Report: LISDIS Conference, Huddersfield, 14 November 2015

On 14 November 2015 I attended the Library and Information Science Dissertations Conference (LISDIS), which was co-sponsored by CILIP Yorkshire and Humberside Member Network. The conference was the first of its kind and was aimed at showing the research that graduates from library schools within the last five years have undertaken for their dissertation. I thought it was an excellent opportunity to hear about what other people have been researching, a lot of which never gets published. It was a great way to give people, who may be starting out in their career and not otherwise have opportunities to present at conferences, a chance to share their contributions.

The conference presentations were divided into three themes: “Collections and discovery”, “Public libraries and the community” and “Valuing the library”. There was a guest speaker presentation on the process of publishing an article. During the breaks we had an opportunity to view posters on dissertations which were created by participants who were not giving a presentation at the conference.

In the first session, “Collections and discovery”, we heard from Sarah Hume (@SarahFHume) who gave a presentation called: Wine, Witchcraft, Women, Wool: Classifying Women’s Studies Collections. She concluded that, when it comes to classifying a standalone Women’s Studies collection, DDC is not suitable at all and LCC is not entirely suitable. These classification systems are not in-depth enough and a new classification system would be needed. We then heard from Lizzie Sparrow (@library_lizzie) who gave a presentation called: The Use of an Academic Library’s Discovery Layer: An Ethnographic Approach. She conducted an in-depth analysis of library users’ experiences and discovered users’ search strategies when it comes to finding information in libraries. After this, we heard from Lucy Saint-Smith (@LucySaintSmith) who gave a presentation called: “La Femme Bibliophile”: Women as Book Collectors in an Age of Bibliomania. She described how female book collectors were typically not taken as seriously as male book collectors. She told us about the collections of some of the more well-known female book collectors and how they changed the idea of what it traditionally means to be a book collector.

The second session was on “Public libraries and the community”. We first heard from Ian Clark (@ijclark) who gave a presentation called: To What Extent Do Community Libraries Address the Concerns of the Digital Divide?. He compared two libraries, one in an affluent rural area and another in a more deprived urban area, both of which were volunteer-run after receiving budget cuts. He discovered that the more affluent library was still able to offer adequate computer services while the library in the more deprived area was not. The next presentation was by Alanna Broadley (@alanna_sb) who gave a presentation called: The Provision of Lesbian Fiction in Public Libraries in Scotland. She discovered that it was difficult to locate lesbian fiction because libraries often don’t classify books to show that they are about LGBT topics and they instead categorize them together with generic fiction genres. After this we heard from Martyn Greenwood (@MrMJGreenwood) who gave a presentation called: Graphic Novels in England’s Public Libraries. He searched for the availability of graphic novels in public libraries and discovered how it was difficult to locate them because of a lack of adequate cataloguing and classification.

LISDIS-42

The LISDIS presenters and the guest speaker, Emma Coonan (right), during the panel session. Photo by Laura Williams (used with permission)

We then heard from the guest speaker, Emma Coonan (@LibGoddess) who is the editor of the Journal of Information Literacy (@JInfoLit). She gave a presentation called: Publication Without Tears: Tips for Aspiring Authors. She told us about all of the different stages involved in getting your research published. She explained the reasons why research has been turned down in the past and what we can do to ensure better success for publication.

The last session was “Valuing the library”.  We heard from Natasha Chowdory (@LibraryTasha) who gave a presentation called: How to Measure the Value of a Corporate Library. She emphasized how the value of a corporate library is focused on bringing a profit to the company and she conducted surveys to find out how well the library is providing a service to its users. We then heard from Marion Harris (@M_InTheLibrary) who gave a presentation called: An Investigation into the Effect of Increased Tuition Fees on the Attitudes and Opinions of UK Academic Library Staff Towards Their Customers and Their Roles. She found that, with increased tuition fees, students feel more entitled with their expectations when it comes to receiving service at the library and they became more bold with making complaints. The final presentation of the day was by Sonja Kujansuu (@Sonja_Kujansuu). My presentation was called: Libraries Under Attack: The Destruction of Libraries and the Role of the International Community in Protecting and Aiding Libraries. I looked at the reasons behind why libraries are targets for attack during times of war and civil unrest and what international organizations have been doing to help them. One discovery I made was that there is a need to update legislation protecting libraries to make it more relevant to the way the world is today, rather than during the time in which the legislation was written.

Overall, it was an excellent opportunity to have a chance to share my research and the topic I feel so passionate about with others in the profession. I am often curious about what other people write their dissertations on and how they conduct research and I really enjoyed the opportunity to hear about the unique contributions of others to librarianship. I would encourage anyone to present on their research next year. This conference is useful for anyone to attend, whether you are just starting out working in libraries or if you have been an established professional for decades. The LISDIS (@LISDIS2015) conference website contains links to each of the presentations and can be found here.

Sonja Kujansuu
Library Assistant, Special Collections Reading Rooms, Weston Library, Bodleian Libraries, University of Oxford

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