Current initiatives

Off the Grid

Every workplace is full of clever people with great ideas, but often you don't have the time to explore them.

Off the Grid is an innovative staff development program at QUT Library. Since 2015, all staff members are offered the opportunity for 30 hours of 'creative time' over six months to work on projects and ideas that they wouldn't normally get around to, or are outside their job description.

The only outcome required is a poster outlining the project and the process: no KPIs, no reports, and an attitude that embraces risk and failure.

The program was inspired by an article in the Harvard Business Review discussing the motivations and rewards that inspire 'clever' people such as professional respect, autonomy and freedom from bureaucracy, and the famous Google and 3M "20% time" for independent projects that has resulted in innovations such as PostIts and Gmail.

Projects, completed individually or in small groups, have been as varied as cleaning up a widely used thesis template document to integrating augmented reality into library teaching. Enthusiasm and curiosity lead to projects cross-pollinating and boosting the skills, knowledge and networks of staff across library sections and across the wider university.

An Off the Grid digitisation project evolved into the exhibition "To Sir with Love" at Old Government House, and images from the same collection were used in a GIF-making project that won the Trove Librarian Grand Prize in the international GIF IT UP 2016 competition. Several other innovations have flourished into implementation or further development within the Library's workflows and services, all thanks to having a little time to go Off the Grid.

Past initiatives

Promoting Australian Pulses through Data Sharing

The Library's Research Support Team has partnered with the Australian National Data Service (ANDS) as part of its High Value Collections initiative to make significant datasets available for re-use.

Large amounts of data have been collected as part of the Centre for Tropical Crops and Biocommodities' (CTCB) (Science and Engineering Faculty) research on populations of tropical pulses, specifically mungbeans (Vigna radiata). Pulses also include chickpeas, lentils, cowpeas and beans grown for their dry, edible seeds high in protein and fibre, but also low in fat.

A nested association mapping population of mungbeans containing the largest levels of genetic variation in the smallest population possible was generated by researchers in the CTCB, including Sagadevan Mundree and Brett Williams. The data includes physiological data, data on mungbean response to stress, and biotic and abiotic information. Additionally, a significant resource collection of sequencing and phenotyping data has been produced. Five hundred and sixty mung bean, black gram and wild accessions have been genotyped as part of a genetic diversity study completed on cultivated and wild Australian germplasm.

This project is delivering new genetic knowledge that will directly assist the breeding of better mungbean varieties for Australian growers and has the potential to provide substantial information to growers, researchers, farmers, seed distribution companies and breeders. From the data, it is possible to perform simulation modelling to further the understanding and prediction of genetics, environment and management interactions to improve the stability of tropical pulse production in Australia.

The data can be queried via an SQL database at QUT Library is working with the researchers to make the data more visible to potential users by adding it to the Research Data Finder data repository.

For more information on this project, please contact Research Support at

Integration of ORCID iDs at QUT

ORCID (Open Researcher and Contributor iD) is an international non-profit registry which provides researchers with a unique alpha-numeric identifier (an ORCID iD) plus a mechanism for linking their iD to their research outputs, grants and activities such as peer reviews. ORCID iDs enable the transfer of validated information from one computer system to another. ORCID integrations are being implemented by key research infrastructure and services around the world. For example, ORCID has been integrated into the Australian Research Council (ARC) grant management system and most of the major scholarly journal publishers' manuscript submission processes.

QUT Library is currently partnering with stakeholders across the University, including the Office of Research, IT Services and Human Resources Services, to encourage and facilitate the uptake of ORCID iDs and the integration of the iDs into relevant QUT systems. In May 2016, QUT implemented 'Create or Connect your ORCID iD' which is a mechanism via which QUT researchers can authorise the collection of their validated ORCID iD by QUT in a machine-readable format. For QUT staff, their ORCID iD will automatically appear in their Academic Profile page once they have visited the integration. Library staff are raising awareness about the benefits of ORCID iDs and can provide advice or training on the process for enriching an ORCID record or linking the iD to existing outputs and activities.

A project has been funded to develop a plan for the next stage of QUT's ORCID integration. This includes an analysis of business needs and technical considerations related to adding to or validating information in ORCID records belonging to QUT academic staff and HDR students.

For more information about the integration of ORCID ID at QUT, please contact Paula Callan, Scholarly Communications Librarian, via email

Spatial Datasets Project

QUT Library has partnered with the Australian National Data Service (ANDS) as part of the Major Open Data Collections initiative, which is aligned with the Open Data Initiative of QUT and the Queensland Government. The project is targeting datasets which contain a spatial element (any geo-referencing data point). Datasets of this nature lend themselves to being very useful in data visualisation and can become the supporting structure of many research and learning activities. These datasets will typically contain reference sources ranging from simple geometric objects through to more complex structures which, when rendered with the appropriate application, would produce visualisations of topographical elements such as waterways, road networks and a variety of other infrastructure types.

As new datasets are discovered and as the interest of researchers is heightened, their participation will contribute toward populating QUT's Spatial Data Finder, which extends the usability (re-use) and reach of datasets to researchers from anywhere in the world.

The project aims to provide direct benefit to the global research community through:

  • the identification of candidate datasets which are essentially spatial in nature
  • the development and publication of a comprehensive description (a metadata record) for each dataset
  • the publication of that metadata record to the Spatial Data Finder repository

Each metadata record may then be harvested by Research Data Australia (RDA). This tool is designed to provide rich connections between data, projects, researchers and institutions and promote visibility of Australian research data collections across internet search engines.

For more information on this project, please contact Research Support at

QUT Library Website Redevelopment Project

QUT Library website is an openly accessible site that receives over 10000 visits daily from QUT students, staff and the general public, providing access to a range of information, study and research resources and services.

While a usability study conducted in 2012/2013 found that users' overall experience of the QUT Library website was positive, some issues were identified that affected users' awareness of the range of services offered by QUT Library.

To address these issues and provide our clients with an optimal user experience, QUT Library commenced work redeveloping the library website in June 2014. The QUT Library Website Redevelopment Project involves updating the homepage, content discovery tools, navigation, site structure and look and feel, with a focus on improving usability, findability, mobility and attractiveness of the website. The planned go-live date for the redeveloped website is early January 2015.

'Create a Better Online You' - Social Media Skills for Students

QUT is committed to developing the academic and digital literacies of its students. Part of this commitment involves equipping students with the competencies required to not only survive, but also thrive in a digital environment. This Student Services and Amenities Fee (SSAF) funded project delivers a suite of resources that aids in the development of students as digital citizens.

Much focus has been placed on the social networking skills of young people and teenagers. Excellent resources regarding digital citizenship already exist for parents and guardians, teachers and young people themselves. However, limited support is available for undergraduate students in this area. It is no longer enough to assume that students will have the skills needed to use technology, simply because they have grown up with it.

'Create a Better Online You' allows students to undertake a range of learning related to social networking. It comprises static content, an online self assessment, and a teaching guide. It focuses on social media as it relates to employment, rights and responsibilities, and mental health. The resources are freely available and Creative Commons licensed. More information about Create a Better Online You.

'Create a Better Online You' was shortlisted from over 500 applicants for the Wharton-QS Stars Reimagine Education Award 2015.

24 things for 2014

QUT Library is committed to providing staff members with opportunities for professional development at all levels. Library staff members have indicated across a variety of platforms that they have a desire to engage in both general professional development and learn about new technologies that are being used by libraries.

The 23 things program which has been run successfully by other libraries, both academic and public has focused on introducing staff to new technologies. Recently there have also been examples of organisations running 23 things programs for general professional development. As QUT staff members have identified both of these areas as being of interest, a hybrid model is being run in 2014. It will focus on both 'traditional' professional development as well as the introduction of new technologies.

The QUT Library program, 24 things, will allow staff to access a range of activities and undertake as many, or as few, of these activities as they desire. The program (PDF, 83.3 KB) will run from February 2014 - January 2015.