30 May 2014
Dr Ann O’Brien, from the School of Business and Economics, who died last week
Dr Ann O’Brien worked for the University since 1989 when she was appointed Lecturer in the (then) Department of Library and Information Studies. Over the years Ann built up extensive experience in teaching and research in the area of organisation of information, especially subject organisation, including metadata, taxonomies, ontology and information retrieval.
Ann was Programme Tutor for the MA/MSc Information and Library Management programme and taught students on this and other postgraduate programmes. She was a committed teacher, dedicated to the support of her students. Students will remember the modules she led, such as Information and Knowledge Organisation and Retrieval, and Information Architecture. She struck up caring, lasting relationships with students from all over the world, including, in particular, the PhD students she supervised. Ann also taught on undergraduate programmes and coordinated visiting students under the Erasmus student exchange programme. Her reach was truly international. She spent two periods of study leave, in 1990 and 2001, at the Department of Information Studies Graduate School of Education and Information Studies, University of California at Los Angeles and maintained close collaborative links with the colleagues there.
Ann published widely and presented at conferences in the UK and internationally. Her recent research, since moving with colleagues from the former Department of Information Science to the Information Management group in the School of Business and Economics, includes work on the development of an ontology of emotional terms extracted from social media messages as part of the EMOTIVE project. A recent project in collaboration with LISU is assessing the impact of Resource Discovery Systems (RDS) in academic libraries. In another project, ReDites, Ann was working with colleagues in several UK universities to develop a prototype event detection system. She was also collaborating with colleagues here in the Centre for Information Management and Civil Engineering following the award of a Royal Society Brian Mercer Feasibility Award to investigate three-dimensional information retrieval in the built environment. Ann was applying her expertise in innovative ways in the new digital environment. She was principal and co-investigator on several JISC funded projects concerned with metadata, including an evaluation of the High Level Thesaurus (HILT) project.
Before coming to Loughborough, Ann worked in Dublin City Libraries and University College Dublin Library and retained close links with family and friends in Ireland.
Students and colleagues were the beneficiaries of Ann’s warm, cheerful personality and her generosity of spirit. She took full part in the staff / student events and student respect for her was evident in the range of activities in which she participated .She listened to students and offered them positive support, advice and wisdom when they needed it. She was a valued colleague and friend and will be greatly missed by all those who knew her. Our sincere condolences are sent to her family and friends.
Details of funeral and memorial event will be announced in due course
Professor Graham Matthews
Head, Information Management Discipline Group
School of Business and Economics