Last Thursday 11th July 2019 Dr Bruce Ryan and I hosted the first of four Royal Society of Edinburgh funded Research Impact Value and Library and Information Science (RIVAL) network events. Thirty-five people in total came to Edinburgh Napier University’s Sighthill campus for a day of presentations, discussion, and networking.
Amongst the delegates were academics and librarians from the Scottish universities, personnel from the Scottish public and school library services, library and information science researchers who are based in Scotland, and specialist librarians who work in a range of settings including the Scottish Poetry Library, the Department for International Development, and the Scottish Government Library.
Over the course of the day, delegates participated in four main activities:
- Engaging with two formal conference presentations: in the morning Dr Sarah Morton (Matter of Focus) opened the project with a superb keynote speech on the effective use of evidence of all kinds to plan, develop and improve policy, practice, and services; in the afternoon Martina McChrystal (University of Glasgow), spoke with passion and authority about the National School Library Strategy Advisory Group, its role in advocacy, and its anticipated impact
- Preparing informal ‘unconference’ style presentations, and – in some cases – delivering them. Thanks are due to Richard Aird, Clare Crowley, Marshall Dozier, Anne Elogie, Emily Prince, Andy Taylor, and Anne Marie Vance for their great contributions
- Networking with one another at coffee/tea time, over lunch, and during the ice-breaker exercise
- Feeding into the development of the RIVAL network and its future events, which I summarised on the fly at the end of the day
Since the goal of the RIVAL project is ‘to create a collaborative network of Scotland-based Library and Information Science (LIS) researchers and practising library and information professionals interested in maximising the impact and value of library and information science research’, we were particularly keen for the time devoted to networking opportunities to be effective. It is our hope that the contacts forged at this first event will provide the foundation for collaborative relationships to grow in the next three.
Perhaps the most fun session last Thursday was the networking ice breaker when we all played an interactive (non-alcoholic) drinking game with Kash cups. This system was developed by our colleagues in Design Informatics at the University of Edinburgh. Jonathan Rankin kindly brought all the equipment to Sighthill and set it up for our event. We used the Kash cups to encourage the delegates to make contact with as many people as possible in the ice breaker session, and to record their pairings by placing their numbered (and electronically) tagged cups together on the system’s sensors. In real time the system recorded the pairings so that it was possible to see who were the most ardent networkers at the event.
The photo gallery below gives a flavour of our first RIVAL network event.
To see the full programme for the day, with links to the the slide decks and media files for the presentations, the full set of tweets hashtagged #lisrival for this event, and other blogged reviews of the day, please see the event 1 page on the RIVAL web site.