Library Information Investigative Team2023-02-14T19:59:28-05:00

Library Information Investigative Team (LIIT)

Established in 2019, LIIT focuses on researching topics relevant to libraries, such as librarian education, library history, and information organization.

Our Mission

Our team’s mission is to provide mutual support, encourage creative collaboration, and promote information exchange among library scholars at Syracuse University’s iSchool.

Current Projects

This research investigates the perspectives of engaged community-based library and information spaces and locations during the 1960s African-American struggle for Civil Rights. We utilize family-based documents to illuminate how familial experience informs archival collections and how community resistance breaks down borders. It explores both northern-urban and southern experience comparatively in the context of class and gender within traditions of oppositional consciousness.

In 1927, the collective of Black students known as the Washington Intercollegiate Club of Chicago went out into their community to collect data about the various components of the Black experience. This research turned into the two editions of the Intercollegian Wonder Book. The Wonder Books present a Black past that notes a time of youth envisioning their community through the lens of the New Negro Movement, galvanizing to uplift and promote a new Black present in Chicago. Our project tracks the impact of the Wonder Books by examining how they have been referenced in research and journalism since their publication.

This project investigates the decision processes university presses employ to select or deselect vendors to distribute their e-books to academic libraries. Through the theoretical lens of digital platform concepts, this project also examines university presses’ perceptions about the main stakeholders in the market, including vendors as platforms, academic libraries as users, and press community as content providers. The project is funded by a Syracuse University Collaboration for Unprecedented Success and Excellence Grant (2020-2023).

We define epistemicide as the killing, silencing, or devaluing of a knowledge system. Some examples of historical epistemicides include: slavery, Nazi book burnings, colonization/language genocide, and the Salem witch hunts. We believe epistemicide happens when several epistemic injustices occur which collectively reflect a structured and systemic oppression of particular ways of knowing. Within the context of library and information science, devaluing information, epistemologies, or ways of knowing is particularly damaging as this type of epistemicide directly affects what is collected, how it is classified and cataloged, and whether it can be accessed by the community. We argue for a change of positionality in LIS pedagogy and research and for validating a multiplicity of perspectives to broaden the scope of what gets to be included as/in (the) LIS (field).

The Grand Challenges for Assessment in Higher Education project is a collaborative effort endorsed by ten higher education organizations to create national strategic plans to address pressing challenges facing assessment in higher education. Singer-Freeman and Robinson (2020) solicited feedback on grand challenges facing assessment in higher education by surveying members of the assessment community and presenting the results at national meetings. This work resulted in the identification of three challenges with broad support from the assessment community. An advisory board representing the endorsing organizations has overseen the work of over 200 assessment professionals, faculty, and students who created bold strategic plans to address the challenges. The plans are currently being implemented by five teams overseeing national efforts to address these challenges.

There is a shortage of materials for children at the intersection of disability and race. This research is working to identify and evaluate books for and about diverse communities experiencing a wide range of disabilities.

Pathways to Librarianship is an IMLS-funded (RE-251331-OLS) joint project between the New York Library Association (NYLA) and the Syracuse University School of Information Studies (iSchool) which seeks to build a foundational understanding of barriers that people of minoritized identities (BIPOC, LGBTQIA+, people with disabilities, etc.) face in the library profession in order to develop and pilot meaningful innovations across state and local systems.

Past Projects

While diversity is a core value of American librarianship, no systematic and scalable tools currently exist to promote diverse reading materials by and about marginalized populations. The project uses a research through design approach to investigate how systematic tools like library catalogs can advocate for diverse materials, encourage exposure of such materials to a broader audience, and prevent the unintentional erasure of such materials in library collections and explore what metadata elements, values, and organizational structures are necessary to achieve these goals.

Using a critical design approach, we created a library catalog that advocates for diversity and exposes library users and readers to resources from populations traditionally marginalized in literature and publishing by designing a system where the default is no longer the white heteronormative male author. Such a system offers the possibility to raise awareness of diverse library materials; expose readers to new and different resources, ideas and cultures; alter reading habits; and ultimately provide more equitable representation by preventing the inadvertent and unintentional erasure of diverse library materials.

This project was funded by the 2018 OCLC/ALISE Library & Information Science Research Grant Program (LISRGP).

#NotAgainSU is “a Black student-led movement” at Syracuse University formed in response to the administration’s handling of a series of racist, anti-Semitic, anti-Muslim incidents on campus. We examine the use of social media and hashtag affordance as a tool of activism.

List of Lists: An Index of Diversity Book Lists for Adults indexes diversity-centric book lists for adults into a faceted-search website. While many diversity book lists exist, they are published across the Internet and can be difficult to find. List of Lists enables librarians and patrons to find diversity book lists within one website. The project addresses the urgent need for libraries to highlight diverse books to build empathy and inclusive communities.

This project was funded by a Carnegie-Whitney Grant from the American Library Association.

How much does our MSLIS Curriculum embrace our values and celebrate diversity and inclusion? This research is looking to evaluate how diverse our curriculum is by understanding what we teach, what we read, how we engage with diverse populations, and the focus of our assignments.

Despite consistent usage, 21st century libraries are regularly under pressure to defend and justify their existence to various entities, including administrators, policy makers, legislators, and community citizens.

One predominant tactic is to develop quantifiable measures that communicate library value, such as return on investment calculators that demonstrate savings achieved through the use of library collections and services. However, many of these value calculations only consider resources and collections, rather than the labor needed to make those resources accessible. This project uses a critical design approach to investigate ways to communicate the value of professional librarian labor.

Through the creation of an interactive, web-based tool that calculates and concretely quantifies the financial value of librarian labor, this work will expose the previously invisible yet important work of librarians, critique the status quo of libraries as resource collections, and offer a new way for libraries to advocate for support.

This project is funded by the Collaboration for Unprecedented Success and Excellence (CUSE) Grant Program at Syracuse University.


Clarke, R.I., Grimm, A., Zhang, B., & Stanton, K.L. (in press). “Time, Tasks, and Toll: Changes in Library Work During the COVID-19 Pandemic.” Journal of Library Administration.

Yeon, J., Smith, M., Youngman, T., & Patin, B. (In press). “Epistemicide Beyond Borders: Addressing Epistemic Injustice in Global Library and Information Settings Through Critical International Librarianship.” The International Journal of Information, Diversity, & Inclusion.

Sebastian, M., Youngman, T., & Patin, B. (2022). Know Better: Combatting Epistemicide by Addressing the Ethics of Neutrality in LIS. Journal of Information Ethics, 31(2), 70-82.

Youngman, T., Modrow, S., Smith, M., & Patin, B. (2022). Epistemicide on the Record: Theorizing Commemorative Injustice and Reimagining Interdisciplinary Discourses in Cultural Information Studies. Proceedings of the Association for Information Science and Technology, 59(1), 358-367.

Patin, B., & Youngman, T. (2022). The Sankofa Intervention: Combatting the Epistemicide of Parasitic Omission Through Civil Rights Literacy in Community Information Contexts. In Proceedings of the ALISE Annual Conference. ***Winner of the ALISE 2022 Best Conference Paper Award

Zhang, M. (2022). University press selection of e-book vendors for US academic libraries: Why work with X but not Y?. Learned Publishing. 35(2): 209-218.

Zhang, M., Jones, K., Zaitsev, A., & Sawyer, S. (2022). Platform as Theoretical Framework Rather Than Just Empirical Context: How Information Science Scholars Examine Digital Platforms. [Panel]. Proceedings of the Association for Information Science and Technology

Clarke, R.I., Stanton, K.L., Grimm, A., & Zhang, B. (2022). “Invisible Labor, Invisible Value: Unpacking Traditional Assessment of Academic Library Value.” College & Research Libraries 83(6), 926-945.

Clarke, R. I., Grimm, A., Zhang, B., & Stanton, K.L., (January/February 2022). “Work Made Visible.” American Libraries,

Clarke, R. I., Stanton, K.L., Grimm, A. & Zhang, B. (2021). “Calculating the True Value of Library Labor.” Library Journal, August 19:

Zhang, M., & Wei, X. (2021). What can “marriage announcements” tell us? A content analysis of news articles on library-press collaboration. College and Research Libraries. 82 (7): 959-976.

Zhang, M. (2020). University presses’ e-book dissemination strategies to academic library customers: an exploratory study. [Paper]. Proceedings of the Association for Information Science and Technology, 57: e238.

Matranga, A., Sebastian, M., Silverman, J., Shumar, W., & Klein, V. (2020). “Noticing and Wondering: Scaffolding Generative Discourse in Teachers’ Workgroup Conversations” Paper to be presented at the American Education Research Association conference April 17-21, in San Francisco, CA.

Patin, B. and Williamson, E.L.D. (2020) “Environmental Barriers in Children’s Literature: Intersectionality and the Social Disability Model”. Conference of the Children’s Literature Association, Bellevue, WA, June, 2020.

Patin, B. (2019) “From Surviving to Thriving: Addressing Knowledge Gaps among Library Directors and Emergency Managers about Public Library Response after Extreme Events.” Library Research Seminar (LRS) VII, Columbia South Carolina, October, 2019.

Sebastian, M. (2019). “Ways of Seeing the Hashtag: Instagram and Gendered Surveillance.” Surveillance & Society, 17(1/2): 40-45.

Clarke, R.I. and Schoonmaker, S. (2019) “Metadata for Diversity: Identification and Implications of Potential Access Points for Diverse Library Resources.” Journal of Documentation. DOI

Clarke, R.I. and Schoonmaker, S. (2018). “The Critical Catalog: Giving Voice to Diverse Library Materials through Provocative Design.” Advances in Classification Research Online 29 (1), 23-26. Best Paper Award Winner. DOI

Sebastian, M., & Shumar, W. (2018). “The Digital Age and the Social Imaginary.” In F. Thouvenin, P. Hettich, H. Burkert, & U. Gasser (Eds.) Remembering and Forgetting in the Digital Age, Law, Governance, & Technology, series 38, Springer, Berlin.


Smith, M. and Patin, B. (2022). “Back on the Map: Using Reparative Storytelling to Un-Silence the History of the Dulcina DeBerry Branch in Huntsville, Alabama.” Presentation given at the 2022 LHRT Research Forum: The Silent Histories of Libraries, Online, June 15, 2022.

Clarke, R. I., Dudak, L. & Caico, M. (2022). “Reference Repertoire: You Know More Than You Know. Presented at the American Library Association annual conference, Washington, DC, June 22-27.

Akman, J., Clarke, R. I., Grimm, A., Siler, V., Stanton, K., & Wacker, A. (2021).“Seamless Library Services: Invisible Labor as the Thread.” Presented at the American Library Association annual conference, Chicago, June 24–29.

Patin, B. (2021). “Unexpected and overlooked: Understanding Epistemicide in Information Science.” Keynote address for the Canadian Association for Information Science.

Patin, B. (2021). “Eradicating Epistemicide: Dismantling Injustice in the Information Field.” Augusta Baker Lecture Series, University of South Carolina.

Get in touch.

Interested in learning more about LIIT or attending a meeting? Please reach out to Dr. Beth Patin or Dr. Rachel Clarke.

Go to Top