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
The Wave
2 Whitham Road
S10 2AH

I came to Sheffield, from Newcastle upon Tyne Polytechnic in 1972 as Principal
Investigator for a project on library cooperation funded by the Department of
Education and Science, having just returned from spending a year teaching at the
University of Maryland. 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. These were difficult years, with financial
problems for all universities, introduced by the Thatcher regime, but we survived by
diversifying. Through collaboration with other departments we introduced new
master’s degrees in information systems, health informatics, and undergraduate
programmes. Without that diversification we would not have survived.
I have long been interested in scholarly communication and professional journalism
and, early in my career, was Assistant Editor of the Assistant Librarian. Together
with Norman Roberts I founded the journal Social Science Information Studies in
1980, which I edited until 1985, when it was superseded by the International Journal
of Information Management, which I continued to edit until 1987. Several other
journals on information management were produced at about the same time, but I
believe that the Journal of Information Management is the only one to continue to
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 continued to publish until I gave the journal to the University of
Borås in 2017. I continued to edit the journal until July 2024. It is now the leading
open access journal in the field and one of the highest ranked journals in information
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 at the University of Borås. 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. I received the Award of Merit of the Association for Information
Science and Technology in 2017 and the Jason Farradane Award in 2020.

Research interests

Since my retirement from Sheffield in 2000 I have continued to teach and research,
part-time, in a number of institutions. At the University of Leeds Business School, as
Visiting Professor, I participated with the Aimtech Research Group in a number of
projects relating to the police use of technology, and jointly supervised several PhD
students. In the Faculty of Engineering, University of Porto, as Profesor Catedratico
Convidado, I helped to introduce a course in information management and taught on
it for about 12 years. At the University of Borås in Sweden, ultimately as Senior
Professor, travelling there two or three times a year, I have participated in a number
of research projects, most notably the EURYDICE, SHAMAN and PERICLES
projects supported by the European Union and the “The case of the e-book in a

"small language" culture” project funded by the Vetenskapsrådet (the Swedish
Research Council). I have also collaborated on projects with colleagues at Vilnius
University, Lithuania.
Recent publications include:
Bergström, A., Höglund, L., Maceviciute, E., Nilsson, S.K., Wallin, B., & Wilson, T.D.
(2017). Books on screens: players in the Swedish e-books market. Gothenburg:
Maceviciute, E., Wilson, T.D., & Manžuch, Z. (2019). Assessing the graphic
questionnaire used in digital literacy training. Issues in Informing Science and
Information Technology, 16, 113-126. 
Wilson, T.D. and Maceviciute, E. (2019). Overcoming the digital divide through the
promotion of digital reading. Qualitative and Quantitative Methods in Libraries, 7(2),
Wilson, T.D. (2020). The transfer of theories and models from information behaviour
research into other disciplines. Information Research, 25(3), paper
Riley, F., Allen, D.K., & Wilson, T.D. (2022). When politicians and the experts collide:
organization and the creation of information spheres. Journal of the Association
for Information Science and Technology, 73(8), 1127-
Wilson, T.D. (2022). Exploring information behaviour: an introduction. (1st ed.).
Sheffield, UK: T.D. Wilson.
Wilson, T.D., &  Maceviciute, E. (2022). Information misbehaviour: modelling the
motivations for the creation, acceptance and dissemination of
misinformation, Journal of Documentation, 78(7), 485-505.
Wilson, T.D. (2024). Curiosity and information-seeking behaviour: a review
of psychological research and a comparison with the information science
literature. Journal of Documentation, 80(7), 43-59.
Wilson, T.D. (2024). Approaches to information-seeking behaviour in psychology: a
comparison of early and contemporary studies. Information Research, 29(1), 34–53.

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.