Monash University Library Annual Report 2013

Download the full report (PDF, 0.19 MB)

2013 in review

Cathrine Harboe-Ree, University Librarian

Dynamic engagement with, and effective responses to, key changes in the information and university environments are a highlight of the Library’s 2013 achievements. Each of these achievements underpins the Library’s contribution to the University’s strategic goals and directions. Some of the Library’s 2013 activities were identified as strategic priorities in the planning process; others, such as the transfer of the Gippsland Campus to Federation University, were not predicted but were incorporated into the 2013 strategic plan as they arose.

The highest priorities for 2013 related to systems transformation, facilities improvements, research skills development, eLearning, research data management, the research repository and publishing activity. These priorities were influenced by and proceeded in parallel with the rapidly changing nature of the collection.

Collections and use

Some key statistics highlight the changing nature of the collections and use of the Library. The physical collections continued to grow modestly (1%), with reductions in Science, Technology, Engineering and Medicine (STEM) and increases in Humanities and Social Sciences (HSS) disciplines. Low use material continued to be moved to off- site storage, releasing on-campus space for student use. Increases in loan periods and the introduction of automated renewals were factors in a 25% reduction in loans and renewals. The electronic collection continued to grow and diversify, now comprising 76% of the total collection spend. This included a 45% increase in eBook purchases and use across disciplines. There was a 7% decrease in visits to Library branches, mainly related to campus or building changes, including at Law, where refurbishments to the building had a noticeable impact.

New library system

Implementing a new library system (Alma) in September 2013 was a major milestone with the potential to reshape collection management for an electronic environment. A once in 10-15 year event such as this is a major undertaking requiring a great deal of planning, preparation and rethinking practices and processes. At some level it involved almost all staff and disrupted normal operations considerably. The implementation went very well, and the Library is now working with the vendor to optimise the potential of the new system for efficiency and effectiveness. The success of the implementation is a tribute to the preparatory work undertaken by teams across the Library.

Research Skill Development framework

Commitment to implementing the Research Skill Development framework has continued, with over 75% of the Library’s skills development programs being informed by this tool. It has been applied to curriculum reviews and eLearning activity, including blended learning, online learning and MOOCs. A Research Skill Development framework module was taught as part of the Graduate Certificate of Academic Practice (GCAP). The Library took a lead role in an Australian Learning and Teaching Council (ALTC) grant to explore deployment of the framework, including developing and running 50 workshops nationally and internationally. Initial conversations have been held between the Library and staff at the University of Warwick to identify potential areas for collaboration. It is anticipated that the new Global Discovery Degree will be Research Skill Development framework informed.

eLearning Strategy

An eLearning Strategy, developed from the Library’s earlier eLearning white paper, has been useful in developing the Library’s contribution during 2013. Staff have created broad and discipline specific online modules, including a suite of modules on academic integrity in collaboration with Office of the Pro Vice-Chancellor (Learning and Teaching). The Library is making a significant contribution to University-wide strategies, including the use of Moodle and the adoption of Turnitin.

Refurbishment projects

A significant milestone has been achieved with commencement of the projects to refurbish the Caulfield and Matheson Libraries. These two branches are in great need of redevelopment to ensure that they meet the needs of a 21st century academic community. Architects have been appointed for the Matheson project and the design process is underway. Architects are being selected to commence work on the Caulfield project in 2014.

Research data management

Monash University is recognised locally, nationally and internationally as a leader in research data management. The Library provides research data management leadership within Monash, through the Australian National Data Service (ANDS) and eResearch initiatives as appropriate. The appointment of a Director to provide leadership early in 2013 and the further appointment of a Research Data Management Coordinator in the second half of the year helped strengthen this role. An excellent partnership continues with the eResearch Centre and eSolutions, and significant progress has been made in a range of areas.

Senior Library staff are active participants in scholarly information initiatives at a national level including ANDS, the Council of Australian University Librarians (CAUL), VicNode (Monash’s RDSI (Research Data Storage Infrastructure) implementation) and a range of data management and e-Research committees. Of particular importance has been input into the open access and open data policies of the Australian Research Council and the National Health and Medical Research Council through ANDS and CAUL. Advice about the scholarly information environment and the importance of maintaining an open information environment has been given in several forums.

Nationally, the contribution of ANDS is highly valued and further Federal Government funding of $13.05M in 2013 extended ANDS operation through to mid-2015. Australia, through ANDS, has played a lead role in the establishment of the global Research Data Alliance to advance international data sharing and use.

Monash University Publishing

Monash University Publishing has quickly become a well-established enterprise in scholarly publishing. An important achievement in 2013 was the outstanding quality of the titles published, resulting in two prestigious awards and considerable mainstream media attention. Five discipline specific editorial committees have been established and discussions to establish others are continuing.

During the year a number of projects that were not anticipated in the initial 2013 priorities required significant effort from the Library. These included the transfer of the Gippsland Campus to Federation University and the partial sale of the South Africa Campus to Laureate. The Gippsland transfer has far-reaching implications for collections, systems and facilities management and these have been addressed within the project timelines.

General Library Committee

The General Library Committee (GLC) was reviewed in 2013 as part of the regular cycle of Academic Board subcommittee reviews. It was concluded that although GLC performed a useful role, it was not essential to the Library’s or University’s strategic governance. Its disestablishment was therefore recommended and approved after consultation with a wide range of stakeholders. A number of initiatives to ensure continuation of key governance and communication with all stakeholders are being developed and will be implemented in 2014.

Library staff

Throughout 2013, Monash University Library staff continued to demonstrate that they are open to change through such projects as the Alma implementation and facilities redesign. Through analysis of changing work practices the Library met its targets under the Strengthening Professional Services project for 2013, with work continuing to meet future targets through identified initiatives and more efficient work practices.

A mentoring scheme initiated by the Library and previously run in conjunction with the State Library of Victoria was successfully expanded in 2013 to involve staff from seven institutions. Monash staff were involved as both mentors and mentees.

During 2013 a presentation designed to improve understanding of the Library’s changing roles on the theme of ‘shape shifting’ was discussed with all faculties and a range of other key individuals and committees. This provided opportunities to demonstrate the profound ways the Library has changed to ensure that it continues to meet the evolving needs of the Monash academic community.

February 2014

As well as this overview the full Report (PDF, 0.19 MB) includes the following appendices providing greater detail than can be included here:

  1. Response to 2013 Plan
  2. Statistical summary
  3. Visitors
  4. Publications, presentations and memberships
  5. Library committees:
    • General Library Committee
    • Copyright Advisory Committee
    • Monash University Publishing Advisory Committee