Thursday, 19 October 2017

Andy Tattersall at Internet Librarian International

Image of Andy Tattersall
Andy Tattersall
As with the previous six years (it might be longer), I attended the popular and exciting conference Internet Librarian International. I've given numerous talks there over the last few years and had a year off last year to moderate a really superb session titled 'Come and feel the love'. This year I returned to the speakers lectern, not to deliver one, two, but three talks. I had pitched two in which were accepted and had an invite by the conference organisers to make it a trio. This put me in the brackets as such luminaries Phil Bradley and Marydee Ojala by giving multiple talks this year.

The first was at the end of day one where I talked about the video collections I have created as part of my role using tools like Adobe Spark and Videoscribe. I was alongside a really good presentation on content creation by The King's Fund by Hong-Anh Nguyen (a member of Sheffield's iSchool Alumni) and Deena Maggs. With three presentations, I felt like I was going into a sporting tournament where I was keen to get my first fixture under my belt. 

The next one followed after hearing David White from The University of Arts deliver a superb keynote. David is a very engaging speaker who I've had the pleasure of delivering a webinar alongside him for a couple of years ago. His talk was on the opportunities to be had for librarians in a world of misinformation and people looking for quick and agreeable answers. I then gave my talk on the future or research support and potential roles that could appear in the future to deliver them at the coal face of research. I was introduced by Phil Bradley which was a real pleasure and was fortunate to have quite a packed room for the session. At the the end there was some useful debate as to where we might be going with this.

Finally, to finish on a high note I presented in the same session as four wonderful Irish librarians who between them have created two really informative and entertaining podcast series for their institutions - pretty much in their own time. The first of the talks was delivered by the team who the produce LibrariansAloud Podcast which regularly interviews professionals from within the library and information sector. I was also pleased to be in the same session as colleagues who deliver the enjoyable Shush Radio Podcast who spoke about their work making podcasts to promote their library service at University College Cork. My talk was about the work that myself and fellow ScHARR information specialist Mark Clowes undertakes each year to run a 24 hour pop up radio station to support the Inspiration for Life event to raise funds for local cancer charities. As a result of the session I was taken off to a quiet spot to be interviewed by Laura Rooney Ferris from LibrariansAloud for a future podcast, where you will hear us solve most of the world's problems with the aid of good quality information.

As always Internet Librarian International is a well run conference with lots of energy that brings together regular faces as well as new ones. There was even a session for new professionals to help them on the right track career-wise. Another bonus of a really enjoyable conference was hearing that my book had sold out on the Facet Publisher's table, although I'm fairly certain they will have only packed one. Below are all my slides from the conference, the 24 Hour Inspire set seem to have gone strange after being imported into Slideshare, apologies for that. Seriously, who would want to work with technology?

Friday, 6 October 2017

Should Academic Libraries offer a policy or service for Text Data Mining?

Sheldon Korpet (Information Officer in ScHARR Library) reports on a Masters research project she undertook for the University of Sheffield Library.

While Text Data Mining (TDM) is not completely unheard of within Librarianship, it was a very unfamiliar area to myself and two other MSc Digital Library Management students at the University of Sheffield. We are tasked with exploring this area and how the library could support its growing popularity across disciplines.

Image of Sheldon Korpet
Download the report
What is TDM? 

TDM is a way of analysing data computationally. It can be used to look for themes and sentiment within documents or to compare documents’ word usage or sentence structure to determine similarity.

Why is TDM Important?

Scholarly publications are increasing at an overwhelming rate. TDM has helped the researchers we have interviewed deal with increasingly large amounts of information by examining it in new ways and deal with information overload. The ability to examine huge data sets has also enabled the study of social media data which would have been vastly time-consuming or simply impossible to analyse.

Who Uses TDM?

 On undertaking our interviews we were able to find researchers from all five of the University of Sheffield’s subject faculties, including Mark Clowes, Information Specialist at  ScHARR. These methods are being used widely, beyond computer science. However those researchers interviewed often spoke of a need for programming or statistical knowledge to be able to exploit the technology to its fullest extent.

How Could an Academic Library Support TDM?

 Academic libraries already host information and digital literacy skills programs, maintain publisher connections and content collections. In addition they have copyright specialists and have subject-neutral spaces. These key assets could help researchers access the information they need and counter the legal challenges of TDM to support its growth.

Read the report to learn what we recommended the University of Sheffield Library could do to support TDM in its institution.

A Practical Class Project

 Myself, Erica and Bálint decided to release this report in to the wild thanks to the recommendation of our supervisor, Dr Andrew Cox, and our interview participants — many of whom found the end result of interest.

Images of Sheldon, Erica and Balint
Left to right: Sheldon, Erica and Bálint

  • Sheldon Korpet is an Information Officer in the School of Health and Related Research, University of Sheffield.

  • Dr EricaBrown is working in Scholarly Communications at the University of Manchester.

Useful resources

Fact Sheet: Text Mining — NLPN
Text & Data Mining — University of Cambridge Library LibGuide