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Meet Petra

By Curtin Library 12 May 2020 News & events No Comments »

Petra Dumbell recently joined the Library as the Humanities Faculty Librarian. We had a chat to get to know her better.

Petra Dumbell

Hi Petra, welcome to the Library! Tell us about your role.

I assist members of the Faculty of Humanities – researchers, teaching academics and higher degree by research (HDR) students. I help them using my own skill set, or connect them to other library teams to access services. I also attend faculty meetings and update committees on library activities, and bring back faculty news to the Library.

I love working in the discipline of humanities – the research and teaching in this area is underestimated by many, but important for all – climate change, social justice, education, but also creative arts and writing are some examples of what it entails. It’s about critical thinking, creativity and our shared humanity.

How does a Faculty Librarian help students?

Much of what is done at universities relies on information in some way – and as libraries have the fundamental role of connecting people and information, I play a small, but important part in this process. For instance, I might help a researcher assess a new publishing service one day, and then assist teaching staff to find ebooks and make them available to students the next, or teach students database searching skills or citation management tools. With HDR students, this is even more important as they often don’t have support networks yet that can help them with their information needs.

What have been some highlights for you so far?

Having finished my thesis last year, I can relate to the struggles of HDR students. I like thinking back to the problems I faced, and then seeing what I can do in my current role to alleviate them for students. Also, my own PhD journey has taught me that I love working in teams, and as a Faculty Librarian I get to work with many different teams and people to get things done. It is fun to solve problems for clients, support them in their teaching and research, and find creative ways to teach students important skills.

What are your goals for the rest of the year?

The biggest goal for the year is just to learn as much as possible about what the job entails! I am also looking forward to enhancing existing information literacy courses by using my experience with teaching in online environments. Finally, I intend to publish the details of my thesis in a collaborative journal article.

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Starting an online makerspace

By Curtin Library 12 May 2020 News & events 2 Comments »

The Library Makerspace at the Perth and Kalgoorlie Campus is a popular physical hub, encouraging self-directed learning through hands-on making activities. Students and staff are supported by the provision of a creative and inspiring space as well as access to materials, tools and equipment.


Origami created by a virtual makerspace member.

So what happens to the making if this physical space is suddenly unavailable? How can our users create together in a virtual world, and maintain a sense of community?

One of the Library’s physical distancing measures to combat the COVID-19 pandemic has been the development of our virtual makerspace.


Raspberry Pi project created by a virtual makerspace member.

Hosted on Facebook, the virtual makerspace is a group for Curtin staff, students and community members to share their projects and skills in a friendly online space. Discussions range from sharing the process behind a new craft project to pondering the future of invention, innovation, play and design.


3D printed shot glasses created by a virtual makerspace member.

Soon we’ll be launching maker classes and weekly Crafternoon chats. We’re excited to host a future online meet-up that includes a maker kit sent in the mail to registered participants, enabling access to some of our resources.


Facemask created by a virtual makerspace member.

Bringing our physical space into an online world will take time. As our virtual makerspace continues to evolve and change, we look forward to sharing the results of our journey.

Interested Curtin students, staff and makers are invited to join the Curtin Makers Facebook group.

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Creating Certitude, an online digital literacy game

By Curtin Library 12 May 2020 News & events No Comments »

The Curtin University Library Makerspace has been a fertile ground for creative work, including the development of interactive media. One of the exciting creative works to emerge as a result of this focus is Certitude, an online digital literacy game designed to introduce students to digital literacy concepts.

Certitude was inspired by popular narrative-based games such as Headliner, Papers Please and Orwell, where players are tasked with assessing the quality and accuracy of information. The player is a fact-checker for an online publication company with the job of proofreading articles and checking the sources used, and is supported by guides within the game. They earn rewards for correctly rejecting or approving articles and receive specific feedback on their performance.

Players are encouraged to think about the broader concepts underlying referencing, plagiarism, accuracy and source bias. By engaging with the game tasks and articles, they develop capabilities around critical thinking, problem solving and data literacy, and explore issues such as climate change, artificial intelligence, Indigenous health and fake news.

With seven diverse characters, the narrative of Certitude is presented through email interactions between the player and the writers, as well as dialogue between their boss and other staff, including a former employee who believes one of the current writers is a piece of artificial intelligence.

The game was developed through two phases of agile, iterative development. During the first phase in late 2018 we designed the game, developed a prototype code and completed user testing. Feedback was then used to further develop the game during 2019, which resulted in the first and current release.

Everyone on the team gained different things from the project-  experience being a creative in a ‘real world’ situation, being part of a multi-disciplinary team or learning about the game design and creation process. I enjoyed the dynamic, creative synergies that occurred when we collaborated, which took the project in unexpected directions. A significant challenge was avoiding ‘feature creep’, the temptation to continually add improvements or features, to ensure our goals were realistic and deliverable within the given constraints.

Certitude was developed by a group of students in collaboration with a Library staff member and a freelancer. The team included game designer and writer Rebecca Kerr; programmer Sishir Sharma who developed the prototype code; and artist Jesse Bryant, all students at Curtin University. My role as producer was to coordinate work, write the articles used in the game and advise on learning content. Michael Wiebrands, a freelance Unity programmer, developed the final code. Funding was provided through the Higher Education Participation and Partnerships Program.

We are excited to release Certitude: Version 1 into the wild. We hope to get feedback from students, educators, learning designers and librarians to evaluate its efficacy as a learning resource. The game has been programmed so that all content, including the dialogue, emails and articles, can be easily updated by non-programmers, meaning we can continue to develop and expand the storyline and learning content in future.

Certitude can be found here, and we encourage sharing! We’re launching Certitude on Monday 25 May 2020, register here for our online session.

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Assignment Essentials in the Great Southern

By Curtin Library 12 May 2020 News & events No Comments »

It seems almost impossible now that in early March we flew down to Albany to conduct an assignment skills workshop for Curtin, Murdoch and Edith Cowan University students. Crazier still was the arrival of cruise ships that same day, flooding the sunny streets with eager tourists (easily seen from the floor to ceiling windows of the Albany Public Library’s training room).

But, luckily for us and our participants, the world had not yet changed.

The workshop was a result of a strategic initiative run in 2019 to explore how Curtin could better work with public libraries to support regional tertiary students. A survey conducted with regional students as part of the initiative revealed there was demand for face-to-face support, particularly around searching for information and referencing.

With the Albany Public Library willing to host and support us, we put together a full day program, formed a partnership with our colleagues at Murdoch and ECU, identified students living in the Great Southern region and sent our invitations out.

Albany 1

The workshop proved popular and quickly attracted registrations from students across a number of disciplines and at different stages of their studies, from first year students in their first semester, to PhD students about to finish.

The program was divided into four individual workshops, targeting the areas where students who responded to the survey had expressed an interest. The day began with searching for information; progressed with strategies for effective reading, note making and assignment writing; and concluded with referencing and EndNote. For those who elected to attend the whole day (which was almost everyone), lunch, snacks and networking opportunities were also provided.

Albany 3

Collectively, we learned a lot. Our participants gained new skills, understanding and a network of likeminded locals pursuing similar goals.

As presenters we glimpsed some of the challenges regional students face, which were many and varied. The internet enables online learning, but it doesn’t prevent people from feeling isolated and overwhelmed. When we asked our participants why they wanted to attend a face-to-face workshop, considering the wealth of online resources available, their responses were illuminating:

  • “To actually feel like part of the university! To be able to ask questions in real time and get feedback from staff straight away. To feel like part of a community.”
  • “Because online is so very polarising and lonely and being in a class makes study not so isolating and it helps make sense of other students’ troubles and it means I’m not struggling alone!”

In this new reality, all students are now grappling with the challenges of remote study; however, our experiences in Albany demonstrate how valuable the opportunity to attend in-person can be for some students.

Hopefully, when COVID-19 is behind us we can continue to offer opportunities to come together, learn, and connect with our regional students.

Written by Coordinator, Learning Success Claire Murphy

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TL Robertson Library re-opening

By Miah De Francesch 1 May 2020 News & events 12 Comments »

From 9am May 4, the TL Robertson Library will be re-opening as a quiet individual study space.

Our services available on re-opening are as follows:

  • A video help-point connected to Library staff is available, as well as our phone and online services
  • Self-service borrowing is available
  • No access to group study rooms

The building will be open via swipe card from 9am – 5pm, Monday to Friday for Curtin staff and students only.

During this time there will be no face-to-face services. We’ve implemented separate entrance and exit points and increased routine cleaning and hand sanitiser availability to help keep you safe.

Physical distancing rules still apply during this time. Group study is not permitted.

The Library is offering some services remotely. View our full list of available services here.

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Change of Library Help hours – ANZAC Day long weekend

By Curtin Library 23 April 2020 News & events Comments off

Our Library Help hours are changing over the ANZAC Day long weekend.

On Saturday 25 and Monday 27 April we’ll be available to take your calls and answer your emails between 10am and 2pm. Service will be unavailable on Sunday 26 April.

Any questions received outside these times will be answered when service resumes on Tuesday 28th.

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Online and phone support from the Library

By Curtin Library 21 April 2020 News & events Comments off

Our library buildings are closed but we’re still here for you, no matter where you are.

From Wednesday 22 April, the Library is expanding our service hours to answer your online and phone questions until 8pm on weeknights!

Send us an email or call us on +61 8 9266 7166 between 8am and 8pm Monday to Friday or 10am to 2pm on Saturdays, and we’ll be there to assist.

View the full list of our current available services here.

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Change of Library Help hours

By Curtin Library 8 April 2020 News & events Comments off

Our Library Help hours are changing over the Easter long weekend and during next week’s tuition-free week.

We’ll be unavailable from Friday 10 – Sunday 12 April over the weekend and any enquiries received during this time will be answered when service resumes on Monday.

You can get in touch with us online and over the phone (+61 8 9266 7166) between 10am and 2pm Monday and Tuesday, and between 9am to 5pm Wednesday to Friday.

Apologies for any inconvenience.

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Temporary resource access

By Curtin Library 7 April 2020 Databases News & events Comments off

Due to the challenges posed by the COVID-19 outbreak, many of the Library’s publishers and vendors have taken steps to support students and academics by providing freely accessible content for a limited period of time. The Library would like to share this information with the Curtin community to help you find and use material for your studies and research during this difficult time.

We have developed a list of resources that can be temporarily accessed for free, and we aim to keep it as current as possible by making additions as soon as we are informed by our publishers.

Please note that staff should continue to use Reading Lists to provide access to unit readings. The below listed resources can be added to Reading Lists, but we would like to emphasise that access to these is only temporary and at the publishers’ discretion, and will cease by the dates indicated.

Staff are also encouraged to familiarise themselves with the Library’s guidelines on Copyright and Remote Learning During the COVID-19 Outbreak.

Please contact Library Help if you require any assistance or clarification.

The list can be accessed here.

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Suggestion: Annotated Bibliographies

By Curtin Library 2 April 2020 News & events Comments off

From the suggestion box@Curtin Library…
Hi there,

I know with everything going on, this might end up pretty far down the list of priorities. But I think it could be worth adding some kind of example to the Annotated Bibliography FAQ – a lot of people (myself included, I haven’t done one before) don’t find the current answer very helpful

Thanks :) I hope everyone there is staying safe



The Library responds…
Thanks Lachlan for your great suggestion on improving information on annotated bibliographies.

We don’t currently have anything, and will look at improving this. In the meantime, this resource from UNSW is a really helpful overview:

Though, as always, it’s important to remember that a bibliography should reflect any specific referencing and formatting requirements that may have been set out for you by an academic supervisor, lecturer or unit co-ordinator.

Barbara Parnaby
Curtin Library

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