Centre for Social Informatics ‘all centre’ meeting June 2022

Social Informatics Research Group Edinburgh Napier University selfie

Dr Peter Cruickshank, Dr David Brazier, Dr David Haynes, Dr Hazel Hall, Katherine Stephen, Dr Bruce Ryan, and Dr JP Vargheese pose for a post-meeting selfie

For the first time since 18th December 2019, this week members of my research group gathered for an end of year ‘all centre’ meeting to celebrate our recent research highlights.

Although not everyone could make it on this occasion, those who could enjoyed spending the afternoon of Wednesday 22nd June together. We took it in turns to deliver short personal updates to the rest of the group on our own research. We also read out details sent to us by email from those who could not participate in person, and gave each absent colleague a round of applause.

Afterwards seven of us (pictured) continued the conversation off-campus at Brew Dog on Lothian Road. (Please scroll down for more photos.)

With the main theme of the afternoon focused on our research activities, most of our updates concerned topics that begin with the letter P: projects, public engagement, publications, presentations, and PhDs. We also celebrated our recent REF results. In Unit of Assessment 34, 76% of our submission overall was judged as internationally excellent (3*) or world-leading (4*), with the components of Impact and Research Environment attracting high scores: Impact 100% at 3* and 4*; Environment at 90% 3* and 4*. These figures have contributed to Edinburgh Napier University’s ranking as the top modern university in Scotland.

The report below draws on some of the discussion at our all centre meeting on 22nd June, and from the notes of our weekly Wednesday research update meetings in the first six months of 2022.

Most of our project work over the past six months has focused on seven studies:

  1. Community council online presences led by Dr Bruce Ryan and Dr Peter Cruickshank.
  2. EHealth tools and online information in the self-management of polycystic kidney disease (eHealth PKD) led by Dr Frances Ryan, with PhD student Marina Milosheva as researcher.
  3. Heritage organisations and podcasts scoping study (HOPSS) led by Dr Bruce Ryan, with myself as one of the two co-investigators, and PhD student Marianne Wilson as researcher. For further information please see the posts about the project on the Social Informatics Research Group blog: introduction on 8th February 2022; update on 9th May 2022.
  4. Information literacy interventions impact framework led by Dr Peter Cruickshank with Dr Bruce Ryan and Marina Milosheva as researchers.
  5. Platform to platform (P2P) led by Dr Bruce Ryan, with myself as one of the two co-investigators, and PhD student Katherine Stephen playing the role of announcer in the 12 episodes of Lorna Lloyd’s Diary of the war podcast series. See the introduction to this project on the Social Informatics blog.
  6. Privacy, power and regulation of the metaverse led by Dr David Haynes, with PhD student Natalie Wangler as researcher.
  7. Sentinel: security alert level automation led by Dr Peter Cruickshank. with PhD student Aleksander Bielinski as researcher. See details on the completed project on the Social Informatics blog.

Meanwhile in Canada, our Visiting Professor Dr Brian Detlor (with colleagues) has continued his work on the project entitled Promoting digital literacy in the community through public library initiatives.

A further study involving members of our group has just begun. Our newest colleague JP Vargheese, who joined us in February, is leading an investigation into the relationship between listener receptivity and source of music recommendations. Katherine Stephen and Marianne Wilson are the researchers on this project.

Our largest public engagement activity of the past six months has been the organisation and delivery of the launch event for the Lorna Lloyd Diary of the war podcast series, which took place on May 24th 2022 in Malvern. Four of us contributed to this: myself; Dr Bruce Ryan; Katherine Stephen; and Marianne Wilson. Others have brought their work to the notice of the general population in smaller-scale activities. For example, PhD student Rachel Salzano is currently hosting an art exhibition related to her doctoral study at Westerhailes Library in Edinburgh, and in April Marina Milosheva published a piece on networking in The Conversation.

We have also been busy writing up and presenting our work. The latest published outputs from our research are:

We also have a number of accepted papers in press. Two papers are for Information Researchone is by Rachel Salzano and her PhD supervision team covering interim results from Rachel’s doctoral study; the second is by Marina Milosheva and her supervisors about the conceptual framework that Marina devised for her empirical work. A second output from Rachel Salzano‘s doctoral study will appear in the Proceedings of the 2022 ASIST Annual meeting. Aleksander Bielinski has a contribution co-authored with his Masters dissertation supervisor in press with the proceedings of the 2nd International Conference on Artificial Intelligence and Knowledge Processing (AIKP’22).

In addition, we have been involved in longer-form publishing ventures in the past six months: Dr David Haynes is one of the editors of the Proceedings for ISKO 2022; Marina Milosheva and her supervisors have a chapter in a book on workplace information literacy that has just been submitted for publication with Facet; and Dr Bruce Ryan and I published an edited collection of the poems of Lorna Lloyd to coincide with the Diary of the war podcast series launch event.

In terms of conference presentations, we have also been active:

We are looking forward to a number of future presentation engagements. In September, we are contributing to the OLKC conference in Sweden: Katherine Stephen with her supervision team has a paper in the main conference, as do Dr Ella Taylor-Smith and Dr Khristin Fabian. In the same month, Dr David Brazier will be giving a talk at an event organised by the CILIPS Information Literacy Community of Practice. Two presentations on the P2P project are also scheduled for September. The first is a paper that I will deliver at the ARA conference in Chester; the second a roundtable contribution that will involve myself, Dr Bruce Ryan, Marianne Wilson and Jake Berger of the BBC Archive at the BBC at 100 Symposium hosted at the National Science and Media Museum in Bradford. Rachel Salzano and Dr Brian Detlor will be presenting in two separate sessions at the ASIST Annual Meeting, which takes place between 29th October and 1st November this year.

Our PhD students have recently secured places at the doctoral forums of major conferences: Aleksander Bielinski at DATA 2022 in Portugal next month; Natalie Wangler at EGOV-CeDEM-Part 2022 in Sweden, John Marshall at OLKC conference in Sweden, and Marina Milosheva at ISIC 2022 in Germany, in September. Two PhD students have also won bursary places at conferences that fit with their research interests: in July Rachel Salzano will attend the CILIP annual conference, and Marianne Wilson will be at DCDC 2022. Earlier in the year, in March 2022, Thoko Kachale attended the doctoral consortium of the IADIS Conference. Meanwhile the main job of our PhD students is to work on their doctoral studies, submit their theses for examination, and graduate. We’re really pleased that three colleagues have successfully navigated this process in the past academic year and will be graduating on 7th July 2022 as Dr Najla Alamri; Dr Pritam Chita; and Dr Debbie Meharg.

As well as working on our own research projects, members of our group continue to be actively involved in contributing to the wider research environment of the subject domains that we cover as social informatics researchers. For example, recent appointments to review teams include service for journal such as IEEE Transactions on Education (Dr Khristin Fabian) and Information Processing and Management (Dr David Brazier), and conferences such as ALT 2022 (Dr Khristin Fabian), EGOVIS 2022 (Dr Peter Cruickshank), ISKO 2022 (Dr Frances Ryan), and the Workshop on Recommender Systems for Human Resources (Dr David Brazier). In addition, Rachel Salzano currently contributes to publishing endeavours in library and information science as a member of the editorial production team Library and Information Research, and Dr Ella Taylor-Smith has been instrumental in the development of the Ada Scotland Festival to bring together partners to address the issue of gender balance in Computing Science education in Scotland.

We are also involved in professional bodies and committees related to our research. For example, our Visiting Professor Dr Brian Detlor has been busy as the Immediate Past President of ASIST in the first six months of 2022, and Katherine Stephen has been heavily involved in the organisation of events for the SGSSS such as the Student-led symposium, Final year conference, and Summer school (with duties that have included managing alpacas!) I continued my REF2021 duties a member of the sub-panel for Unit of Assessment 34 in the first quarter of 2022.

Now we look forward to taking some time off over the summer and then returning refreshed for academic year 2022/23. We are currently working on a number of research grant proposals that we hope will be successful to allow us to develop further our empirical work. We are also preparing a number of paper submissions for journals and conference while waiting on the outcomes of a couple of others currently with journal and conference review teams. We are excited that come the autumn we will be welcoming Maria Cecil to Napier to complete the +3 component of her 1+3 PhD ESRC/SDS studentship, alongside another research council funded student on the collaborative award secured by Dr David Brazier with colleagues Dr Paul Gooding (University of Glasgow) and Amina Shah (NLS) earlier this year. We are hoping to add to the new intake of fully-funded UK PhD students in our group by recruiting another four for starts in either October 2022 or March 2023: applications are due by 13th July.

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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

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

Workforce Data Consortium issues invitation to tender for Workforce Mapping Survey 2021/22

The Edinburgh Napier University Workforce Mapping Project team, 2014/15

In 2014/15 I led an Edinburgh Napier University team on a research project to profile the UK information professions. My colleagues were Christine Irving (now retired) and Dr Bruce Ryan of the Centre for Social Informatics; and Professor Robert Raeside (also retired), Dr Matthew Dutton, and Dr Tao Chen (now at the University of Bradford) of the Employment Research Institute. The output was a 186-page report (inclusive of 20 figures and 97 tables of statistics). 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

Dr Bruce Ryan is long-listed for a national award

Dr Bruce Ryan

Dr Bruce Ryan

Dr Bruce Ryan, Senior Research Fellow in the Centre for Social Informatics at Edinburgh Napier University, has been long-listed for Scotland’s Library and Information Professional of the Year Award 2021.

This is in recognition of Bruce’s contributions to library and information science (LIS) research in the past year, particularly in respect of the Research Impact Value and LIS (RIVAL) project and conferences hosted by the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals Scotland (CILIPS).

For further information about the award, including details of the other five long-listed candidates and sponsor Bolinda Digital, please see the post on the CILIPS web site.

An afternoon with the UK Electronic Information Group (UKeIG) #iishistory #ukeigmembersday2021

UKeIG logoYesterday afternoon I participated in an online meeting of the UK Electronic Information Group (UKeIG). At one time I was heavily involved in the work of this group – I served as its Honorary Secretary for a while early in my career – but this was my first attendance at such an event for some time. The two presentations that sandwiched the 2021 UKeIG AGM were my main motivation for attending the meeting. Continue reading

Spreading the news of RIVAL at the 2021 CILIPS and SCURL conferences #cilips21

RIVAL logoFollowing the completion of our Royal Society of Edinburgh (RSE) funded Research Impact Value and Library and Information Science (RIVAL) project at the end of March 2021, Dr Bruce Ryan and I are each pleased to have an opportunity to speak about this work at two different conferences this week. The first is the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals Scotland (CILIPS) annual conference, which opened today. The second is the annual conference of the Scottish Confederation of University and Research Libraries (SCURL), which takes place on Wednesday. Continue reading

Dr Bruce Ryan to speak at CILIPS Annual Conference 2021 #CILIPS21

CILIPS Scotland logoMy Centre for Social Informatics colleague Dr Bruce Ryan has recently been confirmed as a speaker at this year’s annual conference of the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals Scotland. The 2021 conference is a two-day online event on June 7th and 8th. It will bring together library and information professionals from across Scotland and beyond to share knowledge and engage in professional development. Continue reading

Farewell 2020

Social Informatcis staff and students all centre meeting December 2019

The way we were, December 2019. L to R: John Marshall, Peter Cruickshank, Lyndsey Middleton (now graduated with PhD), Katherine Stephen, Rachel Salzano, Marina Milosheva, Laura Muir (now retired), Hazel Hall, Leo Appleton (now graduated with PhD), Ella Taylor-Smith, David Haynes, David Brazier, Frances Ryan (now Research Fellow at the University of Aberdeen), Colin Smith, Wegene Demeke, and Bruce Ryan.

Just over a year ago, on 22nd December 2019, I summarised the the previous six months of activities of the members of the Centre for Social Informatics. I illustrated this account with a jolly photograph of us all bunched closely together around the table a few days earlier in room C34a of Edinburgh Napier University’s Merchiston campus. Continue reading