LISDIS Conference – University of Huddersfield, 14th November 2015

This is a guest blog post from the organisers of LISDIS (Library and Information Science Dissertations Conference). BAILER was one of the sponsors for the conference which was held at University of Huddersfield on 14th November 2015.  

LISDIS organisers - Rosie Higman, Jess Haigh, Emily Wheeler and Michelle Bond
LISDIS 2015 organisers – Rosie Higman, Jess Haigh, Emily Wheeler and Michelle Bond

LISDIS (Library and Information Science Dissertations Conference) was born from the realisation that much dissertation research goes nowhere once the dissertation is complete. Some will turn into research articles, some will develop into PhDs; some will be used to inform practice in workplaces across the world. But many languish on laptop hard drives; forgotten in the excitement of graduation, free time and perhaps a first professional post. The idea of the conference was to try and promote these dissertations, give them new life by exposing them to the world and help connect research with professionals, people working in the field.

Sarah Hume at LISDIS 2015
Sarah Hume at LISDIS 2015

The day was organised into 5 sessions – 9 dissertation speakers, a poster session, and our keynote, Emma Coonan, speaking about publishing dissertation research as a journal article. The first session was titled ‘Collections and discovery’ and featured 3 presentations from UCL graduates Sarah Hume, Lizzie Sparrow and Lucy Saint-Smith. The session covered classification, discovery layers and historical bibliography – immediately showcasing how diverse dissertation research is! A theme started to emerge from the first session – women and how they have been marginalised (specifically here as book collectors and in classification schemes).

Our second session was themed around ‘Public Libraries and the Community’, kicking off with Ian Clark discussing whether community libraries address the concerns of the digital divide. In many ways the issues that Ian discussed – the divide between community libraries in well off vs disadvantaged areas, the deprofessionalisation of public library staff – are the prelude to discussions about what else happens in public libraries – the ability to select relevant stock being one that was discussed in the following two presentations, from Alanna and Martyn.

Emma Coonan at LISDIS
Emma Coonan at LISDIS 2015

Emma Coonan’s session was perhaps one of the most popular and immediately useful of the day for our delegates. Called ‘Publication without tears: Tips for aspiring authors’, she demystified the process of submitting an article for publication – from reminding us that there are humans behind the journal to explaining the peer review process. Emma also explained how you can produce multiple articles from the same research – discussing methodology, results or “beloved darlings” – parts of your research that were great, but wouldn’t fit into a dissertation. As well as emphasising that journal articles aren’t the only way of communicating research, in response to a question from the floor Emma encouraged LIS academics to discuss extending the life of their research, including journal articles, with the students they supervise.

Natasha Chowdory at LISDIS 2015
Natasha Chowdory at LISDIS 2015

Our last session focussed on “Valuing the Library”, kicked off by an excellent talk from Natasha Chowdory about measuring value in her corporate library. Throughout this session a picture emerged of the importance of libraries and how much they are valued by users; whether they’re students paying increased tuition fees, or civilians in war zones working to save their cultural history. Whilst value isn’t always easy to communicate to users or people in charge, the work done day-to-day by library workers is appreciated.

Overall we were incredibly pleased with the day and particularly how confident and interesting all our presenters were. All of the slides from the day are linked to from our website: http://lisdisconference.com

We hope to run LISDIS again next year so will be looking out for the next crop of talented LIS grads to share their research with us!

Photo credits: All photos are credited to Laura Williams. 

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