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2018 Symposium Theme and Committee

We are very pleased to introduce our 2017–2018 SIG-USE Symposium Committee Co-Chairs and our ASIS&T New Leader. They have already been working hard to plan our upcoming ASIS&T SIG-USE Symposium, which will take place (pending acceptance) on Saturday, November 10, in Vancouver, Canada, right at the start of the 81st ASIS&T Annual Meeting.

The 18th Annual SIG-USE Research Symposium will focus on the theme of the future of information behavior research. This Symposium will be an opportunity for faculty, students, researchers, and information professionals who are interested in information behavior and practices research and in the translation of findings from this research area into professional practice. Major goals include facilitating connections between and among scholars and information professionals, serving as a forum for scholars and professionals new to this area to engage critically with information behavior research, and for scholars and practitioners alike to receive feedback on preliminary work and works-in-progress. Participants will engage in dynamic break-out discussion sessions as they consider Short Paper and Poster presentations addressing this year’s theme, the future of information behavior research. As we consider the future, there are many ways that we might consider information behavior research and newly emergent questions, including: actors/users, applications, contexts, and methods.  Please consider contributing a Short Paper or Poster Presentation to the symposium, and/or taking part in the symposium! Details will be forthcoming.

Annie Chen, SIG-USE Symposium Committee Co-Chair, is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Biomedical Informatics and Medical Education at the University of Washington School of Medicine. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in psychology from Harvard University, and MS and PhD degrees in information science from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. Her research interests include information behaviors in the context of chronic health conditions, health-related uses of new media, research methods, and digital humanities. She is particularly interested in long-term health knowledge acquisition and formation, leveraging patient expertise to augment knowledge resources, inclusion of multiple voices in the development of knowledge resources, and the ways in which language and visual design shape people’s interpretations of information. At the University of Washington, she teaches courses in consumer health informatics and user-centered design.  She also mentors students in the design of visual systems for analysis of complex behavioral data from diverse information sources, and in research on user behavior and interactions in online, participatory, and mobile contexts.


Melissa Ocepek, SIG-USE Symposium Committee Co-Chair, is a Visiting Assistant Professor at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign in the School of Information Sciences. Her research addresses how individuals use information in their everyday lives. Her research interests include everyday information behavior, critical theory, and food. Along with her two co-authors, Dr. William Aspray and George Royer, Dr. Ocepek has previously published two books that address the intersection of food, information, and culture: Food in the Internet Age and Formal and Informal Approaches to Food Policy. Currently, she is working on a research study that addresses information behaviors across the totality of everyday life using interviews and observations


Devendra Potnis, SIG-USE Symposium Committee Co-Chair, is an Associate Professor at the University of Tennessee at Knoxville. He holds a doctoral degree in information science from the University at Albany, State University of New York. His research focuses on the adoption of information tool, resources, and services by students, disadvantaged communities, libraries, microfinance institutions, and governments. He has published his interdisciplinary research in Communications of the Association for Information SystemsFirst MondayGovernment Information QuarterlyInformation DevelopmentJournal of Education for Library and Information ScienceTelematics and InformaticsThe Information Society, and other respected journals. He has received funding from the Institute of Museum and Library Services and OCLC/ALISE in the past. Recently, he finished a project with illiterate and semi-literate farmers in isolated communities in rural India, where they access IBM’s Spoken Web over mobile phones for building an agricultural information network to bridge the information divide reinforced by the Internet. Currently, he is studying information practices of mothers from rural Appalachia in East Tennessee, who gave a vaginal birth after cesarean using the support and guidance from a health information network built over Facebook.


Yiwei Wang, 2017 ASIS&T New Leader and SIG-USE Symposium Committee member, is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Library and Information Science in the School of Communication and Information at Rutgers University. She holds a BA in Mass Communications from East Tennessee State University and an MS in Information from the University of Michigan. She is a member of the InfoSeeking Lab directed by Dr. Chirag Shah at Rutgers. She has been a member of ASIS&T and SIG-USE since 2016. Currently, she is the treasurer for the New Jersey ASIS&T chapter. She is also volunteering for SIG-USE as an ASIST New Leader. In her research, she uses mixed methods to study task-based information seeking in everyday and health contexts. Specifically, she investigates how task characteristics are connected with individuals’ information seeking strategies and barriers and how these connections may inform the design and enhancement of information systems and services.