Connecting people, connecting ideas symposium

My colleague Frances Ryan, along with Professor Hazel Hall, will be running a one-day research symposium on 22 June 2017. ‘Connecting people, connecting ideas‘ (CPCI) will focus on research priorities in Information Science as related to everyday life information seeking and information behaviours in online environments.

More information is on Frances’ research blog. If information science is in any way your thing, I’m sure this will be an interesting and provocative event.

Community councillors’ information literacy

Community, Knowledge, Connections

We’re very pleased that we have successfully finished the Information literacy for democratic engagement (IL-DEM) project. We’re even more pleased that we have just started a follow-up project called LIL-DEM (longitudinal information literacy for democratic engagement). This will also investigate community councillors’ information literacy, but it will sharply focus on the factors that IL-DEM revealed to be relevant to community councillors’ information work. It will also investigate who community councillors work with to find, process and publish information, and any associated training needs. Finally, it will enable us relevant to finish a literature review around information literacy, lifelong learning and (local) democracy.

Data-gathering will start in just over a week – our main tool will be an online survey. So if you are a community councillor, look out for the online link we’ll reveal soon. If you know any community councillors, please tell them about this project.

In the meantime, please download and read…

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Stranger in a strange(ly digital) land

Understanding Digital Policy was the title of an unconference I was at this week. (It was at an outpost of the University of Liverpool in central London – hence the title and illustration for this post.)

Although it was billed as covering

  • How is policy shaping the uptake and use of Digital Media and Technologies?
  • How are Digital Media and Technologies shaping policy making and policy implementation?

it went much further than that, into how will and how should policy be shaped, and what research should be done. This was at least in part due to the organiser, Simeon Yates, leading the the ESRC Ways of Being in a Digital Age team, and so being highly influential on research directions.

You can jump straight to my personal reactions if you want, but here’s how the day progressed. Firstly, we found interesting and/or kindred spirits by writing our own ‘about-me’s, looking at each others’ and deciding who we wanted to work with. Continue reading

Blast from the past

While transcribing interviews for the ILDEM project, I was reminded of one of my MSc courseworks, about Scottish Local Authority websites. It wasn’t perfect but I think my conclusions were based on good evidence. They were

There is marked variation in LA website accessibilities, some having very few accessibility features. It seems no Scottish local government website is ‘perfectly’ accessible while a signicant number do not follow a national standard, the Scottish Navigation List. [1]

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Looking ahead

I’m leaving Napier for 6 months at the end of tomorrow to pursue some personal interests. However, it’s very reassuring to know that I have some work to come back to. I’ll be working with Peter Cruickshank and Hazel Hall, investigating levels of digital and information literacy within Scotland’s Community Council system in a project entitledInformation Literacy for Democratic Engagement (IL-DEM). The award has been granted by the CILIP Information Literacy Group.

Hazel has blogged about the project’s aims and objectives, so it only remains for me to say that I’m looking forward to venturing into a slightly different research focus, while still working on aspects of Scotland’s hyperlocal democracy.

There may be some different research methods too, thus increasing my research skills, although the work will centre on understanding how people learn to use technology away from conventional education. In that sense, the work is likely to of interest to anyone concerned with helping people who struggle to make the best of their personal IT.

So I’ll be working with great colleagues, on interesting and practically useful things. What’s not to like?

Wise words and mega maps

Leah Lockhart, social media advisor and all-round good egg, has been blogging about fears and barriers in public services on LinkedIn. Here are her thoughts on fears people have about being abused online, fears around negotiating online identity, fears digital champions have about inertia generally but especially in hierarchical leadership and finally about fears around BYOD.

Thanks also to ‘Lelil’ for drawing me to Leah’s tale of how to use topical hashtags to draw extra traffic to community council Tweets.

Well worth a read for any CC member (or any other elected member or public servant) involved in digital engagement with their citizens, in my opinion.

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