Tag Archives: Australia

Everyday information behaviour of Asian immigrants in South Australia: a mixed-methods exploration

Article Authored By: Safirotu Khoir, Jia Tina Du and Andy Koronios

Reviewed by: Audora Arias, Amanda Limcaco, Karla Noa, Giovanni Padilla and Katherine Pascacio

Link to article: http://informationr.net/ir/20-3/paper687.html#.X5rlClNKjPY

Synopsis and International Perspective
Over the past decade Australia has seen an increase in the number of immigrants with the majority arriving from Asia. Resettling and adjusting to life in a new country is not always easy as it often requires great efforts on behalf of the newcomer. With the growing number of immigrants arriving in Australia it’s important to understand their informational needs and information seeking behaviors in order to facilitate them in the resettlement process. This study used a mixed method approach of surveys, interviews, and photovoice of sixteen participating Asian immigrants living in South Australia to determine their everyday informational needs, seeking behaviors, and information grounds. This study refers to information grounds as the places where immigrants share and exchange information. The research in this study included new immigrants along with longer established immigrants. In terms of information needs the results indicate that new immigrants were most concerned with health care, job vacancies, and citizenship, while longer established immigrants were concerned with information pertaining to furthering education. In the area of information seeking the study was divided into four sources: the internet, interpersonal, mass media, and formal organization. The results show that an overwhelming majority of new and longer established immigrants sought information via the internet. To determine information grounds the study was divided into four categories: virtual, physical, association, and social events. The results indicate that the majority of both new and longer established immigrants used virtual sources to share and exchange information.

This article represents an international perspective in that it researches the immediate and critical concerns of Asian immigrants living in Australia. The studies conducted in this article address some of the most common informational needs of immigrants who are learning to adjust to life in a foreign country. Resettling in a new country is a continuous process which requires continuous examination on behalf of the host country. Through this research an international perspective is provided as a means to help host countries understand how to better serve their immigrant communities. Although this study does not represent the information needs of the entire immigrant population residing in Australia, it does provide an introductory analysis of common informational concerns to enable further detailed research. Perhaps as similar studies are conducted in countries around the globe with varying immigrant groups, hosting countries can gain greater knowledge into the information needs of their immigrant communities resulting in a quicker and more effective resettlement process.

Core research questions
What sorts of information do Asian immigrants need for their settlement in South Australia?
How do Asian immigrants seek information to satisfy their everyday needs?
Where do Asian immigrants usually meet and share information?

Participants were recruited using university email networks and referrals from other participants. The 16 total participants are immigrants from India, Vietnam, Philippines, Malaysia, and China living in Adelaide, Australia.

A mixed methods approach of questionnaires, photovoice and interviews were used in this study to provide a fuller picture of information behavior amongst Asian immigrants. Participants were offered either printed or SurveyGizmo.com email questionnaires with questions relating to personal demographics, information needs and behaviors during settlement in Australia. The photovoice method instructed participants to use their camera phones to document photos of their information-related behavior. This allowed for deeper understanding of participants’ points of view and self-representation. A total of 73 photos were collected and categorized into themes by researchers. In person interviews ranging on average from 30 seconds to 1 minute were also conducted. Participants submitted their photos at these interviews and were encouraged to tell stories behind each photo. At these interviews, researchers could also ask clarifying questions regarding earlier questionnaire responses.

Descriptive statistical analysis was used for the questionnaires. Participatory analysis was utilized in 3 phases for the photovoice data. Phases 1 and 2 occurred during the interviews. In phase 1, the images themselves were submitted by the participants. In phase 2, participants contextualized the images by discussing them with the researchers. Phase 3 was conducted after the interviews where researchers codified stories, themes and issues that arose from the transcripts of the interviews. To test reliability of coding, inter-coding consistency was calculated with a second coder checking the coding.

Findings and Conclusions
The findings provided an insight of what information Asian immigrants needed, where, and how they achieved their everyday information needs and where they met and shared their information. In terms of information needs, the results showed how Asian immigrants’ needs changes over time as they settled down in South Australia. In the study, newcomers expressed their information needs were associated with settling in a new country, for instance employment opportunities, how to rent a house, healthcare information, how to improve their English, and good places to meet new people. Finding a job was the most challenging for newcomers, even if they already had working experience before moving to South Australia. Longer-established immigrants were more adapted to this new country than their newcomers’ counterparts and can begin making plans for a better future by contributing to their new society. Some of their information needs consist of furthering their education, planning business ventures, and getting involved in political activities. While their information needs were different, their sources of information were similar. Internet sources (40%), such as Facebook and other websites play an important role in the immigrants’ settlement. In this study, Asian immigrants had access to the Internet via home or other public spaces to satisfy their information needs and did not find any significant obstacles. Asian immigrants also considered interpersonal sources (23%), such as friends, family, and coworkers, to be the second most important information source. As for social spaces, both physical and virtual, plays an important role in the formation of everyday information grounds and information sharing among Asian immigrants. When their specific information needs are met, the smoother the settlement process will be. While this study provides an insight of the information needs/ behaviors of Asian Immigrants, the study has some limitations. Settling into a new country is an ongoing process, which would require research over a longer time span. Even with its limitations, this study provides institutions like libraries an understanding of the information needs of Asian immigrants and how to deliver better services and support.

What American libraries can learn from global practice about designing services for diverse populations
Becoming a great librarian means being able to adapt to patrons’ needs. This includes designing services for diverse populations such as new immigrants. Being that this study focused on the information seeking behaviors of Asian immigrants in South Australia, the results provide a window into the kinds of programs that can be developed for similar groups in the United States.

For instance, results indicate that the immigrant groups main priority was seeking information about health care, job vacancies and citizenship. Therefore, this information can be used to develop library programs in communities that cater to majority immigrant populations.
Librarians can design programs where patrons are given a presentation on local health organizations, how to make a doctor’s appointment or where to go during an emergency. Also, librarians can create bulletin boards with information about local job opportunities. This way, patrons will stay informed and feel like the staff have their interests in mind and build trust in the library.

Citizenship information is also a key concept in the minds of new immigrants trying to assimilate into a new country. Libraries need to always be aware of this fact and provide plenty of materials in their collection to support new immigrant groups. Government related citizenship information pamphlets or other relevant documents should be readily available at the library. Also, items such as books or audiovisual materials in different languages are key to creating a good relationship between immigrants and libraries.
American libraries can learn various methods of designing services for diverse populations. There are resources available on the American Library Association (ALA) website and state websites regarding immigrant information or resources. Additionally, social platforms, literature, community and family information has made these opportunities accessible for everyone especially during times of limited interpersonal interaction.
Cultural appropriation and cultural relevance is imperative in being effective in a diverse community because this cultivates engagement and interaction between organizations, institutions and communities. This sets the foundation in designing programs and services for diverse populations and new immigrant communities. It is holding libraries accountable to their mission and vision statement and implementing ways to equip library staff members and serve communities. Moreover, with technology ever evolving libraries adapt or are learning to provide ways of access for everyone to teach, develop and learn about different cultures and opportunities for individuals. This can be determined through case study, interviews, data collection and observation of a library of how a present library is serving diverse populations and communities.
This article followed up immigrants for various reasons in regards to information behaviour. Global practices can teach American libraries how effective present programs and resources are implemented and utilized in communities. Present times and circumstances have developed social interaction, information resources and learning which can be a disadvantage for patrons and community members who do have broadband access and vital resources. These are times organizations, institutions and libraries can come together to design and implement services that influence everyone.

Through Indigenous Eyes: Looking for Indigenous Services in Australian and New Zealand University Libraries

Author: Spencer Lilley

Reviewed By: Melissa Batteate, Olivia Mules, Brenna Smith, Ginnea Smith, and Krista Ward-Sell

Link to article: http://www.informationr.net/ir/24-3/rails/rails1806.html


Increasing the number of indigenous students attending universities and ensuring their academic success is a priority of the New Zealand and Australian governments. As technology becomes more and more prevalent in today’s academic environment, equitable access to the numerous library services available to students is a critical component of academic success. The literature review conducted for this article indicated that indigenous students can feel disenfranchised from the library and related services. To better welcome and engage indigenous students, library websites and online content should be reflective of campus diversity and viewed through the lens of an indigenous student.

Researcher Spencer Lilley collected and analyzed data from forty-eight university libraries pertaining to the online services and information available to indigenous students. Lilley’s findings indicate that much can still be done to ensure that indigenous students feel welcome within the university library setting and are obtaining the information needed for academic success. This article represents an international perspective in its analysis of findings and through the author’s stated conclusions as they pertain specifically to the indigenous cultures of Australia and New Zealand. These conclusions could be applied to library settings worldwide with the overarching goal of improving services to historically marginalized members of the population.

Core Research Questions

To accommodate the impact of rapid technological change, many libraries offer their services virtually, accessed through their website. As a result, it is critical that university library websites are configured to be inclusive for all. The following are the core research questions for the article, Through Indigenous Eyes:

Do the formats of Australia and New Zealand university websites illustrate that there are services, collections, and facilities available specifically curated for indigenous students?
After navigating the website, are indigenous students left with the feeling of being represented and included?
Are indigenous students often seen as “non-users” because of the lack of relative information provided on the website?


Forty-eight university library websites were selected for inclusion in this study. Each library’s services, programs, and collections that might appeal to students in the indigenous population of Australia and New Zealand were recorded in an Excel worksheet. This working document focused on reporting six factors that the authors identified as adding cultural relevance to the host library. The object of the study was to identify the responsiveness of these libraries to native populations, and not to rank their performance in doing so. The following six features were searched for and recorded:

Home Page: Acknowledgement of indigenous students and presence of their languages.

Strategic Documents: Inclusion of indigenous population in plans, policies and other official documents that govern staff behavior.

Indigenous Collections: Collections of relevant material other than databases.

Subject Guides and Library Guides: Navigation tools meant to direct students to material that may be of interest and use to them.

Contact Information: For a library representative designated to interface with indigenous students.

Identifiable Indigenous Staff Members: Staff that represent the population and their group affiliation.

These research methods were quite simple, with no surveys, interviews, or long term research projects to observe. Research was carried out online, and the discoveries recorded. All links were followed to wring the most data from available material that is accessible by the public. Researchers were trying to replicate the experience of a student searching available information.

Findings and Conclusions

The following is a brief breakdown of the six factors used to evaluate the websites:

Home Page: Land acknowledgements were found on 45% of Australian universities. 75% of libraries in New Zealand included a welcoming phrase (te reo Māori) on their homepage.

Strategic Documents: 25% of Australian universities had any evidence of consideration of indigenous matters in their documents (none of these were comprehensive). All the New Zealand universities referred to initiatives involving Māori in their documentation.

Indigenous Collections: 17.5% of the Australian websites had any evidence that they had ingenious collections. Contrastingly, 87.5% of the New Zealand websites indicated the existence of Māori collections.

Subject Guides and Library Guides: 72.5% of the Australian library websites had a link to at least one guide to indigenous services and resources. All of the New Zealand library websites had guides to assist users in accessing indigenous resources.

Contact Information: 50% of the Australian libraries had contact information available for staff who provides assistance for indigenous students or in the area of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander studies. 87.5% of the New Zealand libraries gave contact information for assistance with Māori-related enquiries.

Identifiable Indigenous Staff Members: 10% of Australian libraries have staff that are identifiably indigenous. 75% of New Zealand libraries have staff that are identifiably indigenous.

Libraries connect students with valuable resources and services to help them succeed. Having a library website that is accessible and welcoming to indigenous students is imperative in creating a space where these students feel comfortable going. The library website may be the first contact a user has with the library and thus needs to be inclusive to all. As the article states, “the focus of this paper is not on the structure, content and overall usability of the Website of each library” but rather if any indigenous elements are included in the website to indicate that indigenous students are welcome at the library. Of the six factors that were used to evaluate the library websites, universities in New Zealand had more elements of indigenous accessibility when compared to universities in Australia. However, there is room for significant improvement on both sides. It is also important to note that the findings of this study are limited to only the information that is available on the website.

What American Libraries Can Learn

American libraries can use the implications from this article to design services for indigenous populations. Students from indigenous backgrounds are less likely to be familiar with the library and its services and more prone to perceive libraries as being part of the dominant culture, having nothing to offer them. The library website is where users unfamiliar with the institution will begin exploring, which creates an opportunity for engagement. Library websites should create a strong first impression for an indigenous user, with a welcome note and land acknowledgement. A dedicated web portal that showcases activities, events, and services for indigenous peoples, as well as any specific initiatives, collection materials, and contact information for indigenous staff should be prominently displayed on the institution’s website. The goal of any library serving an indigenous user should be to incorporate indigenous elements into design in such a way that users feel seen, cared for, and welcomed into the library.


Lilley, S. (2018). Through indigenous eyes: Looking for indigenous services in Australian and New Zealand university libraries. Information Research, 24(3). Retrieved from: http://www.informationr.net/ir/24-3/rails/rails1806.html

What makes an object queer? Collecting and exhibiting LGBT stories in regional museums and archives

Reviewed By: Jarrod Chilton, Eleanor Hill, Naomi Hill, Juliet Howard, Lain Krikourian, and Britton Roseberry

Link to article: https://www.webcitation.org/6vOFeSJkI

Reviewed By: Jarrod Chilton, Eleanor Hill, Naomi Hill, Juliet Howard, Lain Krikourian and Britton Roseberry

Link to article: https://www.webcitation.org/6vOFeSJkI

Article Synopsis

Dr. Jessie Lymn and Samantha Leah’s (2016) “What Makes an Object Queer? Collecting and Exhibiting LGBT Stories in Regional Museums and Archives,” presents the early findings of a case study approach (featuring the Museum of the Riverina’s We Are Here: Riverina LGBT Stories exhibition) to help collection managers, curators, and donors build a better understanding of how to capture queer objects within a wider context by considering the social histories associated with LGBT experiences of people from the Riverina regions in New South Wales, Australia. Lynn and Leah’s (2016) introduction begins by noting that the most common challenges associated with LGBT materials relate to classification and curation—most of which stem from the article’s recurring question: what makes an object queer?
The research supports the argument for a curatorial process which includes input from relevant (i.e. Riverina LGBT) community members, and, most importantly, creates a space for more than just physical objects to be stored (Lymn & Leah, 2016). The adoption of the suggested curatorial process brings depth to the collection and helps enable others to recognize and have empathy for the lived experiences of the diverse LGBT community (Lymn & Leah, 2016). The process which the article continually asserts is built on the notion that: “[l]ibraries, archives and museums are responsible for collecting, preserving and making accessible the important stories of all members of the community, including those whose stories may have been hidden or invisible in the past, such as the LGBT community” (Lymn & Leah, 2016).
In order to authentically represent the diverse experiences of the LGBT community in regional collections, community consultations—both group and individual meetings—were facilitated by the museum’s curator to gather accurate information directly from community members who identify as LGBT (Lymn & Leah, 2016). The article also notes how a pop-up exhibition was held at a local pub where the museum’s curator extended an invitation to community members and encouraged them to bring LGBT-centered stories and artifacts to share with others (Lymn & Leah, 2016). To further combat the dominant narrative which highlights the progress of the majority by excluding the social histories of those who don’t fit within the norm or the dominant narrative’s definition of progress, the Museum of the Riverina must thoughtfully collect and curate the queer objects to begin to interrupt linear notions of time and history (Lynn & Leah, 2016).
The We Are Here: Riverina LGBT Stories exhibition creates a unique space to help facilitate alternative ways of thinking about the regional history, and above all, challenges its audiences to, “…think about the object as more than the physical object, but instead as part of a broader object of queer practice, and in this case, regional queer practice” (Lymn & Leah, 2016). Lymn and Leah’s (2016) conclusion emphasizes that the recognition of queer objects doesn’t change the object’s roll within the collection, but rather enhances its classification and invites more depth into the collection’s content.

How this Article Represents an International Perspective

The article, based on research done in Wagga Wagga, a small Australian town, contributes to an international discussion about geography’s impact on the stories of marginalized communities. It examines “regional optimism” and how a region’s history is often presented in progressive terms, and difficult parts of its narrative are relegated to a national level (Lymn & Leah, 2016). In examining how Wagga Wagga’s history is told, the authors found that the “massive social upheaval of the 1960s and 1970s seems to pass the town by,” (Lymn & Leah, 2016) effectively erasing the history of those on society’s fringes. This research has international value, as regional exhibits anywhere might be curated with greater awareness of queer communities and ownership of controversial historical events.

Core Research Question

As the title of the paper suggests, the core research question this article explores is, what makes an object queer? Lymn and Leah do well to explore this quandary and in that process get to a question even more focused on the context of an information organization, “how is that queerness represented within the collection and in the record of the object’s provenance?” (2016, p. 1) One of the objects donated to the exhibition was a whistle used by a community member during a notable queer march. The authors want to know how to link this context to the object in a way that makes it useful and self-explanatory for the future.


Using what was coined a scavenger methodology by Halberstam, the authors employed methods that “refuse[d] disciplinary coherence,” pairing dominant institutional practices with “fringe stories and encounters” to answer their research question (Lymn & Leah, 2016). Direct consultation with the local LGBTQIA+ community was made through multiple events, which also garnered items for inclusion in the exhibit, and allowed for those members to self-determine what made an item queer and worthy of inclusion: namely, that it was the use of the object in regional queer practice and not the item itself that made it queer.

Findings and Conclusions

The objects curated for the exhibition influenced the museum’s curation process. Their collection management system expanded its categorization of LGBT materials. The exhibition’s researchers found objects are categorized as queer when “oral histories and donor interviews…contributed to a wider sense of boundary object” (Lymn & Lean, 2016, p. 8), creating a better understanding of their significance in queer culture. However, the exhibition failed to provide the “lived experience of homophobia” (Lymn & Leah, 2016, p. 8) for cisheteronormative museum staff, who continued to believe their region was not bigoted despite LGBT stories saying otherwise. There’s a need to preserve the social histories of marginalized communities, and researchers continue to work with information services staff and donors to collect, curate, and develop an understanding of queer objects.

What American Libraries can Learn from Global Practice

Through Lymn and Leah’s article American libraries can begin to build on the foundational writings that seek to define what makes an object queer and how queer objects are represented. Of special importance that can be applied to many areas of LIS research in America is how the LGBT community is treated on a national level while remaining nonexistent in more regional historical narratives. While focusing on the specific narratives of the LGBT community, several diverse populations exist in America that can benefit from both a nonlinear methodological approach as well as the leveraging of community consultations that respect their information exchange preferences and community remembering, (Gorichanaz & Turner, 2018).


Gorichanaz, T. & Turner, D. (2018). Collaborative connections: Designing library services for the urban poor. Library Quarterly: Information, Community, Policy 88(3). pp. 237-255. Chicago. Retrieved from:

Lymn, J. & Leah, S. (2016). What makes an object queer? Collecting and exhibiting LGBT stories in regional museums and archives In Proceedings of RAILS – Research Applications, Information and Library Studies, 2016, School of Information Management, Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand, 6-8 December, 2016.. Information Research, 22(4), paper rails1618. Retrieved from http://InformationR.net/ir/22-4/rails/rails1618.html

The Intersection Between Cultural Competence and Whiteness in Libraries

Reviewed By: Shelley Carr, Kristina Cevallos, Karen Chacon, & Rachel Dunn

Link to article: http://www.inthelibrarywiththeleadpipe.org/2015/culturalcompetence/

Article Synopsis

In her article, “The Intersection Between Cultural Competence and Whiteness in Libraries,” Fiona Blackburn (2015) examines her experiences working in Australian libraries and the implementation of cross-cultural provisions as evidence of privilege and the predominance of “white culture” in libraries in Australia. While this article provides examples of services designed for culturally diverse communities, Blackburn focuses on evaluations of her experiences as a white librarian in Australia in regards to personal understanding and development of cultural competence, especially the influence of white privilege, whiteness, and “white culture.” The article acknowledges the predominance of white workers in the LIS field as well as the dominating bias toward Western ways of assessing, accessing, and organizing information. Though considering her personal experiences at multiple information organizations, Blackburn asserts the importance of cultural competence, which is defined by Overall (as cited in Blackburn, 2015, para. 17) as:
the ability to recognise the significance of culture in one’s own life and in the lives of others; to come to know and respect diverse cultural backgrounds and characteristics through interaction with individuals from diverse linguistic, cultural and socioeconomic groups; and to fully integrate the culture of diverse groups into service work, and institutions in order to enhance the lives of both those being serviced by the library profession and those engaged in service.

With this definition of cultural competence in mind, Blackburn examines this topic from the perspective of an Australian librarian, and also refers to supporting literature from U.S. LIS professionals who support the practices of cultural competence. In commenting on the importance of cultural competence in library and information organizations, Blackburn encourages a global awareness of whiteness and privilege in the LIS profession.

Core Research Questions & Methodology

As Blackburn describes her journey through librarianship in Australia and her growth and interest in cultural competence, whiteness, and intersectional librarianship, she seeks to answer a few questions. What is cultural competence in the context of librarianship? What is the connection between intersectionality and cultural competence in addressing whiteness in the library? And, how can librarians and library workers approach cultural competence in a primarily white workforce within a predominantly white industry with awareness of power and privilege? Blackburn explains her reasoning by way of her personal experiences as a librarian in Alice Springs, and elsewhere in Australia, and referencing existing scholarship on cultural competence, intersectionality, and diversity in libraries.

Blackburn uses her own experience as a “56-year-old, tertiary-educated, female Anglo-Australian librarian” (Blackburn, 2015) to seek answers to her questions regarding cultural competence, intersectionality, and whiteness in libraries. She notes that working with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people has been her main source of learning about cultural competence and addressing whiteness in the library, but cultural competence goes far beyond just working with Indigenous peoples. Her awareness of her own culture (her whiteness) is her starting point on the journey to becoming culturally competent. Blackburn links together her personal reflections, professional experiences, research, and conversations with librarians as a method to form her conclusions.

Findings and Conclusions

Blackburn’s experience in Australia showed her that there were only a handful of librarians and libraries providing services specifically for Aboriginal people. For this reason, Blackburn focused on building greater engagement with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities. Blackburn’s goal was for people to see their culture reflected in the library in order to build stronger connections between patrons and their library. This would require more of Blackburn’s colleagues to step in and help create that culture of support, inclusion, and engagement in all nine branches of the library system in which Blackburn worked. From her own experiences, Blackburn found that members of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities must be actively incorporated in their libraries’ programs and services in order to support library staff working together to create a culture of inclusion in that library. Once patrons are aware that library services and staff are focused on meeting their needs, patrons may attend engagement activities and library programs more frequently. Blackburn mentioned how some library staff resisted these new ideas due to not having enough time to connect with members of the community and not wanting to add any extra tasks to their workload. Blackburn asserts that once those new connections are built, library staff can focus on maintaining the relationship as the library patrons continue to come to the library.

As support for her arguments, Blackburn introduces the concept of intersectional librarianship which, “recognises the interactions between any person or group’s multiple layers of identity and the marginalisation or privilege attendant on each” (Blackburn, 2015, para. 30). Library staff members need to learn to become allies and active participants in change, which cannot be accomplished in a one-day training session. LIS professionals need to recognize their own biases and privilege before they can become allies to any group. Librarians must focus on understanding the challenges patrons may be facing and what necessary steps are required to mitigate these challenges.

Applications in the United States

The United States could stand to learn from Blackburn’s experiences with the Aboriginal populations in Australia and how the library spaces she worked in were able to support and include the voices and experiences of their patrons. By creating spaces where the patrons could see themselves reflected, connect with their culture, and inhabit a neutral space, they were able to foster engagement with the Aboriginal community and increase usage by that group. The United States could stand to improve inclusion and respectful interaction with Native Americans and other underserved populations by creating inclusive reflective spaces and deeply considering how whiteness comes into play within libraries.

White librarians in the United States could benefit from examining their own “whiteness” and white privilege in the context of the LIS profession after reading Blackburn’s article. Through this awareness and understanding, librarians in the United States can build upon their cultural competence and expand on the inclusion of diversity within their library services. Blackburn’s focus on building engagement with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities and her work with Libraries ACT lend some insightful findings that would benefit any library. However, the conversations Blackburn notes in her article give interesting perspectives on how libraries are seen as “white places” and are not as culturally inclusive as they could be. These conversations heighten awareness of cultural differences and what should be taken into account when designing services for diverse populations.

For example, often librarians are busy promoting their own services/programming and forget to work in collaboration with their colleagues for the overall success of that library. In addition, library staff should be mindful of cultural inclusion when designing services for groups that are underserved and seek to include those groups across all library programs and services. In some cases, librarians promote Black History Month or LGBTQ only for one month and forget to incorporate the concept for the rest of the year. In order for patrons to feel a sense of belonging to their library, this should be highlighted throughout the year, and included in collection development decisions and program planning.

U.S. libraries could observe the global practices of international information organizations and draw from their experiences in order to better design services for diverse populations. In her article, Blackburn references examples from U.S. LIS literature which support the inclusion of cultural competence in navigating interactions with diverse populations. Not all libraries in the United States practice cultural competence within their community, with whiteness being privileged in library and information spaces, making it especially important that LIS professionals in the country work to better serve the diverse populations of their community and nation. Based on Blackburn’s examples, U.S. libraries could potentially promote similar services to Native Americans, although regional differences would require more contextual adaptation. By practicing cultural competency by way of awareness of whiteness and privilege in ourselves and our libraries, libraries in the United States can better serve their culturally diverse communities beyond the basics.


Blackburn, F. (2015). The Intersection between cultural competence and whiteness in libraries. In the Library with the Lead Pipe, December. Retrieved from http://www.inthelibrarywiththeleadpipe.org/2015/culturalcompetence/

Overall, P. M. (2009). Cultural competence: a conceptual framework for library and information science professionals. The Library, 79( 2), 175-204.

. Indigenous Australians’ information behavior and internet use in everyday life: An exploratory study.

Reviewed By: Emilee Harrison, Ashleigh Torres, Robin Rogers, Mathew Chase, Ashley Montes

Link to article: http://www.informationr.net/ir/22-1/paper737.html


In “Indigenous Australian’s Information Behaviour and Internet use in Everyday Life: An Exploratory Study,” the authors discuss the beginning stages of an “information behaviour research project undertaken with a rural Indigenous community in South Australia” (Du & Haines, 2017). The study explores the following research questions:
1. What types of information do indigenous people need in their daily lives?
2. How do indigenous people choose information sources?
3. What interactions do indigenous people have with the Internet?
4. How do indigenous people perceive the role of the Internet for the community? (Du & Haines, 2017)

Du and Haines provide a literature review of the relevant literature and previous studies that have been conducted on similar topics (2017). They also provide the research design of their study including how they intended to conduct ethical research, how the data would be collected and how it would be analyzed (Du & Haines, 2017). The results of the study are shown and discussed throughout the latter half of the article. The results are displayed in tables along with each source of information that is within the study carefully described and talked about in detail. The authors also conclude the article and discuss the need for further research (Du & Haines, 2017). In this discussion, Du and Haines include that they were able to conduct this research by “accessing local people and seeking their thoughts and insights” (2017). At the end of this article, the authors include a copy of the survey questions they included on their questionnaire for the audience to see and use in conjunction with the article itself (Du & Haines, 2017).


The authors, as they were not indigenous themselves, sought to achieve an ethical research standard that required trust and respect with the Ngarrindjeri community through regular consultation with the Elders as well as exchanging honorary gifts of print-out copies of research results and weekend computer training. Du and Haines (2017) actively recruited Ngarrindjeri participants through snowball sampling by distributing promotional materials at local community centers, workplaces, and on social media. Recruited participants were asked to recommend people who might be interested in participating in the study. Twenty-one total participants were recruited (10 men; 11 women). Data collection was designed using a dual-method qualitative framework. First, participants answered a questionnaire regarding their everyday information behaviors and Internet interactions. Second, the questionnaire followed up with semi-structured interviews to deepen and clarify understanding of participants’ Internet experiences and attitudes in relation to their community needs. Narrative interviewing was employed as the primary technique to reveal participant insights, which were audio recorded and transcribed for analysis (Du & Haines, 2017). Participants who declined to be audio recorded instead had the researchers take interview notes during the session. As the participants were fluent in both Ngarrindjeri and English, both the questionnaire and the interviews were provided in English. Field observations and notes by researchers through time spent with the community also supplemented the data collection.


The author’s found that the Ngarrindjeri rely on multiple sources (Du & Haines, 2017) to find information relevant to their daily lives such as weather, news, and work related information (Du & Haines, 2017). Researchers organized the resources used by the community into four main categories: internet, interpersonal, mass media, and physical organizations (Du & Haines, 2017). Although Internet and Interpersonal are the most common, researchers found that participants tended to rely on multiple sources for information (Du & Haines, 2017). Participants consider interpersonal resources more reliable because the information is local (Du & Haines, 2017). Particular value is placed on information from Elders and from friends and family (Du & Haines, 2017).
Many participants said they would try interpersonal resources first, and use the internet if that did not work (Du & Haines, 2017). Reliance on social activities for information is consistent with the community’s tradition of sharing indigenous knowledge through basket weaving led by the Elders (Du & Haines, 2017). When they use the internet, non-home internet access accounts for more than half the participants’ internet usage (Du & Haines, 2017). Desktops and mobile phones are the most commonly used devices (Du & Haines, 2017). The “main barriers” to internet usage are “low computer literacy, costs, and the slowness of internet access” (Du & Haines, 2017). The authors found that participants regardless of age tended to believe the internet could be a valuable tool to “communicate local knowledge to a broad community, [and] to encourage cultural sharing” but were concerned about “inappropriate online dissemination” (Du & Haines, 2017).

Unanswered Questions and Future Research

The study conducted by Du and Haines brought to light some interesting unanswered questions and areas of future research as well. Some future areas of research can include if certain members within the indigenous tribe thinks about having some of their knowledge that they are willing to share available in online platforms. Similarly, other indigenous peoples in Australia and New Zealand have developed online platforms that makes certain types of information available to those within the tribe and the public, such as photos or recordings (State Library of Queensland, “Indigenous Knowledge Centres,” 2016). While some Elders in the study did mention this possibility and were hesitant about this aspect of certain types traditional knowledge being accessed to the larger public, it would be interesting to see what other Elders and people in the community would have to say about this aspect, especially in terms of knowledge/information they would like to share. Also, the study itself did not tackle the issue concerning traditional indigenous knowledge either, so there are many types of unanswered questions relating to traditional knowledge, technology, and culture as well.
This study also had some unanswered questions. Some unanswered questions from this study include if any type of solutions were given to the community concerning information gaps, such as a lack of knowledge on how to use certain types of technology, as well as there being few service providers in the community. Also, it was mentioned that about 11% of people in the study use physical organizations, including libraries (Du & Haines, 2017). Since library use was not widely accessed by people in the study, it would be interesting to note any reasons why this may be the case, especially if the library offers the use of their internet/computer resources and other resources as well. Is it the distance, the lack of trust in the institution, the lack of resources pertaining to indigenous needs, or any other factors that may influence their lack of use, especially since people in rural and remote areas tend to use the library to their advantage? This is not only an unanswered question pertaining to the study, but a possible area for future research as well.


There are a number of unanswered questions in this study, primarily pertaining to what barriers are preventing indigenous persons from taking advantage of library resources and what attempts at outreach and restructuring of library systems have been done in order to better meet the needs of these potential patrons.
Given that 21% of indigenous Australians report living in remote or very remote locations it is reasonable to suspect that distance may provide them with a barrier when it comes to accessing information resources through the countries library networks. While the National Library of Australia does have a subsection which focuses on Indigenous culture, that does not mean that it is necessarily accessible to the indigenous communities through the country as it is located in Canberra (National Library of Australia, 2017).
It should also be noted that the sample size for this study was very small, at only 21 people, which means that when the study indicates that 11% of responses reported using library services that amounts to fewer than three participants. The indigenous population of Australia is estimated to be about 669,881 or 3% of the country’s total population, which indicates that further research would be beneficial in order to gain a more thorough understanding of usage practices and community needs (Australian Bureau of Statistics, 2011).


Australian Bureau of Statistics. (2011). Estimates of aboriginal and torres strait islander Australians. Retrieved from http://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs@.nsf/mf/3238.0.55.001

Du, J. T., and Haines, J. (2017). Indigenous Australians’ information behavior and internet use in everyday life: An exploratory study. Information Research, 22(1). Retrieved from http://www.informationr.net/ir/22-1/paper737.html

National Library of Australia. (2017). Collections: Indigenous. Retrieved from https://www.nla.gov.au/what-we-collect/indigenous

State Library of Queensland. (2016). Indigenous Knowledge Centres. Retrieved from