Susan Brown

Canada Research Chair in Collaborative Digital Scholarship

Tier 1 - 2017-11-01
University of Guelph
Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council

519-824-4120, ext./poste 53266

Research involves

Developing new information technologies, interfaces, and collaborative practices to change how we create and share knowledge.

Research relevance

This research will create new ways of generating knowledge and open up new sources of online cultural content for Canadians.

Unleashing the Power of Online Knowledge Production

Dr. Susan Brown, Canada Research Chair in Collaborative Digital Scholarship, wants to make the web smarter. That means involving both academics and citizens in producing online knowledge and leveraging the dynamic potential of networked information so we can sift, find, and use it in new ways. It also means making it easier for people to contribute Canadian cultural content to the web.

The way we produce and use knowledge can be transformed by online systems that support collaboration. Brown and her research team develop and evaluate tools for contributing to the web. They are working towards digital ecosystems that support the shared updating, revising, and enhancing of digital resources so we know what we can trust. This is crucial to meeting the social challenges that online environments pose.

Information is most trustworthy when we know where it came from and understand its context. It is even more useful when it is linked and open, so that information from diverse websites can interact. When this happens, the web can add up to more than the sum of its parts. Generous interfaces can allow us to shift seamlessly from viewing single objects to taking in overviews of vast sets of materials, so that each informs the other.

Empowering web users means enabling easy transitions from reading, browsing, and visualizing to linking, annotating, and creating new materials. It means dissolving the barriers between academic experts and knowledgeable members of the public. Brown’s research strives to make the online world work better for all of us.