research

The goal of library & information science is to enable access to, use and consequent understanding of information. To do this, the discipline is concerned with the processes of the information communication chain: 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 interests fall into four main areas:

  • The nature of library & information science as a discipline: its future, relationship with other subject areas (e.g. computer science, digital humanities, cultural studies, media studies), 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 and the processes of their communication within and between domains (more)
  • Information behaviour associated with physical/analogue, digital, complex and immersive documents, in both the arts and sciences, including: medicine and healthcare, fanstudies, performance, dance, fashion and art (more)

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 that all of our digital engagement is recorded and potentially available for analysis. Correspondingly, analysis of data is a key component 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 several doctoral students to completion of their award, and if you are interested in working in these or related areas, I am always pleased to hear from potential PhD students.