Wednesday, 20 December 2017

Dr Antonio de la Vega de Leon attends SRUK award ceremony

The SRUK (Society of Spanish Researchers in the United Kingdom) is a non-profit organization that aims to support Spanish researchers abroad, foster scientific cooperation between the UK and Spain, and provide a cohesive position of our community to influence science policy. It organizes science outreach events, provides awards and funding for outstanding members of the community, and generates many networking opportunities. I joined as a volunteer at the beginning of the year and I currently serve as secretary of the Yorkshire constituency, which includes Sheffield, York, Hull, Leeds, Bradford and Huddersfield.

I had the pleasure to attend an award ceremony that took place on the 14th of December at the Spanish embassy in London. This was the 2nd SRUK emerging talent award, that recognizes and supports young Spanish researchers that have developed their careers in the United Kingdom. The awardee this year was Xavier Moya, material physicist in the University of Cambridge, for his work finding materials that would make cooling (in ACs and fridges) both more energy efficient and environmentally friendly. The awards was funded through Fundación Banco Santander.

The award ceremony started with short introductions by the Spanish ambassador (Carlos Bastarrache Sagües), the president of Fundación Banco Santander (Antonio Escámez), the head of the award selection committee (Alfonso Martínez-Arias), and the president of SRUK (Estrella Luna-Díez). Then Xavier Moya told us about how he ended up working in material physics, and what he had done at Cambridge, as well as what he planned to do with money from the award. One highlight was his discovery that ammonium sulfate, a very common and cheap fertilizer, provided several orders of magnitude better refrigeration capability than traditional gases. He is currently working with a large European appliance company to design a prototype.

His talk was really well done and entertaining. To better explain his research, he gave everyone a rubber balloon and asked us to place it touching our lips (they are the most sensitive part of our bodies to temperature changes). When the balloon was stretched, we could feel it becoming slightly warmer. This is because the material becomes more organized, releasing a small amount of energy as heat. After a bit of time, we let it go back to normal and could feel it become colder. He also showed a video of this process using thermal imaging to illustrate further the point.

The event finished with some very tasty Spanish nibbles, like tortilla de patata, provided by the embassy. It was a good opportunity to meet many scientists and SRUK members. Although going to London and back on the same day was tough (I was back in Sheffield at 1:30am), it was well worth it.

Dr Antonio de la Vega de Leon

Wednesday, 13 December 2017

UKSG Conference - Report by MA Librarianship student

MA Librarianship student Terry Bassett recently attended the UKSG conference in London. Read on to hear about his experiences.

In November I was lucky enough to be chosen to attend the UKSG conference and forum at the very swanky Grange Tower Bridge Hotel in London. The UKSG is a professional group of librarians, publishers and anyone in-between, who work together to promote better academic communications and collaborative research practices. Their website has details of all the work they do and some of the presentations from the events.

Attending the conference and forum was a very eye-opening experience. My own background is in public libraries so although I’ve had exposure to HE in my undergraduate degree and the first few weeks of my Masters, I was still quite new to a lot of the concepts being discussed. That said at no point did I feel completely out of my depth; the sheer range of topics discussed meant everyone needed to give at least a quick introduction and that went a long way.

If had to pick a talk as my favourite (not an easy task), I would have to say that the Wellcome Trust’s talk by Robert Kiley was of particular interest. His introduction to Open Access was comprehensive but concise, and then proceeded to completely expand my understanding beyond what I’d even imagined - in a really good way. Wellcome’s vision is of a future where not just the journal article but the data behind it, the institution’s data collection policies and so on are also open to scrutiny. As a fledgling grounded theory fan the idea of institutional bias being highlighted as standard and the role of the researcher being presented as part of the research itself is pretty amazing. Exploring the ways in which Open Research (as an umbrella term) is not only more transparent (via open peer review - another bit of my mind blown) but actually faster and cheaper as well was quite compelling. It was contrasted nicely by the look at the obstacles (including researchers’ own concerns about their ability to publish), and also the discussion of where to go from here and how to get there. Overall it was a fascinating presentation in and of itself, but also, I think captured a lot of the overarching themes that other presentations then examined in more detail. These included UCL’s Pro-Vice-Provost Paul Ayris who discussed his university’s Open Science and Citizen Science projects; working to crowd-source data collection and analysis, and teasing at the prospect of an EU-wide shared repository of research data.

On a slightly different note Janet Peters (Director of University Libraries and University Librarian, Cardiff University) and Gareth Owen (Programme Manager, Wales Higher Education Libraries Forum) gave two different perspectives of projects taking place in the same consortium; Wales Higher Education Libraries Forum (WHELF). At the conference Janet Peters discussed the service quality challenges and opportunities that arise from running a library service as part of a consortium, and then at the forum Gareth Owen talked us through the project of implementing a single library management system (LMS) across 9 Universities, 1 National Library, and 30 NHS Wales Libraries. Speaking as someone who has been through a fair few LMS changes covering just one library service at a time, the prospect of that project is scary! But doing it saved money, will lead to ongoing savings and process improvements for years to come, and gave them the purchasing power to insist the both the front- and back-end systems were bilingual - both English and Welsh. A massive win in terms of promoting the continuation of the use of the Welsh language.

It was an amazing experience; a chance to meet people from a wide range of backgrounds who all share a passion for getting researchers to talk to each other and then promoting all the fascinating work that these conversations lead to. Plus, the food was amazing and I got so many free pens!

Terry Bassett

UKSG One-Day Conference: London

UKSG Forum: London

UKSG Annual Review 2016

Tuesday, 12 December 2017

Mapping the future of academic libraries

The ‘Mapping the future of academic libraries’ report commissioned by SCONUL was published on 8 December following a conference in London to discuss its findings. The report was produced by a team from the School: Stephen Pinfield, Andrew Cox and Sophie Rutter.

The report identifies a complex set of interrelated trends impacting on libraries the significance of which is often in the way they combine. In particular, it identifies five nexuses of trends bringing transformational change:

1. ‘Datafied’ scholarship: research increasingly underpinned by large datasets and digital artefacts, involving open, networked, algorithmically-driven systems

2. Connected learning: new pedagogies supported by technology-enabled flexible learning

3. Service-oriented libraries: libraries shifting their strategic emphasis from collections to services

4. Blurred identities: boundaries between professional groups and services being broken down with more collaboration and new skills development

5. Intensified contextual pressures: a myriad of political, economic and other pressures creating demands on HE and libraries

The ways in which libraries are responding to such change, and also the contributions they are making to change, are then discussed, with a set of challenges and opportunities identified. The report then goes on to discuss the need for libraries to position themselves to respond to current challenges and opportunities, proposing a multi-faceted approach to the alignment between the library and its parent institution. The library needs to be a service-provide, partner and leader.

The challenge is to balance the ways in which these different roles are implemented in any given institutional context. A key part of achieving these roles is communication, especially between the library and the institution as a whole. Understandings of its role outside the library are often hazy; libraries need to create and communicate a compelling vision of the current and future library role. At the same time, there is an ongoing need for change in library organisations and a need to forge partnerships, both within the library community (something in which libraries have a strong record) but also beyond (historically, not so strong).

The report proposes that in order to help address current challenges we should question commonly-accepted ‘library mantras’: mantras, such as, ‘the library is a strong brand’ or ‘the library is a trusted partner’, can sometimes get in the way of change, and need to be rethought. A set of new paradigms as ways of thinking about the futures of libraries are proposed, including the computational library, the service-oriented library, the library as digital third space, the globalised library and the boundaryless library.

These have the potential to act as a framework for discussion on library futures going forward.

The report concludes with recommendations for action within academic libraries and for SCONUL and similar agencies.

The report was compiled following mixed-methods research involving: extensive engagement with the literature, a set of semi-structured interviews with an international range of stakeholders, and a survey of UK library staff. As well as producing the report itself, the Sheffield team is now working on peer-reviewed outputs, and engaging in ongoing discussion including workshops and conference presentations.

You can read some of the Twitter engagement about the report here.

Friday, 1 December 2017

Dr Paul Reilly presents paper at ESRC CASCADE-NET seminar

Senior Lecturer Dr Paul Reilly is invited speaker at the ESRC CASCADE-NET Seminar “The role of Civil Society’s agency in governance and contingency planning: citizenship, participation and social learning” today. The seminar, organised by co-Investigator Dr. Martina McGuinness (Management School, University of Sheffield) is held in Inox Dine, Students’ Union Building, University of Sheffield.

Dr Reilly's paper is entitled ‘Social media, citizen empowerment and crisis communication during the 2014 UK Floods’ and draws on his recently completed EC FP7 funded research project CascEff . The slides for my presentation can be found here

Thursday, 30 November 2017

Have you ever thought of doing a PhD?

The University of Sheffield has opened its annual competition for PhD scholarships.

If you have an idea for some high impact research this could be your route to get funding to do a PhD at the Information School.

At the forefront of developments in the information field for more than fifty years, the Information School is a stimulating and exciting place to do your research. We were top in our category for the quality of research environment in the government evaluation of research quality, the REF.

To succeed in the scholarship competition you will need a strong academic track record and a great research idea.

It is recommended that you work with a member of staff in the Information School to develop your proposal to maximise your chances of being successful in the scholarship competition. Our expertise encompasses the range of information work including data science, digital societies, health informatics, information, knowledge & innovation management, information retrieval, information systems and libraries & the information society.

To find a suitable supervisor check our staff list and their research interests:

We also have a list of suggested topics:

To help you with your application we have prepared booklet on writing a proposal:

The final date for submissions to the scholarship competition is 24th January 2018 at 17:00 GMT. The Information School is able to offer additional input on proposals submitted by the 17th January 2018.

Contact us on to find out more and check your eligibility.

Tuesday, 28 November 2017

2nd Relationship Management in HE Libraries Conference, 16th-17th November - Catherine Hoodless

My name is Catherine Hoodless, and I am a first year PhD student in the Information School. After only a month into my PhD studies, the Relationship Management Group for HE Libraries were inviting LIS students and early career professionals to apply for funded places to attend their 2nd Relationship Management Conference at Lancaster University. After looking at the conference programme and realising just how many of the presentations taking place related to my research into the use of functional vs subject teams in HE libraries, I had to apply, and I was delighted to be informed that I had been awarded a place.

This conference is relatively small and new (the first having taken place at the University of Stirling two years earlier) but it had a very friendly atmosphere, was extremely will organised and was crammed with interesting presentations and workshops. The key theme of the conference was set out in the opening session where delegates were asked to discuss and share their challenges and opportunities for effective relationship management. Discussion centred on both the challenges and opportunities brought about by change, whether this is changes to individual roles, routines and processes, collaborative partners, library structures, wider university structures or more overarching changes to the environment in which academic libraries are operating. The presentations and workshops continued with this theme detailing the experiences at different institutions, not just of successful ventures, but, significantly, those that failed too.

Both of the keynote speakers provided highly enjoyable and thought-provoking presentations that got everyone talking. On day one, Dr Ruth Murray-Webster spoke about change management and the importance of understanding change from the perspective of the recipient of change. She argued how resistance to change should not be viewed negatively and avoided, but instead utilised to promote positive change. However, I found one of the most powerful comments she made was that “routine tied to history and identity is much more difficult to break.” This brought about many questions related to how certain routines and practices are tied to the identity of librarians and got me thinking about how this applied to my own research. Then on day two of the conference, Dil Sidhu, Associate Dean at Columbia University, gave a highly engaging and entertaining talking about how to influence and persuade - both key skills for relationship management. I think everyone was shocked when he said that, on average, each of us will have 1,900 messages trying to influence us daily.

Unsurprisingly for a conference that has a focus on relationship management, there was plenty of time to meet and network with a range of library professionals, and I was delighted to find that many people had an interest in my research. Thank you to the organisers and sponsors for the opportunity to attend this conference, I came away brimming with ideas and excited about getting stuck into my PhD.

Hopefully this conference will run again in future, and I would definitely recommend other LIS students to apply for any funded student places that might be available, particularly MA and MSc students, as it will give you a real insight into the growing importance of relationship management in academic libraries and the opportunity to learn from the experiences of lots of dynamic and enthusiastic people working within liaison and relationship management roles.

For more information on the discussions taking place at this conference have a look at #rmlibs on Twitter.

Monday, 20 November 2017

Dr Paul Reilly's CascEff research reported cited by UK Parliament POSTnote

Senior Lecturer Dr Paul Reilly's CascEff research report on the role of social and traditional media in crisis communication has been cited in the UK Parliamentary Office of Science & Technology POSTnote 564: Communicating Risk.

Dr Reilly was also one of several UK academics to be an invited reviewer of this publication. It can be downloaded here.

Thursday, 16 November 2017

Online Information Review Special Calls for Papers

Online Information Review, the international, ISI listed journal edited by Jo Bates, Andrew Cox, Robert Jäschke and Angela Lin from the Information School has just announced three Calls For Papers for Special issues on:

Social Media Mining for Journalism

Lifelogging Behaviour and Practice

Open-access mega-journals: Continuity and innovation in scholarly communication

Dr Jo Bates joins editorial board of Big Data and Society

Information School Lecturer Dr Jo Bates has been invited to join the editorial board of Big Data and Society, the leading journal in the field of data studies.

BD&S is published by SAGE and Dr Bates' term on the board is three years in duration. You can access the journal here.

Wednesday, 15 November 2017

Information School Research Magazine Launch - 'Inform'

My name is Wasim Ahmed, and I am a doctoral student at the Information School. I recently attended the launch of the Information School research magazine Inform. This blog post highlights my key take-homes from the launch of the research magazine.

Information is all around us and due to technological developments information is more readily available at speed. Our research at the Information School focuses on understanding the power of information and how it affects people, organisations, and society.

The new research magazine Inform provides a cross-section of the research within the school, stories about our research, impact, recent successes, facts and figures, research culture and environment, and provides an overview of staff and students within the school.

The event highlighted the international reputation of the department for world-class research. It was wonderful to see the range of multi-disciplinary areas of research which the school undertakes.

The event also recognised the achievements of Professor Emeritus Tom Wilson whom was awarded the ASIS&T award of merit, and Sheila Webber whom was awarded Honorary Fellowship of CILIP.
The research at the department ranges from computer-aided drug discovery, analysing social media, multi-lingual text and image retrieval, information behaviour and literacy, reader development, and scholarly communication.

The school also collaborates both within and outside of the University with disciplines such as: Biology, Chemistry, Computer Science, Education, Engineering, Geography, Health, Sociological Studies, and Journalism. The department also collaborates with industry, charities, public sector organisations, as well as other organisations.

As a doctoral student I was really pleased to see a number of mentions and references to the important role we play within the Information School.

During my studies I have delivered over 35 talks to organisations such as CERN (the European Centre for Nuclear Research), the BSA (British Sociological Association), and NatCen Social Research. I have delivered keynote talks at Boston University College of Communication as well to the Polytechnic of Šibenik. I have also worked with external organisations such as Manchester United FC.

The research culture is such that in the Information School it has acted as a springboard for developing a profile as a researcher.

Tuesday, 14 November 2017

Information School staff and student contribute to new CILIP publication

The library and information association, CILIP, have recently launched a new publication for members of their organisation, entitled 'Information Professional'. Information School lecturers Dr Jo Bates and Paula Goodale and PhD student Penny Andrews are featured in the publication in an article about their research project 'The Secret Life of a Weather Datum'.

The project aimed to pilot a new approach for better understanding and communicating how values and practice influence the transformation of weather data on its journey from production through various contexts of big data reuse.

You can read the article here.

Dr Paul Reilly ESRC Festival event

Last week, Senior Lecturer Dr Paul Reilly, along with Dr Tina McGuiness from the Management School, ran an event for local schools entitled 'Could social media help you during a disaster?', as part of the 2017 ESRC Festival of Social Science. The description of the event was:

Can social media help build disaster resilience in Sheffield? What role, if any, should social media users, and young people in particular, play in efforts to mitigate the effects of these incidents in their communities and help keep themselves and others safe? Recent research has suggested that social media can help emergency services during human made and natural disasters through the ‘push and pull’ of crisis information. The eyewitness perspectives shared by citizens on social media can help first responders build situational awareness and identify those areas most in need of assistance. At the same time, platforms such as Facebook and Twitter can provide emotional and material support to those affected by such incidents. For instance, during the floods in the South-West of England (December 2013-February 2014), citizen-led social media campaigns such as #forageaid helped provide support for affected communities. The latter would also lead a campaign calling on the UK government to dredge local rivers in order to avoid a repeat of these flood events. Twitter hashtags such as #roomformanchester and #wearenotafraid would also be used to provide shelter and express support for those affected by the most recent terrorist attacks in London and Manchester.

The guest speakers at the event were:

Dr Tina McGuinness, University of Sheffield

Alex Mills, South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service

Heather Cottrill & Derek Bell, UK Environment Agency

Tuesday, 7 November 2017

Dr Paul Reilly appointed Associate Editor, Palgrave Communications

Senior Lecturer Dr Paul Reilly has been appointed Associate Editor for Palgrave Communications, a fully open-access, online journal publishing peer-reviewed academic research across the full spectrum of the humanities and social science. Dr Reilly will be working with colleagues within the Editorial Boards for Communication, Film, Culture & Media, and Political Science and International Relations.

Congratulations to Dr Reilly for this new appointment!

Friday, 3 November 2017

Dr Paul Reilly and Dr Elisa Serafinelli presented AESOP guidelines at ECREA 2017

Dr Paul Reilly and Dr Elisa Serafinelli presented the AESOP guidelines at the 5th International Crisis Communication Conference that took place in Lisbon, Portugal between 19-21 October, 2017. The list guidelines for effective crisis communication has been developed within the Horizon 2020 funded EU project IMPROVER.

The paper discussed how critical infrastructure resilience can be enhanced through the communication practices of critical infrastructure operators. In its conclusion,the paper proposed a set of guidelines (AESOP) for critical infrastructure operators to implement in order to increase critical infrastructure resilience through the use of both traditional and digital media.

Thursday, 2 November 2017

JOB POST: Dr Paul Reilly seeks Full-Time Research Associate for IMPROVER project

Senior Lecturer Dr Paul Reilly is currently looking for a full-time Research Associate (fixed term for 22 months, to start as soon as possible with provisional end date of 30 May 2018, and probable extension to 31 August 2018) for the EC Horizon 2020 project IMPROVER: Improved risk evaluation and implementation of resilience concepts to critical infrastructure.’ The closing date for applications is 22 November 2017 and further details on the role can be found here

If you have any questions about the role please contact Paul at:

Tuesday, 31 October 2017

Doctoral Candidate Wasim Ahmed visits Harvard University to meet Information School Alumni

Doctoral student Wasim Ahmed recently visited Harvard University to meet Information School Alumnus Ann Hall who is the Director of Communication at The Graduate School of Arts and Sciences. 

Ann studied at the Information School from 1990 to 1991 graduating with an MSc in Information Studies, where she was a student with our current Head of School, Professor Peter Bath.

Wasim noted that it was a great opportunity to look around the iconic Harvard Campus with a dinner at the famous Grendel’s Den at Harvard Square, and was very grateful for the visit.

Friday, 27 October 2017

Doctoral Candidate Wasim Ahmed delivers keynote talk at Social Media Conference at Boston University College of Communication (USA)

Doctoral student Wasim Ahmed delivered a keynote talk on social media research methods and software at Boston University College of Communication. The event, Making Social Media Data Matter, was run by Professor Jacob Groshek and included talks from world renowned experts who work between the intersection of media and academia.

The event was very well attended from across academia, industry, and government and included members from organisations such as the United Nations. Wasim thanked his family for continued support and noted that the event was at the forefront of academic research methods and social media research tools. Wasim is supervised by Profesor Peter Bath, Dr Laura Sbaffi, and Dr Gianluica Demartini. Wasim is a doctoral student in the Health Informatics Research group

Tuesday, 17 October 2017

Information School Society Launch Event

To celebrate the launch of the iSchool Society, a coffee afternoon was held on the 6th of October in the iSpace. This is the first official Information School society registered with the Students Union. Postgraduate taught and research students had the opportunity to vote for future events and to sign up for membership. One of the key aims is to bring together postgraduate taught and postgraduate research students in take part in inclusive social events.

The committee is formed of four postgraduate research students as followed: Marc Bonne (President), Liliana Garcia (Secretary), Wasim Ahmed (Publicity and Inclusion Officer), and Itzelle Medina (Treasurer). The Information School Society has a Facebook page where you can keep up to dates with events, and a Twitter account which will contain information on any event cancellations or alterations. Membership can be purchased from the website of the society.

Thursday, 12 October 2017

What do professionals supporting bibliometrics need to know?

The first in-depth study of bibliometrics work has identified the key things that professionals need to know to work at different levels of specialism in this area.

It is hoped this will help define training needs and improve recruitment.

View the published research.

View the latest version of the competency model.

The work was by Andrew Cox and Laura Sbaffi, with colleague Sabrina Petersohn, Bergische Universität Wuppertal, Germany and Lizzie Gadd, from Loughborough University. It was commissioned by the lis-Bibliometrics group and funded by Elsevier Research International.

Wednesday, 11 October 2017

Information School Contribution to Information Economy Report

Last week saw the release of the UNCTAD Information Economy Report for 2017. This is a flagship report that is distributed amongst policy makers globally and often sets the agenda for policy around ICT and digital in developing countries. This years' focus is on ‘Digitalization, Trade and Development’. 


Information School lecturer Christopher Foster has been closely involved in this years report, contributing to chapters which explore the practical and policy implications of digitalisation in small firms. This work, which draws on his research examines the current state of digitalisation within small exporting firms and some of the potential gains and challenges related to digital exclusion, platforms and automation. His background paper on the topic "Digitalisation and Trade: What Hope for Lower Income Countries?" is now available.

The wider Information Economy Report provides an extensive outline of the latest thinking on digitalisation including exploring topics such as future automation technologies, online work and a consideration of what jobs and skills are important in this changing economy.

Tuesday, 10 October 2017

Dr Paul Reilly recognised as Dedicated Outstanding Mentor by University of Sheffield

Senior Lecturer Dr Paul Reilly has been recognised by the University of Sheffield's Research and Innovation Service as a Dedicated Outstanding Mentor. His nomination can be read here.

One of Paul's mentees wrote this about his mentoring skills:

“It made me reflect on my options and I feel that now I have agreed formal timelines, I am more likely to action my ambition to be a P.I on a project, sooner. I think it is reasonable to say that I would have applied to be a P.I at some point, but feel the support has really pushed me on, and also helped me realise that there are other options open to me.”

Friday, 6 October 2017

Information School staff visit Bletchley Park

On Friday 31st August 2017, members of the Information School (Dr Ana Vasconcelos, Prof Paul Clough and Dr Simon Wakeling) and Professor David Ellis (Department of Information Studies, University of Aberystwyth) visited Bletchley Park to meet with staff and discuss potential collaborative research activities.

Following an initial discussion about the role of Bletchley Park in WWII – home of the top-secret codebreakers and what is now GCHQ – the visitors were provided with examples of archival materials held at Bletchley, such as the cataloguing system maintained with index cards, examples of intercepted coded messages and synthesised highlights created each day and sent to people such as Winston Churchill. They also toured the site at Bletchley Park, which is a major UK visitor attraction and film location for the Oscar-nominated film “The Imitation Game”. 

Thanks go to Dr David Kenyon (research historian) and Peronel Craddock (Head of Collections and Exhibitions) from Bletchley Park Trust.

Wednesday, 4 October 2017

PhD student and supervisors from the Information School win second prize in Best Paper competition at TPDL'17

David Walsh, a part-time PhD student at the Information School (also works as a Senior Lecturer at Edge Hill University) has won second prize for Best Paper at the International Conference on Theory and Practice of Digital Libraries 2017 (TPDL'17) in Thessaloniki, Greece.

David's paper explored categories of visitor to the National Liverpool Museums website via a large-scale museum user survey in which data on a wide range of user characteristics was collected to provide well founded definitions for the user group's motivations, tasks, engagement, and domain knowledge. The results highlighted that the general public and non-professional users make up the majority of users and allow us to clearly define these two groups. David is supervised by Paul Clough and Jonathan Foster from Sheffield and Mark Hall from Edge Hill.

Walsh D., Hall M., Clough P., Foster J. (2017) The Ghost in the Museum Website: Investigating the General Public’s Interactions with Museum Websites. In: Kamps J., Tsakonas G., Manolopoulos Y., Iliadis L., Karydis I. (eds) Research and Advanced Technology for Digital Libraries. TPDL 2017. Lecture Notes in Computer Science, vol 10450. Springer.

Tuesday, 3 October 2017

PhD student Emily Nunn on her work placement at the British Library

My name is Emily Nunn and I am just starting my third year as a PhD student in the Information School. Over the summer, I completed a one-month placement at the British Library, conducting a piece of research for them on open access to scholarly research outside academia. Financial support for the placement was part of my PhD funding from the White Rose College of the Arts and Humanities (WRoCAH), who provide great opportunities for research students to undertake placements with external organisations.

I found the placement through social media (which is why I would recommend that PhD students give Twitter a try). Torsten Reimer, the Head of Research Services at the British Library, contacted me after seeing information about my doctoral research, and we worked out a placement that would be beneficial to both of us.

The British Library are currently working on exciting new projects to develop their support for open access. As a national library, they have a responsibility to provide access to resources not only to researchers, but to a range of different stakeholders outside the academy (for instance, charities, practitioners, small businesses, citizen researchers and patients). However, we only have limited understanding of how OA might benefit these groups – something I am exploring in my PhD. Therefore, the BL asked me to conduct a series of interviews with members of staff at medical charities, to find out their views on both OA and the British Library itself. 

I was made to feel very welcome by the team at the BL, especially by Torsten and his colleague Matt Hunt, and had a great time whizzing around London on the tube visiting various medical charities. Thanks to all the enthusiastic participants who gave their time (and biscuits) so generously, I ended up with a huge amount of interview data to transcribe, and a lot of new ideas.
I also got the chance to attend a couple of events for PhD and placement students at the BL, including a ‘one minute thesis’ session, which meant that I was kept very busy.

I produced a report with recommendations for how the BL could support OA outside academia, which I hope will help them in their future work in this area. I am pleased to have been invited back in the new year to present my findings to BL staff, and talk to them some more about their projects. The placement really helped me develop my thinking on how to make my PhD research useful to libraries and other organisations, and will make an important contribution to my thesis.

On a less academic note, the staff canteen at the British Library was very good and cheap, and it was lovely being able to spend a month in central London, with so many galleries, theatres and things to do right on my doorstep. I would highly recommend the experience to other research students, especially if you are able to get financial support. 

Monday, 2 October 2017

Dr Elisa Serafinelli to present at 'Ways of Being in the Digital Age' review conference

Research Associate Dr Elisa Serafinelli is due to present her recent paper 'Mobile Mediated Visualities: An Empirical Study of Visual Practices on Instagram', co-authored by Professor Mikko Villi from the University of Jyväskylä, at the 'Ways of Being in the Digital Age' review conference at the University of Liverpool. This conference will close the UK Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) review.

Dr Serafinelli's paper discusses how social platforms and smart mobile devices are affecting individuals’ visual, social and digital practices. In particular, it examines the social exchange of photographs online in order to advance an in-depth reading of contemporary mobile media. In its conclusions, this paper offers a conceptual apparatus that can help to understand the visual hyper-representation of social practices exemplified by the current trend of giving to everything a visual justification.

You can find out more about the conference here.

Friday, 15 September 2017

Professor Emeritus Tom Wilson awarded ASIS&T Award of Merit.

Professor Emeritus of the Information School and leading figure in the information field Tom Wilson has been awarded the ASIS&T (Association for Information Science & Technology) Award of Merit, the Association's highest award, which recognises sustained contributions to the field of information science. The award marks a lifetime of achievements for Professor Wilson, who now joins a list of well-respected figures in information science who have won the award previously.

Asked about winning this prestigious award, Professor Wilson said 'I was very surprised the receive the Award, having been retired since 2000. But, of course, I am delighted to receive it, since there is no higher award in the field.'

Professor Tom D. Wilson has worked in the information field since 1961, holding positions in the public sector, industry, colleges and universities. Following retirement he was awarded title of Professor Emeritus and now Visiting Professor at Leeds University Business School and Senior Professor at the Swedish School of Library and Information Science.

Professor Wilson has made significant contributions to information research, particularly in the areas of information management and information behaviour for over half a century. Professor Wilson has an extensive publications record, with over ninety journal and conference papers: the first recorded in Web of Science, on chain indexing, was published in Library Journal as long ago as 1963 and the most recent, on models of information behaviour, in Information Research last year. His career has thus stretched over more than half-a-century, during which time he has also published almost three-hundred book and software reviews and presented innumerable conference papers around the world. His research has been widely recognised, with the Web of Science recording over 1,800 citations to his publications (and almost 15,000 citations on Google Scholar). He is best known for his work on models of human information behaviour.

In addition to his publications, Professor Wilson has made significant contributions to LIS as the founder and editor of two of the leading journals in the field. In 1980 he founded Social Science Information Studies, which became the International Journal of Information Management in 1985, the change of name reflecting Professor Wilson’s early, and continuing, advocacy of the concept of information management. Then, in 1995, he founded Information Research; an international electronic journal, one of the very first open-access e-journals in LIS and one that he continues to edit to the present day.

Professor Wilson was head of the Department of Information Studies at the University of Sheffield from 1982 to 1997, which in itself is an impressive achievement as the role is typically only undertaken for 4 years. During this time he managed to successfully grow the size of the department and increase student numbers, despite political and economic pressures. Under Professor Wilson’s leadership the department was built up and remains one of the leading information schools in the UK and worldwide. 

Friday, 1 September 2017

PhD student Wasim Ahmed completes work placement at Manchester United

My name is Wasim Ahmed and I am a PhD student at the iSchool, where I also obtained my MSc in 2013. I recently completed a work placement at Manchester United within the analytics department on a social media research project. The collaboration was made possible due to a University of Sheffield scheme known as the Postgraduate Researcher Experience programme. I have been a life-long fan of the club, so I was really happy to have had this opportunity.

I found the placement to be very beneficial for a number of reasons. This is because after spending a number of years working in an academic context, I had not fully considered the intelligence that could be extracted from social media platforms for commercial uses. My academic research, as a result of the internship, has improved and I will now consider potential uses of a research project, as well as the academic insight that can be gained.

As a research student you will develop a number of skills that can be applied in an industry setting, and by undertaking a work experience placement this really becomes apparent. My confidence has really improved in terms of considering careers post-PhD. I think research skills that students will gain from completing a PhD can be applied across a number of industries.

Everyone was really friendly at the club and there was a real team spirit in the office. On the last day of the job, I was given a pair of tickets to Michael Carrick’s testimonial which I thought was a really nice touch. I also had the opportunity to look around Manchester in the evenings, and it is a great city with a lot going on. As a result of my positive experience, I would highly recommend work placements to research students.

Thursday, 31 August 2017

Dr Chris Foster published in SPERI comment blog

Information School lecturer Chris Foster recently published a new post on the SPERI comment blog entitled "The balancing act of Brexit and digital trade"

As the UK leaves the EU it risks a potential ‘digital cliff-edge’. How it navigates its way through global tensions around digital trade rules will orientate the shape of the economy for years to come.

This post is part of his ongoing research looking at cross-border data flows and the political economy of digital trade.

Thursday, 24 August 2017

Dr Paul Reilly interviewed on BBC Radio Leicester about nomophobia

Earlier this week, Dr Paul Reilly was interviewed on BBC Radio Leicester's Jonathan Lampon show about recent research findings on nomophobia.

Nomophobia is anxiety associated with not being able to access and use smartphones, and recent research suggests that it is becoming an increasing problem amongst young people. Dr Reilly spoke about this and also whether or not it affects older smartphone users.

The article which sparked this conversation and references this research was this one from the Daily Mail.

You can listen to Dr Reilly's interview by clicking here and skipping forward to 1:46:40.

Wednesday, 23 August 2017

iConference 2018 Call for Submissions

We invite contributions for iConference 2018, which will take place March 25-28, 2018 at the University of Sheffield. The iConference is presented by the iSchools organisation, a worldwide consortium of information schools dedicated to advancing the information field, and preparing students to meet the information challenges of the 21st Century. Affiliation with the iSchools is not a prerequisite of participation; and we encourage all information scholars and practitioners to take part in this, the thirteenth iSchools conference and the first to be held in the UK. The theme is “Transforming Digital Worlds” and the aim is to bring together thinkers and leaders from academia, industry and not-for-profit organisations, to discuss emerging challenges and potential solutions for information and data management in our rapidly changing world.

The conference is being jointly organised by the iSchools at the University of Sheffield and Northumbria University and will include not only peer-reviewed papers and posters but also workshops and sessions for interaction and engagement. In addition to tracks related to the conference theme, we shall be continuing with the iSchool Best Practices and iSchools and Industry Partnership tracks that were introduced in last year's conference, and early career and next generation researchers can engage in the Doctoral Student Colloquium and the Early Career Colloquium. The submission date for contributions is 18th September 2017.

Full details of the tracks and the submission procedures for contributions are available via the conference website at, and we look forward to seeing you in Sheffield next year.

Monday, 21 August 2017

'Open Access in Theory and Practice' project awarded £182,087 funding from AHRC

Professor of Information Services Management, Stephen Pinfield, along with his Co-Investigator, Professor David Bawden (of City University London), have been awarded £182,097 by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) for the 'Open Access in Theory and Practice' project. The project will investigate the uses of theory in open access research and their relationship with practice. The project will recruit a full-time Research Associate to be based in Sheffield.

"We are delighted to have received this funding from the AHRC”, says Stephen. “We believe our project will make an important contribution to current discussions about open access and also about the relationship between theory and practice – both really important issues with wide implications for the role that academic research can play in society."

The project will start in the first quarter of 2018 and will last for 18 months.

Wednesday, 16 August 2017

Professors Paul Clough and Stephen Pinfield visit CERN

On 13th and 14th July Professor Paul Clough and Professor Stephen Pinfield visited CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research which is located near Geneva.

The visit was to meet with Xiaoli Chen, a PhD student being funded by CERN and supervised by Stephen and Paul, along with Dr Sunje Dallmeier-Tiessen an Information Manager at CERN and working on the INSPIRE digital library that serves the High Energy Physics (HEP) community. Xiaoli’s PhD is investigating how INSPIRE can better support the Open Science practices of the HEP community.

Paul and Stephen’s visit included a visit to the office where Tim Berner’s Lee invented the World Wide Web as well as visiting Geneva and its beautiful city centre. 

Paul and Stephen also gave invited talks to staff at CERN. Paul gave a talk entitled “Competent men and warm women: Gender stereotypes and backlash in image search results” based on a CHI’2017 paper written with Jo Bates from the Information School and Jahna Otterbacher from Open University Cyprus. Stephen gave a presentation entitled “Open-access mega-journals: the future of scholarly communication or academic dumping ground” based on his recent AHRC-funded project on mega-journals. 

Wednesday, 2 August 2017

“Mapping the academic library of the future” - Academic Librarians invited to participate in survey

Academic librarians are being invited to participate in the survey “Mapping the academic library of the future”.

The survey forms part of a research project commissioned by the SCONUL Transformation Group. We are investigating the future academic library for the next 10 to 15 years in the context of the decline in importance of the printed book and its repercussions for use of library space, development of services, and deployment of staff. As part of the project, we have already undertaken interviews with senior library staff and others from education, technology, publishing, estates and heritage sectors, and are now conducting a survey to add to our findings. The results of this research will be used to inform policy and future plans and will be made widely available.

We would like to hear a range of views and are inviting all library staff to complete the survey. Because this research focuses on informing the SCONUL community, responses from the UK and Ireland will be at the centre of our analysis, but international responses are, of course, also of interest to us.

All responses to the survey are anonymous.

The survey should take no more than 20 minutes to complete and will be open until 11 August.

Tuesday, 1 August 2017

Dr Ángel Borrego of University of Barcelona visiting Information School this week

This week Dr Ángel Borrego is visiting the Information School. Ángel is a ​Senior Lecturer in the Department of Library and Information Science at the University of Barcelona. His research interests focus on scholarly communication and research evaluation.

On Thursday he gives a research seminar at 12pm in room 231, entitled 'Scholars’ information behaviour in the electronic environment: attitudes towards searching, publishing and libraries'. You can read the abstract below:

The seminar aims to summarise the results of several studies conducted during the past decade in order to understand the impact of the transition from print to electronic journals on scholars’ information behaviour. The studies have focused on the behaviour of the academics affiliated to the eight public universities that make up the Consortium of Academic Libraries of Catalonia. The presentation combines the results obtained through the analysis of usage statistics provided by publishers, surveys and interviews with scholars, focus groups with librarians and citation analysis.

Monday, 31 July 2017

PhD student co-chairs International Summer School on Social Media Research

Alongside Sergej Lugovic from the Zagreb University of Applied Sciences, PhD student Wasim Ahmed helped run and deliver a 3-day Summer School on social media research in June, which took place in Vodice, Croatia. The summer school connected concepts of Information Theory in relation to social media research, and examined practical methods of obtaining and analysing data.

Wasim delivered the keynote talk titled Theoretical and Practical Foundations of Social Media Research. The event was picked up by a number of local media outlets including Info Vodice, and 100posto. A representative from the local mayor’s office opened the event, and highlighted the benefits of the collaboration. The event was attended by delegates across UK, and European institutions as well as a by a number those from local universities. Wasim noted that the event had been a great success with positive feedback, and was amazed by the impact it had generated.

Friday, 21 July 2017

What do you want from CILIP?

Did you know you have a voice on the CILIP Board of Trustees?

They say you only have a few seconds to grab someones attention, did it work? Are you now intrigued as to how you can have your say? Perhaps you are wondering what CILIP is and why it matters? Well here it goes.

Being a New Professional can be difficult, you've just finished your course (or are about to) and are thinking about how to get on to that professional career ladder. When you need advice, training and a really good job board, you can turn to The Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals (CILIP).

You may have heard about CILIP and been told about the benefits of being a member already. Great! Once you start using the services provided and get involved with what is on offer (remember you get out what you put in), you may want to feedback a few suggestions.

I'd like to encourage you to feed them back to me. My name is Chloe Menown, I am the co-opted New Professional on the Board of Trustees. Our job is to guide the direction of the charitable trust (CILIP), I've only been a Professional Librarian for 3 years so I bring a different view to the highly experienced board. With your help, I can represent New Professionals to my full ability.

If you want to have a chat, make a suggestion or just tell me about your experience with CILIP so far. Please email me at or Tweet me @CMenown

I'm here to bring the New Professional view to the floor, so give me your views to bring.

Blog written by Chloe Menown, CILIP.

Thursday, 20 July 2017

Dr Briony Birdi speaks at Engaged Learning Conference

At the Engaged Learning Conference 2017, hosted by the University of Sheffield 6-7 July 2017, Senior Lecturer Dr Briony Birdi gave a paper on 'Engaged learning and the development of cultural awareness and social responsibility in students', as part of a session on 'Active citizenship and social change'.

It has been argued that universities will become socially irrelevant unless they develop and maintain strong links with the local communities in which they are based, and unless their research is perceived by those communities as related to their real-world concerns. Although many of our degree programmes provide students with a set of vital tools to function effectively within an organisation in a particular field, are we failing to fully equip them with the skills they need to operate effectively within a broader public, societal context? What are these skills, and how can they be developed within a higher education degree programme?

Firstly, Briony made a case for the value of an engaged learning and teaching approach, by presenting key arguments in support of the inclusion of cultural awareness and social responsibility in degree programmes. Secondly, using an approach that has been tested on students on Masters programmes in Library and Information Science, she presented a simple model which has been developed to provide students with an opportunity for reflection, giving them the time and space to apply what they see in the communities outside the classroom, and to start understanding and even modelling that behaviour themselves.

Wednesday, 19 July 2017

CILIP Conference 2017: Highlights by Hannah Beckitt

I was fortunate enough to receive a student bursary from the University of Sheffield to attend the CILIP Conference 2017 in Manchester. As a distance-learner I was excited to finally meet some iSchool staff and fellow students in person! It didn’t disappoint, and I really enjoyed talking to attendees on the iSchool stand, sharing my experiences of managing full-time work with intensive study.

The conference was crammed with interesting keynotes, my favourites were:
  • Dr Carla Hayden (Librarian of Congress) addressed us as her ‘British Peeps’ and described her job interview with Barack Obama. She was passionate about engaging the public with library services, particularly ones that are traditionally research institutions, and heralded the British Library as an example of getting this right. Dr Hayden called upon the younger and older generations of librarians to work together, bridge the gap and benefit from each other’s skillsets. 
  • Luciano Floridi (Professor of Philosophy and Ethics of Information at the University of Oxford) talked about the philosophy of information science and its relationship with ‘power’ in todays’ society. He advocates a more questioning society, and in the game of Q & A, we need a society where more questioning is allowed/ encouraged, but answers don’t always have to be given. We are not there yet. 

My workshop highlights:
  • Terry Kendrick’s popular workshop on quick-win marketing. It is important to know users in depth and not just at a superficial level, there will be different sub-groups within your users and marketing should be targeted accordingly. We need to get into their lives rather than their job – what is going to grab their attention and be worth their time? Marketing is not about telling users things, it is about getting their attention! Relationship building is key, and questionnaires are generally a waste of time. We aren’t good at communicating with various stakeholder groups. We need to prioritise and target specific groups rather than trying to cast our net wide and be available to everyone. 
  • The Breakfast seminar sponsored by Sheffield iSchool was full of lively debate. Helen from the New Library Professionals Network talked about why they set up the network and the views of NLP they have met. In general, I found much of the criticism did not apply to the LISM course at Sheffield and I kept wanting to stand up and shout defiantly! I politely tweeted my indignation instead! 
  • Listening to David McMenemy talking about ‘Our Common Values”, he deliberately raised controversial ethical considerations e.g. Ranganathan’s core values are western-biased; should we use learning analytics in universities to collect data through surveillance of students learning habits?; internet filtering - there was no debate, it just happened, and it is censorship. Apparently CILIP’s Royal Charter is actually very good and we should all read it! 
  • The Information Standard with Jane Fox and Jonathan Berry. (This is different to the ‘Accessible Information Standard’, which is a legal requirement to provide information in different formats if people need it). Organisations can apply to be assessed and awarded the Information Standard. 43-61% of working age adults do not understand the health information that we produce. The Information Standard logo gives confidence to consumers that the information provided is evidence-based, suitable for its audience, and has been through a quality assurance process. Most NHS organisations are following the 6 principles anyway so it shouldn’t be an onerous process to join the scheme. See and for curated resources. 

Thanks to The University of Sheffield iSchool for my bursary. I was able to network with colleagues old and new; be thoroughly inspired; and feel excited about embarking on a career in the library and information profession.

Hannah Beckitt
MA Library and Information Services Management student

CILIP Conference 2017: 'Fostering the Infosphere' - Spotlight by Itzelle Medina Perea

The CILIP Conference 2017 was held last week, in Manchester. This is one of the most important events for the library and information professionals across the UK, it provides a great opportunity for collaboration, debate and networking. This year the programme included interesting sessions on topics such as managing information, literacy and learning and copyright and ethics and the presentation of three keynote speakers: Dr Carla Hayden, Librarian of Congress, Professor Luciano Floridi, and Neil MacInnes, Strategic Lead for Libraries, Galleries and Culture at Manchester City Council. I found the sessions on Information Governance and Ethics very useful as they addressed topics that are relevant for my PhD research. Furthermore, I met some information professionals and students from different backgrounds and was really interesting to share ideas an experiences with them.

One of the highlights of the conference was, without doubt, the keynote delivered by Professor Luciano Floridi: Fostering the Infosphere. In this great session, Floridi discussed the changes that have been provoked by the emergence of digital technology. He also explained how the new environment created by the convergence between the digital and analogue challenge the entire society to re-interpret concepts and practices of daily life. Professor Floridi talked about how power relationships have changed in this new era. From his perspective, questions are today the key to power, not answers, which means that uncertainty is controlled by the questions. For this reason, the role of the library also requires a major transformation: “the role of LIS & libraries in information societies is to counterbalance the power to control/influence people’s behaviour through uncertainty by guaranteeing and facilitating the free and effective formulation of questions”.

This was a powerful message, a call to action, a reminder that information professionals still play a key role in society and that we have a great responsibility.

During these two days of conference the Information School had the opportunity to promote the postgraduate programs offered at the School. The iSchool stand was located in the exhibition area and in addition to attending the sessions of the conference I spent some time at the stand and provided potential students with information about the courses. I shared my experience as an Information School student, talked about the practical skills and theoretical knowledge I acquired during my MA degree and PhD, and the advantages of studying at the University of Sheffield.

Overall this was a great event, well organised and with excellent content. Thank you to the Information School for providing me with a bursary to attend the CILIP Conference 2017.

Itzelle Medina Perea
PhD student

CILIP Conference 2017: 'Syrian New Scots, Libraries and Plenty of Tea' - Highlights by Lucy Sinclair

Last week, I represented the Information School at the annual CILIP conference in Manchester. This was a huge deal for two reasons; it was my first major library conference and as a ‘southerner’, I got the chance to explore a bit more of the north. My first port of call on arrival was to man the Information School stall. This was an excellent opportunity to interact with distance learners and talk about my own experiences on the MA Librarianship course to potential students. I even got the chance to meet someone from the area that I’m moving to; networking has its advantages.

Carla Hayden, Librarian of Congress opened up the conference with an incredible speech on the importance and diversity of the librarian profession. She reminded all of us that ‘Librarians are the original search engines’ and I plan on buying a t-shirt with that phrase asap. The fact that such a superstar librarian applauded library students showed just what an inspiration she is.

Dr Konstantina Martzoukou, a senior lecturer at Robert Gordon University gave a passionate talk about the everyday life information literacy issues that Syrian new Scots face. Practically humming with energy, Dr Martzoukou brought her paper (“Lost in Information? Syrian new Scots Information Literacy Way-finding practices”) to life. The seminar highlighted the difficulty Syrian new Scots faced in finding health information, language barriers. However, it also showed just how much local support was in place to help Syrian new Scots settle within the community. The local public libraries played a huge part in connecting people together, yet these issues need to a increase in awareness beyond the library profession. A video clip at the end of the seminar, showing the devastation in Syria, had me in tears.

This seminar hit me on a much more personal level than just listening to an interesting topic. Through the Information School, I have volunteered with a Sheffield based charity since March. Every Tuesday, I have helped refugees practice their reading and writing skills, a project that has brought me a lot of happiness and the opportunity to work with wonderful people. It’s thanks to the Information School that I’ve had this opportunity and it was heart warming to see other library schools furthering their research in this area.

In an action packed two days, I saw just how the library profession interacts on a global scale. As a soon-to-be new professional, it was incredible to see how much the librarian field impacts on society. I arrived back home brimming with ideas, excited to enter the profession and desperately in need of a lie down on my bed. The only negative thing I can say is that I drank so much tea at the conference; I couldn’t face having my normal morning cuppa the next day.

Lucy Sinclair
MA Librarianship student

CILIP Conference 2017: 'The Possibilities are Endless' - Thoughts by Erica Brown

For the opening keynote of the CILIP conference I was careful to take an aisle seat in the lecture theatre as I knew I would have to leave early for a telephone interview. This had an unexpected benefit.

To my surprise and delight Dr Carla Hayden, Librarian of Congress, was making her way up the steps, chatting with delegates as she went.

When was near me, she called out “Any students here?” My hand went up! She came over and asked me what I was going to do – I told her I had a telephone interview that morning. She smiled warmly and told me “You’ll be fine!” and not to worry about slipping out.

Keynote speakers are supposed to set the tone for the rest of the conference, and Carla Hayden did this in her walk up those lecture theatre steps. Her warmth and supportive attitude were shared by all people I talked with over the two days of the conference.

In my previous career as an academic I have attended many conferences. They are usually a mixed bag – some people are friendly and collegial, some are not; some presentations are lively and engaging, some are not.

At the CILIP conference all the sessions were either practical or inspirational or thought-provoking or all of these at once.

Whilst I value all the practical learning from the conference, I think the most important thing I got out of it was a sense of the sheer range of inspirational work taking place in the library and information sector.

Before attending the conference, I expected to work in a university, because of my academic background. The conference has helped me to think beyond this. To borrow the slogan of Manchester Libraries, I left feeling that “the possibilities are endless”.

I would encourage anyone entering the profession to try and attend the conference. Conferences can be very expensive, so my thanks go to the University of Sheffield Information School for the bursary that enabled me to go.

Erica Brown
MSc Digital Library Management student

CILIP Conference 2017: 'Cognitive Behaviour Therapy for Companies' - Highlights by Jaimee McRoberts

The conference started off with an uplifting keynote speech by Dr. Carla Hayden, the current Librarian of Congress. One of the comments she made towards the start of her talk was that ‘the colleagues you meet now will be with you for the rest of your career’. This resonated strongly with me as the conference proved to be an opportunity to connect, and re-connect, with a number of peers I don’t often get to see. I found myself connecting with professionals from around the country, including current and former work colleagues, fellow students, and those I’ve come across ‘in the profession’, particularly through my volunteer work with CILIP. If these are the peers I will be working with for the rest of my career, then I am truly fortunate as they are all intelligent, motivational, and hard-working!

During the 'Using Data and Information' seminar, Caroline Carruthers raised the interesting concept of data hoarding, saying how we have 'forgotten the value of the information within the data we hold' and how, by holding onto all of it, we have become 'data hoarders'. She suggested 'Cognitive Behaviour Therapy for Companies', which is described in her presentation [See Image]. I recognise this tendency to hoard data within my own actions, with a habit of keeping every single work email I ever receive for fear of losing something important or which I might later need for some unexpected reason. This is something for which I now recognise I require ‘therapy’ for.

Moving ahead, the last seminar I attended at the conference was an incredibly versatile session on ‘Engaging Audiences'. First I had the pleasure of hearing Lucy Crompton-Reid speak on 'Increasing Reach and Access Through Wikimedia', gaining further insight on the growing role of open content on the internet. We were invited to imagine a world where 'every librarian added one more reference to Wikipedia', both supporting the free sharing of knowledge and combating the 'fake news' trend with reputable and factual evidencing practices. Lucy also summarised the role Wikipedia can play in the research process: 'Wikipedia is a starting point for research, not an end point. It is not a source, but a source aggregator.'

The very last session of the day, with Ian Anstice, was my absolute favourite of the whole conference. Ian had an intelligent and viable rebuttal to every single ‘sound bite’ that exists for the continued closure and de-funding of public libraries. Some examples:
  • 'I don't need a public library' -- fine, that's great. But it's there for people who DO need it. 
  • 'Everyone has the internet these days.' Actually, no they don't. 
  • 'My library is grotty.' Yes, some of them are, but that's because they've been underfunded for the last 20-30 years. This is a mark that libraries need investing, not closing.
Throughout, Ian reiterated CILIP’s campaign of ‘My Library By Right’: We need more funding, and real trained staff, to ensure that every citizen has access when and if they need it.

Jaimee McRoberts
MA Library and Information Services Management student

CILIP Conference 2017: 'Starting Out in Your Career' - Spotlight by Louise Wasson

Despite the impressive range of fascinating keynotes and innovative sessions on offer, this Day 1 session instantly appealed to me on first reading the CILIP 2017 programme. Having attended this session I certainly was not disappointed. Delivered by CILIP development officers Juanita Foster Jones and Jo Cornish, and with input from CILIP Assistant Director of Workforce Development Mandy Powell, the session was engaging, informative and practical, with a range of career stage appropriate advice for all participants. My only regret would be that I hadn’t attended this session at a slightly earlier point in my library course. Nevertheless, there was a wealth of advice available on a diverse range of topics and CPD opportunities, as well as several genuine and sincere offers of future help and support post-conference.

The session consisted of three main group activities which involved:
  • a brief SWOT analysis of personal skills and skills gaps 
  • an overview of the CILIP PKSB and the chance to rate your skills against the PKSB 
  • an elevator pitch 

Having previously attended various non-library conferences, I have always found that faces tend to fall, shoulders drop and enthusiasm quickly wanes when on entering the room to a session expected to be delivered in lecture or presentation format, it is revealed that the session is in fact a practical workshop involving participation! However, this was not the case with this session which is testament to the skilled, engaging and accessible delivery used by Juanita Foster Jones and Jo Cornish. The activities facilitated speed networking with those around the table while also allowing each individual to actively reflect on their own practice and skills base with a view to planning their future career path and identifying those areas (which we will all always have) for development.

Information and guidance was also provided on the various routes to professional registration and there was a strong encouragement towards becoming involved with CILIP Special Interest Groups within your sector or area. I found this advice particularly useful as a newly qualified LIS professional with a background in academia and a skills gap around direct management and supervisory experience. Overall, the session was an incredibly useful, memorable and valuable experience which I will draw on in years to come.

My sincere thanks to the University of Sheffield iSchool for their generous Student Bursary and kind hospitality. The opportunity to not only attend my first CILIP conference but also to meet other LIS professionals and course members significantly added to the overall experience. I look forward to remaining an actively engaged CILIP member and attending future conferences in order to make the most of the knowledge and expertise available via this impressive yet welcoming professional network.

Louise Wasson
MA Library and Information Services Management student

Tuesday, 18 July 2017

Wasim Ahmed featured in European Student Chapter of Association for Information Science and Technology Newsletter promoting iConference 2018

PhD student Wasim Ahmed has been featured in the European Student Chapter of Associate for Information Science and Technology which is now in its 10th edition.

Wasim reflected on the 2017 edition of the conference which took place in Wuhan, China and raised awareness of the 2018 conference which takes place in Sheffield March 2018. The link to the full newsletter can be found here. The call for papers for the conference is now open and can be found here.

Friday, 14 July 2017

McKinney, Webber, Holdridge engage with Technology Enhanced Learning #TELfest

Pamela McKinney, Sheila Webber and Peter Holdridge represented the iSchool at Sheffield University's annual celebration of Technology Enhanced Learning: TELfest.  

McKinney and Webber gave a presentation Comparing use of TEL in an on campus class and a distance learning class, reporting on ways in which Technology Enhanced Learning is used in the on-campus and distance versions of the core Information Literacy module. The presentation is available here:
Sheila Webber (one of the educators on the University of Sheffield Exploring Play MOOC) contributed to a panel on Learning Through Play. She talked about Dr Peter Stordy's innovative use of Lego in the Information Organisation module, and about learning playfully in the 3D virtual world, Second Life (including learning through virtual dance!)

Peter Holdridge was a panel member for TEL Frameworks: Encouraging quality or stifling innovation? He was talking about the leading work carried out by the iSchool in researching student preferences to develop a template for iSchool modules in the University's Learning Management System.