Melissa Ocepek

Assistant Professor

PhD, Information Studies, University of Texas at Austin

Other professional appointments

  • Faculty Affiliate, Illinois Informatics

Research focus

Everyday information behavior, information behavior, cultural theory, critical theory, food studies, leisure studies, and ethnography.


Melissa Ocepek is an assistant professor at the School of Information Sciences. She received her Ph.D. from the University of Texas at Austin School of Information. Her research interests include everyday information behavior, critical and cultural theory, and qualitative methods. She has a B.A. in Political Science and Sociology from Pepperdine University where she was also involved in the school's debate program. 

Much of her work has addressed the intersection of information and culture with a strong emphasis on food. She has published two books on this topic, Food in the Internet Age and Formal and Informal Approaches to Food Policy, with her coauthors William Aspray and George Royer. 

Her current research focus addresses the totality of everyday life by exploring information behaviors across life contexts through shadowing and participant observation. 

Office hours

By appointment, please contact professor

Publications & Papers

For a complete list of publications, please visit Melissa Ocepek's Google Scholar page.

Ocepek, M. G., & Aspray, W (Eds.). (2020) Deciding Where to Live: Information Studies on Where to Live in America. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield.

Makri, S., Chen, Y. C., McKay, D., Buchanan, G., & Ocepek, M. (2019, September). Discovering the unfindable: The tension between findability and discoverability in a bookshop designed for serendipity. Proceedings of the 17th IFIP Conference on Human-Computer Interaction – INTERACT 2019, 3-23. (Best Paper Award Winner, Acceptance Rate: 29%) 

Ocepek, M. G. (2018). Bringing out the everyday in everyday information behavior. Journal of Documentation, 74(2), 398-411.

Ocepek, M. G. (2018). Sensible shopping: A sensory exploration of the information environment of the grocery store. Library Trends, 66(3), 371-394.

Simons, R. N., Ocepek, M. G., & Barker, L. J. (2016) Teaching tweeting: Recommendations for teaching social media work in LIS and MSIS Programs. Journal of Education for Library and Information Science, 57 (1), 21-30.

Ocepek, M. G., & Westbrook, L. (2015). Question, answer, compare: A cross-category comparison of answers on Q&A websites. New Review of Hypermedia & Multimedia, 21(3-4), 212-226.

Royer G., Ocepek, M. G., & Aspray, W. (2015). Food fights for freedom: A critical reading of food advertisements from Ladies’ Home Journal during the Second World War. Advertising & Society Review, 15(4).

Aspray, W., Ocepek, M. G., & Royer, G. (2014). On cars and food: Reflections on sources for the historical study of everyday information behavior. Information & Culture: A Journal of History, 49(4), 492-525.

Aspray, W., Royer, G., & Ocepek, M. G. (2014). Formal and Informal Approaches to Food Policy. New York: Springer.

Aspray, W., Royer, G., & Ocepek, M. G. (2013). Food in the Internet age. New York: Springer.


Ocepek, M. G. (2019, February). Information Behavior at the Grocery Store. Talk presented at the Champaign Public Library, Champaign, IL. 

Ocepek, M. G. (2016, October). Shopping for Sources: An Everyday Information Behavior Exploration of Grocery Shoppers' Information Sources. Poster presented at 2016 Annual Meeting of the Association for Information Science and Technology, Copenhagen, Denmark.