The Legal Information Profession: May 15th – 17th 2023

Middle Temple Library

Middle Temple Library: Image source Attribution (CC BY 2.0)

CityLIS are delighted to host and sponsor this three-day, specialist course for postgraduate students of library and information science. Led by colleagues from the Middle Temple Library, with expert guests, the course will be held at City, University of London and The Honourable Society of the Middle Temple. May 15th -17th 2023.

The course addresses the unique education required to support legal information work, a key sector in our field. This instantiation of the course is open to LIS students wishing to learn more about working as a legal information professional, and the aim is to develop a CPD module open to both students and professionals wishing to enter the sector or to update their skills.

The course includes history and development of legal information resources, current services and collections, knowledge managment, professional societies, information practice, the likely impact of generative AI services, networking and an overview of career opportunities.

Our small group format includes presentations, demonstrations, discussion and practical tasks in support of individual knowledge and skills development.

Queries to CityLIS Programme Director




Posted in News | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

LILAC 2023: Conference report from CityLIS attendee Sumedhaa Hariram

Pictre of LILAC 2023 Conference notebook

This conference report is from Sumedhaa Hariram, who is studying MSc Information Science with CityLIS during the academic year 22/23. Sumedhaa won a CityLIS sponsored place to attend LILAC 2023, 19th-21st April at the University of Cambridge, and we are grateful to Metataxis for the original donation for student conference attendance. Thanks also to former CityLIS PhD student David Haynes for mediating the donation.

In April, I was given the opportunity to attend LILAC 2023.

This year’s conference was held at the University of Cambridge. So, on 19th April, I made my way to the university’s Faculty of Law building and was greeted by the many friendly faces of the LILAC committee, who were quick to get everyone registered, fed and ready to go. I was also thrilled to receive a custom LILAC notebook to add to my ever-growing collection of beautifully crafted notebooks.

I began my LILAC experience by going on a tour of the Law Library and got to check out some of the collections and learn how the librarians organised and classified the materials they carried in the library.

One of the first presentations I attended was, Breaking Through the Concrete Ceiling: Surviving a difficult start as a new professional. It gave me valuable insights into the difficulties faced by new professionals and how one could cope and grow as a new professional in the future.

Throughout the three days, I learnt about the challenges facing academic librarians when teaching information literacy online and how teaching is becoming more prevalent in the field. It was also highlighted that many library science degrees don’t provide adequate teacher training to their student librarians, and this is a gap that should be filled.

I also learnt more about the information behaviours of first year research students, the importance of building digital health literacy and how librarians play a part in growing digital literacy in general. A presentation about information literacy as a practice for survival saw an engaging debate on whether or not information literacy practices were important for survival. I also had the chance to discuss the pros and cons of this topic with other delegates.

The keynote presentation, Pivot Ponderings: Musings about one library’s role in support tech-enhanced learning, gave valuable insight into the different phases of digital learning, how the library coped during the pandemic and how it has introduced more hybrid learning since then.

One of my favourite presentations from the conference was The Information Practices of the Homeless. The speaker, Andy lacey, talked about the information behaviours of the homeless, how their information needs and sources vary based on the support systems available to them and the barriers to access they face. I had never considered how people who are homeless or displaced get their information and the ways in which they can combat misinformation in their everyday lives. It also highlighted how digital poverty can cause an even greater divide.

Being able to attend the LILAC conference at such a historic institution meant that we were also given access to some of their specialized libraries, and I was able to visit their music, medieval languages and English libraries in my free time. I was also able to tour the rare books collection at the main library and got to view some rare items in their collections.

No conference is complete without a few parties, and LILAC was no different. The first night of the conference saw us at the Museum of Zoology for the Networking Evening & Information Literacy Awards. Here we networked over drinks, canapes and natural history exhibitions. I even got to see the skeletal remains of an elephant-sized sloth! The evening also saw the presentation of several awards given to outstanding information professionals in recognition of their work in the field.

At the conference party I learnt that there ain’t no party like a librarian party. Watching a room full of librarians dancing their hearts out was such a treat!

Overall, I left the conference feeling inspired, rejuvenated and more assured about my choice to become an information professional. I thoroughly enjoyed my time at LILAC 2023 and look forward to attending it again in the future!

Posted in News | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

CFP: FanLIS 2022: Fan futures – beyond the archive

FanLIS 2022

Image © Ludi Price CC-BY-NC-SA

Call for Presentations

FanLIS 2022 is a one day CityLIS symposium to explore the intersection between fandom, fan studies, and library and information science. May 19th 2022, online event (possibly hybrid, hosted at City, University of London).

Fan studies has long been interested in the archive as a site of preservation and resistance. Examples include the work of Versaphile (2011), Lothian (2012), Brett (2013) and Jansen (2020).

In this symposium we seek to broaden this horizon, and look at fan work production through the lens of the entire information communication chain, including creation, storage, management, dissemination, circulation, preservation, meaning-making and (re)use. Creation of fanworks goes beyond the textual, and includes a multitude of formats, from the analogue and physical – costumes, figurines, dolls – to the digital – game assets, fanfilms, memes. Fandom, and its culture of collecting, ensures that it is a site of continued physicality and materiality, yet the digital has revolutionised (and continues to revolutionise) how material objects move through their lifecycle. For example, how are collections of complex fanworks, such as custom figurines, stored? How do fans manage their gaming mods? What methods do cosplayers use to disseminate their works? In what ways do non-digital fanworks circulate throughout the fan community? How is technology changing the way that fanworks are published? What are the legal implications of fanfilms? We welcome presentations that seek to answer these and similar questions, as well as ones that consider what the future of the fan information communication chain might be.

Information Communication Chain

The information communication chain. @lynrobinson cc-by

In addition, we also seek to look beyond the archive solely as a site of the preservation of fan culture, and highlight the ways in which the archive – both online and offline – can be subverted by both their creators and users, be it through technology, usage. Fans themselves are instrumental in building and maintaining archives, and more than this – in developing best practice that can inform current practice within existing cultural memory institutions.

We welcome proposals for 20-minute presentations relating to the lifecycle of fanworks, from both LIS (Library & Information Science) and fan studies perspectives. We also encourage work that presents perspectives from non-Western and transcultural standpoints.

Suggested topics may include:

  • Fanfiction on social media platforms
  • Fan-binding
  • Fan archives and their role beyond that of preservation
  • Fan journalism
  • Virtual reality as a medium for fanworks
  • The circulation of fanworks
  • Fanfiction and fanzine small presses and publishers
  • Fans as archivists and curators

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.

Please send your 500 word proposals to both Ludi Price at and Lyn Robinson at by midnight on December 31st 2021.

Authors of successful proposals will be notified by January 31st 2022. The symposium will provisionally take place online on 19 May 2022 – we are looking into options for a hybrid online/in-person event.

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


Brett, J. (2013). Preserving the Image of Fandom: The Sandy Hereld Digitized Media Fanzine Collection at Texas A&M University. In: Texas Conference on Digital Libraries, May 7 – 8, 2013, Austin, TX.

Jansen, D. (2020). Thoughts on an ethical approach to archives in fan studies. Transformative Works and Cultures, 33.

Lothian, A. (2012). Archival anarchies: Online fandom, subcultural conservation, and the transformative work of digital ephemera. International Journal of Cultural Studies, 16(6), 541-556.

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

This is a cross post originally published on the FanLIS blog.

Posted in Events, Research | Tagged , | Comments Off on CFP: FanLIS 2022: Fan futures – beyond the archive

I don’t think we’re amphibians…

The Student Perspectives category collects posts written by current CityLIS students.

Liberty Alleston considers Floridi’s paper A Proxy Culture (2015), and discusses whether we are amphibians, or something altogether different: Tiktaaliks.

Artistic interpretation of Tiktaalik; a prehistoric marine creature emerging onto a shore

Artistic interpretation of Tiktaalik (

In Floridi’s A Proxy Culture (2015), he ends his paper with “we are the amphibian generation that is moving out of the analogue world to live in a digital environment.” But I propose that Floridi potentially got his animal analogy wrong because we are not amphibians. Amphibians require water or a moist environment to survive and reproduce. From what I gather in his paper, and this statement specifically, the analogue world is comparable to water and the digital environment is comparable to land. Therefore, his animal analogy does not fall in conjunction with what he is trying to communicate as amphibians need both. For us to be moving out of the analogue world (water) we must venture fully and immerse ourselves deeply into the digital environment (land), which is something that is already happening.

Thus, I would like to suggest, that we are not amphibians but, in fact, Tiktaalik, a Late Devonian vertebrate. Tiktaalik, whilst still a fish, possessed tetrapod-like features that allowed it to venture onto land, such as wrist bones in the fins and limbs that allowed for it to hold itself up. The combination of these features is theorized* to be the reason why Tiktaalik was an early, and successful, evolutionary transition between water and land.

True to the ancestral Tiktaalik, we are in the midst of our own evolutionary transition between the two realms of analogue and digital. Whilst still present, it is uncertain for how much longer the analogue world will be prevalent and useful. Once the generational divide between those who grew up with a computer in their hands and those who didn’t shrinks, the use of the analogue world will shrink with it. The actions that we are taking in our new and persistent digital environment will determine the future of information systems. We are in the very centre of evolution.

To be mentally aware that we are in the middle of an evolutionary transition is incredibly daunting. Evolution takes millions of years for a miniscule change to occur; we are expected to acclimatize to our new environment overnight with the speed that changes are occurring. Everything that has happened before us has led to where we are right now, and now suddenly everything that is happening today is going to form the future. That is a lot of pressure, especially for someone who is an up-and-coming library and information scientist; how am I not supposed to feel like this is all suddenly my responsibility? I am filled with so many questions that I will never have the answers to because I am right in the middle of the transition. How do we know that the actions we are currently taking will create a wonderful and bright digital future and not a dystopian nightmare? Will the evolutionary transition be dominated by the media giants, or will we be able to have our own input for the future? I am so overwhelmed!

The actions that we must take to protect the future of the digital environment and ensure that it is a safe and functioning place have already begun. Whether or not they are the right ones is only something the future knows. For now, I am going to put my faith into Tiktaalik and just hope that we are on the right track.

*Of course, like with any evolutionary theory or hypothesis there is a lot of speculation around the exact timeline, but generally Tiktaalik is accepted as one of the first early transitionary vertebrates.


This and other articles written by Liberty can be found through her LinkedIn profile.

Posted in Student Perspectives | Tagged , , , | Comments Off on I don’t think we’re amphibians…

Data and Booth’s London Poverty Maps

The Student Perspectives category collects posts written by current CityLIS students.

Cat O’Carroll looks at processes of large data collecting, prior to the digital era, specifically to the work of Charles Booth and his descriptive maps of London Poverty in the late 1800s.


Life and labour of the people in London / edited by Charles Booth (1892-1897). Public Domain

Life and labour of the people in London / edited by Charles Booth (1892-1897). Public Domain

#CityLIS classes for #INM348 #DITA Data Information Technologies and Applications module, form the basis of topic of this article.

Life and labour of the people in London / edited by Charles Booth.  (1892-1897). Public Domain

Life and labour of the people in London / edited by Charles Booth. (1892-1897). Public Domain

Today, the term data, now conjures up association to the digital age of computer systems and digital network technologies. A quick search on wikipedia will tell you from the 1940s it was used to mean transmissible and storable computer information, although through time there is still no agreeable single definition for what it actually is. ‘Data have many kinds of value, and that value may not be apparent until long after those data are collected, curated, or lost’. (Borgman 2015)

Examples of data however can be explored as far back as the Upper Paleolithic era, with tally markings found on sticks and bones or the census undertaken by the Babylonians in 3800 BCE. (Holmes 2017) As Kaplan stated in his article, Big Data of the Past (2017) ‘Big data is not a new phenomenon’. History, as he puts it ‘is punctuated by regimes of data acceleration, characterized by feelings of information overload accompanied by periods of social transformation and the invention of new technologies’.

It’s interesting to think about processes of large data collecting, prior to the digital era. A recent podcast of In Our Time – Booth’s Life and Labour Survey (2021) sprung to mind which explores this. Charles, Booth, born in 1840, was most noted for his Inquiry into Life and Labour in London, and his descriptive maps of London Poverty in the late 19th century. From the 1800s, societies became much more complex and difficult to understand, as the growth of economy, came the need to gather more data.

In his time analysing census returns in 1884, he realised the lack of valuable information that came through the compilation of the 1881 census. The opportunity to ask people about the circumstances on how they lived wasn’t captured and wondered why the census authorities were not doing this.

In 1885 Henry Hyndman, of the Social Democratic Federation published his inquiry into poverty, which claimed up to twenty-five percent of the population of London lived in extreme poverty. Booth’s claims that this figure was vastly overestimated, resulted in him undertaking his own inquiry into the condition of workers in London. It would turn out in his findings, that the number was higher, closer to a third.

One key resource that Booth tapped into to compile his data, was the school board visitors. It was through these interviews he understood the types of occupation among London families in their households and the types of data and information they gathered through their yearly visits.

Although his inquiry investigated poverty, industry, and religious influences; his mapping of London poverty, were the most striking. Each street in London streets were given specific colours on the map, that indicated the levels of poverty and wealth within the area. He organised these into eight specific groups, from A, which denoted the occasional labourers and the ‘semi-criminal’ as he put it, through to H-which represented the upper-class and the wealthiest.

Understanding of the household, became very important, as this gave a representation on what was going on throughout society. Through his surveys and published reports, he identified the causes of circumstances such as low wage income, family sizes and illness. The number one reason he concluded was old age and the decline in physical capacity to work. In Victorian London, there was no means of support for the aged, only the workhouse, where they seemed to end their days.

For many years, he then began writing and speaking about the need for state pensions to assist with issue of poverty amongst the elderly and saw in 1908 the passing of the Old Age Pensions Act in 1908.


Data 2021, [2021, Oct 13]

Christine L. Borgman. (2015). Big Data, Little Data, No Data : Scholarship in the Networked World. The MIT Press.

Holmes, D.E. 2017, Big data: a very short introduction, First edn, Oxford University Press, Oxford, United Kingdom.

Kaplan, F. & di Lenardo, I. 2017, “Big Data of the Past”, Frontiers in Digital Humanities, vol. 0.

In Our Time – Booth’s Life and Labour Survey – BBC Sounds. Available: [2021, Oct 14,].

LSE , Charles Booth’s London poverty maps and poverty notebooks. Available: [2021, 15/10/].

Images: Life and labour of the people in London / edited by Charles Booth (1892-1897). Public Domain


This and other articles written by Cat can be found via her LinkedIn profile.

Posted in Student Perspectives | Tagged , , , , , | Comments Off on Data and Booth’s London Poverty Maps