Friday, 18 January 2019

Digital Media and Society poster session

This week saw a poster session for the Faculty of Social Sciences BA Digital Media and Society students, a cross-department programme to which the Information School contributes two core modules.

The posters are the result of a 2 week 'group challenge' in which students had to develop a proposal for a digital media campaign aimed at raising awareness about how personal data are gathered from online sources to be analysed and used by different people for different purposes.

Well done to all the students involved, and particularly the winners of the Best Poster award, seen below!

Group 10, winners of the Best Poster award: Shuyue Deng, Yoonho Jeong, Su Hyun Kim, Luyi Ma and Jianuo Wang
Group 4, runners up: Shu Ki Cheung, Qinghanyue Li, Yijie Lin, Eun Phil Lee, Huiting Zhao and Shafei Zhuang

Tuesday, 15 January 2019

Professor Stephen Pinfield to visit Sun Yat-Sen University

This week Professor Stephen Pinfield is visiting Sun Yat-Sen University in China. Whilst there, Stephen will be giving three lectures on recent research projects in which he has been involved and also discussing research collaboration opportunities. Stephen is hosted by old colleagues Miguel Nunes and Alex Peng, who are both Professors there; Miguel is Dean of the Information School.

The three lectures that Stephen is giving on his visit are as follows:

Open-Access Mega-Journals and the Future of Scholarly Communication (research conducted with Claire Creaser, Jenny Fry, Valérie Spezi, Simon Wakeling & Peter Willett):
Open-access mega-journals (OAMJs) represent an increasingly important part of the scholarly communication landscape. OAMJs, such as PLOS ONE and Nature’s Scientific Reports, are large scale, broad-scope journals that operate an open-access business model, and which employ a novel form of peer review, focusing on scientific ‘soundness’ only and not judgments of novelty or importance. This presentation will report the results of a major mixed-methods research study recently carried out on mega-journals, examining key issues including business models, peer review, and disciplinary community (and other stakeholder) responses to key developments. It will discuss some of the empirical evidence, theoretical models and practitioner responses generated by the project. The contribution of OAMJs to the wider Open Science agenda will also be considered.

Mapping the Future of Academic Libraries (research conducted with Andrew Cox and Sophie Rutter):
Academic libraries currently operate within and contribute to a rapidly changing environment. This presentation will summarise the findings of a recent report which aimed to map out the landscape in which libraries are now operating, summarising a set of major nexuses of trends which are transforming the role of libraries. A set of key challenges and opportunities libraries face in this context will be discussed, as well as how they can position themselves to best contribute to the work of their institutions in future. The need to create and communicate a compelling vision of the library’s current and future role in the institution is seen as crucial. At the same time, libraries and library professionals need to be ready to change, and to work in collaboration with others outside the library, whilst at the same time promoting the library’s own unique contribution. The report challenges traditional library ‘mantras’, such as relying on the library’s ‘strong brand’, which often go unquestioned, and suggests new paradigms for thinking about library futures which can feature in strategic planning. Follow up work by the research team on library orientations in relation to the future, strategic modelling, and libraries and AI will also be mentioned.

Research Data Management Maturity and University Libraries (research conducted with Andrew Cox, Mary Anne Kennan, Liz Lyon and Laura Sbaffi):
University libraries have played an important role in constructing an infrastructure of support for Research Data Management at an institutional level. This presentation will report a comparative analysis of two international surveys of libraries about their involvement in Research Data Services conducted in 2014 and 2018. The aim was to examine how services had developed over this time period, and to explore the drivers and barriers to change. Services in nearly every area were more developed in 2018 than before, but technical services remained less developed than advisory. Progress on institutional policy was also evident. However, priorities did not seem to have shifted significantly. Open ended answers suggested that funder policy rather than researcher demand remained the main driver of service development and that resources and skills gaps remained issues.

Thursday, 10 January 2019

Winter Graduation and Honorary Graduate Ciara Eastell

This week from Wednesday 9 - Friday 11 January 2019 winter graduations are taking place for postgraduates. It's a time to celebrate the success of our students as well as the dedication and hard work of colleagues from across the University. Graduands from the Information School will graduate at 12:30 on Friday 11th January.

From those who have taught, supervised and supported our students, to the people working to make sure everything runs smoothly behind the scenes on the day, thank you for the part you have played in helping our students enjoy this special moment with their families and friends.

Attending the ceremonies alongside our students are six prestigious honorary graduates, among them current staff and alumni of the University who have achieved extraordinary things. One honorary graduate is  Ciara Eastell, one of the UK’s leading public librarians.

"I am delighted that Ciara Eastell has been awarded an Honorary Degree (Doctorate of Letters) from the University of Sheffield in recognition of her work supporting the role of libraries in disadvantaged areas", says Professor Peter Bath, Head of the Information School. "Ciara completed her MA in Librarianship in the Information School (then the Department of Information Studies) in 1994 and went on from there to become the first Chief Executive of Libraries Unlimited and President of the Society of Chief Librarians (SCL)."

"She was also Head of Libraries, Culture and Heritage for Devon County Council and in 2017 she was appointed OBE in the New Year’s Honours list in recognition of her national contribution to public libraries."

"The School is very proud that Ciara has been awarded the Honorary Degree by the University.”

Tuesday, 8 January 2019

Paul Fenn to present at SocMedHE18

ICT Manager and PhD candidate Paul Fenn will be presenting at the Social Media for Learning in Higher Education Conference on the 9th January.

Social media is now part of “the mainstream” but in terms of Higher Education it is the mainstream of marketing and selling education or an integral part of the mainstream of learning and teaching through developing digital confidence, capabilities and critique. 

The SocMedHE18 conference provides open spaces to share, discuss and develop notions of what and why we currently do, what we could do and what should we do next with social media within an Higher Education learning and teaching context.

Paul's session will be titled 'Exploring the impact of institutional policies on the use of social media in UK HE teaching'.

'The above will focus on my PhD, started Jan 2019', says Paul. 'At the conference presentation I will be discussing my research objectives, research methods and discuss part of my PhD research in terms of scoping social media guidelines to investigate policy accessibility and Social Media use in and outside the classroom.'

Follow the hashtag #SocMedHE18 on Twitter for more.

Friday, 7 December 2018

Sheffield MSc Data Science – Industry Event

Tuesday 4th December 2018 was the date of our annual ‘industry day’ event organised for students on the MSc Data Science programme. The event invites speakers from various sectors in industry to share their experiences with utilising machine learning, AI and data science for applications within their domain. This year speakers from 6 organisations presented at the event:

· Billy Blythe, Head of Data Science, Department of Work and Pensions (DWP)

· Leanne Fitzpatrick, Head of Data, Hello Soda

· Lauren Rodgers, Data Scientist, and Tom Liptrot, Head of Data Science, Peak.ai

· Lisa Clark, Data Scientist, Virgin Media Business (VMB)

· Ben Chamberlain, Head of Machine Learning, AOS.com

· Hayden Sansum, Senior Data Scientist, Ministry of Justice (MoJ)

Speakers discussed various topics such as the challenges, benefits and technologies involved in utilising data-driven analytical methods; current technological trends; and what role data scientists play within their organisations. Many examples were provided including analysing the behaviours of customers in debt (VMB), targeted delivery of services (DWP), supply chain optimisation (ASOS) and transformations in the criminal and justice system (MoJ). Particularly pleasing to hear from was Lauren Rodgers, a former student on the MSc Data Science programme who now works as Data Scientist for Peak.ai and shared her experiences of working life post-MSc course.

Support for the event was provided by the Information School and Peak Indicators.

Professor Paul Clough

MSc Data Science student ambassador Na Li had this to say about her experience on the day:

'The Industry event helped us to better understand data science applications and its importance in real industry. Also, by interacting with speakers from industry, we better understood the role which data scientists play in the workplace as well as the skills industry requires from data scientists. All these are important for us to better prepare for job applications after graduation.'







Speakers at the industry day event (top to bottom): Billy Blythe, Leanne Fitzpatrick, Lauren Rodgers and Tom Liptrot, Lisa Clark, Ben Chamberlain, Hayden Sansum

Thursday, 6 December 2018

'Skills for the future academic library' - a student's view on the CILIP briefing by Rhiannon Williams

On the 28th of November I had the opportunity to attend the CILIP briefing on ‘Skills for the future
academic library’ through a bursary from the Information School and CILIP. The event saw library practitioners and researchers present their findings and experiences of academic libraries, with a focus on what skills and developments they foresaw as particularly important for the future.


The day began with Stephen Pinfield’s presentation on the 2017 SCONUL report on
Mapping the Future of Academic Librariesby Stephen Pinfield, Andrew Cox and Sophie Rutter. This presentation introduced the concept of expanding our understanding of skills beyond traditional hard and soft skills, adding ethics and values, mindsets, and contextual knowledge as useful types of skills for LIS professionals to consider.


Values and mindsets

As the professional landscape changes, LIS professionals require not only different skills, but changes in mindsets.

Regina Everitt from the University of East London presented the
SCONUL Workforce Development Task and Finish Group’s recent research on LIS workforce development. Key focuses for the task group are addressing the lack of ethnic diversity in libraries, supporting new entrants to librarianship, and adapting to change. The group’s research found that librarianship has a 96.7% white workforce, and that 45% of BAME LIS professionals have expected racial discrimination at work. Continuing researchaims to further understand the workplace experiences of BAME LIS professionals and explore how to support diversity in the professional by reconsidering how we recruit in libraries and share information about LIS careers. Regina Everitt emphasised that “if we continue to hire in our own image, we need to be challenged on that.”

Andy Priestner, consultant on UX in libraries, also conveyed the importance of changing mindsets in his presentation on embedding UX research and design in libraries. Andy demonstrated the need for a focus on creativity, speed and flexibility, rather than aiming for immediate perfection, when trying out new services. UX-based service development also requires collaboration and user-feedback to be effective.

Soft skills and relationship building

Changes in the roles carried out by LIS professionals impact what soft skills need to be prioritised and developed.

Katie Evans shared her experiences of how a continuously developing research analytics service at the University of Bath has meant certain soft skills have become more important. In particular, the service has increased the library’s impact on strategic decision making and the need to build partnerships.

Michelle Blake’s presentation on relationship management similarly emphasised partnership-building at the University of York library. A project on
Understanding Academicshelped the library understand its users, enhancing the communication and support they could provide.

Oxford Brookes University’s Robert Curry’s presentation on collaboration also focused on understanding users, asserting that the academic library needs to relate its expertise to the contexts and objectives of its users to be effective. In particular, finding out others’ concepts of ‘information literacy’ enables better communication when sharing information literacy based skills and training.

Both Michelle and Robert considered it crucial that libraries demonstrate the impact of soft skills and the value of services through evidence, such as user satisfaction scores. This helps LIS professionals and others to advocate for the library.

Hard skills and digital development

The hard skills and tools used in LIS workplaces are constantly developing. As such, it is often the willingness to try out and learn new things that is crucial to LIS professionals rather than specific technical expertise.

A particular skill explored by Julie Glanville from the York Health Economics Consortium was
text mining, which is a valuable tool for systematic reviews and developing search strategies. Applying text mining tools to groups of records enables users to extract key terms, cluster related records, and more. Using this technology effectively still relies on strong ‘traditional’ LIS skills such as accurate record-making, as the tools need accurate data to provide meaningful results. This is an example of changes building on rather than replacing traditional skills.

A potentially significant change in the future of academic libraries is the development of AI, perhaps leading to the ‘intelligent library’, impacting how we search for resources and interact with users. Andrew Cox from the Information School presented on this topic, suggesting that LIS professionals need to anticipate this change and begin developing AI literacy. Particular challenges include the need for transparency and data protection.

What does this mean in practice?

Despite the many changes explored throughout the conference, many presenters noted the way in which current frameworks for LIS skills, such as the CILIP PKSB, provided scaffolding for adapting rather than entirely reworking current concepts of skills. By applying current skills in different ways to new contexts, LIS professionals will be able to respond effectively to change.

A workshop session provided participants with the opportunity to consider how future changes might take shape in their own workplaces. To apply the concepts discussed to your own practice, you might consider:

● How do the concepts apply to your context and priorities?
● What skills are required for addressing change, and where are the skills gaps?
● What do individuals, institutions and the LIS community need to do to move forward?

To read about the conference in more detail, search for #CILIPFutureSkills on Twitter.
 

Rhiannon Williams
MA Librarianship student  

Monday, 26 November 2018

The intelligent library - new paper published on AI in academic libraries

Our new paper explores the potential impact of Artificial Intelligence on academic libraries. Innovations such as Siri and the driverless car have brought public attention to the potential of the latest developments in computing power, combining machine learning and big data.

AI brings with it both exciting opportunities and risks to privacy, equality and employment. But until now the implications of AI for academic libraries have been relatively little explored.

Using data from interviews with library directors, library commentators and commentators outside the library world, the new paper, The intelligent library: Thought leaders’ views on the likely impact of artificial intelligence on academic libraries (open-access version available)explores the potential implications of AI for the academic library.

We try to capture how interviewees thought AI would impact on academic libraries and from this reveal eleven issues that will define the paradigm of the "intelligent library".

The implications for staff roles and competencies are discussed. We will be talking more about the implications at the CILIP Briefing "Skills for the future academic library" on the 28th November.

Dr. Andrew Cox & Professor Stephen Pinfield

Tuesday, 20 November 2018

Training librarians for our schools – Dr Briony Birdi

There has been talk in the professional press recently of school librarianship, and the importance of preparing future generations of librarians to work in our school libraries. There can be little doubt as to the importance of library provision in schools, but as concerns mount about the public funding for both education and libraries at large, it easy to see why this is a hot topic.

At the Information School in Sheffield (as at many other library and information departments), we are committed to providing Masters level education for both those working in school libraries and wishing to move into the field after graduating. We currently offer two Masters programmes with an emphasis on librarianship: the MA Librarianship, which is delivered here in Sheffield, and the MA Library and Information Services Management which is a distance learning programme. Both of these programmes include library services for children and young people (in school and public libraries) as elective modules.

More than 10 years ago I developed a ‘Library services for children and young people’ module, which has now become the ‘Public and youth library services’ module, and covers both public and school libraries. Many students taking this module as part of the previously mentioned degree programmes are interested in working in school libraries, and they meet and visit current practitioners from both school libraries and school library services. Also core to our Librarianship programmes are the Information Literacy modules, a key part of which focuses on models and theories of teaching and learning, enabling students to reflect on their development as teachers of information literacy – key skills for a school librarian. All students study a range of modules enabling their development as professionals, as managers, and as experts within their chosen field.

Over the years we have worked in regular partnership with school library staff, networks and professional organisations in developing teaching content and research projects, and each year a good proportion of our students complete Masters dissertations based in both primary and secondary school libraries. Topics investigated within the past 3 years have included the provision of primary school libraries, the promotion of reading in secondary school libraries, the provision of school library services for EAL pupils, the decline of professional librarianship in English state-funded secondary schools – just a few examples of the innovative work our students are undertaking.

At the Information School, we believe in the future of libraries and continue to give our students practice-informed, research-led teaching, to provide our libraries with skilled professionals who can further the library and information services field in the future – and, of course, in many ways this starts with schools.

Dr. Briony Birdi
Senior Lecturer in Librarianship, Information School, University of Sheffield

If you are interested in becoming a school librarian, why not take a look at one of our courses below?

Librarianship: https://www.sheffield.ac.uk/is/pgt/courses/lib
Library and Information Services Management: https://www.sheffield.ac.uk/is/pgt/courses/lism
All our programmes: https://www.sheffield.ac.uk/is/pgt/courses

Tuesday, 13 November 2018

Dr Paul Reilly published in Journalism

Senior Lecturer Dr Paul Reilly has had an article co-authored with Bournemouth University colleagues Anastasia Veneti and Darren Lilleker published in Journalism.

The article entitled ‘Photographing the Battlefield: the role of ideology in photojournalist practices during the anti-austerity protests in Greece’ can be accessed here.

Tuesday, 30 October 2018

Dr Paul Reilly publishes new chapter on social media and paramilitary style assaults in Northern Ireland

Senior Lecturer Dr Paul Reilly is pleased to report that his chapter written with Faith Gordon, ‘Digital weapons in a post-conflict society’, has been published in ‘Anti-Social Media', a volume edited by John Mair, Richard Tait and Tor Clark.

A copy of the chapter can be downloaded here.

The Information School Celebrates #GlobalMILweek #infolit

24th-31st October is Global Media and Information Literacy week, the initiative sponsored by UNESCO. The iSchool is celebrating with a number activities that demonstrate its engagement with this field.

We have organised three webinars, free and open to all:
2pm-2.30 pm UK time (which is 10-10.30am US EST) Tuesday 30th Oct. Dr Laura Sbaffi  (Information School) presents her research on What makes us trust online information? The perspective of health information. Join the webinar (via Adobe Connect) at https://sheffield.adobeconnect.com/globalmilweek2 Enter as a "guest". You may need to download the free Adobe Connect application, so please allow a few minutes for that.

2pm-2.30 pm (which is 10-10.30am US EST) Wednesday 31st Oct. Sheila Webber (Information School) and Stephen Wyber (IFLA Manager, Policy and Advocacy.) will give their  Impressions of Global MIL Week feature conference. Join the webinar at https://sheffield.adobeconnect.com/globalmilweek3. As noted below, Sheila presented at the conference, and she will include a brief overview of UNESCO's MIL programme, trends from conference, and some highlights of her talk.

Recordings of both these seminars will be available afterwards. A recording of the first Gobal MIL week iSchool webinar, which ran last week, includes Pamela McKinney talking about her research on Information and data literacy of using mobile apps for diet and fitness tracking and Sharon Wagg “A literature review on the linkages between digital inclusion and information literacy”: https://sheffield.adobeconnect.com/pyin5h7jvxvp . Sharon is a graduate of the University of Sheffield MA Librarianship programme, has worked for the Good Things foundation and is now undertaking a PhD at Loughborough University in the field of digital inclusion.

Sheila Webber co-presented at the conference (with Bill Johnston, Strathclyde University) on #AFMIL The Age-Friendly Media and Information Literate City: Combining policies and strategies for ageing populations in media and information rich societies. As Interim Co-Chair of the European Chapter of GAPMIL (Global Alliance for Partnerships on Media and Information Literacy) she also participated in the feature conference closing session. Sheila liveblogged from the conference and her posts can be found here: http://information-literacy.blogspot.com/search/label/Globalmilweek

Additionally, iSchool students have been posting information about their Global MIL Week activities to a padlet at https://padlet.com/pamann75/h23e2eno0lif Information Literacy is a core module on both the MA Librarianship and the MA Library and Information Services Management programmes.

Tuesday, 16 October 2018

iSchool staff attend launch of new H2020 project

Dr Jo Bates and Professor Paul Clough from the Information School attended the launch of the new H2020 funded CyCAT (Cyprus Centre for Algorithmic Transparency) project in Nicosia 8-9 October 2018.


Jo and Paul are investigators on CyCAT, a project hosted by the Open University of Cyprus (OUC), which aims to educate and raise awareness of ways in which data analytics and algorithmic processes can affect people's access to and interactions with information. The project will help promote digital literacy around algorithmic bias, transparency and fairness, a topic gaining considerable attention and media attention.

The CyCAT project started 1st October 2018 and will run for 3 years. OUC is the lead partner of the project with additional contributions coming from The University of Sheffield , the University of Haifa , the University of Trento (Università degli Studi di Trento), and The University of Edinburgh.

Thursday, 11 October 2018

Down Mexico Way - Dr Andrew Cox's visit to Mexico City

It is always exciting to see a former PhD student again and find out more about what they are doing now, so it was amazing to be able to visit Mexico City and say hello again to Gibrán Rivera Gonzalez who gained his PhD at the Information School in 2013. He is now a lecturer at Instituto Politécnico Nacional, one of the top universities in Mexico. The picture below is of a seminar I gave on the need for qualitative research in the age of big data and AI.


Together we also went to the Entre Pares conference, in Pueblo, organised by CONRICYT (The National Consortium of Scientific and Technological Information Resources). The conference aims to promote scholarly communication in academic communities across Mexico. This year’s event had an impressive programme of presentations on a wide variety of information science topics. There was a track on Research Data Management, reflecting the increasing interest in this topic in the country.


It was good to be able to share some UK experiences around Research Data Management and open scholarship with conference attendees during a session with Dr Miguel Adolfo Guajardo Mendoza from CONACYT (National Council for Science and Technology), and at another event with repository managers.


Gibrán and I also visited the Instituto de Investigaciones Bibliotecológicas y de la Información (IIBI) at the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM), the National Autonomous University of Mexico. IIBI is one of the most important library schools in Latin America, and are doing some very impressive research activities such as publishing the journal, Investigación Bibliotecológica. Archivonomía, bibliotecología e información.

I was struck by how much interesting research is going on in the Spanish speaking world that we are often unaware of here in the UK. Actually, Investigación Bibliotecológica has a parallel version in the English language – very much recommended reading! While we were at UNAM, we also took a chance to visit their fantastic library building.


Everyone we encountered in Mexico was very friendly and welcoming. Luckily we were able to find some time to do some sightseeing! The ancient pyramids at Teotihuacan are very impressive. We also visited Xochimilco to see the amazing chinampas (floating gardens or man-made islands), originally created by the Aztecs. Xochimilco is one of the last remaining areas of lake which existed in Aztec times, most of which is now built over by the vast conurbation of Mexico City.



Dr Andrew Cox, Senior Lecturer

Thursday, 4 October 2018

PhD student Gianmarco Ghiandoni wins best poster at UK QSAR Autumn Meeting

Congratulations to Gianmarco Ghiandoni, PhD student in the Chemoinformatics Research Group, who recently won the Best Student Poster prize at the UK QSAR (Quantitative Structure-Activity Relationship) Autumn 2018 Meeting, which took place at Lady Margaret Conference Centre, Oxford University, on September 26th.

Gianmarco's poster was entitled 'Fingerprint-based recommendation Models in Reaction-driven Drug Design'. The prize gives Gianmarco the opportunity to convert his poster to a 30 minute talk which he will give at the next UK QSAR meeting on 4th April 2019 in Cambridge.


Gianmarco's PhD research is on the topic of reaction-based molecular design, supervised by Professor Val Gillet of the Information School and Professor Beining Chen from the Department of Chemistry. You can find out more about his research here.

Tuesday, 28 August 2018

Dr Paul Reilly article published in The Conversation UK

Senior Lecturer Dr Paul Reilly and Research Associate Dr. Ioanna Tantanasi have published an article entitled ‘Social media’s not all bad- it’s saving lives in disaster zones‘ for the Conversation UK last week. The piece draws on their CascEff and IMPROVER work on social media and crisis communication.


Thanks to Stephen Harris for his editorial support and the invitation to comment on this issue.