The iSchool at UBC will hold its fourth annual Research Day on Friday, March 8th from 10:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. in the SLAIS suite, fourth floor of the Irving K. Barber Learning Centre. The day will include poster presentations, demonstrations and talks by students and faculty, and a keynote address by Jack Lohman, Chief Executive Officer of the Royal B.C. Museum. This year’s Research Day will highlight interactivity between researchers and attendees, with a “Madness” session wherein each poster presenter will explain their research in two minutes, and a live Twitter feed showcasing attendees’ reactions to the event.
Participants will have the opportunity to share the highlights of their projects as well as engage with their colleagues’ work. Organizers expect it to build on previous years’ Research Days as a unique opportunity to raise awareness of the research that is going on among both faculty and students within and outside of the school. “Research Day is one of the only times to engage with the full component of faculty and students and to see the full diverse range of research that is going on here,” says SLAIS Assistant Professor and Research Day coordinator Dr. Lisa Nathan.
Pausing to think about projects and communicating with peers about research can be a valuable yet overlooked step in the learning process, maintains Nathan. “With so much emphasis on experiential learning, our students sometimes don’t have time for reflection, so we’re trying to emphasize the importance of reflecting on the practice. Research is one strong way to do that.” It is also an opportunity to be exposed to the various approaches taken in information-based research. “As a scholar in training, it’s been valuable to engage with faculty who work with multiple methodologies,” says PhD candidate and Research Day co-organizer Elizabeth Shaffer.
Research Day 2013 also aims to help broaden the scope of how the school defines research, encouraging more submissions from design-oriented projects and continuing to be inclusive of multidisciplinary approaches. This inclusivity can pose a challenge when deciding on a theme, admits Nathan, but this year’s topic promises to offer a fit for the full range of library, archival, children’s literature, and human-information interaction expertise. Entitled “Infrastructures of Knowledge: Mediating Memories, Representing Relationships, Framing Futures”, Research Day 2013’s theme addresses the intersections of people, information, and technology and was largely inspired by the work of Geoffrey C. Bowker, director of the Values in the Design of Information Systems and Technology laboratory at the University of California at Irvine. “I’m hoping [this and future] Research Days will expand beyond the footprint of our school and grow opportunities to collaborate,” says Nathan.