliability of Wikipedia on the ABC blog.

Article on ABC Online by former UTAS librarian

Those of us who have been here for a long time may remember Paul Koerbin working with us as a liaison librarian. He's now the National Library's web archiving manager, and has an article on ABC Online today

Hit save before dot-com becomes dot-gone

"If we don't take steps to resource and support the methodical preservation of our public web culture we stand to lose huge slabs of it into the void of time...

Friday, 1 May 2009

Lazy? Want to keep up with professional literature?

Well, I just discovered the journal of Academic Librarianship has a guide to the professional literature in each issue. Snippet sized abstracts and reviews, handy.

Link to the catalogue entry for the journal

You can set up RSS feeds for the table of contents too.

Tuesday, 21 April 2009

Share the blog....

Do you subscribe to a great blog? Share it with your peers by replying to this post with the URL or emailing to and I can add it to our My Blog List of illustrious blogs

YouTube EDU

I was flicking through recent editions of TIME Magazine this morning, and found a couple of interesting articles on YouTube EDU (something I had not heard of before now), and how American university academics are using it to publish their lectures online. I thought it was an interesting exploration of information-sharing and information accessibility.,9171,1891740,00.html,8599,1890337,00.html

Tuesday, 7 April 2009


A frivolous post from me...

As part of the FOLIOz marketing course I am currently undertaking, we have been asked to look at different examples if marketing material for libraries.

I thought this one was an interesting one...

Monday, 6 April 2009

Two interesting events (Future of Libraries)

A couple of interesting events in the last few days:

The JISC Libraries of the future conference has inspired a lot of blogging, and rightly so I think, some serious minds at work on the future of (Academic) Libraries

Libraries of the Future website:

Hangin Together comment:

Also 'The Darien Statement'; a statement that emerged from an event at Darien Public Library.

John Blyberg on The Darien Statement:

Kathryn Greenhill:

Please post links to your favourite blogger's opinion on either of these.

Wednesday, 1 April 2009

Disciplinary Research Behaviour

I found this graphic in a blog post discussing a new study that contradicts a previous study whose findings indicated that increased electronic availability of journal articles was actually narrowing the range of articles cited.
The graphic itself is a different point entirely, but it nicely sums up the research behaviour differences between the sciences and the humanities and also maps interdisciplinary research behaviour, which is interesting.

Image source and original post:

Friday, 6 March 2009

"Bitter Fruits" of Research Quality Evaluation

The UK has been running a research quality evaluation (RAE) for years longer than Australia has had the ERA/RQF, and they have just released the first round of funding that is directly tied to research quality output.

There is apost about the "bitter fruits" at Hanging Together

There is also a good article in the Guardian that discusses the winners and the losers.

Wednesday, 4 March 2009

Marginalia and other crimes

From Cambridge University Library, an online exhibition looking at damage to library resources "Marginalia and other crimes".

A wonderful (and quite humorous) display of pedantry, motivated clearly by a deep love of books. It makes me happy to know there are people willing and able to devote so much time to projects like this.

"Books damaged deliberately are replaced with the same edition. The reader is charged the replacement price plus an administration charge. The Library Syndicate levies a fine of up to ₤175, depending on the circumstances. On the first offence, once all fines are paid, the reader usually retains their privilege of using UL. We have not had a case of a second offence. These matters are usually settled in-house. But replacement costs quickly accumulate into large sums. One case cost the reader ₤2,500 in total."

Friday, 27 February 2009

Online Exhibition

This is a link to an online exhibition with the theme of books - I thought it may be of interest.

Thursday, 19 February 2009

Academic Library websites

I came across this provocative article called "The Library Web Site of the Future" by Steven J. Bell. I found it worth reading for some ideas about the role of the website and how that should/could change to reflect scholarly preferences.

"Rather than attempting to mimic search engines academic librarians should aim to differentiate their Web sites. They should devote the most eye-catching space to information that promotes the people who work at the library, the services they provide and the community activities that anchor the library’s place as the social, cultural and intellectual center of campus. That shifts the focus from content to service and from information to people. Academic libraries must promote their human side. The library portal experience should emphasize the value of and invite stronger relationships with faculty and students. That means going beyond offering a commodity that, by and large, the user community can well access without the Web site. The next generation academic library Web site must leverage what academic librarians can do to help faculty and students improve their productivity and achieve success"


Tuesday, 27 January 2009

Scholarly information practices

I came across this recent OCLC publication today which aims to synthesize the wealth of dispersed information on this area into something more easily digestible. That said it's quite long so obviously I haven't read it all but along with reaffirming what we already know (they want everything online) it looks like there is some interesting data and visual representations about how researchers from different field go about their research and how we can better tailor our support.

Scholarly information Practices in the Online Environment: Themes from the Literature and Implications for Library Service Development

Friday, 23 January 2009

Flickr Commons

The Library of Congress have been using Flickr for a while now to increase the accessibility of some of their enormous collection of historically interesting and out of copyright photographs as part of the Flickr Commons project. many other cultural institutions are also participating, including the State Library of NSW.

Last october the Library of Congress issued a report that gave the experiment a thumbs up:

"In the first 24 hours after launch, Flickr reported 1.1 million total views on our account; a little over a week later, the account had received 3.6 million page views and 1.9 million total visits. That included over 2 million views of the photos, and over 1 million views of the photostream. By early October, LC photos were averaging approximately 500,000 views a month and had crossed the 10 million mark in total views and the 6 million mark for visits. Interestingly, 82% of this traffic was referred from within Flickr; only 3% came from search engines"

So, could UTAS Libraries be increasing the accessibility of some of our digital collections by using Flickr Commons? I would suggest it makes a lot of sense.

Full PDF Report(

Flickr Commons (

Wednesday, 14 January 2009


I came across this by accident, but it is an interesting development that UTAS is leading. There has been quite a bit of talk about the role of the Library in curating eScience research data, I am curious as to whether anyone at UTAS Library has heard of this project?

"The BlueNet project will establish a national distributed marine science data network linking universities to the AODCJF, to support the long term data curation requirements, and data access needs of Australia’s marine science researchers.

BlueNet will build infrastructure to enable the discovery, access and online integration of multi-disciplinary marine science data on a very large scale, to support current and future marine science and climate change research, ecosystem management and government decision making."

Search interface "MEST"

Friday, 9 January 2009

Australia's most cited paper for 2008

I came across this via Stephen Abram's blog, from Science watch comes a list of the most cited countries (Australia is 9th), and each country's most cited paper. It's more of a curiousity than anything, unless you are the author of one of the papers I suppose, but interesting anyway. So (drum roll) the most cited paper is:

Most-cited paper from Clinical Medicine with 2,634 citations:
Source: SCIENCE, 281 (5381): 1322-1326 AUG 28 1998

Unsurprisingly all the most cited papers are science or medical research. Full list here (