Research


information2.0Facet Publishing have released a free sample chapter from my book, “Information 2.0: new models of information production, distribution and consumption” – it is the introduction and gives a good overview of the themes, technologies and issues covered.

You can buy it from Facet or Amazon.

Information 2.0 De SaullesMA Information Studies lecturers, Audrey Marshall and Dr Martin De Saulles, have just had books published on aspects of information management.  Audrey’s “Collection Management in the Digital Age” is an edited collection of chapters on the challenges facing libraries by digital technologies while Martin’s “Information 2.0: new models of information production, distribution and consumption” looks at the revolution in the media and publishing industries brought about by the internet and rise of social media.  Principal lecturer, Martin says: “The internet and rise of low-cost mobile computing devices is really starting to impact on a range of industries and our books explore how organisations are adapting to these changes.  Information technology investments have traditionally been focused on the technology aspects while there is now a growing awareness that the information which flows through and across these technologies and networks is what is driving economic and social change.” MA Information Studies course leader, Audrey, adds: “At the core of my book is a desire to confront the changes we are experiencing and to question the rational strategic approaches to developing and managing collections which have been at the heart of librarianship for years.”

As part of their MA course, our students do a placement in a host organisation. This is partly to give them relevant work experience but is mainly to give them a setting within which they can carry out a piece of research. This forms the basis of their dissertation. It also gives the host organisation a useful piece of work – typically something they don’t have the time or resources to do themselves.

Recent projects have included:

  • an RFID scoping project for Brighton and Susssex University Hospitals NHS Trust
  • the use of social media in campaigning, for UKOLN
  • an evaluation of marketing to teens in East Sussex public libraries
  • user training needs at Middle Temple Law Library
  • the role of Knowledge Support Librarians in the NHS in Hampshire
  • the use of visual imagery to promote Rare Books and Special Collections
  • geo-tagging as a retrieval aid at Screen Archive South East

This is a small sample of what recent students have done, but you can see the range for yourselves. One local host commented on one placement that the “work is having an immediate and direct impact on our service and has made the initial stages of our project considerably easier to complete”.

This is the time of year that we start matching students up with host organisations. The placements themselves take place over the summer (for full-time students) and from October through to February (for part-time students).  This year’s cohort have already expressed an interest in projects around information literacy, search engine optimisation, social media policy and investigations into services for people with dyslexia.  If you’d be interested in hosting a placement or would like to know more please contact:

Audrey Marshall
a.m.marshall@brighton.ac.uk.

I gave a talk last week to CILIP Sussex based on a book I am writing for Facet Publishing. The slides and my talk are below:

As part of their MA course, our students have to do a placement in a host organisation. This is partly to give them relevant work experience but is mainly to give them a setting within which they can carry out a piece of research. This forms the basis of their dissertation. It also gives the host organisation a useful piece of work – typically something they don’t have the time or resources to do themselves.

Recent projects have included: an evaluation of services to disabled children in East Sussex; the role of Knowledge Support Librarians in the NHS in Hampshire; the use of visual imagery to promote Rare Books and Special Collections; geo-tagging as a retrieval aid at Screen Archive South East.

This is a small sample of what recent students have done, but you can see the range for yourselves. One local host commented on one placement: “It was a very positive experience for everyone involved. We have been able to use her dissertation on electronic resources to great effect…”

This is the time of year that we start matching students up with host organisations. The placements themselves take place over the summer (for full-time students) and from October through to February (for part-time students). If you’d be interested in hosting a placement or would like to know more please contact:

Audrey Marshall
a.m.marshall@brighton.ac.uk.

For me – as for many other attendees, the ‘one minute madness‘ session at last Monday’s (28th June 2010) LIS Research Coalition conference at the British Library conference centre was the highlight of the day. Over 20 brave souls stood up and presented on a research topic (from completed, funded projects, to PhD work in progress, to projects just getting off the ground) in 60 seconds. Not only did they all keep to time, but I – rather to my surprise – learnt a huge amount and can actually remember a lot of it! As Charles Oppenheim noted in his highly entertaining closing remarks, this should be the way forward for PhD vivas… I’d add all conference presentations to that. Although, having said that, I was glad Andrew Dillon had longer than a minute, as his informative and thought provoking keynote address was a great start to the morning, following on from Michael Jubb’s overview of LIS research in the UK over the last few decades, and outlining the work of the LIS Research Coalition to date. He rightly singled out Hazel Hall’s amazing work over the last year in promoting the work of the Coalition and in implementing its plans.

During the afternoon, delegates were split into breakout groups to firstly identify questions that needed answers (on the topic of either evidence or value and impact), and secondly, to come up with answers to the questions posed by a different group. I think many important issues were aired during these sessions (and I – of course – took the opportunity to put in my own twopence worth), but I felt rather that the group was better at identifying issues and challenges than answers! That may just have been the control freak lecturer in me wanting my seminar students to knuckle down to the task and come up with solutions! There is also a certain going over old ground on these occasions (as I couldn’t help pointing out, the same issues have been coming up over and over again in a number of research projects (including a study I did in 2006) and the literature for well over twenty years), but as Andrew Dillon had remarked earlier, culture change is a slow process. Having said that, now that the Research Coalition is in place, I have much more confidence that things will move forward than I would have done a few years ago.

Much tweeting and blogging of the event was done during the day (including by me), so you can get a sense of the day in a number of ways – follow the tweet trail (#lisrc10); check out the day’s live blog; and read/watch the sessions, all available from the Coalition conference website; read other reviews of the conference. The organisation of the day, the co-ordination of the reporting of sessions etc. and the enthusiasm were all excellent, so I’m looking forward to where we all take it next…

… or that’s what I like to think as I embark upon another year teaching my ten week Research Methods module to our students taking the MA Information Studies degree. I always love the first sessions – the beginning of an opportunity to get on my soapbox and be a research methods nerd for the next couple of months or so! This morning we began with some discussion about What is research? and Why do we do it? – followed in the afternoon by an overview from me of the LIS Research Landscape. Here we covered the ‘good old days’ of the BLRIC, Library and Information Commission, (whose reports are still to be found on the UKOLN site  – remember Prospects: a strategy for action anyone?), and the current funding landscape. Drawing on research reports such as CIRT’s The LIS research landscape: a review and prognosis, we also attempted to get an overview of the types of research that have characterised our area over the last twenty years. Pictured is our ‘map’ based on an exercise the students did, extracting themes from 3 sources: the 2008 RAE submissions; webpages of a number of LIS research centres; the last 4 issues of the following 4 journals: Library Review, Journal of Documentation, Library and Information Research and Journal of Librarianship and Information Science. Alongside the continued focus on all things ‘e’ (though called rather quaintly, things like ‘Telematics for Libraries’ by the EU in the 1990s), it was interesting to note that value and impact assessment and evaluation have long been around as key areas (Impact and Value was one of the themes identified by the LIC’s 1997 Prospects document). It was nice this year to be able to report that there is now – after a long gap – a body that is responsible for co-ordinating LIS research, the LIS Research Coalition, and that the June conference it is organising is on Evidence, Value and Impact.

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