Library & University Collections Journal Club Posts

Library Staff development

Research Design and Evidence                                                                               Wikipedia Commons : https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0

The first Journal Club of 2020 met on 8 January to talk about : Dalton, M., 2019. How individual consultations with a librarian can support systematic reviews in the social sciences. Journal of Information Literacy, 13(2), pp.163–172.

Our first discussion question was whether this article sufficiently defines what a systematic review is, and whether this is understood by student researchers in the social sciences. A key question we ask students in our courses is if they should be doing a systematic review at all. Systematic reviews entail very precise methodologies which can result in a large and time consuming piece of work. We find that in the social sciences, what many students want is to review the literature systematically, which is not the same.

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Geneva Bible, 1583 (University of Edinburgh, New College Library)

Our second meeting of the Journal Club in 2019/20 met on Wednesday 2 October to talk about improving access to Special Collections. Our discussion article was:

Marcella Tam (2017) Improving Access and “Unhiding” the Special Collections, The Serials Librarian, 73:2, 179-185, DOI: 10.1080/0361526X.2017.1329178

We began our discussion by talking about the image and perception of special collections, identified by the author as having a traditional image of being niche and aloof.  We talked about the user experience of ‘library anxiety’ and how this might be heightened in the Special Collections context  “if you don’t feel that you’re an insider and know the rules”. A user may question if their research interest is legitimate enough to be using Special Collections, and be very apologetic if, for example, they take a pen into the Special Collections reading room without thinking. But we also agreed about the value of Special Collections, both as a research experience and as ‘theatre’ – using Special Collections can be inspiring and memorable on a personal level as well as an academic one. A student experience of Special Collections can be the starting point of a lifetime’s academic journey into research. So how do we make Special Collections less scary?

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Library Staff development