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Sig-USE Academy of Fellows

SIG USE Academy of Fellows Inductees


Donald Case | Professor, University of Kentucky

Donald Case has been interested in studies of information behavior for over 30 years–since his days as a Master’s student at Syracuse University. He is the author of over 40 journal articles on information seeking, information technology and other topics. Case’s book, “Looking for Information: A Survey of Research on Information Seeking, Needs, and Behavior” (2002) was given the “Best Book of the Year” Award by the American Society for Information Science & Technology. A third edition of “Looking” will appear in spring of 2012.

During 2008-2009, Donald was President of the ASIST, and currently serves on the Editorial Board for JASIS&T. He has held the post of Professor in the University of Kentucky College of Communication and Information Studies since 1994. Before joining UK Case was a faculty member at the University of California, Los Angeles, from 1983 to 1994. During 1989 he received a Fulbright Fellowship to lecture at the Universidade Nova de Lisboa, Portugal, and during fall of 2011 he will enjoy another short-term Fulbright lectureship at three Finnish universities.

Although Prof. Case is not able to attend our annual awards ceremony on Wednesday October 12, Prof. Barbara Wildemuth, last year’s recipient, will be accepting on his behalf. Please join us in welcoming Donald Case to the SIG USE Academy of Fellows.


Barbara Wildemuth | Associate Dean for Academic Affairs and Professor, University of North Carolina

Dr. Barbara Wildemuth has been instrumental in SIG-USE from its origins, helping to found the SIG and becoming the first Chair of SIG-USE in 1999.  In 2001, Dr. Wildemuth, Ann Peterson Bishop and Ruth Palmquist organized the first SIG/USE Research Symposium, with the theme Effective Methods for Studying Information Seeking and Use.

Dr. Wildemuth’s research interests are primarily related to people’s use of information and information technologies. In particular, her past research have included investigations of people’s interactions with surrogates for video materials, medical students’ searching of online databases, law students’ use of a Web-based database of legal resources, and the effects of different interface designs on the effectiveness of database use.  In 2009 Dr. Wildemuth published a guide to research methodologies Applications of Social Research Methods to Questions in Information and Library Science.

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Elfreda Chatman | Deceased. Professor, Florida State University

Following her academic training, Dr. Elfreda A. Chatman was a respected member of the faculty at three universities, beginning her career at Louisiana State University in 1983, spending twelve years at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill between 1986 and 1998, and ending her career at Florida State University from 1998 until her death in 2002.

Bringing a set of qualitative approaches rooted in ethnography and sociology to bear on her interest in the daily lives of the economically marginalized, Chatman’s career was devoted to developing robust conceptualizations of the ways in which people in specific social contexts interacted with and used information, whether by seeking it out, encountering it in one way or another during social interaction, or even employing strategies to avoid it.  Her series of middle-range theories moved from a tight focus on highly constrained social settings and information poverty – true “small worlds” – to, late in her life, a realization that the concepts making up her theories had application not only in constrained social settings but elsewhere as well.  She also found that they could help explain a wide range of information behaviors in specific social settings of all kinds, from the most impoverished to the most privileged.


Raya Fidel  | Professor, University of Washington

Dr. Raya Fidel brings expertise in the fields of information seeking behavior, information storage and retrieval, and knowledge organization.  She was among the first researchers in library and information science to employ qualitative methods in which the investigator collects data when they occur in natural settings.  Dr. Fidel has applied the Cognitive Work Analysis framework to study information seeking in various communities from high school students searching the Web to design engineers working collaboratively to solve information problems.

Dr. Fidel is also the director of the Center for Human-Information Interaction at the University of Washington.  Though the Center, she is working on a project to obtain a better understanding of the impacts and use of wireless applications in government.


Karen Fisher | Professor, University of Washington

Dr. Karen E. Fisher is a Professor in the Information School and Chair of The Information & Society Center (ISC) at the University of Washington.  Dr. Fisher’s contributions to the field of information behavior research the many ways in which people experience information as part of their everyday life. In this context, Dr. Fisher established the concept of “information grounds” that emphasizes the interpersonal aspects of information behavior and the role of informal social settings in information flow.

Dr. Fisher has published peer-reviewed research articles in prestigious LIS publications such as, Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology, The Library Quarterly, Library & Information Science Research, and Information Research, and received 2008 ALA Jesse H. Shera Award for Distinguished Published Research. She also co-authored and co-edited 5 monographs related to information behavior research, including Theories of Information Behavior, a collaborative product of more than 70 international researchers.


Catherine Ross | Adjunct Professor, University of Western Ontario

Dr. Catherine Ross is a distinguished scholar in library and information science whose research into the human side of information behavior and library use has had widespread impact for practitioners and researchers alike.   Dr. Ross has been among the most successful LIS researchers in integrating her teaching and research.  This has created a positive “ripple effect,” with her classroom teaching supporting and being supported by her research, which she has in turn been adapted as training materials and programs for librarians in the field.

This synergy is most evident in three areas of research: the reference interview, evaluating the reference transaction, and reading for pleasure.   Dr. Ross’s current research includes a study to understand the experience of pleasure-reading from the perspective of the readers themselves. The goal of her research is to examine the complexity and subjectivity of the reading experience and bring the voices of readers into the dialogue on reading.

Tom Wilson | Professor Emeritus, University of Sheffield

At Sheffield, Dr. Wilson worked to establish the innovative Centre for Research in User Studies, one of the earliest study groups focused on information use and uses.  At the same time, he worked on several information needs studies for various social service agencies in Britain, building on what was then an emergent user-centered approach.  Dr. Wilson’s efforts to synthesize theory on information acquisition and use, his articulations of the nature of information needs, and his helpful models of information behavior have all had significant influences on contemporary studies of information interactions.

Professor Wilson has been a strong force in the establishment of important associations, including the European Association for Library and Information Education and Research.  He is also among the founders of the Information Seeking in Context (ISIC) conferences, and has been an early and consistent proponent of applying context metatheory in information research.

Robert Taylor | Deceased.  Dean Emeritus, Syracuse University

Dr. Robert S. Taylor published numerous scholarly works, including two seminal pieces “Question-Negotiation and Information-Seeking in Libraries” (1967) and Value Added Processes in Information Systems (1986).  In the later work, Dr. Taylor developed a framework for evaluating the quality of an information system from the user perspective.

Dr. Taylor served as president of ASIS&T in 1968 and was the recipient of the 1992 Award of Merit and the 1972 ASIS&T Best Information Science Book Award for The Making of a Library.  As Dean of Syracuse University, one of his most memorable accomplishments was changing the name of the school from library science to information studies, a precursor to the iSchool movement.

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Reijo Savolainen | Professor, University of Tampere, Finland

Dr. Reijo Savolainen’s major area of research is everyday life information seeking (ELIS). In the mid-1990s, based on an empirical study, he developed the model of ELIS that provides a holistic framework for social, cultural and psychological factors affecting people´s source preferences in everyday contexts. In particular, the model suggests that a person´s way of life and main type of mastery of life, make it understandable how people prefer, select and use information sources in non-work contexts such as leisure and solving health problems. Importantly, the model draws attention to the fact that the study of information seeking should not be confined to job-related contexts. The investigation of information needs, seeking, and use in non-work contexts is essential to a full understanding of personal situations.

Dr. Savolainen continues the elaboration of the conceptual and empirical questions of everyday life information practices. His recent research interests focus on information use as an information practice. He is also interested in the role of the forums of the social web in the context of everyday information practices, specifically  the socio-culturally constituted and relatively established (habitualized) ways to seek, use and share information in the context of furthering everyday projects.

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Brenda Dervin | Professor, Ohio State University

Dr. Brenda Dervin’s research focuses on information needs and seeking, the design of communication systems that respond to human needs, applied communication theory, and philosophic and critical/cultural applications to communication and information studies.  Dervin’s Sense-Making Methodology and approach focuses on users’ cognitive and emotional beings and how they make sense of their worlds. It has been applied in studies of user information behavior, information seeking, and in uses of media and communication systems.

Dr. Dervin is a professor at the School of Communication where her teaching focuses on the implementation of a communication-based philosophy of communication practice.  In a recent study, Dr. Dervin applyed a meta-theoretically derived approach to focus groups which was informed by her Sense-Making Methodology.  The purpose of the study was to investigate when and why students decided between quick internet-only versus thorough searches involving multiple sources.

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Carol Kuhlthau | Professor II Emerita, Rutgers University

Dr. Carol Kuhlthau’s career as a practitioner, researcher, and instructor is exemplified by her innovations in directing the graduate program in school librarianship at Rutgers University. She attained the special Rutgers rank of Professor II which requires review above and beyond the normal Professor position.

Dr. Kuhlthau’s most notable contribution to LIS scholarship is her Information Search Process model, comprising affective, cognitive, and physical aspects of information seeking and use in six stages.  She authored Seeking Meaning: A Process Approach to Library and Information Services and Teaching the Library Research Process and published extensively in referred journals and edited volumes.

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Marcia Bates | Professor VI Emerita, University of California, Los Angeles

Dr. Marcia J. Bates has conducted research and published widely in a number of areas related to information behaviors of end-users, including user studies, user search tactics, the relationship between users and systems, and user-centered design of information retrieval systems.  She has published articles in journals such as, Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology, Library & Information Science Research, Information Research, and Library Trends, and has authored numerous books.

Recently, Dr. Bates completed work as the editor of the Third Edition of the Encyclopedia of Library and Information Sciences (with Mary Niles Maack).  In this edition, Dr. Bates asked authors to discuss how the literature of the field arises from the activities and practices of the field, why users access that type of literature, and what is known about their information behaviors of users in these fields.

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