2016 Candidate for Director-at-Large: Winner


Heather O'BrienI am an assistant professor at the School of Library, Archival and Information Studies at the University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada. I earned my MLIS and PhD at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia.  My research and teaching interests relate to human information interaction, specifically how and why people engage with digital information systems, and how to measure engaging user experiences.  I developed the User Engagement Scale, which has been used extensively in various domains, and have published in scholarly conference proceedings and journals, including JASIS&T. I have been a member of ASIS&T since 2005, and a regular contributor to the ASIS&T Annual Meetings as a presenter, session moderator, and Conference Panels Co-Chair in 2015.  I served on the Awards and Honors Committee (2009-2010) and was the Special Interest Group on Information Needs, Seeking and Use (SIG-USE) Awards Committee Co-Chair (2013-2015); I am currently a member of the SIG-USE executive (incoming Chair, 2016-2017).

Position Statement
As a member of the Board of Directors, I would support ASIS&T’s Strategic Plan and mission to “provid[e] focus, opportunity, and support to information professionals and organizations” worldwide. I am particularly invested in the strategic directions of mentoring and outreach. ASIS&T is a great source for formal and informal mentoring, such as the First Timers’ Breakfast and New Leaders’ Award.  In 2006, I participated in the Doctoral Seminar as the recipient of the ISI Information Science Doctoral Dissertation Proposal Scholarship, an invaluable experience for dissertation and career advice. I would be excited to expand ASIS&T’s mentorship initiatives through ongoing, virtual opportunities for students, professionals, and junior and mid-career faculty. A peer-to-peer mentoring program would provide just-in-time advice and support for mentees, and connect us as international academics and professionals. Another area I am passionate about is outreach. It is important to increase ASIS&T authors’ visibility, and support open access options and new forms of scholarship. Yet it is also essential to assess how information research and professional practice affects people on an individual and societal level.  A strong organization is a caring and connected one, and I am committed to enhancing the qualities of ASIS&T that have made it my professional home. If elected, I will help others find and build community within the organization, and ensure that we continue to champion the meaningful transmission and use of information in our society.