Category Archives: AARL: Australian Academic & Research Libraries

Research Support in Australian University Libraries: An Outsider View

It is always interesting to see yourself through someone else’s eyes. The experience can be surprising as we learn what we believe to be ordinary can look unusual to someone else. This is as true for a profession or group practice, as it is for an individual. An early view paper for the journal Australian Academic and Research Libraries (AARL) enables staff employed in research support at Australian university libraries to do just this.  Dr Alice Keller, who currently holds a senior management position at the Zentralbibliothek Zürich and has previously worked at the ETH Library in Zurich, Switzerland and at the Bodleian Library in Oxford, UK recently visited Australia for a seven week sabbatical hosted by Macquarie University Library. During this period Alice conducted research initially focussing on the role of subject or liaison librarians. What her paper ends up doing is focussing on research support services, covering the ground very well and reflecting on the changes that have taken place in Australian academic libraries in recent years.  It does a great job covering topics such as “Libraries as partners in research”, “research support services” such as institutional repositories, open access, research data management and more.  While some is reporting of what we may think we know, it is interesting to hear how different libraries approach different services and enlightening to see practices we understand as common to be described as “refreshing or shocking – whichever you prefer”.  In particular comparisons between practices in Australian libraries and those in Europe are of interest.  The article titled “Research Support in Australian University Libraries: An Outsider View” is available through the AARL web site:

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AARL Australian Academic and Research Libraries September issue

The September 2014 print issue of AARL has just been delivered and is available online.

The first paper in this issue anticipates the forthcoming December on research support issue by dealing with one aspect of research support that of personalised information consultations in the early stages of PhD candidature. “Wrangling the Literature: Quietly Contributing to HDR Completions”, by Jennifer Warburton and Peter Macauley, shares the findings of a study profiling PhD candidates’ usage of an academic library research consultation service. The full text of this paper is available in the author’s institutional repository.

Fiona Brown’s article, “Replacing Law Firm Libraries with Commercial Law Library and Legal Research Services in the UK”, looks at outsourcing services. While this paper focuses on law libraries in the United Kingdom, outsourcing is common to many information services and the implications relating to outsourcing are of concern across the LIS profession.

In “Contemporary Cataloguing Policy and Practice in Australian Libraries”, Philip Hider reports on a survey of Australian libraries across different sectors. Hider’s research looked at which staff in libraries were performing cataloguing roles and what standards were being used. The paper concludes that cataloguers are still very much in demand.

The final article in this issue is by Suzana Sukovic, who led a digital storytelling project during the 2012 Year of Reading at an independent girls’ high school. “ iTell: Transliteracy and Digital Storytelling” provides an in-depth discussion about the notions of transliteracy and digital storytelling, followed by the findings of the research. Using these relatively recent concepts, student engagement was observed during the project and the paper provides research evidence for the role of digital storytelling in learning environments. T

Take a look!

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Research support services in academic libraries – two papers forthcoming

We are planning a special issue of Australian Academic & Research Libraries for December 2014 on evolving research support services. Two of the authors of papers accepted for this issue have already placed their authors accepted versions in their institutional repository.

The first is a big picture paper by Colin Steele an Emeritus Fellow at the Australian National University titled Scholarly Communication, Scholarly Publishing and University Libraries. Plus ca Change?. It is a position paper which is grounded in the literature including a number of reports and policy documents, but also comes from deep personal knowledge and experience. The paper will provide AARL readers with an excellent overview of the historical context and those issues which remain unresolved. Available at:

The second paper is by Dr Danny Kingsley who is a Visiting Fellow at the Australian Centre for the Public Awareness of Science and Executive Officer, Australian Open Access Support Group. Danny’s paper is a timely one titled Paying for publication: issues and challenges for research support services.  It addresses article processing charges (APCs) a topic which is extremely relevant to academic librarians, for whom scholarly communication and publishing is a central concern and an area where activities and services have developed significantly in the past few years. There is relatively little formal literature on the subject, and this paper identifies and analyses published commentary (mainly from informal publications) and statements from publishers and other stakeholders. The discussion is international in its coverage.

Available at:





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June 2014 issue – Australian Academic and Research Libraries (AARL)

The June issue of AARL has been posted, and is of course, available online. It is a special issue edited by Gaby Haddow titled Engaging with Indigenous knowledge, culture and communities. Professor Martin Nakata introduces the issue and contributes an article in it. Professor Nakata’s  involvement is important to the history of AARL, as  in 2005 he co-edited, introduced and contributed to another special issue Australian Indigenous knowledge and libraries. The articles in this issue pick up some of the threads raised in the first and see where things are going now.

As Professor Nakata notes in his introduction to the issue, next year (2015) will mark the 20th anniversary of the publication of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Library and Information Resource Network (ATSILIRN) Protocols for libraries and information services, which draw attention to the existence of, and sensitivities around, the collection and management of indigenous Australian materials.

In addition to Professor Nakata’s introduction, the articles in the issue are:

Rediscovering Indigenous Languages: The Role and Impact of Libraries and Archives in Cultural Revitalisation by Kirsten Thorpe & Monica Galassi

Using Modern Technologies to Capture and Share Indigenous Astronomical Knowledge by Martin Nakata, Duane Hamacher, John Warren, Alex Byrne, Maurice Pagnucco, Ross Harley, Srikumar Venugopal, Kirsten Thorpe, Richard Neville & Reuben Bolt

The Incorporating Indigenous Knowledge LibGuide: Charles Darwin University Embedding Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Knowledge, Culture and Language by Payi Linda Ford, John Prior, Barbara Coat & Lyndall Warton

An Example of Community Engagement: Libraries ACT and the ACT Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Communities by Fiona Blackburn

Kia whai taki: Implementing Indigenous Knowledge in the Aotearoa New Zealand Library and Information Management Curriculum by Spencer Lilley & Te Paea Paringatai

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Selected recent articles from AARL available free

Selected Australian Academic and Research Libraries (AARL) articles – listed below –  from the past 2 or 3 years are available for free access for a period of 6 months. While we encourage AARL authors to take advantage of the Taylor and Francis 2011 + Library & Information Science Author Rights pilot scheme that allows authors to post their peer-reviewed Author Accepted Manuscript (AAM) to an institutional repository immediately after publication, not all do.  So take a look at some recent articles here, and perhaps consider reading more or submitting your papers to AARL, first checking out our “instructions for authors” pages.

The currently free papers are linked from this page, or listed below:

Riding the Wave of Open Access: Providing Library Research Support for Scholarly Publishing Literacy.
Linlin Zhao Volume 45, Issue 1 (2014)

The E-book Power User in Academic and Research Libraries: Deep Log Analysis and User Customisation
Pervaiz Ahmad, Mark Brogan, and Michael N. Johnstone Volume 45, Issue 1 (2014)

MOOCs: The Challenges for Academic Librarians
Cameron Barnes, Volume 44, Issue 3 (2013)

Information Literacy at University: A Toolkit for Readiness and Measuring Impact
Heather Hulett, Jenny Corbin, Sharon Karasmanis, Tracy Robertson, Fiona Salisbury, and Tai Peseta, Volume 44, Issue 3 (2013)

Learning Spaces in Academic Libraries – A Review of the Evolving Trends
Arlee Turner, Bernadette Welch, and Sue Reynolds, Volume 44, Issue 4 (2013)

Negotiating Self-presentation, Identity, Ethics, Readership and Privacy in the LIS Blogosphere: A Review of the Literature
Katy Greenland, Volume 44, Issue 4 (2013)

Re-presenting the Library Collections : A Story of Principles, Pathways and Partnerships
Maureen Kattaua, Volume 43, Issue 3 (2012)

‘How can we help?’ The Contribution of University Libraries to Student Retention
Pauline Hagel, Anne Horn, Sue Owen, and Michael Currie, Volume 43, Issue 3 (2012)

Knowledge, Skills and Attributes for Academic Reference Librarians
Gaby Haddow, Volume 43, Issue 3 (2012)

Scholarly Use of E-Books in a Virtual Academic Environment: A Case Study
Pervaiz Ahmad and Mark Brogan, Volume 43, Issue 3 (2012)

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March 2014 issue of AARL: Australian Academic & Research Libraries

The first issue of Australian Academic & Research Libraries for 2014 has been published . This year sees some changes in the practical management of the journal, which will now be conducted via the online editorial management system at .  In this issue we have four scholarly papers, and eight book reviews organised by the book reviews editor, Dr David Wells of Curtin University.

The papers look at a variety of very interesting topics. The first is  “Riding the Wave of Open Access: Providing Library Research Support for Scholarly Publishing Literacy” by Linlin Zhao and presents a professional research librarian’s perspective drawing on the literature to examine some of the issues encountered in providing library support for researchers.

The second paper by Mark Horan is titled “No Learner Too Far: A Comparative Study of the Development of Guidelines for Distance Education Library Services in Australia” and looks at Australia’s role in supporting distance learners at tertiary institutions.

The third paper in this issue by Pervaiz Ahmad, Mark Brogan & Michael N. Johnstone, “The E-book Power User in Academic and Research Libraries: Deep Log Analysis and User Customisation”, use a deep log analysis of user transactions with an e-book platform in an academic library, to look for evidence of ‘power user’. Results suggest there is potential for customisation of e-book platforms, based on the behavioural profiles of users, to improve and facilitate the user experience.

The final paper in this issue takes an in-depth, qualitative approach to explore how resettling refugees experience a new health environment and develop health literacy practice. The paper is by Annemaree Lloyd and titled “Building Information Resilience: How do Resettling Refugees Connect with Health Information in Regional Landscapes – Implications for Health Literacy”.

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December 2013 issue Australian Academic & Research Libraries

The December 2013 issue of Australian Academic & Research Libraries is now online and in the mail. In this issue there are four scholarly papers, a call for papers for a special issue on new, emerging, and evolving research support services in academic and research libraries and eight book reviews.
The first paper, “A Chaotic Field of Practice: Financial Reporting of the Library Collections of Australia’s Public Universities, 2007–2011” reports on the accounting practices adopted by Australia’s 36 public universities in accounting for their library collections – including heritage and special collections.. The research was conducted by academic accountants, rather than librarians, which makes the paper a unique contribution to the field. It is always interesting to view one’s disciplinary practices with fresh eyes from beyond the discipline.
The next two papers are scholarly reviews in two quite different areas. The first, “Negotiating Self-presentation, Identity, Ethics, Readership and Privacy in the LIS Blogosphere: A Review of the Literature” focuses on academic librarian bloggers. The differences between library and librarian blogs are examined, followed by a brief snapshot of the history, evolution and current landscape of the LIS blogosphere. Key challenges are discussed and the blurred lines between the personal, public, private and professional in the world of blogs are observed. The paper  titled “Learning Spaces in Academic Libraries – A Review of the Evolving Trends”  reviews the professional discourse around the evolution of information and learning spaces in academic libraries, particularly in the first decade of the twenty-first century. The paper investigates the development of learning spaces focusing on the use of the terms which have evolved from the information commons concept. The language used to describe the different models is discussed and analysed to highlight shifts and emerging trends.
The final paper in this issue “Embedded Library Services: Beyond Chance Encounters for Students from Low SES Backgrounds” evaluates how embedding library services through a learning management system can contribute to improving the learning experience of students from low socio-economic status (SES) backgrounds. Based on the evaluation, an embedded approach has been adopted at the university in additional courses which have similar low SES student profiles. The outcomes may be applicable in supporting the case for embedded library practice for supporting diverse student populations and improving student outcomes.

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