DREaM event 2: review, resources and thanks

Dr Paul Lynch reviews his notes as the delegates eagerly await the first session of #lis_dream2

Dr Paul Lynch reviews his notes as the delegates eagerly await the first session of #lis_dream2

Two weeks ago we held the first of the three DREaM project workshops at the Craighouse campus of Edinburgh Napier University. We set ourselves a tight deadline to get all the workshop materials online within one week of the event, which we achieved. This blog post now provides an opportunity to reflect on the first workshop, drawing on the feedback from the 23 event evaluation forms completed, tweets by delegates (on site and remote) from the day itself and afterwards, and e-mail correspondence received by the organisers after the event. The participant reviews of the workshop posted since 25th October also give a flavour of the day.

Dr Louise Cooke and Professor Charles Oppenheim

Dr Louise Cooke and Professor Charles Oppenheim

The most popular evaluation form rating for elements of the workshop assessed by the delegates was “excellent”. This rating applied to all the speaker-led sessions by: (1) Professor Hazel Hall (introduction); (2) Dr Paul Lynch (ethnography); (3) Dr Louise Cooke (social network analysis); (4) Professor Andy McKinlay (discourse analysis) and (5) Professor Charles Oppenheim (research ethics and legal issues). The speakers were described as “inspiring” and admired for the “very high level of [their] presentations”. Louise Cooke’s session on social network analysis was the most popular, possibly because Louise was able to demonstrate in practice theoretical aspects of her presentation by using data gathered from the audience. The use of case studies in Charles Oppenheim’s session on ethics and legal issues also appealed because the session approach “made it real” in providing an opportunity to share ideas and experience.

Jo Alcock's unconference half hour flip chart sheet

Jo Alcock's unconference half hour flip chart sheet

The majority vote for the delegate-led unconference half hour session was split between “excellent” and “very good”. This is impressive given that it was only on the day itself that the presenters decided whether or not they would step up to the podium, and they were severely restricted in the amount of time available for them to make their main points, with limited access to “technology” in the form of the flip chart as a visual aid. Perhaps the most interesting (and unintended) outcome of this session was how a question from Michael Stead about public librarians’ engagement with research triggered a debate about the strength of links between LIS research and public library practice in each of the UK home nations. These exchanges are recorded in the video of unconference half hour (27 minutes in), along with the other presentations.

The most popular rating for the workshop location’s convenience, comfort and facilities, and refreshments was also “excellent”, as it was for the event administration (both before and on the day). One delegate admired the “beautiful location, comfortable room [and] delicious refreshments” and another commented on the “wonderful facilities”. The organisers were congratulated for an event that was “well-produced”.

Delegates enjoy the refreshments at Edinburgh Napier Craighouse

Delegates enjoy the refreshments at Edinburgh Napier Craighouse

Given the enthusiasm for the other elements on the form, we were not surprised to see that when asked to rate the workshop as a whole, the vast majority (19 out of the 23 returns) gave this the top rating of “excellent” too. Enthusiastic comments referred to both the usefulness and the enjoyment of the day. For example, evaluation form comments included:

  • I thoroughly enjoyed the day and gained a lot of knowledge about the different research methods at our disposal.
  • A valuable, interesting event. Fabulous for networking and sharing knowledge. Have developed in so many areas. Many thanks.
  • A thoroughly enjoyable event – lots to reflect on during the train ride home.
  • Opened my mind to a range of research options that I had not systematically reviewed before.
Jenny Harbour of Healtcare Improvement Scotland shares experiences with Jo Longhurst of Devon School Library Service

Jenny Harbour of Healtcare Improvement Scotland shares experiences with Jo Longhurst of Devon School Library Service

Our classification of the core DREaM “cadre” members shows that the group comprises a range of participants who occupy roles in a number of sectors: six public librarians/people with policy roles closely associated with public libraries; six academic librarians; five full-time PhD students; three LIS academics; three healthcare librarians; two university researchers; one librarian who works in a government library; one librarian who works for a national library; one librarian who works for a professional body; one consultant; and one academic from another discipline. Five of these people hold PhDs and another six are either already registered for a PhD or about to register for doctoral studies. Particularly appreciated at the first workshop was the opportunity to meet and work with this “very stimulating and diverse” mix of delegates. As one remarked: “I really enjoyed the event… and meeting a variety of people from different library and information sectors”. One delegate said afterwards by e-mail that the workshop “had a very creative dynamic, which I am sure will throw up exciting avenues of research that no-one had anticipated”. This could perhaps lead to the “great things” that one of the speakers believes that the DREaM project has already started to achieve since its launch conference in July 2011.

Essentials for tweeting: the programme, power supply and access to the network

Essentials for tweeting: the programme, power supply and access to the network

We were delighted that a number of remote delegates were able to take advantage of our event amplification and follow the workshop on 25th October by referring to the presentation slides posted online in advance, watching the Twitter hashtag #lis_dream2, and keeping an eye on our CoverItLive site. From the CoverItLive archive it can be seen that 18 people beyond the workshop venue used the workshop hashtag, many of whom interacted directly with on-site participants. It is suspected that many more monitored the event over the course of the day. While some of those unable to attend expressed their regret at missing the workshop, making reference to the “lucky folk” in Edinburgh, the amplification did appear to work well off-site. As one person tweeted “Wish I could be there! But actually am getting a lot out of it from following via slides and Twitter”. Even for the on-site delegates the Twitter back-channel added a further dimension to the day. It is worth reading through the CoverItLive archive to witness the exchanges and see how conversations on topics related to the presentations develop in the Twittersphere alongside the main event. In this case, for example, there are the beginnings of an interesting debate on the value of LinkedIn versus Twitter for professional networking (as well as some more light-hearted references to cats!)

#lis_dream2 delegates discuss ethics and legal issues

#lis_dream2 delegates discuss ethics and legal issues

We now turn our attention to the next DREaM project workshop at the British Library on Monday 30th January 2012. Some comments and suggestions from the first workshop will help with its planning. For example, we will be asking the session speakers if they can provide practical illustrations of the theory that they discuss in their talks, for instance by providing examples of worked data. We will also consider how we can squeeze more time for networking into the programme, perhaps by lengthening the time slot for registrations with tea/coffee at the start of the day, and the lunch break (although the core timings for the day will remain as advertised, i.e. 10:30-16:15). Given that there was some appetite amongst the remote delegates on 25th October to participate in the social network analysis exercise led by Louise Cooke, we will investigate whether the exercise/game elements of the second and third workshops might be designed with the possibility of remote participation in mind. All these ideas will be discussed by the project team, the Advisory Board, and the speakers over the coming weeks. We also welcome other suggestions to help achieve the success of the DREaM project so do get in touch even if you are not involved in the DREaM events: this project is for the whole LIS community.

Bust of John Napier at Craighouse campus, Edinburgh Napier University

Bust of John Napier at Craighouse campus, Edinburgh Napier University

In the meantime, we encourage all with an interest in LIS research to review the DREaM project materials from the first workshop (as well as materials from the launch conference), to join the DREaM online community (where, for example, you can “meet” others interested in LIS research, join in forum discussions – there is already the start of a conversation about ethnographic research in academic libraries to investigate the student experience, comment on the event presentations, and browse through the archive of photos from the past two events), to follow the DREaM participants Twitter list, and to follow the project itself from @LIS_DREaM.

Finally, we would just like to thank everyone for their participation in the DREaM project to date. We recognise that the success of the past two events is built on the contributions of all involved.

Library and Information Research publishes article about the DREaM project

The latest issue of Library and Information Research (the journal of CILIP’s Library and Information Group (LIRG)) includes an article on the DREaM project by Hazel Hall, Stephanie Kenna and Charles Oppenheim. The full text can be downloaded from: http://www.lirg.org.uk/lir/ojs/index.php/lir/article/view/475/516

DREaM launch conference review, thanks and resources

DREaM project launch delegate folders and data sticks

DREaM project launch conference delegate folders, pens and data sticks

Thanks to everyone for their participation at the DREaM project launch conference last Tuesday 19th July.

We have now had a chance to analyse the conference evaluation forms and – along with feedback received by e-mail and over Twitter over the past few days, as well as conference reviews blogged by delegates – we are pleased to report that it was a successful day.

According to the 46 conference evaluation forms returned, amongst the most popular sessions was Hazel Hall’s introduction, rated by the majority of evaluations as “excellent”. Hazel Hall brought delegates up to date on the progress of the DREaM project with news of the forthcoming workshops, including the full programme for workshop 1 on Tuesday 25th October 2011 in Edinburgh. She also announced the Practitioner Research Excellence Award (details can be found on the Media releases page) to be presented by the LIS Research Coalition at the final DREaM project event on Monday 9th July 2012. She encouraged delegates to take a look at the new online community space that has been set up to encourage electronic networking amongst delegates between events.

Stephanie Kenna and Jenny Gebel at the registration desk

Stephanie Kenna and Jenny Gebel at the registration desk

Blaise Cronin’s opening keynote and Dylan Evans’ closing keynote were also were rated by the majority of evaluations as “excellent”. Delegates appreciated Cronin’s main message to look outside the immediate field for opportunities to develop research ideas, to collaborate, research and to influence. They were able to observe such an approach in action in the career trajectory of Evans, who has taken advantage of a number of links and serendipity to build a varied and interesting, if unconventional, career path.

It seemed entirely appropriate that, further to a request made to Hazel Hall by a student from outside the field of LIS, at the end of the day that delegates were invited to contribute to a research project on interactivity in research meeting design. (If you would like to contribute to this project, please complete the survey).

DREaM delegates chat beside the publishers' stands

DREaM delegates chat beside the publishers' stands

Most evaluations gave the One Minute Madness session “excellent” and “very good” ratings. Chair of the session Stella Wisdom hardly had an opportunity to blow the horn due to the excellent timing of the presenters. It was quite astonishing how much information was conveyed in the 60 second bursts. The impressed audience members tweeted encouraging and supportive comments on the session, for example: “Loving 1 minute madness. So much brilliant work esp on stories & narratives” (@bikerbid); “One minute madness was great – well done to all who took part” (@BLLizLewis). Check out the 15 minute video of the session to witness the high standard of the presentations.

Discussions in breakout session 2

Discussions in breakout session 2

The four breakout sessions were also mostly evaluated as “excellent” or “very good”. Delegate comments on the breakouts revealed how the session content had given them some useful ideas to follow up after the event. For those who attended breakout session 3 these ideas derived from a discussion of work which is well beyond the usual interests of librarians and information scientists. As one delegate tweeted “They are building a palace made of children’s milk teeth. This is not what I thought I would learn about today!” (@samanthahalf). The short time-frame for reporting back on the breakouts meant that there was no real opportunity for discussion in plenary (rated mostly “good”). Although this had been possible amongst groups and with individuals in the breakouts themselves and over tea, from the analysis of the evaluation forms it can be seen that delegates would have liked there to have been more time for discussion of the breakout outcomes. There is also an indication that the opportunity to attend more than one breakout session would have been appreciated by some delegates.

Paul Allchin lent a hand with the delegate packs as a member of the on-site team at the British Library

Paul Allchin lent a hand with the delegate packs as a member of the on-site team at the British Library

The convenience of the British Library Conference Centre (described as “lovely” by one delegate), its facilities and the catering attracted mainly “excellent” ratings, as did conference administration both before and during the event. Hazel Hall, Charles Oppenheim and Jenny Gebel particularly appreciated the positive comments from delegates on the organisation of the event, and would like to highlight here the great help of colleagues in the British Library in the conference preparations. Rossitza Atanassova did a fine job in her liaison role, and recruited a willing team of Paul Allchin, Liz Lewis and Adrian Shindler, who helped Hazel Hall and Jenny Gebel make the delegate packs and load the DREaM USB sticks with all the conference materials on Monday 18th July.

The DREaM project launch conference Twitter wall

The DREaM project launch conference Twitter wall

Although not specifically asked to comment on networking on the conference evaluation form, this theme attracted a large number of unsolicited positive remarks. One delegate commented that the involvement of delegates before the event was “outstanding”. It is thanks to Bethan Ruddock (@bethanar) that a number of delegates in London on the evening of Monday 18th July were able to meet up before the conference itself the next day. Equally the work of our event amplifier Kirsty Pitkin (@eventamplifier) made it possible for the networking to extend beyond the confines of the British Library. Our remote delegates had access to all the presentations as they were delivered, as well as the CoverItLive session where a commentary on the proceedings and tweets were brought together. Delegates also made favourable comments about the interesting mix of researchers and practitioners who had registered, and the value of new contacts to follow up in the future. 68 people tweeted the #lis_dream1 hashtag over the course of the day. The 615 tweets included contributions from delegates at the British Library and a number of remote participants who offered their views on the conference sessions and the comments of on-site delegates. There is a Twapper Keeper for the #lis_dream1 hashtag where all instances #lis_dream1 are recorded.

badges

Badges for the data geeks and data queens at the DREaM launch conference

When asked to rate the overall value of the conference “excellent” was, once more, the most popular response. Delegates offered congratulations to the DREaM project team, remarking how impressed they were with the day and how much they had enjoyed it, not least for the “incredibly insightful” presentations, “excellent speakers”, “interesting topic areas”, all the new ideas “to take away and develop” and the networking opportunities. One delegate said “[It has been a] really useful day. Let us take steps to assure a network of LIS researchers and practitioners for the future as research and practitioners should ideally feed into each other”. While the rest of the UK was focused on James and Rupert Murdoch testifying at the parliamentary committee, Simon Barron tweeted “Forget the Murdochs. The real talking point today is library science research”! (@SimonXIX)

Events such as this only come together with much effort and support from a variety of sources. Everyone involved in the DREaM project is grateful for the support offered by the AHRC as its main source of funding. We are also grateful to the recruitment firms who sponsored places for five new professional delegates. We were pleased that three publishers Ashgate, Facet and Oxford University Press were able to join us on the day and for their contributions to the delegate packs. The “data geek” and “data queen” badges supplied by Leadership Directories were particularly popular with the delegates (and, we expect, their colleagues and children at home too!)

We have almost finished uploading all the resources from the day to the event 1 presentations page, and these will soon also be added to the DREaM online community site. A further announcement will be made once everything is online. If you are interested in delegate reviews of the event, a number are already available, and some are expected shortly. Please see the DREaM launch conference reviews page to read review blog posts, videos of delegate and session leader perspectives on the day, links to archived social media activity, and photographs from the conference.

EBLIP6 report: day 3, Thursday 30th June 2011

Our final EBLIP6 review is by Paolo Gardois, a PhD student at Sheffield University (@paologardois). Paolo reports on Thursday 30th June…

EBLIP6 tweeters and bloggers

Three of the LIS Research Coalition sponsored delegates eagerly await Thursday's keynote: Dr Katie Fraser, Katrina Dalziel & Paolo Gardois

Professor Hazel Hall opened the final day of EBLIP6 in Salford with a thought-provoking keynote speech on impact. Both patrons and managers demand services that really make a difference, and impact may take different forms: from changing users’ information behaviours to assessing academic impact through bibliometric measures, or evaluating services based on specific outcome measures, especially in the academic sector. Also, impact is very difficult to measure and evaluate. The impact of research on practice, for example, is often dependent on the cumulative and indirect effect of practitioners’ exposure to research output. Impact counts, anyway! In the current economic climate, research must demonstrate that it actually has an impact on practice, and the research–practice gap should be bridged, or at least reduced. Hazel then shared with the audience evidence emerging from the LIS Research Coalition’s RiLIES project which is due to report later this year. Several factors play a key role in increasing research uptake by practitioners: quality, scale and applicability of research itself; means of face-to-face dissemination; availability of accessible textual sources to be used as a reference in daily practice; high profile dissemination partners; and – last but not least – individuals who act as research connectors, as well as social media. Hazel finished her presentation by referring to the question “What difference does it make?” appropriately citing the Smiths, whose Salford Lads’ Club photograph is now one of the most iconic in British music history.

Later in the morning, parallel section 6 focused on a range of topics: (1) web-based services to enhance users’ experience of library services; (2) analysis of electronic resources usage by patrons as a key indicator of value generated by academic library services; (3) the development of evidence-based services in academic and health libraries, and their impact on quality improvement. As budgets shrink and patrons’ expectations rise, all three sessions offered really useful tools to improve service provision and demonstrate value for money.

The session before lunch showed an innovative and interactive format: the LIS Research Coalition organised a panel session involving LIS practitioners and journal editors.

Meet the editors

Panel members at the Meet the Editors session at EBLIP6: Professor Dick Hartley, Val Skelton, Dr Miggie Pickton, Denise Koufogiannakis, Dr Christine Urquhart

The session aimed to improve communication between the two parties and help information professionals plan the publication of their work with a better understanding of the goals and practical steps involved in editorial processes. For example, the editors advised the careful project-management of any potential publication, paying close attention to the information needs of the target journal’s audience, and not to underestimate the value of what professionals have to say to their colleagues and peers. Aiming for a high standard of work is important, but the editors encouraged members of the audience not to be obsessed with perfection: peer reviewers can help improve the quality of work submitted with their feedback. Importantly, the peer review process should be viewed as a dialogue during which both parties have a potential to learn. Also worth emphasising was the difference between research and practice-based articles: there are specific LIS journals for both categories. Even negative results, which are rarely published, are of great interest to audiences.

Poster explanation at EBLIP6

Dr Brian Detlor explains the content of his poster to Val Skelton

After a refreshing lunch and a final look at the posters (of amazing variety and really high quality), delegates were ready for the last two sessions of the conference. Parallel session 7 engaged the audience on a wide array of issues related to innovation and development of services, including the role of libraries in the management of scientific datasets, performance measurement techniques such as activities-based costing, methodological reflections on best practices and the uptake of an evidence-based approach in library services, and the available evidence base for evaluating the effectiveness of web 2.0 services. A specific session gauged the progress of evidence based practice in the health sector. Here topics included the value of services offered by NHS libraries, the efficient use of bibliographic databases and the impact of clinical librarianship on patient care and organizational objectives.

Then the time came for the closing address by Andrew Booth, who underlined the multidimensional and complex nature of “evidence-based library and information practice”. Virtually all the vocabulary used in the label can be discussed and modified, and the EBLIP6 conference had proved a valuable forum for the concepts to be discussed. Andrew also pondered the future of EBLIP. One key development resides in focusing less on research and randomised controlled trials and more on more on what really needs to be done to improve users’ experience in a really messy world. Andrew referred to the concept of “knowledge interaction”, which accounts for the need for genuine partnership between actors. Picking up on previous speakers’ references to music (keynotes Dr Ross Todd and Professor Hazel Hall had cited Bjork and the Smiths respectively) Andrew recited his own version of the lyrics of the Go-Go’s “My lips are sealed” to close the formal programme. Then awards were conferred and votes of thanks given. Mary Dunne was judged to have presented the best poster, and Kate Davies and Zaana Howard the best paper. Finally it was “Goodbye Salford” after a very interesting and stimulating three days.

SLA 2011 photo album

The LIS Research Coalition’s Hazel Hall has recently returned from the Special Libraries Association conference in Philadelphia. Her place was kindly sponsored by Dow Jones thanks to the award of SLA Europe Information Professional of the Year. It is impossible to capture in a blog post all the activity and energy of the conference, but the photos and captions here may give a flavour of the event. More photos can be found on Flickr. Hazel would like to thank everyone involved in making it possible for her to participate at SLA 2011, especially those who nominated her for the award, Bethan Ruddock of SLA Europe, and Anne Caputo of Dow Jones.

SLA banner

The logo for the conference incorporated the Philadelphia bell

The SLA welcome arch and registration desk

The SLA welcome arch and registration desk

Hazel Hall's badge

Hazel Hall attended SLA2011 thanks to kind sponsorship from Dow Jones

ECCA award winners

Other award winners from Europe included Samuel Wiggins, Natalia Madjarevic, Ned Potter and Chris Cooper

Banner of SLA rising stars

Amongst others from the UK recognised at SLA 2011 was Sara Batts as a "rising star"

Linda Stoddart and Larry Prusak

Larry Prusak's paper sponsored by the Knowledge Management division was one of the conference highlights: Larry is pictured here with Linda Stoddart

Military libraries division sign

SLA divisions and chapters hosted a number of open sessions

Exhibition

As well as the conference sessions, there was a large exhibition to visit

T shirt stall

The exhibition included a variety of stalls

A cartoonist draws Hazel Hall's caricature

A cartoonist draws Hazel Hall's caricature at the exhibition

SLA2012 banner

SLA 2012 takes place in Chicago next July

Discussions of the impact of librarianship research with librarians in Perth

Hazel Hall introduces the focus group

Hazel Hall introduces the focus group

Today team members of the Research in Librarianship Impact Evaluation Study (RiLIES) Hazel Hall, Ella Taylor-Smith and Jenny Gebel travelled to Perth to run a focus group at the AK Bell Library.

The focus group was kindly organised by Elaine Fulton and Rhona Arthur of SLIC (the most recent associate member of the LIS Research Coalition) to take place before a meeting of the Scottish heads of public library services in the afternoon.

Jenny Gebel at the meeting

Jenny Gebel at the meeting

We enjoyed a lively discussion of the impact of UK funded librarianship projects on librarianship practice, with interesting points raised on ease of access (or not) to research output, roles of the librarian, the importance of context to the production and consumption of research, and the value of different dissemination routes. The data collected today will be analysed in full with that collected from the other two focus groups taking place in London on 20th June (with academic librarians) and Salford on 28th June (with medical/health librarians).

The visit to Perth also provided an opportunity to raise awareness of the work of the LIS Research Coalition amongst public librarians, and to encourage participation in the Developing Research Excellence and Methods (DREaM) project.

Focus group members discuss how research findings are disseminated

Focus group members discuss how research findings are disseminated

It is hoped that there will be good representation from the public library community at the DREaM project launch conference at the British Library in London on Tuesday 19th July.

We would like to thank everyone for their participation at the RiLIES project focus group in Perth, especially those who travelled from as far away as the Outer Hebrides and Shetland to contribute to the discussion.

Work of the LIS Research Coalition recognised in SLA award

Hazel Hall of the LIS Research Coalition has been announced as the winner the SLA Europe Information Professional Award 2011. The press release about the award recognises Hazel’s work with the LIS Research Coalition. For further information about SLA, please see the SLA Europe web site.

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