DREaM workshop 2 (#lis_dream3) review and thanks

An excellent day overall

DREaM 2 evaluation forms

DREaM 2 evaluation forms

No matter how skilled they are, there are some risks running events over which the organisers have no control. In the twelve months leading up to yesterday’s DREaM workshop at the British Library the major concern was the weather. The big question (especially in light of the past two winters) was “Would it snow?” In the event, none of the pesky white stuff fell in London on 30th January 2012. Despite this, it was still a very chilly day, with even colder weather forecast for the rest of the week. Nevertheless, the DREaM workshop cadre braved the elements, in several cases with a very early morning start, for the long journey to the south east. Once at the British Library they enjoyed a warm welcome from the DREaM project team and their fellow delegates at the third of the five DREaM events.

The Debonair Nick Moore

Professor Nick Moore made a special request for his badge - and we obliged

The programme itself comprised four formal sessions led by invited speakers Professor Peter Beresford, Dr Thomas Haigh, Professor Mike Thelwall, and Professor Nick Moore. They were introduced and chaired by the DREaM project co-investigators Professor Hazel Hall and Professor Charles Oppenheim. Seven members of the DREaM workshop cadre gave Unconference half hour presentations on their research interests just before the lunch break.

A couple of short exercises were also included in the programme, and everyone made the most of the opportunities at registration and in the refreshment breaks to network with their DREaM project friends and colleagues.

Twenty-seven delegates returned completed evaluation forms at the end of the day. A review of Twitter activity around the event also gives insight into how the sessions were appreciated by both the delegates on site and those following remotely.

Katie Fraser and Michael Stead

Dr Katie Fraser and Michael Stead

Once again, the event was well received. The majority noted on their evaluation forms that the overall value of their participation at the event was “excellent”. Enthusiastic comments on the evaluation forms show appreciation of the quality of the presentations and variety of the programme, and its relevance to their learning and work:

  • “Excellent programme and quality of speakers and participant presentations”.
  • “The programme was varied and extremely interesting. I have learnt a lot. Thank you very much”.
  • “Fab event – diverse and varied”
  • “Thank you! Excellent day, inspiring!”
  • “The programme has been extremely interesting and the introduction to methodologies will be very useful for my work”.
  • “An excellent day – found the content even more helpful that the last one.”
  • “Superb[…] mashup of methods which was great!”
  • “I am enjoying – and learning a great deal about – the different research methods/approaches”.

Similarly on Twitter one delegate remarked that it was a “Really interesting and useful day”, and another said “Great to meet so many people. Thoroughly interesting day!”

Session evaluations

The most popular rating for all four invited speaker sessions was “Excellent”, as it was for the unconference half hour slot.

Mike Thelwall

Professor Mike Thelwall discusses webometrics

Mike Thelwall’s introduction to webometrics was rated most highly. The delegates particularly enjoyed how (in the words of one) “specific examples of [the] application of methods [were] explicitly analysed” in the presentation.

There was also appreciation for Peter Beresford’s presentation on user involvement in research, drawing on practice in a discipline other than LIS. This came through on the evaluation forms and over Twitter: one delegate tweeted that Peter’s presentation was the highlight of her day. It is interesting to note that although LIS researchers put much research effort into observing users, they are less likely to include them in identifying research priorities or research design – something which is becoming more common in other areas such as Peter’s. Had there been time the tricky question of how to access non-users of a service may have led to some further interesting discussion in Peter’s session. This is an issue that could be explored further by the DREaM online community.

Thomas Haigh’s proposal of approaching LIS research projects from a historical perspective (a tall order to cover in 45 minutes) led to some interesting delegate suggestions and comment, as well as a useful overview of the iSchool movement. The exercise that Thomas set for the group gave an opportunity for small groups to apply the concepts from his presentation to a range of research projects currently in progress. Thomas gave thoughtful feedback on the work completed later in the afternoon.

Nick Moore’s “very personal account” of his research career prompted consideration of how to carve out a successful career in research. He cleverly used stories from his own long career in research to pass on advice to the next generation. Nick’s advice on taking time to think is particularly pertinent in the context of some of the comments on the evaluation forms. These showed recognition that each DREaM project event generates lots to think about, and that the value of participation cannot always be assessed immediately after the event has ended. One delegate, for example, believed that having now attended two workshops ideas were beginning to crystalise on the kind of research with which his/her own organisation should be concerned. Another tweeted “#lis_dream3 was excellent. I’m glad I’ve got the rest of the week off: it gives me time to think about what I heard today.”

It is interesting how links can be made between the presentations at this second event and those made at the first. For example, Mike’s contribution echoed elements of Louise Cooke’s session on social network analysis, as well as that of Andy McKinlay on discourse analysis. Similarly Peter and Thomas’ presentations recalled elements of Paul Lynch’s explanation of ethnographic approaches. Ethical and legal issues, also discussed that the first workshop in Charles’ session, are applicable across all.

Evaluation of workshop administration and the venue

Rossitza Atanassova

Dr Rossitza Atanassova managed all the on-site coordination on the day

The workshop organisers were pleased once again that an overwhelming majority of the participants rated the workshop administration before and during the event as “excellent”. Hazel Hall, Charles Oppenheim, Stephanie Kenna, Christine Irving, Rossitza Atanassova and Kirsty Pitkin were thanked in the evaluations for being “extremely efficient and helpful”. The day itself was considered “well organised and chaired”.

The location for the workshop was also rated very highly with the majority of respondents rating its convenience, comfort and facilities, and the refreshments provided all as “excellent”. Specific mention was made of the “good wifi”, and that the British Library is “very handy for major rail stations”. The effort that the catering staff had taken for those with special diets was appreciated: many others were indeed envious of the big slice of gluten-free cake for one person in particular!

Remote delegates

As has been the case at the previous two DREaM project events in October and July 2011 there was interest in the event beyond the venue itself. Remote followers of the 444 tweets assigned the workshop hashtag (#lis_dream3) sent good wishes to participants in the morning, urging them to keep the outside world updated. For example, one said “Godspeed to all the dreamers travelling to #lis_dream3 today. Hope to see lots of tweets”.

The remote followers exhibited varied levels of engagement from one who was “present” all day, asked questions of the speakers and participated in the workshop exercise, to others who dropped in on particular sessions, or appeared to simply retweet links.

Twelve remote delegates were clearly identifiable from their use of the hashtag and/or their interactions with @LIS_DREaM over the course of the day. It is not possible to give the actual figure for all who watched the proceedings remotely, but it is bound to have included more people than the twelve who actively contributed to Twitter and CoverItLive discussions.

Those for whom we do have data appeared to have benefited from participation. One tweeted “Thanks to the @LIS_DREaM team for another good workshop & for enabling me to follow online!”

Stephanie Kenna

Stephanie Kenna tweeted as @LISResearch throughout the day

The Twitter back-channel during the day also provided an extra dimension to the event for those who were online. Associated discussions ranged from the serious, for example on the value of postgraduate degrees, to fun. For example, at the start of the day one delegate asked whether Hazel was about to announce that she was the next Dr Who (when, in fact, she was on the point of telling everyone that Dr Ben Goldacre will be the closing keynote speaker at the DREaM conference on July 9th), and from his train on the way home the same person suggested that there should be karaoke at the next DREaM workshop. This suggestion was prompted by a discussion of a particular delegate T shirt, one of two on the day that attracted many admiring comments. The other T shirt displays a map of Libraria.

Here we should offer thanks to our top ten tweeters on the day:@LIS_DREaM (mainly Kirsty Pitkin) 95; @LISResearch (Stephanie Kenna) 61; @walkyouhome 49; @katie_fraser 48; @joeyanne 30; @lgbtlibrarian 19 (remote delegate); @lelil 18; @MariaJGrant 17; @hazelh 16; @RossiAtanassova 13. Two of these have already written full blog reports of their experience of the workshop: Katie Fraser and Lauren Smith. These and other reviews of the event will be listed on the reviews page.

One step further to meeting the aims of the DREaM project

The primary aim of the DREaM project is noted on the main project page of the LIS Research Coalition web site as to develop a formal UK-wide network of Library and Information Science (LIS) researchers. As a set of individuals committed to LIS research, it is hoped that the delegates at the three workshops (the “cadre”) will form the backbone of a network that lasts beyond the duration of the DREaM project. To date they have come together at two one-day sessions that provide method overviews. In addition, a subset also participated at the project launch conference in July 2011, and some are expected to come to the concluding event at the British Library on 9th July 2012.

Alice Corble and Sara Wingate Gray

Alice Corble and Sara Wingate Gray in the afternoon tea break

Some feedback from this second workshop shows how the cadre is beginning to meet the project’s primary aim, with recognition that the workshops are not intended as “traditional” training days. Rather, they are events at which overviews are given of a range of research methods and approaches, some of which are not (yet) commonly practised by LIS researchers, with scope for those interested to follow up the advice and recommendations of the expert speakers by exploring other resources. The longer-term value of the meeting activity, however, is anticipated to emerge from the connections forged between the members of the cadre as a network. For example, one delegate wrote on his/her evaluation form that he/she now sees the future role of the DREaM network as a body of people who can define and commission research. Another noted that it was important that the network members learn more about one another, and suggested that the discussion space in the DREaM online community should be used more extensively for this purpose, with the proposal that network members should set up a journal club in this space. It is also worth mentioning here that there is clear evidence of the strengthening of ties between network members. For example, at least one network member has offered to host the visit of another to Edinburgh for the next workshop on April 25th.

Feedback for action at #lis_dream4

Hazel Hall and Christine Irving

Professor Hazel Hall & Christine Irving

Other delegate comments at this workshop will be acted upon in time for the next workshop in Edinburgh on 25th April. The next set of presenters will be reminded that practical examples of the application of research approaches and techniques are appreciated, especially if they can be contextualized to LIS research. Efforts will be made so that adequate time can be devoted to a workshop task that allows for meaningful discussion in groups. The venue for workshop 3 is more spacious than the British Library seminar rooms so it may be possible to arrange for some tables to be sited in the main room to make note-taking on computer and tweeting more comfortable. It will also be spring time by then, so the couple of people who mentioned that they felt rather cold yesterday will welcome the warmer weather the next time that we all meet.

Further resources

The resources from the workshop will be added to this web site and the DREaM online community over the next few days. News of resource availability will be tweeted. It is hoped that this job will be complete by the middle of next week. In the meantime thanks to everyone – speakers, organisers and delegates alike – for another great day!

Ben Goldacre to speak at DREaM conference on 9th July 2012

Ben Goldacre announced as #lis_dream5 keynote speaker

The announcement was made at the DREaM project workshop on 30th January 2012

Today we announced that Dr Ben Goldacre will be the closing speaker at the DREaM project conference on 9th July 2012. Dr Goldacre is probably best known for the weekly Bad Science column in the Guardian, which he has written since 2003. His presentation on research, evidence bases, decision making and policy will conclude a day devoted to considering the role of research in supporting library and information services provision.

For further details, please see the media release.

Follow #lis_dream3 online

Final preparations are underway for the next DREaM workshop, which will be held this coming Monday 30th January at the British Library conference centre. If you are not able to come to the workshop in person, but still have an interest in the themes under discussions, you can follow the workshop online and even get actively involved in the debates and activities using social media.

Here is an overview of what will be available…

Resources

From Monday morning you will be able to access resource pages for each session directly from the workshop programme. At each of these you will find the speaker’s slides, handouts, and details about how to get involved with the discussions surrounding the session throughout the day. After the event, these pages will be updated with video recordings and session summaries to help you recap.

The video recordings from the sessions and photos from the event as a whole will also be made available in the LIS DREaM community.

Discussions

Once again, we will be providing a live commentary of the event on Twitter from the @lis_dream account, using the event hash tag #lis_dream3.

If you are tweeting about the event, please include the #lis_dream3 hash tag so that others following the event can engage with you.

If you are not a Twitter user, you will be able to follow both the commentary and associated discussions through our CoverItLive session. Here you can also add your own comments without the need for any form of login or account.

If you are following online, please let us know if you have any questions at all – either about the event or the content of a specific session. If you have a question for a speaker we can relay this for you and let you know the answer that was given either via Twitter or via CoverItLive. Simply post your question in CoverItLive or tweet to @lis_dream and we will respond to you directly.

Workshop Exercise

We are pleased to announce that the workshop exercise, run by Dr Thomas Haigh, will be available for online participants. If you are following the event online and would like to take part, the exercise will be available for you to contribute between 11:30 and 15:00. Details will be released on the day.

Archiving Event Tweets

As many of you will know, the very useful Twitter archiving tool Twapperkeeper is no longer available, so we have been investigating other ways to capture the Twitter discussions surrounding the event. We will be trying out the Twitter Archiving Google Spreadsheet (TAGS) tool created by Martin Hawksey. If you have any questions about the archived tweets will be used, please let us know.

Support

Our event amplifier, Kirsty Pitkin, will be on hand to support you as you follow the event online, so if you have any problems or questions please do let her know via one of the channels described above, or by commenting on this post.

Homework

There is small “homework” task that Professor Mike Thelwall has set in preparation for his session on webometrics. If you plan to follow this session online, please watch this short YouTube video from the Department of Library and Information Science, Delhi, sign in to YouTube and leave comments, and replies to earlier comments, on the video. This should not take you more than a few minutes. The contributions will form part of the discussion at the end of Mike’s session, and include reference to the self-declared age and gender information from YouTube. The network shows whatever age and gender you enter – so Mike says that you can lie if you want to!

We look forward to welcoming you to the workshop on Monday whether you attend in person or online.

DREaM event 3 speaker insight: Thomas Haigh

Thomas Haigh

Dr Thomas Haigh

In the last of our preview interviews leading up to next Monday’s DREaM workshop at the British Library, Dr Thomas Haigh gives us a detailed introduction to his session, in which he will help participants consider techniques from history.

In this interview, Haigh outlines his efforts to raise the profile of information history within the history of technology world and encourage a more interdisciplinary audience to engage with debate in the field. He also explains the value of historical thinking and how this can help LIS researchers think more deeply about the ways in which they conceptualize research problems.

Dr Haigh is an Associate Professor at the School of Information Studies at the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee.
 

What research issues will you be discussing with the workshop participants in your presentation?

The session is about historical methods for research in library and information science. During the session we’ll begin by looking broadly at what history is and why people study it. Then we’ll look at the broad new concept of “information history” proposed in recent years as a way of bring together formerly separate specialties such as library history, history of information technology, and history of information science.

One important challenge is who undertakes historical research in information history and why – should it be confined to questions and audiences within the library and information science field (the “internalist” approach) or are the opportunities within information history to engage with topics and questions of interest to much broader communities of historical scholars. This leads to another challenge: how to integrate historical insights into LIS research projects conducted by non-historians.

How have these issues affected your own research?

My own career as a researcher focused on the history of information technology has made me very much aware of the issues of disciplinary identity and culture. I began in computer science, earning two degrees from the University of Manchester. For my Ph.D. I shifted to history, earning a Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania. For eight years I’ve worked in the School of Information Studies at the University of Wisconsin—Milwaukee. As a consultant or volunteer I’ve worked on historical issues with the Association for Computing Machinery, the IEEE Computer Society, the American Society for Information Science & Technology, and the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics. Within the Society for the History of Technology I chair the Special Interest Group on Computers, Information and Society and have worked hard to bring an interdisciplinary audience to the group’s sessions and workshops as well as to raise the profile of information history within the history of technology world. So while my research is published mostly in journals and books aimed at specialist historical audiences I’ve been constantly challenged to explain historical perspectives to non-historians and promote the value of history to technical communities.

How do you think these issues might be relevant to LIS researchers?

Historical thinking helps us to look more critically and creatively at present day issues. One of the most important historical topics is the construction of identity. The information field has never had a stable identity, and incorporates concepts and assumptions derived from different disciplines. Yet it can also be rather insular. Its composition has evolved rapidly in response to a shifting technological and institutional landscape. History teaches us to look at where ideas come from, who promotes them, and how they reflect broader historical shifts. That will help researchers to think more deeply about the ways in which they conceptualize research problems and the unexamined historical assumptions buried in their work.

Much of the presentation will be spent discussing different historical approaches relevant to information researchers, such as intellectual history, social history, and institutional history. During a group exercise, participants will be asked identify a specific historical question relevant to their personal research and work in a small group to select a specific historical approach and set of possible sources to address this question.

Where can people find out more information?

All those interested in the history of information technology are encouraged to join SIGCIS (free of charge) and use its resources at http://www.sigcis.org. I surveyed the literature on the history of information technology and its questions recently in “History of Information Technology,” Annual Review of Information Science and Technology 45 (2011): 431-487. Like most of my other writing, this is available in preprint form from http://www.tomandmaria.com/tom.

The case for information history more broadly was made by Alistair Black in Information history, Annual Review of Information Science and Technology 40, 2006, pp. 441-473.

Dr Thomas Haigh will be presenting a session titled: Techniques from history at the third DREaM workshop at the British Library on Monday 30th January. He will also present the workshop game in his session. For full details about the workshop, please see the workshop programme.

Research update: Hulya Ceren Anil’s work on Generation Y and conferences

Early in summer 2011 the DREaM project team was approached by Hulya Ceren Anil, a Masters student at the University of Surrey. Hulya asked if it would be possible for her to use the DREaM project launch conference as a site for data collection for her Masters dissertation. We were pleased both to welcome her on the day, and to hear recently that she achieved a distinction for her project, as well as her degree overall. Hulya has sent us an update on her study, the details of which are outlined below.

Hulya

An introduction to Hulya's work from the opening session at the DREaM launch conference

The aim of Hulya’s research was to explore the need for interactivity in the content design of meetings and conferences. She was interested in the Generation Y perspective, and to compare this to the needs of the previous generations. She wanted to find out what kind of advanced interactive technologies may be needed in conferences and meetings in order to motivate and attract the Generation Y audience. She suspected that members of this group are less responsive to basic PowerPoint presentations. Thus she hoped to find out whether there was potential at conferences for advanced audiovisual technology such as virtual reality, 3D, hologram projections etc.

The DREaM launch conference was an ideal site for data collection because of the delegate demographic in terms of age, and because the delegates were from a profession that has a tradition of conference participation. Apart from these main factors, the length and the date of the conference were ideally suited to the timing of Hulya’s research, and the venue was within easy reach for her to attend in person.

Hulya was grateful for a very warm welcome from the organisers when she arrived at the British Library mid-afternoon on July 19th. The audience had been notified of her research in the conference opening session in the morning and the delegates shown her picture.

Participation in the research was optional. When Hulya arrived she placed her questionnaires and envelopes near the exit of the auditorium so anyone interested could pick up a copy at the end of the conference. During closing remarks the audience was reminded about the questionnaire.

After the conference Hulya also appreciated help with distributing her questionnaires to a wider audience. She followed advice from the DREaM launch conference organising committee members on how to achieve this. This help was invaluable in generating further interest in the study, and in securing a high response rate to the survey.

The research findings highlight that visuals should be used extensively in meetings and conferences in order to aid the learning process of Generation Y delegates, and to keep them focused. To do this, an appropriate combination of these should be used along with other forms of data presentation such as audio, motion pictures (videos), and texts. The main reason for the necessity of high visual content is that Generation Y has been exposed to images and visual learning since early childhood. This generation is used to playing video games and surfing the Internet.

Hulya also found that Generation Y prefers a high level of interactivity (both technological and personal) and prefers that the entertainment element at meetings and conferences is also emphasised. In addition, serious games as well as interactive learning tools such as touch screen tables with a high level of graphics can be utilised for this purpose. Specialised software tailored specifically according to a meeting’s needs will encourage collaboration: Generation Y generally prefers to collaborate and co-operate. If the right design is employed, this can help bring out Generation Y’s true potential as effective collaborators and motivate the achievement of objectives of the conferences and meetings as educational events. At the same time networking and motivation elements are satisfied.

On the basis of her results Hulya advises conference organisers to understand Generation Y well and tailor their conferences and meetings accordingly. The findings have shown that there is no need for extreme changes. However, left to time, a gap will grow between the generations if attention isn’t paid to this issue now. Hulya’s research, and that of others, has shown that Generation Y is a very productive cohort, provided that it is approached the right way and given the right conditions.

DREaM event 3 speaker insight: Peter Beresford

Peter Beresford

Professor Peter Beresford OBE

In the third of our preview posts leading up to next week’s DREaM workshop, Professor Peter Beresford gives us a an insight into his opening session, in which he will discuss action research in a presentation titled: User Involvement In Research: Making sense of a radical new development.

He outlines the research approaches he plans to touch upon and explains why he feels user involvement should be important to library and information science researchers.

Professor Peter Beresford OBE is Professor of Social Policy and Director of the Centre for Citizen Participation at Brunel University.
 
 

Please tell us about the research approaches that you will be discussing in your presentation.

I shall be discussing research approaches that are concerned with user involvement, user control and collaborative approaches to research. These include emancipatory disability research, survivor research and what is called “user-controlled” research.

How have you used these approaches in your own research?

As a service user and academic researcher I have been involved in the development as well as use of such research approaches, undertaking such research from within a user controlled organisation as well as in academic settings. This includes research projects concerned with mental health, disability, end of life care, welfare reform, social work, social care and social policy.

How do you think the issues that you raise may be of particular interest to library and information science researchers?

I think user involvement approaches raise complex issues around research methodology, values, principles and practice and I am guessing that the people you are asking about want to be in touch with these and have chances to explore them.

Where can people find out more information about the issues that you will be covering?

Check out NIHR Involve’s website.This reference will hopefully also be helpful: Sweeney, A. Beresford, P. Faulkner, A. Nettle, M. Rose, D. (editors), (2009), This Is Survivor Research, Ross-on-Wye, PCSS Books.

Professor Beresford will be presenting a session entitled User Involvement In Research: Making sense of a radical new development (action research) at the third DREaM workshop at the British Library on Monday 30th January. For full details about the workshop, please see the workshop programme.

DREaM event 3 speaker insight: Mike Thelwall

Professor Mike Thelwall

Professor Mike Thelwall


 
In the second of our series of posts previewing our upcoming DREaM 3 workshop, Professor Mike Thelwall gives us a taster of his session, in which he will provide an introduction to webometrics. He describes the scope of the session and provides links to a plethora of publications for those who want to find out more ahead of the workshop.

Mike Thelwall is Professor of Information Science and leader of the Statistical Cybermetrics Research Group at the University of Wolverhampton, UK. He is also Docent at Åbo Akademi University Department of Information Studies, and a research associate at the Oxford Internet Institute.
 
 
 

What research issues will you be discussing with the workshop participants in your presentation?

I will discuss webometrics – quantitative methods for analysing web-based information from an information science perspective. The talk will discuss tools to gather and process data from the web and methods to analyse the data. It will also describe methodological limitations and a number of case studies, including discussions about YouTube videos.

How have these issues affected your own research?

This talk is a survey of some of the research tools and methods developed in my research group and it is core to our research approach.

How do you think these issues might be relevant to LIS researchers?

The techniques have wide potential to be useful in information science research for issues that are either online or have an online component. The methods are particularly useful for pilot and exploratory studies to quickly get an overview of an issue from online data.

Where can people will find more information?

Publications are available on my home page including the book “Introduction to Webometrics” (2009).

Professor Thelwall will be presenting a session introducing webometrics at the third DREaM workshop at the British Library on Monday 30th January. For full details about the workshop, please see the workshop programme.