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Department of Information Studies


Archive for the 'Public Engagement' Category

#libday8 – Tuesday

By uczcjye, on 31 January 2012

This blog entry is part of a series of posts by DIS students for the Library Day in the Life Project.

My day at library school began with my usual commute into London from Watford, which is a quick and easy train journey into Euston station, followed by a short walk to UCL. On Tuesday mornings, everyone who is taking the MA in Library and Information Studies attends lectures on Management, and during the first half of today’s lecture we were looking specifically at strategic planning. We learned about the various processes which are necessary for the creation and implementation of a strategic plan, and we identified the ways in which the current economic and political climate was likely to have an impact on strategic planning within libraries.

The second half of our Management lecture usually takes place in a different room, which today meant that we had to brave the cold and snowy conditions in order to make our way to the other side of campus. Once seated again in the lecture theatre, we were given a lecture on professional ethics and on our responsibility as librarians to ensure that concern for the public good underpinned all of our planning and policy-making activities.

During the final part of the lecture, we were set a group work assignment to write a mission statement and a strategic plan for the imaginary libraries that we had created as part of the Collection Management module last term. Each group will eventually have to produce an assessed portfolio on these libraries, which will include details on budget, service planning, recruitment and management structures.

After the lecture, most of us retreated to the DIS common room for lunch and hot drinks as it was still extremely cold outside! I have a free afternoon on Tuesdays because I take my optional module in Web Publishing on a Friday, so I decided to spend the rest of the day in the Library reading up on copyright law in preparation for my Management essay on legal issues in libraries.

Today was a longer day than usual for me because I attended a workshop in the evening on how to run a school book club. The UCL Schools Book Club is a volunteering group which runs lunchtime book discussions at secondary schools in and around London and I have decided to take part in this in order to gain some additional experience of working with young people. At the meeting tonight we were each assigned to a school which had requested volunteers, and so it looks like I will soon be co-running a book club for A-Level English Literature students, which should be both exciting and challenging!


#libday8 – Monday

By Annie Johnson, on 30 January 2012

This is the first in a series of posts by DIS students for the Library Day in the Life Project.

I’m Annie, a full time student on the MA Library and Information Studies course. Full time LIS students have just got back from a two week work placement, and we’ve just handed in all of last term’s coursework, and started a new set of modules. This term for me consists of Information Sources and Retrieval, Management, Publishing Today and Cataloguing and Classification II (which follows on from the introductory module last term).

I don’t live in London so my day started with a train journey in from Hertfordshire. It’s not a bad commute, and I usually while away the time quite happily reading or checking emails etc.  Today I came into UCL an hour before my first lecture in order to get some books out from the Science Library and make a start reading for an essay on legal issues facing libraries.

Foster Court and Science Library

Our department is on the left, and the Science Library over on the right.

I had two lectures today. This morning’s was with Lyn Robinson from City University on the history of information retrieval tools, from ancient Mesopotamia to the present day. The people on our course come from a wide variety of backgrounds, and those with previous degrees in archaeology, history, and English literature were all at times called upon to add to the discussion. Alas, my music degree didn’t do me much good in this situation!

After lunch I had one of my optional modules this term, Cat & Class II.

At the moment we are doing the classification part of the course with Vanda Broughton, looking at thesaurus construction and controlled vocabulary. I’m finding this quite interesting and after today’s lecture I think I might do one of my assignments for this module on this topic.

And that was the end of my #libday8, time to get on the train again and go home. Other DIS students will be taking turns to blog each day this week, so watch this space!

Library [School] Day in the Life

By Anne Welsh, on 29 January 2012

This week is the eighth round of Library Day in the Life, a blogging and microblogging communal diary initiative started in July 2008 by Bobbi Newman.

As it says on the project wiki, “It’s a great way for students who are interested in the library profession to see what we really do.” I thought that prospective librarians might be just as interested to see what happens at library school, and, now that our student blog is fully operational, several of this year’s cohort have agreed to blog some of their activities here.

Look out for posts this week from Ellen Allardice, James Curtis, Karina de la Garza Gil, Annie Johnson, William Earp and Jennifer Yellin.

If you want an idea of the sort of things they might have to say, take a look at Helen Doyle’s ‘My Week’ column in Library & Information Update, February 2011 (close-up of cutting here) and Sarah Maule’s blogging for libday6 (week commencing 24 January 2011). Sarah also blogged libday7 in July 2011, when she was completing her MA LIS dissertation and working full time.



Image: UCL Portico on graduation day 2011.


Student Award for Public Engagement

By Anne Welsh, on 26 January 2012

UCL Department of Information Studies and the UCL Centre for Digital Humanities are proud of Claire Ross, who has won the student category of the Provost’s Awards for Public Engagement.

In this guest blog post, Hilary Jackson (UCL Public Engagement Unit) explains Claire’s award and highlights other public engagement opportunities for students.

For the Public Engagement Unit, the annual Public Engagement Awards are one of the highlights of our year.  Last night’s party was no exception.

The winner of this year’s student category was Claire Ross from the Centre for Digital Humanities and Department of Information Studies.

Claire was nominated for engaging museum visitors with collections at UCL and beyond, using innovative, digital methods and social media applications.  The selection panel loved the fact that this subject is plainly not just Claire’s PhD, but her passion.  What’s great is that Claire’s work, alongside colleagues on the QRator project (amongst others), has enabled the public to influence what’s going on in UCL’s museums and the university more widely.

There’s so much fantastic public engagement going on at UCL that the awards are really only the tip of the iceberg.  The Public Engagement Unit is here to help UCL students and staff to make the best of that work, ensuring there are benefits both for the public and for the UCL community.  We can help with funding, advice, support, recognition, and are working hard to make sure public engagement remains part of UCL’s agenda.

We’d love to hear from you so do get in touch – publicengagement@ucl.ac.uk



The #tweetyourthesis story: from doodle to viral

By uczcslg, on 14 January 2012

I have spent a lifetime being interested in discovering new things; as a reporter, writer and editor; as a university lecturer; and currently, as a part-time doctoral student at UCL’s Department of Information Studies. For many reasons, I cannot claim to be one of the world’s most prolific twitterers. But from a single tweet on Wednesday January 11, it turns out that I helped launch a rapidly growing meme that has provided a fascinating glimpse into the world of early-career research, and sparked off a debate. Here is my story about the birth of #tweetyourthesis.

I am a member of faculty on a writing degree, where much of the teacher’s work consists of encouraging students to give very detailed attention to language, so that every word counts. It also involves showing the creativity made possible by constraint. Assessment can include not only creative work, but also the synopsis, story outline and single-sentence summary. One class exercise led to a competition for a t-shirt slogan about writing. The reflection sparked by such tasks helps the writer define the story and achieve creative distance and, as mentioned in a Day of DH 2011 post, helps to contextualise digital forms in the classroom.

On Wednesday January 11, I came to a dinner organised by Dr Melissa Terras for students connected to the UCL Centre for Digital Humanities (UCLDH). My head was full of that morning’s class. I had asked students to use a storyboard template, to help clarify the structure of their work; to show willing, I also storyboarded my own doctoral thesis.

That evening I showed the result to Professor Claire Warwick, head of the UCL department, who encourages innovation in communicating research work. In the playful discussion that followed, fellow research student and graphic artist Rudolf Ammann dashed off a drawing (left). I said it looked like a tweet, and perhaps we should go one better than storyboarding. Professor Warwick instantly suggested the #tweetyourthesis hashtag and I promised to kick it off when I got home. Within 24 hours there were contributions from around the world, and an interview request from the US Chronicle of Higher Education.

I am still digesting the experience, but can say for certain that it leaves me very appreciative of a rewarding and innovative research culture made possible by a combination of encouragement from above and an active network that – as Dr Ernesto Priego notes – involves both faculty and students.

It also confirms my feeling that the public engagement skills that come with practice-based disciplines are valuable, although probably still undervalued.

Finally, I have been reminded of the fears that social media still evoke, in academe and elsewhere, and the need to continue the dialogue about its impact.

UCLDIS Goes Viral

By Anne Welsh, on 13 January 2012

It started at a meal for PhD students in the Centre for Digital Humanities, based here at the Department of Information Studies.

A discussion of the importance of being able to state your research aims in a concise manner led student Susan Greenberg to tweet on the way home

Fun #ucldis dinner tonight for research students. Chat included usefulness of summarising your thesis in one sentence #tweetyourthesis

Meanwhile, Head of Department Claire Warwick asserted

If u can’t summarise ur research in a tweet u need to do a lot more work on ur question #ucldh #tweetyourthesis

which sparked some debate on the possibility and desirability of expressing a major research question in 140 characters or less.

To widen discussion out to members of the department who are not in  UCLDH but are active on twitter, yesterday morning I tweeted from the UCLDIS Student account, asking our students to take up the challenge:

One for the #UCLDIS research students: MT @clhw1 summarise ur research in a tweet #ucldh #tweetyourthesis #UCLDISstudents

Since then there have been hundreds of contributions worldwide to the #tweetyourthesis hashtag. I thought, for the record, it would be useful to collate tweets from research students here at UCLDIS, where it all began:





And one from a recent alumnus:

If you’re a UCLDIS research student or PhD alumnus and haven’t tweeted yet (or if I’ve accidentally missed your tweet), comment here, @, DM or # UCLDISstudents and I’ll add you to the summary here. As Claire Warwick has put it


Image: Snapshot of the dinner where it all started, by Dr Melissa Terras

Breaching the Digital Divide

By Anne Welsh, on 3 June 2011

This week’s Guardian Higher Education Network Panel included Claire Ross, a first year research student in the Centre for Digital Humanities. The issue discussed was how Higher Education uses the Internet. You can read about it on Claire’s blog, Digital Nerdosaurus.

Image: by Dr Melissa Terras for UCL Centre for Digital Humanities.

Playing the Margins: the first workshop

By uczcpeo, on 14 May 2011

On Monday 9th May a group of actors, teachers and researchers joined us for the first Playing the Margins workshop. We gathered in the tranquil setting of the Petrie Museum to discuss annotation practices, past and present. The participants had brought along examples of texts or scripts they had annotated, and described their habits and preferences (or, in some cases, their habit of not writing in books) to the group. This discussion gave us valuable insights into the codes of behaviour governing their annotation practices. These codes varied considerably from one participant to another but were internally consistent and strongly related to the context and purpose of annotation and the ownership of the books or scripts. (more…)

Playing the Margins: Get Involved

By Anne Welsh, on 13 May 2011

There’s another chance to take part in a Playing the Margins workshop towards the end of the month. From the project’s tumblog:

Are you involved in the performing arts?

Do you ever find yourself doodling in the margins of scripts?

Do you mark up your prompt books?

If so, please come to an informal, experimental workshop exploring how actors, directors, theatre critics and other readers annotate texts in the past and present.

Explore how earlier readers engaged with play-texts, prompt-books and other texts by taking part in this workshop using texts from UCL Special Collections.

Full details, booking information, and some lovely illustrations of marginalia, available on the tumblog.

Playing the Margins was conceived by MA LIS students Paris O’Donnell and Sian Prosser; is funded by UCL’s Train and Engage Scheme; and makes use of materials from UCL LIbrary Services Special Collections.

Image: Auntie P, copyright commons: some rights reserved

Bright Club Podcast

By Anne Welsh, on 26 April 2011

First year research student Claire Ross is one of the recent interviewees in a Bright Club podcast. You can hear Claire talking about museums, twitter, QRator and just what it means to be a Digital Humanist, on the UCL Museums site.

You can keep up with Claire on her blog.

Image: Claire’s departmental webpage