Library and Information Science (LIS) education has been offered at Charles Sturt University and its predecessor institutions since 1975. The School of Information Studies is itself over 30 years old, and is now the only school amongst Australian universities devoted to Library and Information Science education and research. Its 'headquarters' is Building 5 on the Charles Sturt University's Wagga Wagga campus, about 400 km south-west of Sydney, NSW.
The School currently has around 2,000 students enrolled in the Bachelors and Masters of Information Studies, the Master of Education (Teacher Librarianship) and other specialist courses. It also has fifteen full-time academic staff, teaching and researching in a wide range of LIS subfields, many adjunct and sessional staff, and a large cohort of PhD students.
The School of Information Studies congratulates Dr Waseem Afzal who has won a research grant funded by the Australian Department of Defence. The research project “Understanding the role of properties of information in shaping violent extremism: Enhancing the cognitive base of the Army’s Intellectual Capital” will examine (1) the role that different properties of information play in shaping extremist content, (2) will identify generalizable information strategies underlying different extremist groups’ propaganda, and (3) will propose information strategies to counter extremist information warfare. We look forward to reading about the results!
The Australasian Conference on Research Applications in Information and Library Studies (RAILS) was duly hosted by SIS on 28-29 October at CSU’s campus in Canberra. The conference theme, “Towards critical information research, education and practice”, was picked up in a wide range of ways by presenters. Sixty participants from eight countries attended; there were 39 papers (six presented by SIS staff and students), three posters, three keynotes and one panel. RAILS 2020 will be hosted by Victoria University, Wellington, New Zealand.
Above - Welcome reception and Keynote Speaker Mike Jones at RAILS 2019.
The School welcomes Liz Derouet who recently joined us as Lecturer in Teacher Librarianship. Our congratulations to Liz who was recently awarded Queensland School Library Association Teacher Librarian of the Year for 2019. The citation acknowledges Liz’s innovative professional practice and exemplary contribution to teaching and learning. Liz comes to us with many years’ experience as a teacher librarian, and also public library experience. She has also worked as a lecturer in children’s literature at the University of Southern Queensland.
The Faculty of Arts and Education at CSU has formed a Libraries Research Group, to build on the University’s strengths in the field of Library and Information Science. Nine of its twelve foundation members are academics from the School of Information Studies. The group will focus on the ways in which library and information services can be improved, and library collections enhanced, as well as the role of libraries and librarianship in contemporary society. Aligned with the University’s Research Narrative of developing flourishing communities, the Libraries Research Group will address priority issues for libraries and their managers, helping to ensure that library services meet the needs of the communities they serve and contribute to a better informed, and more information literate, citizenry. The Group has been awarded $20,000 of start-up funding from the Faculty and held its first meeting on 27 September by videoconference.
The six members of the group in attendance in Wagga are pictured .
(L-R: Drs Mansourian, Jamali, Lymn, Hider, Afzal and Wakeling).
Dr Hamid Jamali of the School of Information Studies was cited as field leader for Australia in the field of Library and Information Science based on Google Scholar data in the list of Australia’s top researchers 2019, published in the Australian Higher Education Supplement of the 25 September 2019. The table of results can be found within the following article which notes that Professor Sharynne McLeod, also of CSU is world leader in her field of audiology https://www.theaustralian.com.au/higher-education/australias-researchers-are-top-of-the-world/news-story/da49e9723818fde2d28ce7a9d08f538c?btr=5ca2f8776dc8da4ab6efbc346f3064de
The School of Information Studies congratulates all the 35 students who graduated at the ceremony in Sydney in August. We wish you all the best in your information careers and look forward to seeing you around the traps and conferences and other professional occasions, and hope that you remain in touch with the School.
We also extend special congratulations to Michelle Lynch and Tara Wagner who were awarded with one the 2018/2019 Executive Dean’s awards at the ceremony. These awards are in recognition of outstanding performance in course work. Both Tara and Michelle graduated from the Master of Education (Teacher Librarianship). Our congratulations also go to Elizabeth (Liz) Finlay from the Master of Information Studies who graduated with Distinction.
(Michelle Lynch, Tara Wagner and Liz Finlay)
Authors who made submissions for the RAILS Conference to be hosted by the School in Canberra in October have been notified of the results. A total of 43 full papers were accepted, together with two panels, each with three presenters, and three posters. A wide range of topics will be discussed, many directly addressing the conference theme, ‘Towards Critical Information Research, Education and Practice’. To register for the Conference, please visit https://railsconference.com/rails-2019/registration/.
Dr Simon Wakeling joins the School in May, as a Lecturer in Information Studies. Simon has recently been working as a Research Associate in the Information School at the University of Sheffield, where he completed his PhD in 2015, his thesis being on ‘Establishing User Requirements for a Recommender System in an Online Union Catalogue: an Investigation of WorldCat.org’. His research interests include interactive information retrieval, scholarly communication, and graph literacy.
Charles Sturt's research in the field of Library and Information Studies was rated a ‘4’, i.e. ‘above world standard’, by the Australian Research Council, in its recent national research assessment exercise. The assessment was based on the School’s research outputs and activities in the reference period, 2011-16. In the exercise, known as Excellent in Research for Australia, or ERA, fields of research are rated 1-5, with 1 being the lowest and 5 the highest. For Library and Information Studies, Charles Sturt was rated joint top, along with Monash University and Queensland University of Technology, which also scored 4s. The School’s success in ERA is the culmination of an enormous amount of work by its researchers over the past eight years or so, and positions the School very favourably in the years to come. Well done to everyone who contributed to this very notable achievement!