Ongoing Research Projects
Research and scholarship in academic librarianship

This research focuses on institutional and professional factors fostering a culture of research in academic and research libraries, with particular attention to academic librarians’ research experience, expertise, and self-identified learning needs.

Queering libraries: Challenging silence, challenging censorship, building LGBTQ resilience

This research explores the challenges and issues of inclusive library services and collections in all sectors about and for those who identify as sexual minority or gender variant or LGBTQ—lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered, trans-identified, two-spirited, and queer or questioning individuals. One particular area of focus is on LGBTQ Canadian youth with limited resources in rural and smaller urban areas, including the myths, stereotypes, and barriers to inclusive collections. The research includes library strategies for supporting LGBTQ communities, starting with the need for a legal, ethical, and mission framework for dealing with sexual minority and gender identity issues.

Also addressed is the “digital closet” focusing on questions about Internet access to LGBTQ information and sites when commercial filters are installed in libraries.

The naming of librarianship: Definitional analysis of a professional and scholarly field

This project is an investigation of the name of the discipline, with an emphasis on formal definitions of library science, information science, information management, knowledge management, informatics, their conceptual antecedents and successors, and other related terminology.

Intellectual freedom and censorship

The aim of this ongoing work is to explore issues and trends in complaints about the ideas and materials that have been made available through libraries and information technologies. A particular focus is on the representation of, library services to, and collections for and about sexual minorities in school and public libraries.

Internet access and filtering

One principal area of research relates to Internet filtering, including the implications of filtering in schools and school libraries

Internet access policies

The goal of this project is to maintain and expand a Web-based resource guide to the Internet access policies of Canadian libraries in the public sector. Current coverage includes public libraries, school libraries, and post-secondary libraries, as well as a section "Helpful Resources" that are published by Canadian authors or Canadian associations.

Intellectual freedom and human rights

This ongoing project explores the relationship between freedom of expression and human rights within the context of library collections and services.

Intellectual freedom and content labelling, ratings, viewer advisories, and audience warnings, in all media

This research is concerned with the growing propensity in all forms of contemporary media to tag expressive content with keywords and descriptors that focus on selected dimensions such as sexuality, violence, and obscenity.

Challenges in articulating the value of libraries

This research addresses the surprisingly complex questions of the meaning of traditional library statistics and how well they communicate the deep meaning of library effectiveness. It explores the challenges of developing additional metrics to express library value, of shifting awareness from raw numbers to library use, attitudes, and benefits as experienced through the user's eyes. This is a shift from an insider vision to a culture of user-centred assessment. The work of articulating key success indicators for library users remains an urgent priority for Canadian librarians in all sectors, if their real benefits and contributions are going to be understood, valued, and supported by library users, decision makers, politicians, and advocates.

An early research project was the National Core Library Statistics Program, a periodic analysis of core statistics describing the cultural and economic impacts on Canadian society of library services in three broadly defined sectors, public, academic, and special libraries. Research Associate and co-author Michael R. Brundin and I have completed major reports analyzing the 1996 data and the 1999 data.

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