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.

Coalition conference newsflash 8

Photograph of Kirsty McGill

Kirsty McGill

Amplifiying the LIS Research Coalition Conference 2010

The LIS Research Coalition Conference 2010 will be “amplified” online by Kirsty McGill, Creative Director of training and communications firm TConsult. We asked Kirsty to introduce herself and explain what she will be doing at the event…

I suppose I can best be described as a live blogger or event amplifier – I help to capture the conversations going on inside the conference room, and help those outside to actively participate from far and wide. I’ve previously helped to amplify various UKOLN events including the Institutional Web Management Workshop (IWMW 09) and the 5th International Digital Curation Conference. I am a digital writer by background and currently contribute to the Transliteracy Research Group.

During the conference, I will be tweeting and blogging to provide you with tweeted highlights and summaries of each session so you can keep up to speed with what is being discussed. I will also be looking for volunteers to interview with my trusty flip cam – so let me know if you are attending and would be happy to share your thoughts and reflections on the event with the world!

This blog will form the centre of the action, so if you are already subscribed the the RSS feed, you just need to sit back and wait for the updates to come to you. I will also be launching a Netvibes page for the conference, where you will be able to follow and participate in the conversation on Twitter (don’t be put off if you don’t use Twitter – you will still be able to join in!) You will also be able to see pictures from the event and find out what others are blogging about the conference.

I have to say that the part of this event that I am most looking forward to is the One Minute Madness, partly because I am interested to find out more about current research projects, but also because this looks like it will be the most challenging session to amplify!

More details about my amplification activities, including links, will be released in the run up to the event, so watch this space!

Coalition conference newsflash 7

Logos of Glen Recruitment, TFPL and Sue Hill Recruitment

The sponsors of the six PhD student places

Thanks to the generosity of three of the leading LIS recruitment firms – Glen Recruitment, TFPL and Sue Hill Recruitment – the LIS Research Coalition is able to offer six sponsored places at its conference at the British Library Conference Centre on Monday 28th June 2010. These will be for PhD students currently engaged in LIS research. Sponsorship will cover the conference fee for each of the six students who win an award.

For further information about the awards, and how to apply, please see the page that details the sponsored conference places for PhD students.

Coalition conference newsflash 6

Registrations for the LIS Research Coalition conference to be held at the British Library Conference Centre on Monday June 28th are now open. We are looking forward to welcoming a broad range of LIS research stakeholders for a productive day on 28th June during which delegates will add to their knowledge of the LIS research landscape, including the work of the LIS Research Coalition, while also increasing their awareness of:

  • the diversity of LIS research opportunities
  • research funding sources
  • potential research collaborators
  • means of increasing the relevance of research efforts
  • avenues for publication of research output
  • research development opportunities for individuals and groups
  • techniques for integrating research activities into everyday work practice

Our speakers and facilitators offer research experience in: public, academic, special and corporate libraries; the health service; business; publishing; consulting; training; charities and higher education. (Further details are given on the main conference page.) Delegates are also offered the option of taking the stage for a 60-second slot by participating in the conference’s “one minute madness” session.

We are also pleased to announce that the specialist events management firm Event Logistics is providing the Secretariat for the conference. The contacts at Event Logistics are Richard Hart and Adele Bates, and they can be contacted at lisrc10@event-logistics.co.uk.

We are all looking forward to gathering the LIS research community together in London on 28th June.

Coalition conference newsflash 5

Val Skelton

Val Skelton

Val Skelton, editor of Business Information Review, has kindly agreed to join the LIS Research Coalition team as a facilitator at the conference at the British Library Conference Centre in London on Monday 28th June. Val is known to the LIS research community for a variety of information and publishing roles held during a career of over 20 years in the industry. These positions range from the commissioning editor for library and information science at Bowker-Saur to the Head of Training and Learning at TFPL.

Coalition conference newsflash 4

The latest news from the LIS Coalition conference planning committee is that Michael Stead, e-Services Team Librarian at Bolton Library and Museum Services, has joined the team of LIS Research Coalition conference facilitators. The faciliators at the afternoon sessions on Monday June 28th thus represent four of the main LIS research stakeholder communities: (1) public libraries – Michael Stead of Bolton Library and Museum Services; (2) the corporate sector – Melanie Goody of TFPL; (3) the health service – Anne Brice of the NHS National Knowledge Service; and (4) research funders – Ailbhe McNabola of the Museum, Library and Archives Council. Our two keynote speakers – Professors Andrew Dillon and Charles Oppenheim – represent academia. David Ball of Bournemouth University and Michael Jubb of the Research Information Network, who will be chairing sessions throughout the day, respectively represent academic libraries and research funders. For further information about the conference please see the the Conference 2010 web page.

Professor Andrew Dillon to present opening keynote paper at the LIS Research Coalition Conference 2010

Professor Andrew Dillon

We are delighted to announce that Professor Andrew Dillon will be presenting the opening keynote paper at the LIS Research Coalition conference at the British Library Conference Centre, London, on Monday 28th June 2010.

Andrew Dillon is Dean and Louis T. Yule Regents Professor of Information at the School of Information, University of Texas, Austin where he also holds appointments as Professor of Psychology, and Professor of Information, Risk & Operations Management. Since graduating from University College Cork and Loughborough University, Andrew has held appointments in a multitude of departments or schools, including cognitive science, computer science, instructional systems technology, psychology, management information systems, curriculum and instruction, informatics, and library and information science. He has been an active researcher for 20 years, writing 100+ papers on many aspects of people and their interaction with information technology with emphasis on digital document design, reading and writing, the effect of aesthetics on user response, and the development of reliable and valid design methods.

In his opening keynote presentation at the LIS Research Coalition conference, Professor Dillon will speak on international perspectives of UK LIS research, taking into account the conference themes of evidence, value and impact.

Professor Dillon’s home page is at http://www.ischool.utexas.edu/~adillon/, and he posts to his blog at http://sentra.ischool.utexas.edu/~adillon/blog/

Coalition conference newsflash 3

Anne Brice, Associate Director of the NHS National Knowledge Service, has kindly agreed to participate as a facilitator at the Library and Information Science Research Coalition Conference on Monday 28th June 2010 at the British Library Conference Centre.

Anne joins Professor Charles Oppenheim, Dr Michael Jubb, Ailbhe McNabola, and Melanie Goody as one of the confirmed session leaders on the day.

Watch this space for further updates on the Coalition conference including the announcement of the opening keynote speaker.

For further details of the conference please see the Conference 2010 web page. The conference hashtag is #lisrc10.

Coalition conference newsflash 2

We are pleased to announce that Dr Charles Oppenheim, Emeritus Professor of Information Science at Loughborough University, has agreed to give an invited keynote presentation at the LIS Research Coalition conference on Monday June 28th 2010 at the British Library Conference Centre. Other confirmed contributors on the day include: Dr Michael Jubb, Director of the Research Information Network (RIN); Ailbhe McNabola, Head of Research and Evidence, the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council (MLA); and Melanie Goody, Associate Consultant, TFPL.

For further details of the conference please see the Conference 2010 web page. The conference hashtag is #lisrc10.

Coalition conference newsflash 1

The Coalition conference planning committee has been working hard to put together an exciting programme for the Coalition conference on Monday 28th June. Currently we are confirming the names of keynote speakers, session chairs and facilitators. Once these are fixed, we’ll update the Conference page. We are also following up some sponsorship suggestions. For example, it is hoped that we may be able to offer sponsored places at the event for LIS research students. Any further ideas for sponsorship – from individuals or organisations – are welcomed. If you plan to tweet about the conference, please use the hashtag #lisrc10.

In the meantime, we hope that you are able to keep Monday 28th June 2010 free for a stimulating day at the British Library Conference Centre in London with other members of the LIS research community.