Curriculum Vitae – Dr Peter Sefton

Name: Peter Malcolm Sefton
AKA ptsefton Petie Sefton Petey Sefton
Current role: Manager, eResearch Support University of Technology, Sydney
Location: Faulconbridge New South Wales Australia 2776
Phone: +61404096932

Short bio for conferences etc

Peter Sefton is the Manager, eResearch Support at the University of Technology, Sydney (UTS). Before that he was in a similar role at the university of Western Sydney (UWS). Previously he ran the Software Research and development Laboratory at the Australian Digital Futures Institute at the University of Southern Queensland. Following a PhD in computational linguistics in the mid-nineties he has gained extensive experience in the higher education sector in leading the development of IT and business systems to support both learning and research.

While at USQ, Peter was involved in the development of institutional repository infrastructure in Australia via the federally funded RUBRIC ( project and was a senior advisor the the CAIRSS repository support service ( from 2009 to 2011. He oversaw the creation of one of the core pieces of research data management infrastructure to be funded by the Australian National Data Service consulting widely with libraries, IT, research offices and eResearch departments at a variety of institutions in the process. The resulting Open Source research data catalogue application ReDBOX is now being widely deployed at Australian universities.

At UTS Peter is leading a team which is working with key stakeholders to implement university-wide eResearch infrastructure, including an institutional data repository, as well as collaborating widely with research communities at the institution on specific research challenges. His research interests include repositories, digital libraries, and the use of The Web in scholarly communication.


I am Innovative, tenacious and creative in coming up with socially workable solutions to hard technical problems. For the last ten years I have worked in senior roles in and around Higher Education and research on systems, policy and change management to support research and learning. I am plugged-in to networks of practitioners, theorists and developers in a broad range of scholarly technologies including institutional repositories, web publishing and research data management. An experienced technical communicator, I have listed many conference presentations and papers below1

I am also experienced at leading software development. I know how to recruit, mentor, inspire and guide technical staff to produce systems that meet the requirements of stakeholders. I’m also maintaining my technical skills. Recently I have been working with document processing in JavaScript / JQuery and some PHP, although I still fall back on Python. I have a background in XML and XSLT know my way around the major word processing file formats, and I have worked in both Java and C# (not to mention Lisp) .


  • PhD, Linguistics (computational) University of Sydney, 1996

  • Bachelor of Arts ** (Linguistics), First Class Honours, University of Sydney, 1990

  • Associate Diploma, Outdoor Education, Bendigo College of Advanced Education(BCAE), 1986


Contact details for referees are available on request. But here are some quotes – please don’t contact these people unless I have explicitly advised that they are:

Peter thinks deeply about repositories and disseminates his thoughts on top of working software. Pay great attention.

Peter Murray-Rust, University of Cambridge, blog post

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, Former Senior Software Developer ADFI, blog comment

Peter’s role as RUBRIC Technical Manager has contributed significantly to the success of the project to date through his ability to work positively with partner universities as well as to lead and foster a professional technical team to support the outcomes of the RUBRIC Project. Peter’s responsiveness to the competing and diverse needs of the various RUBRIC Project Managers serves to highlight his commitment to client focused outcomes.

Vicki Picasso, University Library, University of Newcastle

In my capacity as a manager and director of a series of federally funded development projects (ARROW, ARCHER, ANDS) I have worked closely with Dr Sefton, who has led the development of a number of pieces of software on my behalf. In most cases these were very much of a sector leading nature, and required a high level of innovative thinking and research into possibilities and options. My willingness to continue working with Dr Sefton in this area demonstrates my confidence in his ability to perform these tasks to a very high standard.

David Groenewegen Director, Research Data and Operations Australian National Data Service


2015-02 - Current

Manager eResearch Support University of Technology, Sydney

2011-11 - 2015-02

Manager, eResearch, University of Western Sydney

2011-08 - 2011-11

Technical editor, HTML5 demonstrator projects

In mid 2011 JISC in the UK called for bids for case-study projects showing how HTML5 can be used in academic materials online, including integrating documents with data and making research outputs machine-readable. I will be contributing case studies and documentation. (subject to contract negotiations).

2015-02 Current

Word processing expert, Digital Monograph Technical Landscape study

Short landscape study looking at the issues surrounding the adoption of e-book reader technology within the scholarly publishing environment to assist with the publishing of scholarly literature, in particular monographs.

2011-03 - 2011-08

Word processing expert, Digital Monograph Technical Landscape study

Short landscape study looking at the issues surrounding the adoption of e-book reader technology within the scholarly publishing environment to assist with the publishing of scholarly literature, in particular monographs.

2008-01 - 2011-03

Manger, Software Research and Development Laboratory

Australian Digital Futures Institute, University of Southern Queensland

With the management team, established the Australian Digital Futures Institute (ADFI) at the University of Southern Queensland. I built-up a technical team with high-level software development capabilities and established the major centre in Australia for expertise in Institutional Repository technology. Provided strategic advice to the university on matters related to eLearning and eResearch and brought in circa $1M in external funding for 2008-2010.

2009-03 - 2011-03

Senior strategist (Repositories), CAIRSS

University of Southern Queensland

Provided Strategic advice to the CAUL, Australian Institutional Repository Support Service CAIRSS team and community. (Externally funded 0.2 FTE) and Supervised CAIRSS Technical Officer and CAIRSS-ANDS Liaison Officer.

2006 - 2007-12

Technical Manager, RUBRIC project

University of Southern Queensland

Led the technical team in a project “Regional Universities Building Research Infrastructure Collaboratively”, rolling out repositories to a number of Australian universities, plus one from New Zealand. Developed toolkits for managers and technical staff and established a digital communications infrastructure for the network of partner project managers.

2005 - 2006

Senior Research Technologist in Flexible Learning Systems

Distance and eLearning Centre, University of Southern Queensland

Project development for content management in eLearning. Analyzed requirements and re-engineered business processes for a project (The Integrated Content Environment) to replace the existing publishing system.



Distance and eLearning Centre, University of Southern Queensland

Developed preliminary project material and prototypes for publishing and e-Learning systems. And participated in reviews of the existing publishing system.

2000 - 2004

Director, Applied Knowledge Systems

NextEd Limited

Developed and supported educational technologies for collaborative online learning and Knowledge Management including a scalable content-management and publishing system for educational and general content using XML

2000 - 2001

Consultant to Standards Australia International Document Technologies

Standards Australia International

Continued with strategic input to the projects established over the previous three years (see below).


Consultant, web-site redesign

RMIT University

Designed word processor template input, with metadata capture mechanism for the enterprise-wide RMIT content management system based on the SIM (TeraText) database.

1997 - 2000

Associate Director, Document Technologies

Standards Australia International

Developed knowledge management strategy and policy using SGML and XML technologies. Successfully re-engineered the production system for major publications.

1996 - 1997

Document Management Consultant

Standards Australia

Formulated document management and electronic publishing strategy and developed a project proposal for re-engineering publications

1995 - 1996

Publishing Systems Analyst & Technical writer


Started as a tech writer documenting TAFE computer labs, established an automated web-publishing service for a large distributed educational organization.


Language Consultant; language skills training manual

University of Technology, Sydney

Researcher for Effective Communication in the Restructured Workplace (1994, ISBN 1 875940 11 1).

1991 - 1994

Senior Research Assistant, “Dialogue Project”

Departments of Electrical Engineering and Linguistics at the University of Sydney

Worked on a Telecom-funded project looking at speech processing, and developing a natural language interface to directory database.

1992 - 1994

Associate Lecturer

University of Sydney

Functional Grammar and Discourse, Undergraduate linguistics program

1994-02 - 1994-03

Researcher, Multilingual Text Generation Project

University of Sydney

Developing computer systems to generate written language in multiple languages automatically from databases

1993 - 1994

Desktop Publisher


Production of technical diagrams for academic publications.

1991-11-01 1991-12-24

Professional Officer Telecom Research Laboratories

Telecom Research Laboratories

This position involved implementing specifications from the Dialogue Project (see above), using Lisp.

1981 - 1986

Outdoor Instructor

Lucas Chakola, Kangaroo Valley

Casual: worked with all kinds of people: from school children to adult. Main role: “get the message across”—often in situations where the immediate consequences of not doing so could be very serious.


I maintain an online reference list at:

  1. Sefton P, Dickinson D. The Fascinator & Fedora Commons: A toolkit tour [Internet]. Open Repositories 2011, Austin, Texas Austin, Texas: 2011. Available from:

  2. Drury C, Watson K, Sefton P. Building Collaborative Environments: Institutional Repositories in Australian Universities [Internet]. Open Repositories 2011, Austin, Texas Austin, Texas: 2011. Available from:

  3. Sefton P, Dickinson D. Repositories post 2010: embracing heterogeneity in AWE, the Academic Working Environment [Internet]. Open Repositories 2010, Madrid Madrid: 2010. Available from:

  4. Drury C, Sefton P, Watson K. Ready or not here it comes: Australian institutional research repository data readiness surveys 2010. Open Repositories 2010, Madrid Madrid: 2010.

  5. Sefton P, Downing J. ICE-Theorem - End to end semantically aware eResearch infrastructure for theses. JoDI [Internet]. 2010 Mar 22;11(1). Available from:

  6. Sefton P, Picasso V, Morgan T. Balancing business imperatives and leveraging capability: a model for research data management [Internet]. eResearch Australasia 2010, Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia: 2010. Available from:

  7. Dickinson D, Sefton P. Creating an eResearch desktop for the Humanities [Internet]. eResearch Australasia 2009, Sydney Sydney: 2009. Available from:

  8. Sefton P, Lucido O. The Fascinator: a lightweight, modular contribution to the Fedora-commons world [Internet]. Open Repositories 2009, Atlanta, Georgia Atlanta, Georgia: 2009. Available from:

  9. Sefton PM. The Fascinator - Desktop eResearch and Flexible Portals [Internet]. Open Repositories 2009, Atlanta, Georgia Atlanta, Georgia: 2009. Available from:

  10. Sefton P, Watson K. Suggestions for Asian/Australasian regional cooperation based on a critical evaluation of collaboration and standardisation across Australian Institutional Repositories [Internet]. DRFIC 2009: DRF International Conference 2009, Tokyo Tokyo: 2009. Available from:

  11. Sefton P, Downing J, Day N. ICE-theorem - end to end semantically aware eResearch infrastructure for theses [Internet]. Open Repositories 2009, Atlanta, Georgia Atlanta, Georgia: 2009. Available from:

  12. Sefton P, Barnes I, Ward R, Downing J. Embedding Metadata and Other Semantics in Word Processing Documents. International Journal of Digital Curation [Internet]. 2009;4(2). Available from:

  13. Sefton P. Re-discovering Repository Architecture: Adding Discovery as a Key Service. New Review of Information Networking. 2009;14:1–18.

  14. Sefton P. Towards scholarly HTML. Serials Review [Internet]. 2009;Available from:

  15. Murray-Rust P, Hawizy L, Downing J, Townsend J, Day N, Sefton P. The Semantic Electronic Scientific Thesis [Internet]. Electronic Theses And Dissertations, Pittsburg, USA Pittsburg, USA: University of Pittsburg; 2009. Available from:

  16. Sefton P. eResearch for Word users? [Internet]. In: Proceedings of the eResearch Australasia Conference. Melbourne: The University of Queensland; 2008. Available from:

  17. Sefton P. An integrated approach to preparing, publishing, presenting and preserving theses [Internet]. In: ETD 2007. Uppsala: 2007. Available from:

  18. Sefton P. The integrated content environment [Internet]. In: AUSWEB 2006. Noosa: Southern Cross University; 2006. Available from:

  19. Sefton P. Hacking Open Office. O’Reilly, [Internet]. 2005;Available from:

  20. Sefton P. Word to XML and Back Again. O’Reilly, [Internet]. 2004;Available from:

  21. Sefton P. The Role-based Design Engine. Open Publish, Sydney Sydney: 2003.

  22. Sefton P. Word to XML - Towards a word processor interchange protocol. XML Asia Pacific Conference, Sydney Sydney: 2000.

  23. Kannegieter T, Sefton P. Content Management for all of us: The Standards Australia Experience [Internet]. Ausweb 2000, Cairns Cairns: 2000. Available from:

  24. Sefton P. The web as a Trojan horse: How to sneak SGML into an organisation. SGML/XML Asia Pacific Conference, Sydney Sydney: 1998.

  25. Sefton P. The Australian Design Awards Online - Small-Scale SGML with a Large-Scale Vision. SGML/XML Asia Pacific Conference, Sydney Sydney: 1997.

  26. Sefton P. State-potentials and social-subjects in systemic-functional theory : towards a computational social semiotics [Internet] [PhD]. [Sydney, Australia]: University of Sydney; 1995. Available from:

  27. O’Donnell M, Sefton P. Modelling Telephonic Interaction: A Dynamic Approach. Interface. Journal of Applied Linguistics. 1995;10:63–78.

  28. Rowles C, de Beler M, O’Donnell M, Sefton P. The Use of Context in the Understanding of Spoken English. In: Proc. 6th Australian Joint Conf. Artificial Intelligence. 1993.

  29. Rowles C, Huang X, Vonwiller J, King R, Matthiesson C, Sefton P, et al. Understanding Spoken English. First Australian Workshop on Natural Language Understanding and Information Retrieval, Melbourne Melbourne: 1992.

  30. Rowles C, Huang X, de Beler M, Vonwiller J, King R, Matthiesson C, et al. Using prosody to assist in the understanding of spoken English. In: Proceedings of SST. 1992. p. 248–53.

  31. King R, Vonwiller J, Matthiesson C, O’Donnell M, Sefton P. Speech Modeling of Interactive Speech Response Systems in Telecommunications. In: The Institute of Engineers Australia Communications Conference. Sydney, Australia: 1992. p. 101–11.

  32. Peter Sefton. Making plans for Nigel (or defining interfaces between computational representations of linguistic structure and output systems: Adding intonation, punctuation and typography systems to the PENMAN system). [Ba Hons]. University of Sydney; 1990.

  1. I can even say that I’m an O’Reilly Author, and I have my framed cheque signed by Tim O’Reilly himself to prove it, I had a couple of articles published on the magazine site, see.