Why horror stories don’t lead to nightmares

TODD, Heather and MORGAN, Helen (2017) Why horror stories don’t lead to nightmares. Paper presented at: IFLA WLIC 2017 – Wrocław, Poland – Libraries. Solidarity. Society. in Session 122 - Reference and Information Services.

Bookmark or cite this item: https://library.ifla.org/id/eprint/1840
Language: English (Original)
Available under licence Creative Commons Attribution.


Why horror stories don’t lead to nightmares

Research data management is now an established information service in academic libraries. The University of Queensland (UQ) Library has successfully used storytelling to promote this vital service. The stories are inevitably entertaining, but always have an educational aspect allowing us to instill best practice. Researchers are both fascinated and motivated by storytelling, particularly when we tell horror stories based on real life examples where a lack of basic data management has been disastrous. We take them on a journey from: “What’s your worst nightmare?” Followed by: “I would never let that happen to me!” Or sometimes surprisingly even: “Yes, I recognise that… my office caught on fire last year…!” Horror stories have immediate emotional impact that demonstrate the consequences of not doing the right thing. The technology used to deliver the stories varies. As well as one-to-one meetings, we utilize videos, digital posters, illustrations, infographics and library staff have acted in a play that highlights the folly of the lack of research integrity. We work with a range of sections across UQ – the research ethics unit to educate on compliance and best practice, the IT unit to arrange for data storage and the graduate school to ensure that students create data management plans and actually think about their data management up-front. We find that with our story telling we are able to add to our repertoire as academics often tell us their own horror stories. It’s our job to keep on telling the stories to make sure our researchers can learn by example and not through experience!

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