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.
ASIST2012 was a conference experience like none other. I’d been so busy with my work that before I set off from Edinburgh for Baltimore last Saturday I hadn’t paid heed to the news reports of a hurricane about to hit the east coast of America. In fact, the first I heard of it was when I bumped into fellow UK academic Dr Christine Urquhart at the reception of the conference hotel. Thereafter we heard tale after tale of delegates who had abandoned their plans to come to the conference for fear of becoming stranded, and of others who had arrived, stayed a short while, then turned around again to head home before the hurricane hit. I had no option but to ride out the storm with the few delegates who actually made it to Baltimore and stuck it out.