a girl and a woman sit looking at an iPad together

Our research areasInformation engagement

We research how and why people engage with information, as well as how to increase user engagement, particularly in the domains of digital health and social media. This term is most common in patient studies, but can include a broad range of online information interactions, such as browsing, searching, finding, describing, sharing, repurposing, and interacting with information. We ground our work in social cognition, which seeks to understand the influence of individual cognitive processes about information on social interactions.

Our work includes a recent study (Rasmussen Pennington, 2016) that received worldwide media attention, including from the BBC and Yahoo, which used discourse analysis to explore how producers and consumers of user-created YouTube music videos expressed emotion in and about the videos.  The work explores how users can discover documents in new and meaningful ways, and within Altmetrics, is ranked in the top 5% of all outputs. 

Our work in information engagement with cultural heritage has focussed on how to develop and evaluate new ways to understand and appreciate museum exhibits. This has led to novel interactive exhibits in museums and large evaluation studies of information engagement in national and local museums. 

Our group’s leader, Dr Diane Rasmussen Pennington, is the Lead Editor of Library and Information Research, the peer-reviewed journal of CILIP’s Library and Information Research Group (LIRG). She is LIRG’s Hon Secretary, Chair-Elect of ASIS&T’s Europe Chapter and an Advisory Board member of the ASIS&T Bulletin. She has provided consultancy services and participated in research partnerships with third sector and government agencies in Scotland, Canada, America, and Australia.

Further current and recent projects

  • Connecting young people to online mental health information through understanding their search terms and format preferences;
  • Applying non-textual research methods to understanding categories of information needs among people with dementia, and developing an ontological model of these needs;
  • Analysing and making recommendations for implementing linked data applications;
  • Understanding how people select videos in leisure settings.

Latest publications

Ducheva, D., and Rasmussen Pennington, D., in press. RDA in Europe: implementations and perceptions. Journal of Librarianship & Information Science. 

Rasmussen Pennington, D., 2017. Coding of non-text data. In: L. Sloan and A. Quan-Haase (eds.). The SAGE handbook of social media research methods. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications, pp.232-250.

Damala, A., Hornecker, E., van der Vaart, M., van Dijk, D. and Ruthven, I. 2016. The Loupe: tangible augmented reality for learning to look at Ancient Greek art. International Journal of Mediterranean Archaeology and Archaeometry, vol. 16, no. 5.

Damala, A., van der Vaart, M., Clarke, L., Hornecker, E., Avram, G., Kockelkorn, H. and Ruthven, I. 2016. Evaluating tangible and multisensory museum visitin. g experiences: lessons learned from the meSch project. Museums and the Web 2016, pp. 1-18

Rasmussen Pennington, D., 2016. “The most passionate cover I’ve seen”: emotional information in fan-created U2 music videos. Journal of Documentation, vol. 72, no. 3, pp. 569-590.