Last month Dr Bruce Ryan and I hosted the second of four Royal Society of Edinburgh (RSE) funded Research Impact Value and Library and Information Science (RIVAL) network meetings. This event took place on Thursday 7th November 2019 at St Cecilia’s Hall in central Edinburgh.
It was an excellent day that prompted great feedback on the programme content on the day: ‘exciting’, ‘fantastic’, ‘fascinating’. We all also appreciated the beautiful venue and delicious conference catering (but not the almost-wintry Edinburgh weather). The analysis of the data from the survey of participants after the event gave overall ratings of ‘very good’ for the presentations, group discussions and opportunities for networking, and ‘excellent’ for the venue, refreshments, ease of registration, and communication with the organisers.
Whereas the first RIVAL event on 11th July 2019 attracted people who had expressed an interest in joining a network focused on the impact and value of library and information science (LIS) research, those who joined us for this second event came along committed to full network membership. This means that they will also be participating in Event 3 on 19th March 2020 and Event 4 on 9th July 2020. We anticipate that they will strengthen their connections over the course of the three meetings to such an extent that they will easily maintain their links beyond the funded project period.
The RIVAL network in its ‘final’ form includes LIS researchers and practitioners from across Scotland, with representation from mainland and island communities. We are now all working together to meet the goal of the RIVAL project ‘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’.
Bruce and I are particularly pleased that our efforts paid off to encourage public library sector participation in the network. We made this a priority in response to delegate feedback from Event 1. So, in the ‘fixed’ version of the RIVAL network (i.e. the people who came on 7th November and will be at the next two events too), we have good representation of staff from public, academic, school, national, government and special libraries; academics and researchers from Scottish universities; independent researchers; and officials from LIS professional organisations.
The format of RIVAL Event 2 on 7th November allowed for:
- Three conference-style presentations:
- Keynote ‘Catalysing research into practice from the ground up’ by David Stewart, Health Libraries North and CILIP President [Slides available on SlideShare; video available]
- Research into practice case study on the CILIP/ARA Workforce Mapping Project by Professor Hazel Hall, Edinburgh Napier University (researcher) and Sean McNamara CILIPS, (research user) [Slides available on SlideShare; video available]
- Research into practice case study on linked data by Dr Diane Pennington, Strathclyde University (researcher) and Laura Cagnazzo, University of the West of Scotland (research user) [Slides available on SlideShare; video]
- A series of short unscripted informal talks presented by RIVAL network members: Paul Gooding, University of Glasgow; Martina McChrystal, University of Glasgow; Marshall Dozier, University of Edinburgh; Ines Byrne, National Library of Scotland; and Sally Kerr, Independent Consultant [video]
- Two break-out sessions based around group discussions to (a) gather data about the network membership and (b) discuss plans for Event 4 on 9th July 2020.
Also prompted by Event 1 feedback, we put quite a lot of effort into the planning of the day so that opportunities for networking were maximised beyond the registration timeslot and the usual breaks for tea/coffee and lunch. In particular, we wanted to ensure that participants mixed well with one another on the day, and did not slip into clustering within their ‘natural’ professional groups. We therefore pre-assigned people to groups for the morning and afternoon breakout activities. We also added two further (optional) networking activities at the end of the day: a tour of St Cecilia’s Hall and its collection of historic musical instruments, and post-event drinks along the road at Holyrood 9a (at delegates’ own expense).
To encourage ‘between event’ networking we also came up with the idea of creating a ‘BIG RIVAL business card’ in the form of an online map to capture the contact details and a photograph of each network member. This met with approval at Event 2, with the request that individuals’ work-related interests and skills should also be recorded and shared on the map. Currently two thirds of the network members have confirmed their information and approved their official RIVAL photo taken on 7th November (or have supplied an alternative photograph of their own). We hope that it won’t be long before the ‘business card’ in its online map format can go live.
Our other current priority is to review the comments on the various proposals for Event 4 so that we can forge these into a workable plan for a great day on 9th July 2020. We will be discussing this at the next RIVAL board meeting in the New Year, with the intention (hope) of presenting a firm event proposal at the next RIVAL network meeting on 19th March 2020.
Thank you to everyone who made RIVAL Event 2 such a success: the speakers (listed above); session chairs (Ines Byrne, Martina McChrystal, Emily Prince and Andy Taylor); the RIVAL project board members; our PhD student helpers Rachel Salzano and Katherine Stephen; our official photographer Allan Shedlock; and the network members themselves.
The full programme with links to slides and video material can be found on the RIVAL Event 2 web page. We have also made a collection of the tweets around the event. These are presented in chronological order starting from a couple of days before the event (when we were assembling the delegate packs) and ending with an image of the Rank movie gong tweeted from Maria Carnegie’s Twitter account. The photo gallery below also gives a flavour of the day.