Today I spent the afternoon in a review of one of our academic departments. The Department of Information Studies (DIS) has a review group which meets 2 or three times a year, and I have been invited to be a member. Fascinating afternoon, and some interesting insights into this field. The first half of the meeting was spent discussing the Research Excellence Framework, and the necessity to demonstrate the impact of research. As there were many people from outside the department, and indeed the University on the group, DIS was interested to know how there research could be made more relevant, and how an impact could be demonstrated. There was general agreement that their was a need to bridge the gap between practitioners in a particular area, and the academic researchers. It was interesting for example that DIS has a research group looking into Information Systems. What do we do? Implement, design and develop Information Systems. Have we ever spoken to each other? No. Virtually everything listed in their list of research topics is something we are interested in, so one great thing to come out of today was making contacts. Another area where we could work together is in Information Retrieval - web searching, the development of better search systems, and the analysis of query logs. Again - good contacts made and we're going to look at working together.
There was also an interesting discussion about their new postgraduate curriculum, and whether all information scientists should all be taught to program - a two week intensive course of perl scripting was suggested. A good idea?
I suppose I could finish this post by saying that I've just watched Steve Jobs deliver his keynote at WWDC2010 and announce the iPhone 4. Pretty impressive, and of course I want one. Bit worried by Facetime (video calls) though - I often make calls when I wouldn't particularly want anyone to see me! Also comforting to see we're not the only people to have problems with wireless networks - at one point the demo wouldn't work because 527 Wi-Fi hotspots were in operation in the hall, most of them MiFi, and over 1,100 devices were connected among those and other shared Wi-Fi networks. Apparently Google had a similar problem a couple of weeks ago when demonstrating their new version of Android, and they also had to ask members of the audience to turn devices off.