Wednesday, 29 August 2007

Spatial Information Literacy Development

There is the first Centre for Information Literacy Research research seminar on 4th September at 13.00. Maryam Nazari talks about A Case study in spatial information literacy development. It takes place in Regent Court Room 204 (2nd Floor). "In this presentation I will share my learning of the process of formation of, and some findings from, an inductive case study. My research aims at exploring concepts of geospatial information, Geographic Information Science/systems(GIS), and competencies GIS learners need to be able to find, evaluate, and use geospatial information and solve problems with GIS. The ability to understand a problem / task and to find, evaluate, and use information is a vital provision for problem solving. Information literacy has been proposed as enabler of this ability. However to enable people in different disciplines to solve problems requires understanding of that discipline, and of the nature and characteristics of information used in the discipline. Although there are numerous studies on developing information literacy models for different disciplines, there is a lack of knowledge in the area of Geographic Information Science/ systems. An embedded single case study will investigate the concepts and phenomena, using different qualitative methods including in-depth interviews, document study data, questionnaires, and learners’ reflection on their learning. The case is a GIS partnership program developed and delivered by three universities across the UK and US in an online distance learning environment. This case was selected based on the theoretical sampling method. Qualitative data analysis methods are used to analyse the data."

Tuesday, 28 August 2007

Ford keynotes

Professor Nigel Ford is presenting a keynote speech at the Higher Education Academy Subject Centre for Information and Computer Science's 2007 Annual Conference in Southampton this week. "This session will discuss some emerging technologies and trends in educational informatics of relevance to computing and information sciences, and their implications for helping us to enhance the effectiveness of learning - or not, depending on your point of view. Tensions between such points of view relating to a range of pedagogic issues including assessment, teaching and research, creativity and constraint, will be explored."

Monday, 27 August 2007

Sanderson in Glasgow

Dr Mark Sanderson, Reader in Information Retrieval gave a talk at the European Summer School for Information Retrieval, in Glasgow, today.

Wednesday, 22 August 2007

Albright at IFLA

Dr Kendra Albright is giving an invited talk on AIDS information and libraries in Sub-Saharan Africa, at the World Library and Information Congress organised by the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions. This conference takes place in Durban, South Africa, this week.

Monday, 20 August 2007


Wilfred Leonard Saunders CBE, Professor Emeritus of the University of Sheffield and the first Director of this Department, died on 27th July 2007 after a short illness, aged 87.

Wilf was born and brought up in Birmingham and began his career as a library assistant in the Birmingham Reference Library in 1936. Following service in France, North Africa and Italy during the Second World War, he became the Deputy Librarian at the Institute of Bankers in London and then the founding Librarian of the Institute of Education at the University of Birmingham. He spent seven years there, during which time he developed a strong interest in library cooperation activities, before moving to the University of Sheffield in 1956 as Deputy Librarian, the start of a 26-year association with the University that continued until his retirement in 1982.

In 1963 he assumed the Directorship of the new Postgraduate School of Librarianship that was then being created in Sheffield; it subsequently changed its name first to the Postgraduate School of Librarianship and Information Science, and then to the Department of Information Studies. Wilf’s plans for the School had several novel characteristics that have strongly influenced our development over the years. First, the need to attract high-quality graduates into library and information work, these to include not just the traditional arts and humanities graduates but also students with backgrounds in the sciences (and subsequently the social sciences). Second, the need to reflect in the courses the increasing potential of the computer in library and information work, something that seems obvious now but that was visionary in the UK context in the early Sixties. Third, the need to provide an environment that would support not only high-class teaching but also cutting-edge academic research, both to establish the new School within the University and to rectify the national lack of trained research staff and students that prevailed at that time. The focus on research has continued to the present day, and meant that the School was exceptionally well positioned when the first national research selectivity exercise took place in 1986, and we have achieved the highest possible grade in all such exercises to date.

The establishment of the Sheffield School would have been sufficient for most people, but Wilf carried out a wealth of other activities during his Directorship and in retirement. He was a member of Aslib Council (1965-71 and 1973-79), and of the British Council (1970-87), President of the Library Association (1980), a member of the British Library's Advisory Committee on the Research and Development Department (1980-85), the first Chairman of the Library and Information Services Council (1981-84), and a member of the Lord Chancellor's Advisory Council on Public Records (1986-91). In 1989 he authored a seminal report for Aslib and the Library Association Towards a unified professional organization for library and information science and services: a personal view (known as The Saunders Report) which recommended the merger of these two bodies and the Institute of Information Scientists. Although discussions between the parties were broken off after two years, the idea of a merger of the LA and IIS was revived in 1996 and eventually Wilf’s far-seeing views were brought to fruition with the establishment of the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals (CILIP) in 2002.

In addition to his national activities, Wilf performed many consultancies and speaking engagements around the world. Much of this work was carried out on behalf of the British Council and UNESCO, focusing on academic libraries, manpower planning, and education programmes for the library and information professions. His contributions to the library and information profession, both nationally and internationally, were widely recognised, perhaps most notably by the award of a CBE in 1982, while his contributions to the University of Sheffield were reflected in its award to him of an honorary DLitt degree in 1989.

We owe a huge amount to Wilf. He was courteous, far-seeing and supportive of colleagues, and he created an organisation that is now recognised as one of the world’s leading departments in library and information studies.

Our sympathies go to Joan, his wife of 61 years, and his sons John and Peter.

Friday, 17 August 2007

Nunes mention in Times Higher

This week’s Times Higher includes a feature on university league tables (p4) which compares the tables published in The Times, Telegraph and Guardian.

Miguel Nunes and Department of Information Studies are mentioned by name in the accompanying information about who compiles the data for each table, see

Saturday, 11 August 2007

Information Literacy events in Second Life

Three events are planned so far for the Information Literacy Group in Second Life, the virtual world. All will be held in the Centre for Information Literacy Research Office (coordinates: Eduserv Island 200 240 43 – the SLURL is They will be informal discussions, with virtual refreshments available ;-) In each case there is a discussion leader to get things started.
Mon 13 Aug: 04.00-05.00 Second Life time (12-13.00 UK time) “The information literacy research map”
Mon 20 Aug: 13.00-14.00 SL time (21-22.00 UK time) “Search within Second Life: challenge or disaster?” (both these first 2 led by me)
Tues 4 Sept: 08.00-09.00 SL time (16-17.00 UK time) “How should librarians present themselves in SL, Facebook etc., with a professional or personal face?" (led by Lyn Parker, Sheffield University Library)

Thursday, 9 August 2007

Centre for Information Literacy Research launched

The Department of Information Studies, University of Sheffield, UK, has launched the Centre for Information Literacy Research (CILR), with Sheila Webber as Director of the Centre. The Centre’s mission is to explore, illuminate and develop the field of information literacy through the conduct and stimulation of research and related activities.

CILR has a website at with details of goals and partners, together with information on the Department’s track record in information literacy and information behaviour research.

Through the Eduserv Foundation’s generosity, CILR also has office space in the virtual world Second Life (coordinates: Eduserv Island 200 240 43 – the SLURL is ).

There is a copy of the full news release, including photos of the launch in Second Life, at

Corrall in Dublin

Professor Sheila Corrall is leading a strategic planning workshop on strategy development for Trinity College Library, Dublin, this week.

Thursday, 2 August 2007

Nunes and Zhou present in Wuhan

Dr Miguel Nunes gives a keynote speech on IS Research Issues at the ICM 2007 Conference in Wuhan, China.

Knowledge and Information Management PHd student Nick Zhou will also present a full paper at this same conference; his old University and home city. This paper on IS Risk Management is co-authored by Miguel Nunes and Ana Cristina Vasconcelos.

Willet talks at Gordon Research Conference

Prof Peter Willett gives a talk entitled "Similarity & machine-learning methods for ligand-based virtual screening" on 30th July at the Gordon Research Conference on Computer Aided Drug Design in Tilton, New Hampshire.

Onassis Foundation Scholarship award

George Papadatos (a PhD student in the Chemoinformatics Research Group and former MSc
Chemoinformatics student) has been awarded the Onassis Foundation Scholarship for doctoral studies ( ). The scholarship is one of the most prestigious and sought-after among young Greek researchers.

Information value

At 2pm today Professor Ben Bates of the College of Communication and Information, University of Tennessee will give a talk on Intellectual Property, information value and Copyright.