Held at the end of March in Sheffield, in collaboration with Northumbria University, the iConference was attended by over 400 delegates from around the world and across the library and information field. This year’s theme focused on ‘Transforming Digital Worlds’ with keynote sessions from eminent figures in the information world including: Dr Lynn Silipigni Connaway (OCLC Research), Dr Susan Dumais, (Microsoft Research) and Professor Luciano Floridi, (Oxford Internet Institute).
“The keynotes were real highlights of the iConference”, says Professor Gillet, Conference Chair and Professor of Chemoinformatics at the Information School. “We had three well-known figures in the field summarising their work and giving their perspectives on different aspects of the information field. The iSchools organisation often talks about the triad of information, technology and people, and we chose keynote speakers to focus on each of those three. They did an excellent job of addressing these different aspects of our field.”
Professor Gillet added that “The response has been really positive” to the 2018 conference. “Lots of people really liked the venue and Sheffield as a place, and there have been lots of positive comments on the organisation and content.”
“It’s been a very positive event for the School, especially within the iSchools organisation”, says Professor Gillet. “It was a great chance to showcase some of our facilities, our work and our PhD students – many of whom acted as volunteers, and did a fantastic job. Sheffield has a great reputation already, but many people hadn’t had a chance to visit before.”
In terms of a running theme thorough the conference, Professor Gillet says that one message she took away was “There is still a lot to do in the information field and it is clear that there is an increasing need to study information science as a discipline. Lots of people think that they know how to handle information, but there are still many societal and technical issues associated with getting the information you need when you need it, and organising and using information effectively, and ethical issues related to information access and use.”
The iConference is organised every year by the iSchools organisation and last year was held in Wuhan, China, in 2019 it will be held at the University of Maryland, Washington DC, US.
You can find out more about the iConference on the iSchools website here and you can find out more about the Information School’s courses here.