IS Faculty Spotlight: Denise Agosto

Denise Agosto in China
Agosto at the Tomb of the Ming Emperors in China.

Denise Agosto, PhD is a professor of information science in Drexel’s College of Computing & Informatics (CCI), where she also directs CCI's Library and Information Science Program in the MS in Information Science degree program. As member of Drexel’s faculty for 16 years, Denise has played an integral role in training tomorrow’s information professionals. Among her many accomplishments, Agosto is a recipient of 2016 ALISE/Bohdan S. Wynar Research Paper Award, and the 2015 ASIS&T Thomson Reuters Outstanding Information Science Teacher of the Year Award. She holds a PhD from Rutgers’ School of Information, Communication & Library Studies, a Master of Library and Information Science from the University of Austin (with a focus on Hispanic and Latin American librarianship), and a Bachelor of Science in Linguistics and Portuguese (magna cum laude) from Georgetown University.

CCI: Tell us a little bit about your research interests:

Denise Agosto: I study how children and teens use information technology (everything from cell phones, to computers, to books, and more) and how we can design library and other informal educational services to support and enhance their use of technology.

CCI: What research are you working on currently? 

DA: I'm working with researchers from the University of Wisconsin and the University of Oklahoma to learn about the kinds of information parents need to help guide their children in the smart use of screen media. We'll use our understanding of parents' needs to design educational guidelines for parents, teachers, librarians, doctors, and others for promoting children's healthy, safe screen media behaviors.

CCI: What are the most pressing issues in the field of information science today?

DA: That's a huge question! Information science is a massive field. From my perspective, one of the most important societal roles that information science (and information science researchers and educators) can play is to teach people about the nature of modern information -- how it's created, how to evaluate it, how to navigate it, etc. As such, information science professionals are first and foremost information educators. 

CCI: What projects do you hope to work on in the future?

DA: Over the remainder of my research career, I plan to continue to work with children, teens and the adults who care for them to build a deeper understanding of the roles that information plays in youths' lives, and how we can help young people become smarter, happier, more effective users of information and information technology.

In the past, I have focused on public libraries and the unique societal role that they can play in working to achieve this vision of youth as smarter, happier, more effective users of information. I will continue to focus on public libraries and to act as a public library advocate. Just as information science professionals are information educators, public libraries are public education institutions.

CCI: What has been your greatest experience working at Drexel?

DA: There have been many great experiences! Of course I love working with students, guiding them in their learning and learning from them in turn. My research projects with children and teens have also given me great joy — joy in intellectual fulfillment, in the fulfillment of knowing that I have made positive contributions to society, and in having the chance to learn first-hand how today's youth view and interpret our changing world. My sabbatical work last year in China, South Korea, and Japan was also a fantastic experience. I got to lecture and to teach in places I had previously only dreamed of seeing, interacting with people I would never have had the chance to meet otherwise.

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