Reflection on IFN614

By | IFN614, Reflection | No Comments

Learning Community Contribution

The role that I was hoping for at the start of the semester was one where I participated throughout through my own blog, commenting on others as well as through twitter. The start of the semester was a bit slow due to the fact that only week 3 provided a good discussion and subsequently there was a 3 week break till more blogging could occur. This meant that I found there was little interaction occuring outside of the twitter chats.

In terms of comments on my peers posts I am really happy to say I commented at least once on every other blog in the unit that was listed on the spreadsheet. My goal was to interact with all students to ensure I was able to absorb different points of views. The other goal was to promote my own blog by interacting with every student in the class however I did not see the reciprocation in comments flow back to my posts.

The makerspace week was very interesting and I found myself interacting on many blogs due to the topic of 3D printers and students take on the issue. The comments I left provided good responses from students as I attempted to discuss more in depth issues on 3D printing and how they relate to makerspaces.

I found when reading blogs if the content was too general or following a standard view point that it did not provide the engagement or stimulation in thought. As a result I found the quality of my blog posts contributed to each weeks discussions as I tried to find a distinct line of discussion rather than providing a generalised blog post. In some cases my views were one sided party to engage a response from other students.


At the start of the semester I did not use twitter on a personal level and continued this throughout the semester. My interactions apart from twitter chats were based on promoting my own blogs and providing additional links and commentary on weekly topics. I also attempted to reply to peoples blog post links with small comments so as to promote and encourage their use of twitter. Unfortunately, I did not see much interaction from the student user base on twitter apart from chats. Even though I replied to blog link tweets with comments and follow ups I did not get many if any replies to any of my tweets about my blog posts and additional weekly links and comments.

In terms of twitter chats they were beneficial in enabling students to provide their views on topics. The biggest issue is during the inevitable tweet storm some topics are picked up and replied constantly but in the process some are ignored/missed and therefore that individual may not be enabled to continue to post. During my twitter champion week review I realised I had missed 3 direct replies to my posts even though I was constantly replying. This was disappointing as I could have been seen as ignoring the questions from other students even though I legitimately did not see them. I ended up replying to the questions at the end of my twitter champion blog post. The reason for this reply rather than on twitter was that from experience I did not see twitter interactions occurring outside of chats.

Knowledge Gained

The exploration of the different programs and services that libraries offer I found the most interesting. Even though these services are known it provides a better understanding how they operate within the library environment. The twitter chats provided a great opportunity to absorb different views on topics. Some of these views I didn’t agree with which enabled the writing of blog posts for certain topics more easily.

The other take-away for myself is that the twitter chats were too time concentrated which I found created roadblocks for rest of the week. Firstly, by concentrating them into an hour, students for the most part did not interact on twitter before or after chats. Secondly, the tweet storm means many tweets are missed or not replied to which can be a negative on individuals attempting to participate. If the chats were not focussed for an hour but rather made more dynamic throughout the week I believe they would provide a more proactive discussion. The week twitter hashtag is still current for that week so would be great to interact on it as one discovers new knowledge. I attempted to do this mostly for second half of semester but found that there was little interest in continuing the discussion past the chat.


The quality of my work improved as the quality of other students blog posts improved. There was a positive in reading other blogs as you understood the expertise and knowledge of other students and need for quality blog posts.

My initial community interactions weren’t as I had planned. This was due to some of my comments not being approved by student blogs which disheartened my activity. When I put in a lot of thought into a comment and that is not approved, it creates the feeling that perhaps commenting should not be too reflective on that blog. Nevertheless, I moved past this and simply continued to comment on every other blog.

My biggest strength is spreading my participation across the whole student blog list and not just sticking to a couple of blog posts each week which would have been easy to do. For the final couple of weeks I ensured I went back and had commented on every student blog. This I thought was a strong point as rather than continually visiting the same blogs that you like and commenting on them I preferred to understand others view point. I also read student blogs extensively even when no comments were made. I found this to be beneficial as some posts did not enable a response so rather than forcing a comment it was more beneficial to read many blogs and find interest.

My biggest weaknesses were even though I was active on twitter replying to people links and posting additional content and follow up content, I received little interaction. I commented on 24 different student blogs but only 7 students commented on my blog posts. I found this meant that my interactions were not sufficient in generating responses and replies. I considered more twitter interactions for blog posts that I liked but had no comment on but decided to not action this. In hindsight this was a weakness in being swayed by lack of interaction on twitter.

In conclusion I enjoyed the unit in developing my understanding of the types of programs and services that libraries run. It was also important to understand that working in a community environment needs to always be proactive even when that is not reciprocated. It is just a matter of trying new ways of interacting to eventually get community members to respond.

Childrens Library

Week 12 – Kids and Teens in the Library – #ifn614kids Twitter Champion

By | Children and Teens, IFN614 | No Comments

This week I was one of the twitter champions for the topic of kids & teens in libraries. I am gong to focus on two elements of the chat that I found most interesting. Firstly, question one “What’s the problem with unattended kids in the library? And what do we do about it?” brought up interesting responses from participants. The question presented the presupposition that there is a problem with unattended kids in the library. Unattended kids are catered for by libraries as many use the library space to work on homework after school. As @karysrhiann mentioned in a post the library she works at has “a dedicated Homework Help club hat helps with this after school in the lib, kids are aware of rules and expectations”.

Some kids may be disruptive occasionally so a library needs to have set rules and guidelines for staff to follow. As Peck (2014) states “no matter what age patrons are, misbehaving ones should be dealt with because they are a barrier to access for others.” A good rule is that if someone is sitting a a table they need to be using library resources otherwise they should free up the space.

Another factor that needs to be considered is the age of children at a library. For example In Queensland you can’t leave children under 12 years of age legally alone/unattended whether that is at a library or at home. So the age of kids unattended is as important as whether they are disruptive or not. As @myleejoseph states “Child protection legislation varies in each state, procedures and community expectations vary btwn” This is an important consideration when setting policies as what age may be appropriate/legal in one state, may not be legal in another.


The second interesting topic of the twitter chat was on privacy and kids. Australia has little to no policy on children privacy as compared to the USA which has detailed laws. In the USA the Children’s Internet Protection Act requires schools to use filters for internet access as a condition of federal funding. It does however permit the filters to be switched off by adults when needed for research. Also, in the USA there is the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act that forces websites to require children under 13 years of age to receive parental approval before using such services. Such privacy protections are not found in Australian law and therefore there is a greater emphasis for libraries to set policies and procedures when dealing with children’s privacy. As @georgeenbambeen said “libraries should have written policies regarding this especially in the internet age”


Ontario Libraries guideline states that libraries need to respect the rights of young adults to select materials appropriate to their needs without censorship. This is a great guideline for teens however internet filters still may be necessary for younger children which means there needs to be a balance between how filters are controlled for different age groups.

In reviewing the chat history I realised I missed a couple of questions:


I’m assuming this was a reply to my quote: “They explained that as preteens or teens they had stopped using public libraries because their parents or guardians had stopped taking them, they had less free time, or both.” Teens, Technology, and Libraries. I think this is a good example when a library is not easily accessible and once teens are in secondary school there is less emphasis potentially by parents in not thinking there is a need to take kids to libraries. Not all kids will have the ability or time to get to a library even with encouragement.


The guide was adapted from IFLA Guidelines which uses the age group of 12-18. However, in the USA the age of 13 is very important as that is when young adults can legally sign up to websites without needing parental permission.


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Week 11 – Research Data Services in Libraries

By | IFN614, Research Data Services | 4 Comments

There has been a trend in recent years for university’s to engage with the research community more proactively with research data services (RDS). RDS encompasses a number of services as set out by the University of Maryland including:

  • Open data – Create and publish open data
  • Data-management plans – Design and carry out plans for funding agencies, organizations, and journals.
  • Data archiving – Archive and preserve data.
  • Managing data – Construct well-organized, well-documented data collections.

The Council of Australian University Librarians lists QUT at having an excellent program in supporting RDS. From training which I discussed in an earlier blog post to tools to manage, store and publish research data. “QUT recognises research data as a valuable product of research activity which can assist in promoting open enquiry and debate, complementing research outputs and publications, providing research transparency, and justifying research outcomes.”

As shown in the below infographic a study of European Academic Libaries found that RDS services are important to maintain and store information. It also found the two thirds of library directors thought RDS was required for academic libraries to stay relevant.


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As a consequence the role of an academic librarian has been shifting to providing support in the different aspects of RDS. This new role of a data librarian requires knowledge in data management planning and digital data curation. Brown (2015) observed that this new role also requires the librarian to:

  • Raise awareness of data issues within institutions and the benefits of actively managing research data
  • Assist in developing policies about data management and preservation
  • Provide advice to researchers about data management early in the research life cycle; influencing the way researchers will be creating their data, the formats they will use and building a commitment to use a repository to publish/preserve their data
  • Work with IT service colleagues to develop appropriate local data storage capacity
  • Train and introduce data management and curation concepts to research students

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The trend to data librarians means academic librarians have to acquire new skills to have the necessary knowledge in these expanded roles.
Stanton points out that “Librarians have always been great at information management and organization. This is a core skill in data science; it manifests most strongly in the data curation component of the big data problem. Many librarians are also outstanding communicators and have been trained in the art and science of transforming user information needs into strategies and resources for investigation and learning.” For this reason academic librarians are probably the most suited into transitioning into the field of data science that supports RDS.

Xing et al, (2013) found that several libraries have begun to seek librarians and staff with data curation skills. “For example, the University of Chicago Library sought qualified applicants for the position of scientific data curator, and applicants with experience in library-provided data management services were preferred.” There is always going to be a need for academic librarians but the trend towards data science is becoming an important skill for future librarians to have. As with the pivot to incorporating makerspaces to library programs, academic libraries need to also ensure they pivot to providing RDS and train staff accordingly. Harvard Library has already taken the lead by implementing a free open course for training in data science. Should other universities like QUT implement similar courses?


Week 10 – Academic Library Makerspace

By | IFN614, Makerspace | 4 Comments

Makerspaces are becoming a program that library’s are expected to have in some capacity. The concept revolves around providing a space and assets that individuals can use in creative ways. Libraries have always been establishments of collaboration and creativity promotion. Although makerspaces outside libraries are unique facilities within a library they are just an extension of what a library would normally offer.

Implementing a makerspace into an academic library has a number of challenges that are distinct from other libraries. Fourie & Meyer in their paper “What to make of makerspaces” discuss that makerspaces in academic libraries need to not only be social spaces but also ones that promote learning opportunities that are aligned with extending knowledge and disseminating new knowledge and experiences. Academic libraries therefore need to implement makerspace not simply as creative zones but ones where subject learning is a core component of the program.

Curtin University used a pop up makerspace to analyse the benefits and the potential for a permanent makerspace. It found that incorporating new technologies into the makerspace did indeed find interest however the use of them was limited. Individuals required encouragement to use such devices such as 3D printers. From the reflection it looks like Curtin used a number of technologies and creative spaces to engage with students not as a program but more to understand how the space would function and engage with students. The use of items like 3D printers was limited as there was no set learning program behind the equipment.

Curtin University

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Lee in her report “Campus-Library Collaboration with Makerspaces” found makerspaces offered an opportunity for libraries to engage with students that may not usually use library services by building a more accessible program. It made a good observation that a makerspace needs to be utilised in a manner that matches specific needs of students on campus. It also needs the ability to be dynamic and constantly changing as new subjects and technologies become more popular to use.

Implementing a makerspace in an academic library is a complex task. Using QUT as an example, it would need to take into account the four branches at Kelvin Grove, Gardens Point, Caboolture and the Law Library. It would need to also follow the QUT strategic plan as well as The QUT Library Collection Development Manual (CDM). Some of QUT’s strategic goals include:

  • Measurably strengthen our teaching quality and learning outcomes
  • Build QUT’s reputation as a selectively intensive research university
  • Develop a sustainable and highly capable workforce profile
  • Build further QUT’s sense of community

3D Printing

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Academic library makerspaces have great potential. But introducing them requires stakeholders from library to individual schools to be included to ensure the library is still a neutral ground for all departments. A good example of a potential roadblock is 3D printing. The are a diverse range of technologies available. Different technologies may be suitable for different schools:

  • Stereolithography
  • Digital Light Processing
  • Fused deposition modeling
  • Selective Laser Sintering
  • Selective laser melting
  • Electronic Beam Melting
  • Laminated object manufacturing

The benefits for school of design and engineering students are obvious but what function does 3D printing have academically for other schools?

Week 8 – QUT Research Digital Literacy Program Review

By | IFN614, Information and digital literacy, Program review | 2 Comments

This week I am reviewing the QUT Library program for developing researchers skills. As an academic library its focus is on student collections and ensuring their research needs are met. Along with the great researchers centre on level 7 the QUT library also offers a number of workshops for developing skills in researching. Some of these programs include using Nvivo, EndNote and ePrints Express. These programs you wouldn’t normally hear about until you start working on research subjects. Due to their complexity they may be hard to learn in sufficient time during the start of a semester when studying research units. Therefore, it is highly recommended to get to know these software programs before beginning research subjects.

To access available workshops you enter the research portal on the QUT website (requires QUT login). Some of the current workshops that are available include:

  • Introduction to Nvivo
  • The essentials for using EndNote in a hands-on workshop
  • ePrints Express
  • Build your research profile

You can see this as a digital literacy program in certain software applications that help researchers in their reports. Although as Dr John Turner in The difference between Digital Learning and Digital Literacy? argues that digital literacy elements go “beyond particular software skills to include extension, adaptability, problem-solving, connection and reflection.” Without these additional skills such programs are simply digital learning and not digital literacy. QUT research programs however target the development of research skills. In so doing they develop student skills as part of the Research Skill Development Framework and therefore the programs do follow the definition of digital literacy.

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I have attended previously an Nvivo session and found the workshop ideal in firstly introducing the program but also in developing some advanced skills in its use. Nvivo is a software program that allows you to perform qualitative analysis on articles and other content. It allows you to tag, sort and reference sections so you can then perform analysis and modelling. The workshops in Nvivo start from introductory and extend to intermediate and advanced levels. The workshops also extend out to data mining social media and using Nvivo for literature review.

The only negative I can see with these workshops is that unless you are told they exist it isn’t something you would find available. The Nvivo program was only mentioned during an introductory lecture for IFN701 project. Without this mention I probably would never have known about the timetable of workshops on offer. And thus I would never have found out about the larger range of workshops available.

I would recommend attending Nvivo or Endnote sessions if you are a researcher or plan on doing research units in your course. The workshops are great to give you an understanding of what programs are out there that can save you a lot of time in sorting through a large set of articles. To attempt to get a grasp of these programs at the start of a semester is very difficult as you will inevitably be slowed down by the steep learning curve.

QUT library and the website provide a great opportunity to enter programs to further ones research skills. However, finding these programs or even knowing they exist is not great. As Jane Secker discusses in Digital Literacy Support for Researchers “Researchers like students will not always know who can help them in their own institution. Therefore it is vital that research services are targeted appropriately and that research support staff work together collaboratively to promote their services effectively.” Without this proactive targeting the services that QUT library provides may not reach all the students that need them.

Week 6 – Going Digital with Readers’ Advisory

By | IFN614, Reading and literacy | 6 Comments

It is essential that libraries move into an all digital readers’ advisory service platform as it provides the best way of managing the extensive knowledge of readers. There are an abundant number of online resources and libraries themselves are building extensive recommendation services from their own data analysis. A good example is the QUT library search which provides extensive recommended categories. Users are also becoming more digitally literate in finding titles they are after. As Michael Lascarides in Next-Gen Library Redesign states “For the library of the future to have as passionate an audience in decades to come, we need to ensure that we’re offering interactive and discovery experiences that are as good as the offering they are becoming used to outside the library.”

I believe readers’ advisory is a service that by its nature is fundamentally better provided digitally. The knowledge that is stored by staff and users should be moved into knowledge management (KM) systems as otherwise individuals silo this information. One of the biggest negatives with information silos is that when staff leave for other positions this information leaves with them. It also means that staff that may be more engaging in a certain genre may not be available when needed. As Nowacki & Bachnik state in Innovations within knowledge management “Employees serve as transmitters of knowledge.” Transmission of knowledge needs to be captured digitally so that results don’t end up only being produced by computer algorithms.

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The role of readers’ advisory should move to one of managing KM solutions and teaching readers how to search using the internal systems available. If an extensive KM solution can be built around crowdsourcing the views of staff then this can be utilised with search results by accessing staff under separate “personalised” categories.

A great article discussing readers’ advisory was published by the Ontario Public Library Association.

The main topics of effective advisory were listed as:
1. Approach
2. Conversation or Interview
3. Actions to offer suggestions
4. Closing and follow up

These topics can be digitised by:
1. Providing easy to access computers that provide highly visible suggestions after search results.
2. Digital forms during search results that can be easily answered and suggestions provide. This would differ from standard search and suggest to one of suggested based on interview.
3. Searching already allows suggestions to be provided from a database of analytics.
4. If the user has an email attached to an account it should be used to engage with suggestions like any other corporate mailing list is used.

Finally, with thousands of books being published each year how does a reader access an exhaustive list of suggestions? This can only be performed digitally. Crowdsourcing the knowledge of staff into KM solutions is essential in maintaining relevant and engaging suggestions.

Week 3 – Public Reference Engines – Service Review

By | IFN614, Reference, Service review | 4 Comments

Public referencing engines have become an important element in research of publications. They collate a large proportion of online and print articles in their databases. One of the most popular free engines is Google Scholar.

One of the features of Google Scholar is that it allows users to add their academic library login and thus allow full access to articles that are made available through that library. This feature makes the search engine advantageous to an academic library one as it allows access to articles that the local library may not index. The fact that a user can include an academic library login may imply that the results are similar to what the academic library service would produce. However, the algorithm such public search engines use varies from local libraries and therefore produces different search results. Users of these databases need to be aware of different results otherwise they may miss articles that are more relevant for their research.

One study that compared Google Scholar results to PubMed found that “for quick clinical searches, Google Scholar returns twice as many relevant articles as PubMed and provides greater access to free full-texts” (Shariff et al., 2013). A separate paper found that “Google Scholar articles appear to have a higher number of citations and to come from higher impact journals when compared with PubMed articles.” (Nourbakhsh, Nugent, Wang, Cevik & Nugent, 2012) The reason for these differences is that Google Scholar algorithm has more emphasis on citations as well as how the article is optimised for its search engine.

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Researchers need to be made aware that with the growing reliance on online search databases the concept of Academic Search Engine Optimisation is being utilised. “Academic search engine optimization (ASEO) is the creation, publication, and modification of scholarly literature in a way that makes it easier for academic search engines to both crawl it and index it.” (Beel, Gipp & Wilde, 2010) This method of optimising articles and publications may lead to some indexing higher than they otherwise would without optimising.

Following on with their original article Beel & Gipp (2010) found that “Google Scholar indexed invisible text in all kind of articles. A researcher could put invisible keywords in his article before, or even after, publication and increase the ranking and visibility of this article on Google Scholar.” This type of spamming needs to be monitored and therefore assessed when using public academic search engines. The results of public search engines must always be compared to academic databases to provide a better understanding of what articles are available on a particular topic.

To find the articles mentioned above I used the QUT Library search facility. Searching “google scholar comparison” under Google Scholar produced irrelevant articles as well out outdated ones. This confirms the need to always search multiple databases and never rely on one particular database no matter how popular or large it may be. Furthermore, cross checking may also help in weeding out articles that may have been manipulated to appear higher in results.



Beel, J., & Gipp, B. (2010). Academic Search Engine Spam and Google Scholar’s Resilience Against it. The Journal Of Electronic Publishing, 13(3).

Beel, J., Gipp, B., & Wilde, E. (2010). Academic Search Engine Optimization (ASEO). Journal Of Scholarly Publishing, 41(2), 176-190.

Nourbakhsh, E., Nugent, R., Wang, H., Cevik, C., & Nugent, K. (2012). Medical literature searches: a comparison of PubMed and Google Scholar. Health Information & Libraries Journal, 29(3), 214-222.

Shariff, S., Bejaimal, S., Sontrop, J., Iansavichus, A., Haynes, R., Weir, M., & Garg, A. (2013). Retrieving Clinical Evidence: A Comparison of PubMed and Google Scholar for Quick Clinical Searches. Journal Of Medical Internet Research, 15(8), e164.

Week 2 – Community of Inquiry

By | IFN614, Learning community | No Comments

The Community of Inquiry (CoI) model sets out how social, teaching and cognitive elements are interconnected to provide an optimised educational experience. You can find a summary on Wikipedia:

I believe I have seen a great example of a CoI framework being utilised by the QUT IT Club communication channels. In the past when running the IT Club it was paramount to attempt to engage members through different communication channels. Whether they be email, Twitter, Facebook or live events. Through the couple of Facebook groups, I administered it was clear that many users found the channels as an invaluable source for different IT related issues. Members would post questions that sometimes were quite complex. In most cases a number of individuals would engage in helping find a solution for a particular problem. In IT sometimes there isn’t one correct answer so this engagement allowed cognitive thinking by all members reading posts to consider options.

To summarise CoI at the QUT IT Club:

  • The Facebook groups were the social element.
  • The expert members acted as teaching presence.
  • The experts along with other members who participated in solving different problems enabled cognitive thinking for all members.

The best community members are ones that engage with the entire network and do not focus in on specific topics that may be irrelevant or that the majority of the community has no knowledge about. For example, posting beauty advise in an IT forum is irrelevant and although might engage a couple of individuals as a whole it distracts from the core theme of the community. Furthermore, the more off topic discussions that are started and engaged causes community members to stop participating or returning. Therefore it is essential to maintain focus to allow cognitive thinking on the topic that most members are in the community for. When running the IT Club I found it essential to continue regular engagement when the rest of the community was relatively quiet.

In terms of Twitter I have used it extensively for my businesses and websites. I find it a great marketing tool for engaging certain types of individuals. Twitter users fall into a very specific category and as such I don’t think attempting to engage all students through Twitter is an effective avenue. The reason being that if you don’t use it on a personal level it is a hard tool to perceive value in gaining knowledge. On the other hand, as with my own personal experience if you see it as a marketing tool you may find it even more irrelevant for the purpose of academic engagement. Nevertheless, like with any popular forms of communication it is practical to understand and learn how to use Twitter in an effective way.

IFN614 Introduction

By | IFN614 | No Comments

Welcome IFN614 students and staff to my blog for this semester. I am hopefully finishing my Masters in Information Technology this semester – emphasis on hopefully if my work commitments don’t change. I am not doing a major as I prefer to pick and choose subjects that are most interest to me or are relevant to projects I am currently working on. The word of the day/semester is “information” so doing similar subjects as a result.

I currently run a digital services agency specialising in ecommerce consulting and application development. One of my new personal projects I am spinning up revolves around the capture, sharing and dissemination of a certain category of information.

My strengths lie in being able to successfully research problems and provide solutions that value add to individuals and businesses. Another one is I don’t like talking about myself so hence the briefness of this post 🙂

Thanks for reading!