Another doctoral thesis

Monica Lassi at Swedish School of Library and Information Science nailed her doctoral thesis Facilitating collaboration: Exploring a socio-technical approach to the design of a collaboratory for library and information science to the birch trees in the library lounge today. Public defence will be June 11 in E310 at 1315-1530. The opponent will be professor Hazel Hall from Edinburgh Napier University, UK.

Short abstract of the thesis:

“The thesis explores the potential of one way of facilitating and stimulating collaboration in Library and Information Science (LIS), through a specific scientific collaboration activity: creating, sharing and reusing data collection instruments, such as interview guides, questionnaires, and observation protocols. The four studies reported in the thesis can be read as a linear narrative, each study building on the previous and contributing to the following ones. Together the four studies describe the process exploring social and contextual aspects of LIS; developing requirements and designing a working prototype collaboratory; and evaluating how the prototype collaboratory was perceived by LIS professionals. Overall, the results show that whereas the benefits of an LIS collaboratory reported by the study participants focused on the greater good for LIS, the challenges reported focused on the individuals’ perspectives. Hence, a tension exists between supporting the greater good, and challenges for individuals concerning sharing and reusing data collection instruments in an LIS collaboratory. The thesis emphasizes the implications for the LIS discipline when new ways of working with data collection instruments would be introduced; the implications of addressing needs of a diverse target audience; and the implications for further design iterations of an LIS collaboratory, including rewarding contributions, and ensuring quality content in a collaboratory.”

Pieta Eklund

New doctoral thesis

Last week Karin Dessne at Swedish School of Library and Information Science made her doctoral thesis In a world of values and views: Information and learning activities in a military setting available. Karin will defend her thesis June 5th in E310 at 13. Opponent is Gunilla Widén from Åbo Akademi, Finland.

The abstract descirbes the thesis in the following way:

“This thesis is about information and learning activities in organisations. A case study of the Swedish Armed Forces has been conducted and it consists of two parts; the first involves a licentiate thesis and two papers, while the second part includes two additional papers. The study focuses on learning from experiences in training and field action. The research endeavours to synthesise interactive and interdependent aspects of informality and formality. These aspects are used to explain how the nature of relationships manifests itself in a setting and how it relates to learning. Moreover, preconditions that contribute to how the nature of relationships is formed and reformed are explored. Finally, an effort has been made to find and describe implications of intervening with relationships in a setting. Such intervention may be desirable or required to accommodate or increase learning and knowing in organisations. Taken together, the findings show the complex dynamics between information, learning and knowing in the studied setting. Furthermore, it is illustrated how values and views in social interaction are part of how people construct relationships and learning within them. It is concluded that in order to facilitate learning by intervening with these relationships, it is important to understand the nature of them. Such intervention may vary from gentle facilitation to intrusive design, and success or failure depends on which is suitable. The research in this thesis adds to previous research emphasising the need for understanding the dynamics between information, learning and knowing in order to facilitate these activities. Future research may therefore build on the provided empirical findings and conceptual analyses to continue this line of reasoning.”

Pieta Eklund


Design researchers’ information sharing: the enactment of a discipline

Ola Pilerot from the Swedish School of Library and Information Science made his doctoral dissertation Design researchers’ information sharing: the enactment of a discipline publicly available today at the library. He will be defending his dissertation April 25 in E310 at 1pm. The opponent will be Dr David K Allen från Leeds University Business School, Leeds, UK.

The dissertation is about design researchers’ information sharing practices. One of the main results is that information sharing is stregthening and helping to create a discipline.


“This thesis is about information sharing in interdisciplinary research practices. It reports one conceptual and three empirical studies. The studies have been conducted through focusing on the field of design research, and in particular on a Nordic network of design researchers. From a practice-based perspective, the exploration of the study object oscillates between three nested and interconnected frames. The main contribution of this thesis is that it illustrates how activities of information sharing not only contribute to, but actually play a central role in the shaping of the practice of design research. It is shown how information sharing works as a contributor to the development, maintenance and shaping of practices in 1) design research as it is conducted in the Nordic network; 2) in the field of design research; and 3) within interdisciplinary research. Without losing sight of the empirical material, the theoretical analysis has made it possible to illuminate the connection between activities of sharing and the enactment of a discipline. Through analysis and discussion of the four studies as a whole, the reciprocal relationship between information sharing and the area of design research is elucidated. It is shown how information sharing, as it emerges in this interdisciplinary practice, functions as a unifying force towards the probable goal of establishing a discipline.”

Pieta Eklund



Concepts for improving ethanol productivity from lignocellulosic materials

Päivi Ylitervo made her PhD thesis Concepts for improving ethanol productivity from lignocellulosic materials: Encapsulated yeast and membrane bioreactors  publically available today. Public defence will take place April 4 in Gothenburg.

“Lignocellulosic biomass is a potential feedstock for production of sugars, which can be fermented into ethanol. The work presented in this thesis proposes some solutions to overcome problems with suboptimal process performance due to elevated cultivation temperatures and inhibitors present during ethanol production from lignocellulosic materials. In particular, continuous processes operated at high dilution rates with high sugar utilisation are attractive for ethanol fermentation, as this can result in higher ethanol productivity. Both encapsulation and membrane bioreactors were studied and developed to achieve rapid fermentation at high yeast cell density. My studies showed that encapsulated yeast is more thermotolerant than suspended yeast. The encapsulated yeast could successfully ferment all glucose during five consecutive batches, 12 h each at 42 °C. In contrast, freely suspended yeast was inactivated already in the second or third batch. One problem with encapsulation is, however, the mechanical robustness of the capsule membrane. If the capsules are exposed to e.g. high shear forces, the capsule membrane may break. Therefore, a method was developed to produce more robust capsules by treating alginate-chitosan-alginate (ACA) capsules with 3-aminopropyltriethoxysilane (APTES) to get polysiloxane-ACA capsules. Of the ACA-capsules treated with 1.5% APTES, only 0–2% of the capsules broke, while 25% of the untreated capsules ruptured within 6 h in a shear test. In this thesis membrane bioreactors (MBR), using either a cross-flow or a submerged membrane, could successfully be applied to retain the yeast inside the reactor. The cross-flow membrane was operated at a dilution rate of 0.5 h-1 whereas the submerged membrane was tested at several dilution rates, from 0.2 up to 0.8 h-1. Cultivations at high cell densities demonstrated an efficient in situ detoxification of very high furfural levels of up to 17 g L-1 in the feed medium when using a MBR. The maximum yeast density achieved in the MBR was more than 200 g L-1. Additionally, ethanol fermentation of nondetoxified spruce hydrolysate was possible at a high feeding rate of 0.8 h-1 by applying a submerged membrane bioreactor, resulting in ethanol productivities of up to 8 g L-1 h-1. In conclusion, this study suggests methods for rapid continuous ethanol production even at stressful elevated cultivation temperatures or inhibitory conditions by using encapsulation or membrane bioreactors and high cell density cultivations.”

Pieta Eklund