Register now for RIVAL event 1: Thursday 11th July, Edinburgh

Text shamelessly copied from Hazel’s post
Registration is now open for the first RIVAL event on Thursday 11th July 2019 in the Horizon Suite at at Edinburgh Napier University’s Sighthill campus. Participation is free of charge for Scotland-based members of the library and information science practitioner and research communities interested in maximising the impact and value of library and information science research.

Thanks to project funding from the Royal Society of Edinburgh, we are able to subsidise costs of participation. We can contribute up to £25 towards the travel costs of those based in the Central Belt not local to Edinburgh. As well as travel, we can also contribute to accommodation costs for those from the rest of Scotland (up to £130 total for those on the mainland, and up to £280 total for those from the islands).

We are looking forward to welcoming a mix of information professionals from across Scotland to this event, including practising library and information scientists, and library and information science researchers (academic staff, research staff, and PhD students).

Speakers at this first RIVAL event include Hazel Hall (Edinburgh Napier University), Sarah Morton (Matter of Focus), and Louise Graham (Edinburgh Libraries). The programme also includes time for networking and unconference presentations, and for delegates to determine future elements of the RIVAL project.

To find out more about the other networking events in November 2019, March 2020, and July 2020, and the RIVAL event contributors, please see the RIVAL web site at https://lisrival.com or contact the RIVAL administrator: Dr Bruce Ryan by email at b.ryan@napier.ac.uk.

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Research Impact and Value in LIS: introducing the RIVAL network

Copied from Hazel Hall’s blog

This afternoon I’m speaking at the Edge conference in Edinburgh about a new project, as summarised in the slide below.

RIVAL launch posterWe started work on Research Impact and Value and LIS (RIVAL) on 1st February 2019. The Royal Society of Edinburgh has awarded us a grant to create a collaborative network of Scotland-based library and information science (LIS) researchers and library and information professionals interested in maximising the value of LIS research. This work builds on the pilot RIVAL event that we hosted at Edinburgh Napier University on 11th July last year.

We’re using the funding to organise four one-day network events between July 2019 and July 2020.  A proportion of this will be used to cover expenses of network members to participate at the events: travel for all members as required; travel and accommodation for those travelling long distances, e.g. from the Highlands and Islands. An extensive online presence for RIVAL will allow others to benefit from the project.

The main goal of the project is to develop and strengthen relationships between LIS researchers within Scottish universities, and between these LIS researchers and practitioners in Scotland. We hope that in doing so the practitioner participants will increase their confidence and self-efficacy as research users and partners.

The project team members Hazel Hall and Bruce Ryan are based within the Centre for Social Informatics at Edinburgh Napier University, and supported by a Project Board that includes Ines Byrne of the National Library of Scotland, Martina McChrystal of the University of Glasgow, Paul McCloskey of the City of Edinburgh Council, Emily Prince of Westerhailes Education Centre, and Andy Taylor of the University of Edinburgh.

The first RIVAL event takes place on Thursday 11th July 2019 in the Horizon Suite at Edinburgh Napier University’s Sighthill campus. Full details will be made available soon. In the meantime, if you wish to register your interest in the event, please email Bruce Ryan at b.ryan@napier.ac.uk.

To find out more about RIVAL, please check the project web site, follow the @LisRival Twitter feed, and/or join us on Facebook.

Write Now! (Again.)

(copied, with sincere thanks, from Frances Ryan’s blog post, then edited slightly)

Three years after Write Now! was launched, it’s back! This time around I’m the project lead, because I benefited from many of the sessions during the first year and so I was keen to get it going again. My colleague Frances Ryan has joined in on the project bit to add her expertise and experience, and to assist in setting up the writing sessions each week.

Write Now! is a series of writing sessions supported by Edinburgh Napier University’s Research and Innovation Office. The sessions are held at our Merchiston campus in the Triangle Café to re-create the experience of writing in a coffee shop.

The sessions are held on Wednesdays from 2.30-4.30 pm. There is no obligation to join us every Wednesday. However the sessions are held at the same time each week so that participants can add the on-going events to their calendars. This will essentially block time out in advance so that they can protect this valuable time slot from being taken over by other meetings. It’s a great way to prioritise writing time.

Write Now! is for research students and academic staff who want time for concentrated writing. This time can be used to work on thesis chapters, journal or conference submissions, research grants, or other academic writing.

The sessions are self-led and participants manage their own writing processes. On arrival, participants are given a voucher for a drink and snack before they start writing. At the end of the session, they are asked to fill out brief (anonymous) progress cards noting what their writing goal was (and whether they met that goal) and the approximate number of words they wrote during the session.

Join us every Wednesday through May (and maybe into June)!
Triangle Café (downstairs at Merchiston)
2.30-4.30 pm
Free drinks and snacks
And don’t forget your laptop (or pen and paper if you’re Old Skool like that!)

So what has Bruce been up to recently?

Part of an occasional series of posts to try to show that I don’t lie around all day! This post covers the time since we got back from honeymoon in early September.  

At Napier

  • Working with my colleague Wegene Demeke on the initiation of a project to investigate some aspects of participatory budgeting (PB) in São Paulo [Wikipedia], Brazil. We’re particularly interested in whether and how PB benefits the very poor. This is going to be fun, not least because neither Wegene nor I speak Portuguese, but we have some excellent partners at the University of São Paulo.
  • Working with the Prof on a funding bid for some networking events. That’s ‘networking’ in the sense of connecting humans, not ‘plumbing‘! The bid has been submitted but we won’t know whether we’ve been successful for a while, so watch this space!
  • Taking part in a follow-up to research by the Scottish Community Development Centre (SCDC) on community councils.
  • Marking courseworks for an undergraduate course.
  • Drafting an idea for some public engagement/democracy work. Again, watch this space!

Elsewhere

Continue reading

Some thoughts on a seminar by Professor Brian Detlor

I had the privilege of attending two seminars by Professor Brian Detlor last week. The first of these, at iDocQ 2018, recounted Brian’s work on Digital Storytelling. However, this post is about my reaction to his seminar to the School of Computing on Promoting Digital Literacy: A Social Lab Approach.

This post is the first of two – the second will be an attempt to crystallise my thoughts about e-voting that bubbled up after Brian’s seminar. However, for now, this post is an attempt to show why Brian’s seminar was such a positive experience for me, but it is not an attempt to record all that Brian said. My reactions are in blockquotes. Continue reading

DREaM paper accepted

In 2015, I enjoyed working with Professor Hazel Hall on an assessment of the lasting effects of the Developing Research Excellence and Methods (DREaM) project. Hazel’s posts about this project are here.

A paper written by Hazel, Peter Cruickshank and me, addressing the question of network sustainability within a community of library and information science (LIS) researchers and practitioner researchers has now been accepted for publication in the Journal of Documentation. Please read more about it in Hazel’s blog post, or, if you would like to learn more about the results of this study, please email Hazel at: h.hall@napier.ac.uk.

After i3 conference #i3rgu

I’ve been informed,  interacted and impacted at i3! I could only attend on Thursday and this morning, but my eyes have been opened to the wide world of Library and Information Research, and some of the characters in this world.

The sessions I attended were

(Because my blood-sugar crashed, I didn’t get to attend the final plenary except to see colleagues Iris Buunk and Hazel Hall win the prize draw.)

I mentioned the social aspects because I think some of the most interesting stories around research came out then. For me, and of course I may be wrong, papers deliver the ‘facts’, conference presentations tell some of the ‘back-story’, and social events can fill in the details. For example, a researcher talked about the major difficulties she experienced when trying to travel to collect data. So now I’m a bit more fore-warned of some possible practical difficulties.

I won’t say which I thought was the best presentation, because that would imply there was a ‘worst’. As far as I’m concerned, anyone who exposes their ‘research-hearts’ to a sea of potential criticism is a winner.

Drs Bhuva Narayan and Bruce Ryan

But I will say which I got the most out of personally: Bhuva Narayan’s presentation on information avoidance amongst diabetics described my personal world. A research blog isn’t the place to rant about my personal experiences of this condition, much as I want to. But I think it is appropriate to note how our careers have included academic/educational publishing before moving into academic research which is close to our respective hearts.

I’m also tempted to wonder whether there is room for research into information misbehaviour, e.g. are there links between information avoidance and other ‘undesirable’ activities?

My other favourite was Graeme Baxter’s presentation on post-truth politics and Scottish citizens’ information behaviour. Graeme showed how people reacted to political statements made by the five major Scottish political parties. Each party published statements intended to advance their positions and/or denigrate other parties, by quoting ‘facts’ without citing references. In fact, Graeme and colleagues had to dig quite deeply to establish sources and hence the veracity of the ‘facts’ they ‘tested’ on their participants.

As a scientist, it’s hopefully second nature to back up facts and statements with either citations showing where these were ‘proved’, or to prove them ourselves from the data we’re presenting – anything else is plagiarism or worse. Not so in political campaigning, it appears. Graeme suggested that political ‘facts’ go on a journey in which ‘original sources become less clear and facts become increasingly reinterpreted’. I guess the moral is an undertone of ‘facts matter’, in that we need to be sure that our facts are facts (i.e. true/correct), and the contexts in which they are they are true, and what they really mean.

For example, Graeme showed a political communication saying that 152,000 college places had been lost. Did that mean that 152,000 people were now being denied the chance of a full degree, thus potentially harming Scotland’s economy and much else? Er, no, it meant that quite a number of short courses and lessons in mostly ‘hobby’ interests were being cut. For me, any loss of educational opportunities isn’t great, but this ‘fact’ wasn’t anywhere near as bad as it appeared. I’d be disappointed if I couldn’t go to an interesting one-off lecture or short course on one of my interests, but it probably wouldn’t be career- or life-threatening. And as my colleague Todd showed, there is a huge amount of educational material on YouTube, for example. (The difficulty there, as he also mentioned, is learning which material offers me the most value, and doesn’t omit the things I really need to learn.)

I’m particularly interested in two things related to Graeme’s presentation. (This doesn’t mean I’m not interested in other aspects!)

  • The first is the extent to which people trust facts coming from government, rather than political parties’ campaigns. Graham cited the white paper on Scottish Independence which was delivered in 2014. Was that an output from a party or from the government or from the ‘neutral’ civil service? (I’m interested because I know a few current and former civil servants who sweated blood to try to ensure that it contained established facts, and clearly differentiated between these and ambitions for the post-independence world. But civil servants are required to serve the government of the day, even if this goes agains their personal views, unless this would involve them in something seriously immoral.)
  • The second is how much people trust information provided by community councils. (Let’s ignore how little people appear to actually access this information. As my colleague Peter Cruickshank points out, it’s entirely possible to take in and act on such information without leaving any obvious signs of engaging with it.) I’d really like to understand what people make of the (digital) information outputs of their community councils. I hope we can soon do some engagement research that probes this.

Final thoughts

image credit: Frances Ryan

Firstly, I’m inspired to do a bit of object-oriented programming around a model cool cat, especially as I’m cited for some reason.

Secondly, I’m sorry I couldn’t attend all the presentations made by my Napier colleagues.

Finally, a huge thank-you to i3 organisers Dr Elizabeth Tait and Professor Peter Reid for organising a great conference. Here’s looking forward to i3 2019!

Connecting people, connecting ideas symposium

My colleague Frances Ryan, along with Professor Hazel Hall, will be running a one-day research symposium on 22 June 2017. ‘Connecting people, connecting ideas‘ (CPCI) will focus on research priorities in Information Science as related to everyday life information seeking and information behaviours in online environments.

More information is on Frances’ research blog. If information science is in any way your thing, I’m sure this will be an interesting and provocative event.