Research Seminar Series

Materiality in Information Environments: Objects, Spaces and Bodies in Three Outpatient Hemodialysis Facilities

Tiffany Veinot

Tiffany Veinot

MLS, PhD, Associate professor at the Schools of Information and Public Health and Director of the Master of Health Informatics Program at the University of Michigan.

February 15, 2018

Using Stamper’s (1991) semiotic framework for information systems research, this presentation details results of a multi-sited ethnography involving observations at three outpatient hemodialysis facilities in the United States, and in-depth, semi-structured interviews with 28 facility patients. Results revealed that objects, spaces, and bodies were integral to each material layer of the information environment. These material layers entailed constraints and enablers that together shaped three aspects of information interaction in the facilities: (1) information access; (2) information flow; and (3) information acceptance. Information interaction patterns position patients as recipients, rather than active seekers and producers, of health information. Findings hold implications for design of information environments to support patients’ agency, and for expanding access to information in a range of settings.

Tiffany C. Veinot, MLS, PhD is an associate professor at the Schools of Information and Public Health and Director of the Master of Health Informatics Program at the University of Michigan. Dr. Veinot focuses on developing and evaluating “community health informatics” interventions to improve the health of marginalized groups and reduce health disparities. She is the Principal Investigator of a 5-year study funded by the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute, “Enhancing the Cardiovascular Safety of Hemodialysis Care: A Cluster-randomized, Comparative Effectiveness Trial of Multimodal Provider Education and Patient Activation Interventions (Dialysafe).” She has also held or co-held grants from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Department of Veterans Affairs, Institute of Museum and Library Services, Canadian Institutes for Health Research, Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, Canadian Foundation for AIDS Research and Ontario HIV Treatment Network. Her published research has garnered many national and international awards.

2017 Research Presentations

Making Sense of the Past: the Information Practices of Field Archaeologists

Dr. Nicole A. Cooke is an Assistant Professor at the School of Information Sciences, at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign

Michael Olsson

Senior Lecturer at the School of Communication at the University of Technology, Sydney, Australia

November 2, 2017

This presentation describes the findings of a study of the information practices of archaeologists excavating at two sites: the Iron Age Broch of Gurness and Neolithic Ness of Brodgar excavations in Orkney, Scotland, through the course of two digging seasons. It focuses in particular on those practices by which participants made sense of the artefacts they uncovered, and through these, the site they were excavating. Participants’ information practices were shown to be not merely cognitive but embodied with haptic elements playing an important role in archaeologists’ sense-making of potential artefacts, e.g., the feel of a stone tool in the hand, the texture of pottery shards against the cheek. The study raises questions about prevailing assumptions in information behavior research.

Dr. Michael Olsson is a Senior Lecturer at the School of Communication at the University of Technology, Sydney, Australia. He is an active researcher in the field of information behavior/information practices research, with a particular interest in information/knowledge sharing through in academic, professional and artistic communities. His work is interdisciplinary and has appeared in leading international research journals and conferences in a range of different fields, including Information Studies, Communication and Knowledge Management. He is strongly associated with the emergence of new discourse analytic and social constructivist approaches to information research, focusing particularly on the social construction of information & knowledge and the inter-relationship of meaning and authority (Knowledge/Power). Dr. Olsson has a strong interest in the relationship between theory, research and professional practice.

The GSLS Carnegie Scholars: Guests in Someone Else's House

Dr. Nicole A. Cooke is an Assistant Professor at the School of Information Sciences, at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign

Nicole Cooke

PhD, School of Information Sciences, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign

September 27, 2017

From 1970-1972 the graduate library and information science (LIS) program at the University of Illinois welcomed twenty-nine students of color known as The Carnegie Scholars. The Carnegie Scholars Fellowship Program was designed to increase the numbers of minority librarians in the profession and denoted a radical change at the school; it is a radical change we need to see again as we envision the future of the information profession and librarianship. The program was also fraught and full of assumptions about the capabilities of students of color and their role in librarianship. This experience indicates that LIS programs need to continue to think critically about the recruitment and retention of students of color. Investigation of the Carnegie Scholars Program, and other historical initiatives, could facilitate a new radical change in LIS education.

Dr. Nicole A. Cooke is an Assistant Professor at the School of Information Sciences, at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, where she is also the Program Director for the MLIS program. She was awarded the 2017 ALA Achievement in Library Diversity Research Award, presented by the Office for Diversity and Literacy Outreach Services, and the 2016 ALA Equality Award.She has also been honored as the University of Illinois YWCA’s 2015 Leadership Award in Education winner in recognition of her work in social justice and higher education, and she was selected as the University’s 2016 Larine Y. Cowan Make a Difference Award for Teaching and Mentoring in Diversity. She was the 2013 Recipient of the Norman Horrocks Leadership Award given by ALISE, and Library Journal named her a Mover & Shaker in 2007. Dr. Cooke’s research and teaching interests include human information behavior, critical cultural information studies, and diversity and social justice in librarianship (with an emphasis on infusing them into LIS education and pedagogy).

In the Readers’ Own Words: How User Content in the Catalogue Can Enhance Readers’ Advisory Services

Dr. Louise Spiteri is Associate Professor in the School of Information Management at Dalhousie University in Canada

Louise Spiteri

PhD, School of Information Management, Dalhousie University

April 26, 2017

This session will discuss the findings of two studies conducted to explore user-generated content in public library catalogues, and its potential contribution to readers’ advisory (RA) services. The session will explore how user content, in the form of tags and reviews, provides a rich data set that connects to traditional RA access points. Further, the session will discuss the creation of three taxonomies for memory, emotion, and mood based on user content, and the use of these taxonomies to enhance discovery and the reading experience.

Dr. Louise Spiteri is Associate Professor in the School of Information Management at Dalhousie University in Canada, where she teaches courses in the areas of information organization, metadata, knowledge management, and records and information management. Dr. Spiteri's research interests include social tagging, folksonomies, web-based discovery systems, and taxonomy design.

My Information Literacy Odyssey

Don Latham, Professor, School of Information, Florida State University

Don Latham

Professor, School of Information, Florida State University

February 27, 2017

Information literacy has been a hot topic among educators and information professionals for over 20 years now, and it has shaped my own research agenda for the past decade. This presentation will trace my information literacy research journey, focusing on three projects: information literacy competency among college freshmen; teachers and public and school librarians as information literacy collaborators; and the Peritextual Literacy Framework as a strategy for teaching information literacy to middle school students. With all three projects, I’ll discuss the research questions posed, the methods used, and the results obtained

Dr. Don Latham is a Professor in the School of Information at Florida State University, where he teaches courses on Information Needs of Children, Information Needs of Young Adults, Graphic Novels in Libraries, and Theory and Foundations of Information Sciences. He has published extensively on information behavior of young adults, digital literacies, and young adult literature and literacy practices, and is the co-author, with Melissa Gross, of Young Adult Resources Today: Connecting Teens with Books, Music, Games, Movies, and More (Rowman and Littlefield, 2014). He has received research grants from the Institute of Museum and Library Services, the Online Computer Library Center / Association of Library for Information Science Education, the Adolescent Literature Assembly of the National Council of Teachers of English Foundation, and the Florida State University Council on Research and Creativity. He has served on the board of the Association for Library and Information Science Education as Director of Special Interest Groups, and was conference co-chair for the 2013 ALISE Annual Conference. He is also active in the Young Adult Library Services Association.

2016 Research Presentations

Intimate Partner Violence Survivors: Gaining Agency Through Information Management

Dr. Lynn Westbrook is currently an Associate Professor at the University of Texas School of Information

Lynn Westbrook

Associate Professor, School of Information, University of Texas

November 28, 2016

Survivors of intimate partner violence (IPV) may seek assistance from governmental agencies (e.g., local police, family courts) and social service agencies (e.g., domestic violence shelters, job training programs). That assistance, however, comes with conflicting goals and priorities which are instantiated as information-dependent processes and procedures. Personal agency growth in IPV decision-making is intertwined with the information management skills required to navigate public responses to this personal crisis. This talk presents a multi-modal framework within which to explore effective information engagements of IPV survivors.

Dr. Lynn Westbrook is currently an Associate Professor at the University of Texas School of Information, with an MA from the University of Chicago and a PhD from the University of Michigan. Her research interrogates the relationships between personal crises and public responses. Focusing primarily on women’s crises (i.e., intimate partner violence, sexual human trafficking, and gynecological cancer), Dr. Westbrook follows the affective, cognitive, and behavioral threads across the life span of these ongoing crises. Placing women’s information in the context of power dynamics, her recent studies identified social service information literacy gaps in sexual human trafficking work.

White Privilege in LIS: How do we Define It?

Dr. Lisa Hussey is an Associate Professor at the School of Library and Information Science (SLIS) at Simmons College

Lisa K Hussey

Associate Professor, School of Library and Information Science (SLIMS) at Simmons College

October 26, 2016

Diversity is a term that is both important and often misunderstood. Yet, despite this very nebulous understanding, it has been a continuous focus in the LIS professions, particularly in regard to recruitment and retention initiatives. According to the latest Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) data, librarians are predominately Caucasian, with just over 13% of professionals identifying as African American, Asian American, or Hispanic/Latino (BLS, 2015). Archives and museums report even lower levels of diversity. Hence, as a predominately Caucasian profession, the concept of White Privilege and the role of White Culture in the profession should be important discussion points. However, as a profession, LIS tends to not discuss race and racial issues, but rather focus on diversity and multiculturalism. As the majority that makes up the professional body and the decision makes, the experiences, views, and attitudes of individuals and groups from White Culture and who have experienced White Privilege are strongly influential in decision making for the profession as a whole and in the establishment and delivery of programs, such as diversity initiatives. Hence, this research begins by considering the possible influence of White Culture/White Privilege and what does it mean for the ways in which LIS is presented and understood?

Dr. Lisa Hussey is an Associate Professor at the School of Library and Information Science (SLIS) at Simmons College. Prior to her time at SLIS, Lisa worked as an academic librarian, a school librarian, and a prison librarian. She also served as program manager for the University of Arizona School of Information Resources and Library Science. Lisa received a BA in History from the University of Miami, a MA in IRLS from the University of Arizona, and a PhD from the University of Missouri. Her research focused on mentoring in LIS and diversity in LIS

Studying Online Interactions using Social Network Analysis

 Dr. Anatoliy Gruzd is a Canada Research Chair in Social Media Data Stewardship and Associate Professor in the Ted Rogers School of Management at Ryerson University

Anatoliy Gruzd

Canada Research Chair in Social Media Data Stewardship, Associate Professor, Ted Rogers School of Management, Director of Social Media Lab, Ryerson University

September 28, 2016

As social creatures, our online lives just like our offline lives are intertwined with others within a wide variety of social networks. Each retweet on Twitter, comment on a blog or link to a Youtube video explicitly or implicitly connects one online participant to another and contributes to the formation of various information and social networks. Once discovered, these networks can provide researchers with an effective mechanism for identifying and studying collaborative processes within any online community. However, collecting information about online networks using traditional methods such as surveys can be very time consuming and expensive. This talk will explore automated ways to discover and analyze communication networks from social media data. As part of the session, participants will learn how to use Netlytic, a cloud-based text and social networks analyzer to collect, analyze and visualize publicly available online conversations from social media websites such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Dr. Anatoliy Gruzd is a Canada Research Chair in Social Media Data Stewardship and Associate Professor in the Ted Rogers School of Management at Ryerson University in Toronto, Canada. He is also the Director of the Social Media Lab and a co-editor of a multidisciplinary journal on Big Data and Society published by SAGE. Dr. Gruzd’s research initiatives explore how the advent of social media and the growing availability of social big data are changing the ways in which people communicate, collaborate and disseminate information and how these changes impact the social, economic and political norms and structures of modern society. Dr. Gruzd and his lab are also actively developing and evaluating new approaches and tools to support social media data stewardship (the collection, storage, use, reuse, analysis, and preservation of social media data). His research and commentaries have been reported across Canada and internationally in various mass media outlets such as Foreign Affairs, Los Angeles Times,, The Atlantic, The Globe and Mail, The National Post, The Canadian Press, CBC TV, CBC Radio, CTV and Global TV.

Pictorial Metaphors for Information

Dr. Jenna Hartel University of Toronto

Jenna Hartel

Associate Professor, Faculty of Information, University of Toronto

April 26, 2016

The iSquare Research Program is an arts-informed, visual study in which people answer the question “What is information?” in the form of a compact line drawing, coined an “iSquare” (Hartel, 2014a). Since 2011, more than 2,000 iSquares have been collected from diverse academic disciplines and from around the world. In this presentation, Dr. Jenna Hartel will provide an overview of the iSquare project and report recent insights into the pictorial metaphors associated with information. Eight common pictorial metaphors for information that appear in the iSquare corpus—earth, web, tree,light bulb, box, cloud, fishing/mining, and eye—will be displayed and explicated imaginatively. The talk will also address the potentials of arts-informed, visual research for social scientific inquiry and will note implications of graphical elicitation techniques for research, education (Hartel, 2014b), and practice in information studies and beyond.

Hand sketches

Pictorial metaphors are visual devices that invoke a familiar source domain to illuminate the qualities of a more abstract target domain (in this case, information). Five source domains often used to characterize information are shown above as earth, web, tree, cloud, and box.

Dr. Jenna Hartel is an Associate Professor at the Faculty of Information, University of Toronto. Since the beginning of her academic career she has believed that visual methods are powerful tools for research and she has taken steps to introduce them into the field of information science. Dr. Hartel has won the Association for Library and Information Science methodology award for a paper on photographic methods; published the first methodological paper on visual methods in Journal of the Association for Information Science and Technology (Hartel & Thomson, 2011); hosted and presented on many panels about visual methods at international conferences; and taught classes on visual methods at the Faculty of Information, University of Toronto. Dr. Hartel is the creator of iSquare Research Program and leader of the iSquare Research Team. She has spear-headed the collection of more than 2,000 drawings of information from twelve countries and numerous academic disciplines.

Students’ Reading Preferences: An Exploratory Study

Noa Aharony

Noa Aharony

Bar-Ilan University, Head, Dept. of Information Science

March 23, 2016

The e-book reader revolution is already here. The questions we asked ourselves were: What are the reading preferences of Information Science students of the second decade of the 21st century? How do different variables, such as relative advantage, comprehension, and learning strategies, affect students’ reading preferences? The research was conducted in Israel during the first semester of the 2015 academic year and encompassed 177 LIS students in an Information Science Department in Israel. Three questionnaires were used: personal details, relative advantage, and learning strategies, and two further questions that focused on reading habits. The study showed students’ preferences for printed materials. In addition, it emphasizes the importance of two personal variables that may affect students’ will to read electronic materials: relative advantage and comprehension.

Prof. Noa Aharony received her PhD in 2003 from the School of Education at Bar-Ilan University (Israel). She is the head of the Information Science Department at Bar-Ilan University (Israel). Her research interests are in education for library and information science, information literacy, technological innovations and the LIS community, and Web 2.0. Prof. Aharony is a member of the editorial boards of Journal of Librarianship and Information Science, and Online Information Review. Prof. Aharony has published in refereed LIS and education journals.

I’ve Already Googled It and I Can’t Understand It: User’s Perceptions of Virtual Reference and Social Q and A

Marie L. Radford, Ph.D. is Professor in the Department of Library and Information Science and Director of the PhD Program at the Rutgers School of Communication & Information

Marie Radford

Rutgers University, Director, PhD Program, School of Communication & Information

March 3, 2016

This presentation features results from the Cyber Synergy: Seeking Sustainability through Collaboration between Virtual Reference and Social Q&A Sites project funded by IMLS which investigated the possibility of new models to enable Virtual Reference Services (VRS) to remain viable despite today's tight budgets and increased need to share resources, improve referrals, and broaden collaboration. This talk focuses on findings from qualitative analysis of 52 in-depth telephone interviews with users of VRS and/or SQA. User voices provide intriguing ideas for modeling future library collaborative services, suggesting service enhancement, exploring user perceptions in comparing VRS to SQA, challenging traditional one-to-one models of service, and open up possibilities of one-to-many models, including crowdsourcing.

Marie L. Radford, PhD is Professor in the Department of Library and Information Science and Director of the PhD Program at the Rutgers School of Communication & Information. Previously, she was Acting Dean of Pratt Institute's School of Information and Library Science. Her research interests include interpersonal communication in reference services (traditional and virtual), qualitative methods, evaluation/assessment, cultural studies, and media stereotypes of librarians and libraries. She is Co-PI of the “Seeking Synchronicity” (with Lynn Silipigni Connaway) and “Cyber Synergy” (with Lynn Silipigni Connaway and Chirag Shah) projects funded by IMLS, in partnership with Rutgers, and OCLC. She gives frequent keynote speeches and research papers at international and national conferences and publishes widely in prestigious library journals. Her forthcoming books are: Library Conversations: Reclaiming Interpersonal Communication Theory for Understanding Professional Encounters, co-authored with Gary Radford (ALA Editions) and Research Methods in Library and Information Science, 6th Ed. with Lynn Silipigni Connaway (Libraries Unlimited). She received the 2010 ALA/RUSA Mudge Award for distinguished contributions to reference service. She is co-chair of the Libraries in the Digital Age (LIDA) conference to be held in Zadar, Croatia in June of 2016.

2015 Research Presentations

Evaluating Concepts, Evaluating Measures: The Case of User Engagement and the User Engagement Scale

Heather L. O’Brien is Assistant Professor at the iSchool, University of British Columbia

Heather L. O’Brien

Assistant Professor, iSchool, University of British Columbia

November 11, 2015

Various methodological approaches are utilized in user engagement research, including self-report methods (e.g., questionnaires, verbal elicitations), neurophysiological methods (e.g., eye tracking, facial expressions), and observational methods of user behavior (e.g., mouse clicks, navigation patterns). Yet, seldom do we evaluate the methods and measures themselves. This talk will draw upon the User Engagement Scale (UES), a self-report measure developed by Dr. O’Brien, to focus on two intersecting and fundamental challenges: 1) How do we operationalize and measure multi-dimensional, complex, subjective concepts such as user engagement? and 2) How do we evaluate the robustness of such measures? Dr. O’Brien will explore the UES’ reliability, validity and generalizability by examining its uptake and utilization to investigate user engagement with search, news, video, education, haptic, social networking, consumer, and video game applications. She will argue that evaluating concepts requires a parallel focus on the evaluation of measures designed to capture concepts. The question of whether we are measuring what we think we are measuring has serious implications for human computer interaction studies and phenomena in general, and user engagement more specifically, such as how we know users’ have experienced engagement and what system, user, and contextual factors precipitated or deterred it.

Dr. Heather L. O’Brien is Assistant Professor at the iSchool, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada, where she teaches and researches in the areas of human information interaction, user experience and user engagement. Over the past ten years she has focused on the theoretical aspects of user engagement with computer-mediated search, news, shopping and education technologies. This research has grounded the concept of user engagement, and proposed and tested a Process Model of User Engagement. A second major stream of Dr. O’Brien’s research is the measurement of user engagement, specifically how to measure user engagement holistically using multiple subjective and objective approaches. She developed a self-report experiential questionnaire, the User Engagement Scale (UES), which has been adopted and utilized by multi-disciplinary researchers around the world. Dr. O’Brien is the author of multiple journal articles, conference papers, and the book Measuring User Engagement, published with Mounia Lalmas and Elad Yom-Tov in 2014 (Morgan Claypool). The book Why Engagement Matters: Cross-Disciplinary Perspectives and Innovations on User Engagement with Digital Media, a co- edited manuscript with Paul Cairns (Springer, in press), is the first comprehensive text on user engagement. More information about Dr. O’Brien’s research, teaching and publications can be found on her website.

Librarians and Readers in South Africa’s Liberation Struggle

Archie Dick

Archie Dick

University of Pretoria, Department of Information Science

September 21, 2015

It is more challenging to uncover how and why people read than what they read, or when and where they read. Times of political crisis and social change are productive contexts for examining these elusive features of reading, and South Africa during the apartheid era is a useful locale for investigating these features. In this paper I analyse the roles of professional and non-professional librarians who sourced, circulated, hid, and sometimes helped to produce banned reading materials, and who used their libraries as ‘safe’ spaces for readers to debate liberation strategies. I also explain how readers used these materials in clandestine reading networks. I conclude with a critical reflection on the range of methods I used to tell the stories of ordinary South Africans who confronted an authoritarian and racist regime.

Archie Dick is a Full Professor in the Department of Information Science at the University of Pretoria. He previously taught at the University of the Western Cape, and the University of South Africa where he was also a Deputy Dean. From 2009 to 2011 he was Deputy Chairperson of the IFLA committee of Freedom of Access to Information and Freedom of Expression. From 2012 to 2014 he was the Chairperson of the National Council of Library and Information Services (NCLIS) in South Africa. His interest is the history of reading, and his most recent book is The Hidden History of South Africa's Book and Reading Cultures (University of Toronto Press, 2012). He has been a Visiting Professor at Wayne State University and the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign, and an Honorary Fellow at the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Centre for the History of Printand Digital Culture.

That Twitter Thing: Meaning and Method behind Micro-Blogging in Public Libraries

Mary F. Cavanagh is an Assistant Professor at University of Ottawa's School of Information Studies

Mary F. Cavanagh

Assistant Professor, School of Information Studies, University of Ottawa

April 28, 2015

Engagement and participation are key concepts framing a large part of the social media discourse across many research domains (Lutz, Hoffmann and Meckel 2014). As quasi-government agencies public libraries increasingly value Twitter as it provides a freely accessible, low-cost structure for improved engagement, relationship-building and communication with a wide spectrum of library followers. The project, initiated in 2012, contributes to this work from the perspective of the public library organization. Highlights of a first phase -a national survey of public libraries' Twitter practices - are introduced in conjunction with findings from several pilot projects that explored techniques for studying library micro-blogging. This work then establishes a provisional theoretical framework from which to consider preliminary results of the first of three in-depth @publiclibrary case studies.

Mary F. Cavanagh is an Assistant Professor at University of Ottawa's School of Information Studies. Her areas of research interest include valuing the contemporary public library as institution, social media, practice-based approaches to information interactions and practices, and forms of organizing. Her current teaching interests are in areas of resource discovery, knowledge in organization, social media, and library marketing and advocacy.

Building Collaboration between Faculty Members and Librarians in University Education

Tayo Nagasawa

Tayo Nagasawa

Associate Professor, Research Development, University Library, Mie University, Japan

February 24, 2015

As part of the recent massive educational reform, colleges and universities have been training students as active and lifelong learners, and becoming publicly accountable for their performance. In this context, college and university libraries have also been asked to approach their institutions about how they can contribute to these reforms. Building collaboration between faculty members and librarians is one of the main issues in making these contributions. This presentation will explore librarians’ strategies to promote collaboration with faculty members, and intervening conditions inside libraries, and in the university community, based on qualitative case studies of good practices.

Tayo Nagasawa, MLIS, is an Associate Professor in the Research Development Office, University Library at Mie University, Japan. Previously, she was an Associate Professor at the Higher Education Development Center at Mie University and an Assistant Professor at the Research and Development Center for Higher Education at Nagasaki University. She was also a Visiting Researcher in the School of Business and Economics at Åbo Akademi, Finland, and the Library and Information Science Program at Wayne State University, USA. Her research interests are information literacy instruction provided by college and university libraries, educational development, and grounded theory. She has been involved in case studies of Earlham College and the University of Michigan in the USA, Western University (formerly the University of Western Ontario) and Queen’s University in Canada, and Tampere University and Åbo Akademi University in Finland. In order to conduct these case studies, she has received several research grants from the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science.

2014 Research Presentations

Research with Impact: Enhancing Your Profile for Academic and Community Engagement

Lisa M. Given

Lisa M. Given

Professor of Information Studies and Acting Assistant Dean of Research, Faculty of Education, Charles Sturt University, Australia

November 12, 2014

Researchers across disciplines have been tracking and promoting impact of their work for decades using various metrics (e.g., citation counts). Today, many alternatives exist for documenting impact of research outputs and building your academic profile. Social media tools and qualitative measures of community-based research, alongside a range of metrics, provide options for researchers who want to enhance their academic and public research profiles. This talk will explore a range of strategies for promoting research and measuring impact in the community.

Compassion Fatigue and Information Behavior

Ina Fourie

Ina Fourie

Professor, Department of Information Science, University of Pretoria, South Africa

October 29, 2014

Compassion fatigue is a serious condition impacting health, quality of life, professional well-being, and work productivity. It manifests in many professional sectors, especially those dealing with people in vulnerable positions such as in healthcare, law enforcement, spiritual settings and social work. Related terms – sometimes used interchangeably – include burnout, secondary traumatization and vicarious traumatization.  Very little research dealing explicitly with information behavior and compassion fatigue has been reported.

This presentation will focus on the importance of information in dealing with compassion fatigue, including findings from a content analysis of a question and answer (Q&A) site on that topic. In particular, the importance of awareness, active information seeking and use, and information avoidance, will be discussed.

Working with Youth Co-Researchers: Promoting Personal and Community Engagement with Health Information

Lynne (E.F.) McKechnie

Shelagh K. Genuis

Alberta Innovates Health Solutions Postdoctoral Research Fellowship, School of Public Health, University of Alberta, Edmonton. Alberta

September 24, 2014

This talk explores a novel research partnership and its contribution to community engagement with health promoting information. Indigenous youth co-researchers were recruited for a community-based participatory study investigating concerns about healthy eating and food security in a Cree community. Youth contributed to research planning, conducted interviews with elementary school Photovoice participants, contributed to data analysis and participated in the development of a knowledge translation tool. Hands-on interaction with research findings fostered critical thinking about health information and practices. Findings suggest that a broad understanding of information use may be helpful in the context of health promotion.

“Spiderman is not for Babies” (Peter, 4 years): The Boys and Reading Problem from the Perspective of the Boys Themselves

Lynne (E.F.) McKechnie

Lynne (E.F.) McKechnie

Professor, Library & Information Science, Faculty of Information & Media Studies, University of Western Ontario, London, Ontario

March 31, 2014

It used to be the girls who were thought to be the problem. Until recently both research and practice in fields like Education and Library & Information Science were more interested in uncovering and addressing the unfair, unequal treatment of girls. But times have changed. Everyone agrees that girls have improved on almost all performance indicators at school while boys have not. This presentation reports on an interview study with 43 Canadian boys (4 to 12 years old) which captured the boys’ own perspectives on their reading. Results indicate that boys are reading, but their preferred reading materials (e.g., nonfiction, comic books, and game manuals) are not those usually privileged by librarians, teachers and parents.

BIGDATA: Researcher Recommendation Systems: Science, Support or Surveillance?

Paul Kantor

Paul Kantor

Research Director for CCICADA, Distinguished Professor of Information Science,
Graduate Faculties of Computer Science and Operations Research, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, New Jersey

February 19, 2014

Recommender Systems are springing up everywhere, collecting the judgments and clickstreams of Web users, and processing them to recommend everything from diapers to dioramas. The research presented here revisits to the earliest roots of recommender systems, HyperCat and the SXR, and asks how such systems can support the activity of researchers with a long-term, shared interest in some difficult topic. This project, centered on the arXiv repository, hosted at Cornell University, poses a range of challenges. On the technical side those challenges include: (1) extracting usable scientific conclusions from traffic numbered in the thousands, rather than the millions; (2) incorporating the fact that the value of information items is not simply additive; (3) presenting the user with some items that improve the system’s understanding of the users’ needs, rather than meeting those needs; and (4) seeking alternative basic representations of documents that better capture the relations among them. Proposed approaches will be presented for discussion. On the non-technical, or social, side key challenges include: (1) respecting the individual user’s rights to privacy; (2) recognizing that researchers in the same field are collaborators at the macro-level but are often competitors at the micro-level; (3) realizing that some authors and users of the system have ambitions that exceed their scruples, which leads them to game the system in diverse ways; and (4) recognizing that occasional “slashdot” effects introduce meaningless linkages to the system.  There are many interesting similarities and contrasts between this effort and the more familiar activities of commercial or governmental entities, which will be discussed as time permits.

Research joint with: David Blei (Princeton); Peter Frazier (Cornell); Paul Ginsparg (Cornell); Vladimir Menkov (Rutgers) and Thorsten Joachims (Cornell). Supported in part by the National Science Foundation.

Paul Kantor is Research Director for CCICADA Rutgers, where he is also a Distinguished Professor of Information Science, and a member of the Graduate Faculties of Computer Science and Operations Research. His research on information systems has been supported by the NSF, DOD, IARPA, ARDA, ONR, DHS and other agencies. He received the ASIST Research Award, and is a Fellow of the AAAS.

2013 Research Presentations

Helping Libraries Conduct Research

Brian Detlor

Brian Detlor

Associate Professor of Information Systems, DeGroote School of Business and Chair, McMaster Research Ethics Board, McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario

November 14, 2013

This talk centers on the speaker’s own personal experience helping an academic library and a public library conduct research. In particular, the speaker will share insights on his current role as a “Faculty Member in Residence” at the McMaster University Library. Specifically, the speaker will reflect on the progress he has made, the challenges he has encountered, and the factors that have led to success in fostering a research climate within the library. One key initiative the speaker will discuss in particular is the joint research collaborations that are being planned between the University Library and the Hamilton Public Library. These collaborations focus on enhancing evidence-based practice and have strong upper management support. In response, these collaborations have rallied interest in a number of potential research projects involving librarians from both institutions.

A Long and Winding Road: Children and IT in Retrospect

Andrew Large

Andrew Large

Canadian National-Pratt-Grinstad Professor Emeritus in Information Studies School of Information Studies, McGill University, Montreal, Quebec

October 17, 2013

This presentation will review a series of research projects extending from the early 1990s until the present conducted by the speaker and focused upon the information behavior of elementary school children when using a variety of information technologies. It will trace the emergence of children from being mere participants to active collaborators in the research process. Center stage will be the design of interfaces, including interactive, virtual and visualization techniques, that are intended to facilitate the identification, retrieval and use of information by children.