Within a broad progressive mission, and with a focus on information in all its cultural forms, iSchool faculty and staff are active producers of cutting-edge scholarship published by top journals and presses.

Print Culture, Library and Information Technology History

History of print and digital cultures; history of librarianship; history of information technologies and the information industries.

Faculty: Downey, Eschenfelder, Senchyne, Whitmire

  • Salo, D., & Hocking, J. (2018). Digital Reformatting and Data Rescue with RADD and the PROUD and PRAVDA Kits. KULA: Knowledge Creation, Dissemination, and Preservation Studies, 2(1), 14. DOI:
  • Downey “Media Meets Work: Time, Space, Identity, and Labor in the Analysis of Information and Communication Infrastructures,” in Media Technologies: Essays on Communication, Materiality, and Society (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press)
  • Eschenfelder, Downey, Desai “The 1980’s Downloading Controversy: The Evolution of Use Rights for Licensed Electronic Resources” The Information Society 27(2), 2011.
  • Senchyne “Bottles of Ink and Reams of Paper: Clotel, Racialization, and the Material Culture of Print.” Early African American Print Culture. Eds. Lara Langer Cohen and Jordan Alexander Stein. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press (2012), 140-158.
  • Whitmire Regina Andrews, Harlem Renaissance Librarian (University of Illinois Press) Summer 2014

User Behavior, User Literacies and Social Aspects of Information Use

Online information seeking and evaluation behaviors; libraries in the life of everyday people; underrepresented populations; health information seeking behaviors; financial literacy; technological literacy; user vocabularies;

Faculty: Arnott-Smith, Kim, Willett

  • Willett R (2019) Finding a space for a theory of multiliteracies: librarians, boundary work, and definitions of literacy. In Kumpulainen, K and Sefton-Green, J (eds) Multiliteracies in Finland and beyond: International perspectives on an early years innovation. Routledge.

  • Arnott-Smith, Hundal, Keselman “Knowledge Gaps Among Public Librarians Seeking Vaccination Information: A Qualitative Study” Journal of Consumer Health on the Internet, 18(1), 1-23, 2014.
  • Kim, Sin and Yoo-Lee “Undergraduates’ use of social media as information sources” College and Research Libraries, July 2014.

Information Policy & Ethics

Intellectual and cultural property; privacy concerns in the digital era; digital library, repository & e-publishing policy issues; information disparities — especially health and financial information.

Faculty: Arnott-Smith, Eschenfelder, Rubel

  • Jones, K., & Salo, D. (2018). Learning Analytics and the Academic Library: Professional Ethics Commitments at a Crossroads. College & Research Libraries, 79(3), 304. doi:

  • Arnott-Smith and Eschenfelder “Public Libraries in an Age of Financial Complexity: Toward Enhancing Community Financial Literacy.” The Library Quarterly, 83(4), 299-320, 2013.
  • Eschenfelder and Johnson “Governing the Data Commons: Controlled Sharing of Scholarly Data” Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology, summer 2014.
  • Rubel and Biava “A Framework for Analyzing and Comparing Privacy States,” forthcoming in Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology.

Digital Youth

Children’s play in online and offline spaces, digital literacies, trans-media consumer cultures, children and young people’s participatory media cultures.

Faculty: Willett

  • Richards C and Willett R (in press) Methodological Issues in Researching Children and Digital Media. In: Lelia Green, Donell Holloway, Leslie Haddon, Kylie Stevenson and Tama Leaver (eds.) The Routledge Companion to Children and Digital Media. Routledge.
  • Williams R and Willett R (2018) Makerspaces and boundary work: the role of librarians as educators in public library makerspaces. Journal of Librarianship & Information Science.
  • Willett R (2016) “Microsoft bought Minecraft…who knows what’s going to happen?!”: a sociocultural analysis of 8- to 9-year-olds’ understanding of commercial online gaming industries. Learning, Media and Technology.

Social Informatics, or the social aspects of information and information & communications technologies

Information technology change in the information industries; privacy in the digital era; information technology and changes in genres and values in the arts; new technologies, information sharing and community building in patient communities;

Faculty: Arnott-Smith, Downey, Eschenfelder, Rubel, Willett

  • Lakind A, Willett R, Halverson E (2019) Democratizing the maker movement: a case study of one public library system’s makerspace program. Reference & User Services Quarterly. 58, 4: 236-272.
  • Zhang and Eschenfelder “License Analysis of e-journal Perpetual Access Clauses” Journal of Academic Librarianship, 2014.
  • Alan Rubel “Libraries, Electronic Resources, and Privacy: The Case for Positive Intellectual Freedom,” Library Quarterly, 2014.

Recent External Grants/Awards Won by Faculty and Staff

Kristin Eschenfelder:
“Social Science Data Archives: History and Sustainability”  Sloan Foundation Research Grant, (2014-2017) $176,413.
2012 American Society for Information Science and Technology History Award;
2012 ASIST Social Informatics SIG Best Paper Award;
(2010) Co-PI “Public Libraries as Financial Literacy Providers” by the University of Wisconsin-Madison Center for Financial Security (CFS) as part of the UW-Madison CFS Financial Literacy Research Consortium Cooperative Agreement with the Social Security Administration, $76,091;
(2006) Institute for Museum and Library Services Laura Bush 21st Century Research Grant RE-04-06-0029-06 $246,718.

Michele Besant and Omar Poler:
2013 IMLS Grant of $140,071 to develop, organize and host Convening Great Lakes Culture Keepers.

Allison Kaplan:
2013 IMLS Planning Grant of $92,466 in partnership with the College of Menominee Nation (CMN) to develop early learning projects.

Kyung-Sun “Sunny” Kim:
2013 OCLC/ALISE Research Grant “Social Media as Information Sources: Use and Evaluation of Information from Social Media”;
Association of College and Research Libraries Samuel Lazerow Fellowship – “Perception and use of information sources by undergraduate students”

Jonathan Senchyne:
NEH Fellowship at the American Antiquarian Society in in Worcester, Massachusetts, Spring semester 2014.

Catherine Arnott-Smith:
2013 Holtz Center Outreach Fellowship for “Wisconsin public libraries about electronic medical records”;
James and Sylvia Thayer Short-Term Research Fellowship, UCLA Libraries and Collections (Los Angeles, CA). $1400;
NIH R21 grant (National Institute for Stroke and Neurological Disorders) in collaboration with the University of Utah, Brigham & Women’s Hospital (Boston, MA), and PatientsLikeMe (Cambridge, MA). $296,000;
Subcontract, Specialized Information Services Division, National Library of Medicine $60,000;
Electronic Records Fellowship (National Historic Preservation and Records Commission) $15,000;
2010 Co-PI “Public Libraries as Financial Literacy Providers” by the University of Wisconsin-Madison Center for Financial Security (CFS) as part of the 2010-2011 UW-Madison CFS Financial Literacy Research Consortium Cooperative Agreement with the Social Security Administration, $76,091.

Ethelene Whitmire:
2013, Public Works Grant UW Center for the Humanities;
2013 Faculty Visit Research Grant from The Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst (DAAD);
Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History Scholarly Fellowship for “The Regina Andrews Project”

Rebekah Willett:

Principal Investigator: ‘Navigating Screens: Libraries as Community Hubs for Teaching Positive Screen Media Practices’. Institute for Museum and Library Services, October 2017 – Sept 2020 with June Abbas, University of Oklahoma and Denise Agosto, Drexel University. $524,874 (federal funding)

Co-Principal Investigator: ‘Capturing Outcomes of a Community-based Play Project’, funded by the Ira and Ineva Reilly Baldwin Wisconsin Idea Endowment, with Carissa Christner, Madison Public Library, July 2017 to June 2018. $4000.

More about research

Information School Faculty Associates lead the profession, and produce new knowledge in key areas including:

  • Digital repositories, data curation, e-publishing and open access: Salo
  • Cataloging & management of digital materials and new standards in the organization of information: Shapiro
  • Early literacy, the history of board books, school library management and relationship with school administration: Kaplan
  • Digital Humanities and book history

Information School faculty & staff participate in a number of campus research groups or projects including: