Dr. Sandra Toze (SIM Director and Assistant Professor) was recently interviewed by Librarianship.ca about her career path, research and the ever-evolving nature of the information professions. A great read to kick off a new academic year!
I am originally from Ancaster, Ontario. I graduated from Queen’s University with a BAH in History and Politics. My first real job was in a special library in a brokerage firm. My love of this profession grew from there. I complete my MLIS at the University of Toronto and worked in the Financial Services industry as a Director of Information Services for many years. I joined the School of Information Management at Dalhousie in 2003 and completed by PhD while working as a Lecturer. I became Director of the school in 2015.
What are your research and teaching interests?
My entire career has involved examining the evolving relationship between information and information services, people, technology and work. I am motivated to understand the possibilities and risks inherent in the increased impact of technology, and the need for reflection on unintended consequences.
I have centred my research around three evolving and interconnected strands:
- the collaborative information and data processes of groups;
- the shift to digital governance; and
- user specific, social, and mobile information interactions.
These areas of research are interdisciplinary and integrate research from knowledge management, collaboration, organizational learning, sociology, information seeking, and computer supported co-operative work.
Similarly, I have focused my teaching in the areas of knowledge management, human information interaction, information and research services, collaboration, and management without borders.
What advice would you give to a new faculty or staff member?
This field is interdisciplinary by nature, and very much expanding and affected by technology. Find areas that connect with your interests and your past experiences. I also love that people in our field are so collaborative. There are so many opportunities to work with our associations and other disciplines.
Coolest thing in your office?
As Director I have a corner office, so can see across to our Arts Centre, as well as to the Student Union Building, and up the street to the iconic Henry Hicks building.
I also have a beautiful table cloth from Iran, a fan from Spain, and rocks from the beach near our farmhouse in Malagash Nova Scotia.
If you didn’t teach librarianship, what would you be doing?
Probably being a librarian! I love working with people and researching.
What changes have you seen in the teaching of librarianship since you started teaching?
Especially in terms of research/reference services, the impact of Google and internet has affected our roles.
I am excited by the expansion of what our academic and public libraries do. The need to design and create user centred information and data services has also expanded. These are now becoming core skills.
What do you think is the most important aspect of being an information professional today?
Beyond knowing the core aspects of our profession, adaptability is key. You can connect our skills across all industries. With the growing impact of AI, machine learning, and issues such as fake news, the importance of the values and ethics of our profession are increasingly important.
How do you stay current in your field?
I love to attend conferences, and a wide range of conferences from academic to professional. I read as much as I can, follow experts, and have alerts on topics of interest to me.
What emerging topics do you foresee in the future of LIS research?
In many ways I see us continuing to study what we always have, but in new contexts. Information and data are really the key elements of most organizations, and the consideration of this is increasingly important.
Dalhousie University’s School of Information Management (SIM) Alumni Association is pleased to recognize Dr. Fiona Black of Dalhousie University with the 2018 Outstanding Alumni Award. This annual award honours a member who has made an outstanding contribution to Library and Information Management.
Dr. Black graduated with her MLIS from Dalhousie in 1993. Subsequently, she completed her PhD at Loughborough University in the UK, graduating in 1999. After two years as an International Visiting Assistant Professor at the University of South Florida she returned to Dalhousie as a tenure stream faculty member in SIM. She was appointed Director of the School in 2003, a position she held until 2010. During her tenure as School Director, Dr. Black led the School through a period of growth and change. Most significantly, Dr. Black championed the development of a mid-career blended learning graduate degree, the Master of Information Management (MIM), which has been a significant factor in SIM’s increased national profile.
From 2008 to 2010, Dr. Black was also Associate Dean External Programs for the Faculty of Management, and in 2012 she became Associate Dean Research for the Faculty. In 2013, her leadership and administrative talents were recognized by the President and Provost, and she was appointed Associate Vice President, Academic, and became a vital member of Dalhousie University’s senior administrative team.
Dr Black’s research has consistently involved two distinct threads: the history of print culture, for which she was awarded several team and individual research awards by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada; and, professional issues for librarians and other information professionals. With both of these threads, Dr Black speaks of her joy in working with, and learning from, many superb graduate research assistants and thesis students.
In addition to her demanding role at Dalhousie, Dr. Black has been an active contributor to professional associations, including service to the accreditation arm of ALA. Prior to her career as an academic, Dr. Black was a reference librarian at Regina Public Library, specializing in business and in Prairie History. She often credits this experience with developing her service-oriented approach to collaboration, her patience, and her sense of humour when dealing with challenging circumstances.
In the words of one of her supporters, “Fiona is a gifted instructor who is able to empower students to achieve high academic standards, while at the same time imbuing them with a strong appreciation of the importance of professional competencies for the variety of career paths that the information management field offers.”
Many of her nominators and supporters spoke of Dr. Black’s “generosity with time and advice, even when busy with her administrative duties for the university,” and remembered how she inspired them with her trademark statement, “information managers are going to take over the world.”
SIMAA invites you to join us in congratulating Fiona on her award at the SIMAA Welcome Reception on September 24th, 2018 at the Kenneth C. Rowe Management Building, Rm 3087/3089. An invitation with RSVP will follow.
Congrats to Laura (MLIS ’19) from everyone at SIM! More information about SIM’s awards and scholarships can be found here.
When Stephanie Downs returned to Canada from the UK to become a librarian, she chose to enter the MLIS program at Dalhousie for its sense of community, welcoming faculty and Maritime culture. Diagnosed with cervical cancer at the end of her last year at SIM, Stephanie graduated with her MLIS but lost her hard-fought battle to her illness on May 27th, 2007.
Remembered for her enthusiasm, Stephanie was a “doer” and very active in school life, serving as 2005-2006 Co-Chair of SIMSA and SIM Team Captain for the 2005 Halifax “Run for the Cure”. She was also awarded the Student-to-CLA travel award to attend the 2005 CLA Conference in Calgary. This award was established by Stephanie’s family and friends in her memory.
Originally from Moncton, N.B., Laura Little is an energetic and passionate information professional aiming to complete her MLIS at Dalhousie’s School of Information Management by June 2019. After completing her undergraduate studies at Dalhousie with a unique combined Bachelor of Science degree with Honours in Biology and the History of Science & Technology, she was bound for a dynamic career.
She began working at the University of King’s College Library and Archives during her undergraduate studies, then moved to Toronto and worked in corporate records management, and part time at the public library in a diverse west-end neighborhood. All the while, she volunteered with a variety of groups including the Canadian Lesbian & Gay Archives and The Ryerson Star Spot Podcast. Inspired by the diversity of cultures and languages in Toronto, she moved to Madrid to teach English and learn Spanish. She fell in love with teaching, and continues to do so as a Teaching Assistant for Professional Communication Skills, and throughout the course of her University Teaching Certificate at Dalhousie.
As a Dalhousie Libraries intern, she excels at programming, designing educational resources and providing reference and research assistance. She hopes to encourage and inspire students to reach their full potential. She’s continued her extracurricular enthusiasm as the Information Without Borders Programming Co-Chair. She is passionate about good communication while building and maintaining relationships. She considers herself an interactional learner, and loves playing basketball and climbing with her classmates. If you see her hustling around campus, she’ll give you a huge smile and talk your ear off.
Did you know that SIM is turning 50 in 2019? This is a time of reflection and celebration. We invite you to accompany us on the journey by following this blog, our website, and the #SIM50 hashtag on Facebook and Twitter.
Re-posted from CEGE Connection (the Centre for Executive & Graduate Education blog):
CEGE Connection reached out to Dr. Bertrum MacDonald, Professor, School of Information Management, to share his thoughts on reaching the 50th year mark, given the ever-increasing influence of information management within our society.
Thank you for opportunity to share my thoughts on the evolution of information management. Indeed, we are experiencing exponential leaps in how information is applied within our daily interactions. I agree that INFORM provides invaluable information on current research that is being conducted by Dalhousie.
I have been a faculty member in the School of Information Management for many years – more than half of the 50 that the School will celebrate in 2019! During this period, I have served as Director of the School, then Associate Dean (Research) in the wider Faculty of Management, and recently for a short term as Interim Dean of the Faculty. I have taught courses in the Master of Information Management since it was launched in 2008, beginning with the first course offered in the program: Information, People, and Society.
I head the interdisciplinary Environmental Information: Use and Influence research program (EIUI), based in the School of Information Management. My primary research area focuses on questions about information use and influence in marine management and policy development. The goal is to advance understanding of the many pathways of information (scientific, social science, and local) at the science-policy interface in marine environment contexts.
I look forward to joining the CEGE Conversation and highlighting the strength of the School of Information Management programs. The need to increase literacy in information management has reached a critical juncture.
We have come a far distance in 50 years. We have a solid foundation upon which to build for the future.
Dr. Bertrum MacDonald
From the publisher website: “Social tagging, hashtags, and geotags are used across a variety of platforms (Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, WordPress, Instagram) in different countries and cultures. This book, representing researchers and practitioners across different information professions, explores how social tags can link content across a variety of environments.
Most studies of social tagging have tended to focus on applications like library catalogues, blogs, and social bookmarking sites. This book, in setting out a theoretical background and the use of a series of case studies, explores the role of hashtags as a form of linked data – without the complex implementation of RDF and other Semantic Web technologies.
Readership: Social Tagging for Linking Data across Environments will be useful reading for practicing library and information professionals who implement electronic access to collections, including cataloguers, systems developers, information architects and web developers. It would also be useful for students taking programmes on Library/Information science, Information Management, Computer Science, and Information Architecture.”
Congrats Dr. Spiteri!
Re-posted from CEGE Connection (the Centre for Executive & Graduate Education blog). Featuring SIM Associate Professor, Dr. Vivian Howard:
On July 9, 1993, the Parliament of Canada passed the Nunavut Act which established the territory of Nunavut, which would come to realization sometime in the future. On April 1, 1999, Nunavut became a legally distinct territory. Today, we celebrate Nunavut Day 2018.
Dalhousie and Nunavut have enjoyed close ties beginning with Dr. Robert Moody who was Deputy Minister of Education in the Government of Nunavut. As well, Dalhousie’s Faculty of Management, a member of a tripartite consortium with the Institute on Governance and PGF Consultants, is involved in two projects with the Government of Nunavut. The objectives of these projects are to enhance the leadership and policy formulation capacity of the Government of Nunavut.
Dr. Vivian Howard recently travelled to Rankin Inlet where she met with the participants in the “Emerging Leaders” certificate program to discuss pathways into the Centre for Executive and Graduate Education (CEGE) programs.
Dr. Vivian Howard:
There was significant interest in the MPAM, MIM, and MBA options. I was honoured to join in the graduation ceremony, where 21 Government of Nunavut employees, all Inuit, received their certificates. Another highpoint of my visit was participating in the signing of the amended Memorandum of Understanding between Dalhousie and the Government of Nunavut. Dalhousie has a long history of involvement with Nunavut. I am proud of what has been accomplished and look forward to future partnerships and collaborative opportunities.
Congratulations to the cohort of graduates!
Re-posted from CEGE Connection (the Centre for Executive & Graduate Education blog):
“My research interests emerged from my professional experience and focus on understanding the ways in which the modern workplace is being transformed through innovative information and knowledge management practices, facilitated by technology and increased collaboration.” Dr. Sandra Toze, Director, School of Information Management
Advances in technology have transformed the way in which we view information management. My first experience in the information management arena came when I worked as a librarian in financial services, an industry which generates vast quantities of information and massive data sets. This was at a time when there were no easy or intuitive interface mechanisms. With a background in history and politics, my exposure to data was limited. I quickly learned that working with data was different than working with information, you needed to understand how the data was collected and assessed. The “data” about data was critical.
Today, I am looking at how changes in the information landscape including collaboration, big and open data affect what we know about human information interactions. This is an evolving area of exploration. How do people deal with data? How do digital changes including social, mobile, analytics, cloud and automation affect how we find, interact and use information to solve problems, and to learn.
When I talk about data, I am talking about collection of numbers that we can manipulate statistically. When you see numbers on a spreadsheet, that is only part of the story. The background story relates to how the data was collected? What do these numbers represent? These are critical factors that will lead to a robust understanding of what we can do with that data. All of this is not necessarily intuitive. How do we know with certainty that the collected data is accurate and without bias?
I look forward to sharing my research in the coming series of interviews with CEGE Connection. Digital technologies are transforming the structures of society: governments, business, educational institutions, entertainment, travel. Without question, the governance of information and the need for advanced information skills are essential to realize the potential of this field of enquiry.
From Dal News (read the full article here). Featuring MLIS student, Tyler Lightfoot.
Tyler Lightfoot didn’t plan on becoming a data analyst. A degree in English and Psychology, plus years of working in sales and service, do not necessarily point to a highly technical career.
“If you had told me five years ago where I would be today, I probably would have laughed in disbelief,” Tyler says. “But when my current position [Institutional Analyst with Dalhousie Analytics] was posted, it immediately interested me.
“The job description not only fit with my education and service experience, but also my love of learning and finding and producing information. Being able to help produce results from evidence found in data was something that immediately attracted me.”
Finding a new path
Growing up in the small town of Melvern Square in the Annapolis Valley, Tyler thought he might become a firefighter, police officer or even a chef like his mother. It turns out that his self-proclaimed “obsession” with reading scientific research journals would become useful.
Tyler didn’t plan on graduate studies either. Until a co-worker who had recently graduated from Dalhousie’s Master of Information Management (MIM) program encouraged him to apply, he didn’t believe further education was a possibility for him. He is now completing his second year in the Master of Library and Information Studies (MLIS) program.
“The School of Information Management and the Faculty of Management feels like a family. The encouragement and willingness to help, collaborate and bring people together is wonderful. That level of collegiality constantly pushes me to do better.”
He has found a way to link his graduate work to his day job. A conversation with SIM professor Lori McCay-Peet gave Tyler the confidence to apply for a research assistant position with the Consumer Trust and Social License project, helmed by Sylvain Charlebois, Vivian Howard, Tony Walker, Peggy Cunningham, Michelle Adams and Jeffrey Friesen.
The project attempts to answer if Canadians believe that organizations are trustworthy, socially responsible, environmentally sensitive and ethical. In other words: do Canadian organizations have a “Social License to Operate,” or “SLO”? ? The group recently published the Food Retail Sector Consumer Trust Report.
“There are a lot of highlights so far with this project,” he says. “It’s the first of its kind to look at SLO in multiple sectors, and this research has given me a new perspective on data analysis and survey administration. I want to investigate that further, so I’m looking forward to writing a paper on this subject as part of a directed reading course. Later, it will hopefully translate into a master’s thesis proposal, then a PhD.”
Applying his skills
In the meantime, Tyler has also been applying his analytical skills to data collected from the “Impact Together” consultation sessions regarding the strategic direction of research across campus.
Not surprisingly, this work fascinates him.
“It has opened my eyes to the incredible research happening here at Dalhousie that I never would have known about. I am proud to be involved with the future of innovation on campus.”
It seems his success is a surprise only to him. When asked about working with Tyler, Sylvain Charlebois (Dean, Faculty of Management) said: “Tyler is incredibly open-minded, which allows him to learn a great deal. His work on our seminal SLO project received media attention from across the country, a huge accomplishment for a young scholar.”
Tyler’s journey shows that you should never be afraid to pursue an unfamiliar path or to chase after whatever captivates you.
“Taking the MLIS degree and getting involved with these projects has opened my eyes to the fact that I have a drive and passion for real-world research, and if I can, I’d like to make a career out of it.”
[Photos by Daniel Abriel]
The School of Information Management shares with the Dalhousie community our sadness over the passing of MLIS student, Colleen Faulkner. While Colleen was only a student with us for a short time she will be greatly missed.
In Memoriam – Colleen Faulkner
It is with heavy hearts that we announce the passing of Colleen Suzette Faulkner, age 37, of Clayton Park, NS, from complications due to cystic fibrosis, on June 8th, 2018. She died peacefully, surrounded by her husband, friends and family.
Born in Carbonear, Newfoundland, she spent most of her adult life in Nova Scotia, but always longed to return home.
She lived life to the fullest and had the respect and admiration of her former colleagues at the Coady International Institute at St. FX and Continuing Professional Development at Dalhousie University.
Colleen was predeceased by her mother Sharon (née Green), uncle Douglas Green, and aunt Jacqueline Harvey (née Faulkner). She will be missed by her husband, Mark Theriault; Clayton Park, NS; father William (Kay) Faulkner; Bonavista, NL, brother Ryan Faulkner; Bonavista, NL, sister Crystal (Jeff) Baker, nephew Noah and niece Claire; St. Philip’s, NL, and many other relatives and close friends.
A celebration of life will take place Saturday June 16th, 1-3pm, in the community room of 110 Greenpark Close, Halifax. A memorial service in Bonavista, Newfoundland will be held at a later date. Arrangements have taken place under the care of T.J. Tracey Cremation and Burial Specialists.
Donations in her memory may be made to Cystic Fibrosis Canada.
Online condolences and sharing of memories can be made to Colleen’s family by visiting www.tjtracey.com