Evolution of Sociotechnical Systems and Collaborative Work Practices

I study the application of the theories and principles of computer-supported cooperative work (CSCW) to cultural heritage organizations, including libraries, archives, and museums. I am particularly interested in the sociotechnical implications of introducing new information technologies into the museum environment and their effect on collaborative work processes. As new information systems are developed to support current practices, it is important to study the evolution of these systems as they shape and are shaped by social structures already in place in cultural heritage organizations.

As one of the co-PIs for the NSF-funded VOSS research project at FSU's College of Communication and Information, I have studied the life-cycles of scientific teams conducting experiments at FSU's National High Magnetic Field Laboratory. The goal of the project is to identify the social and organizational factors that best support the transition from short-term scientific collaborations to long-term productive and innovative programs of scientific research.

Burnett, K., Kazmer, M.M., Burnett, G., Marty, P.F., Stvilia, B. (2009-2011). Virtual scientific teams: Life-cycle formation and long-term scientific collaboration. National Science Foundation. ($380,000). For more information and publications about this project, please see the Project Website.

I completed an evaluation and long range plan for Florida Memory Project, an educational and historical resource developed by the State Library and Archives of Florida. The project team conducted a series of assessments to determine the products, technologies, standards, and services that best meet the long term needs of the Florida Memory Project, offering recommendations for strategic issues including growth, storage, software selection, hosting, and data migration.

Marty, P.F., Alemanne, N.D., & McClure, C.R. (2010). Florida Memory Project Long-Range Plan. Final Report.

I am particularly interested in identifying key issues critical for successful collaboration among library, archives, and museum professionals, focusing on three broad areas: 1) the organizational and cultural activities that define libraries, archives, and museums; 2) the collaborative work practices that cut across those boundaries in the daily work of museum personnel; and 3) the information resources and technologies that enable collaboration across these boundaries.

My interest in this topic stems from my prior work studying the evolution of sociotechnical systems in museums, based on research I conducted at the Spurlock Museum at the University of Illinois. From 1998 to 2002, the museum professionals at the Spurlock were engaged in the tasks of inventorying, packing, and shipping their collections as part of a move from old to new facilities. To support these tasks, they developed a series of collaborative information systems, which then evolved over time as museum staff members improved their collaborative work processes. The evolution of the museum's information systems provided a valuable opportunity to study the changing nature of collaborative work systems in museums.

Marty, P.F. (2005). Factors influencing error recovery in collections databases: A museum case study. Library Quarterly 75 (3), 295-328. [Preprint | Final]

Marty, P.F. (2005). Factors influencing the co-evolution of computer-mediated collaborative practices and systems: A museum case study. Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication 10 (4),