research

Library & information science answers the questions around access to, organisation and understanding of information. The discipline is concerned with the processes of information communication: the creation, dissemination, management, organisation, preservation, analysis and use of information, instantiated as documents. The processes sustain the record of humankind, and are closely linked to the concepts of information literacy and scholarly communication.

My research focuses on:

  • The nature of library & information science as a discipline: its future, relationship with other subject areas (e.g. computer science, publishing, digital humanities, cultural studies, media studies, performing-arts), and the implications for education, research and practice  (more)
  • Information: the nature of information, how it is understood within different disciplines, and unifying characteristics (more)
  • Information resources: physical/analogue, digital, complex and immersive documents (more)
  • Information behaviour (more)
  • Information literacy

Developments in all of these areas are driven by technology, and this provides a unifying theme to the varied aspects of my work. I have a longstanding interest, involvement and expertise in computing and network technologies (ICTs), and their impact on information communication and documentation.

Whilst I often write conceptually, I additionally use mixed methods for my research. It is impossible to ignore the amount of data which pervades our social and professional lives, and that indeed all of our digital engagement is recorded and potentially available for analysis. Analysis and interpretation of data is a key activity within the discipline of information science. The  investigatory tools used by LIS are encountering what has been termed a ‘neo-dualism’, based on the tension between qualitative methodological approaches, which favor information, meaning and semantics, and the quantitative approaches, which emphasise data. These latter having come to prominence as a consequence to the contemporary availability of large, digital datasets from the sciences, humanities and social media. This tension reflects the different origins of information science and data science, which are, in fact, complementary and which would benefit from integration via the modern LIS discipline. See David Bawden’s blog post from 30/05/16.

I have supervised many doctoral students to completion of their award, and if you are interested in working in LIS or related areas, I am always pleased to hear from potential PhD students.