5 August 2014

DARTS4 - Research Support Conference (par excellence!)

(This is a very belated publishing of a post! Better late than never...)

One of the amazing trees in the churchyard at Dartington Hall

In June I was lucky enough to go to the ARLG SW DARTS4 Conference at the lovely Dartington Hall near Totnes. The program looked excellent and I came home with a head full of information and ideas. There wasn't a duff session and the whole spectrum of research support was covered. Whilst I'm not a Research Librarian, it is one of our key priorities and part of my role. Things I was hoping for before I went:
  • How to support our researchers better - to understand their needs and find better ways to communicate with them
  • To get up to speed with Open Access - I am probably half way up to speed but it's a complex and fast-changing area at the moment
  • To get up to speed with Research Data management - I have a very basic knowledge as a starting point!
  • To pick up some ideas of new things to do or new ways of doing old things
Quick overview of the sessions:

Sheila Corrall (University of Pittsburg) - "From Reading Rooms to Research Commons. Context is Critical."
This focussed on the relationship between libraries (as physical spaces) and researchers but the slides contain a whole conference worth of information on where we are with research support generally. There was some amazing US examples of research spaces which most of us could only look on with (budget) envy!

Jenni Crossley (UWE) - "Research Data Management - where are we now?"
A useful overview of how the original research data enthusiasts from UWE's JISC project have fared since the initial event. We used clickers to survey the people in the room - it was reassuring to see that we weren't the only ones possibly at the less-engaged end of the spectrum. You can see the results in the slides - I am keen to try out the questions back at work and see how we benchmark as a starting position. 

Miggie Pickton (Northampton) - "Designing Practitioner Research for Impact"
Slides 3-14 give a brilliant overview of the topic of Research Impact (generally) and then slides 15 onwards deal with (library) practitioner research. I felt re-enthused to try and find the time and support to do some.

Yvonne Budden (Warwick) - "Open Access at the coalface"
I listened to this intently as we are busy revving up and promoting our institutional repository. Plenty of ideas for promotion and training and service development.

Katie Fraser and Nathan Rush (De Montford) "Communication with Research Students"
Finding out what PhD students really do and how we can help them. Opened my eyes to the full research process involved (didn't work like that in my day...) and got me thinking where our interventions could be most effective.

Leigh Garrett (UCA) - "Stuff and Data: challenges for research data management in the visual arts"
Is it impossible not to be interesting when talking about visual arts? Or are creative arts librarians particularly wonderful at doing talks? Probably a bit of both! We were all rapt at hearing about the kind of data generated by visual artists and had a go thinking about a pot and a chair and research processes and how you would record them.

Neil Jacobs (JISC) - "Open access: recalibrating the relationships"
Neil gave an overview of the work JISC is currently looking at to try and simplify some of the complexities of the current open access situation. Take a look at his slide 12 to see how complex it is! His slide 3 also gave me a fleeting longing for smarties...

And there was more...we also submitted ideas / problems for discussion - these are recorded here - and the outcomes or possible solutions can be viewed here. Just talking to people informally gave a wealth of idea and also reassurance that we weren't the only place not managing to keep up with, well, everything. I reaffirmed that I am completely unable to live tweet anything but enjoyed having that back channel both before, during and after the event. 

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