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What happens to ANT, and its emphasis on the socio-material grounding of the social, in digital sociology?

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... Partly this is about the shaping of digital data by platform design choices and hidden operations (Orlikowski 2007) but it also concerns the source of these data. It is difficult to know whether the data we access online were produced by humans, automated processes or artificial intelligence (Gerlitz and Weltevrede 2020). Consequently 'the critical eye that social scientists have learned to exercise needs to be sharp in a research domain in which digital data have become the most valuable asset for very large sectors of the economy …' (Veltri 2020, 7). ...
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In this introductory chapter, we first outline what we mean by ‘digital work’ and why this creates new methodological challenges. Here we specifically consider the difficulties of observing everyday work practices as they occur often invisibly in silent communion between workers and their devices, in new and various workspaces, across a widely distributed and shifting group of workers, and as they are shaped by the workings of hidden algorithms. Subsequently, we also consider a variety of critical research processes for understanding digital work including: accessing digital data; understanding how context shapes digital data; and the meshing of virtual and embodied research presence. We end the chapter by introducing the four sections of the book—screenwork, digital working practices, distributed work, and digital traces of work—each of which comprises four reflexive accounts of researchers’ experiences in developing methods that can capture digital aspects of work and organization.
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Quite often, developers face low performance, hanging, and other problems when they’re developing sites. To solve such problems, we need to trace site requests. Existing tracing methods do not allow tracing the progress of requests from a client’s web browser to a server or group of servers. In this paper, we propose distributed tracing mechanism that allows tracking requests starting from the browser. For generating complete client-to-server tracing, the client application must be able to initiate the appropriate request. For the execution of these actions, we need to use a unique library. In the paper, we consider the algorithm of such a library. A popular tracer (OpenTracing) is used on the serverside. Based on the proposed methodology, a library was developed. The library's work was tested. Testing has shown that using the library, and we can track the complete chain of requests from a browser to the server. Trace result is presented in graphical view. This allows analyzing received data and finding bottlenecks when queries are passing. The novelty of the proposed solution is that the request is traced from the client application and to the client application. That is, the full path of the request is shown. The result is presented in a graphical form that is convenient for analysis. The library is designed primarily for the development of client-server applications and for support services.
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This paper introduces the application of some principles of the actor-network theory (ANT) to understand the sociotechnical effects of the implementation of intelligent information systems in logistics, i.e. the effects on the organizational structure, business processes and decision-making policies. It is shown how intelligent agents (IA) playing a core innovative role in modelling an integrated information system for logistics participate in the processes of formation and stabilization of alliances with human actors (developers, users), the material infrastructure of a logistics system and information/knowledge resulting in a new quality of design of control systems for logistics, standardization of protocols and invariance of server-client relations in the space of networks supporting stability of the information infrastructure of a geographically distributed organization. The paper aims at bringing the attention of the AI researchers, MAS theorists, human-machine systems engineers, ergonomists, knowledge engineers, logistics specialists and broader research community to the actor-network paradigm and its applied potential in sociotechnical systems research.KeywordsActor-network theoryIntelligent systemsIntelligent agentSociotechnical systems
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The Data Journalism Handbook: Towards a Critical Data Practice provides a rich and panoramic introduction to data journalism, combining both critical reflection and practical insight. It offers a diverse collection of perspectives on how data journalism is done around the world and the broader consequences of datafication in the news, serving as both a textbook and a sourcebook for this emerging field. With more than 50 chapters from leading researchers and practitioners of data journalism, it explores the work needed to render technologies and data productive for journalistic purposes. It also gives a "behind the scenes" look at the social lives of data sets, data infrastructures, and data stories in newsrooms, media organizations, start-ups, civil society organizations and beyond. The book includes sections on "doing issues with data," "assembling data," "working with data," "experiencing data," "investigating data, platforms and algorithms," "organizing data journalism," "learning data journalism together" and "situating data journalism."
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In this article, we empirically analyse the infrastructural relations between mobile apps and social media platforms and present a methodology to account for app–platform relations. Contrary to previous research on platforms and apps, we develop our approach from the perspective of apps based on a relational understanding of infrastructure. Our app-centric approach to platforms and infrastructure provides critical insights into (i) the kinds of third-party apps developed on the peripheries of social media platforms, (ii) the diverse practices and features supported and extended by those apps, and (iii) the messy and contingent nature of the relations between apps and social media platforms. Our approach provides insights into alternative forms of platform programmability beyond APIs and into social media-based ‘innovation’ app ecosystems driven by creative developer workarounds. Drawing on quantitative and qualitative forms of analysis of Android and iOS apps related to Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, and Twitter, we explore how third-party apps engage with the specific ‘grammars of action’ of social media platforms and outline five distinct forms of regramming. With regramming, we refer to how app developers work with and around the affordances, action grammars, and constraints imposed by platforms for using their data and functionality. We conclude with conceptual and methodological reflections on the infrastructural relations between apps and social media platforms, app stores, and mobile platforms from the perspective of apps.
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Science and technology studies is famous for questioning conceptual and material boundaries by following controversies that cut across them. However, it has recently been argued that in research involving online platforms (Wikipedia, Facebook, Twitter, etc.), there are also more practical boundaries to negotiate that are created by the variable availability, visibility, and structuring of data. In this paper, I highlight a potential tension between our inclination toward following controversies and “following the medium” and suggest that sometimes following controversies might involve going “against platforms” as well as with them. I will illustrate this dilemma through an analysis of the controversy over the coverage of the Fukushima disaster on English language Wikipedia, which concerns boundaries between expert and lay knowledge but also the social and technical functioning of Wikipedia itself. For this reason, I show that following the controversy might mean making use of less formatted and less obvious data than Wikipedia normally provides. While this is not an argument against the use of automated digital research tools such as scrapers, I suggest that both quantitative and qualitative researchers need to be more willing to tweak their approaches based on the specificities of the case.
Googles of the past: Do keywords really matter? Annual Lecture of the Department of Sociology, Goldsmiths
  • A Abbott