Michael Khoo
The iSchool at Drexel University, 3141 Chestnut Street, Philadelphia PA 19104, USA

My research investigates the sociotechnical dimensions of information systems. My focus is on understanding libraries, archives, and digital repositories; the digitization of physical artifacts; interoperability; and the role of metadata in describing and classifying resources, and making them accessible to users. I draw on theories of practice and tacit knowing from various domains, including sociotechnical studies, anthropology, philosophy, communication studies, and user-centered design, in order to investigate the different frames and practices that individuals and groups bring to their interactions with repositories and metadata. I use mainly qualitative methods, based on ethnography, observation, and interviews.

Since 2000, my work with digital libraries has included the development of an organizational model for digital library evaluation, sociotechnical and organizational analyses of metadata work, and the design of user-friendly metadata tools. I have worked extensively with the Internet Public Library to redevelop the library, and to crosswalk the metadata to Dublin Core. In 2012, I received a grant from the international 'Digging Into Data' challenge to investigate novel methods for supporting digital library interoperability.

I have degrees in anthropology and communication, and almost 2 decades of ethnographic and qualitative research experience in field sites ranging from the Himalaya, and customer call centers for a wireless phone company, to traditional libraries, archives, and digital libraries. I am committed to high-quality qualitative research oriented towards concrete understandings of technology practice in these contexts, and to training students in these research practices.

  • Keywords: anthropology, archives, data, digital libraries, ethnography, metadata, organizations, sociotechnical theory, user-centered design