Michael Zarro

I'm a Ph.D. candidate at the Drexel University College of Information Science and Technology.

mike zarro My dissertation research investigates long-term information needs of people self-managing a chronic disease by examining critical incidents that led a patient to look online for health information. This work is intended to help develop models and theory to support exploratory search in the health sciences. My conceptual model draws from information seeking theories and models of chronic disease care. Preliminary results show increasing expertise of patients over time, and a turn towards social media to complement authoritative information resources.

Other projects include investigating taxonomy and ontology visualization, and social curating and collecting activities.

My work is informed by 10+ years industry experience as an Information Architect and Web Developer. I have an MSLIS from Drexel University, and my Ph.D. research has been supported by an IMLS research fellowship.

Publications, etc.

Towards A Conceptual Model of Long-Term Online Health Information Behavior Zarro, M. (2013). Proceedings of HCIR 2013.

Wedding Dresses and Wanted Criminals: Pinterest.com as an Infrastructure for Repository Building. Zarro, M., Hall, C., & Forte, A. (2013). Seventh International AAAI Conference on Weblogs and Social Media (ICWSM 2013).

Exploring Social Curation. Zarro, M., & Hall, C. (2012) D-Lib Magazine 18(11/12). November/December 2012.

Social Curation on the Website Pinterest.com. Hall, C. & Zarro, M. (2012). Proceedings of ASIS&T 75th Annual Meeting (ASIST 2012).

Developing A Dual-Process Information Seeking Model for Exploratory Search. Zarro, M. (2012). The Sixth Symposium on Human-Computer Interaction and Information Retrieval, HCIR2012, Cambridge MA.

Using Social Tags and Controlled Vocabularies As Filters for Searching and Browsing: A Health Science Experiment. Zarro, M. & Lin, X. (2011). The Fifth Workshop on Human-Computer Interaction and Information Retrieval, HCIR2011, Mountain View CA.

View more »


A Conceptual Model of Online Information Behavior in the Chronic Disease Trajectory

My dissertation research investigating online health search behaviors, changes in cognitive processing, and learning over time while managing a chronic condition.

Health and Crowdsourced Information

I am working with other graduate students to investigate linking behaviors information seeking on crowdsourced webpages, like Wikipedia,to support consumer health search and learning.

Social Curating

My collaborators and I are exploring users' social collecting and sharing activites, what we call "social curating," on social media sites like Pinterest.

Meaningful Concept Displays

I am working with a team at Drexel and other institutions to investige taxonomy and ontology visualization.

Teaching Experience

Instructor: Information Architecture (INFO658), Drexel University

Instructor: Digital Library Technologies (INFO657), Drexel University

Masters Thesis Lead: Yara Safadi, The University of the Arts

Teaching Assistant: Computer Supported Collaborative Work (INFO405), Drexel University

Professional Mentor: Information Architecture Institute

Instructor and Mentor: Summer Multimedia Development Institute, Bryn Mawr College