DREaM 5 speaker insight: Dr Louise Cooke

Louise Cooke

Dr Louise Cooke

As the DREaM Conference at the British Library on 9th July fast approaches, we bring you the first in our series of preview posts from our speakers and panelists. In this post, Dr Louise Cooke describes her involvement with the DREaM project as a whole and introduces her invited paper: Facets of DREaM: An analysis of network development to support UK LIS research and researchers.

Dr Louise Cooke is a Senior Lecturer at Loughborough University, where she teaches on the MSc Information and Knowledge Management programme.

Dr Cooke gave an introduction to social network analysis at the second DREaM event.

How have you been involved in the DREaM project to date?

I was contacted in the early days of the project when I was invited to deliver a session on Social Network Analysis (SNA) at the first of the three DREaM project workshops held in Edinburgh in October 2011. Hazel Hall asked me to include a ‘game’ in the session. As I had previously run a SNA workshop in Loughborough that involved some ‘real time’ network analysis, and it had gone down well, I decided to do something similar. It was not quite a game, perhaps, but I think delegates enjoyed the interactive nature of the exercise, and were curious to see the resulting network patterns.

Why are you participating in the conference?

The results from the initial analysis were interesting, but led us to question whether the networks would change over the course of the three DREaM workshops (attended by the same set of delegates: the DREaM workshop cadre). Initially, the networks were very centralised around a few key individuals. Ideally, we’d like to see that subsequently new connections have been made, and a more ‘equal’, but also more densely connected, pattern has emerged. So, we decided that we would repeat the exercise at the third workshop in Edinburgh in April 2012, and I would present the visualised findings at the DREaM conference in London on 9th July 2012.

What do you hope to achieve in your invited presentation?

First and foremost, I’d like to be able to demonstrate through visualisation of network data that the DREaM workshops have contributed to the fulfilment of the key objective of the DREaM project as a whole: to develop a formal UK-wide network of Library and Information Science (LIS) researchers. I’ve not analysed the data yet, so I can’t say whether or not the data will show such a change or whether little has actually changed! Secondly, I’d like to be able to interest a wider audience in the value of SNA as a useful and powerful technique for LIS research – and also to convey that it is not as complex to undertake as people imagine.

You are also participating in the afternoon panel session. What do you expect to come up in the discussion?

The main focus I imagine will be on how to sustain the momentum of the DREaM project, and in particular to support and develop the networks that have already been built through the project. Funding is sure to be an issue, but I think it’s also important to explore how a self-sustaining network (community of practice) can be maintained by its members for its members. Also how this collaboration can be extended is important: the possibilities are endless, for example with regard to partnerships in funded research, or just social networking events.

Dr Cooke will be presenting her invited paper Facets of DREaM: an analysis of network development to support UK LIS research and researchers at the DREaM Conference at the British Library on Monday 9th July. For full details about the conference programme and to book a place, please see the conference web page.

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