Libworld – Australia

Our next guest author in our LibWorld series is Peta Hopkins from Australia, who is working as information systems librarian at the Bond University Library in Robina on Queensland’s Gold Coast. She is blogging at

The biblioblogosphere of Australia

Librarian blogs
Australian library blogging has grown significantly in the last two years although the total number of librarians and libraries publishing blogs is overall quite small, reflecting the relatively small population of the country. Before 2004 there were only a few librarian bloggers, but 2005 and 2006 saw an increase in both personal and institutional blogs.

The earliest library blogger I know of is Fiona whose blog Blisspix has archives going back to 2001. Other early library blogs include Morgan’s Exploded Library and snail’s trail. I followed their archives back to 2002, but I suspect that they may have been blogging prior to that time.

Library blogs
Official library blogs didn’t really take off until 2005 and 2006. There are now at least 13 Australian library blogs. The University of Southern Queensland was an early starter in January 2005 writing about the library, electronic resources and systems news. It was followed by the State Library of Victoria’s Read Alert a blog about youth literature and Mosman Library’s offerings of a general web log and one for teens.

There have been some interesting experiments in the use of blogs in Australia. In July 2006 a collaborative blog was established by a small group of librarians scattered across the continent. Libraries Interact is designated as “blog central for Australian Libraries” and is a blog that welcomes contributions from almost anybody providing that the content is relevant to Australian libraries and librarians. It also maintains a list of Australian library blogs and provides a Google customised search across those blogs listed. It is one of the blogs that I contribute to, and I am one of the founding group. The members collaborate using Google groups, email, instant messaging and a wiki to manage the blog. It is a good starting place for exploring Australian biblioblogging.

I also write on two blogs that are published by Bond University Library. One is newsletter type blog, but the other blog that the library manages is used to provide information about Bond’s institutional research repository. This blog was set up as a communication channel specifically for the project to implement the repository, but has now morphed into a news blog about the repository itself.

Another inspirational use of a blog by an Australian library is Mosman Memories of Your Street.
It is essentially a Textpattern blog which allows community members to create their own accounts and post photographs and memories of the streets. In this way a unique view of the town is built by the community. It is another Mosman Library project to create a living history.

There seems to be a thriving community of library bloggers in Australia, however I don’t really have any indication of how well official library blogs are reaching their intended audiences. The L files, Bond University’s newsletter blog is one that I can comment on. The number of subscribers is hovering at about 80, many of which may be librarians from other institutions rather than students. However, one of the main benefits for us is that the content can be generated by a number of staff who are not experts at web page construction and the headlines and some content can be syndicated to the Library’s home page for regularly updated content.
See the content on the home page –

Chelsea Harper and Kate Watson have been doing some research into the use of blogs and wikis by libraries. Their wiki and a conference presentation provide more useful information on the Australian library blog scene, including some charts on the types, numbers and management practices of library blogs.