by James Martin
Concordia Libraries held its second annual Poster Session on May 7 at
the George P. Vanier Library on the Loyola campus. The event is designed
for Concordias librarians, who, as members of the faculty association,
are expected to engage in research as a condition of workplace promotion
to receive peer feedback on research in progress.
The session began with a half-hour viewing period, during which attendees
perused displays describing the presenters research. Each presenter
was then given 15 minutes to talk about his or her work, then answered
questions from the floor.
William Curran, Concordias Director of Libraries, ex-plained that
the poster session differs from a conference in that participants arent
only presenting final research results. Rather, the afternoon session
offers the opportunity to discuss research methodology at early stages
In a conference, youre usualy giving a pre-packaged set of
goods This is what Ive done but we want
to stimulate discussion. As important as the findings might be, there
are publications for presenting results once research is completed.
The idea behind the poster session was first, to allow colleagues to know
what kind of research other librarians were doing; second, to stimulate
further research; and third, to encourage others to undertake research.
We thought that the poster session would be valuable for people
who have done res-earch, who are doing research, and who are anticipating
doing research. To hear a discussion of methodology for empirical research
or historical research is as valuable as hearing a lecture from someone
about the research they did last summer.
This years Poster Session was dedicated to the memory of the late
Albert Tabah, a professor at the Université de Montréals
École de bibliothéconomie et des sciences de linformation
and a participant in last years event.
It featured presentations by Concordia librarians, as well as librarians
and Library & Information Studies PhD students from McGill University.
Topics included designing software that automatically assigns Library
of Congress subject headings to digital documents, an online database
of bio-bibliographic information about Canadian women artists, the pros
and perils of designing digital handouts for hand-held computers, and
measuring information technology competence among LIS graduates.
Joanna Duy, Concordias chemistry & physics librarian, presented
research from her initial investigation into the popularity of electronic
chemistry journals as compared to traditional paper journals. The research
was intended as a pilot project for a larger project Duy hopes to work
on this summer, and she says the Poster Sessions congenial atmosphere
will have a marked influence on her future research.
I got really good feedback, she said of her presentation,
especially from the science librarians, who had good suggestions
about possible explanations for the trends that I saw. When youre
doing research in this field, its easy to keep approaching it from
a certain angle.
But its really helpful to get colleagues opinions about
what may be happening, and what elements of the study they think are most
interesting.The Poster Session is great because you dont feel like
you have to present something thats ready to be published. You can
present things at an early stage, get your ideas out there and get feedback.
William Curran says thats exactly what the event is about. We
want the professionals attending to be able to say, I did some research
like that, and we did it this way. The person giving the poster
session should feel comfortable enough to say, You know, thats
an excellent idea. Im think Im going to revise my strategy.
Most of us in the profession, no matter what time constraints we
live with, have an interest in doing research. We hope the Poster Forum
will be an enticement not only for people to learn about their colleagues
work, but an enticement for people who maybe havent done that much
research to pursue their own interests.