Classrooms in flux: teaching researcher skills in the Zoom era

Dr Donna MacColl1, Dr Alissa Hackett1

1Libraries and Learning Services, University Of Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand


Large research universities can be slow-moving beasts when it comes to change. Within the library, we have wanted to develop an online version of our Doctoral Skills Programme, but a tendency towards detailed planning and perfectionism has meant little progress. This changed for the University of Auckland with the New Zealand level 4 lockdown Covid-19 response.

Methods or Actions

We were fast and adaptive in our approach, creating minimum viable products for most offerings within 1-2 weeks. All our workshops were interactive and utilised various online tools, but delivery style was varied to suit workshop content rather than applying a one-size-fits-all template. We continually refined our sessions following student feedback and our own observations, which helped foster participant engagement and connectivity.


Overall workshop attendance was higher than our face-to-face trainings and our audience extended to include those students based at satellite campuses and distance learners. Students eagerly engaged with us and each other and feedback was excellent. Tools that allowed anonymous questions and contribution were really well received and are now used in our face-to-face sessions.


Due to the Covid19 pandemic we were forced to rid ourselves of our slow-moving ways and rapidly adapt to presenting workshops online. The result has transformed the way we continue to deliver workshops and has prepared us for future remote teaching. Subsequent work includes development of asynchronous resources, finding the correct mix of workshop mediums, and maintaining our agile style of development and implementation in a non-crisis environment.


Having completed her PhD in biological science at the University of Melbourne in 2014, Donna has a strong background in scientific research. Her current role is in the Research Services team within the Library at the University of Auckland.  Donna utilizes her research experience to support doctoral students and academics with developing research skills, publishing and bibliometrics advice, and managing their research profiles.

Dimensions on Google BigQuery: The world’s largest and most diverse research information data set at your analytical fingertips

Dr Daniel Hook1

1Digital Science, London, UK

Two of the key themes in information science today are context and security.  In this talk we show a new, efficient approach to contextualising the information that you hold about the research community within your organisation while keeping institutional data secure.  We will share a high-level technical summary of the approach and demonstrate how this connects to and augments your existing reporting and analysis infrastructure.  We then provide a practical illustration of the power of this approach with two case studies.  The first will show how to take data from a typical university research information management system and build context around these data to support strategic decision making throughout the institution; the second will focus on using enhanced levels of data access available through this tool to derive a bespoke set of insights around the current COVID situation.


Daniel Hook is CEO of Digital Science. He has been involved in research information management and software development for over a decade. Daniel is a mathematical physicist by training and holds visiting positions at Imperial College London and Washington University in St Louis. He is a Fellow of the Institute of Physics, and of the Centre for Science and Policy at the University of Cambridge. Daniel serves on the ORCID board as its Treasurer and is a co-chair of the Research on Research Institute.

Getting traction with outreach for Creative Practice research

Ms Fiona Lamont1

1University Of Auckland- Libraries & Learning Services, Auckland, New Zealand

Developing purposeful relationships with Creative Practice researchers is a main aim of my role as a Research Services Adviser for the Faculty of Creative Arts and Industries at the University of Auckland. One need I identified was that of further outreach options for their research (in keeping with recommendations from the 2018 Government funding round).

To address this an approach of divide and conquer was instigated. Rather than address at a faculty level, efforts would be concentrated on departments/schools. This could then provide an action template for remaining departments/schools.

Consequently, my project begins with the smallest department of the Faculty – Dance Studies. My goal was to engage Dance Studies with the University of Auckland Figshare for Institutions platform and create a figshare site to promote Dance Studies research.

Technical and administrative requirements aside, I had to get the department enthused (figshare as a data source for the University’s research reporting system was in my favour here). With a page created, the next step was to populate the site with a group “up-load-a-thon”.

The project came to a halt with the onset of Covid-19, leaving the last step still to be actioned as New Zealand went into lockdown.

With the “up-load-a-thon” halted I noticed something interesting, Figshare was receiving an increased number of views. New and previously uploaded guides and presentations (that I had authored) were now getting a lot more traction.

Two lockdowns later:

  • file views have quadrupled
  • file downloads have tripled

I think I’ve engaged them…


As a Research Services Advisor within the Research Services Team (Libraries and Learning Services), I provide services to support and enhance the research activities of postgraduates and staff within the University of Auckland Faculty of Creative Arts and Industries.

Life in the fast lane: moving researcher training from the ground to the cloud

Ms Maria Connor1, Ms Sharron Stapleton2, Ms Michelle DuBroy1, Ms Maria Weaver1

1Griffith University, Gold Coast, Australia
2Griffith University, Brisbane, Australia

Pre-COVID-19, Griffith University Library research staff faced multiple challenges delivering training to researchers. With five separate campuses across South East Queensland, the logistics of organising workshops in different locations, wrangling rooms and factoring in travel times were challenges we accepted as normal.

Working online from home has allowed us to create a more equitable, scalable and sustainable workshop series. We’ve embraced multiple online delivery options (MS Teams, Collaborate Ultra, Github, MS Sway), finding the best platforms to use depending on learning objectives and content.  Serendipitously, barriers to researcher training up-take and the perennial question of how to run a hands-on, interactive workshop online were addressed.

This approach has significantly increased training attendance, allowing researchers both within Australia and beyond to participate. Learners have been actively involved in programs, asking questions, making comments and connecting with each other.  Feedback indicates researchers who wouldn’t previously have attended workshops are now able to join in and benefit from both skills development and the ability to participate in a community of learners at a time and location that suits.

The presentation will explore the design and implementation, ongoing improvement and lessons learned for:

  • week-long self-paced programs with online chat assistance and Q&A sessions for advanced literature searching, and literature reviews using bibliometric network analysis;
  • online, follow-along data wrangling workshops supported by self-paced modules;
  • self-paced reference management online & video tutorials with follow up live online Q&A sessions.


Sharron Stapleton is a Library Research Specialist at Griffith University, where she develops and provides data wrangling and visualisation training, advice, and support.

Maria Connor is a Library Research Specialist at Griffith University, specialising in bibliometrics.

Keeping Print Collections in the Mind of the Researcher

Ms Jennifer Murphy1

1Victoria University, Melbourne, Melbourne, Australia


In 2020 library buildings are closed in Melbourne due to ongoing restrictions and print collections are not accessible. Victoria University Melbourne has a relatively small Special Collections ( area within the library but is it rich in content. There are strong threads of radical literature through the Collections, with women and urban planning also featured. There are also Collections that give you a picture of the people who donated them and others, such as the PNG and Pacific Collection focus on Australia’s neighbours.


The library team at Victoria University looked for a way to promote the collections so possibilities of future use remained in the mind of researchers, and to highlight that, although not accessible at the moment, the collections provide valuable research material. Using the Springshare Libguide platform with the carousel functionality lists were made of individual collections and book cover images were sourced from many online locations.


On an existing VU Special Collections – How to access and use ( Library Guide book covers are displayed in themes with additional links users can explore to gain further understanding of the book itself, the author, or the time period in which the book was written. A different individual collection will be highlighted each month until the end of 2020. Options for reusing the carousels are also being explored.


Promotion of the exhibition through the library website, social media, and internal messaging is keeping the print Victoria University Library Special Collections in the mind of researchers.


Jennifer Murphy is the Educational Services Librarian at Victoria University, Melbourne, where she provides leadership, innovation and expertise in the development of library and information services to support the University’s learning and teaching activities.  She has worked in the academic library sector for 10 years. She is interested in the connections between teaching and research, and how collaborations within institutions lead to a positive environment for students.

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