fisherPhD, University of Western Ontario


Dr. Karen E. Fisher is a Professor in the Technology & Social Change Group (TASCHA), University of Washington Information School. She teaches and conducts research on how people experience information as part of everyday life, with emphasis on the interpersonal aspects of information behavior, the role of informal social settings in information flow, as well as the broad impacts of information and communication technologies.

Her current work with Michael Crandall addresses how information literacy is key to the benefits derived from free access to computers and the Internet in public libraries. In this mixed methods study conducted across the U.S. for the Institute of Museum and Library Services and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, findings show that two out of every three people use library technology on behalf of another person, which has enormous implications for how we consider and support information literacy and determine impact. Co-author of the 2009 monograph Digital Inclusion: Measuring the Impact of Information and Community Technology, Dr. Fisher is co-editor of the monograph Theories of Information Behavior. Her past funders include the National Science Foundation, Microsoft Research, the United Way of America, and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada. Recipient of the 2005 and 2008 Jesse H. Shera Award for Distinguished Published Research from the American Library Association, Dr. Fisher has also been recognized for her research by the American Society for Information Science & Technology, and the Association for Library and Information Science Education.

An alum of the University of Western Ontario (PhD & MLIS) and Memorial University of Newfoundland (BA), she held a postdoc at the University of Michigan, chaired the UW iSchool’s Master of Library and Information Science program (2004-08); and was a Visiting Researcher at Microsoft Research, and a NORSLIS Visiting Professor at Oslo University College, Norway. In 2005-06 Dr. Fisher was chair of ASIST SIG USE and has since served as treasurer—receiving the ASIST SIG Member of the Year Award in 2008 and being inducted into the SIG USE Academy of Fellows in 2009. She serves on the international program committees for ISIC: The Information Behavior Conference and i3: Information: Interactions and Impact; as well as the information behavior track chair for IIiX 2010 Symposium on Information Interaction in Context, and co-program chair of the 2010 iSchool Conference and program chair of the 2011 iSchool Conference.

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