Dr Ben Goldacre to present Practitioner Researcher Excellence Award at DREaM conference on 9th July 2012

Award presenter and keynote speaker Dr Ben Goldacre (copyright Rhys Stacker 2009)

Award presenter and keynote speaker Dr Ben Goldacre (copyright Rhys Stacker 2009)

Who will you nominate for the Library and Information Science (LIS) Practitioner Researcher Excellence Award? Perhaps you are worthy of nomination yourself?

The award will be presented by best-selling author, broadcaster, medical doctor and academic Dr Ben Goldacre at the DREaM project conference at the British Library Conference Centre on 9th July 2012 to either (a) an individual librarian or information scientist, or (b) a team that has made a substantial contribution to LIS research since 2009. The indvidual or team should be based in the UK or the Republic of Ireland. The award winner(s) will receive £500 and a plaque.

Immediately after the award ceremony Dr Ben Goldacre will deliver the closing keynote speech of the conference.

Nominations should take the form of a 500-word statement that demonstrates the research excellence of the candidate (or candidate team) and refers to evidence of their research output as practitioner researchers (e.g. published articles, blogs, conference papers, presentations on SlideShare) since 2009. (The award is for an information professional – or team of information professionals – who deliver library and information services. Academics and consultants are not eligible for the award. Self-nomination is not permitted.)

The deadline for nominations is 30th April 2012. Nominations should be sent to hazel.hall@lisresearch.org. Members of the LIS Research Coalition Board of Directors will form the judging panel for the award.

To book your place at the conference, please see the

New LinkedIn Group: Library and Information Research Methods

Library and Information Science Research Methods logo David Haynes (a member of the DREaM project workshop “cadre”) has set up a new group on LinkedIn for anyone interested in LIS research methods.

David Haynes

David Haynes

The group is aimed at LIS professionals, service managers, LIS researchers, and academics. It provides a forum to share ideas, ask colleagues for advice, and start discussions about research methodology. Forthcoming events are listed in the promotions tab and users can even conduct their own polls.

The site was set up jointly by Aspire Squared, IKMConsult and Information Management Associates initially as a resource for participants in their series of workshops on research methods, but has been opened up to the whole LIS community. All you need to do to join is to have a LinkedIn profile. The group is open to all and is monitored. See the group on LinkedIn for further details.

RiLIES report highlights 2: dissemination strategies for impact

In a blog post that we published 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 second of the RiLIES1 highlights postings. Here we present dissemination strategies for impact.

The full RiLIES1 report makes four recommendations related to the dissemination strategies for impact. Here we consider these recommendations with reference to the literature reviewed for RiLIES1 and the outcomes of our empirical work.

1. Develop dissemination strategies that align with how and where practitioners access new information

We confirmed that if practitioners are involved throughout the lifespan of a research project, including helping to determine its scope and design, they are more likely to be aware of, and use, its outputs. Otherwise, face-to-face communication is the most popular way for practitioners to first hear about research that may be relevant to their practice. This is achieved both formally by attending events such as conferences, as well as through informal discussions. It will probably not come as a surprise to most to learn that practitioners have limited interest in peer-reviewed, academic papers.

2. Create and embed research outputs that support the use of research results

Our case studies demonstrated the benefits of creating usable artefacts – such as toolkits, training materials – and a sustainable community of practice (CoP) to support practitioners in the implementation of research findings. However, researchers need to be aware that it can take a lot of work to make a CoP sustainable, and such efforts need to continue beyond the funded period of the project.

3. Include teaching and community support materials in project plans

We found projects which were able to take advantage of additional funding to develop teaching and community support materials based on their project findings maintained a long-term impact.

4. Make research output accessible

Our literature review uncovered a line of argument across several publications that practitioners believe that research output is presented in a way that is difficult to understand. This is the “academic discourse” problem. Researchers should be encouraged to publish reports with clear lists of recommendations (and not “findings that speak for themselves”), in accessible language. Such reports should be written up in addition to any academic papers that researchers may choose to publish. A second issue that is well-recognised is information overload. Difficulties related to academic discourse and information overload can be addressed through the “translation” of research, i.e. making details relevant to practitioners available in sources that they use routinely, as well as relaying research findings in environments where people meet face-to-face, such as at conferences.

On a number of occasions participants consulted in the RiLIES project referred to the need for easily accessible research summaries. Many also regretted that they had only limited access to the research literature. This finding is important because research summaries are available, there are a number of open access repositories of LIS research already in existence, and anyone who is a CILIP member already also has access to a wide range of research resources (see, for example, the resources listed on the LIS Research Coalition’s Links pages). Here lies an opportunity for those with responsibility for freely available open access repositories of LIS research materials to raise awareness of their resources amongst the practitioner communities.

Coming up

Our next RiLIES1 report highlights post will consider the role of social media in enhancing the impact of research projects.

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

Libraries Inspire – the way ahead for libraries in Wales

Alyson Tyler, Libraries Development Adviser for CyMAL: Museums Archives and Libraries Wales, and a member of the Board of Directors of the LIS Research Coalition, has contributed a guest blog post on the Welsh Government’s Libraries Inspire strategy and the part that research played in its development. Alyson writes:

Libraries Inspire coverIn November 2011, Huw Lewis AM, Minister for Housing, Regeneration and Heritage launched the Welsh Government’s Libraries Inspire: the strategic development framework for Welsh libraries 2012–16. This strategy has been developed through working closely with the various library sectors in Wales, and its successful delivery depends on close partnership working between CyMAL, the library sectors and other partners to improve services and make a difference to people’s lives.

Research played an important part in drawing up the new strategy. Surveys with library staff, users and non-users, and focus groups were held as part of the evaluation of Libraries for Life – the previous library strategy in Wales – and the wider findings from the evaluation have also informed this new strategy.

Consultation with the library sectors in Wales also led to the inclusion of a vision statement, and a ‘core offer’ list of what libraries will do. These qualities apply to all types of libraries and reflect their spheres of influence.

The priority areas of activity outlined in Libraries Inspire build on the success of earlier work and include new initiatives. The seven work strands are listed below including some of the key actions:

  • Sustainable models of service delivery e.g. library management system for Wales
  • Resources for all e.g. roll-out a new free e-books service across Wales
  • Space for all e.g. continue the library building modernisation programme
  • Skills for life e.g. embed the Wales Information Literacy Framework
  • Investing in people e.g. regional staff development
  • Attracting the audience e.g. utilising the opportunities presented by social media
  • Delivering a quality service e.g. implement the fourth framework of the Welsh Public Library Standards.

The Libraries Inspire publication provides more detail on all these strands, and the activities to be undertaken each year will be detailed in annual published delivery plans. The delivery plan for 2012-13 is available on the CyMAL web site. Libraries Inspire will also deliver on priorities outlined in the Welsh Government’s Programme for Government, especially greater collaboration between services which was also highlighted in the Simpson Report – Local, regional national: what services are best delivered where?

For further information, please contact Alyson by e-mail at alyson.tyler@wales.gsi.gov.uk; telephone on 0300 062 2112. You can also follow Alyson on Twitter at @libalyson, and read her blog at http://libalyson.wordpress.com.

Introducing RiLIES2

Mary Queen of Scots (Lesley Smith)

Mary Queen of Scots (Lesley Smith) after her presentation at the Edge conference dinner

Regular visitors to these web pages will be familiar with the work of the Research in Librarianship Impact Evaluation Study (RiLIES) that we completed last year.

Using the findings from RiLIES1, the team has just embarked on a second follow-on project. RiLIES2 will produce a series of outputs to support the use and execution of research by librarians and information scientists.

Presented in the form of training, good practice and community support materials, the RiLIES2 outputs will provide practical guidance covering how to: (1) consume extant research (e.g. offer guidance on where to find high quality research output that can be used to improve services delivery); (2) do research; and (3) maximise the impact of research undertaken.

Common to all outputs is the goal of embedding in the LIS community an appreciation of research as essential to high quality services delivery.

At the early stages of the project the team is keen to spread the word of the work in progress. For example, last week Hazel Hall met delegates of the Edge conference in Edinburgh where she was able to introduce the project. A highlight of Hazel’s participation at the event was meeting the after-dinner speaker at the conference dinner. Billed as a “royal visitor”, Mary Queen of Scots (AKA Lesley Smith) gave a very entertaining performance.

Next week we will be discussing with the Library and Information Research Group how we can work together to ensure that the project fits with the needs of the community, and that the work completed will have impact.

RiLIES2 will report in Q3 of 2012.