Writing a book chapter for an “unbook”.

Only Connect: Discovery pathways, library explorations and the information adventure” is the title of a book that I’m very pleased to be contributing to. I was thrilled to have my chapter proposal accepted earlier this year, and this week I’ve been getting on with the actual writing, since the deadline is 1 June! Just a final proofreading due today though, so all under control.

My chapter’s working title is “An Educational Researcher’s Journey” and it’s co-authored with a researcher at the University of Warwick, Mairi Ann Cullen, whose story of a literature search is a great example. We’re re-purposing some blog posts that Mairi Ann wrote for Warwick’s ResearcherLife and I’ve extracted 26 interdisciplinary literature searching principles from her journey, which together make a kind of A-Z guide for a literature search journey.

I really do like the metaphor of a journey for literature searching: unless you are a seasoned researcher then you should think of it as a pedestrian journey in a foreign city, where you only just grasp the language and you have no notion of the scale of the city or how far away your destination is. When searching, you can get side tracked by interesting distractions or find short cuts, and there are different modes of transport available to you (i.e. search platforms).

The more you prepare for your journey, writing down directions and looking at maps and guides, the quicker and more stress-free the journey will be. However, perhaps our minds are better programmed to remember actual journeys than literature searches, so for a literature search then you need good record keeping, too…

Of course, this metaphor appeals to me since I’ve been in Berlin for less than two weeks, and am constantly looking at streetmaps and underground plans and Google Earth pictures of places that I need to navigate, before I set out!

I’m really looking forward to the launch of the book, as it is has its own blog where you can read about some of the truly innovative content that is due to be published in Autumn this year.

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