Unlocking Knowledge Beyond Deakin: Empowering Communities with Strategic Search Skills Initiatives

In an age defined by digital information, strategic search skills are vital for making informed decisions and fostering critical thinking.
The fast-evolving digital landscape often leaves people struggling with the complexities of strategic online research. This gap in skill proficiency doesn’t just impact the individual; its repercussions resonate within the wider community, particularly with the increasing use of AI and the societal challenges posed by mis, dis and mal-information.
Initiatives delivered by Deakin University Library position us as a sector leader in capacity building for navigating information ecosystems. Using case examples of library industry delivered workshops on complex searching skills, we explore the impact of increasing searching skills in the wider library community.
Through this train-the-trainer approach, participants gain practical skills that they take to their client groups, amplifying the impact of our expertise beyond the university. From this, Deakin Library has built its reputation and networks across the sector. The workshops’ success, highlighted by positive feedback and increased participant confidence, shows their effectiveness in bridging the search proficiency divide.
There is value in reaching beyond our own institution and building well informed digitally adapted communities for all.

Meg Bullock

Client Experience Librarian, Deakin University

Author Bio

Meg Bullock is a Client Experience Librarian at Deakin University. Previously she has worked in school and public libraries which ignited a passion for providing all learners impactful access to library programs, services, and events, tailored in a way that meets everyone’s unique needs. As well as being deeply interested by all things Open Access and AI. When she’s not delving into those issues you can find her casting rings in the shed with Zupy the greyhound watching on.

Fiona Russell

Expert Searching & Consulting Services Lead, Deakin University

Author Bio

Fiona Russell is Expert Searching and Consultancy Services Lead at Deakin University, and has worked across academic and State libraries in a range of roles. She is interested in emerging techniques for conducting evidence syntheses, developing training for researchers and librarians and the role of libraries in helping people to navigate a complex information world. Fiona’s puppy Scout has recently joined her family as a power nose searcher. Scout is currently training Fiona and her husband.

Kat Cain

Library Partner, Deakin University

Author Bio

Kat Cain is a people-focused leader, learning experience designer, and tech enthusiast with a background in academic and public library sectors. Despite regular fails, aggravation, and discussions about digital inequalities, Kat remains a tech enthusiast with a long-standing interest in the impact of technology on people and vice versa. In previous library roles, she worked at the intersection of digital capabilities, literacies, and capacity building, leading to her current research and publications on digital fluency models and learning approaches. As a Library Partner, she focuses on strategic relationship management and engagement. Outside work, Kat has a long-term focus on coffee and all things caffeinated