Swimming In The Deep End: Curtin Library’s Deep Dive Into Data

Amanda Bellenger, David Lewis, Drew Fordham

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference paperConference paper


In 2017 Curtin University Library staff commenced an initiative to explore library data throughanalysis and visualisation tools. A Working Group was formed of self-selected staff from acrossthe library who had a common interest in opportunities to use data and analytics tools. A keyfocus was to seek innovative ways to use data and have a measureable impact on libraryoperations and future planning.An environmental scan of the data landscape in academic libraries suggests five core areas ofactivity – the use of library data to gain insights, the need to upskill library staff in data methods,the demand for data literacy programs for library clients, the value of building partnerships andcollaborations within the institution to support data programs, and the increasing use of libraryfacilities to provide data-rich learning spaces. The group’s work fell across all of these areas.This paper will describe the development of the group and its practical outcomes including the innovative use of data to inform a multi-year building project at Curtin University’s Robertson Library in Western Australia. The application of data analysis and interactive visualisation methods has enabled the Library to model different ways of identifying print materials that can be deselected. The Working Group provided a leadership role in fostering data-related professional development and learning opportunities for library staff and clients. One such example was the hosting of regular ‘hacky hour’ sessions which inspired others to embrace new tools such as R, RShiny, Python, Jupyter Notebooks and GitLab to solve real-life challenges in their day-to-day work.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication2019 IATUL Proceedings
Subtitle of host publicationShifting Sands and Rising Tides: Leading Libraries through Innovation
PublisherPurdue University
Number of pages15
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2019
Externally publishedYes
Event40th Annual IATUL Conference: Shifting Sands and Rising Tides - Leading Libraries through Innovation - University of Western Australia, Perth, Australia
Duration: 23 Jun 201927 Jun 2019
http://www.iatul2019.org/?pgid=1486 (IATUL 2019)

Publication series

NameProceedings of the IATUL Conferences
PublisherInternational Association of Scientific and Technological University Libraries (IATUL)


Conference40th Annual IATUL Conference
Abbreviated titleIATUL 2019
OtherThe International Association of University Libraries (IATUL) invites you to attend the 40th Annual IATUL Conference at The University of Western Australia and Curtin University in Perth, Australia from 23 June to 27 June 2019. This is an excellent opportunity to hear about the latest academic library initiatives and network with colleagues and friends from all over the world.
Technology has fundamentally changed the role of the academic library and how it operates. This is evident in the increased access to digital sources of knowledge, and digital tools and services for students, teachers and researchers along with the increasingly important role of the library’s physical place on campus. The IATUL 2019 conference themes will provide ample opportunity to explore and learn about how the library can enable work, study and research in higher education.
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