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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DREaM event 2 materials now all online

Over the past few days we have been working hard with our event amplifier Kirsty Pitkin to load up all the material that we generated together at Edinburgh Napier Craighouse campus last Tuesday. We’re pleased to tell you that all the resources are now available online from the main workshop page.

From here you can link through to each of the session presentations on:

DREaM programmes and notepads

  1. Ethnography
  2. Social network analysis
  3. Discourse analysis
  4. Research ethics and legal issues

Each session page includes associated materials such as videos of the presentations, slides and summaries.

We have also uploaded the video of delegate presentations in the unconference half hour.

Thank you to everyone who has reviewed the workshop. All contributions are now available from the workshop 2 reviews page. (The CoverItLive archive of the event also gives a good flavour of the online conversations during the day, as well as participation of remote delegates, 18 of whom addressed the workshop delegates directly over Twitter.)

We will be adding our own review, along with an analysis of the workshop feedback, soon. Watch this space!

Congratulations to the six winners of the DREaM workshop travel bursary award

Winners of the DREaM workshop travel bursaries

L to R: Aislinn Conway, Katie Fraser, Paula Goodale, Paul Gooding, Lauren Smith, Sara Wingate Gray

We are pleased to announce the names of the six PhD students and new professionals who have won bursaries of up to £150 to help support their participation in the DREaM workshops and the DREaM project network. They are:

  • Aislinn Conway, a new professional who works for University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire NHS Trust as a Clinical Evidence Based Information Service Specialist.
  • Dr Katie Fraser, a new professional who works for the University of Leicester as an Information Librarian. (To find out more about Katie see her blog Chuukaku).
  • Paula Goodale, a PhD student at Sheffield University, working on a thesis entitled Constructing personal narratives through pathways in cultural heritage collections online. (Paula has recently started a blog entitled Allpathsleadto.)
  • Paul Gooding, a PhD student at University College London, working on a thesis entitled What is the Impact of a Million Books?
  • Lauren Smith, a new professional who currently works as a learning and teaching support officer at the University of Leeds, and will soon be embarking on a PhD at Strathclyde University. (To find out more about Lauren see her blog Walk you home.)
  • Sara Wingate Gray, PhD student at University College London, working on a thesis entitled The anthropology of the public library. (To find out more about Sara see her web site at Sarawingategray.co.uk.)

In their applications each winner gave an excellent account as to why the award of a bursary to him/her in particular will help the DREaM project meet its goal of developing a UK-wide network of LIS researchers. In exchange for the award, the winners will write reports of the workshops. These will be communicated to a wider audience from this web site. The content of the reports will also discussed further amongst members of the DREaM project online community.

The first DREaM project workshop takes place in Edinburgh on Tuesday 25th October 2011. Online registration for the set of three workshops (Edinburgh 25 October, London 30th January, Edinburgh 25th April) is still open. If you would like a place, please hurry: there are only a couple left, and we will be closing registrations soon.

New professionals and PhD students: register this week for a chance of a DREaM workshops travel bursary

DREaM logoToday we have been busy sending out application forms for the six £150 travel bursaries to support the participation of new professionals and PhD students in the three DREaM project workshops.

If you are a PhD student or a new professional (someone who has joined the profession since 2007) and have not yet had a chance to register for the three events, please ensure you do so this week so that there is time for us to send you the bursary application form and for you to complete and return it to us by the deadline of Tuesday 4th October at midday. You make your registration by completing this online form. You will then receive an e-mail as confirmation of your registration. (If you have any problems in registering, please contact Hazel Hall.)

The first workshop is on Tuesday 25th October at the Edinburgh Napier Craighouse campus (full programme details available). The second workshop will be held at the British Library Conference Centre on Monday 30th January 2012, and the third at Edinburgh Napier Craighouse campus once again on Wednesday 25th April 2012.

Registrations open for the DREaM project workshops

Registrations are open for the three DREaM project workshops (as a set). These take place at:

  • Edinburgh Napier University in Edinburgh on Tuesday 25th October 2011 (full details available);
  • the British Library in London on Monday 30th January 2012;
  • Edinburgh Napier University in Edinburgh on Wednesday 25th April 2012.

There is no charge to attend these events.

If you are a PhD student or a new professional (someone who has joined the profession since 2007), you are also eligible to apply for one of six travel bursaries of up to £150. These are offered to help support participation in the workshops and the DREaM network. Please note your eligibility to apply for a bursary when you register online, and we will send you the application details. The closing date for bursary applications will be Tuesday 4th October so please ensure that you register before this date so that there is time for us to send you the details on how to apply.

To secure a place at the workshops please register here. Your registration will be confirmed by e-mail by the system.

(If you are unsure as to whether or not your registration has been successful, please contact Hazel Hall to check. Thank you.)

DREaM project to support creation of UK-wide network of LIS researchers

The LIS Research Coalition is pleased to announce that the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) has awarded a £45,000 grant to develop a formal UK-wide network of Library and Information Science (LIS) researchers. Tools The grant has been awarded to Hazel Hall for a project entitled ‘Developing Research Excellence and Methods’ (DREaM). Hazel and her co-investigator Professor Charles Oppenheim will work with representatives of the LIS Research Coalition member organisations to develop a series of training events and resources for LIS researchers. A key goal of the project is to build capacity and capability in the development and implementation of innovative methods and techniques in undertaking LIS research. The project starts in January 2011 and runs to August 2012. The first event will be a conference on Tuesday 19th July 2011 at the British Library Conference Centre in London. Further information about the project is available in a press release on the Media release page.