Faculty Spotlight Q&A with Iulian Vamanu

What are you working on right now?

I am working on two projects: one deals with cases of misleading visualizations produced and circulated in the U.S. media during the COVID-19 pandemic, while the other looks at ways in which public librarianship can help with fostering patrons’ science curiosity, one epistemic virtue that enables people to become more competent at evaluating information accuracy.

What are you excited about in your research?

Since I started working on my dissertation back in 2008, I have been excited to study how information professionals shape the public understanding of heritage. In particular, I have tried to understand how Indigenous curators and artists use the affordances of new media technologies to respond to what they perceive as a vulnerable status of the traditional knowledges of their communities. I am also curious about information experience, especially about the ways in which people use and make sense of various types of information (including bodily information) when engaging in pleasurable and/or profound activities, such as reading books, dancing, or listening to music. Finally, I am intrigued by the post-truth climate in which we live and have tried to articulate ways in which library and information scholars, instructors, and professionals can help people become more critical about the information they encounter and assist future information professionals in making more nuanced ethical decisions, particularly in situations involving new information technologies.

Tell us about what classes you will be teaching in the summer/fall?

In the fall I'll be teaching two courses. In Information and Inquiry we delve into three inter-related areas of interest --information search and discovery, reference interviewing, and research literacy-- and look closely at the current post-truth climate to find ways in which we can help library users become critical information consumers. In Information Policy and Ethics we cover issues that arise when people need, acquire, produce, use, store, distribute, or destroy information, e.g., equality, privacy, intellectual freedom, intellectual property, and so on. To train our moral imagination and understand better some of the implications of the use of information technologies in organizations and everyday life, we also read a few relevant speculative short stories.