Research Profile: Sue Alman


Statement of Research Interests and Experience

My research interests are in the areas of interpersonal and organizational communications, online teaching and learning, blockchain technology, and library marketing. I have been involved with distance and online education since the 1990s, and I directed the online MLIS program at the University of Pittsburgh (2001-2012). My most recent research studies have focused on MOOCs, and the social and cognitive presence as factors in learning and student retention and in the Personal Information Management (PIM) of LIS faculty. Currently, I am involved in a project to determine the feasibility of libraries as community anchors using blockchain technology.

Possible PhD Thesis Topic Areas

  • Uses of Blockchain technology in libraries and information centers
  • Effects of interpersonal communications in virtual environments
  • Personal Information Management (PIM) models
  • Impact of marketing and public relations on library funding
  • Issues in online education for the library practitioner and library user

Representative Publications

  • Kearns, Lorna, Barbara A. Frey, Susan W. Alman, and Christinger Tomer (accepted for publication 2013). A Study of Personal Information Management Strategies for Online Faculty. Journal of Asynchronous Learning Networks.
  • Alman, Susan W., Barbara A. Frey, and Christinger Tomer (2012). Social and Cognitive Presence as Factors in Learning and Student Retention: An Investigation of the Cohort Model in an iSchool Setting. Journal of Education for Library and Information Science, volume 53, number 4, 290-302.
  • Tomer, Christinger, and Susan W. Alman “Cloud Computing for LIS Education,” in Getting Started With Cloud Computing: A LITA Guide, Edward M. Corrado and Heather Lea Moulaison, ed. Neal-Schuman Publishers: New York, 2012.
  • Barbara Epstein, Nancy Tannery, Ester Saghafi, Christinger Tomer, Susan W. Alman. Development of a post-masters online certificate in health sciences librarianship. Journal of the Medical Library Association, (Accepted for publication, 2012)
  • Alman, Susan W., Christinger Tomer, Margaret L. Lincoln, ed. Designing Online Learning: A Primer for Librarians, Libraries Unlimited, 2012
  • Alman, Susan W. Crash Course in Marketing for Libraries, Libraries Unlimited, 2007.
  • Alman, Susan W., Anne Steffans, Marva Bryant, “Race-based Financial Aid: An Overview,” in Unfinished Business Race, Equity, and Diversity in Library and Information Science Education, Maurice Wheeler, ed. Scarecrow, 2005.
  • Alman, S.W., & Tomer, Christinger (2004). “Distance Education: The SIS Experience.” In D. Barron (Ed.)  Distance Education in LIS Schools, Libraries Unlimited : Westport, Connecticut.
  • Alman, Susan W., Christinger Tomer, and Barbara A. Frey. Student Satisfaction with the Online MLIS Program at the University of Pittsburgh,” Journal of Education for Library and Information Science, 45:2 (Spring 2004), pp 82-97.
  • Frey, Barbara A., and Susan W. Alman. (2004). Applying Adult Learning Theory to the Online Classroom, New Horizons in Adult Education.
  • Frey, Barbara A., and Susan W. Alman. (2003). Formative Evaluation Through Online Focus Groups, in Developing Faculty to use Technology, David G. Brown (ed.), Anker Publishing Company: Bolton, MA.

Book Chapters

  • Tomer, C., & Alman, S.W. (2012). Cloud computing for LIS education. In E.M. Corrado & H.L. Moulaison (Eds.), Getting Started with Cloud Computing: A LITA Guide (pp. 59–68). New York: Neal-Schuman Publishers.

Peer-Reviewed Articles and Papers

  • Muswazi, P., & Alman, S. (2016). Strategic Planning: International Online Collaboration. International Information & Library Review. Published online 02 Feb 2016.
  • Hirsh, S. et al. (2015). International Perspectives in LIS Education: Global Education, Research, & Collaboration at the SJSU iSchool.JELIS 56 (3) Summer 2015.
  • Adair, D., Alman, S., Budzick, D., Grisham, L., Mancini, M., & Thackaberry, S. (2014). Many Shades of MOOCs. Internet Learning, 3(1), Article 7.
  • Kearns, L., Frey, B., Tomer, C., & Alman, S. (2014). A study of personal information management strategies for online faculty. Online Learning Journal, 18(1).
  • Distance Education in LIS Schools (215-231). Westport, CT: Libraries Unlimited.


  • Alman, S.W.& Jumba, J. (2017). Everything You Want to Know About MOOCs. Westport, CT: Libraries Unlimited.
  • Alman, S.W. (editor) (2017). School Librarianship: Past, Present, and Future. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield
  • Alman, S.W., & Swanson, S.G. (2015). Crash Course in Marketing for Libraries. 2d ed. Santa Barbara, CA: Libraries Unlimited.
  • Alman, S.W., Tomer, C., & Lincoln, M.L. (2012). Designing Online Learning: A Primer for Librarians.Westport, CT: Libraries Unlimited.

Professional Memberships and Related Matters

I have been involved in the Online Learning Consortium, American Library Association, ALISE and ASIS&T throughout my career, and am an alumna of the Institute for Emerging Leadership in Online Learning. Below is a selected list of presentations:

  • Impacts and Satisfaction of Student Learning Cohorts: Findings of a Comparative Assessment
  • Building Repositories for Digital Learning Objects: Challenges, Issues, and Opportunities
  • Teaching in Paradise: Online Education in Pittsburgh & the Caribbean
  • Pedagogical Pros/Cons of Using New Technologies to Deliver Online Courses
  • A Collaborative Approach to Information Literacy for Non-Traditional Learners
  • Webcasting: A Blended Learning Collaborative with Carnegie Mellon/University of Pittsburgh
  • Reality Check 2001-2006: Ongoing Program Assessment