Author: Claire Valentine
TFPL, Training Manager
This was the topical subject of the recent LIS Research Coalition conference held at the British Library earlier this week. The day was introduced by Dr Michael Jubb of the Research Information Network, followed by an informative and thought provoking talk by Andrew Dillon from the University of Texas. Andrew’s points included: the importance of considering human behaviour and not technology as the focus for looking at adding value, the importance of collaboration across disciplines encompassing information science, human computer interaction, computer science etc. Full coverage of his and others talks have been expertly recorded on the LIS conference page - http://lisresearch.org/conference-2010/
Next followed the ‘One Minute Madness’ which I was pleased to take part in. A fantastic idea organised by Miggie Pickton and Hazel Hall, where participants were given exactly 60 seconds to present their topic of research around the question – “Evidence, Value and Impact – What’s on your mind?” 21 people took part and most accomplished getting their point across in the required time, one person even experimented with music and another presented in the style of a fairy tale! (It was filmed and you can view it on the LIS Research Coalition website).
Despite it being a nerve racking experience waiting in line to go on stage, I felt it was a great exercise. It meant I had to focus my mind to get important points across in order to develop interest for my area of research. I thought this exercise was particularly important to the topic of the day. It is definitely a key skill in promoting value and making an impact. All too often time is short when getting to speak with key stakeholders to get your argument across, whether it is to avoid cost cutting or to get buy in for your service provision or new business idea.
After a delicious lunch and plenty of networking it was on to do some work in the breakout sessions. These were facilitated workshops designed to discuss the challenges faced by Information professionals in today’s environment, where limited budgets and resources are fast becoming the norm. There were discussions around measuring the value by first measuring use of services before new initiatives were implemented. This then allows for a more accurate demonstration of the value added afterwards. In addition, another topic was how we can take a different look at failure to learn from previous mistakes and how this knowledge could then be communicated in a confidential environment. We also looked at the importance and benefits of research and how to gain benefits through promotion of services and collaborative work across disciplines.
For me, ways to work cross collaboratively to the benefit of all concerned, as well as looking at failure in a more positive way, were topics I could see really making a difference in today’s working environment. I believe it would help us work more effectively to be able to learn from mistakes. To work across organisational silos would really make a difference in what we do by incorporating different perspectives and knowledge making us more innovative.
The day ended with a summing up and review by Charles Oppenheim. The day for me was valuable and a chance not only to connect with like minded researchers but also to gain different perspectives on the challenges posed in these tough times. Thank you to all those who have offered help for my research topic for my dissertation and to Hazel for recommending the day to me.