CAUL Best Practice Working Group (BPWG)
Meeting of the BPWG held on 18 September 2008
Skycity, Darwin NT
? Helen Livingston, University of South Australia (Chair)
? Graham Black, Central Queensland University
? Liz Curach, University of Western Sydney
? Philip Kent, Victoria University (Minutes)
? Leeanne Pitman, University of Ballarat
? Ruth Quinn, Charles Darwin University
? Derek Whitehead, Swinburne University
Des Stewart (SCU)
2. Record of Last Meeting
The Minutes of the last meeting held on 3 April 2008 were accepted as correct.
Helen Livingston noted that the Work Group had fallen behind its planned deadlines. It was agreed
that the BPWG would meet between CAUL meetings via teleconference which has been successful
for the Information Literacy Working Group.
3. Customer Satisfaction Survey
Helen Livingston and Philip Kent reported that they had met with Mike Samarchi (Insync) to refine
the questions and to plan a way forward for the updated survey instrument. Mike had confirmed
that many of the suggestions from the BPWG aligned with his views derived from recent surveys.
The WG reconsidered the current draft and offered suggestions for improvement. It was agreed
that the survey needed to be kept as generic as possible to ensure consistency. It is possible to
add examples (e.g. local terminology and service names) to clarify the questions for the local
context if required. It was also noted that there was inconsistency in language between “Academic”
and “learning/research “needs. It was agreed to change all instances to “learning/research”.
It was agreed that the proposed questions in the Communications section were satisfactory.
It was noted that the staff related questions previously in the Service Delivery section had been
removed and it was agreed that this was appropriate.
With regard to the Facilities and Equipment section it was noted that Q12 was important due to
increasing complaints about excessive noise. In Q17 a typographical error in „photocopying‟ was
With regard to the Library Staff section, it was noted that this had been reduced in a bid to pick out
key issues. The number of questions has been reduced to 4 – previously 8. Q19 appears to be
most important from recent results. The changes attempt to bring together staffing themes that
were previously in several sections under one heading.
It was agreed that the Information Resources section need to be „beefed up‟ in order to differentiate
between needs for different formats. It was agreed to split Q23 into 2 separate questions:
o Books/AV meet my learning/research needs
o Journals (print and online) meet my learning/research needs
It was agreed to change Q24 to: Online (not electronic) resources meet my learning/research
needs. It was noted that Q25 tried to put the student view – language such as „off-campus‟ is not always understood consistently. Q27 on the catalogue is very important and needs to be retained.
Feedback on Q 28 suggested that while institutional repositories are emerging services, they are
not widely understood as yet. However it was suggested that electronic reserve is universal and
the question should be reframed to read: e-reserve meets my needs.
There was some discussion on LibQual and it was noted that at UniSA, large numbers did not
complete the whole survey. Philip Kent noted that VU‟s partner University, the University of Texas
at El Paso had dispensed with the instrument for this reason also.
Suggested changes on Part 3 were proposed based on Insync feedback on the recent University of
Melbourne experience. Q3A on overall satisfaction is to be retained. Q3B should be changed to:
Please give us comments about the Library, both positive and negative. In Q3C „flier‟ should be changed to „flyer‟. It was also suggested that this be amended so that various options could be
ranked, perhaps through picking the top 3 mediums. Q3E should be reworded to „How often do
you come into the Library‟. Q3G should be reworded to: „How often are you around on campus?‟ It
was confirmed that Q3 E, F and G should have the same series of options.
It was detected that the draft questions included inconsistent use of „Electronic‟ and „Online‟ (e.g. Q8, Q24, Q3F. It was decided to prefer „Online‟ (e.g. Q24 to read: Online information resources
meets my learning/research needs.)
Derek Whitehead suggested the addition of another box where students could tick „Domestic‟ or „International‟. This had worked well at Swinburne recently.
The proposed new Price Structure from Insync was discussed. It was noted that some prices had
increased. Mike Samarchi had indicated that in some cases they had underestimated the amount
of effort required (e.g. qualitative data analysis). It was suggested that the open question analysis
should cover 3 not 2 questions for consistency. Option B needs to add to $10,000. This feedback
needs to be directed to M Samarchi (Action: Chair).
Questions of ownership and access to data were raised. It should be possible for universities to
retrieve their raw data back even though the copyright is held by Insync. Philip Kent noted the
need for Terms associated with completing the survey. There needs to be an „I agree‟ click through for the terms. Derek Whitehead advised that the Swinburne form of words on survey terms would
Derek also noted his recent email seeing expressions of interest in running a Survey on Overseas
Operations. He referred to the similar survey previously arranged via VU and noted that Swinburne
was seeking interest in a consortium price. In their experience Swinburne didn‟t want to aggregate overseas into local campus data.
4. Materials Availability Survey
The recent work by La Trobe and UniSA using the survey was noted including the report by Eva
Fisch and Stephen Parnell. It was noted that while the survey form was out of date it had been
extremely useful for benchmarking purposes.
It was agreed that it was necessary for someone to rework the tool in order for it to be used widely.
It was suggested that we need to pay someone to complete this. It needs to be developed by
someone with a strong Library background and the importance of getting the questions right could
Attachment 1 not be underestimated. It was important to have a consistent and usable tool for benchmarking
purposes. It was agreed that a working group would be convened to write a brief. Membership will
include: Stephen Parnell, Gary Hardy, and Swinburne‟s web usability person. (Action: Chair + Derek Whitehead).
The draft brief is to be circulated within BPWG for comment and the CAUL Executive will be
approached to fund the project. (Action: Chair).
5. Collections Council of Australia Research Performance of Collecting Institutions
“The BPWG consider the CCA comments in relation to research performance of collecting
organisations.” (From CAUL Executive)
It was noted that this issue is primarily about digital research collections and their performance in
supporting scholars. Members of the BPWG were uncertain as to what was required. It was
suggested that we might start off with a CAUL survey to determine what we do now – i.e. to assess the current state of affairs. It was also suggested that a satisfaction survey maybe the way to go.
Derek Whitehead suggested that we could ask Margaret Birtley if the draft CAUL survey covers
what she is interested in. (Action: Chair to speak to Margaret Birtley and draft a survey).
6. Workforce Planning
It was noted that the CAUL strategic plan allocated an investigation of Workforce requirements to
the BPWG. It was noted that Felicity McGregor‟s presentation at the last CAUL meeting sparked
increased interest in cadetship schemes. It was agreed that the answers are not clear – do we want to train librarians for skills in addition to their library skills or do we want to hire in specialists
Linda Luther‟s Workforce Plan at UTas was noted and Philip Kent advised that he was happy to
share VU‟s recently completed Workforce Plan. . (Action: Philip Kent).
It was agreed that we need to monitor what is happening overseas and in our HR areas (Action: all to check locally)
It was agreed that the BPWG could add value through summarising what is going on in sector? It
was agreed that we should monitor the outcomes of Gillian Hallam‟s Nexus project (Action: Helen Livingston and Graham Black with regard to ATN and QULOC‟s work with Gillian Hallam).
Derek Whitehead will continue to be a conduit to ALIA‟s work. For example the increase in mature
aged library students was noted – e.g, former teachers, nurses, and students with fine arts degrees
embarking on second careers. It was also noted that Charles Sturt and UniSA had conducted
recent reviews of their library schools and were exploring relationships with major libraries.
7.1 NZULS Working Group draft minutes
The Minutes of the meeting held on 10 June 2008 were noted.
7.2 BPWG Actions
It was noted that Leeanne Pitman is the BPWG conduit to the CAUL Statistics Focus Group. It was
noted that NZ is very focussed on having KPIs. The Statistics Focus Group is seeking our advice
on how to respond.
It was suggested that we don‟t want Standard ratios to be used as KPIs as Better Practice is about
„fit for purpose‟. It was suggested that there was a danger in going back to Mackinnon benchmarks through a KPI approach.
It was suggested that smarter students is the real outcome that we are seeking. Philip Kent
mentioned that VU Student Dividend project under development with ACER. They will test
students at the beginning and end of their coursework as well as several years later, in order to
measure the value of the VU approach.
Helen Livingston noted work at UniSA on measuring English language competence.
It was agreed that we needed to go back to Statistics group for clarification on what was required
from the BPWG. (Action: Leeanne Pitman).
8. Any Other Business
There was no other business
9. Next meeting
It was agreed that Helen Livingston would arrange a teleconference for about one month hence.