Professional placement report

Section 1: About the organisation

Sydney Uni FIsher Library
Sydney Uni Fisher Library (c) 2019 Marika Simon

The University of Sydney Library is an academic library supporting one of the leading universities in Australia. Their mission is to “inspire a love of learning in order to advance the potential in everyone” (University of Sydney Library, n.d., p. 1). The library seeks to fulfil this mission in a way that expresses its values of inspiration, collaboration, integrity, respect and curiosity (University of Sydney Library, n.d., p. 2). While their chief users are the 77,000 university students, faculty, and other staff, they also serve the wider community.

The library provides users with access to information sources both physical and digital (University of Sydney Library, n.d., p.1), without which their scholarship would be impossible. In 2019, this resource provision included enabling access to 19 million ebooks and journals and the loan of 471,000 physical items. If the library did not exist, the university would lack the resources necessary for research and for teaching and learning at the tertiary level.

The library also provides safe space in which users can interact with the information resources accessed through the library and other sources. The changing nature of university study, with more emphasis on independent online learning and less on lecture theatre experiences may create a greater need for students to find learning spaces outside of traditional classrooms (University of Sydney staff, October 3, 2019, personal communication). The library provides twelve facilities, seven of which are staffed, all of which provide study space. Facilitating this role is one of the main tasks for the Learning Spaces division where I did my professional placement. Continue reading “Professional placement report”

Technology: Helping to connect users and information agencies

What role does technology play in the relationship information agencies develop with their users?

Technology was a common theme in the presentations of information agencies across a broad spectrum in the Sydney 2 study visit session. The uses of technology within the information agencies were integral to the relationship each agency had with its users. Though different uses of technology developed different aspects of the relationship between agency and user, one of the key roles played by technology was that of “connecting”. Technology used by information agencies connects users: to information; to personalised expert help; to the selection process; and to community. These connections create, change and develop various relationships between agency and user.

Technology connects users to information held by information agencies. Furthermore, technology has enabled the location for information exchange to no longer be confined to the library’s physical location, but rather freed in a new virtual mode of relationship between agency and user. Many of the information agencies on the Sydney 2 itinerary had online public access catalogues (OPACs) and e-Resource collections and had digitised selected items from their collections. Providing round-the-clock access to information and resources online extended the reach of these agencies, both geographically and temporally. This enabled them to forge relationships with users that they would not have had contact with otherwise due to distance or time constraints on users’ ability to physically access the library during opening hours.

Wallpaper sample book
Wallpaper sample book from Caroline Simpson Library (c) 2019 Marika Simon (Digitised version at: http://museum.collection.hht.net.au/search.do?view=detail&page=1&id=375&db=object )

For instance, the Caroline Simpson Library of the Sydney Living Museums has been contacted by users from around the globe in search of rare items that they have made available through their OPAC and through digitised items hosted on the Internet Archive (M. Stephens, personal communication, October 1, 2019). This interest from abroad in a small, specialised library whose main purpose is to provide support for the interpretation of historical houses would have been almost unheard of in the pre-Internet era. Woollahra Library owes approximately 10% of its circulation to e-Resources. It reports that a significant and growing number of its active membership maintains an exclusively virtual relationship with the library – never setting foot in any of the three physical branch locations (V. Munro, personal communication, October 2, 2019).  Those are just two ways that we see technology connecting users to information and developing geographically extended and virtual relationships between information agencies and their users.

Continue reading “Technology: Helping to connect users and information agencies”

ETL504 Assessment 2 Part B Reflection

My view on the case study group work moved from initial dread (Simon, 2019, 23 July) through to hope for a positive experience (Simon, 2019, August 9). In the end I feel this component has contributed to my developing practice of leadership and understanding how it relates to the role of the teacher librarian (TL).

In our first group effort, members stepped up as initiators, contributors, opinion seekers, elaborators, orienters and encouragers (Roberts, 2012; Simon, 2019, August 18, ). Donna Thurling (2019, September 22) suggested that perhaps groups should have been seeded with some dominators, blockers or aggresors (Roberts, 2012).  I disagree because I think the value of the experience is the authentic nature of the situation. Negotiating with real people rather than just roles or scenarios gave insight for my practice of leadership as a TL. Evaluating real-life reactions to my initiation (Simon, 2019, August 18) or hanging back (Simon, 2019, September 9) developed my understanding of how to effectively manage teams when leadership is distributed to me as TL. Continue reading “ETL504 Assessment 2 Part B Reflection”

By the skin of my teeth

Yay! The assessments were returned a few days early. I made it to my target (HD) by the skin of my teeth which is a great relief due to the immense uncertainty I felt about this assessment. Ironically, I felt more confident in my assessment for INF520 and I did not make it over the line for that one.

I was thankful that the written critical analysis was weighted more heavily than the concept map for this assignment. I suspect that I think more verbally than visually. I certainly found the critical analysis an easier way of unpacking, explaining and expressing my understanding than the concept map. Unsurprisingly, in that case, I received higher marks on the analysis section than on the concept map section.

Concept map of the leadership structure in a 21st century school
Concept map of the leadership structure in a 21st century school (Simon, 2019).

Continue reading “By the skin of my teeth”

INF520 First Assessment Reflection

So, my first assessment back this session was the second one handed in. It was one of the most practical assignments I’ve had so far in this course – especially in the degree to which the expectation was to actually emulate the real-world documents we were asked to produce. The three components were: a press release, an annotated bibliography of resources to back up the press release, and a podcast/two minute public service announcement. All of these texts were meant to highlight the importance and challenges of preservation in the context of local history.

I was not as attentive as I should have been to the features of an authentic press release. I was more concerned about presenting the breadth of the issues that I wanted to present versus a bit more depth and personal connection to “hook” the audience. Due to the variety of ideas I was presenting, I also used a fair amount of bullet lists for clarity, in retrospect I should have taken a more traditional prose style – which may have helped me elaborate more productively. I also missed the key feature of providing my contact details for further information (though I did give website references which might be assumed to contain that information – but which require more effort than one should ask of a busy media person). The press release section represents my poorest performance on an assessment task in this course to date. Continue reading “INF520 First Assessment Reflection”

INF520 Assessment 1A Press Release

Sydney Shines Spotlight on Local History Preservation Issues for History Week

Key issues regarding the collection and preservation of local historical artefacts will be addressed at public events sponsored by the NSW History Council throughout History  Week 2019: 31 August – 6 September.

Sydney, NSW: Michèle Cloonan[1] states “We can preserve some things some of the time, but not everything all of the time;…our notions of preservation must evolve to accommodate the imperatives of all our clientele.” Join local history experts at History Week events to find out about how the issues and challenges of preserving our local history affect you. Four key topics – significance, digital preservation, risk management, and ethics – will be explored through the events sponsored by the History Council of NSW. Further details about content are given below, times and locations can be found on the website.

  1. Personal Artefacts Roadshow

Have you ever wondered how the professionals decide what is worth collecting and preserving? Hear from the experts about how they assess significance – a leading factor in choosing which items to acquire and maintain – using examples from their institutions’ collections and artefacts from select audience members. Some considerations to be discussed include:

  • Value of the item:
    • Historical (personal, local, regional, national, or global);
    • Artistic and aesthetic;
    • Social and spiritual;
    • Scientific or research potential
  • Comparative value:
    • Provenance – can ownership and the journey of the item from its origin to now be proven and documented?
    • Rarity or representativeness;
    • Condition or completeness – is the item or collection complete? Is its condition such that it will be able to be preserved and maintained with reasonable expenditure of time, effort and money?
    • Interpretive capacity – can the item enhance our ability to document or interpret our local history or context?

Continue reading “INF520 Assessment 1A Press Release”

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