Meet Professor Fiona Black

Faculty spotlight

Meet Professor Fiona Black

Fiona Black 214 by 210

I always do my best to spark a conversation among my students. My priority is to get them to offer their insights and to raise questions.

The information professionals shall inherit the earth

“Warm and good-humoured. Flexible. Inclusive and accessible. Dedicated, tireless and supportive…” – just a few of the terms students use to describe the teaching style of professor Fiona Black.

The reason for the feedback is probably two-fold, says Fiona.

“First,” she says, “I approach teaching always with the aim of talking with my students, rather than at them. I always do my best to spark a conversation among my students. My priority is to get them to offer their insights and also to raise questions.”

Real world experience

Second, says Fiona, she also brings the real world experience gained from working within libraries on both sides of the Atlantic for more than a decade.    

“Working as a reference librarian often meant delivering information management consulting services to a diverse range of public and private sector clients.

“This gave me a great deal of insight into peoples’ different jobs – particularly with regard to how they were struggling with the many and varied information-related problems within their organizations,” she says.

Fiona’s passion for information management began in the seventies, when – Bachelor of Education in hand–she started work for the National Library of Scotland.

She stayed within the library system for more than a decade, earning her Master of Library and Information Studies degree along the way from Dalhousie (she also teaches in this program) and her doctorate from the Department of Information Science at Loughborough University, in the UK.  

In the 1990s, Fiona moved into academia, as an international scholar, at the University of South Florida, teaching several graduate classes entirely online. In 2001, she joined the faculty at our School of Information Management.


Recognized as one of the world’s leading innovators in research methods relating to digital humanities, Fiona regularly addresses professional audiences across North America and Europe; her research is published in leading international journals.

Fiona is heavily involved with the international Society for the History of Authorship, Reading and Publishing and also the Association for Library and Information Science Education, among many other past and present industry roles.

External Recognition

Fiona’s dedication was formally recognized in 2006, when she was awarded an Honorary Fellowship in the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals, and is one of only three Canadians to win this award since it was established in 1896.

So why the interest in information management?

Explains Fiona: “From Enron to oil disasters, most of the high profile disasters that have occurred across both the private and public sectors during the past decade and beyond really can be directly attributed to one cause – that being the flow of information. Specifically, who knew what and when? How reliable was the information? And did they have capacity and the will to make ethically sound decisions based on the information?

“That’s at the heart of what information management is. Nowadays, the role is so crucial to an organization’s success that, if we take that as the basis for information management, then information professionals should, in fact, soon start to take over the world.”