Professor Profiles


Ali Shiri, PhD

Professor, Associate Dean, Faculty of Graduate Studies and Research (FGSR), Associate Chair and Graduate Coordinator, SLIS | Adjunct Professor, Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry


Library and Information Studies, School of

About Me

Ali Shiri is a Professor, Associate Chair and Graduate Coordinator at the School of Library and Information Studies in the Faculty of Education. He completed his PhD in Information Science in the Department of Computer and Information Sciences at the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow, Scotland in 2004 and  joined the University of Alberta in the same year.


My research areas centre on digital libraries, user interaction with digital information, knowledge organization systems, and more recently learning analytics. Currently, Ali has two funded research projects on digital libraries and learning analytics.

My SSHRC-funded project titled  'Inuvialuit Voices: Cultural Heritage Preservation and Access through Digital Storytelling in Digital Libraries' ($239, 614) is a three year (2019 - 2022), collaborative project with research team members from communities in the Inuvialuit Settlement Region (ISR) and the University of Alberta. The project team is working to design and develop digital storytelling features to be integrated as part of the Inuvialuit Digital Library. The project aims to collect information on storytelling and the types of stories that community members might like to record and preserve. Based on initial consultations with community members, a prototype audio-recording interface will be designed. This prototype will be tested and evaluated by community members so that it can be refined and implemented. Throughout the project, community input will be sought through conversations, open houses, interviews, focus groups,  and workshops. Overall, the goal of this research is to facilitate curltural heritage preservation and access for northern communities in the Western Arctic.

My previous SSHRC funded project titled ‘Digital Library North: Creating a Path for Information Access in Canada's North’ ($295, 817) was a four year project (2014 - 2018) that addressed the following objectives: a) Investigate and identify the information needs and information seeking behaviour of community members in the Inuvialuit Settlement Region, b) Develop a digital library of information resources, c) Explore appropriate methodologies for treatment of cultural heritage information, d) Create a culturally appropriate metadata framework as a basis for resource description and discovery, e) Develop requirements for multilingual user interfaces that support the dominant languages, f) Conduct a user-centred evaluation of the digital library and g) Develop a sustainability strategy for the digital library to ensure long-term access to digital information.

My second project, which was funded by a TLEF grant, titled: ‘Development of a Learning Analytics Application to Support Online Teaching and Learning at the University of Alberta’ ($91, 406). The project developed and evaluated a learning analytics software application for the University of Alberta eClass learning management system in order to support students and instructors to gain insight into learners activities in online, blended, and on-campus courses. Within this project, I collaborated with the Centre for Teaching and Learning (CTL), U of A Information and Technology Services (IST) and the eClass team.

In 2009-2010 I completed a SSHRC funded project titled ''Multilingual Thesaurus-enhanced Visual Interfaces for Digital Libraries' that developed and evaluated a number of visual search user interfaces enhanced with thesauri to support users' exploration and navigation of information in multilingual digital libraries.


Ali has taught face to face and online courses in the areas of digital libraries, information organization and retrieval, vocabulary control. advanced topics in the organization of knowledge and metadata.