Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 14, No. 17.
Centre for Computing in the Humanities, King's College London
 From: "Wendy Shaw" <firstname.lastname@example.org> (32)
 From: "Claire Warwick" <C.Warwick@sheffield.ac.uk> (86)
Subject: Do we need a European Society for Information
Date: Tue, 16 May 2000 20:20:02 +0100
From: "Wendy Shaw" <email@example.com>
Dear Members (I usually lurk on the list),
I am coming to the end of a PhD which has been investigating how
English academics use the Internet for their research and teaching
responsibilities. Wales has been used for methodological reasons.
I have two questions that stem from the research. If you can offer
help, guidance or confusion, please do so.
I am currently investigating some Stats that have been
passed on to me by an English department in Wales, to see if there
are any common threads and conclusions that can be drawn from the
findings. It is also anticipated that these findings might decide
which direction the web pages should head. Are they an advantage in
the marketing of a department for open days and influencing newcomers
for the next academic year. The Stats have been collected over a
three month period. Has anyone else carried out similar work, or does
anyone know of any published work in this area?
The findings will be reported back to the department in question
before the end of the academic year. It is a possibility that an
intranet might be set up to help coordinate departmental information.
Once again, can anyone recommend references, or published work along
With many thanks in anticipation,
Please send replies to the list for greater interest and discussion,
-- Wendy Shaw, BSc Econ firstname.lastname@example.org Dept of Information & Library Studies University of Wales, Llanbadarn Campus, Aberystwyth, Wales. SY23 3AS http://users.aber.ac.uk/wws94 By necessity, by proclivity, and by delight, we all quote. Quotation and Originality. Ralph Waldo Emerson 1803-1882
-------------------------------------------------------------------- Date: Tue, 16 May 2000 20:21:45 +0100 From: "Claire Warwick" <C.Warwick@sheffield.ac.uk> Subject: Do we need a European Society for Information Research?
I am forwarding this message on behalf of Tom Wilson, who is a colleague of mine at Sheffield, in the hope that this may be of interest to at least some humanists. Please respond to him at email@example.com
Last year I sent out a message to research colleagues in Europe about the lack of a European organization with a focus on research in the "information" field, following a conversation I had with Lars Hglund of the University of Gothenberg and the Swedish School of Librarianship. I had very positive response, but have only just got round to mailing UK colleagues.
Why would we want a European Society for Information Research? True, both IFLA and FID have their HQs in Europe but they are a) global bodies and b) more concerned with practice and practitioners. There is also a European Chapter of ASIS, the activities of which I am personally unaware, not being an ASIS member. I believe, however, that we need a 'home grown' organization rather than an offshoot of a foreign body.
The kind of organization in which I am interested would have more in common with bodies such as the European Society for Communication Research and the European Society for Information Systems - bodies with a largely academic membership and a focus on research.
Curiously, over the past 20 years or so, the germ of such an organization has existed in the shape of various groups of people (many of them the recipients of my earlier message) who have organized specialist conferences in the field, beginning with the first IRFIS conference in (I think) 1978, followed by the CoLIS series and, most recently, the ISIC series. With a slightly different agenda there is also the British-Nordic Conference on Library and Information Studies. It seems, therefore, that the information research community in Europe is continually seeking a framework within which to present and debate research issues.
My concerns in this area were sharpened as a result of organizing the ISIC2 conference in Sheffield, and I came to the conclusion that we need at least to discuss the possibility of establishing a "European Society for Information Research". I am not in a position to formulate a full constitution and set of objectives for the proposed Society, let alone work out a business plan, but I would see one of its main aims as being to put the organization of the ISIC series on a sound footing and to keep them in Europe. This last point may seem odd, but I have two main reasons for suggesting it: a) we need to ensure a strong research community in Europe, which incorporates colleagues from Central and Eastern Europe, who find it difficult enough to get resources to travel within Europe, and virtually impossible to travel outside; and b) losing control of location will almost certainly lead to the demise of the series. Colleagues who organize CoLIS, might also be interested in the Society's umbrella.
I do not envisage that the independent identity of the two conferences I have mentioned should be lost, since I know and value meetings with a strong focus. However, I believe that we would have a lot to gain from operating under the aegis of a single organization. I believe that we could also gain from associating the Society's conferences with other organizations; for example, by running them in association with, e.g., SIG/IR when it is held in Europe and perhaps with ESIS and ESCR, if appropriate - this would encourage interaction with related fields and could lead to further collaboration in research at a personal or organizational level.
At this point, I have no specific proposals other than to ask i) for your response to this idea; and 2) whether you would be interested to meet to discuss the idea. In this latter respect, I shall be at the ISIC 2000 conference in Gothenberg in August and perhaps those who are attending and interested, could join me in a meeting with other European colleagues. I would represent the views of those who write to me, or those views could be passed on to other colleagues attending ISIC 2000.
Please circulate this to other active researchers in the field in your organization, who do not appear on the mailing list below, and, indeed, to those in other departments who are doing research in related fields, and others whose research may be of interest to us.
With kind regards,
************************************ Dr Claire Warwick Lecturer, Department of Information Studies University of Sheffield Western Bank, Sheffield S10 2TN, 0114 222 2632 firstname.lastname@example.org ************************************
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