All posts by Alana Hadfield

Alana is a Research Librarian attached to the Arts Faculty. Yes, she likes books. She also likes to dig up information. But she can also discuss search strategies, metrics, disseminating research, publishing and journals, social media outreach and the best new tools in the academic world for making things happen. She can talk about these things to your undergraduate classes, or to researchers (often over good coffee).

The mannequin challenge: have you clocked this viral trend?

Have you heard of the mannequin challenge? Or perhaps, like me, you’ve been oblivious to the ripple effect of this viral internet gimmick.

I first unwittingly came across it last Sunday when my 13 year old son urged me to watch a video on his phone. Begrudgingly I set aside my own project and mentally committed giving him some quality attention for – well, at least 2 minutes. My own needs beckoned.

Continue reading The mannequin challenge: have you clocked this viral trend?

Open Access week activities (24 – 28 October)

If a material is open access, the copyright owner has made the material publicly accessible and has given blanket permission to users to read, download, copy, distribute, print, search, link to, crawl through, index or otherwise use the material in all or most circumstances.

Read on to find out what we have planned for Open Access week at Macquarie University.

Continue reading Open Access week activities (24 – 28 October)

Creative licence: you’ve got the whole world in your hands.

Why music and creativity are worth sharing.

Sharing ideas, and music or creative content, isn’t  complicated. And you can cover off your copyright. There are advantages for your academic career, as well as the pleasure of knowing that there is a wide audience enjoying your output.

Continue reading Creative licence: you’ve got the whole world in your hands.

It’s all about impact. Open Access and signing that publishing deal.

You like the idea of as many people as possible being able to access, use and cite your work. This means getting your ideas out there quickly, so Open Access (OA) publishing is the model for you.

Visibility is what it’s all about: for your ideas, as well as your researcher profile and your career. Continue reading It’s all about impact. Open Access and signing that publishing deal.

A little bird told me (how to work the twittersphere).

For the early riser, one of the most engaging things about twitter is seeing snapshots of news. My bite sized attention span, pre caffeine at 6am, can grasp the latest political scandal in nanoseconds. Long gone are the days of bland tweets about breakfast food choices.

If twitter can demand our attention with a humble 140 characters, and even compel us to retweet these snips, then it’s no surprise that it’s an equally effective tool for academia. Here are a few ideas about becoming engaged with twitter and  using it better.

Many academics at Macquarie have active twitter accounts. It’s part of developing a researcher profile. It can be used for sharing news about publications as well as personal views. Whilst twitter can’t convey complex ideas and research, it can point to them and heighten awareness.

You may have heard about the university’s subscription to which is a new learning tool. If you’re unsure about using twitter, you might want to look at this guide, available from Lynda.comOXFORDcomma

Hashtags are great for building community. Good examples are #PHDchat, #SocialMedia, #librariesrock, #twiterstorians and #academicwriting. You can also use a tag for a group you are convening: for instance, #MResLib16 is currently in use for a Masters of Research group here.

Follow interesting people and groups, as you’ll then have an interesting feed. It’s all about setting up a curated flow of ideas which will engage and inform you.  For example, @AcademicsSay, @scholarlykitchn, @thesiswhisperer as well as general news, such as @HuffPostAu, @timeshighered.  Of course, don’t forget our handle @Macquarie_Uni

When choosing your Twitter handle, keep it short and easy. You can use your banner to promote your latest book, or a conference you’re organising. You’ll gain many of your followers from tweeting at conferences, and generally whisking out commentary on interesting stuff.


The library database Altmetric Explorer tracks twitter references to academic material. If you’re curious to know more about this, have a look at this example, which is affiliated to Macquarie, and has been tweeted over 3400 times. Your Research Librarian can also offer guidance on Altmetric Explorer.

For more tips on using twitter effectively, read this guide from ‘The Online Academic’ titled “How to grow your Twitter network”.  You might also like to look at the social media guidelines from Macquarie University.

You can  make a catalogue of the best tweets and pics you’ve posted from a hashtag using ‘storify’. This can be useful when you want to save tweets from a conference permanently, and filter out any dribble – you can share the story of what went down with others. This link is a good guide on how to do this, and here is an example.

Twitter is no longer a brave new world. It’s a mainstream and, some would argue, vital part of our landscape. With  widespread use in academia jumping on and using it well is worth considering.

If you have a favourite twitter moment or hashtag, be part of the conversation and post it below.


Driven to distraction: the students who won’t stop talking

Last week I presented to a class of 12 undergraduate students. It was a short 15 minute talk about information literacy, tied to an upcoming assignment. In other words, this was stuff they needed to know. Within the first minute of my opening three students started talking. They were seated in the back row, and the eight or so students in front stared steadfastly at me. I imagine the giggling behind was distracting.

Continue reading Driven to distraction: the students who won’t stop talking