Naresh Agarwal

Associate Professor and Director of Information Science & Tech Concentration
  • School of Library and Information Science
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(617) 521-2836

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About Me

Naresh Agarwal, who joined the faculty in Fall 2009, earned his Ph.D. from the National University of Singapore (NUS)'s Department of Information Systems, School of Computing. His teaching areas are technology and web development, theories of information science, knowledge management, and evaluation of information services. Naresh's research area is information behavior and knowledge management — the way people look for information and the contextual factors that impact their choice of information sources. He seeks to understand and synthesize the apparent contradictions in this phenomenon and tries to reconcile multiple perspectives — the user (context, seeking, sense-making, serendipity, avoiding) versus systems/technology, theoretical and empirical studies, and a variety of contexts — office workers, medical residents, LIS students, faculty, librarians, toddlers, etc. His publications span these areas. His book 'Exploring Context in Information Behavior: Seeker, situation, surroundings, and shared identities' was published by Morgan & Claypool. Naresh also studies serendipitous information encountering and the causes and effects — both on the receiver and the sender — of information avoidance and non-response behaviors, especially by people who use smartphones and social media. He has been a keynote/invited speaker at workshops and conferences in different countries, including in the U.S., Japan, France, Pakistan, and Bangladesh. He has held various leadership positions at the Association for Information Science and Technology (ASIS&T). He was a member of its Board of Directors, Co-Chaired its Annual Meeting in 2017, and was awarded the ASIS&T James M. Cretsos Leadership Award in 2012. Prior to entering the doctoral program at NUS, Naresh worked for six years in technology roles in the voice-over-IP, bioInformatics, and digital cinema industries. Among other things, Agarwal has been a debater and public speaker and likes to paint in watercolor and oil. In 2018, he started an initiative to gather human stories through interviews to inspire other human stories. You can learn more about him at

Naresh Agarwal's Curriculum Vitae

What I Teach

  • LIS 403: Evaluation of Information Services
  • LIS 465: Knowledge Management
  • LIS 467: Web Development & Information Architecture
  • LIS 484: Theories of Information Science
  • LIS 488: Technology for Information Professionals

Research/Creative Activities

I continue to design and conduct studies in my research space of information behavior and knowledge management. Along with my published articles in journals, conference proceedings and book chapters, I have a series of working papers in various stages. Please see the 'manuscripts under review/revision' and 'manuscripts in preparation' sections of my CV for current projects. Do please let me know if you’re interested to work with me.


Areas of Interest

Information behavior and Knowledge Management

Serendipitous Finding of Information

Serendipitous or accidental discovery of information has often been neglected in information behavior models, which tend to focus on information seeking, a more goal-directed behavior. In a paper in Information Research, Associate Professor Agarwal defines terms relevant to serendipity. By building on existing literature and conceptual frameworks, he attempts to include serendipity in information behavior models.

Learn more about Serendipitous Finding of Information