Dr Allen Foster


Dr Allen Foster

Reader - DIS

Department of Information Studies

Contact Details


I am currently Reader in Information Science here at Aberystwyth University and I have expertise in the areas of information management and information behaviour and degrees in Social History, Information Management, along with Fellow Higher Education Academy, I have supervised research students with more than 20 students working on MPhil, PhD, DProf over the years and many more at Master’s level in a variety of related areas with aspects of information, communication access, behaviour and technology,  serendipity, institutional repositories, technological adoption, health and justice systems and knowledge management.  

My contributions to the university and academic life have spanned management and advisory functions and in no particular order include Senior Tutor, Investigative Officer, Chairing Degree Viva Voce Examinations, Head of Department, Director of Postgraduate Studies, PGR Coordinator, Deputy Dean of Social Science, Senate Member and Representative, Online Coordinator, Steering Groups memberships, External examiner roles for research and taught degrees at various universities.  Other external activities include Joint Editor in Chief for the Journal of Information Science, Editorial Board Member for ASLIB: Journal of Information Management, has also included Editorial Board for The Electronic Library and also advisory boards such as the Chilean  Comite Cientifico, Revista Ciencias De La Documentation and research funding panels including AHRC as panellist and then as AHRC member of the Peer Review College, reviewer for HEA, and member of advisory groups and consultancy for libraries and associated committees, International and UK Conference Committee memberships and reviewing, and peer reviewer for a number of journals in the field of information science, information studies and associated areas.  In the world beyond academia experience as an Organist (somewhat out of practice), experience in commercial and charity roles including Administration Controller, Office Manager, Legal Executive, General Manager in an Arts and Education setting, along with experience of positions such as Chair of Board, Director, Computer Officer, Researcher, Consultant with each role bringing with it new perspectives and experience that is useful in academic teaching and research across core areas of the curriculum and in supervisory roles with research students. Finally I like to stay fresh with CPD and have included everything from difficult conversations and voice projection through to suicide awareness and related trauma awareness, along with fun things like game design and simple scripting using Unity.  If it is interesting to me then I will -  time permitting - in all probability say yes whether it is delivering a CPD based conference paper, a workshop, advisory or editorial role, or examining a thesis.  


Areas of interest include Human Information Behaviour, Information Needs, Information Seeking and Searching Behaviour, Serendipity, Interdisciplinarity, Information Literacy and Information Skills, Knowledge Management, Technology and Communication, Mediated Communication, Information Problems, Service development and User Experience modelling.  

With an interdisciplinary background and wide knowledge of research methods, modelling and theory I may be able to help with a project, a PhD, or other research endeavour.  Always happy to talk about ideas and help develop topics.



Coordinator for Postgraduate Research Student and Postgraduate Research Student Admissions 

Personal Tutor and Higher Degree Supervisor

Investigative Officer, Registry

Module Coordinator


Foster, A, Bishop, JE & Goode, MMH 2022, The Role of Ecological Cognition for Supporting Webometrics: Towards “Serendipity Engineering for Seductive Hypermedia” and “User Analysis Using Socialnomics”. in R Pettinger, BB Gupta, A Roja & D Cozmiuc (eds), Handbook of Research on Digital Transformation Management and Tools. 1 edn, vol. A volume in the Advances in Logistics, Operations, and Management Science (ALOMS) , IGI Global, Hershey PA, USA 17033, pp. 117-143. 10.4018/978-1-7998-9764-4.ch006
Ellis, D, Foster, A & Shehata, AMK 2017, 'Changing styles of informal academic communication in the age of the web: Orthodox, moderate and heterodox responses', Journal of Documentation, vol. 73, no. 5, pp. 825-842. 10.1108/JD-06-2016-0083
Foster, A & Rafferty, P (eds) 2016, Managing Digital Cultural Objects: Analysis, discovery and retrieval. Facet Publishing, London.
Al-Wreikat, A, Rafferty, P & Foster, A 2015, 'Cross-language information seeking behaviour English Vs Arabic', Library Review, vol. 64, no. 6-7, pp. 446-467. 10.1108/LR-04-2015-0044
Mawby, J, Foster, A & Ellis, D 2015, 'Everyday life information seeking behaviour in relation to the environment: disposable information?', Library Review, vol. 64, no. 6-7, pp. 468-479. 10.1108/LR-10-2014-0120
More publications on the Research Portal