I am feeling extremely overwhelmed to say the least. I have read through module 1 to 3 twice now and I am still finding the concepts difficult to really get my head around. Yes I am able to write about what I have read – but I feel as though I am not yet completely getting it.
With only 5 days to go until I give birth to my 1st baby – my head is all over the place!
I guess I am finding a lot of what we are learning irrelevant to what TLs do. Yes I know we need an understanding of cataloguing and the process etc but do we really need to go so in depth???
This course is very challenging and I feel like there has been so much info overload!!!!
Now to tackle the RDA part B of the first assignment! How daunting!
Metadata is simply the data that describes an information resource, it is data about data. It describes the nature and content of information and forms the elements that are used to find, locate and obtain it (Tech Terms, 2014).
Tech Terms (2014). Metadata Definition. Techterms.com. Retrieved from http://www.techterms.com/definition/metadata
RDA is a process that allows for the creation of metadata which meets users’ needs for data content and also facilitates machine manipulation of that data for searching and display. It utilizes the four user tasks of the Functional Requirements for Bibliographic Records (FRBR) to present information in multiple forms to users in ways that are meaningful (National Library of Australia (NLA), 2014). While the average TL may not need to create metadata following such intricate cataloguing requires it is important that they have an understanding of how the RDA process works. This is of particular importance given the changing nature of information and how users access it.
National Library of Australia, (2014). Resource Description and Access. Retrieved from
Some metadata may be more useful than others. Some may be more accurate than others. Some may be clearer. The quality of metadata can make a big difference to the effectiveness of an information retrieval tool.
Chapter 5 – Metadata quality
What are some of the key criteria for good metadata?
“Ultimately, what makes for good metadata is its potential to support effectively information retrieval. Its adherence to certain standards may indicate that professionals were involved in its creation, but this does not in itself make it good metadata” (Hider, 2012, p.86). While it is important metadata reflects the information context, aspects that might be considered when assessing metadata quality include:
Functionality – While there are numerous possibilities in terms of elements that could be recorded in the description of an information resource, some are more likely to be useful than others depending on contextual factors such as the needs of the user and the retrieval system being utilised. To improve the functionality of metadata, aspects of the information context may be studied by metadata specialists, however, this is not an exact science and ascertain information about things such as the different information users and their needs can be difficult.
Comprehensiveness – some descriptions are fuller than others and this can impact their effectiveness, however, more detailed descriptions often take longer to produce and therefore are often more costly to produce. Given that many of the possible attributes that could be recorded may not be that important, decisions regarding the amount of detail required are not simple. Some users require different levels of description (e.g. a university library may need more detail than a school library for its resources) and different types of resources may require different degrees of comprehensiveness (e.g. an Internet resource might only require minimal description to support discovery but not selection verses a novel which might require more information)
Accuracy – Given the minimal information that is often used to find, identify, select or obtain information resources, the accuracy of the information provided is essential. While mistakes can occur it is important that these are rectified as it can impact a users’ confidence in professional resource description or hinder a user in their search for information resources. Misspellings, a misinterpretation of the subject, incorrectly recording a value or not updating an attribute of an information resource that changes (e.g. a website that updates or a serial that continues to add new editions) may all impact the accuracy of metadata used for describing information resources.
Clarity – While metadata needs to be accurate, it is also imperative that it is recorded in a way that considers the users of this information. Metadata may be less accessible to users depending on the language used and the degree of familiarity the user has with terms or abbreviations used by metadata creators (e.g. cataloguer jargon) but increasingly metadata specialists are acknowledging the wide user audience. It also needs to be succinct so that more information can be presented to the user (i.e. more elements and descriptions) and to improve the quality of search results (i.e. less terms should allow for more precise matches).
Consistency – Consistency encompasses both elements and values and can greatly increase retrieval. The use of standard values can make systems easier for users to use as they are more likely to be able to read and interpret information if it is standardised. Consistency may facilitate semantic interoperability within and across systems. However, the notion of consistency is far from simple as discrepancies might exist in interpretations between indexer and search (e.g. in one context the resource might be considered to be about terrorism while in another about freedom fighters) and between indexers.
Vocabulary and authority control – To improve the effectiveness of retrieval systems, those creating metadata often use standardised or controlled vocabularies. Controlled vocabularies are often regulate or standardise subject terms (e.g. influenza rather than flu). Controlled vocabularies may indicate their preferred terms to users which is known as cross-references (e.g. Goal use jail, images use pictures, etc.). This may mean that antonyms (e.g. sickness and health) are also given allocated a single subject term (e.g. health being used for both). Other metadata elements can also be controlled such as author names and titles. This too can be problematic as author’s may share the same name (e.g. Jane Doe) and to disambiguate this element additional information may be given (e.g. Jane Joan Doe verses Jane May Doe) to separate two quite distinct set of resources.
How is metadata quality assurance achieved?
Quality of metadata can impact information retrieval. The quality of metadata might be improved through:
Information agencies regularly engaging in a cycle of monitoring (e.g. by supervisors or senior metadata experts overseeing), evaluating (e.g. audits using criteria or utilising automated computer functions that check for such things as spelling errors) and improvement of metadata
The development and refinement of best practice standards by professionals
Ongoing professional development for information professionals
Hider, P. (2012). Chapter 5, Metadata quality (pp.77-91). Information resource description: Creating and managing metadata. London: Facet.
Activity: Quiz – The following are examples of abbreviations and jargon which have been routinely used by library cataloguers. Do you understand what is meant by all of them?
For the given abbreviations I was able to guess:
t.p. = title page
ill. = illustrations
ports. = portraits
prelim. = preliminaries (although I did not know that this meant in the context of library cataloguing until checking the answers (i.e. Anglo-American Cataloguing Rules defines as the pages before and including the title page and cover)
fl.= flourished (i.e. was living)
Read: The Introduction to Chapter 7 on pp. 103-104 of Hider, P. (2012). Information resource description. London: Facet. Then read the rest of Chapter 7 from pp. 104-144.
What are standards?
“A standard is more than a convention. It represents a practice that is prescribed, not simply what is normal” (Hider, 2012, p.103). Standards are set out in documentation and may be created for use by a single organisation or a group of related organisations, possibly even on a national or international level.
What types of metadata standards have been developed?
What are some of the issues with metadata standards?
“Ultimately, there is a trade-off between a desire for consistency and best practice, on the one hand, and the desire to address local needs and economic realities on the other” (Hider, 2012, p.104).
Metadata standards for key information domains:
Web publishing – Hypertext Markup Language (HTML), Extensible Markup Language (XML), Resource Description Framework (RDF)
Libraries – Anglo-American Cataloguing Rules (AACR), International Standard Bibliographic Description (ISBD), Resource Description and Access (RDA), Functional Requirements for Bibliographic Records (FRBR), Functional Requirements for Authority Data (FRAD), Machine-Readable Cataloguing (MARC), Z39.50
Digital libraries – Dublin Core (DC), Metadata Object Description Schema (MODS), Metadata Encoding and Transmission Standard (METS), Open Archives Initiative Protocol for Metadata Harvesting (OAI-PMH), Open-URL
Archives – General International Standard Archival Description (ISAD(G)), Encoded Archival Description (EAD)
Museums – Standard Procedures for Collections Recording Used in Museums (SPECTRUM), International Guidelines for Museum Object Information: the CIDOC information categories (CIDOC), Conceptual Reference Model (CRM)
What are the ‘standards’ for libraries?
Elements and values
o Anglo-American Cataloguing Rules (AACR).
Cataloguing code of 1967
covered both heading and descriptions
adopted primarily by English-speaking countries
AACR2 was published in 1978 in response to the Anglo-American library community wanting AACR to align with ISBD and the need to incorporate rule revisions occurring since the original publication
Developed at a time when card catalogues were widely used
It was adopted by most libraries in English-speaking countries
Revised versions of AACR2 were released in 1988, 1998 and 2002
Later versions of AACR2 cover resources such as website but they use terms and concepts that might reflect the 20thcentury
It has a lot of rules but also three different levels of description where the at the minimal levels different rules may not apply or be optional or are frequently adapted to address the local contextual needs
It is organised in two parts: description (e.g. from general rules related to all resources such as how and what to describe to rules specific to particular types of material) and headings (e.g. choice of access points, headings for persons, geographic names, etc.)
AACR2, like ISBD, does not systematically define various elements which can lead to rich resource descriptions but also create records that are less conducive to computer processing
o International Standard Bibliographic Description (ISBD)
First published in 1971 by the International Federation of Library Associations (IFLA) specifically for books
Later versions were created (e.g. ISBD for other material and ISBD(G) for materials in general)
Originally developed for catalogue cards but consolidated editions are still being published (e.g. 2011)
Prescribes the elements for cataloguers to include in their description of library resources and stipulates how this description is to be presented (e.g. order, punctuation etc.)
Descriptions are in human-readable form to facilitate sharing
o Resource Access Description (RDA)
Intended to replace AACR2 as it was decided that a complete overhaul of the system was needed to take advantage of the possibilities technology might afford rather than another releasing another version of AACR2 which would unlikely be able to be computer-friendly given its original inception in the era of card catalogues
Released in 2010 and implemented in 2013
RDA focuses on content (e.g. elements and their values)
It is different from AACR as it does not prescribe the ISBD or any format. It is accommodates ISBD-based descriptions as well as descriptions that might be schematic in nature (e.g. RDF/XML) which makes it more useful in the online world
“Its aim is to serve as the basis for the development of all cataloguing codes” so that international sharing of records is facilitated
An advantage to those wishing to utilise RDA is that the code can be applied without radical change (which is significant in an era of fiscal constraint)
RDA covers more elements and defines them more narrowly that AACR (e.g. different elements would be recognised for a title derived from the resource verses one constructed by the cataloguer when none exists)
It is more relevant to a variety of information agencies beyond the library sector as it is not limited to the ISBD elements (more broad)
RDA aims to cover all the elements that might be usefully included in authority and bibliographic records (e.g. various attributes of the persons, corporate bodies and other entities)
RDA identifies 463 elements and sub-elements for bibliographic records and 59 for authority records (not all will be applicable for every resource but a small number of ‘core’ RDA elements are required if applicable for each resource)
RDA’s organisation is based on the theoretical framework of two conceptual models of how an effective catalogue functions (FRBR/FRAD).
The 10 sections are divided into chapters and rules are grouped together according to the specific element they cover.
Online cataloguing tool (contains hyperlinks that improve navigation)
Offers vocabularies, or sets of values for some of its elements; controlled vocabulary for description elements
o MARC (Machine-Readable Cataloguing)
“MARC is a record exchange format used by automated library systems to share and process cataloguing data” (Hider, 2012, p.122)
It does not tell the cataloguer what to record but how to record or encode catalogue records so they can be used by computerised systems
Many countries developed their own variants of MARC but the USMARC became the standard which was adopted as international catalogue exchange became more common and as many records were already in this format. Later, MARC21 became the prominent variant and is maintained by the Library of Congress
MARC commonly used in the library domain and while other formats that make bibliographical data more interoperable exist, the cost in conversion to another format may see considerable data lost
Transmission standards are required for the sharing of catalogue files as computers need to be able to not only process records such as MARC (which is widely used by libraries) but be able to receive it. Some users of bibliographic records will allow their computer to search for records, which may include searching several different online catalogues. As a result, many library management system have applications designed for this purpose, applying a client-user-protocol. These are often configured by specialists who must consider how to make retrieval effective given the different ways in which databases can be searched and ways in which records can be indexed. Specialised transfer protocols (between the client and the server) for downloading bibliographic records in formats such as MARC include:
o Z39.50 – It is widely used for MARC records but can be limited where systems are based on newer formats or structures.
o SRU & CQL– Newer and more adaptable than Z39.50 as facilitates Search/Retrieve by URL (SRU) meaning it is not limited to MARC records. It “enables search applications to communicate with systems outside the library domain, such as search engines, as well as online catalogues. It is maintained by the Library of Congress and may end up superseding Z39.50. The protocol is ‘XML focused’ and utilises Contextual Query Language (CQL)” (Hider, 2012, p.126).
o OAI-PMH – Stands for Open Archives Initiative Protocol for Metadata Harvesting and is Dublin Core (DC) equivalent of Z39.50.
o OpenURL – Has been widely adapted in many digital libraries. Allows a search to be duplicated, using URL format, on multiple systems via a ‘link resolver’. An example would be a journal article available through multiple databases which a library subscribes to.
What is FRAD?
Focuses on the elements needed for authority records, which are often used by cataloguers to control the names of authors etc. rather than end-users
Based on FRBR model but focuses on group 2 entities (i.e. person, family, corporate group)
Based on a slightly different set of user tasks. “The tasks are: to find an entity associated with a resource; identify that entity; contextualise this entity amongst similar entities; and justify the preferred name for the entity” (Hider, 2012, p.120). Last task = cataloguer rather than end-user.
Hider, P. (2012). Chapter 7, Metadata standards (pp.103-150). Information resource description: Creating and managing metadata. London: Facet
Read: The first three sections of Chapter 3, ‘Tools and systems’ (pp. 33-39) of Hider, P. (2012),Information resource description.London: Facet.
The arrangement of resources by Dewey Decimal Classification, alphabetical order and on occasion by other attributes such as type of material, level of difficulty, and genre and the use of indexes and databases, such as the library catalogue, are key tools of information retrieval used in school libraries.
Arranged – Arrangements are designed to help people look for information resources and navigate resource collections. As there are numerous ways in which information resources can be arranged it is imperative for effective access to them that users know how they have been arranged. One way to arrange items is to place them in a particular order based on things such as ‘author’, acquisition order, DDC, genre, type of material etc. Arranging items by numerical and alphabetical order is common but this still has issues or questions that might be addressed such as how to deal with punctuation, word-by-word verses letter-by letter, numeric or alphabetic first, etc.
Labelled – Labels are a way of arranging information resources. Labels may be utilised to identify individual items and/or group items by categories such as subject matter or by a designated section of the collection (e.g. non-fiction). Symbols such as colour may be utilised on labels to group resources. Labels that indicate the items location within the collection are very useful (e.g. details such as call number, author’s name, Dewey classification, etc. may appear on the spine label of a physical resource). In digital environments, labels are used on hyperlinks in the form of brief descriptions.
Indexed – Indexes are “essentially arrangements of labels connected conceptually, rather than physically, to their resources” (Hider, 2012, p.35). Indexes are lists that are designed to be looked up, and in the context of library collections are often referred to as catalogues. An advantage of metadata arranged independently of the resource is that it can enable multiple access points to a resource. The likelihood of a user finding a resource are increased as the number of access points are increased (e.g. title, author, subject, etc.). Another advantage in using indexes to locate information resources is that many users find it easier to navigate descriptions of resources as opposed to searching the resources themselves.
In the online world logically arranged website menus and online directories might be regarded as indexes. Google, a search engine, is a form of electronic index. Rather than relying on metadata, these search engines index the content of the resources (e.g. text within the information resource).
What is Dewey Decimal Classification (DDC)?
It is an arrangement where notations are filed in numerical and alphabetical order but the arrangement is based primarily on subject. The idea is for resources of a similar subject to be located within close proximity.
How have computer databases impacted the information environment?
As modern computers can search very large files quickly, words entered into a field can be indexed individually. This means that searching for a particular title does not mean the user has to know each word in the title to gain the item they are searching for.
Computer databases are capable of not only storing metadata, but other kinds of data.
Tools of library organisation
Bibliographic databases – might provide a general keyword index, containing words found in many of the fields, a title word index, author keyword index, subject keyword index, etc. The library catalogue is an example for a bibliographic database.
Library catalogues – used as a way to ascertain what is in the library collection and as a retrieval tool. Online library catalogues (e.g. OPAC – online public access catalogue) have superseded the old card cataloguing system, although both are similar in their descriptions. The online cataloguing system does have advantages for users trying to find items as they are often able to search with some knowledge about the text they are trying to find, as words within each element can be individually indexed. Online catalogues can provide users with numerous records from which to make their selection. Some even allow for users to input metadata (social metadata) such as tagging, ratings and reviewing items. Additionally OPAC, is integrated with the library system’s circulation module, which means users of the system are not only able to learn about the existence of items within the collection but also an item’s availability. Contemporary versions of OPAC allow users to access the library catalogue anywhere and anytime, accommodates sophisticated searching by users (e.g. Boolean searching), allows users to customise display options, provide images of information resources and may even provide links to such items as ‘shopping carts’. In the future, it is likely that OPAC will enable Google-like searching, may present metadata to users in more interesting ways, include relevance ranking, automatically make recommendations to users who borrow particular resources and include automatic dialogue boxes to support end-user’s queries (e.g. ‘did you mean…?’) (Hider, 2012, pp.42-44). To compete with users’ preferences for information searching through sites such as Google, library catalogues such as OPAC may in the future become integrated into the larger online environment. In library catalogues key access points (e.g. author name, subject, etc.) may be controlled by library cataloguers as a way of standardising information (referred to as authority control).
Periodical databases – are databases offered by commercial indexing services that can complement library catalogues by providing access to more in-depth information resources. Periodical databases such as EBSCOhost are large examples that aggregate records from multiple sources to create a database that contains a large number of centralised records that contain information such as title, subject, author and abstracts as well as often allowing direct online access to the articles.
Federated search systems – a search facility that enables a single access point for users to the numerous library’s databases such as the library catalogue. This enables the users to simultaneously search across all the databases, which is more time-economical than having to individually access a range of different databases. Creating federated search applications that allow the sharing of metadata between information retrieval systems (interoperability) can be complex as different systems may not be compatible in terms of metadata elements or not support the same functions (Hider, 2012, p.47). While standardisation is needed to address this issue, it is somewhat idealistic given the varying purposes of different databases.
Search engines – The most well-known search engines, such as Google, are able to provide users with a large number of ‘hits’ for many of their searches by finding matches in content as opposed to metadata. Most search engines retrieve exclusively based on text, although there has been some experimentation with image and sound retrieval systems. They are popular tool for those looking for information resources as they work on a massive scale, are quick, regularly updated, they simple to use and a free service. Problems with search engines such as Google are users being able to find appropriate resources from the plethora provided, quality (e.g. accuracy, authority, appropriateness, etc.), the relevance ordering of ‘hits’ (i.e. some search engines have sponsored links and this may impact the order in which results appear), the lack of standardisation in terms of vocabulary control which can lead to many irrelevant results and the inconsistencies that can exist in terms of results when using different search engines because of the different algorithms they may be based upon. Searches for information in library catalogues, while unlikely to provide the exhaustive list of results as a search engine such as Google, have the advantage in that the information resources available have been carefully selected for quality, appropriateness and authority by information professionals and the systems used to organise and provide users with information about these resources attempt to standardise this information (e.g. vocabulary control).
Hider, P. (2012). Chapter 3, Tools and systems (pp.33-58).Information resource description: Creating and managing metadata.London: Facet
I searched for The Last Tree using a ANYWHERE search. I was provided with 116 results. The 1st option given was in fact the exact book I was looking for by Mark Wilson.
Notes: Summary: The last tree is the story of a beautiful eucalyptus tree that grew in one of the old-growth forests of south-eastern Australia. It was the centre of life in the forest and provided food and shelter for many forest dwellers for hundreds of years. But what happens when the old tree is threatened as the surrounding forest slowly disappears?
I really enjoyed reading the summary and the Author notes and I liked being able to see the cover of the version of the book that I was familiar with.
Activity: Primo or TROVE
Do a search on Primo or Trove to see the wide range of sources that are brought together by these federated search engines.
overall layout much busier
Several search options – simple to advance (title, keywords, creator etc.)
Main fields include
Pictures, photographs, objects
Journals, articles and data sets
Music, sound and video
Diaries letters and archives
People and organisations
Several useful search options – simple to advanced
Subject reserve is an interesting one I always like to do at the beginning of a study session
Main fields include:
Books, journals, DVDs & More
CSU Research output.
Other options include:
Location in the records
Filters can be applied
Federated search engines are a tool that has enhanced the ease to which users are able to search and locate information. Instead of having to access resources through numerous databases, the user can save time by entering their queries in one location and allowing the federated system to simultaneously ‘search’ numerous databases based on the query.
Creating federated search applications that allow the sharing of metadata between information retrieval systems (interoperability) can be complex as different systems may not be compatible in terms of metadata elements or not support the same functions (Hider, 2012, p.47). While standardisation is needed to address this issue, it is somewhat idealistic given the varying purposes of different databases.
Having said that, from a users’ perspective, CSU’s Primo and Trove are such valuable tools for locating and accessing information. If there are, as suggested by Hider, issues in allowing users access to different databases through federated systems, it does not seem to be impacting my experience with data-navigation for these sites. I suspect it is most likely the combined efforts of specialised library staff, technical staff and others who both identify and manage any standardisation issues on an ongoing basis so that there are minimal issues for blissfully ignorant end-users such as myself.
Hider, P. (2012). Information resource description: Creating and managing metadata. London: Facet.
What are digital libraries?
Digital libraries have a collection that is focused on digital objects such as text-based, video, audio and multimedia resources. These items are carefully selected, organised and maintained by professionals to facilitate patron awareness of resources and effective access to these resources (Witten, Bainbridge & Nicols, 2010, p.7).
While the World Wide Web certainly contains an enormous wealth of digital resources, the quality of information has not been vetted or organised by information professionals. A digital library is different to the World Wide Web as it is a digital collection that has been specifically selected, organised and maintained by professionals to meet the needs of library users. A digital library, while not restricted by physical space, is not without limits as it can only be effective if it has boundaries in place that clearly enable it to be created and maintained with its purpose clearly part of the design purpose.
In addition to being carefully designed and maintained, to be effective a digital library must also have digital library support software that supports users to browse and locate digital resources within the collection to meet their needs and also enables librarians to provide appropriate organisation structures for the collection and the ability to maintain them (Witten, Bainbridge & Nicols, 2010, p.7).
Witten, I., Bainbridge, D., & Nicols, D. (2010). How to build a digital library. Burlington, MA: Morgan Kaufmann
Activity: TROVE image “minds eye” photos, pictures and objects….
Tree of Knowledge – Barcaldine QLD
This search unmoved 6621 images until I selected Australian Content, which narrowed it down to 380 images. Not all of them were relevant…. Images ranges in age from the late 1800’s to current. Images were clearly described and easily accessed. This would be a good tool for teachers looking form Primary Sources in History or Geography units. It was quick and easy to use. I really liked how it told users where the original image could be found.
Information included in the records examined included:
Activity: Search for a song and compare the results.
Smells Like Teen Spirit – Nirvana
I found the entry I was after a bit of scrolling
Some Biographical details given about the band
Links to other websites to provide further details – some pop-ups and ads
No date to be found…
Unsuccessful – I was not keen on signing up for this without being able to “play around’ with it first…
Love the RADIO Station option based on the Artist searched
Images of album covers available
Free – sign up is optional
I did not find locating specific details about my song simple…
Read ‘Library catalogue records’ (pp. 93-98), of Hider, P. (2012).Information resource description. London: Facet.
Sharing metadata – Chapter 6
Why is the standardisation of metadata important?
The consistency of metadata records enables the metadata to be used in different information retrieval systems, which enables it to be shared by a variety of information institutions. This means:
Metadata can be created once = time and economic savings
Metadata creation can be assigned to those most qualified for the task and then disseminated
That if the same metadata is being used, then there is more chance of it being amended or enhanced
The sharing of metadata is made possible not only through standardisation of content, format and vocabulary but also through standardisation of transmission of this information according to standard protocols (Hider, 2012, p.93).
What are library catalogue records and why is a standard format such as MARC needed?
Library catalogue records (metadata of information resources) were originally distributed in the form of library catalogue cards. Today, computerised systems have revolutionised this system by allowing the distribution of electronic records over the Internet. These files are usually have a standardised format,MARC (Machine Readable Cataloguing). “The MARC format not only allows computer systems to import copies of catalogue records from other systems, it also indicates how the data in the records should be indexed and displayed, in other words, how the record should be processed , or ‘read’, by the computer system” (Hider, 2012, p.97).
What are bibliographic networks?
Bibliographic networks involve libraries being linked together through a central database from which individual libraries can access bibliographical records. With the Internet now allowing fast download globally, many bibliographic networks have been consolidated as there need for smaller bibliographic networks to serve particular areas is diminishing.
Becoming a member of a bibliographic network usually requires the payment of fees and agreeing to adhere to format and content standards. This does not mean that libraries cannot edit records downloaded to their local system to suit system and user requirements but that they cannot make changes to the ‘master’ record in the network database. The bibliographic networks often focus on a particular types of libraries in particular geographical regions (e.g. SCIS for NZ and Australian school libraries) and subscribe to major bibliographical record suppliers on behalf of their members.
Why is metadata increasingly being shared and made available to search engines?
Libraries, museums, archives and other such organisations are not just sharing metadata between themselves but are now also sharing this metadata with internet search companies, such as Google, as a means to make their catalogues more accessible and increase the likelihood of their resources being utilised. There is a recognition that many users prefer search engines such as Google for information searching and many organisations are sharing their metadata and resources in an attempt to reflect the current information environment. For example, a university might see this as a way to promote assets such as research publications authored by university staff. Offering metadata for ‘harvesting’ to search engines also supports the ‘open access’ movement which is making scholarly repositories readily available and changing the nature of traditional publishing.
What is interoperability?
To share metadata requires that it can work in different systems or beinteroperable. Interoperability for metadata requires that it is either standardised or converted. Similar organisations may use standardised retrieval systems but with the increase of different information agencies sharing information, many information retrieval systems can work with a mixture of standards and formats. “The conversion, or mapping of metadata can be carried out at the level of format, element or value” (Hider, 2012, p.100), with the most common mapping required for format and element levels. Mapping from one metadata format to another (e.g. MARC records verses Dublin Core) is sometimes calledcrosswalks and can be required to convert the incoming metadata into data that can be processed by the host computer. Mapping metadata standards can be quite complex as different elements cover different attributes or when they do cover the same attributes they do so in different ways. It is rarely a one-to-one exercise. “Metadata standards are still important even when crosswalks are used. If all of the imported data conforms closely to a particular standard, then a crosswalk may work reasonably well. However, if the metadata is not already standardised, then a great deal of manual editing may be required, which may not be practical” (Hider, 2012, pp.100-101).
Quite honestly, it seems very straight forward and common sense to share metadata – why reinvent the wheel every time? Why not share what someone else has done so that it is easier and not to mention consistent.
Hider, P. (2012). Chapter 6, Sharing metadata (pp.93-101). Information resource description: Creating and managing metadata. London: Facet
Quite simply, an information resource is a resource that contains information. It comes in many forms e.g. DVDs, websites, books, maps etc. And in school libraries it also stretches to the world of literature. Therefore information resource description is the way in which all of these resources are described in order to locate them proficiently.
In school libraries, resources are often described and labelled by the Author. It’s quick and easily accessible when you know the author in which you are looking for. However extra information can also be added such as a blurb, publication information, maybe even a subject description. ‘Indeed, the analysis required to create a thorough and accurate description of information resources is a highly skilled activity. Effective resource descriptions, such as catalogue records, are typically the product of very careful thought and much experience. This subject will introduce you to this field of activity, one which is sometimes known as Information Organisation, or Knowledge Organisation. In the library world, it is traditionally called bibliographic organisation, or bibliographic control. In this subject the term bibliographic organisation is used’ (Charles Sturt University, 2015).
Why is it necessary for information agencies such as school libraries to organise information?
Without organisation it would be absolutely impossible to locate anything when you need it. I for one am big on organisation and it would drive me mad if I could not find something I needed easily. So this question to me just seemed to be common sense really.
Organising information, which includes description of that information (metadata), is most effective when contextual factors are considered. To maximise access to school library collections, requires that the “characteristics of the user, the technology, the information resources and other environmental factors” (Hider, 2012, p.8) are taken into consideration when organising information and making decisions about the four aspects of metadata: elements, values, format and transmission. Hider posits that there can be a difference between the user of the metadata itself and the users of the resources represents (2012, p.16). For example the user of the metadata might be a teacher or parent looking for a resources in the collection that might appropriate and used by a student. In any case, understanding those who are using the metadata and their purposes, can lead to creating metadata that is more effective (Hider, 2012, p.16).
When locating the text book needed for this course, it was quite straight forward as we were given all the information that was needed. The link originally failed to work for me, so trying to find the website ‘Book Exchange’ was the original task I had in searching for a specific information resource. Once found, I used FRBR in the following way:
Find: For this, the attribute I used was the ISBN number as I knew this was the most precise way to find the text I needed.
Identify: I then needed to identify that this was in fact the correct text and to do this, I specifically looked at the title of the text and the author.
Select: Once I had realised that this text had all the attributes that made it my specific text (title, author, date etc) I selected it and added it to “my cart”.
Obtain: My last step was to purchase the item which I did via digitally and using a credit card. Within four days the book was then delivered to my doorstep.
Chapter 1 & 2 Notes of Hider Text
What is an information resource?
An information resource is a term that encompasses all those resources that contain/represent data, information, knowledge and/or wisdom.
What is information resource description (metadata)?
Information resource description is essentially providing information about different aspects of the resource, otherwise known as ‘data elements’. Data elements may relate to the nature of the information itself (content – e.g. subject, language etc.) and/or to the carrier or container of this information of this information (e.g. size, format, labelling information such as statements appearing on the title page, etc.) (Hider, 2012, p.4).
Information resource description or data about data is often referred to as ‘metadata’ and is “commonly defined as ‘structured’ data (about data)” (Hider, 2012, p5).
Why is metadata important?
Essentially, metadata is important as it can support effective access to information. This information may support the user to gain an understanding of things such as:
What resources exist
Deciding whether or not to obtain an item
How to obtain a resource
While metadata may be useful for providing information about a single resource, it can also be useful for providing “an overview of a collection of resources by grouping like resources together (otherwise known as collocation), allowing users to navigate it” (Hider, 2012, p.7).
Who writes resource descriptions?
Descriptions of information resources are written by a variety of people, with various agendas and reasons for doing so (e.g. a librarian might wish to improve their patron’s knowledge while publishers may be focused on sales) and this will have an impact on the nature of the description (Hider, 2012, p.3)
What is relevance criteria?
Relevance criteria are the attributes or characteristics used to select resources. These might include:
· Aboutness· Accuracy (truth)· Aesthetic value
· Diversity of content
· Interesting content
· Level of condensation
· Logical relevance· Novelty· Pertinence
· Publication source
· Scientific ‘hardness’
· Specificity/amount of information
· Subject matter
· Textual attributes
· Usefulness” (Hider, 2012, pp.27-28)
Who Organises Information?
‘Library catalogues, or OPACs (online public access catalogues), continue to be a key part of the information access provided within school libraries. While the catalogue records themselves are generally drawn from a central supplier, there can be times when the teacher librarian may need to create catalogue records. While cataloguers are creating catalogue records for a greatly increased range of materials, including online resources, metadata specialists are also creating metadata for online resources, particularly those contained in the increasing number of large educational databases created for schools, to provide tailored access to those resources’ (Charles Sturt University, 2015).
If teacher librarians don’t normally create metadata, such as catalogue records, why do you need to have an understanding of information resource description?
Teacher librarians need to know more than how to download such records into a catalogue. An understanding of the principles of information resource description will enable you to appreciate the importance of this area to the provision of access to resources, assist you to gain the understanding needed to assess the effective of the access being provided within a school library through the catalogue and educational databases, and how that access might be best utilised and possibly enhanced.
It is the teacher librarian who not only sets in place the processes that ensure that needed records are obtained and downloaded, but also:
ensures that these records are correctly integrated into the catalogue;
enhances these records, and access to them, through the intelligent use of other available products and services plus features within the library information system;
considers the need for and makes local additions and changes to records to meet particular local needs, where warranted;
possibly creating records for resources when a record is not available;
provides feedback and input to the cataloguing agency to assist them in creating the most suitable records for our users needs;
teaches users how to effectively use the catalogue and sets strategies in place to overcome difficulties they encounter; and
maintains the accuracy and integrity of authority files.
The teacher librarian’s input can determine if the catalogue is used and appreciated as an effective and friendly tool for locating needed resources; or if the most noticeable feature about the catalogue is the number of users who bypass it.
Hider puts it simply when he states that in order for information professionals to improve access to information resources requires “first-hand knowledge of the domain in which they work” (2012, p.62).
Charles Sturt University (CSU). (2015). Module 1: Introduction. ETL505.
Hider, P. (2012). Information resource description: Creating and managing metadata. London: Facet.
Wow what a journey this has been! I began my journey towards becoming a teacher librarian last year in 2014 as a means of diversifying my professional practice, despite never having worked in a school library before. Becoming a teacher librarian, I reasoned, would allow me to continue my love of teaching, enhance my own professional knowledge and practice, in particular reference to upskilling myself in Literacy and ICT which is highlighted throughout the new Australian Curriculum.
Fast forward to the present and I am so close to finishing my Masters of Education Teacher Librarian course. It has been a very quick journey, considering I only started in July 2014 and we are now in July 2015, and I’ve not yet really been able to apply all I’ve learnt throughout the course. Within the small confines of my classroom I have, but I’ve not yet worked in a school library and I believe I am one of the very few MEd TL students (there were none on my study tour) with no practical experience whatsoever, or who weren’t currently working in a school library. I certainly felt on the back foot for a lot of this course.
In this final, reflective blog post, I will provide a brief reflection of each subject that I undertook. Some of these reflections will be detailed, others will be brief and this will depend on what I personally gained from each subject. I will cover each subject in chronological order, and in so doing, will hope to show the journey of my learning from its very humble beginnings to where I’ve arrived now.
ETL401- Teacher Librarianship
Throughout my course, I’ve had so many people cheekily throw Purcell’s words at me, “all librarians do is check out books, right?” (Purcell, 2008). It’s been with increasing pleasure and pride that I’ve been able to respond with facts and figures that leave them reeling a little. Facts like up to 9% of student achievement can be attributed to the school library (Lance, 2001 in Oberg, 2002), and that with up to 20% of students ignoring information they don’t understand, a TL is pivotal in overcoming this information deficit (Herring and Tarter, 2007). By relaying these facts to several members of staff, both teaching and non-teaching, I believe that they are beginning to understand the value of having a TL as a information specialist who can work collaboratively with them to expand their students learning and skills in various ways – not just lend books. This has been seen in the increased collaboration between staff and the TL, with many of the library lessons now being used to explore information literacy. At first, a lot of the staff would just smile and nod at my many comments I would make about what I had learnt while undertaking this course – remembering that there is very little exposure of how a TL can really enhance learning outcomes for students. For example, not once in my entire initial university degree did they mention a TL, their role and added value to the school. So it has only been by taking this course have I really understood. This subject, for me, was the eye-opener I needed to land me smack bang into my learning and into the enormity of the role of the TL.
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The biggest learning experience for this subject, was developing my understanding of the importance of collaboration between school leadership and school librarians in order to achieve the best outcome for students. For this alchemy to happen, a couple of things need to be present. The school leaders need to be open to the potential of the school library and need to see the immense value it provides. The TL, in their role, MUST have high initiative, must seek this collaboration and must actively espouse the virtues and value of the library. Stereotypically, librarians are not known for their extroversion and active collaboration, so they may need to work hard to change this perception in order to be heard and valued by closed-minded Principals. Librarians need to be seen and heard within the school environment! As such, this must then be a symbiotic relationship of dynamic collaboration- the librarian and the leadership team must work together.
Whilst this is the best case scenario in a picture perfect world, I find a huge resemblance to this learning and that from my Bachelor’s degree when studying behaviour management. It is all well and good to study these notions – it would be amazing if this could all happen. When studying the different behaviour models and approaches you think, great! That would work, that sounds amazing, I could definitely implement that! But putting that into practice is a totally different story. They fail to mention the many elements you need to consider such as the different personalities, that Jimmy may be from a broken home and that he is passed around from home to home etc. These are all variables that whilst on paper, the theory sounds amazing, but does it actually work? This is what I found with this course. Whilst it is ideal that as a TL you have the support from the Principal and Executive staff whilst working collaboratively with colleagues, even team teaching – depending on the school itself as well as how staff view the role of the TL differs from school to school. It also depends on how willing you are to stand up for yourself and advocate for the library and show your value. As such, I have been working extremely close with our Librarian at my current school to make this collaboration happen. She has been a fantastic mentor and through our discussions I believe I have reignited the fire within her and she has since been promoting her services and expertise loud and proud. Our stage team has worked very close with her since and we are slowly effecting change. In the past, when she has spoken up at staff meetings, a lot of staff members feel as though she is being arrogant or over the top – maybe it’s because she is so passionate. However, I have shown support and after many conversations with our colleagues they are beginning to see the many other ways we could use the library. This has been evident from the increase in invitation for her to attend stage meetings, more staff members engage in her expertise before and after school as well as more input from the TL at staff meetings where she will share ideas, resources etc.
The promotion of Information Literacy is at the core of what TLs should be doing and it is particularly this area I want to keep developing in my own practice. Kuhlthau (2004), Kuhlthau and Maniotes (2010), Herring (2007), Stripling (2008) and Eisenberg (2008) among others, convinced me that the use of information process models not only offers students a framework to assist them with a particular information problem but also a valuable metacognitive tool. I was shocked that, as a classroom teacher, not only did I know so little about information literacy and certainly did not think of it beyond a set of skills, but I had not even heard the term “guided inquiry”. Therefore, the critical comparison of Kuhlthau’s ISP and Herring’s PLUS models, undertaken in ETL 401 was very useful in determining a starting point for my own practice. The exploration of information process and enquiry learning models enabled me to see the relationship between positive digital citizenship and information literacy. I adapted my practice within the classroom almost immediately. More guided lessons were introduced and instead of assuming students had these 21st century learning skills, I was explicitly teaching students the skills they would require to become lifelong learners. Since then my knowledge and understanding has expanded greatly. My lessons still contain similar themes, but are essentially less teacher directed and more student lead. This allows me to take advantage of the knowledge and understanding students currently have and build on their skills and research abilities. These lessons are additionally no longer taught in isolation, but are integrated into many classroom activities. I also saw our TL and began to discuss the many ways guided inquiry could be used in her library sessions with my students, which then led to how it could be used with all classes. Stage two (my stage team) were very intrigued and interested in taking this approach during library sessions because they saw the value of it.
Each term, we have sat down with our TL to discuss what we are learning in the classroom and we brainstorm a variety of ways the library could enhance the learning outcomes of that subject. We have been particularly focused on ICT skills and up skilling the students in the guided inquiry process, which they have been exposed to in the library and then again in the classroom. It has been fantastic to see that the students are now making connections between what they have learnt in the library with what they are learning in our classrooms. My colleagues have made many comments such as, ‘Why didn’t we start doing this sooner?’ and ‘I am finding our students are finally understanding how to process information found on the internet a lot more’ – Yes! Because they are making connections and building upon skills not just doing fill-in activities that have no relevance!
ETL411- ICT for Innovative Practice
Prior to experiencing ETL411, I thought that I was competent in the use of ICT. It is only now that I realise how limited my knowledge was. I had heard of web 2.0 tools in discussions with other teachers previously, but had never raised an eyebrow or intended to seek more information. Being a classroom teacher of 4 years I am still learning the ropes and obviously still have a lot to learn. It has been through completing this course that I realise how beneficial web 2.0 tools can be in teaching and learning programs.
One of the major benefits of integrating Web 2.0 tools within curriculum is the engagement and motivation it provokes in students (Backes, 2012; Combes, 2014). Not only was I oblivious to the meaning and benefits of web 2.0 tools, but also the range of tools out in the big World Wide Web.
Image retrieved from http://www.techconnect20.com/image-files/web20wordle.jpg
It was only after the first assignment that I became well informed and engrossed in researching the many web 2.0 tools available for a range of different purposes. There is definitely no shortage of what teachers can access to engage and enhance student learning outcomes, it is just a matter of looking for it (which is not hard at all). I found Jeff Dunn’s, ‘The 100 Best Web 2.0 Classroom Tools Chosen by You’ website (2011) extremely useful (it is an annotated bibliography) and it is a resource I have utilised several times now and have also shared with my colleagues. From this I actually presented a workshop on the use of web 2.0 tools in the classroom to the entire staff. We looked at Jeff Dunn’s website and many colleagues, who just like myself, had never contemplated using these in the classrooms before. I think this comes down to a lack of experience with ICT and it can be intimidating at times. From this we brainstormed several ways these tools could be used to enhance the curriculum. We have had a class set of iPads in the school for almost 4 years and very rarely are they used. However since the workshop they are constantly booked out. The TL at our school has also been able to demonstrate the many ways web 2.0 tools are used in the library during her sessions and the classroom teachers weren’t even aware that she had being doing this before hand. So between myself and the current TL we have be up skilling the staff on the use of ICT in the classroom. The students engagement has increased and their ICT skills are developing. Students are now creating projects on tools other than just powerpoint, instead they are using Prezi, which the kids absolutely love! Instead of publishing writing on a word document they are now creating books on Story Jumper and even having them physically published which is something not many students have had the opportunity to do. The parents have also loved this web 2.0 tool because they now have a keepsake.
The last assignment enabled me to delve into curriculum design. By critically thinking about how I could integrate a web 2.0 tool into my unit of works, I could visualise how I can implement it into my own classroom. The step by step analysis made me question effectiveness, conflicts, solutions, resources and student outcomes. During term 4 at our school we run weekly ‘interest groups’. Each teacher chooses a particular area they feel they have expertise in e.g. music, science experiments, art, ICT etc and the students get to choose what workshop they would like to attend for 7 weeks. I chose ICT and in particular – creating animations. Without the knowledge and skills I gained from this course, I would not have had the confidence to delve further into the animation process other than using powerpoint to create a stop-motion animation. We initially began with powerpoint, but as the students became more confident we then used the web 2.0 tool ‘Scratch’ which I explored while undertaking this course. The students loved it, with some of them even making their own interactive games and exploring it further at home.
ETL504- Teacher Librarian as Leader
Leadership is an area I initially felt was not necessary to cover in a teacher librarianship course. However the more I have studied, witnessed librarians in action and looked at job advertisements it became clear this is an important part of being a librarian. Employers want someone who is able to manage people, the volunteers and technicians, as well as someone who can manage a collection. Leadership as a role of the teacher librarian is written into the standards of professional excellence, instructing us to engage in school leadership, participate in key committees and build collaborative teams (standard 3.3).
During this subject I was exposed to a wide range of resources and understandings that prompted me to reflect and think critically on my initial understanding of the Teacher Librarian and their position/ role within a school. Prior to my studies in this subject my understanding of a leader was more aligned with a manager. Further development of my understanding of leadership involved the concept that leaders are people who are able to influence others.
From readings, I initially stipulated that good leaders make the effort to regularly engage with all members of the team. However, I now recognise that a good leader does much more than engage with the team – they listen intently (Minute MBA, 2012; Forsyth, 2009); have a deep understanding of themselves, of the strengths and weaknesses of each member and of the team as whole; they are effective in getting team members to share their vision and they learn with and from the team (Collay, 2011).
I really enjoyed exploring the discussions of mission and vision statements. My prior knowledge of these two concepts limited my ability to distinguish differences. However, I feel I now have a solid grasp of the difference between a vision statement and a mission statement. A vision statement is aspirational and audacious (Johnson, 2010; Virtualstrategist, 2008a); it is future-focused (Charles Sturt University (CSU), 2014). While a mission statement is about why we exist and our core function (Virtualstrategist, 2008b). It is operative and drives everything you do (Johnson, 2010).
It was during Module 6, Teacher Librarian (TL) as Leader, that I had my light bulb moment. Simon Sinek’s TED Talk introduced me to the idea “People don’t buy what you do. They buy why you do it” (Sinek, 2010). This concept took my understanding of the importance of having a vision worthy of following further. I can be an inspiring leader firstly if I have a vision worth following, but secondly I need to inspire in others why my vision is important; why I am creating the change process, for them to come along the journey with me.
I felt my lack of experience as a TL limited my contributions in the forums. Although I had been an avid viewer of the forums, I had been a limited contributor. I enjoyed exploring and creating a vision for a 21st century library. Valenza (2010), Sullivan (2011) and Hay (2014) presented many innovative and functional ways to create physical and virtual spaces in the library to cater for 21st century learners and establish the library as the central learning space in the school. I look forward to running my own library, where as TL, I can lead from the middle to create a library fitting of my vision. My vision for my future library is really hard to say at this point, due to my lack of experience and trial and error with what may or may not work. However I see it in the direction of becoming an integral part of the school that co-exists within the school community, not a separate entity.
ETL503- Resourcing the curriculum
The process of evaluating and developing a model collection was hugely beneficial as I have not worked in a school library before. I was unaware of many aspects about collection development and management; in fact I didn’t even realise these terms differed but Kennedy (2006) helped me understand the processes involved in developing and managing an effective school library collection. If I had to take over running a school library tomorrow I could use the models suggested by Hart (2003), Hughes-Hassell & Mancall (2005), and Kennedy (2006), to identify the strengths and weaknesses of the collection and to make informed decisions about the direction the library should go.
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One seemingly obviously lesson I learned was that every school’s collection must be shaped by a clear understanding of the school community it serves and the needs of this community (Waldron-Lamotte, M 2014). One cannot simply copy another library’s collection and hope for success; it needs to be developed with the context of the school and the teaching and learning needs taken into consideration (Hughes-Hassell & Mancall, 2005).
Another important lesson I learned was how quickly a collection can become irrelevant to its users. By reading Hart (2003) and conducting a collection evaluation of a sample collection, I realised that if this process is not conducted regularly and systematically, the collection cannot possibly meet the needs of its users. This brings me to the process of weeding. I now understand a large collection does not necessarily mean an effective collection, and as Baumbach & Miller (2006, p6) wrote, “Out of date information is never better than no information”. Regular weeding of the collection, closely related to the collection’s purposes and goals, is vital to ensure its relevance and efficient use (ALIA & ASLA, 2009; Waldron-Lamotte, M, 2015).
I also reflected on the growing implications a digital collection has for a school library. However challenging licensing and copyright issues may be, it is of vital importance that online and digital resources are included in a collection policy (Johnson, 2012; Waldron-Lamotte, M, 2014b). Other challenges digital resources present include tailoring the digital collection to meet specific needs of the school community, and providing access to information 24/7 by developing links between home and school (e-resources, 2010). A highlight of completing this course was discovering all the digital and online resources already available for access to all NSW Department of Education and Communities (DEC).
The issue of copyright compliance was something I had never given much thought of as a class teacher.
Image retrieved from http://nic.suzor.net/slides/images/Captain_copyright.jpg
The Information Sheets for schools on the Smartcopying website was useful in helping me understand this complicated area. I know that both the collection itself and the way it is used must comply with copyright laws and this must be mentioned in a collection policy to provide a level of protection (National Copyright Unit, nd). Prior to the evaluation and development of a collection model, I did not fully understand the role and responsibilities of a teacher librarian, especially around evaluating a collection, copyright, weeding and managing digital resources.
The most important thing I learnt was that the collection is a dynamic thing- it must continually change to meet the needs of its users. As such, the TL needs to know the curriculum, needs to know the needs of students and teachers and needs to be responsive to these needs in a timely manner.
ETL402- Literature in Education
I found this subject very interesting as well as very beneficial to my own teaching practice. I remember it assisted my programming for the first term of the school year as I was programming the stage two British Colonisation unit at the time, and one of the first assignments for this course was to source literature that would aide and enhance a unit of our choice.
Braxton (2008) states that “literacy through literature was the prime responsibility of the teacher-librarian” and I think this subject really captured this notion. This was a subject that allowed me to combine my love of reading and teaching all in one! It was really exciting to gather hard data that supported what I’d believed all along; that using stories in the classroom, or, more simply, using children’s stories and literature, or fiction to teach content or non-fiction was good practice. Indeed, using literature in the classroom can offer students “close, reflective, analytic study…while meeting the expectations of the … curriculum” (Unsworth, 2006).
This subject was a reminder of the multifaceted role of the TL. In particular, fiction advocate and Instructional Specialist. This Instructional Specialist is also an important reminder that the TL is essentially also still a teacher. As the fiction advocate, the TL is responsible for the materials selected for the school library that will instill the skills and love for reading. In particular, the materials will influence the students’ attitude to learning, knowledge and power of words (Gavin, Forbes, & Nagelkerke, 2011).
At our school, we run a program called Accelerated Literacy where we select a book to study for a term. Accelerated Literacy (AL) teaches spelling, grammar and vocabulary and also teaches the ways of thinking – the discourses, or cultural knowledge – that underpin what these mean. This knowledge is an essential part of being able to decode text and therefore succeed educationally. As a result of AL teaching, students gain control over how to put it all together. This is a very successful program and we are able to delve into many different topics and explore the world we live in. By undertaking this course, I suddenly realised, our school is already using literature to explore various topics, why not broaden that and use literature to enhance the learning outcomes and students’ understandings of topics and concepts in other KLAs as well. I discussed this with our TL as well as my Assistant Principal and at a staff meeting I put this idea forward to my fellow colleagues. We then attended a staff development afternoon where we got together with classroom teachers within our local area to discuss the new English curriculum. It was noted that the use of literature to teach other topics was highly valuable and there were many resources out there to support this. Since then the TL has provided each classroom with literature that will help support our KLA knowledge development each term. We have been able to explore key concepts at a deeper level and students will often make connections far greater with the characters in the story rather than just the key notes we discuss in class. It has been very successful and the school is looking to purchase more resources to continue this approach – particularly literature surrounding the topics and concepts of Asia, as this has been a new emphasis in the Australian Curriculum.
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This course has been wonderful, challenging and a complicated experience and it has certainly enriched my life and my classroom practice.The completion of this degree does not mark the end of my learning. In reflection I am more proactive in seeking, locating and trialing new technologies and ways of teaching. My motivation to implement and improve on my expertise has crossed over into many aspects of my life. Personally, I am now a more successful learner and teacher. I have a deeper awareness of ASLA’s Standards of Professional Excellence and the knowledge and skills required by TL and strive to achieve these standards within my own teaching practice. I exercise and improve on these skills continually. My skills at leading and interacting with my peers to support and provide professional development have strengthened my self-confidence and have resulted in improved results for my students. I am continuing to participate in professional networks to expand my knowledge and how to most effectively use it.
My view of the role of TL has changed during this course of study in that I now consider it as fundamentally a partnership, rather than limited to a support role. I have also come to realise that TLs must take a proactive leadership role in influencing innovations in e learning, pedagogy and integrating information literacy. Teacher librarians face many challenges in such a wide ranging role, and whilst not all the Standards of Professional Excellence (ALIA/ALSA, 2004) can be achieved at all times, and indeed some factors are beyond our control, ultimately, the role of the TL is provide a dynamic, flexible place where students are engaged in a variety of learning activities. Time and time again, all the reading I have done in the various subjects and my observations of the wider profession, point to the key understanding that the user, in this case the students and the broader school community, is at the heart of everything we do in school libraries. I know that when I do get a job as a TL, I will be collaborative, I will show initiative and I will work to consistently promote the school library, its resources the rich knowledge that a TL can bring to the school community.
This is a fantastic clip that cleary outlines the libraries of the past and highlights the future direction of our school libraries. Johnson, D. 2010, March 25. Libraries past – libraries future . Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7K-4ZF0x5ic
Forsyth, P. (2009). Understanding the process. Negotiation skills for rookies from rookie to expert in a week (pp. 11-30). London: Marshall Cavendish Business.
Gavin, M., Forbes, L., & Nagelkerke, B. (2011). 72276 Literature and information services for children and young people. Lower Hutt, NZ: The Open Polytechnic of New Zealand.
Hart, A. (2003). Collection analysis: powerful ways to collect, analyze, and present your data. In C. Andronik (Ed.), School Library Management (5th ed.) (pp. 88-91). Worthington, Ohio : Linworth.
Hay, L. (2014). Anatomy of an iCentre:In theory and practice. [Keynote address]. International Schools Librarian’s Knowledge Sharing Workshop. Jerudong international School, Brunei Darussalam, 21-22 February.
Herring, J. (2007). Teacher librarians and the school library. In S. Ferguson (Ed.), Libraries in the twenty-first century: Charting new directions in information (pp.27-42). Wagga Wagga, NSW: Centre for Information Studies, Charles Sturt University.
Herring, J. and Tarter, A. (2007). Progress in developing information literacy in a secondary school using the PLUS model. School Libraries in View, 23, 23-27.
Hughes-Hassell, S & Mancall, J. (2005). Collection management for youth: responding to the learners needs. Chicago: American Library Association.
Overview the library or information agency where you undertook your placement. Discuss FOUR of the following: the role of the library, users, services, collections, access provided to collections, use of technology, staffing and management.
From the 29th June to the 10th July, I completed my placement with the Gosford City Council Libraries. The City Council Library consists of several different branches that all provide various services as well as the traditional roles of the library. The branches include: Gosford, Kincumber, Umina, Woy Woy, Wyoming, Erina, Kariong and the Mooney Mooney Community Library. I was able to visit most libraries during my practicum, however I spent the majority of my time at the Kincumber branch.
The Role of the Library
It is a public library and serves a population of approximately 321,500, spread over 1767 square kilometres. The Council states the following on their website regarding their overall mission and vision:
Gosford City Council is committed to growing our city today, while also looking after the needs of our community in the future.
Therefore, the library is aiming to provide quality library services to their community, responsive to the needs of that community. Library membership is free to anyone who lives, works or goes to school in the Central Coast district. I joined the library on my second day, the services offered are too good to miss out on.
The library consists of eight branches that work very well together. All locations are embracing a change in the role of the library from a place that houses resources and materials, to a space for the community – made possible through an increase in multipurpose rooms and spaces in the library including inviting courtyards and vibrant children’s sections. The Gosford, Erina and Kincumber branch are the busiest out of all of them, I think this has a lot to do with their location and size.
Besides its physical locations and collections, the library also plays a major role in community outreach with a priority on equitable access for all community members through a home service program for the elderly, book mobile and children’s programs such as Story Time and Baby time promoting early childhood literacy, among others. Also throughout the holiday period, the library also offers holiday children’s programs. They connect with local community members and groups and have them come to the libraries and run workshops along with library staff. Whilst on practicum I was involved in the Aboriginal art workshop that was held for NAIDOC week which was amazing and the kids really enjoyed it. They run the programs on a rotating roster around most of the libraries. Parents need to book prior to participating to ensure there is enough materials and space available.
The library provides a variety of services to members. These include:
Storytime – aims to introduce children to the joys of literature and language through story, poetry, puppetry and felt stories, fingerplays and rhymes, songs and craft. It is recommended for children aged 3 to 5 years.
Babytime or Sing, Read and Rhyme – is a special program for babies, and aims to introduce the joy of books and early literacy skills to babies and their carers.
Two to Three – What about me? – is a program for toddlers 2 to 3 years of age. This early literacy program builds on the concepts of Sing, Read and Rhyme and introduces a greater range of theme based songs, books and activities. This program is only available at the Erina branch.
Children’s programmes after school – Young adult book club at Gosford library. It is on 1 day a week for 1 hour. There is an occasional theme, they discuss books, play board games etc The age range is 12 to 18 years old. They will also hold parties and social nights such as a superhero/ zombie and pizza night where the members get dressed up and have a great time.
School holiday activities – science workshops, art workshops, Ocean Care workshops
Printing (black and white and colour), and scanning facilities. There is a small cost associated with these, though scanning to a USB is free
Items can be reserved for a small fee
Interlibrary loans are available, there are conditions on when an item will be requested from another library
Justice of the Peace services
Meeting room hire
Virtual Library – is a gateway to a world of print and electronic resources for education, information and recreation. It allows members to view the catalogue, provides a range of research databases and provides a wide range of e-books that members can borrow after they have downloaded the Overdrive App on their electronic device.
Home Library Service – this is for elderly people who are house bound. They register with the library and are then interviewed. During the interviewing process they are asked about their preferred reading material e.g. large print, audio books, mp3 etc. They are then asked about their favourite authors, genres, and also how many fiction and non-fiction titles they would like. Library branches are assigned particular people that are within their area. They are then put on a four week cycle as there are so many people to provide this service to. For example in week 1 there might be 5 people that Kincumber has to cater and pick books for. Those books are chosen, scanned in and then bagged labelled with the week and the person’s name. The home library service courier who is based at the Woy Woy branch comes and collects the bags for that particular week on a particular day and delivers the books. The courier also collects the bags that the person has previously had from their home and then drops them off to another branch so that the collection is being shared around amongst the different branches.
Book Mobile – this service is a fantastic way of getting out into the community and is very much appreciated, particularly by the retirees. The book mobile visits specific locations on specific days (it runs on a 2 week cycle). It also caters for primary schools on the Mountain as they have very small libraries and generally only have a librarian at their school one day a week. The book mobile is a large van with a great range of different materials for community members to borrow. This is such a great service, however sadly not many people use it. There was a few stops that we made and waited for an hour with only 1 person stop by.
All age groups are catered for in some way.
The Library branches have a large and diverse floating collection, meaning that it circulates throughout the branches so that its users has a wide variety of resources and material to choose from. The collection has been changing in recent years to reflect the changing needs of its users. The library houses a large print collection consisting of adult, paperback fiction, non-fiction, periodicals, historical texts. The fiction and non-fiction collections are collected through a patron-driven collecting policy and weeded to maintain its relevancy and preserve space. The patron-driven collection policy is proving to be very successful in collecting materials the users directly want to read and has resulted in good collection circulation even as some users turn to electronic materials.
The library also collects for its local history collection, which is housed only at the Gosford branch. Some of the collection is currently being cataloged and unfortunately I wasn’t able to see how this process works. Nevertheless, it is amazing to discover what my local library holds that is specific to the area. This collection has been very popular with students over the past years, particularly for those completing their HSC in Geography and Graphic Design. Many students come to see old maps and plans of buildings within the area. The Gosford branch also has the largest reference collection out of all the branches.
The library’s non-print collections include audio CD, audiobook and DVDs. The audiobooks are largely popular with the elderly and are often sourced for the book mobile and the Home Library Service. However, due to the digital age and more users having access to iPads, e-readers etc, the app Overdrive has become increasingly popular. Through the City Council website, users can access and borrow e-books, audiobooks etc allowing more users to access the libraries collections. Therefore, there has been a slight decline in the physical collection being borrowed.
Access Provided to the Collection
As mentioned above, the library has a floating collection that circulates between the different branches. This works extremely well and the users appreciate the wide range of material that is made available to them, every time you walk into a library there may be something new on the shelf that has come from one of the other branches.
Members can also request to have a certain resource reserved and transferred from another library. This is at no cost to the member, however, if the book or resource is already reserved for another member and they wish to reserve it after them, there is a $3 fee that applies. The staff members regularly check the “pulls list” which is a feature in their library management system ‘LIBERO’. The pulls list shows staff the resources requested from their branch, they are collected from the shelf and put into the correct basket for the courier to collect and deliver which happens every day around noon. Members can expect to have their resource delivered within 2 business days.
Due to the many services the Council libraries offer, members are able to adequately access the collection in a range of avenues. As mentioned above the Home Library Service is provided to users who are unable to leave their home. The book mobile travels to many locations, including several retirement homes and villages, those members are also able to request particular resources that may not be available on the bus at that point in time.
The digital age has enabled even greater access for members at home. As mentioned above, by accessing the Council’s website and downloading the Overdrive app, members can access the digital collection with ease. Overall, the Gosford City Council libraries do a wonderful job in providing easy, efficient access to the collection for all members.
How effectively do you feel the library meets the needs of its users?
The libraries of the Gosford City Council are primarily a resource for the people of the area, offering library services to their local community. The library offers a wide array of services and an extensive collection of items. Of great value, are the knowledgeable staff, who are available to assist with enquiries.
At the circulation desk, library members have enough enquiries to keep desk staff very busy. During my time on the desk, I observed and assisted a number of these:
Located junior fiction for younger members.The junior fiction has a number of different sections, and navigating those can be difficult
Located a DVD series for a senior patron
Assistance was given in connecting devices to the wifi, sometimes this was as simple as handing over the passcode, other times, more help was needed (and given)
Items were reserved
Scanning the pages of a resume and job application letter and saving to USB
The introduction of Collection HQ is very exciting for the Gosford City Council libraries and is in the trial stage. It is the world’s leading collection performance improvement solution which is revolutionizing the way many public libraries select, manage and promote their collections. It is a proven product based on our powerful Evidence Based Stock Management(EBSM). Uniquely, collectionHQ provides guidance on what action to take to improve the performance of your collection. Basically, it will assist the libraries in deciphering what to keep and what to remove when wedding, it will also analyse the collection and see what part of the collection circulates in which branch more efficiently. It will assist support services with selecting new titles to add to the collection by identifying popular authors and types of material e.g. audiobooks, DVDs etc. This in turn will ultimately be of enormous benefit to the libraries as they will be able to meet the needs of their users with greater accuracy.
Although the primary customers are the people of the Gosford council area, out of area patrons can (and do) join. Out of state members often join for the extensive e-book collection on Overdrive. New titles are purchased regularly. The library’s extensive graphic novel collection is an example of a collection that was developed specifically from user requests and is now a widely circulating collection.
The library’s programming is also contributing to meet the needs of the users. The children’s programming continues to be well attended across all of the branches and is becoming increasingly popular as the word about these programs spread.
Lastly, the library services are doing well to serve the whole community, such as the library home service, outreach services, tech services, and online services. It is successfully striving to meet the needs of the users through listening and acting on what they hear. Users are the priority of the library and the library is willing to adapt to be able to meet the users’ needs as best as it can.
Discuss the activities you were involved in while on placement and reflect upon what you have learnt and gained from these experiences.
Shelf Tidy – carried out for 30 minutes each day as a group, a section of the library is targeted, and made orderly. Some areas are more challenging than others. For example, the children’s sections required many items to be moved from one place to another to ensure they were orderly, while in large print only one or two titles per bay needed to be reshelved. Keeping the shelves tidy is important for improved access to the collection. It is not enough to have an excellent catalogue system, the physical library must maintain order also.
Circulation desk – dealing with customer enquiries. The majority of these queries were for assistance with the computers and printers.
Searching for reserve titles on the shelves – there is a list printed of titles on reserve, and the shelves are searched regularly for those items.
Choosing books from the overdrive catalogue – I assisted an elderly member to download the app onto her electronic device and then demonstrated how the app worked. She was extremely pleased and very excited that she could now borrow books from home rather than coming into the library all of the time as it is becoming more difficult for her to catch public transport.
Story time and Baby time– a group of between 10 and 30 children meet in the library each week for singing, stories and craft. I helped with this, and read one of the stories to the children.
Home Library Service – I spent a day with Mary, the Home Librarian who described her role to me. The service provides books, physical, electronic and audio to elderly, or infirm patrons, in the Gosford Council area. It was a great experience to get out and about and meet the locals who really appreciate this service.
Book Mobile – I spent a day with Cathy, driving around to the 6 locations for the day meeting more locals.
Aboriginal Art Workshop – because my placement took place during the school holidays, there were various kids programs running, one of them being the Aboriginal Art Workshop in respect to NAIDOC week. I observed the local Aboriginal people talk to the kids and demonstrate how Aboriginal art is created and inspired. I then took lots of photos for the website of the kids artworks and the whole process.
Science Experiments – Due to a new staff member being extremely passionate about Science, all of the library branches had agreed to run a Science week every couple of months in place of story time. I spent some time researching several different science experiments that they could do with the children. I then designed a publisher document that was printed and laminated to be used by staff members which gave them step by step instructions on how to do the experiment.
The many behind the scenes activities were extremely helpful and eye opening as they highlighted how multi-tasked a teacher librarian must be to perform the tasks of many without the benefit of relegating to specialists as a large public library can do.
Reflect on the value of the placement experience in your development as a teacher librarian and a member of the wider library and information profession.
My time spent at the many branches of Gosford City Council Libraries was an invaluable experience that has given me knowledge, information, and more importantly inspiration for my future as a teacher librarian. The differences and similarities I had prejudged before commencing the placement between a school and public library were blurred – the similarities merely fitted to different scales between a school and public library, whether in the number of staff keeping it functioning, type and amount of programming, library promotion, use of space, or collaborative efforts.
Firstly, I realised a teacher librarian has to wear many hats to perform the tasks of many at a large public library. My placement allowed me to speak with and job shadow many different types of information professionals that make up the public library who were highly specialised to their job area and were experts in their fields. This made me realise as a teacher librarian we must perform all of these tasks ourselves, often without any help and highlighted that no part of a school library can be neglected if it is to function successfully for the school and students.
Secondly, my placement allowed me to see different types of programming, many of which I will take with me as ideas for my own future school library. The public library was successfully attaching itself onto what was popular and using it as a way to bring people into the library or to promote reading and information skills. While a school library’s responsibility is to enhance and support the curriculum, it is also there to promote a love of reading and present itself as a space that belongs to the students as much as it does the staff. The programming I witnessed at the libraries would be an excellent addition to the culture of a school. Alternatively, I am leaving my placement with a better knowledge of what a public library can offer a school and its students in terms of after school programs, resources, field trip opportunities, and more. As a teacher librarian, and thus member of the wider information profession, I endeavour to make use of all available information agencies for my future school as well as help teachers connect with these available resources.
Finally, this placement has solidified the importance communication and collaboration play in the functioning of a library and its wider community. A simple way the libraries did this was through a daily morning meeting where staff would communicate what was happening that day, upcoming events, or ask for feedback and collaboration on potential ideas. This translated for me into the school environment the importance of having teachers know about and involved in the workings of the school library and equally the library’s involvement in the classroom. Communication of what the library can contribute to the classroom, how the library can be an extension of the classroom, and how classrooms can contribute to the library are paramount to sustaining its relevance in the school. While a daily morning meeting with school staff like that of the public library is not usually held in a school setting, the effect can be emulated through regular email feeds to teachers on the happenings of the library and collaborative ideas, unstructured conversations with pods of staff, and through monthly staff meetings.
I thoroughly enjoyed my placement at the many branches of Gosford City Council Libraries and feel I learnt a great deal about the workings of a public library, and also how school libraries and public libraries fit into the wider information profession with the mutual purpose of serving their users’ information needs, whatever those needs may be.
The State Library of NSW was an extremely valuable visit. I really enjoyed the Mitchell Library, the Shakespeare Room and learning about their Indigenous and Colonial Collections. I was astounded to learn that the libraries budget is in the billions. No wonder they are such a state of the art library. I was also surprised to learn that the library is not a traditional lending library but more of a repository that aims to provide learning materials for all people in NSW mostly through interlibrary loan. Visiting the State Library of NSW was a valuable experience because it has shown me where my degree can also take me career wise. I still wish to be a teacher librarian but the visit has made me think about many library positions I had never considered before.
The State Library of NSW strengths are its budget, its unique collections, its shift in staffing towards educators and its continued vision to document Australian heritage now and into the future. The State Library of NSW had very little weaknesses but one major one would be job cuts. It’s scary to think that with such a big budget library positions are still being lost. The fact that the libraries insurance premiums are so high has certainly attributed to this. I found it fascinating to learn that the state library is unable to cull their old/unused stock which can also be classed as a weakness. Instead of culling their material it is moved offsite and stored in a warehouse at Moorebank. Not being able to cull the collection means that the library must be careful about the types of items they acquire, as they will be holding onto what they collect forever.
University of NSW
The University of NSW library really opened my eyes to what goes on behind the scenes, as well as the effort the librarians put in to assisting their clients. This was an experience that I really valued because only four years ago, I was at university and never once did I think about the many jobs the librarians have to complete in order to help us attain success. The opening tour gave me a nice clear picture of what was on offer at the UNSW Library, how things were set up and an idea of how staff would orientate new students to their campus. The scale of the job for staff in moving and reorganising the collection was scary! The librarians provided some really relevant information including the alignment of all loans to 6 week terms (with some “on hold” conditions) and a focus on automating borrowing giving staff additional time to provide more customised learning support to students.
I found it very interesting that the library constantly has to prove its worth constantly so that they are valued by each of the schools that exist within the library. Because I am a Primary Teacher hoping to one day become a teacher librarian, this is some what relatable, but not to the extent that the university librarians have to go to. Yes as a teacher librarian you are battling with the misconception that you are just an RFF teacher, but to think that if you don’t prove your worth the budget could be cut further and librarians are often the first to go is a real eye opener. The way in which they address their client base with a top down approach was also fascinating. The librarians will often prioritise assisting the academics before the undergraduates. Yes I can understand and see their point that the academics do the research that feed the undergraduate degrees, however when looking at it from an undergraduates point of view, I would think it could be sometimes frustrating as you are trying so hard to get your mind around study and assignments and then the stress of trying to complete a university requirement with little evidential support because an academic may need it.The University of NSW is the only university across NSW that set a compulsory information literacy quiz ‘Alyse’ for their undergraduate students that they must complete before they are allowed to continue with their course. I think that this is a great idea as students really need to understand it if they are to be successful in their course.
Day Two: The Parliamentary Library of NSW
The resounding element of the NSW Parliamentary Library was the copyright conditions they operate under – how amazing to be able to legally copy absolutely anything (given, of course, that it serves the purpose of assisting a member of Parliament). This allows them to maintain an amazing electronic database of articles from serials for easy access and “on demand” access.
This library is only open to people that work at Parliament House. This included accredited Press who work at Parliament. The way in which the library staff has to address their client base was also interesting. There is a particular etiquette that they must follow including addressing them by Mr or Mrs regardless of whether or not the members of parliament ask them to just call them by their first name. Confidentiality is required by the library as they are often requested to research material for different political parties and can’t tell the other party what they are researching.
They offer a news clipping service. The way in which they select what they collect and keep I found extremely interesting. The library staff has to be up to date with what is happening with in NSW consistently in relation to any parliamentary member. They scour the newspapers for relevant clippings and decide (by their own judgment) what should be kept or discarded. They do not keep any clippings that are of federal concern however there are times where it is a grey area and professional judgment is required. I would feel a huge sense of responsibility if I was in one of these roles as there could come a time when a particular news clipping is required but was discarded due to lack of knowledge of state events. In comparison to my own course and working towards becoming a teacher librarian, selecting resources would be a collaborative effort and would also require up to date knowledge on the current syllabus and school requirements, but not as near as demanding as that of the Parliamentary library.
This is a legal deposit library so they get everything that is published in NSW. Most of the things they get is kept, what they don’t want they send to the State Library and they discard it for them. (It was good to get this explained because I had didn’t know what that meant when I heard the term at the State Library).
Having been so focused throughout my Masters course on just teacher librarianship, I had never considered what other libraries or even resource facilities there were out there let alone an entire space dedicated to archives. Yes I know, I have lived a very sheltered life. NIDA is a not for profit company which means that its funding consist of donations however the Commonwealth does provide 50%.
At the NIDA archives there is one permanent member of staff, a qualified archivist and several volunteers that help to run the archives warehouse. With such a range of resources from photographs to set models, it is not well protected and runs the risk of great loss as it is within a warehouse that has no sprinklers and I full of extremely flammable costumes.
The location of the archives is also a hurtle as it is in Alexandria when the school itself is in Kensington, therefore students and staff need to travel a great distance to be able to make use of the archives. Therefore it is not ideal and would prove difficult to promote the effective use and worth of the archives as some students would see it as a hassle to make the journey. Whereas if it was right next door, I would think it would be quite a popular destination because once you are there and see what NIDA archives has to offer, it is definitely worth it.
Promoting the value of the archives is done through feature articles that are written by the archivist herself. The main clients are the general staff, researchers, historians and teachers. However, NIDA archives are not able to share many of the photographs because they need to be given permission from the people themselves and often that is hard as there are many photographs with a large group of people and trying to track to every single person can be difficult. They do loan their archives to museums, but again cab be restricted in what they loan due to permission needed.
This visit was definitely valuable to me as I was able to get an insight into something I had never really thought about previously. It was interesting when making comparisons to school libraries as they do not consist of archives, but now I am aware that inter library loans of archives or even exhibitions that are on offer with archives from places such as NIDA is something to consider. It would be an insightful and interesting experience for the students I teach.
Day Three: Jessie Street Library
Passion would be the first word that comes to mind when asked to describe the Jessie Street National Women’s Library. The women that run this library certainly believe in the library’s purpose and pursue it with passion. The library is dedicated to the preservation of Australian women’s work, words and history. It was eye opening to learn that every librarian within the organisation is unpaid and simply volunteers their services. Despite being volunteers their collection development policy is updated every two years and consistently adhered to. They consider themselves as a repository more so than a library and look for unique material for women, by women and about women. A fascinating fact that I learnt about this library is that they have no government funding and are completely self-funded. Their funding is raised through bequests, donations, lifetime memberships and monthly and annual fundraising. This means that they do not have to answer to any government body and are free to run the library as they choose, collecting what they please.
The Jessie Street National Women’s Library’s strengths are that it is run by a passionate and enthusiastic team, it is also self-funded and therefore has no restrictions placed upon it in terms of collection acquisition and development. The Jessie Street National Women’s Library’s major weakness is continuity. Being run by volunteers means that continuity can be broken ie. jobs can take longer to do because the staff need to be trusted, dependable and consistent in their attendance and work skills. During the study visit I was surprised to learn that the library is not currently collecting information about today’s women from any digital platforms. This I believe is largely due to the age of volunteers, who are all of retirement age, but also because the volunteers seemed to dismiss the importance of such platforms. By not collecting this information it means in future years to come that a large chunk of feminist history will be lost.
Australian Film Television and Radio School
The Jerzy Toeplitz Library at the Australian Film Television and Radio School was a rewarding visit. The library collection contains education and research resources related to the screen arts and broadcast sectors. The library is certainly state of the art with database services, e-reserve services, streamed videos and more. The library’s collection consists of more than 12,000 DVD’s/Blu-ray’s and over 23,000 books. The library did not provide budget figures but it did not seem to be short on funding especially when I learnt that the library sends users an SMS if they have any outstanding loans rather than an email. The library also receives some government funding which means that the library is able to be used by the public but the library does restrict the type of borrowing the public can do. It was interesting to learn that each week a selection of recently acquired resources goes on display in the library and that a list of newly acquired titles is emailed to staff and students to keep them up to date on new acquisitions.
The Jerzy Toeplitz Library at the Australian Film Television and Radio School’s strengths are that they train their users in information seeking skills and teach students to evaluate the authority of the information they are using. Another strength of the library is that it collects many hard to find documentary’s and short films required by many of its users. The Jerzy Toeplitz Library at the Australian Film Television and Radio School did not seem to have any obvious weaknesses, other than its broadband stream can be temperamental. Whilst visiting the library it was great to see that the librarians not only supported their students in their research/study but that they also felt that in some small way they had helped their students to become successful in their chosen fields of television or radio. It was also interesting to learn that most student films made at AFTRS are available to borrow or view in the library.
Day Four: The University of Newcastle (Ourimbah Campus) and TAFE
Because I was unable to attend the last day, Sigrid said that I could just visit my local TAFE library and write a reflection based on that. So I visited the University of Newcastle (Ourimbah Campus) and TAFE. The Ourimbah University and TAFE Library’s strengths are that it aims to make itself invaluable to users. Its staff is well informed and extremely approachable. It meets the needs of several clients ranging from academics to TAFE students, so their wealth of knowledge and resources is quite broad. The library also supports a wide collection as is dictated by the current subjects offered by both the university and the TAFE. However, with the digitisation of resources becoming very relevant, the collection is becoming very much consisted of e-Books and the physical collection that they hold is shrinking. The layout of the library is also changing as it is evolving from book shelves to open spaces with lounges for its students to enjoy whilst connecting to the digital world.
This visit gave a very detailed analysis of the university and TAFE’s facilities, student support focus and specialist services. During the visit it was evident that the library’s main aim is to support their students. There one-on-one student support services, their English reading groups and their lunch time drop in sessions are a few ways the library does this. After a tour of the premises I realised just how blessed the both the university and TAFE was to have such a large amount of space. All areas were certainly put to good use. There were quiet areas, beanbag rest areas, jigsaw puzzles, chess, digital gaming spaces and more.
Over the four days of the study visit I have learnt that many of the above libraries share a common theme, they all aim to preserve their collection/history for future use. Whilst some of the libraries like AFTRS and TAFE believe it is important to acquire the latest and most up-to-date resources others like the State Library see the importance of preserving historical resources. In this digital age it was also interesting to note that many of the libraries still viewed books as an essential part of their library collection, even though many books in a variety of libraries were being discarded in favour of the digitised version. I loved seeing firsthand how the specialist Libraries fought to fiercely protect the items in their collection that supported their libraries uniqueness/niche in the library market. It was also no surprise to see that the Dewey Decimal Classification System was predominantly used throughout all of the libraries. However it is interesting to note that many libraries still classified to the needs of their own individual collections.
The study visit has made me more aware of the history of particular collections and the passion of those who maintain them. It has opened my eyes to what is similar and contrastingly different in each information institution and has highlighted the practices of libraries in terms of their information access. It has also opened my eyes to a variety of library jobs and library’s that I never knew existed in Sydney. Whilst I have not changed my mind and still wish to be a teacher librarian just knowing that other job opportunities can come out of finishing my degree is promising. I am sure some students left the study visit feeling low and wondering if they will even have a job at the end of this degree, especially as so many librarians talked of job losses and budget cuts. However I left feeling inspired in the hope that these historical institutions and the role of the librarian will live on for many years to come.
Much of what we teach in schools is concerned with facts. Literature is concerned with feelings and quality of life, but Literature is also a rich engaging art form which can teach concepts and skills throughout all curricular areas.
Literature is a growing thing, reflecting the social realisms of a developing and increasingly demanding world. More recently the impact of technology has enhanced the access to a rich literary experience, encouraging a more positive attitude to the significant opportunities new technologies offer for reshaping the way in which narrative for children is conceived and presented, so that it continues its role of constructing meaning in their lives.
Children’s literature today encompasses a vast range of genre, form and media which takes the reader on an imaginative excursion, reflecting, capturing, finding meaning and even creating meaning, in relation to the world we live in. Works of children’s literature are therefore changing, in tune with what our world is and is becoming. The reader’s relationship to text and the texts themselves have also been clearly expanded, and new opportunities such as phone and tablet apps exist in children’s literature to engage with the powerful images and dramatic forms of multimedia and the Internet. Literature circles, book clubs, and a range of Web.2 technologies encourage a deeper social engagement with literature thereby allowing readers to enjoy and appreciate a book.
Winch (2006, p. 398) defines literature as “a body of writing – fictional and factual – includes novels, poetry, drama, biographies and autobiographies”. Winch (2006, p. 398) states that children’s literature is “literature that is usually written by adults, for children and to children”. Children’s literature historically aimed to teach, socialise and acculturate about morals, religion and education while today they tend to entertain and teach children about social issues and ideas (Winch, 2006, p. 398).
Is distinguished by its audience, with childhood being a legally defined period from birth to eighteen years.
Encompasses a vast range of genre, form and media.
Is finding and creating meaning in relation to the world we live in.
Is changing in tune with what our world is, and is becoming.
Uses new opportunities like phone and tablet apps to engage with the powerful images and dramatic forms of multimedia and the Internet.
A great variety and growing richness, evident in the literary works intended to have children as their primary audience.
Aids the development of cognition when human minds rely on stories and on story architecture as the primary roadmap for understanding, making sense of, remembering, and planning our lives.
Is engaging in a great deal of interesting and comprehensible reading.
Can provide an interpretation of the world that children need for developing cultural literacy.
Also helps to develop a sense of national identity and extends children’s cultural boundaries.
Explores possibilities and allows us to ask ‘what if’ questions, develops children’s imagination and helps them consider nature, people, experiences and ideas in new ways.As a teacher Haven’s chapter is so inspiring and reaffirming:
Knowing the structure of stories improves comprehension and information delivered in a story structure is easier for students to comprehend increases informational memory and recall (Haven, 2007, p. 91 & 97).
As humans, we think, live and learn through stories (Haven, 2007, p. 104)
Curriculum content is more effectively and better when it is presented within the context of a story structure (Haven, 2007, p. 104).
Using a story and story structure enhances the creation of meaning (Haven, 2007, p. 104).
Haven (2007, p. 105) quotes Mahl-Madrona’s (2005) conclusion that “Story provides the dominant frame for organising experience and for creating meaning out of experience. …Stories provides the dominant frame for organising experience and for creating meaning out of experience.” While Drew (2005) states that “Stories provide a template for character and self-development and they also provide a model through which to approach life.” (Haven, 2007, p. 103)
Haven (2007, p. 106) quotes the following conclusion by Barbrow et al. (2005) “Stories provide a way to make sense of experience. Stories provide particularly important ways of understanding when unexpected, or uncertain experiences challenge what had previously been taken for granted.” The children we teach go through so much as such a young age from parents in jail, to abusive relationships, to terminal illness of their friends or themselves.
Haven (2007, p. 108) writes that stories can create “enthusiasm and a sense of belonging and community” so while stories are valuable from an educators perspective as teachers we are also invested in the emotional health of our students. In this sense stories can be used as a tool to help improve emotional health and social issues.
If I cannot see the point or reason for learning something I lack motivation. To increase learning and interest use stories to “create context and relevance for new” lessons (Haven, 2007, p. 109).
According to Haven (2007, p. 112) “stories and storytelling effectively communicate facts, concepts, beliefs, values, and other tacit knowledge.” While storytelling also enhances literacy learning (Haven, 2007, p. 113).
How the Library can Assist
From a teachers perspective I see children who perceive reading to be just something they ‘have’ to do. They don’t find it enjoyable and they tend to read without meaning, reflection or interaction. They are as Zipes (2009, p. 30) terms it ‘misreading’: missing meaning which prevents effective comprehension. We need to ensure that our students have at least one adult in their lives that values literature for enjoyment and discovery, by sharing our love of stories and the fun, excitement and discussions that they inspire. We need to teach students that the literature is not simply about ‘curriculum’ learning it is also about learning and discovering ourselves and those around us.
For teacher librarians (TL’s) it is the reconceptualisation of the audience for children’s literature, and the extraordinary growth, great variety, and growing richness evident in the literary works intended to have children as their primary audience. The teacher librarian can increase and facilitate children’s engagement in reading. TL’s are well placed to provide access to a diverse and appropriate range of children’s literature, in many formats (digital & print), to create opportunities for children to emotionally engage with narrative, to work with teachers to develop protracted and reflective reading practices (Zipes, 2009, p. 42) and to encourage literature appreciation.
It is important for TL’s to promote the VALUE of reading children’s literature. It is the responsibility of the TL to make reading literature meaningful to teachers, curriculum leaders and students. TL’s are important advocates for embedding literature in curriculum and supporting a whole language approach (Church, 1994) to teaching and learning. So how can the TL can effectively use these collections to diversify curriculum and support literary learning? TL’s collaborate with teachers to design & implement curriculum programs that use literature to build knowledge, promote critical thinking, and develop reading practices that support transliteracy (Gordon, 2011).
The TL has many roles that can assist in the implementation of a literary program. They are:
A teacher and educator involved in programming, teaching and assessing and is responsible for literacy and information literacy skills development and the promotion of literature. Teacher librarians, as collaborative teaching partners, support teaching and learning programs in information literacy, recognising that students need to be inspired, challenged and empowered with new knowledge.
A resource manager who develops the school collection to suit the needs of teachers and students and manages both the physical and virtual environment. Gibbons (2013) states that ‘a good school library supplements the prescribed curriculum with that other curriculum, the world of favourite books, comics, DVDs and websites’.
An information specialist who makes information available for students and teachers. ‘Eventhough inquiry is a natural process for children, TLs need to help students with information retrieval through questioning and scaffolding.’ (Lupton, 2012)
A collaborator who is a partner in curriculum planning and design, a resource creator who re-shapes tasks to suit the learners. Purcell (2010) discussed TLs being ‘instructional partners’, helping teachers develop the curriculum further.
A leader who leads by example. eg. Implementing a guided inquiry approach to learning.
It is through these roles and the knowledge that the TL possesses that is greatly beneficial to student achievement within our school.
Below is an exemplar program that has been written to highlight how children’s fiction can be used to enhance the curriculum through literary learning.
Stage 3 Asia and Australia’s Engagement with Asia
Curriculum Area / Learning Outcomes
Teaching and Learning Strategies
The Role of the TL
EN3-3A Analyse and evaluate the way that inference is used in a text to build understanding in imaginative texts.
EN3-3A Analyse how text structures and language features work together to meet the purpose of a text.
EN3-7C Think critically about aspects of texts such as ideas and events.
EN3-8D Identify aspects of literary texts that convey details or information about particular social, cultural and historical contexts.
EN3-8D Recognise how the use of language and visual features can depict cultural assumptions in texts.
TL reads the story, A Ghost in my Suitcase, by Gabrielle Wang.
TS= Discuss the important aspects of the story and the TL highlights the different cultural aspects within the story.
· Make a list of all the Chinese customs we learn from the novel e.g.
o white dresses are worn at funerals, not weddings (p3)
o the wearing of straw slippers in the house (p14)
Celeste’s mother maintains a number of Chinese customs at home in Australia. As a result, Celeste finds it quite easy to stay with her grandmother in China.
TS= Make a list of any similarities between Celeste’s life in Australia and her Por Por’s life in China.
· Why do many migrants maintain their native customs in their new country?
TS/LS= Survey any students from migrant families to discover what customs their families have maintained since migrating to Australia.
Celeste is constantly surprised on the bus trip to the Isle of Clouds (pp49-
TS/LS= Make a list of all of the surprising aspects of her journey.
· What does this reveal about the economy and lifestyle in China as compared to Australia?
· What is the significance of the white crane that is on the back of the talisman Ting Ting gives to Celeste?
TS/LS= TL informs students that they will take part in a webquest. Before doing so, TL sets clear guidelines and models the inquiry process.
· What other traditions and beliefs does the Chinese culture have?
LS= Students use the information sourced to create a powerpoint presentation on what they have learnt about the Chinese Culture.
Students return to share their findings with the class. TL assesses the students inquiry skills as students must state their reasons for using that source found in the webquest – not just because it was there.
Novel: A Ghost in My Suitcase by Gabrielle Wang
Wang, G. (2009). A ghost in my suitcase. Camberwell, Vic.: Penguin Group (Australia). (Appendix 1)
Inquiry skills are used by human beings worldwide in everyday life. As teachers, it is our knowledge of children and how they learn that determines how we teach the acquisition of information and inquiry skills. Teacher librarians, as collaborative teaching partners, support teaching and learning programs in information literacy, recognising that students need to be inspired, challenged and empowered with new knowledge. Herring (2007) states that, ‘one of the key elements in a library mission statement relates to the development of information literate students.’ It is with guidance from the teacher librarian that students can become competent ‘locaters, selectors, analysers, organisers and users of information’ (Ryan & Capra 2001). The Australian Library and Information Association (ALIA) and Australian School Library Association’s (ASLA) Statement on Teacher Librarian (TL) Qualifications (2009) highlights the dual role of the TL as an educator and an information manager. This dual purpose can be clearly demonstrated when examining the TL’s role in implementing a Guided Inquiry approach.
Kuhlthau, Maniotes & Caspari (2007) define Guided Inquiry (GI) as, ‘an integrated unit of inquiry planned and guided by an instructional team of a school librarian and teachers, together allowing students to gain deeper understandings of subject area curriculum content and information literacy concepts….”
When using webquests students will use information literacy skills to locate, access, select, compare and evaluate a range of website information sources, by working independently and using an iterative (going back and reassessing) process when refining, organising and managing their findings for presentation (Valenza, 2004, pp. 38, 41). They will demonstrate digital literacy skills by using key words, topic areas, or databases as search strategies, critical thinking skills to evaluate and interpret sources for relevancy, reliability, bias, points of view, authority and purpose, besides literacy skills when note-taking, organising, and presenting their research findings as a PowerPoint Presentation for assessment (ACARA, 2015).
Therefore the role of the TL throughout this lesson is to guide students through inquiry learning by utilising the webquest as a platform to do so.
EN3-5B Analyse strategies that authors use to influence readers.
EN3-8D Recognise how the use of language and visual features can depict cultural assumptions in texts.
EN3-8D Recognise that ideas in literary texts can be conveyed from different viewpoints, which can lead to different kinds of interpretations and responses.
Similarities and Differences – Japan and Australia
TL reads the picture book, Photographs in the Mud.
TS/LS= Students explore and analyse how the author and illustrator have created the two characters through the written and visual techniques. Illustrations give an insight into the characters’ cultural values and attitudes towards war.
TS/ LS= TL displays pages 1 and 3. TL promotes critical literacy and prompts students analyse the similarities and differences between the two characters and their respective cultures.
TS= TL focuses on pages 22-24 (excerpt) ‘I don’t know what you’re saying mate’ Jack muttered, ‘but you don’t sound like one of the vicious Japs you’ve been telling us about’… Hoshi didn’t understand the words but just as he loved his own family, he knew that this Australian soldier loved the woman in the photograph.
TS/LS= The TL promotes critical analysis of the dialogue as students explore how it represents characters’ perceptions of each other and how these perceptions change once they discover a common value.
TS= The TL introduces the web 2.0 tool Glogster.
LS= Students create a Glogster poster based on the similarities and differences between the two characters Jack and Hoshi. Students must also consider the different cultural values and beliefs of the characters.
LS= Students then share their posters with the class. TL assesses student’s critical thinking skills as well as their understanding of the cultural values and beliefs they have learnt about through the two characters from the story.
Picture Book: Photographs in the Mud by Dianne Wolfer & Brian Harrison-Lever
Wolfer, D., & Harrison-Lever, B. (2005). Photographs in the mud. Fremantle, W.A.: Fremantle Arts Centre Press. (Appendix 2)
Class set of computers or laptops.
Glogster is a Web 2.0 tool that allows users to create virtual posters combining text, audio, video, images, and hyperlinks and to share them with others electronically.
The student learning outcomes from the Australian Curriculum General Capabilities are: Literacy- listen, read and view online and printed texts, photographs, plans, satellite images, story books and films and present this information to answer our questions.
Literacy encompasses a vast array of competencies, from understanding Information Computer Technology (ICT) to research skills and the critical analyses and synthesis of information. Wall and Ryan (2010) break down these competencies as a set of “skills, processes and attitudes that enable the learner to utilise information” (p.31). The core components include:
Asking questions to gain an understanding
Contemplating multiple points of view
Seeking social and personal connections
The TL is able to guide students to develop critical thinking skills throughout this lesson which is essential in today’s society.
EN3-5B Analyse strategies that authors use to influence readers.
EN3-7C Interpret events, situations and characters in texts.
EN3-8D Make connections between students’ own experiences and those of characters and events represented in texts drawn from different cultural, historical and social contexts.
TS= Review visual literacy techniques and discuss the purpose of each technique.
TS= TL shows the animation to the students. After watching, discuss initial thoughts and perceptions of what the film maker is trying to achieve. Make a mind map on the board for the students to see.
TS= Watch the animation again. Add to the mind map if able. Watch from 00:00 to 01:40.
LS= Analyse the techniques used by the composer to convey this character’s personality. Explore how the character’s wide eyes, bright smile and playful singing portray him as innocent and worry-free.
TS= Watch the animation from 05:00.
LS= Explore how the boy’s role play and use of his imagination adds to their understanding of his experiences.
TS/ LS= Students create a Glogster poster that demonstrates their understanding of the character and how the film maker has used visual techniques for different purposes. Students must include at least 4 of the following the subheadings in their poster and show how these techniques were used in the animation:
· Body language/ gaze
· Colour, Hue and Tone
· Orientation, Point of View
Students will then present their poster and give a short presentation on what they have learnt. The TL will assess student’s understanding of visual literacy techniques as well as their cultural understanding of the character.
Glogster is a Web 2.0 tool that allows users to create virtual posters combining text, audio, video, images, and hyperlinks and to share them with others electronically.
Research shows that Visual Literacy, “a person’s ability to interpret and create visual information—to understand images of all kinds and use them to communicate more effectively,” is a successful strategy for all learners (Burmark, 2002, p. v).
A major role of the TL with regard to the convergence of literacies is collegial support. Trans-literacy is not a library-centric concept; in fact – if students are to become literate, they will not be able to do so without the support of classroom teachers. Trans-literacy is concerned with the interaction and relationship between text and visual literacy, and as such – it is embedded in all content across all subjects (Ipri, 2010). Although the TL may be viewed as a literacy leader within the school, it is part of his/her role to pass on that expertise to his/her fellow professionals, so that all staff members feel confident in delivering lessons to the twenty first century student.
TL’s have a wealth of knowledge about resources within the school to be able to take a leadership role in the area of visual literacy implementation. In libraries, image resources are commonplace: libraries subscribe to image databases, build original digital image collections from special collections materials, and develop image collections for instructional purposes.
Within in lesson, the TL has the opportunity to integrate visual resources and visual literacy learning outcomes into existing information literacy instruction. TL’s can creatively incorporate image-based critical thinking and visual communication into assignment and the classroom. Images can engage students, demystify the research process, and lend richness to research contexts. The TL consults the Australian Curriculum and works collaboratively with colleagues to seek opportunities for integrating visual literacy into the curriculum and the student learning experience.
ACARA (2015). General capabilities – General capabilities in the Australian Curriculum – The Australian Curriculum v7.3. Retrieved from http://www.australiancurriculum.edu.au/generalcapabilities/overview/general-capabilities-in-the-australian-curriculum
Haven, K. F. (2007). Story proof : The science behind the startling power of story. Westport, Conn: Greenwood Publishing Group.
Hansen, David.M. (2012) Instructor’s Guide to Process-Orientated Guided Learning.POGIL website.
Hansen, David. M & Daniel.K.Apple (2004). Process-The Missing Element.
Herring,J.(2007). Teacher librarians and the school library. In S.Ferguson (Ed) Libraries in the twenty-first century: charting new directions in information (pp27-42)
Ipri, T. (2010). Introducing transliteracy. College & Research Libraries News, 71(10), 532-567.
Kuhlthau, C. C., Maniotes, L. K., & Caspari, A. K. (2007). Assessment in guided inquiry. In Guided inquiry: Learning in the 21st century (pp. 111-131). Westport, Conn: Libraries Unlimited. Available CSU Library Reserve.
1# Wang, G. (2009). A ghost in my suitcase. Camberwell, Vic.: Penguin Group (Australia).
What appears to be a simplistic novel seamlessly weaves a family mystery, anger, grief and a family profession that defies expectation. Celeste’s grandmother is a ghost catcher through an art that has been passed down through her family. Young readers will love the swords, hand signs and talismans that are the tools of the trade, especially as the key ghost issue of the novel is tied to many of our characters. It’s simply written allowing the characters to speak for themselves and for the reader to absorb the issues naturally. The spookiness of the ghost catching methods will also capture the imaginations are they are beautiful, thrilling and scary. Wang has constructed a great story of grief, culture, family history and ghost hunting in this middle grade novel. A Ghost in the Suitcase is a great story of the strength of family and the importance of family legacy.
2# Wolfer, D., & Harrison-Lever, B. (2005). Photographs in the mud. Fremantle, W.A.: Fremantle Arts Centre Press.
Jack and Hoshi are soldiers fighting on opposite sides of the war in 1942. The story shows the impact of war on Australian and Japanese soldiers and their loved ones. The text explores the common tragedy of war across two different cultures, and these similarities are presented through parallelism. Cultural values and beliefs of the characters are depicted, and cultural assumptions are challenged as readers see how two people from different cultures relate regardless of language barriers. Students explore and analyse how the author and illustrator have created the two characters through the written and visual techniques. Illustrations give an insight into the characters’ cultural values and attitudes towards war.
Set in Korea in 1951, a young boy explores his desolate surroundings. He has a playful and innocent nature that conflicts with the harshness of his surroundings. The animated film examines the impact of the Korean war from the viewpoint of a boy. Through the use of subtitles and visual representations, viewers gain insight into a war-affected Korean village. Regardless of the boy’s culture, viewers are challenged to look beyond culture and understand the impact of war. Students will examine the observable attributes of the character and explore how he represents his culture. The students will investigate what is important to the boy through his actions and attitudes.
4# Moriwaki, Y., Ham, P., & Edwards, D. (2013). Yoko’s diary. Sydney: HarperCollins Publishers Australia.
Non-Fiction Diary: Yoko Moriwaki was a 13 year old living in Hiroshima. Her diary was written as a school project and details her life as war affects the country. Her diary ended the night before the bombing of Hiroshima. This diary records the details of Yoko’s life as she has been mobilised by the war effort in Japan in 1945. Yoko mentions traditional Japanese activities, examined further through detailed explanations provided by the editor. Through Yoko’s thoughts and actions, students gain insight into her personality and identity. Students examine how the diary of Yoko and the foreward written by her family works to develop our understanding of her character. Students identify how they are similar to Yoko regardless of the cultural differences. Students examine how a summary of her routine provides the reader with an understanding of her character.
5# Greder, A. (2007). The island. Crows Nest, N.S.W.: Allen & Unwin.
Picture book: A foreigner is washed up on the shore of an island. Initially the islanders take care of him but their fear of his differences creates conflict within the community about the man’s place in society. The story shows how fear and misconception can be spread within a community, and how people create their own truths about the unknown and different. Treatment of the foreigner addresses how a lack of understanding and empathy can create an uncaring world. Students analyse the characterization of the villagers and their attitudes towards the unknown. Greder uses haunting illustrations of the foreigner that evoke feelings of empathy and compassion towards the character. Students explore how the author has effectively positioned his readers to feel for the character. Students consider how the judgmental response of the villagers might symbolise a larger social issue. Students make connections between the book and the history of Australia and the Aboriginal people.
Animated short film: Conveyed through a series of vignettes recorded daily for a year, this film describes moving from Korea to Australia and learning to speak English. Through the use of soft and simple images, the film effectively represents the loss the young Korean girl Hong Gyong feels first the physical absence of her father, then the loss of her native tongue. Students will be able to empathise with others in a range of contexts and understand the importance of communication. Through the composer’s use of visual literacy techniques, students will feel a connection with Hong Gyong. Students will discuss how the composer has represented her feelings about the importance of respecting cultural traditions whilst learning about fitting into a new culture.