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Professor Ian Ruthven

Computer and Information Sciences

Personal statement

I am a Professor of Information Seeking and Retrieval in the Department of Computer and Information Sciences.

I work in the area of information seeking and retrieval; understanding how (and why) people search for information and how electronic systems might help them search more successfully. This brings in a wide range of research including theoretical research on the design and modelling of information access systems, empirical research on interfaces and user interaction and research on the methodology of evaluating information access systems.

Recent research has included interface design research to help children search for information, information seeking studies on information poverty within marginalised groups and studies on how people use online information to create a sense of happiness.


The language of information need : differentiating conscious and formalized information needs
Ruthven Ian
Information Processing and Management Vol 56, pp. 77-90, (2019)
Information attributes
Ruthven Ian, Pennington Diane
Information at WorkInformation at Work, (2018)
Relationships, environment, health and development : the information needs expressed online by young first-time mothers
Ruthven Ian, Buchanan Steven, Jardine Cara
Journal of the Association for Information Science and Technology Vol 69, pp. 985-995, (2018)
Information behaviours in disadvantaged and dependent circumstances and the role of information intermediaries
Buchanan Steven, Jardine Cara, Ruthven Ian
Journal of the Association for Information Science and Technology, (2018)
Isolated, overwhelmed and worried : young first-time mothers asking for information and support online
Ruthven Ian, Buchanan Steven, Jardine Cara
Journal of the Association for Information Science and Technology, pp. 1-25, (2018)
Developing information literacy in dependent and disadvantaged circumstances : a transitional approach in the digital health context
Buchanan Steven, Jardine Cara, Ruthven Ian
Fifth European Conference on Information Literacy (ECIL), Sep 18-21 2017, Saint-Malo, FranceCommunications in Computer and Information Science, pp. 409-418, (2018)

more publications


  • information retrieval
  • information seeking
  • qualitative and quantitative research methods

Professional activities

Scottish Library and Information Council (External organisation)
ISIC : The Information Behaviour Conference
Keynote/plenary speaker
Information Seeking in Context Conference Series (External organisation)
Information Processing and Management (Journal)
To be assigned
Information Research (Journal)
Editorial board member

more professional activities


Scottish ESRC Doctoral Training Centre DTG 2011 | Loudon, Katherine Jane
Buchanan, Steven (Principal Investigator) Ruthven, Ian (Co-investigator)
Period 01-Oct-2013 - 01-Oct-2016
Scottish ESRC Doctoral Training Centre DTG 2011 | Breslin Davda, Frances Mary
Buchanan, Steven (Principal Investigator) Ruthven, Ian (Co-investigator) Breslin Davda, Frances Mary (Research Co-investigator)
Period 01-Oct-2013 - 01-Apr-2019
Scottish Network on Digital Cultural Resources Evaluation (ScotDigiCH)
Ruthven, Ian (Principal Investigator)
The network brings together academics from different disciplines and professionals from Scotland's key cultural organisations in order to investigate how cultural digital resources are used by diverse user groups, how to record their impact on learning, research and community engagement and how to maximize their potential.
Period 15-Jan-2015 - 30-Dec-2016
Material Encounters with Digital Cultural Heritage
Ruthven, Ian (Principal Investigator)
meSch is a 4-year EU funded project with the goal of co-designing novel platforms for the creation of tangible exhibits at heritage sites: curators will be able to offer visitors new interactive experiences by means of material interaction with smart objects.
Period 01-Feb-2013 - 31-Jan-2017
Re-design of interactive exhibits using low cost technology for proof of concept prototypes
Ruthven, Ian (Principal Investigator)
Period 01-May-2014 - 30-Sep-2015
Roberts Funding / Skills Training / RA4555
Ruthven, Ian (Principal Investigator)
Period 01-Jun-2010 - 31-Oct-2015

more projects


Computer and Information Sciences
Livingstone Tower

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