First Call for Papers and Participation:

The 7th Annual Social Informatics Research Symposium (SIG): Bridging the gulf: The social analysis of computing in society and the workplace

Wednesday, October 12, 2011, 8:30-12:45 PM; New Orleans

The purpose of this ASIST post-conference research symposium is to disseminate current research and research in progress that investigates the social aspects of information and communication technologies (ICT) across all areas of ASIST. Submissions may include empirical, critical and theoretical work, as well as richly described practice cases and demonstrations.

This year’s theme is "Bridging the gulf: The social analysis of computing in society and the workplace.” In keeping with the theme of the conference, the symposium is soliciting work that focuses on the mutual shaping of people and information as mediated by ICTs in a wide variety of organizational and social settings. According to Horton, Davenport, and Wood-Harper (2005; 52) “the impetus for researchers to consider both social and technical aspects as mutually constitutive as a means of understanding technology introduction and use has a growing audience.” Building on the success of past years, the symposium includes members of many SIGs and defines "social" broadly to include critical and historical approaches as well as contemporary social analysis. It also defines "technology” broadly to include traditional technologies  (i.e., paper), state-of-the-art computer systems, and mobile and pervasive devices. This symposium will highlight research focusing on the social realities of ICT-based information systems in information science in order to better understand the complex interrelationships among people, information and technologies in society and in the workplace.

We are particularly interested in work that assumes a critical stance towards the interplay between people's uses of information and ICT in society and in the workplace. Critical analyses are useful because they “bring into question established social assumptions and values regarding information and ... ICTs and established understandings of  ‘information,’ particularly as they play themselves out and are institutionalized in social and professional discourses and professional training.” (Day, 2007; 575).

We encourage all scholars, both beginning and established, interested in social aspects of ICT (broadly defined) to share their research and research in progress by submitting an extended abstract of their work and attending the symposium.

One of the ways in which social informatics can grow and evolve is through collaborative funded research that addresses "grand challenges" in this domain. Following the presentation of the symposium papers, there will be a panel of scholars who will discuss the opportunities and challenges of building multi-disciplinary and multi-institutional teams for the purposes of conducting large scale funded research on social informatics. Among the panelists: Dr. Eric Meyer, Oxford Internet Institute, and Dr. Ann Bishop, University of Illinois. They will explore the types of problems and questions likely to be of interest to funding agencies, the complexities of successful grant writing and the issues involved in assembling and managing research teams. We expect an engaging discussion and lively interactions with the audience.


August 23, 2011: Submit a short paper (2000 words) or poster (500 words).

September 7, 2011: Author notifications (in time for conference early registration (NOTE: this timeline may be adjusted when the registration dates are announced)).

Tentative Schedule:

Paper presentations: 8:30-10:45 pm
Break: 10:45-11:15 (with poster viewing)
Closing Panel Discussion: 11:15-12:30 pm


Members $75 - $90 after early registration ends
Non-members $85 - $100, after early registration ends

Organizers (to whom papers and posters should be sent and questions addressed):

Howard Rosenbaum, School of Library and Information Science -Indiana University
[log in to unmask]
Pnina Fichman, School of Library and Information Science -Indiana University
[log in to unmask]


Day, R. (2007). Kling and the “critical”: Social informatics and  critical informatics. Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology. 58(4): 575–582.

Horton, K., Davenport, E. and Wood-Harper, T. (2005). Exploring sociotechnical interaction with Rob Kling: five “big” ideas. Information Technology & People 18(1): 50-67