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Showing posts from February, 2015

Dr Farida Vis hosts at Future Everything

On Friday 27 February Dr Farida Vis, Faculty Research Fellow based in the Information School, will host a session at the Future Everything Conference in Manchester.

The What Now For...The Weird and Wonderful session will celebrate the weird and wonderful aspects of the internet through a series of talks, stories and Q&As.  The session takes place between 14:00 and 16:10 in Manchester Town Hall.

More information about this leading arts, technology and cultural conference can be found on the Future Everything website.

The Importance of Digital Literacy in Primary School Children

Following the recent publication of 'Make or Break: the UK's Digital Future' by the House of Lords Select Committee on Digital Skills, Information School PhD Student Sophie Rutter blogs about her PhD which explores primary school children's internet search tasks and the skills that they need to carry out these tasks.

A recent report published by the House of Lords Select Committee on Digital Skills calls for digital literacy, as well as numeracy and literacy, to be taught as a core skills in both primary and secondary schools as “digital skills are now necessary life skills”.  However, the report also highlights a lack of teacher training and guidance in how to deliver these necessary skills.

For my PhD I am looking at the different types of internet search tasks that primary children do for their school work, and the types of skills that children need to conduct these tasks.  To date my study findings indicate that two types of search tasks are given to primary school…

Research Seminar: Critical Knowledge Sharing Skills of Project Managers in the Chinese Construction Industry

Information School PhD student Shuyang Li will present a research seminar on Tuesday 24 February on 'Critical Knowledge Sharing Skills of Project Managers in the Chinese Construction Industry: A Case Study'.

Appropriate knowledge sharing is key for modern organisations to retain competitive advantage. In the construction industry, successful delivery of a project requires project managers from three individual groups (namely the investor, design institute and contracted construction company), to develop and apply appropriate knowledge sharing skills to share their knowledge effectively. In this context, this study aims to identify the knowledge sharing skills required by construction project managers in their professional practices. The outcome is expected to be a contextually-grounded, comprehensive framework of project managers’ knowledge sharing skills, enhanced with a systematic analysis of potential enablers and barriers. This research will contribute to the theoretical u…

Research Seminar: Can Learning Analytics Inform MOOC Design?

Join us on Monday 2 March when Graduate Intern Naomi Colhoun will present a seminar on Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) design.
The presentation will share the results of an MSc dissertation study completed in September 2014. Based on the University of Birmingham's "Good Brain, Bad Brain: Drug Origins" FutureLearn MOOC, this exploratory research employed learning analytics techniques to investigate the extent to which observed learner participation in the course reflected the pedagogical aims of the course designers. 
The potential usefulness of learning analytics in informing MOOC design was evaluated, as was the effectiveness of the analysis techniques themselves. The mixed methods approach combined automated thematic text analysis, social network analysis and descriptive statistical analysis with the 'teacher voice'™ often missing from MOOC literature. Framing the study are the deeper debates around both MOOC pedagogy and learning analytics.
The seminar take…

Developing Your Visualisation Literacy: A Workshop for Non-Experts

The Digital Society Network will host a workshop on visualisation literacy on Monday 23 March, 14:00 to 16:00 in the ICOSS conference room at the University of Sheffield.  The aim of the workshop is to develop attendees' visualisation literacy.

Data visualisations are increasingly ubiquitous. They’re used to communicate data to decision-makers, in journalism to communicate important news stories, and increasingly, to communicate research findings in the humanities and social sciences, fields not historically dominated by large datasets or their visualisations. The growing ubiquity of data visualisations requires researchers in these fields to develop their ability to make sense of them.  In other words, to develop their visualisation literacy. This can seem like a difficult task for people not accustomed to analysing the visual, statistical and mathematical at the same time.

This two-hour workshop is targeted at humanities and social science researchers who are not experts in data…

Dr Jonathan Foster is Partner on WUN Data Diplomacy Project

Dr Jonathan Foster of the Information School is the University of Sheffield partner on a Worldwide University Network (WUN) Project on 'Data Diplomacy: Political and Social Dimensions of Data Collection and Sharing'.

The project is led by the University of Rochester and is part of a WUN Global Challenge on Understanding Cultures and Global Health.  The University of Auckland, University of Bristol, and the University of Western Australia are also involved in the project.

Data Diplomacy is an emerging construct that integrates concepts from data science, technology, and computing, with social science, international relations, and diplomatic negotiation.  In some cases it offers a new diplomatic tool that facilitates global relationships. Equally, questions surrounding burgeoning data creation and data sharing provide areas of tension in this new space for example issues related to privacy, security, free expression, and regulation - as well as variances particular to national a…

Award of historical Twitter prize from Texifter for PhD Student

Well done to Wasim Ahmed, Information School PhD student, who has won a historical Twitter prize from Texifter to receive Enterprise access to DiscoverText for three months, and Sifter credit for up to three historical Twitter days up to 200,000 tweets. Wasim was one of five winners, and the only one from the UK, the other winners coming from the US and France. More information is available on the Textifer blog.

Wasim's PhD focuses on 'Pandemics and epidemics: User reactions on social media and Web 2.0 platforms'. He is being supervised by Professor Peter Bath and Dr Farida Vis. 

The Information School already has very good relationships with both Texifter and Discover Text through Farida and her work. Stuart Shulman, CEO of Texifter visited the School last year at Farida's invitation and gave a seminar on accessing Twitter data.

Public librarianship research is dead in the water – isn’t it?

In this blog post, Dr Briony Birdi argues for the relevance of research into public librarianship, despite the widespread closures of public libraries in the UK.

A few months ago in a brief conversation about the state of research in the LIS sector, someone informed me that [public] libraries – and, by association, any research into them – were ‘dead in the water’. Given that I have spent most of the past fifteen years trying to develop a body of research which focuses almost exclusively on aspects of public librarianship, I did not feel hugely encouraged by this comment. In response, I did what any self-respecting individual would do: I sulked, and moaned about it. And then I went back to my work.

But did this person have a point? Am I – to use a second mortality-related idiom – flogging a dead horse, having stayed for so long within this area of research? After all, I can hardly argue that papers reporting the findings of public librarianship research dominate the peer-reviewed jour…

Who links to Wikipedia?

Dr Gianluca Demartini, Lecturer in Data Science at the Information School, has conducted research into the structure of links that point to Wikipedia pages from external websites.  The analysis specifically looked at which top-level domains dominate the link volume for each Wikipedia language.

The project's key findings included the English Wikipedia being the most popular Wikipedia according to the number of links that it receives from external websites and websites under contributing many links to Wikipedia.

Full details of the research can be found on the Wikimedia blog.