Sharing the DREaM blueprint: lessons in community network building from the DREaM project

rcahms logoThis afternoon I gave an invited presentation to staff at the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland (RCAHMS). The RCAHMS is Scotland’s national collection of buildings, archaeology and industry. I’d been invited to contribute to the Commission’s research seminar series not for my knowledge of history, but to share my experience of using social media to support community development. My specific remit was to distil key lessons from the AHRC-funded Developing Research Excellence and Methods (DREaM) project completed in 2012, the main aim of which was to develop a formal UK-wide network of Library and Information Science (LIS) researchers. My full presentation is available on SlideShare.

I started off by introducing my work within the Centre for Social Informatics at Edinburgh Napier University, with a focus on activities related to library and information science research. Then I explained how the DREaM project came about, and its relationship to the Library and Information Science Research Coalition and the two RiLIES projects.

DREaM logoThe main body of the presentation discussed the social and technical infrastructure that we built up around the DREaM project, for example using: the LIS Research Coalition blog and web pages; Spruz; Lanyrd; Twitter; SlideShare; Vimeo; and SoundCloud. I outlined the extent to which these tools supported the five DREaM project events (the launch conference, the concluding conference, and three linked workshops) in 2011/12, and the community of library and information science researchers and practitioners who engaged with the project.

I also discussed the broader impact of the project as a whole, and outlined my hopes that the work in 2011/12 will continue to pay dividends in the future through the work of those who benefited from the AHRC’s investment, in particular the DREaM workshop cadre members. At the end of my 40 minute slot I played a couple of clips from the DREaM concluding conference’s one minute madness session. (One minute madness was a new concept to the members of the audience. If you haven’t come across this before, there’s more information on this conference format and how to run such a session here.)

AHRC logoIn the question and answer session that followed we discussed the value of one minute madness as a conference format (this was in response to the suggestion that this might be perceived simply as a gimmick), the value of Twitter for professional purposes (especially at events), and the reasons why Facebook had not featured in my presentation.

One of the project team’s hopes for the DREaM was that elements of the work completed might be exported to other subject domains. I am hopeful that my visit to the RCAHMS today will have contributed to this goal.

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