The serendipity of being a researcher

It’s week three of my Arcardia Fellowship at Wolfson College Cambridge and some of the most fascinating conversations I am having (apart from with Emma of course!) are with the folks I am meeting at Wolfson College. It’s such an international college and the discussions over breakfast, lunch and dinner are really inspiring. And talking about our project to those outside the library world makes me realise how important it is! I find myself rarely using the term information literacy when I talk about the project to non-librarians, which isn’t really a surprise, but I am using terms such as digital native and critical thinking. After a particularly enlightening discussion with an academic at lunch today about the need for data literacy and data curation (my terms not his) in relation to medical research in Africa and epidemiology, I started thinking about what it means to be a researcher. I’m going to be talking to some students at the Information School at the University of Sheffield about this on Thursday. I think part of the problem when we do a day job is that we don’t have time or space to think and one thing I will take away from today is the need to have conversations with as many people as possible from outside our own discipline. I know Ned Potter has talked about the Librarian’s Echo Chamber, but we really must talk less to each other! However perhaps the most useful lesson I am learning is to give ourselves space to think on a problem, as sometimes discussions with experts outside your discipline really help you find a solution to a problem, or view an issue in a new way. While I am trying to be structured in my approach to my project, the chance discussions, particularly with the Wolfson Press Fellows, are proving to be really valuable in helping me focus my thinking!

If anyone is keen to help out with my project on the information literacy needs of undergraduates over the next 5 years, do drop me a line via the blog and I can send you the questions that are helping Emma and I shape the curriculum.

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One thought on “The serendipity of being a researcher

  1. Jane,
    I would love to learn more about the project and if you are interested in a US perspective, would be interested in collaborating. And congratulations on the fellowship. If nothing else, I look forward to seeing you next year at LILAC.
    Sarah

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