SILS Ph.D. Students


Sumayya Ahmed


B.A., Sociology and African American Studies, Wesleyan University; M.A., Contemporary Arab Studies, Georgetown University

Research Interests: Arabic, Amazigh (Berber), and Islamic manuscripts; Intellectual history of archives in the Maghreb (North Africa); Critical digital humanities; (Digital) Cultural heritage

Advisors: Barbara Moran and Christopher (Cal) Lee

Sandeep Avula

B. Tech, Information and Communication Technology (ICT), Dhirubhai Ambani Institute of Information and Communication Technology (DA-IICT); M.S.I.S., University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Research Interests: Information retrieval; Recommender systems

Advisors: Jaime Arguello and Diane Kelly

Earl Bailey

B.S., Mathematics Education, North Carolina State University; M.S.I.S., UNC-Chapel Hill

Research Interests: Effects of bias on information retrieval and use; Cognitive aspects to information design and retrieval; Examination of personalization from a cognitive perspective

Advisor: Diane Kelly

Heather L. Barnes

B.A., Sociology, Smith College; M.S.L.S., UNC-Chapel Hill

Research Interests: Community archives; Social informatics; Digital curation; Organizational & cultural memory-making/memorialization processes

Advisor: Helen Tibbo

Kathy BrennanKathy Brennen

kbrennan at unc dot edu


B.A., English, Messiah College;  M.B.A., Johns Hopkins University; M.S.L.S., Catholic University

Research Interests: Impact of cognitive load on information search and retrieval; Measures of mental effort; Human-computer interaction (HCI); Research methods

Advisor: Diane Kelly 

Jeff Calcaterra


B.A., Psychology, North Carolina State University; M.S., Human Factors and Industrial Organizational Psychology, Wright State University

Research Interests: User interface design and evaluation; Visualization; IT management; Computer-supported cooperative work

Advisor: Brad Hemminger 

Leo L. Cao


B.S., Information Management and Technology, Syracuse University; M.S., Information, University of Michigan

Research Interests: Games and learning; Information, communication and technology literacy; Information seeking behavior and use; Libraries and the 21st century challenge of shifting demographics

Advisor: Stephanie Haas

Alexandra (Alex) Chassanoff



B.A., Sociology, Brandeis University; M.S.I.S., UNC-Chapel Hill

Research Interests: Information behavior of digital archive users; Digital humanities; Curation and preservation environments

Advisor: Christopher (Cal) Lee

Thu-Mai Christian

Advisor: Helen Tibbo

Rachael Clemens

photo of Rachel Clemens


B.A. Philosophy, Concord College; M.L.S., Texas Woman's University

Research Interests: Information behavior and decision making during a personal crisis; Affective and cognitive influences on information seeking; Information seeking and avoidance as a coping / therapeutic activity; User education

Advisor: Barbara Wildemuth

Amanda ClickAmanda B. Click


B.S., Science, Technology & Culture, Georgia Institute of Technology; M.L.I.S, UNC-Greensboro

Research Interests: Academic integrity; Information literacy; Library services for international students; Cultural adaptation in higher education

Advisor: Sandra Hughes-Hassell

Jon CrabtreeJonathan Crabtree 

B.A., Economics; M.S.I.S., UNC-Chapel Hill

Research Interests: Digital curation; Archives; Preservation

Advisor: Helen Tibbo

Anita Crescenzi


B.S., Secondary Education, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, M.S.I.S., UNC-Chapel Hill

Research Interests: Human-computer interactions; Interactive information retrieval; Collaboration  and information seeking and behavior especially with regard to health

Advisors:  Rob Capra and Diane Kelly

Ashlee Edwards

aedwards [ at ]


B.S., Information Science; B.A., English, UNC-Chapel Hill

Research interests: Biometrics/physiological signals; Interactive information retrieval; Search task development

Advisor: Diane Kelly 

Nina Nina ExnerExner


B.S., Biology, UNC-Chapel Hill; M.L.S., North Carolina Central University; M.A., Liberal & Global Studies, UNC-Greensboro

Research Interests: Academic libraries; Research competency development; Mentoring of faculty-librarians; Library organizational behavior; Grantsmanship, Popular materials

Advisor: Barbara Moran

Patrick Golden


B.A., History, University of California, Berkeley

Research Interests: Scholarly note-taking practices; Critical information studies; Infrastructure studies; Histories of computing and networking

Advisors: Ryan Shaw and Stephanie Haas

Sheryl Grant

photo of Sheryl Grant


B.A., Communication, Evergreen State College; M.S.L.S., UNC-Chapel Hill

Research Interests: Reputation systems; Technology-mediated social participation; Digital badge system design; Value-driven and value-sensitive design

Advisor: Barbara Wildemuth

Elliott HauserElliott Hauser


B.A., Art History, Duke University; M.S.I.S., UNC-Chapel Hill

Research Interests: Data provenance; Research workflows; Data modeling; History and theory of information science

Teaching: Programming; Web development

Advisors: Brad Hemminger and Ryan Shaw

Jacob HillJacob Hill

B.A., History, University of Nevada, Reno; M.S.I.S., North Carolina Central University

Research Interests: Knowledge organization; Digital humanities, Baha’i Studies, Arabic & Persian manuscripts

Advisor: Ryan Shaw and Brad Hemminger

Kimberly HirshKimberly Hirsh


B.A., Classics (Latin) and Dramatic Art; M.A.T., Latin; M.S.L.S., UNC-Chapel Hill

Research Interests: Information needs and behaviors of adolescents; Role of school libraries in learning; Professional development of school librarians

Advisor: Sandra Hughes-Hassell

Zekun Hu

B.M., Archival Science, Wuhan University

Research Interests: Archives; Digital preservation; Personally identifiable information in digital collections

Advisor: Christopher (Cal) Lee

Samantha Kaplan

B.A., Economics & Comparative Literature, University of Georgia; M.L.I.S, University of South Carolina

Research Interests: Misinformation and disinformation

Advisors: Barbara Wildemuth and Ryan Shaw

Heejun KimHeejun Kim


B.S., Electrical Engineering, Yonsei University; M.S., Geography, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Research Interests: Credibility assessment of health information in health-related online communities; Dynamics of social and information networks; Data analytics; Text mining; Machine learning

Advisors: Jaime Arguello and Javed Mostafa

Heather Davidson Maneiro

B.S., Elementary Education, Concordia College; M.S.L.I.S., Syracuse University

Research Interests: Information literacy

Teaching: Information retrieval and analysis; Children’s Literature; Writing; Reference sources and services; School library administration and program evaluation; Standards for school libraries

Advisor: Sandra Hughes-Hassell

Deborah (Debbie) Maron

maron (at) live (dot) unc (dot) edu

B.A., Journalism and Media and English, Rutgers University;  M.A., Digital Culture and Technology, King's College London; M.S.L.I.S., University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Research Interests: Metadata pedagogy; Philosophy of information

Teaching: Organization of information, Digital libraries

Advisors: Ryan Shaw and Brian Sturm

John D, MartinJohn D. Martin III


B.A., Latin, Western Michigan University; M.A., Islamic Studies, American University in Cairo

Research Interests: Survey interfaces and methods; Disclosure of personal information; Free/Open Source Software (F/OSS) education; Digital humanities; Middle East libraries and cultural institutions

Teaching: Human information interaction; Basic information technologies; Programming for information professionals

Advisor: Diane Kelly

 Angela P. Murillo


B.A., Geoscience, English, and Spanish, University of Iowa; M.L.I.S., University of Iowa

Research Interests: Scientific data sharing and reuse; Scientific metadata; Scientific data cyberinfrastructure; Earth science informatics; Bioinformatics; Data curation

Advisor: Jane Greenberg

Sarah Beth Nelson


B.A., Latin and English, University of Georgia; M.L.I.S., University of Alabama; Ed.S., School Library Media, University of Georgia

Research Interests: Orality and literacy; True personal storytelling; Contemporary oral tradition

Advisor: Brian Sturm

Danny Anh Nguyen

B.S., Information Science,  B.S., Mathematical Sciences (Computer Science), UNC- Chapel Hill; M.S., Computer Information Systems, Boston University; M.B.A., North Carolina State University

Research Interests: Scholarly communications, Information retrieval; Human-Computer interaction, Social media; Evidence-based practice

Advisor: Brad Hemminger

Ericka Patillo

B.A., Music History, Old Dominion University; M.S.L.S., UNC-Chapel Hill

Research Interests: Academic libraries; Organizational effectiveness; Middle management

Advisor: Barbara Moran

Jason Priem


B.A., History; M.Ed., Social Studies Education, University of Florida

Research: Scholarly communication, social media, Web-based metrics of scholarly impact, open-access publishing, information visualization 

Advisor: Brad Hemminger 

Sarah Ramdeen

photo of Sarah


B.A., Humanities; B.S., Geology; M.S.L.I.S., Florida State University

Research Interests: Data stewardship (preservation, curation, management, access, etc.); Information seeking behavior (related to physical objects); Earth and space science/geoscience informatics

Teaching: Organization of information; Science data stewardship; Museums and archives related topics

Advisor: Claudia Gollop 

Casey RawsonCasey Rawson


B.S., Biology, Duke University; M.A.T., Middle Grades Education, University of Louisville; M.S.L.S., UNC-Chapel Hill

Research: Teacher-librarian collaboration; STEM education and school libraries; Diversity and equity in library services for youth; Preservice school librarian education

Teaching: School library administration; Teacher-librarian collaboration; Instructional design and inquiry-based learning; Youth and technology in libraries; Instructional technology; Quantitative, qualitative, and mixed research methods

Advisor: Sandra Hughes-Hassell 

Emily RoscoeEmily E. Roscoe

B.A., Political Science; M.S.L.S.; M.P.A.; J.D., UNC-Chapel Hill

Research Interests: Government officials' legal and societal obligations for information management; Legal foundations of public information in a representative government; Legal risk management for libraries and archives

Advisor:  Christopher (Cal) Lee

Cynthia (Cindy) Schmidt

B.A., History (Secondary Teaching Endorsement); M.S., Education (School Library Media Endorsement), Longwood University

Research Interests: School library media; Marketing/PR for libraries; Professional advocacy/recruitment; Library 2.0

Advisor: Sandra Hughes-Hassell

Grace Shin

B.S., Computer Science, Sookmyung Women's University; M.S., Computer Science, Georgia Institute of Technology

Research Interests: Health information; Information seeking and behavior especially with regard to health; Human-Computer interaction

Advisors: Bradley Hemminger and Javed Mostafa

Elnora Kelly Tayag


B.A., Art History, University of California, Irvine; M.A., Religion, Claremont School of Theology; M.L.I.S., University of California Los Angeles

Research Interests: Community-based collections; Digital humanities

Advisor: Ryan Shaw and Sandra Hughes-Hassell

Leslie ThomsonLeslie Thomson


B.A., English; M.I.St., University of Toronto

Research Interests: Everyday life information practices; Human information behavior; Information practices; Online content creation; Personal information management, Qualitative research methods

Teaching: Human information behavior; Everyday life information; Emotions and information

Advisor: Barbara Wildemuth

Megan ThreatsMegan Threats

B.A., Political Theory and Constitutional Democracy; B.A., Comparative Cultures and Politics, Michigan State University; M.S.L.I.S., Syracuse University

Research Interests: Health information seeking behavior; Health information management; User-centered health information retrieval

Advisors: Claudia Gollop and Amelia Gibson

Emily Vardell



B.A., Biological Chemistry, B.A., German Studies, Wellesley College; M.L.S., Texas Woman's University

Research Interests: Health information behavior; Health insurance literacy and decision-making

Teaching: General reference skills; Health sciences reference; Health information behavior; Human information behavior; Consumer health information; Evidence-based medicine; Advanced searching skills

Advisor: Claudia Gollop

Jewel Ward

photo of Jewel

A.B., International Studies and History; M.S.I.S., UNC-Chapel Hill

Research Interests: Transfer, management, preservation, and curation of (usually "big") data and information for use and re-use

Advisor: Reagan Moore

Shenmeng-XuShenmeng Xu

B.A., Broadcast and Television Journalism, Dalian University of Technology; M.S., Regional Economics, Dalian University of Technology

Research Interests: Scientometrics; Scholarly communications; Altmetrics and related areas.

Advisor: Brad Hemminger

Yinglong ZhangYinglong Zhang


B.S., Psychology, Jianghan University; M.S.I.S., University of Texas at Austin

Research Interests: Human-computer interaction; Collaborative search; Data science; Eye-tracking

Advisor: Rob Capra and Diane Kelly