Libraries Australia annual report 2016–17


1. Important achievements during 206–17 were:

  • the Summer Sessions attracted a total of 526 participant connections (341 individuals) from all states and territories (an increase of 227 per cent over the previous average attendance at Libraries Australia Forums)
  • the Help Desk answered 2,985 inquiries compared to 2,755 in 2015–16, an increase of 8 per cent
  • CBS, the software underpinning the Australian National Bibliographic Database (ANBD), was upgraded to version 8.0. This takes the software to the current supported version.
  • data migration activities reloaded holdings from the following systems: three Alma libraries (leading to a total of 21 Alma libraries), three WMS libraries, one Sirsi library, one Sierra library and four other libraries
  • Relate processed 2,587,833 records and linked 4,804,218 records.

Vital statistics

  2014–15 2015–16 2016–17 Increase/decrease
Members 1,248    1,230 1,204 Decrease
LADD members

651 at 803 locations

594 at 750 locations

578 at 740 locations

ANBD holdings 52.78m 52.27m 54.35m Increase
Bibliographic records in the ANBD 26.91m 29.49m 31.44m Increase
Authority records in the ANBD 1.84m 1.86m 1.92m Increase
RDA records in the ANBD 1.3m RDA bibliographic records

2.1m RDA bibliographic records

67,672 RDA authority

2.8m RDA bibliographic records

72,566 RDA authority records
Duplicates removed from the ANBD

110,882 removed by DDR

3,366 removed manually

135,445 removed by DDR

9,680 removed manually

142,412 removed by DDR

2,567 removed manually
Authority records related Not captured

3.3m records processed

5.9m headings linked

2.5m records processed

4.8m headings linked
ANBD searches 14m 13.4m 12.7m Decrease
Help Desk inquiries 3,509 2,756 2,985 Increase
Document delivery requested 227,692 items 207,564 items 179,941 items Decrease
Data on Demand products delivered 963 1,009 775 Decrease
Training courses delivered

15 courses

30 participants

21 courses

86 participants

13 courses

42 participants
Attendees at the Libraries Australia Forum 142 181 341 Increase
Number of subscribers to email lists 1,348 1,297 1,195 Decrease
Number of Twitter followers 2,204 2,991 3,659 Increase

Libraries Australia Advisory Committee

2. The biannual Libraries Australia Advisory Committee (LAAC) meetings were held on 11 November 016 and 21 June 2017. Geoff Strempel (Associate Director, Public Library Services, State Library of South Australia) continues as LAAC Chair. There were two changes to membership during the period. Dr Marie-Louise Ayres was appointed as Director-General of the National Library of Australia following the retirement of Anne-Marie Schwirtlich in March 017, and attended her first LAAC meeting in her new role in June. Vicki McDonald (CEO and State Librarian, State Library of Queensland) was appointed as the new NSLA representative, following Dr Alex Byrne’s retirement in late 016.

3. The Committee’s new Terms of Reference were adopted in December 2016.

4. The full list of serving LAAC members is at Appendix A.


5. Total Libraries Australia memberships at 30 June 2017 are 1,204, compared to 1,230 at the same time last year. The Library processed 16 new member registrations (17 last year), with five Special, four Education (K–12), two Education (Other), two Individual, one Commercial, one Public and one TAFE library joining the service.

6. Forty-two libraries cancelled their subscription during the period (35 last year). The majority of the cancellations (24) were from the special library sector. Of the known reasons, 38 per cent (1) were cancelled when the libraries advised that access was no longer required, and 26 per cent (11) were due to mergers of government departments or library closures.

7. During the year, Libraries Australia conducted a review of the fee tier structure for special libraries to ensure that tiers were consistent with changes to budget and FTE figures across organisations, and appropriate to their current circumstances. Four hundred and forty-one libraries were contacted in early April to update their FTE and budget details, and a review of this data and subscription modelling was completed to confirm subscription fees for 201–2020. Based on the new data, and an assessment of the sector, the Library decided not to increase subscription fees in 2017–2018. Following the special library subscription review, 28 libraries moved up a tier and 55 libraries moved down a tier. Libraries moving between tiers (up or down) will transition to their new tier over three years.

8. In April, Libraries Australia was notified by UNILINC that the UNLINC consortium would wind up by 31 October 2017. For many years, UNILINC provided a consortium annual subscription to Libraries Australia for 21 organisations, with a total of 1,535,03 holdings on the ANBD. Libraries Australia worked closely with these organisations to ensure a smooth and seamless transition of services, and continuity of access to the ANBD.

Data sharing strategy

9. The first phase of the review of Libraries Australia services documentation was completed, with a revised library member agreement covering all aspects of the Libraries Australia service suite. This will serve as the base for a revised commercial user agreement, so that the agreements are fully harmonised for all member categories. Further work on the revised agreement was on hold for the remainder of 2016–17, pending wider developments on the National Digital Services Agreement (NDSA). Final review of the revised agreement, and deployment to members, will be further progressed in 2017–2018.

10. The Summer Sessions webinars were analysed to gather strategic insights into their success and to gauge member engagement with the new online format (discussed below). The findings of this research were delivered as infographic reports, which were very popular. Based on their success, infographics will be used for future Libraries Australia reporting where appropriate.

11. Libraries Australia commenced reporting on the engagement of key sectoral populations from 2017, measured as trends over time. No census for Australian library sector populations was available, so research was completed to establish the baseline populations of:

  • national, state and territory libraries
  • public libraries
  • school libraries
  • special libraries
  • TAFE and VET libraries
  • university libraries.

12. Research commenced on Libraries Australia membership, market and movements in 2016–17. This project will continue into 2017-2018, and will provide insights into the current state of the service. This is intended to inform thinking on future directions for the ANBD.

Member Services

13. The Help Desk answered 2,985 inquiries, compared to 2,755 in 2015-16, an increase of 8 per cent. The inquiry categories with the most significant increases were Events and Marketing, and Technical. Libraries Australia Document Delivery (LADD) inquiries continue to be high, with 627 inquiries compared to 658 last year.

14. The diversity of member inquiries to the Help Desk is indicated in the chart below. 



15. Member libraries report duplicates records for resolution. This represents the highest number of Help Desk requests received by Libraries Australia, totalling 2,112 reports (down from 4,774 at this time last year). Zenith accounted for the largest decline in duplicate reporting.

The graph below reports the duplicate reporting by month during the year and compares to the same period last year.



16. There was a slight decrease in the percentage of inquiries received via the RefTracker webform (86 per cent compared to 89 per cent in 2015–). The percentage of inquiries received via phone remained at 7 per cent, the same as the previous year.

Service availability

17. Libraries Australia exceeded its monthly target of 99.5 per cent availability, with services available to members for 99.94 per cent of business hours (up slightly from 99.93 per cent in 2015-16). For nine months of the year, Libraries Australia achieved 100 per cent service availability.

Engaging members and communicating value

18. The major outreach activity in this period was the Summer Sessions, a series of member webinars presented from November 2016 to February 2017. The Summer Sessions were delivered live using WebEx®. Speakers from the United States, United Kingdom and Denmark presented six sessions:

  • Into the hands of the reader: improving the visibility of libraries on the web, Ted Fons
  • Making connections: creating linked open library data, Neil Wilson
  • An update on the British Library’s On Demand service, Samantha Tillett
  • Rethinking resource sharing around the world, Rethinking Resource Sharing Initiative Steering Committee
  • Be your own data mechanic: a general overview of MarcEdit as a data manipulation tool, Terry Reese
  • Build your toolbox: in-depth data manipulation with MarcEdit to prepare your data for the ANBD, Terry Reese.


Summer sessions participants 

19. The webinars were offered free to Libraries Australia members via the WebEx® platform and attracted a total of 526 participant connections (341 individuals) from all states and territories (an increase of 227 per cent over the previous average). Colleagues from New Zealand’s Te Puna service were also in attendance at most sessions. Over 86 per cent of participants rated the overall program ‘Above average’ or ‘Excellent’.


Location of participants


20. The webinars sought to engage practitioners and frontline managers with a blend of operational and high-level presenters, and were designed to make it easier for people from single-person libraries, and regional and remote areas, to attend. The success of this approach is reflected by the fact that 58 per cent of attendees had not previously attended a Libraries Australia event. To ensure that new users could easily engage with the platform, the Libraries Australia Help Desk offered extensive testing opportunities. Amanda Magnussen (Assistant Director, Data Sharing Strategy) prepared the WebEx® environment to deliver each webinar, trained staff, ran tests with registered participants and presenters, and coordinated the ‘flight deck’ for each webinar.

21. Following the highly successful Summer Sessions, Libraries Australia held an event for library leaders and strategists on 22 June. The event was limited to 45 people by invitation only. Titled ‘Meet the Transformers’, it highlighted updates from national services in New Zealand, the United Kingdom and Canada. The event and invitation list was developed in consultation with LAAC.

22. Between July and August 2016, Library staff attended Libraries Australia User Group meetings in Canberra, Hobart, Melbourne, Sydney, Darwin, Adelaide and Brisbane, as well as a meeting convened in Perth. Following this series of meetings, Libraries Australia provided members with a document summarising the key messages and information.

23. Nikki Darby and Monika Szunejko met with Libraries Australia User Group convenors across the country to discuss ways to engage with the Libraries Australia community. With many new convenors, it was a great opportunity to maximise benefits to members. Some states were looking for ways to connect with their local communities and clarify the role of the convenor. The discussion helped shape a refreshed view of the way Libraries Australia communities can operate around Australia: geographically co-located communities can complement emerging communities of practice (associated with library management systems), with Libraries Australia members connecting with one or several groups as needed.

24. In 2017, site visits were reviewed and revitalised. To be able to spend more time at each site and meet with different groups, two Libraries Australia staff members will visit over two days and conduct more focused consultations. As such, there will only be one to two state or territory visits each year. This approach is in line with Libraries Australia’s focus on developing deeper connections with communities of practice around library systems, projects and local issues. In addition, Libraries Australia will deliver six-monthly online presentations and Q&A sessions, opening communication up to a wider number of members. This format builds on the success of the Summer Sessions and will allow members to attend individually, or to gather in groups to network with colleagues. It will also give participants the opportunity to hear from colleagues beyond their local groups.

25. Libraries Australia sponsored the New Librarians’ Symposium held at the National Library of Australia on 23– June with a theme of DIY Library Career. Libraries Australia sponsored the conference with some ‘tools of the trade’: notebooks and lens cloth cleaners. It also ran an advertisement in the conference brochure, as Libraries Australia is a tool that every new librarian will use at some point in their career.


26. A project to redevelop the Libraries Australia website commenced in April 2017. The redevelopment responds to member feedback about the useability of the website and its content. It aims to: create a user-centred website taking into account the various needs of Libraries Australia users, from the curious ‘newbie’ to the experienced ‘veteran’; showcase Libraries Australia activities and member stories; and be visually appealing, easy to navigate, dynamic and up to date.

27. The Libraries Australia and LADD email lists continue to act as a core communication mechanism for information about the service. The use of the Libraries Australia Twitter account as a communication tool has continued, with the number of followers rising to 3,733 (a 24 per cent increase from the end of last financial year).


28. A total of 13 courses ran during the year with 42 participants (compared to 21 courses and 86 participants last year). The training courses had an average of three participants compared with an average of four last year.


29. There were 12.74 million searches completed in 2016–17, representing a decrease of 5.1 per cent for the same period last year (difference of 684,578 searches). Searching the ANBD was down by 3.4 per cent and searching other targets (e.g. WorldCat, Library of Congress) was down by 10.8 per cent.

The Australian National Bibliographic Database (ANBD)

30. Continuous data quality improvement is a focus of the work on the ANBD. These activities can be broken down into tasks that are before or after the loading of data to the database. These can be performed by machine algorithms or initiated by staff. They include processes to normalise, deduplicate and clean up the data. One example of cleaning up data is changing indicator values in Library of Congress Subject Headings; after that process is completed, deduplication via a program can occur as matches are accurate.

31. There is an ongoing program to add an identifier to bibliographic records that are written by an Australian author, published by an Australian company or have subject matter about Australia. This work assists Australian libraries to locate content.

32. The Deduplication Detection Removal (DDR) tool is an automatic program that runs over the database every night to deduplicate records with the same OCLC number. This tool has peaks and troughs that often relate to the number of holdings migrations that are being performed on the database. This year, the number of records deduplicated has increased from 135,445 to 142,412.

33. The quality of the database is improved through regular contributions of data from member libraries. When member libraries migrate to a new library management system it is essential that new local system numbers are added to the ANBD to ensure that the accurate maintenance of holdings is maintained. As part of system migrations for members the Library reloaded holdings from the following systems: three Alma libraries (leading to a total of 21 Alma libraries), three WMS libraries, one Sirsi library, one Sierra library and four other libraries.

34. There were four new contributors of bibliographic records to the database in 2016–17.

Managing systems and data

35. CBS, the software underpinning the ANBD, was upgraded to version 8.0. This takes the software to the current supported version. This was a nine-month project that enabled the Library’s IT area to migrate the database from old servers and server operating environment. The environment is now better supported and compatible with the Library’s corporate environment.

36. The benefits of the upgrade include: increased system stability and processing speeds for transactions on the database; improved ongoing software maintenance; and increased options for managing and disseminating Local Bibliographic Data to WorldCat. From an internal Library system management perspective, the upgrade improved the Library’s ability to provide support on the new operating system as it matches the current operating environment of the Library.

37. Following improvements to the WorldShare Management System (WMS), the global data refresh of WMS pilot libraries, Mentone Girls’ Grammar and Barwon Health, was completed. This project delivered customised holdings statements and addressed longstanding issues around improving access to electronic resources. It paves the way for other WMS libraries to contribute electronic and digitised resources in a simplified way.

38. The Library conducts a range of activities to improve the data quality on the Australian National Bibliographic Database: authority control; enriching bibliographic data; and adding analytic records to the database. Each of these enhances data re-use and exchange for members and the broader metadata network as data wends its way to Trove, WorldCat and beyond.

The Duplicate Detection and Removal (DDR) process runs across the national database each night. In 2016-17, the DDR process removed 142,412 duplicates from the database. Members reported 2,112 duplicates via the duplicate removal form; this resulted in 2,567 being manually removed.

Six general global holdings updates were completed for member libraries. In total 2,928,596 holdings were deleted and 2,290,294 bibliographic records had holdings reloaded.

Serials Solutions manages serial holdings on behalf of some member libraries, updating records on the ANBD on a monthly basis. The Library facilitated the addition of 1,880,657 holdings and 396,819 bibliographic records from Serials Solutions to the ANBD in 2016–17. This process is an efficient way for many member libraries to manage their serial holdings on the ANBD.

One significant way of improving the ANBD is to use the Relate software, which runs across the ANBD looking for headings and ‘relates’ them to bibliographic records. Use of the Relate software improves the quality of bibliographic records by replacing non-preferred headings with the preferred form. Relate has been configured to run each night, processing recently added or changed records. In 2016-17 Relate processed 2,587,833 records and linked 4,804,218 records.

Library management system vendors and the ANBD

39. The Library engaged with a variety of system vendors to improve the data flows from their management systems to the ANBD. The Library also consulted with groups of member libraries to facilitate the sharing of information. The Library facilitated introductions between super users and mentees to improve data flows. Members of the Libraries Australia community have been very generous with their time and support of fellow members.

40. In April 2017, the Library initiated an additional project to refresh the member libraries on the WorldShare Management System (WMS) from OCLC. The refresh was necessary as a bug was found in the WMS software which affected the deletion of holdings on the ANBD and synchronisation of members’ holdings was declining with each load to the national database. Two pilot libraries, Barwon Health Library Service and Mentone Girls' Grammar, tested the process followed by the first library in the schedule, Edith Cowan University. By the end of the project, in February 2018, 39 libraries will have been reloaded to the ANBD.

Collection Analysis services

41. Leveraging the data held within the ANBD, the Library provides a variety of data services to members of Libraries Australia. These include a range of customised collection snapshot or analysis products. This service delivers an analysis of unique holdings on the ANBD, and may include a comparative analysis of the member library’s holdings with other collecting institutions of similar size, type or geographical area, or with the National Library of Australia’s holdings. Advice and/or reports were produced for 19 libraries.

University libraries:

  • the University of Melbourne
  • Bond University, Gold Coast campus
  • the University of Wollongong
  • the University of Adelaide
  • Victoria University
  • RMIT University Library
  • Charles Sturt University
  • La Trobe University.

Special libraries:

  • Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority
  • Supreme Court of Victoria/Law Library of Victoria
  • IP Australia
  • Victorian Government Library Service
  • Royal Australasian College of Physicians
  • Geoscience Australia
  • Australian Institute of Family Studies
  • Australian Council for Education Research
  • Willoughby City Library
  • Queensland Department of Environment and Heritage Protection
  • CSIRO Newcastle Library.

42. This service continues to address the needs of member libraries for contextual and comparative acquisitions reports, unique holdings reports and in-depth analysis of collections. Member libraries are increasingly using these reports to make evidence-based collection management decisions in relation to their library collections and representation of those collections on the ANBD.

Resource Description and Access (RDA)

43. Contribution of records in the RDA cataloguing standard by Australian libraries continues to grow on the ANBD. At the completion of 2016-17 there were 2,905,112 RDA bibliographic records and 72,721 RDA authority records in the ANBD. This compares with 2,105,946 RDA bibliographic records and 67,672 RDA authority records in the ANBD at the same time last year. The main contributors of RDA records to the ANBD are the Library of Congress, followed by OverDrive, the British National Bibliography and the National Library of Australia.

44. Just over 9 per cent of ANBD bibliographic records are encoded in the RDA cataloguing standard. For authorities, 3.77 per cent of the authority database contains authority records that are encoded in the RDA standard.

Document delivery

45. 578 Libraries Australia members (consisting of 740 locations) use LADD, a reduction of 16 locations in the past 12 months. Of these, 519 member libraries at 654 locations use the LADD web service, and 77 member libraries at 87 locations use ISO ILL compliant systems to interoperate with the LADD service.

46. The number of requests exchanged and supplied in LADD continued the downward trend since 2010–11. LADD transactions fell by 13 per cent over 2015-16, with 207,564 179,941 requests supplied in 2016-17. Resource sharing is affected by the evolving global resource sharing market characterised by: ageing systems; the rise of the cloud; fragmentation of document supply choices; the rise of ‘e’; large-scale digitisation; government policies; and reduced players in the resource sharing system marketplace.

47. Te Puna’s migration to WMS in July 2016 significantly changed Australian libraries’ ability to access collections in New Zealand. From the Libraries Australia perspective, the migration of Te Puna to WMS interrupted the interoperability between Libraries Australia and Te Puna and subsequently changed the services offered between the libraries. The change in platform affected the Te Puna targets in Libraries Australia Search, Cataloguing and Z39.50 data exchange, as well as resulting in significant changes to interoperability with Libraries Australia Document Delivery. Libraries Australia advocated for a holistic solution to fix the regional connection between the service for members using LADD directly and members interoperating with LADD using their own ISO ILL system.

48. Monika Szunejko (Director, Libraries Australia), Nikki Darby (Assistant Director, Libraries Australia Member Services) and Margarita Moreno (Assistant Director, Document Supply Service) participated in an OCLC ILL Futures workshop in Melbourne on 21-22 February 2017. With colleagues from the Te Puna service at the National Library of New Zealand, and OCLC ILL specialists, the meeting explored a potential road map for ILL services based on the expanded suite of OCLC ILL products and services: VDX, Relais and Tipasa. Libraries Australia will continue to collaborate with Te Puna to progress resource sharing in the region and contribute leading solutions to this global issue.

49. Libraries Australia and Te Puna have met on a number of occasions following this meeting to discuss: cooperation and collaboration on resource sharing matters; the OCLC/National Library of Australia/National Library of New Zealand road map; and the future of VDX—the system that underpins national resource sharing in both Australia and New Zealand.

50. The National Library of New Zealand held a National Resource Sharing Forum between 1 and 5 May for key stakeholders to discuss the shared future vision for resource sharing for New Zealand and how this might shape their future services. Libraries Australia participated virtually with a prerecorded presentation delivered in Christchurch (1 May), Wellington (3 May) and Auckland (5 May). The presentation described the Australian resource sharing landscape as characterised in the Libraries Australia Document Delivery (LADD) service, and the relationship with Te Puna.


51. Following the departure of Jasmine Oldfield to the Parliamentary Library, JoAnne Groom joined Libraries Australia as a Support Officer in August 2016. This was an internal transfer following a call for expressions of interest to join the service until the position is filled permanently.


1. The Libraries Australia Advisory Committee notes the report.

Contact: Alison Dellit

02 6262 1202

Appendix A: Membership of the Libraries Australia Advisory Committee


Mr Geoff Strempel (Chair and public libraries representative) Associate Director, Public Library Services, State Library of South Australia


Dr Craig Anderson (OCLC Asia Pacific Regional Council representative) University Librarian, Deakin University

Ms Laurie Atkinson (Government libraries representative) Director, Law Library of Victoria and Supreme Court Librarian

Ms Vicki McDonald (NSLA representative) CEO and State Librarian, State Library of Queensland

Mr Robert Gerrity (CAUL representative) University Librarian, University of Queensland

Ms Catherine Kelso (Elected member) Librarian, Data and Discovery, State Library of Western Australia

Ms Amelia McKenzie (National Library of Australia representative) Assistant Director-General, Collections Management, National Library of Australia

Ms Alison Oliver (Elected member) Manager, Library & Information Services, City of Rockingham

Ms Ann Ritchie (Special libraries representative), Director, Library & Literacy, Barwon Health

Dr Marie-Louise Ayres (National Library of Australia representative) Director-General, National Library of Australia

Ms JoAnne Sparks (CAUL representative), University Librarian, Macquarie University

National Collections Access Division

Ms Alison Dellit Assistant Director-General

Ms Monika Szunejko Director, Libraries Australia

Appendix B: State User Group Convenors

Australian Capital Territory

Convenor: Ms Jenny Wood, AIATSIS Library


New South Wales

Convenor: Mr Robert Deininger, State Library of New South Wales


Northern Territory

Convenor: Ms Marilyn Hawthorne, Northern Territory Library



Convenor: Ms Jackie Thomsen, Department of Transport and Main Roads


South Australia

Convenor: Ms Chris Kennedy, Public Library Services, South Australia



Convenor: Ms Tara Cuthbert, LINC Tasmania



Convenor: Mr Richard McCart, RMIT University Library


Western Australia

There is currently no user group for Western Australia.