Wednesday, 27 March 2019

Professor Stephen Pinfield & Dr Andrew Cox present at RLUK conference

Andrew Cox and Stephen Pinfield presented two pieces of recent work at the RLUK conference on the 22nd of March.

RLUK is the organisation for research libraries in Britain and Ireland. The conference draws a large international audience from research libraries around the world.

The conference presentation explored services to support research data management, based on an international survey of librarians.

The workshop was for delegates to reflect on the potential meaning of artificial intelligence for academic libraries. It was based on the paper: Cox, A.M. , Pinfield, S. and Rutter, S. (2018) The intelligent library: Thought leaders’ views on the likely impact of artificial intelligence on academic libraries. Library Hi Tech. (open access version available here)

A video of Andrew and Stephen's talk can be viewed here.

Thursday, 21 March 2019

QS World University Rankings reaffirm Information School as world-leading

We have reaffirmed our position as a world-leading School for research and teaching in the QS World University Rankings by Subject 2019. We are ranked second in the World, and first in Europe, for Library and Information Management, reflecting our outstanding research and teaching, and following our success in the 2018 World University Rankings.

The Information School has been at the forefront of developments in the information field for more than 50 years and has an international reputation for its high quality teaching and research. It achieved the highest possible grade in every one of the Research Assessment Exercise (RAE) evaluations of research quality in UK universities since these began in 1989, and in 2014 it was the top-rated department for its research environment with a score of 100%. Research in the School fundamentally explores the power of information in the digital world, and examines how people, organisations and society use information to shape and influence our increasingly dynamic and complex world.

The QS World University Rankings by Subject rank the world’s top universities in individual subject areas, covering 48 subjects as of 2019.

Evaluating over 1,200 universities across 78 countries, each of the subject rankings is compiled using insight from over 83,000 academics, over 42,000 employers and 150 million citations from 22 million academic papers.

Overall, the University of Sheffield has been ranked as the 13th best institution in the UK and 75th in the world, a rise from the previous placing of 82nd.

Celebrating #EUmedialiteracyweek at the iSchool: Media and Information Literacy for Informed Citizens

Experts from the iSchool present a free and open 30 minute webinar on Friday March 22nd 2019, 10.00-10.30 UK time (see here for times elsewhere in the world): Media and Information Literacy for Informed Citizens in the Digital Age. They will highlight the value of Media and Information Literacy (MIL) for citizens’ lives, and the contribution that information and library professionals can make to developing MIL. This celebrates the first European Media Literacy week, set up to recognise the societal importance of media literacy and promote media literacy initiatives and projects.
Sheila Webber (Interim Co-Chair of the European Chapter of the Global Alliance for Partnerships in Media and Information Literacy, former Standing Committee member of IFLA's Information Literacy Section and Head of the iSchool's Libraries and Information Society Research Group) will chair the webinar. She'll give her perspective on the European Media Literacy conference held earlier in the week, and introduce UNESCO’s MIL CLICKS campaign (Media and Information Literacy: Critical-thinking, Creativity, Literacy, Intercultural, Citizenship, Knowledge and Sustainability).

Dr Laura Sbaffi, Dr Pamela McKinney and Dr Sophie Rutter will provide insights into the value of MIL in areas such as evaluating health information and monitoring wellbeing through the lifecourse. They will also contribute perspectives gained through educating information and library professionals to support citizens’ MIL.

Anyone can attend! To join, you will need to download the free Adobe Connect app, if you do not already have it installed (you will be prompted to install it, so do this a few minutes before the webinar starts). There is information on how to use Adobe Connect here

At the seminar start time just go to and you will get accepted into the seminar as a guest. A link to the recording will be made available after the session.

There is no requirement to register, but if you want to get reminders and easily insert the event in your calendar, register here
Image: European Commission

Tuesday, 12 March 2019

Professor Paul Clough on Sir Tim Berners-Lee's comments on the 30th anniversary of the World Wide Web

Today, the 12th of March, marks 30 years since Sir Tim Berners-Lee submitted his proposal for the World Wide Web.

In an interview for the BBC, Sir Berners-Lee said that global action is required to tackle the web's 'downward plunge to a dysfunctional future', especially in the wake of events like the Cambridge Analytica data scandal. In an open letter, Sir Berners-Lee also outlined three areas of 'dysfunction' that are harming the web today, encompassing areas like hacking and clickbait.

Our own Professor of Search and Analytics, Paul Clough, had this to say about the anniversary and Berners-Lee's comments:

"There have been numerous cases throughout history where technologies are not used for the purposes they were originally intended [1]. Indeed the underlying infrastructure of the Web - the Internet - was originally a military experiment conducted in the context of the Cold War that now forms the backbone of communications within every industry and underpins the activities of individuals going about their daily lives.

Factors shaping the way in which the intended use of technologies change go far beyond merely technological, to political, ideological, social and economic [2]. The Web is a socio-technical phenomenon; a synergy between technology and people; a living and evolving organism that is created, shaped and used by human interactions.

There is no doubt that the Web has provided many opportunities and provided much good, but is it surprising that it also captures and reflects the brokenness of our world? That the Web needs to be regulated on the one-hand but allow for freedom of speech on the other will likely continue to challenge Tim Berners-Lee and users of the Web more generally in the foreseeable future. "


[2] John Naughton (2016) The evolution of the Internet: from military experiment to General Purpose Technology, Journal of Cyber Policy, 1:1, 5-28, DOI: 10.1080/23738871.2016.1157619

Monday, 11 March 2019

Professor Peter Bath and Dr Sarah Hargreaves published in Parliament's weekly publication

Head of School Professor Peter Bath and Research Associate Dr Sarah Hargreaves recently wrote an article for The House, Parliament's weekly publication which is distributed to every MP and Peer in Westminster.

The House is apolitical and answerable to a cross-Party editorial board. It carries exclusive high profile interviews, unique articles from Parliamentarians and policy information.

Professor Bath and Dr Hargreaves wrote an article about their Space for Sharing project, including their new information sheets and the play that has been developed. The publication was distributed today, 11th March.

You can read this week's issue here, and the Space for Sharing article here.