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Department of Information Studies


Wrong number?

By Oliver W Duke-Williams, on 7 July 2014

The Labour Party has recently launched a new website which tells you your supposed ‘NHS Baby Number‘ – that is, if all the babies born under the NHS were placed in order, which one you would be, from the very first, born on July 5th 1948, to the very latest.

It is an interesting piece of viral marketing / campaigning, but one which deserves a little more critical attention.

[EDIT 18/05/18: A revised version of this site has appeared in the lead up to the 70th anniversary of the NHS, so I’ve updated the data used for my estimate. Labour have improved their retention policy, in that they ask you first, but have extended the data gathering to potentially record family structure as well. My other criticisms about the reference to the census remain as they were.]

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Selling Rights course announced by the UCL Centre for Publishing: July 31st – August 1st 2014

By Ian G Evans, on 26 June 2014

uclpublishing-200The sale of rights is crucial to the activities of literary agencies and publishing houses, and can be a major factor in building an author’s career and maintaining author loyalty. For publishers, the sale of rights can also have a major influence on the overall publishing decision and on their profitability.

This new two-day course is aimed at staff handling rights for literary agencies and publishing houses. It will cover the rationale for selling rights as well as the practicalities – checking control of the rights and maintaining an accurate database of submissions and sales, as well as key activities such as researching particular markets, identifying potential licensees and building personal contacts at book fairs and on sales trips.

The course will address a range of different rights categories, from English language deals in the UK and abroad, translation rights, serial rights to newspapers and magazines as well as non-print rights such as radio and audio rights, film and television rights and merchandising. It will cover the rationale for coedition versus licence deals, and offer practical advice on how to achieve the best deal and finalise appropriate licence contracts. The final session will cover electronic publishing and will aim to distinguish between arrangements which are sales channels to market, and those which are true electronic licensing deals.

The course will include two group exercises for delegates. Your tutors have a wide range of experience in different sectors of the book industry.

Full details and the application form can be found at: http://www.ucl.ac.uk/publishing/events/programme

CILIP Reaccreditation for MA LIS and MSc IS

By Anne Welsh, on 11 June 2014

Taking notes on the DIS Common Room

Photo credit: James Curtis

On 15 May we were pleased to welcome CILIP’s accreditation panel to the department to discuss our Postgraduate Diploma and MA Library and Information Studies (PGDip / MA LIS) and Postgraduate Diploma and MSc Information Science (PGDip / MSc IS) courses. Both courses have now been reaccredited for the maximum 5 years, until May 2019. We really enjoyed meeting the panel and taking part in the process, which, for the first time this year, was informed by CILIP’s new Professional Knowledge and Skills Base (PKSB).

Introduced by CILIP in 2013 after widespread consultation with the information profession, the PKSB is a useful professional development tool against which all accredited library school courses are now mapped. At its heart are core ethics and values which underpin generic skills in leadership and advocacy; strategy, planning & management; customer focus, service design & marketing; and IT & communications and professional expertise in organising knowledge & information; knowledge & information management; using & exploiting knowledge & information; research skills; information governance & compliance; records management & archiving; collection management & development; and literacies & learning. These are set within the wider contexts of the library, information & knowledge sector and the organisation and environment.

As education providers, the PKSB provides a structure within which we can prepare our students for their future careers: since 1919, when UCL offered its first library courses, developed with one of CILIP’s predecessors, the Library Association, we have aimed to equip our graduates not only with theory, but with the skills they will further develop throughout their careers, and for UK information professionals the framework for Continuing Professional Development (CPD) is now the PKSB.

We are pleased that both our programmes have been reaccredited and happy to have the PKSB to use with our students alongside UCL’s own Personal and Professional Development (PPD) resources. We look forward to continuing to work with the many professionals who share their expertise with us through guest lectures and talks and by hosting work placements for our students, and to welcoming those who can make it to our summer drinks party this evening.

We are always happy to hear from experienced practitioners who would like to form links with the Department. Contact details for both our programmes are available on the CILIP website and, of course, our departmental webpages.

Our next Cilip reaccreditation is scheduled for May 2019.

Anne Welsh, Lecturer in Library and Information Studies and Programme Director for the MA LIS

UCLDH wins CSDH/SCHN Outstanding Contribution Award

By Ian G Evans, on 4 June 2014

Julianne Nyhan and the other founding members (Geoffrey Rockwell, Stan Ruecker, Peter Organisciak, Megan Meredith-Lobay and Kamal Ranaweera) of A Day in the Life of the Digital Humanities (Day of DH) (2009-2012) have won the 2014 CSDH/SCHN Outstanding Contribution Award.  The following description of the project and award is given on the CSDH/SCHN site:

Day of DH is an annual community documentation project that brings together digital humanists from around the world to document what they do on one day in the spring of each year. Its goal has been to have participants reflect on a fundamental question, “just what do computing humanists really do?” Participants document their day through photographs and commentary using one of the Day of DH blogs.
The Day of DH initiative has received significant attention far beyond its evolving community of participants. The team published an essay on the project in Digital Humanities Quarterly. The Chronicle of Higher Education ran a story on it. Definitions of the digital humanities from the project have been republished in collections such as Debates in the Digital Humanities and Defining Digital Humanities. It has directly inspired projects such as the Day of Archaeology. It has also inspired other communities within digital humanities. The first DíaHD (Día de Humanidades Digitales) was held on June 10, 2013 for those who speak and work in Spanish and Portuguese.
Day of DH has now become a centerNet initiative that moves from institution to institution. The successful transition to a sustainable international initiative is a sign of the impact of this initiative’s origins in Canada.
CSDH/SCHN is honoured to commemorate this founding Canadian group and its extraordinary contribution to the global digital humanities community.

Nominations for two DIS staff in the 2014 students choice teaching excellence awards

By Ian G Evans, on 8 May 2014

Andy Dawson and Jenny Bunn have both received nominations this year for the students choice teaching excellence awards:


An infographic produced by UCLDH and 4Humanities has won an award

By Ian G Evans, on 19 February 2014

An infographic produced by UCLDH and 4Humanities to show The Humanities Matter has won an award! The Digital Humanities awards are a set of annual awards where the public is able to nominate resources for the recognition of talent and expertise in the digital humanities community. The resources are nominated and voted for entirely by the public. The infographic, whose design was led by Professor Melissa Terras, won the category for the Best DH visualisation of infographic, for a poster which explores the role of the humanities in society. You can read more here http://dhawards.org/dhawards2013/results/ and download a copy of the winning infographic for free at http://4humanities.org/2013/07/the-humanities-matter-infographic/

Digital Linguists’ Network

By Ian G Evans, on 3 December 2013

The Digital Linguists’ Network runs regular events for linguists based at UCL, SOAS and in the London area.

The next event is on “Using video to support learning” and will be given by Jesper Hansen, Teaching Fellow in Danish, UCL Dept of Scandinavian Studies.

We will meet in the Language Space in Foster Court, UCL: www.ucl.ac.uk/lww-cetl/contact_us/find_us at 17:15 on Thurs. 5 Dec., 2013.
At 18:15 there will be refreshments in the Staff Common Rm (Rm G24) in Foster Court until 19:30.

Please let me know whether you can make it, so that we can plan the refreshments, by using this Doodle poll: http://doodle.com/wim6635km9iedxeb
Use the “if need be” option if you’re not sure if you can come.

The first event was in May 2013 on Languages, wikis and crowdsourcing.

Future sessions will be on:

  • Publishing (paper and e-books) January 2014
  • Translation February 2014
  • ICT
  • Pedagogy
  • Apps
  • Cultural advice (à la CEELBAS)
  • Public engagement

etc. and will take place once a month or so in term time.

If you don’t count the people, the people don’t count

By Oliver W Duke-Williams, on 12 September 2013

The most recent census of the UK was taken in 2011. It might also have been the last. The Office for National Statistics will shortly launch a consultation exercise setting out some alternatives to current census practice. Based on what is known so far, there will be two options: an Internet census, and a data set based on administrative data, coupled with a rolling survey. Continuing with the census as it has been done for the last two hundred years is not expected to be offered an option.

My own research interests  and grant funding cover various parts of the large collection of census data. I’m a Co-Investigator in Census Support and also in CeLSIUS and the CALLS Hub. I also have a smaller project which is exploring a potential use of the recovered 1961 microdata.  Many of the issues that arise in work with the census overlap the research interests of colleagues in the Department of Information Studies – we aim to help people understand and navigate large volumes of data to find what they are looking for, we need to build robust metadata and classification systems that can accommodate changing questionnaire wording over time, we need to build systems that can extract (and possibly pre-process) items from large database holdings in a speedy, efficient manner. There is considerable interest in historic census data within the humanities – as seen, for example in the ReACH project and the Dig Where We Stand project. Extracting digital data from historic records is not necessarily an easy task, as records are handwritten and can be hard to read; this can present problems for transcription efforts, but transcribing hand-written documents is something in which UCLDH has a special interest.

The blog discussess the merits of the options to replace the census, and argues that cancelling the census is short-sighted.

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The first UCL David Tebbutt Scholarship

By Ian G Evans, on 26 June 2013

tebbutt_davidThe first UCL David Tebbutt Scholarship, awarded in memory of the late Faber finance director, has been awarded.

Student Philip Connor, from the National University of Ireland in Galway, has won the award, which funds a place on the University College London MA in Publishing programme. Connor will begin the one-year course in September, with a five-week internship at Faber included.

The scholarship is to be awarded annually, funded by the David Tebbutt Trust jointly administered by Faber and the Tebbutt family. The aim of the Trust is to further the education of those wishing to pursue a career in the publishing, writing and information industries.

Tebbutt [pictured] was killed by pirates in Kenya in 2011. His widow Judith Tebbutt is to publish a memoir of her subsequent captivity at the hands of those pirates, A Long Walk Home, with Faber next week.

Annual Bliss Classification Association Lecture

By Ian G Evans, on 4 April 2013

The Annual Bliss Classification Association Lecture will be given this year by Michele Pason and John Bradley, on the topic “Exploring highly interconnected humanities data: are faceted browsers always the answer?”  The lecture will take place in the Lankester Lecture Theatre in the Medawar Building of University College London at 3.30 on Friday 19 April, 2013.  (Map available at http://www.ucl.ac.uk/maps/)
Admission is free, but if you expect to come please let Ian Evans know at i.evans@ucl.ac.uk