Wednesday, 13 December 2017

UKSG Conference - Report by MA Librarianship student

MA Librarianship student Terry Bassett recently attended the UKSG conference in London. Read on to hear about his experiences.



In November I was lucky enough to be chosen to attend the UKSG conference and forum at the very swanky Grange Tower Bridge Hotel in London. The UKSG is a professional group of librarians, publishers and anyone in-between, who work together to promote better academic communications and collaborative research practices. Their website has details of all the work they do and some of the presentations from the events.

Attending the conference and forum was a very eye-opening experience. My own background is in public libraries so although I’ve had exposure to HE in my undergraduate degree and the first few weeks of my Masters, I was still quite new to a lot of the concepts being discussed. That said at no point did I feel completely out of my depth; the sheer range of topics discussed meant everyone needed to give at least a quick introduction and that went a long way.

If had to pick a talk as my favourite (not an easy task), I would have to say that the Wellcome Trust’s talk by Robert Kiley was of particular interest. His introduction to Open Access was comprehensive but concise, and then proceeded to completely expand my understanding beyond what I’d even imagined - in a really good way. Wellcome’s vision is of a future where not just the journal article but the data behind it, the institution’s data collection policies and so on are also open to scrutiny. As a fledgling grounded theory fan the idea of institutional bias being highlighted as standard and the role of the researcher being presented as part of the research itself is pretty amazing. Exploring the ways in which Open Research (as an umbrella term) is not only more transparent (via open peer review - another bit of my mind blown) but actually faster and cheaper as well was quite compelling. It was contrasted nicely by the look at the obstacles (including researchers’ own concerns about their ability to publish), and also the discussion of where to go from here and how to get there. Overall it was a fascinating presentation in and of itself, but also, I think captured a lot of the overarching themes that other presentations then examined in more detail. These included UCL’s Pro-Vice-Provost Paul Ayris who discussed his university’s Open Science and Citizen Science projects; working to crowd-source data collection and analysis, and teasing at the prospect of an EU-wide shared repository of research data.

On a slightly different note Janet Peters (Director of University Libraries and University Librarian, Cardiff University) and Gareth Owen (Programme Manager, Wales Higher Education Libraries Forum) gave two different perspectives of projects taking place in the same consortium; Wales Higher Education Libraries Forum (WHELF). At the conference Janet Peters discussed the service quality challenges and opportunities that arise from running a library service as part of a consortium, and then at the forum Gareth Owen talked us through the project of implementing a single library management system (LMS) across 9 Universities, 1 National Library, and 30 NHS Wales Libraries. Speaking as someone who has been through a fair few LMS changes covering just one library service at a time, the prospect of that project is scary! But doing it saved money, will lead to ongoing savings and process improvements for years to come, and gave them the purchasing power to insist the both the front- and back-end systems were bilingual - both English and Welsh. A massive win in terms of promoting the continuation of the use of the Welsh language.

It was an amazing experience; a chance to meet people from a wide range of backgrounds who all share a passion for getting researchers to talk to each other and then promoting all the fascinating work that these conversations lead to. Plus, the food was amazing and I got so many free pens!

Terry Bassett

Links:
UKSG One-Day Conference: London

UKSG Forum: London

UKSG Annual Review 2016



Tuesday, 12 December 2017

Mapping the future of academic libraries

The ‘Mapping the future of academic libraries’ report commissioned by SCONUL was published on 8 December following a conference in London to discuss its findings. The report was produced by a team from the School: Stephen Pinfield, Andrew Cox and Sophie Rutter.


The report identifies a complex set of interrelated trends impacting on libraries the significance of which is often in the way they combine. In particular, it identifies five nexuses of trends bringing transformational change:

1. ‘Datafied’ scholarship: research increasingly underpinned by large datasets and digital artefacts, involving open, networked, algorithmically-driven systems

2. Connected learning: new pedagogies supported by technology-enabled flexible learning

3. Service-oriented libraries: libraries shifting their strategic emphasis from collections to services

4. Blurred identities: boundaries between professional groups and services being broken down with more collaboration and new skills development

5. Intensified contextual pressures: a myriad of political, economic and other pressures creating demands on HE and libraries

The ways in which libraries are responding to such change, and also the contributions they are making to change, are then discussed, with a set of challenges and opportunities identified. The report then goes on to discuss the need for libraries to position themselves to respond to current challenges and opportunities, proposing a multi-faceted approach to the alignment between the library and its parent institution. The library needs to be a service-provide, partner and leader.

The challenge is to balance the ways in which these different roles are implemented in any given institutional context. A key part of achieving these roles is communication, especially between the library and the institution as a whole. Understandings of its role outside the library are often hazy; libraries need to create and communicate a compelling vision of the current and future library role. At the same time, there is an ongoing need for change in library organisations and a need to forge partnerships, both within the library community (something in which libraries have a strong record) but also beyond (historically, not so strong).

The report proposes that in order to help address current challenges we should question commonly-accepted ‘library mantras’: mantras, such as, ‘the library is a strong brand’ or ‘the library is a trusted partner’, can sometimes get in the way of change, and need to be rethought. A set of new paradigms as ways of thinking about the futures of libraries are proposed, including the computational library, the service-oriented library, the library as digital third space, the globalised library and the boundaryless library.

These have the potential to act as a framework for discussion on library futures going forward.

The report concludes with recommendations for action within academic libraries and for SCONUL and similar agencies.

The report was compiled following mixed-methods research involving: extensive engagement with the literature, a set of semi-structured interviews with an international range of stakeholders, and a survey of UK library staff. As well as producing the report itself, the Sheffield team is now working on peer-reviewed outputs, and engaging in ongoing discussion including workshops and conference presentations.

You can read some of the Twitter engagement about the report here.



Friday, 1 December 2017

Dr Paul Reilly presents paper at ESRC CASCADE-NET seminar

Senior Lecturer Dr Paul Reilly is invited speaker at the ESRC CASCADE-NET Seminar “The role of Civil Society’s agency in governance and contingency planning: citizenship, participation and social learning” today. The seminar, organised by co-Investigator Dr. Martina McGuinness (Management School, University of Sheffield) is held in Inox Dine, Students’ Union Building, University of Sheffield.

Dr Reilly's paper is entitled ‘Social media, citizen empowerment and crisis communication during the 2014 UK Floods’ and draws on his recently completed EC FP7 funded research project CascEff . The slides for my presentation can be found here

Thursday, 30 November 2017

Have you ever thought of doing a PhD?

The University of Sheffield has opened its annual competition for PhD scholarships.

If you have an idea for some high impact research this could be your route to get funding to do a PhD at the Information School.

At the forefront of developments in the information field for more than fifty years, the Information School is a stimulating and exciting place to do your research. We were top in our category for the quality of research environment in the government evaluation of research quality, the REF.

To succeed in the scholarship competition you will need a strong academic track record and a great research idea.

It is recommended that you work with a member of staff in the Information School to develop your proposal to maximise your chances of being successful in the scholarship competition. Our expertise encompasses the range of information work including data science, digital societies, health informatics, information, knowledge & innovation management, information retrieval, information systems and libraries & the information society.

To find a suitable supervisor check our staff list and their research interests: https://www.sheffield.ac.uk/is/staff

We also have a list of suggested topics: https://www.sheffield.ac.uk/is/pgr/phdtopics

To help you with your application we have prepared booklet on writing a proposal: https://www.sheffield.ac.uk/is/pgr/proposal

The final date for submissions to the scholarship competition is 24th January 2018 at 17:00 GMT. The Information School is able to offer additional input on proposals submitted by the 17th January 2018.

Contact us on ispgr@sheffield.ac.uk to find out more and check your eligibility.

Tuesday, 28 November 2017

2nd Relationship Management in HE Libraries Conference, 16th-17th November - Catherine Hoodless

My name is Catherine Hoodless, and I am a first year PhD student in the Information School. After only a month into my PhD studies, the Relationship Management Group for HE Libraries were inviting LIS students and early career professionals to apply for funded places to attend their 2nd Relationship Management Conference at Lancaster University. After looking at the conference programme and realising just how many of the presentations taking place related to my research into the use of functional vs subject teams in HE libraries, I had to apply, and I was delighted to be informed that I had been awarded a place.

This conference is relatively small and new (the first having taken place at the University of Stirling two years earlier) but it had a very friendly atmosphere, was extremely will organised and was crammed with interesting presentations and workshops. The key theme of the conference was set out in the opening session where delegates were asked to discuss and share their challenges and opportunities for effective relationship management. Discussion centred on both the challenges and opportunities brought about by change, whether this is changes to individual roles, routines and processes, collaborative partners, library structures, wider university structures or more overarching changes to the environment in which academic libraries are operating. The presentations and workshops continued with this theme detailing the experiences at different institutions, not just of successful ventures, but, significantly, those that failed too.

Both of the keynote speakers provided highly enjoyable and thought-provoking presentations that got everyone talking. On day one, Dr Ruth Murray-Webster spoke about change management and the importance of understanding change from the perspective of the recipient of change. She argued how resistance to change should not be viewed negatively and avoided, but instead utilised to promote positive change. However, I found one of the most powerful comments she made was that “routine tied to history and identity is much more difficult to break.” This brought about many questions related to how certain routines and practices are tied to the identity of librarians and got me thinking about how this applied to my own research. Then on day two of the conference, Dil Sidhu, Associate Dean at Columbia University, gave a highly engaging and entertaining talking about how to influence and persuade - both key skills for relationship management. I think everyone was shocked when he said that, on average, each of us will have 1,900 messages trying to influence us daily.



Unsurprisingly for a conference that has a focus on relationship management, there was plenty of time to meet and network with a range of library professionals, and I was delighted to find that many people had an interest in my research. Thank you to the organisers and sponsors for the opportunity to attend this conference, I came away brimming with ideas and excited about getting stuck into my PhD.

Hopefully this conference will run again in future, and I would definitely recommend other LIS students to apply for any funded student places that might be available, particularly MA and MSc students, as it will give you a real insight into the growing importance of relationship management in academic libraries and the opportunity to learn from the experiences of lots of dynamic and enthusiastic people working within liaison and relationship management roles.

For more information on the discussions taking place at this conference have a look at #rmlibs on Twitter.

Monday, 20 November 2017

Dr Paul Reilly's CascEff research reported cited by UK Parliament POSTnote

Senior Lecturer Dr Paul Reilly's CascEff research report on the role of social and traditional media in crisis communication has been cited in the UK Parliamentary Office of Science & Technology POSTnote 564: Communicating Risk.



Dr Reilly was also one of several UK academics to be an invited reviewer of this publication. It can be downloaded here.

Thursday, 16 November 2017

Online Information Review Special Calls for Papers

Online Information Review, the international, ISI listed journal edited by Jo Bates, Andrew Cox, Robert Jäschke and Angela Lin from the Information School has just announced three Calls For Papers for Special issues on:

Social Media Mining for Journalism
http://emeraldgrouppublishing.com/products/journals/news_story.htm?id=7570


Lifelogging Behaviour and Practice
http://emeraldgrouppublishing.com/products/journals/call_for_papers.htm?id=7544

Open-access mega-journals: Continuity and innovation in scholarly communication
http://emeraldgrouppublishing.com/products/journals/call_for_papers.htm?id=7545

Dr Jo Bates joins editorial board of Big Data and Society

Information School Lecturer Dr Jo Bates has been invited to join the editorial board of Big Data and Society, the leading journal in the field of data studies.


BD&S is published by SAGE and Dr Bates' term on the board is three years in duration. You can access the journal here.

Wednesday, 15 November 2017

Information School Research Magazine Launch - 'Inform'

My name is Wasim Ahmed, and I am a doctoral student at the Information School. I recently attended the launch of the Information School research magazine Inform. This blog post highlights my key take-homes from the launch of the research magazine.



Information is all around us and due to technological developments information is more readily available at speed. Our research at the Information School focuses on understanding the power of information and how it affects people, organisations, and society.

The new research magazine Inform provides a cross-section of the research within the school, stories about our research, impact, recent successes, facts and figures, research culture and environment, and provides an overview of staff and students within the school.



The event highlighted the international reputation of the department for world-class research. It was wonderful to see the range of multi-disciplinary areas of research which the school undertakes.

The event also recognised the achievements of Professor Emeritus Tom Wilson whom was awarded the ASIS&T award of merit, and Sheila Webber whom was awarded Honorary Fellowship of CILIP.
The research at the department ranges from computer-aided drug discovery, analysing social media, multi-lingual text and image retrieval, information behaviour and literacy, reader development, and scholarly communication.



The school also collaborates both within and outside of the University with disciplines such as: Biology, Chemistry, Computer Science, Education, Engineering, Geography, Health, Sociological Studies, and Journalism. The department also collaborates with industry, charities, public sector organisations, as well as other organisations.

As a doctoral student I was really pleased to see a number of mentions and references to the important role we play within the Information School.

During my studies I have delivered over 35 talks to organisations such as CERN (the European Centre for Nuclear Research), the BSA (British Sociological Association), and NatCen Social Research. I have delivered keynote talks at Boston University College of Communication as well to the Polytechnic of Šibenik. I have also worked with external organisations such as Manchester United FC.

The research culture is such that in the Information School it has acted as a springboard for developing a profile as a researcher.




Tuesday, 14 November 2017

Information School staff and student contribute to new CILIP publication

The library and information association, CILIP, have recently launched a new publication for members of their organisation, entitled 'Information Professional'. Information School lecturers Dr Jo Bates and Paula Goodale and PhD student Penny Andrews are featured in the publication in an article about their research project 'The Secret Life of a Weather Datum'.

The project aimed to pilot a new approach for better understanding and communicating how values and practice influence the transformation of weather data on its journey from production through various contexts of big data reuse.

You can read the article here.

Dr Paul Reilly ESRC Festival event

Last week, Senior Lecturer Dr Paul Reilly, along with Dr Tina McGuiness from the Management School, ran an event for local schools entitled 'Could social media help you during a disaster?', as part of the 2017 ESRC Festival of Social Science. The description of the event was:

Can social media help build disaster resilience in Sheffield? What role, if any, should social media users, and young people in particular, play in efforts to mitigate the effects of these incidents in their communities and help keep themselves and others safe? Recent research has suggested that social media can help emergency services during human made and natural disasters through the ‘push and pull’ of crisis information. The eyewitness perspectives shared by citizens on social media can help first responders build situational awareness and identify those areas most in need of assistance. At the same time, platforms such as Facebook and Twitter can provide emotional and material support to those affected by such incidents. For instance, during the floods in the South-West of England (December 2013-February 2014), citizen-led social media campaigns such as #forageaid helped provide support for affected communities. The latter would also lead a campaign calling on the UK government to dredge local rivers in order to avoid a repeat of these flood events. Twitter hashtags such as #roomformanchester and #wearenotafraid would also be used to provide shelter and express support for those affected by the most recent terrorist attacks in London and Manchester.



The guest speakers at the event were:

Dr Tina McGuinness, University of Sheffield

Alex Mills, South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service

Heather Cottrill & Derek Bell, UK Environment Agency

Tuesday, 7 November 2017

Dr Paul Reilly appointed Associate Editor, Palgrave Communications

Senior Lecturer Dr Paul Reilly has been appointed Associate Editor for Palgrave Communications, a fully open-access, online journal publishing peer-reviewed academic research across the full spectrum of the humanities and social science. Dr Reilly will be working with colleagues within the Editorial Boards for Communication, Film, Culture & Media, and Political Science and International Relations.

Congratulations to Dr Reilly for this new appointment!

Friday, 3 November 2017

Dr Paul Reilly and Dr Elisa Serafinelli presented AESOP guidelines at ECREA 2017



Dr Paul Reilly and Dr Elisa Serafinelli presented the AESOP guidelines at the 5th International Crisis Communication Conference that took place in Lisbon, Portugal between 19-21 October, 2017. The list guidelines for effective crisis communication has been developed within the Horizon 2020 funded EU project IMPROVER.


The paper discussed how critical infrastructure resilience can be enhanced through the communication practices of critical infrastructure operators. In its conclusion,the paper proposed a set of guidelines (AESOP) for critical infrastructure operators to implement in order to increase critical infrastructure resilience through the use of both traditional and digital media.

Thursday, 2 November 2017

JOB POST: Dr Paul Reilly seeks Full-Time Research Associate for IMPROVER project

Senior Lecturer Dr Paul Reilly is currently looking for a full-time Research Associate (fixed term for 22 months, to start as soon as possible with provisional end date of 30 May 2018, and probable extension to 31 August 2018) for the EC Horizon 2020 project IMPROVER: Improved risk evaluation and implementation of resilience concepts to critical infrastructure.’ The closing date for applications is 22 November 2017 and further details on the role can be found here

If you have any questions about the role please contact Paul at: P.J.Reilly@sheffield.ac.uk

Tuesday, 31 October 2017

Doctoral Candidate Wasim Ahmed visits Harvard University to meet Information School Alumni

Doctoral student Wasim Ahmed recently visited Harvard University to meet Information School Alumnus Ann Hall who is the Director of Communication at The Graduate School of Arts and Sciences. 

Ann studied at the Information School from 1990 to 1991 graduating with an MSc in Information Studies, where she was a student with our current Head of School, Professor Peter Bath.

Wasim noted that it was a great opportunity to look around the iconic Harvard Campus with a dinner at the famous Grendel’s Den at Harvard Square, and was very grateful for the visit.