Building Bridges: exploring interdisciplinary intersections between fandom, fan studies and library and information science.

Image © Ludi Price CC-BY-NC-SA

Call for Presentations – all authors welcome!

One day CityLIS symposium to explore the intersection between fandom, fan studies and library and information science. April 9th 2020 at City, University of London.

Recently the fan studies community has become interested in building bridges between different cultures and disciplines, with Dr. Naomi Jones, during the Fan Studies Network Conference 2018, emphasising the importance of interdisciplinarity in moving the field forward. This challenge was taken up by Kelley, Price, Schuster and Wang in the Fan Studies Network Conference of 2019, where they presented their interdisciplinary, collaborative project on fandom, which started in the Spring of 2018. This collaboration brought together scholars from the fields of cultural studies, the digital humanities, and library and information science to talk about fandom and fan practice, and has allowed a wider exchange of ideas between disciplines.

In common with fan studies, library and information science has a keen interest in the utility of their research outside the field, and in understanding to what extent it effects an impact outside its own disciplinary boundaries. For example, while library and information science (LIS) has a rich history of user studies, its impact outside of the field is less clear, despite multidisciplinary studies being shown to have more impact (Ellegaard & Wallin, 2015). Thus, it would seem that this is the perfect opportunity to bring members of these two disciplines – fan studies and LIS – together, in order to move the concept of ‘interdisciplinarity’ away from just a subject of conversation, towards something real and tangible.

Fan practice shows many parallels with the interests of information professionals, such as librarians, archivists and curators. Fans are ardent collectors (Geraghty, 2014); they take pride in the classification of their work; they develop best practice in the preservation of fanworks (Swalwell et al., 2017); and as some of the first adopters of the internet (Jenkins, 2006), they are comfortable using technological innovations which many information professionals have yet to embrace. Other fan activities with which LIS has overlapping engagement are the publishing of fanfiction as mainstream literature (Peckosie & Hill, 2015), classification of fanfiction, such as on the Archive of Our Own (Price, 2019), and copyright, to name but a few. Rarely, however, does LIS literature acknowledge the relevance of work carried out in the fan studies discipline, e.g. Versaphile’s (2011) look at the preservation of fannish history and Johnson’s (2014) look at fanfiction metadata. Likewise, there is little evidence that fan studies authors are aware of the rich troves of relevant work carried out within the LIS discipline. This creates a significant lacuna in knowledge, which could be assuaged by a less siloed approach to research conversations.

This symposium aims to be part of a nascent interdisciplinary dialogue, by bringing together scholars from fan studies, LIS and beyond, to find commonalities, inspire new conversations, and reveal hidden and unexpected intersections that will enrich the current discourse of fandom and fan practice.

We welcome proposals for 20 minute presentations relating to topics that draw links between, and are relevant to, issues both within fan studies, fandom and LIS, and to other liminal spaces associated with these disparate disciplines. We encourage work that presents perspectives from non-Western and transcultural standpoints.

Topics can include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Beta-reading and the fan as editor
  • Classifying fanworks, e.g. tagging, fan genres
  • Fandom and libraries/archives/museums/galleries
  • Fanzines, and fan self-publishing
  • Fandom and information literacy
  • Fandom, education and peer-learning
  • Fandom and cultural memory
  • Crowdsourcing
  • Fan news and fans as ‘citizen journalists’
  • Fandom and the digital humanities
  • Fans as author
  • Fans as collectors and curators
  • Participatory culture
  • Fandom and social media
  • Preservation of fanworks, including complex objects such as costume, figurines, dolls, gaming mods, etc.
  • Collaborative projects between fans and cultural institutions such as libraries, archives and museums

We are hoping to receive proposals from people from all stages in their academic career, including students and early career researchers; and also from people of colour and other cultural/non-Western backgrounds. We are open to longer style workshop and installation-type formats.

Please send your 500 word proposals to both Ludi Price at and Lyn Robinson at by midnight on December 31st 2019.

Authors of successful proposals will be notified by January 31st 2020. Presenters will be expected to make their own way to City, University of London, but there will be no charge for presenting at, or attending the event, which we hope will be accessible to all those interested in fandom and LIS.

We are looking into open access publishing options for the proceedings of this event.


Ellegaard, O., and Wallin, J. A. (2015). The bibliometric analysis of scholarly production: How great is the impact? Scientometrics, 105(3), 1809-1831.

Geraghty, L. (2014). Cult Collectors: Nostalgia, Fandom and Collecting Popular Culture. Abingdon: Routledge.

Jenkins, H. (2006). Fans, Bloggers and Gamers: Essays on Participatory Culture: Exploring Participatory Culture. New York: New York University Press.

Johnson, S. F. (2014). Fan fiction metadata creation and utilization within fan fiction archives: three primary methods. Transformative Works and Cultures, 17.

Peckosie, J., and Hill, H. L. (2015). Beyond traditional publishing models: an examination of the relationships between authors, readers, and publishers. Journal of Documentation, 71(3), 609-626.

Price, L. (2019). Fandom, Folksonomies and Creativity: the case of the Archive of Our Own. In: Haynes, D. and Vernau, J. (eds.). The Human Position in an Artificial World: Creativity, Ethics and AI in Knowledge Organization, ISKO UK Sixth Biennial Conference London, 15-16th July 2019, 11-37.

Swalwell, M., Ndalianis, A., and Stuckey, H. (eds.) (2017). Fans and Videogames: Histories, Fandom, Archives. New York: Routledge.

Versaphile (2011). Silence in the library: archives and the preservation of fannish history. Transformative Works and Cultures, 6.


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Welcome to CityLIS 19/20!

The new CityLIS academic year 19/20 starts with our Induction Class on Thursday 19th September, in advance of our taught programme which returns on Monday September 23rd.

This year, perhaps more than ever, we all understand that library and information knowlege and skills are fundamental to delivering a fair and flourishing society for all. We look forward to welcoming every single member of our new cohort, as we collectivley commit to exploring and understanding the processes of, and barriers to, information communication in the information age.

Our graduates are skilled thinkers and performers on the information stage. Our classes equip you with the confidence to work in libraries, information services, and related positions both now and for the future.

CityLIS. Library and Information Science for the 21st Century.

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Radical Immersions Conference

This post was originally published on Joseph Dunne-Howrie’s blog.


This conference was organised by the Digital Research Humanities Association and looked at the impact new (and not so new) technologies are having on the ways art is produced and received by audiences. Speakers also explored concepts of immersion as they relate to information (or filter) bubbles on the internet.

Some of the questions papers addressed included:

What is the internet doing to our perception and experience of reality?

How can or should art respond to the paradigm of surveillance capitalism?

Why do we still talk about VR like it’s a new technology?

What realities should be immerse ourselves in to avert climate catastrophe?

One of the conference organisers Dani Ploeger kicked off proceedings with two provocations: ‘VR is dead’ and ‘The World Isn’t Real’. Those of us who have been following the post-truth conversation will be familiar with the second statement, but the first is some ways more shocking. VR remains a cutting edge technology in the cultural imagination despite the fact that it has existed since the early 1990s. Devices like the Occulus Rift are supposed to be bringing it into the domestic sphere, but the cumbersome headset remain a barrier to becoming fully integrated into our daily lives. I agree with Dani that the polymorphic medium of the internet has turned the real world into a virtual experience where our sense of the real is being constantly reconfigured.

The truth is dead. Everything is true. Nothing is real. The real is an illusion.

My paper ‘Communities of Crisis’ was based on my article ‘Crisis Acting in the Destroyed Room’ that is being published in Performance Research: Staging the Wreckage next month. I describe the internet as an amorphous network of digital spaces littered with media wreckage to analyse what the alt-right crisis acting conspiracy theory tells us about the ways political discourses and identities are constructed online. Vanishing Point’s devised performance The Destroyed Room is used as a case study of the breakdown of dialectical thinking on the internet.

In his keynote address Matthew Fuller made the important point that immersion in media is commonly framed as a negative experience because the boundaries of personhood are supposedly softened. Using Professor Bad Trip’s graphic art as an example, Fuller invited us to think of immersion as becoming water-logged ‘but perhaps finding capacities at the edge of transition’. Like being under-water or reading a novel, the phenomenology of immersion allows us to experience reality beyond ourselves whilst expanding our sense of self.

Maria Chatzichristodoulo gave a history of immersion in art and theatre starting from fluxus movement of the 1950s and sixties up to today with companies such as Punchdrunk and Coney. Focusing on the meaning of ‘radical’ in the context of immersion, Maria made me think about how one becomes many ‘I’s’ in immersive environments. This has a radical potential in moving the paradigm of the self beyond humanistic conceptions of the individual towards conceiving of the human as an informational-ecological entity that exists in symbiosis with pervasive systems.

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Information Resource Guide: Ancient Greek Myths

***This guide was written by CityLIS student James Calvert in April 2019. It is reproduced here with the author’s permission as part of our CityLIS Writes initiative.***

The guide contains a collection of resources Greek myths and ancient Greek culture. It is intended for teachers and student teachers who are working in primary education in all local authority maintained schools in England. The guide is designed to support the education of 7-11 year olds who are being introduced to Greek mythology and the study of ancient Greek culture through subjects such as English and History at Key Stage 2 (Years 3-6). Many of the resources are also suitable for home use by the pupil, but this selection is left to the discretion of the teacher.

The Greek Myths Key Stage 2 Resources FINAL VERSION

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Boom! City LIS students feel the impact of a visit to the British Library Symposium

***Adel Szeheres, Marta Szczutek, Sarah and Wai-ting Cheung***

Digital collections are at the forefront of change in the digital world – able to respond quickly to new trends they are having an impact on communities, culture and the culture sector.

Eager beavers with laptops and sharpened pencils in tow, City LIS students signed in at the Symposium, undaunted by the damp conditions and the fact that some of us spent silly time in the wrong queue.

Once inside, the chance to chat and spend time circulating amongst our own cohort over coffee was a really pleasurable experience that set the tone for the event.

What a day! In reflecting upon some key themes to write this blog-post, so many very interesting aspects vy for attention.

The two themes of collaboration and impact really stood out, with working together being the overarching theme for the day.

Institutions even as mammoth as the British Library need to ensure their survival and validate their contribution to the wider world. The creative and innovative projects presented to us throughout the day shone the light on the importance of collaboration and sharing. Collaborative working within the BL’s own teams, and in other projects where BL is collaborating with outside individuals and organisations showed how the collections are being exploited in ways which regenerate content, enliven discussion, and reach new audiences. Sharing of work meant sharing achievements to the general public, but also meant sharing work to other organisations working in the same field. In referring to “achievements” we noted that several times, the speakers were including as “achievements” the methods, process and findings from experimentation. Curiously, this included methods and findings which ultimately failed – echoes of Einstein here, in that experiencing many failures is crucial in speeding progress to successful outcomes.

The second theme of impact is linked to the first and is the one which we will focus on in this post. We were enthralled by projects which impacted on research and higher education, and on the culture sector, and those that expanded business and commercial possibilities. Our blog group was also captivated by projects which had an impact on the public with an education and community focus, and particularly those that involved the public in the creative process, bringing us back to the notion of collaboration and sharing.

To illustrate this point on collaboration by reference to the principles of the “Open Source way” ,

“Together, a global community can create beyond the capabilities of any one individual. It multiplies effort and shares the work. Together, we can do more.”

So many speakers also spoke of the conflict between lack of funds, and the urgency for rolling out more training of digital-science literate staff.

It is understandable in the current unsure economic and global-political environment that finances for the funding of such work may not be a priority in some eyes, however the solution lies in collaboration with partner groups, to devise ingenious ways of accessing targeted funds for individual projects, and the possibilities arising from having a commercial arm.

Survive or thrive: any good survivalist will tell you that survival means existing on bare bones – using digital science will enable healthy new routes to thriving activity.

On leaving the Symposium, I was suddenly reminded of how I am constantly trying to find a less reactionary response to the oft heard comment: “oh, you’re studying library science, aren’t all the libraries closing?” Well, going to the Symposium has clearly shown that recruiting digital science professionals is a hugely necessary growth area for the immediate future, which should surely raise all of our confidence levels and allow LIS professionals and students their drop-the-mic moment round the dinner party table.

The Delius Catalogue, one of the BL dataset project winners, was created as a collaboration between UK’s Oxford University, the British Library and Denmark’s Royal Library, digitalising Frederick Delius’s music manuscripts and creating an online catalogue of his works for open resource purposes.

The catalogue is a thematic catalogue, meaning that they are listed by their opening musical notations, and the Delius Catalogue is the first of its kind to be made fully digital. The British Library has other composers’ works in their collection, such as Mozart’s Musical Diary, which is a digitisation of Mozart’s listed works from his last seven years. Although it uses the thematic cataloging system, the digital catalogue offers many more specific search options, making it easier to filter through the works by searching keywords such as ‘violin’, which of course, brings up compositions that have a violin. This is an extremely useful search tool for musicologists who may wish to study the instrument development or scoring (instrumentation). Delius’ pieces are also categorised by musical genre, for example, concerto, opera.

Although some composer’s works have previously been catalogued under other recognised systems, such as Koechel numbers for Mozart, their catalogues could be digitised following the example of the Delius Catalogue, while still keeping Koechel’s cataloguing as an option when searching.

The impact of this work opens the door for future project work in transforming the cataloguing of other art and humanities areas. Though it may currently work with each individual’s works, the power of collaborating could further improve the way digital collections can be cataloged and shared as open access.


The Nomad Project was also created using BL collections and it is yet another example of innovative and collaborative work. The project had its premiere during the Somali Festival Week in October 2018 which took place at the British Library. The authors of the project created a virtual reality environment for participants which enabled them to “visit” a traditional Somali nomadic home, explore it and interact with it.

Nomad is not a simple display of decontextualized objects but a full, immersive, culturally rich experience. The project was realized by using photogrammetry techniques to create digital 3D models of Somali household objects, such as headrest or incense burner. Augmented reality was created by combining those digital artifacts with audio recordings and some photographs; which could be explored by participants via VR headset.

Participant in the Nomad project experiencing cultural object via VR headset

The project demonstrates how latest technologies can be used in a creative way to engage the public with library/museum collections. Those interested in a specific culture can now have a fully immersive experience without the necessity to travel to distant places. The project enabled Somali people born in London to connect with their culture and their ancestors’ traditions.

During workshops participants not only explored the virtual reality but also learned about techniques and were demonstrated how to use their phones to produce basic 3D models of their belongings. Photogrammetry technique enables creation of 3D models of objects by taking multiple photographs (from different angles). This technology is cheap and accessible to everybody as most people now own a smartphone with a build-in camera. All that is required for basic photogrammetry is a camera phone and special software. The Nomad project encourages people from the community to get involved and to create their own digital collections of their valuable possessions.

Digitizing collections not only helps preserving them but also makes them more accessible and relevant to everybody.

Photogrammetry rig by Cy-real

Potential project/impact: augmented reality could become part of the learning experience in schools in the near future; e.g. schools provided with VR headsets, history lessons could be enriched, students could explore everyday life of people of ancient Egypt or Rome… it’s all about making it more relevant, meaningful and interesting.

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