FanLIS 2022: Brief Summary

FanLIS 2022

The second FanLIS symposium #FanLIS2022 took place online, over the afternoons of the 19th and 20th May 2022. The event attracted over 50 attendees, interested in the overlapping areas of fandom, fan studies, and library and information science (LIS). We welcomed a global audience from the US, through the UK and Europe, India to Japan.

Library and information science is concerned with keeping the record of humankind, and making it accessible to all. It was clear from our event that creation, dissemination, indexing, management, preservation, access, use and understanding of documents within the domain of fandom/fan studies is an area of relevance throughout the world. Our call for papers secured international attention, and revealed a high standard of research, often undertaken beyond the disciplinary boundaries of LIS.

Papers around the understanding of documents and communication within a given subject area are core to the LIS discipline, and whilst traditional subjects such as medicine, healthcare, science, technology, law, business and art are well known and represented, works on domain analysis of fan studies are scarce. Fans are passionate about the creation, collection and organisation of documents of all kinds within their field, and work has often been undertaken and reported with little or no reference to the LIS discipline. This seems to changing, however, and several of our presenters detailed work stemming from their interest in fandom, from an LIS grounding and perspective.

Often dismissed as frivolity, fandom has much to offer the world; insight into thoughts, feelings, aspirations, hopes, fears and predictions. We ignore fandom, fanworks and fan studies at our peril. It is essential that LIS takes note of fan studies as a discipline, and that we acknowledge and reference the work already undertaken by those within the discipline.

Likewise, we believe that LIS has much to offer creators and researchers from the field of fan studies and fandom. We want to help collect and document this unique and multifaceted discipline. Indeed, many of us are ourselves fans.


As before, #FanLIS2021, we sought examples of fan studies research which crossed into the realm of LIS. We were not disappointed. Papers referenced well known writers within the fan studies domain such as Abigail De Kosnik and Henry Jenkins, and the formative Organization for Transformative Works. From LIS, we noted references to the information communication chain, creativity and authorship, and models from information behaviour and information literacy. Descriptive work, metadata, was also notable.

We held four panel sessions, and finished with an outstanding keynote from Casey Fiesler (@cfiesler on Twitter).

The first panel featured archiving; perhaps the most obvious area of overlap between fan studies and LIS. This panel showcased work on celebrity culture on Twitter, fansubbing on Youtube, network fan archives, (X-files!), and the generative nature of fan archives.

We moved to dissemination and publication in our second panel, with a look at fan binding, followed by an examination of authorship and sharing of crossover fiction. The sessions on binding of fan works upheld our love of the printed, tangible product in an increasingly virtual world. The session on crossover fiction drew out the fascinating desire to combine fan favourite worlds and characters to create new universes.

Panel three reminded us of the importance of metadata. This is fundamental to our work in LIS, as collections need to be discoverable and accessible. No challenge from the world of fan studies, we are working to the same goals. Notable that metadata used to describe fanworks is not standardised, and the move to entity relationship (linked data) is in the very early stages.

A paper from Mikael Gyhagen took a deep dive into metadata held within bookmarks on AO3, showing us how much untapped oil is out there in the fields of fanwork collections and archives.

The final panel examined reporting of fan related activities from the perspective of the fan journalist, and we concluded with a look at the many and varied information resources used by cosplayers. This final session demonstrating clearly the reach of fan studies into not just LIS, but also journalism.

We ended our event with a fabulous presentation from Casey Fiesler on the development of fandom platforms and policy, in relation to content creation, remixing, and copyright.


FanLIS 2022 restored our faith in academia. Excitement, good humour, and encouragement prevailed, as research and ideas from participants at all stages in their life/careers was shared and enjoyed. The future is fan related.

You can search for our hashtag #FanLIS2022 on Twitter to see what was said at the time!

We will share the recording of our event on the website,

Papers presented at FanLIS 2022 are published in a special issue of Proceedings from the Document Academy (thanks to our wonderful colleague Tim Gorichanaz for support for this!)

Will we do this again? Yes. Please save the dates 18th/19th May 2023! #FanLIS2023

Any comments or questions to  or


CFP: FanLIS 2022: Fan futures – beyond the archive

FanLIS 2022

Image © Ludi Price CC-BY-NC-SA

Call for Presentations

FanLIS 2022 is a one day CityLIS symposium to explore the intersection between fandom, fan studies, and library and information science. May 19/20th 2022, online event hosted at City, University of London).

Fan studies has long been interested in the archive as a site of preservation and resistance. Examples of this include the work of Versaphile (2011), Lothian (2012), Brett (2013) and Jansen (2020).

In this symposium we seek to broaden the horizon, and look at fan work production through the lens of the entire information communication chain, including creation, storage, management, dissemination, circulation, preservation, meaning-making and (re)use. Creation of fanworks goes beyond the textual, and includes a multitude of formats, from the analogue and physical – costumes, figurines, dolls – to the digital – game assets, fanfilms, memes. Fandom, and its culture of collecting, ensures that it is a site of continued physicality and materiality, yet the digital has revolutionised (and continues to revolutionise) how material objects move through their lifecycle. For example, how are collections of complex fanworks, such as custom figurines, stored? How do fans manage their gaming mods? What methods do cosplayers use to disseminate their works? In what ways do non-digital fanworks circulate throughout the fan community? How is technology changing the way that fanworks are published? What are the legal implications of fanfilms? We welcome presentations that seek to answer these and similar questions, as well as ones that consider what the future of the fan information communication chain might be.

Information Communication Chain

The information communication chain. @lynrobinson cc-by

In addition, we also seek to look beyond the archive solely as a site of the preservation of fan culture, and highlight the ways in which the archive – both online and offline – can be subverted by both their creators and users, be it through technology, usage. Fans themselves are instrumental in building and maintaining archives, and more than this – in developing best practice that can inform current practice within existing cultural memory institutions.

We welcome proposals for 20-minute presentations relating to the lifecycle of fanworks, from both LIS (Library & Information Science) and fan studies perspectives. We also encourage work that presents perspectives from non-Western and transcultural standpoints.

Suggested topics may include:

  • Fanfiction on social media platforms
  • Fan-binding
  • Fan archives and their role beyond that of preservation
  • Fan journalism
  • Virtual reality as a medium for fanworks
  • The circulation of fanworks
  • Fanfiction and fanzine small presses and publishers
  • Fans as archivists and curators

We are hoping to receive proposals from people from all stages in their academic career, including students and early career researchers; and also from people of colour and other cultural/non-Western backgrounds.

Please send your 500 word proposals to both Ludi Price at and Lyn Robinson at by midnight on December 31st 2021.

Authors of successful proposals will be notified by January 31st 2022. The symposium will take place online on 19/20 May 2022.

Proceedings of this event will be published as a special issue of Proceedings from the Document Academy.


Brett, J. (2013). Preserving the Image of Fandom: The Sandy Hereld Digitized Media Fanzine Collection at Texas A&M University. In: Texas Conference on Digital Libraries, May 7 – 8, 2013, Austin, TX.

Jansen, D. (2020). Thoughts on an ethical approach to archives in fan studies. Transformative Works and Cultures, 33.

Lothian, A. (2012). Archival anarchies: Online fandom, subcultural conservation, and the transformative work of digital ephemera. International Journal of Cultural Studies, 16(6), 541-556.

Versaphile (2011). Silence in the library: Archives and the preservation of fannish history. Transformative Works and Cultures, 6.


EDIT 1 Jan 2022: Due to the ongoing COVID19 pandemic, we are aware that some may have missed the 31 Dec 2021 deadline for our call. If you still have a great idea to share with us, please send your proposal before 15 January 2022.

EDIT 27 Jan 2022: This call is now closed. Accepted authors have now been notified.

‘Fan literacy’ – on my conversation with Dr. Matt Finch

Last Autumn I had the pleasure of being interviewed by Dr. Matt Finch, as part of his ongoing column in CILIP’s Information Professional magazine. Matt’s column explores new notions of literacy in the 21st century, and, in a world where many young people learn to navigate digital and online spaces through fandom, we were able to discuss how ‘fan literacy’ is one of the most important ways that information literacy is achieved particularly among younger generations of internet users. Yet information literacy is rarely discussed in these terms.

My interest in the liminal spaces between fandom and LIS really began in 2009, when I joined an online fan community for The Sims computer game, called CTO Sims (sadly now defunct). Apart from the main forum, there was also an archive of sorts – a space where fan-made custom content from this old game was collected, stored, and curated. Over time, I became an administrator and informal ‘archivist’ of the site, and it never ceased to amaze me how information literate we all were as a community – even though I never thought about it in terms of information literacy at the time. Some of us would go on ‘rescue missions’, downloading custom content en masse before the host site could go down, using rudimentary tools such as the DownThemAll Firefox extension. If a site had already gone down, we’d see what we could salvage using the Wayback Machine. We arranged everything in our archive according to site, function, and type. It was digital archivism. All done by passionate fans and amateurs.

But CTO Sims was much more than this. As a community it was a place to share, to learn, to teach. People wrote tutorials and FAQ’s. Members came together to build beautiful, virtual worlds in monthly contests, and celebrated events by gifting the custom-content they had made. Others created themed rec lists, pointing members in the direction of the best sites to find what they wanted for their builds. And the old-timers mentored the ‘newbies’ in the skills they’d taught themselves over the years.

My custom-made X-Men Sims in a virtual Danger Room.

I learned how to mesh and create game assets through the CTO Sims community. I wanted X-Men for my Sims game, and there weren’t any, so I had to learn how to make them myself. And when I couldn’t find all the appropriate items to build the Danger Room in my virtual Xavier Institute, I had to learn to make those items myself too. These are not soft skills. These are hard, tech skills, ones that I learned not by going on a course, but by reading the tutorials written by fellow fans, by the mentoring of those in the community who had also had to teach themselves. And what we created, we shared. We announced them with pride. We turned our new skills into making gifts for the rest of the community, uploading them to the archive so anyone could download them.

When I started my Library Science Masters at CityLIS, I began to see the overlaps between what we were doing in CTO Sims and LIS. That overlap, between passionate fandom and LIS, became the foundation of my Masters dissertation, which ended up being a virtual ethnography of the information behaviour within CTO Sims. What I found was that CTO Sims was an information eco-system, in complex and exciting ways – informal and non-proscriptive ways, to be sure – but in a manner that was rich and vibrant. And as I continue on my journey both as a fan and as an information professional, I see that richness, that vibrancy, throughout the fan communities I inhabit.

As I explained to Matt, fandom is place where new kinds of expertise are developed, ones that can rise to challenges and problems in new and innovative ways. Being a fan doesn’t necessarily mean you are a qualified computer science professional, but it doesn’t stop you from coming together with other fans to build a tagging system that does away with most of the inherent messiness of traditional folksonomies, and is probably the envy of many a professional subject heading authority. It doesn’t stop you from using your language skills to create scanlations (fan-made translations) of manga for fellow fans. It doesn’t stop K-pop stans from using their fancams to protest far right political discourse on Twitter. And it doesn’t stop Sims fans from teaching the community how to game mod.

This is what I mean by ‘fan literacy’ – fandom isn’t merely a place to squee and geek out (though there is that). It’s a place to learn to navigate the digital world in a way that is sometimes completely outside the box. You don’t solve problems because you have to – you solve them because you want to, sometimes obsessively so. You don’t go looking for information because it’s work; you do it because it’s play. Fan literacy, fan information literacy, is pleasurable, sociable, generous and ludic. And it sticks. Because it satisfies a core need within us – the need to create… and the need to belong.

You can read Matt Finch’s column on fan literary in the Jan-Feb 2021 issue of Information Professional; or you can listen to our hour-long interview here.


FanLIS 2020: Postponed

We have regrettably decided to postpone FanLIS 2020 due to the ongoing situation with COVID-19. We hope to announce a rescheduled date as soon as possible. Thank you for your understanding. We are all disappointed, but the health and wellbeing of our colleagues and attendees is paramount.

Please contact Lyn or Ludi if you have further questions about our event.


Coronavirus 2020

We are all concerned about the spread of illness due to covid-19. We understand that presenters and participants for FanLIS 2020, 9th April 2020, have justifiable concerns around international travel, and the convening of colleagues at a physical event. As organisers, we share these concerns.

FanLIS is a relatively small gathering (maximum expected 50 participants), but some of our participants are from outside the UK.

For the time being, we anticipate that the Symposium will go ahead. We are following the official advice from City, University of London, which can be seen here:

This advice is based on UK government policy, which should be read in conjuction with guidance from international, foreign ministeries.

Should the current situation change, we will be in contact with you via email, this blog, and via Twitter.

Many thanks for your interest in our Symposium.

Dr Lyn Robinson & Dr Ludi Price





CFP: Building Bridges: exploring interdisciplinary intersections between fandom, fan studies and library and information science.

Image © Ludi Price CC-BY-NC-SA

Call for Presentations – all authors welcome!

***Rescheduled to 20th May 2021***

***Please note that this call has now closed, and the Programme and registration details will be available soon!***

One day CityLIS symposium to explore the intersection between fandom, fan studies and library and information science. April 9th 2020 at City, University of London.

Recently the fan studies community has become interested in building bridges between different cultures and disciplines, with Dr. Naomi Jones, during the Fan Studies Network Conference 2018, emphasising the importance of interdisciplinarity in moving the field forward. This challenge was taken up by Kelley, Price, Schuster and Wang in the Fan Studies Network Conference of 2019, where they presented their interdisciplinary, collaborative project on fandom, which started in the Spring of 2018. This collaboration brought together scholars from the fields of cultural studies, the digital humanities, and library and information science to talk about fandom and fan practice, and has allowed a wider exchange of ideas between disciplines.

In common with fan studies, library and information science has a keen interest in the utility of their research outside the field, and in understanding to what extent it produces an impact outside its own disciplinary boundaries. For example, while library and information science (LIS) has a rich history of user studies, its impact outside of the field is less clear, despite multidisciplinary studies being shown to have more impact (Ellegaard & Wallin, 2015). Thus, it would seem that this is the perfect opportunity to bring members of these two disciplines – fan studies and LIS – together, in order to move the concept of ‘interdisciplinarity’ away from just a subject of conversation, towards something real and tangible.

Fan practice shows many parallels with the interests of information professionals, such as librarians, archivists and curators. Fans are ardent collectors (Geraghty, 2014); they take pride in the classification of their work; they develop best practice in the preservation of fanworks (Swalwell et al., 2017); and as some of the first adopters of the internet (Jenkins, 2006), they are comfortable using technological innovations which many information professionals have yet to embrace. Other fan activities with which LIS has overlapping engagement are the publishing of fanfiction as mainstream literature (Peckosie & Hill, 2015), classification of fanfiction, such as on the Archive of Our Own (Price, 2019), and copyright, to name but a few. Rarely, however, does LIS literature acknowledge the relevance of work carried out in the fan studies discipline, e.g. Versaphile’s (2011) look at the preservation of fannish history and Johnson’s (2014) look at fanfiction metadata. Likewise, there is little evidence that fan studies authors are aware of the rich troves of relevant work carried out within the LIS discipline. This creates a significant lacuna in knowledge, which could be assuaged by a less siloed approach to research conversations.

This symposium aims to be part of the nascent interdisciplinary dialogue, by bringing together scholars from fan studies, LIS and beyond, to find commonalities, inspire new conversations, and reveal hidden and unexpected intersections that will enrich the current discourse of fandom and fan practice.

We welcome proposals for 20 minute presentations relating to topics that draw links between, and are relevant to, issues both within fan studies, fandom and LIS, and to other liminal spaces associated with these disparate disciplines. We encourage work that presents perspectives from non-Western and transcultural standpoints.

Topics can include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Beta-reading and the fan as editor
  • Classifying fanworks, e.g. tagging, fan genres
  • Fandom and libraries/archives/museums/galleries
  • Fanzines, and fan self-publishing
  • Fandom and information literacy
  • Fandom, education and peer-learning
  • Fandom and cultural memory
  • Crowdsourcing
  • Fan news and fans as ‘citizen journalists’
  • Fandom and the digital humanities
  • Fans as author
  • Fans as collectors and curators
  • Participatory culture
  • Fandom and social media
  • Preservation of fanworks, including complex objects such as costume, figurines, dolls, gaming mods, etc.
  • Collaborative projects between fans and cultural institutions such as libraries, archives and museums

We are hoping to receive proposals from people from all stages in their academic career, including students and early career researchers; and also from people of colour and other cultural/non-Western backgrounds. We are open to longer style workshop and installation-type formats.

Please send your 500 word proposals to both Ludi Price at and Lyn Robinson at by midnight on December 31st 2019.

Authors of successful proposals will be notified by January 31st 2020. Presenters will be expected to make their own way to City, University of London, but there will be no charge for presenting at, or attending the event, which we hope will be accessible to all those interested in fandom and LIS.

We are looking into open access publishing options for the proceedings of this event.


Ellegaard, O., and Wallin, J. A. (2015). The bibliometric analysis of scholarly production: How great is the impact? Scientometrics, 105(3), 1809-1831.

Geraghty, L. (2014). Cult Collectors: Nostalgia, Fandom and Collecting Popular Culture. Abingdon: Routledge.

Jenkins, H. (2006). Fans, Bloggers and Gamers: Essays on Participatory Culture: Exploring Participatory Culture. New York: New York University Press.

Johnson, S. F. (2014). Fan fiction metadata creation and utilization within fan fiction archives: three primary methods. Transformative Works and Cultures, 17.

Peckosie, J., and Hill, H. L. (2015). Beyond traditional publishing models: an examination of the relationships between authors, readers, and publishers. Journal of Documentation, 71(3), 609-626.

Price, L. (2019). Fandom, Folksonomies and Creativity: the case of the Archive of Our Own. In: Haynes, D. and Vernau, J. (eds.). The Human Position in an Artificial World: Creativity, Ethics and AI in Knowledge Organization, ISKO UK Sixth Biennial Conference London, 15-16th July 2019, 11-37.

Swalwell, M., Ndalianis, A., and Stuckey, H. (eds.) (2017). Fans and Videogames: Histories, Fandom, Archives. New York: Routledge.

Versaphile (2011). Silence in the library: archives and the preservation of fannish history. Transformative Works and Cultures, 6.

This is a cross post originally published on the CityLIS blog.


EDIT 25 Oct 2019:

Authors are permitted to submit two proposals. To allow everyone a chance to present and to balance the programme, authors can expect that only one proposal will be accepted in the instance of a successful submission.

EDIT 31 Jan 2020: This call is now closed.

Our programme, and bookings for registration will be published shortly. Please check back for updates!