Second week

English language

My English is hardly improved. But nowadays I’m more than aware that I can discuss topics like information retrieval, research data management, open access repositories, etc. quite smoothly. However, if someone asks me about my weekend, I’m struggling. I could write a pretty good answer, but to say it laud. It’s almost impossible. I hardly ever speak everyday English, I only use English at work. Why can I write the answer then? I use English by listening (conferences, TV series and audio books), reading (professional staff and many kind of novels) and writing (guides). Hopefully I improve my small talk skills here. I actually have learned couple of useful lines already.

For Finns the small talk question: “How are you?” is not easy to answer. I know that it is not a real question. You need to say. “Excellent, thanks! [+broad smile]” And move on. You don’t need to ask back (how are you), because… I really don’t know why?! If I ask, they look surprised. Well, this is only one example of many small things, I need to learn.

Mentoring plan

This week, I wrote a mentoring plan for new research librarian (Joy). The plan is very simple. We’ll arrange scheduled meeting every week. Joy decides the topics and her own learning goals. I gave her one article for inspiration. Keller, Alice; “Research Support in Australian University Libraries: An Outsider View.”

I like that article. It sums up the research library trends quite nicely. Even though I don’t 100% agree with trends. I think researchers really need education about information search and how to use awareness services. If this education and web guides are not in place, why waste time for Open Access awareness? Although OA is important, it’s not essential. The research administration needs something else, like research output assessment and quickly updated publication lists of organization. There are some similarities of needs of course. Maybe there could be two kind of research librarians? Those how are specialized to work with researchers and those who works nicely with administration. It’s difficult to be both. I have tried for over 10 years now. I hope someday I could concentrate research services with researchers.

Even in small library, you need to prioritize and choose the most important goals. Joy and I will work with that during next weeks. Should we listen the library director and other administrative staff? Oh yes, but first Joy needs to find her strengths. There are many! She’s very talented library professional. I’ll try to help her find out how to use those skills in the Clinical library environment.

Research data management policy

This week I have read lots of research data policies. I concentrate to Australian ones. Those are a bit different kind than European data policies. Australian policies are more like mixture of policy and practical guidelines. Many of them are very long. Like policy of the University of Melbourne: Policy on the Management of Research Data and Records: I like the practical form name “Disposal of Research Data and Records”. That kind of check list could be useful to our researchers too.

The Australian National Data Service provides the data management policy outline (You find it here: Most Australian data polices I red, followed more or less that outline. I hope we can use it also in Barwon Health.

Publication list of the Barwon Health

The research is international and we face same problems on research services everywhere. Like how we write an accurate up-to-date publication list to our organization? How to find the publication, while researchers sometimes seems to forget where they work or horrible academic publishers forces them to choose only one affiliation. This week, we made publication list for Barwon Health’s annual report. Luckily Joy had a nice publication list in excel. She had made it for a publication archive she updates. We need to use one Excel macro (open URL > text string), several Excel functions, search and replace in Word, before we got useable PubMed ID list for PubMed search and with help of reference management software we get nice looking publication list.

(Speaking of reference management software. We tested Mendeley this week and generated a joke. This is our statement: “We tested Mendeley carefully, and therefore we strongly recommend to use EndNote.”)

Culture shock

In this point of our trip, all members of my family suffers a culture shock of some level. We easy that by jokes. These jokes are insiders, of course. You can’t understand those, if you don’t know where we come from. However I’m going to tell you one.

Iikka (15years) told this one: “Why Australians don’t have coat racks in the hall?” [No coat racks here anywhere]
Me: ”No, why?”
Iikka: “Australians don’t need the coat rack, they need coats to survive indoors during winter.”

This trip is really a hard core adventure to me and my family.

Here are many positive thing too. I’m just thinking the strategy how I could get one of those very handy instant boiling machines (Picture 1) to my Finnish workplace. You can get hot water for your tea from that tap. No need waiting electric water boiler. I have seen many kind of these apparatus here. Some of them are very modern. These machines can also make chilled water:

Instant water boiling machine

Picure 1: The instant boiling water machine.

There is only one problem. There are very few people at work in Finland who drinks tea. I’ll keep dreaming!

Best regards,
Mari Elisa Kuusniemi


The data management policy outline, ANDS:

Keller, Alice. “Research Support in Australian University Libraries: An Outsider View.” Australian Academic & Research Libraries ahead-of-print (2015): 1-13. DOI: 10.1080/00048623.2015.1009528

Policy on the Management of Research Data and Records, the University of Melbourne:


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