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Dr Theresa Anderson


Theresa’s research explores the relationship between people and emerging technologies. She has a particular interest in examining ways information systems and institutional policies might better support creative and analytic activities. Her research builds on her PhD thesis (“Understandings of relevance and topic as they evolve in the scholarly research process”) to focus on human decision processes, information retrieval interactions and e-scholarship. In 2005 Theresa’s thesis was awarded the 1st Annual Emerald/EFMD Outstanding Doctoral Research Award (Information Science category). She designs and delivers courses (postgraduate & undergraduate) in information retrieval & organisation as well as in social informatics. Theresa is active in a cross-Faculty e-Learning research group, and has a particular interest in developing integrated online and face-to-face teaching strategies. Prior to joining UTS, she served as a diplomat, technical writer and environmental education officer.


E-Learning Research Group:
Collaborative, cross-Faculty project bringing together teachers in UTS Faculties of Humanities & Social Sciences, Education, Design and Engineering as well as the Institute for Interactive Media and Learning (IIML) to develop research into e-Learning.

University Country Reference Group (USA):
promoting and expanding partnerships with US universities and research groups.

Affiliate with ICAN Research Group, UTS School of Management, Faculty of Business

Information Seeking in Context (ISIC) Permanent Committee
Member of the American Society for Information Science and Technology

Senior Lecturer, Connected Intelligence Centre
Core Member, Connected Intelligence Centre
Core Member, CPCE - Centre for Creative Practices and the Cultural Economy
BA (Penn), MA (Lancaster), MA (UTS), PhD (UTS)
Member, American Society for Information Science & Tech
+61 2 9514 1499

Research Interests

Relevance assessment processes and information retrieval interactions; Human-computer interaction (user experience) and usability evaluation; Ethnographic research & creative analytic practices in information behaviour research - especially storytelling as a research tool; Social informatics - in particular communication in organisations, the interplay between emerging technologies and work practices, 'invisible' vs 'visible' work, and, structuring information for re-use within digital libraries and collections; Reflective teaching practices

Current research
"A Day in the Life of a Conference: Understanding the Rhythms of 'Being' at ISIC2006": a multi-method ethnography of the information and communication exchanges taking place in conference settings

Information retrieval, Information organization, Information behaviour, Social informatics, Information Management Practice
Information retrieval, Information organization, Information behaviour, Research methods


Anderson, T.K. 2013, 'Reinventing Manly: A Suburb on the Margins of a World City' in Hamilton, P. & Ashton, P. (eds), Locating Suburbia: memory, place, creativity, UTSePress, Sydney, pp. 170-185.
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A reflection on Manly's story being one of margins and transition zones making it the suburb that it is and shaping a unique contribution to the city. This chapter explores Manly's story of isolation at the edges of a city to reflect on its sense of place and its borderland character as a place where cultural landscape intersects with, adapts and responds to the natural landscape.
Anderson, T.K. 2012, 'Information Science and 21st Century Information Practices: creatively engaging with information' in Bawden, D. & Robinson, L. (eds), Introduction to Information Science, Facet Publishing, UK, pp. 15-17.
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This book invites us to imagine the future of information science, which the authors frame as a field of study (Chapter 1). Moving a\vay from the pursuit of all-encompassing meanings helps us to navigate the compiexity associated \vith various views in information science and, as the authors explain, '. . be relaxed about the varied approaches and methods 'Nhich may be applied to information problems.' Information sciences (in the plural), they go on to explain, are dispersed. As an information researcher positioned in a centre of creative practice and cultural economy (areas unlikely to be considered traditional domains of information science), I welcome this pragmatism. It is nonetheless helpful to discuss (as the authors go on to do) whether or not we can identify a 'core' of information science and to consider the 'big questions' of information science in all their multifaceted complexity.
Anderson, T.K. 2010, 'Uncertainty' in Bates, M.J. & Maack, M.N. (eds), Encyclopedia of Library and Information Sciences, Third Edition, Routledge, London, pp. 5285-5296.
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This entry illustrates there are many ways that uncertainty is defined, depicted and represented in library and information science research. As a central concept in information science, the evolution of our understanding of uncertainty mirrors the maturing of our appreciation of the complexity of information practices of people and systems in different contexts. This entry aims to give an appreciation of some of this conceptual complexity in relation to discussion of the concept within two core areas of library and information science: information retrieval and information seeking. The decades of debate and discussion surrounding uncertainty and its interrelationships with other core library and information science concepts demonstrates that it holds an enduring significance for library and information science research and practice.
Anderson, T.K. 2010, 'Using Storytelling to describe and analyze fieldwork experiences of knowledge generation' in Gronseth, A.S. & Davis, D.L. (eds), Mutuality and Empathy: Self and Other in the Ethnographic Encounter, Sean Kingston Publishing, Wantage, UK, pp. 83-106.
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The chapter describes the ethnographic approach taken to research about the way scholars use networked information systems. It discusses how practising informant-driven fieldwork contributed to mindfulness about my own research process as well as that of my informants. To illustrate the significance of taking such an engaged and evolving approach for the outcomes of the project, this chapter is divided into two sections. The first provides background about the study itself that will help the reader to locate the research in the wider context of information behaviour research. This part of the chapter also explains the theoretical groundings of the fieldwork approach and the unfolding character of the analysis of that fieldwork. To demonstrate the value of putting these principles into practice, the second section presents some of the words and experiences of the two informants themselves.
Anderson, T.K. 2010, 'Mobile design: giving voice to children and young people' in Donald, S.H., Anderson, T.D. & Spry, D. (eds), Youth, Society and Mobile Media in Asia, Routledge, London, UK, pp. 135-151.
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The book is one of the outcomes of an ARC Linkage Grant in which UTS researchers partnered with the NSW Commission of Children and Young People to examine challenges associated with the increasing ubiquity of mobile phones in schools. The book itself explores the influences of mobile technologies on young people across East and North Asia, South East Asia and Australia and celebrates the imaginative responses of young people to these technologies. The chapter I contribute focuses on the challenge of using particpatory desgin methods to give children and young people more voice in decision making about the use of mobile phones and other digital media in their lives. It discusses the risk landscapes of childhood and value sensitive design methodologies that can help all stakeholders better communicate their values in decision making contexts like this. partners in our research.
Anderson, T.K. 2009, 'Teaching the socio-technical practices of tomorrow today' in Whitworth, B. & Moor, A.D. (eds), Handbook of Research on Socio-Technical Design and Social Networking Systems, IGI Global, Hershey, PA, pp. 748-762.
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This chapter explores the challenges associated with teaching the principles of socio-technical systems in the dynamic climate that characterizes work in today's and tomorrow's world. Avoiding a 'socio-technical gap' involves preparing the designers of tomorrow in such a way that they can anticipate society's future needs and technology's future potential and prospective peril. By way of a narrative that draws on the author's own experiences teaching social informatics (SI) as part of an information studies degree program, this chapter discuss how her own research perspective in relation to socio-technical and social networking systems coevolves with the classroom experience. The case study offers examples of tutorial activities and assessments to illustrate how the suggested approach to teaching and learning can be applied in an STS classroom.
Light, A. & Anderson, T.K. 2009, 'Research project as boundary object: negotiating the conceptual design of a tool for international development' in Wagner, I., Tellioglu, H., Balka, E., Simone, C. & Ciofi, L. (eds), ECSCW'09: Proceedings of the 11th European Conference on Computer-Supported Cooperative Work, Springer, Dordrecht, Heidelberg, London, New York, pp. 21-42.
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This paper reflects on the relationship between who one designs for and what one designs in the unstructured space of designing for political change; in particular, for supporting "International Development" with ICT. We look at an interdisciplinary research project with goals and funding, but no clearly defined beneficiary group at start, and how this amorphousness contributed to its impact. The reported project researches a bridging tool to connect producers with consumers across global contexts, showing the players in the supply chain and their circumstances. We examine the projectâs role in India, Chile and other arenas to draw out ways that it functioned as a catalyst and how absence of committed design choices acted as an unexpected strength in reaching its goals. To tell this tale, we invoke the idea of boundary objects and the value of tacking back and forth between elastic meanings of the project's artefacts and processes. We demonstrate how the toolâs function and the nature of the research became contested as work progressed.
Anderson, T.K. 2008, 'Relevant Intra-Actions in Networked Environments' in Goh, D. & Foo, S. (eds), Social Information Retrieval Systems: Emerging Technologies and the Applications for Searching the W, Information Science Reference, United States, pp. 230-251.
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Waite, K.M., Anderson, T. & Bawa, M. 2015, 'Sites of silence in the convergence:Methodologies to place gender on the teaching and learning agenda', Converging Concepts in Global higher Education Research: Local, national and international perspectives, Society for Research into Higher Education Annual Research Conference, Newport, Wales, United Kingdom.
Anderson, T., Francois, A., Waite, K. & Tall, K. 2015, 'ViTaL Play: Visual Ideation in Classroom Settings - Workshop', UTS Teaching and Learning Forum 2015, UTS Sydney.
Anderson, T.K. & Fourie, I. 2014, 'Collaborative autoethnography as a way of seeing the experience of care giving as an information practice', Information Research: an international electronic journal, Proceedings of ISIC: the information behaviour conference, Information Research, Leeds, UK.
Introduction. Although extensive research has been reported on illness and family care giving in relation to information seeking and information behaviour, many concerns about unmet information needs and frustrations in finding information are raised. Both the Information Science and Medical and Healthcare communities are calling for deepened understanding of ways information can support patients and their families. Method. The paper asserts the value of the emerging practice of collaborative autoethnography (neglected in information research on care giving) for crafting rich understandings of information engagements and practices in the lives of family care-givers. The method deliberately draws on dual lenses: first, as carers for a family member with a chronic, life-limiting illness or life-threatening disease; second, as information practice researchers. The paper examines ways the method contributs insights in other fields as part of a justification for its value to information research. Analysis. Dual analysis (as care-givers and as information practice researchers) sensitizes us to the individual nature of health related experiences and needs. Building research around the crafting of stories about personal experiences of care giving provides an insider's view that enriches our outsider perspectives when probing the experiences of others and interpreting results from studies using other methods. It can be an intense and challenging task - but one information researchers should embrace. Results. The approach enables dialogic engagement with someone encountering similar yet different experiences and opens opportunity for new insights about dormant information needs and the emotions and feelings accompanying the desire to know more about how to care for a loved one. The powerful relationship between the evocative and the analytic sheds light on experiences that may not be revealed through other research approaches used to investigate issues associated with il...
Anderson, T.K. 2013, 'The 4Ps of innovation culture: conceptions of creatively engaging with information', Information Research - Proceedings of the Eighth International Conference on Conceptions of Library and Information Science, International Conference on Conceptions of Library and Information Science, University of Sheffield, copenhagen, Denmark, pp. 1-15.
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The paper provides a distillation of findings emerging from an ongoing series of investigations of the research practices of academics in a university context to foreground the creativity in our engagements with information. The empirical research involved an ethnographic exploration of the scholarly practices of two scholars engaged in the discovery, evaluation, use and generation of information and knowledge as part of their own ongoing research work. Findings reported in the paper are further supported by ongoing autoethnographic work associated with that fieldwork and a series of follow up explorations applying a similar approach. Through this research and writing emerged a heuristic (conceptualised as: plan, play, pressure, and pause) that might stimulate creative engagements with information. The paper discusses how scaffolding the four distinct but inter-related phase states represented in this heuristic can support an innovative culture. After introducing each of the four phase states, examples are provided that illustrate their interplay: i) the scholarly conference, ii) creative ecologies of learning, iii) conceptualisation of the heuristic itself. Discussion of the acute challenges associated with balancing these four states is followed by a call to broaden our conception of information and to engage more comprehensively with its potential as a catalyst for creative capacities. Active advocacy for systemic changes is required to expand our opportunities for nurturing creativity and innovation in all sectors of society.
Anderson, T.K., Meyers, E., Druin, A., Fleischmann, K., Nathan, L. & Unsworth, K. 2009, 'Children, Technology and Social Values: Enabling Children's Voices in a Pluralistic World', ASIST 2009 Proceedings of the 72nd ASIS&T Annual Meeting Volume 46 2009 Thriving on Diversity - Information Opportunities in a Pluralistic World, ASIS&T Annual Meeting, Richard B. Hill, American Society for Information Science and Technology, Hyatt Regency, Vancouver, Canada, pp. 1-8.
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The landscape of childhood in the 21st century increasingly involves technology. As information and communication technologies (ICTs) become ubiquitous in homes, schools, libraries, and play spaces, children are plugged-in and online with greater frequency and at a younger age. Concerns regarding new and emerging technologies like the immersive Internet, mobile phones, and social networking sites often lead to highly charged, emotive responses aimed at reducing the risks associated with such technologies. These reactions focus our attention on children in the role of victimized consumer, and privilege the perspective of a single stakeholder, the parent. This desire to protect young technology consumers runs contrary to the participatory techniques intended to give greater voice to users in the design and development of technology. A broader, more enlightened perspective on the role of technology in the lives of children recognizes the multiple roles, stakeholders, and value propositions which affect these interactions with ICTs. Rather than casting children in the limited role of consumer of technology, participatory and value-sensitive design techniques afford children the role of tester, evaluator, appropriator, remediator, co-designer, or co-investigator. Creating and sustaining a pluralistic society means providing sufficient opportunities for the voices of children in the decisions that affect their lives and their futures.
Anderson, T.K., Parker, N.J. & McKenzie, J.A. 2009, 'Assessing Online Collaboratories: A Peer Review of Teaching and Learning', Assessment in Different Dimensions: A conference on teaching and learning in tertiary education (ATN Assessment Conference, RMIT University), ATN Assessment Conference, Learning & Teaching Unit, RMIT, Melbourne, Australia, pp. 7-16.
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This paper presents action research informed by Peer Reviews of innovative assessment in a `fully blended undergraduate Communications subject. The assessments, the teachers intentions for student learning and the process and outcomes of two rounds of review will be discussed. Assessment is the crux of a subject for students and teachers, and the paper will show how `conversations about teaching as part of a Peer Review process can enhance assessment. The assessment that was the focus of the review involves collaboratories in which students use wikis to build on collaborative knowledge production about emerging technologies. Peer Reviews focused on the strategies used to encourage greater student-directed and managed participation in the construction of the wikis and associated student-moderated online discussions. The first round identified ways that the assessment criteria could be more specific and distinct in relation to the subjects themes and practices. The second round specifically focused on the assignments that flowed from the collaboratories. One motivation for this teacher to engage in the project was the need to make the assessment more sustainable.
Meyers, E., Anderson, T.K., Byström, K., Freund, L., Limberg, L. & Toms, E. 2009, 'Diverse Approaches to 'Tasks' in Information Science: Conceptual and Methodological Insights', Thriving on Diversity - Information Opportunities in a Pluralistic World : ASIS&T 2009 Proceedings of the 72nd ASIS&T Annual Meeting Volume 46 2009, Richard B. Hill, American Society for Information Science and Technology, Hyatt Regency, Vancouver, Canada, pp. 1-6.
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Anderson, T.K., Grattan, K., Pizzica, J. & Housego, S.C. 2009, 'Podcasting in an enriched educational landscape: Bringing a peripheral technology into the teaching core', Same places, different spaces. Proceedings ascilite Auckland 2009. 26th Annual ascilite International Conference, Same places, different spaces. 26th Annual ascilite International Conference, The University of Auckland, Auckland University of Technology, and Australasian Society for Computer, Auckland.
Anderson, T.K. 2008, 'The many faces of uncertainty: getting at the anthropology of uncertainty', Creativity and Uncertainty Conference, Annual Conference of the Australasian Association of Writing Programs, The Australian Association of Writing Programs, University of Technology, Sydney, pp. 1-8.
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Creative work involves a blend of imaginative and analytical lenses. Getting the mix right can be quite a challenge, though we often do so without certainty about the hows and whys of our practice. Uncertainty is present in some shape or form throughout this process, but it is far from a predictable quality.
Housego, S.C. & Anderson, T.K. 2007, 'Crossing the chasm: opportunities for academic development as teachers go online', Enhancing Higher Education, Theory and Scholarship, Higher Education Research and Development Society of Australasia Annual Conference, HERDSA, Adelaide, Australia, pp. 279-287.
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Anderson, T.K. 2006, 'Studying Human Judgments of Relevance: Interactions in Context', Proceedings of the first IIiX Symposium on Information Interaction in Context, Royal School of Library and Information Science, Information Interaction in Context, ACM Press, Copenhagen, Denmark, pp. 7-23.
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Anderson, T.K., Bates, M., Berryman, J.M., Erdelez, S. & Heinstrom, J. 2006, 'Designing for Uncertainty', Information Realities: Shaping the Digital Future for All, Information Realities, Richard B Hill, American Society for Information adn Technology, Austin, USA, pp. 1-9.
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Alexander, S.A., Harper, C., Anderson, T.K., Golja, T., Lowe, D.B., McLaughlan, R.G., Schaverien, L.R. & Thompson, D.G. 2006, 'Towards a mapping of the field of e-learning', Proceedings of World Conference on Educational Multimedia, Hypermedia and Telecommunications 2006, Educational Multimedia, Hypermedia & Telecommunications, Association for the Advancement of Computing in Education, Florida, USA, pp. 1636-1642.
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Towards a mapping of the field of e-learning New Search Print Abstract E-mail Abstract Full Text Add To Binder Export Citation Related Papers Alexander, S., Harper, C., Anderson, T., Golja, T., Lowe, D., McLaughlan, R., Schaverien, L. & Thompson, D. (2006). Towards a mapping of the field of e-learning. In Proceedings of World Conference on Educational Multimedia, Hypermedia and Telecommunications 2006 (pp. 1636-1642). Chesapeake, VA: AACE. Conference Information World Conference on Educational Multimedia, Hypermedia and Telecommunications (EDMEDIA) 2006 June 2006 AACE Table of Contents Authors Shirley Alexander, Carly Harper, Theresa Anderson, Tanja Golja, David Lowe, Robert McLaughlan, Lyn Schaverien, Darrall Thompson, University of Technology Sydney, Australia Abstract This paper addresses perceptions that e-learning research is repetitive, technologically determined and avoids the difficult questions. A total of 107 papers from two conferences, one Australasian and the other American were analysed, using a framework which posed the following four questions. What questions are being asked? What theoretical positions are being taken? What counts as evidence in answering those questions? What is the educational significance of what has been found? There was clear evidence of varied approaches to undertaking e-learning research. The nature of the research questions reported support the view that there is a degree of repetition in current research projects, and a reluctance to tackle the big issues. The authors recommend that researchers move away from narrowly focused questions to an approach focused on the systems nature of student learning.
Anderson, T.K. 2006, 'Analyzing uncertainty tolerance in information discovery and use', 2006 Proceedings of the 69th Annual Meeting of American Society for Information Science & Technology(Vol. 43), Information Realities: Shaping the Digital Future for All - Annual Meeting American Society for Information Science & Technology, American Society for Information Science and Technology, Austin, Texas, pp. 1-7.
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This short paper/poster discusses the role uncertainty plays in judgments of the meaning and significance of ideas and texts encountered by scholars working with networked information systems. Uncertainty is often associated with risk, fear and danger. However, the perception and strategic use of uncertainty can be both a positive and negative influence on behavior. This poster discusses an investigation of the nature of uncertainty in the context of scholarly research and the use of networked information systems in the ongoing research activities of two informants. What forms do positive and negative perceptions of uncertainty take in this context? How much uncertainty are people in such a context prepared to tolerate? The themes presented here are based on a process-oriented, longitudinal study of these judgments. This poster invites discussion about the complexity surrounding searcher experiences of uncertainty by demonstrating how working through uncertainty becomes a mediating strategy for knowledge generation.
Anderson, T.K. 2005, 'Relevance assessment as an everyday experience', Proceedings of the Annual Meeting of the American Society for Information Science and Technology, Annual Meeting of the American Society for Information Science and Technology, American Society for Information Science and Technology, Charlotte, NC, USA, pp. 1-3.
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Despite the growing appreciation of the dynamism of the concept of relevance, there is still a tendency to relegate it to the domain of information retrieval. In doing so, we dilute its potency as a human practice and lose out on the rich connections that are afforded by seeing relevance assessment as a critical element of human communication beyond those that are mediated by information retrieval systems. The poster presents analysis of observations of relevance judgments collected in a longitudinal ethnographic study. The table presented in the short paper will be expanded in the poster version of the paper to illustrate the variability and richness of the ways that informants used representations of information resources to make relevance judgments. This analysis suggests that relevance judgments are drivers of search and research processes. There is much talk about the need to more fully integrate research in the areas of information retrieval and information seeking behaviour. This poster suggests that, as a human practice at the heart of communication and information behaviour, relevance assessments offer one bridge for this integration.
Anderson, T.K. 2004, 'Using Storytelling to describe and analyse fieldwork experiences of knowledge generation', EASA 8th Biennial Confernece: Face to Face: Connecting Distance and Proximity, Vienna Austria.
Anderson, T.K. 2002, 'Storytelling as an analytical tool: Exploring experiences of 'relevance' in searcher-system interactions', Conference Proceedings of the European Association of Social Anthropologists, 7th Biennial Conference, University of Copenhagen, Copenhagen, Denmark.
Anderson, T.K. 2002, 'Telling tales: Using writing as an analytical tool in information research', Conference Proceedings of the Fourth International Conference on Information Needs and Use in Different Contexts, Universidade Lusíada, Lisbon, Portugal.
Anderson, T.K. 1999, 'User-centred relevance research: Developing a better understanding of searchers ultimate use requirements', IFIP TC13 Conference on Human-Computer Interaction, IFIP TC13 Conference on Human-Computer Interaction, IOS Press, Edinburgh, UK, pp. 666-668.

Journal articles

Anderson, T.K. 2014, 'Making the 4Ps as important as the 4Rs', Knowledge Quest, vol. 42, no. 5, pp. 42-47.
Nurturing the transmedia literacies of our young learners takes on enormous significance in the participatory culture characteristic of this digital age. As young learners appropriate new digital tools, the expressions of their ideas take forms that can almost instantaneously be shared with global networks and kindred spirits. Never far removed from these conversations about digital literacies and participatory culture is the use of the term creativity. This paper explains the 4P heuristic devised through investigation of the `invisible work of creativity present in such engagements. In exploring the anthropology of creativity, the driving concern of my investigation has been a desire to understand how ideas and creative insights take hold and ultimately flourish. The four Ps (plan, play, pressure, and pause) emerged as a way of representing the characteristics of creative and innovative cultures witnessed in my ongoing ethnographic explorations of academics, students and creative practitioners.
Anderson, T.K. 2013, 'Tweens and their in-betweens: Giving voice to young people when exploring emerging information practices associated with smart devices', Information Research, vol. 18, no. 1, pp. 1-10.
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Rising access to and use of mobile devices by children and young people makes it critical to study real-life contexts of their emerging information practices. In sharing lessons learnt from an Australian project actively involving children as partners in research exploring their mobile phone usage, this paper discusses why adopting value-sensitive participatory approaches can help meet some of the challenges faced when trying to understand (and regulate) the mediated engagements of young people. Method. As part of the project 1,389 young people from Years 6 and 9 were surveyed from within schools in one state. Following the survey, focus groups were conducted with survey participants. A research advisory group was also chosen from this population. Findings. As smart devices continue to find their way into the classrooms and curriculum, the school library will have to adapt and respond to the intertwining practices of social and academic, information and communication in order to stay relevant. Riskand intertwinglingare presented as two prevailing concepts that might inform future investigations into the information practices of young people in the dynamic contexts of their mobile mediated ecologies. Conclusions. The participatory research methods used in the project can provide rich contextual understanding of the everyday, everywhere presence of mobile technologies in young lives needed to devise effective strategies for dealing with mobile or smart phone use in and out of the classroom and supports efforts to give young people a greater voice in the decisions affecting their engagements mobile technologies.
Anderson, T.K. 2011, 'Beyond eureka moments: supporting the invisible work of creativity and innovation', Information Research, vol. 16, no. 1, pp. 1-18.
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Introduction. This paper is about the challenges of working creatively and reflectively in the information-intensive environments characteristic of our digital age. Method. The paper builds upon earlier work about uncertainty in library and information science by incorporating work exploring risk cultures and uncertainty as everyday phenomena. It presents arguments emerging from an ongoing investigation of the background work involved in scholarly research practice. These threads are used to invite discussion about the particular strategic contribution that the ISIC community might make in answer to calls for more creativity and greater support for the human spirit in all that we do. Analysis. Ethnographic material about scholarly research practice is combined with varied research exploring creativity and uncertainty. Results. Analysis of conditions that can stimulate creativity suggests that working through and being in uncertainty provides a site of creativity stimulation that addresses Howkins's query about how and where we wish to do our thinking. Conclusions. As information researchers and practitioners, we can act as stewards within our communities and help shape the information services and infrastructures that support organisations and communities striving to be more creative and to engage with information in inventive ways. Doing so will require us to not only support the creativity and innovation of others, but to be creative and innovative ourselves.
Anderson, T.K. 2010, 'Kickstarting Creativity: Supporting the productive faces of uncertainty in information practice', Information Research, vol. 15, no. 4, pp. 1-16.
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This paper examines implications of research suggesting fast access to information may be at the expense of the time needed for creative thinking and reflection. It suggests that to support human thought through the provision of information, we need to provide people with more opportunities to experience and work with imperfect information and to engage with ambiguities. The paper presents four linked arguments supporting the premise that making more space for uncertainty and ambiguity in our information and research practices is an important precondition for creativity and innovation in any human endeavour: (i) working through uncertainty and ambiguity is conducive to creativity; (ii) the time and effort associated with managing large quantities of information can have a detrimental impact on creative thought; (iii) in scholarly research practice there is increasingly less time to think; (iv) revisiting the concept of uncertainty in information seeking offers a creativity stimulation pathway. In presenting these arguments and the implications for information science, the paper draws on ethnographic data about scholarly research practice and judgments about information in that context to illustrate some of the claims made. It concludes that developing an awareness of and being in uncertainty is a critical condition in any creative endeavour. Article is available at http://InformationR.net/ir/15-4/colis721.html
Anderson, T.K. & Orsatti, J. 2008, 'Rhythms of being at ISIC - understanding the place of the ISIC conferences in information seeking research', Information Research, vol. 13, no. 4, pp. 1-13.
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The paper reports on findings from a project merging exploring the professional practice of academics, research students and practitioners within the ISIC community, drawn from fieldwork at the 2006 Information Seeking in Context (ISIC 2006) conference in Sydney, Australia.
Anderson, T.K. 2007, 'Settings, arenas and boundary objects: socio-material framings of information practices', Information Research, vol. 12, no. 4, pp. 1-15.
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This paper presents a theoretical framework for examining information practices in socio-material contexts that draws on research in the library and information science and human computer interaction (human computer interaction) communities.
Bawden, D., Robinson, L., Anderson, T.K., Bates, J., Rutkausiene, U. & Vilar, P. 2007, 'Towards curriculum 2.0: Library/information education for a Web 2.0 world, Library and Information Research', Library and Information Research, vol. 31, no. 99, pp. 14-25.
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This paper reports an international comparison of changes in library/information curricula, in response to the changing information environment in which graduates of such courses will work. It is based on a thematic analysis of five case-studies from Australia, Ireland, Lithuania, Slovenia and the United Kingdom.
Anderson, T.K. 2006, 'Uncertainty in action: observing information seeking within creative processes of scholarly research', Information Research, vol. 12, no. 1, pp. 1-15.
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Introduction. This paper discusses the role uncertainty plays in judgments of the meaning and significance of ideas and texts encountered by scholars in the context of their ongoing research activities. Method. Two experienced scholars were observed as part of a two-year ethnographic study of their ongoing research practices. Layered transcriptions of document-by-document discussions, conversations and interviews with informants were analysed for evidence of uncertainty in informants' processes of discovery, evaluation, use and generation of information. Analysis. Three themes are discussed illustrating the dynamic interplay between positive and negative forms of uncertainty: partial relevance, boundaries of understanding and uncertainty tolerance. Results. The uncertainty experienced by informants takes many forms deeply embedded in the interwoven layers of information seeking and use. Positive forms of uncertainty were often, but not exclusively, associated with the informants' explorations within the wider research tasks in which they were engaged. Conclusion. The intricacy of the relationship between what we might consider desirable as opposed to undesirable uncertainty is not easily unravelled. From the searcher's perspective, the interplay between positive and negative forms may be one way of explaining their ability to tolerate challenging encounters within their information and research processes.
Anderson, T.K. 2005, 'Relevance as process: judgements in the context of scholarly research', Information Research-An International Electronic Journal, vol. 10, no. 2, pp. 1-13.
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Introduction. This paper discusses how exploring the research process in-depth and over time contributes to a fuller understanding of interactions with various representations of information. Method. A longitudinal ethnographic study explored decisions m
Anderson, T.K. 2001, 'Situating relevance: exploring individual relevance assessments in context', Information Research, vol. 6, no. 2, pp. 169-187.
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Anderson, T.K. 1999, 'Searching for Information: Applying usability testing methods to a study of information retrieval and relevance assessment', Australian Academic & Research Libraries, vol. 30, no. 3, pp. 189-199.
Anderson, T.K. 1998, 'Mapping the development of user constructs of relevance assessment as informed by topicality', Information Research: an International Electronic Journal, vol. 4, no. 2.
Anderson, T.K. 1998, 'Discovering the HUMAN in Human-Computer-Interaction', Keyword: A Journal for Technical and Scientific Communicators, vol. 8, no. 1.
Anderson, T.K. 1997, 'Relevance and the User-Centred approach', Keyword: A Journal for Technical and Scientific Communicators, vol. 7, no. 2.

Non traditional outputs

Anderson, T.K., 'iPause - a creative & contemplative space', iConference 2013 - Scholarship in Action - Data + Innovation + Wisdom, iSchools, Fort Worth Texas.
A contemplative space with audio, video and interactivity designed to interject more 'play' and 'pause' into the scholarly practice of conference participants. Description in the program (available https://www.ideals.illinois.edu/handle/2142/42559) : A quiet, contemplative alternative to the usual high-energy conference conversations and activities.
Anderson, T.K., 'Playing with the Pause@CoLIS', CoLIS 8: Conceptions of Library and Information Science, Royal School, University Copenhagen, Royal School of Library and Information Science, University of Copenhagen, Copenhagen, Denmark.
Pause@CoLIS is based on research exploring four inter-related phase states critical for creativity and innovation (plan, play, pressure, and pause). The room arrangement blends self-guiding suggestions with a series of guided activities inviting visitors to play or pause and become more mindful of the value such practices can have in their lives. The wider intention is to provoke reflection about the increasing difficulty we face finding space for creativity and contemplation in our private and work lives.


Waite, K., Anderson, T., Bawa, M. & Francois, A. 2014, 'Breaking through the marzipan layer: Gender and inclusion in higher education pedagogy and curriculum'.
Since 2012, our team has been involved in a teaching and learning research project focusing on issues of gender and inclusion within higher education pedagogy and curriculum. This work has been undertaken in an Australian city university in disciplines which are considered relatively gender- balanced - Business, and Arts and Social Sciences. While there is no apparent difference in academic performance between males and females in these disciplines, Australian research shows that the gender pay gap begins at the point of graduate employment – on average women are paid less - and there is an excruciatingly slow move towards gender equality in management (WGEA 2013). In the 2012 Australian Census of Women in Leadership (2012), only 12 of the top 500 publicly listed companies reported having female CEOs. There is also evidence that women tend to reach certain management positions within organisations – but these positions tend to offer no pathway to the most senior levels of management. These positions have been collectively termed 'the marzipan layer' (The Economist, 2011). Our concern is that while there is a developing consensus that there are structural issues which affect women in the Australian workplace, these should not exist within the equity conscious environment of the university. Yet we were aware of a number of instances of subtle discriminatory practices, practices which, while not overtly discriminatory, resulted in discriminatory outcomes. As previous work had suggested that these behaviours were occurring outside of conscious recognition of staff and students, and were in fact what is generally considered normal practice, an ethnographic research approach was used. Our research included ethnographic observation of classroom activities, social mapping of mixed gender student groups in public learning spaces, and fabulations and focus groups with student participants. This approach aligns with gender equity research which was undertaken around the sam...