Organizing a student workshop: my experience with SWiF 2014

In Germany, we have quite a few universities as well as universities of applied science were you can study information science. Generally, these institutions have their own curricula and the students do not necessarily know other institutions. Even if researchers and lecturers from different institutions may have met at conferences, workshops or on other occasions, the students usually have not. This changed when Katrin Weller, Isabella Peters and Dirk Lewandowski had the idea of organizing a student workshop for research in information science called SWiF. The first SWiF took place in 2010 in Düsseldorf. Since then, the workshop was repeated every year at different locations in Germany, giving students from different institutions in the German-speaking region the opportunity to meet fellow students and to present their own research results.

SWiF 2014 header.

My own experience with SWiF has also started in 2010. As a student at the Heinrich Heine university Düsseldorf, I took the opportunity to present results from a team project that we have conducted. Four years later, I was one of the local organizers of the workshop. We have invited students to come to our School of Library and Information Science at the Humboldt university in Berlin. Eleven students from Berlin, Cologne, Düsseldorf, Geneva, Hamburg and Kiel presented their research topics. There was a large variety of topics that the presentations of the workshop participants have covered. From informational cities via altmetrics to knowledge organization: the presentations were as diverse as the research field of information science itself. The discussions after every presentation were very vivid. Established researchers supported the presenters by asking them helpful questions.

Participants of SWiF 2014.

What amazed me the most we the quality of the presented research and the way the students have presented it. Don’t get me wrong: I was not expecting bad presentations. But every student was so well prepared that it was a real pleasure to listen to them. Thank you again for this great experience. From the perspective of a student that has presented in the workshop as well as from the organizer’s perspective, I can totally recommend to participate in SWiF. And if you do not have such a workshop in your own country, you should definitely try to change that.

Abstracts and slides from SWiF 2014 can be found here:
https://www.ibi.hu-berlin.de/forschung/information_retrieval/swif14/programm