Wednesday, 17 January 2018

Ioanna Tantanasi appointed Research Associate for IMPROVER project

Dr Ioanna Tantanasi has joined the Information School as a Research Associate. She will work with Work Package leader Dr Paul Reilly on the EU Horizon 2020 project 'IMPROVER.' Ioanna will help develop educational resources for the project and will also be responsible for co-authoring peer-reviewed outputs.

We would like to welcome her to the Information School and look forward to working with her over the next nine months.

Monday, 15 January 2018

PhD student’s social media blog post in top 5 most viewed in 2017 on LSE and Political Science Impact Blog


In 2017 the London School of Economics and Political Sciences Impact Blog received a total of 1,412,929 page views. PhD student Wasim Ahmed built on his 2015 post, which was also ranked among the top read, with a follow up post in 2017. The post was titled: Using Twitter as a data source: an overview of social media research tools (updated for 2017). The post was ranked amongst most viewed in 2017 as well as being featured in the round up of top posts about communicating research with social media.

In 2017 Wasim Ahmed represented the Information School at an expert panel at the London School of Economics and Political Sciences (LSE) on the importance of promoting research beyond academia. Wasim Ahmed noted that engaging with blog led to increased page views, citations, and interest inside and outside academia related to Wasim’s PhD.

Friday, 12 January 2018

Interviews with students at graduation

We caught up with some of our talented graduates at our Winter Graduation reception on 10 January to find out how they’ve been getting on since their courses finished.

Priya Mehta
MA Library and Information Services Management

Priya was awarded an Information School prize for best overall performance in modules across the MA Library and Information Services Management (distance learning) programme in 2016/17.

“The skills I’ve learned on the course have helped me for my future career”


“I did my undergraduate degree here as well - I really like Sheffield.

“I studied part time on a distance learning basis for my MA so I’m proud of how I managed to balance everything successfully, like working alongside studying (the MA Library and Information Services Management is geared towards people with information-related practical work experience, so they might already work in the field before starting their course).

“It’s been great because actually, my work experience has helped me with my studies and vice-versa; the skills I’ve learned on the course have helped me for my future career.

“I’m also proud of completing my dissertation because I was doing it via distance learning so I had to do it quite independently, doing all the research and ultimately getting a good mark for it.

“I’d definitely recommend the course, it was actually recommended to me, by a friend who did the full time librarian course.

“I am excited to see what’s out there for me now I’ve got the degree, I’ll just see what opportunities there are really. At the moment I’m thinking I’d like to go into Academic Liaison librarianship.”

Syeda Hina Shahid
PhD Information Studies 

“I am not the person I was before studying here”


“The University of Sheffield and the Information School appealed to me for their high standards; I was drawn to the excellent reputation.

“I feel I am not the person I was before studying here; there’s a big difference in me, personally and professionally. My research skills have improved, my teaching style has improved; It’s been a great three years full of learning.

“I’m already teaching in Pakistan, but I now know more innovative ways to teach my students. I am excited to continue my career with even better research skills, more innovative ideas, to supervise more research. I was doing only teaching before but I will now launch my career as a researcher, and as a supervisor too.”

Aleksandr Koshkarov
MSc Data Science

“Professor Peter Bath inspired me”


“I think the people around you are important, because they can inspire you. Sometimes, when you work in a team, others can help you and transform some of your weaker features.

“I really enjoyed working with my tutor Professor Peter Bath (Professor of Health Informatics, Head of Information School) who helped me choose my dissertation topic and showed me how to make a success of myself. He inspired me and I remember all our meetings.

“Before graduation I knew that I would be working in the area of data science and agriculture. I have now gained a position in Astrakhan state University in Russia as Head of Big Data Laboratory

“Creating a network of professionals in data science has been one of my aims since finishing the course; it’s useful to get opinions from others as some of my classmates work in intelligence, big data and we can all support each other.”

“I’ve learned here how to generate great ideas and implement them. I have kept a notebook of new great ideas i can use in my future job, like presentation skills, working in a team, and I have also developed my creative thinking and design skills - I think my time here (at the Information School) has been a great ‘springboard’ for me in my career to develop.”

Wen Si
MSc Information Management

“I love this school so much!”


Wen Si explains how her time at the Information School has contributed to some positive changes in her life, and helped her secure a job with a Chinese airline group.

“This is very, very good school; I’ve learned how to study, and I now totally understand why we need to study-how valuable it is. And I’ve learned - when I’ve felt down - how to cheer myself up and continue - this year has been very important, it’s changed me and it’s changed a lot of my bad habits! For example previously, I didn't have as much purpose for what I wanted to do, but here the staff are very very nice; Angela, Skye and Chris have all been very patient and they give a LOT of study support! They don’t rush you, they give you a lot of a time.

“So I feel much more confident in myself; I love this school so much! Right now I think I am very lucky, and I am very happy. One year here is too short.

“I have a job now, with the Hainan Airline group. It’s about marketing and during my studies I have studied business intelligence. So, my course helped me in lots of ways relevant to my new job. It changed the way I think.”

Tuesday, 9 January 2018

Dr Paul Reilly presenting two papers at MeCCSA 2018

This week, Senior Lecturer Dr Paul Reilly will be presenting two papers at the MeCCSA conference , which will be held at London South Bank University (10-12 January). The first one builds on Dr Reilly's research on social media and contentious politics in Northern Ireland, with the second based on data collected as part of the Horizon 2020 project IMPROVER.

The programme for the conference can be found here and the abstracts of Dr Reilly's two talks can be found below:

1) Reilly, P. Loyalists against Democracy: Assessing the role of social media parody accounts in contentious Northern Irish politics

Abstract:

Parody accounts on social media have emerged as one of the key focal points for the debate of contentious political issues in Northern Ireland over the past five years. Some commentators have praised these accounts for providing a voice for the ‘silent majority,’ while others have condemned what they view as their crude stereotyping of working-class loyalist communities. Yet, there remains little empirical research exploring the contribution of these accounts to political discourses. This paper sets out to address this issue by exploring the social media presence of the most prominent parody group, Loyalists Against Democracy (or LADFLEG). A thematic analysis of posts taken from its Facebook (N=35,721) and Twitter accounts (N=3,587) was conducted between December 2012 and October 2013. This covered contentious episodes such as the protests and rioting prompted by the decision to alter the protocol on the flying of the union flag over Belfast City Hall and the campaign to sack Health Minister Edwin Poots due to his refusal to overturn the ban on blood donation from gay and bisexual men. Results suggest LADFLEG used social media for a variety of purposes, ranging from the shaming of loyalists for posting offensive hate speech online to holding elected representatives to account. By October 2013 the group was playing a prominent role in factchecking politicians such as Poots and increasing the response rate for the petition to remove him from office. In this respect, LADFLEG had evolved from being an observer of contentious politics into a more active participant.

2) Reilly, P., Serafinelli, E., Petersen, L., Fallou, L. & Havarneanu, G. Terrorism, Twitter and Vernacular Creativity: #PorteOuverte and the November 2015 Paris Terror Attacks

Abstract:

Twitter has emerged as a key platform for citizens during terrorist attacks, not only as a
source of information but also as an outlet for providing support for victims. Citizen
responses to such incidents on the microblogging site often demonstrate what Burgess
(2008) refers to as ‘vernacular creativity’, with hashtags and memes used to express
solidarity with those directly affected. This paper explores one such incident, namely the
terror attacks by ISIS militants in Paris on 13 November 2015, which resulted in 130 fatalities and left several hundred wounded. The saturation of mobile phone networks left many citizens stranded and unable to tell their families and loved ones that they were safe. It was in this context that journalists such as Sylvain Lapoix urged citizens to use the hashtag#PorteOuverte if they were looking for shelter or able to offer refuge to others. This study explores the efficacy of this initiative by presenting a review of the literature on social media and disaster response, an overview of the role of Twitter during the Paris attacks, and a thematic analysis of eight interviews conducted with key stakeholders who were actively involved in the response to the atrocities. Results indicate that professional journalists played a key role in raising public awareness of #PorteOuverte and connecting people affected by the terror attacks. While the site may encourage vernacular creativity amongst citizens, the participation of public figures in these campaigns appears essential if they are to bring support to those directly affected by crises.

Wednesday, 20 December 2017

Dr Antonio de la Vega de Leon attends SRUK award ceremony

The SRUK (Society of Spanish Researchers in the United Kingdom) is a non-profit organization that aims to support Spanish researchers abroad, foster scientific cooperation between the UK and Spain, and provide a cohesive position of our community to influence science policy. It organizes science outreach events, provides awards and funding for outstanding members of the community, and generates many networking opportunities. I joined as a volunteer at the beginning of the year and I currently serve as secretary of the Yorkshire constituency, which includes Sheffield, York, Hull, Leeds, Bradford and Huddersfield.

I had the pleasure to attend an award ceremony that took place on the 14th of December at the Spanish embassy in London. This was the 2nd SRUK emerging talent award, that recognizes and supports young Spanish researchers that have developed their careers in the United Kingdom. The awardee this year was Xavier Moya, material physicist in the University of Cambridge, for his work finding materials that would make cooling (in ACs and fridges) both more energy efficient and environmentally friendly. The awards was funded through Fundación Banco Santander.


The award ceremony started with short introductions by the Spanish ambassador (Carlos Bastarrache Sagües), the president of Fundación Banco Santander (Antonio Escámez), the head of the award selection committee (Alfonso Martínez-Arias), and the president of SRUK (Estrella Luna-Díez). Then Xavier Moya told us about how he ended up working in material physics, and what he had done at Cambridge, as well as what he planned to do with money from the award. One highlight was his discovery that ammonium sulfate, a very common and cheap fertilizer, provided several orders of magnitude better refrigeration capability than traditional gases. He is currently working with a large European appliance company to design a prototype.

His talk was really well done and entertaining. To better explain his research, he gave everyone a rubber balloon and asked us to place it touching our lips (they are the most sensitive part of our bodies to temperature changes). When the balloon was stretched, we could feel it becoming slightly warmer. This is because the material becomes more organized, releasing a small amount of energy as heat. After a bit of time, we let it go back to normal and could feel it become colder. He also showed a video of this process using thermal imaging to illustrate further the point.

The event finished with some very tasty Spanish nibbles, like tortilla de patata, provided by the embassy. It was a good opportunity to meet many scientists and SRUK members. Although going to London and back on the same day was tough (I was back in Sheffield at 1:30am), it was well worth it.

Dr Antonio de la Vega de Leon

Wednesday, 13 December 2017

UKSG Conference - Report by MA Librarianship student

MA Librarianship student Terry Bassett recently attended the UKSG conference in London. Read on to hear about his experiences.



In November I was lucky enough to be chosen to attend the UKSG conference and forum at the very swanky Grange Tower Bridge Hotel in London. The UKSG is a professional group of librarians, publishers and anyone in-between, who work together to promote better academic communications and collaborative research practices. Their website has details of all the work they do and some of the presentations from the events.

Attending the conference and forum was a very eye-opening experience. My own background is in public libraries so although I’ve had exposure to HE in my undergraduate degree and the first few weeks of my Masters, I was still quite new to a lot of the concepts being discussed. That said at no point did I feel completely out of my depth; the sheer range of topics discussed meant everyone needed to give at least a quick introduction and that went a long way.

If had to pick a talk as my favourite (not an easy task), I would have to say that the Wellcome Trust’s talk by Robert Kiley was of particular interest. His introduction to Open Access was comprehensive but concise, and then proceeded to completely expand my understanding beyond what I’d even imagined - in a really good way. Wellcome’s vision is of a future where not just the journal article but the data behind it, the institution’s data collection policies and so on are also open to scrutiny. As a fledgling grounded theory fan the idea of institutional bias being highlighted as standard and the role of the researcher being presented as part of the research itself is pretty amazing. Exploring the ways in which Open Research (as an umbrella term) is not only more transparent (via open peer review - another bit of my mind blown) but actually faster and cheaper as well was quite compelling. It was contrasted nicely by the look at the obstacles (including researchers’ own concerns about their ability to publish), and also the discussion of where to go from here and how to get there. Overall it was a fascinating presentation in and of itself, but also, I think captured a lot of the overarching themes that other presentations then examined in more detail. These included UCL’s Pro-Vice-Provost Paul Ayris who discussed his university’s Open Science and Citizen Science projects; working to crowd-source data collection and analysis, and teasing at the prospect of an EU-wide shared repository of research data.

On a slightly different note Janet Peters (Director of University Libraries and University Librarian, Cardiff University) and Gareth Owen (Programme Manager, Wales Higher Education Libraries Forum) gave two different perspectives of projects taking place in the same consortium; Wales Higher Education Libraries Forum (WHELF). At the conference Janet Peters discussed the service quality challenges and opportunities that arise from running a library service as part of a consortium, and then at the forum Gareth Owen talked us through the project of implementing a single library management system (LMS) across 9 Universities, 1 National Library, and 30 NHS Wales Libraries. Speaking as someone who has been through a fair few LMS changes covering just one library service at a time, the prospect of that project is scary! But doing it saved money, will lead to ongoing savings and process improvements for years to come, and gave them the purchasing power to insist the both the front- and back-end systems were bilingual - both English and Welsh. A massive win in terms of promoting the continuation of the use of the Welsh language.

It was an amazing experience; a chance to meet people from a wide range of backgrounds who all share a passion for getting researchers to talk to each other and then promoting all the fascinating work that these conversations lead to. Plus, the food was amazing and I got so many free pens!

Terry Bassett

Links:
UKSG One-Day Conference: London

UKSG Forum: London

UKSG Annual Review 2016



Tuesday, 12 December 2017

Mapping the future of academic libraries

The ‘Mapping the future of academic libraries’ report commissioned by SCONUL was published on 8 December following a conference in London to discuss its findings. The report was produced by a team from the School: Stephen Pinfield, Andrew Cox and Sophie Rutter.


The report identifies a complex set of interrelated trends impacting on libraries the significance of which is often in the way they combine. In particular, it identifies five nexuses of trends bringing transformational change:

1. ‘Datafied’ scholarship: research increasingly underpinned by large datasets and digital artefacts, involving open, networked, algorithmically-driven systems

2. Connected learning: new pedagogies supported by technology-enabled flexible learning

3. Service-oriented libraries: libraries shifting their strategic emphasis from collections to services

4. Blurred identities: boundaries between professional groups and services being broken down with more collaboration and new skills development

5. Intensified contextual pressures: a myriad of political, economic and other pressures creating demands on HE and libraries

The ways in which libraries are responding to such change, and also the contributions they are making to change, are then discussed, with a set of challenges and opportunities identified. The report then goes on to discuss the need for libraries to position themselves to respond to current challenges and opportunities, proposing a multi-faceted approach to the alignment between the library and its parent institution. The library needs to be a service-provide, partner and leader.

The challenge is to balance the ways in which these different roles are implemented in any given institutional context. A key part of achieving these roles is communication, especially between the library and the institution as a whole. Understandings of its role outside the library are often hazy; libraries need to create and communicate a compelling vision of the current and future library role. At the same time, there is an ongoing need for change in library organisations and a need to forge partnerships, both within the library community (something in which libraries have a strong record) but also beyond (historically, not so strong).

The report proposes that in order to help address current challenges we should question commonly-accepted ‘library mantras’: mantras, such as, ‘the library is a strong brand’ or ‘the library is a trusted partner’, can sometimes get in the way of change, and need to be rethought. A set of new paradigms as ways of thinking about the futures of libraries are proposed, including the computational library, the service-oriented library, the library as digital third space, the globalised library and the boundaryless library.

These have the potential to act as a framework for discussion on library futures going forward.

The report concludes with recommendations for action within academic libraries and for SCONUL and similar agencies.

The report was compiled following mixed-methods research involving: extensive engagement with the literature, a set of semi-structured interviews with an international range of stakeholders, and a survey of UK library staff. As well as producing the report itself, the Sheffield team is now working on peer-reviewed outputs, and engaging in ongoing discussion including workshops and conference presentations.

You can read some of the Twitter engagement about the report here.



Friday, 1 December 2017

Dr Paul Reilly presents paper at ESRC CASCADE-NET seminar

Senior Lecturer Dr Paul Reilly is invited speaker at the ESRC CASCADE-NET Seminar “The role of Civil Society’s agency in governance and contingency planning: citizenship, participation and social learning” today. The seminar, organised by co-Investigator Dr. Martina McGuinness (Management School, University of Sheffield) is held in Inox Dine, Students’ Union Building, University of Sheffield.

Dr Reilly's paper is entitled ‘Social media, citizen empowerment and crisis communication during the 2014 UK Floods’ and draws on his recently completed EC FP7 funded research project CascEff . The slides for my presentation can be found here

Thursday, 30 November 2017

Have you ever thought of doing a PhD?

The University of Sheffield has opened its annual competition for PhD scholarships.

If you have an idea for some high impact research this could be your route to get funding to do a PhD at the Information School.

At the forefront of developments in the information field for more than fifty years, the Information School is a stimulating and exciting place to do your research. We were top in our category for the quality of research environment in the government evaluation of research quality, the REF.

To succeed in the scholarship competition you will need a strong academic track record and a great research idea.

It is recommended that you work with a member of staff in the Information School to develop your proposal to maximise your chances of being successful in the scholarship competition. Our expertise encompasses the range of information work including data science, digital societies, health informatics, information, knowledge & innovation management, information retrieval, information systems and libraries & the information society.

To find a suitable supervisor check our staff list and their research interests: https://www.sheffield.ac.uk/is/staff

We also have a list of suggested topics: https://www.sheffield.ac.uk/is/pgr/phdtopics

To help you with your application we have prepared booklet on writing a proposal: https://www.sheffield.ac.uk/is/pgr/proposal

The final date for submissions to the scholarship competition is 24th January 2018 at 17:00 GMT. The Information School is able to offer additional input on proposals submitted by the 17th January 2018.

Contact us on ispgr@sheffield.ac.uk to find out more and check your eligibility.

Tuesday, 28 November 2017

2nd Relationship Management in HE Libraries Conference, 16th-17th November - Catherine Hoodless

My name is Catherine Hoodless, and I am a first year PhD student in the Information School. After only a month into my PhD studies, the Relationship Management Group for HE Libraries were inviting LIS students and early career professionals to apply for funded places to attend their 2nd Relationship Management Conference at Lancaster University. After looking at the conference programme and realising just how many of the presentations taking place related to my research into the use of functional vs subject teams in HE libraries, I had to apply, and I was delighted to be informed that I had been awarded a place.

This conference is relatively small and new (the first having taken place at the University of Stirling two years earlier) but it had a very friendly atmosphere, was extremely will organised and was crammed with interesting presentations and workshops. The key theme of the conference was set out in the opening session where delegates were asked to discuss and share their challenges and opportunities for effective relationship management. Discussion centred on both the challenges and opportunities brought about by change, whether this is changes to individual roles, routines and processes, collaborative partners, library structures, wider university structures or more overarching changes to the environment in which academic libraries are operating. The presentations and workshops continued with this theme detailing the experiences at different institutions, not just of successful ventures, but, significantly, those that failed too.

Both of the keynote speakers provided highly enjoyable and thought-provoking presentations that got everyone talking. On day one, Dr Ruth Murray-Webster spoke about change management and the importance of understanding change from the perspective of the recipient of change. She argued how resistance to change should not be viewed negatively and avoided, but instead utilised to promote positive change. However, I found one of the most powerful comments she made was that “routine tied to history and identity is much more difficult to break.” This brought about many questions related to how certain routines and practices are tied to the identity of librarians and got me thinking about how this applied to my own research. Then on day two of the conference, Dil Sidhu, Associate Dean at Columbia University, gave a highly engaging and entertaining talking about how to influence and persuade - both key skills for relationship management. I think everyone was shocked when he said that, on average, each of us will have 1,900 messages trying to influence us daily.



Unsurprisingly for a conference that has a focus on relationship management, there was plenty of time to meet and network with a range of library professionals, and I was delighted to find that many people had an interest in my research. Thank you to the organisers and sponsors for the opportunity to attend this conference, I came away brimming with ideas and excited about getting stuck into my PhD.

Hopefully this conference will run again in future, and I would definitely recommend other LIS students to apply for any funded student places that might be available, particularly MA and MSc students, as it will give you a real insight into the growing importance of relationship management in academic libraries and the opportunity to learn from the experiences of lots of dynamic and enthusiastic people working within liaison and relationship management roles.

For more information on the discussions taking place at this conference have a look at #rmlibs on Twitter.

Monday, 20 November 2017

Dr Paul Reilly's CascEff research reported cited by UK Parliament POSTnote

Senior Lecturer Dr Paul Reilly's CascEff research report on the role of social and traditional media in crisis communication has been cited in the UK Parliamentary Office of Science & Technology POSTnote 564: Communicating Risk.



Dr Reilly was also one of several UK academics to be an invited reviewer of this publication. It can be downloaded here.

Thursday, 16 November 2017

Online Information Review Special Calls for Papers

Online Information Review, the international, ISI listed journal edited by Jo Bates, Andrew Cox, Robert Jäschke and Angela Lin from the Information School has just announced three Calls For Papers for Special issues on:

Social Media Mining for Journalism
http://emeraldgrouppublishing.com/products/journals/news_story.htm?id=7570


Lifelogging Behaviour and Practice
http://emeraldgrouppublishing.com/products/journals/call_for_papers.htm?id=7544

Open-access mega-journals: Continuity and innovation in scholarly communication
http://emeraldgrouppublishing.com/products/journals/call_for_papers.htm?id=7545

Dr Jo Bates joins editorial board of Big Data and Society

Information School Lecturer Dr Jo Bates has been invited to join the editorial board of Big Data and Society, the leading journal in the field of data studies.


BD&S is published by SAGE and Dr Bates' term on the board is three years in duration. You can access the journal here.

Wednesday, 15 November 2017

Information School Research Magazine Launch - 'Inform'

My name is Wasim Ahmed, and I am a doctoral student at the Information School. I recently attended the launch of the Information School research magazine Inform. This blog post highlights my key take-homes from the launch of the research magazine.



Information is all around us and due to technological developments information is more readily available at speed. Our research at the Information School focuses on understanding the power of information and how it affects people, organisations, and society.

The new research magazine Inform provides a cross-section of the research within the school, stories about our research, impact, recent successes, facts and figures, research culture and environment, and provides an overview of staff and students within the school.



The event highlighted the international reputation of the department for world-class research. It was wonderful to see the range of multi-disciplinary areas of research which the school undertakes.

The event also recognised the achievements of Professor Emeritus Tom Wilson whom was awarded the ASIS&T award of merit, and Sheila Webber whom was awarded Honorary Fellowship of CILIP.
The research at the department ranges from computer-aided drug discovery, analysing social media, multi-lingual text and image retrieval, information behaviour and literacy, reader development, and scholarly communication.



The school also collaborates both within and outside of the University with disciplines such as: Biology, Chemistry, Computer Science, Education, Engineering, Geography, Health, Sociological Studies, and Journalism. The department also collaborates with industry, charities, public sector organisations, as well as other organisations.

As a doctoral student I was really pleased to see a number of mentions and references to the important role we play within the Information School.

During my studies I have delivered over 35 talks to organisations such as CERN (the European Centre for Nuclear Research), the BSA (British Sociological Association), and NatCen Social Research. I have delivered keynote talks at Boston University College of Communication as well to the Polytechnic of Šibenik. I have also worked with external organisations such as Manchester United FC.

The research culture is such that in the Information School it has acted as a springboard for developing a profile as a researcher.




Tuesday, 14 November 2017

Information School staff and student contribute to new CILIP publication

The library and information association, CILIP, have recently launched a new publication for members of their organisation, entitled 'Information Professional'. Information School lecturers Dr Jo Bates and Paula Goodale and PhD student Penny Andrews are featured in the publication in an article about their research project 'The Secret Life of a Weather Datum'.

The project aimed to pilot a new approach for better understanding and communicating how values and practice influence the transformation of weather data on its journey from production through various contexts of big data reuse.

You can read the article here.