19 July 2011

DREaM Launch Event

Today I've been at the British Library for the launch event of the DREaM project. This AHRC-funded project is working to establish a network of library and information science researchers - the title stands for Developing Research Excellence and Methods.

Professor Hazel Hall introduced the project - including three forthcoming research workshops and a concluding event next summer. The initial project runs for a year, but the aim is to create a sustainable network which can be maintained beyond that. Professor Hall argued this is only possible with the involvement of a "cadre" of committed professionals.

Professor Blaise Cronin gave the opening keynote about the development of library science research and factors which have influenced this (including differences between arts and humanities and social science approaches). This presentation included some really interesting metrics about LIS research, such as the citing of LIS research by non-LIS fields, and the increasing role of non-LIS supervisors in LIS research, as well as general encouragement to use LIS metrics more in research.

I contributed to the one minute madness session by talking a bit about engaging with social enterprise networks for my research. It was an interesting experience - both the shortest talk and the biggest audience I've ever had! In hindsight it seems good fun: the session went very smoothly and I thought all the one minute talks were excellent.

In the afternoon, I went to a breakout session about three research methods which were fairly new to me: Delphi studies (iterative consultation of experts), co-operative inquiry (working collaboratively with others in an action research approach), and community consultation (engaging directly with relevant communities).

The final keynote was by Dr Dylan Evans. It was fascinating to hear him talk about his career path from linguist to psychoanalyst to research in the philosophy of science, with some interesting examples of the role of serendipity in a career trajectory. He gave a couple of examples of exchanges of expertise and knowledge across disciplinary boundaries, including between medical science and art. Finally he encouraged engagement with the media to communicate about research.

There's lots of useful information about the event, including presentations from the day on the event website.

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