The Information School’s Advisory Panel is a group of respected information professionals who meet with our own staff once a year to assist in the School’s strategic planning and provide their insights on current trends and how we can fit in.

Coming from a wide range of organisations, the panel members each bring their own experiences to bear on our approaches to research and teaching.

Panel Members

Andy Ball
Managing Director, Peak Indicators

Sarah Gates
Policy & Governance, Government Digital Service,
Cabinet Office

Madeleine Greenhalgh
Policy & Governance, Government Digital Service,
Cabinet Office

Anne Horn
Director of Library Services and University Librarian,
University of Sheffield

Geoff Kendall Smith
Interim Director of CiCS,
University of Sheffield

Dirk Lewandowski
Professor of Information Research & Information Retrieval,
Hamburg University of Applied Sciences & Editor,
Aslib Journal of Information Management

Chris Lowry
Policy and Improvement Officer,
Sheffield City Council

Alice Mathers
Good Things Foundation

David Pearson
Director of Culture, Heritage and Libraries,
City of London Corporation

Daniele Quercia
Site Leader,
Bell Labs

Ian Radmore
Big Data Specialist

Martin White
Managing Director,
Intranet Focus Ltd.

Trends and challenges
in our field


Our advisory panel discussed upcoming trends and challenges
in the information field today and these are some of the themes
that emerged from the discussion.

Libraries in Society

Facing cuts in funding as well as rapid changes in the way that information is available, many public and youth libraries are struggling. Some are having to reinvent themselves to remain relevant. Research at the Information School is trying to understand these troubles and inform policy making to preserve the important roles that libraries play in society.

Big Data

Businesses across different sectors are looking into big data analytics but are sometimes unsure how to apply their findings in a meaningful way to their operations. These professionals understand the metrics and their insights, but need advice on how to act on them and measure their outputs in terms of business value. Information professionals and researchers can provide this advice. Large organisations also face challenges in the development and implementation of new systems when the key services that they provide are still necessary throughout the transition and huge volumes of data are involved. The complex issues around data security also come into play here, especially with ever-changing legislation in this area.

Cloud Computing

Cloud computing is becoming an ever larger trend in the world of business, but many organisations have huge investments in non-cloud systems. These companies face challenges in transitioning from one to the other without making losses either financially or in terms of assets, but they cannot afford to ignore this movement as it increasingly becomes the way of the future. Data governance principles are vital in managing such services.

Search Technologies

People often complain about the ‘search’ function in online services not working effectively, and this is a challenge to be overcome by information professionals working in Information Retrieval. New legislation around data protection requires companies to know where their information is stored, but there is a dearth of people who are trained to know this. Our research is providing principles that can be applied practically to the community in this area. In the modern world, people search online platforms on a wide variety of devices in a wide variety of ways, even now including novel input methods such as voice recognition. The information profession faces challenges in adapting to make sure all platforms meet these different needs in all contexts.