Welcome and hello!
I am a perpetual student, capable practitioner, and aspiring teacher. I study library and information science because
I believe that
by studying the characteristics of information (structure, meaning, language, classification, context) and the
people and their information uses (cognition, communication, affect, task, context), one can find innovative ways to
align people with their information to optimize the processes of learning, knowing, teaching, and playing. Technology
provides a wonderful vehicle
for creating and enriching information environments, but in order for technology to
contribute to productivity and satisfaction, it should be deployed only after the blueprints for an information
environment have been
laid out with care and consideration of the characteristics (i.e., people & information) described above.
When I graduated from East Carolina University in 1995, I went straight to the University of Georgia Libraries to work as a library assistant. Eventually, I decided
to become a bona fide librarian, which brought me here to Maryland, and I just can't
seem to make myself leave. The pursuit of a Master's in Library Science left me with more questions than answers, so I
enrolled in the PhD program. The questions never stop coming, but I'm always learning and looking for new ways to
explore and answer questions about information and information use.
Poke around my page and write to me (katyn [at] umd.edu); tell me who you are and how you
For my dissertation (today's working title:
Information Behavior in Context: Teachers' Content Selection during Lesson Planning for Holocaust-Related Education
), I will study how
content selection during instructional planning plays out as a special case of information seeking. The context for
my study will
be the planning of instructional units for high-school-level Holocaust education, with an emphasis on how educators
use a digital archive of Holocaust survivors' video testimonies (click here for
more information on the archive).
Within the library and information
science (LIS) tradition, we have seen a series of theories and models about when, how, and why people seek and use
models are created or modified as they apply to specific tasks or environments (e.g., students writing a term paper,
a case, physicians researching a patient's symptoms).
During my study, then, I hope to observe and describe -- from my LIS perspective -- how educators'
during lesson planning aligns with an important model of information behavior by T.D. Wilson (1981), in the context
of the work environment as described by Cognitive Work Analysis, a framework for describing and improving work in
complex, socio-technical environments.
From this description, I hope to generate implications for the design and use of information systems
(intellectual and/or technological) that will foster lesson planning for Holocaust education. Ultimately, I hope
that this work could also contribute more broadly to the analysis of information systems and information use in
Comprehensive Exam Areas
In April of 2006, I took and passed five comprehensive exams and advanced to candidacy. The areas I chose to study
for my comps, I
think, describe quite clearly which topics most interest me. The topics and subtopics listed below will, ideally, be
the garden from
which I grow and pick research topics in the coming years.
Information Storage and Retrieval (ISAR)
Communication and Information Transfer
- Information structure and architecture
- ISAR functions, methods, and applications - Relevance ranking | knowledge extraction | ontologies | digital
- Interactive information retrieval
- Evaluation of ISAR systems
Cognitive Psychology (esp. in information seeking and use situations)
- Foundations - Models of communication | relevance | computer-mediated communication | diffusion of
- Information Users: Needs, Behaviors, Uses - General | teachers and students
- Information seeking process (ISP) - Questions | information seeking on the Web | learning through the ISP
Language (esp. in information representation, seeking and use situations)
- Language and the mind
- Concepts, categories, and classification
- Decision making and confidence in knowledge
- Information interaction processes
Human-computer interaction (HCI)
- Semantic structure and information structure
- Cognitive linguistics
- Language-intensive applications - Frames | ontologies | thesauri | WordNet
Have we something in common? e-mail me. katyn [at] umd.edu.
- Attention, perception, and ability: Psychological factors
- Deeper cognitive factors: Mental models and communication
- Navigating information environments
Publications & Presentations
- Oard, D., with Lawley, K.N. (2006). The MALACH Project: Multilingual Access to Large Spoken Archives. Invited
presentation at the Maryland Institute for Technology in the Humanities,
October 24, 2006.
- Lawley, K.N., with Oard, D. (2006). Teaching and Learning from Holocaust Survivors' Memories: Teachers' Retrieval
from and Use of an Oral History Archive during Instructional Planning. Invited presentation at MATRIX: The Center for Humane Arts, Letters, and Social Sciences Online, October
- Lawley, K.N. (2006). Supporting Teachers' Information Use for Lesson Planning. Poster presented at
i-Conference 2006: Research Frontiers in Information, Ann Arbor, MI, October 15-17, 2006.
- Lawley, K.N., Soergel, D., and Huang, X. (2005). Relevance criteria used by teachers in selecting oral history
materials. Proceedings of the Annual Meeting of the American Society for Information Science & Technology
(ASIST), Charlotte, NC, October 28 - November 2, 2005. [Abstract]
- Lawley, K.N., Soergel, D., White, R.W., and Huang, X. (2005). Teachers' search for multimedia lesson plan materials:
Study, results, and design implications for oral history archives. Poster presented at i-Conference 2005: The First
Conference of the i-School Community, State College, PA, September 28-30, 2005. [Abstract ]
- Soergel, D. and Newton, K. (2003). From legacy KOS to full-fledged ontologies. Paper presented at the Joint
Conference on Digital Libraries NKOS Workshop (Networked Knowledge Organization Systems), Houston, TX, May 31, 2003.
Service & Membership
- College of Information Studies Curriculum Committee
- PhD Student Representative. 2007.
- University of Maryland University Senate
- Member, Educational Affairs Committee. 2005-present.
- University of Maryland Provost's Student Advisory Council
- Graduate Student Representative. 2005-present.
- American Society for Information Science and Technology (ASIS&T)
- Moderator, SIG-USE listserv. 2003-present.
- College of Information Studies PhD Student Peer Group
- Coordinator. 2005 (one-year term).
- College of Information Studies Advisory Committee on Space Allocation [ad hoc]
- PhD Student Representative. Fall 2005.
- College of Information Studies Collegium
- PhD Student Representative. 2001-2003.
- Post Tracks, online student publication
- Peer Reviewer. Vol. 1(2).
- Meritorious Information Behavior Conference Paper
- American Society for Information Science & Technology (ASIST), Special Interest Group for
Information Needs, Seeking, and Use (SIG-USE) for
Lawley, KN, Soergel, D, & Huang, X. (2005). Relevance critieria used by teachers in selecting oral history materials. In Proceedings
Annual Meeting of the American Society for Information Science and Technology, Charlotte, NC, 30 October - 2 November 2005.
Family and friends are primary. Before school, before anything. Pets are family and friends. However, family and friends
are not pets. Except for my husband, Ernie. He's family, friend, pet, and everything else good that I can think of.
To see said family, friends, and pets, as well as travel destinations near and far, take a gander at our Flickr photos.
- List of courses taken with links to course papers.
- Full text of my comprehensive exam proposal with extensive bibliography.