Charles Sturt University
Charles Sturt University

Dr Barbara Combes

Dr Barbara Combes

BA (UWA), GradDipEd (STC), GradDipAppSc (TL) (WACAE), GradDipInternetStudies (Curtin), MAInternet Studies (Curtin)

Barbara currently lectures for the School of Information Studies at Charles Sturt University, specialising in the area of Teacher Librarianship. Her major interest areas include the role of teacher librarians in education, information seeking behaviour, online learning and the online experience in distance education particularly for first time users, information literacy, policy and planning.

Barbara completed her PhD on the information-seeking behaviour of the Net Generation. Previously Barbara lectured in the School of Computer and Security Science, Edith Cowan University from 2002-2011.

During 2001-2002 she worked as the Teacher Librarian and Information Manager at Sevenoaks Senior College. In this role Barbara managed the Library and Information Centre, acted as webmaster for the College and was responsible for the development of online curriculum and online courses to support teaching-learning programs at the College.

Prior to 2001, Barbara worked as an Evaluation Officer and as the webmaster for Curriculum Materials Information Services (CMIS) Evaluation, Department of Education and Training Western Australia. She has also been a teacher Librarian in K-12 schools and a secondary teacher.

Top of page

Barbara's research focus during the last five years has been on the information-seeking behaviour of Gen Y. Another area of research that emerged as a result of her PhD findings has been how students interact with, read and make meaning from text on the screen. Barbara has also completed research on the emotional response of students to the eLearning environment, designing collaborative curriculum for eLearning and the difference between face-to-face learning and learning wholly online.

You will find her research on and

Combes, Barbara A. 2012. Tech savvy or tech oriented? Information-seeking behaviour and the Net Generation. Ph.D. Curtin University, Department of Media and Information.

Top of page

Barbara is currently working on a research project with colleagues from ECU (Dr Justin Brown) and Nakhonphanom University (Dr Yuwanuch Gulatee), Thailand on how students in Thailand use technology for learning. She is also working on a white paper with the West Australian School Library Association (WASLA) on literacy and learning research.

ALTC research (2009-2010): Re-conceptualising and re-positioning Australian library and information science education for the twenty-first century. An investigation of Australian library and information science (LIS) education to ensure it remains dynamic, responsive and sustainable in the evolving information age to meet the ever-changing marketplace demands of the 21st century. Completed.

Top of page

Barbara teaches in the Teacher Librarianship courses at the School of Information Studies, CSU. In this role she teaches in the areas of management and leadership, web evaluation and online reference services, information literacy and the role of the teacher librarian and children's literature.

Barbara also teaches in the BIS and MIS programs in the areas of Information Literacy and an introductory subject examining the Information Professions.

Top of page

Current: PhD with Dr Mary Carroll and Dr Mary Anne Kennan – Romany Manuell

  • Greg Baatard, (2010). Evaluating the impact of peer review and participation awareness in an online collaborative document authoring environment, PhD completed.
  • Yuwanuch Gulatee, (2010). An investigation into online teaching and the delivery of computer science topics: Practice, content and environmental factors, DIT completed.

Barbara has previously supervised several Masters by Research students:

  • Anne Wright, (2011). Strengthening cultural identity of Aboriginal people through past government records: The role of Government in the lives of Aboriginal people in New South Wales.
  • Amanda Edwards, ( 2010). Mapping the information flow: From the Reformation to Twitter
  • Rebecca Stockley, ( 2006). Building institutional repositories: An overview of the institutional barriers to repository population and the advocacy strategies exercised at UK research institutions.
  • Maria Woodhouse, (2005). Does interviewer skill and technique affect the quality of data obtained in an in-depth interview?

Top of page


  • Western Australian School Library Association (WASLA), President;
  • Professional Teaching Council Western Australia (PTCWA), Committee member;
  • International Federation of Library Associations (IFLA), Reading and Literacy section, Secretary;
  • International Federation of Library Associations (IFLA), Information Literacy section, corresponding member; and
  • International Association of School Libraries (IASL), IFLA representative, member.

Editorial Board Member

  • Editorial Board: IFLA Journal

Reviewer Professional Journals

  • Journal of Online Learning and Teaching;
  • Journal of Information Technology and Education;
  • Journal of Librarianship and Information Science;
  • ACCESS; and
  • AARL

Professional Sponsorship

  • Anne Clyde Memorial Award - Academic Research Libraries - student awards.

Top of page

Book chapters (refereed)

Massingill Manck, K., Carmichael, P. & Combes, B. (2011). GiggleIT and global citizenship: School libraries, literacy and laughter. In Marquardt, L. & Oberg, D. (Ed.), Global Perspectives on School Libraries: Projects and Practices, Berlin: Walter de Gruyter GmbH & Co.

Combes, B & Valli, R. (2007). The future of learning objects. In Principles and Practices of the Effective Use of Learning Objects, Alex Koohang & Keith Harman (Eds.), UK: Informing Science Press.

Articles and Conference Presentations (recent)

Combes, B. (2016).New literacy skills in a multimodal society: How much do traditional literacy skills count? Our library: Story central, Teacher Librarian Professional Learning Community, Campbelltown, 29th April, 2016.

Combes, B. (2015). Literacy matters! Digital literacies. Literacy and Reading Section, IFLA 2015, Dynamic Libraries: Access, Development and Transformation, Cape Town South Africa, August.

Combes, B. (2015). Being strategic on the fly. Western Australian School Library Conference 2015, Shenton College, June.

Combes, B. (2015). Takeaway curriculum: Theory meets practice. Co-creation of student resources in an online environment. Learning Technology Forum, Charles Sturt University.

Combes, B. (2015). Streaming workflow in your library. Birds of a Feather Seminar, WASLA.

Combes, B. (2014). Chinese Whispers: The nature of information and the future of libraries. Invited speaker at International Library Symposium: Embracing New Landscapes, Sept., The Southport School, QLD, Australia.

Combes, B. (2014).  Understanding how digital natives approach and use ICTs for information-seeking: An essential precursor to innovative online education, RAILS, Canberra.

Combes, B. & Carroll, M. (2013). Are we there yet? eLearning in library and information science courses in Australia. Education for Information, 29(3-4), 205-218.

Combes, B., Hanisch, J., Carroll, M. & Hughes, H. (2011). Student voices: Re-conceptualising and re-positioning Australian library and information science education for the twenty-first century. The International Information & Library Review, 43(3), 137-143.

Gulatee Y., Combes, B. & Clayden, J. (2011). An investigation of teaching wholly online in a School of Computer and Information Science. Innovation in Teaching And Learning in Information and Computer Sciences (ITALICS), 10(2). Retrieved August 3, 2011 from

Combes, B., Hanisch, J., Carroll, M., Hughes, H. & Millington, A. (2011). Are you really ready? What the new graduates reveal about their first years in the workforce. The ALIA 5th New Librarians Symposium, Metamorphosis: What Will You Become Today? Perth, Western Australia.

Combes, B. (2010). Razzle dazzle: Creating interactive library spaces. 39th Annual Conference incorporating the 14th International Forum on Research in School Librarianship, Brisbane, Australia.

Combes, B. (2009). Digital natives or digital refugees? Why we have failed Gen Y? 38th Annual Conference incorporating the 13th International Forum on Research in School Librarianship, Abano Terme (Padua), Italy.

Gulatee, Y., Brown, J. & Combes, B. (2009). E-learning systems and HCI: Issues in replicating the classroom online. 2009 International Asian Conference on Education, Osaka, Japan.

Combes, B. (2009). Generation Y: Are they really digital natives or more like digital refugees? Synergy, 7(1).

Top of page