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.

Thursday, 13 July 2017

Professor Peter Willett awarded honorary membership of MGMS

We are delighted to say that Professor Peter Willett has been awarded honorary membership of the Molecular Graphics and Modelling Society (MGMS), an international society for the application of computer techniques for the discovery of novel drugs.

Honorary membership is bestowed on people who have made an excellent and lasting contribution to the MGMS's area of science, with Peter's award reflecting his significant contributions to the development of chemoinformatics over the last forty years. There are 8 current honorary members,one of whom, Martin Karplus, is a Nobel Prize winner!

Wednesday, 12 July 2017

Prof Paul Clough interviewed for Machine Minds podcast

Earlier this month, Professor Paul Clough was interviewed on the first episode of Machine Minds, a podcast about the influence of technology in modern life.

The episode, entitled 'Search Engine and Bias', looked at bias in search engines and Paul's input was based on work he undertook with Dr Jo Bates from the Information School and Jahna Otterbacher from Open University Cyprus.

You can listen to the podcast here.

Tuesday, 11 July 2017

LISM student cycling London to Sheffield for Sheffield Hospitals Charity

Current MA Library and Information Services Management student Billie Coxhead is cycling from London to Sheffield to raise money for Sheffield Hospitals Charity, along with her friend Gracey Power. The three day ride begins tomorrow, Wednesday 12th July.

The Sheffield Princess Royal Spinal Unit looked after Billie's brother Keir after a car crash, so the funds from this trip are both a thank you to them and a help in continuing this work for others.

You can read about Billie's ride and cause, as well as donate money, on her JustGiving page here.

Webber and Elmore present at #i3rgu : Critical Information Behaviour and Information Sharing

At the i3 (information interactions and impact) conference held in Aberdeen, Scotland, there were two presentations from the iSchool. Sheila Webber presented a paper coauthored with Professor Nigel Ford, Dr Andrew Madden and Mary Crowder, reporting on quantitative findings from a project funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) on Deep critical Information Behaviour. The paper was entitled Mapping the development of critical information behaviour through school and university and the slides are at
Jessica Elmore, who had ealier received the Mark Hepworth Award for Best paper at i3, presented on Information sharing in the ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages) classroom: a case study. Sheila Webber (who co-supervises Jessica's PhD with Dr Peter Stordy) liveblogged her talk at

Friday, 7 July 2017

International project to tackle risk, crisis, disaster and development management

Researchers from the Universities of Sheffield (Dr Paul Reilly from the Information School) and Leicester, in collaboration with Kansai University in Japan, have received a prestigious funding award from Kansai University in order to develop a Future Leader programme for disaster risk management.

In attendance at the project launch(from Left): Dr Paul Reilly, Professor Peter Jackson, Dr Nibedita Ray-Bennett, Dr Hideyuki Shiroshita, Professor Kenji Koshiyama, Dr John Atibila, Dr Kaori Kitagawa and Mrs Denise Corsel.
This collaborative research project will capture feedback from educators, governmental and non-governmental organisations, United Nations and students who have completed university courses relating to risk, crisis, disaster and development management to develop a bespoke programme for practitioners in Japan and the UK.

You can read more about the project in this press release.

Tuesday, 4 July 2017

Dr Giuliana Tiripelli to present book about peace in the Middle East at British Society of Criminology

Research Associate Dr Giuliana Tiripelli is attending the British Society of Criminology annual conference at Sheffield Hallam University between 4-7 July 2017.

Dr Tiripelli will be presenting her book Media and Peace in the Middle East as part of a panel entitled 'Compromise after Conflict: The role of political prisoners in Northern Ireland, (re)presenting peace and the transformations of resistance'.