This was the second session I attended and it focused on how we can encourage and support both LIS academics and independent LIS researchers in doing research of a more radical nature.
This was partially inspired by the fact that some of us associated with RLC have been part of a project to investigate the use of website filtering and blocking in UK Libraries. The project involves sending FOI requests to libraries across the country to determine if they block any specific content and if they do, what content this is. It is still an ongoing project, but as it is something I’ve been involved with i’ll likely talk more about it on this blog in the future so do keep an eye out – some of the results we’ve been getting have been very interesting.
Anyway, the session was pitched by another person involved in this project, who was thinking more aobut how we can practically start to support and encourage this kind of research, and attendees had some really good ideas. These included things like having a bank of radial research topics available to LIS academics and researchers in order to encourage and inspire. I suppose rather like academic studentships that advertise for someone to pursue a particular research area, a radical alternative could be developed to ensure that important and interesting radical research topics are being highlighted and pursued. I think it was a really good step in the right direction that this session took place, as I think it highlighted the need for more LIS research to be focused toward pursuing the public good and a step toward creating a safe space to pursue this kind of research without fear of negative consequence.
I will keep this post short as I feel like there’s not much more I can say on the matter. My response to this session was less thought provoking in the sense that I didn’t end up losing myself in a stream of vaguely philosophical mind-tangents about education and society and the world. Instead I feel my response to this was more pragmatic: ‘this is good, this is a step in the right direction.’ (Big yes to deeds not words…). I’m looking forward to seeing what could come of this, and supporting any moves toward facilitating radical research in LIS.