Sheila Webber

BA (Kent at Canterbury), Dip Lib (London Metropolitan University), FCLIP, FHEA

Information School

Senior Lecturer

Sheila Webber
Profile picture of Sheila Webber
+44 114 222 2641

Full contact details

Sheila Webber
Information School
Room C236
The Wave
2 Whitham Road
S10 2AH

My key areas for research and teaching are information literacy (IL) and information behaviour (IB). My career started with post in the Health and Safety Executive, followed by 13 years at the UK’s national library, the British Library (BL). Starting with the BL’s pioneering online service, BLAISE, I proceeded to become manager of BLAISE Online Services, and my final job there was Head of the BL’s Business Information Service.

In 1992 I joined the Information Science department at Strathclyde University, Scotland, as a lecturer. Achievements included leading a funded project investigating small business’ use of information, and creating Business Information Sources on the Internet in 1994. In the late 1990s my focus shifted to information literacy, an interest which developed further after joining the Information School at Sheffield in 2000.

As well as teaching, researching and publishing in this field, I maintain the popular Information Literacy Weblog. In 2015 I was recipient of the Jason Farradane Award for services to Information Science and in 2017 I was awarded an Honorary Fellowship by CILIP: the Chartered Institute of Library and Information professionals.

University Responsibilities

  • Head of the Libraries and Information Society Research Group.
  • Director, Centre for Information Literacy Research.
  • Coordinator of Library and Information Services Management programmes (MA/PG Diploma/PG Certificate)
  • Module Coordinator: Information Literacy modules (INF6350; INF6553)
Research interests

My primary research interest is investigating information literacy and information behaviour in context. Contexts include different disciplines, different countries and cultures, different lifestages, and in the context of both physical and virtual environments. Examples include information behaviour in virtual worlds and in computer gaming, and information literacy of older people.

To do this, I favour qualitative methods, particularly phenomenography, case study approach and autoethnography. I think it is important to connect research and teaching, by engaging students as researchers and bringing research into the physical or virtual classroom. I also think it is important to make a connection between research and practice, and this is part of the mission of the Centre for Information Literacy Research which I direct.

I have been an invited keynote at doctoral forums and have run practitioner workshops on research methods (for example at the European Conference on Information Literacy, 2018). I was a member of the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) Peer Review College 2010-2017. I have been external examiner for doctoral theses at Edinburgh University, Napier University, Aberystwyth University, Warwick University, Northumbria University, Loughborough University, Strathclyde University, the University of Middlesex, and Queensland University of Technology (Australia).

I am interested in supervising PhDs in any aspects of information literacy and information behaviour, and the use of technology (e.g. virtual worlds, computer gaming) in learning.

I am head of the Libraries and Information Society Research Group.


Journal articles


Conference proceedings papers

  • Batool SH & Webber SA (2017) Conceptions of school libraries and the role of school librarians: findings from case studies of primary schools in Lahore. Information Research: an international electronic journal, Vol. 1(22), 27 June 2016 - 29 June 2016. View this article in WRRO RIS download Bibtex download
  • webber S, clough P & Bonne MA (2016) An exploratory study into the usability of online maths games. Proceedings of the European Conference on Games-based Learning RIS download Bibtex download
  • Nazari M & Webber S (2008) Conceptions Of Geospatial Information In Online Distance Learning Gis Programs.. e-Learning (pp 161-168) RIS download Bibtex download
  • Webber S (1998) The global electronic information industry: Squeezing out the middle ground?. Proceedings of the ASIS Annual Meeting, Vol. 35 (pp 179-189) RIS download Bibtex download
  • Webber S (1998) The global electronic information industry: Squeezing out the middle ground?. Proceedings of the 61st Annual Meeting of the American Society for Information Science, Vol 35, 1998, Vol. 35 (pp 179-189) RIS download Bibtex download