Christina’s work focuses on book publishing and book policy. Petros’ research interests include information seeking behaviour and use, intellectual capital management, and the contribution of information services to economic sectors such as healthcare and transportation. He is the author of Managing intellectual capital in libraries: beyond the balance sheet. In the course of our conversation we identified many shared interests, and I was particularly thrilled to discover that Petros is a graduate of the University of Birmingham, like me.
Yesterday we discussed plans for them to visit the Centre for Social Informatics at Edinburgh Napier University in July 2015 in the period between the two conferences. This would be a great opportunity for Christina and Petros to meet other colleagues in Edinburgh, including the research students whose doctoral work has overlaps with their research interests. Christina and Petros are keen to widen their network of professional contacts in the UK and I am hopeful that this activity will help them meet this aim.
Since 2011 I have served on the international programme committee of i3, the conference that brings together academic and practitioner researchers from across the world interested in exploring the quality and effectiveness of the interaction between people and information, and how this interaction can bring about change.
the quality and effectiveness of user/information interactions (e.g. information literacies)
patterns of information behaviour in different contexts (e.g. creativity, ethics, surveillance, ownership, information recycling/reuse)
the social, cultural and economic impacts of engagement with information, including the assessment of impact
the value of information and knowledge as enablers of resilience and change in organisations and communities.
Three types of submission are invited: (1) short paper; (2) full paper; and (3) round table discussion. There will be an opportunity for those whose full papers are accepted to develop their work for publication in a special issue of the Journal of Information Science in Spring 2016.
The submission deadline is Monday 19th January 2015. (For further details of submission requirements and where to send your work, please see the full call for papers.)
I have always very much enjoyed my participation at i3, and I’m already looking forward to being part of this excellent conference again in 2015.
To get a flavour of i3 and previous iDocQ events, please see:
Last night I attended a Napier Connect event. Napier Connect is the networking group for female students studying computing, engineering and built environment subjects at Edinburgh Napier University. Its members get together regularly throughout the academic year to meet inspiring women from industry and potential employers – and to socialise. The events are organised by my colleague Student Project Officer Debbie Ratcliffe.
I’d been looking forward to this particular event for a while because I was involved in inviting the speakers for the evening. All seven women come from Edinburgh’s professional social media community. They did a fabulous job, each hosting a table where they spoke for around 5 minutes at a time to groups of students and staff about their work and their careers, in speed dating style.
It was a really fun evening, with a great mix of staff, students, and guests enjoying the experience of learning from one another in a sociable environment. The two key learning points that I took away from the evening are that you don’t necessarily need a highly technical background to get started in a career with social media, and many of the best career opportunities come through networking – both in person and online.
Speakers Jennie Stamp, Beryl Preuschmann, Samantha Currie, Kelly Forbes, Darcie Tanner, Nadine Pierce and Wiebke Burnett
The evening’s speakers were Jennie Stamp, Beryl Preuschmann, Samantha Currie, Kelly Forbes, Darcie Tanner, Nadine Pierce and Wiebke Burnett (pictured above).
Jennie Stamp works at FreeAgent as the company’s Outreach Manager. She is involved in content creation, building relationships with partners and bloggers, and raising awareness of FreeAgent. Jennie herself is a former Edinburgh Napier student: she graduated with a BSc Information Systems from the School of Computing in 2011. Follow Jennie on Twitter at @jenniestamp.
Beryl Preuschmann works for spintopMEDIA. She is also the founder and Managing Director of TRIPorganiser.net, a personal travel concierge service. Beryl relocated to the UK from Germany in 2007, and has previously worked for the NHS, VisitScotland and SkyScanner. Follow Beryl on Twitter at @Miss_Beryl.
Samantha Currie works for Edinburgh-based company Optimise Limited, where she works on the blog Listening into Action, and runs the Twitter account @LiAJourney. Samantha started working in social media last year after 17 years as an IT trainer and eLearning author for a number of large companies including Computacenter and AstraZeneca. Follow Samantha on Twitter at @SamCurrie.
Kelly shared supplies of museum rock
Kelly Forbes is Digital Engagement and Communications Manager at Museums Galleries Scotland. Her work includes social media training and helping museums and galleries to develop digital engagement strategies. Kelly also produces social media content for campaigns such as The Festival of Museums. Like Jennie Stamp, Kelly is a graduate of Edinburgh Napier University. Follow Kelly on Twitter at @Macfack.
Darcie Tanner is Head of Social Operations at Lost Boys, a global marketing and technology agency. She leads work related to new business, resources, client services, budgets, campaigns and projects. Darcie has recently written about her role on the Lost Boys web site in the post What the fk is social operations? Follow Darcie on Twitter at @darcie.
Wiebke Burnett recently worked alongside Andrew Burnett at andrewburnett.com with clients ranging from Channel 4 to the Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra keen to encourage visitors to their web sites and increase their social media hit rates. Wiebke currently project manages new e-commerce stores for eBay UK Merchant Development. Follow Wiebke on Twitter at @wiieb.
Discussions of social media work with members of Connect
Staff within my research centre – the Centre for Social Informatics – would be particularly interested in PhD applications that relate to: e-democracy, e-governance and e-participation; information risk and governance; the Information Society; library and information science research; knowledge management; and sociotechnical project evaluation. If you would like to discuss ideas for a doctoral study in any of these (or related) areas, please feel free to e-mail me. There is also further information on PhD study opportunities within the Centre for Social Informatics on my PhDs page.
Amongst the current students, staff, alumni and friends of the University who work in science, technology, engineering, maths and medicine are pictured our speakers for the evening: Dame Jocelyn Bell Burnell; Principal and Vice Chancellor Andrea Nolan; the Director of Equate Scotland Linda Somerville, and myself. Dean of the Faculty of Engineering, Computing and Creative Industries Dr Sandra Cairncross chaired the presentations.
This first set of pictures shows everyone gathering at the drinks reception and poster display.
After drinks we took our places at dinner.
We scheduled the speeches to take place throughout the course of the evening: Principal and Vice Chancellor Andrea Nolan welcomed everyone just before the meal was served; I spoke between the starter and the main course; Linda Somerville followed me between the main course and pudding; and our keynote speaker Dame Jocelyn Bell Burnell gave her presentation while we enjoyed coffee and tablet. Below are the photos of the speakers and our chair for the evening, Dr Sandra Cairncross.
We conclude that although the importance of relationships sustained within networks has long been recognised within the industry, and that festival cities offer dynamic environments in which to investigate the workings of social networks, there is scant reflection of this in the event studies literature. A research method is proposed as suitable for application across a diverse range of festivals and events.
What was the greatest astronomical discovery of the 20th century? Some would say pulsars – highly magnetised, rotating neutron stars emitting beams of electromagnetic radiation. The scientific world was informed of these in a paper published by Nature in 1968.
When the press learned that the research team behind the discovery had at one point considered that “little green men” might be sending the signals, journalists queued up for interviews. Then the news got even better: SJ Bell, one of the co-authors, happened to be young and female. Here was the perfect candidate to interview and photograph for a human interest angle on the story. How many boyfriends did she have? Was she taller or shorter than Princess Margaret? Meanwhile the men on the team could be asked to supply details of the scientific work, even though it was Jocelyn Bell who actually discovered the first pulsar in November 1967.
In 1974 Tony Hewish and Martin Ryle were jointly awarded the Nobel prize for physics in recognition of the discovery. This was considered remarkable for two reasons. First, the prize had never gone to astronomy before. Second, and more controversially in the opinion of many, Bell Burnell (by this time married) was not cited in the award. She had apparently been overlooked in favour of her supervisor and head of group. This turned her into a cause célèbre for 1970s feminism.
Ada Lovelace Day
The now Dame Jocelyn Bell Burnell has this month become the first female president of the Royal Society of Edinburgh. As one of her first duties, she is presenting a keynote speech on October 14 at an event to mark the achievement of women in science, technology, engineering, mathematics and medicine as part of Edinburgh Napier University’s 50th anniversary celebrations.
Though Bell Burnell does not herself bemoan her lack of a Nobel prize, claiming that this might have precluded other honours and opportunities during her career, the date of this speech coincides with Ada Lovelace Day. Lovelace is another scientific heroine, born in 1815. The mathematician and writer is regarded as the world’s first computer programmer, though some claim that she and other women who played significant roles in computing have been deliberately written out of history. The dedicated day is an attempt both to write them back in, and prompt the scientific community to acknowledge the contribution of female scientists and engineers across all disciplines.
It is also a useful opportunity to point out to how under-represented women still are in this area. Only 13% of jobs in science-related professions are held by women. The next generation looks somewhat better, but still far from encouraging: twice as many A-level maths candidates are boys as girls; in physics A-level the disparity is five times.
All prof boys together
In academia, the picture is mixed but in many respects just as disappointing. The proportion of academic positions in science subjects held by women is 40.4% – apparently not too bad compared to 44.5% in academia as a whole, and up from 39% three years earlier. But that hides enormous variation by subject. Nursing is 73.7% female academics. Veterinary medicine is 53.3%, psychology 59% and clinical medicine 52%.
Indeed, all the subjects with the higher proportion of female academics all involve studying beings with beating hearts – the other 19 of the 23 science subjects have a male academic bias. Contrast in particular with these subjects: electrical/electronic/computer engineering 13.8%, mechanical/aero/production engineering 15.7%. physics 17.4%. Clearly it is in these areas where there are no living entities that we need to focus.
It is true that the position has changed since Bell Burnell was invited to make comments on her personal life to journalists. Women are unlikely to be greeted by wolf whistles when they walk into lecture theatres in these subjects nowadays. The female proportions are ticking upwards even in the most male-dominated subjects. There is also the Athena SWAN initiative. Set up by the Equality Challenge Unit charity, it consists of a charter that pushes for more gender equality in science academia by encouraging institutions to make a thorough assessment of their position in this area, and devise action plans to improve it. A large number of UK universities have signed up to it.
So far still to go
Yet women working in the science side of academia are equally aware of how far we still have to go. It may sound encouraging that between 1991 and 2010 the number of female professors in physics increased from two to 36, until you realise that the total in the UK is 650. Only last week I was on an advisory panel of 12 academics for the Engineering and Physical Science Research Council. The number of men to women? Eleven to one.
Obviously the solution to this problem is very deep-rooted and well beyond the confines of this article. It probably goes right back to girl babies being given pink clothes and boy babies being given blue. In our culture at least, the subjects that are proper for girls to study are probably subtly reinforced at every level from there onwards. And while things do seem to be slowly changing, this makes me think of something that the artist Grayson Perry was saying on the BBC Today programme the other day. In the context of the slow growth in the proportion of female MPs in parliament, he pointed out that it would take a century at the current rate to reach a point of gender balance. For female academics in science subjects as for women in parliament, do we really want to wait that long? Or in the name of the likes of Ada Lovelace and Jocelyn Bell Burnell, is it time we intervened more forcefully?
Hazel Hall does not work for, consult to, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organisation that would benefit from this article, and has no relevant affiliations.