Category Archives: work

Peer reviewed!

IMG_20161103_170518I was invited to do a presentation at the Charleston Conference last November and at the end of my talk the editor of the UK journal Insights, who had been in the audience, came up for a chat and asked if I’d write it up as a case study for the March issue.

Woohoo, but whoa! That didn’t seem very far away, especially as the submission deadline for that issue was January.

I must have had a slight look of panic on my face because people started saying soothing things like “if you just write a paragraph for each of your slides you’d have it done”. Anyway, after talking it over we settled on the July issue which had a submission deadline of April. That sounded much better.

I got cracking on writing the paper as soon as I got back, and I’m glad I did. A written paper is definitely different to a spoken presentation and I also wanted to update it with some new data.

My Charleston talk was about the evolution of my university library’s demand-driven ebooks program, and how we’d just introduced a new demand-driven model. We’d only been running the new model for a month before the Charleston Conference so I didn’t have a lot of data to go on then, but I’d have six months of data by the time my Insights paper deadline came around so I had more of a story to tell.

Because I had to wait until almost the submission deadline to get the six months of data I was planning to use, I wrote the remaining sections and checked the data every couple of weeks to give me an idea of how things were looking. Then I did the final write-up with the updated data about a week before the submission deadline. It wasn’t such a close call as it seems, because I really had most of it written, and I had a pretty good idea how the data was tracking.

Not only is writing a journal article different to putting together a conference paper, this would be my first article in a peer reviewed journal and also the first time working with an editor. It was a great experience, and something I’d encourage anyone to do if you get the chance.

I got my draft off to my editor in early April and we worked on tidying things up a bit and editing some of my charts and tables before it went off for peer review. The reviewed paper came back with some really useful feedback about adding in some more explanation and background at a couple of points, plus an extra explanatory chart.

Some tips I learned along the way for next time, that you might keep in mind too:

  • I should have paid more attention to the Author Guidelines before I started. I spent quite a bit of time getting things into the publisher’s house style after the fact.
  • I created my charts from data in Excel and I should have made working copies and kept them all together as I frequently had to revisit my spreadsheets to update charts and put things like chart labels into the house style.
  • As I only had about 3000 words, I’d removed a lot of detail and some of my early charts and tables from my draft, but the reviewer actually asked for some more detail so I had to put some things back in. So, if you do remove anything along the way, make sure you keep a copy of the earlier drafts.
  • Some of the reviewer’s comments suggested ideas for future work as there wasn’t the space or time to incorporate them all in this paper.
  • A colleague checked and let me know that my article would be in an open access journal and that there were no author publishing fees. As a librarian I should have thought of checking this myself but it never occurred to me!
  • Luckily I’d already organised my ORCID identifier, but you’ll need this if you don’t have one.

The editor did a great job and we exchanged emails fairly regularly over several weeks. As she was in the UK and I’m in Australia, the time difference necessarily added some delays but we got there in the end. There was also a proof reader who came in at the final stages just before publication with a couple more requests for fairly minor changes.

I also think it shows the editor’s craft that, although they helped smooth out my wonky grammar and sometimes idiosyncratic use of vocabulary, it still sounds like I wrote it.

So here it is…

Davies, T., (2017). The evolution of an e-book demand-driven acquisition programme at Swinburne University of Technology. Insights. 30(2), pp.36–43. DOI:

(Another tip for next time: I probably should have thought up a snappier title.)


Trip to Brisbane

I seem to have fallen off the #blogjune bus somewhere around the half way mark but will try to rectify matters somewhat by getting in a couple at the end.

I’m just back from a two day work trip to attend Elsevier’s Asia Pacific Ebooks Forum which was held on Brisbane’s South Bank in remarkably mild weather for the middle of Winter. It was a very pleasant respite from grey and blustery Melbourne.


There were librarians from Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Thailand, Taiwan, Malaysia, Singapore, and Canada! I was asked to represent Australia and presented a case study on ebooks at my library, Swinburne. Even among the Australian librarians we all seem to be doing very different things with ebooks so it’s interesting to hear what librarians are doing in other countries and the challenges they face. I was surprised to hear that there are hardly any ebooks being used in Japanese libraries, mainly because there are hardly any ebooks being published in Japanese, so the two librarians from Japan were certainly facing a unique challenge.

This was the first APAC Ebooks Forum I’ve attended. I believe they’re held every two years and are quite unique to our region. One of the Elsevier representatives told me that there are similar meetings held in Canada and Mexico but not in Europe or the US (I think that’s right). On the second afternoon there was an interesting workshop on authorship for librarians and there was discussion on using blogs to get started, and I mentioned our library’s staff blog Ideas come from everything which was created with just that thought in mind. I really should write up my presentation for the blog.

The Forum closed after the authorship discussion but because I misread the program and got the closing time wrong I booked myself on a much later flight than I should have. That did at least give me a couple of hours at the end to contemplate what we’d talked about and go for a walk down to the Botanic Gardens and enjoy some blue skies and sunshine before heading back to the airport and blustery Melbourne – and a very bumpy landing!





I’ll be away for a couple of weeks as I’m heading over to the Charleston library conference tomorrow, which is very exciting if a little nerve-wracking because I’m going to be co-presenting a paper about ebooks in Australian libraries. We’re being sponsored by EBL/ProQuest Ebooks who tell us that we need to share with our North American colleagues what we’re doing.

As a treat to myself legitimate work requirement I bought a Galaxy Note 8 inch tablet and I’ve loaded my PowerPoint so I’ll be able to practise during the five hour layover in DFW Airport.


The flight is going to be an endurance test. Although I leave at lunch time on Monday and arrive in the late evening on Monday it’s over 28 hours travelling all up. Better load up some ebooks too. Michelle and I will meet up in Sydney and then we fly across the Pacific to Dallas-Fort Worth on QF7 which I have just read is the longest Qantas flight sector and the longest 747 flight of any airline in the world! Then we just have one more flight to get us to Charleston before we can fall asleep/pass out.

We were originally booked into one of the regular conference hotels but ProQuest pulled some strings and have now got us booked us into a beautiful hotel in the historic downtown, the Jasmine House Inn, a Greek Revival mansion in the Ansonborough  part of town. Thankfully we have a free day on Tuesday for some gentle strolling and strong coffee.

Sadly it appears that the yarn store in downtown Charleston has closed down but that’s ok, because I’m having a New York City shopping stopover on the way home and I have my New York yarn crawl all worked out!

Travels with Alma


It was a grey and rainy start to my trip around Australia last week but the weather improved with each city we visited, it was almost warm by the time we got to Brisbane!

I was travelling with the Ex Libris team to speak about our library’s implementation of the new Alma library system, having been the first library to go live with Alma in Asia-Pacific. The first session was in Melbourne and I talked a bit too long so I went straight home for some quick edits to my slides before we embarked on the roadshow the next day.

wpid-2013-07-28-10.54.08.jpgIn Sydney I got to while away a pleasant couple of hours at my favourite bookshop, Kinokuniya, and with perfect timing since they were having a 20% off sale on all their craft books. The next morning we travelled out to UNSW for the Sydney session before leaving on the long flight to Perth.

Qantas had the new Jonathan Creek episode on the in-flight entertainment so I got to watch The Clue of the Savant’s Thumb starring the wonderful Joanna Lumley. Brilliant! Lucky we got dinner on the plane because we all just fell into bed when we finally got to our hotel in Perth.


The Perth session was at the University of Western Australia. I’d never visited before and we only got a glimpse of the campus, but it was a lovely drive along the riverfront in winter sunshine. The Perth session was great fun, and I caught up with several of my Perth Twitter peeps including Con and got to meet her husband Michael. We’d hoped to be able to have dinner or even a sleepover so I could meet the doggies but with such a rushed schedule  we had to make do with a chat over coffee (although I’m not even sure that we managed that).

I think this is the first time people have live tweeted one of my talks!

At least we had time for a proper lunch in Perth and walked across to Northbridge where I was introduced to Shakshuka, a Mediterranean dish of baked eggs in a spicy pepper stew. I chose the vegetarian version but Barbara, who was from the Israel office, told me that Shakshuka is traditionally vegetarian anyway so I don’t know what they were doing putting meat in the “regular” version.


We were in Perth less than 24 hours before we had to fly back across the country to Brisbane, arriving late at night before the final session of the roadshow at the State Library of Queensland the next day and then, after one more long flight back to Melbourne, home at last!

a picture is worth

Another blog post for the Australia and New Zealand librarians’ 23 mobile things. This is the second thing. The next post will feature knitting, promise.


Flickr Photo a Day from this week – Camera360 app with Glowing B&W effect

I have a very old phone with what I’m sure is a fairly ordinary camera, but it really does take surprisingly good photos. Even better, it’s always in my pocket so I can take a picture almost anytime. There really is nothing worse than wishing you had your camera with you when you see something that catches your eye. I’ve definitely taken a lot more photos since I got my phone and I’ve also signed up for some photo challenges which have helped me to keep my eyes open for photo opportunities.

I’ve been on Flickr for years and last year  joined a Flickr weekly photo challenge and added a Photo a Day one this year — although I’m now way behind on the weekly one so I might have stretched myself a bit. It is good discipline though and keeping your eyes open for photo opportunities allows you to see wonderful new things you might not have otherwise noticed. I’ve also met some lovely new people, Flickr is a very friendly place to hangout.

When the Android Instagram app came out I signed up for that too and usually post a couple of photos a week. It’s a different kind of interaction on Instagram compared with Flickr. On Instagram you get some immediate interaction and then it’s gone. On Flickr you sometimes have quite in depth interactions that can stretch over a long time. I probably wouldn’t put an ephemeral photo like what I made for lunch on Flickr but I would put it on Instagram. They’re very different but I like them both and I don’t really understand why some people feel the need to choose.

Unfortunately the Android Flickr app is yet to catch up with the new iOS one and doesn’t allow you to upload to groups. I use it for checking comments but I mostly use another app Upstream for uploading photos to Flickr. I have location services turned off on my phone, but I usually edit my Flickr map manually and I have a geofence around my home location so only trusted people can see the details. I wish more people would put their Flickr photos on a map. I once found a photo of some fantastic street art in Fitzroy and the Flickr map allowed me to find out where it was located so I could take a photo myself!

I rarely use the standard camera on my phone since I installed the Camera360 app. It has some excellent effects and features and seems to produce better quality photos. If I use an effect in Camera360 I can set it so it saves one photo with the effect and one original, so then I can also play around with the original in another editing app if I want to. I must say that I’m not much impressed with the Instagram filters so I usually take my Instagram photos using the Camera360 camera and apply any effects there, or I make the edits in another app before uploading to Instagram from the Gallery.

phoneI’ve tried a few photo apps over the past year. The ones I keep on my photo home screen are the ones I use most often, the ones I use less often but don’t want to delete I’ve shuffled into a folder, and I’ve discarded some others completely.

I’ve got a couple of other photo editing apps in my folder but I mostly use BeFunky. It has all the basic edits you’d expect such as brightness, contrast, cropping, and straightening plus it has a range of really nice filters. TouchRetouch is excellent if you’re prone to getting your thumb or foot in the corner of an otherwise good photo, but you can also airbrush out anything else that’s spoiling your picture, and PicFrame is handy for making collages.

The best thing about all of this is, of course, the social aspect. What’s the point of taking great photos if nobody gets to see them?

a quiet day on Twitter

I’ve signed up to the Australia and New Zealand librarians’ 23 mobile things. Hopefully I’ll learn some new things about mobile stuff. Regular readers (hello!) who have popped by to see discussion of yarn and knitting patterns may care to skip these posts.

I’m quite late to the mobile world. Wayne and I only got our first smart phones less than two years ago when we got a deal for the very first Samsung Galaxy after the Galaxy III came out. We’re both hooked now and often tweet each other through the day. I almost never use the phone for making calls and the first time my phone rang I was so surprised that I couldn’t work out how to answer it.

twitterI did join Twitter quite a while ago though. I signed up when a former work colleague invited me to join and then she never sent a single tweet. Wayne said I should follow Yoko Ono because she always sends you a direct message to say “hello” and she did!

My Twitter account was pretty quiet until I attended the VALA library conference in Melbourne in 2010 where I met some lovely librarians at a lunchtime stitch’n bitch. I didn’t have a smart phone then of course, but I noticed everyone else busily tweeting during the conference presentations and I’d rush home and try to catch up on the Twitter conversations on my computer. That’s when I knew I was missing out and I really needed to join the mobile crowd. By the time the next VALA conference rolled around in 2012 I had my phone! It was great being able to finally join the conversation live.

Today I’ve been stuck in work meetings almost all day so I still need to catch up on what’s been happening on Twitter, but even on a quiet day like today there’s been a bit going on.

It’s interesting that my Twitter timeline subjects change through the day and night. During the day most of my timeline is from other librarians but overnight my feed mostly comes from crafty peeps I follow in the UK and USA so in the morning I check any craft news and gossip and check for any @ replies to see if there’s been a conversation during the night. I also often have some chit chat with other earlybird librarians.


I use the standard Android Twitter app on my phone. You can easily see if you have any interactions by the blue dot under the @ icon or by the Twitter icon in the alerts bar at the top of the screen. Even though it was a quiet day for me on Twitter there was a surprising amount of activity and conversation.

8723043462_617b946a8aWhile sipping my first coffee in bed I put up an Instagram  photo of our pooch Willy and I ticked the Twitter box so my Instagram comment gets posted as a tweet in my account with a link to the photo. Sometimes people comment on the photos on Instagram and sometimes they comment on Twitter. It’s lovely either way, but you’re more likely to have a conversation on Twitter.

Arriving at the station I was glad I made the 7.59 train because Twitter told me that the following 8.07 train was cancelled.

On the train I noticed a link to a knitting blog from my Twitter friend Steven and then Andrew (who I “met” on Twitter through a Twitter conversation with another knitter a while back) joined in and we ended up discussing Japanese knitting patterns, and then I found out that Andrew used to work at Morris & Sons in Sydney and I mentioned that another Twitter pal (who I now know in real life) worked at the Melbourne store and he popped into the conversation a bit later while I was stuck in a meeting.

The ticket machine at my station has been playing up the past couple of days so I tweeted them last night and I got a tweet back during the day to thank me and let me know they’d fixed it. On the train ride home I caught up with the news of the day and followed a few links to news sites. Nearing home another librarian Peter tweeted that there was a taco truck a couple of stations up the line from me – handy if I didn’t have dinner waiting for me at home! Twitter really is part of my life now.

Alma and the State Library of Queensland

Stylish mineral water always helps at a meeting

We were in Brisbane for a few days last week because our library is one of the collaborative partners for Ex Libris’s new library system Alma. It was a great couple of days, we got to see how the new system is developing, and we got to talk about what we want from Alma. We also talked a lot with colleagues from other libraries about all sorts of things. My head is still spinning a bit.

The meeting was held at the State Library of Queensland which has had a wonderful makeover with calm and elegant reading and study spaces and lots of quirky art and design elements.

From almost everywhere there are views of the river and cityscape. All the interior circulation spaces, corridors and stairways are in the centre of the building but, through clever design, are also completely open to the outside.  It must be especially pleasant in the warmer months. Here are some more pics…