VALA2022 Lightning Talk Salopek

How our community of practice survived (and thrived) in 2020

VALA2022 Lightning Talk

Christina Salopek
Kyra Thomsen
  • University of Wollongong

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Abstract

What does a community of practice look like if they don’t practice anything? How do you operate a community of practice if the community changes with every meeting? What’s the point of a community of practice, anyway?

In February 2020 when a group of library staff met at a café on campus to talk about starting a community of practice (CoP) about user experience (UX), none of us could have imagined that we would experience a year of such rapid growth and innovation in the middle of a global pandemic. Surrounded by disruption, our CoP had to change and adapt before it had even taken shape. In the spirit of experimentation and with growth mindsets, we disregarded the idea of what a community of practice should be and made our own path.

The University of Wollongong (UOW) Library enables a flexible, skilled workforce through professional development activities outlined in the Future Ready Library Strategy. In 2020, UOW Library’s digital dexterity program initiated several internal communities of practice, including the UX CoP. There was growing staff interest in UX as we realised all library services have an impact on user experience. While many of us worked from home, these CoPs operated online through Microsoft Teams.  Through this digital environment, rather than face-to-face, we were able to transcend geographic locations and include our diverse staff profile at all organisational levels.

The field of UX embraces human-centredness and inclusivity (valuable practices pre- and post-pandemic) and this became a foundation for the how the UX CoP would operate in the digital environment. The group was diverse, with people from all teams dropping in and out of discussions. We were agile with asynchronous conversations. We were collaborative and creative, with likeminded and curious people upskilling and reskilling in core skills such as critical and analytical thinking, public speaking, planning, collaboration, networking and using new technologies.

The UX CoP became an open forum for sharing, exploring, listening, unpacking, understanding, and reflecting; we made connections during a time that was incredibly isolating, and it was a safe place to learn new things during a time that was stressful.

While the community of practice was strategic we didn’t focus on creating tangible outputs, meeting KPIs or tracking metrics. Our goal was to learn something new, and this resulted in a range of complementary benefits to our staff and UOW Library. Staff anecdotally said they felt more confident, more empathetic, and more aware of biases, perspectives and UX due to their involvement in the CoP. This positively impacted their everyday work, from interactions with clients to how we think about our collections.

The CoP gave our people a purpose, and this learning process was reciprocal; the more we learned, the more our staff shared knowledge, evolved in our roles and became multidisciplinary, human-centred individuals. We keep the user in mind in all that we do for UOW Library and this UX focus will position us well as knowledge workers of the future.

Biography

Christina Salopek is a Resource Sharing Officer at the University of Wollongong Library. Her team is responsible for Subject Readings, Document Delivery, and supplying Inter Library Loans for its clients and reciprocal suppliers. Christina has a background in heritage and the cultural arts sector and has a keen interest in content development and learning about new ways of learning and engaging in the online environment for the user. You can find her on Twitter: @ChristinaSalop1

 

Kyra Thomsen (she/her) is the University of Wollongong Library’s Digital User Experience Lead; her team’s goal in the Library is to improve client experiences by understanding, anticipating and meeting user needs. With a background in content strategy and creative writing, Kyra is fascinated by the user story behind every mouse click and mobile swipe. You can find her on Twitter: @ContentWithKyra

 

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License

VALA2022 Lightning Talk Rowe

Where to get help in a post-COVID library: Who do I call?

VALA2022 Lightning Talk

Amelia Rowe
Tanya Bramley
Steve Thomas
Angela Kopelis
  • RMIT University Library

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Abstract

RMIT Library services consists of four physical sites offering studying spaces, access to physical collections, and formerly on-site face to face reference services. For many years now the data was telling us that most questions at the library reference desk were directional and fundamental service-related questions such as how to use the printers. Thoughts of a concierge model have been floating about the library for several years to consider how we might better respond to these types of queries. Then COVID19 struck. In less than a day RMITs library reference service moved to an online only mode of delivery. Ask the Library became the RMIT Library online front door acting as a referral service for our study support, peer mentoring, and research support services. This is how RMIT Library services stayed for the duration of 2020, and then for much of 2021. If this was not disruption enough for you add a library restructure at the end of 2020. RMITs reference services would never be the same again.

The library restructure saw the library service model for physical library sites shift away from staffed reference desks to online Ask the Library combined with a face-to-face user focused Concierge model. The new structure required strong collaboration between the Library Learning team where the Ask the Library service resides and the Library Facilities team where the Concierge service resides. On reopening in 2021 we had our first impression of how a library concierge model and online Ask the Library service would work.

This lightning talk covers RMITs experience in moving reference services online and some of our early experiences with a concierge service model at physical sites. We will explore where the concierge model idea came from. How the Ask the Library team responded to the sudden move to online only, and how they have adapted this model over the span of two years. What worked and what did not when RMIT Library sites reopened their doors. How we have reviewed and changed the service from our 2021 model to what we plan to deliver in 2022. We will get a quick glimpse of the teething problems the new Concierge service model faced. What we had to change in how we deliver Ask the Library service. How the Learning team and the Facilities team have changed their modes of communication to support the new model. Insights into the benefits a concierge can bring to the library service, both for staff and library users, and a few thoughts for the future.

Biography

Amelia, Tanya, Steve and Angela work at RMIT University Library. Between them they manage the library reference services and the library concierge service, two services that require constant interaction to deliver well.

 

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License

VALA2022 Lightning Talk Musgrave 1

The Australian text analytics platform

VALA2022 Lightning Talk

Simon Musgrave
  • Senior Project Officer
  • University of Queensland

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Abstract

Students and scholars in many fields work with text data, and it is increasingly easy to assemble large collections of such data. A variety of tools are available to work with text, both online (e.g. Voyant Tools) and as off-the-shelf packages (e.g Antconc). At the other end of the scale, individuals with relevant skills can hand-craft their own code for specialised tasks. There is a space between these two possibilities where tools are needed which are more powerful than those at one end of the continuum, but more general than those at the other end and the Australian Text Analytics Platform (ATAP) aims to fill that space.

The ATAP project commenced in June 2021, and the platform is developing an integrated notebooks-based platform for processing and mining text data. Notebook documents (or “notebooks”, all lower case) are produced by the Jupyter Notebook App and contain both computer code (e.g. python) and rich text elements (paragraph, equations, figures, links, etc…). Notebook documents are both human-readable documents containing analysis, description and results such as figures and tables, as well as executable documents which can be run to perform data analysis. Online training modules in text analytics will be provided, and the notebooks platform will be made accessible through a web-based interface. ATAP will bring together users and providers of text analytics in an integrated, collaborative environment which emphasises principles of open access, replicability and transparency.

The primary audience for the platform is Australian researchers who use text data in their work, but it will be accessible to other potential users, including those in the GLAM sector. Most research libraries now offer information on computational tools for working with text, and ATAP will be an important additional resource in this area. Also, written material makes up a significant part of cultural heritage and ATAP will make many techniques for working with such data more accessible, including tools for extracting and classifying important social and cultural information from those texts. Another aim of ATAP is to provide an environment where users can enhance their technical skills. Users will progress by learning to understand code that is presented in notebooks and then moving to modifying code chunks and even writing code from scratch, all tailored for the needs of those who work with (or are just fascinated by) text.

Biography

Simon Musgrave was a member of the linguistics program at Monash University from 2003 until 2020. His research interests included the use of computational tools in linguistic research and the relationship between linguistics and digital humanities. He was involved in the Australian National Corpus project, an important piece of digital research infrastructure, and has been a member of the executive of the Australasian Association for Digital Humanities since 2015. Simon currently is part of the team delivering various language-related infrastructures including the Australian Text Analytics Platform and the Language Data Commons of Australia.

 

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VALA2022 Lightning Talk Musgrave 2

The Language Data Commons of Australia

VALA2022 Lightning Talk

Simon Musgrave
  • Senior Project Officer
  • University of Queensland
K Kaiser
  • University of Queensland
Leah Gustafson
  • Griffith University

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Abstract

Australia is a nation of great linguistic diversity, including the languages of Indigenous Australians and those of later arrivals. There is also a strong tradition of research on language in Australia which has produced significant collections of language data and continues to do so. These materials are held in different geographic locations by a variety of institutions as well as in digital repositories, meaning that discovery and access procedures are inconsistent and, at least in some cases, difficult.

The Language Data Commons of Australia (LDaCA) project, which commenced in June 2021, aims to make it easier to find and use resources for research and study based on languages in Australia and to ensure long-lasting access to these invaluable collections for analysis and reuse in a culturally, ethically and legally appropriate manner. The project is primarily intended to meet the needs of researchers, but it will provide access to language resources for other groups. For example, people with a non-academic interest in languages will be able to use it to explore materials, and teachers and students at different educational levels will be able to find data relevant to their interests and needs.

This lightning talk will give an introduction to the project, explaining its structure and aims. LDaCA is not a primarily a repository in its own right, rather it is a point of aggregation. It will make existing resources available through a single portal, while also partnering with data stewards to work towards making more of Australia’s language data visible and usable. The work of LDaCA will be guided by both FAIR and CARE principles, making language data available within an ethically responsible framework. As its coverage increases, LDaCA will become a valuable resource for libraries, providing a reliable tool for discovering and accessing language resources.

Biography

Simon Musgrave was a member of the linguistics program at Monash University from 2003 until 2020. His research interests included the use of computational tools in linguistic research and the relationship between linguistics and digital humanities. He was involved in the Australian National Corpus project, an important piece of digital research infrastructure, and has been a member of the executive of the Australasian Association for Digital Humanities since 2015. Simon currently is part of the team delivering various language-related infrastructures including the Australian Text Analytics Platform and the Language Data Commons of Australia.

 Leah works with the Australian Text Analytics Project in the engagement team to help HDRs and researchers to understand how using code can help them make sense of the text data within their projects. She has a background in higher education teaching, digital development, creative industries, and science. Leah likes to focus on helping people improve their digital literacies to achieve their goals.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License

VALA2022 Lightning Talk Dowden

Webcam Memories: Capturing community stories via a portable vocal booth

VALA2022 Lightning Talk

Sindy Dowden
  • Community History Librarian
  • The Grove Library, Perth

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Abstract

Webcam Memories is an outreach program designed to encourage easy capture of community memory.

How often have you heard, “I wish I had got my grandmother to write those wonderful stories down”, or “I wish I knew what my father thought about that”. However, we usually never take the time to actually put those thoughts into action until it is too late.

Webcam Memories fills the gap. Through carefully structured questions and ease of use it removes the barriers which may be preventing this vital activity to be actuated.

The program has two modes of delivery.

Firstly, in conjunction with the MY STORY workbook participants are guided through the whole of life interview process, from earliest memories to messages for younger and future generations without the need to contract a third party to conduct expensive interviews. Family members are encouraged to attend and use the workbook to uncover the story together through a relaxed conversation.

Secondly, it enables easy capture of stories told by transient visitors to the history library and those with short memories related to specific aspects of the community. Memories are prompted with the use of an image gallery.

The portability and simplicity of the set up enables the booth to be relocated to any venue therefore removing physical and geographic barriers to participation.

This short presentation will explain the origins, equipment, methodology and uses of this enormously valuable addition to our suite of cultural heritage harvesting tools.

Biography

Sindy Dowden is the Community History Librarian for The Grove Library in WA. She has worked there for the past ten years. During that time Sindy has completed numerous digital interpretations and projects including developing one of the first digital heritage trails created by a local government history centre. The Grove Library was recognised in 2014 for its innovative projects and initiatives when the Library was awarded the WA Library Board Award for Excellence. Since that time Sindy has continued to develop the digital collection and to push forward with improving digitisation and online accessibility. Sindy is passionate about integrating emerging technology with historical media to find new ways to connect with the community. Sindy has presented at both National and State conferences in addition to delivering instructional workshops relating to Community History, Digital Interpretation, Genealogy and Digital Heritage Trails. She has written articles for newspapers and journals, including ALIA Incite Journal.

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VALA2022 Lightning Talk Chapman

The future is here, but are we there yet?

VALA2022 Lightning Talk

Keely Chapman
  • Library Coordinator
  • RMIT University Library

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

Abstract

It’s said that fortune favors the bold, so with ageing institutional repository software to replace, RMIT University Library implemented Esploro, the newest offering from ExLibris in 2020. As members of the “early adopter” program, our brief was to contribute to the build of the Esploro software while using it as a fully-fledged IR solution.

In addition to the refresh of our IR software, RMIT University’s Research Office were seeking a successor to their Research Master service for Excellence in Research for Australia publications collection and verification.

While aiming to plant the seed and watch it grow, our Esploro implementation has provided a curious mix of disappointments and unexpected successes, of lessons learned and a crash course in how to work successfully with your vendor.

Why did we select Esploro? Being an existing ExLibris customer helped and the need for an IR that could integrate with other university systems, plus provide detailed analytical reporting were other good reasons. The promise of an eventual replacement to our existing unwieldy and difficult to maintain public researcher profiles, also provided a distinct step up from our previous repository software and the carrot on the end of the stick for researcher engagement (and hopefully supply of more accepted manuscripts for open access!).

The first stage was to confirm the project scope, our budget and what constituted a ‘minimal viable product’. When the time came to identify the multiple sources of our data, the need for all participants to be fully cognizant of the true breadth and depth of the project soon became apparent. What was originally seen as a simple IR replacement, became a combined dual system upgrade, with the obvious risk of becoming unmanageable all too likely.

Our vendor was not always familiar with the audiences and unique purpose of an institutional repository. I and my other ‘early adopter’ colleagues, were sometimes surprised by the new functionality released every month and sometimes underwhelmed. Ideas regarding how to minimize the display of record information and attached full text, often left us scratching our heads given the point of an IR is to promote, promote, promote! The only solution was providing feedback and lots of it.

Similarly, perfectly adequate searching and sorting functionality would suddenly vanish as the vendor had decided it wasn’t useful, without consulting the team of ‘early adopters’ (who would then inevitably request it’s reinstatement).

So, are we there yet? Esploro was partially developed at the time of implementation and it was expected RMIT University and several other participating institutions, would gradually develop services and functionality via a series of monthly upgrades, a process we now understand, will continue well into the future.

The most significant lesson for us has been around our underestimation of researcher interest. We’ve not managed to avoid frustrating and disappointing them while gradually developing Esploro. Clear, honest, and regular updates are essential for positive initial user/researcher experiences. Only then, can we be convincing in our message that the future really is here.

Biography

Keely Chapman, as the Coordinator, Research Services Publishing, has primary responsibility for engaging and maintaining relationships across RMIT University to manage the operations of the RMIT open access research repository. A relative newcomer to Alma-based systems, Keely’s contributions have ensured the goals set for services offered by the RMIT Research Repository were met. With nearly 30 years experience, Keely made the leap from Liaison/Reference Librarian 12 years ago to the often unpredictable adventure world of institutional repositories and open access.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License