Roberts honored with Garfield Dissertation Fellowship

GSLIS PhD student Sarah T. Roberts has been honored with a 2012 Eugene Garfield Doctoral Dissertation Fellowship from Beta Phi Mu, the International Library and Information Studies Honor Society. Up to six recipients are selected each year for this prestigious award, a national competition among doctoral students who are working on their dissertations. The amount awarded for each fellowship is $3,000.

In her dissertation, “Behind the Screen: The Hidden Digital Labor of Content Moderators,” Roberts studies online content moderators, those individuals who monitor and vet user-generated content for social media platforms of all types, employing ethnographic field research to document their work-life experiences as well as the attitudes and concerns of management in high-stakes digital media companies. She maintains a website from which she blogs periodically about her research and other issues at

Roberts’s advisor is Dr. Linda C. Smith, and her dissertation committee members include Dr. Lisa Nakamura (director of research) and Dr. Cameron McCarthy, University of Illinois, and Dr. Greg Downey, University of Wisconsin-Madison.

"I am thrilled and honored to receive this award, as a Beta Phi Mu member and as a doctoral candidate," said Roberts. "This award will be critically important to helping me pursue the research that will ultimately constitute my dissertation, and beyond, and I am indebted to both Beta Phi Mu for my selection and to my advisors and mentors at GSLIS for having nominated and supported me. Thank you!"

Roberts will be officially recognized at the Beta Phi Mu General Assembly, held in conjunction with the ALA Annual Meeting this weekend in Anaheim, California. She is the second GSLIS student in recent years to receive the Garfield Fellowship; in 2010, Ellen Rubenstein (PhD ’11) was selected for the award.

Founded in 1948, Beta Phi Mu recognizes and encourages scholastic achievement among library and information studies students. Eligibility for membership is by invitation of the faculty from an American Library Association accredited professional degree program.

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