Geoffrey C. Bowker's research while affiliated with University of California, Irvine and other places

Publications (142)

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This is not a regular paper , but an experiment in collaborati on and conversation, turned into an experimental paper as a way of giving and balancing voices. It is based on a conversation that started two years ago when we, a group of scholars/professionals in STS, Computer Science and Critical Security Studies, practical politics, hacking and IT...
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In a crucial sense, all machines are time machines. The essays in Media Infrastructures and the Politics of Digital Time develop the central concept of hardwired temporalities to consider how technical networks hardwire and rewire patterns of time. Digital media introduce new temporal patterns in their features of instant communication, synchronous...
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Sensing In/Security is a book project that investigates how sensors and sensing practices enact regimes of security and insecurity. It extends long standing concerns with infrastructuring and emergent modes of surveillance and securitization by investigating how digitally networked sensors shape practices of securitization. Contributions in this vo...
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The narrative of the digital phenotype as a transformative vector in healthcare is nearly identical to the concept of “data drivenness” in other fields such as law enforcement. We examine the role of a prescription drug monitoring program in California—a computerized law enforcement surveillance program enabled by a landmark Supreme Court case that...
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This article analyzes my own research trajectory with respect to the qualitative/quantitative divide in science studies and situates my work in the field.
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Bridging third wave HCI with infrastructure studies, this paper examines the relationship between infrastructural visibility, breakdown, and experience through an existentialist lens. We present and theorize a state of infrastructural functionality – which we term ‘hyper-functionality’ – that renders infrastructure visible because of its experienti...
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Data science is characterized by engaging heterogeneous data to tackle real world questions and problems. But data science has no data of its own and must seek it within real world domains. We call this search for data “prospecting” and argue that the dynamics of prospecting are pervasive in, even characteristic of, data science. Prospecting aims t...
Book
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This volume introduces the notion of Thinking Infrastructures to explore a broad range of phenomena that structure attention, shape decision-making, and guide cognition: Thinking Infrastructures configure entities (via tracing, tagging), organise knowledge (via search engines), sort things out (via rankings and ratings), govern markets (via calcula...
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Because SF is a thought experiment and engages in worldbuilding, this paper is a hybrid faction piece that presents a history of ants in SF (across texts and media) as one connected narrative, while working through this history as an insertion into Nature-Culture debates through the production of new SF. In constructing SF worlds, writers work with...
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This article takes apart the concept of work productivity, something that has been pursued as a goal for a long time. It argues that labor saving through computerization has led to, first, more labor and, second, less interesting labor for professionals.
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The logic of domains has become a key organizing principle for contemporary computing projects and in broader science policy. The logic parses collectives of expertise into ‘domains’ that are to be studied or engaged in order to inform computational advancements and/or interventions on the domains themselves. The concept of a domain is set against...
Article
This rich collection analyzes science in the archives over the past several thousand years. The chapters work together to tell stories of ambitious attempts to provide timeless data for science, which will be used for generations to come—ranging from ancient astronomy to geology to life‐logging and the development of web search. They also demonstra...
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This chapter argues first that Babbage and Lyell developed a similar, machinic view of human and natural time, with the difference engine for Babbage being at the center of this conceptualization. This view involved the smoothing of time socially and naturally to create a form of stasis. Second, it maintains that the ever-faster time of the compute...
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Artificial Intelligence (AI) in the form of different machine learning models is applied to Big Data as a way to turn data into valuable knowledge. The rhetoric is that ensuing predictions work well—with a high degree of autonomy and automation. We argue that we need to analyze the process of applying machine learning in depth and highlight at what...
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This issue of Computer Supported Cooperative Work (vol. 27, no. 2) is the second and final part of the three issues focusing on the topic of ‘Infrastructuring and Collaborative Design’. The first part of the special issue was published as a double issue (vol. 26, nos. 1-2) in 2017. Eight articles were published in the first part, and this second pa...
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Susan Leigh Stars (1954-2010) Werk bewegt sich zwischen Infrastrukturforschung, Sozialtheorie, Wissenschaftsgeschichte, Ökologie und Feminismus. Die wegweisenden historischen und ethnografischen Texte der US-amerikanischen Technik- und Wissenschaftssoziologin liegen mit diesem Band erstmals gesammelt auf Deutsch vor. Ihre Arbeiten zu Grenzobjekten,...
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Susan Leigh Stars (1954-2010) Werk bewegt sich zwischen Infrastrukturforschung, Sozialtheorie, Wissenschaftsgeschichte, Ökologie und Feminismus. Die wegweisenden historischen und ethnografischen Texte der US-amerikanischen Technik- und Wissenschaftssoziologin liegen mit diesem Band erstmals gesammelt auf Deutsch vor. Ihre Arbeiten zu Grenzobjekten,...
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Computers and information technology have over the past 50 years moved from being a social and engineering form which ‘impacted’ society to being core to our social fabric – much as we cannot study an ecosystem without considering water supply, so we cannot study any part of society without considering the flow of bits and bytes. The richly texture...
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The article focuses on stories and storytelling practices as explanatory resources in standardization processes. It draws upon an ethnographic study of the development of a technical standard for data sharing in an ecological research community, where participants struggle to articulate the difficulties encountered in implementing the standard. Bui...
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When scientists from two or more disciplines work together on related problems, they often face what we call 'science friction'. As science becomes more data-driven, collaborative, and interdisciplinary, demand increases for interoperability among data, tools, and services. Metadata--usually viewed simply as 'data about data', describing objects su...
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Focusing on socio-technical design with values as a critical component in the design process.
Conference Paper
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CSCW studies of large-scale distributed practice in the sciences and elsewhere have taught us important things about space and place as props and barriers to distributed collective action, but they have had relatively less to say about time. This paper develops a heuristic of collaborative rhythms and points to the work of temporal alignment as a n...
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This article presents Information Infrastructure Studies, a research area that takes up some core issues in digital information and organization research. Infrastructure Studies simultaneously addresses the technical, social, and organizational aspects of the development, usage, and maintenance of infrastructures in local communities as well as glo...
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Representing knowledge in codified forms is transformative of ones orientation to that knowledge. We trace the emergence of a routine for knowledge acquisition and its consequences for participants. Over time, participants in the earth science project GEON, first learned about ontologies and then learned how to create them. We identify three steps...
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In Ross Ashby's cybernetic theory, he proposed an illuminating angle for understanding the notion of memory. While the conventional understanding of the notion of memory for a learning system treats memory in terms of things to remember, Ashby led us to rethink the idea of memory through its relation to an adaptive learning system. That is, we can...
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Recent decades have seen an upsurge in scholarly activity in the history of information science. It has emerged as a field of study distinct from library history and from the history of computing. This panel explores the relevance of other historical approaches and the potential for information history to reach other audiences. Haigh sets the conte...
Conference Paper
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We report on the exploratory stages of multi-university, multi-research-site, multi-year effort to investigate and compare data practices in multiple cyberinfrastructure projects and their emerging virtual organizations. Our long-term goal is to understand the data practices and data management requirements of virtual organizations and their implic...
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This chapter discusses how multidisciplinary participants have contributed to planning and building the Geosciences Network (GEON). GEON is a cyberinfrastructure project that aims to produce a range of premium technologies for earth sciences. The project is intended to emerge as an infrastructure for the geosciences combining tools of collaboration...
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World Bank, Knowledge for Development Program Peer Reviewed http://deepblue.lib.umich.edu/bitstream/2027.42/61201/1/Jackson et al, Extending African Knowledge Infrastructures (March 2008).pdf
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IntroductionMoney, Memory, and DiscourseModalities of Implosion: The Language of Money in Biodiversity DiscourseModalities of Particularity: The Tree of LifeConclusions Notes
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A description of what it is likely for students to participate in a learning experience designed by a teacher who is intent on not just telling students what to do and re-defines her work away from being the principal source of information and authority in the classroom is discussed. Software like kar2ouche, and others such as rich multimedia allow...
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4 Isabelle Stengers suggests that the 'truth' of scientific findings is predicated upon a relationship of forces that are organized around it. 'An interested scientist will ask the question: can I incorporate this "thing" into my research? Can I refer to the results of this type of measurement…In other words, can I be situated by this proposition,...
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OBJECTIVES Engagement – sometimes called action research, contribution, or intervention – is the participation of the researcher in the object of study. It is a key contemporary feature in making iSchool research accessible and relevant to broader communities. However, it also presents novel challenges for the traditional academic endeavor. We have...
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Residual categories are those which cannot be formally represented within a given classification system. We examine the forms that residuality takes within our information systems today, and explore some silences which form around those inhabiting particular residual categories. We argue that there is significant ethical and political work to be do...
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This panel is concerned with the historiography of information science, from related, but also contrasting, perspectives. Papers explore the interaction between specific historical events and broader historical developments and the understanding of those events and developments. Themes of collective memory and forgetting relate the presentations to...
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An information ecology provides a conceptual framework to consider data, the creation of knowledge, and the flow of information within a multidimensional context. This paper, reporting on a 1 year project to study the heterogeneity of information and its management within the Long Term Ecological Research (LTER) community, presents some manifestati...
Technical Report
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Final report of the workshop, "History and Theory of Infrastructure: Lessons for New Scientific Cyberinfrastructures" National Science Foundation, Grant #0630263. http://deepblue.lib.umich.edu/bitstream/2027.42/49353/3/UnderstandingInfrastructure2007.pdf
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The development of new infrastructures for research and collaboration are occurring together with changes in expectations for scientific knowledge. New vocabularies and perspectives are developing with social and organizational practices of science changing concurrently but at different rates. Between the new infrastructures and the new perspective...
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The e-Science program has suggested a way to address new scientific challenges through the development of global, collaborative multi-disciplinary research communities. These research communities rely upon the construction of more powerful computational, data, and communication infrastructures. The e-Science vision is concerned with changing with d...
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The history of this special issue of the CSCW Journal goes back to 1997 and a book entitled ''Social Science, Technical Systems and Cooperative Work: Beyond the Great Divide'' (Bowker et al., 1997). The book concluded that an increasing number of researchers were electing to take up residence in the great divide in order to produce systems which we...
Conference Paper
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We summarize the motivation and aims for this workshop on usability research challenges for cyberinfrastructure and tools, and outline workshop preparations and program.
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The chapter locates the organization of the technology-bearing labor process as an important object of STS/e-science research. Prospective e-science texts, so central to the pursuit of innovative technologies, construct images of specific technical product outcomes that could justify future investment; such products in turn imply specific labor con...
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As private sector and government research increasingly depends on the use of distributed, interdisciplinary and collaborative teams, particularly in scientific endeavors, we are faced also with an increased need to understand how to work in and study such teams. While much attention has been paid to issues of knowledge transfer, the impact of many...
Conference Paper
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Resource managers face significant information technology (IT) problems when integrating ecological or environmental information to make decisions. At this NSF/USGS workshop in December 2004 [1], university researchers, natural resource managers, and information managers articulated five IT problems areas facing ecology and environmental decision m...
Article
As private sector and government research increasingly depends on the use of distributed, interdisciplinary and collaborative teams, particularly in scientific endeavors, we are faced also with an increased need to understand how to work in and study such teams. While much attention has been paid to issues of knowledge transfer, the impact of many...
Chapter
The chapter locates the organization of the technology-bearing labor process as an important object of STS/ e-science research. Prospective e-science texts, so central to the pursuit of innovative technologies, construct images of specific technical product outcomes that could justify future investment; such products in turn imply specific labor co...
Conference Paper
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In this paper we describe the methods, goals and early findings of the research endeavor 'Comparative Interoperability Project' (CIP). The CIP is an extended interdisciplinary collaboration of information and social scientists with the shared goal of understanding the diverse range of interoperability strategies within information infrastructure bu...
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In this paper, we compare the publication outcomes of two teams within a multi-university scientific alliance. Scientists in one team share similar scholarly backgrounds and work in a well established paradigm, while scientists in the second team have different backgrounds and work in an emergent discipline. While the alliance has increased the pro...
Article
In summary, we believe that Kala Saravanamuthu has made an important first step in calling attention to the mismatch between the goal of sustainable development which - as originally conceived - was not closely linked to an agenda of unfettered economic growth and the conventional accounting tools associated with modern capitalism. However, we hope...
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Access to and sharing of data are essential for the conduct and advancement of science. This article argues that publicly funded research data should be openly available to the maximum extent possible. To seize upon advancements of cyberinfrastructure and the explosion of data in a range of scientific disciplines, this access to and sharing of publ...
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The goal of the Distributed Knowledge project (DK) is to investigate distributed knowledge processes among multidisciplinary teams and the roles that technology and group context play in these processes. The initial inquiry of the project was focused on the six scientific Applications Technologies teams of the National Computational Science Allianc...
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The Eighth European Computer Supported Cooperative Work conference (ECSCW 2003) provided a venue to gather researchers interested in the study of scientific collaborations and their technology support. The organizers, Karen S. Baker, Geoffrey C. Bowker and Helena Karasti, started to work together in 2002 on a National Science Foundation funded BioD...
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INTRODUCTION The role of storytelling in support of organizational iden-tity and communication is well recognized [e.g. 5, 6] though there are few empirical studies of organizational storytelling practices [7] in general and fewer of scientific storytelling in particular. Stories and their use raise com-plex issues with respect both to community bu...
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this article we will be treating it as a science. This move is principled for reasons discussed in the next section
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This paper analyses the latest management assumptions and theories of playing at work, by examining how management strategies, especially relating to new media, invoke elements of play to create distinct and competing genres of discourse. After a brief overview of the latest management crisis of innovation, we will provide a few definitions of play...
Conference Paper
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1. Abstract To develop robust datasets for long-term re-use, new approaches are needed that incorporate relevant facets of organizational culture in their description. Early ethnographic research points to the importance of holding narrative accounts of data use alongside formal metadata structures. We describe our proposal to identify models for t...
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This paper compares sociotechnical systems (STS) theory and actor network theory (ANT) as developed by Latour, Callon and Law. We examine how STS and ANT can be viewed as responses to rationalist/functionalist research on large sociotechnical systems and as extensions and elaborations of pragmatist/culturalist frameworks developed in sociology and...
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In order to ensure the reliability of our coding, the research design called for an 'inter-rater reliability check' once every two months. We learned to loathe these checks; we knew that the coding system was inadequate in terms of reliability and that our choice of categories was optional, subjective and largely according to our sense of what an i...
Conference Paper
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Microorganisms like bacteria, fungi, algae, protozoa and viruses play a vital role in the maintenance of earth's ecosystems and biosphere. Data on microorganisms are as important as other organisms, but most of the time they remain unused, as it is not documented properly. This paper outlines the proposed database prototype model to document and di...
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It is argued that there is no simple metadata solution to the problems of integrating information from multiple scientific disciplines in biodiversity and thus to problems of adopting GIS for producing maps of biodiversity. To the contrary, it is maintained that within this field, GIS needs to take account of and represent an irreducible ontologica...
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Current research on distributed knowledge processes suggests a critical conflict between knowledge processes in groups and the technologies built to support them. The conflict centers on observations that authentic and efficient knowledge creation and sharing is deeply embedded in an interpersonal face to face context, but that technologies to supp...