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Sunday, 29 November 2015

Tell us about your research interests

By Suzana Sukovic

Head to ALIA research page, scroll to Being Research Active
In lively discussions at EBLIP8 conference, I mentioned my interest in establishing a central place where library and information professionals and academics could express their interest in collaboration indicating areas of their research interest. The idea was enthusiastically supported and discussed at the conference, so it seemed the time was right to put it to action. After further discussions with the ALIA Research Advisory Committee and CEO, Sue McKerracher, it was decided to start small, but give ALIA members an opportunity to share information about their research interests. Lo and behold, the humble research interest spreadsheet was born. Check it out here and, even better, let ALIA know if you want to be included.

We hope this will be a good opportunity to start some partnerships. Many people in the profession who want to do research, but don’t know where to start may have an opportunity to learn from more experienced colleagues while contributing in other ways to interesting research projects.

Saturday, 28 November 2015

Research papers at ALIA conferences

By Suzana Sukovic

REMINDER: ALIA National 2016 call for RESEARCH papers 
The ALIA National Conference 2016 call for abstracts has been extended – now closing 3 December 2015. Submissions of research papers are VERY welcome and STRONGLY encouraged! All research papers will be acknowledged in the program. Please see the conference website for further information on submission guidelines. Enquiries regarding abstract submissions for research papers can be directed to the ALIA Events Team at (From the Conference Committee)

This call for research papers appears as your regular run of the mill message from conference organisers. However, those of you engaged with the Australian LIS community know it is a milestone. Over a number of years Australian academics and LIS professionals felt (and still feel) they work in their own, distinctly separate corner of the field. ALIA conferences tended to focus on the “work on the ground”, which made it less inviting for academics to participate, especially that most universities pay conference costs only when academics present, preferably full peer-reviewed papers. Professionals interested and engaged in practice-based research felt that they were missing opportunities to learn about research in the field and advance their evidence-based practice.

ALIA Board and Research Advisory Committee heard voices of discontent (many in our own ranks). With ALIA’s vested interest in research and evidence-based practice, it became apparent that ALIA conferences need to put research more prominently on their programs. ALIA 2016 now has the process in place to identify research papers and make sure that those that pass quality selection criteria are included in the program. With options to submit full papers for blind peer-review or abstracts for consideration by the program committee, LIS professionals and academics have a chance to decide how they want to participate in this conference. ALIA and the Research Committee hope it will open new opportunities for conversation and learning.

Dr Suzana Sukovic is Co-Chair of the ALIA Research Advisory Committee

Wednesday, 4 November 2015

Transliterate reading

By Suzana Sukovic

Sukovic, S. 2015. 'Transliterate reading', Scholarly and Research Communication, 2015, 6(4), 11pp
(OA journal)

Are babies becoming hard-wired for interacting with content onscreen in a way unatainable for us, older generations? Or, are comprehension, immersion and healthy reading habits seriously undermined by electronic devices? The answer would depend on whom you are asking. A few studies stressing the importance of interaction with the book for retention and a sense of orientation in the text, have taken a prominent place in conversations about reading in media and at schools. While this line of research is important, focusing on comparisons with the print is taking our attention away from new reading practices emerging from our daily interactions with digital technology. 

In my article Transliterate Reading, published last week in the Scholarly and Research Communication, I consider results from three research projects showing common threads in the behaviour of vary different groups of people – academics in the humanities, high school students and the community as users of a historical website ( A disappearing line between user, reader and creator emerges as a common theme from data about behaviours of the three groups of users. Even the distinction between print and digital is not as clear as it firstly appears. In the environment where searching, browsing, communication, and skim and focused reading quickly replace each other, the pattern of behaviour is as important as its particular aspects. The concept of ‘transliterate reading’ points towards ‘the practice of reading across a range of texts when the reader seamlessly switches between different platforms, modalities, types of reading, and genres’. 

In the article I consider a range of behaviours to illustrate the concept of transliterate reading. Particularly interesting to me are creative aspects of reading, which emerge from ‘reading across’ and juxtaposition of ideas. An academic study participant explains the experience:

… when you’ve got your computer going and you’ve got a couple of different documents open and you’re cutting and pasting or you’re toggling between two or three documents… you’re just feeling ideas come out of this idea, idea number one and idea number two. When they pop up against each other often completely other idea, idea number 25 will, sort of, turn up out of that.
We don’t know yet what sort of ideas and skills will pop out of transliterate reading, but there is evidence that practices are changing. Academics and teenagers are both unsure about the right way to interact with digital texts as there is very little in traditional education that has prepared them for transliterate using-reading-creating. Librarians and teachers have an excellent vantage point to observe the change and gather evidence for new programs and devices, which will enable fluid reading across texts and technologies.