My last work duty of 2012 has been to travel to the iSchool at the University of Sheffield to examine a PhD entitled The use of Actor-Network Theory and a Practice-Based Approach to understand online community participation. The viva went well and I’m pleased that the student will be awarded his PhD subject to minor corrections to the thesis. I was particularly interested in this work because it has parallels with my own doctoral study. In my work I analysed actor-networks that had developed around a knowledge management implementation within a large, distributed organisation to reveal the role of a corporate intranet in knowledge and information sharing.
My trip to Sheffield also afforded the opportunity to see colleagues at the iSchool. The night before the viva I caught up with Dr Andrew Cox and, amongst other things, we talked about how we might develop the work presented together with Nordic colleagues at ASIST2012 into a journal article.
I spent most of the day of the viva itself with Professor Nigel Ford. As well as finalising preparations for the exam, conducting it, and afterwards documenting the outcome, I very enjoyed talking to Nigel about a range of topics from photography to the punctuation of the University of Sheffield logo. I must say that I would love to know the function of that full stop.