5 Jun 2012

Guest post: QQML 2012 Limerick May 22nd - May 25th

Guest post by Peter Reilly, Assistant Librarian, Kemmy Business School, University of Limerick

It's the first time this prestigious international conference on Qualitative & Quantitative Methods in Libraries has been held in Ireland. It originated in Greece four years ago and next year it will be held in Rome. So it is imperative that I attend since it is literally on my door step. Although the conference is being held in Limerick at the Absolute hotel, the minute you enter the foyer it has an international feel as the staff operating the conference registration desk are all Greek. The conference attracts delegates from over 60 countries, who have come as far afield as Oman, Kenya, India, Malaysia, New Zealand to name just a few.

The opening keynote speaker was Dr Ching Chih Chen Professor Emerita Simmons College Boston whose presentation "Beyond Digital Libraries / Archives Museums: how to measure, evaluate and assess their impact in terms of value" focused on two major global projects she was involved with - Global Memory Net and World Heritage Memory Net. Her research findings conclude that the next generation of databases will not have individual fields, instead users will search by randomization using only keywords.

The parallel sessions are all chaired and grouped under specific themes, which means you are committed to listening to all five speakers in each one and there is no escape if a presentation doesn't interest you. The session entitled Core Skills Competencies and Qualifications for Today's Reference Librarians focused on the the varying results of studies conducted in USA, France, Australia, Turkey using the exact same questionnaire. According to the findings of the Australian study the most important skills in the next ten years will be online searching, verbal communication, adaptability and social media skills.

One presentation given by a researcher conducting an ongoing ethnographic study of the information behaviour of male juvenile delinquents in Malaysia, revealed that Malaysians are fanatical about UK Premier League soccer. She first engaged these young prisoners by asking them what soccer team they supported. Halfway through the presentation when mentioning this fact, the presenter unzipped her jacket to reveal a Chelsea jersey, which took the audience by surprise.

It was a long day with conference presentations running until 8pm, so I hope I have given a flavour of the first day's proceedings of the QQML 2012 conference.

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