The second FanLIS symposium #FanLIS2022 took place online, over the afternoons of the 19th and 20th May 2022. The event attracted over 50 attendees, interested in the overlapping areas of fandom, fan studies, and library and information science (LIS). We welcomed a global audience from the US, through the UK and Europe, India to Japan.
Library and information science is concerned with keeping the record of humankind, and making it accessible to all. It was clear from our event that creation, dissemination, indexing, management, preservation, access, use and understanding of documents within the domain of fandom/fan studies is an area of relevance throughout the world. Our call for papers secured international attention, and revealed a high standard of research, often undertaken beyond the disciplinary boundaries of LIS.
Papers around the understanding of documents and communication within a given subject area are core to the LIS discipline, and whilst traditional subjects such as medicine, healthcare, science, technology, law, business and art are well known and represented, works on domain analysis of fan studies are scarce. Fans are passionate about the creation, collection and organisation of documents of all kinds within their field, and work has often been undertaken and reported with little or no reference to the LIS discipline. This seems to changing, however, and several of our presenters detailed work stemming from their interest in fandom, from an LIS grounding and perspective.
Often dismissed as frivolity, fandom has much to offer the world; insight into thoughts, feelings, aspirations, hopes, fears and predictions. We ignore fandom, fanworks and fan studies at our peril. It is essential that LIS takes note of fan studies as a discipline, and that we acknowledge and reference the work already undertaken by those within the discipline.
Likewise, we believe that LIS has much to offer creators and researchers from the field of fan studies and fandom. We want to help collect and document this unique and multifaceted discipline. Indeed, many of us are ourselves fans.
As before, #FanLIS2021, we sought examples of fan studies research which crossed into the realm of LIS. We were not disappointed. Papers referenced well known writers within the fan studies domain such as Abigail De Kosnik and Henry Jenkins, and the formative Organization for Transformative Works. From LIS, we noted references to the information communication chain, creativity and authorship, and models from information behaviour and information literacy. Descriptive work, metadata, was also notable.
We held four panel sessions, and finished with an outstanding keynote from Casey Fiesler (@cfiesler on Twitter).
The first panel featured archiving; perhaps the most obvious area of overlap between fan studies and LIS. This panel showcased work on celebrity culture on Twitter, fansubbing on Youtube, network fan archives, (X-files!), and the generative nature of fan archives.
We moved to dissemination and publication in our second panel, with a look at fan binding, followed by an examination of authorship and sharing of crossover fiction. The sessions on binding of fan works upheld our love of the printed, tangible product in an increasingly virtual world. The session on crossover fiction drew out the fascinating desire to combine fan favourite worlds and characters to create new universes.
Panel three reminded us of the importance of metadata. This is fundamental to our work in LIS, as collections need to be discoverable and accessible. No challenge from the world of fan studies, we are working to the same goals. Notable that metadata used to describe fanworks is not standardised, and the move to entity relationship (linked data) is in the very early stages.
A paper from Mikael Gyhagen took a deep dive into metadata held within bookmarks on AO3, showing us how much untapped oil is out there in the fields of fanwork collections and archives.
The final panel examined reporting of fan related activities from the perspective of the fan journalist, and we concluded with a look at the many and varied information resources used by cosplayers. This final session demonstrating clearly the reach of fan studies into not just LIS, but also journalism.
We ended our event with a fabulous presentation from Casey Fiesler on the development of fandom platforms and policy, in relation to content creation, remixing, and copyright.
FanLIS 2022 restored our faith in academia. Excitement, good humour, and encouragement prevailed, as research and ideas from participants at all stages in their life/careers was shared and enjoyed. The future is fan related.
You can search for our hashtag #FanLIS2022 on Twitter to see what was said at the time!
We will share the recording of our event on the website, https://blogs.city.ac.uk/fanlis/fanlis-symposia/fanlis-2022/.
Papers presented at FanLIS 2022 are published in a special issue of Proceedings from the Document Academy (thanks to our wonderful colleague Tim Gorichanaz for support for this!)
Will we do this again? Yes. Please save the dates 18th/19th May 2023! #FanLIS2023