Speaking about RIVAL at #CILIPS21

I was delighted to speak about the RIVAL project Royal Society of Edinburgh funded Research Impact Value and Library and Information Science (RIVAL) project, at the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals Scotland 2021 conference (#CILIPS21) on Tuesday 8 June. This, and Hazel’s presentation at SCURL, would be a fitting coda to all the work I, Hazel and others have put into this project, and the successes it has generated. NB it’s a coda, not a finis.

My script for this presentation is below the cut, my slides are in this PDF and the video of my presentation is on CILIP’s public GoogleDrive. So I’ll just note the main points here.

  • Creating collaborative networks of academics and practitioners is possible and worthwhile
  • We have a model for doing so, based on our previous work and experience, e.g. DREaM, RiLIES, digiCC workshops. This model is likely to work in other situations where there are research-practice gaps.
  • We had to adapt to COVID-19/lockdown, by learning from other online events and conferences.
  • RIVAL survived and succeeded – it created the network we wanted to build, and helped close the LIS research-practice gap in Scotland.
  • RIVAL created many resources that are free to use – all on lisrivalcom.

Here’s that model:

  • Networking events are free to attend
  • The first meeting is a ‘taster’.
  • After that, members should be strongly encouraged to come to all subsequent meetings, to maximise network- and relationship-building.
  • Networking events have enticing, relevant content
  • Networking events have activities to break ice and build relationships
  • Communications and info-sharing between events
  • Members are a mix of academics and practitioners
  • Board reflects membership, experience and diversity
  • Members have some control over content and outputs
  • Aim to create tangible outputs and resources

And thank you to the audience at #CILIPS21 for all the questions and interaction afterwards!


RIVAL provided many lessons to us as organisers and participants during its lifetime (summer 2019 to spring 2020). But it wasn’t done yet. Its final lesson was an expression of Sod’s law – what can go wrong will go wrong– even if you have checked and rechecked the technology!

I’d practiced my presentation several times. (Thanks CSI colleagues, Hazel, Rachel, Sean and Elly!) Of course this included checking that the slides would play, and I could be heard clearly via my iPad, both via Teams (Napier’s preferred online channel) and Zoom (used at #CILIPS21).

But when it was time to do this publicly, Zoom/Powerpoint/my iPad conspired to not show the slides. So

  • frantic grab for my MacBook Air
  • wait for it to verify Outlook, Zoom and PowerPoint
  • get my iPad to stop giving feedback (just quitting Zoom didn’t work. Nor did taking it into another room far from the Mac. Switching it off completely did)
  • get Zoom on the Mac to screenshare the PowerPoint.

Thank you to my session chair for keeping me calm! Fortunately, CILIPS had sensibly arranged for presenters to come online 10 minutes before they were due to start. So this vindicates a lesson on my slides: accept there are risks. It also provides another one: in online events, allow time for technology to do its worst! Continue reading

Published @hazelh @spartakan @gunillawiden @jinfolit

I’m very, very happy to report that Workplace information literacy: measures and methodological challenges has now been published in the Journal of Information Literacy. This paper is available at https://doi.org/10.11645/15.2.2812. You can read more about the paper in at least 3 blog posts:

  1. mine
  2. Hazel’s
  3. The CSI blog

So here, I just want to thank Gunilla WidénFarhan Ahmad, Shahrokh Nikou and Peter Cruickshank for the opportunity to write together on our work on workplace information literacy. And of course thank you to all at JIL for the opportunity to publish.


Widén, G., Ahmad, F., Nikou, S., Ryan, B., & Cruickshank, P. (2021). Workplace information literacy. Journal Of Information Literacy, 15(2), 26-44. doi:10.11645/15.2.2812

In press! @hazelh @spartakan @gunillawiden

With grateful acknowledgements to Hazel Hall and Peter Cruickshank for quite a few of the following words.

I’m very happy to report that Peter Cruickshank and I have recently contributed to a new paper on methods for studying workplace information literacy. Entitled Workplace information literacy: measures and methodological challenges, the paper is currently in press, but the manuscript is now available as a pdf download from the Edinburgh Napier repository. It will be published later this year in Volume 15 issue 2 of the Journal of Information Literacy. Continue reading

Published! @hazelh @spartakan @bruce_research @gemmaducat @librarygryphon @MetaskillsPhD @ilauramuir @FrancesRyanPhD

Tuesday 15 December was a bumper day for the Centre for Social Informatics (CSI), with the publication of six articles in Information Research. These were conference articles presented at ISIC2020 and a paper on ‘imagined citizens’. Together these showcase some of the work we undertake.  Continue reading

What has Bruce been up to in the second half of 2020?

I write these pieces every 6 months, usually for the Centre for Social Informatics’ all-centre meetings. (I’m usually incapable of speech by the time it’s my turn to report.[1]) Really miffed that we can’t get together in person this time. Click this link to see all the pieces in this series. Continue reading

Looking ahead to RIVAL event 3

I’m really looking forward to RIVAL event 3, admittedly with a bit of nervousness about running an online event. (I’m always nervous about everything I do, so going virtual isn’t the real cause.) Anyway this post is to look at the treats awaiting RIVAL network members on Thursday 19 November, not to focus on me.

Many of the ‘skeletons’ of these treats will be hosted on the event web-page. But the tasty ‘flesh’ (c’mon, it’s just past Hallowe’en) will be in the interactions between network members during the event. We will live-tweet what we can, so please follow @lisrival. Continue reading

From despair to where? Some lessons from lockdown

This was originally written as a ‘reserve’ presentation for RIVAL event 3‘s ‘sharing our skills’ section. Fortunately enough people who are good at presenting volunteered, so Hazel Hall suggested I turn it into a blog-post. 

So here it is. The first part is a whistle-stop tour through my current ‘life under lockdown’; the second part is some lessons from recent online conferences I’ve attended, and from many community council online meetings. It’s meant to be somewhat tongue-in-cheek, but with some genuine lessons and realisations.

I should admit that the title of this post is a deliberate misnomer. I’ve despaired over many things, but turning RIVAL events virtual is not one of them. (It has been a lot of work though.) 

Click any image to see it full-size in a new tab or window.

Thanks to Marina Milosheva for advice on an early draft. Continue reading

Memories of #AECIST20

I recently attended an European chapter of ASIS&T Information Science Trends online conference This year it focussed on health information hehaviour. The following are my digitally-assisted memories of #AECIST20, i.e. adaptations of my live-tweets from the event. As ever, this report is mostly to help me sort what I need to do from what I want to do after being stimulated by many fascinating presentations. Any mistakes or misrepresentations in the below are of course my mistakes. Continue reading

What has Bruce been up to during lockdown?

It appears I’ve been relatively quiet during the past 5 months, at least on this blog. There have been personal reasons for this, as covered in my personal blog. Continue reading

Digital exclusion in Scotland: tweets by @operanomad and @OliverEscobar

NB @operanomad and @OliverEscobar gave retrospective permission to copy their tweets. 

Cat Macaulay (Chief design officer at the Scottish Government, @operanomad) talks about the ~800,000 digitally excluded people in Scotland. She states in another thread: [it] benefits no one to have so many digitally excluded/inactive and no or low basic digitally skilled in Scotland. (I’d add that this argument applies worldwide. This is not a criticism of the focus on Scotland in the following.) Continue reading