RiLIES1 report highlights 1: main findings and recommendations

In a blog post on February 2 2012 we announced that the full report of the Research in Librarianship Impact Evaluation Study (RiLIES1) was available to download, and that we would be blogging highlights of the report over the coming weeks. This is the first of RiLIES1 highlights postings. Here we summarise the main findings of the report, and its recommendations.

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.

The project’s findings generated new insights related to the roles of research leadership and sponsorship, and means of involving practitioners in research projects. In particular, findings:

  • highlight a preference for face-to-face channels for the dissemination of research results that is greater than has been previously reported, and
  • reveal the role of social media in raising awareness of research for the first time in a report on this theme.

Eleven detailed project recommendations were made for strategies to ensure that:

  • LIS research undertaken has high level support;
  • the execution of LIS research involves practitioners;
  • dissemination plans for LIS research take into account practitioner preferences for consuming research output;
  • LIS research output is accessible to the target audience;
  • practitioners are given support to engage with research by their employers and professional bodies, drawing on good practice within the broad community of librarians and information scientists.

Our next RiLIES1 report highlights post will consider dissemination strategies for impact.

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

Opportunities for doctoral studies in Information Science in Scotland

ESRC Information Science pathway logoA group of PhD students is meeting on Monday at the Centre for Social Informatics at Edinburgh Napier University for a training event on organisational research and case studies. The one-day event forms part of the provision of the Information Science Pathway of the Economic and Social Research Council’s (ESRC) Scottish Doctoral Training Centre (DTC).

The Scottish DTC Pathway in Information Science was established in 2011 as a collaborative activity of:

The Information Science pathway supports PhD students engaged in studies that explore the creation, recording, analysis, storage, retrieval, distribution, exploitation and measurement of information, and are concerned with its social and economic impact, the legal and regulatory context for its collection and use, the technologies for its management, and information policy and strategy. This agenda demands training and research that places emphasis on the relationship between the use of information and societal development.

The students in the four pathway institutions engage in a mix of institutionally-based and partnership-based training. The pathway builds on the complementary specialisms and expertise within each institution to provide core and advanced training, delivered collaboratively, in order to develop and support a strategic network of participants across Scotland.

As well as running training courses in research methods, the pathway offers PhD scholarships. The first was awarded in 2011 to Lauren Smith to undertake doctoral studies at Strathclyde University. Lauren is already known to the LIS research community through her involvement in the DREaM project.

A call for 2012 applicants has just been released. Those who are interested in applying for an ESRC-funded PhD place at one of the Information Science pathway partner institutions should submit their applications by March 30th 2012. In the first instance applicants should review the information science research activities at each of the pathway partner universities. It will also be worthwhile for applicants to contact the representatives to find out more about PhD study at each institution, and more about the application process. The representatives are:

The members of the Information Science pathway are also involved in the organisation of the annual Information Science Doctoral Colloquium (iDocQ). This is an opportunity for postgraduate researchers working in the field of information science to present their research to their peers and gather feedback on their ideas. iDocQ 2012 will take place in summer 2012. For a flavour of iDocQ, please see the web pages of the 2011 event.

Information Science pathway partner logos

Measuring the impact of libraries, museums and archives – a joint programme

Elaine Fulton, Director, Scottish Library and Information Council/CILIPS, and a member of the Board of Directors of the LIS Research Coalition, has contributed a guest blog post on a joint programme to measure the impact of libraries, museums and archives. Elaine writes:

ALMA-UK is a forum for the libraries, museums and archives strategic bodies across the UK. It provides a focus for information sharing and collaboration on joint projects of mutual benefit.

In 2010, ALMA-UK commissioned a scoping study to consider the economic impact of libraries, museums and archives to their communities. The group recognised that there were a couple of models which have been used but which have not quite been satisfactory across the domains. The remit of the study was to: (1) map and analyse all known economic impact studies relevant to the UK museums, libraries and archives sector; (2) consult with sector stakeholders to determine the kind of economic impact data already being collected and the primary barriers to effective data collection; (3) investigate other comparable toolkits and models of best practice; (4) recommend the best methodologies and toolkit approaches for use by museum, library and archive organisations, both large and small and across all four UK nations; and (5) consider the processes and indicative costs for developing and piloting the toolkits.

An initial scoping study is available in English and in Welsh. In summary, the study identified that it was much easier to articulate and develop an economic model for museums and archives, but much more difficult to do so for libraries given the nature and pattern of use by users. As a result the project was split into two.

Museums and archives focused on the development of an economic impact toolkit (.xls) to help create transparent, locally-relevant impact reports capable of withstanding economists’ scrutiny. There is also a guidance document for this toolkit (pdf).

For public libraries the partners agreed to develop a toolkit for return on investment. SLIC, CyMAL and Libraries NI brought together their funding so that the toolkit can be used in all public libraries in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. Colleagues in England may be able to access the toolkit at a later date. It has taken some months to ensure that robust, relevant and easily understood questions were developed for the toolkit. It was also crucial that the subsequent data could be then translated into a value on return on investment. The final arrangements are being put in place to use the toolkit in a “live” situation in March/April 2012 and then assess the outputs. We hope that the toolkit will be available shortly thereafter.

Coalition newsletters

In 2012 we are issuing regular newsletters to keep the LIS research community informed of the work of the LIS Research Coalition. The newsletters will be mailed to relevant listservs, and a copy of each one archived on the newsletters page. The first newsletter dated February 2012 is issued this week.

DREaM event 3 materials now all online

Thanks largely to the efforts of our event amplifier Kirsty Pitkin, and the hard work of the workshop 2 reviewers, we’re pleased to announce that all the resources from last week’s DREaM project workshop at the British Library are now available online.

From here you can link through to each of the session presentations:

Room signage

The second DREaM workshop was held at the British Library

We have also uploaded the video of delegate presentations in the unconference half hour. This includes contributions from:

  • Marshall Dozier
  • Jean Parris
  • Lauren Smith
  • Jenny Harbour
  • Sue Childs
  • Ella Taylor-Smith
  • Lesley Thomson

The workshop 3 reviews page provides links to all the delegate reviews of the event. Listed with these are Hazel Hall’s analysis of the workshop 2 evaluation forms, and Kirsty Pitkin’s analysis and review of Twitter activity on the day. (The CoverItLive archive of the event also gives a good flavour of the online conversations related to the event.)

If you would like to set up or join an online discussion based around any of the issues covered in this workshop, please feel free to do so with other DREaM network members in the DREaM online community. DREaM online community membership is open to anyone with an interest in library and information science research: you do not have to have attended a DREaM project event to join. You will also find the full set of photos taken at workshop 2 in the DREaM online community.

Enhancing the impact of LIS research projects: RiLIES1 report available

Between February and July last year Hazel Hall and her Edinburgh Napier University colleagues Peter Cruickshank, Ella Taylor-Smith and Jenny Gebel explored the extent to which funded librarianship research projects influence library practice in the UK. Of particular interest to the Research in Librarianship Impact Evaluation Study were the factors that increase or hinder the impact of project outcomes on practice.

We are pleased to announce that the project report Enhancing the impact of LIS research projects is now freely available to download. We will also be blogging here highlights of the RiLIES1 project findings over the coming weeks.

Thanks are due to the librarians and library and information science researchers who contributed to the study in a variety of ways: by completing the initial poll around this time last year, participating in the three focus group discussions, and responding to the final validation survey in summer 2011.

A follow-up project starts this month. For further details of RiLIES2 please see the RiLIES project web page.