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Showing posts from 2016

The Digital Transformation of the Public Sphere - book co-edited by Dr Elisa Serafinelli published by Palgrave

Bringing together contributions from the fields of sociology, media and cultural studies, arts, politics, science and technology studies, political communication theory and popular culture studies, this volume engages both with theoretical debates and detailed empirical studies, showcasing how the public sphere is transformed by digital media, and in turn how this digital public sphere shapes and is shaped by debates surrounding crisis, conflict, migration and culture. Case studies from Bulgaria, Nigeria, China, Greece, Italy, Cyprus, UK, Mexico and India are discussed in detail.

Our research associate Dr Elisa Serafinelli co-edited this book, which can be found here:
Reviews: all direct requests for review copies and will ensure that interested publications receive a copy (either electronic access or a print review copy, depending on their preference). If a review venue contacts you directly for…

Chris Foster presents in UN/ADB event "Trade and the digital economy"

Last week Dr Chris Foster was an invited presenter at the workshop "Trade and the digital economy" in Bangkok, Thailand, organised by UN agencies UNESCAP/UNCTAD and the Asian Development Bank Institute (ADBI)

He presented a paper entitled "Value chains and the challenges of connectivity" which explores the growth on digital connectivity in the global South, and how this might be changing firm relationships. This presentation particularly drew on research examining the impacts of digital technologies in small and medium enterprise in East Africa.

This workshop highlights a growing interest on the role of digital technologies to transforming trade. In the ASEAN region, there is growing use of digital ICT and e-commerce within firms, including many smaller firms. But, it is not yet clear the best directions for policy makers and governments to support these innovations to drive wider economic growth. This workshop was a first step to exploring such questions.

Professor Paul Clough tutorial at Search Solutions event

Search Solutions is the BCS Information Retrieval Specialist Group's annual event focused on practitioner issues in the arena of search and information retrieval. The tutorials for this year's event took place on Tuesday 29th November.
Several experts from across the field delivered practical training courses on issues in information retrieval, and our academic Professor Paul Clough presented a session in the afternoon along with Martin White of Intranet Focus Ltd.
Their session was entitled 'Enterprise search evaluation - good practice in action', and offered attendees the chance to learn about enhancing search evaluation in an enterprise context.
You can read more details about Paul and Martin's session here, and the programme of the whole day here.

PhD student Wasim Ahmed presents at industry event at Media City, Salford

Wasim Ahmed, PhD researcher, at the Information School, recently delivered a workshop titled “insights into social media” at Media City, Salford, which is the home to the BBC and ITV. The workshop was a part of the Creative Entrepreneur event, which aims to foster collaboration between academia and industry, and which was attended by over 500 delegates.

The workshop focused on how it is possible to gather customer insights from social media using Social Network Analysis (SNA), and data analytics. The workshop was very well attended with delegates from academia, the media, and industry

Wasim’s talk also touched on some of the ethical challenges of social media data, and why it is important for academics and those within industry to respect the privacy of social media users. The event was organised by Salford Business School, at the University of Salford, Manchester.

Dr Andrew Cox in South Africa

It is always exciting to be invited to speak at a conference, especially when it is on a continent you have never visited! This month I was fortunate enough to have the chance to talk at the Stellenbosch University 14th Annual Library Symposium in South Africa. 
Stellenbosch is a very beautiful town in the hills above Cape Town, famous for its vineyards.
The programme of talks was amazingly good and stimulating. It was framed around OCLC’s report Shaping the academic library of the future: adapt, empower, partner, engage. You can see the programme and download slides here: This includes a recorded video link to a fascinating presentation by Lorcan Dempsey, from OCLC. 
I was particularly impressed by the way that the first and last keynotes were drawn from beyond the library sector to discuss how we can respond to the challenges of a rapidly changing world.  Altogether, it was a very forward-looking event.
I pre…

Call for papers: Library Trends

Information and the body The study of information behaviour[1] has traditionally focussed on documentary sources of information and to some degree information that is shared through interaction. Such an emphasis reflects the origins of the whole field  in the study of information behaviours of users of libraries and other institutions that provide access to encoded forms of knowledge. Yet the centrality of embodied experience in all aspects of human life makes the relative neglect of the body in information behaviour studies surprising and potentially problematic, as a number of authors have suggested (Cox, Griffin and Hartel, in press; Lueg 2014, 2015; Lloyd 2009,2010,2014; Olsson, 2010, 2016). This special issue of Library Trends on “Information and the Body” seeks to bring together researchers interested in embodied information, including how we receive information through the senses and the way the body is used as a sign that can be interpreted by others.
Several intersecting re…

Dr Briony Birdi featured in second Engaged Learning book 'Facing Outwards'

This week, the second edition of the University's Engaged Learning book, 'Facing Outwards', was made available, and it features a piece by our own lecturer Dr Briony Birdi entitled 'The problems of scale: five reasons why small is beautiful, too'.

Led by Professor Brendan Stone of the School of English, the publication follows on from a 2015 book and contains articles from people across the University, as well as external contributors, relcting on the ideas of 'engaged learning'. Themes in the book include social accountability in universities and researching inequality and the book also shows case studies of particular new projects.

A PDF of the book can be downloaded here.

Dr Paul Reilly published on LSE British Politics and Policy blog

Senior Lecturer in Social Media and the Digital Society Dr Paul Reilly has written an article for the LSE British Politics and Policy blog, which examines how social media was used to share footage of alleged Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) brutality against loyalists in Northern Ireland. This post highlights some of the findings from Paul's British Academy funded project ‘YouTube, sousveillance and the policing of union flag protests in Northern Ireland, British Academy’ (Grant reference: SG132416). It can be accessed here.

Full-Time Research Associate wanted for FP7-funded project

Dr Paul Reilly is looking for a full-time Research Associate to join the EC FP7-funded project ‘CascEff: Modelling of dependencies and cascading effects for emergency management in crisis situations’.
The position is fixed term for 7 months beginning in January, and the closing date for applications is 1st December 2016.
View the job advert and apply here:

For any queries, contact Paul directly at

Dr Briony Birdi awarded faculty prize for Outstanding Practice in Learning and Teaching

Dr. Briony Birdi was awarded a Faculty of Social Science prize for, "Outstanding Practice in Learning and Teaching" on Tuesday, 18th October. Presented by Professor Paul Latreille, Deputy Pro-Vice Chancellor for Learning and Teaching, the nomination read, "Briony is an outstanding, inspiring teacher who is highly respected by both staff and students. She consistently attracts glowing comments in student module evaluations and motivates students to produce exemplary work. Briony’s commitment and determination to provide the highest quality teaching interventions enthuses her colleagues. Her conviction to providing meaningful opportunities for 'engaged learning' underpins Briony's teaching and facilitation of co-curriculum activities that develop students' interpersonal skills, empathy and cultural awareness."

In response to receiving this award, Briony had this to say: 'I'm so pleased to have been given this award, and I want to thank all th…

'Space for Sharing' photographic exhibition launched today in Winter Gardens

As part of the ESRC Festival of Social Science, a new exhibition will be displayed in Sheffield Winter Gardens from Monday 31 October to Friday 11 November exploring empathy and trust in a digital world.

This powerful exhibition features images by the photographer Anton Want and findings from the 'Space for Sharing' project to illustrate how people share information online when they are in extreme circumstances, such as terminal illnesses and natural disasters.

All are welcome.

Festival of Social Sciences:

More about the project can be found here:

The 'A Shared Space and A Space for Sharing' project is one of several funded through the EMoTICON network, which is funded through the following cross-council programmes:

- Partnership for Conflict, Crime and Security Research (led by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC)
- Connected Communities (led by the Arts & Humanities Research Council (A…

Webber, Batool, Tramantza presented at European Conference on Information Literacy in Prague

There was a strong presence from the iSchool at the European Conference on Information Literacy, which took place in Prague, Czech Republic, October 10-13 2016. Sheila Webber presented a paper on Information Literacy, Threshold Concepts and Disciplinarity with Bill Johnston (University of Strathclyde, Scotland) and chaired and presented in a panel session Radical, Critical? Exploring discourse around information literacy, with fellow panelists Professor Annemaree Lloyd (Swedish School of Library and Information Science, University of Borås, Sweden), Dr Ola Pilerot (Swedish School of Library and Information Science) and Bill Johnston (University of Strathclyde). In the Doctoral Forum, Evanthia Tramantza presented her ongoing PhD research into the information literacy of engineering students and Webber (who supervises both PhD students) presented on behalf of Syeda Hina Batool, whose completed PhD research is on information literacy of primary school children in Lahore, Pakistan.

Dr Jorge Martins Leading on Maker's Lives in Focus, 24 October 2016.

Dr Jorge Martins, Lecturer in Organisational Informatics at the Information School, will be leading on the Maker's Lives in Focus event in collaboration with Artist Patrick Murphy (Made North).

Makers’ Lives in Focus, part of Sheffield Design Week, addresses wider societal questions such as:
How can creatives/designers and academics become more involved in developing ideas that put people and community at the heart of old industrial regions’ rejuvenation?What would a city look like that empowers artists, academics, firms and communities to work together in developing urban futures? The event will be held in Lecture Theatre 9, Arts Tower, 12:00 - 1:00pm on Monday, 24 October 2016.
The event is free and you can register here.

Professor Stephen Pinfield Speaking at the STM Frankfurt Conference 2016

Professor Stephen Pinfield is speaking at the Association of STM Publishers conference Frankfurt, Tuesday 18 October 2016.
Professor Pinfield's presentation 'Open Access mega journals and the future of scholarly publishing' will provide an update on the AHRC funded research project investigating mega-journals and the future of scholarly communication. 

Further information on the STM Frankfurt Conference can be found here.

Professor Stephen Pinfield published in Times Higher Education online

Stephen Pinfield, Professor of Information Services Management, has been published in the Times Higher Education online. His article 'Mega-journals: the future, a stepping stone to it or a leap into the abyss?' discusses the future of the open access mega-journal.

The full article can be accessed on the Times Higher Education online website here.

Professor Pinfield is currently the principal investigator on an AHRC-funded project investigating mega-journals and the future of scholarly communication. Further details on the open access mega journals and the future of scholarly communication project can be found here.

PhD student Wasim Ahmed delivers social media talk at NSMNSS event

Wasim Ahmed delivered a talk on Social Network Analysis with NodeXL at an event organised by the New Social Media New Social Science (NSMNSS) network alongside the Social Research Association (SRA). The event was attended across sections with delegates from industry, academia, and government. Wasim’s talk also touched on how researchers could analyse social media data aggregately using NodeXL, in an offline setting, in order to upload the anonymity of social media users. Wasim has provided guidance to University research ethics committees across the UK, and Europe.

Organisations in attendance ranged from Pulsar, Which?, London Sport, Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), the Home Office, and Surrey Police among others. The event was also attended by academics from over 10 institutions across the United Kingdom.  

 A copy of the slides from Wasim’s talk can be found here.

PhD Student Seminar: Alcohol online support groups: the role of discussion forums in constructing users’ understanding of their illness/problem

Sally Sanger
21st October 2016 at 2pm, Information School, RC-231
Title: Alcohol online support groups: the role of discussion forums in constructing users’ understanding of their illness/problem

Abstract Problem drinking remains a major issue for UK and other societies, affecting individuals, families and communities. Face-to-face support groups, such as Alcoholics Anonymous, can play a large role in helping individuals recover – yet their online counterparts are under-researched and under-used by the NHS. This study aims to analyse and explore the different ways in which online alcohol support groups can contribute to users’ acquisition and development  of beliefs about problem drinking – what it is, what causes it and how it should be dealt with. The research will analyse user postings in online forums and carry out in-depth semi-structured interviews with users to identify the range of methods (including use of story) employed to achieve these ends. As most research has been carried o…

PhD Student Seminar: Incorporating prediction error estimates in the evaluation of QSAR models

Christina Maria Founti

21st October 2016 at 10am, Information School, RC-231

Title: Incorporating prediction error estimates in the evaluation of QSAR models

Abstract: Quantitative Structure-Activity Relationship (QSAR) modelling is a widely accepted, non-testing method for generating data in the chemical industries. Limitations of the method are well understood and often require skillful assessment of the accuracy and reliability of models. However, standard measures of model quality are only based on accuracy. This project investigates methods for QSAR model evaluation that account for reliability by incorporating measurement error in collected data and the estimated error of predictions. The literature review focuses on QSAR methods implementing physicochemical and topological features of molecules, supervised machine learning algorithms and main approaches for obtaining prediction error estimates. Benchmark results of a preliminary modelling experiment are reported and assessed using…

PhD student Wasim Ahmed delivers talk to High Storrs School

Inaugural Lecture of Professor Stephen Pinfield

Professor ​Stephen Pinfield will give his inaugural lecture, ‘Open Access in Theory and Practice' on the 9th November 2016, 5pm in the Diamond, Lecture Theatre ​5 (Basement), 32 Leavygreave Road, Sheffield S3 7RD.​

Open access is becoming an increasingly important part of the research communication environment. Governments, funders, institutions and others are coming to expect researchers to make their publications available in an open access form. This lecture will take a look at the latest developments in the field of open access, including ongoing policy development, changing business and funding models, differing disciplinary responses, increasing market complexity, and the shifting roles of different stakeholders (researchers, publishers, librarians, managers and the general public). It will also consider possible futures for open access in the context of the wider ‘Open Science’ movement. In particular, the role and the value of theory in enabling greater understanding of t…

PhD Student Wasim Ahmed published on LSE Impact blog

Information School PhD student Wasim Ahmed has published an article based on a conference paper looking at the benefits of Twitter in teaching. The post  has been ranked among the most popular posts this week. Both the conference paper and blog post have been co-authored with Sergej Lugovic, Senior Lecturer at the Zagreb University of Applied Sciences. The LSE blog post can be read here.

Doing digital media research over time and across platforms: Lessons from studies of YouTube, Twitter and games culture

Professor Jean Burgess, Director of the Digital Media Research Centre (DMRC) at Queensland University of Technology, Australia

Thursday 29 September 2016, 4.30pm – 5.45pm, Lecture Theatre 2, The Diamond (followed by drinks reception)

Contemporary digital media and communication scholars use methods that both critically interrogate the digital media technologies or platforms that mediate cultural participation and public communication and are grounded in the digital traces that such activities leave behind. Because of this dual focus on sociotechnical critique and digital methods, the sociocultural aspects and technologies of both media and methods have significantly and productively transformed each other. But there remain significant challenges, not least among which are the difficulties of studying public communication and cultural participation across platforms and the challenges of engaging with the ways that ephemeral and proprietary digital media platforms change over ti…

Rose Hubbard awarded BIALL Professional Studies Bursary to study at the Information School

Congratulations to Rose Hubbard who has been awarded a Professional Studies Bursary from BIALL (British and Irish Association of Law Librarians) to study on the MA Library and Information Services Management course.

Further information on BIALL bursaries can be found on the BIALL website.

Online Friendships and Sharing in People living with Serious Health Conditions: A Powerful Play and Informal Discussion -Saturday 24 September 2016

You are warmly invited to attend this Saturday's Festival of the Mind event concerned with highlighting the experiences of people with serious health conditions and the support and friendship that can be found in online forums.Our aims are to: Raise awareness of the benefits and risks of online forums for people with serious health conditionsTo bring to life the human stories of people experiencing serious health conditions who develop friendships in the virtual world To explore how trust and empathy develops within the online worldThe play explores the experiences of women living with breast cancer in a unique on-off performance.The script is based on the findings of research that analysed threads on the Breast Cancer Care online forum and interviews with forum users.This event is a collaboration between the Space for Sharing research project and the Dead Earnest theatre company.
There will be an informal discussion afterwards to talk about online sharing, led by Professor Peter B…