Research in Information Studies encompasses the creation, management and use of information in a digital age, with a focus on the cultural heritage sector (libraries, archives and museums). It spans three inter-related areas with staff typically working across more than one area. It is the only department in the UK which brings together the practices and collections of museums/galleries, archives/records and libraries with digital humanities.
All three research areas share an open enquiry into how the study of information is changing in an era when digitisation is making curators of us all. The preservation of digital data is both our most pressing and most sisyphean task: with digital media the only certainty is its variability. Our research celebrates this fluidity while fixing and sharing best practices for the cultural heritage and digital humanities sector. Information Studies seeks to critically appraise and generate new ways of experiencing the past for current and future audiences and users.
Information Studies at the University of Glasgow combines research on the practices and collections of museums/galleries, archives/records and libraries, recognising the overlap in skill sets required of cultural heritage practitioners working in a digital age, with the theory and practice of digital humanities. Building on important early work in the area of digital curation and preservation (and the challenges of new media’s behaviours) our research explores wider issues of how engagement with born-digital and digitised information can transform audience/user experience, drawing on our understanding of centuries of media and information transmission. This research area spans practices across the creative and cultural industries, including: consideration of text and material culture; curatorial and educational practices; reconsidering and reshaping collections data and digital assets in response to user experiences; provenance of born-digital assets such as interactive art; accountability and transparency in records appraisal; accessibility and the materiality of the digital.
Information Studies foregrounds content, collection-building and curation, and the research infrastructures that enable this. Our research in digital humanities builds a praxis-based critical framework for creating and sustaining knowledge as a process of co-production with libraries, archives and museums; and creating environments for better use, re-use and linking of digital content. There is a strong focus on understanding the use of digital resources, methods, and tools in the humanities research lifecycle, and enabling a more critical appraisal of how this is a major shift in cultural production and the creation and communication of knowledge. Other research in this area includes the construction and communication of knowledge and identity in digital culture; ontological approaches to digital humanities methods; and the development and use of Research Infrastructures in the humanities.
Information Management & Analysis
This research area is a reflection on the multi and interdisciplinary nature of the field. For example, addressing how memory and identity is affected by digital cultures incorporates a number of themes for research including: the ability to scale up (and down) while working with heterogeneous data from diverse sources; skills for the critical analysis and interpretation of data created locally, by users as by commercial entities; the experience of embedding digital scholarship in cultural contents, particularly those that promote widest public engagement. Our research in informatics demands interdisciplinarity, such as in an exploration of the connections between digital forensics, artificial intelligence, and digital preservation. Likewise, a digital palaeographical approach, or media archaeological approach joins questions of material culture/object biography, with data curation, visualization, and open access. Information-based art works spanning from 1960s telematic experiments to today’s big data visualisations provide potential case studies for user experience, museum/archive curation and preservation, and our shared cultural heritage of information technologies themselves.