Thursday, 18 December 2014

Information School classed as World Leading in REF 2014

The Information School has achieved top positions in the Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2014 for research environment and for the impact of our research, based on the combined 4* (world-leading) and 3* (internationally excellent) categories. The results, published on 18 December 2014, show that 100% of our research environment was judged to be of world-leading quality and 100% of our research impact was judged as world-leading or internationally excellent.
The School was assessed alongside 66 units from different universities across the UK who conduct research in the areas of Communication, Cultural and Media Studies and Library and Information Management. This effectively represents the merger of two distinct units of assessment from previous Research Assessment Exercises, where the School was consistently in top position amongst a much smaller set of Library and Information Management departments.
Professor Val Gillet, Head of School, said "This is an excellent outcome for the School in which we continue to hold top position for significant aspects of our research. We are especially proud that we continue to be the best School in the UK to conduct research in the library and information field.”

Thursday, 11 December 2014

MA Librarianship Student Wins Library and Information Research Group Student Prize

The Information School would like to congratulate Jess Elmore who has been awarded the 2014 Library and Information Research Group (LIRG) Student Prize for an outstanding research-based project.

LIRG offers the Student Prize award to promote a greater awareness among students of the importance of research and to facilitate the dissemination of the results of outstanding projects.  The prize is awarded to a student who has completed a course leading to a first professional qualification recognised by the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals (CILIP) in Library and Information Studies departments. 

Jess' MA Librarianship dissertation was entitled “We don’t go home. We carry on our lives: An exploration of the information literacy experiences of home educating families”.  The awarding committee believed the dissertation "to be of an extremely high standard as well as having an original focus" which is fantastic feedback to receive.

Jess was supervised during her MA dissertation by Dr Peter Stordy in the Information School.  She is now a PhD student in the School and is being supervised by with Dr Stordy and Sheila Webber.

Successful event on research in virtual worlds hosted by iSchool

On 9th December 2014 the Centre for Information Literacy Research held a successful research methods event on the iSchool's Second Life island, Infolit iSchool. Sheila Webber, together with Marshall Dozier (University of Edinburgh), presented on Social ethical digital: issues in 3D worlds research, Evelyn McIlhinney (Glasgow Caledonian University) presented on Undertaking qualitative health research in virtual worlds, and this was followed by a discussion. This free event was attended by an international audience including the virtual ethnographer Professor Tom Boellstorff (University of California) and Professor Diane Nahl (University of Hawaii). The photo shows Sheila and Marshall presenting, in the custom-designed venue.

Wednesday, 10 December 2014

Data Science Event Gives Students Industry Insight

MSc Data Science students at the Information School took part in an industry day on Tuesday 9 December 2014, giving them insight into what it's like to work in the data science profession.

The day was organised by Programme Coordinator Professor Paul Clough and Deputy Coordinator Dr Gianluca Demartini and was held at the Sheffield Methods Institute at the University of Sheffield.

Ian Radmore, Big Data Specialist at IBM UK (automotive sector and big data); Ben Hollis, Intelligence Analyst in Specialist Crime Services at South Yorkshire Police; and John Curtis, Head of Information and Knowledge Management at Sheffield City Council all presented on the day and discussed their roles and experience as data science professionals.  Students took the opportunity to ask the speakers questions and to network with them during the event.

The Information School would like to thank the presenters for taking part in the event.  Following the success of the day, there are plans to run a similar event in the future.

Successful Information School Visit to China

The Information School's recent visit to China to launch its partnership with Wuhan University's School of Information Management was a great success.

Head of School Professor Val Gillet, Dr Miguel Nunes and Dr Angela Lin visited Wuhan University at the end of November 2014 where they met with Deans and the Head of the International Office before delivering a presentation to Wuhan students.  They presented information about the Information School and its postgraduate study opportunities which students from Wuhan have the opportunity to experience as part of the partnership established between the two universities.

Wuhan University reported on the visit on their website.

During their visit to China, Professor Gillet, Dr Nunes and Dr Lin also visited Nanjing University’s School of Information Management and the School of Information Resources Management at the University of Renmin, Beijing.
The University of Renmin reported on the visit on their website, and Professor Gillet, Dr Nunes and Dr Lin are pictured below with staff from the University of Renmin.

Monday, 8 December 2014

Martins Receives Early Career Research Grant

Congratulations to Dr Jorge Martins of the Information School on receiving funding for his Early Career Research Grant which was submitted to the Regional Studies Association.

His project is entitled 'Drivers of industrial rejuvenation in UK and Portugal old industrial regions'.  It will investigate which manifestations of industry rejuvenation can be observed and conceptualised in firms embedded in South Yorkshire and the North of Portugal, with a particular focus on understanding how organisational capital and regional network capital support firms' trajectories.   

Jorge's project is one of only 5 projects to receive funding out of a total of 50 submissions in what was a high-quality field.     

Friday, 5 December 2014

Launch of Project Exploring Diagnostic and Drug Discovery Initiative for Alzheimer’s Disease

Professor Val Gillet, Head of School at the Information School, will be in Bari from 8 to 10 December 2014 at the kick off meeting for an EU-IAPP (Industry Academia Partnerships and Pathways) project which will explore a "Diagnostic and Drug Discovery Initiative for Alzheimer’s Disease".

The University of Sheffield is represented in this project by Professor Gillet and by Professor Beining Chen, Professor of Medicinal Chemistry in the University's Department of Chemistry.  Professor Chen is the project lead and the orher project partners are are Eli Lilly of Bari SME Biofordrug, Lisbon Univeristy and Canadian company Amorfit.

The scheme is part of the Marie Curie FP7 scheme.  It includes a considerable amount of exchange of existing researchers (both PhD and more established).  It will also fund 5 post-doctoral researchers, two of which will come to the University of Sheffield.  One will be based in the Information School and one in the Department of Chemistry.

Thursday, 4 December 2014

Professor Paul Clough Visits Bangalore

Professor Paul Clough from the Information School is giving an invited talk at the Forum for Information Retrieval Evaluation (FIRE) 2014 conference in Bangalore, India, between 5 and 7 December

His talk is entitled "Examining the Limits of Crowdsourcing for Relevance Assessment" and is based on work which he has undertaken with the UK National Archives.

Evaluation is instrumental in the development and management of effective information retrieval systems and ensuring high levels of user satisfaction. Using crowdsourcing as part of this process has been shown to be viable. What is less well understood are the limits of crowdsourcing for evaluation, particularly for domain specific search. 

Professor Clough will present results comparing relevance assessments gathered using crowdsourcing with those gathered from a domain expert for evaluating different search engines in a large government archive. While crowdsourced judgments rank the tested search engines in the same order as expert judgments, crowdsourced workers appear unable to distinguish different levels of highly accurate search results in a way that expert assessors can. The nature of this limitation in crowd sourced workers for this experiment is examined and the viability of crowdsourcing for evaluating search in specialist settings is discussed.

Tuesday, 2 December 2014

Seminar on self-regulated learning - an insight into helping to learn

On Tuesday 9 December 2014 Professor John Sandars from the Academic Unit of Medical Education at the University of Sheffield will deliver a seminar at the Information School.

The seminar, entitled 'self-regulated learning - an insight into helping to learn', will explore the importance of self-regulated learning for effective learning and how this process can be identified to help learners to become more effective learners. The approaches include micro-analysis and calibration workbooks. The potential of collaboration to further this research focus will be explored.

All are welcome to attend the seminar and booking is not required.  It will take place at 13:00 in Lecture Room RC204 in the Information School, with refreshments provided beforehand at 12:30 in the iSpace. 

Monday, 1 December 2014

Pinfield to Deliver Keynote to Research Data Management

On Wednesday 3 December Dr Stephen Pinfield will present the keynote speech at the Academic and National Library Training Co-operative seminar in Dublin.

His keynote is entitled 'Research Data Management in Practice: Roles and Skills for Libraries'.  The speech will refer to the growing body of work produced by the University of Sheffield on research data management, including that by Andrew Cox, Eddy Verbaan, Jen Smith, Barbara Sen and Stephen himself.

Sunday, 30 November 2014

Bath Speaks at eHealth Institute

On Monday 1 December, Professor Peter Bath will speak at the ehealth Institute atLinnaeus University in Kalmar, Sweden.

He will speak on 'Information behaviours – how people seek and use health information'.

Tuesday, 25 November 2014

Strong iSchool presence at ECIL 2014

The iSchool had strong representation at the European Conference on Information Literacy held in Dubrovnik at the end of last month: Sheila Webber gave an invited talk (with Bill Johnston, Strathclyde University, Information Literacy as a discipline: a contemporary perspective), she chaired a panel session on Relating Research and Practice in Information Literacy (with panelists Dr Ola Pilerot and Professor Louise Limberg (University of Boras, Sweden), and Bill Johnston), was one of the academics providing feedback at the doctoral forum, and also presented a poster, Digital Citizenship: Global Perspectives Across Age Levels, created with Dr Valerie Hill (Texas Woman's University, USA). Two of her PhD students also presented at the conference: Syeda Hina Shahid presented in the doctoral forum on Early findings from a study of information literacy practices in primary schools of Pakistan. Evanthia Tramantza (with Konstantina Martzoukou, Robert Gordon University) gave a presentation on Novel links in embedded librarianship for information literacy.

Monday, 24 November 2014

Inaugural Expert Lecture - The importance of content quality in achieving user search satisfaction

The Information School's Inaugural Expert Lecture will take place on Monday 1 December.

Martin White, Managing Director of Intranet Focus, will present a lecture on 'The importance of content quality in achieving user search satisfaction'.

Martin is an intranet and information management strategy consultant, and information scientist. He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC) in 2006 for his work in information management for the pharmaceutical industry and serves the RSC as a member of its Publications
Committee and acts as the Chair of the eScience Advisory Group. He is also a member of the British Computer Society, the Association for Computing Machinery (USA) and an Honorary Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals, and has been a Visiting Professor at
the Information School, the University of Sheffield since 2002.

His lecture will take place in Sir Henry Stephenson Building, Lecture Theatre 1, at 13:00 on Monday 1 December.  All are welcome to attend,

Friday, 21 November 2014

Partnership Between Information School and Wuhan University Launched

The Information School has established a collaborative partnership with Wuhan University’s School of Information Management.

Wuhan University is a top 10 University in China and a member of Project 211 and Project 985.  The School of Information Management at Wuhan was founded in 1920 and is China’s leading school in the field. Both the Information School and Wuhan’s School of Information Management are members of the prestigious international iSchools movement.

The partnership between the two schools is a collaborative education programme which aims to bring 20 students from Wuhan University’s School of Information Management to study on postgraduate courses in the Information School each year. Students from Wuhan who have completed the third year of the undergraduate degree programme will be able to apply for a place to study on one of four courses taught at the Information School:

  • MSc Digital Library Management
  • MSc Information Management
  • MSc Information Systems
  • MA Librarianship

On successful completion of their course at the Information School, the students will be awarded both an undergraduate degree from Wuhan University and a postgraduate degree from the University of Sheffield.

The partnership was developed by Dr Miguel Nunes of the Information School, over a period of five years. The relationship started with a visit to Wuhan in 2009, hosted by Professor Chuanfu Chen, then Dean and now University Provost, and was further developed through Information School PhD alumni Dr Lihong Zhou, who was supervised by Dr Nunes, and is now Associate Professor at Wuhan.

The partnership will be formally launched in November 2014 when Head of School Professor Val Gillet, Wuhan Programme Coordinator Dr Miguel Nunes and Information Management Deputy Programme Coordinator Dr Angela Lin visit Wuhan University.  They will visit the University on 24 November and will meet with Deans and the Head of the International Office before delivering a presentation to students at Wuhan’s School of Information Management.  Speaking ahead of the School’s visit to Wuhan, Professor Val Gillet said:

“The Information School is delighted to be working with Wuhan University.  We look forward to a positive partnership over the years to come, and to welcoming students from Wuhan during the next academic year.  As one of China’s top information schools, we are also keen to explore other partnership opportunities with Wuhan beyond our current agreement.”

In addition to visiting Wuhan University during their trip to China, Professor Gillet, Dr Nunes and Dr Lin will also visit Nanjing University’s School of Information Management and the School of Information Resources Management at the University of Renmin, Beijing.

Professor Paul Clough on Digital v Paper Maps

With the increase in the availability of digital maps, some may argue that there is not a place for paper maps anymore.

However, Professor Paul Clough of the Information School recently conducted a study which compared online and paper maps.  His study, based on the work of a former MSc student Paul Hurst from the Royal School of Military Survey, found that paper maps still have a key role to play.

The study was referenced in a recent Wall Street Journal article where Paul argued that paper maps still have an important role to play and he specifically mentioned the importance of paper maps over digital ones within the military:

“If you are in Afghanistan or Syria, you can’t have a signal dropout – that would be catastrophic.”

The full article can be found in The Wall Street Journal which is one of the USA’s leading national publications and a top publication worldwide. 

Thursday, 20 November 2014

Professor Peter Bath's Inaugural Lecture

On Thursday 13 November Professor Peter Bath gave his inaugural lecture entitled '"1966 and all that": Donabedians's model of quality applied to health informatics'.

During the lecture Peter discussed his research in Health Informatics over the last 20 years, focusing on his collaborations with PhD students and colleagues in the University of Sheffield. He described his research into the health information needs and information behaviours of patients, their carers and the general public. 

He discussed in detail Wen-Chin Hsu's PhD research into the use of NHS Direct by older people and the results of Healh Ayatolahi's PhD research, undertaken in collaboration with Professor Steve Goodacre from ScHARR, which identified the tension between making patient information accessible to clinical staff in Emergency Departments, while at the same time keeping it confidential. 

Peter also described the study he had collaborated on with the Palliative Care section which involved a study of over 2000 general practices throughout the UK looking at the provision of palliative care for patients. He also went on to discuss the new 'Space for Sharing' project, funded under the Emoticon programme, which is looking at the ways in which people share information in online environments when in extreme circumstances, and the role of empathy and trust in sharing. At the end of his lecture, Peter thanked all the students and colleagues he had worked with throughout his career.

Peter is pictured above with the Information School's Head of School Professor Val Gillet. 

Saturday, 15 November 2014

Using Social Media in Public Engagement

On Wednesday 26 November Dr Farida Vis is presenting a masterclass on using social media in public engagement.  

Farida will be using the successful social media engagement (and various impact measurements) around the recent Picturing the Social: Analysing Social Media Images conference as an example. This one day conference was part of the ESRC Festival of Social Science. 

Early booking is for the masterclass is recommended, and you can book online now.

Friday, 14 November 2014

Digital Archiving as Information Production Seminar

On Tuesday 18 November Dr Jonathan Foster of the Information School will present a seminar on ‘digital archiving as information production: using experts and learners in the design of subject access’. 

This seminar will present a framework that characterizes digital archiving as a form of information production.  The framework is then applied within the context of designing a digital archive for an electronic artwork called Rider Spoke.  The talk will discuss:

  • How students from the Information School at the University of Sheffield were invited to tag video content from the archive, and to develop terms and a vocabulary
  • How a subsequent content analysis on these tags was conducted, and a subject language developed.  The resulting subject scheme for the artwork with seven facets, sub-facets, and examples is then presented. 

The seminar will take place at 13:00 in lecture room RC-204 with refreshments beforehand at 12:30 in the Information School, Regent Court.  All are welcome and there is no need to book.

Wednesday, 12 November 2014

Vis is participant at the World Economic Forum's Summit on the Global Agenda 2014 in Dubai

Faculty Research Fellow Farida Vis has just come back from Dubai where she attended the World Economic Forum’s Summit on the Global Agenda. The summit offers an opportunity for members of the Global Agenda Councils to meet in person and discuss the most pressing issues identified within their council and connect these to wider global concerns. All councils started their new two-year terms this September:

The Global Agenda Councils make up the world’s largest volunteer network of experts. Every two years the network brings together leaders, pioneers and experts from business, government, international organizations, academia and civil society to provide innovative thinking on critical global issues and incubate projects, events and campaigns for the public good. In the 2014-2016 term, experts will be grouped into 86 councils, each addressing a specific issue. A full list of councils can be found here.

Farida serves (for a second term) on the Global Agenda Council on Social Media, which has 21 members from all over the world. The council is chaired by Emily Bell, Professor of Professional Practice and Director of the Tow Center for Digital Journalism at 
Columbia University. Together council members will continue to explore social media’s potential by developing a set of standards and metrics to better analyse the impact on society. The council will convene leaders to present them with actionable research and recommendations developed by social media experts, with the long-term aim of harnessing social media for good.

The Dubai summit also officially launched the ‘Outlook on the Global Agenda’, which identifies the top 10 trends for the world in 2015. This blog post by Al Gore provides a useful summary of the key global challenges identified for the next 12-18 months.

Members of the Global Agenda Council on Social Media have identified a number of areas that council members will work on. These include issues around best practices and use of social media for different stakeholders, user generated content (UGC) and the verification of social media data, most notably images, concerns over ethics and privacy, civic participation through social media, international use of social media, and algorithmic accountability.

Farida will lead a project on UGC, verification and ethics and will collaborate with four other council members, including Emily Bell. The group is planning to organise a first event at the Tow Center for Digital Journalism in New York next summer.

Wednesday, 5 November 2014

Cox Delivers Workshop on Supporting Research Data Services

On 28 October 2014, Dr Andrew Cox provided a workshop on training professional staff to support research data services.  This was delivered during ‘Open Research Data: The Future of Science’ at the École Polytechnique Federale De Lausanne (EPFL) in Switzerland.

Professional staff in IT, research administration and libraries play a key role in supporting research data management and open access.  Dr Cox’s workshop explored the issues around designing training for existing staff to support research data services.  It provided a framework for participants to reflect systematically about who should be trained, who should do the training, what knowledge and mindsets need to be developed and what pedagogic approach will be most effective.

Participants also explored learning resources that already exist, including those created as part of RDMRose and the concepts behind learning about research data management as a wicked problem.

Tuesday, 4 November 2014

Congratulations to Emeritus Professor Nigel Ford

On 27 October the Information School gathered to celebrate the career of Professor Nigel Ford and confer on him the title of Emeritus Professor for his "most distinguished services and contribution to the Information School”.

He was also presented with a bound copy of Volume 70 Issue 6 of the Journal of Documentation 2014, which is a special issue festschrift in his honour.  The issue is available online

The festschrift was organised, in secret, by Professors Elaine Toms and Peter Willet and contains articles written by Nigel's current students, ex-students and colleagues.  It even includes one for which Nigel is co-author - it's quite a feat to have kept this a secret!

Both these presentations represent very well deserved tributes to Nigel's outstanding career.

Monday, 3 November 2014

Digital Society Network Event

Following a successful launch event and a research incubator, the University’s Digital Society Network’s next event will take place on 21 November 2014.  The Information School is represented by a number of staff members in the Network, including steering group members Professor Paul Clough, Professor Elaine Toms, Dr Andrew Cox and Dr Farida Vis.

The event offers an opportunity to build upon shared research interests and to progress ideas for collaborative research.  Reports on events and activities supported by the Digital Society Network will be given at the event and details of the next round of calls for proposals to bid for money from the Network will be discussed.  There will also be an opportunity to discuss ideas with the steering group.

More information about the Digital Society network can be found on their website

The event is open to all and refreshments will be provided.  Please contact Dr Andrew Cox by emailing if you would like to attend.   

Thursday, 30 October 2014

Open Data Seminars at the Information School

The Information School is hosting two seminars on open data on Tuesday 4 November 2014.

The first seminar, ‘Open data: global policies and grassroots practice’, will be delivered by Tim Davies at 13:00.  Open data had rapidly become a global phenomena, driven both top-down policy transfer, and bottom-up demands for greater access to vital information.  Drawing on research from the Open Data in Developing Countries (ODDC) project, which has supported case-study research into open data use and impacts in 12 countries across the global South, this presentation will explore how far the models for open government data that are promoted through global institutions are aligned with the needs and realities of different communities around the world.  By moving beyond a 'narrow model' of open data, focused on datasets, portals and apps, a richer picture of both the potential and the pitfalls of particular approaches to opening up data can be uncovered. 

Tim Davies is currently the Open Data Research Lead at the World Wide Web Foundation, where he coordinates the Open Data Research Network, and Open Data in Developing Countries project.  He is also a PhD Candidate in the Web Science Doctoral Training Centre at the University of Southampton, exploring the role of socio-technical infrastructures in shaping outcomes from open data policy, and is an affiliate of the Harvard Berkman Centre for Internet and Society. 

This will be followed by Danny Antrobus’ seminar entitled ‘The Sheffield Open Data Community Needs You!’ at 13:30.  The tale of open data in Sheffield is one of bright starts, dashed dreams, and a grassroots resurgence.  Now, there are real opportunities for everyone to benefit from open data, whether or not you have any particular technical or data skills.  This presentation will cover the current open data projects and activities going on in Sheffield and invite you to get involved.   

Danny Antrobus is Director and co-founder of The Better With Data Society, a civic data engagement social enterprise for Sheffield city region.  The Society is the Sheffield city node of the Open Data Institute (ODI).  It hosts the Open Data Sheffield network, supports local data holders to publish open data, and runs projects to help people engage with data and do useful things with it.  

The seminars take place on Tuesday 4 November, beginning at 13:00 in RC-204 Lecture Room at the Information School, Regent Court.  Refreshments will be provided beforehand at 12:30.  All are welcome and there is no need to book.

Professor Peter Bath Inaugural Lecture

On Thursday 13 November 2014, Professor Peter Bath of the Information School will present his inaugural lecture.

The lecture is entitled '"1966 and all that": Donabedians's model of quality applied to health informatics' and will be held at the University of Sheffield in the Conference Room of the ICOSS Building, 219 Portobello.  The lecture begins at 17:30 and will be followed by a drinks reception.

Entrance is free and all are welcome to attend.  For further details please contact Gaynor Hague by emailing

Tuesday, 28 October 2014

iSquare Exhibition on Show at Information School

The Information School is currently hosting a display of original drawings of information, or iSquares, from an arts-informed visual study of information by visiting scholar Jenna Hartel of the Faculty of Information at the University of Toronto. 

iSquares currently on display were created by Information School students on the School’s Management for Library and Information Services (INF6005) and Information Systems and the Information Society (INF6400) modules on 20 and 21 October 2014.

These students drew a response to the question ‘what is information?’  on a 4” by 4” piece of paper and provided a few words to describe their drawing on the reverse of the paper.  The data set produced within the Information School will be included in a larger international study of drawings from information courses in Croatia, Malaysia, Iran, Taiwan, Canada, Brazil, Ghana, Australia and Finland.

The exhibition will be on display in the Information School between 24 and 31 October 2014, and comments on the research and exhibition are invited.

Monday, 27 October 2014

World’s first study of social media images includes new Word of the Year – ‘photobombing’

For the second year running, a word relating to photographic practice has been named as Word of The Year by Collins English Dictionary. 'Photobombing’, like ’selfie’ (last year’s winner), has been found to represent something of the themes and spirit of popular discourse over the preceding twelve months. 

'Picturing the Social' is the world's first cross-platform academic research project into social media images from those taken during breaking news to selfies, photos of friends and practices like 'photobombing'.  Dr Vis said: “The overall aim of the project is to develop approaches for studying a wide range of images shared on social media. This includes images created specifically for social media on smartphones as well as those re-used from a variety of other sources.”

Anne Burns, Research Associate on the Picturing the Social project and expert on photographic self-representations said: “The photobomb is a moment of transgression, in which the rules of photography are both exposed and undermined, with often humorous and strange results ... Although the photobomb might not receive quite so much media analysis as the selfie, both of these awards demonstrate the continuing - perhaps even the growing - importance of photography within popular culture, and the need for projects such as Picturing the Social.”

Dr Vis added: “It is important to understand these everyday photographic practices as part of wider cultural shifts, continuities and developments.

“These include the ubiquity of smartphones and the rise of the visual web. We need to ask important questions about what these new social worlds mean for our understanding of contemporary society. In that sense it’s not productive to simply dismiss ‘selfies’ and practices like ‘photobombing’ as narcissistic fads, but instead to study them as part of everyday visual cultural practices and also to better understand what these practices mean for users themselves.”

The Picturing the Social project, funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), involves an interdisciplinary team from four universities as well as industry with expertise in: Media and Communication Studies (University of Sheffield), Visual Culture (Manchester School of Art), Software Studies and Sociology (Warwick University), Computer and Information Science (Pulsar and University of Wolverhampton).

During the ESRC's annual Festival of Social Science which takes place between 1 and 8 November 2014, the project will host it's first conference at the University of Sheffield.  This will highlight early findings from Picturing the Social and a panel on 'identity and the self' will focus upon emerging social media photography including selfies and photobombing.  

The conference is now fully booked which demonstrates the keen interest in this area. A conference reader will be distributed next week, presentations will be recorded and slides will be made available where possible. These, along with initial findings from Picturing the Social, will be made available on the Visual Social Media Lab website.

Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Research Seminar – why do authors cite material, and how do readers subsequently interpret those citations?

On Tuesday 28 October 2014, Professor Peter Willett of the Information School will be delivering a seminar on why authors cite material and how readers interpret those citations.

Citation context analysis is an area of bibliometrics that is based on the assumption that the readers of an article will understand why the original author cited a particular item.  This is only an assumption, and one that has never been tested in any detail.  The project to be described here involved the authors of ten library and information science articles providing the reasons for citing material in their articles.  These reasons were then compared with the reasons suggested independently by readers of those articles.

The results that were obtained suggest that readers are able to correctly perceive the authors’ reasons for citation only to a very limited extent.  As a result this questions the appropriateness of citation context analysis as a way of analysing the academic literature.

The seminar takes place at 13:00 in Information School lecture room RC-204 with refreshments beforehand at 12:30 in the iSpace.  All are welcome and booking is not required.

Monday, 20 October 2014

Business Intelligence Business Partners Announced

A number of organisations have been announced as business partners for the Information School’s undergraduate Business Intelligence module.

The following organisations will visit the Information School to be interviewed by students at the end of October 2014, before the students conduct research for the companies as part of their module coursework: 
  • Pura Panela, winner of the USE Business Concept competition 2014
  • Northern Refugee Centre, which works to improve the lives of refugees, asylum seekers and migrants in Yorkshire and the Humber region
  • Redbrick Workwear, suppliers of personal protective equipment and workwear
  • Common Ground, delivering support and advice on social enterprise
  • Muddy Feet Training, which offers activities and events to get adults and children engaged in the outdoors

The Information School is looking forward to working with our partners over the year ahead.

To find out about becoming a business partner please contact our Marketing and External Relations Officer, Rachel Hayes, by emailing

Thursday, 16 October 2014

Webber and Bates present at Methodological Challenges seminar

Yesterday Sheila Webber and Jo Bates presented at the University of Sheffield Faculty of Social Sciences seminar series on Methodological Challenges. This session focused on The relationship between social and digital worlds and the event was livestreamed. The talks were:

Sheila Webber and Marshall Dozier (University of Edinburgh) "Social, ethical, digital: issues in 3D worlds research" (they delivered the talk within Second Life, delivered via a skype screenshare - see picture of them preparing). The presentation is on Slideshare at

Jo Bates "The Importance of understanding the socio-cultural shaping of big data infrastructures"

The methods seminars website is here

Wednesday, 15 October 2014

Pinfield Presents to Burgess Committee

On Wednesday 15 October, Dr Stephen Pinfield of the Information School will be presenting evidence to the Burgess Committee on open access policy.

The Burgess Committee was established as one of several independent reviews into the important subject of revised open access policy, which was introduced by Research Councils UK.  The Burgess Committee is the first of the independent reviews and it focuses upon the implementation of the policy between 1 April 2013 and 31 July 2014.

Dr Pinfield’s evidence is based upon a study which explores open access publishing and the total cost of publishing journal articles.  This study was completed with Professor Peter Bath and PhD student Jennifer Salter who are both from the Information School.

Friday, 10 October 2014

Unlocking Radio Broadcast: User Needs in Sound Retrieval

Dr Mette Skov, Assistant Professor in the Department of Communication and Psychology at Aalborg University in Denmark will be visiting the Information School between 13 and 17 October 2014.

Dr Skov will be delivering a seminar on 14 October entitled ‘Unlocking radio broadcast: user needs in sound retrieval’.  This will discuss the development of a research infrastructure to enable future radio and audio-based research.  She will present findings about the information seeking behaviour of humanities scholars dedicated to radio research and will discuss how this has informed the information architecture and interaction design of the research infrastructure.  The seminar starts at 13:00 in Information School lecture room RC-204 with refreshments beforehand in the iSpace.  All are welcome and booking is not required.

Her visit is being funded by the COST Action, Multilingual and Multifaceted Interactive Information Access (MUMIA) as a short term scientific mission for young researchers.  Dr Skov received her Masters and PhD from the Royal School of Library and Information Science in Copenhagen, Denmark.  Her research focuses on information seeking behaviour and interactive information retrieval in relation to digital cultural heritage.

Research Seminar – Development of Novel Techniques for Assessing Bioisosteric Similarity of Chemical Fragments

Information School PhD student Matthew Seddon will present a seminar on Tuesday 14 October on the development of novel techniques for assessing bioisosteric similarity of chemical fragments.

Bioisosterism, which is related to the similarity of biological function between two molecules, is an important concept in drug development.  Matthew’s presentation will introduce his current research project, which is concerned with developing new techniques for bioisosteric similarity of chemical fragments.

The presentation will start with a general overview of chemoinformatics techniques and will highlight relevant themes for the project such as molecular similarity, 3D molecular shape, and the similarity property principle. The presentation will then cover experimental work that has been carried out to produce a test set of bioisosteric pairs that can be used to evaluate bioisosteric similarity methods before concluding with an overview of future work.  In particular, the concept of functional descriptors will be introduced and the scope for using these descriptors with functional data analysis will be discussed.

All are welcome to attend and booking is not required.  The seminar takes place at 14:00 in Information School lecture room RC-204.  

Friday, 3 October 2014

Open Government Data

A blog post from the Information School's Dr Jo Bates has been published on the LSE Impact blog.

Her post explores how the ideals behind open government data are being used to further interests of the neoliberal state.  The full post can be viewed on the LSE blog here.

Monday, 29 September 2014

Arts-Informed Information Studies and Visual Methods

The Information School, in association with the Centre for Visual Studies, is pleased to announce two forthcoming events focusing upon arts-informed studies of information and arts-informed methods for information research.

On Tuesday 21 October a lecture on ‘An Arts-Informed Study of Information Using the Draw-and-Write Technique’ will take place at 13:00 in the ICOSS Conference Centre.  The lecture will be delivered by Dr Jenna Hartel, Associate Professor in the Faculty of Information and the University of Toronto and Visiting Scholar at the University of Sheffield Information School.   It will focus upon an arts-informed visual research project exploring the concept of information.   Graduate students participating in this project created ‘iSquare’ drawings to depict information.  The lecture will include a demonstration of the data gathering approaches which were used in the project as well as a report on iSquare research that is soon to take place in Sheffield and around the world.  All are welcome to attend this lecture.  Booking is not required and refreshments will be available from 12:30.

A workshop exploring ‘Arts-Informed Visual Methods for Information Research and Education’, delivered by Dr Jenna Hartel and Dr Andrew Cox of the Information School will take place on Thursday 23 October between 15:00 and 17:00 in Room 204 of the Information School in Regent Court.  This workshop is designed for researchers, educators, and practitioners in information science and cognate disciplines who wish to employ arts-informed visual methods for research or education.  During the workshop, Drs. Cox and Hartel will each demonstrate two arts-informed, visual techniques they have used in their work, including drawing, modelling and multimedia.  In an informal, conversational environment, all participants will be able to voice questions about arts-informed, visual approaches, and the workshop aims to a community of interest for the future. 

Booking is required for the workshop.  If you would like to attend, please book your place using our booking form.

Friday, 26 September 2014

Vis to Serve Second Term on Global Agenda Council on Social Media

Dr Farida Vis of the Information School has been asked to serve a second term on the World Economic Forum’s Global Agenda Council on Social Media.  Council members include Deb Roy of MIT and Chief Media Scientist at Twitter. 

Several new members have been appointed to the Council who have a particular focus upon issues around journalism and data story telling.  Newly appointed members include:
  • Emily Bell - Professor of Professional Practice and Director, Tow Center for Digital Journalism, Columbia Journalism School
  • Mohamed Nanabhay - Former Head of Online, Al Jazeera English, now
  • Claire Wardle - Senior Social Media Officer, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), formerly at Storyful, the world's first social media news agency   
  • Xavier Damman - Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Storify

Dr Vis’ current ESRC funded ‘Picturing the Social’ project was featured in the recent The Times Higher Education grant winners feature article.  This project is the world’s first academic project to explore the impact that social media images have on society. 

Thursday, 25 September 2014

Information School Represented at Mind Investors Event at Festival of the Mind

As part of the University of Sheffield’s Festival of the Mind event, Sunday 28 September will see the Mind Investors event take place in Sheffield city centre.  This event will see researchers pitch their ideas to an audience who can quiz the researchers on their proposals, make suggestions and vote for the projects which they think are most interesting, valuable and deserving of investment.

Dr Jorge Martins of the Information School will be taking part in this event and will present several projects which he is currently involved in as part of the Sheffield Crucible programme:

'If Sheffield stones could talk’ – The people of Sheffield are emotionally connected to the buildings in their city.  While some of them have been transformed or disappeared, their memory remains.  This project is developing a mobile application that allows an augmented reality experience of some the city's disappeared built heritage, enriched with the living memory of its citizens.
‘Find my migraine' – This project aims to create a smartphone app for migraineours to record daily activities and correlate those with their migraine attacks and migraine relief.  The app will send information to their GP, create graphs, and can be used to monitor and hopefully help prevent future attacks.
'Demystifying Bitcoin' – If you have ever wondered what Bitcoin is, how it works and if it is safe, this project will answer these questions.  This public information project will show the public how it works, explore the perspectives of business, regulators and consumers, and expose the pros and cons.  The impact on Sheffield businesses will be examined in the project.
'Research for the People' – While research funding ultimately comes from the public, they don’t decide how it is spent.  The vision of this project is a social enterprise that removes the middle man and lets the public set the research agenda.

'Wonder where are the Ada Lovelace and Marie Curie of our time?' - Gender bias and inequality in the workplace discourage and prevent women from reaching the top professions in science.  This project explores how mentoring practices can help reduce the impact of gender discrimination for those who take a career in science.

'Life with stroke' - The experience of living with stroke is unique to each individual stroke survivor and their family.  As a result of living with stroke, they become experts in their condition.  This project aims to understand the uniqueness of individual experiences of stroke by actively involving stroke survivors as partners in the project. 

The Mind Investors event is free to attend and all are welcome.  

Wednesday, 24 September 2014

Social Media for Researchers

Yesterday, Farida Vis of the Information School gave a presentation at the first Social Media for Researchers: A Sheffield Universities Social Media Symposium (full programme details available here).

The aim of this first symposium was to encourage researchers to maximise the potential of social media, both for their research and for their careers as researchers. A wide range of topics were covered, including
 trends in social media relating to research and researchers, advice on establishing an effective online presence, the use of social media as research data, social media's role in enhancing academic conversations as well as a range of approaches (such as Altmetrics) for dissemination and measuring scholarly output.  

The symposium was organised by the Sheffield Hallam Researcher Development Programme (SHaRD) and The University of Sheffield's Research and Innovation Services (R&IS) and was aimed at research staff and post-graduate students.

Farida's talk was on 'Researching Social Media – Big Data and Social Media Analysis' and was very well received by participants. Slides of this presentation are available here. The symposium used the #shefsocmed Twitter hashtag, which was actively used throughout the day. To access and read up on this Twitter discussion, please click here

Given the success of this first symposium, the organisers are now planning to make this a regular event, which is great news!

Tuesday, 23 September 2014

Story Telling at the Festival of the Mind

Professor Peter Bath of the Information School will be giving two talks at the University’s Festival of the Mind event this week, both of which will focus upon story telling. 

His talks will focus upon the Nottingham Longitudinal Study of Activity and Ageing.  His first will be included in the 'Tales from the Ivory Tower' event in the Spiegeltent in Barker's Pool on Thursday 25 September between 14:00 and 15:00.  The second talk will take place on Friday 26 September between 17:30 and 20:00 as part of the ‘Researchers’ Night Tales from the Ivory Tower’ in Krebs Café, Firth Court.  

All are welcome to attend.

Innovation in Research Award for Professor Bath

Congratulations to Professor Peter Bath of the Information School who was awarded the Faculty of Social Science’s award for Innovation in Research at the Faculty’s recent interdisciplinary research conference.

This award was presented in recognition of the innovative and multidisciplinary nature of his ESRC funded “A Shared Space and a Space for Sharing” project.  This project is being funded under the Empathy and Trust in Communicating Online (EMoTICON) call following a sand-pit organised by the ESRC in January 2014. 

The aim of the project is to develop a transdisciplinary understanding of the online sharing of personal information, emotion and resources by people experiencing extreme circumstances such as the diagnosis of a life-threatening or terminal illness, recovering from drug addiction or experiencing natural disasters.  

Thursday, 18 September 2014

Information School Project on Show at V&A

The Information School’s Raspberry Pie Weather Project will be on show at the V&A Museum’s Digital Design Weekend in London on 20 and 21 September 2014.

The event showcases contemporary digital art and design and it includes a range of interactive activities, workshops and demonstrations.  It is free to attend and open to everyone.

Paula Goodale of the Information School will be attending the event with the raspberry pi weather station which has been created alongside the AHRC-funded Secret Life of a Weather Datum research project.   She will be joined at the event by Yuwei Lin who is also a member of the Secret Life of a Weather Datum project team.  The event will allow the general public to have hands on experience in creating a raspberry pi weather station.

Information School Represented at Inaugural Faculty Research Conference

The University of Sheffield’s Faculty of Social Science hosts its inaugural inter-disciplinary Faculty research conference on 19 September 2014 with strong representation from the Information School.

Six members of the Information School are speaking at the conference, with subjects highlighting the range of leading research which is carried out in the School:

·         Alex Peng – ‘Socio-Technical Challenges in Building Future Smart Cities’
·         Barbara Sen – ‘The information coping trajectory’
·         Peter Bath – ‘Sharing information online among people with life-threatening, chronic and terminal conditions’ and ‘Experiences of a Sandpit – life before, during and after the ESRC EMoTICON sandpit’
·         Sheila Webber – ‘Is this a game?  Blended interplay of information between digital and physical worlds'
·         Andrew Cox – ‘A photo a day!  Narratives of self-help in 365 projects’
·         Stephen Pinfield – ‘Lay summaries of open-access journal articles: Engaging with the general public on medical research’

Congratulations to all Information School staff who have been accepted to speak at the conference.