By: Diane Stirling
(315) 443-8975

The research work of a recent School of Information Studies (iSchool) doctoral program graduate has earned one of the information science field’s foremost awards for doctoral dissertations.

Dr. Jaime Ann Snyder, who now is a postdoctoral research fellow for the iSchool, has been selected to receive the ProQuest Doctoral Dissertation Award for 2012, the American Society for Information Science and Technology (ASIS&T) announced.

The award is designed to “recognize outstanding recent doctoral candidates whose research contributes significantly to an understanding of some aspect of information science,” according to ASIS&T.

Dr. Snyder’s dissertation, “Image-Enabled Discourse; Investigating the Creation of Visual Information as Communicative Practice,” reviews drawing as an information-driven communication practice. It also investigates how theories from interactional sociolinguistics and discourse studies can expand the ways that images and image-making are studied in information science.

Receiving the award is especially gratifying, Snyder said, since the competition is very diverse in scope, and because the award “recognizes this area of research as something that has significant impact and importance to the field of information science.” The visual element of interaction “is especially important,” she believes, “because it cuts across so many areas of what we do. It tends to be under-investigated in many ways, with very little attention paid to social aspects of how we use images to collaborate.”  

ASIS&T ‘s award announcement stated that Snyder’s dissertation reflects “a creative and thoughtful study [that] raises many interesting questions that have not been studied within LIS previously, and brings in research from such fields as linguistics, psychology, sociology, and communications theory.” ASIS&T added that Snyder’s work “will likely lead to interdisciplinary research that combines visual communication and interaction studies. The exploratory study achieved the objectives set out in the research, and added novel findings in the area of image creation in relation to information behaviors. The methodology and theoretical framework are sound and the literature review is excellent.”

Snyder was pleasantly surprised to win the Proquest honor. “Since it is a major award for doctoral dissertations in the information science field, it’s something that is a very good credential to have.  I’m in very good company with a lot of other excellent Syracuse University alums who have received the award in the past,” she remarked.

Her research and academic efforts also earned a 2012 Syracuse University Doctoral Award. She graduated from the iSchool in May with a Ph.D. in Information Science and Technology.

Dr. Snyder currently works for the iSchool as a postdoctoral research fellow. She is collaborating with Professor Steven Sawyer and Associate Professor Carsten Oestserlund on their National Science Foundation-funded grant VOSS project, “Documents and Doing Science,” a cyberinfrastructure investigation of documenting practices of social scientists. She also is working on a related project with Oesterlund which studies the documenting practices of student entrepreneurs in the iSchool’s Student Sandbox. Snyder’s role, an extension of her dissertation research, looks at how visually-oriented documenting activities comprise sociotechnical practice.

She also is working with Geri Gay, Ph.D., Professor and Chair of Communication at Cornell University and Director of Cornell’s Interaction Design Lab. There, Dr. Snyder is introducing visual methods into information research projects.