Information Studies


Research Activity

A list of all the projects ICARUS has in progress or has completed.

2020-2021: MIRRA+ (Memory-Identity-Rights in Records-Access Plus)

This AHRC-funded Follow On project builds on the findings of the MIRRA project in one specific area: Designing Participatory Recordkeeping Systems for Children and Young People in Care. Among the findings of MIRRA we identified that existing child social work recording systems acted as a barrier to capturing the voice of the child and providing more child centred records. Working with our commercial partners, OLM Systems, to deliver recordkeeping change through redesigned IT systems, we will develop a digital participatory recordkeeping open source specification that will enable children, young people and their families to collaborate in the creation and content of records while they are in care. Such a system needs to balance legal and regulatory requirements with the memory needs of young people and will build on the Recordkeeping Principles which were developed in the MIRRA project.

2017-2019: Navigating the public information rights ecology: a recordkeeping perspective (MIRRA: Memory - Identity - Rights in Records - Access)

This AHRC-funded research project seeks to explore the information rights ecology in the public and voluntary sectors in order to ensure that citizens are able to exercise their information access rights and assure their data privacy, and that public authorities understand their rights and obligations. MIRRA is a two year participatory action project, funded until late 2019. It brings together care leavers and researchers to explore social care recordkeeping in England from 1970 to the present, focusing particularly on issues relating to access. Through interviews and workshops we are collecting qualitative data from four participant groups.

By taking a holistic view from multiple perspectives, and by considering recordkeeping from the point of creation through to access and disposal, MIRRA seeks to generate nuanced accounts of information rights and information responsibilities in social care records, specifically records relating to children's services, held by different kinds of voluntary and public authorities.

2016-2021: Engaging with change: Information and communication technology professionals' perspectives on change in the context of the 'Brexit' vote - a longitudinal study 2016-2021

This research aims to explore the opportunities and responses to change from the ICT sector in dealing with the far-reaching challenge triggered by the UK's Brexit decision which has global implications. Whilst technology has been a driver of change, this work seeks to better understand ICT sector change when challenged by external drivers. In addition, it seeks to identify opportunities for the ICT/information sector. The study aims to explore perspectives from around the world.

2017-2018: Record DNA- an AHRC Funded Research Network

The aim of this new network is to bring together academics, practitioners, users and systems developers to develop a new cross-disciplinary, cross sectoral international network of stakeholders with wide ranging expertise to explore the question 'In the digital era what is the concept of the record and what implications are there for the usability of the future the evidence base?' The network will (1) problematise the current concept of the digital record and work towards a reconceptualisation that more adequately facilitates its management; and (2) identify what research is needed to ensure the future digital evidence base is usable to best effect through time.

2014-2017: Administrative Data Research Centre for England (ADRC-E)

ADRC-E  is a UK-wide partnership between academia, government departments and agencies, national statistical authorities, funders and the wider research community that will facilitate research using government administrative data (ie information collected primarily for administrative purposes, by national and local government and other public sector organisations as part of service delivery). We are investigating the requirements for information governance which ADRC-E should reflect in its national e-infrastructure policies and practices.

2014-2017: Defining R&D for the arts and cultural knowledge domains

The aim of this research has been to understand how R&D should be conceptualised for the arts and cultural knowledge domains, defined for policy purposes, measured and evaluated. The work has considered approaches to R&D from academia and practice.

This is a piece of commissioned research which has been undertaken as a component of the Digital Research and Development (R&D) Fund for the Arts' programme. The Digital R&D Fund for the Arts was a strategic partnership between the National Endowment for Science Technology and the Arts (Nesta), Arts Council England (ACE) and the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC).

2014-2015: Personal and Corporate Recordkeeping - Seeking liberation from binary mindsets

This project aims to explore ways of bridging the perceived opposition of personal and corporate recordkeeping. It will do so by seeking to create a dialogue between those engaged in archives and records management (who are sometimes characterised as focussed more on recordkeeping at a corporate, organisational or societal level) and those in 'other' disciplines, such as human computer interaction and personal information management, who do focus more on the level of the individual.

2013-2018: INTERPARES Trust

2013-2018 UCL co-investigators: Bunn, Flinn, Shepherd, Yeo. UCL researchers are part of a European Team led by Karen Anderson, Mid Sweden University. Project PI Luciana Duranti, UBC.
The goal of this new phase of the InterPARES Project, supported by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, is to generate the theoretical and methodological frameworks that will support the development of integrated and consistent local, national and international networks of policies, procedures, regulations, standards and legislation concerning digital records entrusted to the Internet, to ensure public trust grounded on evidence of good governance, a strong digital economy, and a persistent digital memory. This research will develop new knowledge on digital records kept on social media and in the cloud and on methods for identifying and protecting the balance between privacy and access, secrecy and transparency, the right to know and the right to oblivion in globally connected networks. It will propose law reform, and other infrastructural reform, model policies, procedures, and practices, and functional requirements for the systems in which Internet providers store and manage digital records. One of the UCL projects being carried out as part of InterPARES Trust is User Perceptions of Born Digital Authenticity.

2011-2012: Funding the Archive Sector

The 'Funding the Archives Sector' research project was a collaboration between The National Archives and the International Centre for Archives and Records Management Research and User Studies (ICARUS) of University College London. The research was carried out over the period September 2011 to September 2012. The project addressed three key research questions: How are archives in the UK funded? What funding resources are under developed within the sector? What appropriate advice and training support can be delivered by The National Archives to improve access to additional funding resources? 

This research has been published as: Louise Ray, Elizabeth Shepherd, Andrew Flinn, Erica Ander and Marie Laperdrix, 'Funding archive services in England and Wales: institutional realities and professional perceptions', Archives and Records 2013, 34: 2, pp 175-199, DOI http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/23257962.2013.822355

The research informed the evidence base which led to a successful bid to the Heritage Lottery Fund which has awarded a grant of nearly £500,000 to a partnership of The National Archives,  UK archive partners (ARA, CyMAL, SCA and PRONI), and the Institute of Fundraising, to provide a range of fundraising training and support over three years.

2010-2013: User participation

AHRC Collaborative Doctoral Award, UCL:DIS in collaboration with The National Archives, 'We think, not I think: harnessing collaborative creativity to archival practice; implications of user participation for archival theory and practice'.

2008-2009: Freedom of Information and records management

Funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council, this project investigated the impact of the UK Freedom of Information (FOI) Act 2000 on records management services in public authorities. More specifically, the project examined how well records management services prepared for and coped with the first three years of FOI implementation; what contribution records management services make to the ability of public authorities to comply with the FOI Act; how the user experience of FOI is affected by the management of records; and the implications of FOI for good practice in records management.

2007-2011: Archival description and presentation

AHRC Collaborative Doctoral Award, UCL:DIS in collaboration with The National Archives, 'Multiple narratives, multiple views: observing archival description'.

2007-2009: Community archives and identities

This project investigated the importance of community archives, and in particular the role of these archives in the production of community identity via academic and popular public histories, exhibitions and other interactions. Community archives are collections of materials (and the custodial institutions or organisations which hold them) that are created and held within communities and outside the formal heritage sector. Although many of these initiatives have a relatively long history, the importance of these collections has only recently been widely recognised amongst cultural policy-makers and professional organisations. However these collections provide many challenges to traditional professional practices.

2007-2009: Digital lives

This Arts and Humanities Research Council-funded project focused on personal digital collections and their relationship with research repositories. It brought together expert curators and practitioners in digital preservation, digital manuscripts, literary collections, web-archiving, history of science and oral history from the British Library, University College London and the University of Bristol.

2007-2008: Students' expectations of the job market in archives and records management in the United Kingdom

Principal investigator: Geoffrey Yeo
This project, funded by Unilever plc, sought to investigate the expectations and preferences of postgraduate students entering the job market in archives and records management. The objectives of the research were to find explanations for the varying levels of response to advertised vacancies and offer insights into the factors and influences that might determine whether new entrants to the profession decide to apply for a particular job vacancy.

2006-2007: ARMReN

Funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council Networks scheme, ARMReN, the Archives and Records Management Research Network, sought to help develop research in the discipline of archives and records management. It linked academics, researchers and professionals through research workshops and archives and history seminars. It aimed to collect and disseminate information about research projects in the theory and practice of the management, preservation and accessibility of records, foster the development of young academic researchers in the discipline, act as a central point for the exchange of ideas and encourage new collaborative partnerships.

2006: Mapping the research landscape

Principal Investigator: Elizabeth Shepherd
Funded by a British Academy Small Research Grant, this project aimed to improve the quality and quantity of academic research in the discipline of archives and records management by creating a map of the research landscape for the discipline in the UK. The research sought to establish the state of academic and professional research during the period 1995-2006, evaluate the output of research in the UK, establish how academics and practitioners have used research findings, identify areas of weakness and strength for research in the UK, identify research opportunities and make proposals for future priorities for a research agenda.

2001-2004: LEADERS (Linking EAD to Electronically Retrievable Sources)

The LEADERS project developed a generic computer-based toolset to enable the creation of an online environment which integrated EAD encoded finding aids and EAC authority records with TEI encoded transcripts and digitised images of archival material, in a way that was flexible enough to handle a wide variety of archives. The aim was to contribute significantly to the enhanced provision of remote user access to archives. The project was funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Board.
Website: http://www.ucl.ac.uk/leaders-project/

2000-2001: e-TERM (European programme for Training in Electronic Records Management)

UCL was a joint partner in a transnational project led by Archiefschool, Amsterdam. The aim of the project was to design a trans-national vocational training course in the management of electronic records to meet the needs of administrators, information professionals, archivists and records managers. e-TERM was initially targeted at educators and training managers. It was funded by the European Commission Leonardo da Vinci programme.
Website: http://www.ucl.ac.uk/e-term/