Ongoing Research Projects
Intellectual freedom and censorship

The aim of this ongoing work is to explore issues and trends in complaints about the ideas and materials that are made available through libraries in all sectors and schools in Canada and beyond. Of special interest is the relationship between freedom of expression and human rights within the context of library collections and services.

Queering libraries: Library services to sexual minority and gender variant (LGBTQ*) communities

This research explores the challenges and issues of inclusive library policies, services, and collections in all sectors about and for those who identify as sexual minority or gender variant LGBTQ* or lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered, trans-identified, intersex, two-spirited, queer, and questioning individuals. One area of emphasis is on Canadian youth with limited Internet access and resources in rural and smaller urban areas. The research includes library policies and 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, and challenging myths, stereotypes, and barriers to inclusive collections and services.

Internet access and filtering

This research addresses Internet filtering, including the implications of filtering in schools and libraries. Of special interest is the "digital closet" issuing from the adoption of commercial filters, focusing on questions about Internet access to constitutionally protected LGBTQ* information and websites and on the impact that the digital closet has particularly on young people.

Content labelling, ratings,C viewer and audience advisories, and "trigger 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. These are forms of prior censorship, prejudicing readers/viewers/listeners to focus in advance on narrow, possibly even inconsequential, components of artistic expression rather than on overall themes, meaning, and value.

Naming the Domain of Library and Information Studies

This research explores the problem of an appropriate name and adequate definition of the domain of library and information studies. Through logical and conceptual analysis, extant definitions in both scholarly and popular literatures that reference the linguistic antecedents, competitors, and conjunctions associated with library and information studies are examined, among them library and information science, library science, information science, information retrieval, information management, knowledge management, documentation, documentology, informatics, cybrarianship, and the like. The results of the initial exploration were completed as a PhD dissertation, Toward a Theory of Library and Information Science, Indiana University (Bloomington), July 1983.

Challenges in articulating the value of libraries

This research addresses questions about traditional library statistics, how well they communicate the deep meaning of library value and effectiveness, and directions for developing new metrics that will shift awareness from raw numbers to library use, attitudes, and benefits as experienced through the user's eyes — from an insider vision to a culture of user-centred assessment. Recent research explored 2010 statistics and value propositions in all Canadian library sectors for the Canadian Library Association (National Statistical and Values Profile of Canadian Libraries, with Appendix A and Appendix B).

Edmonton Pride Seniors

This is a continuing ad hoc volunteer committee initiated by former City of Edmonton Councillors Michael Phair and Sherry McKibben to address housing and service issues affecting the growing population of LGBTQ seniors in Edmonton. Projects involve research, advocacy, and education with service providers and caregivers in Edmonton and beyond for inclusive policies and culturally appropriate services and environments for LGBTQ seniors who live at home or in seniors facilities or are homeless.

Edmonton Queer History Project

This is a continuing collaborative initiative to commemorate the 35th anniversary of Pride celebrations in Edmonton in 2015, by documenting, preserving, and raising public awareness of queer contributions in every sphere of daily life — social, nightlife, sports, religious, artistic, literary, educational, media, work, business, family, ethnic, political, legal — to the development of the City over the last half century or so, and especially aspects with ongoing civic impact. The project involves archival and media research and oral history interviews.

Faculty of Education Graduate Exit Survey, Faculty of Education, University of Alberta

This consultancy project involved a three-year collaboration with the Associate Dean for Graduate Studies, Faculty of Education, entailing survey instrument revision and programming in Survey Monkey, testing, monitoring, advising on survey administration, and periodic assistance with production of output reports.

MLIS Graduate Exit Survey, School of Library and Information Studies, University of Alberta

This research involves data analysis and reports (faculty; website) of graduands of the Master of Library and Information Studies program offered by the School of Library and Information Studies. It was undertaken in 2008 and 2009, and reinstituted in 2014 and continues with each convocation cohort.

Earlier areas of research include school to work transitional experiences, professional education, foundations of library and information studies, inquiry methodology and theory construction, research and scholarship in academic librarianship, and Internet access policies (see Resource Guide to the Internet Access Policies of Canadian Libraries in the Public Sector, archived in 2011).

Home | Research | Teaching | Publications | Presentations | Service | Education | Awards