FIMS Profile

Janet Allen

  • About Me

  • Teaching

  • Research

  • Publications

  • Service

  • Awards

In my second year in the Library and Information Science PhD program, I spend my time studying, writing about, and researching ideas around information overload. More specifically, my research interests focus on the systemic roots and impacts of information overload and how they intersect with individuals’ emotional, relational, and political experiences of technologically mediated communication and information systems.

I came to the LIS discipline following a 17-year career as a clinical social work professional and educator and uphold a strong commitment to values rooted in social justice, inclusion, and equity. My previous publications and research focus on spirituality in social work practice and autoethnographic methods of critical inquiry. This blend of critical thought and reflection, insight into human beings’ relationships with self, others, and the planet, and a structural understanding of social issues characterizes all of my work. It serves as my general framework for trying to make sense of the world and my place in it.

As a student of overload, and a reformed social worker, I know the value of taking time to pause, breathe, and smell the skunk cabbage. My goal in my work, as in my life, is to engage in respectful, critical, and meaningful dialogue with other interesting people across a variety of disciplines and fields of practice. Preferably over a large pot of tea.

Thinking is an action. For all aspiring intellectuals, thoughts are the laboratory where one goes to pose questions and find answers, and the place where visions of theory and praxis come together. The heartbeat of critical thinking is the longing to know—to understand how life works. ~bell hooks~ 

LIS Teaching Assistantships:

MLIS 9001: Perspectives on Library and Information Science - Fall 2021, Western University
Overview of issues, perspectives, and concerns of importance to information professionals and the discipline of LIS. Considers the social, political, economic, cultural, historical, and intellectual contexts of information. Course delivery is in-person.

MLIS 9004: Research Methods & Statistics - Winter 2021, Western University
Introduction to qualitative and quantitative research methods in the LIS discipline and includes topics on the research process; finding a researchable question; data gathering and analysis; dissemination of results; qualities of well-designed research; and ethical considerations in research. Course delivery was asynchronous online.

MIT 2025: Research Methods for the Digital Age - Fall 2020, Western University
Introduction to the range of research methods appropriate for understanding scholarship in the fields of communications, information, and media studies, including surveys, interviewing, content analysis, and ethnography. Tutorial content was offered online asynchronously.

Social Work Sessional Appointments:

SLWK 2333: Field Education for Beginning Practice - 2010-2012, Dalhousie University
Introduces processes and practices of the social work profession including range of beginning practice skills, social work values and ethics, diverse practice contexts, critical use of self, and the roles and responsibilities of professional social workers. 

SLWK 4010: Advanced Social Work Practice - 2010-2011, Dalhousie University
A hybrid distance and in-person course that helps students further develop a comprehensive grasp of the concepts central to critical theory and an ability to apply them to specific practice situations. Course content looks at analyzing how specific and interlocking structures of oppression, domination and privilege (such as those related to class, race, ability, gender, sexual orientation and age) might affect social work practitioners and the people with whom they work.


Current Projects:

Pandemic, Stress, and Overload: Cultivating Space for Contemplation in the University
Position - Graduate RA / Co-Investigator 
Ajit Pyati, Principal Investigator; Pam McKenzie, Co-Investigator
Funded by the FIMS Fellowship Program, Western University

Situating London’s AI Homelessness Model: Considering Historical, Social, Political, Legal and Policy Contexts 
Position - Graduate RA
Joanna Redden; Luke Stark; Melissa Adler; Alissa Centivany; Dan Lizotte, Co-Principal Investigators
Funded by the FIMS Fellowship Program, Western University

The public library is….: Mapping stakeholder perspectives on the values and purposes of the public library   
Position - Graduate RA
Pam McKenzie, Principal Investigator; Jackie Burkell, Co-Investigator 
Funded by the FIMS Research Development Fund (FRDF), Western University

Past Research Experience:

A Learning Organization Reflective Practice Innovation (2011)
Position - Research Assistant
Gail Baikie, Principal Investigator; Jan Fook, Co-Investigator
Community partnership with Annapolis Valley Health Addictions Services and Dalhousie University

Aboriginal Water Quality: Impact on Women's Health and Labour (2009)
Position - Researcher
Atlantic Centre of Excellence for Women's Health
Project funding from Health Canada's Women's Health Contribution Program

Invisible Women, Concrete Barriers: Policy Roundtable on Issues Facing Refugee Women (2008)
Position - Intern Research Assistant
Atlantic Centre of Excellence for Women's Health, Dalhousie University
Partnership between Atlantic Council of International Collaboration (ACIC), Canadian Red Cross, Nova Scotia Advisory Council on the Status of Women, and Atlantic Refugee and Immigrant Services Society (ARISS)

Diversity Awareness within Interprofessional Teams: Exploration of Delivery Methods (2008)
Position - Research Assistant, Center for Learning & Teaching
Joan Versnel & Marion Brown, Co-Principal Investigators; Carolyn Campbell, Gail Baikie, Co-Investigators
Funded by Teaching and Learning with Technology Grants, Dalhousie University

Researching Accessibility & Inclusiveness within Professional Education Programs (2007)
Position - Research Assistant, Diversity Institute, Faculty of Health Professions
Carolyn Campbell, Gail Baikie, Josephine Etowa, Brenda Beagan & Fred McGinn, Co-Investigators
Funded by Research Development Grant, Dalhousie University

Research Related to Excellence in Professional Education: A Needs Assessment (2004)
Position - Research Assistant, Faculty of Health Professions
Carolyn Campbell, Principal Investigator; Joan Versnel, Co-Investigator
Funded by the Faculty of Health Professions Research Grant, Dalhousie University

Allen, J. (2020). Lessons in labour: Reflections from an academic library co-op placement. Emerging Library & Information Perspectives, 3(1), 208-212. 

McKenzie, P.J., Burkell, J. & Allen, J. (2020, October 8). The public library is...: Mapping stakeholder perspectives on the values and purposes of the public library. Canadian Association for Information Science, 8 October 2020. Conference moved online due to COVID-19.

Allen, J. (2013). Using critical reflection to research spirituality in clinical practice. In J. Fook & F. Gardner (Eds). Critical reflection in context: Applications in health and social care (pp. 154-165). Routledge.

Clow, B. & Allen, J. (2010). Psychosocial impacts of radiation tattooing for breast cancer patients: A critical review. Canadian Woman Studies, 28(2-3), 46-52.

Allen, J. (2009). Constructing the spiritual in social work: A critically reflexive, autoethnographic process. (Unpublished master's thesis). Dalhousie University, Halifax, Nova Scotia.

Campbell, C., Versnel, J. & Allen, J. (2006, May 3). Research related to excellence in professional education: A needs assessment. Dalhousie University Centre for Learning & Teaching Conference, 3 May 2006.


Canadian Journal of Information and Library Science   
Copyediting (Volunteer) - January 2021 - present

Doctoral Students’ Association, Western University 
Doctoral Program Committee Representative - September 2020 - present

Emerging Library and Information Perspectives (ELIP)  
Peer Reviewer & Copyediting (Volunteer) - February 2019 - August 2020

MLIS Student Council, FIMS Western University 
Academic Liaison - January 2019 - August 2019

Awarded to the graduate of the MLIS Program with the highest academic standing in the previous calendar year. 

One-time financial award on entry to the PhD program.

Annual award to the MLIS student who, in addition to superiority in grades, demonstrates the greatest interest in the areas of bibliography, interdisciplinary scholarship, and research.