Research plays a vital role in our teaching; the content of our programmes is directly shaped by our research-based knowledge and scholarship. Our research also contributes to your education and professional development as well as to the improvement of library and information spaces. All students enrolled on our programme can take advantage of this expertise through core and optional modules as well as through the one-to-one dissertation supervision we offer. In addition, students have worked with us as part of wider international research project collaborations and with third parties on real world research challenges. Occasionally these have been paid opportunities. Areas of expertise include:
Our research has a strong arts information theme, linking together various subdomains of library and information studies. Music is contemplated from a knowledge organisation, user behaviour and information retrieval perspective, including from the perspective of academic and professional users. This multi-faceted approach to music information elicits a pan-music and multi-perspective idea of music as information. Within art information, we consider the nature of art information, including contemplating how art information is classified and catalogued, and developing digital technologies in art. Another strand to this art-focussed research agenda considers arts policy, including policy formation and research into R&D design for the creative economy and cultural domain, relating to galleries, museums and music organisations, among others.
Corporate Information Management
Our research has helped to develop an evidence base on the skills and governance structures needed to manage organisational information in the workplace both for internal organisational benefits and to improve accountability and transparency requirements for all stakeholders. We place a strong emphasis on ethical information governance considered across public and private sector contexts internationally, taking into account the development of new technologies. At the heart of our work are considerations around professional skills and individual needs including how we transition people into workplace cultures with the right skill sets to deliver on organisational and societal agendas.
As a research team we embrace the opportunities and challenges delivered by new technologies from social media developments to machine learning and Artificial Intelligence (AI). We work to consider how each of our areas of expertise can harness these developments for the benefit of society. We provide policy advice on particularly challenging areas, including in crisis contexts, for example ethical AI innovation, the changes brought by Brexit to the ICT sector and in the impacts of COVID and resulting information needs. Research also critically examines the use of technology in libraries, including in instructional design, user needs and UX (User Experience) work.
Our research interests are within the theory and application of knowledge organisation with particular focus on humanities, cultural heritage and the arts. We focus on the theoretical aspects and foundations of classification with emphasis on understanding the structure of classification, how knowledge organization systems (KOSs) are received and consumed, and the connections between domain and bibliographic classifications. We are also interested on the practical operations and the ways in which KOSs such as classifications, gazetteers, ontologies, taxonomies and thesauri facilitate access to knowledge and enable semantic search, indexing and information retrieval. Our members have experience researching the conceptual reference models such as CIDOC-CRM, FRBR and LRM, and their advances into a range of domains, including archaeology, cultural heritage, history, art, performing arts and music.
Information literacy forms a major research focus at UCL, and we play a leading role in the development of both theoretical work and pedagogical practice. Theoretically, our work employs a variety of methodological approaches to examine how information literacy is manifest within academic, workplace, health and everyday contexts. We are also interested in broader outcomes of information literacy, including concepts of resilience and transition both within intercultural contexts and in crisis settings. Our research contributes to teaching and learning practice through work exploring various aspects of classroom engagement, including the creation of digital artefacts designed to support instruction in higher education and careers services. Critical approaches form a final strand within this research, and we are actively involved in pushing for a more critical interrogation of information literacy discourse as well as supporting the development of critical information literacy practice.
Themes of social justice play a strong role within our departmental research interests, including topics related to the ethics of information provision as well as questions of diversity, equality and anti-racism work within library spaces and services. Relevant recent research in this area has centred on interrogating bias and deficit thinking within information literacy practice, as well as broader issues related to academic libraries, including the internationalisation of campus. Departmental research has also led the way in considering the provision of library and information services for refugees, including how forced migration impacts social and digital inclusion. A further strand of social justice themed research relates to information access rights in terms of freedom of information and data protection laws. This has included the award winning MIRRA project (https://blogs.ucl.ac.uk/mirra/) which is working to change the quality of care-leaver records. As befits the social justice theme, research in this area also uses a variety of innovative participatory research methods, including the use of photovoice and photo-elicitation, as well as action research and cooperative inquiries to ensure that those impacted are part of the research processes and decision making rather than subjects put under a research lens.