Coalition calls at FUMSI

A new article on the work of the LIS Research Coalition entitled “Coalition calling: focusing the research efforts in the LIS industry” by Joanna Ptolomey features in the current edition of FreePint’s FUMSI. FUMSI is well-known in the UK business information community for publishing tips and features that provide practical insight for finding, using, managing and sharing information. This feature is based on an interview with Hazel Hall at Online 2009 at London Olympia last December.

The article’s starting point is the question:

  • What ‘use’ do we make of information and when does this information join together and start to build an evidence base?

Joanna argues that the use of real evidence (or knowledge assets) is key to the delivery of effective and efficient information services, as well as prompts the generation of future ideas for influencing change and changing practice. In her article she considers the role of the LIS Research Coalition in co-ordinating and facilitating the research process and outcomes for the library and information sector. Read the full text at: http://web.fumsi.com/go/article/use/4575.

For a full listing of media coverage of the work of the LIS Research Coalition, please see the Media Coverage page. Included in the listing are links to the full-text of two other articles based on interviews with Hazel Hall, and a podcast interview:

  1. Elspeth Hyams interviews Hazel Hall about social computing, practitioner research and the LIS Research Coalition in Research in practice: a living example in the March 2010 issue of Library and Information Update (pp. 24-26).
  2. Archana Venkatraman interviews Hazel Hall about the work of the LIS Research Coalition for Information World Review in the article A decade for mobiles, social media and research, published on 5th February 2010.
  3. On 15th September 2009 in a Talking with Talis podcast Hazel Hall is interviewed about the plans of the LIS Research Coalition.
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Six months into the implementation and priorities for future work

Six months have passed since work began in earnest on the implementation of the plans of the LIS Research Coalition. In this time we’ve made progress in meeting the goals related to establishing a structure to facilitate a co-ordinated and strategic approach to LIS research across the UK. For example, the Coalition web site grows steadily as a source of information about LIS research. Equally the Twitter account, @LISResearch, provides regular news feeds on research projects from proposal to publication of results, as well as research opportunities ranging from advertised PhD places to vacancies on high level research-related bodies and committees.

The Coalition has also taken the opportunity to present to external audiences. This has been achieved both at a general
level – as at Online 2009, and in the Coalition response to the consultation on the Research Excellence Framework (REF) – and with reference to concerns of particular user groups, such as the “student experience” focus of the autumn 2009 SCONUL conference. Further conference and meeting contributions are planned for a variety of audiences. We are also looking forward to the LIS Research Coalition’s own conference on Monday 28th June 2010 at the British Library Conference Centre in London. Events – both Coalition and externally organised – are noted on the Coalition web site Events page. We’ve also been busy engaging with the media, attracting coverage of our activities in both the LIS and general press (for example, we’ve had two mentions in Times Higher Education to date). Details of such publishing activity are given on the Media coverage page. It is hoped that these efforts will succeed in the goal of pushing LIS research further up the agenda of the UK LIS community, particularly amongst practitioner colleagues. Longer term it is anticipated that they might result in an improvement in the volume and quality of practitioner research, and the translation of this future research output into practice. Ultimately the research completed should also inform the development of future UK LIS research strategy.

One of the Coalition’s goals is to address current gaps in LIS research activity in the UK. The need to develop a strong evidence base that can be used to demonstrate the value and impact of library and information services has been identified as a priority area. We intend to put resources into addressing this ahead all of other possible research themes. This is on the basis that without easy access to an evidence base that can be used to assess and publicise impact and value, library and information services are rendered vulnerable to cost-cutting exercises. Funders will protect units where contributions to organisational objectives and the bottom line are more clearly artciulated, not least as demonstration of accountability for their own decisions. A second priority is to consider how to provide research methods training opportunities, primarily for the (potentially enlarged) practitioner researcher audience. Currently work is on-going on a funding bid for the provision of a series of events focused on research methods. A further possibile initiative is to run smaller-scale one-off sessions on specific themes of interest to those starting to engage in research activities.

In forthcoming meetings of the Board of Directors of the LIS Research Coalition we will be discussing how we can build on
our initial work to progress it further: there is clearly much more that could be done! The focus of these discussions will be how to ensure that we channel the resources available to the Coalition into activities that deliver real value to the LIS research community in the UK. There will be opportunities for greater participation in the debate on the direction of the Coalition at the LIS Research Coalition conference at the British Library Conference Centre on June 28th 2010. In the meantime members of the UK LIS research community – from established researchers to aspiring new professionals – are invited to respond to the proposals made in this blog posting. Of particular interest would be suggestions on how the work of the Coalition could be developed to meet the needs of practitioner researchers. Responses can be made by leaving comments below, or by e-mailing Hazel Hall directly at hazel.hall@lisresearch.org.

LIS Research Coalition “review” of Online 2009

Taken as a whole, the annual Online event at London Olympia each December is a huge gathering of the information industry. Upstairs in the conference centre there are the formal conference sessions, downstairs are the exhibitors and free seminars, and around Olympia smaller satellite events take place in hotels and bars. Hence the use of quotation marks of the title of this blog posting. This is a “review” of Online 2009 from the perspective of Library and Information Science Research Coalition staff: participation was limited by the laws of physics that render it impossible to be simultaneously in more than one place at the same time. Thankfully a number of other participants have also blogged their experiences of Online 2009. These include: Brian Kelly of JISC (@briankelly); Marydee Ojala and colleagues of Information Today (@marydeeo); and Bethan Ruddock, who worked on the Mimas stand at the exhibition (@bethanar). Others have contributed posts about specific conference themes, such as Pete Cranston (@petecranston). In the New Year reviews of Online 2009 will appear in the print media. In the meantime, for a fuller picture of what went on at Olympia in the first week of December this year, please follow the links provided at the end of this entry.

Keynote slide shot

Charlene Li was the opening keynote speaker on the Thursday


From the perspective of the LIS Research Coalition two themes appeared to dominate this year’s conference: (1) social media and (b) the semantic web. In her opening keynote on the Thursday morning Charlene Li, co-author of Groundswell, made sense of much of the discussion of social media of the previous two days that had taken place in formal conference presentations and face-to-face conversations, as well as along the conference’s Twitter back-channel. It is now obvious that the time has come where engagement in social media is not optional for any organisation that hopes to maintain its competitive advantage. We are also now witnessing the impact of social media internally, for example on organisational structures, particularly in terms of communication and reporting.

In contrast the conference sessions on the semantic web gave the impression that those in library and information science related roles are now beginning to consider the exploitation of data to data links, although it is not yet obvious where the greatest commercial benefit will lie in doing so.

The CILIP stand on the exhibition floor


Other sessions of particular interest to the Research Coalition were those related to the future roles of information professionals. Professor Blaise Cronin’s discussion of the paradox of a postmodern profession made some astute observations, not least that long-term predictions on the future of library and information services by experts are often inaccurate. It was interesting to hear that an analysis of citations of LIS research literature shows that researchers from other domains are increasingly drawing on this body of work, thus indicating that its impact is growing in the research mainstream. Bob McKee, Chief Executive of CILIP (a founding member of the LIS Research Coalition) took advantage of the discussion following Professor Cronin’s presentation to refer to CILIP’s forthcoming “big conversation” on the LIS profession in 2010.

Both in the conference sessions and on the exhibition floor there were opportunities to see demonstrations of products and services that could be adopted by library and information services. Ellysa Kroski, for example, gave many examples of how libraries in the US are using social computing applications to their full potential. It was surprising to a few, however, how little mention was made of Google Wave in Online week.

FreePint stand

FreePint is a regular exhibitor at Online

On the Thursday morning Hazel Hall gave an introductory presentation about the LIS Research Coalition to Online 2009 delegates. This covered the background to the formation of the Coalition and its broad mission to provide a formal structure to improve access to LIS research, and to maximise its relevance and impact. Taking each of the five specific goals of the Coalition, she explained the progress so far that the Coaltion has made on each. Hazel encouraged the audience to visit the web site at http://lisresearch.org, as well as follow @LISResearch on Twitter. She hoped that delegates would be able to keep Monday 28th June 2010 free to attend the forthcoming LIS Research Coalition conference. Hazel’s slides Introducing the UK Library and Information Science Research Coalition are available on SlideShare.

Hazel and Ben

Hazel Hall with Ben, the youngest delegate and son of one of the speakers at Online 2009.

Throughout the three days of the conference, as well as on the Monday evening at a lively TFPL Connect event, Hazel met with a number of people interested in and enthused by the work of the Coalition. She accepted a number of speaking and writing invitations, the details of which will be publicised in due course.


Links

Hazel Hall named Information Professional of the Year 2009

One of the highlights of the annual Online Information Conference each December is the announcement of Information Professional of the Year, sponsored by the American Psychological Association. The awards are organised by Information World Review and the Online Information Conference organisers, Incisive Media. Nominations are judged by a panel of previous Information Professional of the Year award winners.

Peter Williams, Hazel Hall and Peter Gavionrno

Peter Williams (Editor of IWR magazine) Dr Hazel Hall & Peter Gaviorno (American Psychological Association)

This year Hazel Hall, Executive Secretary of the LIS Research Coalition, was named Information Professional of the Year. At a ceremony at London Olympia on Monday 1st December, Peter Williams, Editor of Information World Review, referred to Hazel’s “energetic and enthusiastic” contributions to the profession. He discussed how her work invigorates the professional landscape globally. He cited Hazel’s recent work with the Library and Information Science Research Coalition as an example of her achievements in 2009.

For further information, please see news coverage of:

Brian Kelly also noted the awards ceremony as one of the highlights of Online 2009 towards the end of his conference review.

Online 2009, London Olympia 1-3 December

It’s almost that time of year again when the international LIS community pays a visit to London Olympia for the annual Online conference and exhibition. This year the LIS Research Coalition will be playing a part in the proceedings. On Thursday 3rd December between 11.00 and 11.30 Hazel Hall will be presenting on the work of the Coalition in Theatre C as part of the free Information Masterclass series. If you are planning a trip to Online this year, do come along to learn more about the Coalition at the presentation next Thursday.

In addition, two of the Coalition member bodies will be at the Exhibition: the British Library on stand 628, and CILIP on stand 208.

Should you wish to find out more about the Coalition at a time other than Thursday 11.00-11.30, or meet up with Hazel in person at Online when you are there, staff at the CILIP stand will be able to point you in the right direction. Alternatively, Hazel will be picking up her e-mail while at the conference, so you may like to contact her at hazel.hall@lisresearch.org to set up a meeting.