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Sheffield MSc Data Science – Industry Event

Tuesday 4th December 2018 was the date of our annual ‘industry day’ event organised for students on the MSc Data Science programme. The event invites speakers from various sectors in industry to share their experiences with utilising machine learning, AI and data science for applications within their domain. This year speakers from 6 organisations presented at the event:

· Billy Blythe, Head of Data Science, Department of Work and Pensions (DWP)

· Leanne Fitzpatrick, Head of Data, Hello Soda

· Lauren Rodgers, Data Scientist, and Tom Liptrot, Head of Data Science, Peak.ai

· Lisa Clark, Data Scientist, Virgin Media Business (VMB)

· Ben Chamberlain, Head of Machine Learning, AOS.com

· Hayden Sansum, Senior Data Scientist, Ministry of Justice (MoJ)

Speakers discussed various topics such as the challenges, benefits and technologies involved in utilising data-driven analytical methods; current technological trends; and what role data scientists p…

'Skills for the future academic library' - a student's view on the CILIP briefing by Rhiannon Williams

On the 28th of November I had the opportunity to attend the CILIP briefing on ‘Skills for the future
academic library’ through a bursary from the Information School and CILIP. The event saw library practitioners and researchers present their findings and experiences of academic libraries, with a focus on what skills and developments they foresaw as particularly important for the future.

The day began with Stephen Pinfield’s presentation on the 2017 SCONUL report on ​‘Mapping the Future of Academic Libraries’​ by Stephen Pinfield, Andrew Cox and Sophie Rutter. This presentation introduced the concept of expanding our understanding of skills beyond traditional hard and soft skills, adding ethics and values, mindsets, and contextual knowledge as useful types of skills for LIS professionals to consider.

Values and mindsets
As the professional landscape changes, LIS professionals require not only different skills, but changes in mindsets.
Regina Everitt from the University of East London presen…

The intelligent library - new paper published on AI in academic libraries

Our new paper explores the potential impact of Artificial Intelligence on academic libraries. Innovations such as Siri and the driverless car have brought public attention to the potential of the latest developments in computing power, combining machine learning and big data.

AI brings with it both exciting opportunities and risks to privacy, equality and employment. But until now the implications of AI for academic libraries have been relatively little explored.

Using data from interviews with library directors, library commentators and commentators outside the library world, the new paper, The intelligent library: Thought leaders’ views on the likely impact of artificial intelligence on academic libraries(open-access version available)explores the potential implications of AI for the academic library.

We try to capture how interviewees thought AI would impact on academic libraries and from this reveal eleven issues that will define the paradigm of the "intelligent library&quo…

Training librarians for our schools – Dr Briony Birdi

There has been talk in the professional press recently of school librarianship, and the importance of preparing future generations of librarians to work in our school libraries. There can be little doubt as to the importance of library provision in schools, but as concerns mount about the public funding for both education and libraries at large, it easy to see why this is a hot topic.

At the Information School in Sheffield (as at many other library and information departments), we are committed to providing Masters level education for both those working in school libraries and wishing to move into the field after graduating. We currently offer two Masters programmes with an emphasis on librarianship: the MA Librarianship, which is delivered here in Sheffield, and the MA Library and Information Services Management which is a distance learning programme. Both of these programmes include library services for children and young people (in school and public libraries) as elective modules.

Dr Paul Reilly publishes new chapter on social media and paramilitary style assaults in Northern Ireland

Senior Lecturer Dr Paul Reilly is pleased to report that his chapter written with Faith Gordon, ‘Digital weapons in a post-conflict society’, has been published in ‘Anti-Social Media', a volume edited by John Mair, Richard Tait and Tor Clark.

A copy of the chapter can be downloaded here.

The Information School Celebrates #GlobalMILweek #infolit

24th-31st October is Global Media and Information Literacy week, the initiative sponsored by UNESCO. The iSchool is celebrating with a number activities that demonstrate its engagement with this field.

We have organised three webinars, free and open to all:
2pm-2.30 pm UK time (which is 10-10.30am US EST) Tuesday 30th Oct. Dr Laura Sbaffi  (Information School) presents her research on What makes us trust online information? The perspective of health information. Join the webinar (via Adobe Connect) at https://sheffield.adobeconnect.com/globalmilweek2 Enter as a "guest". You may need to download the free Adobe Connect application, so please allow a few minutes for that.

2pm-2.30 pm (which is 10-10.30am US EST) Wednesday 31st Oct. Sheila Webber (Information School) and Stephen Wyber (IFLA Manager, Policy and Advocacy.) will give their  Impressions of Global MIL Week feature conference. Join the webinar at https://sheffield.adobeconnect.com/globalmilweek3. As noted below, She…

iSchool staff attend launch of new H2020 project

Dr Jo Bates and Professor Paul Clough from the Information School attended the launch of the new H2020 funded CyCAT (Cyprus Centre for Algorithmic Transparency) project in Nicosia 8-9 October 2018.


Jo and Paul are investigators on CyCAT, a project hosted by the Open University of Cyprus (OUC), which aims to educate and raise awareness of ways in which data analytics and algorithmic processes can affect people's access to and interactions with information. The project will help promote digital literacy around algorithmic bias, transparency and fairness, a topic gaining considerable attention and media attention.

The CyCAT project started 1st October 2018 and will run for 3 years. OUC is the lead partner of the project with additional contributions coming from The University of Sheffield , the University of Haifa , the University of Trento (Università degli Studi di Trento), and The University of Edinburgh.

Down Mexico Way - Dr Andrew Cox's visit to Mexico City

It is always exciting to see a former PhD student again and find out more about what they are doing now, so it was amazing to be able to visit Mexico City and say hello again to Gibrán Rivera Gonzalez who gained his PhD at the Information School in 2013. He is now a lecturer at Instituto Politécnico Nacional, one of the top universities in Mexico. The picture below is of a seminar I gave on the need for qualitative research in the age of big data and AI.


Together we also went to the Entre Pares conference, in Pueblo, organised by CONRICYT (The National Consortium of Scientific and Technological Information Resources). The conference aims to promote scholarly communication in academic communities across Mexico. This year’s event had an impressive programme of presentations on a wide variety of information science topics. There was a track on Research Data Management, reflecting the increasing interest in this topic in the country.


It was good to be able to share some UK experiences aro…

PhD student Gianmarco Ghiandoni wins best poster at UK QSAR Autumn Meeting

Congratulations to Gianmarco Ghiandoni, PhD student in the Chemoinformatics Research Group, who recently won the Best Student Poster prize at the UK QSAR (Quantitative Structure-Activity Relationship) Autumn 2018 Meeting, which took place at Lady Margaret Conference Centre, Oxford University, on September 26th.

Gianmarco's poster was entitled 'Fingerprint-based recommendation Models in Reaction-driven Drug Design'. The prize gives Gianmarco the opportunity to convert his poster to a 30 minute talk which he will give at the next UK QSAR meeting on 4th April 2019 in Cambridge.


Gianmarco's PhD research is on the topic of reaction-based molecular design, supervised by Professor Val Gillet of the Information School and Professor Beining Chen from the Department of Chemistry. You can find out more about his research here.

Dr Paul Reilly article published in The Conversation UK

Senior Lecturer Dr Paul Reilly and Research Associate Dr. Ioanna Tantanasi have published an article entitled ‘Social media’s not all bad- it’s saving lives in disaster zones‘ for the Conversation UK last week. The piece draws on their CascEff and IMPROVER work on social media and crisis communication.

Thanks to Stephen Harris for his editorial support and the invitation to comment on this issue.

Visiting Scholar – Josephine Nabukenya

Professor Josephine Nabukenya, Chair of Health Informatics in the Department of Information Systems, School of Computing and Information Sciences at Makerere University, Uganda, has paid a five-day visit to the Information School as a guest of Dr Laura Sbaffi and Dr Pamela Abbott, representing the Health Informatics and Information Systems Research Groups, respectively. Josephine’s visit follows on from a five-day research visit made by Drs Sbaffi and Abbott to Makerere University in April to establish research collaborations, which were initiated between Professor Nabukenya and Professor Peter Bath, Chair of Health Informatics and Head of the Information School.


While visiting the School, Josephine met researchers mainly in the Health Informatics and Information Systems research groups and presented a seminar on “Transforming Uganda’s Healthcare and Ecosystem Using Health Informatics Research”; details of the seminar are here. She also spent time exploring current research interests…

Paper co-authored by Wasim Ahmed, Peter Bath and Laura Sbaffi presented at major social media conference

The 9th International Conference on Social Media and Society was held earlier this month in Copenhagen, Denmark.

Dr Wasim Ahmed, recent Information School PhD graduate (now assistant Professor at Northumbria University) presented his PhD work at the conference and his trip was funded by the Information School. The paper Moral Panic through the Lens of Twitter: An Analysis of Infectious Disease Outbreaks was co-authored by Head of School and Professor of Health Informatics Peter Bath, and Dr Laura Sbaffi.


You can access the paper here.


CILIP Conference 2018: Highlights by Data Science student He Liu

It has been a while since my trip to the CILIP Conference in Brighton, and I believe this is the moment for me to express my experiences about this journey.  Firstly, I would like to thank the Information School of the University of Sheffield for providing me this opportunity with a student bursary. It was my great pleasure to attend the CILIP Conference.

This was not my first time attending conference. I was impressed to see so many admirable professionals and their brilliant ideas during the conference. Also, I felt welcome from the first day I arrived in Brighton. There was a city travel event on Tuesday evening before the conference. Even though I was the only student in our group, I made some new friends during the city travel. By the end, we spent a wonderful time enjoying the sunset at the lovely coast. At that moment, I was anticipating the next day’s conference.

No doubt, I couldn’t be more satisfied with my experience. Having the opportunity to be a member of CILIP during my…

CILIP Conference 2018: Highlights by Librarianship student Kathryn Aylward

I was absolutely gutted that I never quite got my application in for the LILAC Conference bursary, so when the opportunity to go to another, even bigger conference came up, I was determined to go – and I am so glad that I did! It was an action-packed two and a half days of fish ‘n’ chips, seagull attacks, fairground rides, and of course, lots of librarian shenanigans.

Of all the sessions I attended over the two-day conference, there are three which really stand out for me. The first was the keynote by the Scottish librarian of the year, Sally Walker, who works as a children’s librarian for Orkney’s public library system. Her passion and enthusiasm for the job were so obvious that you couldn’t help but be swept up in it! Sally has achieved a lot whilst in the post, from introducing Code Clubs and LEGO/Minecraft sessions for the children, to working with disadvantaged families in the area to encourage their participation in library sessions. I came away from her talk feeling so inspired…

CILIP Conference 2018: Spotlight by Information Management student Xindi Jiang

I was very honoured to have the opportunity to attend the 2018 CILIP conference in Brighton with a student bursary from the Information School at the University of Sheffield. The CILIP conference is one of the most important events for the library and information professionals in the UK. As an international student from China, this is not only an opportunity for engagement and communication with library and information professionals, but also a chance to learn more about the history and development of library and information management in the UK. During the conference, I found that the professionals’ discussions and speeches focused on the UK while also focusing on the worldwide library and information field. This made it easy for me to understand the discussions of the professionals.

This was my first time attending the CILIP Conference. What excited me was not only the conference, but also the Information School’s exhibition stand. During the two-day conference, I not only discussed…

CILIP Conference 2018: Highlights by Distance Learning student Katherine Burchell

I was fortunate to win a bursary from the Information School to attend the CILIP Conference held in Brighton. This was my first opportunity at attending a large-scale conference and to meet other likeminded professionals. Not only was it an opportunity to learn about all different topics, it was also a chance for me to meet other iSchool students at the iSchool stand and to also discuss the distance learning course to prospective students. I must say I was surprised at how many people wanted to discuss distance learning, and I am pleased to have been able to chat to them about the work and study balance.



With this being my first conference, I naturally felt nervous about the experience but I was immediately set at ease by how open and welcoming everyone was. This was something that CILIP were very proactive to alleviate and they set up a special “Welcome Zone” for first timers, a place where they could chat to each other, over a game of Connect 4. I had spoken to people online via Twit…

CILIP Conference 2018: Highlights by Distance Learning student Beth Jackson

This year’s CILIP Conference was held in Brighton and I was delighted to be able to represent the University of Sheffield at the Information School stand. This proved to be a really wonderful experience and afforded me plenty of opportunities to speak to current, former and prospective students and to chat with the myriad different information professionals who stopped by the stand throughout the duration of the conference.

The keynote speeches were really interesting and covered topics across different library and information sectors, from GDPR to children’s library services. I particularly enjoyed Penny Young’s talk about the scope of the House of Commons library service. In such a political turbulent time, much of what Penny discussed helped re-humanise MPs in the face of tabloid coverage and really emphasised the need for and use of evidence to inform our elected representatives. The work that the HOC library do is essential and extensive and it was fascinating to hear her experie…

CILIP Conference 2018: Highlights by PhD student Catherine Hoodless

I was fortunate enough to receive one of the Information School’s student bursaries to attend the 2018 CILIP Conference, which this year was held in a very sunny Brighton. This was my first experience of the conference, which is one of the main events for library, knowledge and information professionals in the UK, and it certainly did not disappoint. The programme consisted of a variety of interesting sessions and keynote speakers that showcased some of the important and diverse work being carried out in the sector. Below are just a few of my highlights of the conference:


Penny Young, House of Commons Librarian, opened the conference with a fascinating keynote speech on the history of the Library and how it supports MPs by providing them with the information they require to do their work. Not only did it provide an intriguing insight into the workings and challenges of a Library I knew very little about, it also highlighted the important role information plays in democracy and how all …

Using Linkedin for collaborative knowledge construction

In recent research, Information School alumni Xuguang Li, Senior lecturer Dr. Andrew Cox and Zefeng Wang from Shenzhen Energy Group Co explored a LinkedIn Dell User Group, where users help each other to fix product problems, as a case study in how social network sites can support the construction of knowledge.


They found that the groups users were actively engaged in collaborative construction of knowledge and that a key phase in this knowledge construction took place in discussions categorised as “proposing a new idea”. The research also found that the collaboration was supported by the ways that the LinkedIn platform enables one-to-one interaction. In the group there was frequent usage of the technical symbol @ to communicate with particular members about testing their idea, to ask focused questions and more.

The authors argue that the visibility of the users’ identity in the group was key to the cooperation and lack of verbal abuse that they saw in the activities on the platform.

‘…

Alessandro Checco & Jo Bates win Best Paper at HCOMP 2018

From Director of Research Professor Paul Clough:

I am delighted to announce that Alessandro Checco and Jo Bates (together with Gianluca Demartini) have won the Best Paper award at the prestigious Human Computation or HCOMP 2018 conference for the following paper:

Checco A, Bates J & Demartini G (2018) All That Glitters is Gold -- An Attack Scheme on Gold Questions in Crowdsourcing. Proceedings of the AAAI Conference on Human Computation and Crowdsourcing. Abstract here; http://eprints.whiterose.ac.uk/130654/

Not only is it a significant achievement to even be accepted at this conference it is an outstanding achievement to be nominated for Best Paper and then to win it is incredible. Alessandro and Gianluca were awarded the prize at HComp 2018.

Alessandro had this to say about the paper and reviews:

"Feedback from chairs was that they really liked the fact we opened a new direction (that is having workers using ML solutions on the employers). We will have the opportunity to su…

Dr Jonathan Foster receives TESS Award

Dr Jonathan Foster, Lecturer in Information Management and Programme Coordinator for the MSc Information Management, recently received his Teaching and Excellence in the Social Sciences (TESS) award from the University's Faceulty of Social Sciences.

'It was wonderful experience to receive the TESS award, in recognition of the Deliberation Day that we hold annually during Induction Week', says Dr Foster. 'The aim of the event is provide an enabling context for new students - many of whom are international - to experience a setting where dialogue and the revision of views - rather than their dogmatic reception - becomes a distinct possibility.'


Dr Foster received his award, along with other colleagues from across the Faculty, at a reception in the ICOSS building at the University. During his acceptance speech he elaborated more on the influences he drew from for the Deliberation Day event. 'I believe that a democratic approach to learning and teaching is needed m…

Rutgers University Summer School Visit

In June, the Information School welcomed visitors from the Rutgers University summer school for library and information management. The summer school involves masters students from Rutgers and other partner universities, who are based in the UK for two weeks at Wroxton College near Oxford. The students are involved in lectures and seminars during their time in the UK involving speakers from this country and other parts of Europe.


The students visited Sheffield for a day and were involved in classes led by Dr Briony Birdi and Professor Stephen Pinfield. Briony led a class on public libraries and Stephen on academic libraries. There were some really excellent discussions, with students contributing based on their knowledge of good practice and the literature.
Students were also given a tour of the Information Commons and the Diamond building at Sheffield as examples of library and learning environments in the UK. Thanks to Helen Dickinson, Information Services Co-ordinator at the Diamon…

Successful seminar series co-organised by PhD student Yuhua Wang

A seminar series on post-PhD career development and opportunities outside of academia was successfully held on Wednesday 6th June. This event was co-organised by Yuhua Wang, a PhD student from Information School, and Youcao Ren, a PhD student from the Landscape Department. The PGR Forum of the Faculty of Social Science funded this event. This event has also received generous help and support from iSchool Society and Campus Capital, with Marc Bonne, president of the Society, chairing the seminars and Itzelle Medina Perea helping during the sessions.

Initiated by Yuhua and Youcao from as early as 2017, this event was designed to offer a variety of information on and insights into the job world outside academia, to help PhD students and graduates make more informed career decisions. Opened by Dr Darcey Gillie, an experienced careers adviser from The Researcher Development Team of the University, the event welcomed PhD students from a variety of departments including the Information Schoo…

PhD student Shuyang Li wins Student Employee of the Year Award

PhD student Shuyang Li recently won a Student Employee of the Year Award at the University's SEOTY awards 2018.

This is a national award, coordinated by the National Association of Student Employment Services (NASES). The award recognises and promotes students who successfully undertake a part-time job alongside their studies and who make an exceptional contribution to their employing organisation.

Shuyang was nominated by the Student Jobshop, part of the Careers Service, as she worked part time as a student ambassador and recently as a part-time researcher at the Careers Service.

"To me, this award means recognition for the work that I have conducted and trust from my employing organisation", says Shuyang. "As an international student, I also feel more confident at the working environment."

Find out more about the awards here.

See the full results listing here.

Professor Peter Willett celebrated at international Chemoinformatics conference

Professor Val Gillet and six other members of the Chemoinformatics Research Group are attending the 11th International Conference on Chemical Structures in Noordwijkerhout, The Netherlands, May 27-31st 2018.


This is the major international conference in the field, with over 200 delegates from more than 20 countries. As usual, the Sheffield Chemoinformatics Group is making a strong contribution to the meeting with one oral presentation (Matt Seddon) and three posters (Antonio de le Vega de Leon, Christina Founti and Gian Marco Ghiandoni). Professor Gillet is on the Scientific Advisory Board and is a member of the Poster Jury.

The final session of the meeting on Chemoinformatics is dedicated to Prof. Peter Willett to celebrate his outstanding contribution to the field over 40 years. Val will chair this session and will open it by presenting some highlights of Peter’s career.