DREaM event 2: review, resources and thanks

Dr Paul Lynch reviews his notes as the delegates eagerly await the first session of #lis_dream2

Dr Paul Lynch reviews his notes as the delegates eagerly await the first session of #lis_dream2

Two weeks ago we held the first of the three DREaM project workshops at the Craighouse campus of Edinburgh Napier University. We set ourselves a tight deadline to get all the workshop materials online within one week of the event, which we achieved. This blog post now provides an opportunity to reflect on the first workshop, drawing on the feedback from the 23 event evaluation forms completed, tweets by delegates (on site and remote) from the day itself and afterwards, and e-mail correspondence received by the organisers after the event. The participant reviews of the workshop posted since 25th October also give a flavour of the day.

Dr Louise Cooke and Professor Charles Oppenheim

Dr Louise Cooke and Professor Charles Oppenheim

The most popular evaluation form rating for elements of the workshop assessed by the delegates was “excellent”. This rating applied to all the speaker-led sessions by: (1) Professor Hazel Hall (introduction); (2) Dr Paul Lynch (ethnography); (3) Dr Louise Cooke (social network analysis); (4) Professor Andy McKinlay (discourse analysis) and (5) Professor Charles Oppenheim (research ethics and legal issues). The speakers were described as “inspiring” and admired for the “very high level of [their] presentations”. Louise Cooke’s session on social network analysis was the most popular, possibly because Louise was able to demonstrate in practice theoretical aspects of her presentation by using data gathered from the audience. The use of case studies in Charles Oppenheim’s session on ethics and legal issues also appealed because the session approach “made it real” in providing an opportunity to share ideas and experience.

Jo Alcock's unconference half hour flip chart sheet

Jo Alcock's unconference half hour flip chart sheet

The majority vote for the delegate-led unconference half hour session was split between “excellent” and “very good”. This is impressive given that it was only on the day itself that the presenters decided whether or not they would step up to the podium, and they were severely restricted in the amount of time available for them to make their main points, with limited access to “technology” in the form of the flip chart as a visual aid. Perhaps the most interesting (and unintended) outcome of this session was how a question from Michael Stead about public librarians’ engagement with research triggered a debate about the strength of links between LIS research and public library practice in each of the UK home nations. These exchanges are recorded in the video of unconference half hour (27 minutes in), along with the other presentations.

The most popular rating for the workshop location’s convenience, comfort and facilities, and refreshments was also “excellent”, as it was for the event administration (both before and on the day). One delegate admired the “beautiful location, comfortable room [and] delicious refreshments” and another commented on the “wonderful facilities”. The organisers were congratulated for an event that was “well-produced”.

Delegates enjoy the refreshments at Edinburgh Napier Craighouse

Delegates enjoy the refreshments at Edinburgh Napier Craighouse

Given the enthusiasm for the other elements on the form, we were not surprised to see that when asked to rate the workshop as a whole, the vast majority (19 out of the 23 returns) gave this the top rating of “excellent” too. Enthusiastic comments referred to both the usefulness and the enjoyment of the day. For example, evaluation form comments included:

  • I thoroughly enjoyed the day and gained a lot of knowledge about the different research methods at our disposal.
  • A valuable, interesting event. Fabulous for networking and sharing knowledge. Have developed in so many areas. Many thanks.
  • A thoroughly enjoyable event – lots to reflect on during the train ride home.
  • Opened my mind to a range of research options that I had not systematically reviewed before.
Jenny Harbour of Healtcare Improvement Scotland shares experiences with Jo Longhurst of Devon School Library Service

Jenny Harbour of Healtcare Improvement Scotland shares experiences with Jo Longhurst of Devon School Library Service

Our classification of the core DREaM “cadre” members shows that the group comprises a range of participants who occupy roles in a number of sectors: six public librarians/people with policy roles closely associated with public libraries; six academic librarians; five full-time PhD students; three LIS academics; three healthcare librarians; two university researchers; one librarian who works in a government library; one librarian who works for a national library; one librarian who works for a professional body; one consultant; and one academic from another discipline. Five of these people hold PhDs and another six are either already registered for a PhD or about to register for doctoral studies. Particularly appreciated at the first workshop was the opportunity to meet and work with this “very stimulating and diverse” mix of delegates. As one remarked: “I really enjoyed the event… and meeting a variety of people from different library and information sectors”. One delegate said afterwards by e-mail that the workshop “had a very creative dynamic, which I am sure will throw up exciting avenues of research that no-one had anticipated”. This could perhaps lead to the “great things” that one of the speakers believes that the DREaM project has already started to achieve since its launch conference in July 2011.

Essentials for tweeting: the programme, power supply and access to the network

Essentials for tweeting: the programme, power supply and access to the network

We were delighted that a number of remote delegates were able to take advantage of our event amplification and follow the workshop on 25th October by referring to the presentation slides posted online in advance, watching the Twitter hashtag #lis_dream2, and keeping an eye on our CoverItLive site. From the CoverItLive archive it can be seen that 18 people beyond the workshop venue used the workshop hashtag, many of whom interacted directly with on-site participants. It is suspected that many more monitored the event over the course of the day. While some of those unable to attend expressed their regret at missing the workshop, making reference to the “lucky folk” in Edinburgh, the amplification did appear to work well off-site. As one person tweeted “Wish I could be there! But actually am getting a lot out of it from following via slides and Twitter”. Even for the on-site delegates the Twitter back-channel added a further dimension to the day. It is worth reading through the CoverItLive archive to witness the exchanges and see how conversations on topics related to the presentations develop in the Twittersphere alongside the main event. In this case, for example, there are the beginnings of an interesting debate on the value of LinkedIn versus Twitter for professional networking (as well as some more light-hearted references to cats!)

#lis_dream2 delegates discuss ethics and legal issues

#lis_dream2 delegates discuss ethics and legal issues

We now turn our attention to the next DREaM project workshop at the British Library on Monday 30th January 2012. Some comments and suggestions from the first workshop will help with its planning. For example, we will be asking the session speakers if they can provide practical illustrations of the theory that they discuss in their talks, for instance by providing examples of worked data. We will also consider how we can squeeze more time for networking into the programme, perhaps by lengthening the time slot for registrations with tea/coffee at the start of the day, and the lunch break (although the core timings for the day will remain as advertised, i.e. 10:30-16:15). Given that there was some appetite amongst the remote delegates on 25th October to participate in the social network analysis exercise led by Louise Cooke, we will investigate whether the exercise/game elements of the second and third workshops might be designed with the possibility of remote participation in mind. All these ideas will be discussed by the project team, the Advisory Board, and the speakers over the coming weeks. We also welcome other suggestions to help achieve the success of the DREaM project so do get in touch even if you are not involved in the DREaM events: this project is for the whole LIS community.

Bust of John Napier at Craighouse campus, Edinburgh Napier University

Bust of John Napier at Craighouse campus, Edinburgh Napier University

In the meantime, we encourage all with an interest in LIS research to review the DREaM project materials from the first workshop (as well as materials from the launch conference), to join the DREaM online community (where, for example, you can “meet” others interested in LIS research, join in forum discussions – there is already the start of a conversation about ethnographic research in academic libraries to investigate the student experience, comment on the event presentations, and browse through the archive of photos from the past two events), to follow the DREaM participants Twitter list, and to follow the project itself from @LIS_DREaM.

Finally, we would just like to thank everyone for their participation in the DREaM project to date. We recognise that the success of the past two events is built on the contributions of all involved.

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Coalition review 2011, and priorities for 2011/12

A review of the Coalition’s work since its foundation in 2009 was undertaken by external consultants Sandra Ward, Beaworthy Consulting and Ian Wooler, IDW Ltd and completed in April 2011. The consultants presented their report at the May 2011 meeting of the Coalition Board and the results and recommendations were subsequently discussed in detail at a Special Meeting of the Board held on 27 July.

The Board welcomed the findings of the review and agreed on the following three priorities for the third and final year of the Coalition:

  1. The AHRC-funded DREaM project: Developing Research Excellence and Methods.
  2. Follow-up work arising from the Research in Librarianship – Impact Evaluation Project (RiLIES).
  3. Raising the profile and visibility of the Coalition and what it stands for by engaging more effectively with the LIS researcher and practitioner communities.

The DREaM project will:

  • create a formal UK-wide network of Library and Information Science (LIS) researchers;
  • promote research capability and capacity in the LIS community;
  • connect LIS researchers and practitioners;
  • aim to leave a sustainable long-term legacy.

The findings from RiLIES project will be used to:

  • strengthen the link between LIS research and practice;
  • support those engaged in LIS research by ensuring their work has impact;
  • help those engaged to LIS research to develop strategies for
    • generating new research ideas
    • deciding research approaches
    • determining project scale
    • dissemination of research results

Raising the profile and visibility of the Coalition among the LIS researcher and practitioner communities will:

  • realise value from the work of the Coalition;
  • help the practitioner community demonstrate service impact;
  • contribute to service improvement through use of research resources provided by the Coalition;
  • feed into the DREaM and RiLIES projects;
  • leave a sustainable long-term legacy.

This is an ambitious programme for the next twelve months and we need to work with the LIS research and practitioner communities to deliver it. If you would like to help with this work – either as an individual or on behalf of your organisation – please contact Hazel Hall.

Coalition review update

Many thanks to everyone who contributed to the recent Coalition review by completing the survey and/or participating in an interview. The objective of the study was to investigate familiarity with the Coalition’s work, assess its activities and achievements so far and value to of its work to LIS professionals, and gather comments on plans for Coalition work in 2011/12.

External consultants Sandra Ward of Beaworthy Consulting and Ian Wooler of IDW Ltd presented their report to the LIS Research Coalition Board of Directors earlier in the summer. One of the main findings of the study is that those who are familiar with the work of the Coalition are highly supportive of it. However, the Coalition is not well-known across all sectors. There is a need to improve the visibility of the Coalition and to communicate its aims and objectives. The findings also indicate where the LIS community would like the Coalition to focus its efforts in the coming months. Taking the responses as a whole, these are (in order of importance):

  1. to promote the development of LIS research capacity and capability and good practice in LIS research;
  2. to develop and articulate (with the LIS community) a strategic approach to LIS research;
  3. to facilitate dialogue between LIS research funders, researchers and practitioners;
  4. to bring together information about LIS research opportunities and results of research projects;
  5. to promote LIS practitioner research and the translation of research outcomes into practice i.e. promoting engagement between researchers and practitioners.

Study respondents who are aware of the DREaM and RiLIES projects recognise the value of these in contributing to the meeting of the goals listed above.

At the end of July the Coalition Board is holding a special meeting to discuss these and the other findings of presented in the consultants’ report, and to develop an action plan in response. Further information on this will be posted to this blog in due course.

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Apply for a Coalition-sponsored place at EBLIP6, Salford, 28-30 June 2011

The LIS Research Coalition is pleased to sponsor four places at the Sixth Evidence Based Library and Information Practice (EBLIP6) Conference, which takes place in Salford from 27th to 30th June 2011. The places will be awarded to PhD students registered for their doctoral studies at a UK university and LIS practitioners based within the UK.

In exchange for the sponsored places, the award winners will play an active role as members of the LIS Research Coalition rapporteur team at EBLIP6, and contribute reviews of some of the conference sessions that they attend. Hazel Hall, who will be at the conference with her laptop, will add the reviews to the Coalition’s blog over the course of the event.

To apply for a place, please complete an application form (see below), ensuring that you select the one appropriate to your main status: PhD student or LIS practitioner. (If you are studying part-time while working, please use the LIS practitioner form and note your part-time student status on it.) We are interested in receiving applications from candidates who combine a keen interest in LIS research with an ability to grasp the key points of a discussion quickly. Members of our rapporteur team need to be able to synthesise points concisely in writing in order to communicate them effectively to a wider audience. Thus how you express yourself in your application for a sponsored place is as important as your reasons for wishing to attend the conference itself.

NB the awards cover the conference registration fee only. Therefore successful candidates will need to access funding from elsewhere to cover additional expenses such as travel, subsistence and accommodation. Suggested funding sources include the award winners’ home institutions/employers, and the support offered by professional bodies. For example, students will be encouraged to apply for a UKeIG Student Conference Grant. The registration page on the EBLIP6 web site lists a number of other sources of funding that are of relevance to students and practitioners alike.

The deadline for submissions is Monday 2nd May 2011. Applications will be judged soon afterwards and winners notified by the end of May.

Any queries about the awards should be addressed to Hazel Hall.

Application forms

EBLIP6 Conference Award – PhD student application form
EBLIP6 Conference Award – practitioner application form

LIS Research Coalition Review – survey now open

Today sees the launch of the online survey which forms part of the LIS Research Coalition’s review of its impact and value.

The survey has been designed to help assess the Coalition’s work and achievements to date, as well as gather comments on the Coalition’s plans for the next 12 months. We are pleased to invite you to participate in the review by completing the survey: it takes under 15 minutes to complete. The survey will remain open until 17.00 on Friday April 8th 2011.

LIS Research Coalition Review announced

It is now two years since our founding members agreed to establish the LIS Research Coalition (on 2nd March 2009 – see our History page), and we are now about to initiate a review of the Coalition’s value and impact. To encourage a wide contribution to this review, a link to an online questionnaire will be made available from these web pages in the week beginning March 28th. This will remain open until 17.00 on Friday April 8th 2011.

The questionnaire will take no more than 15 minutes to complete. It will ask you to comment on your familiarity the Coalition’s work, your assessment of its activities and achievements so far, its value to your work, and your comments on plans for the next 12 months. Do look out for the announcement of the questionnaire link, and please share this announcement with your colleagues and networks.

The review is being undertaken by external consultants Sandra Ward, Beaworthy Consulting and Ian Wooler, IDW Ltd.

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