My career as an information professional has included a focus on the relationship between information and library science, computer science, and education. As a librarian I believe in reflective and evidence- based practice. As a result, I have been active in research involving information use and instruction from my perspective as a technology librarian. My time as a Ph.D. student allowed me to extend these interests to focus on digital information systems and the use of structured data to support them. My research in this area has focused on digital library systems, the use of information systems and structured data by different populations, and the role of digital information systems and structured data in learning and knowledge creation. As I move forward, my interests are focused on extending this work into investigating the impact of distributed and cloud based computing on information structure and use.
My experience in conducting research includes mixed methods and digital research. It is my belief that these approaches offer new opportunities for interdisciplinary research and provides the best chance to answer the practical questions of information creation and use in our profession. Conducting research in technology fields requires both qualitative research and quantitative research and often needs data extracted automatically from systems for analysis. My background in programming and system design has provided me with the tools to conduct this type of research. While my interests focus on metadata and structured data use in information systems, it also seeks to connect related fields of interest by investigating these themes in new IT environments. Research of this nature often benefits from focusing on transformative technologies which change the core functions, scale, or context of information use. Identifying the implications of these transformations on persistent information theories are important for both advancing the use of technology and the theoretical foundation of the information science field.
My dissertation research for example examined the understanding and use of metadata by undergraduate students in digital information systems. In order to expand on this research, my current project is examining the role of distributed, cloud, and mobile computing environments on information structure in social information spaces. Research on topics such as this include both a focus on technical areas such as system design, information transfer, and information persistence along with softer areas of research focused on information use, literacy, and organizational behavior.
Research agenda and goals
My research agenda in the coming years will continue to focus on the intersection between information technology and use. For example my dissertation work found a common understanding and use of metadata by undergraduate students particularly within the context of social and distributed computing systems. I would like to continue to explore this area both by examining new populations and by examining in more detail the role of metadata in specific systems. My dissertation research also found that students were motivated by social goals in creating and using metadata. I would like to explore this finding to better understand the impact of transformative technologies including social and cloud-based computing environments on metadata creation and use.
In addition to pursuing the findings of my dissertation research, I am interested in defining a new avenue of research related to the use of distributed computing in personal, social, and institutional environments. My research questions in this area include (a) How are individuals, groups, and organizations using cloud-computing environments and what impact are these environments having on their information and organizational structure? (b) How have distributed and cloud-computing environments changed conceptions of digital documents and structured data and what implications exist for the creation, use, and preservation of these documents and (c) How do cloud-computing environments impact information transfer operations (e.g. metadata interoperability, information harvesting, archiving, distributed discovery) and what tools are needed to improve extend these functions?