Still DREaMing? - opportunities and challenges for LIS research

The second DREaM workshop, held in London, covered a range of topics including webometrics and user involvement in research.

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Webometrics in research

Professor Mike Thelwall offered a visual introduction to webometrics and a number of tools for gathering and analysing web data (Webometric Analyst and Socscibot). He provided several examples of the application of this research approach ranging from studies in the field of biofuel industry to measuring citations impact (altmetrics) and studying reply networks on YouTube. The latter offers rich data for researching patterns of networks and the workshop task distributed by Thelwall prior to the day, involved analysis of the DREaM comment network in response to a particular YouTube video. Another webometrics tool SentiStrength is used to detect changes of positive and negative sentiment on Twitter.Together with its many advantages of speedy mining and analysis of public online data, Thelwall cautioned against using this research method in isolation.

What is the next big issue?

The final speaker for the day Professor Nick Moore shared his own experience of information policy research and explained the information policy matrix he developed (slide 4) which operates at industrial, organisation and social levels and considers ICT, legislative and regulatory developments and skills policies. This session ended with a lively group discussion of the ‘next big issue' in information studies, with ‘evidence-based policy', academic librarianship and privacy being some of the ‘hot topics' mentioned.

Importantly, the day offered delegates the opportunity to talk about their current research interests or projects and topics ranged from evaluation of search filter performance, to broader research themes of democratic engagement, informed citizenry and eParticipation and the role of public libraries.

An "excellent day overall" for which delegates warmly thanked the four speakers, DREaM project team and organisers.

The third DREaM workshop takes place on 25 April in Edinburgh.

Rossitza Atanassova is a Curator of Library and Information Science at the British Library and is on the Advisory Board of the DREaM project. Some of her interests include social networking, digital scholarship and digital copyright.You can follow her on Twitter @RossiAtanassova

Image by Kirsty Pitkin and made available under CC2.0

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