Back in the real world: yes, 9 incredibly hard-working people spent a total of 30 minutes this afternoon trying to capture the vagaries of conversation on information literacy between Niamh, Helen and myself – but it was a practice session for the all-day live blogging they’ll be doing on Monday at the Internet-Informed Patient Symposium, which is the culmination of Isla Kuhn‘s Arcadia Project research. Doug Clow of the OU led the session and had some great insights on the art of live-blogging.
The conversation itself was very enjoyable and stimulating, but even more interesting was the variety of reactions to the blogging experience. It’s pretty tough listening and typing at the same time, particularly when you’re not an expert in the subject under discussion, and even more so when all three participants are talkative, engaged and passionate, delving eagerly into the theoretical as well as the practical aspects of their topic.
So what was hardest about it? Here’s the interesting thing: everyone had a different issue. One participant wanted to process and filter the information before outputting it: ideally she’d like to make notes on paper, then create a minutes-style document setting out the discussion. Another wanted the time to be able to categorise and apply a hierarchy. Yet another was concerned about maintaining writing quality and readability. The variety of ways in which writer’s (or blogger’s) block can strike was not something I’d foreseen!
In research skills terms this is particularly interesting for me because finding a way to break loose from the constraints of ‘proper’ academic writing is one of the toughest things about doing a PhD. In the ‘Managing Your Information’ course we’ve looked at techniques like messy writing and tools like 750 words, but “what makes it hard for you?” is something I’ll be asking class participants more in future.