Lynn Westbrook

Lynn Westbrook

Associate Professor


Lynn Westbrook's research interests include the following three
areas: information worlds of domestic violence survivors, the nature
and quality of digital reference transactions, and the role of mental
models in reference work. Her work with domestic violence survivors
addresses their affective, cognitive, and behavioral concerns using
the person-in-situation framework. The role of e-government (at both
the local and state levels), the coverage of extended formal
information support infrastructure, and the use of informal support
structures (both in-person and online) are currently under
examination in separate studies. The use of politeness theory and
its application to formality indicators constitutes one aspect of
digital reference research while the structure and content of the
interactions bears a separate focus. The socio-cognitive study of
mental model development and application in information seeking is
her final area of study.

All three research threads intersect at
specific nexus points. For example, a current study indicates that
the mental models of domestic violence survivors develop at varying
rates in response to standardized information frameworks employed at
shelters and post-shelter independence levels might be fostered by
the use of online reference support to support that development
through information problem-solving.


  • BA in Education with English, Theatre, and Speech concentrations, 1979
  • MA in Library Science, University of Chicago, 1982
  • PhD in Information and Library Studies, University of Michigan, 1995

Areas Of Specialization

Online Communities
Women's Information Experience
Individual's Crisis Information
Information Engagement
Social Service Information Contexts

Recent Publications

Ocepek, Melissa and Lynn Westbrook. (2015). Question, Answer, Compare: A Cross-Category Comparison of Answers on Q&A Websites 2015. New Review of Hypermedia and Multimedia. 21 (3/4): np, online publication.

Westbrook, Lynn and Ina Fourie. (2015). A Feminist Information Engagement Framework for Gynecological Cancer Patients: The Case of Cervical Cancer. Journal of Documentation. 71(4): 752-774.

Westbrook, Lynn. (2015). Addressing Missed Information Opportunities and Victims Information Agency in the Fight Against Sexual Human Trafficking. Proceedings of the 78th ASIS&T Annual Meeting, Information Sciences with Impact: Research in and for the Community. Andrew Grove, Proceedings Editor. Online proceedings, 15 pages.

Westbrook, Lynn and Yan Zhang. (2015). Questioning Strangers about Critical Medical Decisions: What happens if you have sex between the HPV shots? Information Research. 20(2): 1-12.

Westbrook, Lynn. (2015). Im Not A Social Worker: An Information Service Model for Helping Patrons in Crisis. Library Quarterly. 85(1): 6-25.

Westbrook, Lynn. (2015). Guidelines for Mandated Documents: Law Enforcement and Intimate Partner Violence Survivors. Journal of Documentation. 71(1): 25-51.

Westbrook, Lynn. (2015). Intimate Partner Violence Online: Expectations and Agency in Question and Answer Web Sites. Journal of the Association of Information Science and Technology. 66(3): 599-615.

Recent Courses

YearSemesterCourse NumberCourseSyllabus
2018SpringINF 384DCollection Management
2017FallINF 388K.02Academic Libraries
2017FallINF 380CInformation in Social and Cultural Context