Naresh Agarwal

Professor and Director of Information Science & Tech Concentration

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 reconcile multiple perspectives — the user (context, seeking, sense-making, serendipity, avoiding) versus systems/technology, theoretical and empirical studies, and a variety of contexts. His publications span these areas. His first book 'Exploring Context in Information Behavior: Seeker, situation, surroundings, and shared identities' was published by Morgan & Claypool in 2018. His second book was published in 2021 as 'Engineering to Ikigai: 25 Journeys towards Purpose' in South Asia and 'You know the glory, not the story: 25 Journeys towards Ikigai' internationally. Naresh also studies serendipitous information encountering, and non-response behaviors by people using smartphones. He has been a keynote/invited speaker at workshops and conferences in Bangladesh, France, India, Iran, Japan, Pakistan, South Africa, and the US. Naresh is the President of the Association for Information Science & Technology (ASIS&T). At ASIS&T, he has held various leadership positions, including co-chairing its Annual Meeting in 2017, Chairs SIGs and Committees, and founding the South Asia Chapter. In 2012, he was awarded the ASIS&T James M. Cretsos Leadership Award. 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, he 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 He can also be found on Twitter (@nareshag) and Instagram (@nareshag.paintings |

What I Teach

  • LIS 488: Technology for Information Professionals
  • LIS 484: Theories of Information Science
  • LIS 465: Knowledge Management
  • LIS 467: Web Development & Information Architecture
  • LIS 403: Evaluation of Information Services
  • SIM 301: Simmons Excel

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 Research page on my website for ongoing 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, Professor Agarwal defines terms relevant to serendipity. By building on existing literature and conceptual frameworks, he attempts to include serendipity in information behavior models.