Open Access Institutional Repository at Robert Gordon University

    The demand for undergraduate course provision in information and library studies.

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    This paper describes two exercises designed to investigate the factors affecting the demand for under-graduate educational provision in information and library studies (ILS). The first was a survey of former and current students of the School of Information and Media at The Robert Gordon University in Aberdeen, which examined why they had chosen to undertake an undergraduate course in information and library studies. The second was a survey of fifth and sixth year pupils at six secondary schools in North East Scotland, which gathered market research data about the appeal of a range of course and module titles, in order to determine which were attractive to prospective students. Major findings include: that former and current students were largely influenced by subject content and vocational field in their choice of course; that former students are likely to have gone into the non-conventional or 'emerging' information job market, regardless of their having come to the course with a vision of a career in a traditional library sector; and that despite Librarianship and Information Studies being an instantly recognisable and very clearly defined working environment, most prospective students surveyed do not find the course content attractive or potentially interesting. The paper concludes that the ILS profession should: collect and present evidence demonstrating the variety, challenges and satisfactions of information careers; reappraise the role of degree level qualifications in feeding into the job market; and develop routes into those sections of employment which information professionals are presently failing to enter

    Towards effective consideration of non-financial factors in the design and management of construction assets.

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    The decisive role of non-financial factors in the design and management of construction assets is highlighted and existing techniques used to include these factors in the decision-making process are critically reviewed. An effective algorithm has been developed to include non-monetary benefits of competing design alternatives in whole-life costing studies. The unique feature of the algorithm, amongst others, is that it proceeds through logical steps that can be followed and assessed by decision-makers. Details of the computer implementation of the algorithm are presented. The solution of a selected example problem is also included to illustrate the theory of the algorithm

    Comparative genetic diversity in a sample of pony breeds from the U.K. and North America: a case study in the conservation of global genetic resources.

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    Most species exist as subdivided ex situ daughter population(s) derived from a single original group of individuals. Such subdivision occurs for many reasons both natural and manmade. Traditional British and Irish pony breeds were introduced to North America (USA and Canada) within the last 150 years and subsequently equivalent breed societies were established. We have analysed selected UK and North American equivalent pony populations as a case study for understanding the relationship between putative source and derived sub-populations. Diversity was measured using mitochondrial DNA and a panel of microsatellite markers. Genetic signatures differed between the North American sub-populations according to historical management processes. Founder effect and stochastic drift was apparent, particularly pronounced in some breeds, with evidence of admixture of imported mares of different North American breeds

    Evidence-based practice in teaching: an information perspective.

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    Purpose The purpose of this research is to explore UK teachers' use of research-based information, with a particular focus on issues relating to access to information in schools, information literacy, and the role of the school librarian and school library services. Design/methodology/approach The study adopts a mixed methodology. In-depth qualitative data gathered through vignette interviews ( n=28), group exercises (four groups of between three and five teachers) and a discussion forum were supplemented by quantitative data gathered through surveys of teachers ( n=312), head teachers ( n=78), school librarians ( n=78) and school library services ( n=26). Findings Teachers' professional use of research information reflects a preference for predigested information and informal sources. Although professional bodies and government departments promote the use of research by teachers and provide a range of customised web sites for information, lack of ready local access to information and lack of time were cited as major barriers to the use of research information. Teachers also revealed uncertainties and lack of confidence in their own ability to find and evaluate such information. The findings suggest scope for more targeted provision by school librarians of both information and skills to support the professional development of teachers. However, this raises issues of priorities and resources, and needs to be seen in the context of a wider change in ethos supported by senior management. The study also raises questions about teachers' own experiences and approaches to the use of information in professional learning, and how this might impact on the provision of support for their pupils and the potential for collaborative working between librarians and teachers. Research limitations/implications The qualitative aspects of the study provided a rich source of data from teachers with varying levels of experience and involvement with the use of research information. However, a low response to the teacher questionnaire survey (10.9 per cent, overall, 312 teachers) resulted in a bias towards more research-oriented teachers in that particular data set. While the data from research-oriented teachers do appear to triangulate, it is difficult to generalise to other teachers. Therefore teacher survey data have been treated with some caution and drawn on only to aid further understanding of the issues raised in interviews and group exercises. Originality/value In focusing attention on teachers' information behaviour and information literacy, this paper provides a new perspective on the issues affecting the lack of uptake of research evidence within the teaching profession, contributes to the literature on information behaviour and information literacy in professional contexts, and contributes to the understanding of factors which may have a bearing on the development of student information literacy in schools

    Knowledge modelling for a generic refinement framework.

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    Refinement tools assist with debugging the knowledge-based system (KBS), thus easing the well-known knowledge acquisition bottleneck, and the more recently recognised maintenance overhead. The existing refinement tools were developed for specific rule-based KBS environments, and have usually been applied to artificial or academic applications. Hence, there is a need for tools which are applicable to industrial applications. However, it would be wasteful to develop separate refinement tools for individual shells; instead, the KrustWorks project is developing reusable components applicable to a variety of KBS environments. This paper develops a knowledge representation that embodies a KBS's rulebase and its reasoning, and permits the implementation of core refinement procedures, which are generally applicable and can ignore KBS-specific details. Such a representation is an essential stage in the construction of a generic automated knowledge refinement framework, such as KrustWorks. Experience from applying this approach to Clips, PowerModel and Pfes KBSs indicates its feasibility for a wider variety of industrial KBSs

    Studying actions in context: a qualitative shadowing method for organizational research, Qualitative research [online], 5(4), pages 455-473.

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    Shadowing is a qualitative research technique that has seldom been used and rarely been discussed critically in the social science literature. This paper has pulled together all of the studies using shadowing as a research method and through reviewing these studies has developed a threefold classification of different modes of shadowing. This work provides a basis for a qualitative shadowing method to be defined, and its potential for a distinctive contribution to organisational research to be discussed, for the first time

    Introduction to special issue on reasoning in natural language information processing.

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    For any applications related to Natural Language Processing (NLP), reasoning has been recognized as a necessary underlying aspect. Many of the existing work in NLP deals with specific NLP problems in a highly heuristic manner, yet not from an explicit reasoning perspective. Recently, there have been developments on models that allow reasoning in NLP such as language models, logical models, and so on. The goal of this special issue is to present high-quality contributions that integrate reasoning involved in different areas of natural language processing both at theoretical and/or practical levels. In this article, we give a brief overview on some major aspects of explicating reasoning in NLP and summarize the articles included in this special issue

    Sophisticated construction of binary PdPb alloy nanocubes as robust electrocatalysts toward ethylene glycol and glycerol oxidation.

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    The design of nanocatalysts by controlling pore size and particle characteristics is crucial to enhance the selectivity and activity of the catalysts. Thus, we have successfully demonstrated the synthesis of binary PdPb alloy nanocubes (PdPb NCs) by controlling pore size and particle characteristics. In addition, the as-obtained binary PdPb NCs exhibited superior electrocatalytic activity of 4.06 A mg-1 and 16.8 mA cm-2 towards ethylene glycol oxidation reaction (EGOR) and 2.22 A mg-1 and 9.2 mA cm-2 towards glycerol oxidation reaction (GOR) when compared to the commercial Pd/C. These astonishing characteristics are attributed to the attractive nanocube structures as well as the large number of exposed active areas. Furthermore, the bifunctional effects originated from Pd and Pb interactions help to display high endurance with less activity decay after 500 cycles, showing a great potential in fuel cells applications

    Social media, social comparison and mental health.

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    Social media has become a mainstay of popular culture, with a growing number of users. Yet the understanding of how social media can impact on mental health is at an early stage. This article focuses on social media and how the increased opportunity to make social comparison may contribute to mental health difficulties. Relevant theory and clinical examples are discussed. Suggestions are made for nursing practice

    Marketing sustainability: use of information sources and degrees of voluntary simplicity.

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    The concept of voluntary simplicity (VS) is taken as a starting point to investigate consumers' use of information sources when making purchases of sustainable technological products and services. Differences in information seeking and sources consulted and trusted are investigated with a view to increasing the uptake of sustainable domestic technologies such as energy efficient fridges and washing machines over more grey alternatives. Clear patterns both in sources used and the information seeking process were found between different groups of consumers and priorities for purchase were also identified. The results suggest different strategies for marketing sustainable technologies to these different consumer groups
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