LIS Research Linking System prototype

Christine Irving introduces Maja Ilievska to afternoon tea

Maja Ilievska has just completed the second week of her summer placement working with Hazel Hall, Christine Irving and Peter Cruickshank on LIS Research Coalition projects. She says that she is enjoying the work and learning a lot. Maja is particularly looking forward to participating at the DREaM project conference, especially for the opportunity of meeting new people involved in the LIS community and sharing experiences with them. (Maja has also been getting used to our strange UK “summer” weather and taken to drinking tea!)

In the meantime Maja is working on an individual project. She is now in the position to share some information about the work that she hopes to complete. She’s written a proposal, the focus of which is how to address the question:

What would be a good system to serve as a central community-maintained access point to link to useful information about LIS practitioner research work and other “small” projects?

In the next four weeks Maja will create a prototype LIS Research Linking System. She hopes that this might be developed into a working model that will provide LIS practitioners access to the research of others that would be useful in helping them improve their practice.

Maja has identified a couple of stages for her project. The first is to research the “market” through observing activities in the JISC LIS mailing groups. The lists comprise a valuable source of information on how LIS practitioners work together to solve “small” research questions in an informal and practical way. Typically this is done by individuals: (1) posting a question to a mailing list; (2) gathering data from others who offer their opinions, expertise, and stories of their own experience of the matter in question; (3) analysing the data gathered; then (4) (sometimes, but not always) posting a summary of the findings to the list. Maja is also interested in identifying other online resources that outline smaller (and often unfunded) research projects, such as descriptions of workplace research in individuals’ blog postings, or relevant Masters dissertations that have been made available on the Web. The second stage of Maja’s project will be to choose a suitable platform that could link to these primary sources of research output. In this stage of the work special attention will be paid to existing models for the implementation of other collaborations amongst the LIS community such as the semi-annual Library day in a life and the LIS Publications wikis. A blog or other similar tool may also be a possibility.

Having done this work the next stage will be to ask people who have completed – or who are working on – LIS research projects of the nature described above to contribute to the community approach by linking their research to the new system. At the end of her placement Maja hopes that she will be able to say that she has a prototype system functioning as a community-maintained resource that could be developed further to provide a valuable tool to help LIS practitioners access research in the fields of their interest.

Maja is mindful that she only has a few weeks to work on this project (she leaves her placement on 20th July) so she may not be able to meet all her objectives. However she will try her best to contribute an insight into a possible solution to the problem that practitioners face when trying to access information about smaller and more informal LIS research output.

Maja is looking for feedback on these ideas and is open to new ideas and suggestions. If you would like to make a comment on her project please do so here. Alternatively you can contact Maja by e-mail at, on Twitter at @MajaNapier, or meet her in person at the DREaM conference at the British Library in London on Monday 9th July.

3 Responses to LIS Research Linking System prototype

  1. garygre says:

    Hi Maja

    Good luck with this project – I think it will be really useful to have a single resource that points to all appropriate LIS research.

    Re. Library Day In The Life wiki. I think it works well because it’s only updated twice a year by individuals and everyone takes on the responsibility of doing the work and keeping it up to date. This means that they go into the wiki 4 times a year in general (twice a year to say they’re taking part and twice a year to link to their write-up). Therefore it’s not like a great deal of effort goes into keeping it up to date – of course, I’m not sure how much admin is involved. The fact that the full write-up doesn’t get added to the wiki (just a link) also cuts down on the amount of effort needed. With regard to having a similar LIS research wiki, I wonder if as well as adding a link, a brief summary of the research would be needed to accompany the link?

    However, one of the drawbacks of the Library Day In The Life wiki system is that I can’t see a way to search for entries around a specific topic/subject eg. If I search for “Health” it will retrieve any pages that contain the word “health”, but it doesn’t just pull out those individual entries mjade by individuals. I think any system you use to create the LIS Research link site would be of greater use if it had the capability to search in a way that does pull out individual research projects like this.

    Maybe another option would be a blog that has individual entries for each LIS research project and that could be searched upon.

    Also, maybe this blog could automatically pull in links to posts from individual blogs based on the use of an agreed tag eg “lisresearch”. This again would cut down on the need for any duplication of effort to get relevant links into the LIS Research blog. The UK Library blogs wiki is a good resource for identifying any relevant UK based blogs and is still being updated regularly. I think this idea could be achievable using something like Yahoo pipes or/and, as long as people used the right tag. Obviously not all blog posts will be tagged in this way, but at least it would cut down on some of the effort.

    I really like the idea of pulling in the informal research that crops up on LIS discussion group lists and other places. Maybe the best way to collate these discussions would be via the blog again with individual blog posts that summarise the discussion and link directly to it.

    I realise you won’t be able to pull in all relevant LIS research blog posts, as you need to know everyone who is blogging in this area, so there will be a need for manual entry too.
    Maybe you could investigate using a blogging platform that allows multiple authors to contribute, so that the admin/workload could be shared. Maybe WordPress would be an appropriate platform.

    I hope this helps.

  2. garygre says:

    I’m also wondering how you can pull in discussions that happen on sites like Twitter too? There are 2 sides to this – you have formal conversations around hashtags such as #uklibchat!/search/%23uklibchat?q=%23uklibchat , but you also have informal discussions that crop up at random. You’ve also got sites such as Google+, Facebook (eg ALA Think Tank), LinkedIn, Library2.0 wiki, etc that I think would be worthwhile feeding into the LIS Research link site/blog too.

  3. ilievska says:

    Many thanks for your feedback Gary. I will be considering these ideas.

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