Tuesday, 26 May 2015

Grant Success for Stordy

Dr Peter Stordy of the Information School is a co-investigator on a successful grant led by Professor Simon Tait in the Department of Civil and Structural Engineering.

The project is entitled "Fostering evidence led research in the Water Industry - establishing a foundation that connects" and will involve the development of an open multimedia learning and knowledge resource for the water industry.

The project is funded by UK Water Industry Research.

Friday, 22 May 2015

Information School Wins Best Student Staff Committee Award

The Information School has won the award for Best Student Staff Committee at the Student Union's 2015 Academic Awards.

The award recognised the Information School Student Staff Committee's success in:

  • Making a difference to students in the department
  • Ensuring that students' views are communicated the staff and that students are considered when decisions are made
  • Achieving positive change and making improvements for students in the School
Congratulations to all involved in the Student Staff Committee.  Pictured below with their award are Dr Peter Stordy, Committee Coordinator, and current undergraduate students Alaa Al Sairafi and Bent Bunge.


Wednesday, 20 May 2015

Two graduates featured in library blog

Two graduates from our MA Librarianship programme are featured on the "23 Librarians" blog this month. They talk about their current jobs and how they got there:
Anneli Sarkanen (Senior Information Officer (Law), Field Fisher Waterhouse, London) https://23librariansengland.wordpress.com/2015/05/13/senior-information-officer-law-field-fisher-waterhouse-london/
Karen Dolman (Information Advisor, Health and Wellbeing Faculty, Sheffield Hallam University) https://23librariansengland.wordpress.com/2015/05/13/karen-dolman-information-advisor-health-wellbeing-faculty-sheffield-hallam-university/

Tuesday, 19 May 2015

The Dynamics of Micro-Task Crowdsourcing

On 20 May 2015 Dr Gianluca Demartini of the Information School will present a paper on 'The Dynamics of Micro-Task Crowdsourcing' at the 24th World Wide Web Conference in Florence, Italy.

Micro-task crowdsourcing is a modern technique that allows outsourcing of simple data collection tasks to a crowd of individuals online. Tasks such as image annotation, document summarisation, or audio transcription are easy for humans to complete but very challenging for computers. micro-task crowdsourcing is commonly used to build information systems that combine the scalability of computers over large amounts of data with the quality of human intelligence.

Over the last 10 years different micro-task crowdsourcing platforms have been created. These platforms are marketplaces where crowd workers complete tasks (usually called Human Intelligence Tasks or HITs) in exchange of small monetary rewards and where requesters post their data and tasks to quickly obtain large scale annotations.

As part of research carried out with Difallah, Catasta, Ipeirotis and Cudré-Mauroux, Gianluca analysed logs between 2009 and 2014 from the most popular crowdsourcing platform: Amazon Mechanical Turk and observed the evolution over time of its usage. This research will be presented at the World Wide Web Conference, and the full paper is available here.

The main findings from the research are:

Published tasks:
- The most frequent HIT reward value on Amazon Mechanical Turk has increased over time, and reaches $0.05 in 2014.
- HITs about audio transcription have been gaining momentum over last years and are now the most popular tasks on Amazon Mechanical Turk.
- Content Access HITs (like “Visit this website” or “click this link”) popularity on Amazon Mechanical Turk has decreased over time.
- Surveys are the most popular type of HITs for US-based workers on Amazon Mechanical Turk.

Workers and Requesters:
- HITs on Amazon Mechanical Turk that are exclusively asking for workers based in India have strongly decreased over time
- While most HITs on Amazon Mechanical Turk do not require country-specific workers, most of such HITs require US-based workers
- New requesters constantly join Amazon Mechanical Turk, making the number of active requesters and available reward increase over time: Over the last 2 years, an average of 1000 new requesters per month joined Amazon Mechanical Turk
- There is a weekly seasonality effect in the amount of rewards assigned to workers and in the HITs available on Amazon Mechanical Turk

Market size and dynamics:
- On Amazon Mechanical Turk 10K new HITs arrive and 7.5K HITs get completed every hour (on average)
- New HITs attract new workers to the Amazon Mechanical Turk website
- New workers arriving to the Amazon Mechanical Turk platform complete both fresh and old HITs
- Workers on Amazon Mechanical Turk prefer to work on fresh, recently posted HITs
- New work has almost 10x higher attractiveness for workers as compared to remaining work on Amazon Mechanical Turk

Work size and speed:
- Very large (300K HITs) batches recently appeared on Amazon Mechanical Turk
- Throughput of HIT batches on Amazon Mechanical Turk can best be predicted based on the number of HITs in the batch and its freshness
- Large HIT batches can achieve high throughput (thousands of HITs per minute) on Amazon Mechanical Turk


Above: Cumulative HITs (log) per country plotted by time


Above: Micro Reward per year


Monday, 18 May 2015

Asda Deliver Big Data Seminar at the Information School


On Tuesday 12 May 2015, Ed Child, Head of Customer Data Team at Asda joined us in the Information School to present a seminar on 'How Asda are using big data to understand their customers'.

The seminar explored how Asda is engaging Big Data to understand its customers. Ed considered a number of factors during the seminar:

  • The opportunities that Big Data has presented to business to understand customer behaviour
  • Examples of this data use in action to drive personal communications
  • How technology is impacting the changing retail landscape and impact on shopping

Ed is responsible for Customer Data at Asda, having created and managed the Single Customer View for a number of years. This includes leading a team of analysts delivering insights from data to understand customer behaviour, as well as the tools and technology powering Asda CRM systems. He is also responsible for Marketing Effectiveness, helping support one of the country's largest retailers to understand the impact of its marketing through Test & Control, Econometrics and Attribution modelling. Ed has a background in GIS, CRM, digital marketing, analytics, data management and marketing evaluation, and experience in using a wide range of analytics tools including Unica, Alterian and most recently SAS.

The seminar was a very popular event and we would like to thank Ed for visiting the Information School.





Saturday, 16 May 2015

Information School Nominated in Academic Awards

Congratulations to Dr Jorge Martins and the Information School's Student Staff Committee, coordinated by Dr Peter Stordy, who have been nominated in the 2015 Student Union Academic Awards.

Jorge has been nominated for "The Best Feedback Award" and the School has been nominated for "The Best Student Staff Committee Award".

The Academic Awards Ceremony will be held on 21 May 2015 and will be attended by Jorge, Peter and student reps from the Student Staff Committee. Good luck!

Friday, 15 May 2015

Senate Award for Webber

Congratulations to Sheila Webber, Senior Lecturer in the Information School, on being awarded a Senate Award for Sustained Excellence.

The award is in recognition of continued excellence, and inspiration in teaching and learner support.  It is based on skills and practice demonstrated over a period of six years or more that represent a "model of excellence". Particular highlights have been noted as:

  • The excellent support Sheila provides for her students
  • The innovative assessment methods she has developed
  • Her work on information literacy pedagogy, which has influenced teaching and policy internationally
  • Her innovative use of technology enhanced learning including including her use blogs for over a decade
  • Her pioneering use of virtual worlds
  • Her recent contributions to the Faculty MOOC

Many congratulations to Sheila for this very well deserved award!

Thursday, 14 May 2015

Digital Humanitarians - Talk from Patrick Meier on Friday 22 May 2015


We are pleased to invite you to a talk on ‘Digital Humanitarians’ by Patrick Meier. Patrick is an internationally recognized thought-leader on humanitarian technology and innovation and he will be speaking about the use of Big Data and social media during humanitarian crises.

See abstract for full details.

Date: Friday 22 May
Venue: ICOSS Conference Room, University of Sheffield
Time: 14:00-16:30 (talk: 14:00-15:30 with coffee and tea served afterwards)
Registration: This talk is open to all, but registration is required as places are limited to 55. Please add your name to this form to register.

This talk is hosted by the Visual Social Media Lab, the Digital Society Network and the Sheffield Institute for International Development.

We look forward to seeing you next Friday! If you have any questions, please contact Farida Vis: f.vis@sheffield.ac.uk

Digital Humanitarians - The information overflow that occurs in the wake of a disaster can paralyze humanitarian response efforts. Computers, mobile phones, social media, mainstream news, earth-based sensors, humanitarian drones, and orbiting satellites generate vast volumes of data during major disasters. Making sense of this flash flood of information, or "Big Data" is proving a perplexing challenge for traditional humanitarian organizations. Aid groups are more adept at dealing with information scarcity than overflow. To address this problem many organizations are turning to Digital Humanitarians: tech-savvy volunteers who craft and leverage ingenious crowdsourcing solutions with trail-blazing insights from artificial intelligence. This talk charts the rise of Digital Humanitarians and describes how their humanity coupled with innovative solutions to Big Data is changing humanitarian response forever.

Bio: Patrick Meier is an internationally recognized thought-leader on humanitarian technology and innovation. His new book "Digital Humanitarians" has already been endorsed by Harvard, MIT, Stanford, Oxford, UN, World Bank and the Red Cross. Patrick directs QCRI's Social Innovation Program where he develops "Next Generation Humanitarian Technologies" in partnership with international humanitarian organizations. He has a PhD from The Fletcher School, Pre-Doc from Stanford and an MA from Columbia. His work has appeared in the New York Times, Washington Post, CNN, BBC, Forbes, Times, Wired and Mashable. Patrick's influential blog iRevolutions has received over 1.5 million hits. He tweets at @patrickmeier.



Monday, 11 May 2015

Stordy Published in Journal of Documentation

A paper on 'Taxonomy of Literacies' by Dr Peter Stordy, University Teacher in the Information School, has been published in the Journal of Documentation.

The paper explores the different conceptions and types of literacy, and argues a need for a taxonomy of literacies that reflects more recent developments, comprehensively captures the current literacy landscape and might have affordances in the future.

The paper can be viewed here.

Friday, 8 May 2015

Information School launches iTeach Seminar Series

The Information School is pleased to launch the new iTeach seminar series.

The following sessions have been set in the series so far:

Wednesday 13 May, 13.00
Information School, Regent Court, RC-204
"Being a Futurelearn MOOC educator" - Sheila Webber.

Wed 20th May, 13.00
Information School, Regent Court, RC-324
"Doing an Engaged Curriculum Project (developing cultural awareness and community engagement)" - Briony Birdi.

Thu 28th May, 13.00
Information School, Regent Court, RC-204
"Discussion on group work" - Peter Holdridge.

Wed 3rd June, 13.00
Information School, Regent Court, RC-204
"Reinventing exams" - Peter Stordy

The following sessions are planned for the future:

"MOLE Wizard - improving the look of your MOLE pages"
"Using iPads"
"Recording lectures"
"Teaching reflective practice"

All are welcome to attend these sessions and there is no need to book a place. 

Call for Papers - iFutures Conference 2015

The iFutures conference for PhD researchers in the information science field is back for 2015.

Organised by PhD students in the Information School, 2015 sees the third running of the conference.   The theme of the 2015 conference is “Open Information Science: exploring new landscapes”. Openness is a key part of Information Science research, from using open source tools and big open data sets to open standards advocacy, creating open accessible environments in institutions, and opening information science to radical perspectives and exploring diverse communities. The conference will give delegates the chance to talk about how open information influences and relates to their research.

In addition to these workshops, the programme will include keynote talks by two distinguished speakers - Fabio Ciravenga (Professor of Computer Science, University of Sheffield) and Helen Kennedy (Professor of Sociology, University of Sheffield), who will get to the heart of the technical and sociological perspectives of the conference theme. Workshops on the use of open data and APIs in information science as well as how to use social media as an open dissemination tool will also be available during the conference.

Papers will be presented by PhD students during the conference and a lunchtime poster session will also take place. Finally the programme includes a repeat of last year's highly successful Pecha Kucha session. While nerve-wracking for presenters, the aim of the unconventional format (twenty slides each displayed for twenty seconds) will both entertain and stimulate discussion.

Submissions are welcome from doctoral students at any stage of their research. Contributions are encouraged from doctoral researchers working in any area of information science or in related fields, including information retrieval, knowledge management, HCI, informatics or library and information studies. We would also encourage students at any stage of their research to submit – the event will hopefully benefit those just starting their research as well as those with more concrete results to present.

The following types of submissions are invited:
a) Papers: Intended as a means of introducing your current research in a 15 minute presentation followed by 5 minutes for questions and answers. Abstracts should be no more than 500 words; final papers should be no more than 1500 words.
b) Posters: Display your research for discussion with fellow PhD students. Abstracts should be no more than 300 words; final papers are optional (no more than 1000 words).
c) Pecha Kucha Presentations: How do you envision your research, or IS research in general, impacting openness in society or science? You have 20 slides lasting 20 seconds each to address this question. More information about the Pecha Kucha format is available on their website. Abstracts should be no more than 300 words; final papers are optional (no more than 1000 words).

Authors are requested to submit abstracts by Friday, June 5th. Abstracts are being reviewed by a panel of PhD students, and accepted submissions will be notified by Friday 12th June.  Successful authors of papers will be invited to submit a short paper of up to 1500 words, for publication in our open access conference proceedings. Poster and Pecha Kucha presenters will also have the option of submitting a paper for publication.

Registration for the conference will be £20, which includes lunch and refreshments throughout the day. To start the submissions process please visit our submissions website. When creating a profile please be sure to tick “Author” at the bottom of the registration page. Once you have created a profile, clicking on the User Home tab will allow you to begin a New Submission.

For more information please contact the iFutures team by emailing ifutures@sheffield.ac.uk



Tuesday, 5 May 2015

Student Researcher Opportunity in the Information School

Funding is available through the University of Sheffield SURE scheme to employ a student researcher within the Information School.  The researcher will work with Pam McKinney during the summer of 2015 on her “student conceptions of group work” research project.

The position will run from Monday 15 June to Friday 24 July and the researcher will be paid £180 per week (£1080 for the full six week project).  The researcher will assist in the cataloging, scanning and photocopying of drawings made by students in response to the question “what is group work”.  They will also assist in the design and running of a focus group and will analyse the data gathered using Nvivo software.  Full training will be given on all aspects of the work, and valuable research experience will be gained which will be beneficial when completing a final year dissertation.  In addition, the student researcher will have the opportunity to present the results at a conference in November with Pam, and they will be named as co-author on a journal paper.

This research was inspired by Dr Jenna Hartel who came to the Information School as a visiting scholar in 2014.  During her visit she asked students to draw 'what is information' and this project aims to use a similarly creative methodology to ask students what they think about working in groups.  The viewpoint of the student researcher will be invaluable in this analysis and will contribute greatly to the project.

If you are interested in this position please send your CV and a covering letter (email) outlining why you want to work on the project and what skills and qualities you can bring to the work to Pam McKinney on p.mckinney@sheffield.ac.uk.

The deadline for applications is Monday 11 May.

Please contact Pam for further information about the project.  Additional details about the SURE scheme can be found on the SURE website.

Farida Vis to speak at Politics of Big Data Conference

Dr Farida Vis will speak at the Politics of Big Data Conference at King's College London on 8 May 2015.

Her speech is part of the masterclass series on big data, with the session on 8 May focusing upon interventions in big data politics.  Farida will speak about visual cultures in social media and will discuss work which is being carried out by the Visual Social Media Lab to develop methodological and theoretical strategies for capturing and interpreting social media image data.

More information about the conference can be found on the conference website.