School of Information Studies (iSchool) professor Caroline Haythornthwaite was recognized with the Association for Information Science and Technology’s (ASIS&T) 2017 Research in Information Science Award. The award was presented at the ASIS&T Annual Meeting last week in Washington, D.C., and recognizes her research contributions to the field of information science.

“Haythornthwaite’s outstanding contributions to social network and e-learning research, especially her ground-breaking work on latent ties and learning networks, has had a great impact not only in information science, but also in computer science, communication, sociology, psychology, education and management,” the Association said.

In her work on latent ties, which are defined as potential and unfilled relationships between two or more people, and in developing her latent tie theory, Haythornthwaite focuses on the beginning of the formation of social networks. Her research indicates that a new networking technology or medium creates new latent ties, recasts weak ties in an already established network, but has minimal impact among individuals with already strong ties. This theory has far-reaching implications for conceptualizing, planning and implementing Internet-based information flows within organizations, and between governments and their citizens.

“I am very pleased with this award both for myself and the many people I worked with over the years, in particular the doctoral students who were with me in the early work and are now faculty themselves,” Haythornthwaite said. “It is also a recognition that venturing into new areas can have a lasting impact. My recent work, with current doctoral students, continues to examine the structures of online networks, crowds and communities as new ways of organizing work, socializing and learning.”

“It was an honor for Caroline to be recognized by ASIS&T for her extensive contributions to our field,” said iSchool Dean Elizabeth Liddy. “Her research focus on information and human interaction is at the core of our mission here at the iSchool, and I am proud that Caroline is on our faculty.”

Haythornthwaite came to the iSchool in 2016 after serving as director of the School of Library, Archival and Information Studies at the University of British Columbia. Prior to her time in British Columbia, she served in various faculty positions at the Graduate School of Library and Information Science at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She was named Director of the iSchool’s Library and Information Science graduate program last fall.