A return visit to McMaster University in August 2017

Dr Brian Detlor

Dr Brian Detlor

Later in summer 2017 I will be visiting McMaster University Ontario, Canada to work with my Canadian collaborator, and Visiting Professor to the Centre for Social Informatics at Edinburgh Napier University, Dr Brian Detlor. Amongst the various activities that we have planned, I will be delivering two seminar papers when I am at McMaster.

The first paper entitled ‘Research into social media information practices, and social media information practices for research’ will be presented as part of the DeGroote Business School seminar series on Monday 14th August. The following day, on Tuesday 15th August, I will relate the main findings of the CILIP/ARA Workforce Mapping Project to an audience of librarians at the McMaster Library Symposium in a paper entitled ‘Defining the UK information worker: the CILIP-ARA Workforce Mapping Project’. (The abstracts for these two papers are given below.)

In the meantime, I am looking forward to seeing Brian Detlor in Scotland in June 2017. Brian is visiting Edinburgh Napier University to take part in: (1) the University’s research conference on Wednesday 21st; (2) the Connecting People, Connecting Ideas symposium, at which he is one of the international facilitators, on Thursday 22nd (at the time of writing there are just five places left for this event on everyday life information seeking and information behaviours in online environments if you’d like to join it, please, hurry and register free on EventBrite); (3) tutorials with research students within my school on Friday 23rd; and (4) a Centre for Social Informatics (CSI) all-centre meeting, also on 23rd June.

The folloi3 logowing week Brian will be with the majority of CSI members (four of the academic staff, eight PhD students) at the Information: interactions and impact (i3) conference in Aberdeen, at which we (including Brian) have ten accepted papers.


Research into social media information practices, and social media information practices for research

The Centre for Social Informatics (CSI) at Edinburgh Napier University in Scotland has built a track record for its research into information behaviours and social media use. Early projects completed in the mid-noughties (early 2000s) focused on the value of social media platforms for promoting reflective learning in classroom settings, and the risks and opportunities of the adoption of social computing tools within corporate environments for collaborative work purposes, as perceived by information and knowledge professionals.

Over a decade later, in 2017, three on-going CSI projects have social media as their foci. The first is concerned with personal online reputation management; the second is an investigation into the information behaviours of young jobseekers; and the third explores online information and knowledge sharing practices amongst public sector workers. In the period since the members of CSI started to lead research projects on social media for information and knowledge sharing, attention has turned to social media as tools for academics to develop their own personal online profiles for the purposes of promoting their research.

In this presentation the Director of the Centre for Social Informatics will outline the main findings of the three social media related research projects currently undertaken by colleagues within the group. She will then discuss the impact of involvement in such research on personal decisions to build and maintain profiles on a range of online platforms for academic work purposes.


Defining the UK information worker: the CILIP-ARA Workforce Mapping Project

In 2014 the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals (CILIP) and the Archives and Records Association (ARA) made a call to commission a team to undertake a workforce mapping project. The purpose of this work was to enhance understanding of the UK workforce in Library, Archives, Records, Information Management, Knowledge Management and related professional roles. A team of six from Edinburgh Napier University’s Centre for Social Informatics and Employment Research Institute won the bid.

The research was carried out between 2014 and 2015, with headline findings released at the end of 2015. Based on the statistical analysis of secondary data sources such as the UK Labour Force Survey, as well as responses to an online survey, a long-needed data baseline on the UK information workforce was established.

Key findings of this work relate to an estimated population of 86,376 workers, their general demographics, qualifications and memberships and the diversity of the population as a whole. Of particular interest are the findings on pay differences and seniority according to gender, and the low ethnic diversity of the population surveyed.

In this paper the methods deployed to in the research will be outlined, as well as its main findings, and the impact of the research to date.

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