My name is Kaitlin Costello, and I am an assistant professor in the Department of Library and Information Science in the School of Communication and Information at Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey.
I received my PhD from the School of Information and Library Science at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill under the direction of Dr. Barbara Wildemuth. My master's degree in library and information science is from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and I went to Vassar College for my undergraduate degree.
I have always been fascinated with human information behavior. Most of my research examines health information behaviors on the social web, and I am specifically interested in the link between information seeking, information sharing, and personal information disclosure in forums designed for patients diagnosed with chronic conditions. I have been the lead on several projects in this arena, including studies examining: the links between information seeking, personal health information disclosure, and homophily in online support groups for chronic kidney disease; the quality of information, readibility of privacy policies, and data safety practices in online support groups for health; differences in discussions about drug use on Reddit; how people use Facebook to find altruistic kidney donors; and how and why scholars cite on Twitter. I have also collaborated with other researchers on multiple studies: an LDA project to uncover racial differences in discussions about cancer on Twitter; a document analysis project using the DISCERN scale to determine the quality of information people find on the open web about chronic kidney disease; and a qualitative study examining what information people want to share with others from their personal health records.