The inaugural LLS conference in 2012 was a celebration of the research activity undertaken then by Library and Learning Services staff at the University of Northampton. Fortunately, the enthusiasm and energy demonstrated at that event have continued to drive our work and, inspired by the success of the conference, more colleagues than ever before have been bidding for funding, seeking collaborations and actively engaging in research activity to inform their practice.
So two years on, we are preparing for LLS Conference 2014. We have a full programme of events, including research presentations, posters and, of course, the highly popular ‘minute madness’ slot. As before, we have representation from all teams in LLS, and we hope to involve even more LLS folk on the day.
Since we are now hoping to make this a biennial event, we have decided to move the blog to a more sustainable platform. We will be using ‘MyPad‘, the University of Northampton’s implementation of Edublogs, a WordPress based blogging tool.
This will therefore be our final post on this blog. We are grateful that our readers found it sufficiently interesting to ask the British Library to preserve it in the UK Web Archive and we hope that you will follow us to our new home.
Thank you for your interest and support.
We have just had the pleasure of playing host to a fellow librarian from the University of Saskatchewan. Virginia Wilson is over here for most of this month visiting and interviewing librarians who are also practitioner researchers. Virginia came to Northampton having seen our conference blog and some other external presentations that we have given on librarians conducting research.
Unlike here, in Canada it is apparently the norm for university librarians to be employed on academic contracts and there is an expectation that they will conduct research. In support of this they are permitted to spend a significant part of their working week on research activity and after six years they get the chance to take up to one year as a sabbatical.
Sounds good to me!
Continuing our efforts to promote practitioner research and capitalise on the success of the LLS conference, we have been working on an article describing the development of the research culture that we are so proud of here at Northampton and, of course, how this enabled us to put on the conference .
We’ve just received the good news that CILIP Update want to publish the article later this year. Fantastic! (Latest news: A copy of the article is now available on NECTAR, the University of Northampton’s institutional repository)
Being mindful of our different audiences, I should say that CILIP Update is the membership magazine of the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals. It is distributed to 17,000 CILIP members, many of them practitioners working in academic libraries. In terms of potential impact this is definitely the tops!
Nick has already posted about feedback from the conference, and I’m here to add some more on that topic. Now I for one love seeing statistics such as those Nick mentioned. Seeing that the majority of respondents enjoyed the conference, felt that the range of presentations was good and that they would attend future events, gives me a warm fuzzy feeling inside – it means we did okay for our first conference! However the other part of my brain says “that’s all well and good but what does it really mean?” So I’ve chosen to look at the comments and qualitative feedback we got from the respondents and, having not been able to attend the conference myself, I’ve also solicited comments from colleagues who did attend, which I’ll try and factor into this post a little as well.
Please click on image to enlarge.
Image created using ABCya.com
As you can see from the word cloud above, most of the comments received were very positive and included words like interesting and inspirational. However rather than simply telling you all the positives and what we, apparently, got right I’m going to highlight some of the more constructive comments and leave them here for posterity. The reason for this is partly so that we can learn from the areas needing improvement for future conferences, but we’re choosing to share it with everyone via the blog so that other people can learn as well!
We received 36 evaluation forms at the end of the conference, asking attendees to rate us in seven areas and provide general feedback. The feedback was very positive! This is very encouraging for us, and we’re delighted people were happy with the day.
Here’s an overview of the ratings received for our seven areas (click to enlarge):
You can (possibly) see from this that the majority of the scores we received were 5s – top marks! The only area that saw a mark of 3 – several, in fact – was networking opportunities. This is doubtless due in part to the majority of the attendees being University of Northampton staff, but in future conferences we will have to consider how to improve networking opportunities for our visitors from other institutions.
Several fours for suitability of venue and quality of facilities may reflect the variable wi-fi reception some attendees encountered on the day – despite the general satisfaction of the scores, it’s obviously important for attendees and the conference itself that lines of social communication are as open as possible, and this has been duly noted.
Great news! We received a request today from Rossitza Atanassova, Curator of Library and Information Studies at the British Library. Rossitza wants to preserve this website in the UK Web Archive. It will form part of “a collection of websites on the evolving role of UK libraries and librarianship in the 21st century and that could be of interest to future researchers of library history”.
How flattering that Rossitza thinks that future scholars might be interested in our work!
From the planned, practiced, timed and perfected, to the spur-of-the-moment soapbox speech, the minute madness presentations had everyone watching the clock.
The six presentations before lunch set the tone (frenetic, intense, hilarious) and the six at the end of the day left us all buzzing. An impressive number of the presenters managed to spit everything out in time, but it was hard – really hard! And with Nick ready to leap into action with his dreaded horn the pressure was definitely on!
So for those who might just have missed a detail or two, here’s the list of topics. If you’d like to know more about any of them then do get in touch (click on a name to send an email).
Lastly, a technical note: One or two folk asked how we created the timer on each of the slides. It uses the ‘Custom animation’ feature of MS Powerpoint. A rectangle is created for each second of the countdown and displayed for one second. The animation starts with a click and finishes by displaying an ‘End’ rectangle.
Originally we incorporated drum rolls to mark the end of each presentation, but then we decided that it would be much more fun to have live sound effects and the horn was found. (Actually, there was a middle stage in our plan – we wanted to use the Learning Technology team’s vuvuzela but none of the organising team could reliably get a noise out of it – clearly not a problem shared by South African football fans!).
A powerpoint version of the presentation is available here: LLS Conference 2012 Minute Madness template.
(Horn image from Wikimedia Commons)