EventAmplifier photostream of #lis_dream4

Our event amplifier Kirsty Pitkin has posted a set of photos from yesterday’s DREaM workshop in Edinburgh to her Flickr account. The full set can be found here.

DREaM workshop 3 (#lis_dream4) review and thanks

DREaM logo The DREaM project workshop cadre met yesterday in Edinburgh for the last of the three DREaM project workshops (and the fourth of the five DREaM project events, with the final event being the 2012 DREaM conference at the British Library on 9th July 2012). We have already posted the PowerPoint presentations and resources for the workshop task to this web site (accessible from the workshop page), and over the next few days we will add further resources: session summaries; photographs; video and audio material; and output from our event amplification on the day. A number of delegates are busy writing reviews (the first of which by Jo Alcock has just gone online today), and we will list these together as soon as they are ready. In the meantime we have had a chance to analyse the 25 delegate workshop evaluation forms submitted at the end of the day and are able to present this short review.

The workshop was another successful DREaM project event, with most delegates rating its overall value as “excellent”. Amongst the comments on the overall value of the event, the delegates said:

  • “Excellent presentations, resources and facilities.”
  • “Fantastic learning and networking opportunity.”
  • “Really practical and useful. A great way of meeting people.”
  • “A very valuable opportunity, very well organised and thoroughly enjoyable. Thank you.”

Learning from one another about the impact of research on practice

Learning from one another about the impact of research on practice

The majority of delegates rated all the timetabled sessions as “excellent”. These included: Hazel Hall’s introduction to the day; Harry Woodroof’s presentation on horizon scanning; Phil Turner’s presentation on repertory grids; the Unconference Half Hour; Kevin Swingler’s presentation on data mining; and the workshop task on links between research and impact (which was set up by Hazel Hall as an exercise largely led by the delegates themselves).

Phil Turner’s session on repertory grids was the most popular. In his presentation Phil provided an entertaining introduction to how the repertory grid technique can be used in exploratory research that seeks to reveal personal construct systems. The Twitter commentary and exchanges that took place as Phil presented, the questions at the end of his session, and discussions over lunchtime showed how the delegates appreciated Phil’s skilled explanation of the technique. By making reference to the history of its development, and including a worked example that was relevant to the interests of library and information science researchers and practitioners, delegates were able to appreciate the context of the technique and envisage possible applications in their own work.

Discussions over lunch

Discussions over lunch

Harry Woodroof’s contribution to the day was also very well-pitched and greatly appreciated as an overview of horizon scanning for the DREaM audience. This presentation raised some interesting questions related to, for example, the validity of information sources, and the paradox of evidence-based policy where “policy” requires solutions for the future in an environment where “evidence” can only be accessed from the past. We were grateful that Harry was able to spend much of the day with us, not least so that the animated question and answer session at the end of his presentation could be continued on a one-to-one basis at lunchtime.

Kevin Swingler’s session data mining, also rated “excellent” by the majority of workshop participants and described by one as “really fascinating”, introduced a technique that is not commonly used in library and information science research, yet could have interesting applications. The session was also valuable for instances when librarians and information scientists are the consumers of research. For example, one delegate noted on his/her workshop evaluation form “The data mining talk was particularly helpful in my role as a health librarian in terms of interpreting and analysing research in the health context”. The discussion of the limitations of computer models also provided some entertaining session content on the similarities and differences between dogs and chairs: both have four legs, but you wouldn’t normally sit on a dog!

Aislinn Conway's Unconference Half Hour flipchart

Aislinn Conway's Unconference Half Hour flipchart

The Unconference Half Hour provided another opportunity to hear about the projects with which members of the DREaM project workshop cadre are involved. Themes covered included clinical evidence-based information services (Aislinn Conway); information and communication poverty (Anthony McKeown); digital research and curation projects at the British Library (Rossitza Atanassova), and the changing role of academic librarians from one of liaison to interaction (Allan Parsons). Ella Taylor-Smith spoke about two events for information science PhD students, both of which take place in Edinburgh in June: the iDocQ colloquium on 19th and a session on discourse analysis at the Scottish Graduate School of Social Science (SGSSS) Summer School on 20th. Alison Brettle took the opportunity of her Unconference Half Hour slot to explain that she would like to gather critical incident technique data to help prepare for her conference paper about the DREaM project at the QQML conference next month.

Once again the delegates showed appreciation of the workshop venue: the comfort and facilities at Edinburgh Napier University’s Craighouse campus were rated “excellent” by the majority. Even though some delegates had travelled a long way to Edinburgh (for example, from as far away as Devon and Northern Ireland), the majority still rated the convenience of the location as “excellent” or “very good”. The workshop organisers were also pleased that the majority rated the conference administration as “excellent”, both in the run-up to the event, and on the day itself. Kind comments on the evaluation forms included:

  • “I felt very informed and confident in the directions and advice given prior to the event. The admin team have been very approachable.”
  • “Organised like a military operation – well done.”

Delegates showed appreciation of the work of event amplifier Kirsty Pitkin, particularly for recording the presentations. One noted “It’s fantastic that presentations are recorded.”

Networking at the Café Royal

Networking at the Café Royal

As has been the case with all the DREaM project events, the delegates appreciated the opportunities to renew friendships and develop their professional networks further. Indeed just under a third of the participants started early with a trip to the Café Royal the night before the workshop.

Although this is the last of the formal workshops, there is clearly an appetite for the community members to continue to extend their relationships, as is evident in these comments from the workshop evaluation forms such as “Very interested in continuing professional relationships and on-going projects”; “Hope that the group can stay in contact with social networking”; “I’d like to see effort on maintaining and extending the community”; Thoroughly enjoyed participating – hope it continues in some form.”

In the feedback for this event there was a sense that further investment in the project would be very worthwhile, particularly in maintaining a framework or contact point around which the community can meet and grow. One delegate asked: “What infrastrucure/mechanisms are in place to sustain the cadre past the DREaM workshops?”

More networking at the Café Royal

More networking at the Café Royal

Some took the opportunity to provide comments on the set of three workshops as a whole on their workshop evaluation sheets, for example:

  • “I’ve really enjoyed my involvement in the DREaM workshops and benefited from them.”
  • “Coverage of research methods has been helpful, meaningful. Excellent opportunity to network.”
  • “I think this project has been extremely beneficial for LIS practitioners – thank you very much for all your hard work.”
  • “The only bad thing to come from DREaM is that I now have PhD envy.”

Of course, it’s only the workshop series that has ended. Many of the DREaM cadre will see one another again at the DREaM conference on 9th July at the British Library, and enjoy a full programme of activities including keynote speeches by Professor Carol Tenopir and Dr Ben Goldacre. Ben Goldacre will also present the Practitioner Researcher Excellence Award at the DREaM conference (for which we welcome nominations until next Monday 30th April).

To book your place at the conference, please see the conference registration page. A number of travel bursaries are available on a first come first served basis for full-time PhD students and new professionals based outside London. There is also an international travel award available to help a delegate with travel costs from beyond the UK.

Participate in LIS DREaM 4 Online

As we prepare to get the third DREaM workshop under way, you may be regretting that you can’t join us to hear more about horizon scanning, data mining, research techniques from psychology and impact snakes and ladders.

If you are not able to join the cadre today, there are still ways you can follow the event online and participate in both the discussions and the workshop task…

Follow LIS DREaM 4 Live

You can follow a live commentary of this session on Twitter by following @LIS_DREaM. Please join in with the discussion by using the event hash tag #lis_dream4.

If you are not a Twitter user, you can follow the event live via CoverItLive. You can contribute your own observations and questions via CoverItLive without the need for a login or account.

You will find all the materials you need to follow along on the individual session pages, which will be linked from the main programme page.

Our event amplifier, Kirsty Pitkin, will be on hand to support remote participants throughout the event. If you would like her to ask any of the speakers a question or your behalf, please tweet it to @LIS_DREaM or post it in the CoverItLive session and she will relay it for you and report back with the answer.

Workshop Task

Today’s workshop task will be led by Professor Hazel Hall and will consist of two tasks. The workshop task timetable is available on Slideshare.

If you are participating remotely, you will need to follow the #lis_dream4 or CoverItLive session at 10:30 for instructions from Hazel, then contribute your answers to the first part of the task using this shared Google document. There is no login required to take part and your contributions will be fed back to the group so we can share your insights and add these to the permanent record of the event.

You can contribute to the first part of the workshop task at any time during the workshop up until 15:30. If you miss the coverage of Hazel’s introduction to the first part of the task at 10:30, just let us know via Twitter or CoverItLive and Kirsty will explain what you need to do.

The second part of the task will take place during Hazel’s presentation.

DREaM Community

If you would like to comment on any of the topics raised today in more detail, please join the discussion in the DREaM online community and add a blog post. The post event materials, including recordings of each presentation, slides, photos and workshop task outputs, will all be made available via the DREaM community site shortly after the event.

DREaM event 4 speaker insight: Hazel Hall

Professor Hazel Hall

Our final preview interview ahead of DREaM event 4 is with Professor Hazel Hall from the LIS Research Coalition. She will be leading a session on research impact at the workshop entitled: Impact snakes and ladders.

In this interview, Hall discusses the importance of impact and describes how her session will help participants to consider the impact of their research in the planning stages.


What is the theme of your session?

The theme of the session is research impact. We’ll be considering how researchers can ensure that their research projects are designed with reference to their potential impact on practice, and what makes the practitioner audience receptive to using the output of library and information science research in their practice of information services delivery.

Have you used your knowledge of strategies to increase research impact this in your own research work?

Yes, when we plan research projects in my research centre at Edinburgh Napier University we take care to consider means of ensuring that the work we complete does not simply end up sitting unnoticed in a formal project report or journal article. A recent example is the second part of our Research in Librarianship Impact Evaluation Study (RiLIES) project. Here, for example, we have been involving practitioners in the project from the outset (currently we have a practitioner poll open, which we are keen for LIS practitioners to complete), and the primary role of one member of the project team is to develop the strategy for embedding the research output in the LIS practitioner community.

How do you think the topic of impact is relevant to LIS researchers?

The theme of impact is relevant to all research, particularly at a time when value for money in public spending is paramount, and the forthcoming UK assessment of academic research (REF2014) requires the submission of impact evidence for research by universities. In short, it’s a question on return on investment.

Where can people will find more information?

Our report from the first part of the RiLIES project Enhancing the impact of LIS Research Projects identifies factors that increase/hinder the impact of research findings on those who deliver library and information services. The report also includes an extensive reference list of material related to the theme of research impact.

Professor Hazel Hall will be presenting a session titled: Impact snakes and ladders: workshop exercise on links between research and its impact on practice at the fourth DREaM workshop at the Edinburgh Napier University on Wednesday 25th April. She will also be concluding the workshop task. For full details about the workshop, please see the workshop programme.

DREaM event 4 speaker insight: Phil Turner

The third of our preview interviews ahead of DREaM event 4 is with Dr Phil Turner from Edinburgh Napier University. He will be covering techniques from psychology, focussing specifically on repertory grids.

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

The use of repertory grids (“rep grids”) to elicit experiences. Rep grids are a well established interviewing technique based on personal construct theory. Rep grids, in conjunction with specialist software, are a useful means of visualising an individual’s experience.

Have you used this in your own research?

Yes, and the talk will include material from a recent journal publication.

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

It already has been used successfully in the library/information science domain.

Where can people will find more information?

You want me to tell library people where to find more information – really? (Note from workshop organisers: At the end of Dr Turner’s PowerPoint slides he provides a reference list. This will be made available from Wednesday 25th April.)

Dr Phil Turner will be presenting a session introducing techniques from psychology 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 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.