A Research Group Serving Collège Lionel-Groulx’s Students and Community
Allow me to present a nice example of intrapreneurship that benefits both, students of the Information and Library Technologies Program and the community of Lionel-Groulx College. Founded in the fall of 2016, the mandate of the GRECH TDCLG (Groupe de recherche en Techniques de la documentation du Collège Lionel-Groulx) Lionel-Groulx College Information Technologies Research Group is to carry out research activities on library trends in an extracurricular context.
Here are some examples of trends:
- Gamification of libraries
- Arrival of digital natives as a new type of user
- The maker movement
These trends redefine in one way or another the services, spaces, and even the mission, values and the vision of the different types of libraries. Research on this subject enables documentation specialists to adapt their environment to the emergent reality. It allows Information and Library Technologies teachers to bring course content up to date.
To learn more about the GRECH TDCLG, I spoke with Laurence Gélineau-Moretti, Information and Library Technologies teacher at Lionel-Groulx College.
The creation of the research group came about in the context of a program update. The program now includes new competencies related to information watch techniques. This corresponded perfectly with our project! We wanted to engage the students all the while contributing to the program dynamics.
The GRECH TDCLG team consists of about 10 members:
- Student researchers from the program
- Teacher researchers from the program
- A specialist in teaching methods and techniques
- Program graduates who are present as “consultants”
In fact, the members move out of the habitual framework and become co-research colleagues. Teachers and students work together in a non-evaluative context, since it is extracurricular.
The research activities started in January 2017. Noting that the renovation of the library was in the Lionel-Groulx College’s Strategic Plan for 2015-2020, the research team submitted a research project to the academic dean on the layout of college libraries. The offer was accepted and the GRECH TDCLG was thus given its first mandate to accomplish! The objective of the research: clearly identify the college community’s needs in terms of spaces and services to be offered by the library. The project unfolds along 3 axes:
- The consultation
- The review of trends in layout of college libraries
- The formulation of recommendations
Conducting research in silos is counter-productive. Developing a network while being invisible and unknown is difficult and less stimulating for the team. To have real mandates represents a real source of motivation.
Our methodology includes observations, surveys, field investigations, semi-structured interviews and a review of the literature. We are finalising the necessary steps to obtain an ethics certificate from the college’s Research Ethics Committee. [Translation]
There Is Nothing Better Than Authentic Situations
The project offers students an authentic situation to put into context and apply the knowledge, know-how and attitudes they learn in their courses. Here are some examples:
- Create research queries
- Intellectual rigor
- Academic integrity especially in terms of respect of conditions of use of information and online documents
- Active listening during interviews
- Professionalism during fieldtrips
- Respect of netiquette
The field of documentation associated with research is less studied than public libraries for example, and it is an emerging fieldwork placement for document technicians. It is the only extracurricular activity offered in the program and in the department, which is specific to the discipline.
Collaborative Approach Using Digital Tools
To accomplish their different research activities in cooperative mode, the students use tools such as Google Drive et Dropbox. To consult, share and broadcast the results of their work they use a web site and different social networks.
The student researchers who participate in the project are divided into 3 groups:
- 1 team edits and translates articles.
- 1 team gathers information (for instance, the mission statements of college libraries, the needs of the community).
- 1 team sees to the field investigations, conducts interviews and gathers pictures free of copyright restrictions to use on the website.
Laurence mentions that
the editing is done by several people: students and teachers. We have ‘proof readers’ such as teachers who do not belong to the group as well as a pedagogical advisor. [Translation]
To determine who does what, the interests and background of each person are taken into account. The clientele is mostly made up of students who already have a DCS, who have university studies or who are turning to a new career.
We have a student with studies and previous work experience in translation (from English to French) and another student who is a graphic designer and web master by trade. These are assets for the research team.
For the moment, Laurence is editing the content on the GRECH TDCLG website. She explains that the team created its own work tools:
- A site visit observation grid
- A model letter presenting the project
- A concept table for the literature search
- An interview canvas
- An ethics code
- A qualitative research methodology
- A quality of information evaluation grid
- A directory of information sources
These documents serve as guides for the student researchers.
As for the information watch component, the GRECH TDCLG reached an agreement with the American Library Association. This agreement allows for the translation into French of the weekly Center for the Future of Libraries news bulletin and the 26 summaries of documentary trends available on the Library of the Future website. The choice of research tools is made based on criteria pre-established by the group in their methodology.
We look for information available only on the web. We start with all of the online resources offered by the college library:
- Eureka, etc.
Then we move onto Google Scholar, institutional repositories, then onto the web in general. For the web, there is an information evaluation grid to determine the credibility and relevance of the document. We also consult the blogs of well-known thinkers in our field as well as a list of web communities that serve as a reference in our field on the local, national and international level. They issue the norms, the guidelines as well as the best practices. We consult the information in French and in English. If it is not provided by the resources at the college, it must be freely accessible.
Laurence specifies that eventually, the group wishes to use the services of graduating students registered in the course Projet d’intervention to set up an information watch group. In this course, the students play the role of consultants and carry out a documentation project.
The GRECH TDCLG Website
The GRECH TDCLG has a website that is regularly updated and serves as a showcase for the project. It was developed during the winter session of 2017 by a group of students as part of their course Projet d’intervention en milieu documentaire.
Home page of the GRECH TDCLG website
To make itself known, the research group has planned a large-scale deployment of the project during the 2017-2018 year. The group wants to develop a platform to watch the documentation trends (possibly with Netvibes, but the choice is not final) and a digital mediography using Zotero to store bibliographic references gathered during the review of the literature specific to each research project. In the context of the research project on the layout of a higher education library, nearly 100 documents were analysed in the fall of 2017.
As they become available, we would like to share these resources with the community of professionals who work in field of documentation, especially since several reorganisation projects are underway in higher education libraries. Resources are limited, all of the dissemination tools chosen must be open access and free.