Dr. Ciaran B. Trace, Associate Professor, School of Information

Education

Research Agenda

I’m interested in studying what constitutes a literate society and the role that people play in creating and sustaining literate environments. Using a variety of methods (historical, qualitative, quantitative, and experimental) I study the nature of information objects, the history of information institutions and information work, the use and deployment of information in everyday and in professional settings, and the impact of information on the daily lives of individuals and of members of social groups. My work is shaped by a particular interest in the study of written records, those information objects that are the byproducts of personal and organizational action, and that subsequently serve as a form of data or as evidence for scholarly research. Spanning the period from the Progressive Era to modern times, my research has illuminated the information worlds of disparate communities, including Southern state archival agencies, 4-H clubs, and humanities scholars. As part of this study of information, my research investigates four main research questions:

  • What are the theoretical and conceptual foundations of information and information work?

  • What is the nature, meaning, and function of information in everyday life?

  • How does materiality mediate the relationship between people and information objects?

  • What is the role of information institutions and information work in society (past and present)?

Professional Activities

I am currently serving as Editor of Information & Culture: A Journal of History.

Menu

  • Contact Information:
  • The University of Texas at Austin
    School of Information
    1616 Guadalupe Suite #5.202
    Austin, TX 78701-1213

    (512) 232-3508

    cbtrace[at]austin.utexas.edu