National award recognises the Platform to Platform project: British Records Association Janette Harley Prize 2022 runner-up

LogoThe Edinburgh Napier University team that worked on the Platform to Platform (P2P) project to transform Lorna Lloyd’s Diary of the war into a podcast series is delighted to have learnt that this work has been highly commended as a runner-up for the British Records Association’s (BRA) 2022 Janette Harley Prize. This prize, awarded in memory of archivist Janette Harley (1951-2015), is intended to generate interest in archives, and raise awareness of research and achievements in the world of archives.

Our commendation was made on the basis of a submission that reads as follows:

We would like to submit our podcast series Lorna Lloyd’s Diary of the war for the 2022 Janette Harley prize. All eight episodes of the podcast series are accessible from https://rss.com/podcasts/lornalloyd/.

We created the podcast series in the first half of 2022 as part of a project called Platform to Platform. The project was supported with a £5000 grant from the Arts and Humanities Research Council. It extended the work of Hazel Hall between 2019 and 2021 to digitise an archive on a photo sharing platform (Blipfoto). The funding also enabled the team to undertake empirical work to compare audience engagement with digitised archives in two formats: (1) online text and images; (2) audio.

The main content of the archive that we have digitised comprises written commentary on the events of World War II between September 1939 and January 1941, and details of life under war-time conditions in England. When war broke out in 1939, Lorna Lloyd – the author of the diary – was somewhat reluctantly living with her parents in Malvern, Worcestershire after a few years away from home, first as a student at Girton College, Cambridge, then as a school mistress.

Thanks to support of the British Library, FindMyPast, and the BBC, the podcast series also includes contemporaneous news stories from print and broadcast media. As a result, the podcast series presents a chronicle of the early years of World War II where one woman’s perspective is amplified with news content. Lorna’s words give us first-hand personal reflections on particular events. The narrated print media excerpts chart reactions to the same news at local and regional levels. The national perspective is provided through the inclusion of BBC content in the podcast episodes in two forms: (1) broadcast radio news clips and (2) readings from news report scripts.

As well as allowing access to BBC material that we know that Lorna herself heard at the time, the BBC Archive staff also helped us with another key element of the podcast version of the war diary: a theme tune. For this, we were keen to use a piece of music that Lorna mentions in the diary. The BBC Archive staff secured a BBC performance of César Franck’s Symphony in D minor for us, and advised on its use without breaking copyright.

Part of the originality of this work is that the actress who plays Lorna in the podcast series is a member of Lorna’s family. Lorna’s great-great niece Bethany Ray happens to have turned 25 this year, the same age as Lorna when she started writing her war diary. Three other voices contribute to the story: another professional actor plays Lorna’s brother; one of our PhD students is the announcer; and another non-professional (although with much experience of amateur dramatics) plays the newsreader.

The other personnel important to this project has been the production team. Five third year students from the School of Computing at Edinburgh Napier University – four from Sound Design and one from Software Engineering – have produced a highly polished, professional product that, to date, has been downloaded 17882 times from https://rss.com/podcasts/lornalloyd/.

The empirical work that we have conducted with audience members who are familiar with the archive on both platforms (Blipfoto posts and podcast episodes) is important and novel. This is because its focus differs from that of the limited amount of prior research on podcasting and archives, where archivists’ use of podcasts for outreach is the main area of enquiry. Our interests are engagement and impact, where the podcast is an entire archived data set presented as a performance.

The main findings from the empirical study are that a digitised archive in audio format supplemented with contemporaneous news content:

    • contributes to the entertainment value of the audience experience
    • makes the audience experience more vivid
    • gives audience members the opportunity to consume exactly the same news media as the author of the archived material
    • encourages the learning of listeners, with the news content serving as ‘additional references’
    • prompts a far greater emotional response to the atrocities of war than an archive digitised in text and images.

Furthermore, the casting of a Lloyd family member as Lorna here adds to the authenticity of the listening experience.

To conclude, the Platform to Platform project has demonstrated the value of the podcast format in unlocking the hidden value in archives, while making accessible a fascinating resource about the first-hand experience of living through the early months of World War II.

Resources:

The digitised archive in two formats:

Other work by Lorna Lloyd created as part of the Platform to Platform project:

Conference presentations on the Platform to Platform project:

Congratulations to the team members who worked so hard on the production of the podcast series: Principal Investigator Bruce Ryan; Co-investigators Hazel Hall and Iain McGregor; student production team members Alex Gencs, David Graham, James McLachlan, Andras Peter, and Michael Suttie; performers Bethany Ray (Lorna Lloyd), David Monteath (Theo Lloyd), Richard Godden (newsreader), and Katherine Stephen (announcer).

The project team also gratefully acknowledges the support of the wider community in bringing Lorna’s writing into the public domain, with special thanks to Jake Berger and Emma Gibbs (BBC Archive); Faith Renger (Malvern Museum of Local History); Marianne Wilson (researcher on the sister HOPSS project); Stella Wisdom (British Library); P2P project board members: David Darlington, David Monteath, Guy Puzey, Sarah Ames and Sue Dumbleton; the Blipfoto community; the project team at Creative Informatics; and the Lloyd family.

We are now looking forward to attending the the prize giving ceremony at the Lambeth Palace Library on the evening of 16th March at which the BRA patron Lord Salisbury will present our certificates.

The full details of the 2022 award winner and the three runners-up are available from the British Records Association’s web site.

Lorna Lloyd and Bethany Ray

World War II diarist Lorna Lloyd and her great-great niece actor Bethany Ray, who plays her great-great aunt Lorna in the podcast series

Out with the old, in with the new

Hazel Hall and Peter Cruickshank

Dr Hazel Hall and Dr Peter Cruickshank, 30/09/22

In autumn 2022, the more eagle-eyed readers of this blog may have noticed some changes across the pages of my web site, as well as in my profile information on other platforms. I spent 16th November 2022 editing my designation as ‘Professor’ so that it now reads ‘Emeritus Professor’. At the same time, my colleagues updated the Centre for Social Informatics flyer as version 19.3 to reflect the new status granted to me by my employer. Earlier in the year, on August 3rd, we advertised a job vacancy for a new Professor in Social Informatics at Edinburgh Napier University. All this activity ties to my retirement at the end of September 2022. Continue reading

What are public libraries for? Rachel Salzano presents doctoral research at #asist2022

The 85th Annual Meeting of the Association for Information Science and Technology takes place in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania this week. Those of us who cannot be there in person have been following the conference proceedings on Twitter at #asist2022 over the past couple of days.

Amongst the conference speakers is Centre for Social Informatics PhD student Rachel Salzano. Today at 15:00 UK time (09:00 in Pittsburgh) Rachel is presenting a paper co-authored with her PhD supervisors entitled ‘What are public libraries for? Culture as a determinant of conceptualizations of public library services for forced migrants’. The slides are available on SlideShare, and the full text paper can be read online in the conference proceedings. Continue reading

Rachel Salzano wins bursary place at 2022 CILIP conference #CILIPconf22

Rachel Salzano

Rachel Salzano

Congratulations to Centre for Social Informatics PhD student Rachel Salzano, who has won a bursary to attend the 2022 Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals (CILIP) conference in Liverpool on 7th and 8th July.

The award is sponsored by CILIP’s Library and Information Research Group (LIRG). The purpose of LIRG is to promote the value of information research, and strengthen links between research with practice. As a qualified librarian who is currently undertaking a doctoral study that aims to influence practice as well as contribute to the development of theory, it is fitting that Rachel has been selected for the bursary.

Find out more about Rachel’s PhD in the PhD musings on her web site Librarian Sans Library.
CILIP conference 2022 logo

Four new projects for the Centre for Social Informatics

Social informatics research group blog headerCongratulations to Centre for Social Informatics colleagues Dr Peter Cruickshank, Dr David Haynes, Dr Bruce Ryan, and Dr Frances Ryan on securing internal Edinburgh Napier University funding for four new research projects. Continue reading

Goodbye 2021, hello 2022

fireworksEdinburgh Napier University opened its doors again this morning after the Christmas break. This, however, is metaphorical reopening for me. As record numbers of Covid19 cases are reported in Scotland (and the UK as a whole), I will be continuing my research and PhD supervision activities off-campus from home. Continue reading

Dr Peter Cruickshank leads new collaboration with Trubshaw Cumberlege

Trubshaw logoMy Centre for Social Informatics colleague Dr Peter Cruickshank has recently won Interface funding to initiate a new research collaboration. The project partner is Trubshaw Cumberlege, a consulting firm that ‘helps forward thinking companies maximise profits by addressing social challenges at their doorsteps’.

The purpose of the project is to prototype a software-as-a service (SaaS) platform for the automation of risk assessment and management, and associated security alerts. The practical work involves the implementation of a prototype machine learning platform, and the development of underlying infrastructure. Our colleague Dr Dimitra Gkatzia, and PhD student Aleksander Bielinski will be working alongside Peter to deliver the project.

Evaluation of engagement with hyperlocal e-participation systems by citizens and representatives: thesis PDF now available

Peter Cruickshank PhD title pageIn July 2021 my Centre for Social Informatics colleague Peter Cruickshank was awarded a doctoral degree for his thesis Evaluation of engagement with hyperlocal e-participation systems by citizens and representatives.

The pdf of the thesis is now freely available for download from the Edinburgh Napier University repository. It will be of interest to all who conduct research on information behaviour and use, and particularly those investigating themes such as everyday life information seeking and information literacy in the context of e-participation. Continue reading

An award for Marianne Wilson

Natural language interfaces to support career decision-making of young people Marianne Wilson TMT three minute thesisCongratulations to Centre for Social Informatics research student Marianne Wilson, winner of the Masters award in the Skills Development (SDS) Scotland Virtual 3MT competition 2021. Continue reading

CILIPS East Branch photography competition win

CILIPS East Branch photography competition win tweetI was delighted to learn today that I have won the CILIPS East Branch’s photography competition. In July I submitted five photographs taken in the CILIPS East Branch catchment area in response to the call for entries. The branch now plans to use my images for promotional materials. Continue reading