ETL507 – Study Visit reflection

Study Visit: Melbourne CBD 4-7 April

The State Library of Victoria

The mandate of the library to preserve, give access to and to share Victoria’s history and historical items was very clear.

The re-development of the site is already affecting how staff are working in the space, and it was stated that the changes will mean that more staff are working in open plan offices and on the floor more openly. The use of space will mean that there are more dedicated areas for different segments of society, more areas for children, public venue spaces, and gallery spaces. I think this reflects how the library is responding to changes in its patrons needs and adapting to entice more visitors both onsite and digitally.

It was so interesting to hear from the marketing and media team members and to hear first hand how social media channels are supporting and enhancing the delivery and discovery of the library collections. This form of connection with the community is relating to different audiences in new ways, and promotes the library brand, its programs and messages very effectively. This is a reminder in our own practice that we can make huge changes and connect with our audience, even on a low budget, if social media is harnessed in a positive way.

I was not aware that the library is not allowed to weed the collection, that there is a legal requirement and strict protocols to follow to keep items in the collection ongoing. The issue of storage and how to store the collections, and the obvious need to be very careful what is selected into the collection was apparent. The importance of a strong collection development policy cannot be overstated.

The AGE (Broadmeadows) Library

This library is a public library run by the Hume Council, and is such subject to pressures and constraints of being overseen by a body that does not necessarily understand the importance or role of the library in the community. Examples were given such as the mobile library service, that it is difficult to make changes to programs unilaterally, without council approval and process. The importance of keeping good statistics and using benchmarks from similar libraries in the state to advocate for services, funding and maintenance of programs was evident.

This library responds to the need of its diverse community in various ways. Patrons typically come from low socio-economic backgrounds, are migrants, have English as a new language and may not have literacy in their first language. The library has reinstated a Children’s Librarian to administer programs for parents and young children and to entice new mothers in to the library. There are collections in Arabic and Turkish for migrants, a range of programs for youth, the elderly, learning support for students, maker spaces, outreach programs amongst other targeted services including dedicated community spaces.

This library supports its community in simple but important ways by providing equitable access to technology, Wi-Fi and equipment, safe spaces, printers, photocopying, all with assistance. It is important to keep in mind that although borrowing may be not strong the library is an important space in other ways for patrons.

This library is an example of delivering a broad service to a large range of people, but perhaps doing too much on too little. It relies on volunteers (bilingual) and the ability of staff to adapt to change, up skill and be spread thin to continue to keep delivering services. It is an important hub in the community, which perhaps is not always valued by governing bodies, who find it hard to measure its importance without hard data.

MLC (Methodist Ladies College) Senior School Library

This visit was inspiring. I was very interested in the process that MLC went through to make radical changes to the physical and digital environments and how staff are facilitating connections with departments and teaching staff throughout the school to implement digital literacy programs and collaborative teaching and support. Staff took considerable time to collect data and used research to inform decisions. Considerable effort is being made to structurally embed the library and its services into the curriculum. This process is only possible with strong support from management, which was very evident during the visit.

The transformation of the physical space was particularly interesting. The downstairs space has curved shelving, with the non-fiction print genrefied. The study spaces had varied furniture, which was all flexible and easily moved around, to encourage different study styles – collaborative and individual – and technology to facilitate presentation, collaboration and critical thinking. The library staff relayed that feedback from students was positive and there was evidence that students were becoming more independent in their learning and were performing better in groups as a result of the changes.

The space was definitely welcoming and innovative. The focus of the space was the students, how they learn best and what skills should be developed, how can the design and planning of the space create an environment for everyone (including staff) to be always learning, adapting, curious and connected.

It was obvious that an enormous amount of money has been spent on the library transformation to a 21st century space. The actual amount spent and the library yearly budget was not divulged, but it is an example of what money can deliver for students. The gap between this and what many teacher librarians have at their disposal in terms of budget is huge, and left me a bit flat and envious, as most students will not have the opportunity to have those facilities and programs at any time in their schooling.

As I work in a library that is currently transitioning, I found it useful to see the possibilities, and consider a more research driven process for change management.

Public Records Office of Victoria (PROV)

The function of the Public Records Office is to keep (state and local) government records of enduring value and importance. The records show on public record the state’s interactions with its citizens over time.

Not having any experience with archives, the way the collection is stored and categorised was new to me. Records are kept in their original system and organised by the Australian Series System. This is based on the archival principles of provenance and original order. This means that the PROV cannot disturb the system in which records have been kept, and must be tolerant in its cataloguing of missing information and incomplete data when present.

The difficulty in digitising the collection and the time it takes to accurately do this is immense, and relies on dedicated volunteers. The way the organisation uses volunteers with commercial interests in the data is a mutually beneficial way for the collection to worked on for digital preservation, and a good example of working with partner organisations for the public good. The importance of meta data for information retrieval and creating systems to allow easier access for patrons also is difficult. The new website shown demonstrated that as the records are not uniform in their cataloguing, and individual items are not necessarily recorded, even with digital access, a great deal of skill and understanding of the process of storing items is needed to access the collection.

As I have no experience in the archiving and preservation area understanding how the documents can be used in various research projects, and how documents can reveal so much about everyday life over time was really great. In terms of my school library, it reminded me to not forget to provide links for students to public institutions for their own research and information discovery.

William Angliss Institute of TAFE

The Institute is a specialist learning and training centre for the food, tourism, hospitality and event sectors and as such the Learning Resource Centre’s (LRC) services and resources reflected the need to cater for VET courses through to higher education, a range of ages languages and cultural backgrounds.

The LRC provides services and resources typical of most educational institutions including: information literacy programs, research skills, courses on plagiarism, online Libguides and tutorials etc. What was apparent is that government funding cuts had affected staffing, hours of operation, capital improvements, acquisitions and collection development, and morale. Grants had enabled the LRC to install RFID technology and a mobile technology pod, which basically was a closed pod used for quiet work, but none of this had changed circulation statistics or encouraged use of the collection. This led me to think that sometimes money given in grants, and regular budget money, can be wasted if not targeted into clear areas of need, and sometimes trendy new technology is really not necessary to enable access; adequate staffing and relevant and up to date resources will do that on their own.

As the Institute was moving towards offering a range of higher degrees I found it very interesting how the LRC was going to adapt to support academic staff in their own research and course delivery. It was noted that two university liaison librarians had been employed in recent times to support the program, but as the Institute suffers from cuts in funding, resourcing these new areas with academic resources may be limited.

As I have never attended a TAFE institution I found it interesting to see a targeted collection servicing a narrow field of interest. The Special Collection of culinary items in the archive areas was particularly enlightening to see how important a specialist library can be to keep heritage items in niche areas.

University of Melbourne Archives

The core purpose for the archive is to keep records of the University of Melbourne and to be a collection archive to support research. The range of archival material was fascinating and the way formats dictated storage and access was new to me. As this facility is not bound by legislation to keep everything, they are free to transfer items to more suitable institutions that can better restore and share. The archive had a lot of material never opened since being acquired. Cataloguing and digitisation is slow and costs money, and I found it interesting that volunteers were not used as much due to privacy and university restrictions.

The issue of who owns the material, who has copyright, who dictates access and who is responsible for preservation, is important to understand. It was explained that if the archive has ownership of the material they are liable for any defamatory actions, and thus are conscious of sensitive material having restricted or no access for periods of time to combat this. Security and privacy are paramount. Historically there were loose arrangements with organisations to archive such things as business reports, and confusion over rights and responsibilities, management rights etc. seemed to be an ongoing issue.

A problem highlighted during the tour was the struggle to get knowledge of the collection existence out in the public, beyond academic researchers. As the name is associated with the university it is assumed that only university records are kept there, the varied nature of the holdings is not immediately assumed.

This site, similar to PROV, has revealed to me the importance of legacy and preserving items for future research, and how historical items can be excellent teaching tools and prompters of curiosity in students. For this reason, I will be ensuring my students have links and connections with organisations like this from our school library Libguides, and try to encourage more critical thinking and sourcing of primary source material.

Southbank Library at BOYD

This facility is run by the City of Melbourne, and is one branch of the library service, serving residents in urban areas. The library is one aspect of the service provided, as the site is a community hub for residents in the Southbank areas providing family and health support, spaces for community groups to meet, art spaces, and a place for recreation and relaxing. As with other public libraries, the space is just as important as the collection, with many not borrowing, but using Wi-Fi and equipment and accessing assistance and programs.

This facility is an excellent example of responding to community needs, in this case a demographic of mainly 18-35 year olds, highly educated with good literacy skills. This group also has high digital literacy skills so many e-resources are available. Traditional library programs, such as research skills for example are not necessary. The collection offerings are relevant and up to date, fed by a healthy budget, and are organised by area of interest and then in Dewey order, all branches using the same system to simply inter-library loans and consistency for patrons. Targeting resources to the needs of the community is paramount. This service reflects the huge need for library services and public connection spaces in new areas of development. The Boyd building is small but can provide so much for hundreds of people in the neighbourhood surrounding it.

It was apparent the access to the collection was of utmost importance in this service. Signage was clear and prolific, and great thought had gone into how patrons browse and find new material, and this informed the physical layout and presentation of the space. Circulation statistics indicate that the collection is more utilised when presented this way.

This site has made me reflect on the presentation of my library, particularly the signage and layout. Making the physical space more akin to a bookshop, more outfacing print books, and genrefying the non-fiction may be suitable for my students and increase use of the non-fiction collection.


The study visit has definitely confirmed my own thoughts that I need to broaden my library experience outside of my school library in order to develop professional skills and understanding. My school library is suffering because I do not have the answers or experience to move it forward with confidence. I have secured a placement at a public library and I am looking forward to immersing myself into a range of different areas, particularly collection management, access and archives. I have also put myself forward to do library relief in two other schools in order to get an insight to how other school libraries operate and to be mentored by more experience professional teacher librarians. I am a believer in constantly improving and striving to be better. This study visit has been very beneficial to see what the possibilities are, what the benchmark is for a professional working in the field and where I am currently in my own practice.

The importance of good recruitment and positive staffing was very evident during the study tour. The collaborative nature of librarianship, working in teams and with the public, demands that one must like working with people. Allowing and supporting staff to up skill, follow passions and harnessing their skills and personalities is imperative. Often I was reminded of the ETL504 TL as Leader unit, especially when visiting a site where staff were happy and productive. These sites had obvious good leaders and this positive atmosphere trickled down to the services that those institutions provided.

All the sites visited had a clear core purpose and were responding to their patrons with targeted collections and services. Responding to community needs, demographics and changing communities all relies on knowing your clientele through research and feedback from patrons. This data informs policies, preferred access to collections, services and programs and procedures. The collection must be constantly reviewed, weeded and adapted to meet new areas of interest in order to stay relevant. The importance of libraries to be a community hub and space for children, families, migrants, students, homeless people, the elderly etc. was reinforced to me during this visit. Libraries provide equity to resources, technology and assistance and the space provided is just as important to some as the resources located in it.

Careful and deliberate design and layout of spaces was one of the most important areas for me to ponder during the visit. The effect of the physical layout and how the collection was organised to maximise access has me moving towards some major changes in my school library. The visit to MLC particularly demonstrated the importance of methodically planning and identifying what skills and behaviours are desired in students, before any changes should be embarked on. Signage, zoning of collections, tone of the physical layout, placement of furniture and organisation of the digital content, are all things I am going to focus on.


ETL503 – Part C: Reflection

This assignment and unit has been essential for me to understand the importance of managing, developing and refining the school collection, for my specific school community. The idea of a ‘learner-centred’ collection (Hughes-Hassell & Mancall, 2005) has been cemented, a concept which I had up till now not even considered. This lack of knowledge has definitely contributed to me struggling with collection development in my current role. As stated in the Professional Standards For Teacher Librarians (Australian Library and Information Association, 2004) an effective teacher librarian steers the learning community towards rich resources chosen for their specific requirements and ensures that they are implemented, managed and utilised with optimum results. I have begun to hone my skills of analysis to enable me to achieve this.

The need for the collection to be consistently reviewed and evaluated to reflect the needs of the school community requires a plan and collaboration. In terms of a practical system, the CREW guidelines (Larson, 2012) are an invaluable new revelation to me and I plan to implement a program based on this in my library. Making collection development a shared process where stakeholders’ contributions are welcomed is imperative, and this includes de-selection decisions also (National Library of New Zealand Services to Schools, 2012) to be truly inclusive. During this unit I have informed my Principal of the library policy regarding de-selection and consulted with teaching staff more closely. This has resulted in an improved relationship with staff and a start to a more efficient and targeted weeding process.

The role of the teacher librarian and expertise necessary to be effective just keeps becoming more complex as I learn more in this course. Particularly in this unit I have been made aware of how important it is to be an expert in curriculum, learning styles, format preferences and reading levels, and be at the cutting edge of new technologies. Resourcing the curriculum for learning and developing information literacy skills is the key aspect of the teacher librarian role. As the curriculum changes and technology continues to influence preferences of information formats, learning styles and communication methods, the teacher librarian must adapt to serve those needs. This includes the need to balance collections with a proportion of digital resources, despite the associated implications of licencing, copyright and management concerns.

Assignment one confirmed to me the time consuming nature and complexity of the selection process. In my earlier blog post, I did note that many hours were taken to carefully select and evaluate resources based on my newly created Selection Criteria. As stated in the ALIA Statement On Free Access To Information (Australian Library and Information Association, 2015) and the School Library Bill of Rights (Australian School Library Association, 2014) the teacher librarian has a duty to provide balanced and free access to all forms of information. Adhering to selection criteria combats censorship issues, particularly self-censorship and preferences for particular formats and ensures resources are evaluated on their own merits and in the context of the collection as a whole (Hughes-Hassell & Mancall, 2005; Johnson, 2009; Kennedy, 2006).

The usefulness of the selection criteria to inform de-selection also can not be understated, and the literature surrounding the negative nature of keeping out-dated and irrelevant resources (Beilharz, 2007; Larson, 2012) has given me confidence to attack my shelves with more authority. The notions that the best items in the collection are the ones being used, and that a good library is not necessarily the largest one, are my two take away messages regarding weeding.

This course has immediately impacted my practice in a positive way. I am more confident that I will be able to implement procedures to improve the current collection and respond to the needs of my school.


Australian Library and Information Association. (2004). Standards of professional excellence for teacher librarians. Retrieved from

Australian Library and Information Association. (2015). Statement on free access to information. Retrieved from

Australian School Library Association. (2014). Policy statement – School library bill of rights. Retrieved from

Beilharz, R. (2007). Secret library business – part 2. Connections, (63), 10–12. Retrieved from

Hughes-Hassell, S., & Mancall, J. C. (2005). Collection management for youth: Responding to the needs of learners. Chicago: American Library Association.

Johnson, P. (2009). Developing collections. In Fundamentals of collection development and management (2nd ed, pp. 103–108). Chicago: American Library Association.

Kennedy, J. (2006). Collection management: a concise introduction (Rev. ed). Wagga Wagga: Centre for Information Studies, Charles Sturt University.

Larson, J. (2012). CREW: A weeding manual for modern libraries. Austen, TX: Texas State Library and Archives Commission. Retrieved from

National Library of New Zealand Services to Schools. (2012). Weeding guide. Retrieved from


Annotated Resource List – assignment 1 (part b)

Selection Criteria

The resources selected for this unit of study have been selected carefully based on criteria derived from models by Hughes-Hassell and Mancall (2005), Australian Library and Information Association & Victorian Catholic Teacher Librarians (2007) and the Western Australian School Library Association (2010). Reference has also been made to American Library Association (2015) and Mclachlan (2002) for specific criteria for web resources.

 The following general criteria applied to all format types have been considered for each resource: relevancy, appropriateness, authority, accuracy, currency, format and presentation and cost.

In addition, specific criteria have been considered for particular resource types as per below:

Non-fiction – Information quality, Illustration quality, Bias

Audio Visual – Sound/Picture quality, Accompanying materials

Digital & e-resources – Accessibility & Usability, Security & Safety

Resources encompass a variety of formats to suit varied learning purposes, styles and cater for student interests and needs. All resources have been considered in relation to the curriculum topic and assessments, the potential to improve content knowledge, information and digital literacy skills and the required historical skills specified on the syllabus. They are listed in priority order.

Selection Aids

 The following selection aids were used when locating resources for this unit of work and are listed in order of usefulness and priority:

  • SCIS
  • Scootle
  • SBS Website
  • FUSE
  • Publisher website / Publisher catalogue
  • LinksPlus database [subscription]
  • Booktopia

 The selection aids selected proved valuable in terms of being able to identify appropriate resources by topic, year level and/or curriculum area. Most provided review material, evaluation of resources, suggested age range and ratings, which enabled selection criteria to be applied.


1. Immigration Nation – The secret history of us (Documentary and interactive website)

SBS. (2011). Immigration nation. Retrieved from

SBS. (2011). Immigration nation: the secret history of us. Australia: Renegade Films.

 Immigration Nation is an up-to-date interactive documentary and accompanying website exploring the stories of immigrants and multicultural Australia.  This resource meets all general and specific criteria.

There are three video episodes focusing on different periods of history, which are directly related to the curriculum content, particularly the effects of government policies that restricted immigration before World War 2. In addition to the videos, the website provides a relevant accompanying interactive resource detailing immigrant contributions to Australian development and biographical information about successful migrants.

There is also a resource page that consists of primary and secondary sources, historical images, timelines, profiles of key figures and countries, links to relevant newspaper articles and links to SBS archival material. This provides excellent extension materials and background information for teachers and students.

While not developed specifically for students the level of detail and language is at an appropriate level and caters for different learning styles by providing visual and audio elements. The videos are rated PG and therefore appropriate for the age group. The resource provides accurate historical information and is produced by a reputable production company and organisation. The format is engaging, dynamic and easily read, navigated and accessed. There is no advertising on the site and links are to reliable sources. The site also does not require personal information to access. This cost effective resource can be viewed online for free. It can also be purchased through the SBS shop on DVD is available for digital download through the iTunes store at reasonable prices.

The SBS website is an excellent selection aid, particularly for audiovisual materials. The search function allows searching by genre and provides related search keywords and links, excellent for student research and inquiry learning. The content has currency and provides engaging and highly relevant materials for students and teachers.


2. Cultural Diversity in Australia. Reflection a Nation: Stories from the 2011 Census (Report)

Australian Bureau of Statistics. (2012). Cultural diversity in Australia. Reflecting a nation: Stories from the 2011 census. Retrieved from

This resource is a recommendation from a unit of work by the Human Rights Commission <The globalising World; Changing policies and Australian identity>, found using Scootle. It is a summary from the 2011 census detailing immigration and population statistics over time, using graphs, charts and explanatory text under headings.

It provides a rich and authentic method to analyse data, make comparisons, and demonstrate proficiency in a range of literacies. It would be a challenging resource to support the understanding of waves of immigration and historical population distribution.

This site meets all selection criteria as a reputable, up-to-date resource with accurate and well-presented information that is easily accessed and appropriate for classroom and assessment tasks. Consideration of language level for some students would be necessary.

Scootle provides units of work for teachers that are listed with educational details, links to the Australian Curriculum and reviews. This can be of use to classroom teachers and teacher librarians when construction units of work collaboratively. Copyright and licence details would need to be considered when adapting units.


3.The global refugee crisis (vol 404) (Curated Reference)

 Justin Healey [Ed.]. (2016). The global refugee crisis (Vol. 404). Balmain, N.S.W.: Spinney Press.

 This book explores global refugee trends and contains a range of sources discussing Australia’s response to the plight of refuges and asylum seekers and migration of peoples internationally. This resource meets all general and non-fiction specific criteria. It directly relates to the curriculum and would be useful to resource discussions and assessment tasks, in particular the written newspaper task and the culminating presentation.

 This book forms part of the Spinney Press ‘Issues in Society’ series, which is created specifically for high school students to engage with current affairs. It offers current, diverse information, about important issues from an Australian perspective. The book presents accurate information from a range of primary and secondary sources, deliberately comprised of facts and opinions. It provides an excellent resource to develop critical analysis and evaluation of bias or agenda.

 The format and presentation is attractive, clear and easily navigated. It contains an index, table of contents and glossary. There are numerous, clearly referenced, tables, graphs and data sources. Reliable web links are present, providing an avenue for further research. At the back of the book there is a section containing a range of worksheets, discussion questions and research topics and multiple choice tests which would be a great resource for teachers.

 The book can be obtained as part of a subscription or as a single purchase in print or e-book. The digital edition is an interactive PDF that comes with a full Site Licence. This allows multiple users to simultaneously use the book in a range of settings, a very cost effective method to resource this unit.

 This resource was found from the publishers catalogue and website. The school library has a current subscription to this series, and therefore was an obvious point of call to check for relevant materials.   Subscriptions of this kind can be very useful if topics presented match current units and the curriculum. However, the cost can become a burden for libraries on limited budgets, and if the resource is not marketed well to staff and students, can be under utilised as editions are added to the catalogue with no clear request from department areas.


4. Virtual Reading Room (VRROOM)  (Archival Records Database)

National Archives of Australia. (2015). Vrroom – Virtual reading room. Retrieved from

 Vrroom is an education resource that provides students and teachers with digital copies of records from the National Archives collection.   Developed for the target audience, it provides a scaffold resource for students to develop research skills and find, analyse and evaluate primary and secondary historical documents, without getting lost in the perhaps overwhelming full National Archives site.

The site provides a rich collection of learning content aligned with curriculum areas for Year 9-12, with many records containing a concise description and background information pitched at an appropriate level. There is a browse function by topic and records are tagged with keywords that make it easy to search. There are grouped records based on topics, such as immigration and multiculturalism, and the Vietnam War, and as such is relevant to this unit of work and assessment tasks, and the development of historical analysis and information skills.

Vrroom was located using Scootle while searching for applicable resources in ‘Overview of the modern world and Australia’ section. Scootle can require a little luck to stumble upon the best resources, as in this case the site was found while looking at resources for the Cold War.


5. The White Australia Policy (Digital Book)

 Australian Broadcasting Commission (ABC Splash). (2012). The white Australia policy. Retrieved from #!/digibook/613054/the-white-australia-policy

This resource from ABC Splash is a digital book providing a basic introduction the White Australia Policy. It meets all general and specific criteria. The digital book uses primary sources to explain key aspects of the policy and the consequences of it.   The content is aimed at the target audience, the reading level is suitable for low-level readers and does not have copious amounts of text, catering for reluctant readers.

The site is easily navigated and is presented in a logical manner. The font and colours are easy to read and the site does not contain advertising. There are links to further resources that can be selected based on related keywords, topics and year level. In particular there are links to interactive immigration statistics and settlement patterns.

The ABC Splash site has a search function by topic, year level, learning area and media type. It is an excellent source of relevant resources suitable for a range of abilities and learning styles.

This ABC Splash digital book was located through Scootle using the ‘Browse by Australian Curriculum’ option and refining the results by module and keywords. This is a fantastic way to find relevant resources in varying formats that are aligned with specific syllabuses and modules. This style of searching can be time consuming and requires careful analysis of resources for the specific conditions of the school, teacher and group of students.


6. Go back to where you came from (Documentary series and interactive website)

O’Mahoney, I. (Director). (2015). Go back to where you came from [Television Series/Series 3]. Australia: SBS.

SBS. (2015). Go back to where you came from. Retrieved from

 Go back to where you came from is a 3-part documentary series where participants retrace footsteps of refugees and asylum seekers and experience journeys to Australia first hand. It is a controversial program that seeks to spark debate about Australia’s current response to migration and refugees. It is a useful tool to encourage discussion in the classroom and challenge stereotypes prejudices and personal opinions, Process and synthesise information from a range of sources and analyse historical perspectives.

The accompanying website is jam packed with related material that could be used to support this unit of work and a range of learning styles, including links to related news articles, opinion pieces, quizzes, and teacher resource downloads. There is an interesting graphic novel about Vietnamese boat people, interactive maps and graphs and links to images, with only teacher creativity restricting the use of such materials. All links work, and online videos load quickly and text is in a font easily read.

This resource is engaging, easy to navigate and access and up-to-date and meets all general and specific criteria. The criterion of appropriateness needs some sensitivity. The videos are rated M (mature themes and course language), and are recommended for those aged 15 and over. In conjunction with the class teacher an assessment would need to be made if parent consent or notification would be necessary.

This resource was found through a SCIS search with the keyword ‘migration’ and constraining results to ‘videorecordings’.   The ability of SCIS to filter resources by dates, format and location allow a targeted approach to sourcing and meeting the requests of class teachers. Results give a description with enough detail to ascertain if worth pursuing further and subject heading links conveniently allow browsing to further related resources.


7. Who can be Australian? (Website)

 Together for Humanity Foundation Ltd. (n.d.). Who can be Australian? [Teaching Resource] Retrieved from

The Difference Differently website, a federal government funded initiative, explores the challenges and opportunities created by diversity and has been created with relevance to the General Capabilities, particularly intercultural understanding, in the Australian Curriculum. It is suitable for the target audience in terms of relevancy and reading and cognitive level, and meets all other general and specific criteria.

The Who can be Australian unit explores government policies relating to immigration and citizenship since 1901. It uses clearly referenced primary sources such as cartoons and Hansard, interactive activities, and simple text to describe and explain the White Australia policy, the Immigration Act and the Dictation Test. This resource would be an excellent resource to supplement the text, support differentiation in the classroom and to cater for a range of learning styles.

Information is accurate, uncluttered and can be accessed for free with no registration required. The site is backed by a reputable entity and does not contain advertising or interfering pop-ups. To take the dictation test you need a Quicktime plug-in, this would have to be managed in conjunction with the ICT department.

 This resource was found using Scootle, searching matching resources by module. It was also recommended on the LinksPlus subscription service, using a ‘White Australia’ keyword search. The LinksPlus website provides curated web links evaluated for use in schools based on reliability, relevancy to the curriculum, accuracy and format quality. It provides a first point-of-call for teachers, teacher librarians and students to find a more refined set of sources for research, and as such is a good selection aid, albeit still requiring application of the set selection criteria. The cost and integration with existing OPAC of this subscription are elements that would need to considered.


8. Immigration (Audio-visual)

 Australian Centre for the Moving Image (Generator). (2015). Snapshots of Australian history – immigration. Retrieved from

 Snapshots of Australian History is an online collection of videos curated around a range of education themes produced by ACMI. There are sections on immigration, and the Vietnam War, which are immediately relevant to the unit. The videos aim to provide stimulus to answer key questions, such as:

  • What risks do some people take to migrate?
  • What was the experience of migrants upon arriving in Australia?
  • What traits does successful migration require?

The videos highlight a range of different experiences and nationalities and provide an authentic resource for students to understand hardships faced by migrants, with real migrants telling their own stories. It is an excellent resource for students to process and synthesise information, and caters for those preferring audio-visual resources. There are teacher notes to guide class teachers with suitable discussion questions, background information and further reliable links.

 This resource is easily accessed with no restrictions and videos load quickly. Text is well-presented and there headings and tags to help students locate useful resources with ease. The content is appropriate for the target group in terms of detail and topics and provides a contemporary reflection on the issue of migration.

FUSE, a Department of Education & Training (Victoria, Australia) digital repository and sharing space, was used to locate this resource using a keyword search and refining for year level and subject. This is an excellent resourcing tool, similar to Scootle containing website, images, video, audio and interactive resources suitable for and aligned with the curriculum.   Access to this site is not restricted for basic searches and remains a good selection tool for those not in the Victorian school system.


9. Australia and the Vietnam War (Teacher resource kit + Website)

 Department of Veterans’ Affairs Commemoration’s Group. (2007). Australia and the Vietnam war [Kit]. Woden, A.C.T.: Department of Veterans’ Affairs. Retrieved from

This resource comprises of a teacher guidebook (sections also available online in PDF format), a CD-ROM containing image and film and interactive activities, and a DVD of Episode 7 (The Vietnam War) of the Australians At War documentary series. It provides teachers and students with classroom-ready materials and teaching strategies, and covers background historical information using a variety of primary source documents.

The print materials are targeted at the required age group and reading level. The text detail is appropriate and concise, easily navigated and is produced from a reputable author. This resource would be useful to provide a historical context and to supplement the text for the class teacher. It meets all general and non-fiction specific criteria with the possible exception of currency. The CD-ROM may be out-dated due to the upgrade of computers in the school and the absence of a CD drive in some.

As the teacher print resources are available online these are easily accessed and can be used with no copyright infringement. Acquiring the whole kit may be problematic due to it being out of print. Despite this, the resource remains a quality resource for teacher support.

This resource was discovered using SCIS while searching ‘Vietnam War’, and then refining the search for study and teaching materials. The link to the Anzac Portal was very helpful as it unveiled a huge range of other quality resources developed by the Department of Veterans’ Affairs. This site has full units of work available for teachers to adapt, and allows searching by conflict, year level and type of resource. In this way SCIS is an effective search tool.


10. We are here – Cat Thao Nguyen (Biography)

Nguyen, C. T. (2015). We are here. Crows Nest, N.S.W.: Allen & Unwin.

This resource links to the topic of the contribution of migration to Australia’s changing identity and the aftermath of the Vietnam War. It meets all general criteria.

It provides a candid first hand account of the immigrant experience, and a unique perspective on what it is like to come to Australia as a refugee. This is an ideal, up-to-date resource for analysing different historical perspectives.

The book is suitable for the student group in terms of reading level and content. The book is not too long to prevent reluctant readers from engaging with it. Alternatively, excerpts could be used by the class teacher as appropriate.

 This resource was initially found through SCIS using the keyword ‘Vietnam War’.   The publishers website catalogue and Booktopia were also consulted to refer to the author credentials, content and cost. Searching the SCIS catalogue was a good way to discover resources based on key words and topics. This style of searching can take time and provide too many choices that require evaluation and analysis. The publisher website allows searching filtered by format, genre and topic.   Search results give a content description, author information and allows online purchase if desired.   Online booksellers like Booktopia provide a quick way to find resources aligned with curriculum areas. Booktopia provides target audience, list of contents, review and ratings, all helpful when the physical resource is not available for analysis.