Beth St. Jean

Beth St. Jean

Beth St. Jean

Associate Professor
Hornbake Building (South Wing), Room 4117-K

Dr. Beth St. Jean is an Associate Professor in the College of Information Studies and an affiliate faculty member of the Horowitz Center for Health Literacy ( at the University of Maryland, College Park. Dr. St. Jean has published more than 20 articles that focus on people’s information behavior (that is, their information needs, seeking, and use), particularly within the consumer health context. These articles have appeared in many of the major journals in the Information Science field over the past decade, including Journal of the Association for Information Science & Technology (JASIS&T), Library Trends, Library & Information Science Research, Journal of Documentation, Information Retrieval Journal, Journal of Information Science, Journal of Information Literacy, First Monday, and Journal of Consumer Health on the Internet. Dr. St. Jean and her colleagues have won several research awards, including the 2015 Association for Library & Information Science Education (ALISE)/Library Media Connection (LMC) Paper Award, the 2014 Beta Phi Mu/Library Research Round Table Research Paper Award, the 2013 ALISE/ProQuest Methodology Paper Award, and the American Society for Information Science & Technology (ASIS&T) 2010 Best Paper Award. Currently, Dr. St. Jean and Dr. Ursula Gorham are co-authoring a textbook on information behavior for undergraduates enrolled in Information Science-related programs.

Since joining Maryland’s iSchool in 2012, Dr. St. Jean has taught several undergraduate and graduate level courses related to information behavior and research methods, including the BSIS course “Information User Needs and Assessment” (INST 352), the MLIS course “Serving Information Needs” (LBSC 602), and two graduate-level cross-disciplinary Information Studies courses, “Introduction to Research Methods” (INST 701) and “Consumer Health Informatics” (INST 728K), which are open to MLIS, MIM, HCIM, and PhD students. The latter course focuses on the intersection of consumer health informatics and information behavior (i.e., consumer health information behavior), as well as the important and interrelated topic of health justice. Dr. St. Jean is currently developing a new undergraduate course in Consumer Health Informatics.


Dr. St. Jean's research aims to improve people's long-term health outlooks by exploring the important interrelationships between their health-related information behaviors, their health literacy, their health-related self-efficacy, and their health behaviors. She has worked with both adults and children over the past several years. Working with her colleague, Mega Subramaniam, Beth co-developed the NLM-funded HackHealth after-school program ( to help improve disadvantaged middle school students’ health-related self-efficacy and their digital health literacy skills. Beth’s most current research focuses on the concept of health justice, particularly aiming to identify the information-related causes of, and potential solutions to, health disparities.

Current Research Interests

  • Consumer Health Information Behavior
  • Health Disparities
  • Health Justice
  • Digital Health Literacy
  • Consumer’s Credibility Assessment of Online Health Information


  • Ph.D., Information, University of Michigan School of Information
  • MS, Information (Library & Information Services), University of Michigan School of Information
  • BA, Mathematics, Smith College


  • ASIS&T (Association for Information Science & Technology) SIG-USE (Special Interest Group on Information Needs, Seeking, and Use) Innovation Award, 2017
  • ACM (Association for Computing Machinery) SIGCHI (Special Interest Group on Computer-Human Interaction) Excellent Reviewer Recognition, 2017
  • ALISE (Association for Library and Information Science Education)/LMC (Library Media Connection) Paper Award, 2015
  • Beta Phi Mu/LRRT (Library Research Round Table) Research Paper Award, 2014
  • iConference Exceptional Reviewer Award, 2014
  • ALISE/ProQuest Methodology Paper Award, 2013
  • Winner of the ALISE/Jean Tague-Sutcliffe Doctoral Student Research Poster Competition, 2011
  • Rackham Graduate School Predoctoral Fellowship, 2010-2011
  • ASIS&T Best Paper Award, 2010
  • Gary M. Olson Outstanding Ph.D. Student Award, 2008-2009