Rebekah (Becky) Willson

Academic title(s): 

Assistant Professor

Rebekah (Becky) Willson
Contact Information
Email address: 
rebekah.willson [at]
  • PhD, School of Information Studies, Charles Sturt University
  • MLIS, School of Library & Information Studies, University of Alberta
  • BA Honors (Psychology), University of Alberta



Dr Rebekah (Becky) Willson is an assistant professor at the School of Information Studies at McGill University (Montréal, Canada). Before coming to McGill, Dr Willson spent three years as a Lecturer in Information Science in the Department of Computer and Information Sciences at the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow, UK. In 2016 she obtained her PhD from Charles Sturt University in Australia. Dr Willson’s research examines the information people need and how they find, share, and use that information. Her research particularly focuses on often forgotten or marginalised individuals who are undergoing transitions and living with uncertainty, including academics working on short-term contracts, early career researchers dealing with COVID-19, and knowledge workers working remotely. 


GLIS 601

GLIS 611

GLIS 615


Graduate supervision: 

Philips Ayeni

Owen Stewart-Robertson

Anne Le-Huu-Pineault


Professional activities: 

Review Editor: Journal of the Association for Information Science and Technology

Past President: Canadian Association for Information Science

Editorial Board Member: Journal of the Association for Information Science and Technology, Canadian Journal of Information and Library Science


Research areas: 
Information interaction
Information literacy
Information behaviour
Evidence-based practice
Current research: 
2021–2023 SSHRC Insight Development Grant: Precarity and information marginalization: Exploring how academic casualization complicates workplace information practices. (Principal Investigator)
2021-2024 NSERC Alliance Grant: Defending our cyberspace: AI-powered search engine for cyber threat intelligence (Co-Investigator)
Selected publications: 

Given, L., Case, D. O., & Willson, R. (2023). Looking for Information: Examining research on how people engage with information (5th ed.). Emerald.

Willson, R. (2022). “Bouncing ideas” as a complex information practice: Information seeking, sharing, creation, and cooperation. Journal of Documentation, 78(4), 800-816. 

Nicol, E., Willson, R., Ruthven, I., Elsweiler, D., & Buchanan, G. (2022). Information intermediaries and information resilience: Working to support marginalised groups. Proceedings of the Association for Information Science and Technology, 59(1), 469-473. Pittsburgh, USA.

Willson, R., Makri, S., McKay, D., & Ayeni, P.* (2022). Precarity and progression during a pandemic. Preliminary findings from a study of early career academics’ information behaviour during COVID-19. In Proceedings of ISIC: the information behaviour conference, Berlin, Germany, 26-29 September, 2022. Information Research, 27(Special issue), isic2225.

Rowley, K. & Willson, R. (2022). Scotland’s public libraries are nothing but practical when it comes to deselection. Library and Information Research. Advance online publication.

Willson, R. & Given, L. M. (2020). “I’m in sheer survival mode”: Information behaviour and affective experiences of early career academics. Library and Information Science Research, 42(2).

Willson, R. (2019). Transitions Theory and liminality in information behaviour research: Applying new theories to examine the transition to early career academic. Journal of Documentation, 75(4), 838-856. 

Willson, R. (2018). “Systemic Managerial Constraints”: How universities influence the information behaviour of HSS early career academics. Journal of Documentation, 74(4), 862-879. 

Given, L. M., & Willson, R. (2018). Information technology and the humanities scholar: Documenting digital research practices. Journal of the Association for Information Science and Technology, 69(6), 807-819. 

Given, L. M., Winkler, D. C., Willson, R., Davidson, C., Danby, S., & Thorpe, K. (2016). Watching young children ‘play’ with information technology: Everyday life information seeking in the home. Library & Information Science Research, 38(4), 344-352. 

Given, L. M., Winkler, D. C., Willson, R., Davidson, C., Danby, S., & Thorpe, K. (2016). Parents as co-researchers at home: Using an observational method to document young children’s use of technology. International Journal of Qualitative Methods, 15(1). 

Given, L. M. & Willson, R. (2015). Collaboration, information seeking, and technology use: A critical examination of humanities scholars’ research practices. In P. Hansen, C. Shah, & K. Claus-Peter (Eds.) Collaborative information seeking: Best practices, new domains and new thoughts (pp. 139-164). New York: Springer-Verlag.  

Back to top