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



Two theses are made public today

This week we have two theses which are nailed to the birch trees at the library. THe first one was at 2pm and the other will be at 3pm.

Hamidreza Barghi, School of Engineering, makes his thesis Functionalization of Synthetic Polymers for Membrane Bioreactors, available at the library at 2pm today.

“Membrane bioreactors (MBRs) show great promise for productivity improvement and energy conservation in conventional bioprocesses for wastewater reclamation. In order to attain high productivity in a bioprocess, it is crucial to retain the microorganisms in the bioreactors by preventing wash out. This enables recycling of the microorganisms, and is consequently saving energy. The main feature of MBRs is their permeable membranes, acting as a limitative interface between the medium and the microorganisms. Permeation of nutrients and metabolites through the membranes is thus dependent on the membrane characteristics, i.e. porosity, hydrophilicity,and polarity. The present thesis introduces membranes for MBRs to be used in a continuous feeding process, designed in the form of robust, durable, and semi-hydrophilic films that constitute an effective barrier for the microorganisms, while permitting passage of nutrients and metabolites. Polyamide 46 (polytetramethylene adipamide), a robust synthetic polymer, holds the desired capabilities, with the exception of porosity and hydrophilicity. In order to achieve adequate porosity and hydrophilicity, bulk functionalization of polyamide 46 with different reagents was performed. These procedures changed the configuration from dense planar to spherical, resulting in increased porosity. Hydroxyethylation of the changed membranes increased the surface tension from 11.2 to 44.6 mJ/m2. The enhanced hydrophilicity of PA 46 resulted in high productivity of biogas formation in a compact MBR, due to diminished biofouling. Copolymerization of hydrophilized polyamide 46 with hydroxymethyl 3,4-ethylenedioxythiophene revealed electroconductivity and hydrophilic properties, adequate for use in MBRs. To find either the maximal pH stability or the surface charge of the membranes having undergone carboxymethylation, polarity and the isoelectric point (pI) of the treated membranes were studied by means of a Zeta analyzer. The hydroxylated PA 46 was finally employed in a multilayer membrane bioreactor and compared with hydrophobic polyamide and PVDF membranes. The resulting biogas production showed that the hydroxylated PA 46 membrane was, after 18 days without regeneration, fully comparable with PVDF membranes.”

Anne-Britt Torkildsby, School of Textiles, will make her thesis Existential design – revisiting the dark side of design thinking, available at the library at 3pm.

“This thesis aims to discuss ways of opening up the design brief when designing for extreme environments such as intensive care units and remand prisons. Focusing on “designials” (fundamental forms of design being), the methodology intends to illustrate the fact that objects may directly impinge upon certain “existentials” (fundamental forms of human being). Moreover, the method is a form of critical design that enables designers to shift focus, from analysis of the functionality of a design in use, e.g. by performing a functional analysis, to analysis of the form of being human that a design in use defines. More importantly, this thesis considers what may happen if we do not take into account this aspect of design; in other words, the “dark side” of design thinking.”

PIeta Eklund