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Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Parliamentary Library innovations synopsis 26 July 2016

A good  crowd turned up  to hear Sam Spencer and Liz Luchetti of the  Parliamentary Library present on the innovative products they have created or adapted to the needs of their politician  clients. Liz presented on the overview of what the parliamentary library does and how it must  rigorously meet the demands of their select clientele. She explained how the library  canvassed to understand the needs by surveying their users each year as well as keep  a finger on  the day to day pulse of what users requested . Sam  gave us a picture of the  new products they had created in the past year such as streaming news for their  clients to access on mobile devices in their electorates well outside the  infrastructure of the Parliament House. Sam gave a rundown on how he is morphing the Parliamentary Handbook in an elegant extensible online version that can harvest data on individual politicians from other sources .

The Parliamentary Library has recently recruited a Library Innovation Manager. The Parliamentary Library recognises that this is an important strategic position that has a significant information technology component. The appointment of a Library Innovation Manager continues an established program of innovation within the Parliamentary Library. Liz Luchetti, Assistant Secretary, Library Collections and Databases Branch and Sam Spencer, Library Innovation Manager, will talk about past, present and future Library innovation and demonstrate their favourite innovative products that enhance the delivery of library services  - the new parliamentary handbook data management system and the news services currently available via the mobile Web@Workapp. In addition they will provide some tips on how to engage staff in the innovation process. 

 Innovations in the Parliamentary Library presentation

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Bring Up the bodies synopsis 21 June 2016

Many of you came to  our interesting and to me  very exciting Bring up the bodies expose on  gems in  two major archival collections here in Canberra. Kylie Scoope from the  National Library  Manuscripts collections and Rhonda King from the National Archives of Australia  catalogued for us  interesting items in their collections. Kylie focused on items that touched on body parts such as the locks of hair saved in the  Macquarie family collection or Patrick White’s beret and glasses.  Rhonda took a  gleeful look  at  gems like the Marmalade files and  intelligence reports on  suspected individuals, Many there said it was a fun  and illuminating session for  them as many are unaware of the great jewels held by the  various   archives. Now  those not present can enjoy these presentation as well. We are so lucky to have great speakers in Canberra

Bring up the Bodies: oddities and quirks in archival collections (Rhonda King, National Archives of Australia)

Bring up the Bodies: oddities and quirks in archival collections (Kylie Scroope, National Library of Australia)

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Active ALIA Program of events

June 21 2016
Bring up the bodies:  oddities and quirks in archival collections
Menzies  Room
National Archives Parkes
Kylie Scroope NLA and Rhonda King NAA
July 25 2016
Innovations at the Parliamentary Library
Ferguson Room National Library
Liz Luchetti and Sam Spencer
MidWinter Dinner
Southern Cross Yacht Club

Visit to Signadou Library, Australian Catholic University
Signadou Campus, Watson
Helen Zobec
Campus Library Manager
Visit to Noel Butlin Archie’s
Noel Butlin Archives ANU
Maggie Shapley. University Archivist
Christmas drinks
ALIA House

Monday, October 12, 2015

ACT Heritage Library Tour 7 October 2015

On the 7 October we had the Active ALIA tour of the  ACT Heritage Library with a small interested group turning up to  experience the delights of the Heritage Library. Antoinette Buchanan the  Heritage Librarian gave us an expose of  current challenges facing the library  and  how much progress the  small team have made on processing their manuscript  collection . The purpose behind the Heritage Library  is to  “help tell the stories of Canberra and its people. We collect, preserve, promote and provide access to the documents that record the lives of Canberrans at home and in the wider community.” This was very evident in Antoinette's discussion of  the library team's current work and their  collection emphasis.

I was very interested in  the increasing web presence of the  Heritage Library  and how they intend to move this forward in the future with  digitising their  collection.  Antoinette explained the focus of the archives and manuscripts collections in the ACT Heritage Library is on local groups and individuals who have made notable contributions to the ACT community. Their book collection focuses on publications produced here  in the ACT, by ACT residents, or about the ACT. The heritage  library  uses the  library system of the  wider Libraries ACT so the  catalogue is  easily accessible to all Canberra residents . I envied the  climate control stacks for their special  collections. 

The library is  housed in the   Woden town centre library and is  open to all ACT  people. It is  a treasure not to be missed so if you  can go on  a future tour do so or just go and visit.

Monday, August 31, 2015

Midwinter Dinner 27 August 2015

The annual Librarians Midwinter Dinner was held on 27 August at the CIT restaurant. We had a good turnout of about 28 library professionals from all sectors with a strong contingent from the CIT library. 

Stuart Ferguson who retired from the University of Canberra as the principal lecturer of the Master of Information  Studies spoke at the dinner. Stuart developed the two strands of this degree in librarianship and records management. Stuart reflected on his long career over 30 year in Great Britain, then South Africa and then onto Australia. He outlined the changes in the profession he has seen in that period.

  Kym Holden a long-time volunteer on many library committees and activities for ALIA and other library bodies was awarded her silver pin for her voluntary efforts at the Midwinter dinner.

How researchers can protect themselves from publishing and conference scams

Roxanne Missingham, University Librarian at ANU and AOASG’s Deputy Chair, provides practical advice to researchers on how to prevent exploitation through being published in a journal, or participating in a conference, that could be considered “predatory” or “vanity”.
With the evolution of open access, enterprises have emerged that run conferences and journals with low or no peer review or other quality mechanisms. They approach academics, particularly early career academics, soliciting contributions for reputable sounding journals and conferences.
On 2 August, the ABC’s Background briefing highlighted the operation of this industry, Predatory publishers criticised for ‘unethical, unprincipled’ tactics” focusing in particular on one organisation, OMICS. There is little doubt that the industry has burgeoned.  The standard of review in such unethical journals can best be described by the example of the article written by David Mazières and Eddie Kohler which contains basically the words of the title repeated over and over. The article was accepted by the International Journal of Advanced Computer Technology and the review process included a peer review report that described it as “excellent”. You can see the documentation here. Not only will these publishers take your publications, they will charge you for the pleasure (or lack of).
Jeffrey Beall, librarian at Auraria Library, University of Colorado, Denver, coined the term “predatory publisher” after noticing a large number of emails requesting he submit articles to or join editorial boards of journals he had not heard of.  His research has resulted in lists – “Potential, possible, or probable predatory scholarly open-access publishers” and “Potential, possible, or probable predatory scholarly open-access journals”.
While Beall’s lists have been the subject of some debate, acknowledging publishers that are low quality is important to assist researchers. The debate on predatory publishing does not mean that open access publishing is poor per se. There are many high quality open access publishers, including well established university presses at the University of Adelaide, the Australian National University and University of Technology, Sydney.
Ensuring the quality of the journals you submit to and conference you propose papers for is important to assist you in developing your research profile and building your career.
And don’t forget, traditional publishers can also have problems of quality. For example, in early 2014 Springer and IEEE removed more than 120 papers after Cyril Labbé of Joseph Fourier University in Grenoble, France, discovered  computer-generated papers published in their journals.
How can you prevent this happening to you?
Three major tips are:
  • If you haven’t heard of the journal or conference check Beall’s list or ask your local librarian
  • Don’t believe the web site – ask your colleagues and look at indicators of journal impact. A library’s guide to Increasing your research impact with information on Journal measures and tools can help you
  • Don’t respond to unsolicited emails – choose the journals you wish to submit to.
If in doubt contact your local Library or Research Office.
The Australasian Open Access Support Group is committed to supporting quality open access publishing and will continue to provide information through this web site and in our twitter, newsletters and discussion list.
Roxanne Missingham, University Librarian (Chief Scholarly Information Services), The Australian National University, Canberra.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Celebrating Gillian Currie’s 3 decades at the NGA Research Library

Celebrating Gillian Currie’s 3 decades at the NGA Research Library

After working at the National Gallery of Australia’s Research Library for well over 3 decades, Gillian Currie (Acquisitions Librarian) retired on 11 March 2015 to enjoy some much-deserved relaxation (and some library volunteering!).  J. Margaret Shaw, former Chief Librarian from 1978 - 2004, reflects on Gillian’s time at the Gallery.
In February 1979 a newly qualified and very young Gillian Currie joined a small team located in a warehouse at Fyshwick.  In Gillian’s words we were
“…in the round spaceship building in Fyshwick that had as its neighbours various sex shops and other salubrious businesses.  For a 22 year old straight out of library school it was quite an experience”. 
The task facing this group was to create a research library for the National Gallery of Australia, then known as the Australian National Gallery.    Initially and officially, Gillian’s appointment was as a cataloguer/reference librarian but of course in the early days, no-one was strictly limited to their defined duties whether in the Research Library or beyond.  Panic stations could cover anything from filing ephemera, re-shelving or moving the entire library or helping to mount works for an exhibition.  It was not unheard of for the Chief Librarian to find her entire staff missing when an emergency arose.  With the move to the new building in Parkes things became more formal but those with Fyshwick memories felt very privileged.   Between 1979 and 11 March 2015, Gillian went on to hold virtually all senior positions in the Research Library at one time or another.   In particular, her contribution to collection development, particularly to the rare books collection, greatly enriched the holdings of the Research library.
In addition to showing signs of becoming a notably talented librarian, Gillian brought with her considerable political experience and knowledge of work-place relations and related matters gleaned from her role as National Secretary of Australian Young Labor. This proved to be a great benefit both to the staff and the management of the Gallery as her emphasis on negotiation for the good of all parties rather than confrontation worked to everyone’s benefit.  Nevertheless, the sight of Gillian and colleagues demonstrating outside the building did awaken the awareness of some managers. 
For me these skills had particular appeal as, again in her words:
[T]he then union delegate of the Professional Officers’ Association (which covered Librarians, Curators and Conservators in the Public Service), dumped the role of union delegate on me.  As she was my boss, I could hardly say no…. ”.
Outside the Gallery, her participation on behalf of all government librarians was to prove of great benefit.  Gillian was immediately drawn into the initial moves by the Librarians’ Group of the POA to increase wages and conditions for government librarians.   This developed into a full scale and successful Librarians Work Value case, the first of a number of moves to improve the position of librarians during the 1980s with Gillian at the helm as President of the Canberra Branch of the POA and later CEO and Federal President over-seeing the amalgamation of the POA with the CPSU to form the PSU.
As well as her professional and political skills, Gillian brought to the job personal qualities which made her a pleasure to work with.  The most noticeable of these were loyalty, both to her colleagues and to the Gallery, sympathy for her fellow staff members throughout the organisation and willingness to take time to assist those with problems. 
Above all, I doubt if any of her colleagues will fail to miss her sense of humour and the infectious laughter which could help make a tough day better.  This last quality helped her to deal with some of the more outrageous queries which do, at times, face an art reference librarian or the demands made on staff in a new building with a few teething problems such as mushrooms in the reading room which she crawled under a bench to remove.
She leaves behind many friends all over the building – some of whom have shared picnics at which frustrations could be taken out on a piñata (really meant for the children in the party but enjoyed by all).
Gillian’s professional reputation is not just known to her colleagues.  She has been admired, respected and sought out by those external users of the Research Library as a most knowledgeable, skilled and determined reference librarian whose in depth familiarity with the Research Library’s collections will make her sorely missed – although the National Gallery’s loss is the National Portrait Gallery’s gain as she has joined the voluntary team of librarians, including me, working to create a focussed library for this institution.   She has already started to expand my cataloguing skills by passing on her experience!
J. Margaret Shaw, Volunteer Librarian, National Portrait Gallery

(2011, May 5). Shows cut as gallery faces age of minimalism. The Canberra Times. p. 6.
Fulltext available via EBSCOhost.

Currie, G. (2010). Art exhibition teams. Incite, 31(8), 27.
Fulltext available via EBSCOhost.

Currie, G., & Shaw, M. (2002). What price art librarianship in the twenty-first century?. Art Documentation: Bulletin of the Art Libraries Society of North America, 21(2), 32-34.
Fulltext available via EBSCOhost.

Switzer, M.A., Jakimow, R., Currie, G., Beasley, L. & Roost, K. (1996). Why benchmarking?: benchmarking and Commonwealth cultural/heritage agencies. [Canberra], Joint Middle Management Development Project.

Currie, G. (February 1992). Merger set, now the real work begins. The Professional: the federal industrial news of the POA.

(1991, April 11). ANG to review salary blowout. The Canberra Times. p. 3. Retrieved from
(1985, July 2). Social workers lift bans for office space investigation. The Canberra Times. p. 3. Retrieved from
Currie, G. Demonstrating the Library’s value at the National Gallery of Australia Research Library, in Abid, A.B. (2007). Art Museum Libraries and Librarianship.

Currie, G. (1992). A nice job for a lady: industrial issues for librarians in the 90s. Australian Library and Information Association Conference Proceedings, no. 2. pp 80-86.

Currie, G. (23 August 2006). Integration of bibliographic and research information into museum objects collection management system: web based bibliography on photographic resources relevant to the Asia/Pacific region. In Art libraries: Bonding past and future. Ancient cultural heritage and information technology, World Library and Information Congress: 72nd IFLA General Conference and Council, Seoul, Korea.

Currie, G. (2007). Paris Salons catalogues.