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This was a fascinating series of 6 presentations about different aspects of digital research, followed by a tour of the British Library’s Growing Knowledge exhibition where some of the tools under development for the next stage of the digital revolution were demonstrated to us.
All of the presentations were valuable, but two stood out as having particular interest given the discussions going on here at City University about how we support our post-graduate community in this, the Digital Age. The first of these was a case study by Dr Sarah-Louise Quinnell entitled ‘Using Social Media for Research and Researcher Development’. This traced her own experience of connecting with a group of like-minded researchers through the use of social media – mainly Twitter and blogs – to create and sustain a community of practice who shared an interest in the subject area (bio-technology use in Sub-Saharan Africa) as well as a wider community who are interested in using Social media tools to support their research more generally. Issues of developing an online ‘brand identity’ were covered, as well as discussion some of the affordances of using social media to support aspects of the research process.
For more on these developments see the twitter feed @phdchat and for support from post doctoral students to support PhD students see http://thethesiswhisperer.wordpress.com/?ref=spelling
The other presentation which made an impact was on Digital Technologies for Research Dialogues by Dr Shailey Minocha from the Open University. This covered a range of topics and tools which digital researchers use for their research, recording their dialogues with their supervisors, informal interactions with fellow students, document sharing and storage and reflecting on their progress. A range of other issues were touched on, for example about what happens to intellectual property rights in the digital world, digital footprint as compared to print footprint and measuring digital impact.
I (Neal) will be producing a position paper on the implications of the growing use of digital tools to support research and researchers at City University in the coming weeks. In the meantime if you would like to know more about any of the ideas mentioned above then please leave a message here or get in touch with me.
Neal and Tom
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