i3 2015: call for papers

i3 logoSince 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 conference is held every two years in Aberdeen, hosted by colleagues within the Institute for Management Governance and Society (IMAGES) and the Department of Information Management. In 2015 i3 takes place between Tuesday 23rd and Friday 26th June (with the Information Science doctoral colloquium iDocQ likely to be scheduled on Monday 22nd June, the day before the conference starts).

The call for papers for i3 2015 has recently been announced. This draws attention to the four conference themes of:

  • 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:

Connecting with Edinburgh’s social media community

Napier Connect pensLast 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 at the Connect social media event

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's sweets

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.

Nadine Pierce has recently been appointed as Marketing Manager for creative agency Tayburn. In addition she is the British Interactive Media Association’s representative in Scotland. This role involves running a number of events specifically for the digital community. Nadine also has interests in the food industry: she runs the popular Eating Edinburgh blog and chefr, and is a foodie writer for other publications. Follow Nadine on Twitter at @nadinepierce.

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

Discussions of social media work with members of Connect

Applications invited for three funded PhD places to start in early 2015

IIDI logoThe Institute for Informatics and Digital Innovation (IIDI) is currently advertising three funded PhD places to start in early 2015 (on a date between January and March). The full advertisement can be found at jobs.ac.uk and on the Edinburgh Napier University vacancies web site. The closing date for applications is 21st November 2014, with interviews expected to take place in early December 2014.

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.

The application form and other associated documents can be found at the Edinburgh Napier University PhD applications web page.

Edinburgh Napier University’s Ada Lovelace Day celebration in pictures

Edinburgh Napier University’s celebration of Ada Lovelace Day hosted by Equate Scotland and Edinburgh Napier University’s Athena SWAN team on 14th October was a great success, as can be seen in the photographs from the event.

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.

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After drinks we took our places at dinner.

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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.

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One of the participants, research student Frances Ryan, has also published a review of the evening’s celebrations on her blog Just a PhD.

Social network analysis and festival cities: newly published article in the International Journal of Event and Festival Management

Edinburgh: a festival city

Edinburgh: a festival city

The International Journal of Event and Festival Management has just published an article that I co-authored with colleagues from the School of Marketing, Tourism and Languages at Edinburgh Napier University. The article is one of eight brought together in a special issue on the festival and event experience.

David Jarman, Eleni Theodoraki, Jane Ali-Knight and I consider in ‘Social network analysis and festival cities: an exploration of concepts, literature and methods’ how social network analysis (SNA) may be used as a framework for research into festivals and events. We draw on the literature of SNA, tourism studies research, and festival industry publications, to reflect on the history of SNA, and to explore how its key concepts may be applied to festivals.

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.

International Journal of Events and Festival ManagementThe full citation for the article is:

Jarman, D., Theodoraki, E., Hall, H., Ali-Knight, J. (2014). Social network analysis and festival cities: an exploration of concepts, literature and methods. International Journal of Event and Festival Management 5(3), 311-322.

The full text of the article is available from the journal web pages on the Emerald web site.

Mind the gender gap: why women must still fight for equality in science

The Conversation logo

Mind the gender gap: why women must still fight for equality in science

By Hazel Hall, Edinburgh Napier University

This article of mine is republished from The Conversation on 14th October 2014. Many thanks to Steve Vass working with me on this. It’s great to be an author for The Conversation having learnt about the site at the Digital Personhood network meeting in March 2014.

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.

Jocelyn Bell
Roger W Haworth, CC BY

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.

Napier talk: Dame Bell Burnell
Glenn Marsch, CC BY

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.

Peyri Herrera, CC BY

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.

Ada Lovelace

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?
The Conversation
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.

This article was originally published on The Conversation.
Read the original article.

Ada Lovelace Day 2014: celebrating the achievements of women in STEM

Rocket scientist mugTuesday 14th October 2014 is Ada Lovelace Day, an international celebration of the achievements of women in science, technology, engineering and maths. This evening I’ll be marking the day at a special dinner hosted by Equate Scotland and Edinburgh Napier University’s Athena SWAN team. Our guest of honour and keynote speaker will be astrophysicist Dame Jocelyn Bell Burnell, the first female President of the Royal Society of Edinburgh.

Ada Lovelace (1815-1852) is regarded as the world’s first computer programmer. Her notes on Charles Babbage’s analytical engine are recognised as the first algorithm to be carried out by a machine. Despite this achievement, hers is not a household name (although that of her father, Lord Byron, is). Some claim that Lovelace, along with a string of other women who have played significant roles in computing, has been deliberately written out of history. Ada Lovelace Day is an attempt to write her (and the others) back in, and to prompt the scientific community to acknowledge the contribution of female scientists and engineers across all disciplines. By highlighting role models such as Lovelace, those who organise events on Ada Lovelace Day hope to inspire greater participation of women in STEM.

Athena SWAN logoI have been involved in the organisation of tonight’s event as Edinburgh Napier University’s Academic Champion for the Athena SWAN charter. The charter is an initiative to encourage and recognise commitment in higher education institutions to combatting the under-representation of women in science, technology, engineering, maths and medicine (STEMM – with the extra M for medicine) research and academia, and to the advancement of women in STEMM careers.

One of the goals of my Athena SWAN role is to raise the profile of the University’s work towards gender equality at Edinburgh Napier University. So tonight, as well as the keynote speech from Dame Jocelyn Bell Burnell, there will also be addresses from the University’s Principal and Vice Chancellor Andrea Nolan, the Director of Equate Scotland Linda Somerville, and me. Our audience will include female undergraduate and postgraduate STEMM students, University staff, alumni, and external stakeholders from across science, technology, engineering, maths and medicine in the public and private sectors.

In my presentation I will be drawing attention to some of the interesting findings that the Edinburgh Napier University’s Athena SWAN team has uncovered in the course of the past year in its work towards a bronze institutional Athena SWAN award . For example, at 21% the proportion of female professors in STEMM subjects at Edinburgh Napier University is higher than the national benchmark of 16.5%, and the number of women who hold senior posts in our School of Computing is also remarkable: the Head of School, Director of Research, Director of Academic Development, and two of the four research centre directors (the Centre for Social Informatics and the Centre for Algorithms, Visualisation and Evolving Systems) are all female.

Not only will we be marking Ada Lovelace Day tonight, but also the University’s 50th anniversary. It promises to be a great evening for celebrating the achievements of Edinburgh Napier’s women in STEMM to date, and for looking forward to future success.
Edinburgh Npaier Athena SWAN screensaver