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Personal profile

Personal Statement

Reader, Head of Information Behaviour Research, and Director of PG Teaching within the iSchool, Department of Computer and Information Sciences, University of Strathclyde.

My human information behaviour research examines how and why people seek information (or not), and effective channels and sources of information, and influencing factors.  I explore complex access and internalised behavioural factors, the former influenced by technology and literacy issues, the latter by social structures and norms.  My work provides insight into what information to provide, to whom, and how.  Much of my work addresses the enduring limitations of mass communication strategies, informing targeted interventions both physical and digital (and interplays between) in the socio-ecological context.

Currently leading a number of projects investigating human information behaviours in marginalised and/or disadvantaged circumstances including a major information poverty study exploring how public information providers spanning health, social care, and education can support young first time mothers from areas of multiple deprivations and their children to prosper in the digital age.  Further indicative work includes: examination of the rehabilitative cultural role of prison libraries, the role of public libraries in fostering cultural competencies and connections in disadvantaged communities, and effective public service digital design and engagement.  Also has extensive experience of applied research within the organisational context through his authoritative information audit work, including a commonly cited methodology that has been applied across a number of public and private sector organisations.

My research has significant practical application and impact, informing both policy and practice.  I have variously advised the Scottish Government and National Health Service on matters of effective information dissemination and digital literacy, and currently sit on an expert panel for YoungScot advising on tailored digital engagement strategies for at-risk (health and wellbeing) groups.  Recent work defining the role of people as information intermediaries has been adopted by the Scottish Government as a key action (defining professional competencies in the public sector) in their national Health Literacy Action Plan 2017-25.

Research funded by ESRC, EPSRC, and AHRC; and has a track record of research publications in top-quartile Information Science Index (ISI) ranked international journals.  Recipient of an Emerald Literati Review Outstanding Paper Award; and two Outstanding Teaching Certificates of Recognition.  Member of the ESRC Peer Review College and Carnegie Trust Research Assessor.


  • Information seeking behaviour
  • Information systems analysis
  • information management

Fingerprint Fingerprint is based on mining the text of the person's scientific documents to create an index of weighted terms, which defines the key subjects of each individual researcher.

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Projects 2012 2020

The Role of Public Libraries in Glasgow Communities in the 21st Century

Buchanan, S.


Project: Research - StudentshipResearch Studentship

Scottish ESRC Doctoral Training Centre DTG 2011 | Breslin Davda, Frances Mary

Buchanan, S., Ruthven, I. & Breslin Davda, F. M.

ESRC (Economic and Social Research Council)


Project: Research Studentship - Internally AllocatedResearch Studentship (Internally Allocated)


Research Output 1998 2018

Open Access
Open Access


Navigating social systems : information behaviour in refugee integration

Author: Oduntan, O. O., 1 Feb 2018

Supervisor: Ruthven, I. (Supervisor) & Buchanan, S. (Supervisor)

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis

The application of classical architectural criteria to 3D digital library design to enhance the learner experience

Author: Mycock, J. V., 1 Oct 2015

Supervisor: McMenemy, D. (Supervisor) & Buchanan, S. (Supervisor)

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


Activities 2016 2017

  • 4 Membership of committee
  • 2 Participation in workshop, seminar, course
  • 1 Participation in conference
  • 1 Key-note speaker and plenary lectures at conferences

Carnegie UK Trust #NotWithoutMe@the BBC

Steven Buchanan (Participant)
15 Mar 2017

Activity: Participating in or organising an event typesParticipation in workshop, seminar, course

University of Texas Austin iSchool iForum Series Invited Speaker

Steven Buchanan (Invited speaker)
2017 → …

Activity: Talk or presentation typesInvited talk


A framework for the holistic analysis of organisational information systems

Steven Buchanan (Participant)

Impact: Impact - for External PortalProfessional practice, training and standards, Education, Economic and commerce

Understanding the Information Needs of Young First Time Mothers from Areas of Multiple Deprivation

Steven Buchanan (Participant), Ian Ruthven (Participant)

Impact: Impact - for External PortalHealth and welfare - new products, guidelines and services, Professional practice, training and standards