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Katherine W. McCain

Professor Emerita

Dr. McCain's major teaching areas include Information Access & Resources, Content Representation and the introductory PhD seminar, Topics in Information Science. Her background is in the biological sciences, and her professional experience includes management of a biology library. Her current research interests focus on quantitative studies of structure and change in scholarly fields and their literatures—including the evolution of research specialties over time, the emergence of interdisciplinary fields, and the diffusion of research innovations over time and subject areas. Recent work includes studies in information science and systems, medical informatics and evolutionary developmental biology. In 2014, Dr. McCain received the Harold M. Myers Distinguished Service Award for 2013-2014, which is presented to a faculty or professional staff member of the Drexel community who has gone above and beyond in their service to the University and has been recognized as truly significant in the life of the University. In 2007, Dr. McCain received the Derek J. DeSolla Price Memorial Medal for her contributions to quantitative studies of science.


  • PhD, Fields: Scholarly Communication, Management of Information Resources, College of Information Studies
  • MS, Invertebrate Zoology & Marine Biology, Western Washington University
  • BS, Zoology, Louisiana State University

Research/Teaching Interests

Scholarly communication, information production and use in the research process, development and structure of scientific specialties, diffusion of innovation, bibliometrics, evaluation of information retrieval systems

Grant Awards

  • Co-PI. IMLS grant—Developing Faculty in Digital Librarianship for the 21st Century" PI Xia Lin. $992,100. AY 2007-2010.
  • Co-PI. IMLS grant—Librarians for the 21st Century. “Toward a Model Curriculum for the Management of Digital Information” PI Bob Allen. $597.000. AY 2005-2008.
  • Co-PI. IMLS grant—Librarians for the 21st Century: “Preparing Faculty in Management of Digital Information (MDI)”. PI Xia Lin. $611, 648 AY 2004-2007

Awards & Recognition

  • Harold M. Myers Distinguished Service Award for 2013-2014
  • Drexel University Research/Scholarship Award, 2009
  • Derek DeSolla Price Medal, 2007

Professional Activities & Associations

  • ASIS activities
    • Member, Board of Directors, ASIST, Nov 2006 – 2010
    • Member, Editorial Board, JASIST 2005 – date
  • Editorial board member, Scientometrics, JASIS&T, Journal of Informetrics