Friday, 15 September 2017

Professor Emeritus Tom Wilson awarded ASIS&T Award of Merit.

Professor Emeritus of the Information School and leading figure in the information field Tom Wilson has been awarded the ASIS&T (Association for Information Science & Technology) Award of Merit, the Association's highest award, which recognises sustained contributions to the field of information science. The award marks a lifetime of achievements for Professor Wilson, who now joins a list of well-respected figures in information science who have won the award previously.

Asked about winning this prestigious award, Professor Wilson said 'I was very surprised the receive the Award, having been retired since 2000. But, of course, I am delighted to receive it, since there is no higher award in the field.'

Professor Tom D. Wilson has worked in the information field since 1961, holding positions in the public sector, industry, colleges and universities. Following retirement he was awarded title of Professor Emeritus and now Visiting Professor at Leeds University Business School and Senior Professor at the Swedish School of Library and Information Science.

Professor Wilson has made significant contributions to information research, particularly in the areas of information management and information behaviour for over half a century. Professor Wilson has an extensive publications record, with over ninety journal and conference papers: the first recorded in Web of Science, on chain indexing, was published in Library Journal as long ago as 1963 and the most recent, on models of information behaviour, in Information Research last year. His career has thus stretched over more than half-a-century, during which time he has also published almost three-hundred book and software reviews and presented innumerable conference papers around the world. His research has been widely recognised, with the Web of Science recording over 1,800 citations to his publications (and almost 15,000 citations on Google Scholar). He is best known for his work on models of human information behaviour.

In addition to his publications, Professor Wilson has made significant contributions to LIS as the founder and editor of two of the leading journals in the field. In 1980 he founded Social Science Information Studies, which became the International Journal of Information Management in 1985, the change of name reflecting Professor Wilson’s early, and continuing, advocacy of the concept of information management. Then, in 1995, he founded Information Research; an international electronic journal, one of the very first open-access e-journals in LIS and one that he continues to edit to the present day.

Professor Wilson was head of the Department of Information Studies at the University of Sheffield from 1982 to 1997, which in itself is an impressive achievement as the role is typically only undertaken for 4 years. During this time he managed to successfully grow the size of the department and increase student numbers, despite political and economic pressures. Under Professor Wilson’s leadership the department was built up and remains one of the leading information schools in the UK and worldwide. 

Friday, 1 September 2017

PhD student Wasim Ahmed completes work placement at Manchester United

My name is Wasim Ahmed and I am a PhD student at the iSchool, where I also obtained my MSc in 2013. I recently completed a work placement at Manchester United within the analytics department on a social media research project. The collaboration was made possible due to a University of Sheffield scheme known as the Postgraduate Researcher Experience programme. I have been a life-long fan of the club, so I was really happy to have had this opportunity.

I found the placement to be very beneficial for a number of reasons. This is because after spending a number of years working in an academic context, I had not fully considered the intelligence that could be extracted from social media platforms for commercial uses. My academic research, as a result of the internship, has improved and I will now consider potential uses of a research project, as well as the academic insight that can be gained.

As a research student you will develop a number of skills that can be applied in an industry setting, and by undertaking a work experience placement this really becomes apparent. My confidence has really improved in terms of considering careers post-PhD. I think research skills that students will gain from completing a PhD can be applied across a number of industries.

Everyone was really friendly at the club and there was a real team spirit in the office. On the last day of the job, I was given a pair of tickets to Michael Carrick’s testimonial which I thought was a really nice touch. I also had the opportunity to look around Manchester in the evenings, and it is a great city with a lot going on. As a result of my positive experience, I would highly recommend work placements to research students.

Thursday, 31 August 2017

Dr Chris Foster published in SPERI comment blog

Information School lecturer Chris Foster recently published a new post on the SPERI comment blog entitled "The balancing act of Brexit and digital trade"

As the UK leaves the EU it risks a potential ‘digital cliff-edge’. How it navigates its way through global tensions around digital trade rules will orientate the shape of the economy for years to come.

This post is part of his ongoing research looking at cross-border data flows and the political economy of digital trade.

Thursday, 24 August 2017

Dr Paul Reilly interviewed on BBC Radio Leicester about nomophobia

Earlier this week, Dr Paul Reilly was interviewed on BBC Radio Leicester's Jonathan Lampon show about recent research findings on nomophobia.

Nomophobia is anxiety associated with not being able to access and use smartphones, and recent research suggests that it is becoming an increasing problem amongst young people. Dr Reilly spoke about this and also whether or not it affects older smartphone users.

The article which sparked this conversation and references this research was this one from the Daily Mail.

You can listen to Dr Reilly's interview by clicking here and skipping forward to 1:46:40.

Wednesday, 23 August 2017

iConference 2018 Call for Submissions

We invite contributions for iConference 2018, which will take place March 25-28, 2018 at the University of Sheffield. The iConference is presented by the iSchools organisation, a worldwide consortium of information schools dedicated to advancing the information field, and preparing students to meet the information challenges of the 21st Century. Affiliation with the iSchools is not a prerequisite of participation; and we encourage all information scholars and practitioners to take part in this, the thirteenth iSchools conference and the first to be held in the UK. The theme is “Transforming Digital Worlds” and the aim is to bring together thinkers and leaders from academia, industry and not-for-profit organisations, to discuss emerging challenges and potential solutions for information and data management in our rapidly changing world.

The conference is being jointly organised by the iSchools at the University of Sheffield and Northumbria University and will include not only peer-reviewed papers and posters but also workshops and sessions for interaction and engagement. In addition to tracks related to the conference theme, we shall be continuing with the iSchool Best Practices and iSchools and Industry Partnership tracks that were introduced in last year's conference, and early career and next generation researchers can engage in the Doctoral Student Colloquium and the Early Career Colloquium. The submission date for contributions is 18th September 2017.

Full details of the tracks and the submission procedures for contributions are available via the conference website at, and we look forward to seeing you in Sheffield next year.

Monday, 21 August 2017

'Open Access in Theory and Practice' project awarded £182,087 funding from AHRC

Professor of Information Services Management, Stephen Pinfield, along with his Co-Investigator, Professor David Bawden (of City University London), have been awarded £182,097 by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) for the 'Open Access in Theory and Practice' project. The project will investigate the uses of theory in open access research and their relationship with practice. The project will recruit a full-time Research Associate to be based in Sheffield.

"We are delighted to have received this funding from the AHRC”, says Stephen. “We believe our project will make an important contribution to current discussions about open access and also about the relationship between theory and practice – both really important issues with wide implications for the role that academic research can play in society."

The project will start in the first quarter of 2018 and will last for 18 months.

Wednesday, 16 August 2017

Professors Paul Clough and Stephen Pinfield visit CERN

On 13th and 14th July Professor Paul Clough and Professor Stephen Pinfield visited CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research which is located near Geneva.

The visit was to meet with Xiaoli Chen, a PhD student being funded by CERN and supervised by Stephen and Paul, along with Dr Sunje Dallmeier-Tiessen an Information Manager at CERN and working on the INSPIRE digital library that serves the High Energy Physics (HEP) community. Xiaoli’s PhD is investigating how INSPIRE can better support the Open Science practices of the HEP community.

Paul and Stephen’s visit included a visit to the office where Tim Berner’s Lee invented the World Wide Web as well as visiting Geneva and its beautiful city centre. 

Paul and Stephen also gave invited talks to staff at CERN. Paul gave a talk entitled “Competent men and warm women: Gender stereotypes and backlash in image search results” based on a CHI’2017 paper written with Jo Bates from the Information School and Jahna Otterbacher from Open University Cyprus. Stephen gave a presentation entitled “Open-access mega-journals: the future of scholarly communication or academic dumping ground” based on his recent AHRC-funded project on mega-journals. 

Wednesday, 2 August 2017

“Mapping the academic library of the future” - Academic Librarians invited to participate in survey

Academic librarians are being invited to participate in the survey “Mapping the academic library of the future”.

The survey forms part of a research project commissioned by the SCONUL Transformation Group. We are investigating the future academic library for the next 10 to 15 years in the context of the decline in importance of the printed book and its repercussions for use of library space, development of services, and deployment of staff. As part of the project, we have already undertaken interviews with senior library staff and others from education, technology, publishing, estates and heritage sectors, and are now conducting a survey to add to our findings. The results of this research will be used to inform policy and future plans and will be made widely available.

We would like to hear a range of views and are inviting all library staff to complete the survey. Because this research focuses on informing the SCONUL community, responses from the UK and Ireland will be at the centre of our analysis, but international responses are, of course, also of interest to us.

All responses to the survey are anonymous.

The survey should take no more than 20 minutes to complete and will be open until 11 August.

Tuesday, 1 August 2017

Dr Ángel Borrego of University of Barcelona visiting Information School this week

This week Dr Ángel Borrego is visiting the Information School. Ángel is a ​Senior Lecturer in the Department of Library and Information Science at the University of Barcelona. His research interests focus on scholarly communication and research evaluation.

On Thursday he gives a research seminar at 12pm in room 231, entitled 'Scholars’ information behaviour in the electronic environment: attitudes towards searching, publishing and libraries'. You can read the abstract below:

The seminar aims to summarise the results of several studies conducted during the past decade in order to understand the impact of the transition from print to electronic journals on scholars’ information behaviour. The studies have focused on the behaviour of the academics affiliated to the eight public universities that make up the Consortium of Academic Libraries of Catalonia. The presentation combines the results obtained through the analysis of usage statistics provided by publishers, surveys and interviews with scholars, focus groups with librarians and citation analysis.

Monday, 31 July 2017

PhD student co-chairs International Summer School on Social Media Research

Alongside Sergej Lugovic from the Zagreb University of Applied Sciences, PhD student Wasim Ahmed helped run and deliver a 3-day Summer School on social media research in June, which took place in Vodice, Croatia. The summer school connected concepts of Information Theory in relation to social media research, and examined practical methods of obtaining and analysing data.

Wasim delivered the keynote talk titled Theoretical and Practical Foundations of Social Media Research. The event was picked up by a number of local media outlets including Info Vodice, and 100posto. A representative from the local mayor’s office opened the event, and highlighted the benefits of the collaboration. The event was attended by delegates across UK, and European institutions as well as a by a number those from local universities. Wasim noted that the event had been a great success with positive feedback, and was amazed by the impact it had generated.

Friday, 21 July 2017

What do you want from CILIP?

Did you know you have a voice on the CILIP Board of Trustees?

They say you only have a few seconds to grab someones attention, did it work? Are you now intrigued as to how you can have your say? Perhaps you are wondering what CILIP is and why it matters? Well here it goes.

Being a New Professional can be difficult, you've just finished your course (or are about to) and are thinking about how to get on to that professional career ladder. When you need advice, training and a really good job board, you can turn to The Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals (CILIP).

You may have heard about CILIP and been told about the benefits of being a member already. Great! Once you start using the services provided and get involved with what is on offer (remember you get out what you put in), you may want to feedback a few suggestions.

I'd like to encourage you to feed them back to me. My name is Chloe Menown, I am the co-opted New Professional on the Board of Trustees. Our job is to guide the direction of the charitable trust (CILIP), I've only been a Professional Librarian for 3 years so I bring a different view to the highly experienced board. With your help, I can represent New Professionals to my full ability.

If you want to have a chat, make a suggestion or just tell me about your experience with CILIP so far. Please email me at or Tweet me @CMenown

I'm here to bring the New Professional view to the floor, so give me your views to bring.

Blog written by Chloe Menown, CILIP.

Thursday, 20 July 2017

Dr Briony Birdi speaks at Engaged Learning Conference

At the Engaged Learning Conference 2017, hosted by the University of Sheffield 6-7 July 2017, Senior Lecturer Dr Briony Birdi gave a paper on 'Engaged learning and the development of cultural awareness and social responsibility in students', as part of a session on 'Active citizenship and social change'.

It has been argued that universities will become socially irrelevant unless they develop and maintain strong links with the local communities in which they are based, and unless their research is perceived by those communities as related to their real-world concerns. Although many of our degree programmes provide students with a set of vital tools to function effectively within an organisation in a particular field, are we failing to fully equip them with the skills they need to operate effectively within a broader public, societal context? What are these skills, and how can they be developed within a higher education degree programme?

Firstly, Briony made a case for the value of an engaged learning and teaching approach, by presenting key arguments in support of the inclusion of cultural awareness and social responsibility in degree programmes. Secondly, using an approach that has been tested on students on Masters programmes in Library and Information Science, she presented a simple model which has been developed to provide students with an opportunity for reflection, giving them the time and space to apply what they see in the communities outside the classroom, and to start understanding and even modelling that behaviour themselves.

Wednesday, 19 July 2017

CILIP Conference 2017: Highlights by Hannah Beckitt

I was fortunate enough to receive a student bursary from the University of Sheffield to attend the CILIP Conference 2017 in Manchester. As a distance-learner I was excited to finally meet some iSchool staff and fellow students in person! It didn’t disappoint, and I really enjoyed talking to attendees on the iSchool stand, sharing my experiences of managing full-time work with intensive study.

The conference was crammed with interesting keynotes, my favourites were:
  • Dr Carla Hayden (Librarian of Congress) addressed us as her ‘British Peeps’ and described her job interview with Barack Obama. She was passionate about engaging the public with library services, particularly ones that are traditionally research institutions, and heralded the British Library as an example of getting this right. Dr Hayden called upon the younger and older generations of librarians to work together, bridge the gap and benefit from each other’s skillsets. 
  • Luciano Floridi (Professor of Philosophy and Ethics of Information at the University of Oxford) talked about the philosophy of information science and its relationship with ‘power’ in todays’ society. He advocates a more questioning society, and in the game of Q & A, we need a society where more questioning is allowed/ encouraged, but answers don’t always have to be given. We are not there yet. 

My workshop highlights:
  • Terry Kendrick’s popular workshop on quick-win marketing. It is important to know users in depth and not just at a superficial level, there will be different sub-groups within your users and marketing should be targeted accordingly. We need to get into their lives rather than their job – what is going to grab their attention and be worth their time? Marketing is not about telling users things, it is about getting their attention! Relationship building is key, and questionnaires are generally a waste of time. We aren’t good at communicating with various stakeholder groups. We need to prioritise and target specific groups rather than trying to cast our net wide and be available to everyone. 
  • The Breakfast seminar sponsored by Sheffield iSchool was full of lively debate. Helen from the New Library Professionals Network talked about why they set up the network and the views of NLP they have met. In general, I found much of the criticism did not apply to the LISM course at Sheffield and I kept wanting to stand up and shout defiantly! I politely tweeted my indignation instead! 
  • Listening to David McMenemy talking about ‘Our Common Values”, he deliberately raised controversial ethical considerations e.g. Ranganathan’s core values are western-biased; should we use learning analytics in universities to collect data through surveillance of students learning habits?; internet filtering - there was no debate, it just happened, and it is censorship. Apparently CILIP’s Royal Charter is actually very good and we should all read it! 
  • The Information Standard with Jane Fox and Jonathan Berry. (This is different to the ‘Accessible Information Standard’, which is a legal requirement to provide information in different formats if people need it). Organisations can apply to be assessed and awarded the Information Standard. 43-61% of working age adults do not understand the health information that we produce. The Information Standard logo gives confidence to consumers that the information provided is evidence-based, suitable for its audience, and has been through a quality assurance process. Most NHS organisations are following the 6 principles anyway so it shouldn’t be an onerous process to join the scheme. See and for curated resources. 

Thanks to The University of Sheffield iSchool for my bursary. I was able to network with colleagues old and new; be thoroughly inspired; and feel excited about embarking on a career in the library and information profession.

Hannah Beckitt
MA Library and Information Services Management student

CILIP Conference 2017: 'Fostering the Infosphere' - Spotlight by Itzelle Medina Perea

The CILIP Conference 2017 was held last week, in Manchester. This is one of the most important events for the library and information professionals across the UK, it provides a great opportunity for collaboration, debate and networking. This year the programme included interesting sessions on topics such as managing information, literacy and learning and copyright and ethics and the presentation of three keynote speakers: Dr Carla Hayden, Librarian of Congress, Professor Luciano Floridi, and Neil MacInnes, Strategic Lead for Libraries, Galleries and Culture at Manchester City Council. I found the sessions on Information Governance and Ethics very useful as they addressed topics that are relevant for my PhD research. Furthermore, I met some information professionals and students from different backgrounds and was really interesting to share ideas an experiences with them.

One of the highlights of the conference was, without doubt, the keynote delivered by Professor Luciano Floridi: Fostering the Infosphere. In this great session, Floridi discussed the changes that have been provoked by the emergence of digital technology. He also explained how the new environment created by the convergence between the digital and analogue challenge the entire society to re-interpret concepts and practices of daily life. Professor Floridi talked about how power relationships have changed in this new era. From his perspective, questions are today the key to power, not answers, which means that uncertainty is controlled by the questions. For this reason, the role of the library also requires a major transformation: “the role of LIS & libraries in information societies is to counterbalance the power to control/influence people’s behaviour through uncertainty by guaranteeing and facilitating the free and effective formulation of questions”.

This was a powerful message, a call to action, a reminder that information professionals still play a key role in society and that we have a great responsibility.

During these two days of conference the Information School had the opportunity to promote the postgraduate programs offered at the School. The iSchool stand was located in the exhibition area and in addition to attending the sessions of the conference I spent some time at the stand and provided potential students with information about the courses. I shared my experience as an Information School student, talked about the practical skills and theoretical knowledge I acquired during my MA degree and PhD, and the advantages of studying at the University of Sheffield.

Overall this was a great event, well organised and with excellent content. Thank you to the Information School for providing me with a bursary to attend the CILIP Conference 2017.

Itzelle Medina Perea
PhD student

CILIP Conference 2017: 'Syrian New Scots, Libraries and Plenty of Tea' - Highlights by Lucy Sinclair

Last week, I represented the Information School at the annual CILIP conference in Manchester. This was a huge deal for two reasons; it was my first major library conference and as a ‘southerner’, I got the chance to explore a bit more of the north. My first port of call on arrival was to man the Information School stall. This was an excellent opportunity to interact with distance learners and talk about my own experiences on the MA Librarianship course to potential students. I even got the chance to meet someone from the area that I’m moving to; networking has its advantages.

Carla Hayden, Librarian of Congress opened up the conference with an incredible speech on the importance and diversity of the librarian profession. She reminded all of us that ‘Librarians are the original search engines’ and I plan on buying a t-shirt with that phrase asap. The fact that such a superstar librarian applauded library students showed just what an inspiration she is.

Dr Konstantina Martzoukou, a senior lecturer at Robert Gordon University gave a passionate talk about the everyday life information literacy issues that Syrian new Scots face. Practically humming with energy, Dr Martzoukou brought her paper (“Lost in Information? Syrian new Scots Information Literacy Way-finding practices”) to life. The seminar highlighted the difficulty Syrian new Scots faced in finding health information, language barriers. However, it also showed just how much local support was in place to help Syrian new Scots settle within the community. The local public libraries played a huge part in connecting people together, yet these issues need to a increase in awareness beyond the library profession. A video clip at the end of the seminar, showing the devastation in Syria, had me in tears.

This seminar hit me on a much more personal level than just listening to an interesting topic. Through the Information School, I have volunteered with a Sheffield based charity since March. Every Tuesday, I have helped refugees practice their reading and writing skills, a project that has brought me a lot of happiness and the opportunity to work with wonderful people. It’s thanks to the Information School that I’ve had this opportunity and it was heart warming to see other library schools furthering their research in this area.

In an action packed two days, I saw just how the library profession interacts on a global scale. As a soon-to-be new professional, it was incredible to see how much the librarian field impacts on society. I arrived back home brimming with ideas, excited to enter the profession and desperately in need of a lie down on my bed. The only negative thing I can say is that I drank so much tea at the conference; I couldn’t face having my normal morning cuppa the next day.

Lucy Sinclair
MA Librarianship student