Category Archives: Bailer News

Applications invited for ESRC Scottish Graduate School of Social Science Doctoral Training Partnership studentship competition 2017

Posted on behalf of Laura Muir, Edinburgh Napier University:

The Science, Technology, Innovation, Information and Communication Studies pathway of the ESRC Scottish Graduate School of Social Science Doctoral Training Partnership (SGSSS-DTP) is currently inviting applications for this year’s studentship competition.

Academic staff at each of the pathway member institutions – including those within my group at Edinburgh Napier University – would be pleased to hear from eligible candidates who would like to apply for a PhD place under this scheme.

Applications are due for submission to the SGSSS-DTP by Friday 17th February. The application process is detailed at: http://www.socsciscotland.ac.uk/studentships/how_to_apply. The first step is to secure an offer of a PhD place and so initial contact must be made to the pathway representative at Edinburgh Napier University (Dr Laura Muirl.muir@napier.ac.uk) by Monday 16th January 2017.

Applicant interests should align with the focus of the pathway research. At Edinburgh Napier University this places emphasis on the relationship between the use of information and societal development within the broader context of the ESRC SGSSS-DTP. The key areas of research interest are:

  • The social and economic impact of information
  • The legal and regulatory context for the collection and use of information
  • The technologies for the management of information
  • Information policy and strategy
  • Information behaviour and use
  • Library and information management

Applicants should meet the following requirements:

  1. Hold a good first degree (first class or 2.1).
  2. Hold a Masters degree in a social science subject that includes significant coverage of qualitative and quantitative research methods (at least 60 credits of appropriate research methods training), or be on target to complete such a Masters degree before the start of the academic year 2017/18.
  3. Be a United Kingdom citizen, or be a resident of another European Union country.
  4. Submit a research proposal that aligns with the key areas of interest the pathway.

Further details on these requirements can be found on the eligibility page of the Scottish Graduate School of Social Science web site.

If you are interested in making an application for a studentship under this scheme at Edinburgh Napier University, you should make initial contact with Dr Laura Muir(L.Muir@napier.ac.uk) by Monday 16th January 2017 (or preferably sooner) to check your eligibility to apply. Dr Muir will then arrange a telephone or Skype call to discuss research proposal ideas, and potential supervision arrangements at Edinburgh Napier. (Possible supervisors include myself and my immediate colleagues such as Dr Laura MuirDr Colin SmithDr Gemma Webster and Peter Cruickshank.) This conversation will also provide an opportunity to discuss in further detail the application process.

The next stage will be for you to complete the Edinburgh Napier research degree application form to be submitted directly to Dr Laura Muir by email at L.Muir@napier.ac.uk(and not to the general research degrees admissions e-mail address) by midday on Wednesday 18th January 2017.

Interviews will be held on the afternoon of Wednesday 25th January 2017 at the Merchiston campus of Edinburgh Napier University. Decisions on who will be invited to take their applications to the next stage will be made by Friday 27th January 2017.

Candidates who pass the internal Edinburgh Napier application process will then be authorised to start the application process on the ESRC SGSSS-DTP systeminitial registration needs to be made by Monday 13th February 2017. Following ESRC eligibility checks, candidates will then be invited to submit their full applications to the ESRC SGSSS-DTP system by Friday 17th February 2017. The outcome of these applications is expected to be known by 12th May 2017.

Candidates who are considering making an application to Edinburgh Napier University through this scheme are encouraged to explore how their research interests align with those of the staff and research students within the Centre for Social Informatics. We carry out research that is broadly concerned with the intersection of people, communities and technologies, and that incorporates themes such as:

  • Democratic digital engagement
  • Digital culture
  • Digital economy
  • e-Government
  • Information policy
  • Information seeking behaviour and use
  • The Information Society
  • Information systems for organisational effectiveness
  • Knowledge management
  • Online communities
  • Open data and open government

Our recent and current research students engage in a range of doctoral studies on topics that include:

Vacancy: Edinburgh Napier Principal’s Research Fellowships – apply by July 1st 2016

Posted on behalf of Hazel Hall:

Edinburgh Napier University is currently advertising a great opportunity for anyone keen to focus on their research over the next five years with the ambition of promotion to Associate Professor. The University’s Principal’s Research Fellowships offer a five-year contract with a salary in the range of £37,768 to £46,414, and include an attractive support package.

The posts correspond with the three broad areas that comprise the University’s Academic Themes:

  1. Information Society
  2. Sustainable communities
  3. Wellbeing

Those of us in the Centre for Social Informatics are keen to see applications that fit to the Information Society theme, and especially those that align with, or extend, our current research interests and expertise in:

  • Democratic digital engagement
  • Digital culture
  • Digital economy
  • e-Government
  • Information policy
  • Information seeking behaviour and use
  • The Information Society
  • Information systems for organisational effectiveness
  • Knowledge management
  • Online communities
  • Open data and open government

The focus of the work of successful applicants to the Principal’s Research Fellowship posts will be research, and will include developing grant proposals, undertaking projects to develop new knowledge in the domain, disseminating research results, and contributing to the University’s submission to the Research Excellence Framework (REF)*.

There will also be opportunities to mentor and coach others (e.g. line management of research assistants, research student supervision), and provide supervisory support to research teams. In carrying out this work, the Principal’s Research Fellows will actively work towards meeting the criteria for promotion to Associate Professor. (These criteria can be found in the University’s Academic appointment and promotion framework).

The University is interested in hearing from candidates who offer the following interests, expertise, and qualifications:

  • PhD in a relevant discipline
  • Knowledge and expertise to underpin the further development of research in the domain
  • A research profile that already demonstrates national recognition
  • Experience of successfully leading and developing research projects, including the writing of research proposals and disseminating research findings in high quality journals and at international conferences
  • Ability to work independently, combined with prior experience of collaborating on research projects
  • Excellent communication skills, including the ability to use a range of delivery techniques to enthuse and engage others in research
  • Willingness to play an active part in the life of the research group in which they are based, and in the wider community (e.g. through broadening their external research networks, and through public engagement activities)
  • A commitment to continuous professional development

The closing date for applications is 1st July 2016. Interviews will take place during the week commencing 15 August 2016. For further information about this opportunity, please see the advertisement and the the role description on the University’s vacancies web site.

A little more about the Centre for Social Informatics, Napier’s Merchiston campus, and Edinburgh…

Centre for Social Informatics staff and students June 2015

CSI staff and research students June 2015

*In REF2014 the Centre for Social Informatics contributed to the University’s submission to Unit of Assessment 36. 74% of the research output submitted was judged to be world-leading (4*) or internationally excellent (3*). The research environment also attracted a high score of 90% 4* and 3*. Our result puts us in the top quartile nationally for Unit of Assessment 36. Our ranking against other research groups of the British Association for Information and Library Education and Research (BAILER) based on the percentages given above places us top for research outputs and joint second for environment.

The Centre for Social Informatics is a lively and friendly research group that undertakes a wide range of research projects from small-scale commercial contracts to large research council funded grants. We also supervise a set of enthusiastic research students, the majority of whom are externally funded (e.g. by UK research councils – AHRC and ESRC). They are currently working on doctoral studies in the following areas:

Our base is a modern campus that boasts its own medieval tower, situated in what estate agents call a ‘very desirable area’ close to shops, banks, restaurants, bars and a fabulous independent cinema. There is easy public transport to campus by bus and we’re a short walk from Haymarket railway station. It takes just a few minutes to reach the beautiful open space of the Meadows for a walk or run at lunchtime. If you’ve never been to Edinburgh before, it’s one of the most beautiful cities in the world, and ranks as the best place to live in the UK.

Opportunities to embark on PhD study in 2016: four funded places within the School of Computing at Edinburgh Napier University

Posted on behalf of Hazel Hall.

The School of Computing at Edinburgh Napier University is currently advertising four funded research studentships. Applications are due by Friday 15th January 2016, interviews for the places will take place in February 2016, and the four successful candidates will join us at a mutually convenient time in the first or second quarter of 2016 (i.e. a date prior to the end of June 2016).

On this occasion applications are sought in twelve specific areas. Those of us within the Centre for Social Informatics are particularly interested in receiving applications on two themes: (1) information systems for organisational effectiveness; and (2) digital media for cultural engagement.

For the first theme noted above proposals are invited from candidates keen to undertake experimental research on user interaction and satisfaction with information systems/technology. Examples include studies of the use of systems/technology for knowledge discovery or decision making, and the use of technology makerspaces for innovation and creative activity. Proposals on the second theme – widening cultural engagement through the use of digital media – should focus on exploring how innovative technologies allow citizens to engage with cultural resources in new ways.

If you are interested in applying for one of these studentships please send the 4 following files to researchdegrees@napier.ac.uk by Friday 15th January 2016:

  1. A completed application form
  2. A completed research academic reference form with the names and contact details of two referees
  3. A research proposal on one of the named topic areas listed in the call for applications. Your proposal should demonstrate an understanding of the background to the research area, outline the research questions to be investigated in the proposed study, and make it clear how this work will fit with the research profile of the School. (In the case of the two research themes discussed above, the fit with the work of the Centre for Social Informatics should also be taken into consideration.)
  4. A covering letter that gives details of your background, qualifications and research interests

International students are welcome to apply. All successful candidates will be fully funded (with a living stipend of £13,863, and fees paid).

Applications invited for ESRC Scottish Graduate School of Social Science Doctoral Training Centre studentship competition 2016

Posted on behalf of Hazel Hall.

The Information Science Pathway of the ESRC Scottish Graduate School of Social Science Doctoral Training Centre (SGSSS-DTC) is currently inviting applications for this year’s studentship competition.

Academic staff at each of the pathway member institutions – including those within the Centre for Social Informatics at Edinburgh Napier University – would be pleased to hear from eligible candidates who would like to apply for a PhD place under this scheme. Applications are due for submission to the SGSSS-DTC by Wednesday 17th February (explained below). However, initial contact regarding this opportunity must be made by Monday 11th January 2016.

Applicant interests should align with the focus of the Information Science pathway research. This places emphasis on the relationship between the use of information and societal development within the broader context of the ESRC SGSSS-DTC. The key areas of interests of the Information Science pathway are:

  • The social and economic impact of information
  • The legal and regulatory context for the collection and use of information
  • The technologies for the management of information
  • Information policy and strategy
  • Information behaviour and use
  • Library and information management

Applicants should meet the following requirements:

  1. Hold a good first degree (first class or 2.1).
  2. Hold a Masters degree in a social science subject that includes significant coverage of qualitative and quantitative research methods (at least 60 credits of appropriate research methods training), or be on target to complete such a Masters degree before the start of the academic year 2016/17.
  3. Be a United Kingdom citizen, or be a resident of another European Union country.
  4. Submit a research proposal that aligns with the key areas of interest of (a) the Information Science Pathway, and (b) the institution to which the application is being made.

Further details on these requirements can be found on the eligibility page of the Scottish Graduate School of Social Science web site.

The pathway partner institutions would be particularly interested in hearing from applicants who hold (or who are working towards) Masters degrees in subjects such as Information Science; Information Management; Information Studies; Information Systems; Knowledge Management; Records Management; and Science, Technology and Innovation Studies.

If you are interested in making an application for a studentship under this scheme at Edinburgh Napier University, you should make initial contact with me (Professor Hazel Hall– h.hall@napier.ac.uk) by Monday 11th January 2016 (or preferably sooner) to check your eligibility to apply. We will then arrange a telephone or Skype call to discuss research proposal ideas, and potential supervision arrangements at Edinburgh Napier. (Possible supervisors include my immediate colleagues in the Centre for Social Informatics such as Dr Laura MuirDr Colin SmithDr Gemma Webster and Peter Cruickshank.) This conversation will also provide an opportunity to discuss in further detail the application process.

LISDIS Conference – University of Huddersfield, 14th November 2015

This is a guest blog post from the organisers of LISDIS (Library and Information Science Dissertations Conference). BAILER was one of the sponsors for the conference which was held at University of Huddersfield on 14th November 2015.  

LISDIS organisers - Rosie Higman, Jess Haigh, Emily Wheeler and Michelle Bond
LISDIS 2015 organisers – Rosie Higman, Jess Haigh, Emily Wheeler and Michelle Bond

LISDIS (Library and Information Science Dissertations Conference) was born from the realisation that much dissertation research goes nowhere once the dissertation is complete. Some will turn into research articles, some will develop into PhDs; some will be used to inform practice in workplaces across the world. But many languish on laptop hard drives; forgotten in the excitement of graduation, free time and perhaps a first professional post. The idea of the conference was to try and promote these dissertations, give them new life by exposing them to the world and help connect research with professionals, people working in the field.

Sarah Hume at LISDIS 2015
Sarah Hume at LISDIS 2015

The day was organised into 5 sessions – 9 dissertation speakers, a poster session, and our keynote, Emma Coonan, speaking about publishing dissertation research as a journal article. The first session was titled ‘Collections and discovery’ and featured 3 presentations from UCL graduates Sarah Hume, Lizzie Sparrow and Lucy Saint-Smith. The session covered classification, discovery layers and historical bibliography – immediately showcasing how diverse dissertation research is! A theme started to emerge from the first session – women and how they have been marginalised (specifically here as book collectors and in classification schemes).

Our second session was themed around ‘Public Libraries and the Community’, kicking off with Ian Clark discussing whether community libraries address the concerns of the digital divide. In many ways the issues that Ian discussed – the divide between community libraries in well off vs disadvantaged areas, the deprofessionalisation of public library staff – are the prelude to discussions about what else happens in public libraries – the ability to select relevant stock being one that was discussed in the following two presentations, from Alanna and Martyn.

Emma Coonan at LISDIS
Emma Coonan at LISDIS 2015

Emma Coonan’s session was perhaps one of the most popular and immediately useful of the day for our delegates. Called ‘Publication without tears: Tips for aspiring authors’, she demystified the process of submitting an article for publication – from reminding us that there are humans behind the journal to explaining the peer review process. Emma also explained how you can produce multiple articles from the same research – discussing methodology, results or “beloved darlings” – parts of your research that were great, but wouldn’t fit into a dissertation. As well as emphasising that journal articles aren’t the only way of communicating research, in response to a question from the floor Emma encouraged LIS academics to discuss extending the life of their research, including journal articles, with the students they supervise.

Natasha Chowdory at LISDIS 2015
Natasha Chowdory at LISDIS 2015

Our last session focussed on “Valuing the Library”, kicked off by an excellent talk from Natasha Chowdory about measuring value in her corporate library. Throughout this session a picture emerged of the importance of libraries and how much they are valued by users; whether they’re students paying increased tuition fees, or civilians in war zones working to save their cultural history. Whilst value isn’t always easy to communicate to users or people in charge, the work done day-to-day by library workers is appreciated.

Overall we were incredibly pleased with the day and particularly how confident and interesting all our presenters were. All of the slides from the day are linked to from our website: http://lisdisconference.com

We hope to run LISDIS again next year so will be looking out for the next crop of talented LIS grads to share their research with us!

Photo credits: All photos are credited to Laura Williams. 

What are we doing and why in British and Irish library and information departments?

In recent years, the library and information professions have undergone a series of changes. Some libraries have been through name changes and rebrands (to become known as things like Learning Resource Centres or Information Centres), some have closed, and almost all have changed their support in some way. More information is available online now, so we’ve seen demand for access to computing facilities and wireless internet access increase. Many libraries supplement traditional print resources with electronic resources, including e-books, e-journals, and online databases.

The way we receive, manage and share information is constantly changing
The way we receive, manage and share information is constantly changing

Information and digital literacy skills are becoming essential for society; for both work and life in general. A number of reports talk about ‘information overload’ and people are developing techniques to deal with this. Organisations produce an increasingly large amount of information, and information professionals are involved in managing this information and helping others develop skills to manage it.

New areas within the information professions are emerging – including knowledge management, managing intranets, and managing online information to ensure it is findable by users (such as those who specialise in user experience design and those who work with metadata).

In response to the changes, member institutions of BAILER have been adapting their courses to ensure their content is current and their graduates are equipped with the skills and knowledge to enter today’s workplace.

At the University of West of England for example, they have updated their Information Management course:

We have updated our MSc offering, taking account of trends in the profession and the recent review of the Professional Skills and Knowledge Base by CILIP, which consulted widely with employers and professionals. While much of our previous content remains, we have reorganised the modules to make space for enhanced treatment of information/digital literacy and knowledge organisation, both foundational aspects of modern information work. We have also created a new set of options where students can specialise in user experience design, data management, knowledge management and web design.

We continue to cater to librarians working in public and academic settings, but recognise that today there are many other information-related roles outside of these spaces. Indeed, part of the philosophy is to expose students to a range of workplaces and skillsets in order to expand their career horizons.

In response to student demand, Glyndŵr University have extended their course offering to include a BSc(Hons) Library and Information Management top up degree:

From FDSc Library and Information Practice student demand we have developed a BSc (Hons) Library and Information Management, which is a one year top for those having completed the foundation degree or for those who qualified a while ago and wish to update their CPD profile. The first cohort of 11 BSc (Hons) students graduate in October 2013. The course uses the same model of delivery as the FDSc with the addition of a dissertation.

In addition to course level changes, many BAILER institutions have developed new modules or are in the process of doing so – some within their departments such as research data management, and some in collaboration with other departments such as social media (in collaboration with journalism) and database management (in collaboration with computing).

The courses and modules in British and Irish library and information departments are regularly reviewed in response to changes in society and in the needs of students and employers. Visit the member directory to get further information on BAILER member institutions and visit their websites to take a look at the courses currently on offer.