Researching Information in Engineering: Making and Reading as Two Sides of the Same Coin

BISSAS, Costas and KOGKOU, Venetia (2019) Researching Information in Engineering: Making and Reading as Two Sides of the Same Coin. Paper presented at: IFLA WLIC 2019 - Athens, Greece - Libraries: dialogue for change in Session 248 - Science and Technology Libraries with Reference and Information Services and AV and Multimedia.

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Language: English (Original)
Available under licence Creative Commons Attribution.

Abstract

Researching Information in Engineering: Making and Reading as Two Sides of the Same Coin

Engineers belong to a specific category of scientists and, as such, make use of a wide range of information, from very simple to very complex, through various means. Their research outputs include technological products, processes and services which have been developed using different methods, from texts to physical experiments and documented prototypes, based on observations and learning through reading and experiencing. Our historical analysis shows that this is not a new research method, since understanding the world around humans has consistently involved the study and reading of things that comprise it. In this paper, we discuss parts of the process of ‘making’, which creates knowledge through experience when researching a particular subject matter whilst simultaneously being open to the occasional accidental happy discovery, otherwise called serendipity, as a way of conducting research. In 2018, within the library of the Technical Chamber of Greece (TEE/TCG), an initiative to create a space dedicated to research through reading things and ‘making’ was undertaken, equipped with basic traditional and desktop manufacturing technological tools, i.e. a computer aided design (CAD) workstation, a 3D printer and electronics kits, in order to foster the creation of verbal and non-verbal information. The new services offered by the TCG Technical Library coexist with its printed collections, encouraging their cross-pollination and providing an environment for multidisciplinary hands-on research.

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