Professor Tom Wilson

BSc (Econ) (London), PhD (Sheffield), Hon. PhD (Gothenburg), Hon. PhD (Murcia), FCLIP

Information School

Professor Emeritus

Full contact details

Professor Tom Wilson
Information School
Regent Court (IS)
211 Portobello
S1 4DP

I came to Sheffield in 1972 as Principal Investigator for a project on library cooperation funded by the Department of Education and Science, and in late 1973 was appointed to the post of Lecturer to teach on the new MA in Information Studies (Social Sciences). In 1982 I became Head of Department, a post I held until 1997.

I have long been interested in scholarly communication and professional journalism and, early in my career, was Assistant Editor of the Assistant Librarian. I founded the journal Social Science Information Studies in 1980, which I edited until 1985, when it was superceced by the International Journal of Information Management, which I continued to edit until 1987.

While Head of Department, I turned a departmental newsletter, Information Research News, into one of the first Web-based electronic journals, Information Research, which I continue to edit and publish. It is now the leading open access journal in the field and one of the highest ranked journals in information science.

In 2005, I was awarded a Filosofie Hedersdoktor (Honorary Ph.D.) of the University of Gothenburg, in recognition of my work in helping to develop library and information research in Sweden, and especially for my work for the Swedish School of Library and Information Science. In 2010 I was awarded the degree of Doctor Honoris Causa by the University of Murcia, Spain, for my lifetime contributions to information science.

I became an Honorary Fellow of the Institute of Information Scientists in 1993 and was awarded the ALISE Award for Professional Contribution to Library and Information Education in 2000 - the first and, so far, the only non-US academic to receive this honour.

Research interests

Between 1972 and my retirement in 2000 I carried out research in a variety of areas including information seeking behaviour, information management, business information and technology applications in business and industry. Since retiring I continued my research as Associate Director of the AIMTech research group at Leeds University Business School, where I am still Visiting Professor. I was also Professor Catedratico Convidado in the Faculty of Engineering, University of Porto, Portugal for 12 years, supervising student research projects and teaching in the area of information management.

From 1998 I have also been Senior Professor at the Swedish iSchool at the University of Borås where I have been a participant in the EU digital library research programmes, SHAMAN and PERICLES, and from 2013 to 2017, a research project on the e-book in a ‘small language’ culture, supported by the Vetenskapsrådet (Swedish Research Council).

Most recently (2017-2018), I am also a participant in a two-year, Lithuanian research project on the relationship between digital reading, social inclusion and digital inequality.

Professional activities and memberships

I have always played an active role in professional affairs, serving on bodies such as:

  • Cataloguing Rules Committee,
  • Library Association;
  • British Standards Instition
  • Technical Committee OC/20/4 - UDC;
  • British Library R & D Department,
  • Social Welfare Advisory Group;
  • Sheffield Libraries' Coordinating Committee (Acting Chairman, 1982-88);
  • Aslib Council;
  • British-American Joint Committee on Large-Scale Data Resources for the Social Sciences;
  • Research Resources and Methods Committee and the Human Behaviour and Development Committee Economic and Social Research Council;
  • Advisory Committee for the British Library Bibliographical Services Division;
  • Board of the Society for Information Management;
  • European Association for Library and Information Education and Research (founder and Board member);
  • Heads of Departments and Schools Committee of British Association for Information and Library Education and Research;
  • DfE/BLRDD Committee for the Award of Research Studentships;
  • RAE Panel for Librarianship and Information Management;
  • Humanities Research Board, Librarianship and Information Science Panel;
  • Senior Scholar KALIPER Curriculum Research Project, Association for Library and Information Science Education.