Friday, 9 December 2016

Chris Foster presents in UN/ADB event "Trade and the digital economy"

Last week Dr Chris Foster was an invited presenter at the workshop "Trade and the digital economy" in Bangkok, Thailand, organised by UN agencies UNESCAP/UNCTAD and the Asian Development Bank Institute (ADBI)

He presented a paper entitled "Value chains and the challenges of connectivity" which explores the growth on digital connectivity in the global South, and how this might be changing firm relationships. This presentation particularly drew on research examining the impacts of digital technologies in small and medium enterprise in East Africa.

This workshop highlights a growing interest on the role of digital technologies to transforming trade. In the ASEAN region, there is growing use of digital ICT and e-commerce within firms, including many smaller firms. But, it is not yet clear the best directions for policy makers and governments to support these innovations to drive wider economic growth. This workshop was a first step to exploring such questions.

Wednesday, 7 December 2016

Professor Paul Clough tutorial at Search Solutions event

Search Solutions is the BCS Information Retrieval Specialist Group's annual event focused on practitioner issues in the arena of search and information retrieval. The tutorials for this year's event took place on Tuesday 29th November.

Several experts from across the field delivered practical training courses on issues in information retrieval, and our academic Professor Paul Clough presented a session in the afternoon along with Martin White of Intranet Focus Ltd.

Their session was entitled 'Enterprise search evaluation - good practice in action', and offered attendees the chance to learn about enhancing search evaluation in an enterprise context.

You can read more details about Paul and Martin's session here, and the programme of the whole day here.

Monday, 28 November 2016

PhD student Wasim Ahmed presents at industry event at Media City, Salford

Wasim Ahmed, PhD researcher, at the Information School, recently delivered a workshop titled “insights into social media” at Media City, Salford, which is the home to the BBC and ITV. The workshop was a part of the Creative Entrepreneur event, which aims to foster collaboration between academia and industry, and which was attended by over 500 delegates.

The workshop focused on how it is possible to gather customer insights from social media using Social Network Analysis (SNA), and data analytics. The workshop was very well attended with delegates from academia, the media, and industry

Wasim’s talk also touched on some of the ethical challenges of social media data, and why it is important for academics and those within industry to respect the privacy of social media users. The event was organised by Salford Business School, at the University of Salford, Manchester.

Friday, 25 November 2016

Dr Andrew Cox in South Africa

It is always exciting to be invited to speak at a conference, especially when it is on a continent you have never visited! This month I was fortunate enough to have the chance to talk at the Stellenbosch University 14th Annual Library Symposium in South Africa. 

Stellenbosch is a very beautiful town in the hills above Cape Town, famous for its vineyards.

The programme of talks was amazingly good and stimulating. It was framed around OCLC’s report Shaping the academic library of the future: adapt, empower, partner, engage. You can see the programme and download slides here: 
This includes a recorded video link to a fascinating presentation by Lorcan Dempsey, from OCLC. 

I was particularly impressed by the way that the first and last keynotes were drawn from beyond the library sector to discuss how we can respond to the challenges of a rapidly changing world. 
Altogether, it was a very forward-looking event.

I presented a workshop on RDM before the symposium, as well as giving a presentation in the main programme. And of course I just managed to slot in a little sight seeing!

Written by Dr Andrew Cox.

Thursday, 24 November 2016

Call for papers: Library Trends

Information and the body

The study of information behaviour[1] has traditionally focussed on documentary sources of information and to some degree information that is shared through interaction. Such an emphasis reflects the origins of the whole field  in the study of information behaviours of users of libraries and other institutions that provide access to encoded forms of knowledge. Yet the centrality of embodied experience in all aspects of human life makes the relative neglect of the body in information behaviour studies surprising and potentially problematic, as a number of authors have suggested (Cox, Griffin and Hartel, in press; Lueg 2014, 2015; Lloyd 2009,2010,2014; Olsson, 2010, 2016). This special issue of Library Trends on “Information and the Body” seeks to bring together researchers interested in embodied information, including how we receive information through the senses and the way the body is used as a sign that can be interpreted by others.

Several intersecting research developments bring greater attention to embodied information. There are early hints at the importance of this theme in a number of information behaviour studies, for example Bates (2006), Prigoda & McKenzie (2007), and Hartel (2007). An increasing focus on information practices in the field offers a useful starting point for more fully theorising the relationship between information and the body (Lloyd, 2008). There is a growing interest in phenomenological studies of information, which would also be likely to elaborate our understanding of the role of the body in information behaviour.  Other perspectives are important too: For example, Lueg (2014, 2015) has drawn on notions of embodied cognition in his work on the role of the body in information behaviour. Also relevant may be the growing interest in materiality in archive and museum studies, and in the study of reading and internet studies. While emerging from different philosophical roots, these strands of thought seem to be coming together as an important new direction in information research, towards information and the body. In many other disciplines, such as education, history, geography and sociology, the body and materiality have been of central interest for several decades, this should motivate information researchers to catch up.

The need to recognise the importance of the body in information behaviour scholarship may also be prompted further by developments at the level of practice. Heightened interest in the library world in the importance of physical space and its design also implies a concern with the body and the material world. Haptic interfaces that allow the user to interact with a computer in rich sensory ways or self-tracking of bodily functions using apps and wearables, are just two of many trends that signal the end of the myth of disembodied virtuality. Interest in information phenomena within contexts that are centred on the body, such as medicine, sport, music and cooking likewise demand new approaches – and it has already been shown to be relevant in everyday workplace contexts.

As other disciplines have begun to engage with bodily experience a corresponding methodological debate has also occurred (Pink, 2015). This typically points to the value of ethnographic and auto-ethnographic work, as well as arts-based, visual, multimodal, and other sensory methods. Relatively few connections have been made to date between work in information behaviour to these wider methodological developments.

We invite contributions to this special issue that draw on such approaches as practice theory, phenomenology, embodied cognition and sensory studies. We also recognise the importance of critical cultural perspectives and seek a diversity of viewpoints to be represented. Submissions may be theoretical, methodological, or empirical in nature. Mature contributions will be favoured over pilot studies or works in progress. Research drawing on a wide range of methods is welcomed and we will entertain submissions in a variety of novel representational formats


If you are intending to submit an article, or require further guidance regarding topicality or suitability, please contact Andrew Cox (, Jenna Hartel ( or Brian Griffin (, the issue editors.

Final articles should be between 4000 and 10,000 words.

Call for Papers: Fall 2016
Submission deadline for extended abstracts (1000 words): January 1, 2017, with notice of acceptance on January 15.
Submission deadline for accepted papers:  1st June 2017
Publication February 2018 (Vol. 66, No. 3).


Bates, M.J. (2010), “Information behavior”, Encyclopedia of Library and Information Sciences, Vol. 3, pp. 2381–2391.

Cox, A.M., Griffin, B. and Hartel, J. (in press), “What every body knows: Embodied information in serious leisure ” Journal of Documentation.

Hartel, J. (2007), Information Activities, Resources, and Spaces in the Hobby of Gourmet Cooking, PhD Dissertation.

Lloyd, A. (2009), “Informing practice: information experiences of ambulance officers in training and on-road practice”, Journal of Documentation, Vol. 65 No. 3, pp. 396–419.

Lloyd, A. (2010), “Corporeality and practice theory: exploring emerging research agendas for information literacy”, Information Research, Vol. 15 No. 3, pp. 15–3.

Lloyd, A. (2014), “Informed Bodies: Does the Corporeal Experience Matter to Information Literacy Practice?”, in Hilary Hughes, Kate Davis, Christine Bruce, Ian Stoodley and Helen Partridge (Eds.), Information Experience, Vol. 9, Emerald Group Publishing Limited.

Lueg, C.P. (2014), “Characteristics of human perception and their relevance when studying information behavior”, Journal of Documentation, Vol. 70 No. 4, pp. 562–574.

Lueg, C.P. (2015), “The missing link: Information behavior research and its estranged relationship with embodiment”, Journal of the Association for Information Science and Technology, Vol. 66 No. 12, pp. 2704–2707.

Olsson, M. (2016), “Making sense of the past: The embodied information practices of field archaeologists”, Journal of Information Science, Vol. 42 No. 3, pp. 410–419.

Olsson, M.R. (2010), “All the World’s a Stage–the Information Practices and Sense-Making of Theatre Professionals”, Libri, Vol. 60 No. 3, pp. 241–252.

Prigoda, E. and McKenzie, P.J. (2007), “Purls of wisdom: A collectivist study of human information behaviour in a public library knitting group”, Journal of Documentation, Vol. 63 No. 1, pp. 90–114.

[1] For simplicity we continue to use this phrase as the umbrella term, though we recognise the debate surrounding the terms information behaviour, information practice, information experience, information activity, etc.

Friday, 11 November 2016

Dr Briony Birdi featured in second Engaged Learning book 'Facing Outwards'

This week, the second edition of the University's Engaged Learning book, 'Facing Outwards', was made available, and it features a piece by our own lecturer Dr Briony Birdi entitled 'The problems of scale: five reasons why small is beautiful, too'.

Led by Professor Brendan Stone of the School of English, the publication follows on from a 2015 book and contains articles from people across the University, as well as external contributors, relcting on the ideas of 'engaged learning'. Themes in the book include social accountability in universities and researching inequality and the book also shows case studies of particular new projects.

A PDF of the book can be downloaded here.

Thursday, 10 November 2016

Dr Paul Reilly published on LSE British Politics and Policy blog

Senior Lecturer in Social Media and the Digital Society Dr Paul Reilly has written an article for the LSE British Politics and Policy blog, which examines how social media was used to share footage of alleged Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) brutality against loyalists in Northern Ireland. This post highlights some of the findings from Paul's British Academy funded project ‘YouTube, sousveillance and the policing of union flag protests in Northern Ireland, British Academy’ (Grant reference: SG132416). It can be accessed here.

Tuesday, 8 November 2016

Full-Time Research Associate wanted for FP7-funded project

Dr Paul Reilly is looking for a full-time Research Associate to join the EC FP7-funded project ‘CascEff: Modelling of dependencies and cascading effects for emergency management in crisis situations’.

The position is fixed term for 7 months beginning in January, and the closing date for applications is 1st December 2016.

View the job advert and apply here:

For any queries, contact Paul directly at

Thursday, 3 November 2016

Dr Briony Birdi awarded faculty prize for Outstanding Practice in Learning and Teaching

Dr. Briony Birdi was awarded a Faculty of Social Science prize for, "Outstanding Practice in Learning and Teaching" on Tuesday, 18th October. Presented by Professor Paul Latreille, Deputy Pro-Vice Chancellor for Learning and Teaching, the nomination read, "Briony is an outstanding, inspiring teacher who is highly respected by both staff and students. She consistently attracts glowing comments in student module evaluations and motivates students to produce exemplary work. Briony’s commitment and determination to provide the highest quality teaching interventions enthuses her colleagues. Her conviction to providing meaningful opportunities for 'engaged learning' underpins Briony's teaching and facilitation of co-curriculum activities that develop students' interpersonal skills, empathy and cultural awareness."

In response to receiving this award, Briony had this to say: 'I'm so pleased to have been given this award, and I want to thank all the colleagues who have helped me to adapt my teaching approach over the years, and of course all the students who continue to be such excellent participants in the initiatives I develop, many of them entirely voluntarily: I do appreciate the time they have all taken to test my ideas, and to work with me in developing modules that are both interesting and useful for their academic and professional development.'

'It's my view that although classroom teaching alone may give our students the essential grounding they need for their future careers, with a vocational discipline such as Library and Information Science we need to combine the more standard teaching approaches with something more ‘outward-facing’. Because of this I have always tried to adopt an 'engaged' approach to my learning and teaching, to make sure that students are given regular opportunities not only to hear from practitioner experts as a core part of the curriculum, but also to participate in active debate with such experts via e.g. panel discussions during offsite sessions, practical workshops involving practitioner input, and small-scale research projects to solve a ‘real world’ problem.'

Monday, 31 October 2016

'Space for Sharing' photographic exhibition launched today in Winter Gardens

As part of the ESRC Festival of Social Science, a new exhibition will be displayed in Sheffield Winter Gardens from Monday 31 October to Friday 11 November exploring empathy and trust in a digital world.

This powerful exhibition features images by the photographer Anton Want and findings from the 'Space for Sharing' project to illustrate how people share information online when they are in extreme circumstances, such as terminal illnesses and natural disasters.

All are welcome.

Festival of Social Sciences:

More about the project can be found here:

The 'A Shared Space and A Space for Sharing' project is one of several funded through the EMoTICON network, which is funded through the following cross-council programmes:

- Partnership for Conflict, Crime and Security Research (led by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC)
- Connected Communities (led by the Arts & Humanities Research Council (AHRC)
- Digital Economy (led by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC)

in partnership with:

- Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl),
- Centre for the Protection of National Infrastructure (CPNI)

Monday, 24 October 2016

Webber, Batool, Tramantza presented at European Conference on Information Literacy in Prague

There was a strong presence from the iSchool at the European Conference on Information Literacy, which took place in Prague, Czech Republic, October 10-13 2016. Sheila Webber presented a paper on Information Literacy, Threshold Concepts and Disciplinarity with Bill Johnston (University of Strathclyde, Scotland) and chaired and presented in a panel session Radical, Critical? Exploring discourse around information literacy, with fellow panelists Professor Annemaree Lloyd (Swedish School of Library and Information Science, University of BorĂ¥s, Sweden), Dr Ola Pilerot (Swedish School of Library and Information Science) and Bill Johnston (University of Strathclyde). In the Doctoral Forum, Evanthia Tramantza presented her ongoing PhD research into the information literacy of engineering students and Webber (who supervises both PhD students) presented on behalf of Syeda Hina Batool, whose completed PhD research is on information literacy of primary school children in Lahore, Pakistan.

Thursday, 20 October 2016

Dr Jorge Martins Leading on Maker's Lives in Focus, 24 October 2016.

Dr Jorge Martins, Lecturer in Organisational Informatics at the Information School, will be leading on the Maker's Lives in Focus event in collaboration with Artist Patrick Murphy (Made North).

Makers’ Lives in Focus, part of Sheffield Design Week, addresses wider societal questions such as:
  • How can creatives/designers and academics become more involved in developing ideas that put people and community at the heart of old industrial regions’ rejuvenation?
  • What would a city look like that empowers artists, academics, firms and communities to work together in developing urban futures?
The event will be held in Lecture Theatre 9, Arts Tower, 12:00 - 1:00pm on Monday, 24 October 2016.

The event is free and you can register here.

Monday, 17 October 2016

Professor Stephen Pinfield Speaking at the STM Frankfurt Conference 2016

Professor Stephen Pinfield is speaking at the Association of STM Publishers conference Frankfurt, Tuesday 18 October 2016.

Professor Pinfield's presentation 'Open Access mega journals and the future of scholarly publishing' will provide an update on the AHRC funded research project investigating mega-journals and the future of scholarly communication. 

Further information on the STM Frankfurt Conference can be found here.

Professor Stephen Pinfield published in Times Higher Education online

Stephen Pinfield, Professor of Information Services Management, has been published in the Times Higher Education online. His article 'Mega-journals: the future, a stepping stone to it or a leap into the abyss?' discusses the future of the open access mega-journal.

The full article can be accessed on the Times Higher Education online website here.

Professor Pinfield is currently the principal investigator on an AHRC-funded project investigating mega-journals and the future of scholarly communication. Further details on the open access mega journals and the future of scholarly communication project can be found here.

Friday, 14 October 2016

PhD student Wasim Ahmed delivers social media talk at NSMNSS event

Wasim Ahmed delivered a talk on Social Network Analysis with NodeXL at an event organised by the New Social Media New Social Science (NSMNSS) network alongside the Social Research Association (SRA). The event was attended across sections with delegates from industry, academia, and government.
Wasim’s talk also touched on how researchers could analyse social media data aggregately using NodeXL, in an offline setting, in order to upload the anonymity of social media users. Wasim has provided guidance to University research ethics committees across the UK, and Europe. 

Organisations in attendance ranged from Pulsar, Which?, London Sport, Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), the Home Office, and Surrey Police among others. The event was also attended by academics from over 10 institutions across the United Kingdom.  

 A copy of the slides from Wasim’s talk can be found here.