Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Copyright © 2004, Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Awards for Excellence
Mark Hepworth, Janet Harrison and Nicole JamesLoughborough University, Loughborough, UK
are the recipients of the journal's Outstanding Paper Award for Excellence for their paper
"Information need of people with multiple sclerosis and the implications for information provision based on a national UK survey"
which appeared in Aslib Proceedings, Vol. 55 No. 5/6, 2003
Mark Hepworth's first degree in Social Anthropology and African History sparked his people-centred approach to understanding communities. During this time he was awarded a grant to study the informal economy in the Transkei in Southern Africa which necessitated gaining entry into and understanding of a very different culture. These skills were channelled into an interest in how people learn and interact with information during his Master's studies, at Sheffield University, where he specialised in ''user studies'' and completed his thesis on the information needs of small business in the Sheffield/Chesterfield area. This led to work in the nascent electronic publishing industry working for Datasolve Ltd and then the Financial Times' electronic information services, which included developing training courses, documentation and managing customer support services for Europe's first full text online database, World Reporter. His understanding of information needs led to his appointment as Business Development Manager and serving on a strategy team for the Pearson/Financial Times group. This necessitated market research and the project management of new information products for the corporate market and government organisations. One such product was the development of the first user-oriented graphical user interface to an online database called ''freeway''. A desire better to understand how to develop such services led to him taking a Senior Lectureship in Information Studies in Singapore and the start of his PhD. After six years he returned to the UK to join the Department of Information Science at Loughborough (RAE 5, ESR 24/24, ranked number one in the UK). During the last five years he has led three funded research projects concerning the information needs of informal carers, hospital social workers and people with multiple sclerosis (MS). These have led to fundamental changes in information provision and further developed his skills in understanding people's information experience. He expects to continue in this vein but with particular interest in the development of services that can adapt dynamically to the learning needs of the individual and also the exploration of extreme situations where conditions such as severe fatigue or deafness have an impact on information needs. The latter, he feels, will lead to innovations that will benefit information provision in general. Mark therefore has a wealth of experience in studying and understanding people's information and learning experience; applying traditional survey techniques as well as innovative ethnographic methods and the use of survey tools such as audio diarying and micro time line interview that lead to a deep understanding of what is often unconscious and abstract and converting this into design briefs for information products and services.
Janet Harrison is a Lecturer in the Department of Information Science, Loughborough University, UK. Her research interests are information behaviour, especially within the consumer health spectrum. She has undertaken research with various communities defining their information needs, including doctors, adolescents and informal carers. She teaches in the following areas: Information Management, General Management and NHS Management.