Monash University Library Annual Report 2012

Download the full report (PDF, 0.21 MB)

2012 in review

Cathrine Harboe-Ree, University Librarian

The Library’s enhancement of its contribution to the University’s research and learning priorities was again evident in 2012. This was a year of significant planning and development, with key areas of focus being on research skills development and e-Learning. Successes in these areas demonstrate the enthusiasm of Library staff and their ability to embrace new, expanded or different roles.

Skills development

Librarians and learning skills advisers have made great strides in working with faculty members to adopt the research skills development framework as part of the curriculum. The success of this strategy is a very pleasing measure of progress. Monash is now widely recognised externally as being a leader in the area of research skills development, as evidenced by our participation in key Australian Learning and Teaching Council (ALTC) grants and a growing number of visitors and requests to speak or run workshops in other institutions.

It is of interest to note that in 2011 Monash was ranked first in the Group of Eight for generic skills under the Course Experience Questionnaire, improving from third in the preceding 3 years (2008-10) and seventh in 2007. Whilst this improvement cannot be attributed to a single factor, it coincides with the establishment of learning skills as part of the Library at Monash from mid-2007 and the subsequent transformation of our approach to research skills development.


The Library has a long history of advancing the University’s e-education aspirations. In 2012 a review of the Library’s role was undertaken with a view to providing a stronger focus for its contribution. The process started with the writing of a white paper articulating the Library’s current role and the issues that needed to be considered. This provided a focus for discussion within the Library and the broader University community. Through the development of the white paper and subsequent discussions the Library is now better positioned to play a more significant role in the development of blended and online learning at Monash, based on clear pedagogical principles.


The University’s goals of increasing its scholarly visibility and nurturing a culture of publishing took a significant step forward through Monash University Publishing, which has had a highly successful first full year as a scholarly publisher and received critical acclaim for a number of its books. The assumption of responsibility for the Monash Asia Institute Press has been very successful, and the faculty-based editorial committees are building pace. The press is, amongst other things, building a partnership with Warwick University.


The ARROW Repository, which was renamed Monash University Research Repository in 2012, grew to include over 78,000 records. Significantly, the number of open access items in the Repository doubled to 17% this year. The Repository fulfills a number of functions, including underpinning Excellence in Research Australia (ERA) and Higher Education Research Data Collection (HERDC) reporting, while showcasing and providing stewardship for Monash’s research outputs.

Library refurbishment

The Library approached 2012 with cautious optimism that progress would be made towards the refurbishment of the Caulfield and Matheson Libraries to provide much better facilities for students. Progress on the Caulfield Library has been disappointing. By contrast, approval was given to proceed with the refurbishment of the Matheson library, with $10 million allocated for this purpose. Libraries in higher education institutions have evolved over the past ten years in response to changing study requirements and new technologies. As the primary learning spaces on each campus, they need to provide an environment that supports the way students study while also symbolising the traditions of scholarly endeavour and demonstrating the quality of Monash’s built environment.

Library fellowships

The Library’s substantial special collections were given prominence in 2012 through a generous donation from Emeritus Professor Wallace Kirsop, which saw the creation of fellowships to facilitate use of the Library’s special collections by researchers and scholars who do not work at Monash. The first three Monash University Library Fellowships were awarded from a very strong field of applicants, focusing on the library’s extensive selection of girls’ annuals published between 1900 and 1930, unique holdings relating to the poet Kris Hemensley’s activities and the 1970s as a key period for Australian poetry, and an extensive collection of Thai popular music genres from the period 1945-1975.

Director (Research Infrastructure)

In the first part of 2012, significant effort was expended in the final stages of developing and beginning the implementation of a research data management plan for the University. This is an important collaborative effort with the eResearch Centre, eSolutions and the Research Office, and will continue into 2013 involving a number of Library staff. Recognising the importance of a high profile contribution to the University’s research data management focus and bringing together the Library’s role in research output management through the Monash University Research Repository and Monash University Publishing, the decision was made late in 2012 to appoint a new Director (Research Infrastructure) who will lead and develop the Library’s research related activities.

Alma integration

Planning for the adoption of a new integrated library management system – Alma – has proceeded very well during the course of the year, with implementation expected in May to September 2013. This is a major undertaking for the Library and it has been approached in that spirit, resulting in a re-thinking of all back-of-house operations.

Change management

The Library operates with a culture of continuous improvement, with a high degree of staff engagement. Very successful change management strategies have been developed with more senior staff since the 2011 University staff satisfaction survey and professional development programs for all staff in 2012 have focused on change management, in response to changes generated by the Library, the University and the wider scholarly environment.


Statistics illustrate the changing role of the Library. Print collections continue to grow, albeit slowly, in contrast to their electronic counterparts. With the adoption of an e-preferred policy for monograph acquisitions in 2012 (following a similar policy for journals over ten years ago), approximately 15% of individual monograph orders were for e-books. Including titles in aggregated collections, the number of e-books increased by 9% to over 455,000 titles while the number of e-journals increased by 23% to almost 96,000 titles. Use of the print collections continues to decline, while use of electronic resources continues to rise. Interestingly, use of physical facilities, while declining slightly, does not reflect the decline in use of print resources.

February 2013

As well as this overview the full Report (PDF, 0.21 MB) includes the following appendices providing greater detail than can be included here:

  1. Response to 2012 Plan
  2. Statistical summary
  3. Visitors
  4. Publications, presentations and memberships
  5. Library committees:
    • General Library Committee
    • Monash University Publishing Advisory Committee
    • Copyright Advisory Committee
    • Research Data Management Subcommittee
    • Research Data Management Advisory Group.