Luanne Sinnamon

I am an Associate Professor at the UBC iSchool and served as Director from 2015-2020. I hold a PhD from the Faculty of Information at the University of Toronto, an MLS degree from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, an MA (Russian history) from Carleton University, and a BA from the University of Toronto. I teach courses on information retrieval, information services and open data.

My research is primarily focused on the human-centred aspect of information retrieval and the ways in which people interact with and make sense of digital information. I am a partner in the Designing for People research cluster at UBC and lead the Digital Information Interaction Group (DiiG) at the iSchool. I have served as the principal investigator on several SSHRC, NSERC and locally funded research projects, and have published extensively in the areas of interactive information retrieval, open data and information access. I served as Associate Editor of Information Processing & Management (2017-2019) and was General Chair of the ASIS&T 2018 Annual Meeting and Co-Chair of ACM CHIIR 2020.

  • Human information interaction and information retrieval
  • Digital reading, information seeking and learning
  • Contextual and task-based approaches to information access
  • Digital document genres

Select Publications

(2021) Sinnamon, L., Tamim, L., Dodson, S. & O’Brien, H.L. Rethinking interest in studies of interactive information retrieval. Conference on Human Information Interaction and Retrieval (CHIIR 2021).

(2020)  Barnes, L., Freund, L., Giustini, D. The information needs of Canadian midwives and their evidence informed practices. Evidence Based Library and Information Practice, 15(2) 3-23. Available here:

(2019) Paige, B. & Freund, L. A case study of New England open data portals. JeDEM – eJournal of eDemocracy and Open Government, 11(1), 59-80. Available here:

(2020) Zhu, Julia & Freund, L. Exploring open data initiatives in higher education, iConference 2020, Gothenburg, Sweden, March 22-27, 2020.

(2018)  Dodson, S., Freund, L. & Kopak, R. The role of pre-existing Highlights in reader-text interactions and outcomes. Joint Conference on Digital Libraries (JCDL, 2018), Fort Worth, TX, June 3-7, 2018.

(2017)  Dodson, S., Freund, L. & Kopak, R. Do highlights affect comprehension? Lessons from a user study. Conference on Human Information Interaction and Retrieval (CHIIR, 2017), Oslo, Norway.

(2016)   Freund, L. & Toms, E.G. Interacting with archival finding aids. Journal of the American Society of Information Science and Technology. 67(4), 994-1008.

(2016)  Freund, L., Hawkins, B., Saewyc, E. Reflections on the use of participatory mapping to study everyday health information seeking by LGBTQ youth. 79th Annual Meeting of the Association for Information Science & Technology (ASIS&T 2016),  Copenhagen, Denmark.

(2016)    Freund, L., Kopak, R. & O’Brien, H.L. The effects of textual environment on reading comprehension: implications for searching as learning. The Journal of Information Science, 42(1), 79-93.

(2016) Freund, L., Dodson, S. & Kopak, R. (2016). On measuring learning in search: a position paper. Search as Learning Workshop, 39th Annual International ACM SIGIR Conference (SIGIR 2016), Pisa, Italy.

(2016) O’Brien, H.L., Freund, L. & Kopak, R. (2016). Investigating the role of user engagement in digital reading environments. Conference on Human Information Interaction and Retrieval (CHIIR 2016), New York, N.Y. ACM.

(2015)   Freund, L.  Contextualizing the Information Seeking Behaviour of Software Engineers. Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology. 66(8), 1594-1605.

(2015) Swamiraj, M. & Freund, L. Facilitating the discovery of open government datasets through an exploratory data search interface. Open Data Research Symposium, Ottawa, May 27, 2015. (17 pages; full review) (40% contribution; co-author is graduate student). Available here:

(2015) Steichen, B. & Freund, L. Supporting the modern polyglot: a comparison of multilingual search interfaces. CHI ’15 – Proceedings of the 33rd Annual ACM Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, 3483-3492.

(2014)  Wildemuth, B.W., Freund, L. & Toms, E.G. Untangling search task complexity and difficulty in the context of interactive information retrieval studies.  Journal of Documentation.  70(6), 1118 – 1140.

(2014)  O’Brien, H.L., Freund, L. & Westman, S. What motivates the online news browser?  News item selection in a social information seeking scenario. Information Research. 19(3). Available here:

Current Courses