McMaster Library Research Symposium 2017 #lib_research17

McMaster University logoLast month I participated at a second McMaster Library Research Symposium. This was hosted along the lines of an inaugural event held on November 3rd 2015.

I was delighted to have the opportunity to renew friendships at the 2017 symposium, make new connections with academics and practitioners from a range of library settings who are interested in library and information science research, and deliver a closing paper on the main findings of the CILIP/ARA Workforce Mapping Project and the impact of this work to date (slides for which are available on SlideShare).

The format of the symposium allowed for three ‘long’ papers: (1) on artificial intelligence and information policy with a focus on the implications of the ‘right to explanation’ in European data protection legislation by Mike Ridley of Western University; (2) by Professor Brian Detlor on digital storytelling and libraries; and (3) my own on the UK information professional workforce.

Time was also set aside for shorter ‘lightening’ talks. These included coverage of: (Jeannie An); library assessment and strategic planning (Kathy Ball); pet therapy in libraries (Leanne Romane); McMaster University’s Bertrand Russell archives (Rick Stapleton); and prospect research (i.e. raising funds for universities from benefactors) ((Jeff Wahn). At the end of the day there was a networking reception which provided further opportunities for delegates to discuss library and information science research over a glass of wine.

I was inspired to follow up some of the ideas of the speakers, for example Mike Ridley’s exposition of the ethical issues around to the right to explanation has encouraged me to read the work of Margaret Boden, Research Professor of Cognitive Science (Informatics, Centre for Cognitive Science) at the University of Sussex. I was also fascinated by the ‘science’ of prospect research, which is not (to my knowledge) conducted in such a detailed way in the UK as it is in North America, and to learn more about Evelyn Dick, notorious as a Hamilton murderer.

Thanks are due to all who delivered presentations, to those who chaired the sessions – Leanne Romane, Kathy Ball and Janice Adlington – and especially to McMaster University Librarian Vivian Lewis, who brought us all together for the event.

At the end of the day Paul Takala, Chief Librarian/Chief Executive Officer of the Hamilton Public Library, intimated that Hamilton Public Library may host a follow-up symposium in 2019. I do hope that this suggestion will come to fruition and that I will be able to join my Canadian colleagues for another fascinating day of discussing library and information science research.

The slideshow below includes some photographs from the day.

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