July 2012 issue of Coalition newsletter now available

In 2012 we have been issuing regular newsletters to keep the LIS research community informed of the work of the LIS Research Coalition. The newsletters have been mailed to relevant listservs, and a copy of each one archived on the newsletters page.

The last newsletter dated July 2012 is issued this week. Read the full issue on the newsletters page. Our top stories are:

  1. The DREaM project concluding conference: “a fantastic day”
  2. DREaM project – the next stage
  3. RiLIES2 project
  4. Highlights from the RiLIES1 project
  5. Ronan O’Beirne and Michael Jubb contribute guest blogs to the Coalition web site

    Hazel Hall

    Hazel Hall

    This is also the final blog post of the Library and Information Science Research Coalition. Hazel Hall would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone for their enthusiastic support of the Library and Information Science Research Coalition’s work, particularly that related to the DREaM and RiLIES projects. She would also like to encourage all to continue working so that the investment of the past three years leaves a valuable legacy that endures in the future, and well beyond the period of project funding.

Building on three years of achievement: the next stages for the LIS Research Coalition community

Dr Michael Jubb

Dr Michael Jubb

Dr Michael Jubb, Chair of the Board of Directors of the Library and Information Science Research Coalition, has contributed the last of our guest blog posts. Here he reflects on the achievements of the LIS Research Coalition over the past three years, and looks to the future. Michael writes:

This will be the penultimate blog post on the LIS Coalition site in its current form. So it’s time to celebrate the Coalition and its achievements, to thank everyone who has been involved in its work, as well as to say a little about what happens next.

The Coalition was established in 2009, as a three-year project funded by the British Library (BL), the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals (CILIP), the Joint Information Systems Committee (JISC), the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council (MLA), and the Research Information Network (RIN). Its key aims have been to bring together information about LIS research opportunities and results; to encourage dialogue; to promote practitioner research and the translation of research outcomes into practice; and to promote the development of research capacity. None of us who were involved in setting it up could have foreseen how well the Coalition would succeed in fulfilling those objectives. It has built bridges between research and practice, especially for the academic and medical library communities, and encouraged research-led practice which both enhances the value of research and improves the efficiency and effectiveness of library services.

The DREaM project has been particularly successful in expanding the range of skills for a significant number of LIS researchers, and in developing a network of researchers who can and will work together for the future. The concluding conference for the project on 9 July 2012 was an inspiring event. Work is currently underway to seek follow-on funding for the project so that its success can be extended, particularly in the public library sector.

The two RiLIES projects have explored the extent to which LIS research projects influence library practice in the UK, and the factors that enhance or hinder such influence; and a series of good practice and support materials have been produced.

None of this could have been achieved without the support of all those who have been involved in the Coalition: the members and associates who provided the funding and active engagement and support, but also all of those who have participated and engaged with the Coalition’s work, its events, its projects and its communications. But above all, we need to give thanks to Hazel Hall, who has brought to the job of Executive Secretary all the skill, energy and verve that we could possibly have expected. How she managed to do it all in two days a week – even with some able assistance from Stephanie Kenna – is beyond comprehension. The achievements of the Coalition are largely down to her and her indefatigable efforts on its behalf.

All those achievements will have a life long after the Coalition has ceased to function in a formal sense. I am confident that the communities and relationships that have been forged will continue; and the British Library is going to help to ensure that they do. The current web site will be archived under the Library’s web harvesting programme. But the Library will also create new LIS research resource pages on the BL website, along with facilities for communication via a blog and Twitter. So now it’s up to you to make sure that what the Coalition has created continues as an active community for the future.

RiLIES2 wrap-up, resources, and future plans

The RiLIES2 project has been concerned with the production of a series of outputs to support the use and execution of research by librarians and information scientists. In the course of the 6-month project we consulted with the target community as we developed a range of artefacts in print (downloadable pdfs) and electronic (web page) formats. We have also created a number of presentations as part of this work. (Links to these resources are given at the end of this posting.)

We have already reported that decisions on the ownership and sustainability of resources, and the coordination and continuity post-project once funding ends, are key to the long-term usefulness of any outputs created. There are a number of examples of short-lived successful tools that have died due to lack of core funding, and we’d rather this not be the fate of our work.

We have also highlighted that the issues faced by the LIS practitioner-researcher community in the identification and use of resources to support their research work are not well-understood. This signals that there is a need for community consensus around the challenges to be addressed. Then those seeking to help with technical solutions related to accessing resources to support LIS researchers and researcher-practitioners will do so in full recognition of the fundamental problems that the community faces in its efforts to engage with research.

It is difficult to directly measure the impact of a project of this nature. However it is clear that the LIS Research Coalition web site can act as a useful resource for hosting materials to support LIS researchers and practitioner-researchers in the interim while a longer-term solution is established. The RiLIES2 project has also gone a long way to clarify the needs of the LIS researcher-practitioner community and the issues that need to be addressed in meeting them. A further key impact has been to stimulate discussions amongst the Library and Information Research Group (LIRG) committee members as to how they can address the needs of the broader LIRG membership. We have provided evidence of the community’s requirements, and generated ideas for future initiatives. This is timely given CILIP’s current focus on the review of its Body of Professional Knowledge and Skills (BPKS).

As our six months on RiLIES2 draws to a close we are busy working on the project report. This will be made available soon. We’re also pleased to announce that some of the work related to the RiLIES2 project will continue: our summer intern Maja Ilievska intends to keep working on her LIS Research Linking Prototype when she returns to Macedonia for the new academic year, with a view to using it as a case study in her final year project. She is currently exploring how the set-up of the ALISS system (which was introduced at the LIRG-hosted briefing session at CILIP in London on 10th July) might be adapted for the LIS research community. We hope to find a way to disseminate the outcome on Maja’s work as it progresses.

In the meantime, please take a look at the resources that we have created in the course of the RiLIES2 project:

The presentations from the briefing session can also be accessed:

There is also an evaluation of the briefing session with links to delegate reviews.

RiLIES report highlights 6: Lessons from healthcare and medical librarians

Introduction

This is the sixth and final RiLIES1 highlight posting. It is based on the findings discussed in full RiLIES1 report. Here, we look at the LIS community that the RiLIES1 project found to be the most successful in linking research and practice: healthcare and medical librarians.

The broad aim of our first RiLIES project was to investigate the extent to which funded research projects in the domain of library and information science (LIS) influence practice in the UK. It focused particularly on identifying factors that increase or hinder the impact of research findings on those who deliver library and information services.

We highlight the research practice of healthcare/medical librarians as an example, and inspiration, to those working in other sectors.

In response to calls for library and information services to be developed on the basis of sound research evidence, the ideal is that “Research and practice, at least in theory, [should] enjoy a mutually beneficial relationship. Research should inform practice and contribute to the development of theory. Practice should benefit from research findings (particularly where those findings go towards improving the product or service provided by practitioners) and raise more questions for research” (Haddow & Klobas, 2004, pp. 29-30). This is important to both (a) current local service priorities, and (b) the future of the broader library and information services profession. Calls such as this often go unheeded – but this is not an issue that is unique to LIS: it has also been identified in other professions, such as teaching, social work, nursing, and management.

The power of context

The RiLIES1 project confirmed that community profile is a factor when it comes to how LIS research is accessed and consumed by different groups of practitioners. For example, those working in academic and healthcare/medical environments are often more aware than others of routes to access research results, and of the benefits that practitioners can gain through direct participation in research projects.

In particular, when we spoke to healthcare/medical librarians during the RiLIES1 project we learnt of their interests and strengths in evidence based practice. The influence of end-user community values is important here. Healthcare practitioners such as doctors and nurses have a need for evidence based research. They therefore value librarians who can access the research evidence for them. At the same time healthcare/medical librarians work in an environment where evidence based practice is routine.

Winners of the Practitioner Researcher Excellence Award

Award winning clinical librarians
L to R: Dr Ben Goldacre (presenter of the award), Anne Webb (award winner), Dr Alison Brettle (mentor to award winners), Debra Thornton (award winner), Rosalind McNally (award winner), and David Stewart (Director of Health Libraries North West)

Working in such an environment offers a further advantage: it can give healthcare/medical librarians easier access to research funding than is the case in other sectors. A good example is the recent prize-winning work of the North West Clinical Librarian Systematic Review and Evaluation Group acknowledged at the DREaM project concluding conferenceon 9th July 2012. This was employer-funded because a direct link from effective library and information services to improvements in the delivery of health services could be seen.

Other examples of funding sources were identified at our workshop with healthcare and medical librarians in Salford in June 2011. For example:

  • Occasionally those working in healthcare and medical librarianship have access research funds that are not explicitly earmarked for librarians. Research opportunities arise, for example, when health service colleagues need LIS research expertise to strengthen their work.
  • One workshop participant explained how her authority funds Masters study. This then generates research results in dissertation format, which in turn may be presented at conferences.

Workshop participants also mentioned cost-effective ways of staff training as related to research. For example, chartership candidates and project students reverse mentor senior colleagues by passing on news of research project results and developments in good practice.

Access to research: popular sources

Across all sectors the RiLIES1 project found that LIS practitioners frequently access sources other than published LIS research in support of their work. In the context of healthcare/medical librarianship, we confirmed that subject-specific journals are used extensively. For example, the British Medical Journal contains valuable practical case studies on activities conducted by healthcare and medical professionals in the course of their work, including literature searching and critical appraisal. Such work is useful for LIS practitioners to prompt new ideas, for example in the deployment of research methods. Equally, routine work such as the provision of current awareness services for end users increases familiarity amongst healthcare/medical librarians with subject-specific publications.

Other than mailing lists, sources popular with heathcare/medical librarians include:

As with the other LIS practitioners, face-to-face communication and conference attendance is greatly valued by healthcare/medical librarians. The “serendipity of networking with old and new contacts” is particularly appreciated, and works best away from the normal work environment.

Conclusions

Healthcare and medical librarians clearly benefit from working in a professional environment in which research engagement is highly valued. For example, end user expectations of professional practice amongst colleagues aligns well with healthcare/medical librarians’ enthusiasm for evidence based library and information practice, and healthcare/medical librarians are able to identify research support from less-obvious sources.

Librarians in other sectors may draw inspiration from this. For example: academic librarians may do more to promote their research expertise amongst teaching and research staff; school librarians could investigate their eligibility for research funding directed at the teaching profession.

A further lesson from the healthcare/medical librarians encountered during RiLIES study is the value of research mentoring, as illustrated in the prize-winning work of the North West Clinical Librarian Group, supported by academic Dr Alison Brettle.

Reference

Haddow, G. (2010). Communicating research to practice: The role of professional association publicationsLibrary and Information Research, 34(108), 33-44.

The RiLIES report; read the full study

To read further details of the study please see the full RiLIES1 report, freely available to download.

DREaM concluding conference review, thanks and resources

We’re pleased to announce that we have archived all the materials from last week’s DREaM project concluding conference and had the opportunity to analyse the delegate feedback (39 forms were returned). In this blog post we review the event, thank all involved, and provide links to the resources from the day.

If you would like to go directly to the archived resources, you can access them from the following links:

British Library Conference Centre

Dark clouds over the British Library Conference Centre

An excellent event overall

Dark clouds hung over the British Library Conference Centre on Monday 9th July, but that didn’t dampen the spirits of those gathered at the DREaM project concluding conference.

The majority of delegates who completed feedback forms rated the overall value of their participation at the conference as excellent. The same level of agreement applied to the rating for convenience and comfort of the British Library Conference Centre (despite the interruption of a fire drill for early arrivals), as to the quality of refreshments throughout the day.

Equally the conference administration was given the highest rating. This was for both the information provided before the event (on the conference web pages, by e-mail, via Twitter) and on the day itself (registration process, delegate packs, help in person from conference organisers).

Enthusiastic comments included:

DREaM data sticks

Highly sought-after DREaM data sticks

  • “A fantastic day”
  • “Excellent programme, good turn-out, very successful day”
  • “An excellent and informative day”
  • “Excellent as always”
  • “Fantastic conference”
  • “A great day”
  • “Fab event”
  • “Enjoyable and interesting”
  • “A very valuable project”

Many expressed their appreciation of the event online, commenting publicly on Twitter using the conference hashtag #lis_dream5, or by e-mail. Comments included:

  • “Terrific day”
  • “Very enjoyable”
  • “An excellent and inspiring conference”.

In the middle of the day one delegate on Twitter even confessed “Hope everyone is enjoying #lis_dream5 as much as we are! It’s been so engaging we forgot to tweet!”

Badges

93 participants signed up for the DREaM concluding conference

Conference delegate profile

In total 93 delegates signed up for the event. The majority of delegates came from academic institutions where they work as researchers, PhD students, academics, practitioner researchers, and non research-active LIS practitioners with interests in research. There was representation from a variety of other sectors including library and information services (academic, public, national, and special – with particularly high numbers of healthcare and medical information professionals), recruitment, publishing, and consultancy.

All five founding members of the LIS Research Coalition (or their successor bodies in the cases of MLA and RIN) sent representatives, as did one associate member, the Strategic Health Authority Library Leads (SHALL) Group.

The stage is set

The stage is set for the conference

In keeping with the goal of the DREaM project to develop a formal UK-wide network of library and information science researchers, there was a good geographic spread amongst the delegates. Individuals made the journey to London from all corners of the United Kingdom, some with very early starts from Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales to reach the British Library for registration at 09:45. We were also pleased to welcome international delegates from as far away as Malta, Sweden, Uganda, the USA, and Australia.

Carol Tenopir

Opening keynote speaker: Professor Carol Tenopir

Formal conference sessions

All the formal sessions were very well received. Particularly appreciated were the opening keynote by Professor Carol Tenopir in the morning and the closing keynote by Dr Ben Goldacre in the afternoon, both of which were rated by the majority of delegates as excellent. Although the context of each of the keynote speakers’ presentations was quite specific – library and information services delivery in the case of Tenopir, and medicine in that of Goldacre – their content was highly relevant to an audience interested in questions of value, processes of creating and facilitating access (or not) to evidence bases, and the role of information in decision making.

Tenopir’s references to the Lib-Value study appealed to all with an interest in concepts of value in general, as well as the value of service delivery in particular – whether this be in the context of a library, or any other service where the issue of value measurement is thwart with difficulties, yet politically very important. Tenopir’s presentation was both engaging and inspirational. As one tweeter put it “Inspiring stuff from Carol Tenopir! Given me good ideas for thinking about researching & demonstrating value.”

Winners of the Practitioner Researcher Excellence Award

L to R: Dr Ben Goldacre (keynote speaker), Anne Webb (award winner), Dr Alison Brettle (mentor to award winners), Debra Thornton (award winner), Rosalind McNally (award winner), and David Stewart (Director of Health Libraries North West)

Goldacre’s focus on the inadequate information architecture of scientific publishing (a legacy from the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries that is no longer fit for purpose) and its impact on patient care appealed to an audience that knows the value of information, works to facilitate access to information and knowledge, and cares about user engagement.

Goldacre extended an invitation to members of the LIS research community to lend its expertise to the projects that he has set up to bring together disparate sources of information about (1) drug trials, and (2) search strategies deployed by those looking for trials information on PubMed. This went down well with an audience interested in data mining and metadata. One tweeter noted her approval of Goldacre’s declaration of his interests: “”I’m a very dorky Doctor” @bengoldacre just told us … in the right company with the “geeky librarian” crew at #lis_dream5 therefore!” If you would like to find out more about contributing to Goldacre’s projects, please e-mail him at ben@badscience.net.

As well as delivering the last of the formal DREaM conference sessions, Goldacre also presented certificates to those winners of the LIS Practitioner Researcher Excellence Award who were able to attend the conference. The award presentation ceremony was hosted by Dr Michael Jubb, Chair of the Board of Directors of the Library and Information Science Research Coalition.

Lunch

Networking at lunch

Most delegates rated the One Minute Madness session as excellent. The twenty highly-entertaining 60 second presentations by brave delegate volunteers covered a wide range of topics. The majority were related to initiatives to improve the dissemination of LIS research. For example Alison Brettle spoke about the use of evidence summaries, University of Northampton staff described practitioner researcher support at their institution, Kerstin Rydbeck discussed the involvement of masters students in “research nodes”, and Maja Ilievska outlined her plans for an LIS research linking system prototype.

Others spoke about on-going research projects in which they are involved, for example on the role of public libraries (Anthony McKweon and Paul McCloskey), augumented reality in teaching and learning (Bethan Ruddock), and digital preservation (Rossitza Atanssova).

In the remainder of One Minute Madness slots individuals took the opportunity to pass on news to their fellow delegates. For example, Louise Doolan introduced the CILIP information literacy group, and Milena Dobreva promoted the publication of a new book on user studies for digital libraries that she has just co-edited.

Andrew Wabwezi and David Haynes

Andrew Wabwezi and David Haynes at the networking drinks reception

All the One Minute Madness presentations were expertly chaired by Mike Clarke of the London Borough Camden. Mike kept his beady eye on clock as it counted down to zero towards the end of each presentation. The speakers did really well with their timings and we only got to hear the horn a couple of times. One tweeter noted her approval of the whole process: “Minute madness is excellent concept – must remember it. Great way to highlight so many things”.

If you’re interested in how to set up a One Minute Madness session for an event that you are organising, please take at look at our hints and tips on the format. We put these together after our first experience of such a session at the LIS Research Coalition conference in 2010.

Drinks reception

Rossitza Atanassova and Matthew Dovey chat with Ben Goldacre at the networking drinks reception

The value of this session coming just before the lunch break was soon reaped by delegates who sought out one another on the basis of what they had just heard in the presentations. Anthony McKweon writes about his experience of this in his review of the conference posted to the DREaM online community.

The conversations continued at the British Library in the afternoon break, and at the networking drinks reception at the end of the day. We hope that they have already extended beyond the venue as a result of contacts being shared and forged at the conference.

Panel session

The panel members are introduced by Professor Charles Oppenheim: John Dolan, Dr Louise Cooke, Professor Carol Tenopir and Jo Alcock

Three of the formal conference sessions related directly to the DREaM project itself: Professor Hazel Hall’s introduction to the conference, Dr Louise Cooke’s presentation on the social network analysis of the DREaM project workshop cadre, and the afternoon panel session chaired by Professor Charles Oppenheim. Each of these sessions was rated by the majority of delegates as excellent or very good.

Cooke’s social network analysis of the DREaM workshop cadre demonstrated that the DREaM project has met its main goal of developing a network of UK LIS researchers. Equally Hall gave evidence in her presentation of addressing the aims of building research capability and capacity, and raising standards. So the project shows success, but what happens next? Has the DREaM project built a solid enough foundation for the long-term support of LIS research?

John Dolan, Louise Cooke, Carol Tenopir and Jo Alcock discussed these themes, with contributions from the audience, in the panel session. Clearly a 45-minute slot is not long enough to discuss these questions in detail, but some key issues emerged from the contributions of the panel members and the audience. These included the need for:

  • the success of the DREaM project to date to extend to a greater population and include more involvement of those from sectors under-represented at the concluding conference – notably public librarians, but also those working in specialist information units in the corporate sector;
  • professional bodies to assess their role in promoting research, for example in embedding research training into professional skills sets and serving as a hub for research activities in the domain;
  • further face-to-face meetings between researchers and practitioners to strengthen relationships and narrow the gaps between different LIS communities.

These will be taken into account as those behind the DREaM project prepare a bid for follow-on funding. It is hoped that this bid will be successful, not least because delegate feedback from this event shows a strong appetite for the network to continue (echoing similar feedback from the last of the three DREaM workshops). Comments on the delegate forms included:

Ashgate's stand

Ashgate’s stand at the conference exhibition

  • “I can’t say how much I have enjoyed and appreciated being part of DREaM. Well done to all involved and I hope that a way is found to keep the network and resources going.”
  • “[I] hope we can continue the enthusiasm.”
  • “The job of DREaM is not finished… the work so far deserves praise.”
  • “Good luck in securing ongoing funding for face-to-face networking opportunities.”
  • “I would like to see more collaboration across sectors.”

The new bid will also take into account comments on the need for empirical work to explore changes in structures or practices to improve the LIS research environment (for example, for senior management buy-in). It will also draw attention to the DREaM approach as a model for fostering networking and knowledge sharing, as evidenced in the following comments on the delegate feedback forms from the conference:

  • “Great opportunity to catch up with colleagues and meet new colleagues.”
  • “The conference was a good networking opportunity.”
  • “A great day – a chance to learn and meet some experts, and to share interests and ideas.”

(This was also discussed at the QQML conference in May by colleagues from other countries who wished to import the DREaM approach.)

Twitter wall

Early posts to the DREaM conference Twitter wall

Remote participation

It should be emphasised that the networking at this event extended beyond the conference venue itself (as has been the case of all DREaM project events). A number of people followed the proceedings remotely, some regretting that they could not be there in person. The following views were expressed by remote followers on Twitter:

  • “I’m also very jealous of all those at #lis_dream5 today. Need to somehow achieve my goal of being a LIS research person”
  • “Following #lis_dream5 from too big a distance… Couldn’t make it this year unfortunately.”
  • “Missing #lis_dream5 in #thatLondon today, but will try to keep an eye on the tweetage…”
  • “Looks like an interesting day at #lis_dream5 – please keep the tweet updates coming – much appreciated!”

As might be expected, our top tweeters were @LIS_DREaM and @LISResearch thanks to the efforts of Kirsty Pitkin and Stephanie Kenna. The others who used the conference hashtag #lis_dream5 most frequently were Bethan Ruddock (@bethanar), Rossitza Atanassova (@RossiAtanassova), Jo Alcock (@joeyanne), and Alison Brettle (@BrettleAli).

Packing up

David Jarman, Milena Dobreva and Rossitza Atanassova pack up at the end of a successful day at the conference

Thanks to all

We’d like to thanks everyone who was involved in the success of the DREaM concluding conference, including the advisory board members (especially Christine Irving and Rossitza Atanssova), Kirsty Pitkin for her event amplification services, all the speakers, and the sponsors. We are particularly grateful for the thoughtful feedback on the concluding conference itself, and the project as a whole. If you would like to contribute more to the discussion, please use the comment box below, or start a new thread in the DREaM online community.

Jo Alcock has also reopened the survey that she set up in advance of taking part in the panel session. If you have opinions on the future of LIS research, she would love to hear from you.

In the meantime, you may like to review the conference materials:

LIS research resources briefing – workshop evaluation

Last week we blogged about the LIS research resources briefing workshop hosted by LIRG at CILIP headquarters in London on 10th July 2012. In this post we present a profile of the participants, their response to the resources that we presented at the briefing, and the main points from the discussion of future research support requirements of the LIS practitioner research community. We also provide links to a number of resources, including blogged reviews of the event.

Participants at the briefing

Participants at the briefing

There were 38 participants at the workshop. The results of our short ice-breaker exercise at the start revealed that the majority (27) classed themselves as practitioners, or as practitioners who conduct research. The other 11 participants comprised a mix of LIS researchers and consultants. There was a good balance of participants from the private, public and third sectors, with the largest number coming from higher education. However, there was no representation from the public library sector or further education. Most (26) said research is relevant or extremely relevant to their job role and 11 are already members of LIRG. Many of the participants knew one another, not least because a third of them had attended the DREaM project concluding conference the previous day.

Most at the session had learnt about it through e-mail distribution lists. This provides further illustration of the finding from both RiLIES projects that mailing lists are an important source of information for the LIS research community, especially for those based in academic institutions.

Alison Brettle contributes to the discussion

Alison Brettle contributes to the discussion

We were pleased that the evaluation forms completed by the participants showed that they found the session to be useful. The speakers were highly rated, as was the programme. In particular, the delegates appreciated the opportunity to learn more about the resources that the RiLIES project team has assembled to support LIS research. Introduced by Peter Cruickshank in his presentation Research into practice: the present situation, these include the links on the LIS Research Coalition web site to:

  1. Collections of empirical research
  2. Tools to help those who conduct their own research projects
  3. Research centres and networks of relevance to LIS research
  4. Sources of research funding

The sample leaflets that we distributed at the workshop were also well received by the participants. These are also available as PDFs for download:

As well as raising awareness amongst librarians of the evidence-base that can be used to support high quality information services delivery, along with online tools that can be used to access relevant sources of information, the session provided a forum for librarians to discuss the long-term research support needs of the library and information science research community. There were opportunities to ask questions, provide feedback and offer suggestions.

Carolynn Rankin and Miggie Pickton prepare their post-its

Carolynn Rankin and Miggie Pickton prepare their post-its

The RiLIES project team was particularly interested in delegate ideas related to the need for a centrally-funded community-maintained directory of LIS research resources, held in a known location, with (crucially) a long-term commitment to maintenance. This was identified as a priority in the results of the RiLIES2 poll. On the basis of work completed to date by summer intern Maja Ilievska (on an LIS Research Linking Prototype), four options were presented for discussion: (1) a community blog; (2) a wiki directory; (3) Google drive; and (4) social bookmarking (using tools such as Delicious, Diigo or even Zotero to identify and group links). A fifth option, presented by Peter Cruickshank in another set of slides proposed the implementation of a community-owned link curation engine such as ALISS. In group discussions the workshop participants identified the strengths and weaknesses of each of the five options. These were recorded on post-its and then gathered together on flip charts.

Comments on the ALISS engine

Comments on the ALISS engine

Two main themes emerged from the discussions. First, it was generally agreed that a key problem with any resource will be its ownership and sustainability. A number of suggestions were made as to which bodies should take a coordination role in the maintenance of any future service. These ranged from professional groups such as LIRG, to major bodies such as publishers and the British Library.  A related issue is the provision of resources for coordination and continuity once project funding ceases. There are a number of examples of short-lived successful tools that have died due to lack of core funding.

The second theme that emerged from discussion was that the issues faced by the LIS practitioner-researcher community in the identification and use of resources to support their research work are not well-understood. This signals that there is a need for community consensus around the problems to be addressed so that those seeking to help with a technical solution do so in full recognition of the fundamental issues.

There was no evidence from the discussions of a strong preference for any of the proposed technical solutions. However, it was clear that any solution would need to address a variety of issues such as:

  • Information overload: this includes issues around quality of contributors, contributions  and findability
  • The clarity of purpose of the tool: including the extent to which the tool should hold content rather than links to existing external content
  • Risks around ownership and continuity of content if “freemium” services such as Mendelay, Zotero or Delicious are used
  • Restricted access imposed by employers, for example due to the legacy of old browsers, or blocking of sites

Several participants mentioned that the planned upgrade to CILIP’s website may provide an opportunity for a new platform to be developed.

We would like to thank everyone who came to the briefing, especially for their constructive and detailed contributions to the discussion. We are particularly pleased that some participants have blogged about the workshop:

Research into practice: LIS research resources briefing

RiLIES briefing slideToday the RiLIES project team visited CILIP HQ In Ridgmount Street, London to give an update on the output of the two RiLIES projects. If you’d like to see the discussions at the workshop, check out the hashtag #rilies.

The half-day workshop began with a short ice-breaker exercise during which participants discussed their roles as researchers, researcher-practitioners, practitioners with interests in research, and consultants. Then Hazel Hall led the first of two formal presentations with an overview of the two RiLIES projects. She focused in particular on the findings of RiLIES1 that have direct relevance to preferences for exploiting the existing LIS research evidence base and the long-term support needs of LIS researchers, and practitioner-researchers. Peter Cruickshank’s presentation covered the new content on the LIS Research Coalition web pages that the RiLIES team has assembled to access: (a) the existing LIS research evidence base; (b) sources to support LIS professionals keen to conduct research; (c) information about people involved in LIS research (such as research centres and networks); and information about funding sources. He then discussed the possible development of a range of tools to help better navigate the fragmented nature of online information sources relevant to LIS research. He also demonstrated how the ALISS engine approach might be adopted by displaying a third set of slides. In the final session of the morning Christine Irving facilitated a short exercise during which the delegates discussed responses to Peter’s proposals.

On the basis of the discussions, the exercise output and delegate review forms, we will post a follow-up blog about the workshop. The information gathered from delegates in response to our proposals will help inform the development of our plans for the remainder of the project. In the blog post we will also provide further links. In the meantime you can view the three sets of slides from the event on SlideShare:

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