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Reflecting on 23 Things, our evolving digital dexterity program

By Curtin Library 25 August 2021 News & events Comments off

23 things - forum1

23 Things, the Library’s digital dexterity program, has grown in leaps and bounds over the last 12 months. Evolving from a pilot program in 2020 to a recognised Curtin Extra program in 2021, the program prides itself on student-developed content, innovation, and continuous reflection and improvement.

23 Things is a fully online digital dexterity program created by students and is open to all to participate. The program covers 23 different modules or ‘Things’, designed to help students develop the digital capabilities to be successful in study, work and life. It consists of activity-based modules, workshops and creative digital challenges developed in H5P, on topics such as video editing, fake news, and data makeover. To date, over 1,400 people have registered for the program, including almost 800 in 2021.

As students make their way through the program, they complete reflections on each Thing. This prompts them to reflect on their knowledge of the topic, both existing and newly learned, and consider how this can be applied in their academic, professional and personal lives.

Through these reflections, the team has received a consistent stream of feedback, allowing the 23 Things program to undergo continuous review and iteration. We also take into account user engagement with program material and our team’s own insights to improve the program’s sustainability and quality. All feedback and suggestions are compiled and reviewed for implementation at the end of a semester period.

To date, our most significant and exciting upgrades include:

  • Transmedia storytelling through weekly reminder emails, using characters from our Certitude game to draw participants in and establish real-life scenarios related to each Thing.

23 things - transmedia email2

  • A community forum where participants can engage with the 23 Things community, discuss the topics, and share their challenge creations.

23 things - forum2

  • The grouping of Things into loose ‘themes’, so participants can focus on developing their skillsets with a particular goal in mind, such as online content creation, upskilling for the classroom, and more.

23 things - activities and focuses

  • Gamification of the modules that awards badges upon the completion of a Thing, allowing participants to track their progress through the program and view their achievements.

We are also currently reviewing the range of Things we offer. There is scope to shift some of our existing Things into our suite of library and study skills support modules, which frees up space to develop new digital skills modules in the 23 Things program. The ability to do this allows the program to truly evolve with greater social and technological trends.

All content is licenced under a Creative Commons Attribution Licence for re-use and adaptation, and we include examples of freely available, open source software throughout the Things. The program is also highly scalable, with a view to promote the program in high schools. Further, it can also be easily adapted for delivery of other learning content such as assignment skills.

To find out more about the program or sign-up, visit the 23 Things website.


Written by Miah De Francesch
Learning Success Advisor

Drew Fordham
Project Officer

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Ebooks at Curtin Library: selection and acquisition methods

By Curtin Library 25 August 2021 News & events Comments off

Books around a door - image by Nino Carè from Pixabay

After over ten years of acquiring ebooks, the question of selection is no longer limited to ‘which one shall we buy?’, but it also extends to ‘where and how?’. Today there are many more ebook acquisition methods and it’s up to us to decide which one provides the most value for staff and students.

And it is a challenge. Consideration must be given to research, teaching and learning requirements; the look, feel and ease of use of platforms and user interfaces, digital rights management, licensing and product support; the budget, return on investment and relentless price increases.

Ebook acquisition methods have also become more diverse over the years. At Curtin University Library, these include conventional methods such as subscriptions to packages or individual titles, firm orders (items purchased in perpetuity) and approval plans (items purchased in perpetuity automatically based on a profile). But there are more.

We have been using Demand Driven Acquisition (or DDA) since 2014, a method whereby titles are automatically purchased according to client use. We create a selection profile based on a set of criteria, and the titles that fit these criteria are made available on the platform for clients to see and use. It is the usage that triggers a purchase, and the Library then owns purchased titles in perpetuity.

Evidence Based Acquisition (or EBA) has been available for some time now, and we are trying it out this year. EBA is somewhat similar to DDA, the main difference being the payment of an upfront fee which provides access to a collection of titles for an agreed period of time. At the end of the access period, the usage data of the collection is examined and we then select content we would like to own in perpetuity to the value of the upfront fee.

In addition to purchasing content, Open Access ebook titles or collections are also increasingly becoming available via our Library Management System as well as our catalogue discovery index, and these are further sources we look to in order to make more relevant content discoverable and accessible.

Keeping the focus on our users and their requirements, we monitor ebook access denials and requests on our major ebook platforms, and take action to purchase new items or additional user licenses to improve the user experience.

The Library also actively seeks to improve accessibility of textbooks to support students in their coursework. Our policy is to provide electronic access to textbooks where possible, as students can access these anywhere and don’t have to visit in-person to use them. This year we analysed items that had been added to Reading Lists (Leganto), and identified titles we only had available in print with the intent to replace them electronically. In this way we were able to provide electronic equivalents to 293 titles, corresponding to 471 Leganto citations.

These are some of the ways we acquire and make available ebook content at Curtin Library. Undoubtedly there are more methods, and new ones still to be invented, just to keep us on our toes. But listening to our clients will always remain key.

With that in mind, if you would like us to purchase a title, please let us know by submitting a recommendation, or contact us via Library Help.


Written by Anita Sallenbach
Collections Coordinator, Library Collections

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PICA Exhibition: Love in Bright Landscapes

By Curtin Library 30 July 2021 Library Services JCPML News & events Special collections Comments off

Ed Ruscha

Love in Bright Landscapes opening at PICA this month considers Perth and Los Angeles as comparative case studies, bringing together artworks made in reference to the two west coast cities.

The exhibition includes five artist’s books by Ed Ruscha on loan from the Curtin Library:

  • Some Los Angeles Apartments
  • Every Building On The Sunset Strip
  • Real Estate Opportunities
  • A Few Palm Trees
  • Nine Swimming Pools And A Broken Glass

Ed Ruscha is a Los Angeles artist working in a variety of mediums. His self-published series of photographic books produced from 1962 and into the 1970s are now sought by collectors. Curtin holds eight of these with Special Collections at the JCPML.

Since publication Ruscha’s work has been referenced by numerous artists and creatives. One of the books on loan is Every building on Sunset strip, a 7.5m accordion fold of street view photography taken on both sides of Sunset Boulevard in 1966. An archive of these images acquired by the Getty Museum has been developed into an online interactive exhibit 12 Sunsets: Exploring Ed Ruscha’s Archive.

Love in Bright Landscapes is at PICA from Friday 30 July until Sunday 10 October.

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Library orientation week activities

By Curtin Library 15 July 2021 News & events Comments off

Welcome to semester two 2021! Our orientation week workshops and activities will boost your confidence and get you familiar with our services.

To sign up and to get more information check out your personalised orientation planner via Student OASIS. Want to discover more about the Library? Check out our guide!

Monday 19 July

Activity Time
Makerspace activity at Alcoa Court: make a photoframe or memory box 10am – 2pm
The Library: what you need to know 12.30pm – 1.30pm
Time management 1.30pm – 2.30pm
Gathering information for your first assignment 3pm – 4pm

Tuesday 20 July

Activity Time
Referencing the right way 11am – 11.30am
The Library: what you need to know 12.30pm – 1.30pm
Mature age and part time student orientation 5pm – 6.30pm

Wednesday 21 July

Activity Time
Develop your digital and creative skills 9.30am – 10am
Referencing the right way 1pm – 1.30pm
Microsoft Word and PowerPoint essentials 1.30pm – 2.15pm
Microsoft Excel essentials 4pm – 4.45pm

Thursday 22 July

Activity Time
Makerspace activity at Alcoa Court: make a badge or magnet< 10am – 2pm
Improve your numeracy skills 1.30pm – 2.30pm
The Library: what you need to know 1.30pm – 2.30pm
Critical thinking 2.45pm – 3.45pm

Friday 23 July

Activity Time
Effective reading 12.45pm – 1.45pm
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Reading Lists: information for semester two 2021

By Curtin Library 13 July 2021 News & events Comments off

With the commencement of semester two, teaching staff are reminded to arrange access to unit readings through the Library’s Reading List system.

The Course Quality Manual states that all units will have a Reading List unless exempted. In particular, all learning resources copied under the University’s Statutory Licence must be recorded in the Reading List system by being included on relevant 2021 Reading Lists.

Your next steps

Teaching staff who wish to roll over existing Reading Lists should do so now.

Staff should also check that their lists are Associated with the correct Blackboard units and that the lists are Published prior to the commencement of the study period.

Staff should use Reading Lists to notify the Library of their unit’s prescribed essential learning resources.

New features

The Add items area has been given a fresh, clean look but provides the same ability to search and add items from the Library catalogue as well as create manual citations and upload files.

The Reports tab was removed for maintenance by the vendor. However, the View List Analysis report is still available from the main Reading List page.

Other updates

Print books

A reminder that the Library is digital by default. Print books will only be ordered if the resource is not available electronically.

Need help?

Videos and guided tours

Click on the Help Question Mark in the right top hand pane of the Reading List software. Here you can access video guides and guided tours which will guide you through creating a Reading List.


For more help with Reading Lists see our tutorial.

Support and training

If you have questions or wish to arrange training, please contact the Reading List Team via or +61 8 9266 7572 during normal working hours.


For help with copyright issues, such as how to comply with the University’s copyright licences, visit Copyright at Curtin.

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Regional partnerships: Library staff on tour

By Curtin Library 21 June 2021 News & events Comments off

In March 2020, just before COVID turned the world upside down, Library staff delivered a workshop to students based in and around Albany. The event was delivered as a result of a strategic initiative exploring how the Library could best support regional students. The message received from those students, was loud and clear: they felt isolated and disconnected, they relished the opportunity to learn and interact, in-person, with their peers.

In March 2021, with support from the Higher Education Participation and Partnerships Program (HEPPP) we hit the road once again, delivering support to students based in and around Albany, Bunbury, Geraldton, Karratha and Port Hedland. Over three weeks, we offered a full-day program in each location hosted by local university centres, working in partnership with the centres and the WA Universities to promote the event to all students living in the area.

The program was divided into four individual workshops representing a typical assignment journey. The day began with a session on searching; progressed with strategies to enhance reading and note-making efficiency; suggested best practice approached for academic writing; and concluded with referencing and EndNote. Ample opportunities for questions and networking were provided, as well as lunch (because who can learn and make friends on an empty stomach?).

Whether a student lives in Albany or Port Hedland, they face similar challenges and many struggle to learn and connect, with such distance from their peers and their university. Even as COVID has increased and enhanced online learning opportunities, many attendees spoke of their struggles learning in isolation. Asked why they wanted to attend a face-to-face session, students suggested:

  • I learn best face-to-face and I wanted to meet new people. I thought I’d get more from interacting and removing the distractions at home – I was right! [Albany]
  • It really helped me immensely with the transition from a coronavirus gap year at TAFE, being a student registered for on-campus delivery and then going to online study. It made me feel better about being at University and calmed some of my nerves. [Bunbury]
  • I could ask questions when needed and get hands on help. Much prefer face-to-face. I would not have tuned in if this was online. [Geraldton]
  • I prefer face-to-face and enjoyed meeting other humans! [Karratha]

What many discovered is that they’re not as far from support as they may have initially thought. Some students in attendance were already well connected with their local university centres – hubs which provide both space and support to students based in the regions. For others, these events were their first connections with their local centre and many commented on the benefit of discovering a space where they could get the in-person support they’d been missing.

As presenters, it was an immense pleasure to participate in the formation of these local study communities. Just as enjoyable as the opportunity to see more of our amazing state.


Written by Claire Murphy, Manager, Learning Success.

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Peer Academic Mentoring

By Curtin Library 21 June 2021 News & events Comments off

Curtin University Library is proud to be implementing a Peer Academic Mentoring program for students in 2021.

Mentors - edited

2021 Peer Academic Mentors

Individual peer academic mentoring fills a gap in Curtin’s support offerings, adding to our wide range of non-academic peer support (through programs such as New to Curtin Mentoring), and group-style academic support through Library workshops and programs (such as UniPASS).

The Peer Academic Mentoring program aims to support student retention across all faculties and campuses through one-on-one consultations with a fellow student mentor, facilitated both online and face-to-face. We know students often prefer to approach fellow students for assistance instead of staff, and these peers tend to provide advice in terms that can be easily understood and applied.

Mentoring sessions are designed to empower students with the knowledge they need to succeed, providing them with tips and resources to assist with their studies. Topics covered in the sessions include planning and structuring assignments, time management, exam preparation and referencing.

Our Peer Academic Mentors were recruited to represent different areas of study, resulting in ten mentors hired across the Humanities, Health Sciences, Business and Law, and Science and Engineering faculties. The mentors are currently excelling in their studies, and have a strong ambition to help others improve their study skills and habits. Through their work, Peer Academic Mentors gain valuable experience, skills and confidence, and help to shape the pilot program as it develops.

The program has gradually gained momentum since its launch in week 8 of semester 1, with 59 sessions conducted with students by the end of semester.

The team is pleased with how the pilot has been progressing, stating it’s a much needed service and a great addition to the Library’s mix of support services. The program has been eagerly received by students, and we’ve also found that the mentors are gaining as much out of the service as the students who come to see them. They’re a really positive and enthusiastic team, and willing to go the extra mile to assist their peers.

Feedback received from students accessing the service has also been very positive.

“It was nice being able to get some support from someone who can share experiences and provide studying tips too.”

“It was good to find out that I was already using some good techniques for studying and I received some other tips to help with studying that I hadn’t considered…”

Curtin students across all campuses and faculties can access Peer Academic Mentoring during semester weeks by booking a session or dropping in during available times. Find out more on the Peer Academic Mentoring website.


Written by Tracy Piper, Learning Success Advisor and Project Coordinator.

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Browse our historic special collections

By Curtin Library 21 June 2021 News & events Comments off

Our new special collections pages are now live! We’ve made it easier to browse and search Curtin University Library’s unique, historical special collections.


With several new additions to our special collections, it was time to redesign our webpages. We also wanted to showcase treasures from the collections. We hold a vast range of materials in these collections, from printed works dating from 1547, through to the 20th century recordings of speeches by Prime Minister John Curtin on gramophone discs.

Explore our unique collections, such as:

The John Curtin Prime Ministerial Archive


Our extensive collection of wartime John Curtin’s personal records, and objects, and exhibitons that tell the story of his remarkable life

The Mike Daube Tobacco Control and Public Health collection

Daube Collection promotional image

Mike Daube is renowned for his leadership in public health, and is an influential figure in international tobacco control. We hold his personal collection of research material and papers

The Summerhayes Family collection


The Summerhayes family literally shaped Western Australian architecture during the 20th Century – we hold hundreds of their drawings and photographs.

With our new Special Collections catalogue you can search across all our archival collections from one search page. You can browse the collections to discover digitised photographs and documents, listen to sound recordings, and save records using the QR codes.

The items from our special collections can be viewed in the John Curtin Prime Ministerial Library Reading Room by appointment. Contact our staff for more information about our collections and visits.

Find out more about our collections on the Library website.


Written by Sally Laming, Coordinator, Library Special Collections.

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Library strategic direction 2021- 2025

By Curtin Library 21 June 2021 News & events Comments off

Strategic direction

Our new Library strategic direction 2021 – 2025 document guides the Library in supporting learning, teaching and research; demonstrating leadership nationally and internationally in our areas of expertise; and ensuring that our operations remain sustainable.

It enables us to achieve our vision of being “a library with great heart that empowers great minds”.

We’ve prioritised five areas of focus:

  • Library as partner
  • Trusted information resources
  • Library spaces
  • Community engagement
  • Culture and workforce

Our strategic direction was informed by extensive consultation in the Curtin community, as well as best practice in university library management.

Read our Library strategic direction 2021 – 2025 to learn more about our goals over the coming years.

Written by Sara Culverhouse, Communications Officer.

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Meet Leonard, Manager, Client Engagement

By Curtin Library 21 June 2021 News & events Comments off

Leonard Hughes recently joined the Library as our Manager, Client Engagement. We spoke to Leonard to learn more about his role managing our frontline services team and his thoughts on the team’s future direction.

Leonard Hughes

Since starting with us in May 2021 Leonard has hit the ground running. He is quickly learning more about Library services, circulation and the collection. While he says there’s lots to learn, a main focus of his role is customer service and this is something he is very familiar with.

Leonard has worked in tertiary education for over nineteen years, including management roles at Murdoch Institute of Technology, Edith Cowan University and in public health education. He says that while the context for customer service may change across different organisations, the principles are generally the same.

“Customer service should always be appropriate, timely, consistent and accessible for students,” he says. “I pride myself on is providing a standard of service I would like to receive, and I know my team also embrace this model.”

A key focus for Leonard is to build on existing relationships with other customer service centred areas around the university. He says there’s lots to be gained from learning about other area’s processes and sharing information. One benefit is in providing more holistic support to students based on their individual circumstances.

“I think it’s really important to also see the nuances of a student’s query. A question about paying a library fine may indicate financial difficulties for example, and it’s important to tailor our approach to provide sensitive, relevant service. We want to make sure all students presenting to us are treated with respect, compassion and understanding,” he said.

The Library is a very visible student support location on campus and staff often receive queries about non-library services. Having a deeper understanding of the multitude of campus services available and the ability to provide un-siloed support is another benefit of stronger relationships with other areas.

“Students go to where they expect to get help. We know the Library often becomes referral point for other services on campus and so it’s important we understand how other services work,” he said.

As he learns more about our Client Engagement team, Leonard is consistently impressed with the team’s resilience. “In the face of ever-present change the Client Engagement team has been professional and agile, a real credit to the team,” he says.

Our Client Engagement team is essential in helping students get the most out of the Library’s service and resources, and building the sense of academic community and space essential for a university.

Key to his plans for the future are to make sure staff are well equipped with the time, resources and training they need to succeed in their roles and excel in their student interactions.

In the future, Leonard is looking forward to further developing the customer service experience for students. He’s also looking forward to involvement in TL Robertson Library’s refurbishment, with particular interest in designing the customer service model in the new space.

For those wishing to improve their customer service skills, Leonard suggests starting with a genuine care for your clients. Do your best to listen to what they’re saying and provide relevant, thoughtful advice. And a smile doesn’t hurt either.

“A lot can be gained from a smile,” he says.


Written by Sara Culverhouse, Communications Officer.

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