Fields of Specialization

Stack of books There are two broad fields of research and teaching specialization in the doctoral program in LIS. These broad, dynamic areas reflect research and teaching specializations of faculty members in the doctoral program in library and information science.

Fields of specialization

Information & Society

This field encompasses perspectives that share a primary focus on problems arising from the ways in which information and information technologies are implicated in social, political, and cultural processes. Research activities include:
  • Theoretical problems in information studies: philosophy, ethics, epistemology
  • Documentation
  • Information policy
  • Legal aspects of information
  • Political economy of information
  • Information and social justice
  • Literacy and reading
  • Information professions and work
  • Issues of diversity in LIS (gender, race, sexual identity, etc.)
  • Information users, uses, seeking, behaviours, and practices
  • Information in everyday life
  • Health information
  • Information and social networks
  • Libraries and other information-related organizations, their cultures, and their politics
Although research and teaching specializations may belong to both areas, the following faculty members work primarily in this area:

Melissa Adler, Jacquelyn Burkell, Alissa Centivany, Nick Dyer-Witheford, Heather Hill, Pam McKenzie, Ajit Pyati, Anabel Quan-Haase, Paulette Rothbauer, Victoria Rubin, Sandra Smeltzer, Sarah Smith, Luke Stark, Nadine Wathen.

In considering potential chief supervisors, students should be careful to determine that the faculty member of choice has the appropriate supervisory status.

Information Organization & Technologies

This field encompasses perspectives that share a primary focus on technological problems of information organization, retrieval, measurement, and communication. Research activities include:
  • Webometrics and informetrics
  • Information retrieval
  • Computer-mediated LIS pedagogy
  • Knowledge management
  • Communication technologies
  • Human-computer interface design
  • Information design and architecture
  • Information taxonomic systems
  • Classification of information
  • Computer assisted abstracting and indexing
  • Web document descriptions and metadata
  • Natural language processing
  • Web data mining
  • Multilingual classification transfer
Although research and teaching fields may belong to both areas, the following faculty members work primarily in this area:

Melissa Adler, Isola Ajiferuke, Jacquelyn Burkell, Alissa Centivany, Grant Campbell, Anabel Quan-Haase, Victoria Rubin, Kamran Sedig.

In considering potential chief supervisors, students should be careful to determine that the faculty member of choice has the appropriate supervisory status.

The two broad fields of specialization in the LIS doctoral program as noted above provide a general description of the diverse research activities undertaken by faculty within the program. However, in some cases, faculty members who work within common areas of interest may wish to collaborate on a specific topic or set of topics. 

For more information about the Research Areas of our FIMS full-time faculty, please visit: https://www.fims.uwo.ca/people/faculty_full_time.html.