CILIP Update and Gazette draws on the expertise of Coalition project staff and previews EBLIP6

Last month team members working on the Research in Librarianship Impact Evaluation Study (RiLIES) responded to a request for information from freelance journalist Debby Raven. Debby was preparing an article on evidence-based librarianship in CILIP Update with Gazette. This article has now been published, and provides an interesting review of some of the current thinking on evidence based librarianship from key advocates of the approach in the UK. If you’re a member of CILIP you can click through to the June 2011 issue of CILIP Update with Gazette to read Debby’s article online.

The article also previews the sixth Evidence Based Library and Information Practice (EBLIP6) conference which takes place at the University of Salford, 27-30 June 2011. The LIS Research Coalition is one of the sponsors of EBLIP6.

eblip6 image The Coalition has organised a panel session on publishing entitled “Meet the editors” as part of the conference programme on Thursday 30 June, and funded four places for UK delegates at the event. Professor Hazel Hall is delivering a keynote presentation at the conference, and chairing one of the sessions. On the Tuesday the Research in Librarianship Impact Evaluation Study (RiLIES) project team will be in Salford to run the third of the RiLIES project focus groups with librarians working in medicine and healthcare.

If you are unable to attend sixth Evidence Based Library and Information Practice (EBLIP6) conference in person, you can follow it remotely by tracking the conference Twitter hashtag #eblip6. There is also the option of remote registration with access to streaming and recorded video (for a fee), the details of which are given on the conference FAQ page.

Online 2010: “the one when it snowed”

Snow!

By the end of the annual Online conference and exhibition each year a couple of themes emerge as dominant. Last year, for example, in the LIS Research Coalition’s review of the Online 2009, we reported that social media and the semantic web had been the key areas of interest. At Online 2010 conversations centered on a range of themes including linked data, the social web, the value and impact of information professionals, and mobile and cloud computing. However, at the forefront of many minds was the UK weather as it deteriorated over the course of the week. In the future we may well be remembering this event as “the one when it snowed”.

Online 2010 exhibition hall at London Olympia

Online 2010 exhibition hall at London Olympia

For visitors to Online from both the UK and beyond snow caused much disruption. There were few people at Olympia whose travel plans were not subject to delay or change for their outward and/or return journeys, and many who had hoped to attend Online 2010 simply did not make it to London at all. As a consequence there were some substitutions on the programme, both in terms of presenters and session chairs. Hazel Hall, for example, expected to deliver her own paper on news from the LIS Research Coalition and chair two others: (1) Winning hearts and minds! Breaking through social media barriers with presentations by Phil Bradley (now on Slideshare), Ulla de Stricker and Bonnie Cheuk; (2) Adding value to library and information services using social media with presentations by Kim Holmberg, Mervi Ahola and Janika Asplund, and Hervé Basset.
Presenters Angela Ashenden, Helen Clegg and Gordon Vala-Webb

Presenters Angela Ashenden, Helen Clegg and Gordon Vala-Webb

In the event, she chaired an additional session – Social media in action: driving forward IM and KM with presentations by Gordon Vala Webb (now on Slideshare), Helen Clegg and Hugo Evans, and Angela Ashenden – and was on standby for other duties should they have arisen. This session has been reviewed by VIP in a posting entitled “Infopros and social media 1: culture or toolkit?“.

Twitter

Those who follow @LISResearch on Twitter will have watched our tweeting from sessions where Hazel was a member of the audience. If you would like to see the full archive of conference tweets, it is available from the Online10 Twapperkeeper set up by Karen Blakeman.

A session tweet on the tweet wall

A session tweet on the tweet wall

From here you can get a flavour of the event, as well as links through to speakers’ slides and some blogged reviews of individual sessions and the conference as a whole. At the event itself there were a number of screens around the conference that displayed the Twitter activity in real time. Tweets referred to the sessions, exhibitors and – inevitably – the snow. As well as hosting the screens, UltraKnowledge kept a record who was most active on Twitter. @LISResearch topped the chart.

Paper highlights

Of the sessions that Hazel attended she particularly enjoyed the discussion of “Web squared” as the successor to Web 2.0, illustrated neatly by Dion Hinchcliffe in the opening keynote paper. Here Dion used a table to compare Web squared’s characteristics with those of Web 1.0 and Web 2.0.

Conference chair Stephen Dale and keynote speaker Dion Hinchcliffe

Conference chair Stephen Dale and keynote speaker Dion Hinchcliffe

Bonnie Cheuk’s efforts with social media to protect staff from information overload generated by the “e-mail high five” were entertaining and illustrated the challenges of culture change when implementing social media in the work place. There were three strong presentations from Euan Semple, Lee Bryant and Brian Kelly in the Social media and leadership session on the Tuesday morning, with Euan’s focus on how to move people away from po-faced attitudes to social media, and Lee’s discussion of how information professionals should have a stronger involvement in an area where corporate communications staff often have a hold. Librarians working in higher education are advised to review the video of Brian Kelly’s presentation on the value of cloud services, accessible from his UK Web Focus site. The conference sessions also gave access to many case studies from which librarians and information scientists could learn about good (and sometimes less than optimal) practice in information services delivery.

Ake Nygren spoke about social media and public libraries

Ake Nygren spoke about social media and public libraries

Some of the free sessions were of particular interest, not least because the presentations drew heavily on research evidence. For example, the content of Wednesday afternoon’s Social media spotlight papers by Jakob Harnesk, Hervé Basset, Stephane Goldstein, Geoff Walton, Ake Nygren, and Tomas Baiget derived largely from the results of research projects.

The two papers that followed in the gallery area of the exhibition hall by Annie Mauger of CILIP and Anne Caputo of SLA were also based on the output of research projects. We were particularly pleased when Annie restated in her presentation CILIP’s recognition of the importance of evidence-based research to library and information science.

Congratulations

Hazel was pleased to join in celebrations of success at Online 2010. On the Tuesday afternoon, and just before he was due to take the stage, it was announced that Phil Bradley had been elected Vice President of CILIP for 2011.

Phil Bradley (photo credit Dave Pattern)

Since Hazel was chairing the session in which Phil spoke, she had the honour and pleasure of making the first face-to-face public announcement of Phil’s success.

Later in the afternoon she attended the presentation of the award of Information World Review Information Professional of the Year 2010. Unfortunately the recipient Dave Pattern had been unable to make the journey to London due to the snow, so Karen Blakeman accepted the award on his behalf. For further information on Dave’s well-deserved success, please see the blog post by Brian Kelly. On the Thursday lunchtime we were also pleased to see Stephanie Kenna receive her honorary fellowship of CILIP.

Other reviews

This review of Online 2010 can only reflect the perspective of one participant and, as such, it is limited. For a fuller picture it is worth checking the reviews of others who have reported in detail on individual sessions, as well as the conference as a whole. The blogs postings from the Conference Circuit by Donald T Hawkins provide a good overview starting with Welcome to Live from London – Online Information 2010, as do the posts by Val Skelton and Kat Allen at InfoToday.eu. Val’s summary of What we learnt at Online Information 2010 is particularly interesting. Individuals who have blogged their own experiences of the conference include Mareike Guy and Onlineability. Nancy Davis Kho’s review for VIP focuses on the exhibition, and FreePint’s photos from Online are worth browsing. There are also links to blog postings and photographs from the conference and exhibition on the SLA Europe web site. We look forward to seeing further reviews of the conference in the print media in early 2011.

Presentation to Stephanie Kenna at Online 2010

Each year the Council of the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals (one of the founding members of the LIS Research Coalition) awards honorary fellowships to individuals who have have rendered distinguished service in promoting the objects of the Institute.

Stephanie Kenna

In 2010 the awards were announced and presented at the CILIP Members’ Day held in London on 14th October. Amongst those honoured this year was Stephanie Kenna. Stephanie was unable to attend the ceremony on that day so instead her presentation will be made at Online 2010 at London Olympia today. Those attending Online 2010 are welcome to come to the presentation, which will form part of the LIS Research Coalition conference session, and takes place between 12:30 and 13:00 in the Gallery Rooms in the exhibition hall at Olympia. Stephanie’s contributions to library and information science are well known in the UK, as outlined in the citation below, and it is an honour for the LIS Research Coalition to participate in the celebration of her work today.

Stephanie began her career in librarianship when she joined the British Library (BL) in 1975. She performed a variety of roles before joining the Research and Development Department in 1988. Here she developed and managed the humanities and preservation research programmes, and established, as well as served as secretary to, The National Manuscripts Conservation Trust. In addition she was responsible for BL grants for Cataloguing and Preservation.

When the BL Research and Innovation Centre was closed down in 1999, Stephanie moved into different roles, establishing the BL’s fund for supporting co-operative projects and other grant schemes for cataloguing, conservation and supporting public libraries. She also undertook responsibility for the Full Disclosure and Reaching the Regions programmes. Stephanie then moved on to develop the BL’s regional strategy working closely with the public library sector.

In her final years at the BL, Stephanie played critical roles in establishing two national initiatives: first, the UK Research Reserve, and secondly the Library and Information Research Coalition. Although now retired, she maintains an active role with the Coalition.

Throughout her career Stephanie has also played an active role in CILIP, most importantly as a member of its Accreditation Board and Career Development Group. She remains active in CILIP in her retirement, currently serving on the Defining our Professional Future Project Board, and as a mentor to junior colleagues.

Stephanie’s long career in the BL has been an essentially outward-facing one. Both in the Research and Development Department and in her relationships work, she has played key roles in supporting and enabling the development of high quality library and information services across the UK. In doing so she has promoted and enabled professional development and high standards of professional practice. Fostering education, training, research and innovation in the practice of librarianship and information science was, of course, a key part of her work in R&DD, as well as more recently in the establishment of the LIS Research Coalition.

The respect with which Stephanie is regarded by her many colleagues and friends was shown by the large numbers of them who came from afar to attend her retirement party at the BL at the end of 2009. This is clear recognition of how throughout her career she has worked with colleagues in the UK or overseas to promote and support the provision or development of library and information services.

In recognition of that distinguished contribution Stephanie Kenna is presented for Honorary Fellowship of the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals.

Online 2010 opens today

Online 2010 opens today at London Olympia, and the LIS Research Coalition will be there. Our formal contribution will be on Thursday 2nd December, 12:30-13:00 in the gallery rooms. Here we will be giving an update on the Coalition’s activities. Our presentation will include news of enhanced features on the Coalition web pages, and the AHRC-funded DReAM project due to start in January 2011. We will also be honouring Stephanie Kenna’s award of honorary fellowship of CILIP at the end of this session.

Hazel Hall is chairing two sessions at the conference: (1) Tuesday track 2 16:00-17:30 Winning hearts and minds! Breaking through social media barriers; (2) Thursday track 2 09:30-11:00 Adding value to library and information services using social media.

We will be tweeting from the event, using the hash tag #online10, so even if you can’t be there in person, you can follow the proceedings remotely.

Remembering Bob McKee

A memorial event is being held today to celebrate the life and achievements of Bob McKee, until recently the Chief Executive of CILIP. All of us at the Library and Information Research Coalition were deeply saddened to hear of Bob’s sudden death while he was attending the IFLA conference in Gothenburg in August 2010.

Bob McKee

Bob McKee (photo credit: CILIP)

Without Bob, the Coalition would not have come into existence. He was in at the beginning, as one of the key speakers (and much more than that) at a workshop organised back in 2006 to celebrate the life of Brian Perry, the former Director of the British Library’s Research and Development Department. Bob was a keen participant in the discussions that led to the conclusion that there was a need for an organisation to stimulate, facilitate and co-ordinate strategic library and information science research.

To get from that conclusion to the setting up of the Coalition took a long time. There were all kinds of discussions about what kind of body was needed, who should sponsor it, what it should do, and how it should be financed. Bob was quietly determined that CILIP should play a key role, and when we were nearly at an impasse over the key question of which organisation should provide the absolutely essential financial and other back-office services, Bob agreed that CILIP would take on that role. His support was unstinting, and we could not have done without him.

So we at the Coalition have a special reason for thanking Bob for his help and support, among all the many other things he did to promote and champion the cause of libraries. We shall miss him.

The Professional Librarian and the evidence base

library shelvesMany readers of the LIS Research Coalition blog will have seen (or at least seen reference to) the recent KPMG report. This has generated some controversy within the libraries sector, and beyond. The report criticises the current model for spending on public services and advocates a “Payment for Success” system, which – it claims – will increase productivity and reduce costs across the whole public sector by changing the way services are funded to focus on the delivery of results.

The report singles out libraries as an area of public service facing funding challenges, with library usage declining and the cost per unit for lending a book becoming more expensive than the wholesale price of buying the book. The authors suggest that an appropriate solution would be to follow a North American model, whereby libraries are staffed by community volunteers. The report claims that such a move could save large amounts of money on “over-skilled paid staff”.

Needless to say there has already been a significant reaction to this section of the report. Former poet laureate and current chair of the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council, Sir Andrew Motion, calls the plans “foolhardy, outlandish and potentially catastrophic” in a response for the Guardian. He goes on to stress that: “Good libraries, like good anythings, need expert people working within them. Maybe there is a role for some aspect of volunteering but all the central stuff must be done by people who are qualified to do it…”

CILIP has also been quick to outline the benefits of public libraries managed by professional staff at their web site and has launched a campaign asking for clear, compelling “one-minute messages” to promote the library and information community’s activities. School librarian Nicola McNee has responded to this call using Twitter and the #CILIP1 hashtag to challenge others to outline what they do and why we need skilled professionals working in our libraries. The response to her call has been analysed by Brian Kelly on the UKOLN Cultural Heritage blog.

Radio 4’s The World This Weekend probed the issue in detail and usefully highlighted the importance of looking at the end result intended by having a library in the community, with libraries described as being the “National Health Service of the mind”. You can hear the debate here.

Whilst the report forms part of the run up to a public consultation it seems to have support from the new government. Once again we are reminded that it is only with a robust evidence base that claims such as those made by KPMG might be refuted. The LIS Research Coalition was established last year to facilitate and strategic and coordinated approach to LIS research. One obvious way of developing the evidence base is for LIS stakeholders from across all sectors – and particularly those involved in practitioner research – is to work with the LIS Research Coalition. At the end of this month there is a great opportunity for us to gather together to achieve this at the forthcoming LIS Research Coalition conference on Monday 28th June at the British Library Conference Centre. Here we will be able to discuss the issues in more detail and set the future agenda for adding to – and exploiting – an evidence base the demonstrates the value and impact of LIS. The deadline for signing up to attend the conference is Friday 18th June, so you will need to be quick to secure one of the remaining places.

The librarian as researcher

Over the past few months the LIS Research Coalition has been involved in a number of conferences and meetings, as can be seen from the listings on the Events web page. Last week attention focused on the Librarian as Researcher event organised by the Yorkshire and Humberside branch of the University, College and Research (UC&R) group of the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals (CILIP). As well as those who attended in person, a number of people followed the day’s proceedings on Twitter by watching the hashtag #ucryhres and corresponding with those tweeting, including @LISResearch. Miggie Pickton, who presented at this event, kindly agreed to contribute a guest blog posting on the day for the LIS Research Coalition web site.

Miggie is Research Support Specialist at the University of Northampton. She has been a great supporter of the LIS Research Coalition in the first year of its implementation. Miggie has served on the programme committee for the conference which takes place later in the month on Monday 28th June at the British Library, and is the one behind the organisation of the one minute madness session at this event.

Over to Miggie…

We all enjoyed a fun-filled day on practitioner research in York last Thursday, participating in the ‘Librarians as researchers’ event hosted by UC&R Yorkshire and Humberside. In the morning Jean McNiff of York St John University put us all through our paces as action researchers (yes, we actually did a piece of action research there and then) and then Sheila Corrall from the University of Sheffield’s i-School presented a set of convincing arguments for embarking on a higher degree in LIS. Professional doctorates appeal – a structured programme with lots of relevance to the day job – but, as yet, there not many professional doctorates available for LIS professionals in the UK.

Slightly awed by this exalted company, I was there banging the drum for practitioner research. But why would practitioners want to do research? The group came up with lots of reasons….

Research is good for the individual:

  • It is interesting – an opportunity to explore something in more depth, learn something new, satisfy your curiosity
  • It encourages you to challenge yourself, to move out of that comfort zone, develop new skills, become reflective, stretch yourself
  • It adds variety to the job – research involves a change from routine, an opportunity to do something different, work with new people
  • It involves making a personal connection with work
  • It increases job satisfaction
  • It enables you to do your job better
  • It supports professional development
  • It enhances personal profile and improves career prospects

Research is good for the service and the organisation:

  • It provides evidence of value and demonstrates impact
  • It underpins strategic improvement and other decision-making… and on the way research can help to solve problems and improve service
  • It leads to greater engagement with service users through:
    • Understanding their perspective
    • Showing that you’re interested in their needs
    • Doing what they do (promote the library as ‘academic’ department and the librarian as credible researcher)
  • It increases staff motivation and dynamism
  • It enhances organisational reputation and achieve recognition (within and beyond the institution)
  • It brings financial benefit – by generating income or discovering ways to reduce costs

Research is good for the profession:

  • It provokes conversation and debate (and not just within LIS – with other disciplines too)
  • It creates and disseminates new knowledge and good practice – furthering professional excellence (as CILIP would have us do)
  • It provokes positive change
  • It develops an engaged and vibrant professional community
  • It enhances the profession’s reputation and profile
  • It defines our professional future

And with all that is going for practitioner research, we’d better get on with it, taking advantage of continuing the conversation at other professional events that provide research support and opportunities to consider its context in LIS practice, such as the LIS Research Coalition conference at the end of this month.