LIS Research – and a moment of madness!


Another really late entry – I am nearly up to date with my ramblings! Earlier this summer I attended the LIS Research Coalition conference at the British Library in London. The conference was really inspirational giving a fantastic insight into the world of practitioner based research and the important need for LIS professionals to engage in research. It was a fantastically organised and generally great event where practitioners and academics came together to share ideas, experiences and thoughts on the future developments of LIS research.

The events of the day began with an interesting overview of the coalition  by Michael Jubb. He was followed by an informative keynote speech from Andrew Dillon on the importance of LIS research for developing an understanding of people’s information needs and behaviour together with the developments in technology. As Andrew argued in order to demonstrate value as a profession more qualitative and quantitative based research is needed – but time, work demands and the general nature of research means presents a number of challenges to achieving this.

The first keynote of the day was followed by a successful series of presentations entitled “One Minute Madness”. This was an opportunity for people to take part in a one minute presentation about the type of research that they were involved in. I was mad enough to take part and I have to say it was one of the most daunting presentations ever – give me 5-10 mins and I think I would be OK – but 60 seconds with a big clock ticking in front of you – the pressure is really on. It was however an invaluable experience and a great way to find out what 21 people were investigating whether it be for their doctorates or for their work projects.

The afternoon provided an opportunity to attend workshops investigating issues to various including potential challenges and possible solutions to topics focusing on evidence, value and impact in LIS research. For me the workshop was a great learning opportunity to find out more from others about their experiences and ideas relating to LIS research. It also highlighted to me the fact that there are a number of issues relating the challenges faced in Library research to value and impact. What approaches should be taken to demonstrate this? How can we demonstrate value and impact? I suppose this could be done through links to student satisfaction or through impact on exam results? Lots to think about…

The day ended with an entertaining closing speech from Charles Oppenheim summing up the key points from the event including why LIS research is needed. Evidence, value and impact should be the main drivers for future research. Charles stressed that we need to identify worthwhile realistic research topics and funders to move forward.

Overall it was really insightful and inspiring day – the highlight for me was the one-minute madness – lots to take away from the experience and the day as a whole. It was certainly thought-provoking and I have taken away a number of questions and ideas to consider in my own work.  I think that there are lots to learn from the LIS landscape and hope to take some of what I have learnt from this event and apply it to my own research and project work.


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