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Department of Information Studies


RDA Executive Briefing

By Anne Welsh, on 25 May 2011

Thomas Meehan (MA LIS, 2000) is one of the speakers at CILIP’s Executive
Briefing on new cataloguing standard RDA
in Manchester.

Thomas studied at the then School of Library, Archive and Information
Studies (now Department of Information Studies) while working full-time for UCL Library Services. He now heads up the current cataloguing team
there, and gives occasional guest lectures to students on the MA LIS
core module Cataloguing and Classification.

MPhil to PhD

By Anne Welsh, on 19 May 2011

Research students initially register for an MPhil and then progress to full PhD study following an upgrade meeting at which they defend a part of their thesis.

This week the Department held two successful upgrade meetings, and we are delighted to congratulate Alexandra Eveleigh and Melissa Adams on passing the requirements to upgrade to full doctoral status.

Melissa is researching the impact and implications of truth and reconciliation commissions on archives, under the supervision of Andrew Flinn and Elizabeth Shepherd.

Alexandra is The National Archives Collaborative Award Winner, working on a thesis entitled ‘We think not I think: harnessing collaborative creativity to archival practice; implications of user participation for archival theory and practice.’ Her supervisors are Elizabeth Shepherd and Andrew Flinn of the Department of Information Studies and Valerie Johnson of The National Archives.

Dissenting Academies Online

By Anne Welsh, on 14 May 2011

MA LIS student Inga Jones has been involved in the creation of a new digital resource for historians.

Inga is studying part-time at DIS while also working as Leverhulme funded Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Dissenting Academies Project, Dr Williams Centre for Dissenting Studies

The public launch of the project’s Dissenting Academies Online will take place in June. Attendance is free, but places are limited, so it is necessary to register in advance. Full details on the Dr Williams Centre website.

Image: University of Sussex profile page

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…)

Catalogue and Index

By Anne Welsh, on 14 May 2011

Two MA LIS students have articles in the latest issue of Catalogue & Index, the main practitioner journal for cataloguing in the UK:

Genny Grim. ‘A new professional’. Catalogue & Index 162: 15-16.

Sarah Maule. ‘Cataloguing: a view from a new professional’. Catalogue & Index 162: 13.

The current year’s issues of Catalogue & Index can be accessed online by members of Cilip’s Cataloguing and Indexing Group. (Previous years are open access). UCL subscribes to Catalogue & Index, and registered users can access issues from 1998 to date via the UCL ejournals service.


Image: Cataloguing and Indexing Group

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

Holy Wars?

By Anne Welsh, on 12 May 2011

MA LIS student Inga Jones will give a public seminar at the University of Southampton History Department on 17 May. Entitled ‘Holy Wars?: Religion, Ethnicity and Massacre during the Wars of the Three Kingdoms, 1641-53,’ in her paper Inga will share some of her PhD research undertaken at Selwyn College Cambridge.

Inga is studying part-time at DIS while also working as Leverhulme funded Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Dissenting Academies Project, Dr Williams Centre for Dissenting Studies.


Image: University of Sussex profile page

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

International Conference on Latin American Cybercultural Studies

By Anne Welsh, on 21 April 2011

Next month, Ernesto Priego (UCLDH) and Ernesto Priani (Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Mexico) will present a paper at the International Conference on Latin American Cybercultural Studies.

From the conference abstracts posted in January:

Re-mapping the Total Library: An End-User Comparative Critique of the Biblioteca Digital Mexicana and the World Digital Library // Ernesto Priani (Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Mexico) and Ernesto Priego (University College London, UK)

This paper presents a comparative analysis of the newly-launched Biblioteca Digital Mexicana (Mexican Digital Library or BDMex, http://bdmx.mx/; made public on 23 November 2010) and the World Digital Library (WDL, http://www.wdl.org/) from the perspective of the academic end-user.

The Mexican Digital Library is the result of the collaboration between four major Mexican memory institutions and the World Digital Library, sponsored by UNESCO. The BDMex has digitized and made freely available online documents of historical, artistic and literary value dating from 500BC to 1949, presumably with the technical and financial help of the WDL, but this is not made explicit or even apparent from the comparison
of both sites as they currently exist.

The appearance of the BDMex seems belated for at least a decade in comparison to other similar institutional initiatives (Amis, 2000), and the authors present a series of hypotheses based on the end-user experience of its interface in order to interrogate its technical, cultural, financial and political implications.

This paper presents the results of user-testing carried out by the two authors in different contexts, including teaching and research in Mexico and Britain, and presents a series of suggestions for the projects’ improvement, including questions of markup, text analysis, transcription, classification, ontologies, datamining, data curation, searching capabilities, visualisation and user-interface interaction.

Beyond the strictly technical critique, the authors provide practical examples of how both web sites are not precisely “digital libraries” per se (Smith, Dongqing, McAulay, et al 2007) but can nevertheless be used as interesting case studies for textual, cultural and political analyses. Both the BDMex and the WDL raise interesting issues about institutional digital constructions of national identity, and give illuminating insight into the role of digitization as an act of interpretation (Terras 2006; Tarte 2010).

Ernesto is in the final stages of his PhD in the department, and is one of UCL’s HASTAC Scholars.


Image: Gravatar

Visiting Fellowship

By Anne Welsh, on 21 April 2011

Today is the official launch of the Poetry Center Digital Archive, for which second year research student Sara Wingate Gray has been a consultant. This is Sara’s second visiting fellowship at the Poetry Center (San Francisco State University) – her first was in 2007-8.

From the Archive’s website:

Poetry Center Digital Archive makes available significant portions of early audio recordings from the Poetry Center’s American Poetry Archives collection, supplemented by select archival texts and images. New files will be added incrementally as recordings are prepared and as we proceed through the collection from the 1950s onward.

The Poetry Center, founded at San Francisco State College (now SFSU) in 1954 by English professor Ruth Witt-Diamant, has been recording and archiving tapes of its public events for nearly six decades … This collection, together with the Poetry Center housed within the SFSU College of Humanities (Department of Creative Writing), today holds over 4,000 hours of unique original audio and video master-recordings, 1954–present. (Poetry Center Digital Archive. About this collection).

Sara’s short video about the Poetry Center is available on its website.


Image: Poetry Center Digital Archive