The RIN is working closely with a range of organisations to promote a more cohesive environment for information handling training and the improvement of information literacy in higher education research. This approach is characterised largely by the fostering of relationships, for instance between the organisations and individuals represented on the Working Group on Information Handling, and the promotion (and funding) of joint activities.
This sort of dialogue goes on at a national level, but there is also a strong case for developing such networking at a regional level, closer to the practitioners. In particular, there could be much to be gained from encouraging regional connections and dialogue betwen professionals, with an interest or stake in information literacy, from a range of sectors: academics, data managers, librarians, graduate training programme managers, trainers, policy managers, etc. The objectives of such an initiative might for instance include:
- connecting professionals involved in researcher development relating to information handling and data management
- providing a forum for such professionals to meet (in person or virtually) to discuss relevant issues, research, publications…
- presenting examples of good practice in researcher development
- facilitating collaboration on training for both researchers and other professionals
- acting as a conduit within regions for information from and to national bodies involved in researcher development relating to information handling and data management
The RIN is interested in supporting the emergence of such fora and is therefore pleased to co-sponsor one such initiative to create a regional network covering Yorkshire and the North East. This is also being promoted in the ﬁrst instance by Vitae’s Yorkshire / North East Regional Hub, Durham University and Newcastle University.
It will be important to ensure that such a network corresponds to a real need, and that regional players engage with it. With this in mind, a launch meeting was organised at Newcastle University on 14 February 2011, and practical steps are now being taken to set the network up. Further details can be found here.
If this initiative proves successful, it is to be hoped that it might serve as a precedent for similar ventures in other regions.