School of Computing New Year research event 2019: contributions from the Centre for Social Informatics

Professor Hazel Hall presents at the School of Computing research event, 9th January 2019

The School of Computing research event, 9th January 2019 (photo credit Rameez Asif)

In recent years, the School of Computing at Edinburgh Napier University has marked the beginning of the new year with a research event. This year we held it on Wednesday 9th January 2019.

The agenda items on the day included: preparations for REF2021 led by Professor Ben Paechter; group discussions of the ‘organisation’ of our research within the School led by Professor Emma Hart; contributions from our colleagues in the Research and Innovation Office about how they support our research activities in general (Carol Johnstone), and on making the most of the University’s research management system (Dr Lindsay Ramage); and a series of presentations by colleagues from across the School’s research groups.

There were three formal contributions from staff based in the Centre for Social Informatics (CSI). These were short talks on research currently undertaken by (1) Dr Laura Muir; (2) Dr Wegene Demeke and Dr Bruce Ryan; and (3) Dr Gemma Webster and Frances Ryan. (The staff from other research groups who gave talks were Dr Ingi Helgason, Dr Tom Methven, Dr Rameez Asif, Dr Owen Lo, Professor Sally Smith, Dr Ella Taylor-Smith, and Dr Taoxin Peng.)

In the first presentation from CSI, Laura explained that the aim of her research is to make information systems better. This is acheived by studying human factors relevant to the design and use of such systems. Laura is particularly interested in the visual information seeking behaviour of ‘experts’. The methods deployed in her work include eye-tracking during cognitive tasks. This approach identifies where people look when using information systems, and allows for the gathering of spatial and temporal data about types of eye movement, specific gaze locations and durations, areas of interest, and scan paths. These and other metrics can be used to quantify information seeking behaviour. The eye tracking data collected in this way can then be triangulated with qualitative data (for example that gathered using think aloud protocols) to provide further insight for the improvement of information systems, and in skills training for those expected to use such systems.

Normally Wegene and Bruce would have presented on their own work as the second CSI presentation, but on the day of the event they were both out of the country in Brazil engaged in the research project that was the subject of their presentation. I therefore offered to present on their behalf. The slides are available on SlideShare and below. (For further information please see my earlier blog post on this project.)

The third and final presentation from CSI was delivered by Frances. She spoke about Social media by proxy: strategies for managing the online profiles of adults with dementia. This project is funded by the Carnegie Trust for the Universities of Scotland through its Research Incentive Grant programme for early career researchers. It runs for 6 months from January 2019 with Frances as the Research Assistant, and Gemma as the Principal Investigator. This project draws on Gemma‘s previous research with people with dementia, carers, and dementia support organisations, and Frances’ PhD work on social media use. The broad goal of this work is to identify and share good practice in the ‘management by proxy’ of the social media profiles of adults with dementia. The specific aims of the project are to:

  1. Establish the methods used by social media proxies to manage the social media profiles of people with dementia in their care;
  2. Determine the extent that people with dementia actively engage in the management of profiles (with or without the support of social media proxies);
  3. Identify support materials that currently exist to help social media proxies in the execution of their roles;
  4. Determine the ways in which social media proxies identify, access, and rate the level and type of support currently available;
  5. Identify future priorities for the support of social media proxies;
  6. Highlight future research opportunities related to the support of social media proxies.

Frances and Gemma plan to report their findings in four outputs: (1) a project report, (2) a journal article, (3) materials for social media proxies (e.g. leaflets, resources to be hosted online by support organisations), and (4) an article for The Conversation. They will also host a dissemination event for project stakeholders, e.g. care home workers, carers of people with dementia, local authority officials, and members of third sector organisations that provide support to vulnerable/incapacitated groups. It is anticipated that the completed work will act as a springboard for further – and more extensive – research on the project themes in the future.

The Carnegie Trust for the Universities of Scotland

Dr Wegene Demeke and Dr Bruce Ryan research participatory budgeting in Brazil

Image result for GCRFMy Centre for Social Informatics colleagues Dr Wegene Demeke and Dr Bruce Ryan have started 2019 with a trip to Brazil. They are in São Paulo to develop some research on participatory budgeting, the process by which citizens (and not politicians) vote to decide how government money is spent. Participatory budgeting is well-established in Brazil – it was first implemented in Porto Alegre in the late 1980s – and is therefore an ideal location for research of this nature. Continue reading

Research Impact Value and LIS #LIS_RIVAL: resources and review

#lis_rival delegate packsTwo weeks ago on 11th July 2018 my Centre for Social Informatics colleague Dr Bruce Ryan and I hosted Research Impact Value and LIS (#lis_rival).

This was a lively, sell-out one-day event on the theme of library and information science (LIS) research impact and value at Edinburgh Napier University’s Craiglockhart campus.

#lis_rival brought together 33 delegates from a range of stakeholder groups including academic, health, national, prison, public, and special librarians, as well as LIS academics, officers from the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals (CILIP – the main UK professional body for information and knowledge workers), and independent consultants. Continue reading

Workforce Mapping Project report now available for download

The full output of the Workforce Mapping Project that I led in 2014/15 as commissioned research for the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals (CILIP) and the Archives and Records Association (ARA) has been released. This is now available as a download from CILIP and from ARA (free of charge for members, £40 for others). Continue reading

Follow #lis_rival for updates on Research Impact Value & LIS at Edinburgh Napier today

RIVAL logo

Today we are hosting a one-day event on the theme of library and information science (LIS) research impact and value at Edinburgh Napier University’s Craiglockhart campus. My Centre for Social Informatics colleague Dr Bruce Ryan is the main organiser of this event.

We’re pleased that Research Impact Value and LIS (#lis_rival) has sold-out, and that we will have representation from across the LIS communities at Edinburgh Napier University today. Amongst the delegates to be welcomed are academic, health, national, prison, public, school, and special librarians, as well as LIS academics, professional body officers, and independent consultants. Continue reading

Conceptualisations of LIS research impact and value: learning from the LIS Research Coalition and DREaM (#lis_rival)

#lis_rival delegate packsOver the past few days my colleague Dr Bruce Ryan and I have been busy finalising plans for Research Impact Value and LIS (#lis_rival), which takes place at Edinburgh Napier University Cariglockhart campus tomorrow. This work has included making up the delegate badges, filling the delegate packs (with the help of Lyndsey Middleton – thank you!), and confirming the catering arrangements.

I have also made the finishing touches to my own presentation ‘Conceptualisations of LIS research impact and value: learning from the LIS Research Coalition and DREaM (#lis_rival)‘. The slides for my presentation are available on SlideShare and below.

Register now for Research Impact Value and LIS (RIVAL) #lis_rival, Wednesday 11th July 2018, Edinburgh

RIVAL logoAll interested in library and information science (LIS) research are invited to register free of charge for a community event on the theme of LIS research impact and value to held in Edinburgh on Wednesday 11th July 2018. Continue reading