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 g.hague@sheffield.ac.uk


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 rachel.hayes@sheffield.ac.uk

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 http://www.slideshare.net/sheilawebber/webber-dozier-methodological-challenges-web-40309925

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

The methods seminars website is here http://methodologicalchallenges.group.shef.ac.uk/?page_id=258

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.