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Showing posts from January, 2016

Paul Reilly cited by Public Policy Manager Nick Pickles

Dr Paul Reilly was cited in Nick Pickles post 'Amplifying voices of respect and tolerance across Northern Ireland' on 26 January 2016. Nick Pickles referred to a report by Dr Reilly and Orna Young which was commissioned by the Northern Ireland Community Relations Council. Their findings were that “social media provided a ‘safe space’ or distance for individuals and groups to express their views on what may be viewed as emotive issues.” Paul and Orna also highlight the importance of creating opportunities to hear alternative viewpoints and positions that may not be available ‘offline’.

Twitter UK Head of Public Policy cites research led by Dr Paul Reilly

Nick Pickles, Twitter UK Head of Public Policy, referred to the Northern Ireland Community Relations Council funded study 'Social Media, Parades and Protest' led by Dr Paul Reilly during an interview about the microblogging site on BBC Good Morning Ulster last Friday,  22nd January 2016. 
The report. co-authored by independent researcher Dr Orna Young, explored the potential role of social media in providing accurate, real-time information to residents affected by controversial parades and protests.
Dr Reilly was responsible for the collection and analysis of Twitter data in the report. Key findings included: Twitter provided users with an array of information sources courtesy of the citizen and professional journalists who were tweeting their perspectives on events as they unfolded. The latter were more influential in these information flows, primarily due to the high number of retweets for content produced by journalists from BBC NI and UTV; Citizens were quick to c…

Christopher Foster published in new publication: Geographies of Information Inequality in Sub-Saharan Africa

The newest edition of the 'African Technopolitan', a magazine about science, technology and development in Africa, includes an article written by Dr Christopher Foster (iSchool) alongside Mark Graham (OII, Oxford). The piece entitled 'Geographies of Information Inequality in Sub-Saharan Africa' draws on previous empirical research to reflect on what new internet connectivity in the region means for inclusion in the ‘network society.’

The article suggests that connectivity certainly isn’t a sufficient condition for inclusion and equity. Connectivity, rather, tends to be an amplifier: one that often reinforces rather than reduces inequality. We therefore need to move towards deeper critical socio-economic interrogations of the barriers or structures that limit activity and reproduce digital inequality. The categorisations developed in the paper offer an empirically-driven and systematic way to understand these barriers in more detail.

Graham, M., and Foster, C. 2016. Geo…

IMPROVER workshop hosted by Information School

Rémy Bossu, Laura Peterson and Charlotte Farras from the Euro-Med Seismological Centre (pictured alongside the iSchool's Dr Paul Reilly and Dr Dimitrinka Atanasova) visited the University last week as part of the EC Horizon 2020 project IMPROVER. The two day workshop (19-20 January), organised by Work Package leader Dr Paul Reilly, brought together researchers from the University of Sheffield and the EMSC to discuss the role of social media in disaster response.

Both partners are currently working on two deliverables for IMPROVER, which will focus on public expectations of critical infrastructure during disasters and the role of social media in creating early warning systems for people who live in disaster prone areas. These deliverables will be made available on the project website ( later this year.

The workshop also marked Dr Atanasova's last contribution to IMPROVER before she leaves the Information School in February 2016. On behalf of Dr Reilly and…

Modelling suggested to study large-scale evacuation at music festivals in report co-authored by Dr Paul Reilly

Dr Paul Reilly of the Information School has co-authored a report which recommends modelling to study large-scale evacuation at music festivals. The report entitled Modelling large-scale evacuation of music festivals will be published in Case Studies in Fire Safety in May 2016 and is available via Open Access here.

Congratulations to our Graduates and Prize Winners

We would like to offer our warmest congratulations to our latest cohort of postgraduate students on their recent graduation.

On 15 January 2016 the School held a reception before the ceremony, where our Prize Winners were honoured for their outstanding achievements. 

The West Riding Country Library/Annenberg Prize is given for outstanding performance in the field of public librarianship and was awarded to Anya Badock, MA Librarianship.

The Henry Heaney Memorial Prize is awarded for the best dissertation in the field of academic librarianship, and the winner this year was Lucy Woolhouse a student on the MA Librarianship programme. 

The Peak Indicators Prize aims to recognise the achievement of students for their Dissertation within the MSc Data Science programme and was awarded to Justine Nicholls.

The OCLC Prize is awarded for the best dissertation in the field of digital libraries and this year's winner was Giulia Neri. 

The Information School Prizes winners for each programme were:

Lecturer and Senior Lecturer Vacancies

The Information School at the University of Sheffield is recognised nationally and internationally for its world-class research, excellence in teaching, and the achievements of its graduates. It is the leader in its field in the UK, achieving top-ranking positions for research environment and research impact in the Research Excellence Framework 2014 and ranked top in all previous national Research Assessment Exercises. It is a member of the international iSchools organisation, a group of leading cognate schools established to promote the role of the information field in shaping the future of the global information society.

The school is currently investing in three strategic appointments, 2 Lecturer posts and a Senior Lecturer/ Reader post.

Details of the 2 Lecturer posts can be found at The Senior Lecturer/ Reader post details can also be found at

The closing date for all 3 posts is 18 February 2016.

The Information School Society presents New Year Celebration

On Thursday 11 February the Information School Society presents: New Year Celebration This year, to celebrate New Year traditions the Information School Society has chosen a Chinese theme. It’s the year of the Monkey, but the event is international. Let’s share our knowledge about New Year traditions of different cultures, e.g. Chinese, British... from all around world.
•Let’s try some drink and snacks from other cultures.
•Let’s get together and chat after a long break!  

This free event will be held in the iSpace in Information School at 4:30-5:30pm. Book your place on Eventbrite here

Congratulations to our Graduates

We would like to offer our warmest congratulations to our latest cohort of postgraduate students who are graduating today.

The Graduation Live Stream can be viewed on the University's Graduation Homepage here.

Dr Jo Bates published on the LSE Impact Blog

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

Jo's post entitled 'Towards a critical data science - the complicated relationship between data and the democratic project' discusses the use of data science by politicians and policy makers to capture, analyse and respond to the public mood. The post considers how this development may impact on the democratic process and the full post can be viewed on the LSE blog here.

Further discussion on the use of data management in US electoral campaigning can also be found in an article by Senior Lecturer Dr Gianluca Demartini at the Information School. Gianluca's article entitled 'Clinton-Sanders data breach spat goes to the heart of modern campaigning'was recently published in The Conversation.

Visual Social Media Lab report highlighted in Altimeter's Top Digital Trends for 2016

The Iconic Image on Social Media: A Rapid Research Response to the Death of Aylan Kurdi* by the Visual Social Media Lab, @VisSocMedLab, based in the iSchool and directed by Dr Farida Vis, has been quoted in Altimeter's Top Digital Trends for 2016.  Altimeter highlights how the image of Alan Kurdi (originally misidentified as Aylan), a Syrian child of Kurdish origin, reached 20 million screens around the world and conveyed the impact of the refugee crisis in a way that words could never do. The Altimeter report also predicts this emerging 'discipline of interpreting and responding to the visual web' as a key trend for 2016.
The Iconic Image on Social Media report has received international media coverage since it's publication in December 2015, including on BBC Radio 5, BuzzfeedThe Daily MailThe GuardianThe IndependentQuartzThe Next WebCorriere della Sera,Yorkshire Post. More information about report can be found here, and a full copy here.

Melanie Lovatt interviewed about the new Drinking Guidelines on BBC Radio 4.

Melanie Lovatt, Research Associate on the Space for Sharing project to speak on today's Radio 4's "You and Yours" programme to discuss a paper she published last year on people's interpretations of the drinking guidelines. This follows the new guidelines which have been announced today.

The full radio item is available here (and starts at 02:10).

PhD student article published in the LSE Impact blog

Amplified messages: How hashtag activism and Twitter diplomacy converged at #ThisIsACoup – and won, authored by PhD student Wasim Ahmedhas been published in the LSE Impact blog. The post is among the most read this week, and has drawn retweets from the mainstream media, and from local community run organisations such as @HelpSheffield. Wasim noted that the LSE impact is a fantastic platform to share blog posts, one of his previous posts has received over 13 thousand hits.

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'sUniversity and Doctoral Academy Scholarships for 2016 and how to apply to the Information School.

PhD student article published in the MmIT Journal

An article titled ‘Can Twitter data help your research project?’ by PhD student Wasim Ahmedwas recently published by the Multimedia Information & Technology (MmIT) journal. In its 40th year of publication the MmIT has over 3,000 subscribers world-wide, with readership comprised of librarians, teachers, academics, and media and ICT specialists. The article has been very well received by the social media research community, and social data re-sellers. Wasim noted that the MmIT journal has great coverage, with a unique audience and is a fantastic publication to write for.

Information School staff’s book review among most popular posts on LSE Review of Books

At the year’s end, LSE Review of Books announced its ten most popular book reviews for 2015. Among these is a review of Patrick Meier’s ‘Digital Humanitarians’ by Dimitrinka Atanasova from the Information School. Dimitrinka recommends the book to all who wish to make sense of social media and Big Data during crises and disasters. She notes that the book will also appeal to Star Wars fans with its many movie analogies such as the comparison of digital humanitarians with Star Wars Jedi. 

In May 2015 Patrick Meier gave a lab talk at the University of Sheffield co-hosted with The Sheffield Institute for International Development and the Information School’s Digital Society Network. More information on Patrick's lab talk can be found here.

Farida Vis interviewed about The Iconic Image on Social Media Report on BBC Radio Live 5

Dr Farida Vis, (Director, Visual Social Media Lab and Faculty Research Fellow based in the Information School) has been interviewed by BBC Radio 5 Live to discuss The Iconic Image on Social Media: A Rapid Research Response to the Death of Aylan Kurdi* report, which was published in December 2015. 
The report examines the social media activity following the publication of the iconic photograph of three-year old Syrian refugee Alan Kurdi (initially misidentified as ‘Aylan’) whose body was found on Bodrum beach in Turkey, 2 September 2015. The image of Alan’s lifeless body on the beach has become one of the most memorable images of this year, powerfully symbolising the horrors of the refugee crisis.
The report tracks how the image spread on social media, how it triggered a social media storm, as it went viral with 53,000 tweets per hour, appearing on 20m screens around the world in just 12 hours. It also measures the impact the image had on the wider public debate about the status of mig…