Understanding soft power discourse in the National Library of Australia


Bell, Emilia C.. 2022. "Understanding soft power discourse in the National Library of Australia." Journal of Documentation. https://doi.org/10.1108/JD-11-2021-0231
Article Title

Understanding soft power discourse in the National Library of Australia

ERA Journal ID10602
Article CategoryArticle
AuthorBell, Emilia C.
Journal TitleJournal of Documentation
Number of Pages19
Place of PublicationUnited Kingdom
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1108/JD-11-2021-0231
Web Address (URL)https://www.emerald.com/insight/content/doi/10.1108/JD-11-2021-0231/full/html

Purpose: This paper presents research that sought to understand how the National Library of Australia engages with soft power in its Annual Report 2019–20. Driving the analysis was the research question: How is soft power discourse reproduced and enacted in the National Library of Australia's Annual Report 2019–20? The research recognises the significance of Australia's soft power, cultural diplomacy, and regional relationships to national interest in the context of a library's contributions to these areas. Design/methodology/approach: The study employs a qualitative discourse analysis, with constructivist and interpretivist perspectives. A critical discourse analysis was undertaken that applied a discourse-historical approach. Findings: The findings suggest that the National Library of Australia primarily engages with soft power discourse through the construction and preservation of an Australian national identity. National identity is framed as key to the Library's collection development, with Australian knowledge prioritised. Originality/value: This study extends on research addressing the roles of galleries, archives, and museums in cultural diplomacy, but rarely examines soft power and libraries explicitly or in a contemporary context. It contributes to broader understandings of libraries in international relations and the role they can play in soft power attraction and cultural diplomacy.

KeywordsCritical discourse analysis; Cultural diplomacy; Discourse historical approach; National identity; National libraries; Soft power
ANZSRC Field of Research 2020461099. Library and information studies not elsewhere classified
440808. International relations
Public Notes

File reproduced in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher/author.

Byline AffiliationsLibrary Services
Institution of OriginUniversity of Southern Queensland
Permalink -


Download files

Accepted Version
  • 109
    total views
  • 227
    total downloads
  • 0
    views this month
  • 2
    downloads this month

Export as

Related outputs

UniSQ Library Stories of 2022
Bell, Emilia C., McGregor, Rowena, Andersen, Nikki, Piper, Steph, Derrington, Kate, Bella, Tahnya, Jeffers, Marjorie, Sherwin, Leonie, Kelly, Tricia, Bremner, Margaret, Eacersall, Douglas, Stagg, Adrian, Ingram, Ben, Page, Teaki, Heuser, Ryan, Fahey, Kacie, Waters, Carlie, Fisher, Michelle, Firman, Elizabeth, ..., Salisbury, Fiona. Bell, Emilia C. and Randall, Rebecca (ed.) 2022. UniSQ Library Stories of 2022. Ipswich, Australia. University of Southern Queensland.
Values-Based Practice in EBLIP: A Review
Bell, Emilia C.. 2022. "Values-Based Practice in EBLIP: A Review." Evidence Based Library and Information Practice. 17 (3), pp. 119-134. https://doi.org/10.18438/eblip30176
The library as soft-power actor: A review
Bell, Emilia C. and Kennan, Mary Anne. 2022. "The library as soft-power actor: A review." IFLA Journal. 48 (4), pp. 706-716. https://doi.org/10.1177/03400352211054113
Partnering in knowledge production: roles for librarians in the digital humanities
Bell, Emilia C. and Kennan, Mary Anne. 2021. "Partnering in knowledge production: roles for librarians in the digital humanities." Journal of the Australian Library and Information Association. 70 (2), pp. 157-176. https://doi.org/10.1080/24750158.2021.1907886