Monday, 20 April 2015

Research Hacks at LILAC 2015

ScHARR Research Hacks handout
I attended my second LILAC (Librarian's Information Literacy Annual Conference) at The University of Newcastle to deliver a Teachmeet session on the use of video. It was my second LILAC, with the first being the one held in Glasgow in 2012 where I took a poster about the Bite Size series I'd launchedtwo years earlier. On both occasions it was obvious that LILAC is a very well subscribed event that attracts delegates form around the globe. Being a librarian-focused conference it was as you'd expect, very friendly and talks focused around the perennial topic of information literacy and initiatives to improve it for all.

I was there delivering a Teachmeet session, something my colleague Helen Buckley-Woods had taken part in the previous year. A LILAC Teachmeet is their version of speed dating your ideas and projects to small groups of delegates. Six large round tables were situated in a big room, with each speaker given a total of eight minutes to deliver a talk to those who chose to sit in. Each talk was repeated four times whilst a big countdown timer was projected onto the stage. I took a batch of posters and with my trusty iPad sat waiting well in advance to see whether I would get any custom. Minutes before starting, a dozen or so people had appeared in the room, whilst I presumed many would be instead attending some of the other parallels. I was wrong, the room quickly filled, resulting in most tables being full for each talk. With six tables and four choices, delegates had to chose which of the six they wanted to hear speak. Thankfully my table was full for each sitting, with a few left standing. I was warned in advance by a colleague that I would probably have a feeling of deja vu delivering four straight talks in quick succession. They weren't wrong as the eight minutes whizzed by as I explained the reasons behind making videos for instruction, the tools I used and the quick tips to make it a smoother process. On the fourth delivery I stopped momentarily as I was convinced I'd only previously said the same sentence - which I had in the previous Teachmeet delivery. 
Compared with delivering a 20, 30 or even 40 minute talk, this was quite hard work. I've even delivered two Pecha Kuchas that are under seven minutes, so that extra minute helped somewhat. Nevertheless, Teachmeets are a great, informal way to explore multiple ideas, projects and technologies in a very short time. I attended the second round of Teachmeets and found them a good and vibrant way of delivering ideas. I felt quite spent afterwards, but very enthused, it was a nice alternative to delivering the usual stand up plenary to a theatre style audience. 

In my talk I showcased the ScHARR Research Hack videos, the research apps collection as well as mention how videos are a quick and easy addition to any library and information professional's arsenal. I received plenty of questions within the sessions and afterwards and think hopefully encouraged others to go away and try tools like Adobe Voice and YouTube.

I also got to see what others were doing in the area of information literacy and training support, including another talk on video from Australia. Amongst the keynotes, posters and parallel sessions one talk struck me above others. This was a talk by Geoff Walton, Senior Lecturer at Northumbria University. Geoff's talk in collaboration with colleagues from Staffordshire University was titled; 'The Fishscale of Academicness'. It was a very thought provoking, interactive and visual presentation about how students perceive different levels of information they discover as part of their study. There is also a really good guidebook on the theory which you can purchase from below

I spent three days at LILAC in Newcastle but was located in the beautiful city of Durham, whoch I got to explore the day before LILAC. It was probably one of the friendliest, jolliest conferences I'd ever attended, almost verging into a festival feel. Whilst everywhere I went in Newcastle and Durham, everyone was incredibly polite and helpful. I certainly enjoyed delivering my first Teachmeet session and think as a format it has a lot to offer from just plenaries and keynotes. It added a vibrancy to the event and was a great way to share information and ideas quickly to a variety of delegates, hopefully I'll get to deliver another one soon :-)

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