I study the ways in which museums and libraries impact society through information provision and access. My research area is Museum Informatics: the apex of museums, information, people, and technology. I work with museums and their communities to understand their role in creating a more just society.

Current Research:

Coleman, L.-E., & Phillips, A. (2016) Understanding Empathy in the Profession: A Comparative Study of American Museum Professionals and American Librarians.

Description of Research Study:
In response to the growing demand for socially relevant and empathy-driven services in American museums and libraries, the researchers are conducting a large-scale mixed methods study of practitioner perceptions and applications of “empathy” in the workplace. Without empathy, it is challenging to determine the types of services and programming that meet changing community needs. In recent years, empathy has been investigated within the context of community public libraries. These studies have looked at how librarians provide empathy and how they have (or have not) been trained to do so within professional boundaries. While there is still much work to be done regarding the professional development of empathetic librarians, great strides have been made within the past decade to ensure that libraries and librarians are more attentive to their changing communities and patrons. In this exploratory research, the researchers examine practitioner perceptions of empathy across museums and libraries, studying the similarities and differences between librarians and museum professionals in an attempt to understand how we, as professionals, can become more empathetic.

Empathy in the Profession by RsmColeman on Scribd


Past Research:

Coleman, L-E. (2016). The Socially Inclusive Role of Curatorial Voice: A Qualitative Comparative Study of the Use of Gatekeeping Mechanisms and the Co-Creation of Identity in Museums. Florida State University.

Description of Research Study:
Museums and museum professionals engage in a significant role within society. This dissertation is a qualitative exploratory study of the ways in which museum professionals promote or hinder the social inclusivity of a museum through curatorial voice. Through a series of exhibit evaluations and intensive interviews, the researcher investigated the mechanisms used to craft curatorial voice within museums handling contested subject material. This research seeks to broaden the understanding of curatorial voice, as viewed through the theoretical lenses of gatekeeper theory and co-creation of identity, with the explicit purpose of aiding in the development of professional guidance to help make museums more socially inclusive.

Coleman, L.-E., Moore, P., & Paquet-Kinsley, R. (2014-2015). Museum Professionals and Inclusion: A Study in Practitioner Perception. Florida State University.

Coleman, L.-E. (2015). Curators of Conflict: The Gatekeeping Mechanisms of Curatorial Voice. Florida State University.

Urban, R., Coleman, L.-E., & Marty, P. (2014). LAM at Universities: Convergence in Graduate Education, Florida State University.

Spears, L., Mardis, M., Coleman, L.-E., McClure, C., & Lee, J. (2014). Assessing Information Technology Educational Pathways that Promote Deployment and Use of Rural Broadband. (NSF), Information Institute, Florida State University.