Instant Ideas and Collaboration

Summary – Librarians and Research

Our chat for May looked at all areas of librarians as researchers in institutions, as well as librarians undertaking research as academics. Below are some of the key points that were raised as part of the chat.

Q1) As a librarian, do you sit within a core “library” team, or are you embedded into various areas of your organisation? 

All respondents were definite “librarians” – no one was embedded. People felt that the areas where embedded librarians are seen most often are; law, hospitals, and academia (ie. Academic liaison).

There was also a discussion over if school librarians were embedded or not. The argument was that the curriculum comes before the library environment, and therefore they should identify with curriculum areas, not the library itself.

@Kosjanka: I sit in a wide team that encompasses: research, evidence, data, mapping, modelling, KM and research comms

Q2) Do you feel that ‘embedded librarianship’ dilutes or strengthens a “library” brand, and people’s understanding of what you do?

@greebstreebling: It depends on the environment! Sometimes I think it doesn’t matter; people ignore us until they want us  then are amazed at what we do!

@EmmaBettyHughes: I have no real idea, but I would of thought that it strengthens the brand. A librarian right there showing people what they can do!

@EmmaBettyHughes: actually I’m sure I heard somewhere of a trial w/ librarian going on ward round with drs & care improved 20% or something….

@LibrarySherpa: Honestly, I do feel that it dilutes the brand because I think the visual of a centralized location reinforces a brand.

@Kosjanka: I work hard to build ties with the diff research teams. One team I meet with every 2 weeks. I’m key to their success.

Q3) In what ways do you support researchers?

 @greebstreebling: We support researchers as we can, probably more help with local history enquiries, not necessarily specialist enough #uklibchat

@EmmaBettyHughes: not directly, we send out a weekly briefing with all the latest news, research and resources in our subject area #uklibchat

@LibrarySherpa: I help by doing acquisitions and collection development.#uklibchat

@Kangarooth: provide enquiry support, buy books and resources for research, have webpage for researchers. Tends to be PhDs face to face

@Kangarooth: I also help out with training (EndNote, lit searching), but again tends to be PhD, rather than lecturers etc

@AgentK23: My personal contribution is Refworks training. We also look at free resources on the web, & link to things that may be useful

@LibClare:  We help people to help themselves … but also help people to Get Things Done. In Industrial Research, time is money

@bibliotekaargh: limited exp.in this, but sorting out journal access/remote access for researchers big part of it.

@libreddite: I support researchers by providing training in databases, referencing software. service also working on REF support.

@roogly: Manchester has a Research Services team for specialist help inc. citation analysis, publishing,research data management

4) Does your Library subscribe to any LIS related journals? And do you read them? #uklibchat

@LibWig: Get a few ASLIB journals, & BIALL’s Legal Information Management. All v useful. Keep them for ref too, handy to refer back to #uklibchat

@LibrarySherpa: We subscribe to only a few and not sure they are technically journals. I prefer to read LIS blogs.

@Kangarooth: we subscribe to some LIS journals. A selection is displayed in staff room before going onto shelves

@roogly: Information World Review is a comprehensive and finger-on-the-pulse read. I highly recommend…iwr.co.uk

@amycrossmenzies: we subscribe to a few and I do read articles every now and again, also like blogs like @LibrarySherpa+ podcasts #uklibchat

@amycrossmenzies + sometimes look further afield in other non lis journals #uklibchat

@Kangarooth: we have cilip Update, ALISS quarterly and JOLIS in staff room. Mostly people browse them, but have found some relevant articles

@laurengracenilo: this is an interesting article


@AgentK23: I’ve seen copies of ALISS floating about the staff room. I occasionally pick one up to read. But don’t use for ‘research’#uklibchat

@amycrossmenzies: errr ooh anything really, just mean keeping eye open for anything interesting.  Philosophy’s my thing so i look at that

@StevenHeywood: I think public library service focus too much on buildings, too little on services, making both vulnerable …consequently, their value to the general researcher too often undermined or even cast aside #uklibchat

@LibClare: The mag I make a point of looking at is Research Information. But get info from loads of less formal sources these days.

@AgentK23:I don’t do big research, but say for finding info on Social Media Policies etc. I get info from other libs using jiscmail #uklibchat

Q5) Have you carried out/published research on the LIS area? What was it about? #uklibchat

@EmmaBettyHughes: have carried out user needs assessments for our services and for other orgs that have commissioned us to do so. some published #uklibchat

@LibrarySherpa: Other than for my MLIS degree, no. Wrote a paper once that proved my small sampling of students raised w/card catalog fared better with library skills, FWIW.

@Karenmca:  some years ago I wrote piece on lib services for disabled students – before such services became mainstream.

@amycrossmenzies: Not yet! It’s on my list! But some librarians I work with published article about research/trial of eReaders they did #uklibchat

@Karenmca: but my research is more music than LIS based.#uklibchat

@libreddite was part of Library and Information research Group cttee (CILIP) but not published any research.

@libreddite: 2 pubs – one based on presentation on freely available law resources for SINTO, other piece for LIM on @LawSync project

@tomroper: This seems to me to be the problem, look at our professional literature and you wouldn’t know we’re a research-based profession – A suppliers’ press release based profession, yes

@ijclark: not sure what you mean but I occasionally write for @OpenRightsGroup and @InfoTodayEu (and the odd Guardian piece!) in a personal capacity

@spoontragedy: Yes, I think a lot of it is written up, through agcas.org.uk & associated careers-y journals #uklibchat

There was also talk of a publish or perish culture in US for HE librarians. As they are seen as academic members of staff, they have to publish – would this culture be good for the LIS sector in the UK?

Q6) Is enough published/researched outside of HE?

@LibWig: law libraries seem to do a fair amount, but not through universities – Legal Info Management by #biall is good. Could be more in PhD world on law libs though #uklibchat

Not sure how much research will take place in a “proper” academic envt in LIS in future though, what with funding cuts in UK #uklibchat

@Spoontragedy: I’m now in quite a specific sector, careers info. I think role involves a lot of research but not shared much outside sector

Q7) Have you ever used LIS research in a practical way in your job? (e.g. as evidence when proposing a change?) #uklibchat

@Kosjanka: Have done desk research to inform policy on storage for CD-ROMs that accompany books (back in 2000’s!)

@uklibchat: To secure time for projects as examples of best practice

@spoontragedy: I have used research to advocate for changes, eg using social media, changing the way we market services more generally

@Kosjanka: Sources of info to support their research, tools (eg, current awareness), copyright, resource evaluations, etc.#uklibchat

@librariangravy: I’ve read articles then used them as evidence for proposing a new procedures-writing procedure #uklibchat

8) Is the librarian’s research support role recognised and valued within the institution?

@LibWig: I certainly like to think that we are valued as librarians in our firm – we get good feedback that would indicate so #uklibchat

@LibWig: With regards to the wider LIS society as a whole though, I’m not so sure- certainly wasn’t as much in places I worked in the past

@amycrossmenzies: I don’t really think it is, but maybe there’s a need to get out there and promote ourselves & services more #uklibchat

@spoontragedy: Yes. Helping service users research their own careers is seen as core part of role. Also researching best resources to promote

@spoontragedy: This isn’t research in the traditional academic sense, but it’s the kind of research that’s relevant in the careers service

@esuffield: yes definitely we are guiding students with research techniques on a daily basis to help with studies 🙂

@Kangarooth: we recently surveyed just this. Mixed results, but generally felt librarians have own niche, don’t need to replicate grad school

@spoontragedy: In public libraries, I think we did research support in a very broad sense (helping students etc) but wasn’t recognised

@amycrossmenzies: went to v good talk by nhs librarian, sounds like they are v valued for research role #uklibchat

@spoontragedy: #uklibchat It’s exciting & also a little daunting to find myself in a role that involves a lot more research than previous jobs #uklibchat


Many thanks to everyone who joined us! See you at the next chat to discuss collection management!

About Sam (LibWig)

Chartered London law librarian

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This entry was posted on May 15, 2013 by in Discussion Summaries and tagged , , , , , , .


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