New settings = new thinking?

Does stepping out of our familiar surroundings facilitate opening our minds to new ways of thinking?  For me this is one of the appeals of the annual New Norcia Library Lecture, combined with networking with industry professionals and great food and wine.

Our carpool, while admiring the lush countryside and wildflowers, conducted a debrief on the highlights of the day, which included:

  • Dr Bob Pymm’s insightful presentation on the important social and political history which may be captured on home movies. Often undervalued, they are a particularly rich resource for local studies collections. Some tips:
    • Where possible have the creator inform the cataloguing (where, what, who, how, why);
    • Purchase YouTube videos significant to your collection from creator (often via chat box below clip) as they can disappear at any time.
    • Check out Home Movie Day on 21/10/2017.
  • Dr Joanna Sassoon’s presentation about the ‘life’ of the archive of photographer EL Mitchell’s travels across Australia, challenged us to breakdown the compartmentalised thinking of libraries/archives/records. Far from being objects or items, photographs were demonstrated to be most meaningful when combined with their context (albums and the placement in them, the value placed on packaging, to keep or destroy) and the contribution which collecting institutions make to maintaining their full meaning (choices due to policy or political and social standards, choices to retain archives as opposed to collections which may disperse and dilute meaning).
  • The significance of dedicated volunteers in building and maintaining a local history collection and how synergy could be found in collaboration with library services, as described by Laurel Tate and Karen Dennison, Shire of Capel
  • Toni Young and Christina Albillos, from the State Library of WA, reminded us of the simple steps we could all take, personally and professionally, to conserve our treasures, from displaying fragile items with low-UV lights, to boxing items to maintain a relatively stable environment, to adding photographs to the outside of boxes to minimise handling, and not placing items of different materials together.
  • Ginetta Evans, related the 30 year gestation of the Katherine Susannah Prichard Library, Boya and the importance of a library’s name to a sense of community ownership.

Among the approximately 80 participants, were 12 students, indicating not only the popularity of the Library Lecture format and venue, but the enthusiasm of emerging library and information professionals in WA.  While our minds were too exhausted to calculate the change required at the roadside fruit stall, I will certainly be booking an annual leave day to attend next year.

Photo credit: Chris Fithall


Event summary…Resume & LinkedIn Workshop 9/17

Curtin’s Department of Information Studies practicum co-ordinator Bec Shillington presented a resume workshop. With her, she brought years of industry specific intel, tips, suggestions and advice. She has looked at her fair share of resumes and her advice was invaluable. Here are a few of the major points:

  • Every single application should have a tailor-made resume, cover letter and selection criteria.
  • It is best to send your documents as a PDF; different versions of Word can make your hard work look messy.
  • Use keywords both in the documents you provide and in the online forms that screen the applications (especially for government jobs).
  • Being members of professional associations is regarded highly. Eg: RIMPA, ASA, ALIA
  • If you are an ALIA member, make use of the resume review service!
  • Do some preliminary research about the organisation before you send in your application or go for an interview (LinkedIn can be helpful with this).
  • Address your cover letter to the contact listed in the advert, rather than generic ‘Dear Sir/Madam’.
  • It is personal choice, but some employers like to see employment history gaps accounted for. One suggestion: Sabbatical period between 2010-2012.
  • Date of birth, gender, marriage status and a photo are not common practice for resumes in Australia
  • If you have a qualification and lack industry experience, you could list your qualification above employment information in the resume.

“Be a perfectionist when applying for jobs. Take the time to make sure you have addressed and crafted your application to the relevant advert as it would be easy for your work to be lost in the huge amount of applications.” reflections from Tamara

Bec thanked industry contacts for their help in putting together her presentation. We had a break for some networking, lunch and photographs. Sheralee’s partner Matt, kindly offered his time and skills as a photographer to take professional photographs of attendees. One thing many of us find difficult is getting a really good picture taken that looks professional and flattering, thanks Matt, It’ll be nice to update our avatars of our professional profiles!

Stuart Hunter from the Curtin Careers, Employment and Leadership presented a workshop on LinkedIn. Stuart advised that all Curtin students have access to the many services provided by them, including a drop in service and online tools. This service is available for graduates up to 12 months from the date of graduation (as in the date of the graduation ceremony). This was a very practical and hands on workshop. Here are some of the highlights:

  • Potential employers do check LinkedIn.
  • LinkedIn can be a useful resource when planning for first time meetings.
  • You can customise your LinkedIn URL to make it look neater.
  • A personal slogan, or a subject matter important to you looks good on the line under your name. ie: a selling point for you as a brand
  • Many people upload a resume to LinkedIn. This isn’t necessary, filling in the fields of information is better than uploading a generic resume, which should be personalised for each job application.
  • In the personal statement or career objective you can write in third person perspective to avoid sounding too pompous.
  • The photo can send a very effective message. We looked at other profiles, the photo played an important part in a person’s credibility and first impression.
  • Behind the scenes of LinkedIn is search engine optimisation. Three main areas determine how visible your profile is to professionals:
  1. Content: Keywords and phrases, jargon and URLs
  2. Credibility: Endorsements and your network (you need to have a ‘connection policy’, don’t just connect with anyone and everyone.
  3. Contribution: how active are you, how often do you update the info, go on it and look up other people etc.
  • When connecting with people, send them a message with the connection invite. For example, I met someone at an event; the next day I sent them a LinkedIn Connect invite and a short message “great to meet you yesterday, I enjoyed our chat…” This is a better approach than sending a connection invite by itself.

For any other Curtin students that you know (and alumni up to 12 months from graduation) that didn’t attend but would like more information on LinkedIn, Curtin Careers, Employment and Leadership will be running these sessions for all students as part of the Graduate Gateway program at the end of semester (one session in the last week of November and again in December). These dates will be finalised soon and students will receive an e-mail update. In the meantime students can always come into the drop in service to have their profile looked at.

Thank you to Subsea Energy Austalia and Jess Pietsch for this informative Webinar on setting up a LinkedIn profile (shared with permission).

Thankyou to Bec, Stuart and Matt and all our attendees for taking the time out of your weekend, and making this such a worthwhile event, your contribution was greatly appreciated!

Resume & LinkedIn Workshop

It’s here! This event has been in the making all year and I’m really looking forward to it! Mostly because my online profile pictures are horrid and we are fortunate enough to have a fab photographer coming to take our profile pics (if you want one that is). Add that to the indepth knowledge and expertise from two very special presenters from Curtin, and you have an action packed, hands on, productive event indeed! Hope to see you there, read on for all the details and RSVP…


Where: Curtin University, Robertson Library Level 6, room 6105
When: September 16th 2017 10am – 3pm
Dear Curtis Members,

A fantastic opportunity to make sure your resume and online professional profile is up to date and looking good. RSVP
Not a member? Email to join:!


10am – 11.30am: Department of Information Studies practicum coordinator Bec Shillington will present a resume workshop; with current & industry relevant tips, ideas and information.

11.30-12.30: Followed by a pizza lunch in the Lounge area, Level 2, courtesy of the Curtin Student Guild and CURTIS (vegetarian and gluten free pizza provided). Photographer on hand to take a professional profile picture from 11.30, during lunch and after 2pm.

12.30 – 2pm: Stuart Hunter from Curtin Careers, Employment and Leadership centre will present: Making the Most Of Your LinkedIn Workshop.

2pm – 3pm: A photographer will be available to take your professional profile picture, make sure you come dressed in professional attire, and make the most of this fantastic opportunity!

Most students have either heard of LinkedIn or have a LinkedIn profile, but most don’t use it correctly or don’t use it at all.

Pre-watch this Webinar (shared with permission and with appreciation to Subsea Energy Australia).
It is a requirement that you have a LinkedIn account set up prior to attending this workshop, and this webinar will be extremely helpful.

Computers will be provided, however if you are an Associate member of CURTIS (ie: not a Curtin Uni student), please ensure you bring along a laptop or tablet to be able to participate in the workshop activities and work on developing your Linked In Profile.

Any queries please email

RSVP by COB 14/9/2017 so we have an idea of numbers as places are limited.

Parking at Curtin University on the weekends is free!

Reflections by a New Grad on ALIA’s HLA PD Days, Perth 2017 by Taryn Hunt

I attended Health Libraries Australia Professional Development days as a recent graduate of the Graduate Diploma (Library and Information Studies) at Curtin University. In a former life I was a health promotion professional in Perth, rural WA and the UK.

What led me to library as a profession was somewhat different to the aims I developed during the course of study. While initially I dreamed of working in a public library and leading story time (and that does still sound great!), I realised that I had never really lost my passion for health, and perhaps had even become more excited about it, fuelled by the enormous proliferation of “wellness experts”, celebrity chef diet gurus, anti-vaxxers, post-truth and fake news. While quacks have been around forever, in my career lifetime, distrust of science and experts has grown significantly in my observation and is a cause for great concern.

I had heard lots of encouraging news about health libraries in Australia, including the potential for some positions opening up in the near future, so I completed my 3 week practicum at Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital with Geraldine Stevens in 2016, which really cemented my desire to keep working in health.

The HLA PD day program was spread over two days, divided into presentations and practical workshops, heavily focused on the role of health librarians in systematic reviews (SR). We began with a session by Associate Professor Eduardo Aromataris at the Joanna Briggs Institute on the terminology and methodology around systematic reviews, which was very informative and helpful in demystifying the concept.  From the Cochrane Handbook for Systematic Reviews of Interventions (2011):

“A systematic review attempts to collate all empirical evidence that fits pre-specified eligibility criteria in order to answer a specific research question.  It uses explicit, systematic methods that are selected with a view to minimizing bias, thus providing more reliable findings from which conclusions can be drawn and decisions made (Antman 1992, Oxman 1993)”.


However there are many other terms in the mix and specific ways of doing a SR which Eduardo detailed for us.

We also looked at ‘filters’ in a session presented by Raechel Damarell, Senior Librarian at Flinders University, for searching on the term “integrated care”. As a new graduate, having just completed a course on Reference Services, this was enlightening and thought provoking. It was a fascinating look at the development of a multiple stakeholder project to devise an effective search filter on a topic for which there was little agreement even on the basic definition.   More about search filters can be found at the Flinders University site.

Day two was a change of focus to the practical. Cheryl Hamill, Head of Department, Library & Information Service, South Metropolitan Health Service in Perth, delivered an informative workshop on using PubMed to search for systematic reviews, providing a number of excellent practical search tips.

Another highlight was a workshop on grey literature (GL) by Flinders University Medical Librarian Jess Tyndall. Jess explained that searching for GL can be time-consuming and labour intensive but is often worth it due to the wealth of information available across all disciplines, that is not controlled by commercial publishing. She also offered several search tips:

  • Keep it simple
  • Stick to core concepts
  • Use keywords
  • Use fewer terms

While I left with a head full of new knowledge and heightened enthusiasm, I also walked away with a whole lot of new contacts. I spoke to many people over breaks and during workshops, and found everyone I met to be welcoming, enthusiastic and more than willing to listen, chat and offer advice. It seems that there is support from within the industry for new graduates to work in this field, and we’ve heard that the workforce is aging and nearing retirement, so I would encourage anyone interested to seek opportunities for practicum placements.

Opportunities to attend HLA PD days do not come along often for us in Perth and I’d recommend attending to find out more about this specialisation next time an event is held here.

Higgins JPT, Green S (editors). Cochrane Handbook for Systematic Reviews of Interventions Version 5.1.0 [updated March 2011]. The Cochrane Collaboration, 2011. Available from

Don’t get a LinkedIn profile…

As information studies students or recent graduates, we are often urged to have a LinkedIn profile.  Whether it is expected by employers or recruiters, profiles are often created and remain static out of a notion of needing to have a ‘presence’.

But what would you really like to achieve from your LinkedIn profile?  Is it only an obligation, where the number of connections is most important?  Or could it be a tool to help you strategically connect with interesting people, doing interesting things?

After procrastinating for a long time, because I did not want to have LinkedIn automatically send out ‘invitations’ to everyone in my contacts list, the wonderful Jess Pietsch came to the rescue.

Jess took a relatively professional photo for me, making the best of dubious raw materials.

She showed me how to avoid clicking on anything that indicates ‘grow your network’ or ‘add personal contacts’ if you don’t want to send out random, impersonal ‘invitations’ to everyone you have ever received/sent an email in your whole life.  This was, and continues to be, important to me as I was looking for connections with people doing interesting things in their careers.

If you would like each connection to be personal, don’t click on the ‘connect’ button under their name in your network list.  Instead, click on the person’s name and ‘connect’ from the person’s profile page.  That way you have the option of including a message when you invite them to connect.  It could be as simple as ‘Hi Anne, I really enjoyed your presentation at xyz workshop, Regards, abc’ or ‘Hi Anne, as a student of xyz your career journey sounds really interesting.  Could we catch up for a coffee?  Regards, abc’.

Jess’s other great tips

  • Keep volunteer experience in your ‘Experience’ section until you land your dream job
  • Update your profile whenever you do something new, complete a relevant course or project etc
  • Write articles/blogs to demonstrate your contribution to the professional body of knowledge (I have yet to do this)

I have found (among some inevitable advertising) some highly relevant and targeted articles, of particular interest to me, by following companies and individuals who are innovative thinkers in the LIS sector.

In the toolkit of contemporary information professionals, LinkedIn can be a strategic platform if you choose to develop it in such a way that it benefits you only, and exactly, as you would like.

Your CURTIS Club have an event planned in September to help you along in your LinkedIn journey.  In the meantime, watch this great webinar on personal digital branding from WISE (Women in Subsea Engineering) shared with permission.

ALIA New Grads & CURTIS Christmas in July social event

WA Library, Records and Archives friends!
You are invited to the Curtin Information Studies Club (CURTIS) and ALIA New Graduates Group Christmas in July meet and greet at The Dominion League in Northbridge. Dress in red and join us for drinks, dinner and fabulous company.
We will also be holding a horrible Christmas gift exchange so feel free to bring along any gifts you wish to part with – your trash is another’s treasure.
Everyone is welcome!
It is FREE to attend although you are encouraged to purchase your own drinks and nibblies. Details below:
What: CURTIS and ALIA New Graduates Group Christmas in July party
Where: The Dominion League, 84 Beaufort Street Northbridge (
When: Friday 28th July from 5pm
Dress code: Wear something red
Hope to see you there!

It’s a wrap #blogjune day 30

Image from page 16 of “Sunny rhymes for happy children. : Rhymes” (1917). Retrieved from flickr commons

Variety is the spice of life, and over the last 30 days the variety of topics covered has been a delicious concoction of ideas from many people all over the world of library and information management. If you haven’t already seen some of the posts and comments  I invite you to have a browse, not only here but also on the other blogs participating in #blogjune (just follow the hashtag). Thankyou for all of you who posted, commented, shared, and liked. Especially to @petradumbell for inviting CURTIS to participate in #blogjune, and to all of our members who put their hand up to contribute – it has been a collective effort! Many hands make life work 😉


Do you plan your social media input? #blogjune day 29

Do you plan how often you post or do you only post when you have something interesting to say? How much effort does it take for you to participate on Social Media?

For me, I dislike posting on Facebook, or reading on there either, I have set it up so that I can check notifications to see if there is any important information I have missed in one of the many groups I am part of, and use it mostly through messenger.

I enjoy Twitter, and I once had a goal to post something everyday, but now I usually only post when I think I have something interesting to say. I get a lot of PD reading done on Twitter and find it extremely relevant to my Library and Information studies learning, but this is largely dependent on who you follow.

So no, I don’t plan my social media input, but I wish I did more of it on Twitter, continuous, constant and stable effort is easier for me to maintain than short and rapid bursts.

@Sirexkat / Librarians Matter – time travel questions #blogjune day 28

I did have a different question for today but have decided to jump on board Sirexkat’s time travel questions since it is the 28th day of #blogjune, we’re nearly at the end, and what better way to celebrate this wonderful month together – posting about the same topic on the same day!

Question 1: If you could go back and tell your 20 year old self one thing that was going to happen to you between then and today, what would that be?

Hmmmmm…..that’s a really hard one.  I’d like to come up with something beautiful and profound and life changing but, to be honest, I really don’t think knowing the bad stuff I might have to deal with later in life, when I was 20 years old, with my whole (bright) future ahead of me, would actually help me.  I think it would terrify me, make me worry about things I cannot change, and would just make the years in-between not so much fun……(and believe me those years were FUN!!!!!).  So no, I wouldn’t go back and prepare myself for the not so nice things in my future ruining my alcohol-fuelled partying carefree and wild years, I would instead tell myself a couple of idiotic financial decisions my husband and I made, and keep myself from making them again!!  For starters, keep my first house, that although I think the market is as high as it can go, I am wrong.  Wait another year or two or three and then sell it.  And secondly, don’t be an absolute fool and put the proceeds from the sale of our second house straight into the mortgage of the third……do not, I repeat….DO NOT think you can keep it in your savings account untouched for a rainy day.  Idiot.  How different my life would now be if I knew those two things today!!!

Question 2: In 20 years time (presuming the world gets better, not worse) what do you think will be the biggest technological difference between your life now and your life then?

For the world – I hope it’s accountability.  I hope that happens much sooner than 20 years, but I really hope technology gets to a point (similar to Sirexkat’s answer) where people are accountable for their online presence.  Quite like Dave Egger’s idea in The Circle but not to the same extent!!  No more trolling, or cyber-bullying as you only have one registered and accountable account or ‘you’.  I think it would really impact crime and people’s general behaviour.  If you have to be accountable for your actions, because you have to be ‘you’ and it’s known that it’s ‘you’, even when your not face to face or in the same country as who you are communicating with, then it becomes much harder to not be nice, or polite or just a decent human being.

For me personally (because I’m already the same online as I am in real life), I really really really really hope the biggest technological difference between my life now and my life then is the ability to ‘beam me up Scotty’ so I no longer have to travel for hours to get somewhere!!!  I’ve wished this for about twenty years, so I don’t see it happening in the next twenty, but jeez it’s my dream to never have to hop in a cramped plane, or be stuck in traffic, or have to drive for a million hours, EVER AGAIN – instantaneously being transported to where I want/need to be – could anything even compare to that beautiful future?!?!?  Look, honestly, I’d probably be happy with a Harry Potter style Floo network, although I’d probably still suffer from motion sickness and that’s not exactly instant – but I’d make do!

Jade Bryan

3 tips for interacting with non-native English speakers #blogjune 27

Or, how should you interact with someone whose first language is not English?

At a glance, this question is not LIS related at all. As this is Australia though, many of us are in contact with others for whom English is a second language, be it colleagues, friends or users of our library services.

I am Austrian so my mother tongue is German, and I only really started communicating and reading in English when I met my husband (about 20 years ago now). The following tips obviously just represent what I think would have helped me in the past. Other non-native English speakers might come up with a completely different “wish-list”  – and it would be great if you could add suggestions in the comments section if you are one of them. So, here are my tips:

(1) Please tell me if you don’t understand what I am saying.

This is very very important. Everyone who says anything does so with a desire to be understood. It does not happen very often, but occasionally I realise that I have said something to someone who did not understand me. It feels awful, because it makes me insecure – how many other times have I said things that others did not understand?

I think part of the problem is that the majority of Australians are too polite in that regard. They want to include me and make me feel welcome, and not turn my accent or unfamiliar expressions into a problem. While this is per se a wonderful thing (and part of why I always felt welcome in this country), I am not offended at all if you just say “sorry, I didn’t quite catch that”

(2) Don’t assume I know it all.

My level of English is quite good, so usually I pick up new words quickly in the context, without thinking about it – so it might appear that I know it all already. But, learning curves for non-native speakers are just steeper; often we learn new words at the same time as new concepts. In a previous job as an accounting assistant, on my first day I learned many many new words, I remember invoice (I would have called it a bill) and reconcile as two of them. When I started studying, it was assessment, postgraduate, enrollment advice, when working, environmental scan, blurbs, corporate services… the list goes on and on…

(3)Please realise that things are different elsewhere.

Having lived in Austria, France and Australia, with a few stints to Mauritius, I have come to learn that there are hundreds of little cultural differences. I mean the things that you think are obvious, like taking oranges to sport when asked to bring fruit (I just recently realised that this is a thing here, I was planning to bring apples), or like knowing what a school assembly is (no such thing in Austria), or what to expect when you are invited somewhere at 5pm, (we expected cake, turns out it was dinner). I once told my mother-in-law that she does not need to thank me for every tiny thing I do – she thought I was rude, because you say thanks a lot in French, I thought she kept me at a distance, because if you know each other well in Austria you don’t say thanks quite as often. The list goes on and on. So it is important to realise that your non-native friend/colleague/user is not shy/stupid/arrogant, but simply has no idea about the subtle cultural rules that govern the situation.

Having said all that – it’s important to acknowledge that none of this is easy. I recently spent almost an entire day at uni with someone from a very different background, trying to make sure I understood what the person was saying and asking of me (it was help, I just was not entirely sure with what) – and did not really succeed….

Over to you – what are your experiences with non-native English speakers? What have you learned, what are your tips? And if English is not your mother tongue, what challenges have you faced, and what advice would you give? How do you rate your Cultural Intelligence 🙂 ?