Ma, Yan

Yan Ma

Full Professor, Graduate School of Library and Information Studies, Film/Media Program, Global Education for Librarians and Information Professionals Program Coordinator

Faculty & Staff/ Full Professor/ Graduate/ Library & Information Studies


Ph.D., University of Wisconsin-Madison, Educational Communications and Technology, Department of Curriculum and Instruction
MLS, Kent State University, School of Library and Information Science
BA in English, Zhejiang University, Hangzhou, China


Past President of the International Visual Literacy Association, 2003-1004
Founding Director of the URI Confucius Institute , 2007-2011
Special Assistant to the President of the University of Rhode Island on China Affairs, October 2007-present

Coordinator, Global Education for Librarians and Information Professionals Program, 2007-present

Coordinator of “China Rising: 2007 Honors Colloquium on Contemporary China“, 2007


Dr. Yan Ma is a Professor at the Graduate School of Library and Information Studies and Film/Media Program. Dr. Ma is one of the distinguished leading scholars in visual literacy, critical and cultural, interdisciplinary research in technology and media. Her research and teaching have focused on visual literacy and globalization; organization of information, information storage and retrieval; visual information science; critical and cultural studies of visual literacy and new media; Chinese/Global Information Services; Chinese American newspapers and periodicals in the United States. Dr. Ma’s latest research focuses on Chinese film studies leading to her pioneering course and research on “Chinese Hollywood”. She is claimed as the number one expert on the of research Chinese American Newspapers in the US. Dr. Ma established the US-China Center for Research in Visual Information, Visual Literacy, and Global New Media in 2005 to work with counterparts in China. Dr. Ma and her colleagues secured over 1.5 million US dollars to support research, teaching for diversity and Chinese studies. She has 35 publications in book, chapter, and journal article formats published in such journals as Visual Literacy, Journal of American Society for Information Science, and others. Dr. Ma has presented, chaired, and was invited to present her research at over 80 local, national and international conferences. She has served on 7 peer-reviewed journal editorial boards.

She is the pioneer in developing courses and research in Visual Information Science, Chinese Information Services, and Chinese Hollywood.

Dr. Yan Ma delivered two presentations at the International Workshop-Forum on China’s Publishing Soft Power, Brown University, August 14, 2015:

1. From Hollywood to Huallywood—through Visual Literacy
2.  Organization and Access to Chinese Materials for the Confucius Institutes in the United States


Ma, Yan. (2015). Guest editor for the special edition of “ACRL Visual Literacy Competency Standards for Higher Education” of the Journal of Visual Literacy.

Ma, Yan. (2015). Preface to the special edition of “ACRL Visual Literacy Competency Standards for Higher Education,” Journal of Visual Literacy.

Ma, Yan. (2015). Constructing and Reading Visual Information–Visual Literacy for Library and Information Science Education, Journal of Visual Literacy, 34 (2), 1-20.

Faculty Story:

Dr. Yan Ma’s Advancement to Full Professor III


LSC 505 Organization of Information
LSC 508 Introduction to Information Science and Technology
LSC 528 Digital Visual Information Literacy
LSC 529 Theory and Production of Library Media and Communications
LSC 544 Visual Information Science
LSC 546 Computer Systems in Library Automation
LSC 547 Information Storage and Retrieval, and Online Searching and Services
LSC 548 Information Architecture
LSC 549 Information Storage and Retrieval
LSC 550 Organization of Digital and Non-book Resources
LSC 590 Introduction to Chinese Information Services
LSC 593 Supervise Independent Work
LSC 595 Professional Field Experience
HPR 201 Contemporary China
FLM 495 Chinese Hollywood–Through the Lens of Visual Literacy


Office Hours: You can schedule an appointment with Dr. Ma via email:
You can call or email Dr. Ma for your questions.