Wednesday, 29 August 2012

Turning research into practice

This month's discussion (09 August 2012) was led by Dr Hideo Joho of Tsukuba University in Japan.  He described Information Science as a discipline with a hole in the middle.  On one side of the hole are computer scientists studying the impacts and applications of the latest developments in information retrieval (IR).  On the other side are social scientists looking at the behaviour of people seeking and using information.  Hideo explained that he felt close to the hole (on the IR side), but that he often had difficulties interpreting research from the other side in ways that would help him to apply it to IR.  What, he wondered, could (and should) be done to help bridge the hole.

Discussion touched on the relative merits of research intended to test hypotheses and research intended to explore situations and phenomena.  Hideo wondered whether the 'explorers' could be encouraged to include suggestions that would be designed to help to frame hypotheses.

Monday, 13 August 2012

Wikipedians in residence

Whenever academics gather to talk about the issue of trust and online evaluation, discussion seems to shift to Wikipedia.  I was surprised to learn that increasingly, illustrious bodies such as the British Museum and the British Library are appointing Wikipedians in residence.  The British Museum adopted the practice after realizing that the Wikipedia article on the Rosetta Stone attracted five times as many visitors in one month than the official site (Hitchcock, 2011).  Such a policy is presumably a pragmatic response to concerns over the reliability of Wikipedia.