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Researching Students' Information Choices: Project Team

Researching Students’ Information Choices: Determining Identity and Judging Credibility in Digital Spaces

Meet the Team


Amy Buhler, MSLS, Principal Investigator, Associate University Librarian, is an Engineering Librarian. Amy has previous experience on two grant-awarded projects from NIH and more recently as co-PI on the NSF project “Gaming Against Plagiarism.” Her primary research interests are in the areas of assessment of information seeking behaviors, library instruction, and marketing of library services.

Tara Tobin Cataldo, MLS, Co-Principal Investigator, Associate University Librarian. As Biological/Life Sciences Librarian and Collections Coordinator, Cataldo provides collection management, instruction, literature search assistance, and faculty/staff consultations in the life sciences. In addition, she oversees all collaborative collections activities in the sciences, including the management of an over $1.5 million collections budget plus endowments. Her primary research interests are in the areas of subject specialization in academic libraries, information seeking behavior in the sciences, and the use of electronic information resources.

​Ixchel M. Faniel, Ph.D., Co-Principal Investigator, is a Research Scientist at OCLC. Her current research interests include examining the reuse of research data in academic communities to identify how contextual information about the data that supports reuse can best be created and preserved. Of particular interested is how scholars evaluate the data when deciding whether to reuse it. She is therefore very knowledgeable of the role trust and credibility play during discovery, access, and evaluation of content.  She has received funding from the National Science Foundation, the Department of Defense through Michigan State University, and IMLS.

Lynn Silipigni Connaway, Ph.D., Co-Principal Investigator, is a Senior Research Scientist at OCLC Research. She has experience in academic, public, and school libraries, as well as library and information science education. Connaway has completed several Jisc-funded and IMLS-funded projects to investigate users' behaviors, including virtual research environments and digital repositories. Connaway currently is studying digital visitors and residents. Prior to joining OCLC Research, she was the Vice-President of Research and Library Systems at NetLibrary (an ebook provider), the director of the Library and Information Services Department at the University of Denver, and on the faculty of the Library and Informational Science program at the University of Missouri, Columbia.

Joyce Kasman Valenza, Ph.D., Co-Principal Investigator, is an Assistant Professor of Teaching, Director of MLIS Program, Rutgers University, has been studying and writing about young people, technology, information seeking, and information fluency for more than twenty years. She has 25 years of instructional experience as a K12 librarian. Joyce has authored books on information skills, developed several video series for Schlessinger Media, and written articles on digital literacy. Joyce is a Milken Educator, a Google Certified Teacher, and a Library of Congress American Memory Fellow. She was selected as one of Technology and Learning’s 100@30, was honored with the 2011 Edublogs Award for Lifetime Achievement.

Randy Graff, Ph.D., Investigator, is the Director of Educational Technology at UF Health. Graff has been a teacher for the past 18 years and is experienced with classroom teaching and training in instructional, administrative and assistive technology. He currently teaches faculty and staff at UF in the use of instructional and operational technology. Graff has co-authored inter-professional manuscripts which appear in refereed journals. He has conducted numerous university presentations, taught undergraduate and graduate courses, and designed and taught many technology workshops. He is a two-time award winner of the UF IT Distinguished Leadership Award.

Rachael Elrod, M.Ed., MSLS, Investigator. As Head of the Education Library at the University of Florida, provides staff supervision, collection management, library instruction, literature search assistance, and faculty/staff consultations in the areas of early childhood education; educational leadership, educational technology; higher education administration; marriage and family counseling; mathematics education; mental health counseling; research, evaluation, and measurement methodology; school counseling and guidance; school psychology; social foundations of education; social studies education; special education; statistics education; and student personnel in higher education. Her primary research interests are in the areas of information literacy and makerspaces in academic libraries.

Erin M. Hood, M.L.I.S., Research Assistant, is a Research Support Specialist at OCLC Research. She received her undergraduate degree in Religious Studies from Otterbein College and her graduate degree in Library and Information Science from Kent State University. She is currently working on the Digital Visitors and Residents: What Motivates Their Engagement with the Digital Information Environment? with the University of North Carolina, Charlotte, and the University of Oxford, as well as Researching Students’ Information Choices: Determining Identity and Judging Credibility in Digital Spaces with the University of Florida and Rutgers University. She has also regularly contributed to other OCLC Research studies, including Cyber Synergy, Seeking Synchronicity, the User Behavior Report, the Digital Information Seeker Report, and the WorldCat Survey Report.

 Brittany Brannon, M.A., Research Assistant, is a Research Assistant at OCLC Research. Brittany is pursuing her MLIS at Kent State University, with a focus in academic and reference librarianship. Her primary research interests are in information literacy and academic research skills. She earned a Master’s in Rhetoric and Composition from the University of Kansas and a Bachelor’s in English Literature and Philosophy from Denison University. Before joining OCLC, she taught first-year composition, consulted with graduate students on their research and writing, and worked for an educational nonprofit.  

 Chris Cyr, M.A., Ph.D., Associate Research Scientist, Chris’s research looks at the ways that public services are provided to local communities. He is interested in the contrast between services from private businesses, and services from government entities like libraries. He has looked at this contrast in diverse contexts around the world, ranging from Ohio to Somalia. Chris also researches the ways people get and evaluate their information in different online environments, including search engines, databases, and  repositories. Chris graduated from Ohio State with a BA in Political Science and History, and earned an MA and PhD in Political Science from the University of Colorado Boulder. Prior to his time at OCLC, Chris was an Assistant Professor of Political Science at Eastern Kentucky University, and an ABD Fellow at the One Earth Future Foundation.

 Samuel R. Putnam, MLS, is an Engineering Librarian at the University of Florida. His research interests include engineering education and leadership, library instruction, technology in libraries, and virtual reference. His previous grant experience includes serving on the NHRPC project “Pioneer Days in Florida”, winner of the Center For Research Libraries 2015 Award for Access.



Team Photos

Second Team Face-to-Face meeting at the University of Florida, April, 2018

First Team Face-to-Face meeting at the University of Florida, January, 2016

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