Interdisciplinary Symposium hosted online by CityLIS.
Please find the event programme here.
We invite all who have an interest in the ways in which fandom, fan studies, and library & information science overlap.
Examples include the ways in which fans create, organise, disseminate, classify and preserve fanworks; the publishing of fanfiction as mainstream literature; fans as citizen journalists; or the beta-reader as editor.
This symposium will contribute to the nascent interdisciplinary dialogue, by bringing together scholars from fan studies, LIS and beyond, to find commonalities, inspire new conversations, reveal hidden and unexpected intersections, and suggest new methodological approaches that will enrich the current discourse of fandom and fan practice.
As part of its research strategy, the Department of Library & Information Science, CityLIS, at City, University of London, explores the liminal areas between disciplines, seeking out new domain approaches, innovative practice, and the as yet undiscovered ways in which the processes of the information communication chain can be further refined and understood.
Recently the fan studies community has become interested in building bridges between different cultures and disciplines, with Dr. Naomi Jones, during the Fan Studies Network Conference 2018, emphasising the importance of interdisciplinarity in moving the field forward.
This challenge was taken up by Kelley, Price, Schuster and Wang in the Fan Studies Network Conference of 2019, where they presented their interdisciplinary, collaborative project on fandom, which started in the Spring of 2018.
This collaboration brought together scholars from the fields of cultural studies, the digital humanities, and library and information science to talk about fandom and fan practice, and has allowed a wider exchange of ideas between disciplines.
In common with fan studies, library and information science has a keen interest in the utility of their research outside the field, and in understanding to what extent it creates an impact beyond its own disciplinary boundaries.
For example, while library and information science (LIS) has a rich history of user studies, the impact of such studies outside of the field is less clear, despite multidisciplinary studies being shown to have more impact (Ellegaard & Wallin, 2015).
Thus, it would seem that we have an opportunity to bring members of these two disciplines – fan studies and LIS – together, in order to move the concept of ‘interdisciplinarity’ away from just a subject of conversation, towards something real and tangible.
Fan practice shows many parallels with the interests of information professionals, such as librarians, archivists and curators.
Fans are ardent collectors (Geraghty, 2014); they take pride in the classification of their work; they develop best practice in the preservation of fanworks (Swalwell et al., 2017); and as some of the first adopters of the internet (Jenkins, 2006), they are comfortable using technological innovations.
Other fan activities with which LIS has overlapping engagement are the publishing of fanfiction as mainstream literature (Peckosie & Hill, 2015), classification of fanfiction, such as on the Archive of Our Own (Price, 2019), and copyright, to name but a few. Rarely, however, does LIS literature reference the relevance of work carried out in the fan studies discipline, e.g. Versaphile’s (2011) look at the preservation of fannish history and Johnson’s (2014) look at fanfiction metadata.
Likewise, there is little evidence that authors of fan studies are aware of the rich troves of relevant work carried out within the LIS discipline. This creates a significant lacuna in knowledge, which could be assuaged by a less siloed approach to research conversations.
The CityLIS FanLIS Project pulls together previous work we have undertaken along the boundary of fanstudies and LIS, and hopes to create a framework for future collaboration and research.
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