- School of Library and Information Science
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 held various leadership positions at the Association for Information Science and Technology (ASIS&T) and was a member of its Board of Directors from 2012–2014. Naresh was the Chair of its Membership Committee (2015–2017), the Conference Co-Chair of its 80th Annual Meeting, Washington, D.C., Oct. 27–Nov. 1, 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 http://www.projectonenessworld.com to gather human stories through interviews to inspire other human stories. You can learn more about him at http://web.simmons.edu/~agarwal.
What I Teach
- LIS 403: Evaluation of Information Services
- LIS 488: Technology for Information Professionals
- LIS 467: Web Development & Information Architecture
- LIS 465: Knowledge Management
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. These include a study based on a President’s Fund for Faculty Excellence grant - the source and media choice behavior of medical residents. In collaboration with Dr. Gerry Benoit, I have a Hollowell research grant to examine users' affective behaviors when using an image-driven retrieval system. Along with John Cooper, preliminary data has been gathered on this study. A virtual student-peer-review collaboration with Noor Faridah A Rahim from Temasek Polytechnic, Singapore in Fall 2012 resulted in a paper at the June 2013 Qualitative and Quantitative Methods in Libraries Conference in Rome, and other working manuscripts for submission to journals. This collaboration was also continued in Fall 2013 with Simmons students presenting their evaluation research to Singapore students over Skype. The study will evaluate the use of Skype and VoiceThread for synchronous and asynchronous discussions. My collaboration with Md Anwarul Islam and Professor Mitsuru Ikeda of School of Knowledge Science, Japan Advanced Institute of Science & Technology resulted in papers focusing on KM in libraries. My collaboration with Dr. Laila Marouf of Kuwait University has focused on KM in colleges and universities. 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.