PETRAS ‘Little Book’ Series to Engage Wide Audience

By Dr Claire Coulton
PETRAS Project Officer

PETRAS recently held its Bi-Annual meeting at the Oxford Town Hall on 17th April. This was an exciting opportunity for members of the Impact Management team to introduce the Impact Plan to the PETRAS team, and to begin plans for non-academic literature to be developed that will increase the overall impact of the PETRAS IoT Hub.

The day was led by Prof Rachel Cooper, Dr Claire Coulton (Lancaster University) and Dr Madeline Carr (UCL) and primarily focussed on how the team would work towards producing a series of ‘Little Book’ titles to reflect the depth and breadth of the research being carried out on the PETRAS Streams and projects.

A recent book written by Joe Lindley and Paul Coulton for PETRAS, titled The Little Book of Design Fiction for the Internet of Things, was used in the meeting as an example of the sort of output they were looking to produce for further PETRAS projects. Published just five months ago, The Little Book of Design Fiction for the IoT has been extremely popular. So far, it has been downloaded over 1000 times and is now on its second print run.  This highlights a thirst for clear, concise, accessible materials for a wider, non-academic audience, and is also a winner for the impact of the PETRAS IoT Hub.

So what is a ‘Little Book’? Essentially, it is a short document, printed in book form, that can detail an academic field, a research project, literature review or theoretical standpoint, or it can include elements of all of these. More importantly, they provide non-expert audiences with an accessible route into a subject, clear suggestions for policy, and/or clear findings from research. The Little Books use more everyday language, provide many examples to add context and offer clear explanations and definitions.  Most importantly, they are engaging and readable.

If you were unable to attend the meeting and have an idea for a Little Book, or if you are a non-academic partner or interested party and there is a Little Book you would like to see, get in touch with Claire Coulton (c.coulton2@lancaster.ac.uk).  The Little Book of Design Fiction for the IoT is available here.

We look forward to being able to share this series of Little Books with you in early 2019.