Collaboration snapshot for Virginia Tech, ACRL 2013

I’ve been thinking about collaboration. I often prefer to work alone. It’s quieter and easier with my sensory issues, and for some types of projects the work is done sooner. These tend to be the projects where the work is complex enough for a group to feel justified in discussing options, but that are still simple enough that implementation doesn’t actually require a group.

I often work with my door closed, because for a time that was the only way that I could get anything done. I may have overdone things.

I drew a collaboration sketch of Virginia Tech presenters at ACRL 2013 using GraphViz.

A network diagram with maroon nodes depicting Virginia Tech involvement in ACRL 2013

Virginia Tech presenter collaboration, ACRL 2013

I’ve only drawn here those Virginia Tech people that I know presented something at the conference. They are represented with maroon nodes. Collaborators from other institutions are drawn with white nodes. I’ve drawn lines between Virginia Tech people and their collaborators. I’ve left off collaborations that don’t include Virginia Tech people.

The color of the connecting lines signify the type of work that was presented by the collaborators.

  • Black = panel session
  • Blue = paper
  • Green = webcast
  • Purple = roundtable
  • Red = poster

The two papers presented by Virginia Tech people didn’t have collaborators, so I drew a looping line back to the node to make sure the work was represented.

Naturally, I’m interested in my node. It’s the only one of the nodes on the diagram that isn’t connected to another node. Something to think about, and lately my door has been open more often.

I’m wondering what this would look like if it was extended to the entire conference, with all of the connections, instead of just the Virginia Tech connections shown. Would we see patterns?

Are posters primarily presented by sets of two collaborators? Are the collaborators usually from the same institution?

Which types of institutions are most likely to collaborate with others from their own institution, and which are more likely to go outside to work with others?

There’s so much that’s not shown in this chart. It doesn’t show people who attended but didn’t present. It doesn’t show the people that the work inspired or influenced when it was presented, or what prior knowledge influenced the work. In the conference setting, it doesn’t show the connections that took place during “Unconference” sessions, who we danced with, who we sampled beer with, or whose ideas we took home. Away from the conference, it doesn’t show who we work with day-to-day. It doesn’t show who we’ve established close relationships with, and whether those relationships succeeded or failed.

But little pictures are fun. Any volunteers to put together a collaboration snapshot for the entire conference?


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