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The purpose of this presentation is to suggest commons-based peer-production as a form of work that can help bridge the gap between research and practice in LIS.

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  • This is what I am covering today in my presentation:
  • There has been a long tradition of concern in librarianship that much of the research emanating from academia lacks relevance for day-to-day practitioners (Booth, 2003; Bates, 1999).
    Practitioners do not seem to make good use of the available research as they find that it is either divorced from their areas of concern, or that the presentation impairs understanding and application.
    At the same time, even when basic research could be applied, it can be difficult for LIS practitioners to translate it into practice (Bates, 1999).
  • Collaborative research between library and information science (LIS) academics and practitioners can be considered a desirable strategy for bridging the gap between research and practice in LIS (Ponti 2010).
    Collaborations between academics and practitioners can increase research productivity and quality, whereas professionals also benefit from a closer partnership and stronger link between theory and practice disconnect (Ospina, Godsoe, and Schall, 200, p. 3). Despite the virtues of collaborative research, issues and problems arise, especially because of low levels of funding that characterize LIS (Kenna 2010). The squeeze on budgets and cost reductions resulting from the recent global economic crisis affects the work of libraries and universities. Doing more with less resources is increasingly a challenge for LIS researchers and practitioners who can be asked to set up a research agenda together (Kenna 2010). Therefore, time is opportune for a discussion about different ways of facilitating collaborative research, as well as for suggesting ways to cooperate and use tools that might have not been considered in the past.
  • The analysis of the literature and practical experience provide anwers to this question.
    The days of relying on trial and error, and tried and true traditions are history.
    Maybe it is no longer time for keeping saying "This is the way we have always done it."
    Librarians should care about research for the following reasons:
    Respond to the emergent needs of individuals and communities by establishing new opportunities for library practice;
  • This symposium will explore the emerging synergy between faculty and librarians working to jointly develop new expressions of knowledge in the form of digital scholarship products and digital library systems. As scholarly communication becomes increasingly digital in terms of media and functionality, what transformative opportunities are there for productive collaborative relationships between academic professionals such as faculty, librarians, and technologists.
  • Commons-based peer production is a sociotechnical form of production, in which individuals decide autonomously to cooperate in group collectives – large and small – to contribute towards a common and significant goal, in a more-or-less informal and loosely structured way, and produce a shared outcome (Benkler, 2006).
  • Start: This case study is a about a distributed and collaborative project called Semantic OPACs. It was run in Italy and included human and non human actors.
    ►Human actors included 17 people, such as information professionals and librarians, one academic professor. Non-human actors included subject indexing, web based catalog interfaces
    ►SemOP started because the coordinators thought it was important to evaluate subject access and search functionality in web based catalog interfaces. They developed an evaluation checklist of possible subject index search features. Understanding this checklist became the obligatory point of passage (Callon, 1986) for evaluators, that is, it was necessary for them to use this checklist to participate in the project. In fact, the checklist was an artifact inscribing principles of subject indexing and classification, which the coordinators believed had to be applied during the evaluation.
    ►Together, all the actors (people, OPACs, checklist and subject indexing) formed a network to evaluate a non-random sample of OPACs
  • How and why are collaborations between LIS academics and information professionals initiated and developed?
    2) What sociotechnical aspects of work organization influence how LIS academics and information professionals initiate, develop and conclude collaboration, and how these influence processes play out?
  • which sociotechnical aspects of work organization encourage or inhibit initiation and sustainment of this type of collaboration. Some sociotechnical aspects that sit at the heart of successful/unsuccessful collaborations are seen embedded in local work contexts.
    Describe only the categories
    Common ground (importance of contextual behavioral cues -, not just communication of information), the fewer the cues, the harder the work of construction
    Nature of work (characteristics of the work, clarity of tasks, ambiguity, formal procedures, etc.)
    Collaboration readiness, the motivation for co-workers to collaborate (Incentives)
    Collaboration Technology Readiness, the level of groupware assimilated by the team
    Management Style and Leadership:
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    Start: We present three main findings today
    Low level of institutionalization
    ► SemOP did not receive external funding, had no budget, nor expenditures. Participation was on a volunteer basis, except for the students who received course credit for their participation. All the other participants worked mostly outside regular working hours and used software and hardware either from work or from home. There were no legal agreements tying either individuals or their institutions to the project.
    ► The human actors managed to bring in resources from other networks to start and complete the project. Expertise of volunteers was one of those resources.
    ► Independence from institutional practices is either an element of risk for sustainability or an element of freedom. On one hand, the low institutional support limited the organizational capacity of the project, on the other hand, this lack of support also afforded the coordinators the freedom to create a space for other part-time actors who brought their professional expertise to the project.
    Lack of institutional intellectual property
    ► Italy is one of the very few countries in the world enacting a “professor’s privilege” system, which means that employees are generally sole owners of their intellectual property. SemOP coordinators has created a web site to make publicly available all the project inscriptions, including their data collection instruments, results summary and publications. Everything is openly accessible to increase the impact of the project by encouraging sharing and use.
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  • Parma ponti01

    1. 1. October 15, 2010 Parma Marisa Ponti EXPLORING PEER-PRODUCTION FOR COLLABORATIVE RESEARCH IN LIS Marisa Ponti, Ph. D. IT-University of Gothenburg
    2. 2. October 15, 2010 Parma Marisa Ponti Lecture Outline • Theory-practice gap in LIS • Collaborative research as a strategy • The concept of peer-production • Case study: the Semantic OPACs project • Conclusion
    3. 3. October 15, 2010 Parma Marisa Ponti A Gap Exists For most librarians research is divorced from practice
    4. 4. October 15, 2010 Parma Marisa Ponti What is Collaborative Research? • Provides academics and nonacademics with a research approach in which they both work together throughout the entire research process (Nyden, Figert, Shibley and Burrows, 1997).
    5. 5. October 15, 2010 Parma Marisa Ponti Why Care About Collaborative Research? (1) Develop new services Better understand users Need to keep updated and reflect on practice Question and investigate daily practices
    6. 6. October 15, 2010 Parma Marisa Ponti Why Care About Collaborative Research? (2) • Jointly develop new expressions of knowledge in the form of digital scholarship products and digital library systems. Source:http://www.metascholar.org/events/2007/ dsdl/
    7. 7. October 15, 2010 Parma Marisa Ponti Competencies Leveraged • Faculty – Domain expertise – Data collection – Taxonomies – Data reuse • Librarians – Archives – Metadata management – Culture of service – Culture of trust – Project management Source: http://www.metascholar.org/events/2007/dsdl/
    8. 8. October 15, 2010 Parma Marisa Ponti Strengths and weaknesses • What are the problems and issues? – Technical – Social – Financial
    9. 9. October 15, 2010 Parma Marisa Ponti Peer-Production: An Opportunity to Bridge the Gap? Sociotechnical form of production, in which individuals cooperate in group collectives to contribute to a common goal, in a more-or-less informal way, and produce a shared outcome (Benkler, 2006)
    10. 10. October 15, 2010 Parma Marisa Ponti Semantic OPACs Project • Semantic OPACs (SemOP2), 2007- 2008 – Italy: 17 participants: one academic and seventeen practitioners. URL: http://www- dimat.unipv.it/biblio/sem/
    11. 11. October 15, 2010 Parma Marisa Ponti SemOP2 as Sociotechnical Network
    12. 12. October 15, 2010 Parma Marisa Ponti Research Questions –Explore the nature of LIS practice- research collaboration • How and why is it initiated and sustained? – Study which sociotechnical aspects influence LIS practice-research collaborations • How does their influence play out?
    13. 13. October 15, 2010 Parma Marisa Ponti Sociotechnical Aspects (Olson et al., 2008)
    14. 14. October 15, 2010 Parma Marisa Ponti Characteristics of SemOP2 • Small-scale • Distributed • Decentralized • No-grant funded • Volunteer- based
    15. 15. October 15, 2010 Parma Marisa Ponti Key Findings (1) Lack of institutionalization - Bottom-up, unaffiliated project - Lack of external seed funding, no budget - Voluntary participation Opportunity for External Expertise - Self-selection of individuals who like the project and want to contribute Lack of intellectual property - ”Professor's privilege” system allowing flexibility to reward individual effort
    16. 16. October 15, 2010 Parma Marisa Ponti No formal management rules - No ”hierarchy of authority” (Chompalov, Genuth & Shrum, 2002) - No formal management mechanisms Role of Previous Ties - Importance of history of joint-work Nature of work and and remote collaboration - Copresence better for grounding and understanding - Listserve useful to maintain ongoing awareness and create a memory of the project Key Findings (2)
    17. 17. October 15, 2010 Parma Marisa Ponti Key Findings (3) Predominance of intrinsic rewards - Presence of a ”gift culture”
    18. 18. October 15, 2010 Parma Marisa Ponti Summary: Peer-Production Features in SemOP2 • - Lack of institutionalization • - Voluntary participation • - Self-selection of participants • - Predominance of intrinsic motivations • - Decentralisation of control • - Granularity of tasks
    19. 19. October 15, 2010 Parma Marisa Ponti References • Benkler, Y. (2006), The Wealth of Nations. How Social Production Transforms Markets and Freedom, Yale University Press New Haven, Connecticut. • Chompalov, I., Genuth, J. and Shrum, W. (2002), ‘The organization of scientific collaborations’, Research Policy, Vol. 31 No. 5, pp. 749-767. • Nyden, P., Figert, A., Shibley, M. and Burrows, D. (1007), Building Community: Social Science in Action, Pine Forge Press, Thousand Oaks, CA. • Olson, J. S., Hofer, E., Bos, N., Zimmerman, A., Olson, G.M., Cooney, D., & Faniel, I. (2008). A theory of remote scientific collaboration. In G. M. Olson, A. Zimmerman, & N. Bos (Eds.), Scientific Collaboration on the internet (pp. 73-97). Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
    20. 20. October 15, 2010 Parma Marisa Ponti Acknowledgments My thanks to all my study participants. This research was funded by the Center for Collaborative Innovation, the Högskolan i Borås and the Bengt Helmqvist Fund

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