University of Northampton Learning and Library Services Conference 2012

Dr Miggie Pickton, editorial board member of Library and Information Research and a keen supporter of the LIS Research Coalition since its establishment, has contributed a guest blog post on a conference for LIS practitioners interested in conducting their own research. Miggie writes:

Hannah Rose (left) and Gillian Siddall (right) encouraging students to participate in their focus groups

Hannah Rose (left) and Gillian Siddall (right) encouraging students to participate in their focus groups

Here in the library at the University of Northampton we don’t just support research activity: we believe in engaging with it ourselves. The last few years have seen a steady increase in the number of Northampton library staff involved in research activity. Whether working in collaboration with partners or pursuing individual goals, the common purpose of all of our projects has been to conduct research that will inform our practice. Only by gathering and using evidence – from literature, theory, policy or practice – can we be sure that we are offering the best possible service to library users.

The use of research to inform practice is the underlying theme of our first departmental conference. This will take place on June 19th 2012. Staff from Library and Learning Services (the department comprises library, learning technology and learning development services) will be speaking on a range of topics: the iconography of the library; new roles for reading lists; the use of mobile apps; research data management, and more. We are also running a poster competition and two sets of ‘minute madness’ presentations. Our aim is to involve as many staff as possible, from all parts of the department. Our intended audience comprises the LIS community and our own service users.

We are particularly proud of our featured presentations. Many of the speakers have already presented their work at national and international conferences and published in a variety of places. Several have successfully competed for funding to support their work. Two of our presenters are the current holders of the LIRG Research Award and two have won university Teaching Fellowships for their work. Not only has their research benefited the service, it has also brought career benefits and increased job satisfaction to those involved.

We have been fortunate at Northampton in that research activity is strongly encouraged by our senior managers. LIS staff are rewarded with opportunities to attend external events and time to write for publication. But the motivation must come from within. To learn more about this, here is an opportunity to meet Northampton’s practitioner researchers.

So we welcome you warmly to our conference.

The full programme is available on our conference web site. If you would like to come along please contact Fiona Maclellan. There is a nominal charge of £30 to cover costs (including lunch).


Ben Goldacre and the DREaM project: read all about it in CILIP Update

CILIPUpdate May 2012 cover

DREaM keynote speaker Ben Goldacre features on the cover of CILIPUpdate (photograph of Goldacre copyright Scott Hurst)

Check out the May 2012 issue of CILIP Update for news of the DREaM project and the forthcoming conference at the British Library on Monday 9th July 2012.

As well as featuring Ben Goldacre on the front cover of the magazine, there is a news item on Goldacre’s involvement in the presentation of the Library and Information Science Practitioner Researcher Excellence Award (“Ben Goldacre to present award”, p. 7).

The issue also includes a full-length feature article by Hazel Hall and Charles Oppenheim. They discuss their involvement in the DREaM project, and its efforts to mobilise the UK library and information science research community (“The possible DREaM: developing LIS research excellence”, pp. 32-33).

There are still conference places available, with travel bursaries to support the attendance of new professional, PhD student, and international delegates. To book your place please go to the DREaM conference registration page.

Last chance to nominate for the Practitioner Researcher Excellence Award

Hurry! Nominations close today (Monday 30th April) for the Practitioner Researcher Excellence Award.

We’d like to hear about (a) individual librarians or information scientists, or (b) a team of librarians and/or information scientists, who have made a substantial contribution to LIS research since 2009. Nominated individuals and teams should be based in the UK or the Republic of Ireland. The award winner(s) will receive £500 and a plaque to be presented by Dr Ben Goldacre at the DREaM conference at the British Library on Monday 9th July.

Nominations should take the form of a 500-word statement (maximum) 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.)

Nominations should be sent to Members of the LIS Research Coalition Board of Directors will form the judging panel for the award.

To book your place at the DREaM conference, please see the

International delegate at July’s DREaM conference? Apply for £100 travel bursary

The main aim of the DREaM project is to develop a formal UK-wide network of Library and Information Science (LIS) researchers and – as such – we have been bringing together the UK LIS research community at our events. We also recognise that the involvement of international participants in DREaM events provides excellent opportunities for UK LIS researchers to strengthen their links with colleagues from beyond the UK. We were therefore pleased to welcome delegates and speaker from abroad to the launch conference in July 2011, and to the workshop series. In addition, a number of contributors to the programme of events are based outside the UK: Professor Blaise Cronin, Dr Thomas Haigh and Professor Carol Tenopir from the US, Professor Gunilla Widén from Finland, and Dr Dylan Evans from the Republic of Ireland.

We are pleased to offer a travel bursary to the value of £100 to one of our international delegates at the DREaM project’s concluding conference at the British Library, London on Monday 9th July 2012. All interested in LIS research from countries beyond the UK – whether they be our close neighbours in the Republic of Ireland, or based at the other side of the world – are eligible to apply for the bursary.

The value of the award is £100 to help with travel costs to the UK. The winner will be expected to source funding from elsewhere to cover additional expenses such as the balance on travel, plus subsistence and accommodation costs, as well as the £95 conference registration fee.

The deadline for applications is Wednesday 30th May. Applications will be judged by members of the DREaM project advisory board, and the names of the winner announced by mid-June.

To apply for the international delegate bursary please tick the box for “international delegate” when you register for the conference and we will be pleased to send you an application form.

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.

Ben Goldacre to speak at DREaM conference on 9th July 2012

Ben Goldacre announced as #lis_dream5 keynote speaker

The announcement was made at the DREaM project workshop on 30th January 2012

Today we announced that Dr Ben Goldacre will be the closing speaker at the DREaM project conference on 9th July 2012. Dr Goldacre is probably best known for the weekly Bad Science column in the Guardian, which he has written since 2003. His presentation on research, evidence bases, decision making and policy will conclude a day devoted to considering the role of research in supporting library and information services provision.

For further details, please see the media release.

EBLIP6 report: day 3, Thursday 30th June 2011

Our final EBLIP6 review is by Paolo Gardois, a PhD student at Sheffield University (@paologardois). Paolo reports on Thursday 30th June…

EBLIP6 tweeters and bloggers

Three of the LIS Research Coalition sponsored delegates eagerly await Thursday's keynote: Dr Katie Fraser, Katrina Dalziel & Paolo Gardois

Professor Hazel Hall opened the final day of EBLIP6 in Salford with a thought-provoking keynote speech on impact. Both patrons and managers demand services that really make a difference, and impact may take different forms: from changing users’ information behaviours to assessing academic impact through bibliometric measures, or evaluating services based on specific outcome measures, especially in the academic sector. Also, impact is very difficult to measure and evaluate. The impact of research on practice, for example, is often dependent on the cumulative and indirect effect of practitioners’ exposure to research output. Impact counts, anyway! In the current economic climate, research must demonstrate that it actually has an impact on practice, and the research–practice gap should be bridged, or at least reduced. Hazel then shared with the audience evidence emerging from the LIS Research Coalition’s RiLIES project which is due to report later this year. Several factors play a key role in increasing research uptake by practitioners: quality, scale and applicability of research itself; means of face-to-face dissemination; availability of accessible textual sources to be used as a reference in daily practice; high profile dissemination partners; and – last but not least – individuals who act as research connectors, as well as social media. Hazel finished her presentation by referring to the question “What difference does it make?” appropriately citing the Smiths, whose Salford Lads’ Club photograph is now one of the most iconic in British music history.

Later in the morning, parallel section 6 focused on a range of topics: (1) web-based services to enhance users’ experience of library services; (2) analysis of electronic resources usage by patrons as a key indicator of value generated by academic library services; (3) the development of evidence-based services in academic and health libraries, and their impact on quality improvement. As budgets shrink and patrons’ expectations rise, all three sessions offered really useful tools to improve service provision and demonstrate value for money.

The session before lunch showed an innovative and interactive format: the LIS Research Coalition organised a panel session involving LIS practitioners and journal editors.

Meet the editors

Panel members at the Meet the Editors session at EBLIP6: Professor Dick Hartley, Val Skelton, Dr Miggie Pickton, Denise Koufogiannakis, Dr Christine Urquhart

The session aimed to improve communication between the two parties and help information professionals plan the publication of their work with a better understanding of the goals and practical steps involved in editorial processes. For example, the editors advised the careful project-management of any potential publication, paying close attention to the information needs of the target journal’s audience, and not to underestimate the value of what professionals have to say to their colleagues and peers. Aiming for a high standard of work is important, but the editors encouraged members of the audience not to be obsessed with perfection: peer reviewers can help improve the quality of work submitted with their feedback. Importantly, the peer review process should be viewed as a dialogue during which both parties have a potential to learn. Also worth emphasising was the difference between research and practice-based articles: there are specific LIS journals for both categories. Even negative results, which are rarely published, are of great interest to audiences.

Poster explanation at EBLIP6

Dr Brian Detlor explains the content of his poster to Val Skelton

After a refreshing lunch and a final look at the posters (of amazing variety and really high quality), delegates were ready for the last two sessions of the conference. Parallel session 7 engaged the audience on a wide array of issues related to innovation and development of services, including the role of libraries in the management of scientific datasets, performance measurement techniques such as activities-based costing, methodological reflections on best practices and the uptake of an evidence-based approach in library services, and the available evidence base for evaluating the effectiveness of web 2.0 services. A specific session gauged the progress of evidence based practice in the health sector. Here topics included the value of services offered by NHS libraries, the efficient use of bibliographic databases and the impact of clinical librarianship on patient care and organizational objectives.

Then the time came for the closing address by Andrew Booth, who underlined the multidimensional and complex nature of “evidence-based library and information practice”. Virtually all the vocabulary used in the label can be discussed and modified, and the EBLIP6 conference had proved a valuable forum for the concepts to be discussed. Andrew also pondered the future of EBLIP. One key development resides in focusing less on research and randomised controlled trials and more on more on what really needs to be done to improve users’ experience in a really messy world. Andrew referred to the concept of “knowledge interaction”, which accounts for the need for genuine partnership between actors. Picking up on previous speakers’ references to music (keynotes Dr Ross Todd and Professor Hazel Hall had cited Bjork and the Smiths respectively) Andrew recited his own version of the lyrics of the Go-Go’s “My lips are sealed” to close the formal programme. Then awards were conferred and votes of thanks given. Mary Dunne was judged to have presented the best poster, and Kate Davies and Zaana Howard the best paper. Finally it was “Goodbye Salford” after a very interesting and stimulating three days.