Dr Sophie Rutter

BA (SOAS, London), MSc (Sheffield), PhD (Sheffield), SFHEA

Information School

Lecturer in Information Management

Sophie Rutter
Sophie Rutter

+44 114 222 2659

Full contact details

Dr Sophie Rutter
Information School
Regent Court (IS)
211 Portobello
S1 4DP

I joined the Information School at Sheffield as a Lecturer in Information Management in March 2019. I am currently researching the importance organisations and employees attach to hand hygiene in the workplace, and the use of Internet of Things smart sanitisers in the office environment. Previously as a research fellow in communication design at the University of Leeds (2018-2019), I worked with children on a co-design project to transform school toilets and motivate hand hygiene.

My PhD (Sheffield, 2017) focused on children’s use of search technologies and the influence of the school environment.  

Prior to academia, I worked in industry for several years as the web and communications manager for the Port of London Authority (2001-2006), a project manager for Futura Interactive (2000-2001), and as an online publication coordinator for Donovan Data Systems (1993-1999).

University Responsibilities

  • PGT Ethics Coordinator
  • Module Coordinator INF6060 Information Retrieval: Search Engines and Digital Libraries
  • iLab promotion
Research interests

I am a principal investigator on a smart sanitisation project funded by Innovate UK.  The project, conducted in collaboration with the University of Leeds and Savortex (an SME specialising in hand hygiene technology), will develop and evaluate a smart IoT (Internet of Things) hand sanitiser. This innovative technology will be able to monitor sanitiser use in real-time and send reminders to staff to sanitise their hands, and can connect into a building's SMART operating system. At Sheffield we

  • aim to understand the importance organisations, and their employees, attach to hand hygiene in the workplace setting 
  • investigate how people feel about the use of SMART systems and the sharing of personal data in their workplace
  • analyse the effectiveness of the SMART hand sanitisers in promoting hand hygiene.

I am also interested in how the environment influences the way people interact with information, what techniques people use to search for information, and how information use can be evaluated in different environments. My research so far has been broadly focused on school children, workplace settings, search interfaces and health communication.

I am interested in supervising PhD projects in the following areas

  • Application and evaluation of Internet of Things in context(s)
  • Human Machine Interface (HMI) studies
  • Hand hygiene and more broadly health communication
  • Information seeking behaviour of children and other user groups
  • Human Computer Interaction (HCI) studies conducted in the i-lab (https://www.sheffield.ac.uk/is/research/facilities)

Journal articles

Conference proceedings papers


  • Pinfield S, Cox A & Rutter S (2017) Mapping the future of academic libraries: A report for SCONUL View this article in WRRO RIS download Bibtex download
  • Birdi B, Pinfield S, Wakeling S & Rutter S (2015) Investigating interlending: a scoping study of resource discovery, sharing and cooperation View this article in WRRO RIS download Bibtex download
Research group

I am a member of the Information Retrieval research group.

Current PhD students

Fahad ALenezi

Current Postdoctoral researchers

Dr Andrew Madden


Innovate UK

Innovate UK

Principal Investigator


1 Dec 2020

15 months

 Awarded £109,060 from Innovate UK as part of a £570,562 funded project in collaboration with Savortex (SME) and University of Leeds. The project is to develop and evaluate a smart (IoT) hand sanitiser system for use in the office environment.

Teaching activities

I am a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy. I teach information retrieval (INF6060), public and youth library services (INF6031 / 6531), HCI (INF6430) and dissertation research methods (INF6340, INF6000).

Professional activities

Membership of professional bodies

  • Senior Fellow of the HEA

Editorial board membership

  • Pakistan Journal of Information Management & Libraries

Journal and conference reviewing

  • CHI (Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems)
  • Health care
  • Environmental Health Insights
  • iFutures
  • International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
  • Journal of Information Management
  • Library and Information Research
  • Online Information Review
  • Pakistan Journal of Information Management & Libraries

Invited presentations

  • Rutter, S. (2021). Communicating and evaluating health messages during a pandemic. Keynote. Information Science Trends - ASIS&T European Chapter Series.