Wednesday, 23 December 2015

PhD student article among most popular post in LSE Impact Blog’s 2015 Year-In-Review

Between January and December 2015 the LSE Impact blog received over 1 million unique page hits and has released its most popular posts this year. Among the top 5 most viewed articles this year is a post by PhD student Wasim Ahmed, from the Information School. The post proved to be very popular among the social media research community, and has strengthened relationships between the Information School and industry providers of social media data.  With over a million page views this year and over 28 thousand followers on Twitter, Wasim noted that the LSE impact blog is a fantastic place to disseminate research.

Tuesday, 22 December 2015

PhD student Alexandra Boutopoulou interviewed about social media on ITV News Calendar

ITV News Calendar has recently reached a milestone of 100,000 likes on their Facebook page, an occasion that offered a good opportunity to discuss a bit more about the popularity and influence of social media.

In the UK, more than seven in ten (72%) Internet users have a social media profile and 81% of them use it at least once a day. Indeed, the numbers reflect the fact that the popularity of social media is now well established. But there are wider issues that are increasingly getting more attention and worth exploring in further detail here. Below I outline four key issues:

1. Data privacy and ethics issues concern users more than ever before
Users’ concerns about data privacy, the control they have over personal information, how this information is used by third parties or how social media data is collected and used for research purposes has become a significant issue. It is true that the very nature of social media encourages sharing of information and network building. Often enough, social media users out of fear of missing out, or for the sake of their own popularity might be willing to share large amounts of personal or sensitive personal data, without realizing that in the hands of third parties such data might easily be misused without their full consent. But concerns about privacy, especially among teens, might also influence usage. Research and reports show that especially younger audiences are particularly cautious with social media and demonstrate high levels of understanding of their privacy settings.

2. A smartphone society
Two thirds of UK adults (66%) use smartphones. These have now overtaken laptops as UK’s Internet users most preferred device. Users tend to check very often their social media newsfeeds so they can be to be constantly updated about what’s happening in the world. As their newsfeed becomes the focus of their attention, they transform themselves into a certain type of editors of their own content. This might not only influence their behaviour but also their approach to the world around them or their own responsibility towards information sharing.

3. Towards a more visual social media web
In an information over-loaded world, images are much easier to navigate and technology has driven the transition towards a more visual social media web (especially through mobile devices). In 2014 Mary Meeker (in her annual Internet Trends report) highlighted that 1.8 billion images were now being uploaded and shared every day on Flickr, Snapchat, Instagram, Facebook and WhatsApp. Images not only allow for a much richer and quicker way of communication, but they also offer valuable insights into how users see the world and what is important for them.

4. Teens’ behaviour can show future trends and alter social media strategy
Born and grown up in a digital age, teenagers demonstrate a radically different behaviour than older generations. Although teenagers might speak a language relatively unknown to the majority of adults, they can shape the social media market and form the future of technology consumption. Facebook’s recent virtual reality developments for example, aim at younger audiences with an interest in sharing not only just information, but also experiences anywhere in the world.

Author: Alexandra Boutopoulou, PhD student in the Visual Social Media Lab.
Alexandra Boutopoulou receives funding for her PhD from the ESCR and Food Standards Agency, as part of the ‘Big Data and Food Safety network’, led by Farida Vis.

Alexandra’s appearance on ITV’s Calendar can be watched here.

Gianluca Demartini published in the The Conversation

Dr Gianluca Demartini, Senior Lecturer in Data Science at the Information School has been published in The Conversation. Gianluca's article entitled 'Clinton-Sanders data breach spat goes to the heart of modern campaigning' highlights the significance of data management in US electoral campaigning. How voter data is utilised to better understand the electorate and help campaigners craft their speeches as well as facilitating more targeted advertising and seeking prospective donors is explained. In addition, Gianluca highlights potential problems in using big data but explains how the use of this data may benefit the voter.

Information School Staff and Students Raise Money for Sheffield Food Bank

On 18 December 2015 the Information School held the 'Christmas: A beginner's guide' event to learn about the traditions of Christmas from around the world.

Staff and students discovered the Christmas traditions of Mexico, Italy, Cyprus and the UK. As well as sampling traditional Christmas foods, staff and students raised over £49.00 for Sheffield Food Banks. Many thanks to all who attended the event and made a donation.

Monday, 21 December 2015

iSchool PhD student helps deliver workshop at the Social Media for Learning in Higher Education Conference (#SocMedHE15)

On 17 December 2015 Kandy Woodfield (Head of Social Sciences at the Higher Education Academy), Curtis Jessop (Senior Researcher at NatCen Social Research), and Wasim Ahmed (PhD Researcher at the Information School) delivered a successful workshop on sustaining and growing a community of practice at the Social Media for Learning in Higher Education Conference at Sheffield Hallam University.  

The workshop was based on the New Social Media New Social Science (NSMNSS) network which has over 4,000 lively followers across the world. A live blog and the workshop slides can be found here.

Thursday, 17 December 2015

Places still available for the Information School Society's Event - Christmas: A beginner's Guide

There are still places available for the Information School Societys forthcoming event:
Christmas: A beginner’s guide
Are you curious about the traditions of Christmas in the UK and around the world?
What is the significance of Christmas?
What are the key tastes and sounds of Christmas?

This event brings together iSchool students and staff to discover more about the Christmas experience and celebrate the holiday season.

Samples of seasonal refreshments will be provided!

The event will be held on Friday, 18th December 2015 in the iSpace, Information School at 12:30 – 13.30 and we will be asking for a small donation for entry with the proceeds going to buy food for a Sheffield food bank.

Book your place here

Thursday, 10 December 2015

The Information School Society presents Christmas: A beginner's Guide

On Friday 18 December the Information School Society presents 
Christmas: A beginner’s guide
Are you curious about the traditions of Christmas in the UK and around the world?
What is the significance of Christmas?
What are the key tastes and sounds of Christmas?

This event brings together iSchool students and staff to discover more about the Christmas experience and celebrate the holiday season.

Samples of seasonal refreshments will be provided!

This event will be held in the iSpace in Information School at 12:30 – 13.30 and we will be asking for a small donation for entry with the proceeds going to buy food for a Sheffield food bank.

Book your place here

Tuesday, 8 December 2015

Congratulations to the Izzy Savage who has been shortlisted for the Best Student Placement Award

Congratulations to Izzy Savage, BSc Informatics with Employment Experience, who has been shortlisted for Best Student Placement Award in the 2016 National Undergraduate Employability Student Awards following a placement year as Technical Specialist at IBM in 2014/15. This is a fantastic achievement.

"This Award celebrates the amazing contribution that students make to businesses across the UK and abroad. Our finalists have made a genuine, measurable impact to their business whilst on placement."

Izzy was involved in a number of technical and client facing projects at IBM including:
  • Demonstrating the capability of IBM’s Analytical tools to several clients including a leading UK supermarket
  • Successfully developing and demonstrating ‘art of the possible’ applications to allow clients to easily understand how IBM can solve some of their industry pain points
  • Creating an asset for client executives within the Banking and Insurance industry that aids in creating new discussions with clients
  • Creating internal education videos for IBM Industry Technical Leaders for Retail, to inform those within the industry
  • Leadership in the delivery of a three day technical Interconnect event in Madrid.
The award ceremony is February 12th, 2016. Good luck Izzy!

Pamela McKinney explores student conceptions of group work in drawing the group

Pamela McKinney of the Information School has undertaken a project, which explores student’s perceptions of group work and how they work with each other in formally assessed, and casual group work situations. In order to research this complex topic Pamela adopted the “Draw and Write” methodology first designed by Jenna Hartel from the University of Toronto to investigate student conceptions of information.

Students from across the Information School were asked to create a drawing on a square piece of paper (10cm x 10cm) called an ‘isquare’ that describes or shows their conception of a phenomena, in this case their experience of group work.  They were then asked to write a brief description on the other side of the isquare of what their drawing represents.  This unusual data collection methodology led to the creation of rich qualitative data that gave an interesting insight into what students think about group work.  This builds on Pamela’s research analysing student’s reflective writing about their experiences of working in a group.

More information on the project and analysis can be found here. The findings from the project will be reported at the 2016 University of Sheffield Learning and Teaching conference on 7 January 2016 and the SURE showcase event in February 2016.   

Monday, 30 November 2015

Article on climate change co-authored by Dimitrinka Atanasova published in Public Understanding of Science

An article co-authored by Dr Dimitrinka Atanasova, Information School and Dr Giuseppe Veltri, University of Leicester, has been published in Public Understanding of Science. Their article ‘Climate change onTwitter: Content, media ecology and information sharing behaviour’ studied the content, use of sources and information sharing in over 60,000 tweets using automatic thematic analysis, semantic network analysis and text classification. 
Findings about a major role still being played by traditional media come amid increasing media coverage of the United Nations climate conference COP21 taking place in Paris from 30 November until 11 December 2015.

Thursday, 26 November 2015

A Shared Space and a Space for Sharing: Online Health Forums

Professor Peter Bath and Melanie Lovatt from the Information School with Dr Julie Ellis have co-created A Shared Space and a Space for Sharing: Online Health Forums & Digital Exclusion blog in partnership with the Tinder Foundation.

The blog was created following a round-table event held on 10 November 2015 between Peter, Melanie and Julie and the Tinder Foundation to discuss research findings from their collaborative A Shared Space and a Space for Sharing project.

The ongoing study investigates how and why people choose to use online forums to find and share information that helps them deal with difficult circumstances, including long-term health conditions. The event was designed to find out how Tinder Foundation and its local and national partners could promote the use of online health forums among digitally excluded people.

The blog can also be accessed from the Tinder Foundation website.

Article by Professor Paul Clough published in India's Deccan Herald newspaper

An article by Professor Paul Clough of the Information School has been published in today's edition of India's Deccan Herald newspaper.

Paul's article 'Data Scientists are need of the hour' explains the growing field of Data Science and the organisational need for people who have the skills to manage, analyse, interpret and communicate data, in order to extract insight and value.

The Information School Society Presents Internet's Own Boy

Join the Information School Society for a showing of the brilliant documentary film that charts the tragedy of an information activist.

This free event will be held in the iSpace, 4:00-5:30pm today, Thursday 26 November 2015.

Wednesday, 25 November 2015

PhD Research - Scholarship Applications Open

The Information School is the leading department of it's kind in the UK, with an international reputation.  We have consistently received the highest rating for our research in the regular Research Assessment Exercises (RAE) undertaken by the UK Higher Education Funding Council. 

We have a vibrant research culture with regular seminars by staff, students and distinguished guests from around the world. There are currently over 70 students from all over the world carrying out research degrees with the Information School.

Find our more about the University's University and Doctoral Academy Scholarships for 2016 and how to apply to the Information School.

Stephen Pinfield to Speak at Baeredygtig Open Access Conference

On 3 December 2015 Dr Stephen Pinfield will speak at the Baeredygtig Open Access Conference, Copenghagen. Stephen will present research carried out with Professor Peter Bath and Jennifer Salter on their work on open access for both a UUK report and other research

Professor Paul Clough and Dr Gianluca Demartini to provide tutorials at the 2015 Search Solutions event

On 25 November 2015 Professor Paul Clough and Dr Gianluca Demartini will provide tutorials at the annual Search Solutions event, London.

The event is organised by the British Computer Society and details of the tutorials can be found here.

Tuesday, 24 November 2015

Research by Dr Briony Birdi reported in the Sheffield Star

Research by Dr Anna Barton  and Dr Briony Birdi exploring the city’s public library services has been reported in the Sheffield Star.  Postcards asking one question, ‘What does your library mean to you?', were distributed to libraries across the city as part of the project between researchers at The University of Sheffield, the Our Favourite Places guide to Sheffield and the city’s library users.

Further information on the project website can be found here.

Dr Jorge Martins co-chairs mini-track at the Americas Conference on Information Systems

Dr Jorge Martins at the Information School is currently serving as a co-chair of a mini-track on 'Usage of Simulations, Educational Games and Gamification in Education' at the Americas Conference on Information Systems, which will take place in San Diego, 13-16 August 2016. The mini-track is part of the track 'IS in Education, IS Curriculum, Education and Teaching Cases (SIGED)'.

Simulations and games have existed even before the introduction of computers. However, the potentials and drawbacks of using them in education are still not fully understood. The research performed in the field is also complex, the complexities being related to simulations/game/gamification activity design or the complex social and cultural context in which they are used. The purpose of this mini track is to advance research, and to provide a forum that will allow a deeper understanding and knowledge sharing about the relevant issues, opportunities and solutions pertaining to the the usage of simulations, educational games and gamification. It provides an opportunity for educators and researchers engaged to exchange ideas about their experiences and outcomes obtained from integrating serious games, simulations, and gamification in educational settings.

Monday, 23 November 2015

Staff Changes at School

There have been several changes to staffing within the School during 2015.

Firstly, we are delighted to welcome the following new staff.

Dr Christopher Foster has joined as Lecturer in ICT and Innovation. Chris was previously a researcher at the Oxford Internet Institute, University of Oxford, and his work focuses on the impact of digital technologies and information flows on innovation within organisations. With a background in engineering, IT innovation and R&D, Chris will mainly be contributing to teaching on the Information Systems and Information Management degrees.

Dr Paul Reilly is Senior Lecturer in Social Media and Digital Society and joins us from his previous posiiton as Deputy Director of Research, Department of Media and Communication at the University of Leicester. Paul has a particular interests in the study of online political communication and how social media is used to promote better community relations in divided societies, and he is the author of Framing the Troubles Online: Northern Irish Groups and Website Strategy and work package leader on two EU projects: CascEff and IMPROVER. Paul will be contributing to the teaching of research methods as well as developing a elective module in the area of social media.

Dr Xin Zhao has joined as International Teaching Associate. Xin (also known as "Skye") will be taking a leading role in supporting home and international students including academic, language, pastoral and careers support. Skye has recently been awarded both PhD and MA in Education from the University of Bath.

Harriet Godfrey-Holmes, has joined as Departmental Manager having previously undertaken a number of administrative roles in different departments across the University. Her last role was as Research Manager at the Management School, University of Sheffield.

Teresa Smith has joined as Marketing and External Relations Officer. Teresa was previously a Senior Marketing Officer at Sheffield Hallam University.

Natasja Mycock has joined as Admissions Assistant. Natasja joins us following a career in retail management including running her own business.

We have also said goodbye to several staff: Dr Barbara Sen has recently retired. More details on the contributions Barbara has made to the School can be found here. Dr Robert Villa has returned to Scotland to take up a post at EDINA, Edinburgh University. EDINA is a JISC Centre for Digital Expertise and Online Service Delivery. Peter Rosenberg has retired from the position as Departmental Manager, Rachel Hayes has taken up the role of Student Recruitment Support Manager in the Faculty of Social Sciences and Chris Shaw retired from her position as Admissions Assistant at the start of the year.

Dr Robert Villa left the University on 20 November 2015. Since joining us in May 2010 Robert made a significant contribution to the School and the MSc Digital Library Management Masters degree, Business Management, Business Management and Informatics, Accounting and Financial Management and Informatics degrees.

Tuesday, 17 November 2015

Dr Alex Peng Shortlisted for the Ernest Davies Award

Congratulations to Dr Alex Peng who has been shortlisted for the Ernest Davies Award for Advancing Parking Knowledge.  This is an industrial award provided by the British Parking Association (BPA).  

This shortlisting decision was made based on Alex's news article on London's smart parking service. The results reported in this article were in turn derived from Alex's smart city project funded by the University's IIKE Early Career Researcher Scheme.

Alex will be attending the BPA Member Dinner on 3 December 2015 where the final winner of this year's award will be announced.