April 2012 issue of Coalition newsletter now available

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 second newsletter dated April 2012 is issued this week.


DREaM event 4 speaker insight: Kevin Swingler

Kevin Swingler


The second in our series of preview interviews ahead of DREaM event 4 is with Kevin Swingler from Stirling University. In this interview, he introduces us to his topic of data mining and reflects how this might be applied to LIS research.

Which research method will you be discussing with the workshop participants in your presentation?

I will be discussing data mining techniques. These are methods for using data to ‘teach’ a computer to perform a task. Data mining is less concerned with understanding the data or the process that produced it than most techniques. In this sense it is task oriented – we use the data to predict future events or classify situations as being similar to those seen in the past.

How have you used this in your own research?

My own research includes devising new data mining techniques and using existing ones – mostly for commercial applications such as predicting consumer behaviour, spotting fraud in banking or insurance, and predicting medical outcomes.

How do you think this might be useful as a method in LIS research?

An example of where data mining might be useful in LIS is automatic sentiment classification in social media. This is the process of training a computer to tell whether the attitude in a social media message is positive or negative. It can also be used to find posts on certain topics where simple keyword lists are not enough.

Where can people will find more information?

I have a series of lecture slides on data mining from my course at Stirling University. You can see them here.

A good book is Data Mining: Practical Machine Learning Tools and Techniques by I.H. Witten and E. Frank

Kevin Swingler will be presenting a session introducing data mining at the fourth DREaM workshop at the Edinburgh Napier University on Wednesday 25th April. For full details about the workshop, please see the workshop programme.

DREaM 4 speaker insight: Dr Harry J Woodroof

The fourth LIS DREaM event is just around the corner already and we’re getting ready to welcome the cadre back to Edinburgh Napier’s Craighouse campus for what promises to be a fascinating series of presentations, ranging from horizon scanning and data mining to impact and techniques from psychology.

Once again we will be interviewing our expert speakers to get an insight into their sessions ahead of the workshop. The first of these interviews is with Dr Harry J Woodroof from the Defence Science & Technology Laboratory, who previews his session on horizon scanning for us now…

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

I will explain the reasons that organisations – such as Government – need to carry out horizon scanning. The principal one is to inform today’s decision-makers about both the risks and the opportunities of the future, and their implications. I shall describe what horizon scanning is, and why, compared to some other techniques, it can be particularly helpful to policy-makers and others who need to understand and manage the uncertainties that characterise the future. I shall compare two of the horizon scanning processes in use within UK Government: those in the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl) and in the Foresight Horizon Scanning Centre within the Government Office for Science.

How have you used this in your own research work?

I will briefly describe two examples of how horizon scanning work that I was involved in has been used in UK Government: the National Security Strategy update of 2009 and the analysis phase of the Comprehensive Spending Review of 2007.

How do you think this topic might be relevant to LIS researchers?

Horizon scanning can be part of the overall “knowledge mix” of a research-focussed organisation.

Where can people will find more information?

Details of the work of the Foresight Horizon Scanning Centre are their website. Its published scan – the Sigma Scan – is at www.sigmascan.org.

You can also follow this link is to a paper published by two of my colleagues which describes some aspects of Dstl’s horizon scanning work.

Dr Harry J Woodroof will be presenting a session introducing horizon scanning at the fourth DREaM workshop at the Edinburgh Napier University on Wednesday 25th April. For full details about the workshop, please see the workshop programme.

Health Information and Libraries for Evaluation and Research Network (HEALER)

David Stewart, Director of Health Libraries North West and a member of the Board of Directors of the LIS Research Coalition, has contributed a guest blog post on the Health Information and Libraries for Evaluation and Research network (HEALER). David writes:

Health Information and Libraries for Evaluation and Research network (HEALER)

David Stewart

David Stewart

Are you interested in research and in evaluating your library service? Then the HEALER network is for you! It’s free to join and open to anyone who is interested in improving the evidence base for health sciences librarianship, whether that be through formal research, service audit or local evaluations of service.

Our formal aim is to “bring together all those interested in developing the evidence base for health sciences librarianship in the UK.  The network recognises that research, evaluation and service audit are all valid and important elements of the evidence base.”

We have a broad and growing membership of the individuals and group that includes:

  • NHS and Higher Education health library staff
  • NHS Strategic Health Authority Library Leads Group (SHALL)
  • University Departments of Library & Information Science
  • University Departments of Health Sciences with researchers interested in health information
  • Publishers (in particular the Editor of Health Information and Libraries Journal)
  • NICE: NHS Evidence Service
  • National Institute for Health Research
  • Consortium of Health Independent Libraries in London (CHILL)
  • Social Care Institute for Excellence (SCIE)

Our objectives are:

  • To provide an opportunity for individuals to meet colleagues interested in developing the evidence base through research, evaluation and audit
  • To identify areas and questions that need research and to agree priorities for shared approaches
  • To explore options for shared funding and commissioning of research
  • To share information about research calls in this field
  • To find ways of getting research into practice and of sharing the results with the wider health community
  • To link NHS and HE individuals and organisations publishing in this field
  • To be an advocate for improving and developing research in this field
  • To find ways of increasing research capacity and capability
  • To develop the research, evaluation and audit skills of health sciences librarians and to develop tools to support them

We have at least one event each year, part of which is learning and sharing, and part a short business meeting. You can see what has happened at previous events at our web pages: http://www.libraryservices.nhs.uk/healer/. Our next meetings will be as part of the Health Libraries Group Conference in Glasgow, 12–13 July 2012.

We have also created an online step-by-step guide to carrying out research in the health library setting at http://www.libraryservices.nhs.uk/healer/researchguidelines/

If you would like to join the HEALER Network, then please e-mail Hannah Spring at h.spring@yorksj.ac.uk and we will then add you to our e-mail discussion list.


Registrations open for the DREaM conference, July 9th, London

The British Library piazza

The British Library piazza

Registrations are now open for the 2012 DREaM project conference which takes place at the British Library Conference Centre, London on Monday 9th July.

The exciting programme includes a keynote speech from best-selling author, broadcaster, medical doctor and academic Dr Ben Goldacre. Dr Goldacre will also present the Library and Information Science (LIS) Practitioner Researcher Excellence Award.

Other sessions include a review of the DREaM project by Professor Hazel Hall; an opening keynote presentation on the value and impact of library and information services by Professor Carol Tenopir; a series of short delegate-led “one minute madness” presentations; an invited paper that analyses the DREaM network by Dr Louise Cooke; and an open panel discussion on how a UK network of LIS researchers can be sustained. Panellists include Dr Carla Basili of the Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche (Italy), CILIP’s Annie Mauger and DREaM cadre member Jo Alcock.

To book your place, please register here. Registration costs £95 inclusive. There are ten bursaries of up to £90 to help new professionals and full-time PhD students who are located outside London with their travel costs. These will be awarded on a first come first served basis. So if you joined the profession in 2008 or more recently, or are a registered doctoral student, please register quickly to secure a bursary place.

To see the full programme for the day, please see the DREaM conference web page.

Invitation to complete the RiLIES2 project poll

Which freely available online resources do you consult to find relevant library and information science (LIS) research to help with your job? Where would you go if you wanted to access advice online on how to set up a new research project of your own?

The RiLIES2 project research team is currently working on the production of some new research resources and training materials. These are intended to support librarians and information scientists in the use of published LIS research in their work. Additionally they will serve as reference tools for librarians and information scientists interested in conducting research projects of their own.

We are keen to ensure that we do not replicate existing provision of resources, and to identify the best format and “home” for the resources that we produce. To this end we invite you to complete this short poll. Its purpose is to find out which of the existing resources that support librarians and information scientists use and/or conduct research are (a) well used and/or (b) respected.

The poll is aimed at LIS professionals who are based in the UK, but if you live in another country, we would still be interested in your answers.

Please follow this link to take part. The poll will remain open until the end of April.

RiLIES2 project is a follow-on project from RiLIES1. RiLIES1 explored the extent to which funded librarianship research projects influence library practice in the UK. Download the RiLIES1 project report Enhancing the impact of LIS research projects.