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Toward a working bibliography

February 7, 2012

One of the desired outcomes of the first DIST workshop is to begin defining the topic as an identifiable field of inquiry within the field of design. It is clearly an important component of social informatics research, but it is also more specific. As an initial attempt at definition, we invite any suggestions of any references that would be important to include in a working bibliography, along with a brief statement explaining why you feel they are important. We will gather all of these to create an initial working bibliography on the resources page.

15 Comments leave one →
  1. February 7, 2012 5:21 pm

    Centola, D. (2010). The Spread of Behavior in an Online Social Network Experiment. Science, 329(5996), 1194 -1197. Helps to focus us on how the design and use of socio-technical systems has systemic consequences and that furthermore, that these consequences are dynamic, and can fundamentally alter the course of many people’s lives.

    Hutchins, E. (1993). ‘Learning to navigate’. In S. Chaiklin and J. Lave (eds.), Understanding Practice. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, U.K., pp. 35-63. Offers a beautiful, up close account of how an evolved socio-technical system supports robust, error-correcting behavior in a safety critical domain. It provides an important intellectual orientation in that it helps to draw clear connections between design and collective performance.

    Van Alstyne, M., & Brynjolfsson, E. (2005). Global Village or Cyber-Balkans? Modeling and Measuring the Integration of Electronic Communities. Management Science, 51(6), 851-868. Presents an account of precisely how increasing connectivity and individual cognitive limitations might interact to change the ability of an organization to process and integrate information. Notable for both its foresight and as an example of how models might be used to help us to think about design.

  2. Alex permalink
    February 8, 2012 1:37 pm

    Erickson, T. (2000). Social translucence: an approach to designing systems that support social processes. ACM Transactions on Computer-Human …. Retrieved from

    Malone, T. (1981). Toward a theory of intrinsically motivating instruction. Cognitive Science, 5(4). Retrieved from

  3. Jisun permalink
    February 8, 2012 3:48 pm

    Sinan Aral et al. (2009). Distinguishing influence-based contagion from homophily-driven diffusion in dynamic networks. PANS. Retrieved from

  4. February 8, 2012 9:02 pm

    The following are examples of interfaces that help us understand the big picture in social technologies influence and limitations. Both are from The Guardian:

    Riot rumours: how misinformation spread on Twitter during a time of crisis

    The Guardian’s Twitter network of Arab protests – interactive map

  5. February 9, 2012 1:24 am

    I’d add “The Economist as Engineer” by Al Roth. Econometrica, vol 70, no 2, July 2002. It has some additional ways of thinking about engineering large-scale social systems. It doesn’t look at technology-mediated systems in particular, but still useful.

  6. February 9, 2012 1:25 pm

    I’d add a few cites that aren’t about networks specifically, but which call to mind how artifacts embed and obscure ethical decisions:

    Nissenbaum, Helen. 2001. “How Computer Systems Embody Values.” Computer 34(3):120, 118–119.

    Radin, Margaret. 2004. “Regulation by Contract, Regulation by Machine.” Journal of Institutional and Theoretical Economics 160(1):142–156.

    Winner, Langdon. 1980. “Do Artifacts Have Politics?” Daedalus 109(1):121–136.

    Latour, Bruno. 1992. “Where Are the Missing Masses? The Sociology of a Few Mundane Artifacts.” in Shaping Technology/Building Society (Bijker and Law, eds.). Cambridge: MIT Press, pp. 225–58.

    • February 9, 2012 1:29 pm

      Cool! Thanks Karen, I was hoping someone would be able to fill in this dimension of the space a little; I don’t personlly have the background.

  7. Eryn Whitworth permalink
    February 9, 2012 9:37 pm

    I’m compelled to include.

    Suchman, L. (2007) Human-Machine Reconfigurations. Cambridge University Press, New York.

    Luff, P., Hindmarsh, J., & Heath, C. (2000). Workplace studies: recovering work practice and informing system design. Cambridge University Press.

  8. February 10, 2012 9:20 pm

    I really like this article because it summarizes a lot of the literature on collaboration and cooperation from a wide range of disciplines, including economics, psychology and political science. It can help frame the discussions about social system design.
    Law, Policy, and Cooperation, in Balleisen, Edward, and David Moss, eds. Government and Markets: Toward a New Theory of Regulation, Cambridge University Press (2009)

  9. February 11, 2012 2:30 am

    Like Karen, my interest focuses on system-embedded values, with a particular focus on understanding socially maintained infrastructures (human-machine couplings) as forms of influence. That is, how infrastructures can make categorizations and classifications seem natural, objective, or uncontestable. There’s been some great STS work in this area (Latour’s actor-network theory and the Values in Design folks for sure) and I’m curious to think about how it might change in networked contexts.

    It could be a very long list, but a few references on this I like are:

    Bowker, G. C. and S. L. Star (1999). Sorting things out: Classification and Its consequences. Cambridge, MA, The MIT Press.

    Busch, L. (2011). Standards: Recipes for reality. Cambridge, MA, MIT Press.

    Hacking, I. (2006). “Making up people.” London Review of Books 28(16): 23-26. –> kind of a fun short intro to a bunch of complex ideas

    Foucault, M. (1994). The order of things: An archaeology of the human sciences. New York, NY, Random House.

    Galloway, A. R. (2004). Protocol: How control exists after decentralization. Cambridge, MA, MIT Press.

    Latour, B. (2011). “Networks, societies, spheres: Reflections of an Actor-Network Theorist.” International Journal of Communication 5: 796-810.

    Law, J. (2009). “Seeing like a survey.” Cultural Sociology 3(2): 239-256.

    Matei, S. A. and C. Dobrescu (2010). “Wikipedia’s “neutral point of view”: Settling conflict through ambiguity.” The Information Society 27(1): 40-51.

    Star, S. L. (1999). “Ethnography of infrastructure.” American Behavioral Scientist 43(3): 377-391.

  10. Julie Hui permalink
    February 11, 2012 7:05 am

    I thought this paper presented a thorough list of motivations and how they weigh against each other in order to convince people to contribute on online communities.
    Weng, Y. and Fesenmaier, D. Assessing Motivation of Contribution in Online Communities: An Empirical Investigation of an Online Travel Community. Electronic Markets 13, (2003), 33-45.

    This is a nice paper on trust building when it comes to donating or lending money. On a financial platform, trust is often one of the biggest factors in convincing a potential page visitor to participate.
    Potzsch, S. and Bohme, R. The Role of Soft Information in Trust Building: Evidence from Online Social Lending. In Trust and Trustworthy Computing. Springer, Heidelberg, Germany, 2010, 381-395.

    I liked this paper because it emphasized the need to build relationships as a top priority for donation websites.
    Hart, T.R. ePhilanthropy: Using the Internet to build support. International Journal of Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Marketing 7, 4 (2002).

  11. Cecilia Aragon permalink
    February 12, 2012 1:41 am

    The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life, Erving Goffman, University of Edinburgh Social Sciences Research Centre. ISBN 978-0-14-013571-8. Anchor Books, 1959.

  12. February 12, 2012 6:56 pm

    I’m glad that Phoebe brought up the Fit4Life paper. I like the questions the authors raise, and it’s one that I’ll be assigning my students to read – whether they are professional or research track. Link is: Fit4life: the design of a persuasive technology promoting healthy behavior and ideal weight.

    A couple of my thoughts (sorry for the shamelessness):
    on the reflection, persuasion, coercion distinction and designing for each
    pitching vs. thinking about what it is like to live with a system – a possible refinement to (at least my own and my students’) processes for designing sociotechnical systems

  13. February 15, 2012 6:02 pm

    We’ve done some work on this that might be of interest (one paper of which, the paper above in PNAS, was mentioned above already):

    Aral, S. & Van Alstyne, M. 2011. “The Diversity-Bandwidth Tradeoff.” American Journal of Sociology, 117(1); July: 90-171.

    Aral, S. & Walker, D. 2011. “Creating Social Contagion through Viral Product Design: A Randomized Trial of Peer Influence in Networks.” Management Science, 57(9); September: 1623-1639.

    Aral, S. & Walker, D. 2011. “Identifying Social Influence in Networks Using Randomized Experiments.” IEEE Intelligent Systems, September-October, 26(5): 91-96.
    Aral, S. & Walker, D. 2011. “Forget Viral Marketing: Make the Product Itself Viral.” Harvard Business Review, 89(6); June: 34-35.

    Aral, S. 2011. “Identifying Social Influence: A Comment on Opinion Leadership and Social Contagion in New Product Diffusion.” Marketing Science, 30(2); March/April: 217-223.

    Aral, S., Muchnik, L., & Sundararajan, A. 2009. “Distinguishing Influence Based Contagion from Homophily Driven Diffusion in Dynamic Networks,” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Dec. 22, 106(51): 21544-21549.

    Aral, S., Brynjolfsson, E. & Van Alstyne, M. 2011. “Information, Technology and Information Worker Productivity.” Information Systems Research, In Press.

    Comments and feedback much appreciated… Enjoy!

    ~ Sinan

    • February 15, 2012 6:09 pm

      Indeed! Thanks Sinan, nice to see you here… I think your work is a critical piece of the emerging picture.

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