VALA2022 CC1 Splawa-Neyman

Researcher Engagement Framework: when your boss tells you to promote RDM, how do you do it?

Wednesday 15 June 2022, 09.15-09.45 and 09.55-10.25

Patrick Splawa-Neyman
  • Health Data Librarian
  • Monash University Library

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The Researcher Engagement Framework was developed due to the growing requirement for librarians to engage with researchers to promote library services. The Researcher Engagement Framework is a tool primarily for librarians who do not have a research background, and aims to improve the likelihood that a promoted library service will be valued and supported by academics. It is a guide to assist with interactions, not a replacement for thorough preparation.

The Framework was developed based on experience in libraries in higher education. Librarians and research support staff in institutions across Australasia are expected to use existing skills to promote unfamiliar data management tools and services. The problem that often arises is that librarians are left directionless in an unfamiliar environment without a clear directive to follow. The Framework was developed to provide librarians with structure for researcher interactions specifically when discussing research data management. It has not been formally evaluated except empirically by using it in interactions with researchers. The feedback and observations from these interactions have then been used to update and modify the Framework.

This Framework has not been extensively tested therefore I hope to gain valuable insight from the participants into how it can be implemented for data management, how it can be implemented beyond data management and any other factors that have not been taken into consideration.

The Framework is composed of three components:

1. Categorisation – aims to place researchers into one of four quadrants based on their data management knowledge and desire for data management knowledge. This answers the question of what level of support librarians can expect to receive from researchers. Categorisations include advocacy, learning, disinclination and ambivalence.

2. Considerations – aims to ensure that what is important to researchers is taken into account. This will assist librarians to be aware of all aspects of research and help uncover why a library initiative might meet with resistance. Considerations include cost, time, restrictions, value and pitfalls.

3. Metrics – aims to measure from an institutional perspective which researchers are the most successful and valued. This may help to uncover reasons why a proposal might meet with resistance. Metrics include completions, publications, grants and citations.

The Critical Conversation will also include the advantages and limitations of the Framework.


As a project manager in data management Patrick has a proven track record of deeply engaging with researchers, raising the profile of open scholarship and open data, and successfully working collaboratively across institutions. His unique blend of skills from pharmaceutical sales, and sales and marketing for an open data vendor has led to the practical application of research data management support. He is motivated to support researchers and support staff to make informed, data-driven decisions.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial License.

VALA2022 CC2 Manifold

Working with spaghetti: integrating everything with everything else

Wednesday 15 June 2022, 09.15-09.45 and 09.55-10.25

Alan Manifold
  • Digital Preservation Manager
  • State Library of Victoria

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We’ve all seen so-called “spaghetti diagrams” that show the convoluted and intertwined connections between systems. We’d love it if this wasn’t necessary, but that’s not the reality we live in, is it? We want all our systems to be connected whenever it makes sense and sometimes when it doesn’t, so spaghetti is our way of life.

Interconnections come in lots of varieties, though. They can require a simple click of a checkbox, the installation and configuration of a third-party “wedge” product, or writing code to take advantage of an API (or even writing an API!). Starting with some examples of interconnections created at State Library Victoria, we’ll have a conversation about how to determine when interconnection is called for, how much effort is too much, and what constitutes success. Come prepared with your own examples of interconnections successful and less so.


Alan Manifold has more than forty years’ experience in library automation in the US and Australia, and now serves as Digital Preservation Manager at State Library Victoria. He led development of a home-grown integrated library system, and has worked extensively with NOTIS, Voyager, Aleph, Primo, ArchivesSpace, and Alma. In 2015, Australia awarded him a Distinguished Talent visa in library automation. He has served on NOTIS, Endeavor, and Ex Libris User groups, and on the VALA Committee. He has integrated several systems that had no real business being integrated with each other, but has no regrets!

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial License.

VALA2022 CC3 King

Gitting by with a little help from our friends: using Gitbook and crowdsourcing to find a common solution to common problems

Wednesday 15 June 2022, 15.10-15.40 and 15.50-16.20

Sara King
  • Training and Engagement Lead
  • AARNet

Please tag your comments, tweets, and blog posts about this session: #vala2022 #cc3


In this Critical Conversation I’d like to have a candid conversation about the kinds of ‘not-quite ’technical’ digital skills that people need but do not know where or how to get them. Often these are the skills that are simply assumed people have, or people expect to learn in libraries but are not usually associated with any formal training, such as how to name files or create a folder structure. A group of librarians is in the process of creating a free, open educational resource (OER) that aims to address these skills, in plain language and in a format that can also be continuously updated as the skills and technologies change. But what are these skills? How do we articulate what we need to know? And would you like to be involved?


The Digital Skills GitBook project arose from the need to address assumptions and implied knowledge inherent in the work of libraries.

In 2021 a group from the CAUL Digital Dexterity Champions network commenced a project using static web technology (in this case GitBook) with the aim of creating a collectively written and produced OER that attempts to tackle the many (and ever changing) digital skills that the academic community need.

These ‘not-quite-technical skills’ are those needed to teach, to manage data responsibly, to continue to create solutions through research outcomes and to thrive into the 21st century. What librarians know, however, is that many in the academic community do not have these skills and either avoid learning them, come up with unsustainable workarounds or turn up at the library hoping for help. But do the librarians themselves have these skills?

Static web technology allows users with little web experience to create basic websites to share text alongside images, videos and other visualisations. The ease of use of this technology offers an increased level of autonomy and freedom for the provider of the information in terms of the presentation style and costs. The ease of production and simple formats mean that this provides the ability to set out potentially complex information and ideas in an approachable way, much like a book, but online.


Dr Sara King is the Training and Engagement Lead for AARNet. She is focused on outreach within the research sector, developing communities of interest around training, outreach and skills development in eResearch. She is passionate about helping others develop the infrastructure and digital literacies required for working in a data-driven world, translating technology so it is accessible to everyone.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial License.

VALA2022 CC4 Sideris

“Doing my own research”: access to expert opinion outside traditional academic publishing

Wednesday 15 June 2022, 15.10-15.40 and 15.50-16.20

Laki Sideris
  • Head of Product, Manager
  • Informit

Please tag your comments, tweets, and blog posts about this session: #vala2022 #cc4


The COVID-19 pandemic has created a watershed moment where people are put into a position to ascertain the validity of expert opinion in order to make potential life and death decisions. While scepticism of authority is considered a positive trait and encouraged through education, it has also reduced trust in domain expertise, while social media networks encourage people to “do their own research”. On the other hand, academic research papers contain technical detail and assumed knowledge that can exclude the general reader or may even provide false evidence to a reader’s confirmation bias. Popular websites and commentators have in many instances provided factually wrong or misleading information and advice. In this environment, people may prefer to seek perspective from their social peers. To counter this there has been a proliferation of publications and experts working within research areas explaining their research and informed opinion in non-technical language for a general audience. Many of these publications go beyond the “TED talk” mode by providing accessible detail, promoting evidence over emotion.

In this Critical Conversation we will ask: Is there a role for libraries to play in helping people decipher the “noise” and raise the voice of considered expert opinion?

This discussion will help Informit frame the development of a new database to be released in 2022. We are in the early stages in aggregating content from a wide range of open publications containing expert academic opinion and current research news. They are written in accessible language that help frame community discourse. The database will also provide an archive of the published content that by its nature is ephemeral. By including this database into libraries’ collections, articles can be discovered alongside broader research and help library users obtain a broader contextualised understating of complex research and hot topics.


Laki Sideris has been in the electronic publishing industry more than twenty years. He is currently the Head of Product at Informit. Over the years he help bring to life many Informit databases such as APAFT, TVNews and EduTV. He has also lectured for many at RMIT University in their Information Managment department.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial License.