Making it easy to find, use & create content

Data is being generated at an ever-increasing rate, and emerging technologies such as AI and Machine Learning are being utilised to discover and expose more information than ever before.

For these technologies to be most effective the foundational information and technology architecture need to be both adaptable and effective.

In 2019 the Library conducted an enterprise architecture review which identified several opportunities to improve our core business systems.

These findings enable improved business processes, better analytics insights and ultimately enhance the user experience.

Digital First is a symbiotic relationship between the user and technology. The user experience is paramount and influences decisions for selecting information and technology architecture to optimise how staff and students seamlessly discover and consume the services they need. James Conroy Associate Director, Digital Strategy

Collection modernisation

The main borrowing collection was transformed to ensure our resources are relevant long into the future, with a Collection Modernisation Project guided by data analysis, consultation and extensive quality control.

Following international trends, print borrowing has continued to decline at UOW with a further 21% drop in usage since 2018, while use of digital collections steadily grows, reflective of a highly networked and distributed campus environment. This presented the opportunity to acknowledge that print and digital collections can co-exist, recognising all formats of information and knowledge are vital for learning, scholarship and research. The project aimed to improve the presentation and access of high-demand print items.

Project deliverables included:

  • using data to inform acquisition and distribution models
  • accelerating transition from print to electronic resources
  • closing the Curriculum Resources Centre (CRC)
  • removing obsolete texts
  • moving high use print items at the Wollongong Campus Library to a refurbished Level 1 space
  • transferring low-use items to offsite storage to maximise available space
  • improving online search results.

These changes ensure the UOW Library collection will remain vibrant and relevant to changing teaching, learning and research needs into the future.

Project details

Business intelligence tools were used to analyse data and user engagement. Where the data showed low usage of resources, acquisition and expenditure was reconfigured towards resources that were in high demand.

The purchase of an additional 217 ebooks, including textbooks, supported the transition from print to digital resources, and academics were consulted about niche print collections so that teaching and research needs would continue to be met.

Closing the CRC building at Wollongong Campus and amalgamating the collection into the central Library provided better visibility, longer hours of access and additional facilities to the specialised teaching resources used by education students.

100,000 low use print items were moved to off-site storage to maximise floor space. These books remain discoverable online and are almost always retrieved from storage within one working day of the request.

Short (2 hour) loans were also reviewed. Here, the Library found access would be improved by transitioning to two-day loans. Automatic renewals were implemented to improve usage of the existing print collection and improve user experience.

T4 content management system implementation

The Library was selected as the first to pilot the University’s new content management system TERMINALFOUR (T4) because it had been considered an exemplar in auditing and improving existing content in preparation for migration to the new website.

Acting as a portal to all services, it was important for the Library homepage to be easily navigable for clients to find the information they needed. Digital first principles directed the design and development of a user-centric website, assisted by the interrogation of data analytics and consultation with subject matter experts.

Improvements to the website included:

  • mobile-responsive layout for all devices
  • refreshed content; content audited from 60 pages to 33
  • modern designs in dynamic content blocks
  • new information architecture (IA) to improve navigation.

The Library site went live on 28 February 2019 and UOW’s main site launched on 13 June 2019.

"As a result, the Library site was developed to such a high standard that we were able to deploy it early as part of our pilot program and it fast became the benchmark of what all following sites needed to meet… it’s because of the wonderful achievement that is the Library website that we now confidently and proudly anticipate the new UOW website launch."
Paul Morgan & Kelly Shorten, IMTS

Digitisation and special collections

The Archives digitisation plan identifies and prioritises resources from the wealth of material in the collection, based on a range of criteria including conservation values and research potential.

Digitisation projects prioritised for 2019 included:

These collections are now openly available to view on Archives Online.

The Archives Online platform had over 1.6 million-page views during the year with substantial interest in a range of locally significant collections. This included photographs from the Harrigan Family Collection, the Bomaderry Soldiers Rest Home and the Pringle Album.

A number of donations were accepted by the Archives, notably a collection of personal papers from the renowned sculptor May Barrie which included photographs of her work, exhibition programs and newspaper reviews, and a collection of research papers from Terry Fox relating to his work with the South Coast Aboriginal Community during the 1970’s and 1980’s.

Additionally, a large amount of 16mm film from the WIN TV archive was sent to specialist contractors for conversion to digital files to enable the long-term preservation of this unique footage documenting the daily life of the Illawarra and Shoalhaven.


1. Photograph of Janet Cosh | 2. Biggers Cottage plans | 3. Photograph of Coke Works

  • Sepia photograph of Janet Cosh sitting in a garden
  • Pencil sketch of Biggers Cottage plans
  • Black and white photograph of coke works showing two tall chimneys

Library Exhibition Program 2019

Ethel Hoskins Hayton: A Woman of Many Hats

This exhibition was developed and curated by UOW Associate Professor Ika Willis, following a special interest research project into Ethel Hoskin Hayton's life. Immigrating to Wollongong from England in 1930, Ethel Hayton became a professional journalist and dedicated much of her life to Wollongong’s churches, arts and cultural scene through participation in a vast number of organisations. The exhibition was held April 26-May 29 and celebrated many aspects of Ethel Hoskin Hayton's life, including her part in campaigning to establish the University of Wollongong.

BLAZE: Working Women, Public Leaders,

The NSW State Archives and Records travelling exhibition explored the challenges negotiated by women in the New South Wales public sector since 1860, by juxtaposing the careers of significant historical figures with the careers of 14 present-day women of influence. 

The launch of this exhibition also provided an opportunity to celebrate five outstanding women in leadership from the University of Wollongong. Teachers and researchers who have been formally recognised as women of impact, creating new opportunities and pathways for other to follow: Associate Professor Melanie Randle, Associate Professor Trish Mundy, Dr Mariolina Pais MardenSenior Professor Sharon Robinson and Associate Professor Sarah O’Shea.

"This exhibition engages with issue of underrepresentation of women in leadership and highlights the work women in the past have done to advance opportunities for women now." Dr Penny Stannard, Curator

Spinning World

A creative output by UOW researcher's Dr Jo Law and Dr Agnieszka Golda for a Global Challenges project, Spinning World was inspired by historical Japanese textiles and informed by the researchers’ joint fellowship at the Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences. This exhibit explored the relationship between art, emerging technologies and ecology. It provided a multi-sensory experience that incorporated data on climate change, multimedia, museum objects, new materials, and original artwork, providing unique insight into the critical issues facing our planet.

Splendid Traditions

This exhibition paid homage to UOW’s Chinese community with a cultural display of precious objects illustrating Chinese craftsmanship and the longevity of Chinese culture. The University worked directly with the Australian Museum to present this exhibit which promoted understanding of Chinese culture and its history.

2019 saw the conclusion of the Library Exhibition Program, necessitated by reappropriation of the space for facilities to support expanded Access 24/7 services at the Wollongong Campus Library in 2020.


1. Associate Professor Ika Willis at A Woman of Many Hats | 2. Blaze exhibition | 3. Dr Agnieszka Golda and Dr Jo Law at Spinning World

Associate Professor Ika Willis at A Woman of Many Hats exhibition
A group of four people viewing photographs at the Blaze exhibition
Dr Jo Law and Dr Agnieska Golda at Spinning World exhibition