What could be more exciting than an award-winning film director giving the conference keynote? Atom Egoyan!

He’d prepared a 25 page speech — articulate, funny, poignant, self-effacing — and related to the conference theme: Collaboartion. What an incredible man.

Thanks to Juanita Richardson for writing this blog post.

His main points:

Communication can be a precarious and sometimes absurd process. Communication must be compelling to get others to do what you want. Anyone can form a team of collaborators if they can create a vision of the possible and communicate that vision to others so compellingly that they envision that possible as well. The key to effective collaboration: dividing labour into strategic, operational and tactical. You cannot tell people how to act and behave without giving them a compelling, exciting,convincing reason to do so. They have to see themselves in the plan.  Conversations are the basis of collaborations – conversations with those participants you are trying to influence. A leader’s responsibility is to impress on others that nothing is casual — every decision matters.

From there, I went to the session on OCUL’s Geospatial Portal Project with Leanne Hindmarch – Scholars Portal and Jenny Marvin from University of Guelph.  Key Points:

  • GIS is expanding into disciplines beyond the typical subjects like geography, so more and more researchers need to be spatially literate. Many universities are duplicating their efforts – eg data storage, maintenance, distribution. That said, there are also different levels of resources across the organizations (e.g. HR, dollars, technical infrastructure).
  • OCUL’s intent is on building one shared geospatial project.
  • Project Goals: leverage the shared resources and expertise; build shared infrastructure, share dollars, share access tool.
  • The exciting opportunity is to take traditional data pieces that might have, historically, been disparate and visualize those data pieces spatially to more readily “see” connections and extrapolate trends.
  • A key focus has been on health information. The result could be having researchers able to easily access data on availability of medical services, the incidence of disease, other attributes and then spatially present this info to understand clustering and id trends.
Juanita Richardson

Juanita Richardson

The Dean’s Panel with Lynne Bowker, University  of Ottawa; Tom Carmichael from University of Western Ontario and Lynn Howarth standing in for Seamus Ross of  U of Toronto’s iSchool.
The deans spoke to the current environments in their respective schools. Their biggest concern – which they all hope to address – has been the decline in research being conducted in the profession. They agreed that their schools have been focused for the past several years on redefining themselves and that, during that time, there was less research being conducted than there had been in the past. All expected that this was about to change and encouraged practitioners in libraries to become involved in the research process.  They were dissatisfied that, in the recent past, more research has been conducted by the vendor community than in academia.  My open question to the deans: looking to business schools as the model, how will you forge closer relationships with the vendor community so that research is shared across the information industry. And that the invitation to participate in research should not only be extended to practitioners in libraries but also to the wider industry.  A strong relationship between the i-schools and industry will surely only make the whole stronger.