ASIS&T SIG SI has held 14 annual Social Informatics Research Symposiums at ASIS&T Annual Meetings. The purpose of the symposiums is to disseminate and discuss current research and research in progress that investigate the social aspects of information and communication technologies (ICT) across all areas of ASIS&T. Building on previous success, the symposiums include members of many SIGs and define “social” broadly to include critical and historical approaches as well as contemporary social analysis. We also define “technology” broadly to include traditional technologies (i.e., paper), state-of-the-art computer systems, and mobile and pervasive devices.
Submissions for the symposiums may include empirical, critical and theoretical work, as well as richly described practice cases and demonstrations. Submissions are encouraged from all scholars interested in social aspects of ICT (broadly defined), allowing them to share their research and research in progress via an extended abstract of their work and a presentation as part of the symposium. Papers, panels, and posters are normally accepted, with deadlines falling 2-3 months before the ASIS&T Annual Meeting. The symposiums are also the venue for the presentation of the best social informatics paper awards for each year.
The 15th Annual Social Informatics Research Symposium (Full-Day Workshop)
Practical Social Informatics: Collaboration across Fields, Sectors, and Borders
Call for papers and submission: https://easychair.org/cfp/SIGSI2019
ASIS&T Special Interest Group Social Informatics (SIG SI) has held fourteen annual Social Informatics Research Symposiums at ASIS&T Annual Meetings as pre-conference events. With the purpose of disseminating and discussing current research and research in progress that investigates the social aspects of information and communication technologies (ICT), the symposiums have included ASIS&T members across many areas and served as an annual forum for social informatics (SI) researchers to present and discuss their work. We define “social” broadly to include critical and historical approaches as well as contemporary social analysis and define “technology” broadly to include traditional technologies, computer/ networking systems, mobile and pervasive devices, as well as data analytics and artificial intelligence.
This year, to emphasize the theme of the ASIS&T Annual Meeting, “Information…Anyone, Anywhere, Any Time, Any Way,” we propose to hold our 15th Annual Social Informatics Research Symposium as a pre-conference workshop with the title of “Practical Social Informatics: Collaboration across Fields, Sectors, and Borders.” With SIG SI’s signature focus on the interaction of people, technology, and society, we are especially interested in the practical aspects of social informatics and collaborations among different groups of academics and practitioners within and across academia or industry.
Data protection, privacy, misinformation, and the ethical issues surrounding artificial intelligence (AI) have drawn much attention in recent years and created many challenges for various organizations in both public and private sectors, including government agencies, businesses, and research institutions. ICT researchers and practicing professionals are increasingly in need of collaborative efforts and theoretical lenses to examine the various aspects of the new developments in the information landscape such as big data, AI, virtual and augmented reality technologies, investigating the social consequences of such developments.
As this Melbourne conference is bringing ASIS&T into the Asia-Pacific for the first time, our event will also take strategic advantage of recent events that have drawn special attention to concerns that have long been part of our domain. The release of the report from Australia’s Royal Commission into Banking and growing concerns about the federal government’s use of linked data (MyGov) for a range of government services online has heightened interest in sociotechnical and ethical considerations related to data and the challenges of AI and automated decision making. These are concerns spreading throughout Asia Pacific, where China is a very large player in AI innovation.
Understanding the social impacts of these emerging technologies and practices requires a sociotechnical approach as well as local, national, and international collaborations across different disciplines and sectors. With a strong interest in understanding how information and technology professionals explore SI in practice, this SIG SI annual symposium provides a great opportunity for sharing and exchanging experiences and ideas and suggesting theories and directions for future work among social informatics researchers and practitioners internationally.
Theme and Topics
We are particularly interested in collaborative work that explores the human and social aspects of ICT (broadly defined) in professional or practical settings and any work that assumes a critical stance towards the symposium’s theme, “Practical Social Informatics: Collaboration across Fields, Sectors, and Borders.” However, we will also continue our tradition to solicit research on other related social informatics topics. Submissions for the symposiums may include empirical, critical and theoretical work, as well as richly described practice cases and demonstrations. We encourage all scholars interested in social aspects of ICT to share their research and research in progress by submitting a short paper, an extended abstract of their work, or a poster and attending the symposium. The symposiums are also the venue for the presentation of the best social informatics paper awards for each year. The topics of interest include, but are not limited to:
- Data protection, privacy, and ethics
- Ethics of AI and Automated Decision Making
- Collaborative work in social informatics
- Ethics and security of the Internet of Things (IoT)
- Digital equity and digital divide
- Freedom of expression, hate speech, and the role of platforms
- Human rights to information and technology
- Sustainability, environmental concerns, and information technology manufacturing
- AI, automation, and the impact on job markets
- Implications and social influence of ICT design
- Implementation and use of ICT on industry, government, local/national/global community, and other contexts
- Practical solutions to problems of ethics and sustainability
- Transferability of social informatics from theory to practice
- Social informatics concepts, methods, frameworks, and theories
The workshop intends to reach a broad audience of academics and professionals in the ASIS&T community, particularly those with an interest in sociotechnical approaches to information, social informatics, and ethical issues about new technologies. We especially welcome professionals from industry and business sectors, ICT communities, and human rights organizations.
Since our first annual symposium in 2004, the SIG SI ASIS&T Annual Research Symposium has hosted a large amount of papers, posters, and panels from established scholars, young researchers, and ICT professionals interested in the sociotechnical approach to information and technology. We have also given cash awards for the best papers published by social informatics scholars and students in the preceding years. We will gather again this year to celebrate the intellectually challenging and engaging work in SI and hope to attract presenters from around the world. We expect an engaging discussion with lively interactions from the audience.
Activities and projected schedule
The workshop is scheduled for Saturday, October 19, 2019, from 9:00 – 17:00. The workshop will incorporate different types of contributions including papers, panels, posters, and a keynote speaker.
Workshop Schedule (Oct. 19)
9:00 – 9:15 Introductions and Opening Remarks
9:15 – 10:15 Keynote
10:15 – 10:40 Coffee Break
10:40 – 12:20 Paper Presentations & Feedback (4)
12:20 – 13:30 Lunch Break and Poster Session
13:30 – 14:20 Best Paper and Best Student Paper Awards (2)
14:20 – 15:15 Panel, followed by Q&A
15:15 – 15:30 Coffee Break
15:30 – 16:45 Paper presentations & feedback (3)
16:45 – 17:00 Closing Discussion and Remarks.
CALL FOR PAPERS AND POSTERS
On June 1st, we will begin to solicit paper abstracts (1000-1500 words), panel proposals (1,000 words), and poster abstracts (500 words) to be submitted by July 10, 2019. Submissions can be made at https://easychair.org/cfp/SIGSI2019
Acceptance announcements will be made by August 1, 2019, in time for conference early registration (ends August 2, 2019).
Xiaohua Zhu (University of Tennessee, Knoxville)
Theresa Anderson (University of Technology Sydney)
Xiaohua Zhu (University of Tennessee), Theresa Anderson (University of Technology Sydney), Adam Worrall (University of Alberta; Awards Coordinator), Catherine Dumas (Simmons University), Rachel Simmons (University of Texas at Austin), Kolina Koltai (University of Texas at Austin), Kirstin Phelps (University of Illinois), Kenneth Haggerty (University of Memphis), Emad Khazraee (Indeed, Inc.), Kristin R. Eschenfelder (University of Wisconsin-Madison).
2018 (November 10th, Vancouver, Canada): “Sociotechnical perspective on ethics and governance of emerging information technologies”
The 2018 symposium focused on the emergence and fast-paced development of technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), big data analytics, virtual and augmented reality, and embedded and ubiquitous computing present myriad forms of opportunities and challenges. For example, the increasing role of AI in autonomous systems (e.g., self-driving cars or production robots) and the role of social media in disseminating misinformation have created anxieties in our society ranging from discussions about safety, job security, and the future of democracy. Understanding the impacts of emerging technologies requires a multidisciplinary, sociotechnical approach; accordingly, this line of investigation must inevitably engage with major questions regarding sustainability, privacy, human agency, equity, and the ethics and governance of information technologies. Our keynote speaker was Mary Gray from Microsoft. Authors and presenters included Elliott Hauser, Howard Rosenbaum, Pnina Fichman, Kayla Hilstob, Muhammad Abdul-Mageed, Janice Mattern, Heather Lea Moulaison, Theresa Anderson, Denice Adkins, Jenny Bossaller, Loni Hagen, Stephen Neely, Keller Thomas, Ryan Scharf, Luanne Freund, Jay Park, Ali Alshehri, and Muhammad Abdul-Mageed, Rachel Simons, and best paper award winners: Kenneth R. Fleischmann, James Kuhr, Samuel Baker, Chandra Bhat, Tanya Clement, Junfeng Jiao, Matthew Lease, Peter Stone, Sharon Strover,
and William Tierney.
2017 (October 28th, Crystal City, VA): “The Social Informatics of Knowledge”
The 2017 symposium focused on how we can better explain knowledge practices by looking at the connections between people and technologies, which we have elsewhere called ‘examining the hyphen’ in the socio-technical sphere (Meyer, 2014) that represents the connections of the social to the technical. Interested participants are also encouraged to look at Kling’s foundational paper on the nature of the entanglement between the social and the technical in which he wrote that social informatics is “the interdisciplinary study of the design, uses and consequences of information technologies that takes into account their interaction with institutional and cultural contexts” (Kling, 2007, p. 205).
The 2015 symposium (view full schedule) took our SIG SI symposiums into their second decade with particular focus on the impact of social informatics work on industry, government, local/national/global community groups, individuals, information systems, and other practice contexts. This was in keeping with the ASIS&T 2015 theme, “Information Science with Impact: Research in and for the Community.” Authors and presenters included Jonathan P. Allen, Theresa Anderson, best paper award winner Mary Chayko, Kaitlyn Costello, John D. Martin III, Natalie Pang, and Abdul Roman. A panel was also presented on how to develop IT education in iSchools following social informatics sensibilities, consisting of Marcia Mardis, Ken Fleischmann, Susan Winter, Larry Dennis, and Flora McMartin.
The 2014 symposium (view full schedule) celebrated a decade of successful and vibrant SIG SI Research Symposiums, gathering to celebrate a decade of intellectually challenging and engaging work in SI. The goal remained the same as every year: to disseminate current research and research in progress that investigates the social aspects of information and communication technologies (ICT) across all areas of ASIS&T. The 2014 conference theme was “Connecting Collections, Cultures, and Communities”; in keeping with this theme, the symposium included presentations of research focusing on the question of understanding and analyzing connections between social informatics and cognate epistemic cultures and intellectual communities from a social informatics perspective. Authors and presenters included Wayne Buente, EunJeong Cheon, Joe Greene, Tamara Heck, Asen O. Ivanov, Mohammad Hossein Jarrahi, Luz Quiroga, Hyejin Park, and Min Sook Park. A panel session on social informatics and epistemic cultures also took place, featuring Caroline Haythornthwaite, Robert Mason, and Howard Rosenbaum, moderated by Pnina Fichman. The panel included sustained discussion among the panelists and attendees of the current and future state of the social informatics community in relation with its close cognates. The symposium concluded with presentations of the best social informatics paper awards for 2013, awarded to Nama Budhathoki, Caroline Haythornthwaite, Gal Oestreicher-Singer, and Lior Zalmanson. Additional information from Budhathoki on Kathmandu Living Labs’ work on social and crowd engagement was made available in association with the symposium.
The 2013 symposium (view full schedule) included a keynote by William Jones of the University of Washington, the presentation of research papers and posters, and the presentation of awards for the best social informatics papers of 2012. Dr. Jones’s keynote was titled “Towards Places of Our Own for Digital Information: Constructing Roads and Walls on the Web,” and discussed issues of blurred boundaries in personal information management online, considering the need for both “walls” and “roads.” Papers and posters similarly focused on the roles of boundaries, especially around and of information, from a social informatics perspective. Paper presenters included Natalia Grincheva, Sydneyeve Matrix, Eric Meyer, Colin Rhinesmith, Madelyn Sanfillipo, and Adam Worrall; posters were presented by Shuheng Wu and Ingrid Erikson. The symposium concluded with presentations by the authors of the two award-winning papers for 2013, Monica Garfield, Alan Dennis, and Eden Litt, with Noriko Hara serving as discussant.
The 2012 symposium included the presentation of research papers, the presentation of awards for the best social informatics papers of 2011, and discussion on the past, present and future of social informatics. Presenters included J. P. Allen; Andrew Cox; Kristen Eschenfelder and Andrew Johnson; Pnina Fichman and Noriko Hara; Sean Goggins and Christopher Mascaro; Lori Hoeffner; Lysanne Lessard; Joseph Meloche and Ying Sun; Howard Rosenbaum; Beth St. Jean, Katie Shilton, and Brian Butler; and Grant Leyton Simpson. The authors of the two award-winning papers for 2012, Kristen Eschenfelder and Jessa Lingel, also presented their published work. SIG SI co-chairs Pnina Fichman and Howard Rosenbaum reported on the successful symposium in the February-March 2013 issue of the Bulletin of ASIS&T.
The 2011 symposium included the presentation of research papers and a panel discussion on the continued development of social informatics. Papers were presented by Hamid Ekbia; Kristen Eschenfelder and Jom Polpsarsi; Mary Wilkins Jordan; Marcia Mardis; Ellen Rubenstein; and Chi-Chuan Wu and Min-Sing Chiu. Best paper awardees Katie Shilton and Payal Arora also presented their published work, with Noriko Hara serving as discussant. Mardis, Hara, and Ken Fleischmann served as panelists for a final discussion of large-scale, funded, team-based social informatics research.
The 2010 symposium was a joint workshop with SIG USE. Participants were divided into concept working groups to discuss differences in labels and definitions for commonly used core concepts, with the goal of growing in understanding what accounts for these differences. Seven keynote speakers led the discussion by answering the question: “Why we need to ask ‘what in the world are we talking about?'” They included Charles Cole, Brenda Dervin, Michael Olsson, Soo Young Rieh, Howard Rosenbaum, Steve Sawyer, and Christine Urquhart.
The 2009 symposium was co-sponsored by SIG CRIT (Critical Issues). In keeping with the theme of the 2009 ASIS&T conference, the symposium solicited work that focuses on the mutual shaping of people and information as mediated by ICTs. It highlighted research focusing on the social realities of ICT-based information systems (broadly defined) in information science in order to better understand the following:
- How does difference/diversity shape design, implementation, use, disuse, and ongoing reconfiguration of information and ICTs where groups, and organizations work and play in a global environment?
- Do information and ICTs shape those creating, implementing and using them? How does this vary across cultures? How may such difference be managed in global interactions?
- What can we learn about information and ICT and ongoing social and cultural change at different levels of social analysis such as groups, organizational units, political entities or cultural systems?
- How may we explore the complex reciprocal relationships among information, ICT, people, groups and the social and cultural environments that surround and pervade them?
- What are the variations in meanings or interpretations of information and ICT across social groups, organizations, and cultures?
- What are the moral obligations of ICT system development and use particularly in global communication networks and what are the consequences for diverse ethnic groups?
The 2008 symposium was co-sponsored by SIG USE, SIG DL, and SIG CRIT, with additional support from the Rob Kling Center for Social Informatics at Indiana University. The symposium had three objectives: (a) to disseminate state of the art research-in-progress between and among the various ASIST SIGs whose work touches on social aspects of information and communication technologies (ICT); (b) to help each other develop and strengthen this research in a friendly symposium environment; and (c) to continue the successful social networking among symposium participants from previous workshops, and to draw in new colleagues.
Starting with a broad conceptualization of ICT that emphasizes technologies in tandem with the data, information or cultural resources they store, transport and display, the 2008 symposium highlighted research focusing on the social realities of ICT based information systems (broadly defined) and their roles in the transformative relationships between people and information. It included the presentation of a series of papers, two discussants who commented on the papers, and a keynote address giving a critical appraisal of the transformative relationships between people and information, as mediated by technology.
The 2007 symposium was a joint, hands-on workshop with SIG USE. It was designed to increase participants’ ethnographic research skills and to examine ways that ethnographic methods may contribute to the design and evaluation of Web 2.0 (and beyond) environments. The workshop featured discussions of methodological issues by four invited speakers (discussants) with experience in a range of fieldwork methods: Elisabeth Davenport, Brenda Dervin, Andrew Grove, and Sandra Hirsch. The workshop also included interactive question and answers between the participants and the discussants, moderated by Theresa Anderson.
The 2006 symposium facilitated dissemination of ongoing research about the social aspects of information and communications systems between and among different SIGs within ASIS&T. The symposium looked to disseminate state of the art research-in-progress between and among the various ASIS&T SIGs whose work touches on social aspects of ICT systems; provide a friendly workshop environment to help improve draft research and forward ideas; and encourage social networking among workshop participants. Leah Lievrouw provided a keynote address.
Carrying on the work of the late Dr. Rob Kling—a leading proponent of social informatics within LIS—the 2004 symposium was intended to encourage development of new social informatics research streams within LIS. The goals of this symposium were to:
- Introduce concepts and findings of social informatics
- Link these to pertinent and contemporary research in LIS
- Provide a forum for interested SI researchers (and those curious about the insights and approaches to conducting research from an SI perspective) to engage in the type of lively debate that was both a hallmark of Rob Kling and a key vehicle for advancing the science of SI.
- Provide a forum for networking and knowledge sharing.
The symposium was interactive and focused on small-group work. Participants’ research interests drove the sessions, with an experienced SI scholar will facilitate each group. Through a combination of small group work and interactive discussion sessions, the symposium explored the utility of SI concepts to contemporary LIS research topics. Facilitators and organizers included Kristen Eschenfelder, Noriko Hara, Roberta Lamb, Howard Rosenbaum, and Steve Sawyer.