Prof Philip Hider has just written up a guest editorial for an upcoming issue of the Journal of the Australian Library and Information Association featuring some of the papers presented at the Fifteenth Australasian Conference on Research Applications in Information and Library Studies (RAILS), held on 28 and 29 October last year at St Mark’s National Theological Centre in Canberra. Philip was chair of the conference’s program committee, with the event being hosted by CSU’s School of Information Studies. The conference’s themes was ‘Towards critical information research, education and practice’, and if ever there was a time for a critical approach this is probably it, with so many competing messages being peddled by various powers around the world. Criticism begins at home, though, and there were a number of papers at the conference about how library services need to reach out more effectively to disadvantaged groups, and how librarians need to reflect not only on how they deliver their services, but also on why they do, and what their impact is (or is not).
A couple of the articles in the special issue are co-authored by LRG members. Jessie Lymn, together with Tamara Jones (a student in CSU’s Masters of Information Studies course), report on a survey they’re doing on student newspaper collections to be found in Australian university libraries, while Philip has written up the presentation he and Hollie White (Curtin University) gave on film genre vocabularies used by film institutes in Australia, the United Kingdom and the United States. A total of 39 papers were presented at RAILS 2019, with 60 delegates in attendance. Present circumstances might derail (no pun intended!) the plans for this year’s RAILS, which was going to be held at the Victoria University of Wellington, in New Zealand.