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Eleanor Colla - tertiary librarian and research support professional | S1E3

September 30, 2021

Eleanor Colla - tertiary librarian and research support professional | S1E3
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In this episode: the idea of research ‘impact’, how academics get lost in the system and what role curiosity has in the world of professional academic research. Care, cardigans and what it’s like to have a love-hate relationship with your profession. Critical cataloguing and what’s involved in being an artistic director for a film festival.

About the Guest: Eleanor is a tertiary Librarian living, working, and learning in Melbourne/ Naarm. They are interested in researcher development, integrating library services in the research lifecycle, the role of cross-boundary professionals in tertiary institutions, and library advocacy. Eleanor likes doing jigsaw puzzles and drinks a lot of tea. [Eleanor's LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/eleanor-colla/ Twitter: [at]eleanorcolla]

Recorded 27 September 2021

Links:

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About the Host: Danu has been thinking hard about education, technology and society for 30 years. His ambition is to start a company that offers holistic learner-first experiences that set the soul on fire. He is based in Auckland, NZ and is currently working as a consultant on research information systems, academic performance and games for education. [Danu's LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/danupoyner/]

Music: Kleptotonic Swing by Tri-Tachyon

Transcript
Danu Poyner:

You're listening to the still curious podcast with me Danu Poyner. My guest today is Eleanor Colla, who is tertiary librarian living working and learning i Melbourne, Australia. Eleanor i interested in research an development, integrating librar services in the research lif cycle, the role of cros boundary professionals i tertiary institutions, an library advocacy. I know Eleano through my work in helpin universities and academics trac the impact of their research Today, we discussed that idea o research impact how academic get lost in the system, and wha role Curiosity has in the worl of professional academi research. We talk about car cardigans, and what it's like t have a love hate relationshi with your profession. I als learned something about critica cataloging, and what's involve in being an artistic directo for a film festival. As usual it's a wide ranging conversatio that goes on lots of tangents which can end up revealing a fe surprising insights. I hop you've enjoyed listening t Eleanor Koehler coming up righ after the music break on today' episode of The still curious All right, so Hi. Oh, no, thanks so much for coming on the podcast. How are you? What's it like being in Melbourne for you at the moment?

Eleanor Colla:

Hi, Danny, thank you for having me. Um, yeah, I'm in Melbourne. And just as we started this recording, there's a helicopter going over my house. Excellent. was like in Melbourne at the moment.

Danu Poyner:

Yeah, it sounds pretty intense. It'll be a good opportunity to test the audio recording on the podcast. Anytime. Okay, so I've got a lot to ask you. I so I'm just gonna jump straight in, if that's okay. And so you're working at the University of Melbourne library, where they call you, I think, a program manager of scholarly development research. Can you tell us what that means?

Eleanor Colla:

I guess there's a lot of grammar in my title, there's a comma and the parentheses. That says in my career, but there we go. It's it's confusing. And I have to often look, look it up what my title is, in terms of what I do, um, I guess the role is about writing information in many different formats that assist researchers at the institution, University of Melbourne, in developing their information and digital literacy skills that can assist them in understanding their research. And that information can be websites, information, sessions, specific programs, consultations, all kinds of things. So I facilitate sort of what that is and how the library delivers that centrally.

Danu Poyner:

I see, that makes a lot of sense. There's probably some people listening to this who are less familiar with the university context. And I guess, part of what you're doing is research or development and integrating library services into the research life cycle. I guess, I always like to ask you Well, how would you explain what that means to like a 10 year old version of yourself?

Eleanor Colla:

I respect to many 10 year olds, so I don't really know what that app. But I guess, I guess quite simply, I'd say that this sort of means ensuring that researches kind of the work I do, ensuring researchers are supported and empowered to do their research. And kind of having all the things that go along with being a researcher, known and understood. So they can focus on the research, which is what they want to do and what they're trained to do.

Danu Poyner:

That makes sense. And you are now interested in library advocacy, which is an interesting kind of topic. So I'm, I'm interested to hear about the line that draws that moment to library together.

Eleanor Colla:

Either only ever been a tertiary librarian, I am, but at a library school and I went straight into a university library position. And I've worked in numerous University Libraries since then, but only university libraries and only in research support University Libraries. So just like with any profession, people owe your librarian I know exactly what you do. It's a strong brand. I'd say it's one of the strongest brands in the world which both Hindus and have helps us in many different ways because everyone knows what a librarian is and dogs and who they are. However, the CC getting, you know, past the cardigans and the hair and type bonds. There's a whole array of different things going on there

Danu Poyner:

and diplomatically not commenting here. Yeah, well, I'm

Eleanor Colla:

sure you've been to a few library conferences and the that's certainly the tertiary library into saying, this is a whole other many other. And so I've only done tertiary librarianship and I really focused on research support, which is good and bad, it does women like, sort of, just put a few blinders on me, I'm more of that. And I just people, like I tell people in the library, and I'm like, Oh, that's great. Yeah, I love reading cool county books to your item, I tend to borrow them from the library, I watch. My buying books for buying that is great, that's fine. Um, but I guess in terms of the advocacy, I see this issue, we're pretty invisible. People know the library, but they don't know the librarians and engaging with the libraries is having a conversation with the librarians, it's more than just borrowing at a book. It's more than just accessing a database, it's more than just asking where the toilets are like this, there's a lot more going on that people are shocked when they find out that we have degrees to be a librarian. And that concerns me. And I think it's partly our profession, and the people who are drawn to our profession. And and in regards to sort of advocacy was a lot of my work and I support this very much is about collaboration and integration and embedding things and working with other professional staff in the tertiary areas. to present you know, that seamless student experience or researcher experience, were pretty invisible as it is. And I'm becoming more and more concerned that we are turning ourselves into ghosts, essentially, what people like if, if people don't know if an undergraduate student doesn't know that they're actually learning core information literacy from an assignment that was put together by a librarian, but it's been presented by an academic or tutor or, or if someone doesn't know that the information they're getting around how to install and run EndNote an integrated into databases in a reference management system. And and if a researcher doesn't know that all this information, put around upcoming sort of transformative agreements with a publisher that they need an open research, what they're doing, there isn't, is coming from other if they didn't know that, how do they advocate for us. And, and not just in attachment, a library in any kind of community that there they are environment that they're dealing with? school librarians, primary school, and high school librarians are critical. However, you know, again, and again, we see a defunding of these positions or people doing these positions who are not librarians and you can be a librarian in many different ways. I don't wish to insinuate that a piece of paper makes your library. But that concerns me. And so I guess in terms of advocacy, I mean, it's sort of in both a day to day and doing my job well, but also brought out what is our profession doing? How do we highlight where this is coming from, whilst also acknowledging the other professions that we work with learning designers, for example? Or research managers? What's going on there? So it's a bit of a attention, I think, in terms of how much we integrate into a system that makes things invisible. Yeah,

Danu Poyner:

yeah. I mean, ghosts is a pretty powerful image there. What? But to put that question a different way, maybe what would happen if librarians disappeared and were ghosts and just were not in the institution? What would happen?

Eleanor Colla:

I guess we go back to what I said before, like when you don't know it's gonna die. People can still conduct research people can still access information, people can still submit their thesis or you know, whatever it may be, but it won't be as good. It will take longer, you weren't found all the literature, I can assure you, your your database searching won't be as beneficial. Your your knowledge on how to use something like bibliometrics or, or publishing agreements, or data management and managing your data plants, like a lot of that will disappear and go away. And I think a lot of care in what's happening with research will also disappear, as well. And so I look, Why be critical, at least not initially, I'm aware that was the work I do is important. It's not, you know, the cutting edge of many things for many people's lives. I think it's good to have that perspective, it helps me It may not assist others. Some people get a lot of validation in knowing the work they do is critical. But yeah, they'd be less color.

Danu Poyner:

This, I mean, you mentioned that being a librarian is not just about having a piece of paper. And you're involved in advocacy. So I sense that there is something important to you about the profession that that? Did you want to talk about valid? Or what what is important to you about being alive? have you spent so much time in this space?

Eleanor Colla:

Yeah, I guess that leads into a sort of identity, identity is really important in many facets of life, and identity, definitely identify as a librarian. And a lot of what that means is kind of a love hate relationship, I get really frustrated at my profession. But I'm also really quick to defend most of the work we do and why we do. The role I'm currently in and some of my previous roles has really meant that the main audience when talking to a non librarians, so I'm often the only librarian in the room. And I guess sort of being a representational of both the library that I'm employed by, but also librarians I'm, I'm very aware of, but I find being a librarian, good, I like it, it's not. But what I do is a librarian is probably very different to people's perception of what a librarian is, and does, even within the profession. And I worked out that how varied it is, within the conversations that we can really get it like critical cataloging, huge topic, wow, the amount of work going on in the cataloguing space and unpicking that and really approaching it with different critical values is fantastic. I couldn't tell you anything about it.

Danu Poyner:

That's a shame because that was what's critical cataloguing.

Eleanor Colla:

Well, you know, good old Melville Dewey. Oh, look at that guy. Turns out, not such a great guy. Um, the cataloging system that we that is using the majority of the libraries and the majority of the world or lcsh, a Library of Congress subject headings is based on Joy's classification system 10 by 10 by 10. And, you know, if you were a white Christian, straight man, in sort of the worldview of the 17 1800s, it's great for you. It's great for everyone else that doesn't fit all those boxes. There. Essentially. There's some really great examples. lynching was and Oh God, like what was it, like policing or something like it was appalling. All psychiatric, like mental health was under psychiatric diseases. As was homosexuality. pregnancy was also under diseases for a while I believe. sewing and cooking is under technology. And this is changing people change things. But we're particularly in North America, they get the term illegal alien is from the dual classification system. And we saw there technically still in there, still doing those things. So there's a lot of people doing a lot of work to try and change that. But it can be a slur professionally. And that's rather than choosing law enforcement, that's what it was. And, you know, Christianity appears in sort of seven of the 10 different categories, and then every other religion is a sub part of one of them. But, you know, forget it. I did my honors thesis, the films I was looking at is 791. Point 4372. So I remember that cataloguing for a long time. So yeah, critical pedaling is fantastic space. Yeah, I'm not sure if everything I just rattle off there is exactly what it was better, sort of get the general theme of what's going on that the idea

Danu Poyner:

that two things come out for me for that, from that would be, you know, it matters, what we call things and classification is creates reality in a certain sense. And these systems reflect the worldviews of the people who made them at the time they were made. And that has consequences that ripple ripple down. So that's, that's very powerful. It is interesting when I listened to you talk about what you're doing in the library space, that a lot of it is about putting context around things. And this is an example of that, I think. And you mentioned a few other examples of that, as well. I use use this term called cross boundary professionals. And I wonder if that's related to this at all, there seems to be a lot of crossing of boundaries and putting context around things. And I guess maybe people who are not from the university world would maybe wonder what what boundaries are there in these institutions? And what does it mean to process them? Can you say anything about that?

Eleanor Colla:

Yeah, I guess I'm using that term in the sense that it's used in the literature. And this, I hesitate to use it, but it is sort of third space, as well. And that being used in the tertiary context. In regards to, well, sylia, which Church has written a lot about specs, and that sort of people who she's based in the UK a result of studies in the UK, US and Australia, mainly, people have a research background who have crossed over into a professional capacity role, mainly because it's our recess jobs, but still do some kinds of research. So they're sort of that third space professional, that they're not purely research in our previous administration or professional stuff. But then we see a lot more coming of people who are professional staff trained and research trained, stepping across into the research space. And I think crossing these boundaries is a way to acknowledge the identities, for example of a librarian of a research manager of someone in finance. But then going across into those worlds, literally speaking different languages of that profession and understanding that. And working in that space, as a defined area. A lot of information, a lot of knowledge is siloed, particularly in higher education systems in many areas, and was there's often a negative, that can be positives, we do need to have sort of our different areas at times and understand when we are in someone else's expertise, I guess I often read, going into the research world and I've had very intense conversations with researchers who who are you Who are you to tell me how to research and what I should be doing with my research. And they comment that from a number of different factors that come out that that I'm not a researcher, they comment that that I'm female, they comment that that I'm a librarian, and that's a female profession. And they comment that that I'm probably most likely younger than them. And then so they don't they they've literally said, What's your CV? Like, who am I to pay attention to you? And then there's not much crossing over into our worlds. But then the researchers that do there any this? I guess this goes back to your question before he flat rates didn't exist, the researchers that do benefit immensely from this. Yeah, I don't know what your question started. I'm sorry. Sorry, no, I'm just rambling.

Danu Poyner:

crossing boundaries?

Eleanor Colla:

Oh, well, there we go. My question my response definitely was boundary less than. And I guess it's speaking, you know, a different, a different language. I've done some work in the research management space and I was had a conversation once with a group of people in the research office, and I was talking to ages about open scholarship, and and all the work that librarians are doing in this space and how we can support different students, particularly graduate researchers with open scholarship. After about five minutes, someone just said, Why is the library involved in scholarships that are available to students? And they've thought also really talking about financial scholarships that are available to students was the term open scholarship in the library space is about accessing publications without having to pay. So yeah, it's sometimes literally different language.

Danu Poyner:

Yeah, that vocabulary can be quite siloed, as well, any have a bit of a translation challenge in different groups? Yeah. So it's interesting to me, because you mentioned that sort of work with the, with the research office. And in my experience, working in universities, that that relationship between, say, the research office, and the library is really critical for defining or deciding how a lot of things in the institution are going to turn out. And it's they do have different vocabularies and care about different things, shall we say? And so it's really interesting to move between that space? How could you share a little bit about that experience? And how did that come to be? Is that something that you were asked to do? Or did you drive that? or What did you actually do between that between those two spaces?

Eleanor Colla:

Yeah, I guess in previous roles, I was sort of more and more going out of the library and having more sort of these critical conversations with not just individual researchers, but people who represented bodies of researchers, heads of schools, Dean's. And more and more finding out, you know, the work being done by the research office and how they integrated with the library. particularly around things like in Australia, we have era Excellence in Research for Australia, which is I've gotten reporting every few years. And the work that goes on there through particularly with depositories. And I've realized that our conversations, and the outputs of these conversations would be much better driven if I was more formally trained in the area. So I became an accredited research manager as well through arms, the Australasian research management society, as a way to sort of show that I did, at least in some instance, belong in this space, and did have a right to sort of a seat at the table there, which, again, it's more sort of what you do, as opposed to sort of the letters in your email signature. But that did help. It definitely did assist in that area. So there was sort of that part of it. And I also just found it really interesting. So I guess it was curious as at work about that process. I thought there's a there's different faith phrases and phases that they use as the pre award phase of getting a grant, which is when you're preparing it, and then there's the post award phase. And if you asked if you're a librarian or research manager and a researcher, what the post award phases, they will give you different answers. For me from a library perspective, it is when you are given the grant money you've been awarded it, and you're doing the research. I now know with my with my research management hat on that is when a researcher has been given the money but it's all the bureaucracy between being told you're getting the money and getting the money. And for researchers, it's the I've spent all the money it's post the grand What am I moving on to. So I do have those three perspectives now. Which is good It's sort of that thing where I read a lot of publications journal articles, and you know, you read one and you get a reference to two or three, and then you read those two or three, and then it just keeps growing and growing. And this is why people struggle literature. I guess that's sort of a big curiosity drive up in regards to that space. And it helps if you can align it in regards to getting time and money to do it. With your sort of key performance goals for the for the bureaucracy. Yeah. But for me, they generally seem to align, which was good.

Danu Poyner:

That makes sense. And so what are your thoughts on the place that Curiosity has within the university world or the world of professional, academic research? It's quite highly administered to that world? Yes, it is. It's the commas and the brackets and Yes,

Eleanor Colla:

yeah, yeah. Um, I think curiosity. What do they need? is a very good starting point in this context, but in many contexts, but cannot motivation or doesn't really maintain you sometimes. And so kind of against within a highly administered worlds, we need ways of sort of creating ways of taking that curiosity and turning it into a conversation or podcast at a change of practice or research, what kind of whatever that may be? Yeah, I think it's has a diminishing role. In unfortunately, in a lot of the environments that I have conversations in, and I'm curious in, unfortunately, I think the bureaucracy tries to get rid of a lot of waste. And often I think curiosity is can be considered waste in some other project management speak.

Danu Poyner:

Yeah, right. That's an interesting comment. Can you can you expand on that a little bit more?

Eleanor Colla:

Yeah, sure. Um, so if we look at it in a purely bureaucratic way, you know, what we would deem is blue sky research, the research for the sake of research, for example, and how that gets funded. It's what 5% less, you know, and all this rhetoric around impact with a capital I very, very interesting, very important. But as a driving force, how they have integrated that into the Academy is concerning, for those who are curious. Because you sort of need to lay out what you will be finding before you even have the opportunity to see if it's something that can be felt. And I don't think that really, I think that curiosity and the concepts that sit around are behind curiosity, can this have a negative connotation that at times,

Danu Poyner:

yeah. Okay. Well, Eleanor, you said a great many very interesting things there. I'd like to dig into, but I think I'll come back to some of those in the institutional context, and just ask you a little bit about yourself. First, if that's all right, I mean, what role does curiosity play in your life? Has it? How's it shaped and influenced decisions that you've made? Or paths you've taken? Maybe paths you haven't taken?

Eleanor Colla:

Yeah, um, I mean, Curiosity has always been there. Definitely. I think it drives a lot of how I learned, which is through interaction. So I learned a lot of having conversations, asking questions, and taking things apart and putting them trying to put them back together. So I think curiosity fits well into those situations and scenarios. Yeah. And that's trapped me in many various different ways.

Danu Poyner:

Could you tell us a little bit about how you've meant how you got into the university environment from there?

Eleanor Colla:

Yeah, you did High School, which time and I guess it's really quite interesting. You know, discussing before that, the place of curiosity, highly administered bureaucracies, like higher education. There's no place for curiosity in high school. You learn for the sake of passing a test, which is not optimal for my learning. At least I just wrote rhetoric learning is incorrect to my view. I think high schools would be good if they taught you how to learn. That would set you up for life. Much, much better. And so yeah, just did high school wasn't great at it. But the hope the classic like if Eleanor applied herself, she could have gotten an A and I was like, actually did try really hard on that. So thanks. And then I didn't again didn't know what I wanted out of it but knew at university I wanted to do classic Bachelor of Arts. I was really interested, I still am interested in film. So I did a lot of film theory and was quite involved in that area for a number of years and then slowly kind of came over to other interests and different ways about going about things. And I often place how I was analyzing films was surround their place in society in in the broader context, which is what I do a lot with my work now is research or development in a broader context. But the impact that this medium can have on individuals and societies. It's fantastic. Sorry, film is on my mind a lot right now. I am help brother, Sean festival at the moment. So we just had a meeting last night and so

Danu Poyner:

yeah, I want to ask you about that because you're a committee member for the Czech and Slovak Film Festival. Is that right? Yeah.

Eleanor Colla:

Film Festival this right. Yeah, yeah.

Danu Poyner:

So that's that's a big step from sort of loving film to being on a on a film festival committee. And it sort of speaks to how you get really hands on with things, I think, what can you say about what it? What does? What does that involve that that work? And how did you come to get into that?

Eleanor Colla:

Yeah. I guess I came to get involved with it. Because I started going to a film like that screened old VHS films at the back of a bar. A classic, grungy, undergrad University. So

Danu Poyner:

yeah, I can picture perfectly

Eleanor Colla:

Yeah, it was on High Street. northcutt. So

Danu Poyner:

very perfectly. Yeah, yeah.

Eleanor Colla:

And a kebab shop right next door. And I went from attending that to running that night. And then got involved in a few other film festivals around and Casper stuff. So I've been with them for. This is the ninth year of Casper, and I've been with them for probably about five. The last This is my third year as artistic director. So that means Casper is a committee based decision making process. So we all have kind of a voice in a lot of the decisions that we're making. But people do have specific roles, and will advocate for sort of different areas and present different scenarios. So with the artistic director role, I essentially put forward the films for the film festival to screen, which is a fairly large role.

Danu Poyner:

Sounds how does that what do you do to decide how it gets in?

Eleanor Colla:

Yeah, so we as a committee, sort of theme for the festival each year, and a bit of a slogan for it. And then we have our sort of our values and mission statement. So we need to be aware of that. And that's to show you an archive or Czech and Slovak and Czechoslovakia, cinema, features and shorts. And, and then knew that with our theme, and various films coming out all the time, and getting screeners and analyzing them. And then it's a really complex process. But I really like as much as I'm able to given the films available and other constraints such as timing, release dates, funding, distribution, etc. curate things as much as possible. It's sort of the whole parts. The the sum is greater than the parts situation like, Well, yeah, these are individual films, and people may only see one or two of the films that were shown throughout, but really trying to have a broad narrative thread that that goes through that program or or pairing films together, because there are the complementary or they're juxtaposing each other in some way.

Danu Poyner:

I mean, what are your thoughts on film festivals in a COVID normal world, we won't mention the big fee too much. I think that

Eleanor Colla:

film will always have a place and now it's really bad. This is a mobile app. like six weeks into this, like last year, six weeks, eight months, I can't wait for the art to come out of this. Yeah. Yeah. It's gonna be great. The literature, the film's the, you know, the static art, the moving art, it's gonna be fantastic. The core design guys have just trauma. So I'll stop

Danu Poyner:

and look forward to artistically over,

Eleanor Colla:

around and alive to experience that Yeah, we'll probably be experiencing it through a computer screen for quite some time. Um, we've actually chosen the theme for Casper this year is unique, which translates to escape. And we're escaping through film in many different ways. So yeah, that's definitely on our mind as well.

Danu Poyner:

And is there a film that you think really best reflects that idea in the in the program? Yeah,

Eleanor Colla:

there's a film called frem. If m is by Slovak director, and it's a it's a non narrative, hyper realistic documentary. That is minimal language. It's really just extreme close ups and extreme shots. From a distance as well, of the directors time in Antarctica. And it's a real commentary sort of on what people collectively have done to the continent of Antarctica, even though many of us have never been or will never go and the impact that we're having that, and it's a really challenging film, but it's a really beautiful film, and I just want to screen it was online through laptop isn't the best way to do it. I think it would be great. It would be a really great installation piece, screening it on sheets at different times walking around, it would be amazing to do that in a space that I just doing it as it is at the moment, but I think that's some beautiful imagery in that film.

Danu Poyner:

Yeah, I'll have to check it out. Thank you for letting me know, best Antarctica film I've seen. It's a fantastic film films or genre. It's this sort of not really a documentary but sort of a documentary Verner Hertzog film. I can't remember the name of it now. But it was about the people who spend their time living there and what they're doing with all of the usual Verner Hertzog fun. I totally hear about the curiosity, having no place in the in the high school, that's certainly my experience as well. And I got to comment, Dan, you waste time, but his work is very pleasing. Which, which I took as a compliment, to be honest. If you can waste time and still have pleasing work, maybe that wasn't the right lesson to draw. For. That's certainly what I took, right? You went to university, did you expect a different kind of experience, then high school with curiosity did that? Did that matter? Were you even thinking about it that way.

Eleanor Colla:

It wasn't till I got to university and sudden, sort of engaging in those critical conversations and taking things apart. And looking at them in different ways that I realized, oh, there's another way of doing this, this is great. And I suddenly became a lot more engaged in that process. So you know, a high school was very much just about getting through a passing the test. My friends and I, we would do the daily quiz in the newspaper at lunchtime. You know, we're engaged in conversations with ourselves and that kind of thing was very good experience. But it was very much a routine of and I do love a routine. But a routine that probably isn't my natural client. So once I got to university, things were I engage with them a lot more in many different ways. I definitely became a lot more curious. You to have the last year of high school, definitely took away my enjoyment of reading for a long time, as I think happens to a lot of people. And whilst I still read, I definitely went through a period where what I was engaging with and how I changed in that point of time was probably the most sort of outputs I was engaging with was film. Yeah.

Danu Poyner:

So anyway, let me come back to the library stuff. Yes. Okay, it's all tangents. Have you got an example of something you learned early in your career that stayed with you.

Eleanor Colla:

It's something that I learned early in my career was I was writing this report is pulling it all together and you know, colleagues check it, it gets sent off. And then my boss's boss got a phone call from someone very high up in, in in Chancery. And so there's a mistaken report. And, and I was like, Oh my gosh, oh, my gosh, I've ruined everything. I'm gonna get fired and blah, blah, blah. And now like, Look, yeah, he made a mistake. But at least we know that they read the reports now, Cory. And I like, Look, we love burns. If we make a mistake in a report, no one's gonna fix it. And by the end of the day, and it's fine. To clear the record, I had pulled the correct information. Well, data from the database, I'd run the correct search. However, the database was having issues and that wasn't picked up. In my search string, my Boolean operators were great. Just for my library, kudos. Yeah,

Danu Poyner:

no, fair enough. Fair. Yeah. Have you got a research support story, you're particularly proud of where you're able to bring that integrated perspective together. So that really helped someone.

Eleanor Colla:

The first one that comes to mind isn't particularly an integrated perspective. However, it is a nice story, I like to think of that highlights these metrics as problematic events, if I can go along with that one, please. So beware metrics, the counting of citations, and then inferring what that means for ease of use. People love this to be quantitative, just counting the numbers, I have X amount of citations for X amount of papers, h index, blah, blah, blah. Doesn't work for a lot of disciplines, particularly the more traditionally q reviewed disciplines as opposed to citation based disciplines. And apologies for the language I'm using here in terms of I'm sure this is a very direct language that people in the tertiary, this sub sector of the tertiary sector probably don't know much about. But I

Danu Poyner:

would say, citation based disciplines would be something like what, in hard sciences, medicine, where there's a lot of a lot of publishing of results and experimental kind of research. And peer reviewed is more like your humanities areas where it's a lot of book publishing, and that kind of thing. Is there,

Eleanor Colla:

right? Yeah, generally, yeah. And, and I was assisting various academics from various disciplines at the time, with the internal academic promotions, and they had to put together sort of the academic impact that they were having. And that's often showing three citations. And I was assisting so I was going through someone's citations, they're in education. So a peer reviewed discipline, not as many journal publications, not as many citations. And also the citations are reliant on what which databases index, which journals and book publishers, and that has skewed things up. I was looking through these publications, and this academic had a paper being cited by a website that was a.com, so not a.edu no.gov or.com. And the URL used to said instead of an S, so I was instantly suspicious. And the entire point of you know, a lot of this is academic citing academic. So this didn't really look like an academic source. Really. I was like, I think this citation can count on your paper. So you know, you've gone from four sides down to three, I'm sorry about that. I looked into this a little more. And it was a childcare center. Their website. And I was like, why is childcare center quoting an academic journal article? Very cute. And then turns out they weren't quite an academic journal article they had put on their word site as part of their pedagogy that they use, which was this whole like, play by doing and integrating through Lego or something. I don't know much about childhood pedagogy. Oh, white paper, like an information pamphlet of a white paper that the Australian Government had produced around all of this and it was the Australian Government white paper that was citing this academic journal articles. White Papers generally don't show up in academic databases, it hadn't shown up in a general database search either. So I had to do this academic and I'm really sorry, the paper that you thought I had four citations actually has three. So your numbers have gone down, but we now have an entire narrative of how your paper has been cited by the government. In a white paper, which is turned into an information spreadsheet, which is being used, we have this evidence of it's being used by people in the industry to teach children, which is not point of your research. Um, and that really assisted them. I don't know if it got the promotion or not. But they felt great about it. It's a great dinner party story. Um, I think your narrative over numbers is very important in that instance, and I think that's where the value out of whoever and so if I hadn't been there as a librarian, that was what I said, my papers for citations, of which one of them would have been incorrect, they wouldn't have known that, and of which they wouldn't have had this entire backstory of this whole real world impact as it

Danu Poyner:

was. Yeah, yeah. And so you're able to help create a narrative that puts some context around what that citation meant for, for the how their work was being used by the government. Yeah. So that maybe brings us back to some of the things that we were talking about before. I mean, academics have an interesting time, there's very few professions that are called upon to give an account of themselves and what they're doing and the impact so often, and so publicly, I think it can be really, it can be really rough for them in a way. Coming back to what you said before about the pressure to always be talking about impact. This, there's a sort of discipline around being able to provide the information that helps in that way, is that is that a significant part of what you're doing?

Eleanor Colla:

Yes, or no. I do a lot of that work within the context of the Academy. And how academics are presenting their work and how they go about their work in regards to the university, there is a whole other area that is still very much emerging. And it's emerging in different ways in different places around what that then looks like externally. So I think there's a lot of crossover and potential in that space between what's going on there, we're still figuring A lot of it out. And it's kind of frustrating, because the impact of research beyond the Academy has been happening. That's the whole point of it. And great people, like most academics really engaged with that. And once that depends on what the kind of research that they're doing, not all research, we'll do that. But we've just really made it a huge challenge for academics to be able to show that and provide proof of that in a really warped way. What kind of, you know, it's the tail wagging the dog. And a lot of these instances, I think, left to their own devices. A lot of this is happening anyway. But it's the sudden pressure and I do mean suddenly, it's happened to conversations in this in Australia started 2007 2008. We then stopped it, the UK then picked it up and really ran with it. And now it's back in Australia. So it hasn't, in his formalized way been around particularly long. And I think academics really do struggle with this quite suddenly, you know, hashtag cybercom is really big at the moment. It has been for a little while and communicating science more broadly and what that can mean. And then it's also just a given that everyone in the humanities knows how to communicate their research and don't need assistance. Like that's incorrect. Um Yeah, it's it's tricky. their academics are expected to do a lot because you know, they also do a lot of teaching. And they also have to do that service element as well. how they've 40 4020 split anymore.

Danu Poyner:

Yeah, it's it's a lot for an academic to come into that world and try and make sense of it. Again, the demands placed on them. Is that something that you see in your role as sort of researcher development What What kinds of things do you see again, and again, with with academics coming through the environment?

Eleanor Colla:

some training I've been doing at the moment, is the sort of subgroup of academics that are coming into academia from industry. So for example, there was a great paper was written by an Australian academic that looks at people in allied health, leaving sort of clinician work and it coming into the research world and just see just being absolutely thrown in the deep end. And all of a sudden, they're expected to produce all these research outputs to get grant money to get through the ethics process, to also be teaching all of this stuff and, and constantly be questioned while Do you have your PhD? Yeah, but how many outputs have he gotten, and they're feeling really lost in the system, this particular software because early career researchers ecrs, are often expected to sort of bear they are no pro what, but this is sort of within that. So that's quite interesting, and not something that I, I guess, consciously recognize before sort of reading some of this work, but I'm a very early career researchers are pretty weird space, because they've sort of gone through this whole process of obtaining a PhD. And they're expected to know everything. Yet keeping up to date with that can be a real struggle. And simultaneously is a huge identity shift, that kind of going from learner to Noah, but then they suddenly realize that there's still heaps of things that they need to learn in order just to do their research to learn more, is sort of the past the end goal, but of submitting their thesis, but all of a sudden, there's actually a lot more goals, and they're not as clearly defined as that submission of thesis. And then it's also, how do you then adapt these new learnings into your practice? How do you go about further securing grants and keeping up to date with publishing protocols? And how do you develop and maintain support networks. And then you've got mid career researchers who are freaking out because as soon as there's a piece of support, even though it doesn't feel like it, there's a lot of support for early career researchers. And once you hit that make career researcher, things drop off dramatically in both change of support in regards to what's expected of you, in regards to, I guess, many different intersections between who's getting promoted based on outputs. And that often goes into things like women, less promotion into mid career researchers definitely more in the teaching side of things, as opposed to the research side of things. So all of those elements are there in coming into pie. So it's a pretty tough time, but also like, Don't take it out on professional staff, I have respect for our work, and that our work takes time as well. And also whilst I'm on my soapbox, or they will say, and this is more for graduate researchers, but um, look, your literature review friends, it doesn't matter like how much you try and automate the process with different tools and software's and programs and how many times you email your, your search string to your library, and you just need to come to a point where you just need to do the work. You need to sit down, read the literature, senses that synthesize it, and then write the review. Like earlier people accept this process, the better it will be because the amount of just absolutely work librarians put into teaching students who graduate about literature reviews, that's not sustainable at all. It's just something I'm really frustrated with at the moment. So just just read the literature. Okay. Just do it.

Danu Poyner:

read the literature do the word. Yeah, basically. And no, that's it. Thank you for that. Again, remaining diplomatically quiet. I guess you've I've I know we've been talking for a while I've just got a couple more things to dig into if you don't mind. I guess one something that's coming coming through to me in this conversation is the love hate relationship that you mentioned is it's it's really quite palpable both the love and the hate. I know that feeling well for a lot of things in my life, including higher education very well. Someone said to me once, they put it in a way that I find a lot more positive than the love hate relationship, which is the art and you you're you're ambivalent, and ambivalent means ambivalent, which is strong on both sides. So I feel it's a nice way of thinking about I have strong feelings on both sides about a lot of things

Eleanor Colla:

like that. I'll take that. Thank you. Definitely makes me feel better about my life choices.

Danu Poyner:

Yeah. Well, I guess I want to ask a question we've heard we've heard about curiosity as waste. We've heard about library as ghosts, I want to ask what you? Who are your heroes? Who are your? Who are your mentors? What do you what do you hope for? What's the where's the love?

Eleanor Colla:

Um, find heroes, I don't really engage with those a concept. So I'm gonna ignore that.

Danu Poyner:

All right, that's fine. So take that

Eleanor Colla:

me know then based on that height in real estate rentals, I find it really interesting. There's many different kinds of mentors, and sometime that there is a big hierarchy that goes along with that, but also it doesn't have to be, I think the idea of CO mentorship is fantastic. And I think also the concepts that mentors don't need to be known, is also really powerful. So you know, I definitely look up to many different people in the wider world and without further met, or probably never will, but I'd look to them for guidance without them knowing or not, and engage with kind of what that what they're doing. I'm, like librarianship. As I mentioned earlier, we're very vocational professional, we like conferences. One of the great things one of the loves I have that profession is we love telling people what we do. And I find we're very good talking to other librarians about this. And people that aren't my friends are like, What are you talking about librarians sit by, like, they just don't engage with that. But I'm so mean, it's great about our profession is that we'll just ask, we will ask other librarians will ask other libraries. Um, when we go to conferences, it's very normal to do site visits, and physically go and visit other light breeze in the area and speak to those librarians and I mentioned that to an academic once. And now what was he talking about? And the other professional stuff in there in other areas, like no, I would never. Um, so I think we as a profession have a very strong collaborative nature. And this also leads into why would China, I guess, I was invisible at times. And I think we sort of Incidentally, mentor, individuals and groups and other libraries in those many different ways. And I think that's absolutely fantastic. There's a lot of on the job training. So mentorship kind of comes into that a lot as well, in regards to specific people within the profession. Um, yeah, definitely around. And I think, for me, engaging in conversations with people is a really good way. And that kind of mentorship approach is really, really beneficial. Yeah,

Danu Poyner:

so you're in this program manager role for the for the scholarly development, the research area, and you mentioned that it is something that everyone's trying to figure out, and it's a bit fuzzy, and no one knows exactly how to do it, or what it means that you're here kind of creating programs for this? How are you dealing with that process of figuring things out? And working out what it needs to be? How do you how do you do that?

Eleanor Colla:

Um, I always, and this is just my training, I go to the literature, I read a lot of stuff, I engage with conversations with people. You know, it's finding out what other people have presented in regards to what information and digital literacy is being implemented and other universities, we're currently doing an environmental scan on this at the moment as part of a regular review of our program. So we look at other universities, what professional bodies such as all Australian Library Information Association, just based in the UK? What were they doing? What are they recommending? how they're going about it? And does does that? What does that then look like? at, for example, the University of Melbourne? That kind of work? And, yeah, there's all the things you can do about surveying people and Human Centered Design environments and so on this your scans, very useful. But conversations just as important, sort of with the industry, and also people external with researchers themselves with other professional staff, but sort of how I generally go about it.

Danu Poyner:

Yeah. So again, is this why you don't like the heroes idea because it's very much a collaborative

Eleanor Colla:

I guess yeah, that's probably an element to it. And I think If you set someone up to be a hero, they can only disappoint you. And I don't, I guess I've also never watched hero movies. Since free comic book approach, which I'm not against that

Danu Poyner:

I've read superhero movies in your film festival?

Eleanor Colla:

No, no, no, this year, like, it's not the last three. Just I don't like I said, I guess I learned and I'm curious through conversations and through taking things apart, and in that hero concert means you can't really do that. How do you have a conversation with someone that high up like, physically or mentally, like in your mind? Or within an institution? Like that's, it's really difficult to do? And I don't think it sort of gets you anywhere. And I also don't think it going back to what we're saying that context it doesn't their context is different to yours. And that won't come out if you're just watching them from afar.

Danu Poyner:

So, okay, how do you thank you? How do you have feed your curiosity in your in your work, but also in your in your life?

Eleanor Colla:

Thankfully, I've been very privileged in many different ways in life, but I'm one of them with work is a lot of my role is having conversations with people. That's what I do. That's just puts on up to, I mean, call never call

Danu Poyner:

me calling who's doing that, like

Eleanor Colla:

trash, absolutely trash. But having conversations, and then from that, learning more and having more conversations, and then eventually the summit will come of that. I don't know. Sometimes it's been an entire self paced online learning modules, 12 of them that came out of these kinds of conversations that we have, which is now a great online resource for those students to use. Sometimes it's let's think about this more, oh, that's not really working cool. Don't need to do that. But like we engaged with it. And you know, we know why we've said not. Sometimes it's just, you know, and I do it when I talk to people the other permissions, so I'm like, what's, I've got you here, I have this question that I wouldn't have asked him this kind of thing, and really assisting people in that way. So they think that is just part of my job, it is fantastic. And I also get to talk about all the awesome things librarians are doing. That's great, that really drives me, I realized at the start of the year, you know, it's one of those things where it's like, I should do more reading, I should put do more of this, I should do more of that. So I sat down, every, every working day this year, I've sat down at the start of my day, and I've started it with reading a journal article report, also, our conference paper. And I've done that every every day to start the day at work. And that's really just fed the beast. So, I've, I've read, I've tracked them all, and I can pull them up and tell you, but just reading really, really widely like obviously, there's some pretty clear themes, I read 207 kind of journal article report or something this year. I know, shocking. It's really like this general themes, branch it Treasury really big at the moment on ethics of care and sensemaking threshold concepts of fascinating cartography and mapping and how people go about that is great. And so many times, I'll read something, and that day, or a few days later, like, Oh, I just read this article, and blah, blah, blah, and like, I can link it to you. And that also drives the conversations and the support that I can provide with people. And also allows me to be like, Hey, I read this, I thought you'd be really interested in it also, what else is going on? And that's been really, really fantastic. I think it's really good practice. I'm pleased that I thought to do that.

Danu Poyner:

I'm really pleased to hear you've reconnected with your enjoyment of reading. Yes. Yeah, that's really exciting. And, you know, you're reading for curiosity, and then you don't know exactly how that's gonna be useful, but it is because you have all of these conversations across boundaries and things and put it together. So that's that's really cool. ethics of care. I just have to I just have to talk on that string a little bit, is really an interesting concept, I think, and what would happen if the university that you've been a little critical of being the neoliberal Academy, and the kind of instrumentalism that's in education, and how that's reflected in classification systems and assessment exercises, what would happen if that were based on an ethic of care instead, do you think?

Eleanor Colla:

I think it would be fantastic. to like, just set the scene. Um, something else I've been reading about at the moment is slow scholarship. And I think it will be slower. And I think that ties in Well, I think it would be more reflective, it would be more purposeful, it would be a lot more community orientated, whether that community be the light, like librarians work community or working, you know, student body, or like, you know, a combination, you know, third space professionals, that kind of thing. The people have kind of what's been taken as being the ethics of care was around things, you know, caring about caring for Caregiving, and also care receiving. And trying, there's a few papers around there, like what ethics of care looks like, from different perspectives. So you know, there are, work has been done sort of in the library space, for example. At a tertiary level, it would be a lot more what people would what people outside of the university probably think the university still is. But I think it would be deeper, it will be more reflective, it will be more curiosity driven. I think the teaching side of things, I tend to forget the universities, like people, like teach them why things but outside of research, just because I'm not in that space. I think it would be a lot more collaborative with students. I think that sort of community of practice and non hierarchical learning, I think that would be more ingrained in there. I think, in certain disciplines, working with who you're researching, not working on them, would be that I think he would get a lot more cross disciplinary work teams, going both within academic disciplines, and also academic and professional style. I think it would be great. Yeah. But it's also we're trying to do this in small ways. I used the term researcher development very specifically, instead of research development. And there's a lot that sits in that er, of researcher, and I think ethics of care sits in that we are developing whole people, we are developing them with care with them. And so in ways of supporting them, and the broader context of which they are working in need that support.

Danu Poyner:

I think that's really powerful. And I think that's certainly my experience of working with libraries as you get two types of people. I mean, and it's been said that there are two types of people in the world, those who divide the world into two types of people and those who don't. But in you know, there's that caring orientation and developing people and how that can support the work that people are doing. And then there's the cardigan, shall we say, where the where the emphasis is on the catalog, rather than the people? Is that? I mean, is that something that resonates with you? Is that a fair assessment or

Eleanor Colla:

so I guess we kind of delineate things in regards to systems and service for people in programs. I think that a lot of care goes into all elements of librarianship. And there's a lot of people who don't care, you know, elements of librarianship. I'm also very aware that of a profession that is vastly majority female. The onus of caring when it is a negative is often put on us and our profession is expected of us. The amount of consultations I've had to do with students and academics that have turned into therapy sessions. I'm not a trained therapist, like if you need to have this conversation okay, but like How am I then meant to then walk away from that conversation? That happens a lot. So I'd say you kind of get both tops. I think people who are engaging in critical cataloging have huge ethics of care, even even though they people might not expect them to. And just as I have many colleagues past present who have very little, even though they deal with students and academics every day. And I don't know, if that's their more the environment, probably a bit of both.

Danu Poyner:

Yeah. Yeah. Thank you. That's that's a nice way of putting it. I think. We've talked about a lot if there was a life changing learning experience, or maybe a conversation since we've been talking as terms of conversations as the main currency. If there was a life changing conversation, you could gift to someone. What would it be? And why would you choose that?

Eleanor Colla:

I think the fact that librarians, like I mentioned earlier there, no one's gonna die. I think that's, for me, it was very useful to know. Being able to step out and have that perspective, the work we do is very important, but also knowing that it's happening in a in a broader environment, again, with the context, so I'm so sorry. I really like jigsaw puzzles and I zoom in and out a lot. So so that's where I come from with a lot of these things. Yeah.

Danu Poyner:

Best jigsaw puzzle you've done this year.

Eleanor Colla:

Best. I've done this. Yeah. I've got one. That, um, I hate and I enjoy getting through the fire, which I guess is the theme of my professional life as well. Which is the gray scale of issues hands drawing hands. Oh, yeah. Very frustrating.

Danu Poyner:

So did you choose that? Because it frustrated you? Or did it for you after you? Yeah, it's definitely a theme here. You picking irritating you? Yeah.

Eleanor Colla:

Yeah, I think it's my curiosity, if that shows itself, to figure things out, particularly things that annoy me and why they annoy me.

Danu Poyner:

Is there something that you'd like to give a plug for? or How can people get in touch with you if they if they want to hear more about your soapbox or engage with you at some of the things you've spoken about?

Eleanor Colla:

Um, I'd say give a plug for speaking to your librarians. Don't just go to the library. Like, even if you don't think you'll get anything out of it. Just um, just have a conversation with them, particularly if you're an academic or someone working in the university don't have to but some conversations, go do that. In regards to where I am on the LinkedIn, I want the tweets. Yep. Just my name. And then I'll call sure you can put them in the show notes or something.

Danu Poyner:

I will indeed I don't course. Without absolutely

Eleanor Colla:

do not call.

Danu Poyner:

When was the last time you had a phone call?

Eleanor Colla:

Well, the last time I had a phone call. I was just about to mention last weekend, a way to a text message from my mother. Hi, it's now a good time to call. Yes, what happened? And she she was just like, oh, the 10 Club we've now got 10 kilometers to move around it we thought your father and I thought would come by for a walk. Wash. Which it started as a text but it was about a course I was also instantly just like oh no no, someone's definitely that's the only reason someone wouldn't hate to call me Saturday morning.

Danu Poyner:

Or at least the text before the call is like the new so

Eleanor Colla:

yeah, certainly teaching the parents how to how to interact with the younger generation. Yeah. Very, very good.

Danu Poyner:

Well, maybe we'll leave it it's a good place to wrap it up. Unless you've got anything else that you want to mention or give a shout out to.

Eleanor Colla:

No no, I'm I'm not sure where this goes out. But if you're in Australia Feel free to look up Casper, Czech and Slovak Film Festival in Australia. We're screening Australia wide October 7 2016. I think it is. Support your film festivals, friends all The arts in general, it's all a bit of a struggle.

Danu Poyner:

It's all a bit of a struggle, I think is going to be the the subtitle for this episode. It's it, you know, it may end up somewhere somewhere good. Y'all keep on together and have an ethic of care.

Eleanor Colla:

So yeah, yes, absolutely.

Danu Poyner:

I'll take it. Eleanor. It's been a pleasure as always, to speak to you. Thank you. And thank you so much for coming on the show.

Eleanor Colla:

Thanks for listening to me ramble about librarians. Were always people but I think we're pretty cool.

Danu Poyner:

I think that's a fair place to to wrap it up. So thank you so much. And yes. All right. Thanks.