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Winners of 2021 ASIS&T SIG-SI Awards

The Awards Jury of the Association for Information Science and Technology (ASIS&T) Special Interest Group for Social Informatics (SIG SI) is excited to announce the winners of our 2021 ASIS&T SIG SI Awards.

First, we are pleased to announce the winner of our 2021 Social Informatics Best Paper Award. We had several excellent nominations this year. Each nominated paper received two reviews from external social informatics scholars, with those reviews then evaluated by our Best Paper Award jury of Colin Rhinesmith (SIG SI Co-chair), Lingzi Hong (SIG SI treasurer), and Adam Worrall (SIG SI Chair-elect). Reviewers and the jury evaluated papers on their relevance to social informatics; the clarity of their methods, findings, and implications; their significance and contribution to social informatics research; and their overall strength as deserving of the Best Paper Award.

The award jury chose one winning paper whose authors will receive the $750 (US) prize:

John Seberger (Indiana University) and Geoffrey Bowker (University of California-Irvine) for their paper, “Humanistic Infrastructure Studies: Hyper-Functionality and the Experience of the Absurd,” published in Information, Communication and Society

(Full citation: Seberger, J. S. & Bowker, G. (2020). Humanistic Infrastructure Studies: Hyper-Functionality and the Experience of the Absurd. Information, Communication and Society. https//





Given the high quality of nominated papers, we also wish to recognize one honorable mention:

Rachel Simons (Texas Woman’s University), Kenneth Fleischmann (University of Texas at Austin), and Loriene Roy (University of Texas at Austin), for their paper “Leveling the playing field in ICT design: Transcending knowledge roles by balancing division and privileging of knowledges,” published in The Information Society.

(Full citation: Simons, Rachel N., Fleischmann, Kenneth R., & Roy, Loriene.  (2020).  Leveling the playing field in ICT design:  Transcending knowledge roles by balancing division and privileging of knowledges. The Information Society, 36(4), 183-198.)

Next, we are thrilled to announce our second-annual winner of the Emerging Social Informatics Researcher Award. The awards jury assessed the relevance of the student’s current and future research to social informatics, along with any submitted or accepted contributions to the ASIS&T 2021 Annual Meeting and our own Social Informatics Research Symposium (jointly led by SIG SI and SIG IEP). One winner is being recognized as an emerging researcher in social informatics and will receive free / reimbursed registration for the ASIS&T 2021 Annual Meeting and the Social Informatics Research Symposium, where they will be able to network and interact with other social informatics researchers:

Jessica K. Barfield is doctoral student in the School of Information Sciences, in the College of Communication and Information at the University of Tennessee-Knoxville. Her research and scholarship in social informatics focuses on the design and use of technology such that it increases the social and cultural diversity among users. Jessica’s paper “Hey There! What Do You Look Like? User Voice Switching and Interface Mirroring in Voice-Enabled Digital Assistants (VDAs)” (co-authored with Dania Bilal) will be presented during a session at the ASIS&T annual meeting on October 31, from 3:00 - 3:30. With this work, they seek to provide design guidelines for voice-based digital assistants that allow the user's race, culture, and ethnicity to be considered as options when users choose a voice interface to converse with.





All award winners will be recognized during the 2021 Workshop (The 17th Annual Social Informatics Research Symposium and the 3rd Annual Information Ethics and Policy Workshop: Sociotechnical Perspectives on Equity, Inclusion, and Justice (SIG-SI and SIG-IEP)), to be held in a hybrid virtual and in-person format on Oct 29th from 8 am - noon (Mountain time) as part of the ASIS&T 2021 Annual Meeting. For more details on and to register for the Annual Meeting and Social Informatics Research Symposium, please go to

I would especially like to thank all of our paper reviewers for their support of SIG SI: we could not ensure such a high quality of review without their help. Thanks again to those who reviewed nominated papers for our Best Paper Award this year: Catherine Dumas, Kristin Eschenfelder, Noriko Hara, Caroline Haythornthwaite, Eric Meyer, Colin Rhinesmith, Howard Rosenbaum, Adam Worall, Lingzi Hong, Julia Bullard, and Miriam Sweeney.

Congratulations again to our winners for their existing and emerging contributions to social informatics. We hope to see everyone (virtually or in person) for our 2021 Social Informatics Research Symposium and the ASIS&T Annual Meeting!


Rachel Simons, Ph.D.
Awards Coordinator, ASIS&T SIG SI