Search This Blog

Saturday, 22 April 2017

10 May: LARK events in Adelaide and Sydney

By Suzana Sukovic
10 May is going to be an eventful day for LARK. First of all, LARK is spreading its wings to South Australia. The first SA LARK meeting will be in Adelaide on 10 May at 12 pm. It will be an informal meeting to connect with people interested in research in library and information practice. 

LARKs in Sydney are delighted that another group in Australia is forming. We will get together on the same day at 6 pm and may be able to hear from LARKs in Adelaide about their first meeting. 

Survey: beyond a happy sheet is the topic of our meeting in Sydney. We will talk about survey design and offer some practical advice on this popular method of collecting information. As always, everyone is welcome. 


Saturday, 8 April 2017

Why research support is not enough?

©2017 HABBENINK
By Suzana Sukovic

Library and information professionals ask themselves regularly what they can do better to support research. It is a worthy question, but the answers never go far enough simply because we can’t really support research anymore. And how are we going to do deal with that? In the nutshell, by becoming transliterate research specialists. It may sound like a contradiction in terms. Transliteracy (described as a fluidity of movement across a range of technologies, media and contexts) is about moving broadly while being a specialist means focusing on one area. But, professional dancers are transliterate specialists. With a rigorous dancing technique, physical and musical training, daily practice and a good deal of talent, they dance to different types of music, performing in theatres, dancing halls and on streets. Many information professionals are transliterate specialists in the way they go about their work, but their practices haven’t become an integral part of who we are as a profession.

As a researcher and a practitioner, I have worked with educators and academics for many years. I have heard over and over again about the overwhelming demands of daily work coupled with complex information and technological contexts. An academic who works on a research project, an educator who prepares online modules for health professionals, and a classroom teacher alike need someone to help them in navigating fast-paced information and technological changes. 

And this is not enough. Developments in the knowledge field have become so far-reaching that our clients need an information specialist as a partner in taking their knowledge work further. An academic, Peter Read, wrote about our collaboration in a way that captures the nature of this type of partnerships, which have been sprouting across the globe:


Librarians well versed in digital humanities, I realise now, offer not only new ways of creative thinking, but epistemological insights into how to present historical knowledge and understanding to solve new problems. Issues of design, attractiveness, maneuverability and access are just part of what I understand to be a great deal more than an easy way of putting everything together. 

Negotiation of shifting cultural norms adds a new layer of complexity to intricate knowledge landscapes. ‘Academic city of villages’, a model of how academics in the humanities live in their information worlds, is a reality for many scholars who negotiate disciplinary boundaries with a wish to work creatively and use abundant information outside their traditional domains. They need research partners who understand disciplinary cultures as well as epistemic frameworks, information sources and digital technologies.

The concept of transliteracy has captured the interest of information professionals over the last decade as it addresses many practices and challenges they observed in their work. As the information environments have become increasingly complex, existing practices of moving across media, technologies and contexts took new forms. A dynamic approach to understanding old and new information behaviours and related capabilities is needed. The conceptual model of transliteracy below provides a framework for thinking about transliteracy as an overarching concept in relation to other capabilities. 



Applying these capabilities to the work of information professionals leads to reconceptualising our professional contribution to research. While we as a profession have all the capabilities which form transliteracy to some extent, it is the way we move across that makes new forms of our work possible.

The transliterate research specialist needs to assume three roles, which often overlap and merge as is the case in any transliterate work.
1. Transliterate research partner. In this role, the information specialist brings information from different domains to contribute to investigations, acting as an information broker with solid disciplinary, and the deep specialised knowledge of information landscapes. With the knowledge of digital tools and methods, s/he takes part in thinking about different ways of knowing applicable to the work at hand. Academics in particular need and greatly respect people who work with them not only on providing access to information, but who could also help them to take their understanding further. I have argued elsewhere for a resurrection of the highly respected Medieval librarian in the guise of the Librarian iScholar (Sukovic, 2011).

2. Translational researcher. Two useful models borrowed from medicine as a major field of applied research underpin thinking about this role. One is the model of teaching hospitals, which provide practical training for students, and enable connections between academia and practice. Another is translational research, which is based on the same principles. Translational research focuses on applying results of basic research into medical practice to improve health outcomes for patients. While there are many questions around translational research, it remains a valid and valuable approach to ensuring that research has outcomes in health services.

The health models are applicable to LIS as an applied discipline. ‘Teaching libraries’ could be grounded in the principles of connecting academic and practice-based research and training. Considering the richness and variety of contexts in which they operate, libraries and information centres have potential to become nodes of research activity. Investigations of fluctuating information needs and practices, and experimentation would lead to innovation and enable new insights. A number of disciplines could become partners in these investigations. The information professional as a translational researcher would not only bring results of research into practice, but would also take the role of translator between different knowledge domains. 

3. Provider of transliteracy-enabling systems. In this role, the information specialist would develop systems to support flexible and meandering information paths. With a creative mind and high-order technological skills, the information specialist researches and creates information ecologies to support innovative thinking.

Many information professionals already do the work of the transliterate research specialist. The next step is to make it a norm and embed it in the way we operate as a profession. Instead of asking how we can be better research supporters, we need to ask how we can be better research partners. The key is in thinking creatively how we can use our rigorously developed capability sets in amphitheatres, public libraries, digital classrooms and on the streets.



Book Transliteracy in complex information environments (Chandos, 2017) is available from Elsevier store

References
SUKOVIC, S. 2011 E-texts in research projects in the humanities. In: WOODSWORTH, A. (ed.) Advances in Librarianship, Vol. 33. Bingley: Emerald Group Publishing Limited.

.

Thursday, 30 March 2017

The rewards of the Research Advisory Committee



By Diana Hodge & Suzana Sukovic
 

We have just finished our three-year term as co-chairs for the ALIA Research Advisory Committee (RAC). Overall, it has been an extremely rewarding experience. It involved a lot of work, but it was worth it. However, many times over the three years, we thought Thank goodness we nominated together

The roles of the advisory committee are to advise the ALIA Board of Directors on all aspects of library and information research theory, policy and practice; matters of interest and concern to ALIA Members relating to research; and the awarding of research grants. Every year the committee assesses applications for the Research Grant Award and the Twila Ann Janssen Herr Research Award for Disability Services, which are each worth $5000.

Awarding the grants is interesting, time-consuming and very satisfying. Knowing the amount of effort that goes into the applications and into the completion of the projects means that the committee takes this task very seriously and we have a very strong commitment to a fair and transparent process. The committee also plays an active role in the creation of the ALIA Research Agenda; the further development of research activities for the Association, including conference workshops; producing the research-related information, resources and support that should be available to ALIA Members, and raising awareness of, and contributions to, the ALIA Research Fund.

In the three years we have been chairs, the committee has undertaken all sorts of activities in these areas that may not be apparent to most ALIA Members. We oversaw the development of the ALIA LIS Research Environmental Scan report by Mike Middleton, created the ALIA Research Agenda, continued the practice of delivering research workshops at ALIA conferences and wrote the research column for INCITE. We have been asked on numerous occasions to read research proposals and government reports of various kinds and contribute comments to an ALIA response. All of these projects required many hours of work from us and our dedicated committee members. Your ALIA Board members work very hard to put our professional point of view forward to those in power.
We’d also like to give you a bit of a personal perspective on our experience.

Diana: I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t relieved to be passing the chairing role on to others, but the benefits that I have received as a committee member and as chair have been enormous and have made the hard work well worth it.
I have met some incredible people through the committee, both ALIA employees and committee members. It was daunting when I joined that first phone hook-up and spoke to people I had never met. Helping deliver my first practitioner research workshop at ALIA 2012 was a pivotal moment. My fellow committee members were not at all scary in real life; they were warm, welcoming and happy to have me on board.

Before joining the Research Advisory Committee, I had been a member of ALIA, went to ALIA conferences and occasionally browsed my way through an ALIA journal – which means I had very little idea of what ALIA actually did. Being part of the committee has allowed me to see behind the scenes and get an idea of the amount and range of work ALIA does on our behalf. I knew that ALIA did advocacy work on behalf of the profession, but getting a glimpse of the scale of this has been an eye-opener.

I have spent most of my working life as an academic librarian with only a peripheral awareness of what was happening in other sectors of librarianship. The RAC aims to have representatives from all sectors of the profession – academic librarians and teaching staff, school librarians, public and corporate librarians, health librarians and others. It is easy for us to let our perspective narrow to our own little niche; working closely with committee members from all walks of librarianship has broadened my horizons and given me a much better understanding of the challenges faced by my peers in the profession. 

Suzana: I left RAC after nine years – six as a member and three as co-chair. I started on the committee just after finishing my PhD to give it a go. Little did I know that it was going to become a long-term commitment. Back in the day, the RAC members were predominantly academics. It now consists of professionals and academics with wide-ranging backgrounds. I am particularly proud that during our co-chairing that RAC continued to grow into a strong and outward-looking group with members with a wide variety of professional and ethnic backgrounds. 


In my time on the committee, I met many interesting people and dealt with a range of issues, which I wouldn’t have an opportunity to encounter in my professional life. Volunteering for ALIA gave a new dimension to my experience. Co-chairing a formal advisory committee and working with ALIA LARK (Library Applied Research Kollektive), a grassroots group, I felt truly connected with the issues of research in the profession. Meeting monthly with people dispersed across Australia and being regularly on phone with Di in Adelaide gave a whole new dimension to a sense of connection. I am glad to pass on the baton, but I’m also happy that I ran with it for a while.


This article was first published in Incite (March/April 2017)

DR DIANA HODGE, Manager, Academic Library Services, University of South Australia


DR SUZANA SUKOVIC, Executive Director, Educational Research and Evidence Based Practice, HETI (Health Education and Training Institute)

Sunday, 26 February 2017

Recording: Research capacity building for professional practice

By Suzana Sukovic

Earlier this week (Wednesday, 22 February) LARK hosted a webinar entitled Research capacity building for professional practice. It was announced here and here. This webinar was a milestone for LARK as this was the first time we targeted different professional groups. For me, it was a way to put my different worlds together. I am delighted to say "no collision", just good interprofessional learning.

I wish to thank the presenters and everyone who came to the webinar and contributed questions and comments. Many thanks to Alycia Bailey who looked after technology while I facilitated the meeting.

The whole webinar lasted just a bit over an hour. Recordings below are slightly shorter as discussions about technology and short periods of silence were cut.

Slides and a chat transcript are available from this link.


From experienced health clinician to novice researcher

Dr Kerith Duncanson
video


From library practitioner to library researcher: making research part of your professional practice 

Edward Luca

A blog post about the project presented in Edward's talk and a link to an academic article are available from this LARK blog post.

video

Unlearning with Snapchat

Kate Bunker and Dr Tatum McPherson-Crowie

The full peer-reviewed paper on which this talk was based is available from the Information Online website (see here).

What you hear after my introduction is Tatum's voice. The recording of the talk finishes at 12:30 and the rest are discussions with all the participants.

video




Sunday, 19 February 2017

Update: Research capacity building for professional practice

By Suzana Sukovic

Our first webinar this year has shaped up into a very promising event. We now have a great line-up of presenters from health and libraries. They will consider research in professional practice from the perspective of a very successful capacity building program in health, developing research as part of daily library work and integrating research into fun and reflective practice aided by social media.

In the previous post, I announced two presenters. Now we have the whole program and UPDATED LINK.

When: Wednesday, 22 February 4-5pm AEDT (Sydney, Canberra, Melbourne)

How to join? Go to link
https://www.gotomeet.me/larkresearch/alia-lark-research-capacity-building-for-professional-practice

The presentations will be followed by discussions. 


From experienced health clinician to novice researcher

Kerith Duncanson

The NSW Health Education and Training Institute (HETI) Rural Research Capacity Building Program provides nurses, doctors and allied health professionals from across NSW to build their research skills in a two-year researcher development program. Facilitated by two clinician researchers with teaching supported by health research academics, the program is conducted through a combination of face-to-face workshops, mentor relationships and teleconferences. Candidates step through the research process from research question conception to ethics, study implementation, analysis and report in a supportive research environment and with designated research time.


From library practitioner to library researcher: making research part of your professional practice 

Edward Luca

It can be hard to start a conversation about research, particularly if you’ve never done it before or there’s no precedent at your workplace for such initiatives. Edward will talk about his personal journey in developing academic journal articles based on his work in libraries. In particular, he’ll discuss the value of evidence-based research in informing library practice, and why more library practitioners should become involved in this space.


Unlearning with Snapchat


Kate Bunker and Tatum McPherson-Crowie will share how we embrace risk, acknowledge failure and identify epic failures by a novel use of the social media network Snapchat to convene a reflective practitioner meshwork for capturing and sharing screenshots of experiences in the interest of reflecting on learning from unlearnings. Learning from our unlearnings, we propose a reflective, transformative, bottom-up problem-solving approach to workplace learning in the academic library context to bring about a change-ready library and information professional workforce. Resulting from our approach to an evolving workplace learning environment, colleagues have reported increased confidence in their use and application of emerging technologies for personal and professional purposes, motivation to return to formal tertiary study, benefits of multiple modes of mentoring, skills refresher opportunities, and the unifying affect of and effect on library staff as they up-skill and multi-skill together.


Monday, 6 February 2017

Research capacity building for professional practice

https://pixabay.com/en/smartphone-hand-photo-montage-faces-1445489/
By Suzana Sukovic

LARK's first event this year will be an opportunity for some interprofessional learning. In this webinar, our guests will share experiences from health and libraries about different approaches to research capacity building for practice.

Dr Kerith Duncanson will talk about a successful program offered to health professionals in rural and remote areas of New South Wales. The program supports participants to become independent practitioner-researchers. Librarian Edward Luca will reflect on his learning journey during the process of conducting a practice-based research project. Their talks will be followed by discussions and opportunities to share experiences about building research capacity for professional practice.

When: Wednesday, 22 February 4-5pm AEDT (Sydney, Canberra, Melbourne)
How to join? Go to this link to join the webinar
https://www.gotomeet.me/larkresearch/alia-lark-research-capacity-building-for-professional-practice 
NEW LINK UPDATED 19/2



Rural Research Capacity Building graduates 2015 (Kerith Duncanson - the first left)
From experienced health clinician to novice researcher
Dr Kerith Duncanson

The NSW Health Education and Training Institute's (HETI) Rural Research Capacity Building Program provides nurses, doctors and allied health professionals from across NSW with opportunity to build their research skills in a two-year researcher development program. Facilitated by two clinician researchers with teaching supported by health research academics, the program is conducted through a combination of face-to-face workshops, mentor relationships and teleconferences. Candidates step through the research process from research question conception to ethics, study implementation, analysis and report in a supportive research environment and with designated research time.

Dr Kerith Duncanson (BSc, Grad Dip N&D, PhD, APD) is  a Lecturer and Course Coordinator at the University of Newcastle and Rural Research Project Officer for NSW Health. In her diverse career Kerith has worked for 25 years across the public and private sectors in nutrition and dietetics, which led to an interest in child nutrition research and subsequent participation in the 2008 Rural Research Capacity Building Program. Kerith completed her PhD in 2014, and is now pursuing further research in the field of gastroenterology, while managing a novice researcher development program within NSW Health.

Kerith has twelve peer-reviewed publications and has presented her work on child nutrition and functional gastrointestinal nutrition nationally and internationally. She was the 2008 prize winner for best report in the Rural Research Capacity Building Program, and a finalist in the 2011 and 2014 University of Newcastle 3 minute thesis competitions.

From library practitioner to library researcher: making research part of your professional practice
Edward Luca


It can be hard to start a conversation about research, particularly if you’ve never done it before or there’s no precedent at your workplace for such initiatives. Edward will talk about his personal journey in writing academic journal articles based on his work in libraries. In particular, he’ll discuss the value of evidence-based research in informing library practice, and why more library practitioners should become involved in this space.

Edward is an Academic Liaison Librarian at the University of Sydney. @edwardluca




Wednesday, 25 January 2017

Libraries: Institutions or assemblages?


By Katherine Howard

Gerolami, N. (2015) The library assemblage: creative institutions in an information society.  Journal of Documentation, 71(1), pp. 165-174. doi 10.1108/JD-09-2013-0120


“Institution or assembl…. What?!”
Assemblage. Or, more specifically, the concept of assemblage as a theoretical foundation in which to view the library as a tool for social justice.

In this conceptual paper, Natasha Gerolami introduces us to Deleuze and Guattari’s assemblage theory, which she uses to “develop a theory of the institution that highlights the library’s potential to resist forces of domination” (p. 165).  While that may seem a little melodramatic for this day and age, Gerolami points to moments in time where libraries have attempted to constrain individuals – the notion of class at the end of the nineteenth century, for example.  She quotes William Kite (1877) in stating that “working class men and women would remain “content with their lowly but honest occupations”” (Kite, p. 278 as cited in Gerolami, p. 170), so long as the library was stocked with literature that was appropriate for their class.  If working class individuals started thinking about new possibilities for themselves, they may very well “disrupt the status quo” (Gerolami, p. 170).

Before looking at the application of assemblage theory, Gerolami first looks at the concept of an institution, and how, through a social contract theory lens, they are seen as suppressive or oppressive.  Libraries as institutions are not exempt from this, as history (and quite likely recent events) has shown us.  Social contract theory portrays society in a negative light; the aim of the ‘contract’ is to suppress the base instincts of society. Libraries perpetuated this view through the provision of “good literature” – that somehow immoral behaviour and society’s ills would be corrected if society were only exposed to the good stuff.  

Gerolami then turns to Deleuze’s theory of institutions as an alternative to social contract theory.  Deleuze is all-encompassing in his conceptual understanding of ‘institution’:  social institutions such as marriage, and government institutions such as schools, hospitals and prisons are included.  In contrast to social contract theory that sees society negatively, Deleuze sees the potential to “conceive of institutions in a positive and inventive manner …” (Gerolami, p. 167).  In theory of institutions terms, the library as an institution “is best understood as a productive space […and …] a creative rather than repressive force [with the potential] to produce new social networks” (p. 168).

Finally, the use of assemblage theory is as a way to ground library services as tools for advocacy discussed.  In short, assemblage theory states that “different components of the assemblage [i.e. the library] are not determined or defined by the whole assemblage of which they are a part.  Parts can […] be detached and removed […] and connected to another one [i.e. another assemblage].  Furthermore, the assemblage is more than merely the sum of its parts” (p. 168).  What this means in practice is that the library (as an institution) “could be assembled with other institutions, forces or people (p. 169).

While the article is perhaps not the easiest to read, Gerolami peppers it with analogies, which helps to make it more realistic rather than merely conceptual.  She questions the continued use of potentially out-dated concepts (e.g. evaluation methods used in collection development), and uses the theoretical concepts discussed to encourage the use of “old concepts in new ways” (p. 170), 


This is pre-print version of the article published in Incite, Jan/Feb 2017

Image: Don Urban, Orrery Steam Punk

Dr Katherine Howard, AALIA 
Lecturer, Information Management, School of Business IT & Logistics | RMIT, Melbourne
katherine.howard@rmit.edu.au 

Thursday, 12 January 2017

LARK in 2017

By Suzana Sukovic


Now that New Year resolutions and plans are on the fast track to reality, it is time to tell everyone what LARK has on its collective mind for this, still fresh and promising year. On 30 November last year, a group of LARK’s faithful and some new people celebrated another successful year and made plans for this one, but we waited for your full attention to tell you what we have in store for LARK. 

This year LARK will become 5 years old. In the life of a small, predominantly online group, without a stable institutional home and a big following, this is quite an achievement. On the other hand, research has never been and probably never will be a mass endeavour. In our meeting at the end of last year, we decided we are happy to keep it that way. After all, LARK has thrived this long thanks to the efforts of a small group of committed people. With an online presence and global community, small is a relative thing. Last month’s LARK blog had 7561 views. That is in the month when only one post was published and everyone was frantically busy with end of year work and celebrations. LARK’s face-to-face gatherings easily fit around a cafĂ© or large dining table, but many people across the globe take part in our online activities.

Connections are certainly spreading in Australia. Our exciting news is that this year we will start a LARK chapter in South Australia. Liz Walkley Hall, who has led a research group at the Flinders University Library, will organise LARK face-to-face events in Adelaide and participate in shaping LARK’s online events. We plan to keep the collective spirit by organising simultaneous face-to-face events in Sydney and Adelaide.

LARK will keep the tradition of offering four events a year. A mix of online and face-to-face events worked well last year so we will do the same in 2017.
Week 20 February: Our first meeting will be online. In this meeting we will connect with health professionals to discuss shared interests and learn from each other. Our guests are experienced researchers in rural and remote NSW. It will be an excellent opportunity for professionals from all over Australia, particularly, rural and remote areas, to connect.
Beginning of May: We will kick-start the South Australian LARK chapter by organising simultaneous face-to-face meetings in Adelaide and Sydney.
Week 20 September: Our fifth anniversary will be celebrated with the most ambitious event of the year. Watch this space!
Late November or early December: as always, time to celebrate and network.
#EBLIPRG (Evidence Based Library and Information Practice Reading Group) on Twitter is officially a separate initiative. In reality, with Liz and me involved with both LARK and #EBLIPG, the separation line is pretty blurry. This year #EBLIPRG will meet every second month on the last Thursday of a month. 
26 January: The first #EBLIPRG meeting this year.

I hope you are thinking that you would like to get involved. It would be a great way to kick-start your research project or connect with like-minded people. If you aren’t working in libraries and are thinking whether it is the right group for you, I can assure you that the “library” in “LARK” is just for the sake of a good acronym. People who come to our gatherings are from the broad library and information field. Over the years, we had quite a few teachers who easily found common topics with library and information professionals and academics.

How to connect?
Come to our online and face-to-face events. Everyone is welcome.
Volunteer to present or help out with the organisation of events. LARK events are attended by friendly people. 
Write a blog post and send it to lark.kollektive(at)gmail.com. I read this email a few times a week and will get back to you quickly. Any suggestions can be sent to this email too.
Send research and EBP news to the mailing list (see left hand side of this page for details).
Like us on Facebook.
Tell your colleagues about LARK and our events. Even better, join us together.


Hope to get in touch online or in face-to-face meetings!




Dr Suzana Sukovic, librarian with a meandering career, is now Executive Director, Educational Research and Evidence Based Practice at HETI (Health Education and Training Institute). She is ready for some inspiring interprofessional learning this year.
Twitter @suzanasukovic