Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin - Institut für Bibliotheks- und Informations­wissen­schaft

Charting the Future of Forced Migration Research in Information Science

International Workshop in Washington, DC United States 

March 31, 2019


>>>> Agenda <<<<


The workshop will take place during the iConference 2019 at the University of Maryland College of Information Studies and will address pressing issues in forced migration research from an information perspective. It will bring together researchers in information science and related disciplines to illuminate two trends in forced migration research: information spaces and environments of refugees, and refugees’ experience in digital environments and how it impacts their resettlement process. 


Description & Goals

Information as a research object in the area of forced migration and vice versa, forced migration in the information science domain, is only slowly gaining attention and has not yet been addressed in an interdisciplinary research environment. Information science provides a perfect lens through which to examine a range of forced migration-related issues, practices, and methodologies. In the workshop, contributors and attendees will be able to tackle some of the following research questions:

  • How can the information practices, spaces and environments of refugees be better defined and understood?
  • How can information practices of refugees, and of the service providers that work with them, be steered to support the inclusion process?
  • How do refugees deal with the disruption of knowledge during transitions?
  • How can refugees’ information needs be better supported? And by whom?
  • What role do information institutions and information professionals play in the forced migration context? What can they do more of, or better? Is a new framework necessary?

Throughout the workshop, attendees will be able to examine these research questions, focusing on one of the two following themes: 

  • Information spaces of refugees
    • navigating the information environments in new and/or transitional countries
    • operational knowledge about information practices in different contexts 
    • making space for refugees 
    • evolving services provided by (public) libraries and other information professionnals in the context of forced migration
  • Digitally-mediated environments of refugees
    • information-related skills and strategies that facilitate access to information
    • the role of social media and online spaces as sources of information and in creating and regaining a sense of place
    • role and/or importance of access to ICT for refugees
    • credibility and assessment issues; multilingual interactions; user-generated content.


Call for Contributions

In this workshop, we seek to bring together researchers from the information fields broadly construed, along with researchers in related disciplines to showcase the range of areas, practices and methodologies available to research forced migration. The aim is to introduce our information science colleagues to research in related disciplines, as well as acculturate our colleagues from other disciplines into the rich research context and frameworks in information science.  

The workshop will feature a panel, lightning talks and various engagement sessions. A Special Issue featuring some of the Workshop contributions will also be produced following the event. 

Abstract Submission  

The workshop welcomes submissions for presenting a lightning talk of 15 minutes in one of the main themes of the workshop: Information spaces of refugees and digitally-mediated environments for refugees. Each lightning talk session will be followed by an interactive engagement with  the audience led by the speaker. When submitting an abstract for a talk, please state your plan for an interactive session that encourages audience commentary and engagement. Please plan for no more than 30 minutes. Your submission should include the following things:  

  • abstract of your lightning talk with up to 300 words
  • short description of your audience engagement idea with no more than 200 words 

Please send your submission to

Important Dates 

  • Abstract submission deadline: Jan 31th, 2019
  • Notification of acceptance: notifications sent out



You can also find the call for contributions here.


Knowledge Dissemination – Special Issue of IJIDI

In addition to the Workshop, we will also produce a Special Issue in the International Journal for Information, Diversity and Inclusion (IJIDI) on the theme of the future of forced migration in information science. We welcome full research papers that make a novel contribution to this area of research (e.g., empirical, theory-based, methodological, comparative), and we seek a broad spectrum of submissions from workshop attendees as well as those who are not able to attend the workshop. The Special Issue will also have a special section for student work, works in progress, opinion pieces, and professional reports.  

Deadlines for the Special Issue of IJIDI: Extended abstracts of up to 1,000 words for full research papers and up to 500 words for contributions to the special section are due by April 30, 2019. Authors will be notified of acceptance by May 30, 2019. The final papers will be due by October 15, 2019. Publication scheduled for the April 2020 issue.   


You can find more information about the call for submissions here.





full-day event



Dr. Juliane Stiller, Berlin School of Library and Information Science, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Germany

Dr. Nadia Caidi, Faculty of Information, University Toronto, Canada

Dr. Violeta Trkulja, Berlin School of Library and Information Science, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Germany

Dr. Syed Ishtiaque Ahmed, Computer Science, University of Toronto, Canada