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Suggestion: Noise

By Curtin Library 14 May 2019 News & events Comments off

From the suggestion box@Curtin Library…

I’d like to share this problem that I have faced a several time in the Level 6 individual study room. Apparently it is written quiet talking on the poster, and people are just so inconsiderate that they can speak loudly in their rooms where I can hear it from the next door. This is not the first time. It is very annoying as I can’t focus on my work as library should be a “quiet” place for studying. I know people can discuss work in study rooms, but not that loud where even the next doors can hear them. Even my earphones with music on doesn’t help.

I am not sure if there is anything that you guys can do, but I am just sounding this up so that you guys can be aware that students are actually facing this kind of problems in the library. Thank you.

The Library responds…

Thank you for the feedback and I am sorry to hear the noise is disrupting your studies. I have asked Library staff who monitor the areas to be alert to concerns about noise and remind people about considerate use of the Library.

It can help if you report problems like this as soon as they arise and you may like to email This email address is monitored all the time the Library is providing full service and issues will be attended to as soon as possible once they are drawn to our attention.

James Robinson
Curtin University Library

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Library takes pride in research achievements

By Curtin Library 10 May 2019 News & events Comments off

In the Australian Research Council’s (ARC) latest evaluation of Australia’s research against international benchmarks, Curtin University achieved ratings at or above the world standard in 95 per cent of the research fields assessed, an outstanding result for the University.

 Peter Green, Associate Director, Research, Collections, Systems & Infrastructure

It’s a result Curtin’s Library, which provides an essential service to scholars, takes some pride in. Curtin’s researchers are ably supported by teams led by Peter Green, Associate Director, Research, Collections, Systems & Infrastructure, who has seen the demand for research support soar over the past twenty years.

“We provide services around managing data and data publishing, we provide support around sharing research publications, and we’ve built some of those services from nothing to now being quite substantial support to the research part of the University,” said Peter.

“Some of that is because the nature of research has changed. There’s a concept called e-research, which is around the contribution information technology makes to all aspects of research and that is a big difference. Almost all of our work and all of our research has an IT component, whether it be computing, communications, data storage, analysis or visualisation. And the Library’s been engaged in that area as it’s grown, providing training, providing additional resources and working across other teams.”

Recognising that Higher Degree by Research students often struggle with the solitary aspect of research, which can impact their motivation to write up their findings, the Library has worked with the faculties, and with support from the Research Office at Curtin, to develop an inventive program of support, which includes ‘Shut Up and Write’ days and the more intensive ‘Boot Camps’, both of which offer time, space and support to write.

“Our Boot Camps have been very successful. We ran a couple last year and we’ve scheduled in a lot more this year. They’ve helped the students to get back on track and make progress with their writing. The HDR students can be very isolated and the Bootcamps help to provide a connected research community, which is a focus for the University particularly for our HDR students,” Peter said.

Early innovators and scholarly works

Over the past two decades, the Library has changed significantly with the move from a large print collection to a predominantly electronic collection, with social and creative spaces for students, and ever-evolving technology offering the opportunity to access information and resources remotely. What hasn’t changed, however, is the demand for the skills and expertise the Faculty Librarians offer to staff and students in the University’s four faculties, the Centre for Aboriginal Studies (CAS) and the Vice Chancellory.

“The Library was an early implementer of the very successful Faculty Librarian model, in which other university libraries have expressed interest. The Faculty Librarians have helped us to maintain a presence and connection with academic staff, who may not come into the physical Library but will make heavy use of Library resources and services,” Peter said.

External scholars can also utilise the expertise of Librarians, with many accessing the special collections at the John Curtin Prime Ministerial Library (JCPML). The JCPML recently held a book launch of the second volume of John Edwards’ biography John Curtin’s War: Triumph and Decline, which Professor Edwards extensively researched at the JCPML. The book was described by the Sydney Morning Herald as ‘a well-researched and finely written piece of lucid historical and political analysis’ (the first volume won the 2018 Prime Minister’s Literary Award in the history category).

The JCPML also hosts the annual JCPML Anniversary Lecture, which is introduced by the JCPML Patron, currently the Hon. Julia Gillard AC, and is a significant event for the University. The nineteenth lecture was presented by bestselling author and journalist, Stan Grant, in 2018, the 2019 lecture will be announced shortly.

“The work of the JCPML team, and more broadly with special collections, is where we bring value to the University by creating research collections of primary materials that wouldn’t be easily available, and that’s something we’ve been doing for well over twenty years and an area we continue to grow in,” said Peter.

“I love working in a stimulating, innovative environment. I’m privileged to rub shoulders with incredibly gifted academics, who are making a difference in their fields, and it gives me a lot of pleasure to see students progress through their studies, and the Library making a difference to those students. The Library is innovative and Curtin is very innovative, so the Library sits well within a University that likes to be fast moving and flexible.”

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Wrestling with Referencing: Library adopts a UniPASS approach

By Curtin Library 10 May 2019 News & events Comments off

You wouldn’t expect student feedback about a referencing class to be, I wish the session was longer, but this is typical of the response to the Wrestling with Referencing classes run by the Learning Success Librarian team.

The Learning Success Librarian team.

The 60 minute sessions have been described by students as ‘very interesting’, ‘fun’, ‘practical’, and an ‘awesome session’ – again not adjectives that you would typically expect to be associated with referencing! The success of these classes is down to their facilitative approach, where interactive activities replace instruction. In short, these classes have been a success because the library adopted a UniPASS approach.

It’s hard to give up on the idea of teaching. When we first began planning this class, we started with a list of everything we felt we needed to cover, essentially the information students needed in order to approach referencing successfully. The librarian team then had the opportunity to attend Peer Assisted Study Sessions (PASS) Peer Learning Facilitator (PLF) training.

PASS is an international program, originally developed in the US in 1973, which is currently offered to students in the majority of Australian universities. It’s based on the idea of the Learning Pyramid (Dale 1969), which suggests that information retention rates after two weeks for the average student will be 5 per cent from lectures, compared with 75 per cent if they practice doing, or up to 90 per cent if the student ‘teaches’ others. PASS sessions are facilitated, but they’re not taught by PLFs. Instead, students are encouraged to work and learn together through interactive (and fun!) activities.

Attending the PASS PLF training showed us that we needed to throw our instructivist based lesson plan out the window. Instead, we focused on developing a session where students would work and learn together, with minimal instruction from the presenter. In this constructivist approach, students are placed in groups and, working collaboratively, construct references for different resource types using the self-help referencing materials as their guide. The students tend to make mistakes, but then they learn from them when we review the material together. As we progress through the different examples, we see the students’ confidence and aptitude grow. At the end of the hour, they want to keep going.

The Wrestling with Referencing sessions have been incredibly rewarding and have shown the librarian team a new way to approach information literacy instruction. Feedback from students indicates that this approach keeps them engaged and develops their skills, we can see that they are learning and applying their knowledge. We’re in the process of reviewing all of our face-to-face workshops with the view to making them as interactive as possible. Thanks to our UniPASS training, we have developed the knowledge and skills to assist us in this task.

Learning Success is a Library team comprised of The Learning Centre, UniPASS, Makerspace and Library staff. In 2018 they ran 358 face-to-face workshops for a total of 7094 students. UniPASS ran an average of 51 sessions per week, supporting 52 units, with 12424 individual students attending at least one session.

Reference: Dale, Edgar. 1969. Audio Visual Methods in Teaching. New York: Dryden Press.

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TL Robertson Library – refurbishment update

By Curtin Library 10 May 2019 News & events Comments off

The TL Robertson Library Building Services Upgrade and Refurbishment Project continues to progress positively, and the Library’s staff-developed-vision of a ‘Library with great heart that inspires great minds’ is a central design driver for us.  

The refurbishment project is progressing positively.

The project is currently in the final stages of a 12-month design process that has engaged stakeholders from across the Curtin University community. A series of three ‘Super Weeks’ has been used for intensive workshops with user and technical stakeholders. These sessions have been facilitated by the design team and have included onsite visits by Schmidt Hammer Lassen, the international architecture firm who has partnered with Australian firm Hames Sharley to deliver an exceptional facility for our community.

Outside of the Super Weeks, Library staff have been working closely with Curtin’s Properties, Facilities & Development team to ensure that ongoing technical and operational requirements are carefully considered.

The project has a website, which will be updated regularly as plans progress. The website includes information about project features and benefits, as well as the proposed staging of the works and the impact this will have on this central area of the campus.

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Library launches second volume of John Curtin’s War

By Curtin Library 10 May 2019 News & events Comments off

To celebrate the completion of John Curtin’s War by award-winning writer, John Edwards, the Library hosted the launch of the second volume at an afternoon tea event held in the Robertson Library.

The book launch was held at the Robertson Library

Attended by many former staff, members of the Curtin family and long term supporters of the John Curtin Prime Ministerial Library (JCPML), the launch was an occasion to celebrate the culmination of many years of research and writing by John Edwards.

Following an introduction by Professor John Phillimore from the John Curtin Institute for Public Policy, John Edwards spoke about the particular challenges John Curtin faced during his wartime role before answering questions from the audience. The event concluded with a few words by the University Librarian,  Catherine Clark.

John Edwards was formerly senior adviser for Treasurer and Prime Minister Paul Keating. He is a Senior Fellow at the Lowy Institute and an adjunct professor at the John Curtin Institute of Public Policy. A former journalist with the Australian Financial Review and later the Australian, he is the author of several books. His first on John Curtin, Curtin’s Gift: Reinterpreting Australia’s Greatest Prime Minister, was published in 2005 following research he had commenced as a John Curtin Prime Ministerial Library Visiting Scholar in 2000.

Over the following years, John made several visits to the JCPML while his research grew into the largest work on Curtin ever published.

Volume 1 of John Curtin’s War, The coming of the war in the Pacific, and reinventing Australia traced Curtin’s story from his early life in Victoria, then Western Australia, and concluded after the fall of Singapore during the first months of the Curtin Government. The first volume was published in 2017 and resulted in John Edwards being awarded the 2018 Prime Ministers Prize for Literature in the history division.

Volume 2 Triumph and Decline commences in March 1942 as Australia responds to the increasing threat of invasion, and follows the years of Curtin’s Prime Ministership, ending with the sadness of his death and funeral six weeks before the surrender of the Japanese.

With the completion of the two volumes of John Curtin’s War, the largest biographical work on John Curtin, John Edwards has added to our understanding of Curtin the person and the Prime Minister. Drawing on the work of biographers and historians, together with his own research undertaken in government archives and library collections, and by examining a wide variety of resources, John Edwards has been able to offer new insights into the development of Curtin as an astute politician, and the challenges he faced in his role as Prime Minister during the Second World War.

John Curtin’s War, described by Emeritus Professor of History and Politics, Griffith University, Ross Fitzgerald as ‘magisterial political and military history’ will make a valuable contribution to the body of work on the success of John Curtin as Australia’s war time Prime Minister. The JCPML is proud to have been associated with this work and congratulates Professor Edwards on the completion of this significant undertaking.

The John Curtin Prime Ministerial Library (JCPML) Visiting Scholar program is designed to encourage research on John Curtin and the use of the JCPML Archival Collection. The program has been successful, with research resulting in the publication of several books, the production of an award winning play, the creation of online resources for the JCPML website and the presentation of public lectures by historians and academics.

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Curtin Library to adopt Creative Commons Licensing

By Curtin Library 10 May 2019 News & events Comments off

To demonstrate our commitment to open scholarship, Curtin Library has decided to adopt the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International licence (CC BY-SA) to content created by Curtin Library staff that is made publicly available, and not subject to additional licensing restrictions.

The Library will adopt  Creative Commons licensing

The CC BY-SA licence will allow anyone to copy, re-use, share, and adapt Library-created content without requiring additional permissions. The only condition is that re-users who adapt our content attach a similar ShareAlike licence to the new work they create. This ensures works continue to be contributed to the Commons.

As part of the rollout, Library staff will attend a 90 minute training workshop which provides an overview of the Creative Commons licence tools and the opportunity to quickly create a learning object associated with a CC licence. The format and structure of the workshop has been inspired by the in-depth Creative Commons for Educators course.

There are a number of advantages to the approach:

  • Use of Creative Commons licensing will help Library staff understand the challenges of creating and sharing open educational resources (OERs).
  • Individuals and organisations do not need to contact us directly for permission to use library-created content (as long as they comply with the ShareAlike condition of the licence).
  • In advocating for open scholarship, we can use the Library as a case study for other professionals and academics.

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Suggestion: Use of Bin Bags

By Curtin Library 9 May 2019 News & events Comments off

From the suggestion box@Curtin Library…

I notice that the bin bags in the small bins around the library are frequently changed, even if they have nothing or barely anything in them. Why? It’s a complete waste of plastic. And, as you know, plastic is bad for the environment, so as Curtin University is meant to be a progressive institute, surely this much (or any) plastic should NOT be used. I think it would be better, overall, to not use plastic, and CLEAN the bins when necessary rather than being wasteful.

The Library responds…

Thank you for the feedback regarding the plastic bin liners used in the Library. I will pass on your concerns to the University’s Properties team who manage the cleaning contract and waste disposal for the building.

Barbara Parnaby
Curtin University Library

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Noise and Vibration survey – TL Robertson Library

By Curtin Library 9 May 2019 News & events Comments off

From Monday 13 May, a noise and vibration survey will be conducted in and around TL Robertson Library in preparation for refurbishment works. The equipment for this survey will be set up around the Library for a few weeks.

There may be minor noise disturbances for short periods in the early morning; other areas of the Library or university campus may be pleasant to study in during these times.

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Research Rumble: innovation on display at the Library

By Curtin Library 7 May 2019 News & events Comments off

Curtin University’s rich research offerings were on display to industry, the public, staff and students throughout Research Rumble, a four-day showcase exploring the future of health, astronomy, technology, mining, agriculture, sustainability and data science. The Robertson Library hosted a research poster exhibition to showcase our student’s exciting and innovative research, with 15,000 clients visiting the Library throughout the Research Rumble period.

Poster winner, Daniela Scaccabarozzi, is congratulated by Kate Conway, Associate Director, Learning, Engagement & Global.

The exhibition, which ran from 25 – 27 March 2019, consisted of more than 30 electronic and physical research posters. The posters spanned the University’s four faculties of Science and Engineering, Business and Law, Health Sciences and Humanities; creating a fascinating diversity in research areas and topics.

A highlight was judging the ‘Most Engaging Poster’ entered as part of the exhibition. Daniela Scaccabarozzi, School of Molecular and Life Sciences, was crowned the winner with her poster Masquerading as peas: a case of floral mimicry in an Australian orchid, commended for her use of colour, clear layout, and clarity in explaining her research.

In addition, several entries were highly commended by the University Librarian Catherine Clark. Elizabeth Brown, School of Nursing, Midwifery and Paramedicine, Angela Lee, School of Marketing, Yuanghang Liu, School of Media, Culture and the Creative Arts and Darren Shawn Tek-Suen Cheah, School of Earth and Planetary Sciences, also received awards. The 30 attendees at the awards ceremony enjoyed afternoon tea while networking with fellow researchers from different faculties.

Darren Shawn Tek-Suen Cheah, School of Earth and Planetary Sciences was highly commended for his entry. 

Elizabeth Brown, School of Nursing, Midwifery and Paramedicine  was highly commended for her entry. 

“The Library provides the ideal space for a cross-faculty event,” said Science and Engineering Faculty Librarian Linden Hall, organiser of the exhibition.

“As well as being centrally located, the Library supports students and staff across the University, so we have connections with all faculties. A big thank you to the students for exhibiting their work with us!”

2019 was the inaugural year for Curtin’s Research Rumble, previously known as Research Week. Events, seminars and presentations were held at the Bentley campus, the city campus, Technology Park and in the metropolitan area.

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Suggestion: Group study sessions in the computer lab

By Curtin Library 7 May 2019 News & events Comments off

From the suggestion box@Curtin Library…

I am sick and tired of students conducting group study sessions in the computer lab on 3rd floor. They take chairs from all the other computer stations making it harder to get a computer.

Can we either get more chairs or enforce them moving to study rooms?

The Library responds…

If you notice this problem again can you please let a staff member know? They will be happy to assist in either locating another workstation for you or they can have a chat with other students to free up a chair for you, especially during busy times.

Alternatively, we also have computer workstations on Levels 4, 5 and 6, or laptops are available to loan from the Help Point on Level 2.

James Robinson
Curtin University Library

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