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Researcher Wiki: experiences, analysis and reflections on using the read/write web to build researcher communities. Rush


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Presented at LILAC 2009

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Researcher Wiki: experiences, analysis and reflections on using the read/write web to build researcher communities. Rush

  1. 1. Researcher Wiki: experiences, analysis and reflections on using the read/write web to build researcher communities. Nathan Rush Assistant Librarian: Business De Montfort University, Leicester. Email:
  2. 2. Aims • Background to the project • Demonstrate / assess the wiki • What went wrong/right • Lessons for the future
  3. 3. Background ... How we support researchers • Research Training Programme for research students : – Mandatory course on Literature Searching and Reference Management – must be completed before transfer to PhD. – New optional courses offered since 2008 on Advanced EndNote and ‘Keeping up to date’. • Facilities – Designated research student areas in the library • DORA; Sconul Access; Focus Groups; Collection Development Policies
  4. 4. Background ... How we would like to support researchers • Improve the university’s research web pages • Clear from the Research Training Programme that there was a lot of tacit knowledge, know-how and expertise beyond the formal training provision that would be beneficial to share. But how? • 2008: Roberts funding for a small-scale project to develop a wiki aimed at research students and early career researchers drawing from content from the wider research community and integrating with the JSS
  5. 5. Why a wiki? A wiki was chosen as it seemed the best way to facilitate peer to peer learning. It is: Collaborative Flexible Easy to use Online resources all ready in existence, e.g. Resin.
  6. 6. How? • The project was developed during the summer of 2008. • Time was bought to give me time to create the wiki. • Launched at the beginning of 2008-9 academic year.
  7. 7. Practical • Have a look at the questionnaire distributed to researchers and work through it. • Would you have done anything differently?
  8. 8. Problems creating the wiki • Software glitches • Too much content • Time constraints
  9. 9. Success? • Plenty of views but little interaction • Needs promoting within a research setting • Emphasise the value of the wiki • Must be recommended by academic staff • Has been useful to disseminate information, e.g. on REF
  10. 10. Lessons learned • Strategic integration – Just because we can do something doesn’t necessarily mean we should. – Do the users perceive the value or are we creating solutions to problems that do not exist? – Do your new tools fit in with existing ones?
  11. 11. More lessons learned • Is there a clear vision? Defined goals? • Cost and time • Size/heterogeneity of the research community When I share information I want to prompt a debate ... Business PhD student I’d like to think I’m generous but ... Humanities PhD student
  12. 12. Even more lessons learned • Researchers’ learning lives - the 7 ages model Attitudes and needs vary at discrete ages Early researchers are in a transitional stage Middle researchers become from information producers as well as consumers • Asking a researcher to record experiences can make them feel vulnerable.
  13. 13. What next? • Evaluation Established milestones • Consider new web pages for researchers using wiki content but with collaborative elements • Look out for the RIN project on using web2.0 to support researchers
  14. 14. Conclusions • Sometimes as librarians we are guilty of trying to force web 2.0 to solve problems where a more traditional response is more appropriate. • There is a place for web 2.0 within IL and the research community but it is important that its use is driven by the researchers themselves. • There are inherent dangers in innovating for the sake of innovation – without clear aims.