Yesterday was my last day at the University of Southern Queensland.

I won’t miss the reminders to change passwords every 90 days, or the travel forms where you have to sign each line, number each receipt and staple them all to bits of paper. I am mildly disappointed that I won’t get to try out the new End Of Journey Cycling Facilities which have been sitting there for months looking nearly complete but as I always said, arriving to work at USQ every day was only the start of my journey.

I will miss the teams I have been working with for the last decade or so in Toowoomba first with NextEd and then with USQ. Except that I won’t miss them really, because all our work is open and we’ll still be collaborating on the same code-base and the same big themes around content-aware repositories and sharing the same world-wide office we did last week, even if the view from my home office will be of the chaos the new puppy has wrought on our back garden rather than the calm of the manicured USQ lawns and the Japanese Gardens.

Today I will try to clear all the ukuleles, cameras, Lego, bulldogs clips, conference swag, religious relics, medicines, tools, compact disks, cables, cassette tapes, broken jewellery and pens and so on off what is allegedly my desk, make an effort to put in last year’s tax return and get ready to start work on the JISCPub project.

Yesterday I had lunch with the Software R&D team. It’s gratifying to have someone tell you that this is the best workplace they’ve ever had and I appreciate the bottle of 18yo Glenlivet and the socks, and the advice that I should wear said socks with my black work shoes. Thanks Bron, I had no idea. I tried to read out what you had all written on the card to my partner last night, while I sampled the top couple of centimetres of the whisky but I couldn’t do it without sobbing (although that may have been the talking card, not me). People thanked me for supporting them and giving them opportunities, if I managed to do that, then it was because of the environment created by the likes of the late Alan Smith, and Jim Taylor, who gave us space and time to work on important projects. I will continue to try to live up to Alan’s coaching, enabling style of management.

Some of those open source projects have just matured to the point that they are poised to have a major impact on USQ like the ICE project I brought into existence six years ago, with members of the software team in the old Distance Education Centre. The ReDBox research metadata repository has a chance for local adoption as part of an effort to improve practice in managing research data for code-compliance and reuse. The media repository which shares 90% of its DNA with ReDBox has been approved for more pilots, managing and transcoding video and audio, and could play a major role in supporting the changing face of course materials at USQ in a potential post-ICE USQ, not to mention its potential as the open source repository-ofchoice to run alongside the Moodle Learning Management system, which lacks a scalable back-end content store and transcoding facilities. And the Creative Arts repository which can manage complex relationships between works and exhibitions has impressed its stakeholders and the outside world, just as the policy library did. All those are the result of lots of coordinated effort towards a common technology platform that gives USQ more reach than many other organisations. I’m proud of my part in resourcing and leading all that, and proud of the team who did all the hard work.

Tomorrow, I’m looking for, but yet not desperate for, a senior job in the scholarly technologies arena, anywhere in the world, preferably somewhere I can continue the push towards web-based scholarship we’ve been making at the Australian Digital Futures Institute.

Right now, if you want to consult me on web publishing for the academy, how to make web documents using word processors, electronic book formats, institutional repositories and metadata repositories for research data or the new Scholarly HTML movement then (a) drop me a line and (b) get in the queue what with the East Coast Blues and Roots festival, the Toowoomba Show Holiday, maybe a trip to the only capital city in Australia I have not yet visited, to talk about courseware publishing, the aforementioned JISCPub, and threatened trips back to the UK and possibly the USA for more work on Beyond the PDF / Scholarly HTML my card is rapidly filling.

Copyright Peter Sefton, 2011. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.5 Australia. <http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.5/au/>


This post was written in OpenOffice.org, using templates and tools provided by the Integrated Content Environment project and published to WordPress using The Fascinator.

  • Simon

    What a past. What a future. Thanks for one, and all the best for other. See you around.

  • http://techteam.wordpress.com/ Tim McCallum

    Thank you for everything you have done for me. Joining the RUBRIC project was a huge challenge for the mere undergraduate. Looking back and reflecting on the broad range of tasks we all had to complete I believe that the governance and support you provided along with the tools you implemented were second to none. A couple of us were talking the other day, we were conversing on your ability to look over our shoulders for a few seconds and solve complex coding and architectural problems which we had been staring at for hours.
    Your pragmatic nature and consistency or StickAtItNess :) built a strong team and provided us with great opportunities.
    Wish you all the best.

  • Greg Pendlebury

    Farewell and good luck Peter!

    It’s already been mentioned, but I second the notion that this is the best workplace I have ever had the pleasure to work in. You created and managed a work environment where innovation thrived, teamwork was incredibly productive and our professional inputs were given thought and weight, our outputs were respected and sought after and staff morale was buoyant.

    I have been here for only a little more than a year, but in my 15 years in the workforce I have never worked somewhere I enjoyed coming to work this much, and I think I’ll be looking for a work culture like this for some time to come.

    Greg Pendlebury
    Senior Systems Developer

  • http://lindaocta.com Linda Octalina

    Thank you Peter for giving me the opportunity to work together with you and the team since ICE Version 1 as a part time programmer! After I graduated, I am glad that you and Alan Smith gave me another chance to work with you and the team. And the both of you really made me feel that my work was appreciated.

    Working with the great team that you formed, I continue to learn and gain a lot of knowledge. I love working here with them and with you. And I can say, it is very difficult to find this kind of working environment anywhere else. An environment where each member of the team supports each other rather than being too competitive.

    Overall Peter, I wish you all the best and who knows, maybe someday, we can work together again.

    Linda Octalina

  • http://www.usq.edu.au/users/albion/ Peter Albion

    There I was thinking I was reasonably well connected to the USQ networks but I had no idea you were going. I know we didn’t always agree, especially about ICE, but we had interesting discussions and I continue to have great respect for the ingenuity that made ICE and some other things work as well as they do.

    I hope the changes go well and that you find what you are looking for.

  • http://blogs.plos.org/mfenner Martin Fenner

    Peter, I wish you all the best with whatever the future will bring for you. ANd I hope we can continue to collaborate on Scholarly HTML and similarly exciting projects.

  • Daniel de Byl

    It might have been best if I got Bron to right something as I’ve had to think about what to say too much. So here goes something. Firstly even though I haven’t worked with you for awhile now I feel rather sad that you have left USQ but know that the influence you’ve had on the staff will continue on.

    Your brain washing skills second to none, and for the past 10yrs have certainly had an affect on me (mostly good). I have not been able to look at document creation and content management in the same way as the meer mortals for quite some time now. Also, whenever I get asked “How are you” the saying “delirious with joy” frequently comes to mind for some reason.

    Your leadership and mentoring have and will always be much appreciated. You have truly been an inspirational and insightful person to have worked with, I wish you all the best for whatever the future holds for you & your family.

    Best of Luck, tweet on.


  • Cameron

    This must be a massive blow for USQ! I have been fortunate enough to work with and learn from some of the most intelligent, insightful and passionate leaders in their field… you are right up near the top my old mate. The NextEd CPS, the granddad of ICE, was one of the most exciting and innovate projects I have ever had the pleasure to work on. If your team had half as much fun as me than they’re going to miss you more than than can imagine!

  • http://www.atmire.com Bram Luyten

    Best of success in your new challenges Peter!

  • http://www.androgogic.com Alexander Roche

    Our days together at NextEd seem an eternity ago now and although I didn’t miss the commutes from Sydney to Woombie when I left to UNSW, I did miss you, your humour and acumen.

    I think it’s good thing to move on and I am glad you are doing so with such a positive attitude. Embrace change indeed.

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