Assistant Professor; SIM Director
Phone: (902) 494-2488
Fax: (902) 494-2451
Rowe Management Building, Room 4014
6100 University Avenue
PO Box 15000
Halifax, NS B3H 4R2
- Information and society (digital governance, information governance, information policy)
- Educational and information services (collaboration)
- Data, information and knowledge management (collaboration, knowledge management)
- Human information interaction (collaboration, knowledge management)
- BAH (Queen’s University)
- MLS (University of Toronto)
- PhD (Dalhousie University)
Dr. Sandra Toze is examining the ways in which work is being transformed through innovative information and knowledge management practices, facilitated by technology and increased collaboration. A core motivation is to explore how key changes including social, mobile, analytics, cloud and automation are affecting how we find, interact and use information to solve problems, and to learn. Her research is centred on three related themes: 1) collaborative information and data processes of groups; 2) the shift to digital governance; and 3) user specific, social, and mobile information interactions.
Dr. Toze’s work on collaboration began with her thesis work, which examined the particular qualities of groups and their information processes, which needed to be better understood and supported. A key issue with groups has always been the potential versus the reality – they can result in more innovative solutions, but they do not always. By deconstructing group work, Dr. Toze was able to describe and model the processes related to information including a set of information tasks, information task goals, information activities, sources, tools, artefacts, roles and shifts in participation. Key findings of this work included the recognition that groups do not have good mechanisms for identifying information needs, which often results in missed opportunities, and explains why groups tend to instead focus on information they hold in common, rather than integrating unique information. Further groups have difficulty using all the information that surfaces, meaning key information is sometimes lost. Outcomes of this work included recommendations for both tools and processes to enhance group work. Further this work extended our models of information seeking to groups. As more complex problems are being addressed by groups, Dr. Toze’s work is being used to enhance group effectiveness.
Dr. Toze is currently extending this work by examining how Open Data provides a new context in which to understand and examine collaborative information seeking and use. Using Nova Scotia as a case study, Dr. Toze is investigating the ways in which open data communities are increasing innovation and social economic development .
Dr. Toze’s was a collaborator in a SSHRC Partnership Development Grant - Transforming Government Work for the Digital Era, which co-hosted several events (two conferences, several forums, and conference panels) and a produced a special issue of Canadian Public Administration. More recently Dr. Toze was the Primary Investigator for a training needs analysis which assessed the current training needs for digital competencies across the Government of Canada and provided insights as to how the GoC can both develop digital competencies and adapt training and skills development capacities for a more modern and digital workplace. Key Recommendations included the need for broader and deeper digital literacy, to foster a more proactive training culture, to continually measure and refine digital training, and to create differentiated trainings streams.
Examples of the third theme include Dr. Toze’s previous work examining the effect of interruptions on search, designing task sensitive retrieval systems, as well as research examining aspects of social and mobile information interactions, and information seeking in particular contexts.