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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Lorna Lloyd’s ‘Diary of the war’ podcast series launch event: review and resources

Bethany Ray plays Lorna Lloyd

Actor Bethany Ray, pictured here with the original  Diary of the war, plays her great-great aunt Lorna Lloyd in the podcast series

After several weeks of preparation, on Tuesday 24th May 2022 we launched the Diary of the war podcast series at Great Malvern Priory. This blog post provides a review of the launch. It also provides links to materials related to this event, and to the wider Platform to platform (P2P) project. (Please scroll to the bottom of the post for the full list of resources.)

The content of the podcast series episodes centres on 25 year old Malvern resident Lorna Lloyd‘s chronicle of the first 16 months of World War II, complemented with contemporaneous news coverage related to the events and issues that she discusses in her writing. A further four ‘bonus’ episodes that comprise a selection of Lloyd’s poetry are included in the series. Continue reading

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

Masters graduation day for Social Informatics PhD students John Marshall and Marianne Wilson

John Marshall and Marianne WilsonCongratulations to Centre for Social Informatics PhD students John Marshall and Marianne Wilson, who will be awarded their MSc(R) degrees by the University of Edinburgh today. John and Marianne undertook this degree as the first funded year of their 1+3 ESRC/Skills Development Scotland doctoral programmes, awarded by the Scottish Graduate School of Social Science.

Study for the MSc(R) degree at the University of Edinburgh  comprises core training in social science research methods with modules on research design, data collection, and data analysis, and elective specialist modules specific to individuals’ research interests and needs. Continue reading

A warm welcome to ‘new’ staff and student colleagues to the Centre for Social Informatics

new csi colleagues November 2021

New Centre for Social Informatics colleagues, autumn 2021

Today the Centre for Social Informatics welcomes its newest member of staff: Dr Frances Ryan has taken up a lecturing post with us. This is a return to our group at Edinburgh Napier University for Frances: she graduated from Napier with a PhD in July 2019. In the intervening time, Frances has been engaged in postdoctoral research, first here at Napier and then at the Universities of Dundee and Aberdeen. 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

Congratulations to Marina Milosheva: awarded a distinction for her MSc(R)

Marina Milosheva

Marina Milosheva

Many congratulations to Centre for Social Informatics PhD student Marina Milosheva. Marina has achieved a distinction in the Masters degree that she undertook in 2019/20 in first year of her four year 1+3 doctoral programme.

Marina is the fourth of our six Skills Development Scotland (SDS)/ESRC funded PhD students, and the second to be awarded the MSc by Research (MScR) in Science and Technology Studies from the University of Edinburgh. This Masters year is offered to all students who win an Edinburgh Napier SDS/ESRC doctoral studentship to study with us for a PhD at Napier, but who do not already hold a Masters degree that incorporates 60 credits of research methods training. Continue reading

Newly published: version 11.2 of the Centre for Social Informatics flyer (autumn 2020)

Centre for Social Informatics bannerThe Centre for Social Informatics flyer (version 11.2) has just been updated for the new academic year. Follow the link to read about the work of our group, including details of research expertise, funders, recent PhD completions, and recent publications. The flyer includes profiles of the group’s academic and research staff: Continue reading