NLS8 Conference

Canberra, June 23-25, 2017


  1. The ALIA NLS8 conference kicked off with an 8 am photo session in a very foggy Canberra (so foggy that some attendees were diverted to Melbourne before landing). This photo session was created to celebrate 80 years of ALIA.
  2. Below, I'm on the left, third row back holding a white balloon.
  3. The fog did lift after a crazy morning causing some delegates ended up being diverted to Melbourne before arriving.

  4. Workshop 1:
    New Librarians in Academia: your data mystery tour startshere. (Kathryn Unsworth and Natasha Simons from ANDS).

    This session began by outlining the work done by ANDS. They then talked a little about the role of librarians, and emphasised that while the role hasn’t changed fundamentally, librarians should be seen as partners not as a service. Librarians are no longer the first port of call for information, but now also have a role in research helping with the data. With the abundance of data, librarians are no longer custodians of scarce resources, but have become stewards of vast resources. We need to be the best source of understanding as veracity and context are critical in an information abundant world. We also need to be the connectors, to know who in an institution can help researchers answer questions. New librarians can now be data savvy (understand data lifecycle,research, run workshops/ data consultation, assist researchers with data needs), or data savvier librarian.
  5. In the data world, they think that librarians should be more involved in domain knowledge, connecting researchers to research data, assisting with text and datamining, visualisation and mapping research terms.
    Part of this workshop included activities;
    The first was about the data life cycle, which included the following concepts: -Propose- Collect/Create - Describe - Analyze - Publish - Share/ Preserve -
  6. To make this a more interesting activity, they split us into groups and gave us activities to do to think through the terms. My group investigated sharing and preserving, and we were shown the importance of F.A. I. R. (Findable, Accessible, Interoperable and Reusable):
    · Findable – data that can be found easily
    · Accessible – able to download the data (some mayneed limits on the downloadability)
    · Interoperable – join the data up with other data(potentially of a related nature)
    · Reusable – able to use the data again and verifythe results
  7. The second was a game of ClueData – a game based on cluedo, but using major concepts related to data research- covering Data skills, Data tools, Research Lifecycle. I personally didn’t find the game very effective.Although we used the terms in the game, they didn’t really mean much, and there was no time to learn what they meant. It was only once the game was over that we had time to look at the terms and learn what they meant.
  8. For further learning, they suggested:
    · 23 Things
    · Dataquest – APIS
    · Open refine – (data cleaning/ library carpentry)*note – this was called excel on steroids
    · Statistical analysis – coursera, edx
    · Data mining – courser
    · Basic coding – python
    · Data visualisation –
  9. Saturday

    Dr Marie- Louise Ayres (ALIA) gave the welcome, and told us how she did the very opposite of the theme for NLS8 (DIY) - she did not plan her career, it simply happened, but instead, her career has been shaped by saying “yes”.
  10. Saturday Key note address: Successful, Glamorous, Blahblahblah, featuring the International Librarians Network (Clare McKenzie, Kate Byrne and Alyson Dalby).
    These 3 also have not planned their careers, and have volunteered themselves for things, including developing the International Librarians Network. This initiative has created success for them, and has resulted in a 2016 Movers and Shakers award.
  11. Kate spoke on working overseas, and the path to leadership,
  12. And her final message was that we should "Do something" - don't assume that others will do it instead.
  13. Alyson Dalby emphasised team work, and suggested that it is useful to “do it together”. And that in choosing people to work with, look for people with skills you don’t have, people you like hanging around, and people that blow you away with their awesomeness.