In my research, I adopt social informatics, information behaviour, and information practice perspectives to study information-centric communities that are wholly or partially online. I am particularly interested in the roles played by information and communication technologies (ICTs) in online information-centric communities and the relationships and interactions they have with users and their information sharing behaviours and practices within these contexts.

On this page you can learn more about the approaches I take to my research, the research questions I look to address, and the current and former research projects and experiences that my research agenda builds on. Further details of my research interests, agenda, and activities can be found in my full portfolio, including my full research statement, details of publications and presentations completed, and my CV.

Approach

My research draws on interdisciplinary research but is most significantly informed by the methods and epistemologies of social perspectives to information science. Most of my work applies mixed methods research designs and the theories and concepts of boundary objects, boundary spanning, and information worlds to the study of these communities, their actors, and their information practices and behaviours. I focus on the processes of translation of information and knowledge within and across boundaries; coherence of existing information-centric communities around social norms, information values, and information behaviours and practices; and potential convergence and emergence of new information-centric communities as users share, exchange, and interact in these spaces.

These processes occur as those from different existing communities come together, with different but overlapping understandings of the information, culture, and nature of sociotechnical infrastructure and of communities; these understandings and their negotiation serve an important mediation role. People often serve as boundary spanners, and technologies as boundary objects, but for successful information sharing -- and by extension a successful role for an online information-centric community and its associated ICTs -- the translation and negotiation of meanings and understandings must be supported and facilitated through a balanced and careful approach to the interface a boundary object provides. My research looks to help us learn more about this support and facilitation, how and why information is translated and shared, and how and why communities cohere and converge.

Research Questions

My research agenda is focused around four broad research questions:

Through these questions I hope to further develop our understanding within information science across a variety of information-centric communities, including such examples as social digital libraries, social questioning and answering sites, and social media; and with a range of different populations engaged in what are for them everyday life information behaviours and activities, including immigrants and expatriates, readers and book lovers, academics, and the general question-asking public.

Research Projects and Experiences

My research agenda builds on the following research projects and experiences, as documented in my publications and presentations, as well as in work in preparation / under review: